The overflowing beauty stash problems strike again! This time a look at my face-mask-stash made me dizzy (not kidding!) I have obviously gone through a lot of face masks from the time I first got involved with beauty and its many attractions. While not all have been a success, there were some which I have come to like SO much that I wouldn’t mind parting with my money again in exchange! Also, if the title of this post sounds familiar that is because it is! I wrote some similar “literature” for my overflowing cleanser stash a while back which you can find here.
Face masks are clearly the easier way to get a feel of a brand or to experiment with a certain “clay” or “acid” and see how it works for you. My first face-mask-indulgence was Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty back in the day when I had no idea what my skin type was but the thought of putting something “minty” just made me very excited! I was a kid, and nothing wrong happened with my skin while using it so I went through a few big tubs in quick succession. Then came the whole Korean beauty experience I’ve talked about here, and I was properly introduced to the 10 step Korean beauty routine which made a face mask application a compulsory step every night! Sheet masks, clay masks, “enzyme masks”, exfoliating masks, gel masks etc etc I’ve tried it all!
Now my choices are more informed and educated as I like to call them, and I know my skin type better to not opt for entirely “wrong” kind of ingredients. Its is dry, sometimes dehydrated and sensitive like there’s no tomorrow! Some parts of my face, especially my nose and chin are the more “stubborn” patches and require a stronger formulation than the rest of the visage.
I have currently 8 open tubes, tubs and bottles of face masks in my stash not all of which I am using; which is sad because the rest are probably going to meet their end without having been completely used.
The Clay Based Masks
I have three here, the Pai Copaiba Deep Cleanse AHA Mask which is relatively new entrant to the group but an instant favorite. Coming from a brand catering to sensitive skin and known for its super gentle formulas, you wouldn’t expect this soft clay mask to actually do anything but it does! It surprised me so much after one use that I could see it dethroning my all time favorite Aesop’s Parsley Seed Mask (review) from the top spot! Although I am still on the fence about that claim, I do love this mask a lot and have actually been using it regularly ever since I got it. The last one is the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, which I have had around for almost two years at this point and still have nearly half of the product left. Given all the hype there was around it at the time I bought one for myself, this didn’t wow me in any way and almost left me underwhelmed.
Pai Copaiba Deep Cleanse AHA Mask (75ml/£25) – link
The active ingredients in this is Kaolin clay and Pink Pomelo extracts which is a natural AHA (full ingredients). I really like applying this after cleansing/exfoliating my skin and even when it dries it does not get crusty as most clay based masks do. It remains soft and after rinsing doesn’t leave the skin dry. Although the brand targets this to oily, blemish prone skin I see no reason why other skin types cannot use it. Price and quantity wise both the Aesop and Pai masks are comparable but if you are more sensitive than not (skin wise!) then I’d suggest taking the Pai route.
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque (142 gms/$24) – link
I haven’t seen the Kiehl’s mask being mentioned in a while but clearly remember Lisa Eldridge including it in her favorites a couple of years back. Thats about when I felt I needed to have it as well (obvs) and headed straight to my nearest store. The “Rare Earth” line at Kiehl’s is meant for oily combination skin which is where things just go wrong for me! This mask although not very drying, tingles a LOT on the skin which always scares me! So far that tingling hasn’t turned into anything worse but somehow what you expect a mask to do when you apply it on a Sunday night to undo the week’s crime.. this doesn’t live upto that. All clay masks feel refreshing and tightening but the ones that actually get rid of gunk and clear blackheads, those are the ones to invest in. This is not one of those masks.
Recently, I started using it in the mornings on extra “clogged” days. So before I shower I put a thick layer of this on my face on the T zone and shower as usual. After about 5-7 minutes I rinse it off with cool water and the difference is amazing! Softer more supple skin which allows makeup to go on better and the skin stays hydrated longer through the day. Ever since that experiment my opinion on this is sort of changing. I think its a good five minute pick me up but not really great at deep cleansing when you really need it. My experience could also be clouded by the fact that I don’t have the skin type this mask was made for, so I’d highly recommend scoring a sample and trying it for your self!
The Exfoliating Masks
I have still not committed to a chemical/acid toner/exfoliator but I have been using AHA based face masks for a good few months. The first on the trial was the Oskia Renaissance Mask which like all things Oskia, won me over instantly! I have reviewed it here so let me not go all over that again; precisely, I really like it and its one of those masks which actually nourish and cleanse my skin and leave it ‘visibly’ glowing!
Before I found OSKIA, I already had some taste of an exfoliating mask in the form of REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask (review) which again like the Kiehl’s clay mask has been in my stash for a really long time and I am not even half-way down! This never works on its own for my skin and needs freshly exfoliated skin to actually show any “radiance”. I find it quite “meh” to be honest as it needs a lot of work and a very trained eye to actually see a difference post application!
REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial (75ml/£26) – link
A new addition to the ‘acid family’ was the REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial. This was released sometime last year and got so many raves everywhere that I almost didn’t trust it to be good, I am a cynic like that! Anyway, once the dust around it settled I decided to give this a go and snagged it on a good discount.
This is a strange one. It comes out like a green foam which is actually made of tiny exfoliating particles suspended in some liquid. Those exfoliating beads are really really tiny and almost feel like dust when massaged on the skin. The way to use it is to massage this green “substance” all over the face, then wet your finger and go all over the face again and feel the the exfoliating “dust” melt and disappear on the skin leaving a slightly oily greasy film. This needs to be left on for a minute and washed away thereafter.
I really like the exfoliating part of the process. Like I said, it feels like dust but really actually exfoliates such that I can see dead skin balling up and getting removed. I may have gotten a bit too strong with the rubbing at times but even then my skin wasn’t left reddened or sore. It feels like a layer is removed from the skin and what is left is super duper soft skin feeling supple and clean. The painful thing about this is that its expensive and really pricey for the tiny amount of product you get (£26 for 75ml). To top it, the mouth of the tube is rather large so I always manage to pump out way more product than I need for my entire face and neck!
Its key ingredients are Vitamin C in the form of Asorbic Acid. Now if there is one thing I know about Vitamin C is that its unstable and tends to degenerate when exposed to sunlight and air. The opaque tube on this one probably helps keep it fresh longer but who’s to know? There is also Silica in the ingredients which is what gives the grit to the formula. Full ingredients are here.
The Hydrating Masks
Now this where things get “solo”. The Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask is the only hydrating masks that I have tried and liked, and its been so good on my skin that I have never felt I am missing out on anything better. This is my second tube of this and I don’t see myself using anything else. I reviewed it here, and my thoughts are still the same. I usually apply it after I’ve used any of the clay or exfoliating masks to knock back fresh moisture and hydration to renewed skin. It goes on tacky but is absorbed almost instantly with no residue. I love layering it over serums on normal days and it works especially well over my Estêe Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum.
In the name of ‘branching out” and treating my skin to something which did both deep cleansing and hydrating, I got myself a tube of Antipodes’ Aura Manuka Honey Mask. This is again one of those which inspite of being around in my stash for over a year has yet to wow me. I know a lot of people swear by this and Antipodes being an “All natural” brand is the safe route to take, but if the product doesn’t do much for me I don’t mind replacing it with something more chemical based. I could be using it all wrong but somehow I end up very underwhelmed and “greasy” after using this!
Phew! That took a while! Hope this is useful.
Let me know which are your favorite face masks. Have you tried any of the above?