The Case Full of Seoul: Korean Beauty in a Few Easy Steps

The Case Full of Seoul

I would have never, ever guessed that the first place from which I’d get legitimate Korean beauty and skincare products would be Costco. I’ve found some products in stores along Bloor Street in old Koreatown, and even a slew of products from Shopper’s Drug Mart which had writing in Hangeul (Korean characters). Until now, none of these products have actually been made in Korea.

“Discover all that K-Beauty has to offer with The Case Full of Seoul. K-Beauty is a skincare regimen designed by beauty experts in Korea. Korean skincare is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

It is a daily routine rather than a one-off treatment – It is a commitment. UMMA has gathered 8 skin-changing products that work best when used together, and has designed a beauty plan to help you get the most out of each product. Follow these beauty plans and get ready to see results.”

Step One: 9 Wishes Rice Foaming Cleanser $20.90

Step one in any Korean skincare routine I’ve ever heard of is cleansing. The scent of this particular cleanser reminds me of wandering through rice paddies in Bali. It’s light in every sense of the word. The formula features micro-ground rice texture which lightly and gently exfoliates dead skin cells. I wouldn’t use it as your make-up remover (again – it’s light), but the formula is designed to cleanse oil, sebum, blackheads, and other impurities from make-up. The design is to even out skin tone and hydrate the skin.

Step Two: MayCoop Raw Sauce Mini $28

The product is a combination toner and an emulsion. As step two, it prepares the skin to absorb the hydrating formulas you’ll apply throughout the rest of the process. The scent and viscosity are both quite light. The description is that it “hydrates and revitalizes dull skin” and “uses ingredients that mimic molecules in human skin, such as maple tress sap, to help retain extra-high absorbency”. This was a step I really enjoyed as it wasn’t sticky and it was absorbed very quickly.

Step Three: URANG True Rose Repair Essence $47

The rose scent on the repair essence is quite a bit stronger than the other products, so take note if you’re sensitive. This formula contains organic Bulgarian rose water and rose essential oil. The substance is thicker than the previous step. The texture is designed to have a cooling effect. It should calm down redness, although I found it just wasn’t all that effective in balancing my skin tone especially around particularly dry areas like my nose.

Step Four: Tov Camellia Wrinkle-free Eye Solution $25

This product was hands down one of my favourites. This formula contains shea butter and macadamia nut oil. Obviously, it’s safe to use around the eye area which can be quite delicate. The product goes on so smooth it’s almost like a primer in an of itself. It’s quite thick and a little goes a long way. My under-eye area calmed down almost instantly. This is a holy grail item I’d definitely purchase on its own if it weren’t already in The Case Full of Seoul.

Step Five: MayCoop Raw Moisturizer $40

I found this product to smell quite clean and fresh. My guess would be something close to fresh linen, but even that would be too strong a scent. The description states that it “uses moisture balls filled with oil that pop onto the skin to provide the ultimate hydration experience” – I didn’t experience that. It went on like my regular day/ night moisturizer. I would use this in the spring as it’s not quite thick enough for winter, but it would be too much for summer.

Optional: Touch In Sol No Poreblem Primer $18

This is another fabulous find I would have never heard of without The Case Full of Seoul. I would say this primer (at least for me) is another holy grail. I typically use Smashbox Primer, but felt it just wasn’t working with my skin lately. This product goes on like the first time I ever used a primer. My foundation works over it like silk it’s so smooth. I’ve never has any film from it either. It conceals my pores and nearly all my wrinkles for a really even complexion. I love the way my makeup looks when I use this primer!

Optional: URANG Vitamin Oil Serum $57

I wasn’t a huge fan of this oil, to be candid, and found myself swapping in my Chantecaille Rose Oil instead. With so many rose infused items, it made sense to me. The fragrance of this product (with rosehip and jojoba oils) was so overwhelming it gave me headaches. The idea is to seal in all the aforementioned hydrating ingredients to hide discolouration, reduce fine lines, and give an overall brightening effect.

