Korean skincare is still riding high. Sure, as beauty journalists, we're always on the hunt for new places to seek out trends, but still I keep find myself returning to products with Korean roots—just like this Glow Recipe mask.
Glow Recipe is a K-beauty site founded by Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, who have over 20 years experience of working in the beauty industry at a global scale. They went on Shark Tank (kinda like a U.S. version of Dragon's Den) and had three offers from the sharks. From there, they went on to launch the Glow Recipe website, where the team curates "natural, harsh-free" products in one place.
The vetting process is strict: Products must be sustainable, have the right actives (but not be too harsh to the skin), and be approved by the Glow Recipe panel—and also approved by a panel of people of different ethnicities and skin types. Once accepted, products have a three-month probation, allowing customers to feed back to Glow Recipe (who then pass feedback on to the brands, good or bad).
So with such strict guidelines for other products, it's little wonder that their own Glow Recipe products meet their very exacting standards and have become global cult hits. The Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask (£40) literally ticks every millennial beauty box and then some. It's pink and glossy-looking. It has buzzwords like "glow," "sleeping" and "mask" in the title, all things that women covet right now.
But while it looks great and is saying all the right things, does it live up to its reputation? In a word, yes. For starters, it has a light, bouncy, gel-like consistency and smells fresh like watermelon. The fruit is used in skincare to hydrate (since it's 92% water), while lycopene acts as an antioxidant protecting the complexion from damaging free radicals.
Essentially this mask gets to work while you sleep to stop pollution and environmental damage from the day in its tracks. Blended with the watermelon is a cocktail of fruit acids, lactic acid and glycolic acid that nibble away at dulling dead skin cells. Since the mask is seriously hydrating (it contains hyaluronic acid), you reap the exfoliating benefits without any irritation.
And you don't need to worry about it transferring to your pillow—it's clear, and thirsty skin types will drink it straight up. Simply massage a couple of scoops into the skin before turning in a couple of nights each week. Alternatively, you can apply it for 10 minutes during the day if your complexion needs an quick hit of hydration.
I left it on overnight and woke up to calm, plump skin instead of the usual puffiness and redness that usually greets me in the bathroom mirror. Not only was my complexion calmer, I didn't need to use quite as much makeup as usual. Skin you want to show off? That's worth £40.