The Skinny on the Delayed Face Mask

Friday did not go as planned. I ended up pulled into a project discussion that lasted well past the end of the workday and but then the Friday Face Mask was no longer a possibility. And so we are catching up today. The mask I chose was one of the sample sized masks in my collection. That’s right I have gone back to working through some of my samples (as you will see on the weekly skincare line up when we reach Friday – I decided since I pared everything down last week in an attempt at saving time then I would use this to my advantage and roll in some sample sizes I wanted to try out.)

But to the mask! This mask is one I over looked for a while because every time I looked at it all I could read was the title: My Skinny Mask: Australia. which is fine, but it didn’t really tell me anything about the mask other then where it came from. When looking at the masking samples I knocked it over and found that on the other side of the tube it read: Turmeric and Vitamin C Clay Mask.

clean face to start

That actually gave me an idea of what the mask was. I’m hoping those two titles are just on opposite sides of the packaging because it is a sample size and that the full sized one puts them together. With this hope, I went to the website. The full sized mask comes in a jar and does have the full name on one side. To be honest, I would have reached for it sooner if I had seen the name. The brand is actually Skinny Beauty. They describe this mask as…

A 10 minute Detox for your Skin Powered exclusively with organic & natural plant-based ingredients our Face Clay Mask keeps skin soft, glowing, and radiant. A gentle yet effective formula leaving your skin looking refreshed, smooth and with a radiant glow. 

Skinny Beauty
the mask goes on looking like mustard

I do like vitamin c on my skin and we all know I love clay masks. So I made sure my skin was clean and dry, and I opened the mask. There isn’t much scent to the mask and because of the turmeric I expected it to be a sort of yellow color. I didn’t expect it to look so much like mustard. It felt a bit like I was putting mustard on my face. There was no mustard smell though which was nice.

can’t smile without cracking once dry

The mask applied easily enough. The clay is not a terribly thick clay. Sometimes when jarred clay masks go into a sample sized tube they don’t come out all that easily. This one did, which was nice. I applied a thin layer and probably have enough mask left for two more applications.

As is usual for clay masks it dried down. It looked less like mustard as it dried. In the ten minutes the thin layer I applied dried almost completely. It was also the flaky and brittle kind of dry. It did not want to come off of the skin easily, so I ended up soaking a wash cloth in warm water and laying it across my face and counting to twenty. This helped soften it enough to be able to remove it without a lot of harsh scrubbing. with the washcloth warm water soak, removal was fine.

Post mask skin

So was my skin brightened and glowing? A little, maybe. I think that this is a mask that would have to be worn repeatedly before any sort of results were to appear. My skin did feel very clean and non-oily which for me is typical for me from clay masks. I generally find clay masks remove all of the excess oil from the surface of the skin and this was no exception. As for the rest, repeated applications may help, but I didn’t see any change. Since I have two more uses in the mask and a penchant for MWF masking, I will be trying this mask again on Wednesday and then on Friday so that I can see if repeated use does show any results. (And so that I am not putting a partially used sample back in the drawer. I’ll compare Friday’s Pics to this and see if there is anything noticeable after three applications. For now, I am just going to enjoy the post mask clean skin from My Skinny Mask.

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It’s Glam Glow for Face Mask Friday

My plan was to go through my sample sized masks and clear a few of them out. And then I saw the Glam Glow Youthmud Face Mask on sale. Now here is the thing. While Glam Glow and I have a hit or miss relationship, I adore this mask. I have had numerous sample sized tubes of it come my way over the years. Any time it is a selection option I choose it and if it is an add on, I add it. I absolutely love this mask.

But I have never had it in a full size before. I’ve lost count of how many samples I’ve had of this mask, but never gotten around to purchasing it. It seemed strange to me that i would never have purchased it, so I went ahead and purchased it. And when it arrived I still had every intention of using my samples. Except when I reached into the mask samples I pulled out the Glamglow Supermud face mask sample.

So I decided it was a sign.

I know, I didn’t need much convincing.

clean pre mask

This mask is an exfoliating mask. It goes on with a rough texture and sits for 10 minutes. Then you add a little water and do a bit of exfoliation rubbing before rinsing it off. They say that the mask feels tingly when it is on and I suppose that is so, but for me it is less a tingling zing and more like a bracing wake up sort of tingling. I always feel more awake when i use this mask.

Plus you know how I love exfoliation.

