I listen to you guys. For example, reader “DanielMattPhotography” left a comment on my review of Naruko Snail Essence Intense Hydra Repair Mask praising the Naruko Narcissus Repairing Masks as “some of the best masks I’ve ever used,” which is why I requested them when the brand reached out to see if there was anything they could send me to try. If any enablement results from this review, please direct your blame at DanielMattPhotography. Thanks, DanielMattPhotography! #DanielMattPhotographyMadeMeDoit
Affiliate links in this post are marked with an asterisk(*). The product reviewed here was provided for my consideration by Naruko Boutique USA*, a Fifty Shades of Snail sponsor in compliance with my sponsorship and press sample policy.
Founded by the eerily youthful and handsome Niuer*, Naruko is a Taiwanese skincare brand with a lowkey but excellent reputation in the English-language AB community. I’ve heard of their night jellies and Taiwan Magnolia line in passing and have tried a couple of their sheet masks when they were gifted to me by certain friends prone to sending Gudetama-festooned care packages, but I didn’t fully Get It until I tried those snail masks. After that experience (and DanielMattPhotography’s enthusiastic recommendation), I had high hopes for the Narcisuss Repairing Masks!
Purpose: Naruko Narcisuss Repairing Mask is marketed as anti-aging and claims to strengthen, refine, and hydrate damaged skin.
Best suited for: All skin types.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to alcohol, botanical extracts, yeast ferments, fragrant oils, or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: Use after cleansing, either in place of or in addition to the treatment steps of your normal skincare routine. I prefer to use sheet masks as my last stage before creams, as the occlusion and the penetration enhancers in the sheet masks seem to aid absorption of products applied beforehand. Follow with moisturizer and/or sleeping pack.
Naruko Narcissus Repairing Mask ingredients: Purified water, butylene glycol, glycerin, sodium PCA, PEG-55, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, chlorphenesin, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium acetate, isopropyl alcohol, cellulose, kalanchoe spathulata extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, scutellaria alpina flower/leaf/stem extract, peucedanum ostruthium leaf extract, gingko biloba leaf extract, artemisia umbelliformis extract, leontopodium alpinum extract, epilobium fleischeri extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, lactobacillus/olea europaea (olive) leaf ferment extract, quaternium-15, tetrasodium EDTA, Bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, polyquaternium-39, disodium EDTA, mentha piperita (peppermint) extract, eucheuma cotonii extract, sodium hyaluronate, pseudoalteromonas ferment extract, bifida ferment lysate, lactobacillus ferment, snow fungus (tremella fuciformis) extract, artemia extract, narcissus tazetta bulb extract, sorbitol, dihydroxy methylchromone, essential oils of mandarin, tangerine, sweet orange (citrus sinensis), ylang ylang (cananga odorata), potassium DNA
Notable ingredients: The top of the ingredients list here is pretty standard for a T-beauty sheet mask, with various humectants, slip agents, and penetration enhancers listed right up front. Beneath that, things get a little more interesting. The Narcissus Repairing Mask essence features “Phytoferulin,” a patented complex of 11 extracts that’s exclusive to Naruko. While we can never be confident of the concentrations of ingredients in cosmetic products unless they’re explicitly disclosed, some of the extracts in Phytoferulin are interesting enough that I think it’s worthwhile to list them out. Phytoferulin contains:
- Kalanchoe spathulata extract
- Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, known for its anti-inflammatory and melanin-inhibiting
- Scutellaria alpina flower/leaf/stem extract
- Peucedanum ostruthium leaf extract
- Gingko biloba leaf extract, which has been shown to improve blood flow when applied topically and may also reduce redness and inflammation in UV-exposed skin, among other benefits
- Artemisia umbelliformis extract
- Leontopodium alpinum extract
- Epilobium fleischeri extract
- Calendula officinalis flower extract
- Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, a calming anti-inflammatory ingredient
- Camellia sinensis leaf extract, better known as green tea, which is known to deliver antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits topically as well as when ingested
In addition to the Phytoferulin complex, the Narcissus Repairing Masks also contain fermentation ingredients, which may improve the other ingredients’ availability to skin due to the way fermentation breaks substances down into smaller components. And all the way near the bottom appears the narcissus of the mask’s name. At first glance, that looks pretty weak, but there’s some evidence that narcissus may be able to stimulate more youthful behavior in skin even at a concentration of 0.02%. This in vitro study examines it in conjunction with schizandra chinensis extract; that part of the equation isn’t present in the Narcissus Repairing Mask, but it’s a start. It makes me feel better about the probably very low concentration of narcissus extract in this mask, anyway.
At the very bottom of the list are some fragrant essential oils that may cause issues for those with sensitivities. The risks are likely mitigated by that same probably extremely low concentration, but if you’re concerned, I suggest cutting a corner of one mask packet and squeezing out a little essence for patch testing. A binder clip will seal the packet back up just fine!
