Skin & Tonics : Skincare Guides & Product Reviews

Skincare guides & product reviews for hydration lovers & the moisture barrier obsessed

Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask Review

If you’re a regular S&T reader and the mention of Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask is giving you déjà vu, you’re not losing your mind. I first gushed about this mask a few weeks ago in Part 3 of my skincare routine breakdown, describing it thusly:

“Then I fought the urge to run into a public place with it, like the mall or a major airport, and hold it up to people’s faces as I shook them by the collar and screamed, “MY GOD, HAVE YOU SMELLED THIS? IT SMELLS JUST LIKE STRAWBERRY PRESERVES! IT’S LIKE EXFOLIATING WITH STRAWBERRY PRESERVES!”

Today I’ll be giving it a proper review, starting with my appreciation for the product name. I often wish there was a better word for manual exfoliators than “scrub.” Scrubs are for toilets and kitchen sinks as far as I’m concerned. I like to think that Skinfood is on the same page with me here, since they’ve left the word “scrub” out of this product’s name entirely, even though that’s essentially what this mask is. Instead, they’ve opted for the much less chore-centric name, “Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask,” (or “Black Sugar Mask Wash-Off” if you want to get picky, but I prefer my adjectives in front of my nouns).

Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask

What is it?

The Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask is an exfoliating mask, which boasts Brazilian black sugar and strawberry seed oil as its “star” ingredients. It promises to clean, soften, and smooth skin.


Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sucrose, Glycerin, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Lanolin, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Seed, Sorbitan Laurate, Fragaria Ananassa (Strawberry) Seed Oil, Water, BHT, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Caramel, CI 17290, CI 17986, Parfum

Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask

Overall, this formula is a balanced mixture of physical exfoliating ingredients, emulsifiers, as well as humectant and emollient moisturizers, many of which possess antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are some of the standouts:


Sucrose, better known as sugar, is the primary exfoliating component of this mask. Though I prefer chemical exfoliation methods, there are many occasions when I’m unable to resist the call of a satisfying, indulgent facial scrub polish. It’s important to note that when I do reach for a product like this, sugar is definitely my preferred scrubbing agent. Unlike the sharp, unyielding shards of walnut shell found in common facial scrubs like St.Ives Apricot Scrub, sugar melts into wet skin, and is very effective at removing dry skin flakes without the risk of abrading to the point of irritation.


Glycerin is an odorless, colorless, viscous sugar alcohol compound. Its humectant properties make it a popular cosmetic ingredient. Pure glycerin is able to absorb it’s own weight in water over a period of 3 days, and has been shown in numerous studies to improve skin elasticity, moisture, and barrier function.

Glycerol accelerates recovery of barrier function in vivo
Fluhr JW1, Gloor M, Lehmann L, Lazzerini S, Distante F, Berardesca E.
Acta Dermato Venereologica, November 1999

Glycerol replacement corrects defective skin hydration, elasticity, and barrier function in aquaporin-3-deficient mice
Mariko Hara, A. S. Verkman.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, May/June 2003

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.

Fragaria Ananassa (Strawberry) Seed Oil

Strawberry seed oil is just one of three antioxidant and fatty acid rich oils in this formula. Strawberry seed oil is high in linoleic acid (great for acne prone skin) as well as vitamins A & C. It’s a light, fast absorbing oil that also possesses antibacterial and astringent properties.

Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask

According to CosDNA, there are no major red flags in terms of potential acne triggers or irritants.



Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask comes packaged in a sturdy little plastic bucket. For the most part, I appreciate the old-timey-brown-label aesthetic the brand was aiming for when they designed this packaging, but I do have one complaint: I cannot abide Comic Sans in any context, except for maybe an actual comic, and this label is not an exception. The font isn’t a dealbreaker by any stretch of the imagination, but man – couldn’t they have classed it up a little? Good, old-fashioned Helvetica would have gotten the job done with better style.

Also, though the bucket is sturdy and perfectly functional, I think I would have a much easier time dispensing this product from a tube than scooping it out with my fingers – not just for hygienic reasons, but because the consistency of the product makes it a little messy to deal with at times.

The product itself is berry red, and with its visible strawberry seeds and granules of sugar, it looks exactly like a bucket of extra-sugary strawberry preserves.

Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask


The pH for Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask is ~7.0, which is considered neutral (distilled water is also 7.0). I prefer most of my facial treatments to have a pH slightly lower than that (if you’d like to know why, I talk more about that here), but a neutral pH isn’t bad, especially for a product I’m not using daily.



If there is a heaven, and if heaven has an elevator, that elevator is made out of gold, sparkling, clouds, plays nothing but your favorite songs (or possibly The Number One Song in Heaven), and smells exactly like this product. Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask smells like sweet, juicy, strawberry preserves.

