Sometimes I Never Learn: 3 Things I Always Regret Purchasing

A while back I wrote a post about The Painful Path to K-Beauty Wisdom: 7 Mistakes Beginners Make, which covered some of the most common beginner mistakes that I see people make over and over.  Some of them were mistakes I made myself, some ones I've observed are common in general.

What about mistakes that I keep making, even though I'm dangerously close to being a K-Beauty hipster who keenly remembers the days when BB creams could only be bought directly from Asia,  Korean skincare hadn't yet caught on, and snail filtrate was still unthinkable?  (Ooo, I can feel myself growing a curled-stache & glitterbeard at the very thought.  Quick, get me a Portland craft beer and a pair of suspenders!)   Surely I should know better by now, right?

Sigh.  Somehow, there are a few mistakes that I keep making, despite really knowing better by now, and I'm going to 'fess up.  For someone who is as seriously interested in mindfulness in purchasing and self-care, it's awkward to to talk about the things that I still struggle with but, I'm going to do it anyway!

1. Sheet masks I don't actually want to use

Gah, why do I keep doing this to myself?  I'm getting better at this, but every time I see cute masks with animals or skeletons or interesting prints, I'm always tempted to grab them because I can totally take cute #sheetmaskselfies and post them on social media, right?

I think this sticker pretty much sums up my feelings about having a bunch of cute but useless masks.
Heck yeah!  These are expressly made for cute sheet mask selfies!  Look how cute they are!  Who doesn't want to look like a panda/sheep/racoon?

Except that I don't post maskselfies, ever.

My Instagram feed is pretty consistent: hauls, new products, routines, new blog posts, sheet mask reviews, and reposts of jaw-droppingly gorgeous packaging like the History of Whoo or packagingp0rn from my own stash, like this:

A photo posted by Snow White and the Asian Pear (@snowwhiteandtheasianpear) on

Sheet mask selfies, or any kind of selfie, is not my style.  My IG is about the products, not about me, and I'm OK with that.

It's not that I don't enjoy seeing other people's crazy maskselfies or I don't agree with people sharing their excitement/the social element of cute masks, but unless a mask has an amazing fit like Mediental, Evercos, or silk masks, I always have to cut them into a hydrogel pattern which is a tip from Making the Most out of K-Beauty: 5 Simple Hacks to compensate for inferior sheet materials:

cutting sheet masks to fit
Image from Making the Most out of K-Beauty: 5 Simple Hacks
For some reason, sheet masks are always too small for the top half of my face and too large for the bottom, even though I have a very round/square face and it's huge.  #moonfaceproblems

Cutting sheet masks to fit isn't new, but when I realized I could get the fit of a hydrogel without having to deal with the dread face condom feel, it was a game-changer.  The problem is that my cuts never look this tidy and even in real life, and cutting ruins the look of the mask, which kinda defeats the purpose, no?  In my experience, these masks are never actually good masks; their primary appeal is how they look, and I just hacked it up.

And there's no way I'm going to buy a mask and put up with it not fitting/working just so I can take selfies with it.  I think I threw up a bit in my mouth just typing that sentence.  Nope nope nope.

Snesus is judging me hard. [image source]
It's hard to resist when Innisfree does 10+10 deals where I can get masks for $0.60 shipped, or when something has cute packaging even though I know the mask is likely to be trash, because cute packaging!

But unlike gorgeous jars or bottles I can reuse, I'm not about to save old sheet mask packets, letting them molder away with rotting old sheet mask essence, eh?  *shudder*

I have a lot of sheet masks, but I only actually want to use around 20% of them, and when I find myself rebuying specific masks rather than have to use the rest of my stash, I know I need to take myself to Snesus.

I just need to come to terms with the fact that Mediental, Evercos, and silk masks have ruined me forever, and that I just can't go back to regular masks.  Even if they have cute prints on them.

2. Things I buy because of free shipping

I am so, so guilty of this.  I find myself in situations where I could either spend, say, $7 on shipping or spend $10 on something and hit free shipping.  Then I'm really just spending $3 extra and getting something for it, so it's totally worth it, right?

Well the thing is, I rarely find myself actually using the products that I threw into my order to hit free shipping; so they just lurk around, taking up space, bloating my stash sheet, and generally making me feel guilty about not using them.  I need to remind myself that even if it's $3, that's $3 that ended up being wasted and I've got nothing to show for it other than unwanted clutter and feelings of regret and guilt.

