Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask Review
Today I’m going to tell you all about The Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask, but first, since we’re on the subject of sleeping packs, I need to get some sleep-related thoughts off my chest. I recently read an article on Buzzfeed or Refinery29 or something of that ilk – it was a list of things people should stop doing after the age of 30. One of those items was sleeping late on Saturday, with the reason being that after 30, we should be getting up early to do important life things. The article in general was annoying and judgmental, but that item in particular felt especially presumptuous. It stated that by sleeping in, I was snoozing my life away and squandering life’s rich opportunities. The thing is, my natural circadian rhythm makes me a night owl, not an early riser, and I’m okay with that. It’s never infringed on my life’s activities, though it does make waking up early during the week a bit of a drag. I look forward to Saturday all week, knowing that I’ll be able to sleep into the morning without being roused by the futuristic sounds of my iPhone alarm tone (“Silk” is my alarm tone of choice, BTW).
I think it’s really great that early risers find joy and fulfillment in their sunrise yoga, jogs at dawn, or working on their novel before the rest of the family gets out of bed, but why are they always trying to shame me for wanting to sleep in? I happen to gain fulfillment from embarking on my life’s activities being fully and completely well-rested. I always feel a bit more powerful on Saturday, when I can complete my blogging activities, run errands, and visit with friends after a full night of sleep – sleep that did not end until my body said it was time to wake up. Why you gotta be such wet blankets, early risers? Furthermore, I’ll have you know that I’m completing some very important skin restoration activities while I’m sleeping. Skin doesn’t get this radiant on 5 hours of sleep a night, folks! Of course, the sleeping packs help in that department, which brings this rant right back around to the subject of today’s review: The Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask.
Of all the product types introduced to me via the world of Asian skincare, sleeping packs are the product revelation I appreciate most. As someone with a dry, sensitive skin type and an unabashed love of sleep, these overnight treatment creams are a kindness to my face. The Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask has been in regular rotation since I purchased it at the end of December, and has become an easy favorite.
What is it?
Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask ($50) is an overnight, cream style sleeping pack/mask, which promises to “reawaken skin’s natural glow,” minimize redness and irritation, and deliver moisture and antioxidants, restoring and revitalizing skin overnight.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Squalane, DI-C12-13 Alkyl Malate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Cyclohexasiloxane, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Flower/Leaf/Steam Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Chrysanthemum Morifolium Flower Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Adenophora Stricta Root Extract, Angelica Tenuissima Root Extract, Honey, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Morus Alba Root Extract, Beta-Glucan, Sodium Hyaluronate, Trehalose, C14-22 Alcohols, Stearic Acid, Silica, Hydrogenated Castor Oil Isostearate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Palmitic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-100 Stearate, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Polyacrylate-13, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, C12-16 Alcohols, Carbomer, Polyisobutene, Xanthan Gum, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Dextrin, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Polysorbate 20, Propanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Alcohol, Tromethamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
In typical Sulwhasoo fashion, this overnight cream contains a wide variety of plant extracts containing antioxidants and properties ranging from anti-inflammatory to antibacterial. Here are the highlights of this ingredient list:
Glycerin – This sugar alcohol is a popular ingredient in skincare product for a multitude of reasons. It’s a humectant moisturizer, meaning it attracts and holds more than its weight in water, which affords a plumping, hydrating effect. It’s also been proven to increase skin elasticity, promote wound healing, and has antimicrobial properties.
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter – This classic skincare ingredient is one of my all time favorites! It’s anti-inflammatory, full of moisturizing essential fatty acids, and contains antioxidants in the form of Vitamins A, D, and E.
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract – Better known as green tea extract, this ingredient has a multitude of studies showing its benefit in the skincare world. Green tea’s active, skin-friendly component is polyphenols, which possess powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
This study from June of 2013 showed green tea extract to have a prolonged moisturizing effect, reduce skin roughness, and improve skin microrelief (wrinkles):
The use of green tea extract in cosmetic formulations: not only an antioxidant active ingredient
Panax Ginseng Root Extract – Ginseng is a fairly well documented ingredient – there are even some studies that suggest it may have some anticancer properties due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It’s also been shown in at least one in-vitro human study to stimulate collagen production, and has had numerous animal studies showing it to accelerate wound healing, and even reduce wrinkles caused by UV damage.
A small sampling of available ginseng studies:
• Panax ginseng induces human Type I collagen synthesis through activation of Smad signaling
• Korean red ginseng extract ameliorates skin lesions in NC/Nga mice: An atopic dermatitis model
• Effects of red ginseng extract on UVB irradiation-induced skin aging in hairless mice
Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract – One of my favorite skincare actives – licorice root is anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and has skin brightening properties, making it a wonderful ingredient for acne prone skin and hyperpigmentation.
Morus Alba Root Extract – The Morus Alba is better known as Mulberry. Mulberry root contains an active compound called Arbutin, a melanin-inhibitor that has been proven in multiple studies to effectively treat hyperpigmentation.
A great abstract on the lightening properties of Morus Alba:
A comparative study of the safety and efficacy of 75% mulberry (Morus alba) extract oil versus placebo as a topical treatment for melasma: a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Beta-Glucan – This is a natural compound that can be extracted from yeast, fungi, seaweed, oats, barley, rye, or wheat. There have been numerous studies conducted on its wound healing effects in animals, as well as a few studies on its efficacy on human skin.
