In my previous post, I talked about the benefits of exfoliating and reviewed the TonyMoly chemical peeling gel. This time I want to talk about a physical exfoliator.
Anyone who forays into Asian/Korean skincare will probably know of, or has tried the Skinfood Black Sugar Mask. It has basically achieved cult beauty status and is Skinfood’s bestseller and the one product they are well known for.
I really like the concept and philosophy of Skinfood in general as they believe ‘you are what you eat’ and therefore the key to achieving healthy skin lies in food. Their unique brand identity extends to all their beauty and skincare products which contain different types of food ingredients. This includes the likes of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, peach etc that are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to nourish, protect and care for the skin. You can check out their global site for more info.
I’ve only ever heard good things about the Black Sugar Mask, so during my trip to Seoul last month I picked it up in Myeongdong. I was so sure it would be a great product that I picked up a couple tubs of it!
This Black Sugar Mask comes in a sturdy plastic jar with a twist off lid and contains 100g of product. I think the original retail price was about 7,700 won but since I purchased over 50,000 won, I received a discount on all the items so bought this for 6,160 won/GBP£3.50/USD$5.30.
It has a very simple, plain design and even looks quite cheap but don’t be put off because I don’t think it needs to be fancier since the product is amazing and speaks for itself. Not to mention the simple packaging helps to keep costs and therefore price, low. The only slight downside is the top label on the lid is just unprotected paper which can turn into a soggy mess when using in the bathroom and coming into contact with water.
I like that upon removing the lid it has another seal covering the product and I like to keep it rather than throwing it away just so it keeps the product fresher and more hygienic for longer. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with a spatula so can be awkward digging out the dense product. I have a couple spatulas from other skincare products, so I just wash it and use it to dig this out whenever I want to apply it. That way its not getting infested with hand bacteria.
What it does:
So this product claims to have mineral-enriched Brazilian black sugar to promote smooth, glowing skin.
It basically works like a scrub does, except that Skinfood choose to call it a wash off mask. It physically exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells while moisturizing and smoothing the skin.
In terms of ingredients, black sugar (sucrose) is obviously the standout ingredient and is known to be an excellent physical exfoliator. It isn’t as harsh as some other physical exfoliants but has enough grit to remove dead skin and melts quickly when it comes in contact with water.
It also contains shea butter which is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidants and fatty acids needed for moisturizing.
As the instructions on the side of the jar says, I apply this after cleansing. You want to make sure you’ve got all the makeup and dirt off your face before you apply this so its as close to the skin as possible to have an effect. I scoop out an appropriate amount (enough for a thin layer over the face) and then run it under water for a second. The good thing about this face mask is that it can be as abrasive or as gentle as you want it to be. There are a lot of sugar granules in this so I don’t like to put this straight on my dry clean face as it tends to stick and doesn’t spread as easily. So I add water, spread it on my fingertips and rub together to warm and loosen up the sugar. Then spread it on my face and massage all over for about 1 min, making sure to avoid the delicate eye and lip area. As I’m massaging in, I add more water depending on how harsh I want it to ‘scrub’ my face. I leave it on for 15 minutes and then wash off.
In the pot it does kind of look like brown poo. xD But it has the most wonderful lemon smell that I could just sniff all day. Once applied on face, it is actually more of an orangey colour and makes me look like I have a dirty tanned face haha.
I really enjoy using this Black Sugar Mask. After I wash off and pat try, my face is sooo smooth! Like a baby’s bottom. I like to use this once a week and is great for my oily skin. My nose pores look less visible after use and my face feels fresher and brighter. Like all the gunk and dead skin have been swept away.
It has a wonderful smell and isn’t uncomfortable during the 15 mins I have it on. It doesn’t dry up like a clay mask would and stays pretty much the same as when your first apply it. Washing off is simple as the black sugar instantly melts and lathers up softly and the sugar comes off the skin easily. Once removed, my face still feels hydrated and moisturized and no dry or tight feeling in the skin. Just smooth and firm. Since it is an exfoliator I do make sure I complete the rest of my skincare after and use an especially moisturizing cream because I want to protect my new layer of skin once the dead skin has been removed.
I think this is certainly a great product for any skin type but recommend that people with sensitive or dry skin not overuse it because the sugar granules can be quite abrasive on the skin if not mixed enough with water. Over-exfoliating can cause the skin to dry out even more as well as irritate and make it more prone to break outs. Once a week should be more than enough but if you feel your skin gets clogged up quicker than I suggest using a chemical exfoliator mid-week as they are not as harsh.
Skinfood also have two other flavours in their Sugar Mask lineup. The Strawberry Black Sugar Mask Wash Off and the Black Sugar Honey Mask Wash Off. I have heard the strawberry version is really delicious smelling and also a more gentler version of this original Black Sugar Mask so when I’ve run out of this, I will definitely be getting the strawberry to try out.