6/23/16: Soo Ae, the manufacturer of these masks, recently updated their packaging for the US market. I’ve compared the ingredients lists and verified that it has not changed, meaning that the mask’s ingredients have always been compliant with US regulations regarding ingredient order. Woo! I’ve also updated purchasing links and stuck a gallery of new packaging images at the bottom.
Opinions about products change all the time. If they didn’t, there’d be no flux in the cosmetics industry and we’d all stick to the same regimen for years on end. But there is and we don’t. We fall in love with things and later change our minds; we pick favorites, then forget them.
That totally hasn’t happened to me with the Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk line of gel sheet masks, which have been on my mind a lot lately because they keep coming up in AB discussions. A long-ass time ago, I raved about the Donkey Milk Aqua masks. Today I want to talk about the Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack, the anti-trouble entry in the line. Is it as great as the Donkey Milk Aqua? Does it help to heal skin troubles like acne and irritation? Come with me on a journey of discovery, and please don’t mind the late hour. I can’t sleep because of bodily troubles that no mask can heal.
Affiliate links in this post are marked with an asterisk(*).
Purpose: Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack is a hybrid hydrogel/sheet mask that claims to soothe, repair, and heal irritated, damaged, sensitive, or acneic skin.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to botanical extracts, fragrance, or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: Either immediately after cleanser and toner, or after your essence, serum, and ampoule steps but before your moisturizer step(s), remove mask from packet, unfold, and peel from plastic backing. Apply whichever side is wettest to your face and gently press or tap to adhere to skin. Relax with mask on for 15-20 minutes as directed or (like me) until most of the serum has absorbed and the inner weave of the mask begins to emerge.
Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack ingredients: Water, glycerin, dipropylene glycol, betaine, camellia japonica flower water, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, phaseolus radiatus seed extract, paeonia lactiflora root extract, nephrite powder, donkey milk, lavendula angustifolia (lavender) flower water, monarda didyma leaf extract, mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf extract, freesia alba flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, citrus aurantifolia (lime) fruit extract, mentha rotundifolia leaf extract, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, portulaca oleracea extract, castanea sativa (chestnut) shell extract, PEG-32, panthenol, allantoin, carbomer, arginine, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, fragrance, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol, disodium EDTA
Notable ingredients: Donkey milk, as you can see here, is lower down on the list than it is in the Donkey Milk Aqua mask, an understandable adjustment given that this mask is focused on healing rather than pure moisturization. The long list of botanical extracts reveals a heavy emphasis on ingredients said to provide soothing, healing, astringent, and anti-inflammatory benefits to skin. This is a great sign. I’m always so disappointed to see a mask that claims some specific benefit but contains nothing except a basic hydrating essence and just one or two targeted ingredients.
CosDNA analysis of the ingredients comes up totally clean, another great sign. Do remember, however, that CosDNA is not infallible and CosDNA does not have information on every ingredient ever (or every ingredient in this product), so if your skin is particularly reactive, make sure to patch test with a little bit of essence before using this mask.
Like the Donkey Milk Aqua mask (and like the Donkey Milk Whitening variety, which I haven’t gotten around to reviewing but which I do like a lot, just so you know), the Donkey Milk Healing is an interesting hybrid of a traditional sheet mask and the more advanced hydrogel mask. Its loosely woven inner mesh is completely saturated and also completely coated in a very thick, non-drippy serum that solidifies into a gel if refrigerated. I love this concept and wish more masks used it, as in my experience it allows the mask to stay moist longer and prevents excessive evaporation. Basically: all that goodness gets to sink right down into my skin.
I like to use these masks when I’m suffering from skin troubles, obviously, whether those troubles have to do with blemishes, irritation, or overexfoliation. I use them for a minimum of 45 minutes at a time and can go as long as an hour when I don’t have a fan on. The masks fit my face nearly perfectly, with no annoying tenting or pleating, and the thick serum helps them adhere very closely to my skin.
Even when unrefrigerated, these masks give a very distinct cooling and tightening sensation to my skin, most likely due to the peppermint and witch hazel extracts in the serum. The sensation isn’t drying or irritating at all. Instead, it feels like any inflammation I’m experiencing is subsiding, and as if my skin is firming back up to its healthy condition.
And the effects? As you might have expected, they’re pretty much wonderful. No matter what problems I’m having with my face, using one of these masks will calm down any blotchiness, soothe any swelling or inflammation, and even out and brighten up my skin tone so that my skin looks not only non-irritated, but also well rested and optimally healthy. I’m going through some final stages of irritation and purging thanks to my encounter with that Su:m37 Bubble-De Mask, but after peeling this mask off just now, my skin looks smooth, glowing, and happy. At 1:42am on a Tuesday morning as I writhe around in discomfort, that’s a hell of an achievement. And if the mask I used tonight is the same as the other Donkey Milk Healing masks I’ve used in the past, those effects will last well into the morning and afternoon, meaning that the skin troubles I was suffering won’t require me to put on even a single dab of extra cover-up.
I only have one caveat about this mask. The thickness of the serum can sometimes cause it to pool up and get stuck in one area of the packet, leaving other parts of the mask a little drier. This unevenness is easily remedied by storing the mask packets flat and occasionally turning them over or just mushing them around a bit with your fingers. It’s certainly not a flaw big enough to take away points.
Conclusion: I can’t think of a single other mask that is as effective or as pleasurable to use when I’m having skin problems as the Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack. These are well worth stocking up on just to have on hand for those near-inevitable bad skin times. Speaking of which, I’m down to my last and need to get more.
Rating: 5/5. Like the Dalai Lama or the late Pope John Paul II, these masks are pure love.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.
Where can I buy Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Packs?
Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Packs are no longer hard to find in the US! Get them at:
- Memebox US, which sells them individually for $2 apiece*; if you’ve never shopped from Memebox before, sign up with my referral link to get 20% off your first order
- JKNLEE, which sells them in boxes of 10 for $20
- Amazon Prime, which sells boxes of 10 for $24.98* with free 2-day Prime shipping
And as a final bonus, here are photos and close-ups of the new US packaging for these masks! I was going to just replace my original pictures with the new ones, but, well, I kind of like what I had going on there, so those old photos are staying.
Have you tried any donkey milk masks? What do you think of them?