So today I am using the full size. I think I am going to use this as a full month mask, but it really only needs a twice a week use, so I am going to go for a Monday and Wednesday with the Glam Glow and Friday I an still use my samples. Since most of my sample sized masks are hydrating masks it should work out fairly well.

wet mask

With this mask I was surprised by how large the box was in comparison to the jar. The jar was the size I picture it being, but the box was very large and seemed like overkill. As usual I applied the mask, waited ten minutes, it mostly dried down and changed color, and my skin felt invigorated. It is a clay mask so there is some tightneing in it as it dries. Personally I really like clay masks so I am okay with this even if it does make me look like a grumpy guts midway through because I can’t move my mouth to smile. When it was time to rinse off, I added water, massaged a bit to exfoliate and then rinsed off.

dry mask

With exfoliating masks it is important to moisturize right after. Since I was moisturizing, I like to go over my face with just a little bit of toner on a pad to make sure i took off all of the mask before adding a layer of moisturizer.

Every time i use this mask I am impressed by how my skin looks and feels and this time was no different. i enjoyed it thoroughly and am glad that i will be using this for the next month. I am very curious to see what effect a month of use will have on my skin from this mask.

clean skin post mask

I will be monitoring the exfoliation level though and if it does become too much I will discontinue use. I will be setting aside my regular exfoliators while I use this because i am pretty sure that would simply be overkill. The exfoliating Glam Glow Youthmud Face Mask twice a week should be plenty for me. in terms of exfoliation,

Honestly I am glad that i am finally getting to try a mask that I loved in sample form in the full size. It makes me want to go through my samples faster and to double check my list for things I want to add for longer term use.

Which to be fair, is kind of the point of samples.


Is Harmony the Key to Face Mask Friday?

This week I chose one of the prettiest jars in my face mask collection to try out. This is the Keys Soulcare Harmony mask. It is from Alicia Keys’ skincare line. I’ve heard the company has now branched out into a natural look makeup line and I can’t wait to investigate that, but first, there is the face mask.

It is Friday after all and honestly, fifteen minutes of calm, relaxing quiet sound about perfect to me. The last two days have been a bit intense. One of the companies I do some freelance writing for had a computer malfunction and several documents were lost so we’ve been playing who has what version and (my favorite game “Is this the final edit or did we change that thing we were thinking about changing but undecided about?”

As some of the edits had only one or two word choices tweaked it required going through every line of a large document to make sure everyone was happy with the final edit. And I was reminded of why backups are fabulous.

So a harmonious face mask sounded fantastic. According to the website this Harmony Mask is…

A purifying and hydrating charcoal face mask scented with soothing sandalwood and formulated with Manuka honey and gold foil. Purifies and hydrates the skin, Soothes, calms, and balances the skin, Renews the skin’s radiance, Relaxes the mind and encourages stillness

Keys Soulcare
pre mask

As I mentioned before the jar is just lovely. it is purple glass that looks black in most of the photographs. It is shaped like an old fashioned ink well and feels good in the hand. It is an expensive looking container, yet this mask is only $30. It feels like it should cost a lot more.

On opening the jar, the mask itself is a little less pretty looking. It is sort of this gray green brown color that is honestly not that appealing. The scent isn’t exactly enthralling either to be honest. It has a bit of the sandalwood scent to it, but it actually smells a bit like an old school cold remedy that my grand parents or even great grandparents would insist would clear up whatever you had if you just slather enough of it on you. Other than some old school medicinal scent, I don’t know quite what else to term it.

mask on

It isn’t a bad scent. I’m not put off by it, but it isn’t one of those scents where you think, “wow I can’t wait to spend the next fifteen minutes smelling like that!”

So I applied the mask. It applied well but with the shape of the jar, I think that once the product level drops getting the last of the mask from the jar might prove a little problematic. I like the look of the jar, but that shape always makes the last product taken out hard to reach. But for now, it is fine and the jar is pretty.

after fifteen minutes

The scent dims as it is applied and it feels like a soothing clay mask. There is no tingling, or itching or real tightening down of the mask as you wear it for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes it looks a little drier, but relatively unchanged. It does dry down enough that adding a little water before wiping it off with a warm damp washcloth is your best bet. It isn’t difficult to remove but adding that extra moisture back before taking it off is a good thing.

And what happened when i removed it?

Well my skin did feel soft and nourished. The mask rinsed away clean without leaving any sort of residue on the skin, but my skin was hydrated. It is not an overly hydrating mask so I didn’t feel greasy. I didn’t really have any major irritations on my skin to see if it was soothing, but my skin did feel really nice when the mask was washed off. I felt extra clean as though any excess oils were washed away. It didn’t strip my skin, just left it really clean feeling.

post mask clean

I really liked it. As hydrating masks go, it was hydrating but not too hydrating for this time of the year. At this time of year I need the too much sun hydrating mask not the winter cold and HVAC leaving my skin gasping for moisture type of face mask. And this worked quite well. The scent may not be the most fantastic in the world, but it isn’t unpleasant and the effects of the mask more than make up for it. I will look forward to using this Keys Soulcare Harmony Mask again.