I'm getting better at this too, but I have to forcibly remind myself not to be lazy and actually look up the cost of shipping (this can be buried on some sites or require a lot of extra steps to estimate cost based on weight) and weigh the cost and likelihood that I'll use the product.  If it's something that requires a place in my testing schedule, do I even have room for it?

3. Things that were cheap/looked promising/I don't have anything like it

Snesus, save me from myself.  "Ooo, look at that cute/interesting/new thing" I say.  "I don't have anything like that in my stash/it's so cheap/that packaging looks bomb" I say.  I put it in my cart, and then I smack myself when I return to sanity.

These two Mizon products have been guilt tripping me for a whole year
Sometimes, while dazzled by prices 80% below retail, I grab things because they look vaguely interesting and hey, it's only $6?  It's so cheap and it looks like it might be decent- who doesn't want a $6 tub of moisturizing gel?  *me of 1 year into the future, where I still haven't used it yet, raises hand* 

Snesus says NO! [image source]
I need to remind myself of what I already have queued up in my testing schedule and whether I really, really want to bump something off that list to make room for it.

Chances are, I already have something that is 1. more expensive and 2. a heck of a lot more exciting.  

By that scale, why would I pass over something that I am more invested in for the sake of something that I don't want as much, just because it's cheap?

Also, if I don't already have something like it, maybe I need to stop for a moment and think about why I don't have something like it already.  Sleeping packs are a classic example.

I hate sleeping packs.  They are HG for so many people, but I've got to come to terms with the fact that they're just not for me.  I am a side sleeper (Mr. Snow amends: "You are an octopus sleeper.") and I can't sleep without being eeled around my spouse like a reptile trying to slither up a tree.  Sleeping on my back so my sleeping pack remains on my face as intended is just not happening, despite my best intentions.

That means that sleeping packs either have to be applied so damn early that I might as well just have used a sheet mask or a night cream, or they end up on my pillow and eventually in my hair.

Sleeping pack on my scalp? No.
[image source]
Sleeping pack grease in my hair- no thanks, I already have an oily scalp and super long, grumpy hair that doesn't like to be washed more than a few times a week.  If there's any hair + slathering going on, it needs to be at the ends, not at the roots.

Moreover, sleeping packs are often really occlusive, and my dehydrated combination-oily skin doesn't really like occlusives much.  By that, I mean it has breakout tantrums, so I have to apply heavy products really sparingly and only in some areas, so buying an entire tub is pointless.

Stop lusting after sleeping packs, self!  You know better by now.

Overcoming this habit is a work in progress, and I'm getting better at stopping myself to really, really consider if something is good, or just new?

One thing I have managed to do is firmly resist a few "new" trends that just didn't make any sense to me.  Modelling masks are a good example- sure they were the hot new trend, and some people (whose opinions I respect) really liked them, but I hate thick, occlusive things on my face.  Modelling masks definitely act as a 'seal' on the skin, even if they are eventually removed, and my skin hates the water here so anything that needs to be rinsed or washed off is a bad idea for me.  I have a friend sending me one of hers so I can give it a whirl before officially calling it as a "do not want" but I didn't waste any money on it.

If you need one of these to
use it, the answer is NOPE.
[image source]
Another is splash masks.   No hate if you have one yourself and you love it, but I have yet to see any of my go-to K-Beauty bloggers get behind this trend, despite it being non-stop flogged by vendors and mainstream media outlets that get their trend intel from said vendors.

In fact, I have seen several bloggers who have no qualms about calling out bullsh*t decry them as a terrible product, and just the idea of them alone makes me want to facepalm.

Let's be real here.  My sink is already a watery disaster zone after my routine, without me attempting to "splash" anything on purpose.  I'm certainly not about to fuss around with dirtying a large bowl in an attempt to emulate the enthusiastic-yet-elegant water flinging normally seen in commercials.

Why not do it in the shower?  Indeed, why not either waste money and hot water by running the shower while I splash something on my face in the hopes it will impart miracles in a matter of moments, defying the mechanisms of absorption?  Indeed.  Or even better, why not turn the shower off and stand there bedraggled, sopping wet, chilled, and shivering while I wait for something that I could have just as easily gotten from a serum or essence that I could apply in 2 seconds and leave on my skin, or a sheet mask that I could have used as an excuse to zen out and relax for 20 minutes?  Indeed.

