Sundays are my lazy day. I like to drink coffee, not move, and treat myself to something nice. I often end up doing some kind of face mask on Sundays, and today was no exception. I got the Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo as a sample from Sephora, so I thought I’d try it out today. According to Sephora’s website, Caolion was the “first brand to market natural skincare in Korea. The founder, Jinyoung Joo, wanted to develop products suited to people with sensitive skin, like herself.” The products are hypoallergenic and free of synthetic dyes, fragrances, and alcohol. Korean skincare is starting to trend in the United States, and I’ve only dipped my toes in to Korean beauty (by which I mean I’ve tried some sheet masks), so I’m excited to test this out!
To give you some idea of what my skin needs are, I have dry skin. However, I have very large pores on my cheeks, smaller pores on my forehead and chin, and noticeable sebaceous filaments (little black dots) all over my nose. Minimizing appearance of pores is a large step in my skincare routine. I try to accomplish this by using a BHA (like the Stridex pads) every few days.
This pore pack comes in two parts. The first step is a “hot pore cleansing” and the second is a “cool pore tightening.” The hot part is formulated to work kind of like a steam facial in that it should open up your pores. There are gritty grains in the product that Caolion calls “natural buffing grains.” The hot part is a dark gray, charcoal color, which makes sense since it contains charcoal powder and volcanic ash. You are supposed to put it on your T-zone, buff it into the skin for 1-2 minutes, and then let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then, you wash it off with cold water. The product feels slightly like honey and spreads on the face like honey would. The gritty exfoliation doesn’t feel too harsh. The mask started feeling sort of warm, and I was worried my skin was getting irritated. My skin felt tight, like I was using a charcoal mask. I washed it off after 10 minutes with cold water, and luckily, I did not notice any redness or irritation.
The cool part is supposed to tighten your pores. The instructions are the same, except you wash this part off with lukewarm water. This mask is a light gray color and has no gritty pieces in it. I found this mask somewhat uncomfortable to wear. It contains menthol, and the whole time you have it on, it feels like you rubbed Vick’s Vaporub all over your face. Menthol is known to irritate the skin, so I would not recommend this for sensitive skin types, despite what the brand seems to be geared towards. My skin is not very sensitive, and I doubted this mask would dry me out since the first two ingredients are water and glycerin, which add hydration to the skin.
After washing this mask off, I did not notice any dryness or redness. My pores did look a little less noticeable, but the biggest difference was in how my skin felt. I felt less texture in areas where I used this mask as compared to areas of my face where I did not. I think using this mask before applying makeup would be great, and would make your makeup glide on very smoothly. I don’t think it is necessarily a game-changer for pore visibility. The only mask I have ever been able to say that actually did reduce the size of my pores noticeably was the Glamglow Supermud Mask. I have yet to buy a full size of that mask, though, because of the insane price tag. This Caolion mask is $30, which is much more affordable, and might be worth it for someone whose goal is smooth makeup application. For someone who wants real pore minimizing results, I would stick to a BHA exfoliant due to this product’s potential for skin irritation.