My Naruko Narcissus Repairing Masks came in a box of 10 within the larger box of items Naruko Boutique sent me. Usually that’s enough to hold me over for quite a while no matter what the mask flavor. In this case, however, I’ve been going through mine way faster than expected because I can’t stop using them. Have time for a morning mask? Grab one of the narcissus masks. Evening masking? Better use one of the narcissus. It’s pretty crazy, especially considering my not-auspicious first impression of the masks.
If you’ve ever used any of the pre-2015 My Beauty Diary sheet masks, you’ll find the Naruko Narcissus Repairing Masks very familiar. They use the same smooth, pliable pulp mask sheet material, capable of holding lots of mask juice, and even the same perforated white plastic pearl paper backings. The cut is somewhat similar as well, with a couple of strategically placed slits at the edges to help the masks fit better on individual faces.
I had a lot of trouble with the fit of these masks the first time I wore one. My face is long, with a high, wide, square forehead and (apparently) somewhat prominent nose. On me, the Naruko mask sheets stopped well short of my hairline, tented like crazy around my nose, drooped over my upper lip, and left over half my chin exposed due to the size of the mouth hole. The fit was discouragingly poor. Yes, sheet mask fit is very YMMV and these masks are probably a perfect fit for as many people as they are a terrible fit for others, but bad fit can ruin a mask experience by preventing the sheet from adhering tightly to skin. It’s not just a comfort issue.
Luckily for me, I have a very smart friend, Snow at Snow White and the Asian Pear, who once devised an amazing sheet mask hack. The trick is simple. Just cut the mask in half vertically, so that you have a top and bottom piece, like most hydrogel masks. Doing that and then adding a couple of extra cuts along the nose and upper lip allowed me to turn these poorly fitting masks into perfectly fitting masks that hugged every contour of my face. No tenting, no bunching, no awkward drooping or uncovered strips of skin. I’ve been singing Snow’s praises for days thanks to her sheet mask hack. It enables me to enjoy wearing these masks and to get the full benefits of their essence.
There’s a lot of essence soaked into the masks: 25ml to be exact, my preferred volume for a sheet mask. The essence is clear, slippy, and lightweight, with only the faintest “clean and fresh” scent. The faintness of the fragrance is what makes me guess that the fragrant oils listed in the ingredients are only present in trace amounts. I’ve used a handful of these masks already and haven’t experienced any irritation from them.
The Narcissus Repairing Masks stay moist on me for 45 minutes to over an hour, and with these mask specifically, the longer I wear them, the more spectacular their results become. Last night I put one on and watched more than half of King Arthur on Netflix before taking it off (let’s just say I was at the part where Clive Owen takes it off, hello). My skin thanked me afterwards and all through today.
The results are pretty damn amazing for me. The essence absorbs nicely, without sticky or shiny residue, leaving my skin impressively bright, calm, and clear, more so than I’ve seen my face in quite a while and for longer than many other masks can achieve. While these effects don’t last as long for me as DanielMattPhotography said they do for him (three days for him, about 18-24 hours for me), I’ve been noticing how glowy and translucent my skin still looks even at the ungodly hour of, say, 6am, an hour at which I’m usually gray-faced and haggard. True story: I was awakened around 5:45 this morning, lurched groggily into the bathroom, and proceeded to stare in awe at my skin reflected in the mirror, instead of cringing away from the light and my own morning face like I usually do. I skipped BB cream and have been fully confident in my uncovered skin all day long.
In addition to the spectacular skin tone improvements I see from these masks, they also nicely hydrate and firm up my skin for that extra youthful bounce. Definitely worth the effort of cutting them in half to make them fit, and definitely worth the time it takes to suck up all the essence.
Conclusions: Every once in a while, a mask comes along that makes me not want to use any other masks. Right now, the Naruko Narcissus Repairing Masks are those masks for me. I’ve put all the rest of mine in the fridge so that they’re ready to use at a moment’s notice, am planning to haul a couple of boxes more, and will also be sticking these in friends’ care packages once I have a bigger reserve of them. I…also bought a pair of little scissors specifically to cut sheet masks because of these masks. Like the Naruko snailmasks, the narcissus have their minor flaws, but those flaws are far outweighed by the benefits. It’s love for me, and I’m excited to explore more masks from this brand.
Where can I buy Naruko Narcissus Repairing Masks?
Boxes of ten Naruko Narcissus Repairing Masks can be purchased from:
- Amazon for $17.50* with free Prime two-day shipping
- Naruko Boutique USA for $29.99* with free shipping and a free second box during the buy 1, get 1 free sale currently happening there
- Naruko Taiwan for $279 NT (currently ~$8.62US), shipping internationally from Taiwan
Have you been blown away by any new sheet masks lately?