Part III – Sheet Mask Review: Soyedodam Organic Ginseng Hydrogel Mask

Happy Sunday! Sunday’s are my favorite day of the week for recharging before the  busy week ahead. I usually have a mini #sundayspaday and this Sunday is no exception. I’ve been testing out the Soyedodam Organic Ginseng Hydrogel Sheet Mask and I’m super excited about sharing the results.

My trusty source for curated natural Korean beauty products, Glow Recipe, recently introduced this ginseng mask. Soyedodam (what a tongue twister of a name) and Whamisa are owned by the same parent company. Since I had such positive results with both the Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Mask and the Whamisa Organic Seed & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask, I succumbed.

Soyedodam Organic Ginseng Hydrogel Mask

Soyedodam Organic Ginseng Hydrogel Mask

According to Glow Recipe:

This next-generation hydrogel sheet mask is not only soaked in a full bottle of serum but the actual hydrogel sheet itself is made with skin beneficial natural ingredients. Formulated with 6 year old Korean Red Ginseng, which is packed with antioxidant to revitalize skin for instant and long-lasting radiance. Aloe extract helps to hydrate and calm skin, while Manuka Honey is rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins that leave skin soft and deeply conditioned.

Mask Construction: This is a 2 piece hydrogel mask similar to the Whamisa Organic Seed & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask and they weren’t kidding about the “bottle of serum” in the description above. The serum texture is more jelly-like than watery. Because it isn’t drippy, the mask actually stays on even when I’m standing up. (Who am I kidding? I’m usually sprawled on the couch during my masking sessions 😉 )

Price: Hydrogel masks are typically pricier and this is no exception. It costs $9 for a single use mask and $40 for a set of 5 on Glow Recipe.

Ingredient List: The clean ingredient lists for Soyedodam and Whamisa are the reason I keep coming back for more. This particular mask features red ginseng, aloe, and manuka honey, but it also contains other skin calming, hyperpigmentation fighting ingredients such as green tea extract, licorice extract, and arbutin.

Purified water, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Organic cucumber extract, Organic green tea extract, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf extract, Carob bean gum, Xanthan gum, Baikal Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi) extracts, Peony root extract, Licorice extract, Arbutin (2% as essence), Organic apple extract, Organic tomato fruit/ leaf/ stem extracts, Organic citron extract, Honey (Manuka Honey) extract, Red ginseng extract, Adenosine (0.04% as essence), Bergamot fruit oil, Rosewood oil, Western Australian Sandalwood oil, Lavender oil

Scent: There is a slight medicinal scent which I’m guessing is coming from the ginseng, but it doesn’t bother me. It’s nothing like the eau-de-seaweed scent from the Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Mask so I’m a happy camper.

Results: I typically use this before bedtime as part of my Korean version of a triple threat facial.

  1. Step 1 – Exfoliating: SkinFood Black Sugar Mask
  2. Step 2 – Detoxing: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
  3. Step 3 – Hydrating: Soyedodam Organic Ginseng Hydrogel Sheet Mask

When I wake up in the morning, my face is visibly plump and hydrated. This mask reduces redness and hyperpigmentation and my skin appears clearer and less ruddy the next day. I also apply less face oil the following day because my face is sufficiently hydrated. An added bonus is that this mask doesn’t leave a sticky residue.

Step 1: Skin Food Black Sugar Mask Step 2: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask Step 3: Soyedodam Organic Ginseng Hydrogel Mask

Korean triple threat facial


The Soyedodam Organic Ginseng Hydrogel Sheet Mask and the other Whamisa masks have become skincare staples in my routine. They are on the pricier side, but well worth the treat.


Glow Recipe is offering a $5 off your first purchase through the link below. I purchased all the masks above myself and these reviews are an honest reflection of my experience with the products!

April Empties: An Obsession with Face Oils

April was a great month for empties. I am in love with face oils and I’m always lemming for more. However, they take so long to finish so imagine my glee when I finished four in the same month! Of course, I have the sig-o to thank for it because he kept sneaking in the YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM at night.

April Empties - Verso, Yuli, Odacite, Pollen & Wax and Kahina

April Empties

From Left to Right:

Verso Night Cream

Verso Night Cream

Verso Night Cream

I’d previously reviewed this night cream here. Reviewed Raved more like it! My sensitive skin has never been able to handle retinol, but there’s something about this Verso formulation that works on my skin. Perhaps its the type of Vitamin A derivative – retinol retinoate which Verso claims to be 8 times more effective than retinol, yet gentle. This night cream also includes niacinamide which helps fight hyperpigmentation. I found their claims about the night cream being able to reduce pigment spots, decrease fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity to be true!

