With the beauty world's eyes trained on South Korea and every high-tech new innovation coming from there, the sheet mask might feel like yesterday's news. For many of us, these full-face masks have replaced our usual clays, creams, and gels as our de facto treatments of choice — they no longer seem surreal at this point, but rather commonplace. And yet, last weekend I found myself standing in my bathroom, sheet mask in hand and mouth agape. The mystifying product in question? Whamisa's Organic Sea Kelp, an algae sheet mask. No, not infused with algae — made out of algae. Dark green and slightly fishy-smelling, the mask's material is 100% sea kelp and is infused with an essence that features a laundry list of active ingredients, from aloe and wild-yam extract to niacinamide. Most notably, it's entirely water-free, a big trend we're seeing with Korean beauty as of late. Why is that important? It means there are no fillers — every ingredient has a purpose and does something beneficial for the skin. The idea behind the mask being made out of algae — instead of the OG cotton or bio-cellulose — is that in addition to pushing and holding the ingredients into the top layer of the skin, algae is vitamin- and mineral-rich, so it nourishes as it hydrates. I opened the package, reached inside, and almost immediately proceeded to drop the mask on my bathroom counter. Slippery little suckers. It's divided into two parts, one for the top half of the face and one for the bottom. Being extremely sensitive to any and all smells of the aquatic variety, I smoothed it on my face and then spent the next 15 minutes taking very shallow breaths. My skin immediately started to tingle, especially around the more sensitive spots like my chin and the corners of my nose. Those active ingredients were not messing around. Thankfully, that only lasted for the first few minutes. While it feels hella slippery, it actually adheres and bonds to the skin a lot better than most paper and cotton masks. Still, I made sure to lay down for the full treatment session. After my 15 minutes was up, I removed the two halves and then worked the remaining essence into my skin, pressing it lightly on my face and neck. I noticed immediately how soft and clear my skin looked — my pores weren't as apparent as usual, and my complexion looked even-toned and hydrated. However, I wasn't thrilled with how sticky my skin felt afterward — the residue definitely sits on the skin. If that annoys you as much as it did me, I highly recommend doing this at night, which will allow the ingredients to penetrate and go to work while you sleep. You can wash it off when you wake up. A testament to this mask's powers? It's currently sold out on Glow Recipe. I highly recommend getting yourself on the waiting list for this one — in addition to making your skin look awesome, it makes for a great story. "Yeah, I was just sitting on my couch yesterday with some algae on my face..." Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Facial Sheet Mask, $14, available at Glow Recipe.
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