It’s been a while since I’ve strolled in the 34th Street Urban Outfitters but when I do, I raid the back beauty section with hidden Korean brands gems. It’s changed a lot where there were fewer varieties of brands and most weren’t prominently featured anymore getting it’s own shelf space. I had word that some Goodal products were marked down as cheaply as $7 (and lo and behold there was a massive Club Clio/Goodal sample sale in Chinatown the following week I found out). I digress. The newest and most interesting product I picked up was the Kocostar Brightening Mask made from Chitosan fibers and it wasn’t the strange “Chitosan” word that intrigued me but it was a two step mask in that the essence and sheet mask were in different chambers. At the time you’re ready to mask, you need to fold the mask length-wise in thirds and then squeeze on the essence “zone” so that it pops the seal that connects the two compartments. You then drain the essence into the sheet mask “zone” and wait for it to gel up before letting it hit your face. “Cool!” was my first thought but I later learn that “cool” isn’t always better.

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About Kocostar

Kocostar is actually a Canadian brand that manufactures its products in Korea. My first encounters with Kocostar was on Memebox where I grew familiar with their Therapy Series masks for your hair, nails, feet and hands. For some reason, they don’t advertise their facial sheet masks on their site yet this Brightening Mask is available at major retailers like Ricky’s, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters in the United States. Their value proposition is that they offer “salon quality products to get your hair silky, your feet pretty and your nails sparkly quickly and affordably. […] Save your time and your dime.”

About the Brightening Mask with Chitosan Fiber

Kocostar Brightening Mask Chitosan Fiber Review
I miss my glass nails but yea, this Chitosan fiber mask thing is the latest grab from UO.

This is a 2-Step mask in which the Power Brightening Solution (the essence) and the sheet mask are separated and you’ll have to do some grunt work in prepping the mask when you’re ready to mask. In order to soak the sheet mask in its juice you need to fold the packet in thirds and then apply enough pressure to pop the thinner seal that connects the two “zones” together.

Another unique aspect of the mask is that it’s made from “Chitosan” fiber which cued my googling fingers to look up what the heck this was and why it’s worth $8 for a one-time use product. Other than Chitosan being used as a dietary pill, there was little information on it being used as a sheet mask. Chitosan is derived from chitin which is a substance in the exoskeleton of crustaceans such as crab, crayfish and shrimp. It (supposedly) binds to fat that has not been absorbed in our bodies yet and gets excreted out since Chitosan is indigestible (source). From what I can derive from its use as a dietary pill, Chitosan is what makes the sheet mask gel up as the milky essence pops its way into the sheet mask compartment. This was the cool factor that lead to my impulse buy.

Product Claims

The claims on the packaging:

  • Brightening: Improves the complexion (brighter and even skin tone)
  • Lifting: Makes the skin feel tighter and lifted
  • Moisturizing

“Combined with Chitosan fiber and the essence, it creates a layer that aborbs any dirt on the face.” And you get a free side of French translation too.

Packaging, Size, Price, etc.

It was $8 at Urban Outfitters that’s normally way over my sheet mask budget but I was intrigued at this 2-step-Chitosan-fiber thing so there was almost no talking me out of it $__$. I would spring a little more for a sheet mask if the effects would last over 2 days and those unicorns are rare so I’m gonna be asking IS THIS WORTH MY MONEY?

There’s 25 mL of essence which is the normal amount I would expect in any sheet mask but once the essence gelled with the mask, there was no extra essences left to pat onto your face afterwards (which I don’t really care about) but for $8, this better have me glistening like the shrimp shells it came from.

The Masking

You’re supposed to fold the package lengthwise in thirds and squeeze the essence compartment enough so that it pops the seal that would allow it to drain into the dry sheet mask “zone”.

Kocostar Brightening Mask Chitosan Fiber Review Instructions Back
The English/French science diagram! TL;DR: Pop that shit.

This gif explains it better than I can in words:

The prep process was a PAIN. My wrists hurt and although I didn’t *really* punch it, I sure wanted to if it had a face. Even though the seal is thinner where it’s supposed to pop, it was still difficult as hell. I was worried that it was going to explode the opposite end and I’ll get my wish – to have sweet essence all over my face but in a bad way.

Kocostar Brightening Mask Chitosan Fiber Review close up
I drew a black line outlining the seal and how it’s supposedly to be easier to pop (which it was NOT).

Notice how the bottle is cutely positioned where the seal is supposed to open and drain into the dry sheet mask zone.

Mask Material & Fit

Upon taking the soaked sheet mask out after waiting 1 minute for it to gel, it was very milky and slippery-feeling. The sheet mask was really smooth and held together by one netted mesh. The mesh oddly did not have the mouth and eye holes cut out so I kinda had trouble looking at the mirror in order to apply the mask before taking off the mesh. I could have tried to take the mesh off – perhaps that was the intention – but I didn’t want to potentially damage or make it more difficult to apply.