But for now, it is back to work to close out this Friday and end this very long week. I hope you have a fantastic weekend providing you exactly what you need, exciting if you want or quiet if you need. Either way I hope you recharge and I will see you back here bright and early Monday morning.

Keys Soulcare

It’s the Friday Face Mask with Wander Beauty’s Staycation

Today I decided a little hydration was in order. Partially because my skin felt dry and partially because I have been using a lot of exfoliation type products lately. And let’s face it, when you exfoliate, having a hit of moisture right after really helps out your skin.

Or at least it does mine. In general this is why shortly after using an exfoliator i end up adding a moisturizer on to my skin. I do let my skin wait just a little bit so that I can enjoy that freshly scrubbed feeling, but then i have to admit i love the feeling of my freshly exfoliated skin just drinking in the moisture.

I know, I really just love skincare.

clean skin pre mask

Today my skin needed some moisture so I decided it was the perfect time for a Staycation with Wander Beauty. According to the website The Staycation Hydrating mask will…

Book the ultimate hydration Staycation with our intensely moisturizing 3-in-1 soothing mask, daily moisturizer and overnight skin-quenching treatment.

Ceramide NP is known to help protect skin’s natural barrier, keeping skin irritants such as pollution out. The result is healthier, more supple skin. Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 diminishes fine lines and wrinkles by relaxing facial muscles, making signs of aging less prominent.

Butterfly pea flower extract is known to have anti-glycation properties which help keep skin looking youthful. Cranberry seed oil delivers potent antioxidant benefits and helps lock in moisture.

Wander Beauty

Now normally I leave the mask description at that, however there is an additional list of benefits below that. And you know I love a list.

7-in-1 Multitasking Mask

  1. Soothing rinse-off mask for instant hydration
  2. Daily nourishing moisturizer
  3. Overnight intensely hydrating mask
  4. Helps improve skin texture and prevent moisture loss with powerful ceramide and peptide combination
  5. Helps protect skin’s natural barrier with Ceramide NP
  6. Diminished fine lines and wrinkles with Acetyl Hexapeptide-8
  7. Suitable for all skin types
mask on

Most of the list was detailed above, but I can’t resist a list of claims. I love that it is suitable for all skin types and that the list points out what each of the specified ingredients accomplishes. I find the fact that it can be used as a regular fifteen minute face mask as well as an over night mask fantastic. Sometimes when the weather flip flops I find it especially fantastic to sleep in a moisturizing mask. we are in the season where sometimes our air conditioner will kick on because the house is to warm but other nights the heat will still start up because temps dropped unexpectedly. A moisturizing mask over night is sort of like skin protection regardless of what the central forced air system decides to do when I am not paying attention.

after fifteen minutes

I find it interesting that when used in a small amount it can also be used as a daily moisturizer. When dispensing it for the first time, it is not surprising that it can be used as a moisturizer. It has the consistency of a thicker gel cream. The thickness of it makes me think it wouldn’t be bad as an over night mask either.

However today, we are testing this for the first time as a fifteen minute mask. Application was easy. I took the amount you see dispensed on my hands, rubbed my hands together and massaged it into my skin. I then rinsed my hands, set the timer and lay back for fifteen minutes.

post mask fabulous

I half expected the mask to melt and drip because t reminded me of a moisturizer. It did not. The Staycation mask stayed where I put it. Leaving me free to lay back, close my eyes and realize that I will soon need to order candles. I have winter scents and I have summer scents. In the spring I tend to use up the winter scented candles while I plan my summer candle purchases and then as they start to run out I will inevitable find a cinnamon or cardamom scented something at the store that will remind me to order winter scented candles. It will also remind me to restock my baking spices. With the weather so wonky this year I haven’t even gotten around to looking at summer scents. I suppose it is off to the Paddywax site later tonight then.

But for now, there is the mask. After fifteen minutes of speculating about citrus versus sea side scented candles, I got up and went to wash off the mask. Most of the mask absorbed into my skin, which is pretty typical of hydrating masks, They absorb in and, well hydrate. The fact that there was only a little left on my skin meant that I had more or lass applied the right amount of mask to my skin.

what remained rinsed off easily with warm water. I patted my skin dry and then took a look. There probably isn’t much visible difference in the photos, but my skin does feel quite nicely hydrated without feeling greasy. In fact my skin feels quite fabulous. And the few dry spots I noticed earlier are gone. Those were the spots where there was very little to any mask left over on my skin. So I guess we all know why they are no longer dry.