So I don't care how much this annoying trend gets touted in magazines, talk shows, and online media- unless I see a grassroots swell of support from people I know are legit K-Beauty veterans and not just vendors with a vested interest in hawking a new product that people don't have (for good reason), I won't be falling prey this time. *hi fives self*

Way to go, self!  Remember: new does not equal good, so let's roll outta here.
image from
Do you have those perennial mistakes that you keep making?  Trends that you fell prey to and regretted?  Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

Have something you'd like to share with me?  Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram at @snowwhiteandtheasianpear because I'd love to see it!

All the best,

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. Totally don't get splash masks either. More work and waste for...the same results as just applying an essence or serum like a normal person? My mistake is buying so much more stuff than I can use! Especially toners/first essences because those things last forever. And then I end up with like 10 open bottles of serums and none of them get used consistently enough for me to figure out what works and what doesn't. --Angela

    1. "More work and waste for...the same results as just applying an essence or serum like a normal person?"

      Amen, girl! I just don't get this at all. At least modelling masks kinda make sense, since they're sealing it all in so your skin is being forcibly basted in goo, and sheet masks have the slow-cooker method of imparting hydration to the skin over time, but splash masks ... just no.

  2. I think it was divine will that I read this post immediately after purchasing an ungodly amount of very random sheet masks....some of which may or may not have animal faces on them.....



      Me and my collection of unused animals masks are not judging you, I promise. We understand.

  3. I LOVE this post. Well, I actually love all your blog, but this one made me laugh :P I'm pretty new to the Korean skincare world (jumped into it this year), so I'm not really qualified to have my own "neverlearns" yet.


    1. <3 I'm glad that you liked it! I'm not shy about admitting when I trip over my own feet and fall on my face, even if it's not very dignified. ;)

  4. My mistake: buying something on a Korean site such as 11st that can be ordered from a more mainstream K beauty vendor. I think, oh it is cheaper on 11st, but now I'm paying EMS. I like 11st, and I like getting my hauls quickly, but I HATE paying that much for shipping. I need to remember to save 11st for the goodies that I can't easily or cheaply find anywhere else.

    Second mistake: blindly trusting a brand. I use a lot of one particular brand (hint, the one with the stickers) and really like the bulk of their products. I wanted a different sunscreen for winter and bought their aloe one. I'm still doing damage repair because my face went wtfits?!

    Also, don't feel too bad, I have also purchased giant piles of sheet masks because they were on sale and had free shipping after a certain price point. I don't even want to use them anymore; they don't fit as nice and don't work as well as some others. I'm so very tired of them and they just sit in a shoebox and a little section in the fridge taking up space. I thought about giving them away to co-workers, but I have a feeling they would just look at me like why is she giving me an expired mask whose directions I can't read?

    Great post as always Cat!

    1. Ooo yeah I feel these. There have been times when I've been busting my tail to source products via Avecko only to realize I could spent $5 above list price and get it from a US vendor and have it in-hand in days.

      It's funny, after all these years I have brand lust but not loyalty, because yeah as you said, even if their offerings are usually solid, it's not a blanket guarantee and mistakes are still made.

  5. what a nice post!! I'm guilty sooo guilty of theses mistakes, except from masks. hehe. Thanks for the nice post.

  6. "Quick, get me a Portland craft beer and a pair of suspenders!"

    I GOTCHUUU BOO. I'll send you a Limberjack IPA asap!

    But seriously, I feel you on the buying things because they look nifty/I don't have it/Cool packaging. I am so guilty of this. I have so many moisturizers that I'll never use up by the time they expire -.-


    1. "I'll send you a Limberjack IPA asap!" Please make sure it has a rare kind of wild blueberry in it! <3

  7. Thankfully I've never been much of an impulse buyer or a fact i dont get hauls. I just buy what i want in the quantities i want/ need...
    Anyway the popularity and the way sheet masks are used worries me because of their impact on the environment...
    I really enjoy sheet masks, but as i order one or open a packet i cant stop thinking about the plastic covering going in the trash and the sheet its self...are those things recyclable or biodegradable?
    The environmental impact of beauty products is never discussed in any AB blogs, i've seen, am I the only person bothered by this?

