In typical Judith fashion, when my sister and I went to Taipei I went a bit bonkers buying skin care there. How could I pass up shopping in a country renowned for their sheet masks when everyone knows that I am a sheet mask junkie? I wrote in a post about Taiwanese beauty a few years back that I bought a few My Scheming masks and thought they were fantastic. Unfortunately they were next to impossible for me to find anywhere in Japan or on the internet. Thankfully with the popularity of My Beauty Diary masks, and then the introduction of Taiwanese sheet masks to beauty bloggers, Taiwanese skin care surged in popularity. It's now easier than ever to get My Scheming masks along with so many other brands. However, it's still a lot cheaper to go to the source and buy them, so sister and I made sure we paid for that check on bag on the way home.
I had been making notes on all of these masks as I used them, but due to a few really dumb phone issues I've lost just about all of them. I don't remember a lot of what my impressions of each mask have been since some I haven't used in a few months, but I'll jot down what I remember and try to update this post as I try more. I know, I know I've had these masks for 6 months and haven't used them all, but I get into weird hoard mode with masks I'm excited about. I'm going to include links of places where they can be bought at what I think are affordable prices, but I encourage you research prices on your own. I'm listing prices in USD unless otherwise stated.
On the first day, my sister and I went to Taipei 101 to check out the view and happened to stumble across two L'herboflore kiosks. They suck you in by giving you teeny baby sheet masks to put on your hands because, who can resist things in miniature? Those sales girls are good. My sister and I would have been suckered into buying their entire skin care line that night except that we hadn't changed over much money yet. We ended up buying the Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Energy Bio-Cellulose Facial Mask for around $7 because the before and after photos she showed us were crazy and we also got a free mask from their Jet-Setter line. Later I went back to buy some of their sheet masks and they had a promotion that if you bought 30 masks from their cheapest lines you got them for something like $1.50 a mask. I think normally they were a little over $2 a piece. I picked up a Pearl & Ginseng mask from their Oriental Herb line for around $3. When I was researching prices, I started getting a little mad about the prices of these masks. There are some businesses online that are really jacking up the costs of these masks, especially the Hyaluronic Acid one. I personally would not buy that one again. It didn't do much better than the cheaper L'herboflore masks and it was 3x the price. I didn't get a lot of wow factor from the Pearl & Ginseng either. I do like this brand though. Sometimes the scents are bit too strong/floral, but the material is thin, the fit is great on my face, and there is sooo much leftover essence. On average, I can get at least an hour out of these masks and they still won't be dried out. Actually I think all the masks I got in Taiwan have enough leftover essence that I can use dry sheet masks from Daiso to get a second mask from them. If you're interested in trying out more of their masks, this was the best price I found on Ebay for their Garden of Venus line.
On the last day of our trip, we headed out to Ximending to cram in as much shopping as possible. I followed this blog post for most of the store recommendations in the area. We found a ton of Lovemore and My Scheming masks in Cosmed. They were offering a buy one get one free promotion on sheet masks that evening, but I can't remember if it was on all their brands or just these two. I don't quite remember how much I paid, but I searched the website and Lovemore is listed as $299 Taiwanese dollars for 5 masks in a box which breaks down to about $1.90 a box with the current exchange rate. I got these masks for about 80 cents a piece. If you buy 6 at this store, each mask breaks down to be about $1.87. This Ebay shop also seems to offer one of the better prices on the Internet for this brand. It's just about two dollars more per box than the current price in Taiwan. My sister and I split 4 boxes between us. We got the Pearl Barley and Milk, Wine Yeast, Loofah and Aloe Vera, and Rose Hybrida. I haven't used these a lot yet, so I can't remember any of my initial impressions of them. I'll need to pull a few out to refresh my memory.
The Volcanic Essence Mask by Lovemore on the left I purchased as a single at the 86 store in Ximending. I don't remember how much I paid for it, but you can find it here for about 2 bucks for one. I reaaaallllly liked this mask. The fabric was this thick black cottony material that fit my face like a glove. The essence was nice and thick and my face looked great afterwards. I had this mask on for something like 2 hours and it was still wet. I also might be mistaken, but I think this mask said made in Korea, while the rest of the brand definitely says made in Taiwan. As far as that 86 store goes, I really liked it. They had a lot of interesting masks sold as singles and some Korean brands that are difficult for me to get in Japan. I would have bought more there, but I was worried about my luggage weight. I bought the Lovemore Oriental herbal masks as singles at Paris Strawberry. I have not tried these yet. I keep waiting for some special occasion to use them. It's a small miracle I found Paris Strawberry. In that blog post I linked to earlier, the girl mentions it is by the tattoo shops. She is not lying. It's upstairs right next to a bunch of slightly sketchy looking places to get a tattoo. Overall this is a decent store and they had a good selection of masks sold as singles. I just thought they seemed more expensive than some of the other stores we shopped at.
