Product Review: Kiehl’s Ginger and Hibiscus Firming Mask

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GOING ONLINE isn’t the only big news to have come from Kiehl’s as the brand launched last month its newest product meant to beef up its mask line — the Ginger and Hibiscus Firming Mask.

“We currently have a hydrating mask, one for radiance, and if you think about it, it’s only right that we also try to complete the different benefits we can offer through masks,” Joan Hwang, Kiehl’s Philippines product manager, told BusinessWorld during a media preview in October at Okada Manila, Pasay City.

She described facial masks as the “new frontier” now that people are more knowledgeable about skincare and know how to use serums and moisturizers in their routines.

“It could also be because of Korean beauty trends — it became popular that’s why Kiehl’s has to come up with our solution,” she said.

Korean beauty companies commonly promote a frequent masking routine — sometimes, even every day — to ensure healthy, glowing skin.

The Ginger and Hibiscus mask is also the brand’s first sleeping mask and is priced at P3,350 for 100ml.

(Sleeping masks are masks used at the end of a nighttime routine and are only washed off upon waking up.)

The product, which is light mauve in color, has a balm-like texture and is said to “help smoothen and firm skin with hibiscus seed extract and sustainably sourced ginger leaf,” according to the product description on the BeautyMNL site.

The product is also said to make the person wake up to skin that “feels and looks smoother.”

The company said it can be used every day for five days, and you bet that’s what this reporter did when she got a sample from the launch.

For almost a month, I used the mask religiously (you only need a small dollop to cover the entire face) and observed on the first few days that I did get minor breakouts around the chin area but chalked it up to my skin adjusting to a new product in a my extensive routine (I have a seven-step routine that involves two serums and two moisturizers because I have very dry skin).

And then I remembered Ms. Hwang recommended using the mask as a substitute for moisturizer and I cringed because I couldn’t do without a moisturizer — but I removed one of my moisturizers and a serum from my routine and after another week, the breakouts calmed down and I could feel that my skin was a bit firmer and moisturized.

So I took it a notch higher and further simplified my routine to only Kiehl’s products for an entire week — the Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Wash (P1,725 for 230ml), Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner (P2,425 for 250ml), Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado (P1,725 for 14g), Midnight Recovery Concentrate (P2,825 for 30ml), and, finally, the Ginger mask, in that order.

Was I going too far? Yes, but I like to call it commitment.

And I could say that the combination worked better for me when I used the mask with the brand’s other products — my skin wasn’t dry and there were no breakouts.

Do note that it is important to let all the products you put on your face time to sink in — a minute or two per product is okay — especially when using the mask after the Midnight Recovery Concentrate because in my experience, when put on too early, the mask doesn’t apply well and flakes into little balls, which really isn’t a good look.

The question now is, will I revamp my routine for this mask? No, but I will concede that I will probably do this on weekends to rejuvenate my often tired skin, because if we can’t remove stress from our lives, at least our skin can give the world (and ourselves) the illusion that we are living our best lives. — Zsarlene B. Chua