Tuesday, September 27, 2016

K-Beauty Cleopatra: Soo Ae Donkey Milk Skin Gel Healing & Aqua Sheet Masks

It finally happened - I worked through all of my back-up stash of sheet masks and actually needed to stock up on some new ones! My friend Kar Yi (look! She just reviewed these as well!) very kindly picked these up for me when the Club Clio store in NYC was doing their 50% off sale; there were lots of sheet masks to choose from but she had previously liked the Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Skin Gel Mask Pack in the Healing variety ($30 for a box of 10 masks) and so she purchased them along with the Aqua variety, and we split the boxes between the two of us. Isn't it great to have a friend who shares your love of all things K-beauty? :)
If, like me, you've never heard about the Soo Ae brand, they're a Korean developer of sheet masks (at least according to their claims) for more than 80% of Korean brands. It seems that Soo Ae is gaining a lot of presence on the US market this year: their masks are available at Walmart and Club Clio stores, as well as online at Target, Memebox & Birchbox. From my understanding, they have several lines of sheet masks (as well as other skincare), and the Donkey Milk is part of the Freeset range. There's also one other Donkey Milk mask version in this range, the Brightening/ Whitening (pink accent color). If you wanted to try just one or two of these masks without committing to the full box of 10, the best price per mask I've found online is at Memebox ($2 each).
My husband actually lol'ed when he saw my box of these masks - 'Donkey milk?! Are you serious?', but it seems that donkey milk is currently one of the trendy ingredients on the K-beauty scene. Purpotedly used by Cleopatra for bathing, donkey milk is rich in vitamins and nutrients as well Omega 6, which help to prevent moisture loss from the skin. I'm not entirely convinced any one ingredient can perform absolute miracles on my face, but it's nice to know that in these Soo Ae Skin Gel Masks, this ingredient isn't just a gimmicky flourish but actually features quite high on the INCI list (the concetration listed states 0.5%). Both the Healing and Aqua variety contain 25ml of essence.
I first tried out the Healing version, aimed at sensitive, damaged and acne-prone skin. I was pleasantly surprised that the mask had a very light, 'skincare' scent as opposed to a strong fragrance that's prevalent in many Korean products. The mask itself is a textured/woven cotton material; I believe the 'gel' part refers to the consistency of the actual essence the sheet is generously soaked in, which is definitely thicker and helps to keep the mask better on the face without it slipping off. The Healing masks also come with a plastic backing to help position the sheet on your face; I found the fit to be a little off for my oval face (the mask is much more of a round shape) but definitely workable.

So far, I've tried this mask twice and both times wore it on the face in the evening for about 15-20 minutes. The sheet felt cooling and soothing on my face and I was happy that there was no dripping of the essence. After removal, I noticed my skin was definitely more plump, hydrated and even in tone (overall a lot less redness). The result wasn't anything spectacular and I didn't notice any change in pore size or healing of blemishes, but I don't expect that from a sheet mask anyway. The next morning (I patted the rest of the gel essence into my skin and left it on overnight), my face still felt very soft and hydrated and my foundation seemed to blend in a bit better. I did notice however that in some areas where not all of the gel have absorbed into my skin, it seemed to leave a bit of a residue that rolled into small clumps where I touched my face. But all in all, I like the performance of this mask, but I still like the Leaders Insolution Coconut Gel masks just a little bit better.
Compared to the Healing variety, I think I liked the Aqua version even better. Surprisingly, the Aqua masks don't have the plastic backing but are made out of the same thick woven material. They're nicely saturated in the same thicker consistency essence and the scent is light and fresh, definitely not overpowering. The mask felt cooling and soothing the whole time I've kept it on my face, and it seemed like the gel essence absorbed quite well into my skin with less residue than the Healing version. When I removed the sheet, my skin looked plump, hydrated and more even, and in the morning it was still glowing and less red/ irritated than normally. I give it two thumbs up.
Overall, I enjoy both of the Soo Ae Donkey Milk sheet masks, but I would repurchase the Aqua over the Healing variety. I do think they're good quality sheet masks and they're easier to keep on the face than most masks from other brands thanks to the thicker gel consistency of the essence. If you're looking for a new brand of sheet masks to try out, I'd definitely give them a go - especially the Aqua. Which sheet masks are you currently using? Anything you'd recommend to your fellow sheet mask fanatics?


  1. Haha, yes I saw the Donkey Milk rage when we were traveling to Asia a while back. I'm now enjoying a few Innisfree masks that have different texture instead of just papery fiber type. There's one that is more like hydrogel, another one that is made from soy sheet (I'd imagine it is the top of the soymilk that is often eaten for Dim Sum? I'll know when I use it :-D) and a few other varieties.

    Have you tried the self-warming eye mask? That is also v. popular when I was traveling to Asia. They feel like wearing hand-warmer (the pouches you'd use for skiing and alike) on your eyes but with the added bonus of aromatherapy. I tried one and it was ok, but I can see how it can be quite soothing esp in winter time.

    1. Soy dumpling sheet masks? That sounds intriguing, Claire :) No, I havem't heard about the warming eye masks! They sound very inetesting - although to be honest, I'd usually go for something cooling on the eyes to help with puffiness and what not, but the aromatherapy element sounds amazing. I'll keep my eyes peeled for those!