Sheet Mask Discovery: The Best of Steambase Sheet Masks
As a four-year sheet masking veteran, Jude Chao is one extremely picky masker. So we took a risk sending her some Steambase sheet masks to review. What did she think? Read on.
After over four years of near-daily sheet mask use, I have grown extremely picky about sheet masks. I know what I like. I know what I hate. And when offered masks from an unfamiliar brand, I feel more reluctance than excitement, because the chances of me hating them are much higher than the chances of me liking them.
Is the mask material too thick, too stiff, too papery, or too textured? HATE. Is the essence so thin it drips right off the mask and down my shirt? HATE. Is there so little essence that the mask doesn’t feel fully moist and dries out after 10 minutes? HATE. Is it too perfumey? HATE. Does it rely on some stupid gimmick to be different? HATE. Is it from a brand I already don’t like? PREDISPOSED TO HATE. You get the idea.
Honestly, I’m always mildly surprised that anyone offers me any sheet masks to try anymore. It’s not that I loudly drag everything I don’t like. It’s more that if I don’t like something yet don’t hate it enough to drag it wittily, I just prefer to give it no publicity unless someone asks me about it directly. Life is too short to write 500 words for every mediocre product that’s crossed my path.
Every once in a while, however, someone (like the amazing Anna at Beautytap editorial) sends me a mask that I do end up liking. That is always a good day for all of us.
Steambase Ginsengberry Premium Lifting Mask Review
The Steambase Ginsengberry mask is especially revelatory to me because I went into this expecting to hate it. These masks rely on the gimmick of mixing the essence yourself, a concept similar to the faddish injection masks that I have hated since the first time I laid eyes on them. It’s simply too much work. Except in very rare cases where certain ingredients will rapidly lose effectiveness after being combined, there is no need to keep them separate.
Looking at the ingredients for the two parts of the mask essence, I’m not seeing anything that would fit that criteria. I could be wrong, but all the ingredients are common, familiar, and perform just fine when combined at the point of manufacture.
Steambase Ginsengberry Premium Lifting Mask ingredients: [Layer 1] Onsen-Sui (thermal spring water), Butylene Glycol, Water, Triethyl Citrate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Polyglycerin-3, Ammonium Acryloyl dimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, PCA, Malt Extract, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin,Sodium Hyaluronate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, HydroxypropyltrimoniumHyaluronate, Panax Ginseng Berry Extract(1000ppm), Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Fragrance
[Layer 2] Onsen-Sui, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Isopentyldiol, Betaine, Glycerin, Carbomer, Arginine,Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Panthenol, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Hyaluronate,Fragrance, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, HydroxypropyltrimoniumHyaluronate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate
Steambase packages these two “layers” of essence separately. One layer resides in the main compartment of the plastic pouch, already saturating the sheet mask. The other layer is housed in a smaller secondary compartment, sealed off from the main section. In order to mix them, you’re supposed to sort of roll up the mask pouch and then squeeze at the secondary compartment until you pop it through the sealed strip. Then you have to massage it around to mix the two substances and distribute it on the mask.
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Like I said: TOO MUCH WORK.
I couldn’t get the secondary essence to pop over, so I gave up after a sweaty 10-minute struggle and devised an easier method of attack. I just carefully pulled the sealed strip apart a bit, the way you’d open a bag of chips. Then I pushed the amber-colored secondary essence into the first compartment and mashed it around for a few minutes, all while chanting to myself, TOO MUCH WORK! TOO MUCH WORK!! TOO! MUCH!! WORK!!!
As you can imagine, I was thoroughly annoyed and very predisposed to hate this mask by the time I’d prepared it for application. Finally I opened up the main pouch, took out the mask, put it on my face, and …
All my irritation melted away.
Apart from the labor-intensive presentation, the Steambase Ginsengberry Premium Lifting Mask is exactly the kind of sheet mask I like best. Extremely thin and pliable, the sheet adheres perfectly to the contours of my face. No bunching up or moving around, just a second skin fit. The mask is a bit large and long for my face, but some folding at the edges fixes those issues. And it carries a generous amount of essence, which is just thick enough to stay on the mask and on my skin, but not so thick that it fails to absorb.
Also, it smells lovely. Ginseng scents can be hard to get right. They can smell overwhelmingly like dirt or too much like ginseng perfume. The noticeable but not overwhelming ginseng scent of these masks smells like an idealized version of the real thing. I love ginseng, so marinating my face in this sparks much joy.
I wore this mask comfortably for about 45 minutes, my ideal masking time. When it came time to remove it, I crossed my fingers and hoped for good results. And I got them. The generous hydration this mask imparts leaves my skin plumped up to full capacity, glowing with hydration, and visibly firmed. The mask essence has a nice anti-inflammatory effect as well, delivering redness reduction that results in brighter and more even skin tone. These effects put it in the category of “special event” masks for me.
My final complaint about these masks is the pricing, however. Since I mask very frequently, I look for masks that are relatively economical for frequent use. I find the Steambase masks a little out of that range. But in honor of this review, the Beautytap Korea team is offering a discount on these masks. It’s a good time to grab some and experience them for yourself!
Second place: Steambase Manuka Honey Propolis Perfect Shield Mask
While I have you, I also want to briefly mention how much I like the Manuka Honey Propolis Perfect Shield biocellulose masks from the same brand. There’s no unnecessary popping or mixing with these masks, which come with the essence already combined and evenly distributed on the mask.
Unlike the Ginsengberry Premium Lifting masks, the Manuka Honey Propolis Perfect Shield masks are biocellulose. As I mentioned in my review of the Mediheal x BTS Bio Capsulin Love Me masks, biocellulose masks are my least favorite type of sheet mask. Steambase’s version won me over, though.
These are very thin biocellulose, packaged between two mesh backings for easier application. Take one of the backings off and apply the mask to your face with the other backing still attached to help it hold its shape. After the mask is on, peel off the second backing and adjust the fit.
The material for these masks allows for a true second skin fit. The essence, while heavier than the Ginsengberry variety, is still thinner than the essence found in many biocellulose masks — not syrupy at all. It has a light and pleasant honey scent. And after about 45 minutes of use, the biocellulose peels off to reveal intensely smooth and moisturized skin with that “glass skin” finish that K-beauty is famous for. I felt so moisturized after using this mask that I skipped my usual cream in favor of a very light final step moisturizer.
I still can’t see myself using biocellulose masks as often as regular sheet masks, but this is one that I highly enjoyed and would use again, especially on a very dry day.
I’m always happy when I try something new and end up liking it. The Steambase masks won’t be in heavy rotation for me due to their cost, but as far as experience and results go, I like them a lot and plan to keep a few of each around for special occasions.
Have you tried any Steambase sheet masks, or anything else new that turned out to be a pleasant surprise? Let us know in the comments!