I have personally witnessed no fewer than 2 sensible, grown-ass adults put this product into their mouth with the hope that it tastes as good as it smells. I 100% understand the impulse, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered it myself. Both grown-ass adults concurred that it does not taste good. If you have children, you’re going to want to hide this from them or, at the very least, sit them down for a serious talk about how skincare products are not food, even when the word “food” appears in the name.


When I use this Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask, I generally use it in the morning after cleansing. The instructions say to massage the product onto clean, damp skin, and then let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it away with lukewarm water. While I do occasionally follow the instructions, it’s far more common for me to massage the product onto my clean, damp skin, and then immediately rinse it away because it’s a weekday morning, or I’m in the shower, or I just don’t feel like waiting. My skincare routine already has enough waiting with all the acids and the retinoids – I’m not a patient lady so I cut corners where I can. I get the same results regardless of whether or not I wait. The primary difference is that when I wait, the sugar has had more time to melt so the rinsing process is far less abrasive.

If you’ve tried the original Skinfood Black Sugar Wash-Off Mask and found it overly abrasive, it’s worth noting that this strawberry version is gentler.

Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask


I’ve been using Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask a few times a week for a couple of months now. If I wasn’t afraid of over exfoliating, I’d probably use it every day. It gets rid of any visible flaking I have, and leaves me with clean, invisible pores, as well as an angelically smooth skin texture, all without drying my face out.

This product is easily my favorite facial scrub of all that I’ve tried. Not only have I repurchased it for myself, but I’ve bought several of them for the sole purpose of passing them out to my skincare loving friends. If you like smooth, clean skin and things that smell magnificent, Skinfood’s Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask is for you.

Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Exfoliates effectively
    Not overly abrasive
    Smells spectacular
  • Would prefer tube packaging for easier dispensing

Skin & Tonics Rating

A 20/20 Efficacy 16/20 Ingredients 20/20 Application 20/20 Wear 18/20 Packaging
Total: 94 Rating system details »

Where to Buy

Store Price Offers
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ViewTstory (eBay seller) Ships from Korea $11.98 Free shipping buy

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48 comments onSkinfood Black Sugar Strawberry Wash-Off Mask Review

  1. Sold. So, so sold. My Skinfood Pineapple Peeling Gel is on its last legs so I can totally justify a Skinfood replacement!

    • Kerry

      Oh! What did you think of the Pineapple Peeling Gel? If it smells even half as much like pineapple as this stuff does like strawberries, then I’m going to need to buy that immediately.

      • Sadly it doesn’t smell amazing (kind of sour and slightly artificial), but it’s my favourite peeling gel for summer. It has the peelies and it has a very fine grit too (and from the ingredients on CosDNA, it doesn’t seem to be microbeads, yay). The grit is a bit much for my skin in winter though. It’s in a super convenient tube. The Laneige Strawberry Yoghurt Peeling Gel otoh smells AMAZING, like fresh strawberry yoghurt, but it makes my wallet cry.

        • Kerry

          I’m ordering the Laneige Strawberry Yoghurt Peeling Gel tonight, and I’m very excited about it. Thanks for the rec, Michelle! 😀

  2. Omg. This entry comes in a perfect moment. Just yesterday was looking in my fav. korea online shops searching for a new scrub (since the one I’ve got it’s not being nice w/my skin) and found those 2 Skinfood (black sugar and this one). I loooove strawberries…Going to buy it (samples first, I’ve learned now u_u).

    Thank you Kerry for this review! (now, despite it’s freezing in here, would love an strawberry icecream T_T)

  3. Ahhh… this one is so tempting, though I should know better since shea butter in face products usually ends up clogging me D: Maybe I’ll buy a couple sample packets so I can indulge my curiosity even if I know I shouldn’t… it just sounds so nice, and I’m always in need of good exfoliating products.

    • Kerry

      Mairi, you might get lucky with this one since it’s a wash off product. It’s definitely worth a shot!

      • I probably will ;3 How can I resist something that inspires the desire to scream about how delicious it smells while running through an airport?!

        Plus… I’m really not super impressed w/my current physical exfoliant. It’s not bad, just… eh.

  4. OMG I just saw this the other day and was itching to get it. It smells so so good! Maybe next time then. 😀 Thanks for the detailed review!

  5. Selena

    Don’t worry; that typeface is DEFINITELY not Comic Sans haha. It’s just another slab serif. I’m a professional graphic designer and I could’t stand that either. I once saw the signage of an entire hospital done in that typeface and died a little… :/

  6. This is also one of the best wash-off masks I tried. I love the scent!

  7. An

    This and the Skinfood Rice Mask Wash Off are the best for me!
    What’s the difference between chemical exfoliators and these? I’m pretty new to those (and skincare in general) and was looking for something that can help with my extremely dry, flaky and sensitive skin ><

  8. This looks like jam! I’m not into scrubs but if you are saying this one is good I must really try it. So far I’ve loved everything I tried by SkinFood. The only problem is their products always smell so good, I want to eat myself afterwards. xD

  9. I’m a big fan of anything that smells like strawberry! I love your takes on scrubs, I was laughing out loud over that.

