The words Donkey Milk caught my attention like a cat singing at the oscars (this never happened but if it did, I would be pretty curious and all sorts of excited). It was one of the first ingredients in Korean/Asian beauty that made my ears perk up and I couldn’t wait to try it. I found this particular sleeping mask by Imselene on sale at Memebox and I started looking into it. All the reviews about this product on kbeauty stores as well as on individual blogs and Instagram were so polarized! Some people seemed to love the product but hate the smell – some loved the effects it had but hated the consistency – some said this product changed their lives forever – some absolutely hated it. That’s mainly why I chose this product as my first review on this blog. I want to try to convince you that this product has gotten a really bad rep but it shouldn’t be judged by its slimy exterior.
It’s slimy. Very Very Slimy. This is the reason a lot of people hate it and think it looks gross but I think it makes more sense to think of it as a fun texture. The VVS consistency reminds me of the slime I used to play with as a kid and as with a lot of asian beauty, the packaging, textures and the process of using the product is intended to be fun so that you look forward to your skincare routine rather than thinking of it as a chore. This mask is difficult to use with my fingers but I really like using it with the brush. Since it sticks to the brush better, it helps separate the product from the rest of the jar well. I put it on my skin and sometimes spread it with my fingers but use the brush at other times. You can see from the pictures that my skin absorbs it really well. However, it does leave behind something that feels like a really thin film. I tried using the product in different quantities and the effects were definitely better when I used a smaller amount and spread it evenly. I think this might be because a thicker layer might not let the skin breathe as much while a thinner layer protects the skin from dehydration while also moisturizing and letting it breathe.
There were some reviews that said it stinks like rotten milk and the smell of a product can usually be a deal-breaker for me but I took the risk. To me it smells like coconuts, pina coladas and vanilla (Yum). Since most of the reviews that say the product stinks were from around the same time and more recently I’ve come across more people that love the smell, it leads me to believe that they either changed the formulation or had a bad batch.
I really loved the Too Cool For School Sleeping Mask that I tried because of my friend (a fellow AB blogger and beauty witch) and then I tried this one. While I loved the TCFS pumpkin mask and I intend to get a tube for myself soon, I saw much more significant and immediate results from this one. A lot of people that hate the consistency and smell still put up with it for the effects. It makes my skin so smooth and plump that I ask all my friends to touch it! (yes it’s weird) My skin looks brighter but that effect varies every time I use it probably because of the other products in my routine that might also be contributing to the brightness.
Ingredients (From Memebox):
Water, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane/Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Peg-240/Hdi Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Cyclopentasiloxane/Cyclohexasiloxane, Niacinamide, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Donkey Milk, Sodium Polyacrylate, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Perfume, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Methylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA
The only ingredients that show up as irritants on cosdna are Butylene Glycol, Triethanol amine and Carbomer so as someone with acne-prone skin, this was a sign that I needed to find out more about them.
Butylene Glycol : 1,3-Butanediol is a commonly used ingredient in many products and it’s used as a solvent that decreases the viscosity of the product making it easier to use (I guess we can say they tried to make the product less slimy but maybe another ingredient countered it?) While it’s listed as an acne irritant, it has been listed as safe for use since no scientific studies have shown harmful effects or organ toxicities to the levels of exposure that are approved. It has been observed to be irritating around the eye area but you shouldn’t be using most products (other than eye creams and some moisturizing lotions) around your eye area anyway. It has been found to be safe for the environment (non-toxic and non-bioaccumulative). Overall, although there are concerns about additive exposure, it’s supposedly much safer than other glycols and it’s used in many products so it’s difficult to avoid.
Triethanolamine: This ingredient is used to adjust the overall pH of the product and as an emulsifier to prevent the product from clumping or caking on the skin. Its short term effects include irritation of the eyes so it shouldn’t be used around the eyes. There is strong evidence of it being associated with respiratory toxicity, allergies and the immune system but this is limited to the concentration. I would make sure you wash off the mask thoroughly in the morning to avoid any additive effects since the ingredient is also present in makeup products.
Carbomer: Again, used as an emulsion. This product is not suspected to be toxic to organs, bioaccumulative or environmentally harmful. Most concerns come from the fact that it’s a petro-chemical ingredient but it seems to be one of the safest petrochemical ingredients and there isn’t much information on any harmful effects.
So that was a lot to take in but if you want to skip it, in short I’m only really concerned with the Triethanolamine.
I really like it! It’s a big container and I use a tiny amount so I feel like I’m never going to run out (ends up being really low on the price per use). I’m concerned about the triethanol amine ingredient so I’m going to try to find a sleeping mask that has a better replacement for that ingredient but nevertheless, I’m going to continue using this one in moderation.
Would I Repurchase? Maybe not because there’s so much of it and I’ll probably find a different product by the time I run out of it.
Should you try it? Yes! If it’s on sale or if you can get a discount, go for it! It’s a really nice product to try and it might not end up being your favorite but it could be your new favorite quick-fix and fun product to use for its moisturizing and smoothing effect.
Some of my sources for ingredients: Butylene Glycol Deets, This link is scary but there isn’t much details about any actual research cited, Spooky Triethanolamine, Carbomer references and stuff, More Carbomer Stuff