This particular study showed it to be effective as an anti-oxidant, wound healing, moisturizing, and anti-wrinkle agent: Skin Health Promotion Effects of Natural Beta-Glucan Derived from Cereals and Microorganisms
Sodium Hyaluronate – Often referred to as hyaluronic acid, this ingredient is able to hold up 1,000 times its weight in water. This humectant also does a great job attracting and maintaining water in the skin, and promotes blood circulation and nutrient absorption.
According to CosDNA, there are a couple of potential irritants and one potential acne trigger in this formula worth mentioning. Our old friend Cetearyl Alcohol makes an appearance in the bottom third of the list, still holding on to that ranking of 4 as a potential acne trigger and 3 as a potential irritant. Alcohol, which ranks as a 3 as a potential irritant, appears close to the bottom of the list.
The packaging for the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask is a plastic squeeze tube, which is styled to fit in nicely with the other products in the Sulwhasoo line. I’m particularly fond of the cap, which is made of plastic but has a color and finish that makes it look like lacquered wood. The dispenser is a typical opening that one might expect to find at the end of a plastic tube.
The cream itself is opaque and apricot colored. The consistency is very soft, rich, and spreadable.
The Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask smells exactly like fresh ginger, and I love it. I wish more face products smelled like ginger.
I apply a hazelnut-sized amount of Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask just before bedtime. I apply it on top of my other face products, which usually happens to be an hour or two after they’ve been applied. Sometimes I apply the mask on top of a moisturizer, but there are other times when I’ve just applied it over a beauty oil.
The Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask absorbs quickly and effortlessly, but still leaves a very light, non-sticky, layer of moisture on top of my skin. That layer has usually disappeared by morning. After a night of sleep, I wash my face in the morning as usual.
I should note that I am a side sleeper, and have had no issues with this or any other sleeping pack. I remember being worried about this when I first read about sleeping packs – I’d envisioned a full-on-top-of-the-skin-mask that would smear into a warm, oily pool on my pillow as I slept. If you have never tried a sleeping pack before, don’t worry. This doesn’t happen. I’ve yet to have a sleeping pack transfer to my pillow or be otherwise disturbed in any way.
I’ve used this mask 2 to 3 times a week for a few months now, and each time I use it, I’ve noticed my skin looks particularly glowy in the morning when I wake up. It makes my skin feel soft and moisturized, and prevents some of the surface dryness I sometimes experience on the side of my face I tend to sleep on. Using it regularly has reduced the flaking I sometimes experience from my regular use of Tretinoin and acids, and in general, my face just looks and feels calmer, smoother, softer, and brighter. It’s worth noting that despite the brightening ingredients this mask contains, the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask doesn’t seem to lighten hyperpigmentation marks on any noticeable level. Its brightening effect increases overall radiance rather than lightening individual spots.
I have discovered that I am especially thankful for the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask when I have had too much to drink. Confession: so far this year, there have been at least two instances when I’ve indulged in a few too many bourbons on the rocks (with a splash of soda). Luckily, even my drunk self is dedicated enough to my skincare routine that I’ll complete all the steps even if I’m a bit inebriated, but that doesn’t always stop my hangover skin from achieving the great feat of somehow being simultaneously sweaty, dull, and dry. I find that the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask really takes edge off hangover skin. Yeah, it’s still sweaty, but dull and dry no longer factor into the equation.
I read somewhere that the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask is a good, less expensive alternative to the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream. Having used both products, I have to say – if I bought this mask with the expectation that it would perform as well as the Ginseng Cream, I would be disappointed. The cream is far more moisturizing, and I think the effects it had on my skin were more visibly dramatic. I do think the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask is a great supplement to the cream though, and it’s also an excellent gateway product that will give you a taste of what the Ginseng Renewing Cream could potentially do for your complexion. I also think the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask would work for all skin types, whereas the Ginseng Renewing Cream seems like it would be too much for oily skin.
Compared to other popular sleeping packs, Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask is more moisturizing than the Laneige Water Sleeping Pack EX, but slightly less moisturizing than the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask.
Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask is easily my favorite sleeping pack, and because it lasts so long and its price is more accessible than other Sulwhasoo products, I will be purchasing this again and again.
– Makes skin radiant and glowy
– Seals in moisture from previously applied hydrating products
– Absorbs quickly
– Smells like fresh ginger
Skin & Tonics Rating:
Performance: 5/5 – Moisturizing, brightening, calming, non-irritating, pleasant to apply, smells great.
Ingredients: 4/5 – Packed with a slew of beneficial moisturizing, brightening, and antioxidant ingredient with just a couple of potential acne/irritation triggers at the end of the list.
Packaging: 5/5 – Aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, not messy.
Where to Buy:
I bought my Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask at W2Beauty, where it retails for $46.
First time W2Beauty customers can get a $5 W2Beauty voucher by entering my sponsor code at sign-up: 025605. W2Beauty ships internationally.
What’s your favorite sleeping pack? And more importantly, do you sleep in on Saturday (or whatever your day off happens to be)?