Review: The Face Shop SMIM Fermentation Hydro Gel Mask – Ceramide

Fiddy’s Disclosure Corner: The product featured in this blog post was provided by Jolse in exchange for my honest review. If you have any questions about how I handle press samples, please take a minute to read my sponsorship policy and list of sponsors.

Everyone has a bad habit or three, right? One of mine is overexfoliation. Bad for me, but good for this blog. My latest overuse of a facial scrub (I KNOW. I AM SO BAD!) gave me the perfect opportunity to test The Face Shop’s SMIM Fermentation Hydro Gel Mask in Ceramide.

The Face Shop The SMIM fermented ceramide hydrogel mask
Ronan and Nebula mini Funko Pops generously loaned by Snails Junior.

Purpose: The Face Shop SMIM Fermentation Hydro Gel Mask – Ceramide claims to intensely hydrate and moisturize skin with ceramides fermented for easier absorption.

Do not use if: You are sensitive to niacinamide, fragrance, or anything else in the ingredients list.

When and how to use: After cleansing but before your moisturizing lotion and/or cream, tear open mask packet and remove mask sheets. Unfold, carefully separate from the protective plastic backings, and apply to face with the glossier sides against your skin. Relax for 20-40 minutes or until the gel sheets feel dry to the touch. Discard mask sheets, pat any remaining essence into skin, and follow up with your usual moisturizer.

The Face Shop SMIM Fermentation Hydro Gel Mask – Ceramide ingredients:  Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, niacinamide, ceratonia siliqua gum, chondrus crispus powder, polyisobutene, polyacrylate-13, polysorbate 20, panthenol, cellulose gum, phenoxyethanol, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, 1,2-hexanediol, allantoin, ceramide 3 (1,000 PPM), agar, ethylhexylglycerin, adenosine, disodium EDTA, fragrance, potassium hydroxide

English ingredients for The SMIM Fermented Ceramide Hydrogel Mask
CosDNA analysis comes up remarkably clean, with only one low-level potential acne trigger noted.

Notable ingredients: Compared to many of my favorite masks, there’s a definite lack of glamour here. There are no fancy-sounding floral extracts or oils, no starfish or horse fat or even a hint of hanbang. Instead, TFS’s SMIM fermented ceramide hydrogel mask relies on proven remedies for dry, sensitive, and/or overexfoliated skin. Niacinamide and panthenol have both been shown to strengthen skin’s barrier function. Niacinamide and allantoin also soothe irritation, while the humectant properties of panthenol help hydrate even dry or dehydrated skin.

Ceramide 3, the featured ingredient in this mask, appears near the bottom of the ingredients list at a concentration of 1,000 ppm (0.1%). While this might seem low, a tenth of a percent is actually a pretty typical ceramide concentration, according to The Beauty Brains. Ceramides can stimulate long-term barrier function improvement when combined with other fatty acids in the correct ratio, but even when ceramides appear without those complementary lipids, they’re effective moisturizers that pose little risk of irritation. The ceramides in this specific mask may be especially absorbable because they’re fermented, a process which breaks the ingredients down into smaller and more bioavailable components.

All in all, the initially bland-looking ingredients list is actually pretty exciting if your skin needs an intense force-feeding of moisture.


My latest bout of overexfoliation (and probably the retinol I’ve been using) had left my skin looking shiny-tight and feeling really dry. It definitely needed some force-feeding.

Back of TFS The SMIM Fermentation Hydrogel Mask in Ceramide
Ronan and Nebula say I should just accept the discomfort my overexfoliation caused as punishment for my carelessness, but they’re big turdblossoms anyway.

The SMIM fermented ceramide hydrogel material is interesting. It’s fairly thin and a little stiffer and drier than, say, the Nature Republic Aqua Collagen Solution or the Ciracle Snail hydrogel masks I recently reviewed, but not plasticky or uncomfortable. The gel itself is pretty yielding. I had no problems with fit, adhesion, or folding up the end of the nose part to fit the tip of my nose. And speaking of noses, I didn’t notice any fragrance, a good thing for those of use who are sensitive to strong perfumes.

I wore this mask for about 30 minutes before the outward-facing sides of the mask sheets felt dry enough to remove. Underneath, the inward-facing sides were still a little damp. I usually prefer hydrogel masks to last a little longer than half an hour (if for no other reason than to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth!), but 30 minutes is respectable enough. It’s also nice for those times when you just can’t wait any longer but don’t want to feel like you’re wasting a ton of essence.

You know what else is nice? Applying a mask to a stripped and overexfoliated face, then taking the mask off 30 short minutes later and discovering a wonderfully moisturized face without any of the dry itch or pulled-too-tight shine that I’d been suffering earlier. My cheeks felt bouncy, resilient, soft, and healthy.

Even better, the results didn’t disappear overnight. When it’s at its healthiest, my skin gets a certain texture that I can only describe as buttery (and I’m really sorry, because that has to be annoying to read). The buttery texture is usually extra noticeable when I’m rinsing my face after cleansing. The morning after I used this mask, my face felt as buttery as it ever has, as if I’ve never abused it in my life. When I overexfoliate, I usually have to deal with the consequences for at least a couple of days before my skin feels right again. The SMIM fermented ceramide hydrogel cut my recovery time down to half an hour and headed off any further problems right at the pass.

Conclusion: It may not look or sound spectacular on paper, and the mask might not be the juiciest or most substantial hydrogel around, but with its clean, mild, moisture-intensive ingredients list, The Face Shop’s SMIM Fermentation Hydro Gel Mask in Ceramide healed up my skin when I was sure I’d be dealing with the damage for days. My wallet is open and my credit card is ready, ’cause I need to have a couple of these on hand at all times in case of overexfoliation emergencies.

Rating: 4.5/5

Rating scale:

1 – This should be taken off the market.
2 – Caused me some problems; would not buy again.
3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.
4 – Pretty good. Would buy again unless I find something better.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.

Where can I buy The Face Shop SMIM Fermentation Hydro Gel Mask – Ceramide?

Our bae Jolse is currently selling the SMIM fermented ceramide hydrogel masks for $5.98 apiece with free standard shipping from Korea. You can buy these masks either on the main Jolse website (a good choice if you plan to haul a bunch of other goodies you can only get from Korea) or from Jolse’s seller account on Amazon (affiliate link). In my experience, you’ll get the same friendly service and generous helping of samples either way. As a side note, I’ve recently become more selective in choosing which sponsors I work with, but when Jolse reached out to me, I jumped at the opportunity. This vendor is a consistent AB favorite for a reason!

What masks or treatments do you rely on when you’ve overexfoliated or irritated your skin?


9 thoughts on “Review: The Face Shop SMIM Fermentation Hydro Gel Mask – Ceramide

  1. One word: ALOE!
    Innisfree’s It’s Real Squeeze Aloe mask, Aloe Revital Soothing Gel and/or Aloe Revital Sleeping Pack have all calmed down various freak-outs from my dry/sensitive skin. I haven’t tried their aloe hydro gel mask yet, but it looks promising too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately I think you only get the samples if Jolse fulfills the order directly (in other words, not Amazon Prime and not fulfilled by Amazon) or if you order from the Jolse website.


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