  10. Woke up, immediately read this review, immediately hopped on eBay and bought this. BAM.

    Are you doing the Memebox trend thing? I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of the products they include in their boxes!

    • Kerry

      You will not be disappointed, Kalyn!

      I’m not doing Memebox, but I really like reading about them and seeing what everyone’s getting. I just have so much stuff at the moment, I really needed a break from beauty boxes in general.

  11. Sounds like a really nice product. But it does make me think that I could probably make something very similar myself, for very cheap. Mix together some sugar, glycerin, shea butter and lanolin, and I’d be there (or half way there, at least). What do you think?

    • Kerry

      Ida, if you like to DIY I imagine that a sugar scrub would be super easy to make! 🙂 If you decide to try your hand at it I’d love to know how yours turns out!

      I’m personally not a DIY-er, so this scrub smells better and is far more cosmetically elegant than anything I’d come up with on my own.

      • Ida

        Will do! I enjoy making simple skincare products, but they are rarely elegant, and don’t smell as nice as the ones you buy, but it’s fun.

  12. Stop making me want to buy things! Also I’m glad someone found a way to incorporate Sparks references into their skincare reviews. That plus comic sans bucket = I laughed.

  13. I have been hearing so many good things about this and wanted to buy it for a while but always put it off.
    I actually won a Skinfood giveaway for this today, so reading your rave review makes me super excited to receive this!

  14. The Number One *Blog* in Heaven 🙂

  15. I seriously went searching for this when I read your last post mentioning it. Thank tha lawwwwwd that Urban Outfitters now has a section for Korean Beauty, I made a beeline for the SkinFood counter and low and behold it does smell like fresh strawberry preserves! Just one more thing on my ever growing list of skincare needs. I swear everytime you post I’m like NEEEEEED ALLLLL THE THINGSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Muahahahahaha!

  16. Lauren

    I’m actually semi-glad you saw two people taste this, because it sounds like I’d be tempted to eat it. >_>

  17. Man, I wish there would be some Korean brands available readily in California :c I miss my skin care products<3

    I absolutely adore your blog. It's incredibly eloquent, well researched and amazing. Straight up my favourite blog to read.

    lots of love,

    • Kerry

      Thank you so much, Michelle!

      Do you have an Urban Outfitters near you in California? I hear they are carrying many Skinfood products (including this one) as well as TonyMoly. 🙂

  18. This is being sold through for $18.00 too! I think UO might be stocking a smattering of products by Skinfood, The Face Shop, TonyMoly, Clio, Holika Holika, Mizon, and Peripera.

  19. Kerry, you were totally right about how this one just smells better than the Black Sugar (classic) version. I tried it and I curated it, so thank you for bringing this amazing mask to my attention! It also encouraged me to try the rice version!

  20. Wendy

    recently I bought this product in roseroseshop, thanks for Your Detailed review:)

  21. Brenda

    I got a sample of the Rice version, which I lov and will be purchasing the full sized. I definitely have to try this one. There is a Skin Food store in the Cerrtios Mall, Cerrtios, CA.

    • Kerry

      Brenda, I have a container of the Rice version and haven’t had a chance to sample it yet myself. Maybe tonight should be the night! You’ll have to tell me what you think of the Strawberry Black Sugar one once you’ve tried it. 🙂

  22. AnnieTg

    I tried most of your recommendations that I could afford and this is easily my favorite, along with benton essence + cream.
    Lovely lovely lovely~ i wouldn’t know this exist if you didnt mention it. Thank you Kerry. I do agree with you, one caveat that come with this product is it make you want to use it all the time, which is an overkill.

    I have a question though if you don’t mind. I’m current using BHA (paula choice) and AHA (derma E) daily, one in the morning and the other at night. Do you think using physical exfoliation is an overkill?

  23. […] version was released earlier this year as a gentler alternative to the Black Sugar Mask. I had read that it performs just as well with a scent that is TDF, so I decided to go it a try since I […]

  24. SAPIR

    About the ph- as you said, ph 7 is a bit high… so i have a question- if I’ll use this mask, and after that use a facial wash with ph 5, will it lower my ph to 5?
    Or maybe not? (ph subject is new to me…:)

  25. Lari

    Ha! Comic Sans…honestly, that’s what made me lose interest in Skinfood when I was first discovering K-beauty. But your honest and in-depth review of this product has changed my mind. Thanks for your detailed review! I’m sold!