Repurchase: YES!

Face Oil #1: YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM Corrective Serum

YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM

YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM

YÜLI has been a beauty closet staple for me. The Liquid Courage serum is my day time hero, and the Cell Perfecto PM is my night time multi-tasker. All YÜLI products come with no added fragrance or essential oils so for those who like their serums flowery, this may not work for your nose. Nevertheless, this is powerful stuff. I’ve found YÜLI Cell Perfecto PM to be most effective on acne scars and less so on hyper pigmentation which is my primary concern. Nevertheless, my sig-o who sneaks in a couple drops every night from my stash has seen visible results on even his old acne scars. I highly recommend reading Jade’s blog post at on how Cell Perfecto PM has helped tremendously with her acne scars.

Repurchase: Yes, but I’d like to finish up some of my night oils first like the Odacite Pa + G and Odacite Spring in Tokyo.

Face Oil #2: Odacité Marula + Neroli Serum Concentrate

This serum concentrate is part of their Pure Elements Collection with 18 ultra-targeted serums that work on different skin concerns. The serums are categorized as follows: Age-Defying, Hydration, Firmness, Sensitive, Devitalized, & Oily Combo

Odacité Serum Concentrates

Odacité Serum Concentrates

The Odacité Ma + N serum which is found under the Hydration column can either be used on its own day and night or as a booster. I used it as a booster where I added 1 – 2 drops to my facial oil or moisturizer. Used this way, this little 0.17oz/5ml bottle lasted me 2 months. The primary ingredient is Marula oil which is extracted from the marula tree. It contains high levels of antioxidants and essential fatty acids that help deeply hydrate the skin. Ma + N also includes Neroli essential oil which I am obsessed with! I looked forward to my nightly ritual because of the relaxing scent. I found my skin more hydrated although I can’t say much for any other long term effects.

Repurchase: Not right now… I am going through a rather spotty skin phase and I’ve been eyeing the Odacite Bl + C – Black Cumin – Cajeput serum concentrate. Other bloggers have raved about its efficacy for acne.

Face Oil #3: Pollen & Wax Sinatra Blue Luxe Oil Serum

Picasso Blue by Pollen & Wax

Picasso Blue by Pollen & Wax

Pollen & Wax is one of those small companies that you want to announce to all your friends so they can share the awesomeness too. I first discovered them on Etsy, but they can now be found at I’ve previously reviewed the Orion facial tonic which is an amazing toner. The Sinatra Blue face serum was reformulated/renamed to Picasso Blue Luxe Oil Serum, but the ingredients are very similar. It is a very light oil blend which works well for oily and blemish-prone skin.

Black cumin, kiwi and chia seed oils pack a supercharged punch of tocopherol; vitamin E; tamanu, sea buckthorn and maracuja oils soothe and calm angry redness.  Manuka, myrtle and cajeput battle blemish-causing bacteria; turmeric and azulene rich yarrow, tansy and chamomile snuff out inflammation.

I don’t think I can do any better than their beautiful description of the ingredients that make up this kick-ass oil. As mentioned above, my skin has been acting up lately, but this oil has done a great job controlling the oiliness and fussiness of my skin. The best part is that they sell smaller sizes of their serums so newbies to the brand get to sample. The serums come in teeny 3.7ml, 7.4 ml or standard 30ml/1oz bottles.

Repurchase: Yes, yes, yes!

Body Oil #1: Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum

Kahina Giving Beauty is my go-to brand for argan oil. I have repurchased their basic Kahina Argan Oil (100% organic argan oil) many times and I use this staple on my skin and hair. I got the Fez Body Serum in a Net-A-Porter beauty box and fell in love with the scent. It’s earthy and warm and contains a nourishing blend of argan, sunflower, coconut, watermelon seed oil together with hints of neroli, citrus, sandalwood, cumin, and ylang ylang.

Repurchase: No. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the scent, I’m more of a facial oil for the face and cream moisturizer for the body kinda gal. I also have my HG body moisturizer that I cannot part with! I will share this in a future post…

Till next time!