  8. I have no problems with number one with the sheet masks because I cannot take fragrances. I got a leaders insolution mask as a sample from my wishtrend order and damn shit smells strongly and badly. It's a very chemical cosmetic product smell. I got 2 I really cannot use it so I gotta find someone and give that mask away. And I notice with Korean masks 99% of them have fragrance added. It's very easy for me to say hell no. Also I like the saeki chizu 3minute lotion masks. They're definitely effective for hydration. The only mask I use is the kose clear turn masks

    1. Fragrance can be a real crapshoot with products for sure. Thankfully DIY masks are also a good option, since you can get the cotton sheets cheaply and make your own. :)

  9. Love this, because I am very much in this same place where I am trying to spend consciously and not just give in to the excitement I feel when I'm around skincare. Esp CUTE skincare. I think I got lucky in that I hauled a lot of stuff early on in my skincare phase that was on sale, some hyped stuff, and then wasn't dazzled by any of it. I didn't spend a ton (well under $100) but I was like -- none of that was great. So it made me think carefully. Now I'm preferring much more moderate "hauls" but buying with intent and care. I like the results :)

    1. That's a success story right there, good on you! ;)

  10. I miss the days when kbeauty was about sharing knowledge and new skincare trends. When did everything become so shallow?

  11. Lucky I'm not a mask sheet fan. For some reason it doesn't work on me haha..

    But yeah, I love trying things.. And sometimes I bought more than I could finish.

    1. Sheet masks aren't for everyone :) Some people love them, some people can't stand them. :)

  12. We have the same skin type so when I've tried a product you like it generally works out well for me. It's funny because I think we might have opposite skincare personalities. I actually like the CosRx 'Honey' sleeping pack, it's a gel so it doesn't feel heavy like even moisturizers do on my skin. It also sinks most of the way into my skin in about 10 minutes. I like modeling masks as well. They aren't necessarily moisturizing for me but they help the texture of my skin, it really feels soft afterwards. It's definitely messy but once it's on I can walk around. On the other hand I check the time every 3 minutes when I'm suffering through a sheet mask. ;) I hope the modeling mask you try works well for you!

    1. LOL! Just goes to show the range of ymmv, even when we have the same skin type. :D

  13. I have hand cream stashed everywhere. I guess it's not really a problem right now as winter has given me dry, scaly, lizard hands but I almost always seem to buy it. At least Korean hand cream packaging can be cute. Did I mention I'm 25.

    1. I used to be like this with lip balms, so I feel this. At least you do use it up, eh? ;)

  14. great post! yes i've made some of these, i use to be all about the CUTE packaging, and while i still like good looking packaging is more like the history of whoo vs. tony moly, i can't think of a good "HG" thats "cute", one mistake i've made recently is not purchasing the right product cause i didn't get the EXACT name, then it arrives in the mail after waiting for a month and it's something for different skin type and of course breaks me out and gives me oil slicks grrrrrr examples: Biore UV aqua rich watery essence, vs Biore aqua rich watery GEL • Innisfree balancing cream vs Innisfree FRESH cream

    1. Cute packaging is my weakness. Thankfully, my HG cream (the beauty of joseon cream) had gorgeous packaging that convinced me to try it, and I've been in love ever since. But that's a rare exception!

  15. Actually Im Kamja in IG. Reading this post makes me feel better. Why I keep buying oclussive products?yeah great ingredients, great reviews but OCCLUSIVES. And I have a dehydratated dry skin...nose patch or stripes for black heads. Just ONE stripe worked on me. Why i keep buying other cheaper kinds of stripes (9 different brands) pay the 22 dollars in amazon for the applemint baviphat ones and be happy Lydia...

    1. Hey hey girl! *wave*

      Yeah, I lust after all these gorgeous-looking rich creams but my skin's just like NOPE. D:

  16. I totally make the lotion mistake all the time! I also hate lotion, it feels so gross on my skin. If its winter and for some reason my skin gets dry (which is rare), I'll suck it up and put on some lotion, but I have to was my hands immediately after! But all the time I'm like, "ohh this lotion smells like roses! I love roses! Maybe putting it on my skin won't disgust me like every other lotion in the world! *add to cart*" And I have way more lotion than I could ever possibly use! (which isn't that much, but when I use it less than once a month, it NEVER disappears!)