I've always been fascinated by the Korean beauty philosophy. The idea that you should take the time to pamper your skin as a part of daily self-care fits perfectly into my mantra that skin is our most important organ. And you can definitely see that philosophy on my bathroom counter, which is packed to the brim with oil and foam cleansers, essences, toners, emulsions, serums, eye creams, exfoliating pads, gel-creams, and sunscreen. Every morning, I treat myself to a smorgasbord of skin-care — it's not quite 10 steps, but it's close. There is, however, one K-Beauty step I've never really adopted: sheet masks.
In my experience, most sheet masks are slimy, sticky, or never fit my face. But when a sample of Mediheal's N.M.F. Intensive Hydrating Mask landed on my desk, I was willing to give them another shot. Charlotte Cho, the co-founder of K-Beauty retailer Soko Glam, told me she's been itching to bring Mediheal — a brand that sells five sheet masks every second worldwide — stateside after seeing it become such a hit with Asian consumers. After years of waiting, Soko Glam will finally become one of the first retailers, in addition to Walgreens and Amazon, to bring Mediheal's best-selling cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and face masks to the U.S.
Hearing Cho's enthusiasm for the brand, I couldn't wait to try one of these famous face masks for myself. I started with arrived on my desk. N.M.F. stands for Natural Moisturization Factor, so this mask is packed with hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, along with amino acids and witch hazel to soothe the skin. The mask claims to improve the skin’s natural moisture barrier, which is exactly what my skin needed after a weekend spent in the blazing sun.
I took the cotton mask out of the envelope and smoothed it over my face. There was plenty of serum on the mask, but it wasn’t saturated to the point that my face was dripping with serum during the treatment. The cotton fibers were easy to mold to my face, and I didn’t have to adjust the mask once while I walked around my apartment making breakfast and getting dressed.
The instructions note that the Mediheal logo will appear as the mask dries out (indicating it's time to remove), but I never saw the logo because the mask stayed juicy for a full 30 minutes. Eventually, I had to leave for work, so I removed the mask and rubbed the excess serum into my face, neck, and down to my décolletage. My face felt so smooth and looked so radiant that I skipped all my other skin-care steps — no essence, no hyaluronic serum, no vitamin C serum, no moisturizer, just sunscreen.
A $2 mask that replaces about $350 worth of products in my daily routine? Yeah, I’m gonna need a whole case of these because, at that price, masking could become my daily ritual. And now, I see exactly why Korean beauty lovers can't get enough of N.M.F.
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