I might not buy sheet masks anymore.

Sheet masks might be the most popular item in the AB community. A lot of people I follow on Instagram are sheet mask fiends. I have nothing against sheet masks, they’re great! They’re great for when you need a boost in hydration, brightening, or whatever else skin concern you might have. They also feel luxurious after a long day. Popping on a mask that has been in the fridge is the best.

I have been mulling over this decision for a few weeks now but I have come to it: I might not be buying sheet masks anymore. This all boils down to one big beef I have against sheet masks: the waste.

The Philippines (I live here), despite being a relatively small country, is the third worst plastic polluters of oceans and that breaks my heart. I’m not an aggressive recycler, mostly because our country doesn’t have the proper mechanisms in place for recycling, but I try to do my part in reducing my non-biodegradable waste. I switched to menstrual cups from sanitary napkins and tampons. I avoid using straws when I eat out and I’m planning to buy my own washable straw, bringing our own bags when going grocery shopping.

But still, I can’t completely avoid waste, especially in this community. I often daydream about refilling my skincare bottles from big jugs in stores, but that would be a logistical nightmare as well as a big contamination risk at both ends.

Human Nature (a local brand) thankfully has a Balik Bote, Bigay Buhay program, I can bring empty HN bottles (and I have a lot) to their branches, which are then sold to junkshops and proceeds are used to support Gawad Kalinga communities. According to an HN customer rep, “[junkshops] or a partner third party have equipment that will properly recycle the bottles to perhaps raw material that can be remolded into different bottles or other material”.

The Plastic Solution has the ecobrick project where you cut up clean plastic packaging into tiny pieces and stuff them tightly inside plastic bottles. The thing is, I rarely buy drinks which come in plastic bottles.

Innisfree offers incentives for bottles brought back but they have no physical stores in the Philippines yet.

Used sheet masks.

I still might make use of compressed sheet mask tablets though, if I’m really pressed for a treat yo’ self kind of day. Daiso sells a 15-pack one which comes in just one little thing of plastic, tablets are not individually wrapped.

That’s basically it. Unless I am getting sheet masks for free or as gifts, I will not be purchasing them anymore. It might seem silly for some but it makes me sleep a bit better at night. My face will still be okay without them.

Holika Holika Pig-nose Clear Blackhead: A Review

Claims: This is a 3-steps kit perfect for pore control.  The first step opens your pores which allow for removing blackheads easily.  The second step removes blackheads.  The third step to minimize pores.
Ingredients:
Step 1 – Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Extract, Juniperus Communis Fruit Extract, Arctium Majus Root Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Saponaria Officinalis Root Extract, Hypericum Perforatum Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Propanediol, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, CitrusMedicaLimonum(Lemon)FruitExtract, Chrysanthemum Indicum Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, RosmarinusOfficinalis (Rosemary)LeafExtract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, ThymusVulgaris(Thyme)Flower/LeafExtract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract,   Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, CitrusAurantiumDulcis(Orange)FruitExtract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Fragrance(Parfum)
Step 2 – Water, PVP, Dimethicone Copolyol, Kaolin, Titanium Dioxide, VP/VA Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Methylparaben, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, CI 17200
Step 3 – Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Erythritol, Trehalose, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, CitrusMedicaLimonum (Lemon) FruitExtract, Diospyros Kaki Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance(Parfum)
[ source ]

What people most commonly refer to as blackheads or whiteheads, often concentrated on the nose, are actually sebaceous filaments (SFs), tiny collections of sebum and dead skin cells around a hair follicle, which usually takes the form of a small hair-like strand [source]. SFs are normal features of the skin [source]. Blackheads (open comedones) and whiteheads (closed comedones) are the result of a clogged pore that may include dead skin cells, dirt, impurities, cosmetics build-up, and sebum [source].

TL;DR: SF = normal skin feature, blackheads/whiteheads = acne.

However, on oily-skinned people, SFs can be very noticeable because of the amount of sebum produced. These have been a problem for me ever since I hit puberty, even before I had proper full-blown acne when I turned 19/20. I have been very wary of nosestrips since I went down the /r/SkincareAddiction hole. Physical extraction (through nosestrips and squeezing) could break capillaries underneath and stretch out pores, and contrary to popular belief, pores cannot shrink, back to it’s original size once stretched out or be smaller that what your genes assigned you.

Okay, after all of that, let’s get to the actual review. Again, I got these on sale for PHP58 each (from PHP98 each) from one of Beauty in Seoul’s [ website | Instagram ] sales.Read More »

Skincare Staples: Jeju Farm Sheet Masks

I discovered Jeju Farm masks when I stumbled into a Beauty in Seoul [ website | Instagram ] kiosk in a nearby mall. The sheet masks were PHP38 each and have been a staple in my stash ever since. If you get the chance, I highly recommend visiting a BIS kiosk, they have reasonably-priced Korean beauty products and they have the nicest sales people I have ever encountered.

Let’s get on to my my favorite Jeju Farm masks:

jf mask snail

Jeju Farm Snail

Claims: The snail mucus extrct with EGF ingredient recover your skin effectively and keep your skin nutrition plentiful. The natural aloe-vera extract sooth exhausted skin. Sufficient moisture supplying make healthy skin.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Ethanol, SodimHyaluronate PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Methylaparaben, Hydroxyethlcellose, Diaodium EDTA, Alltoin, Propyiene Glycol, Triethanoiamine, Snail Secretion Filtrate Extract, Fragrance. [ source ]

Let’s start off with my favorite. This mask has a different material from the other two Jeju Farm masks in this post, this is more rigid and plasticy than the usual soft fiber of Aloe and Green Tea and of the other variants of this mask line I tried. Due to the material, it dries up really fast. But I love this mask anyway. The scent is pleasant and not overpowering. The remaining essence is plenty enough for me to transfer it to a small container ready for use the next night with a compressed sheet mask tablet, adding a few drops of toner or additional snail essence into the mix.

As with these Jeju Farm masks, I use these when I have a bit of time to allow me a mask at night. The snail is for when I have been dealing with a bout of mild breakouts I need to soothe.

This mask leaves my skin soothed and hydrated, a nice glow in the morning after, 10/10 would recommend.

Read More »