Every week, fashion and beauty editor Jolene Khor, makeup artist Fiona Bennett, hair guru Christian Maranion, and beauty connoisseur Monica Saranya Selva De Roy — collectively known as The Clubbers — test drive the latest (and with hopes, the greatest) makeup, skincare, hair care, fragrance, bath and body drops to land in Singapore. Tools and brushes too. You get the idea. To buy in bulk or to take a hard pass? We give you the 411 so you never have to second-guess again.
In the spotlight this week:
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Serum Mask

We are well familiar with the benefits of a sheet mask. Capable as they might be at granting an overall brighter, smoother, and clearer visage, they prove less adept at dealing with specific problem areas. Chief among them, the delicate under eye region. Often plagued with all manner of dark circles, puffy eye bags, and wrinkles, the beauty industry has risen to the challenge as of late by developing eye masks designed to treat such issues. The latest to catch our eye (ha), is the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Serum Mask. This gentle giant supposedly revitalises skin thanks to a nutrient-rich ginseng formula, on top of providing moisture to the skin and promoting collagen synthesis within the dermis. Does it translate to brighter, more youthful skin beneath peepers with sustained use? Can it save us from the consequences of one too many late nights? The Buro. Beauty Club lies down to find out.
Health is Wealth
Here's the thing about the smell of ginseng — you either love it or hate it. I belong in camp one. Maybe it's my Chinese roots (pun unintended), maybe it's because it's backed by science, a fact I wasn't privy to until much later in my life. Way after it was introduced to me when I was a child as an exotic biological miracle. A beacon of everlasting health. A wellspring of life itself.

Taking that into account, whiffing it's scent upon unboxing the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Serum Mask does something to the conditioned psyche. I don't know how much of its effects were real and how much were boosted by placebo effect. I put the mask on and saw immediate results 20 minutes later — the area surrounding my eyes were visibly brighter and lines looked like they were hazed by an Instagram filter. It was something like midnight, (and I was exhausted) but I could have fooled someone with a vision 20/20.

Here's my gripe: I don't like that the packaging was layered with plastic. Sustainability is no joke. The other issue has to do with the shape of the mask. I won't be the only one who struggled with keeping it on snugly around the bridge of the nose. It kept wrinkling and popping out, which will affect the mask's efficacy in this area in the long run.

Jolene Khor

Waiting for a Miracle
I'm coming to my mid-thirties, I have one kid and another is on the way. Which means that I need all the help I can get when it comes to eye bags, eye wrinkles, eye anything! So when I read that the Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Serum Mask may add vitality and resilience to fatigued skin around my eyes and take care of persistent wrinkles... oh yeah, I'm totally in.

Look, it's a pretty impressive-looking eye mask. When you put it on, you feel like a superhero. It's great that it covers the entire eye area: under eye, temples, even eyebrows. While most other eye masks just sit under the eye, I need a lot more help than that! The Sulwhasoo eye mask is gel-like, thick, and clung to my skin adequately. It could be my "deformed" face but I felt it didn't conform to the curves of my face as well as some other masks. It also has a strong ginseng smell to it too — classic Sulwhasoo and a tad medical for my liking.

Did it do everything it claimed to do? It performed okay. While my skin looked a little brighter and smoother... a miracle didn't happen. I think most eye creams could have done the same job without needing me to wait around for 20 minutes. Sorry!

Fiona Bennett

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda
I'm always going on and on about acne issues but if there's one thing I am blessed with, it's that I don't have any under eye issues (yet). But when given the opportunity to treat myself, how can I refuse? I love a good skin treat but this is a bit of a miss for me.

The featured Panax Ginseng Root Water targets every possible under-eye issue. As the key of the formulation, it's said to help bolster natural firmness, aid in fading uneven skin tone, and smooth out rough skin. It's a very popular ingredient in skincare found in some of my favourite brands such as Paula's Choice, yet I was unable to feel its benefits on my skin.

