Since beginning my skincare regimen, I have focused a lot on the way it helps me to de-stress, especially at night. From calmly layering (and layering) on the products to sitting quietly with a sheet mask, I consider my routine as a form of self care.
In part, that is why you’ll find my routine peppered with effective products that feel nice on my skin but also smell really good: my skincare routine really touches on a lot of the senses. In fact, as I found when trying the Pyunkang Yul mist, good products that are scentless often bore me, and I find myself not reaching for them. (Of course, a heavily-fragranced product that doesn’t smell good to my nose is just as likely to get tossed or given away.)
So, when I find a nicely scented product that feels nice, smells good, and helps me relax, I am all over it.
Thus, when I finally tried the Kao Steam Eye Masks, I fell in love. They are the perfect de-stressing tool that uses touch and smell to help calm your mind. They aren’t like any other skincare product I’ve discussed before, in part because I guess they’re not technically skincare.
Kao masks are a Japanese product that actually remind me a lot of the little hand and feet warmers I would occasionally use growing up in the cold tundra of the Midwest of the United States.
The little pads contain cellulose, iron, water, activated carbon, vermiculite (water reservoir) and salt. The iron produces heat via exothermic oxidation of iron when its exposed to the air (science!). They go in your mittens and boots to help keep you warm.
The Kao masks operate basically in the same way. Once you take them out of the package and use the ear loops to fasten it loosely over your eyes, the eye pads begin to warm up. I can’t get a good translation of the package, but I assume the “ingredients” are much the same as other air-activated warmers. The purple-patterned side of the mask faces away from your eyes.
I’ve used a number of these, and they have never gotten too hot or burned my skin, so don’t be worried if you fall asleep with one on. The heat lasts for about 20 minutes or so. It’s a very light warmth that helps relax your face muscles (where I hold lots of my tension).
The mask is also lightly scented, so as it warms up, you also get a bit of aromatherapy. They come in a wide variety of scents and they also have unscented ones if you are sensitive to smells. My favorite is the Chamomile Ginger, although the Yazu (citrus) is also quite nice.
The ear loops are soft and I unlike other sheet masks I’ve tried that include them, with the Kao steam eye masks, I don’t even feel them around my ears. The material is soft and stretchy; it’s so comfortable that I have been using these to help me fall asleep.
You’ve probably seen the cooling eye masks that help de-puff your eyes, and I’m sure those are great for the summer, but in the winter, I’m definitely reaching for the Kao steaming eye masks. These are also perfect for travel.
Have you tried Kao Steaming Eye Masks? If so, let me know what your favorite scent is in the comments!
Where you can buy:
Generally, I try not to spend more than $20/ box for them; I usually look for sales when they’re around $14/box.