I really enjoyed this Wander Beauty Staycation Mask as a fifteen minute face mask. It wa my first use of the product but it won’t be my last. I will certainly use it as a fifteen minute mask again and I can’t wait to try it out as an overnight mask as well as a possible moisturizer. If it works as all three, there is the distinct possibility that a tube of this will be added to my travel kit to take the place of several products. It may be a Staycation mask, but there is no reason it can’t be taken on the road. Especially since travel always dries me out. Stay tuned my darlings, there will be more tests to come.

Wander Beauty

The Friday Face Mask and Blue Butterflies

I’ll admit, I usually have a system for testing out my face masks. But sometimes a mask is just too enticing to resist. That is what happened today. Today I thought about the masks that have been patiently waiting in the wings for their turn at a trial. I thought about the fact that i haven’t yet chosen another mask for my month long trial yet.

And then I looked at the bright blue mask that came in my Macy’s Beauty Box and decided to use that instead. Today’s mask is the Blue Butterfly Stem Cell Hydration Mask from Lovinah Skincare. I have tried out a lot of masks in the past, but I have never seen one that is this electric shade of blue before and I will admit i just had to try it. According to the official Lovinah Skincare website.

Experience true marine beauty, with this signature deep sea and plant-stem cell facial suitable for all skin types. A luxurious mask of pure natural deep-sea minerals, known for its beauty-enhancing properties, plant stem cell proteins help to boost the skin’s regeneration cycle and pre/probiotics help to protect, hydrate, repair and nourish the skin.

Deliver a surge of intense healing hydration and extra energy to skin for a hydrated, plump, supple skin with the Blue Butterfly Mask. Benefits: Exfoliates dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, Boost and stimulate collagen  production, Protect the skin from environmental damages, Improves moisture and boost hydration, Contains detoxifying, oxygenating, hydrating, antiaging, renewing and rebalancing properties

Lovinah Skincare

All of those are things, I am very much into. Looking over the ingredients, one of the items listed close to the top is the butterfly pea plant. For a while this was a huge craze in cocktails as it turns the liquid a blueish lavender color. I’m guessing that this mask has a more concentrated form and that is where the blue comes from. There are no real chemical dyes listed. There may be other plants that turn things blue but the butterfly pea plant is noted for it. The mask also has the same floral aroma as the cocktails I remember having butterfly pea flower in (although like the color it too is much more concentrated in the mask than it was in the drink).

bare face pre mask

I don’t mind the blue, although I think that I look like i am trying to infiltrate a squadron of smurfs. If Smurfs moved in squadrons. Which they might, I don’t know. I don’t remember my cartoon mythology.

The scent of the mask in the jar is intense. It does dim slightly once the mask is applied to the face, but it is still present. It is a very strong floral scent so if you are sensitive you might want to watch out. I kind of wish it was a little less scented but for fifteen minutes it isn’t a bad scent to have around. I couldn’t take it day in and day out though. Luckily it is a mask and not a moisturizer.

mask first applied

The mask applies well. The directions say to apply a thin layer and I was surprised by how little of the mask was actually needed to cover my face. Then once on, I waited fifteen minutes. Luckily, no one knocked. And no dogs sought shelter at my back door.

(Incidentally I found out the dog ran off because the neighbors kids were chucking bottle rockets over the fence. I don’t think they were aiming at the dog but he decided to take no chances and fled. The owner mentioned going to have a word with the kid’s parents. The local school is out because of staffing shortages and apparently they finished their at home work early. There have been some interesting changes in neighborhood dynamics recently).

mask after fifteen minutes

When washing off the mask, I used a damp cloth. The mask came off fairly easily, but at first it left a slight blue tinge on the skin. I get a similar residue from charcoal masks. The mask leaves but a bit of shading is left behind. So I ended up splashing some water and rinsing that way and the last of the blue tint faded. I haven’t washed my masking wash cloth yet, but i did use a separate cloth just incase the mask stained it like some charcoal masks can.

blue residue

I was a bit leery of the bright blue on the cloth. But as I generally use a cloth I don’t mind staining on for my face masks it wasn’t a big deal. I’ll know after the wash if any staining occurred, but it is better to be safer than sorry.

after a full rinse and a moment to dry and react

After patting the skin dry and waiting a few minutes I can tell you that my skin feels like it has had a gentle exfoliation. It feels clean and hydrated and not at all stripped down. Anything more in the way of skincare benefits would of course require repeated use to ferret out, but the immediate results the mask promises are there. Judging by the mask left in this sample sized jar, I probably have about two to three more uses left of this mask. Since I have yet to choose a mask to test long term, I might go ahead and see what frequency this mask is supposed to be used for to achieve results and use the rest of it accordingly to see if I can find any results. I am very pleased with today’s look and feel of my skin post mask. This is my first experience with Lovinah Skincare and overall, it was quite positive. This is a brand I will have to spend some time looking into, even if The Blue Butterfly Mask does look like I am getting ready to infiltrate Smurfdom.


