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I have a theory that the best time to test a cult-favourite skincare product is right after an exhausting long-haul journey. Nothing dries out your skin faster than time spent in an aeroplane cabin. If you manage to look glowing and well-rested the morning after a long flight, whatever product you were using the night before should be an automatic skincare hall-of-famer.
The latest beauty contender that has piqued my desire to try out on a trip is a very Internet-famous sheet mask. 111Skin's Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask has racked up a whopping 18 million purchases and a big celebrity following. A-listers have so much trust in the mask that some have even used it on big life moments: Priyanka Chopra Jonas uploaded an Instagram story of her wearing the mask ahead of her wedding to Nick Jonas. She even calls it her "special sauce."
With so much fanfare behind this bestseller, I decided to put it to the test last month when I had four back-to-back trips in the span of two weeks. These are work-related travels, so I was expected to look presentable — when my skin was at its most dehydrated — with just 30 minutes or so to freshen up after stepping off a plane or train.
Keep reading to find out how this mask has fared in reviving my tired, jet-lagged skin and whether it's worth the $178 price tag.
The first thought I had upon removing the mask from its shiny, metallic packet was that I understood why these celebrities were so keen on taking selfies with the mask on.
This is not your average sheet mask. Rather than using cotton or microfibre, it's made of a thin hydrogel material in shimmery pink. The colour is very pretty, and the whole thing smells of roses, which is befitting of the star ingredient: rose damask extract.
My planned selfie session didn't work as well; the mask didn't fit the contour of my face very well. The mouth opening was too wide, so my chin was not well-covered. It was also slipping off my face the whole time, given that the product is absolutely packed with serum. This is definitely not a bad thing, as there was plenty of the good stuff left in the packaging for the neck and even the rest of my body. But the mask itself? Definitely, a product best enjoyed while lying flat.
One thing I do suspect is that these celebrities might have been guilty of a bit of filtering magic when they posted about the mask. While the rose pink was very pretty on its own, I resembled a horror film extra who was shedding a layer of skin with it on. It looked nothing like the pretty, pale pink shield they sported.
I tried the mask on after a particularly rocky flight, where my skin felt so dry. I felt a tingling all over my jawline by the time I got through the passport check. I only had 15 minutes to pop it on in between checking into my hotel room and my appearance at a work dinner where someone across the table instantly commented on my glow.
Though I didn't have time to put any makeup on, my face looked brighter and more quenched, particularly on my forehead, where pigmentation is usually more noticeable when I am dehydrated. That sense of tingling dryness was immediately melted away by the combination of 24-karat gold, peptides, and rose damask extract — a trio of ingredients aimed to restore the moisture barrier and plump up the skin.
"The special sauce ... miracle mask."
Priyanka chopra jonas
The expensive, highly concentrated ingredients are one thing, but what I felt made them go even further was the fact that the mask was made with hydrogel. Unlike a traditional cotton sheet mask — where the essence quickly evaporates into the air — the jelly-like material of this mask slows down the evaporation process, giving my skin more time to take it all in. This means that the ingredients will penetrate deeper into the dermis since they don't have the option of disappearing into the air.
While this face mask, retailing at almost $180 for five pieces, certainly isn't cheap, the instant results really wowed me. I can definitely see why starlets rely on it for a quick pick-me-up before red-carpet appearances. I would highly recommend keeping a packet or two handy for when your skin is looking tired but an important appearance is imminent — a work presentation, a big party, or even your wedding day.