For a Taiwanese American sheet mask lover who’s been using Asian skincare almost exclusively for nearly two years now, I sure did take a long time to get into Taiwanese products. Yeah, I’d been using My Beauty Diary since nearly the beginning of my AB life, but I remained oblivious to all the other amazing products coming out of the land of my people.
Welp. That’s been changing. The hype around Taiwanese sheet masks has been growing for some time, with bloggers as diverse as the awesome Tracy of Fanserviced and cbiancardi of Unboxing Beauty talking T-beauty masks both in blog posts and on social media. (Yes, that is a tiny sample sheet mask. I got one, too.) Taiwanese mask brands often use ingredients you don’t see in Korean and Japanese brands, something that appeals to my hunger for the new. The characteristically lively, colorful, friendly-feeling designs on the packaging don’t hurt. I finally gave in. And as you’ve probably already figured out, when I give in, I give in hard.
I hauled some Taiwanese sheet masks from L.A.-based AB retailer Beautibi, whom I’d been following on IG and hearing good things about. The haul was beautiful, the samples and freebies and confetti(!! CONFETTI!!! WHO GIVES CONFETTI!!!!!!!!) were glorious, the first few masks I tried were magnificent, and I knew I had to sit Beautibi owner Jen down for a talk about T-beauty, sheet masks, and the AB life.
With an emphasis on Taiwanese brands, Beautibi is unusual among US-based Asian cosmetics webshops, most of which focus on Korean beauty products. What are some ways Taiwanese sheet masks stand out from Korean or Japanese competitors?
Jen: I think Taiwanese brands seem quite no-nonsense regarding their beauty, and for a fairly good quality mask, they don’t break the bank. I also love that some Taiwanese companies will commission local artists to design the packaging and really try to incorporate ingredients from Taiwan, such as moon orchids or perfume lotus flowers grown in Taiwan, which I find culturally appealing. I also find that though Taiwanese masks do have fragrance, they usually aren’t very strong. And lastly, I enjoy thinner sheet mask material, or the “second skin” mask, which many Taiwanese brands use.
Beautibi only launched in the summer of this year but has already gained a reputation among AB fans as a legit and really recommended seller. Can you tell me what inspired you to start the business?
Jen: Living in Los Angeles, I grew up with easily accessible Asian beauty, and I wondered if it was the same in other areas of the country. I had also been thinking about a box subscription business (even though this idea changed later on) off and on for about a year. I decided to take a leap when I attended Cosmoprof in Hong Kong in 2014. I saw tons of Korean and Chinese companies and brands, many large Japanese brands, and only some Taiwanese companies. The huge growth of K-beauty made me question why there wasn’t much of a Taiwanese presence. So I wanted to fill that space, along with my love for Japanese products and the affordability of Korean cosmetics. Business started out slow, but I think we are gaining more traction with the use of social media, which I’m excited and happy about!
What’s your curation process like?
Jen: Since I started the company out of my own passion for beauty, a lot of the brands that I feature are brands that I am familiar with and have used personally. For example, MasKingdom and L’Herboflore are both brands that I have used for years.
Jen: I usually pick brands based on two spectrums. On one end, I like tried and true companies. On the other end, I look for companies that are just starting out, or are not as popular but still offer quality products. This is one of the reasons I decided to work with L.A.-based brand Tokyo Factory. Their products are beautifully packaged, which is another quality I look for. And in both scenarios, I consider the relationship aspect of business. I like working with people I like and admire, and this is how I came to bring LadyKin to Beautibi.
Which mask brand do you see rising, based on popularity within your shop?
Jen: L’Herboflore has definitely taken the spotlight in terms of most popular mask brand. I think this is due to the fact that L’Herboflore offers quality masks, pretty packaging and a nice price point.
Jen: I am loving L’Herboflore’s Bio Cellulose mask. It’s on the higher price end, but my face literally goes two shades lighter, which I love. It’s brightening and moisturizing, and my skin feels extremely soft the next day.
Tell me about your personal AB journey!
Jen: I grew up with the usual teenage acne, and my first real skincare products were from Shiseido’s Pureness line. I outgrew the line eventually, but I loved taking care of my skin as well as trying new products. Once I started wearing makeup, it made me even more conscious of what I was doing to cleanse my face and keep my complexion bright. I had some years where I had that summer swimming tan, and when I look back during those times, I cringe inside that I never wore sunscreen. So sunscreen now is the first product I recommend to people just starting out using skincare.
Jen: Today, I use products from all brands and have found products that just work for me, regardless of where they are from. My current cleanser is from Korea, my toner is Japanese, moisturizer is French, eye cream is Japanese, face oil is made in the US and my sheet masks are Taiwanese. And I do believe there are some AB products that are just better than Western brands or at least work better, such as sunscreen.
When it comes to the quality of Taiwanese mask brands, based on the ones I’ve tried, I’m sold. Hey! Pinkgo Girl didn’t work out for me, but pretty much every other T-beauty mask brand has. My nightly rotation for the past couple of weeks has been almost nothing but L’Herboflore and My Scheming, with some Annie’s Way (much thanks to cbiancardi for sending me my first Annie’s Way sheet masks!) and MBD thrown in. And if you want to learn more about these brands before you decide to take the plunge, don’t worry. I’ve reviewed several of the masks on my IG already.
I have some longer reviews and unusual ingredient roundups in the works for this blog, too. Of course, you can also jump aboard the T-beauty train now if you want. Beautibi sells both curated boxes and à la carte products; shipping within the US is free for orders over $75. Also, they hand out confetti. DID I MENTION THE CONFETTI? And if you use my referral link, you’ll get $5 off your first order!
Also, tiny-sized sheet mask samples.
Have you tried any Taiwanese sheet masks? Which are your favorites?
© 2015 unless otherwise noted (copyright and sharing policy)