That aside, there are still heaps of antioxidants in Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Serum Mask that are anti-inflammatory and rich in hydration. This mask should be a winner though I just couldn't help but feel that it was too dry for me. The skin-like texture of the mask does grip onto my skin. However the eye sockets of the mask did not sit right as there was not enough material to cover my nose bridge properly, making it quite awkward to wear. With other eye masks, after 15 to 20 minutes of application, I like to remove them and massage the remaining serum into my skin, something I can't do with Sulwhasoo's.

Christian Maranion

Lines? What Lines?
I had one mask I could play with and I had to make the best use of it. Naturally, I picked a day when I had a cake face on for 12 hours. Plus, I barely got four hours of sleep the night before. This was the perfect time I could think of to test it because I had puffy eyes, a bunch of fine lines from years of UV treatment for vitiligo, and heavy eye bags because I've recently gone off coffee and sugar. What is sleep? I don't know anymore.

I took out the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Serum Mask with great enthusiasm as I've never used a Sulwhasoo product before. I gasped at the packaging. It's as big as an Indian wedding invitation, which made me feel like royalty. After I tore through it, I found another glossy packet inside. The mask is inside that glossy packet. By then, I was slightly vexed by the amount of material that went into holding the mask, which felt wasteful.

When you get to the mask tray where the mask is resting, it immediately hits you — the strongest medicinal of scents. It's ginseng, which I absolutely love because it reminds me of good health. This is the most mess-free of masks I've ever come across. It has zero product spillage, and everything that needs to go on your skin, go on your skin.

Thirty minutes post-treatment, I smiled wide to evaluate my fine lines. I can't deny it, the reduction is practically instantaneous. Five hours of sleep later, I woke up to visibly tighter skin around the eye region, along with an Instagram message from Fiona Bennett saying I wore the mask the wrong way! Just think of the possibilities of even better skin around my eyes only if I'd worn the mask the right way…

Monica Selva De Roy
Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Serum Mask is available at all Sulwhasoo boutiques and counters.
The Clubbers
a.k.a. the people who will never lie to you, the beauty enablers you never thought you'd have, the voices of reason when logic goes out the window on payday, and when Sephora goes on sale.
Jolene Khor
Beauty Editor of Buro. Singapore
The fashion and beauty editor at Buro. Singapore swiped on her first glitter lip gloss at age 12 and have never looked back since — except the rare (only not so rare) occasions when she wants to feel better about her makeup skills as an adult. That kohl eyeliner look wasn't working out despite the fact that she was listening to The Cure and quoting Oscar Wilde. Her mother is thankful that K-beauty happened though that means her glow isn't just genetic. These days, her worst crimes are knocking out with full makeup on and forgetting to apply sunscreen on her neck. Old habits die hard.
Christian Maranion
Hair Specialist & Makeup Artist
Nine years. That's how long Christian Maranion has been in the hair game. Having honed his craft, he then began dabbling in makeup, finding equal joy in killing it at both. He has worked with the likes of Vanessa Fernandez aka Vandetta, Tabitha Nauser, and Charlie Lim. He also frequently collaborates with names such as Sephora, Elizabeth Arden, and Kat Von D to up their beauty game. Don't be fooled by appearances — though he may love dark humour and even darker outfits, he is a pocketful of sunshine.
Fiona Bennett
Makeup Artist & Hairstylist
Fiona Bennett is a makeup artist and hairstylist by profession, and a wife, mother, and part-time Kardashian expert when she's not hustling. Hailing from Australia, she reluctantly came to Singapore with her husband almost six years ago but she's grown to love it so much she wouldn't want to be anywhere else. She began her journey (sometimes by force) pinning her friends down to make them up before going out — only now she gets paid for it! You might find the self-proclaimed beauty-obsessed Fiona snapping up the latest products in the department stores on weekends. You name it, she has probably tried it.
Monica Selva De Roy
Henna & Makeup Artist
Monica doesn't have enough heads for the hats she wants to wear. When the sun's out, she's selling ultra cool tech that makes logistics look sexier than ever. Then, she slaps on some face cake to moonlight as an actress on Vasantham; from nasty stepmother to varsity mean girl, she's seen them all in the realm of antagonism. Oh, her makeup and henna businesses keep her busy during the weekends too. Amidst all this, she's finding time to test and review makeup — if that's not true love, what is?