Just like clockwork, Sephora's biannual beauty sale is upon us again. This year's November VIB Rouge and VIB sale is here! This means that all VIB Rouge and VIB members will be able to pick up beauty essentials and gifts for 20% off. The event has already begun for VIB Rouge members (Nov. 6 onwards) and VIB members will be able to access the sale from Nov. 13 - 16. This year's codes are ROUGE20 if you are a VIB Rouge member, or VIB20 if you are a VIB member.
The hallowed aisles of Sephora have recently been increasingly colonized by skincare offerings from South Korea. While Sephora's Korean beauty product stock is not the most extensive out there, they have curated far more Korean cosmetics than I would have ever dared to dream of even as recently as 5 years ago.
|This image made the South Korean news, many times over.|
Today I have 2 reviews of Korean skincare products that may help you craft or let's be honest, probably more like whittle down your already extensive VIB shopping list.
There is one hit, and one miss.
Short answer, the Erborian Pate au Ginseng Black Concentrated Mask is a HIT! And the Dr. Jart Premium Firming Sleeping Mask is a MISS for me.
Read on to find out why.
Disclosure: I purchased these two items. An affiliate link is used. Purchasing through an affiliate link is greatly appreciated and helps me support this blog. If you are curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.
THE HIT Erborian Pate au Ginseng Black Concentrated Mask, a first impression
Erborian ("Herbs of the Orient") is a Korean-French fusion skincare brand, founded in 2007 by Korean scientist Hojung Lee and business partner Katalin Berenyi. The brand is inspired by traditional Korean medicine and modern French luxury. L'occitane International acquired a majority stake in the brand back in 2012.
This is a powerfully concentrated wash-off mask with a syrup-like consistency. It is rich in the highest quality ginseng: 6 year old red ginseng.
What is 6 year old red ginseng? It is the highest grade of ginseng available in Korea (and also the most expensive). Red ginseng contains 32 different kinds of saponins (compare to American ginseng with 15, and Japanese ginseng with 8), making it the most antioxidant-rich ginseng on the planet. Over time, it was discovered that red ginseng harvested at the 6 year mark was hardier, contained a higher concentration of antioxidants, and lasted the longest.
The claims are that this mask will "help fight visible signs of aging for skin that feels firmer and smoother."
This mask comes in 2 sizes: a 15 ml tube, and a 50 ml jar. I purchased the 50 ml jar. The jar is very sturdy and has a nice weight to it, while remaining cute and compact. There is an outer cardboard container which I am grateful for because it serves as the perfect place to stash the tub away from air, water and light, all things that can spoil great skincare products.
Printed on the cardboard container are the ingredients, instructions for use, and expiration date, which is 6 months after opening. Unfortunately, this product does not come equipped with a spatula.
|There is a plastic seal on the mask.|
INGREDIENTS Water, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Glycereth-26, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Betaine, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Scrophularianodosa Extract, Polygonatumofficinalerhizome/Root Extract, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Pvp, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Sodium Polyacrylate, Panthenol , Ppg-26-Buteth-26, Glyceryl Caprylate, Dextrin, Phenoxyethanol , Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate80, Caprylylglycol, Disodiumedta, 1,2-Hexanediol, Parfum/Fragrance, Hexylcinnamal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol, Limonene. (COSDNA Analysis)
The first 6 ingredients of this mask are humectants (hydrating, water-binding ingredients) and emollients. These moisturizing elements are followed by two thickening agents: hydroxyethylcellulose and betaine. The featured 6 year old red ginseng follows, along with cocoa, dragon's beard, figwort, and polygonatum officinale rhizome root extracts. Many of these are used in Eastern medicine and exhibit different levels of antioxidant activity, in addition to their skin-soothing and -conditioning abilities.
Fragrance. Formulated without parabens.
PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Polyacrylate, PPG-26-Buteth-26. Less than 1% of Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Hexyl Cinnamal, Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol, and Limonene.
Apply a thin layer and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water. It is recommended to use this mask 1-2 times a week.
Normal to Dry skin; Dull or Aging skin. It should be suitable for sensitive skin types.
It contains any personal acne triggers or irritants. Please patch test all products.
|During. (Testing against the Sulwhasoo White Ginseng Brightening Mask for later review and comparison).|
One of those experiences documented here.) It's not a coincidence that kinseng rhymes with ginseng and my little cartoon mascot is noshing on some because unpixelated me loves it so much. Ginseng gets along with my dry, aging skin type like they're BFF's. Ginseng is pretty much the only ingredient in skincare that I've personally witnessed as actually delivering on its firming and elasticity-building claims.
You would think that my high as hell expectations for this mask containing only the highest grade ginseng might lead to the ultimate disappointment, but I'm ecstatic to report that isn't the case.
I've been using this mask pretty much every day since it arrived. (We're only supposed to use it every few days. Oops.) In fact, every time I look at it, I get the urge to grab a spoon and put it on my face. The mask is syrupy and rich on the skin, and it smells brightly floral. The floral scent is accompanied by a slightly sweet, yet still deep and earthy ginseng aroma. When applied to the face, it's so cooling and refreshing that no matter where my head is at, I'm snapped back into the present moment instantly.