Visiting Vancouver, BC – Green beauty, sightseeing, and food

I hope everyone had a pleasant Easter/Passover weekend! I wanted to share a little bit about my travels this Spring. When I travel, I love to explore the city, eat good food, and mostly importantly, shop and make new green beauty discoveries!

Vancouver, BC sounded like my kinda city when I read this inscription on a hand drawn map by Adela Kang:

This is a city for athletes, epicureans, artists, party hoppers, lovers, hockey fans, pets, campers, naturalists, travelers, sea lovers…

Meet Raincouver Vancouver, BC. Although it was the rainy season, we got lucky and it only rained once during the trip. Here are the highlights:

1) Nature – Stanley Park.

The cherry blossoms were in bloom and the park looked like a fairytale.

Stanley Park Cherry Blossoms

The horse and carriage are optional!

Stanley Park Cherry Blossoms

I’ve always wanted to visit Japan during the cherry blossom season also known as the ‘Sakura’ season. My wish came true during this visit! The flowers were in full bloom and the park wasn’t packed with tourists jostling for pictures.

We meandered along the waterfront and chanced upon this lovely view …

Stanley Park Waterfront

2) Shopping – Green Beauty

For green beauty lovers, Vancouver is also known as the birthplace of Ilia and Lululemon. During this trip, I discovered two other gems, Belmondo and Saje!

I chanced upon a women’s clothing boutique called LYNNSteven in the heart of the historic Vancouver neighborhood of Gastown. I spotted the boutique from across the street because of the unique circular changing room in the middle of the store that is constructed out of 6,000 books.

Here’s a look from the inside of the changing room where you can see the actual spines of the books:

LYNNsteven bookroom

From the outside, it looks like a big cylindrical cork.

LYNNsteven changing room books

In addition to a curated selection of clothing and accessories, they carried a Vancouver-based green beauty skincare brand I’d never heard of called Belmondo.

Meet Belmondo – an organic olive oil-based skincare line

Belmondo SkincareTrue to the spirit of rainy and outdoorsy Vancouver, the individual items in the skincare range were aptly named: the apple cider cleanser was named “The Rain”, the soothing witch hazel toner was named “After the Rain”, the facial olive oil named “The Dew”, and the face cream was named “The Cloud” among other earthy-themes.

The very pleasant saleslady with the most enviable skin let me ooh and aah over the luxurious face cream “The Cloud” and “The Dew”. She answered the million questions I had about which items she had tried and what she loved most about this skin care line crafted in small batches by Daniela Belmondo in Vancouver.

And yes, I did not walk out of the store empty handed! I will report back after I have a chance to try all the items in the Belmondo Travel Kit I purchased.

The second green beauty find was Saje. I first read about Saje on Sheila’s blog, a Vancouverite who blogs about beauty at Maddy Loves. She wrote about their Pocket Pharmacy, a travel size pouch containing 5 essential oil blends with a specific purpose, Peppermint Halo, Immune, Eater’s Digest, Pain Release, & Stress Release. When I visited Vancouver, I had to drop by.

Saje Shopping Haul

I was lured into the store by the amazing scent coming out of the nebulizer/diffuser thing by the doorway. Saje carries a range of skincare and bath and body products all infused with EO’s with different healing purposes. I got some body oils in a handy travel size that smell amazing and some well-priced soaps ($4.95 CAD/$4 USD per bar for organic soap).

3) Food – Coffee Culture, Pizza, and Local Brews

Vancouver has a thriving coffee culture. Yes, Starbucks still abound, but there are numerous other small coffee shops. Both Revolver and Timbertrain Coffee Roasters came highly recommended and the coffee did not disappoint.

Revolver Coffee

Revolver World Map

Gastown had some of our favorite restaurants and bars – both Nicli Antica Pizzeria with its Neapolitan style pizza and the Alibi Room with local beer on tap stand out.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria

4) Shopping – Clothing


Oak and Fort – My shopping haven. Slouchy, comfortable classic pieces – the design aesthetic calls out to folks who are into muted neutral tones (Me! Me!) Check them out on Instagram: @oakandfort.

Oak + FortDies.

My suitcase was much heavier on the return trip…

Anyway, I hope this little tour of Vancouver was helpful! I always keep my eyes peeled for local green beauty finds when I travel. Although I rely heavily on online blogs for reviews, I also love to support local stores. Visiting a store and interacting with knowledgable and passionate staff is a great way to learn more about green beauty and also try out products before buying. Follain in Boston was my first true love! If you guys have a favorite green beauty store in your neck of the woods, let me know!


