Review: I Tried Starskin’s Detoxing Sea Kelp Leaf Sheet Mask

By now, y’all should know how much I love trying weird beauty products. Since my time at Allure, I’ve openly shared my experience of test-driving unconventional skin-care products, like that one time I slapped on a neck sheet mask while topless, or another time when I lathered up with a bouncy balloon-like cleanser while nearly blind in the shower. Bottom line, I will literally try anything once. Consider me Allure‘s YOLO editor. (Is that still a thing?)

My latest experiment sprung from a recent deskside meeting with Starskin, a Korean skin-care brand that’s recently made its way stateside. I was introduced to its Master Cleanser Mask Detoxing Sea Kelp Leaf Face Mask, which is made entirely of sea kelp, as the name suggests. We’re talking serious, 100 percent real sea kelp leaves, which, according to the brand’s founder Nicole Arnoldussen, are hand-harvested — before being drenched in a hydrating essence filled with organic plant extracts, like chlorella, bamboo, and soybeans — in a small fishing town of Wando on an island in Southwestern Korea. It’s said that each mask takes 1,304 hours to create, beginning from the time of sea kelp harvest to package production.

Fascinated (and thoroughly impressed, TBH) by all the work that goes in to manufacturing just one sheet mask, I felt it was my duty to give the treatment a try for myself. And after speaking with Beverly Hills–based dermatologist Ava Shamban, who told me sea kelp, which is rich in essential fatty acids, is great for the skin and can help prevent signs of premature aging, I was more than ready to give this slimy green mask a go.

After cleansing one evening, I ripped open the mask, which comes in two halves, and gently slapped each half onto my face. But wait. Even before I could get these puppies on my mug, I was almost blown away by the sea kelp’s pungent aroma. It was so strong. Not bad, not good — but very sea kelp-y. Still, the scent wore off down after a few minutes, and I was well on my way to brighter skin.

Hannah Choi/Allure

While the instructions recommend 15 minutes of wear, I decided to call it quits after about ten. The combination of the two mask halves sliding off my face and my cat’s incessant meowing (I think she really wanted to eat my mask, but who knows?), made me give up sooner than I would have liked, but such is life. I was still able to see visible results after peeling off the green gooey treatment. My skin was noticeably brighter and my underlying redness subsided for the rest of the evening. Oh, and I smelled like a sushi restaurant. Again, my cat didn’t seem to mind. Overall, I’d say this was a fun one. A smelly fun one, but definitely worth doing again.

You can shop the Starskin Master Cleanser Mask Detoxing Sea Kelp Leaf Face Mask for $15 each at

More skin treatments we love:

  1. Sephora Literally Can’t Keep This Best-Selling Eye Cream in Stock
  2. Here’s What Glossier’s New Sunscreen Serum Looks Like on 5 Different Skin Tones
  3. You Have to Literally Pop Boscia’s Balloon Cleanser to Use It

Now, find out what happened when one editor tried a magnetic face mask:

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