Secret Key Starting Treatment Essential Mask Review by cbiancardi

Posted by cbiancardi

It’s no secret that I do love Secret Key ~ I know that Secret Key is considered a low end cosmetic brand in Korea, but this brand is very solid and I like so many of their products.   I recommend their Lemon Peeling Gel, Snail + EGF Repairing Eye Cream, and Honey Bee AC line, Starting Treatment Eye Cream, Starting Treatment Aura Facial Spray, Starting Treatment Essence ~ for you rose lovers, Secret Key makes the eye cream and essence in a rose version too!   There are others that I love too, but those products are discontinued now, such as the Intense Ice Sleeping Pack.  When Jolse was recruiting testers for a Starting Treatment Essential SHEET MASK, welp, I applied and was thrilled to get into this campaign!

Skin type/concerns:  Oily, aging, blemish prone, pores, hyper-pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. 

I received these products complementary to review and was not paid.  All reviews are my own honest opinion and  I never have been asked to write copy for a brand.  This blog post might contain promo codes, affiliate and referral links, which using my links will help generate a small commission that helps support my blog at no extra cost to you.
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Now, I do know that Secret Key had a Starting Treatment Essential Mask several years ago, which was in different packaging but the ingredients are the same.  I never tried the original one but it looked like it was a huge favorite.   This mask is FULL of fermented goodies ~ Why do I love ferments?  Fermented ingredients in skin care products are highly moisturizing and also have antibacterial properties, which is why my blemish-prone skin loves it so much. Fermented ingredients can have a greater concentration of antioxidants and can be more efficient in reducing wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation, as well as reducing toxins. (source

LG Household & Health Care, a huge Korean company, states that “Oriental medicinal herbs are combined with yeast to create a fermentation process, which fortifies the active ingredients in Oriental medicinal herbs to make them more than 20 times more effective and produces new active ingredients” and “As is already widely known, fermentation has significant skin improvement effects as small microorganisms break down the molecular structures of Oriental medicinal herbs to allow them to be absorbed deep within the skin more rapidly and more effectively to boost the skin’s defenses.” (source)

Some notable ferments in this mask

  • Galactomyces (40,000ppm) are fermented yeast filtrates and are highly moisturizing as well as being a powerful anti-oxidant. They help fight free radicals and reverse and slow down the aging process in your skin, by reducing the appearance of existing fine lines and wrinkles while preventing new ones and also by brightening and evening out your skin tone by fading hyper-pigmentation spots. It also controls cell turnover and oiliness
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  • Bifida ferment lysate is a probiotic and it is becoming quite popular to add this ingredient into skincare products now. The claims are that it works as a DNA repair agent when applied to your skin. Bifida lysate is the fermented result of bifida and it should help revitalize skin so it is clear and radiant, increase hydration and prevent dehydrated, rough skin. It should also firm and restore elasticity to your skin while strengthening your skin barrier to help prevent damage from environmental factors.
  • Rice ferments are full of amino acids ~  over a 100:  organic acids, saccharides, vitamins, nucleic acids and esters. Fermented rice water helps keep your skin clear and moisturized, while helping to even out your skin tone by reducing hyper-pigmentation. Due to its own natural alcohol content, it is an astringent and also contains antibacterial properties to help control blemishes.
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This also has some juicy hydrating and soothing ingredients too:  Chamomile calms and soothes the skin, reducing redness and swelling. Aloe down the skin and relieve redness effectively. Aloe Vera is a powerful moisturizer that doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily or greasy. It soothes, treats inflammation, helps speed up skin healing and also has a plethora of antioxidants ~ beta-carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which help improve your skin’s firmness and keeps your skin moist and hydrated. Cucumber helps balance your moisture/oil skin levels and is effective in prevent acne.   Witch hazel is an blemish prone skin’s best friend because it has antibacterial and antiseptic benefits, helping clear up acne while removing excess oil from skin. It also helps shrinks blood vessels, which tightens our skin. Witch hazel can speed up healing and is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which also helps soothe skin, refreshes and rejuvenates skin, refines the pores and seal in moisture, while acting as a mild astringent. 

Secret Key Secret Key Starting Treatment Essential Mask is free from mineral oil, alcohol, animal oils, coloring and fragrance.

Ingredients: water, glycerin, galactomyces ferment filtrate (40,000ppm), betaine, bifida ferment filtrate, aspergillus ferment, saccharomyces/potato extract ferment filtrate, saccharomyces/rice bran ferment, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, salvia officinalis (sage) leaf extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) extract, anthemis nobilis flower extract, tilia cordata flower extract, portulaca oleracea extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, carbomer, hydroxyethylcellulose, triethanolamine, disodium EDTA, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol cosDNA  

Based on the ingredients list, I can say that this is going to be a brightening, purifying, soothing and oil controlling mask.  Let’s find out!  First up, I love the new packaging ~ it is pretty unique ~ the pouch is clear, so you can see the mask inside, and it clearly shows the Starting Treatment Essence bottle on the front ~ I know when I used the Starting Treatment Essence, I would make my own mask packs, so this is a nice reminder that the Essence and the mask are pretty much the same product!  This IS full of a scentless essence ~ very juicy and drippy ~ it is watery, but it is thicker than water, so it has some “heft” to it, if you know what I mean. 

The mask material itself is just okay ~ it isn’t too thick but not too thin, not plush but not rough ~  it is just somewhere in the middle.  The fit is HUGE, even for me and my big face ~ so this mask is great as it can be used by larger faces.  As it is so large, the fit is kinda bad.  However, you can tailor your sheet masks easily if this is too big for you ~ Jude at Fifty Shades of Snails shows you how to do a sheet mask hack  

This very drippy mask is very refreshing and cool on my skin as I wear it.  The adherence was good to ~ it didn’t pull away from my face, as thicker masks sometimes do, and it didn’t slip around either.  After 40 minutes, I removed it and it was STILL damp, so I just draped it across my neck for about 10 more minutes.  These things don’t dry ~ lol.  My skin is very hydrated and moist, but there is no sticky or tacky residue with this.  It dries down nicely without a dewy finish and my skin looks visibly brighter overall and any red spots have been calmed down considerably.  My pores look smaller in appearance and my skin feels softer. Yes, this is temporary but with regular use, the benefits will start to become more permanent.   

Just so you all know, I have tried SK-II’s Facial Treatment Masks and was totally let down ~ not only in results, but also in terms of sheet mask material, lack of watery essence, fit, adherence and PRICE TAG ~ $17.00 per mask.  Is Secret Key Starting Treatment Essential Mask better than SK-II?  Yeah, I am going to go out on a limb here and stand by that statement.  You get a fantastic formula, decent sheet mask material, dripping with fermented goodies, adherence, results  and you cannot beat the price tag.  You can purchase a box of 10 Secret Key Starting Treatment Essential Masks (click here)  at Jolse for under $21.00 USD ~ which means these masks are around $2.00 each ~ great deal, considering some fermented sheet masks are really expensive. Prices will fluctuate slightly due to the Korean Won/USD conversion. Jolse has free shipping all the time, ships internationally and gives out tons of free samples.  

And Jolse carries some of my favorite Secret Key items as well.. What is your favorite Secret Key item?  I think my next haul at Jolse is going to include the Starting Treatment Essence so I can do a review on it! 

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