Being from Hawai‘i, I am no stranger to kukui nuts. They are very commonly used in lei-making (though many of the ones sold to tourists, I’m sorry to say, are actually just plastic); I’ve received my fair share of kukui nut leis during special events like graduation and parties. They also make a strangely pleasing clacking sound when they hit each other.
But what do deez nuts have to do with deez masks?
Hawaii LuLuLun Plumeria Face Mask started appearing at the tourist-oriented ABC Stores (convenience stores) all over Honolulu earlier this year. Unlike what its “plumeria flavor” might imply, it actually features kukui nut oil as its star ingredient. These masks are primarily marketed toward visitors from Japan, but unlike the other masks in the LuLuLun Travel series, the packaging for this is in English. I presume it’s for us locals’ benefit, as well as for Japanese tourists to truly feel that this is a Hawai‘i-exclusive mask. Which it is! We fancy.
LuLuLun Travel mask series with Hokkaido, Okinawa (2 versions), and Kyoto themes:
(Check out this blog for a great overview of this mask series!)
A Brief History and Benefits of Kukui Nut Oil
While today’s kukui nuts are dried and polished for leis, the kukui tree and its components actually have a deep significance in Hawaiian history and culture. The kukui nut and oil were historically used to light lamps and torches, hence the kukui tree’s alternative name, candlenut tree. It is symbolic of many things including hope, renewal, and of course guiding light or leadership. The tree’s various parts were also believed to have medicinal properties “to treat anything from an upset stomach, to oral thrush, constipation, fever, tonsillitis, phlegm, and even arthritis.” This is part of traditional Hawaiian herbal medicine called la’au lapa’au.
These medicinal properties aren’t totally proven just yet in modern times, but kukui nut oil itself has been through several studies and trials throughout the past few decades. It’s gaining some traction in skincare and hair care.
Today, some are using kukui nut oil to:
- Soothe the skin, i.e. as massage oil
- Treat wounds and burns, as well as relieve sunburns
- Condition the hair and scalp; some claim it stimulates hair growth
- Reduce stretch marks and cellulite (but “with mixed results”)
- Relieve acne and eczema
- Rejuvenate sensitive and dry skin; it’s even gentle enough for baby’s skin (.pdf link)
Some PubMed links for further reading:
- A pilot study on kukui nut oil as a topical treatment for psoriasis
- A systematic review of plant extracts to treat psoriasis
As with many, many emerging skincare ingredients, studies are not yet conclusive; correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, and all that. In fact, the above studies didn’t even conclude with strong results for kukui nut oil’s effectiveness. That doesn’t mean we should dismiss them entirely straight away, though. Lots of ingredients like starfish, bee venom, and snail goo are still being studied yet increasingly loved. Kukui nut oil is worth a shot, too, right?
I don’t know about you, but I was fascinated by this oil when I first picked up this mask. I grew up seeing kukui nuts on leis, and until very recently, I didn’t realize kukui had so many other uses.
Okay, y’all. I have to share my love for awkwardly/hilariously/adorably-written ad and packaging copy.
- “Easy to use design (Easy to dispense and unfold)
- New material with micro fiber (Soft, but closely attached to your face)
- One size fits all (Designed to fit average Japanese face)
When should Hawaii LuLuLun be used?
- Enjoy Hawaiian feeling
- Moisturize skin deeply
- Enjoyed too much sun”
…whatever all of that means. It spotlights the ingredients:
- Kukui nut oil
- “Deep ocean water” (huh?)
- Plumeria for fragrance
It also says you can “perform any other skin care you desire” after masking. LuLuLun seems to encourage daily masking with their affordable and adorably-packaged masks as part of a daily routine. I mean, their masks come in these huge packs of 35, for crying out loud. Yes, this is actually a box of 5 packs of 7 sheets. LuLuLun also has many, many other “flavors” for you to mask to your skin’s content daily.
This is not recommended for those sensitive to certain oils; it’s chock full of ’em. Be aware of the pineapple, lime, coconut, and kiwi extract. Oh, and FUN FACT! Out of pineapple, lime, coconut, and kiwi, exactly zero are indigenous to Hawai‘i. Yep, they’re just your average, trademark “tropical” ingredients.
