You’ve probably noticed these baggies pictured below popping up in shopping malls, convenience stores, and even vending machines across the city. It was my wife that initially turned me on to these facial treatments. They are apparently pretty close to what you would find at a spa but sealed up in plastic in numerous flavors with each declaring that it will solve a specific problem. These are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s available to you, and they are super convenient when indulging in a spa treatment at every whim isn’t an option.
Hada Labo Aqua-Mask (RMB 79.9 for a pack of five)
Hada Labo, famous for their facewash and lotions, is owned by Mentholatun, and is maybe the most accessible Japanese brand to get in China next to Shiseido. It applies smoothly to your face, and after the recommended 15 minutes the results were noticeable with our skin feeling moist and gooey, a bit like a peach with its skin removed. This brand can be easily found at many beauty outlets, but maybe look on Taobao for a slight discount.
Shangpree Gold Premium Modeling Mask (RMB 229 for a pack of five)
Probably the most luxurious of the bunch, which perhaps explains why it comes in a 24K gold gel. They could have easily made it a burnt orange or a brown. This being said, it is also the brand that will most likely cause nightmares. Despite making you look monstrous, this two-step mask is well worth the price tag and filled with enough collagen, aloe, ginger root, and gold to help you turn back time Cher-style.
Herborist Rose Rejuvenating Mask (RMB 20 per pack)
This is one of the more high-end Chinese brands, and they can also be found in most shopping malls around town. These are loaded with a multitude of essential herb extracts, along with a high concentration of active ferment filtrates that provide nutrients to the skin and help with cellular regeneration. This is science speak for that it prevents obvious signs of aging, leaving your skin soft, silky, and full of elasticity.
Jayjun Aqua Collagen Skin Renewal (RMB 129 for a pack of ten)
Jayjun is currently one of the most popular Korean brands making these facial treatments. It makes use of multiple steps. The first is a gel consisting of hyaluronic acid essence, and the second part is the mask itself which is loaded with plant stem cells. Also, while we usually shy away from putting most types of acid on our faces, hyaluronic acid is known for treating everything from burns, wounds, and skin ulcers when applied topically.
Juyou Skin Repair Dressings (RMB 268 for a pack of five)
This medicinal grade facial treatment is a bit pricey, but for a good reason. From our minimal amount of research, these are the only ones actually used by hospitals to help in the healing process following a facial surgery, probably of the plastic variety. Luckily you don’t need to have had plastic surgery to reap the benefits from one of these Juyou masks. We gifted some of these to my mother during our last trip home, and she was pleased with the results!
San Sen Garden Firming & Sleeking Mask (RMB 65 for a pack of five)
Endorsed by Beijing beauty queen Fan Bingbing on the Xiaohongshu app, this brand has gained acclaim for helping to inject some much-needed moisture and firmness into millions of faces across China. We loved the packaging on this one. It made it look like this mask contained some ancient Chinese facial rejuvenation secrets. After using, it indeed left our skin feeling supple, but whether or not it had a much of a slimming effect would require us to break out a tape measure. We aren’t completely psycho.
Photos: Kipp Whittaker
This article appeared on p14-15 of beijingkids May 2018 issue