I Woke Up Like This All-In-One Concentrate Treatment Mask

Most of the sheet masks I’ve tried in Korea have some sort of gimmicky ingredient. Some have gold or diamonds, some wine or beer, others have snail serum. This sheet mask is made with pearl powder, Vitamin C and Niacinamide to (again!) boost hydration, provide a brightening effect and even out skin tone. The fit is good, but I wouldn’t say there’s anything insanely exciting about this mask. Pop it on for 20 minutes, then remove and massage the excess essence into your skin.

This kit is easy to use for even the most sensitive skin and the newest K-Beauty user. The case itself gives directions for morning, evening, self-care Sunday, and even “get ready with me” and also comes with a booklet full of ingredients and instructions. The case brings huge discounts vs. purchasing each product individually (on Costco’s website the price listed it $79.98). If you’d been doing your math along the way, you’ll note that the value of the case is upwards of $235 USD.

I enjoy taking care of my skin and enjoy trying new products – especially those from my old home, Seoul. The proof is in the pudding, however. Go check out my recent skin analysis where you’ll find that my skin is dialing in at almost 5 years younger than my actual age! Thanks for letting me try some of the hot commodity products which came out directly after I left Korea!

Skincare Review: Leegeehaam has quick-drying formulae which I love when I'm in a rush.  My skin feels soft and there's never any hint of shine.

This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest reviewThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.

2017 Best Sheetmask Brands

 Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier Seoul Korea Botox Fillers Eunogo MH Clinic Ruby Plastic Surgery MVP Clinic VIP Plastic Surgery Whoo Spa Sinsa Facial
Photo: Robert Evans

My Top 5 Korean Sheetmask Brands

The #1 cheapest and most talked about Korean beauty product is the sheetmask.  You can find them in any Olive Young, Tony Moly, Etude House, Innisfree, The Face Shop, and more.  There seem to be cute new sheetmask options coming out every week!  From Star Wars to Pokemon to Placenta, there’s constantly a new Korean sheetmask gimmick.  Which masks actually work?  I tried a bunch last year, but it wasn’t until I found a brand from a plastic surgery company after an ultrasound hammer treatment that I actually felt a difference.  Check out my go-to brands when I choose from my big bag of K-Beauty sheetmasks!

Review Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Mask Pack G2Cell Genomics Code A Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

G2CELL (Genomics Code GenoHeal.com)

Advanced Anti-Wrinkle Mask Pack ($40 for 5-mask kit)

I was introduced to G2CELL at the Euno.go and Ruby Plastic Surgery event.  This is by far my favourite sheetmask of the bunch.  While the fit isn’t amazing, the results are almost immediate!  I had super glowy skin all afternoon and evening after trying it on a Saturday morning.

G2Cell uses Biomimetic Water (composed of minerals, amino acid, peptide) and milk protein from New Zealand milk phospholipid.  SYN-COLL is used to used to reduce wrinkles and increase firmness through collagen configuration and the promotion of Hyaluronan.  Palmitoyl Tripeptide is also included.  Aquaporin protects skin from moisture loss and improves elasticity.  Carob Extract prevents wrinkle creation and improves skin elasticity. Elderberry Extract acts as an anti-aging, polyphenol ingredient.

  • Phospholipid: Linoleic acids play an important role in the human skin’s own synthesis of Ceramide 1.  This is a a lipid that is important for intact barrier function.  Natural phospholipids contain relatively high amounts of linoleic acids thus resulting in soft, hydrated, and protected skin.
  • Hyaluronan: Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is found naturally in the body. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints. The hyaluronic acid that is used as medicine is extracted from rooster combs or created by bacteria in a lab.
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 is used in a number of different anti-aging products because it can communicate with skin cells and boost collagen production.  The older your skin gets, the less collagen it produces.

 dr vip white pearl mask VIP Plastic Surgery Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

Dr. VIP Korea (VIP Plastic Surgery)

DR VIP White Pearl Sheetmask 

This sheetmask is super creamy, has plenty of essence, but doesn’t drip!  I love using this sheetmask before bed, especially if I’m about to fall asleep in a mask.  This is a luxurious home sheetmask facial made using the same ingredients you’ll find in a fancy facial treatment at VIP clinic itself in Sinsa!  Each sheetmask is used for different skin types and purposes: moisturizing, brightening, anti-aging, firm, and more.  VIP also has its own line of facial sheetmask called ‘DR VIP’ White Pearl Mask, which is effective in anti-wrinkle and whitening care.

