Review - Skin Republic Masks
My review on 3 Skin Republic masks: Retinol, Green Tea & Seaweed
This is the first time I write a blog post in response to a poll. I asked on instagram what others would like to read (the other options were Sukin, Cosrx and Vanessa Megan). Skin Republic was the clear winner with 80% of the votes! Not surprising - I think Skin Republic does make one of the better hydrogel masks around.
I was a lucky winner of these masks from a BeautyCrew competition sometime ago. I was given 5x each of Retinol, Green Tea and Seaweed hydrogel masks.
Initially, sheet masks were made of tissue/fabric. The one annoying thing about sheet masking is that there is such a thing as over-done (i.e. letting the masks dry on skin). They can suck moisture back out of the skin and do more harm than good.
In contrast, hydrogel naturally retains more water, so it does not completely dry out like a tissue mask does. Because of this, over-drying does not tend to happen with hydrogel masks. However, precisely because hydrogel mask retains more water, I often feel that the essence/serum in hydrogel does not "transfer" to skin effectively compared to tissue-based masks.
That said, hydrogel can work if it is made and applied correctly.
Tips on applying hydrogel mask
First, it is imperative to choose a hydrogel mask with a generous amount of excess serum in the packet.
Second, prime skin with excess serum from the packet until the skin cannot hold any more. Skin should look wet.
Third, apply hydrogel mask. Some hydrogel masks have different texture on different sides. Apply the smoother side to skin (rough/grid side out). Then, squeeze every last bit of serum left on the backing sheets and use the serum to saturate the hydrogel. The mask should be sliding off the face. If you can vacuum the whole house with a hydrogel mask stuck on the face, it is not wet enough.
Finally, lie down and relax for at least 30 minutes. Because of the non-drying nature of hydrogel, it can be used longer than tissue masks.
The Skin Republic mask
Skin Republic hydrogel mask comes in two halves - bottom and top. This provides a better contour than a one-piece mask. However, each piece of hydrogel is sandwiched in two pieces of plastic. I always make sure there is a clean bench surface for me to unravel the whole lot before applying. The packet comes with enough excess serum to prime skin properly.
Retinol is my favourite out of all three.
The "retinol" comes in the form of retinyl palmitate (a retinol ester). Although it is 25th ingredient down the list, over-the-counter retinol only needs to be present in 1-2% to be effective. Retinyl Palmitate is one of the gentler forms of retinol - a good one to use for those who are retinol beginners (me included).
Similar to other Skin Republic masks, the serum contains a whole lot of skin-loving ingredients for overall moisture and anti-oxidant boost.
The first couple of times I experienced mild tingling for the first 5 minutes (not very common for me with sheet masks). I put it down to the fact that I am not a regular retinol user.
After the mask comes off, there is plenty of serum left on skin. I usually follow up with a moisturiser to "seal" the serum properly (whereas sometimes I just take off the mask and sleep). The next day I would wake up with top skin condition: noticeably more hydrated and looks brighter.
Ingredients list: Aqua/Water/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus Powder, Glyceryl Stearate, Paeonia Suffruticosa RootExtract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Cellulose Gum, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Polyacrylate,Hydrogenated Polydecene, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, GlycerylCaprylate, Polysorbate 20, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Trideceth-6,Dextrin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance.
The Skin Republic Green Tea mask actually features niacinamide (vitamin B3) as a main ingredient. My skin loves it for hydration. Consistent with this I found this mask quite hydrating, but the results are not as visible as Retinol.
Ingredients list: Aqua/Water/Eau, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus Powder, Glyceryl Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Glyceryl Caprylate, Allantoin, Polysorbate 20, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dextrin, Trideceth-6, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Acetyl Glucosamine, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Disodium EDTA, Parfum/Fragrance
Seaweed is my least favourite out of the three. It is still a good mask but just not as good compared to the other two. It uses chondrus crispus powder (algae extract) as a main ingredient, but this particular ingredient is actually included in the other two masks anyway.
Overall... I like them. They are very good masks. For masks available in supermarkets, I would recommend Skin Republic, alongside with Simple. However, Skin Republic masks are expensive ($14 for a single use). I know that we are used to paying prices like this for masks in Australia, but we shouldn't be. Comparable masks are available overseas for a much more affordable price. That said, I haven't yet come across a good Retinol mask in the Asian market. So I would repurchase Skin Republic Retinol masks, and also the Green Tea ones when they go on sale.
One last note
Sheet mask is not a one-off miracle treatment. In South Korea and Japan, where this type of masks are originated from, they are used very often (up to once a day). Just like serums and moisturisers, they need to be used frequently and consistently to see visible results. To increase affordability, one option is to alternate cream/gel masks and sheet masks.
Makeup artist and hair stylist based in Sydney. Founder of the well-known award-winning bridal specialist team Faces Makeup & Hair. Beauty junkie with an obsession for skincare.