Part II – Sheet Mask Review: Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask

Happy Monday! I had a bit of time this weekend to sneak a mask session in and I’m excited to share the results.

I’m rarely super enthusiastic about face masks because the effects are usually temporary. Nevertheless, the Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask has reduced me to this type of euphoria.


I got this from my Glow Recipe order and I was excited to try it out because I’m obsessed with seaweed in my skincare (Shamanuti Seaweed toner discovered at Follain)

According to Glow Recipe:

The Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Mask is a 100% real sea kelp facial sheet mask that is simply vitamin and mineral rich. This next generation sheet mask that will change your perspective on masks! Drench your face in ultra hydration and nutrition for instantly glowing, clear skin. Also helps to improve skin’s elasticity and firmness.

The usual sheet masks are typically made out of paper and hydrogel versions such as the Whamisa Organic Seed & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask reviewed here are the more advanced versions. There’s also biocellulose masks such as the Tatcha Deep Hydrating Mask which I will be testing shortly.

Then, we have masks made out of actual sea kelp.

paper < hydrogel < biocellulose <  SEA KELP!

Meet the Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask

Mask Construction: This is a two piece mask similar to the Whamisa hydrogel mask, but it is made out of real sea kelp. Sea kelp is pretty sturdy stuff and I was less worried about ripping into the sea kelp than I was with the hydrogel. Since the mask is green, it’s probably something that you’d use in the privacy of your own bathroom. I took advantage of this masking moment to roam around the house giving my significant other a good scare. The first thing I heard was a yelp followed by, “swamp thing!”


I had a good laugh if I can say so myself!


This mask retails at $14 a piece. Now, this is rather pricy for a single use. Nevertheless, the results sold me. Oh, and the ingredient list!

Ingredient List: As you can see below, this Whamisa mask is full of seaweed and plant extracts.

Laminaria Japonica, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, *Lactobacillus/Aloe Barbadensis Ferment Filtrate, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, ☆(-)-alpha-bisabolol, Trigonella Foenum-Graecum Seed Extract, Natto Gum, Leonurus Sibiricus Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Dioscorea Opposita (Wild Yam) Root Extract, *Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, *Centella Asiatica Extract, *Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Root Extract, *Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Chlorella Ferment, *Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, *Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Angelica Keiskei Leaf/Stem Extract, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Royal Jelly 0.05, **Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Xanthan Gum, **Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Plantago Asiatica Extract, **Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, ☆Adenosine, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil

*Certified Organically Grown **Natural Preservative ☆Ecocert


There’s a seaweed scent, but I wouldn’t describe it as overwhelming. I’ve tried powdered seaweed masks before and those…. PHEW!


I’d been having some flakiness from the dry winter weather and I was hoping this mask might do the trick.

My usual mask routine is to slap it on and read a book for 30 minutes. After I removed this mask, there was some essence left on my face and the color was light green. I patted the remainder of the essence into my skin and there wasn’t any green tint or stickiness left.

The real shocker was when I woke up in the morning and I took my shower. As I mentioned above, my skin had been flaky from the winter and facial oil was not helping. I was able to gently slough off the dry skin in the shower (ok TMI?) and I was left with plump, but NOT over-exfoliated skin.

Now, I don’t know what madness or magic this is, but my flaky winter skin was no longer. The best part was there was actually a brightening effect and also reduced redness of existing blemishes. My sunscreen and tinted moisturizer went on smoothly. Here’s my “thumbs-up” face (ignore the raccoon undereye please!)



The Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask deserves all the rave reviews and it’s something I would definitely repurchase.


Glow Recipe is offering a $5 off your first purchase through the link below. I purchased all the masks above myself and these reviews are an honest reflection of my experience with the products!

Part I – Sheet Mask Review: Whamisa Organic Seeds & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask

Facial sheet masks are all the rage in Asia and they have slowly made their way to the US. American skincare brands have also started to carry at least one sheet mask and sheet masks can even be found at Sephora.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with sheet masks. On one hand, I love the convenience of being able to pop on a pre-cut mask and not bother with rinsing it off. However, I have not been impressed by the ingredient lists of many popular Asian sheet mask brands and I also recognize that the benefit of sheet masks are temporary at best. Nevertheless, I do value them as a quick way to pamper and hydrate my skin. I also find masking a relaxing activity after a long day. Hopefully I am not alone in feeling relaxed after going through my skincare routine!