It is a daily care sheetmask (although a little pricy for daily use) that consists of a soft and fresh essence that moisturizes the skin. It consists of ingredients, such as Glutathione, pomegranate extract and persimmon tree leaf extract, which enhance clean and lively skin. In addition, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 and Noni extract provide healthy and elastic skin.

  • Glutathione: Glutathione is a substance found in every cell in the body, where it acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Chemically, glutathione is a simple molecule composed of three protein building blocks or amino acids- cysteine, glutamine and glycine.
  • Acetyl Hexapeptide-8: Acetyl hexapeptide-8 or acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a synthetic anti-wrinkle cosmetics ingredient. It is a peptide which is a fragment of SNAP-25, a substrate of Botulinum toxin (“Botox in a Jar”).
  • Noni: Noni juice is a dietary supplement extracted from the exotic fruit noni, and is commonly marketed as a general health tonic. Manufacturers promote noni for lowering cholesterol, promoting healthy blood sugar levels and for cancer fighting benefits.

Directions:

  • After you wash your face, apply skin toner.
  • Then, wear the mask for around 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the product).
  • After you remove the mask, pat the remaining essence so that it can be absorbed into the skin.
  • Voila, you’ll experience improved skin!
VIP Plastic Surgery Center Seoul, Korea 
For free consultation, please send email at vipps@vipps.kr
www.beauty-korea.com

 

Common Labs

My friends at GlamRecipe have really hooked me up over the past few months through their GlamRecipe StoreFront on Amazon.  Both the Vitamin B & C Honey “Ggultamin (Honey Vitamin)” Real Jel Sheetmasks offer tons of essence and actually feel like they make a difference for my skin.  I love the 2-step process including a finger peeling pad to remove dirt and dead skin.  Even when using a two-step cleansing process (make-up remover and either Banila Clean-It Zero or a foaming facial cleanser), this finger peeling pad always grabs more dirt I’ve not managed to remove.

The sheetmask itself is very wet and full of jelly essence.  Once you remove it from the packaging you’ll have plenty of leftover essence.  I usually put it on my neck, chest, and shoulders for additional hydration.  These masks are great because they hold really securely and you can actually feel the difference in hydration in the morning.  These masks I’ll typically use after a big night out to revitalize my tired skin.  My personal favourite is the Vitamin C for the mild, citrus and honey scent, but find what works for you!

Common Sheetmask Ingredients

Each sheetmask contains both AHA and BHA.   Alpha hydroxy acid products containing lactic acid, tartaric acid, gluconolactone, or glycolic acid are typically applied to sun-damaged and wrinkled skin twice a day. AHAs and BHAs as exfoliants can really change the look and feel of skin for the better!

  • TWO STEP MASK with FINGER PAD FOR MILD PEELING: for the best effect, dead skin cells should be removed before applying any type of sheetmask. The GGULTAMIN Vitamin C Sheetmask is an all-in-one sheetmask containing a finger peeling pad, which effectively removes dead skin cells and any dirt left on your skin. Containing AHA and BHA the sheetmask delivers a mild peeling effect.
  • HONEY AND PROPOLIS: each sheetmask contains 33ml of essence with honey and propolis extracts for intense moisturisation. Honey is one of the best natural ingredients to provide and maintain moisture in your skin. Propolis contains Flavonoid, a natural anti-aging ingredient that helps to protect vitamin destruction.
  • GEL TYPE ESSENCE (33ML): thick jelly texture delivers active ingredients deeply into your skin without drying up. The generous amount of essence allows you to also use it for your face and neck.