Alright, alright you say. But what about the after effects? They're good. 10 minutes with this mask can take my skin from looking tired and dull to looking and feeling al dente - plump, radiant, soft and smooth. The results are even better when I wear it for longer. (I average 20 minutes, the only drawback is it takes longer to wash off at this stage since it dries out more). Also - it leaves my skin matte. Because of this, I love using this mask to prep for a hydrating sheet mask at night, or before putting on makeup during the day. It serves to prime my skin for makeup, making it adhere better and just look smoother overall.
Although I haven't had this mask for very long, I've used it quite a bit and can say that I am definitely planning to repurchase it with the caveat that next time, I will pick up the tube version to keep the precious mask protected against spoilage and contamination.
1 2 3 4 4.5 5 for being my favorite wash-off mask by far.
This mask is sold at Erborian USA and Sephora.
At Sephora: The 15 ml tube is part of a 6 mask value set $38 (an $84 value), & the 50 ml jar is $61.
Between Nov. 6 - 16, the site is 20% off with codes ROUGE20 or VIB20.
THE MISS Dr. Jart Premium Firming Sleeping Mask, a first impression
Dr. Jart+ ("Doctor Joins Art") is a Korean dermatologist-founded brand. The brand works closely with a group of 15 dermatologists and clinics to develop their products. The brand's hit bb cream was developed in 2006, and its products have been carried at major international retail outlets like Sephora since 2010. Estee Lauder acquired a stake in the brand in October of 2015.
This is a 'sleeping mask' which is just fancy word for night cream. It serves as a final step in ones' nighttime skincare routine. Unlike most sleeping masks or packs I've used in the past, this is a gel-type consistency.
The mask contains Niacinamide, kava, hyaluronic acid, Korean medicinal herbs, trehalose, and ceramides.
The claims on this mask are that it is anti-aging, and will "enhance surface cell turnover and deliver continuous moisture".
The mask comes packaged in a sophisticated cylindrical, coffee-colored tube with a pump. It houses 50 ml of the product. I have to admit, the packaging really did it for me.
INGREDIENTS Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, dimethicone, alcohol, betaine, glycosyl trehalose, Portulaca oleracea extract, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, Piper methysticum leaf/root/stem extract, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol, carbomer, methylparaben, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, sodium hydroxide, caramel, sodium hyaluronate, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, Angelica dahurica root extract, Cnidium officinale root extract, Corydalis turtschaninovii root extract, Paeonia lactiflora root extract, Poncirus trifoliate fruit extract, Pueraria thunbergiana root extract, Aloe barbandensis leaf juice, soluble collagen, propylene glycol, adenosine, hydrogenated lecithin, niacinamide, acetyl glucosamine, creatine, hydrolyzed extension, mica, Acacia senegal gum, panthenol, raffinose, titanium dioxide, cholesterol, iron oxides, ceramide 3, triethanolamine, phytosphingosine, sodium metabisulfite (COSDNA Analysis)
I'm not going to do a deep dive on the ingredients of this product because, like I stated above, this product was a miss. In fact, I'll explain in a bit what happened during our short but torrid relationship. (After our tryst was over, only the photos remained...)
Apply 1-2 pumps of product after night time skincare routine. In the context of a Korean style routine, this comes after double-cleansing, prescription-strength acne and anti-aging treatments, light moisturizing layers (toners, essences, sheet masks, emulsions, serums, ampoules), heavier moisturizing layers (creams, facial oils). Do not rinse the 'mask' off; it will absorb overnight.
Normal to Oily skin; it should be suitable for sensitive skin. There are a few potential acne triggers.
It contains any personal acne triggers or irritants. Please patch test all products.
It's a light coffee colored gel with flecks of gold. It dries down in seconds to a matte finish. You can see some light gold reflect on the right.
I don't have much to say. I purchased this product because one of my favorite bloggers, The Acid Queen wrote a killer review declaring her undying love for this mask. But the one thing that my selective-reading eyes skipped over when reading her review was the alcohol, squarely in 5th place on the ingredients list. And the Sephora website does not list the entire ingredients list.
In case you're new to my skincare exploits, my (dry, aging) skin at times revolts against alcohol and papaya enzymes. Those are the only two things that weaken and mess up my moisture barrier. And it's annoyingly inconsistent, which means I have to try a product before knowing whether the alcohol is helping or hindering my skin. For example my skin loves the SNP Diamond sheet masks which contains alcohol.
I used this mask for 1 week before kicking it to the curb and returning it. In that time, my skin was actually at a low point. I'd mistimed my prescription tretinoin shipment, and my skin looked worse for wear after that 1 week spent without it. So there are a few factors that could have led to the unsightly results I witnessed after relying on this sleeping mask as my final step... but all I can say is that it failed to deliver on its claims of locking in moisture and boosting elasticity and firmness. My skin ended up looking dull and drier than usual. It definitely didn't lock-in moisture over an 8 hour period. I know that since I did not test this product with all things held equal, and over a long period of time that I can't really knock it all the way... Let's just say I'm not an anti-fan, but I'm not a fan.
1 2 2.5 3 4 5 for me personally. I have dry, aging skin as I mentioned before. This has earned rave reviews from those with sturdier skin than I.
At Sephora: 1.75 oz. or 50 ml is $48.00. Between Nov. 6 - 16, the site is 20% off with codes ROUGE20 or VIB20.