It completely wrapped and hugged my face so well! I was VERY happy with it’s fit and the only small gripe was how wide the upper lip/mustache area was. You can see how it covers my cupid’s bow a little bit and that’s my biggest pet peeve. I just used my finger to nudge it up a bit. The nose area is great but be mindful I have a smaller nose bridge. I think the milky essence adheres really well and it didn’t drip either.

Kocostar Brightening Mask Chitosan Fiber Review

Outcomes

The instructions say to leave on for 15- 20 minutes and it’s not one of those masks where you can just leave on past the recommended duration because it will dry up around the chin, nose and forehead edges. That’s the obvious cue that you need to take it off and you should because you will experience a faint ripping sound since the mask has now literally adhered to your skin.

The next set of instructions tell you to leave the essence on for the next 5 minutes so that it will have the lifting effect and boy did it LIFT! My skin tightened up, it was smoother and yes, it felt lifted as promised from its claims. It felt almost unnatural to have my skin THIS tight and lifted – as if I just had Botox injections – but thankfully the last part of the instructions is to RINSE YOUR FACE and finish with your facial cream.

Usually you wouldn’t rinse off a mask’s essence because you would want it to absorb but this this was obviously a different species of shrimp masks. I was relieved that the insane tightening effect faded away and the application of the rest of my routine went swimmingly well. Skin was firm and moist – no complaints afterwards except…

Small note: I didn’t think it was a big deal to to use my headband since I just washed my hair but the essence hardened on my hairline and took a while to wash out. Highly advised that you pin everything back.

Ingredient List

A solid “A-” in the ingredient list! Tons of botanical extracts, brightening, moisturizing, conditioning and antibacterial ingredients! Only one ingredient on CosDNA showed up as a “5” as an acne trigger (highlighted in alarming red). Yay for all the beneficial ingredients I highlighted in green but be aware that YMMV and you may or may not react badly to something.

water, squalene, niacinamide, isopropyl myristate, macadamia integrifolia seed oil, polysorbate 60, butylene glycol, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), nonoxynol-12, phenoxyethanol, glycolic acid, chlorphenesin, panthenol, allantoin, portulaca oleracea (moss rose) extract, milk protein extract, disodium edta, betaine, hydrolyzed collagen, nelumbo nucifera (sacred lotus) flower extract, iris pallida (orris) root extract, leontopodium alpinum (edelweiss) extract, lilium candidum (white lily) flower extract, jasminum officinale (Jasmine) flower extract, freesia refracta extract, rosa centifolia (rose hip) flower extract, dipptassium glycyrrhizate (licorice root extract), hydrolyzed chitin, caprylyl glycol, glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, propanediol, sodium hyaluronate, hydrogenated lecithin, illicium verum (anise) fruit extract, ceramide 3, caprylic/capric triglyceride

To better understand the ingredient benefit groups, I tried to categorize them below, note that some ingredients will be repeated twice or thrice because they’re that nice!

Benefits

Ingredients
Brightening Niacinamide
Licorice Root Extract
Moisturizing Squalene
Macadamia Seed Oil
Vitamin E
Panthenol
Allantoim
Betaine
White Lily Flower Extract
Jasmine Flower Extract
Freesia Refracta Extract
Rose Hip Flower Extract
Glycerin
Sodium Hyaluronate
Hydrogenated Lecithin
Anise) Fruit Extract
Ceramide 3
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Exfoliating Glycolic Acid
Sacred Lotus Flower Extract
Anti-Inflammatory Moss Rose Extract
Sacred Lotus Flower Extract
Lifting/Firming Milk Protein Extracts
Hydrolyzed Collagen
Edelweiss Extract

Conclusion – Is This Worth My Seaweed Money?

This was a tough call because A.) I didn’t like how long or difficult it took to just START masking. I already put enough enough pressure on my wrists from doing planks, aerial silks, and getting carpal tunnel from too much computer use. And B.) I was a little turned off by how TIGHT my skin felt after taking it off. It felt like those mask packs you put on where you feel your skin tighten as it dries. It was a temporary feeling but I also didn’t think it was necessary since you’re supposed to wash your face and it goes back to normal. So no, I would not repurchase but maybe this isn’t for my age range. I only have fine laugh lines I would like to address and the mask tightened my skin twenty years back however I can see this working miracles for someone else who has mature skin.

Rating: 3/5 – Didn’t really work for me but I think it would be great for someone else

Comment Below!

Have you tried anything from Kocostar yet? How did you like their products? Comment below or tag me on Instagram!