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Trib tested: Sulwhasoo Skin Clarifying Mask

| Monday, April 18, 2011

Even before opening the Sulwhasoo Skin Clarifying Mask, the distinctive and pleasant aroma of tea and honey fill the air. It's the sort of calming scent that makes me think of hot baths with fluffy, white towels waiting to greet you. Peel-off masks are great for the face because they help remove dead skin cells -- and those ugly, difficult to irradicate blackheads -- leaving your skin brighter and softer. Who doesn't want that!?

The mask is a deep-tea color, and some of the natural ingredients, such as the antibacterial Small Solomonseal Powder, were visible when I applied a layer to my T-zone and chin -- skipping my cheeks as they're not the guilty party when it comes to oily skin.

The mask was completely dry within 30 minutes and peeled off entirely in one swipe -- no little bits left behind -- love that! My skin felt smooth and tingly after the first use, and I noticed fewer blackheads. With continued use, I've also noticed less oil on my face at the end of my day.

The price tag might be a little steep for some, but the amount of product used versus the effectiveness makes Sulwahsoo completely worth it.

-- Caroline Hirt

As someone who's convinced that 90 percent of the skin-care industry is a racket, I have to concede that this stuff seems to work. One application left my skin feeling clean and tight, but not dry. My pores even seemed to be smaller, and I like the concept of a facial peel that lifts the accumulated grime from your skin the way that scrubbing cannot.

Some folks might have to get past the ick factor, since the brownish jelly that comes out of the tube seems more suited to sealing an elbow or coupling under your bathroom sink. Don't let that put you off. Smear the stuff liberally on your face until you build up a varnish-like coating, then go make coffee, start a load of laundry or program your DVR.

Peeling the stuff off could seem tricky at first, and it's hard not to get it in your eyebrows and hairline. A wet washcloth removes any excess, though. It's a bit messy to clean up the peelings, but it's no worse than shaving. Perhaps the manufacturers could market this stuff to the male demographic by putting it in a green plastic bottle and labeling it 10W-40.

-- William Loeffler

My first attempt with the Sulwhasoo's Skin Clarifying Mask wasn't pretty. The product is thick, sticky and gooey -- the consistency of honey with thickeners added. I went a little overboard and -- despite directions to the contrary -- got a little too close to my under-eye area, somehow smeared the goo into an eyebrow and a bit into my hairline.

I thought I'd go full treatment and tried the mask on my neck as well. Not a good idea. An at-home spa treatment usually means multi-tasking -- folding laundry, making the bed, packing lunch -- while waiting for the 30-minute dry time. With neck bending, the goop didn't dry properly and, naturally, didn't peel properly either. Pulling strips of mask from my face -- much like a "Tales From the Crypt" character -- I eventually resorted to a warm wash cloth to remove the remaining product.

On my second try, I was more cautious and used the mask on my nose and cheeks in an even spread. I double checked the time, and 30 minutes later, peeled it off in three pieces. Much better.

Either way, the stuff worked its magic, shrinking pores and leaving a soft, smooth surface.

-- Sally Quinn

Additional Information:

Sulwhasoo's Skin Clarifying Mask

The claim : Formulated with a powerful blend of traditional Korean herbs hand-picked for their brightening and refining benefits, the gentle, yet effective, peel-off mask detoxifies and exfoliates to reveal a smoother, clearer, more luminous complexion. The honey-textured treatment is formulated with Solomon's Seal Powder to absorb impurities and Japanese Honeysuckle to hydrate, smooth and brighten. The potent blend of Korean medicinal herbs removes build-up and dead skin cells to uncover balanced, clear skin for spring. The mask not only exfoliates, refines and nourishes, but also optimizes product penetration, maximizing the benefits of your complete regimen.

Cost : $39

Where : Here

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