Hydrogel masks are essentially amped up paper sheet masks that are becoming more and more common across top Asian beauty brands. Hydrogel masks have a thicker mask material that feels like jelly going on and can be considered a premium skincare addition given that they are priced at about $5 whereas regular paper masks usually cost $1-$2 a piece. I tested out the Nature Republic The First Fermentation Hydrogel Mask and The Face Shop's Vita B Hydrogel Mask Sheet to see if they lived up to the hype.
Both of these masks come in a two piece set up which I personally like because it helps the mask fit better. Pictured above is The Face Shop's version and the one I am wearing in the first picture is Nature Republic. You can't really see the difference in fit but I personally liked the fit of Nature Republic's mask slightly more. The Face Shop's mask had really big holes for the eyes so my under eye area was not covered.
The mask is actually not a true gel but some kind of plastic covered in a thick gel like product which is not the essence. Above is how the mask looks after it's been dried and you can see the network of weaved plastic strands. There doesn't seem to be a front or back for the mask because both sides are initially jelly like when you remove them from the packaging.
The First is Nature Republic's dupe for the famed SKII line as it contains fermented yeast. I was very excited to try out this mask because I love the IOPE Bio Essence which is another dupe for the SKII Facial Treatment Essence. The packaging has a clean, modern aesthetic and the foil packet has a matte finish. The claims are simple and merely state that the mask has a whitening and moisturizing effect.
The mask has a faint scent that is a bit stronger than The Face Shop's but I find both quite pleasant. This mask was more jelly like compared to the other and had way more essence. Even after 30 minutes of masking, the sheet was still damp! I also had excess serum in the packet that I could slather on my face after I was done with the gel mask. The serum of this mask leaves a very sticky feeling on the skin which was a bit annoying. I would suggest using the mask and saving the excess serum for another application the following evening. My skin looked brighter and more even after using this mask and I was pleased with the result. There was a noticeable difference in the tone of my skin and think this would be a nice weekly perk to refresh dull skin.
As for the Vita B Hydrogel Mask from The Face Shop, I was less impressed. Even though both sheet masks contain 25 grams of serum, I found this mask was a lot more dry and the hydrogel material held less serum. There also seemed to be less serum leftover in the packet after I finished using the mask. This mask is meant to hydrate the skin but within 15 minutes the mask already seemed dry. I felt like there was no essence on my skin after I applied the mask and it did not have any effect.
Between the two, the Nature Republic The First Fermentation Hydrogel Mask definitely beats The Face Shop's Vita B Hydrogel Mask. I simply could not see any difference in my skin after using the Vita B mask and both masks are the same price at $5. While my skin looked brighter after the Nature Republic mask and the gel texture is quite interesting, I'm not sure these masks are worth the price. I get great results from Silk Whitia and Leaders Insolution which are only about $2 a piece.
Have you used gel texture sheet masks before? What do you think of them?