The Masks That Really Aren't Masks At All

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Blithe Masks
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Masks are an interesting product category. Partially for function, but mostly for form. Because, at this point, can't everything be a mask? Apply your Crème de la Mer thick—it's a mask! Conversely, pat on something like the Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask or Sisley Express Flower Gel Mask and let it soak in like a moisturizer and forget about it.

I've gotten used to this, as I'm sure you have too. What I'm less used to: Patting Water Packs. More descriptively, we can call them Splash Masks, which is what the girls at Glow Recipe do. Founders Sarah and Christine stopped by a couple weeks ago with a menagerie of Korean goodies—but the masks stood out (which is saying a lot because Korean products all tend to yell their messages at you before you even get them out of the bag). Mostly because they're not really masks. They look like toners, smell like fruit juice, and take about 15 seconds to “completely retexturize your skin.” Korean pop stars swear by it. Worth a try, obviously.

So here's the run-down: Bring one of these bottles into the shower with you (the Soothing & Healing Green Tea variety gets top marks; followed by Yellow Citrus & Honey. Rejuvenating Purple Berry smelled too much like grape juice to me, but suit yourself). Clean your body, face, hair, what have you. Fill half of the cap with some formula—more than that and it'll just spill. Then pat. All over your face for five to 10 seconds. Then do the same thing with your shower water. That's it! You're done. No sticky residue to deal with, no excess packaging. Just hyper-plump skin.

The “mask' is super potent, hence the patting down with water. I've come to think of it as a replacement for my essences that I'm too lazy to use—though I'm sure die-hard Korean skincare enthusiasts would disagree with that routine. I've also heard of the pretty genius hack of adding several capfuls of your chosen flavor to a bath. As good a reason as any to start scrubbing out your tub, I'd say.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Essence is still some good stuff, though— read more about that here.