See Cosdna for more details. Those with 1 or higher “Acne” or “Irritant” value, as well as a red “Safety” value, are bolded*:
Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Sea water, Betaine, Sodium PCA, Sorbitol, Serine, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Alanine, Lysine, Arginine, Threonine, Proline, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Citrus Auratifolia (Lime) Juice, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium CItrate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Fragrance, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol.
*Note that these values do not indicate universal truths. The amount of ingredient actually in the product, as well as the product’s overall formulation, greatly affect the potential for irritation. Not everyone will be sensitive to these bolded ingredients, and you may be sensitive to ingredients that are not bolded. Every individual’s skin may react differently. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV).
It actually was pretty easy to unfold. This sheet mask is cotton, perhaps slightly thinner and more fibrous compared to other masks. It’s just a tiiiny bit small for me; I’d say I have a smallish-medium face, and as it says above, this is supposed to fit the “average Japanese face.” Huh? At least there’s enough juicy essence to spread everywhere including my décolletage.
I sheet mask after applying lotion (Japanese hydrating toner) to enhance the mask essence’s absorption. I like to leave masks on for about 30-45 minutes. It started to dry out after about 30 minutes with my fan on.
When I took it off, my face felt quite nicely rejuvenated and moisturized. Unfortunately, I also felt…soggy. I found that no matter how long I waited, no matter how much wind from my fan blew into my face, the oils were too…oily. There was no way I could continue my routine with my serums, moisturizers, and creams, despite the instructions literally saying that I could. How could you lie to me?! Even when I wiped the mask on my arms and legs, there was still that oily residue that just wouldn’t soak into my skin. I suppose you really do have to take in the essence via sheet mask for best effects.
Well, there’s this lovely: I have a few fresh pimple-picking scabs (seriously, don’t pick your face) and after a couple of masks, they appeared to heal a couple of days faster than usual! Less jaggedy-scarred patches. And I didn’t break out at all. Huzzah! Of course, there are so many factors involved in these things (such as stress, exfoliation, and my holy snail) that it’s impossible to tell if the mask healed me, unless I do a proper study or test. Ah well, I’ll let the mask have this one.
The packaging is also thoughtful, with a Ziploc-type seal on each foil pouch to help keep it hygienic. Yay, logic.
The scent isn’t obtrustive, but quite present. It does smell sort of like plumeria, but it’s closer to a generic flower smell. Does that even make sense? Still nice, though. If your nose is sensitive enough, you might even pick up the kukui nut oil scent.
At $21.99 for 35 total masks (5 foil pouches with 7 masks in each), this is a steal compared to some favorites like My Beauty Diary, though it’s no hydrogel. Currently, though, you can only buy this in Hawai‘i. I may include these in a giveaway sometime in the future…
If you’re a tourist in Hawai‘i looking for a moisturizing, fun, novelty sheet mask (in bulk) after excessive time in the sun, go for it. If you aren’t a tourist and just want to sheet mask all week, sure thang. As this is intended to be an affordable “7-day” mask, the quality and value were pretty expected. But if LuLuLun wants me to use this daily along with the rest of my routine, I just can’t. It leaves me too, uh, soggy. That being said, it did help to heal up my face-picking scabs quite nicely—I do hope studies on kukui nut oil advance, and look forward to even more effectively formulated products.
Perhaps it’s better to think of this mask as a lovely post-routine oil treatment. Overall, if you have dry skin, you will probably have a better time than my oily ass did. And hey, cheap masks!
Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5
5 / 5: HOLY GRAIL STATUS. I dare you to pry this from my cold, dead, kpop-glowy hands.
4 / 5: I really liked this! Would repurchase until I find a better alternative.
3 / 5: So-so. Unimpressive results, but may work better for others with different conditions.
2 / 5: Would not repurchase. Possibly caused some issues for me, but may work for others.
1 / 5: This lied to me. It did nothing that it said it would, and caused some issues.
0 / 5: Do not buy this. No one should have to suffer the way I did.
Have you used kukui nut oil before? What are your favorite affordable/daily masks?