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Some Stuff I've Tried Lately

Pandemic life is good for one thing - tryin' stuff. Well, it's good for bingeing Netflix as well, so I guess two things. But I'm wanting to focus on thing number one.

I recently went on a bit of an experiment binge, inspired by all the usual reasons: puffy, wrinkly eyes, uneven skin, frizzy hair, now knowing what the Hell to do with eyeshadow after 49 years on the a beauty conundrum and I've probably contemplated it these last few months and tried to address it by smearing something on my face, body, or hair.

But lets get right down to brass tacks, shall we? I've been sort of systematically trying a lot of new stuff, and will be highlighting some of them on here over the next few weeks. Here is this month's contribution. For science.


The Thing: puffy-looking, dry, wrinkly undereyes

The Fix: Soap & Glory Puffy Eye Attack Hydrogel Patches

I went on a bit of an eye patch binge because they are fairly easy to obtain, don't cost an arm and a leg (generally speaking), and you can pop them in the fridge for a quick pick-me-up, or stash them in your purse for later. Although really, I'm not sure how realistic it is to think I would use them while on the go. I once sat near a lady on a flight who pasted these bright gold, shiny eye patches on as we were landing, and she still had them on when we were deplaning...I don't know if I'm just not that brave or way lazier than she was, but that seems like putting a Band Aid on a bullet hole after what a long flight does to your entire body, let alone your eye area. Sometimes ya just gotta take one for the team, although maybe she was an undereye model or something - I shouldn't judge.

Anyway, this set of eye patches is a bit thicker and more gelatinous than the ubiquitous tissue and hyaluronic acid sheet tissue patches you usually find, and because of this they really held the cold from the fridge longer. For any nurses out there, these are made from the same stuff as the hydrocolloid wound dressings we deal with. They also felt like they had a bit of a built-in cooling sensation in the ingredients. Maybe this is what they meant by the hilariously-named "PUFFEASE TECHNOLOGY", which sounds like some made-up thing from a 1960s marketing campaign. But, points for hilarity scored.

These patches worked well. They fit comfortably (see first photo), and did not threaten to slide off due to their thicker, more sticky material. These patches plumped up my undereyes with moisture (likely due to hyaluronic acid), but also left the undereye surface flatter and tighter, so makeup could go on much more evenly. These patches may not be able to correct the ravages of a strict holiday diet of wine, cheese and simple carbohydrates, but for a quick pick me up they were great, and I'd definitely buy them again! B+


The Thing: same as above - the undereye area.

The Fix: Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Eye Tissue Mask

Okay. You guys. The first thing you can't help but notice about these patches is the fact that they're huge. If you got socked in the eye, these would easily double as an ice bag, or a steak, or whatever your choice of homespun black eye remedies might be. But seriously, these patches extended from almost the bridge of my nose to my hairline, and covered a good portion of my cheekbones as well.

Because these patches are a tissue mask, I found I had to be a bit more still while wearing them or they would start to curl and slide in a southerly direction once they got a feel for gravity. They lost their fridge coolness pretty quickly once out of the package, and dried out more quickly, which to be fair, you would expect when comparing it to the thicker, gelatinous Hydrogel patches. As for the "orange juice" and -4 degree cooling effect as declared on the packaging, I did not really experience either of those things, but also didn't really set out to observe or measure them either.

Overall, these patches were moisturizing, but I didn't feel like I was getting any real "treatment" other than a bit of plumping and wrinkle release from the good slathering of hyaluronic acid in the patch, and maybe some relaxation from the coolness of the patches since they'd been in the fridge. I noticed a plumping of the skin and it did lessen the appearance of my wrinkles somewhat, but it was not as dramatic as with the Soap & Glory patches. Overall, these Garnier patches are very affordable, and you can find them at most drugstores as singles, or you can buy them in a pack online and at select places. They were okay, and maybe better for relaxing with than anything else. C+


The Thing: dull, uneven, listless skin

The Fix: Zombie Pack Mask

If you're a follower of all things beauty, or if you've ever even just logged onto Instagram for like, a hot second, you'll have heard of a Korean mask called the Hanacure. Hanacure promises amazingly glowy, tightened skin. The premise is you mix the mask powder and the activator, paint it on with the little brush they give you, and it tightens on your face, leaving behind a firmer, more glowing complexion.

When they say the mask tightens on your face, it tightens...a lot. There are all sorts of videos around the net of people trying the Hanacure mask and freaking out about how tight it gets. They're quite entertaining actually, and all indications are that the results people get from the mask are pretty convincing. Oh, and by the way the Hanacure mask costs $100 for a pack of four masks. so naturally celebrities love it, and swear by Hanacure's twice weekly regimen. Because what's an extra $400 a month during a pandemic, when a good chunk of us aren't working, right?

Thankfully, for those of us who can't really digest the price tag of Hanacure, there is another Korean mask that has created more or less the same product, without the sticker shock. That's how I found the Zombie Pack.

The Zombie Pack is essentially the same product as Hanacure, and about a fifth of the cost. It's not the easiest thing to come by, but you can find it on sites that sell Korean beauty products. There are two versions of the mask, one for the American market, and one for the Korean market. I haven't really sussed out the finer details of why this is, but likely it is down to the ingredient list and what is allowed in certain countries in the cosmetic market. The price points are the same. The one I have is the Korean market one, since I live mostly in the UK and there weren't any restrictions for my location.

I've used my Zombie Pack twice now, and I can attest to the fact that it really does leave your skin feeling silky smooth. I experience a little redness initially after I take it off, but that soon subsides. The mask absolutely does tighten like crazy when you put it on - to the point of feeling a bit alarming if you put it on your neck, as I did. It gets to the point where you can't move your mouth or form words, and eventually it cracks, leaving you with the skin texture of the undead. This is part of why I love it so much. It's fun. I love zombie fiction, I like to stagger around the house with this mask on and my arms out in front of me groaning "braaaiiiins" at my husband, so this is my mask.

The main ingredient is albumin - a protein made in the liver. No, I have no idea where it comes from in the Zombie mask, and I'm not sure I want to know. I think of albumin as the stuff that comes in little glass bottles that we give intravenously to people in liver failure. Other ingredients include niacinamide, great for evening out the skin tone, aloe to calm the skin, and propolis (from bees) that has a brightening effect.

I give this mask full marks. Points for improving skin texture and brightness, and of course, points for hilarity, which for me is always a consideration. A

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