I picked up these Annie's Way Secret Garden Edelwiess Iris Witch's Timeless Secret. You can buy them at YESSTYLE for $18.90 for 5 which makes one $3.78 a mask. I paid around 79 Taiwanese Dollars which is like 2.50 USD right now. I looked at a few different shops, but I think Paris Strawberry might be one of the only places to find Annie's Way products. I was pretty disappointed in this mask. The material is a thick black cotton type mask and the fit was fine, but I was underwhelmed. It was a little on the expensive side, but didn't leave me with any lasting impression.
This brand was new to me when I went shopping. Actually I didn't know the name until I just googled "Hey....taiwan sheet mask brand". Hey! PingkoGirl is a newer Taiwanese beauty brand. I love their naughty kid packaging. I noticed these because of the illustrations, but bought them because I though "oh squishy!" when I squeezed the package in my hand (don't ask me why I was squeezing masks). I've only tried the Triple HA Seaweed Collagen Moisturizing Facial mask so far, but I remember thinking I'd buy it again. I do remember that this mask had the most leftover essence in the package out of any of the brands I bought. Ebay sells the Seaweed one and the Papaya Brightening for $17.09 for a package of 10. I don't recall what I paid for it, but I think these masks are worth purchasing especially for that price.
There are some brands your skin just responds to and for me My Scheming is that brand. My skin loves these masks. I got these as part of the buy one get one free promotion at Cosmed and these came out to be dirt cheap. I think they came out to like $.60 a piece since a box comes with 8 pieces. The Job's Tears Brightening Black mask smells odd to me, but I prefer it over strong florals. The material is thick and black and fits my face well. The essence is so thick I need to pat my skin for a while to get it to soak in, but the results are worth it. It's being sold for $13.90 for 8 at this store which makes me a little annoyed at the mark-up, but this was one of the cheaper prices I found. The 7-in-1 Brightening Essence Silk mask has a thinner white silk material that clings well to my wide face. It's being sold for $17.09 for a box of 10 here. Both are literally dripping with essence.
The Milk Extract and Brightening mask by My Scheming is what started my love affair with the whole brand. I bought one in Taiwan during our first trip and I was like "woah" when I saw my face after I pulled off the mask. Clearer and brighter. I hunted all over Ximending for this variation and finally found them as singles at the 86 store. I don't know if they're rare or that popular, but they were not as easy to find. I think I paid around $1 for each of them and I bought all of the ones I could find in the shop. When I need more, I'll buy them from this store. I bought that Gudetama on a whim at Strawberry Paris. I still haven't used it because it's too cute and I can't handle it.
So this was the most expensive thing I bought on the entire trip. Annie's Way Jelly Mask Collection has some crazy good reviews online and I bought into the hype. If you watch their promotional videos, you're led to believe that it basically gets rid of sunburns within an hour. On their website, the Aloe Anti-Acne Moisturizing Jelly Mask is listed as $350 Taiwanese Dollars which is around $12. I got about 6 uses out of it and for $2 a use, I'd maybe buy it again. You need to use a ton of product each application and it's extremely difficult to scrape off which made my skin red and irritated. It left my sink sticky after rinsing it off. I did notice some brightening (which may have been from scraping off that first layer off skin) and one day I felt like it soothed a bad breakout on my neck. It's not the miracle product proclaimed by some and I never saw a reduction in blackheads or pore size. I tested their sunburn claims after the beach one day and nothing happened at all. If you're in Taiwan and want to pick it up go for it. But for the prices I'm seeing online, I wouldn't recommend that anyone try it. The cheapest I saw it on Ebay was $22 dollars and it's not worth it, especially for how few uses you get out of it. If you want a cheap mask to help with break outs, try the Mint Julep mask by Queen Helene. If you do decide you can't live without trying a Jelly Mask, make sure you buy one with a seal. There are counterfeit products on the internet and only the jars sold with seals are actually Annie's Way products.
Except for the Jelly Mask, #noregrets about these purchases. I do wish I had picked up a few more of the lesser known brands, but I only had so much luggage space. I also wish I had picked up some Naruko because I've seen a few reviews of their products recently and they look promising. I also hunted up and down Ximending to find Maskingdom's store, but it wasn't meant to be. It's probably for the best because they seemed to be the most expensive out of all the brands I was interested in.
Have you tried any of these masks? What are your Holy Grail sheet masks? Let me know if the comments below!