Review Common Labs Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) B REAL JEL MASK Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

 Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) B REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $ 27 99 

by COMMON LABS

About the product
  • VITAMIN B: it contains Vitamin B5 to help stabilize the skin’s barrier, reducing the amount of water lost through the skin. Applying a provitamin B5 formulation to the skin will increase hydration and improve softness and elasticity for your skin.
  • LYOCELL SHEET: the GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses a natural Lyocell fiber mask that perfectly adheres to your skin. It provides extra softness and effective absorption of essence.

    Common Labs Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $ 27 99 

by COMMON LABS

About the product
  • VITAMIN C: the sheetmask contains Vitamin C complex to help brighten, boost collagen, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
  • CUPRA SHEET : GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses cupra mask that perfectly adheres to your skin with extra softness and effective absorption of essence.

xaivita dr. sheet mask review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

XAIVITA Dr.

All XAIVITA Dr. sheetmasks have similar promises.  They aim to help “to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment and” relieving “skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.”  Whenever I get a new version of their 3-step sheetmask I’m wary of the strange ingredients.  I suggest you try them laying down as these sheetmasks are super wet and drippy. Your skin will feel intensely hydrated almost immediately, so make sure to use this brand before bed so you can let the essence really get to work without obstacles like makeup!

Directions:

  1. Ampoule: Using the toner after washing, take proper amount of the content and evenly put on whole face.
    Lightly touch the face so that the content can be absorbed.
  2. Mask: After cleansing, take out the sheet and apply it over your face.  Remove the sheet after 10-20 minutes.
  3. Cream: After the Mask, spread uniformly along skin’s texture and massage gently.
 XAIVITA Dr. Gold Spider Anti-Wrinkle Cellulose Mask Review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier
Gold Spider Anti-Wrinkle Cellulose Sheetmask
Fine Dust Protector-Soothing and Moisturizing.  8.88% Gold Spider secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which can become tired from the external environment.
xaivita dr. sheet mask Horse Oil Premium Cellulose Mask Review Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier
Horse Oil Premium Cellulose Mask
Fine Dust Protector-Moisturizing and Nutrition Supplying Horse oil.  Premium secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment.  It relieves skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.

Wish Formula Review Blackhead & BlackMask Home Spa Kit Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier

WISH FORMULA

BLACKHEAD & BLACKMASK HOME SPA KIT (Black Sheet, Pore Tightening Serum & Black Stick) 10 kits for $ 9 99 

by WISH FORMULA
The blackhead sheetmask really does bring dirt and grime (blackheads and sebum) to the surface.  I haven’t mastered the black stick quite yet, so I’ve been using a peel away mask instead.  After that, I use the pore tightening serum which soothes skin quite well.  The next day I find my sensitive skin on and around my nose is incredibly soft and the pores appear much smaller!
About the product
  • BLACKHEAD REMOVAL KIT: a complete kit including a black sheet, pore tightening serum, and black stick work to gently take care of blackheads and pores.
  • 9 NATURAL EXTRACTS: ingredients from lemon balm, sage, witch hazel, mistletoe, peppermint, jack burdock, needle juniper, soapwort, and St. John’s wort work effectively to dissolve blackheads and sebum.
  • PORE TIGHTENING SERUM: consists of patented active ingredients to tighten pores and soothe skin, resulting in a silky smooth texture.

Korean Beauty Bliss: 2017 Best Sheetmask in Korea - ThatGirlCartier spa white towels tiles bench yellow rubber duck massage

Go ahead, set up the bubble bath and pour yourself a glass of wine.  These awesome Korean sheetmask options will have your skin silky smooth in no time!  What are your favourite K-Beauty quick picks?  Leave them in the comments so I can give them a try!  While some items on this list were gifts from friends, former clients, and current partners, all reviews are honest and opinions are my own.  Where to buy links are in pink however none of them are affiliate links.