Making of a mask: Why For Beloved One masks are cult favourites
There are garden variety masks, the kind you pay $1 for and buy en masse, and then there are For Beloved One (FBO) masks. A cult mask brand, these are made from a special bio cellulose material that was traditionally engineered for use on burn victims. Not only do these masks adhere perfectly to your face and stay put, thanks to the jelly-like texture, it helps ingredients to penetrate more efficiently and completely for an obvious result. Once you've tried this, you won't want to go back to the cheap paper masks that tend not to absorb that well — leaving more liquid on your skin's surface and on the paper itself.
But at roughly $21 a piece, these masks do not come cheap, largely due to the quality and cost of the material and the expertise needed to create them. For Beloved One founder Margaret Wu, a former Marie Claire beauty editor from Taiwan, once told us that any sub-standard masks from the factories are discarded. Quality control ensures that each mask is of the perfect thickness for optimal performance. After 14 years, the brand is now rolling out a new, sister brand. Called For Beloved Girl (FBG), the new range is more affordable and is targetted at a younger audience, competing with the many Korean masks that have flooded the market.
What prompted you to create your first product, the bio cellulose mask, and your brand FBO?
When I was the beauty editor of Marie Claire many years ago, I noticed that many skincare products were from Europe. I knew that Asian customers liked masks and also wanted to be fair. I discovered the bio cellulose material in the medical industry. At first, the material was used for burnt skin, but I realised it was suitable for masks as well. If could work on burnt skin — skin that is in its weakest condition — it must be good for all skins.
Why do you think it's important for FBO and FBG to innovate?
We were motivated by the Asian customer because they are very sensitive and care a lot about their skincare. In Taiwan, many mothers tell their daughters from a young age that fairness can compensate for other flaws! Asian women really have a deep desire to maintain the condition of their skin. My purpose is to create innovative products and know what the customers want.
What innovations are you most proud of?
The discovery and use of the bio cellulose material that has become a classic product. We are also proud of the birth of FBG — our sister brand. I'm not sure if it's luck or my destiny, but I'm very proud of the brand and of my team.
What is the main difference between bio cellulose material and the normal, paper materials that we commonly see on the shelves?
We see bio cellulose as a revolutionary material for masks. In other masks, what was used a lot, were non-woven materials, similar to what would be used in diapers and sanitary napkins, that tend to absorb any serums or ingredients. But what bio cellulose does is that it is waterproof, but air permeable. So the air goes through, but the serum is locked inside and that's what makes it innovative. It also provides downward pressure, so that the skin can absorb the serum in the mask even better. Its thickness is very specifically measured to be the most ideal for the skin. Many other brands can mimic the material, but they can't mimic the ideal size and thickness of the masks.
Who is FBG targetted at?
FBO was founded 14 years ago and we had perfect results internationally. Two to three years ago when the K-beauty and K-drama wave started, we discovered that customers' habits were changing. We researched the Korean ingredients and I believed we could do it much better. I did a lot of trials and tests, and I hope you'll find the FBG masks good as well.
Tell us about the cloud-silk material used. Where does it come from and how does it work?
It comes from the fibre of corn seed — it's a natural fibre like cotton. I want to differentiate the two brands, so I wanted to be innovative with materials. Because it comes from cotton, it has perfect elasticity. When you stretch it on your face, it can provide a lifting action. This is one of the specialities of FBG and I think it will serve a different group of customers than FBO masks.
Based on the name of your brand, is it meant just for girls, or can anyone use it?
We emphasise on the younger generation with FBG, but the material and ingredients actually work on all age groups and skin types. There are minerals in the series, and we specifically used iontic minerals and it can work on a variety of skin types.
What are some future innovations of the brand that excite you?
We have a lot of plans and ideas because we now have two brands. However it's all yet-to-be-revealed due to confidentiality. For me, innovation is more like an instinct, with ideas popping up naturally. There are many blueprints in my office, so come visit when you're next in Taiwan and you can find out more.
For Beloved One and For Beloved Girl retails at Sephora