I was first introduced to Glow Recipe when I stumbled upon them online while searching for natural Korean skincare products. There are many Korean brands that claim to be all-natural, but their ingredient lists prove otherwise. It is also difficult to shop for Korean skincare products because the ingredient lists are not translated. When I chanced upon the Glow Recipe, I was hopping with excitement.

Glow Recipe is the brainchild of Sarah and Christine, global beauty entrepreneurs who have curated a selection of natural Korean skincare products that pass their testing panels for efficacy and fit their strict ingredient criteria.

I decided to try out two organic Korean sheet masks, a hydrogel mask and a mask made out of real sea kelp (!!!) both from Whamisa. My package came with some skincare samples and a sweet handwritten note:

Glow Recipe Note

1) Whamisa Organic Seeds & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask – $9. Review below

2) Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Facial Mask – $14. To be reviewed.

Whamisa Organic Seeds & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask

According to Glow Recipe:

Whamisa Organic Seed & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask is an organic hydrogel mask that has been soaked in skin-plumping botanical serum. Drench your face in ultra hydration and nutrition for instantly glowing, clear skin. It works hard and fast to improve skin’s elasticity and firmness. Formulated with 95% organic ingredients, including Rice & Black Soybean, which are naturally fermented to preserve maximum efficacy. This one of a kind mask relies on a blend of fermented seeds and rice to help rehydrate and calm dry, depleted skin.

Mask Construction:

This is a two piece hydrogel mask with eye cutouts for the upper half of the face and the mouth cutout for the lower half of the face. Hydrogel masks have less of a Hannibal Lecter quality because of their translucency. I also prefer the feel of a hydrogel mask because it retains the moisture and essence of the mask without any dripping. It also adheres well to the face without much slipping and sliding.  One caveat is that I had to be careful not to accidentally tear into the gel with my fingertips when I put the mask on.


This mask retails for $9 a piece. Hydrogel masks are more expensive than paper masks due to the properties mentioned above. Admittedly, this is a little pricy for a single use mask, but the ingredient list below was what swayed me.

Ingredient List: LOVE. Most face masks list water, propylene glycol, butylene glycol and glycerin as the first 4 ingredients. The active ingredients are typically listed towards the end and these masks often include preservatives and fragrance. As you can see below, this Whamisa mask is chock full of seed and rice extracts.

Water, *Hordeum Vulgare Seed Extract, *Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Xanthan Gum, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, *Lactobacillus/Rice Ferment Filtrate, **Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, **Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, **Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, *Lactobacillus/Phaseolus Radiatus Seed Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Glycine Soja (Black Soybean) Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Phaseolus Angularis Seed Ferment Filtrate, Allium Cepa (Onion) Bulb Extract, *Lactobacillus/Hordeum Vulgare Seed Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Ferment Filtrate, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-yuen Seed Extract, Adenosine, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil  *Certified Organically Grown **Natural Preservative ***Ecocert


This has a light, slightly herbal scent which I found very pleasant and soothing.


I left this mask on for 30 minutes and after I removed the mask, my skin was still moist. I patted the remainder of the essence into my skin and went straight to bed. When I woke up in the morning, my skin felt hydrated and this mask helped eliminate some of the winter dryness I’ve been experiencing. I didn’t experience any brightening or change in skin elasticity. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed until I remembered that most sheet masks are typically short-term hydration boosters, but don’t deliver long lasting benefits from a one-time use. Nevertheless, I recommend this mask over other sheet masks because of the clean ingredient list and the ease of use due to the hydrogel.

This mask review is part of a series of reviews and my upcoming reviews will include sheet masks from the following brands, Tatcha, Whamisa, and Karuna:

Here is the full list!

Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Facial Mask

Tatcha Deep Hydration Lifting Mask

Tatcha Deep Hydration Lifting Eye Mask

Karuna Luxe Skin Regenerating Face Mask

I’ll be masking it up in the next few weeks to see if these masks can help soothe my poor, dry winter skin! If you have a favorite mask you’d recommend, let me know!


Glow Recipe is offering a $5 off your first purchase through the link below. I purchased all the masks above myself and these reviews are an honest reflection of my experience with the products!