A tag team duo for Face Mask Friday

Okay I have to admit, I am kind of excited about today’ facemask. In the past year there have been a lot more Dr. Botanicals products cropping up in subscription boxes and because of that they have been pinging my radar a lot more. Dr. Botanicals tend to be very affordable and to be honest all of the products I have tried from them lately have just been killing it. Some of their products I would take over several higher priced items actually.

And in my masking drawer was a Turmeric Face mask from Dr. Botanicals that I had not yet tried. So I decided that today was going to be it’s day. As with all new masks, I took it out, slipped on my reading glasses (Incidentally Thinoptics has a 25% off sale going on. Plus, if you don’t know the strength of reading glasses you need they have a Clarity kit so you can find out. It comes with it’s own deal and I’ll link it down below) and looked at the back of the packaging.

Usually face masks say something along the lines of apply to clean dry skin. Dr. Botanicals recommended using an exfoliator on your skin before applying a thin layer of mask and letting it sit for twenty minutes. And so i thought to myself, ‘I don’t have any exfoliators currently open, but I do have that Elemis Skin Buff I have been wanting to open up.’

Exfoliating with Elemis

So i used it as an excuse to open up the Elemis Skin Buff as my exfoliator. For a while I had a couple of exfoliators open and I wanted to use the open ones before opening another one. I just finished the Hey Honey Come Clean Exfoliator. It is really good and I already ordered a new one (gotta love sales, this was part of my stocking up from Lovely Skin order. The multi brand sales are just too hard to resist – and still going on if you ae interested). But it was time for the Elemis Skin buff.

This is actually my first time using it and I was happy to give it a go. It has a light and creamy almost face wash scent to it. The scent is very light. when dispensed the Skin Buff is white and creamy with very fine granules. I wet down my skin massaged the exfoliator in and found it gave a really nice gentle exfoliation. It rinsed clean away which was really good for me today specifically as I am using the mask right after. I was very impressed with the exfoliator and look forward to keeping it in the line up until it is used up. I am actually really happy the mask recommended it.

As the Elemis Skin Buff is going to be in rotation for a while I’ll just leave it with a positive first impression and move on to the Dr. Botanical’s Mask.

Post exfoliation/pre mask

After rinsing off the exfoliator and patting my face dry, I applied a thin layer of the Tumeric mask. It smoothed on easily, like a really thick moisturizer and then I left it for twenty minutes. The scent is lightly turmeric scented, but mostly the mask smells like a skin care cream. I then lay down with my headphones on for the twenty minute relaxation masking time. As always I lit my candles.

Mask on

I am currently using one of Paddywax’s Fall Favorites Black Fig and Olive in case you are wondering. It has just the right amount of sweetness and earthiness and just really suits the season. And it isn’t pumpkin spice. Don’t get me wrong I like pumpkin Spice. I actually have a candle called Pumpkin Souffle in my office, but not everything autumnal needs to be pumpkin. The fig and olive candle from Paddywax is a different scent profile and still very much with the season.

twenty minutes later (in case you are wondering the headband slipped and I had to adjust to keep my hair out of the mask

After my twenty minutes of relaxing, I went back to the bathroom to rinse off the mask. Most of the mask absorbed into my skin but on even the clear patches I could feel the mask residue as though it was a layer of plastic locking the rest of the moisture in. All of the mask, residue and all, rinsed of easily and cleanly. I essentially splashed water in my face, rubbed the skin to get the last of it rinsed off and then pat my skin dry with a wash cloth. It was essentially like removing a cleanser from the skin in terms of rinsing difficulty.

clean post mask skin

While I love clay masks, sometimes it is nice to have a mask that just rinses easily and cleanly away. This did just that. It is designed for skin calming and brightening. My skin feels nice and perhaps with repeated use I might see a brightening effect. I will certainly be happy to continue using this Dr. Botanicals Turmeric Face Mask as I really like the soft skin it leaves behind. For a first use though, it left a very positive impression.

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Friday Face Mask: Enjoying the skincare ritual with Healing Bark

This is a sponsored post but as always the opinions are my own.

If you often read my posts, you know that I love skincare. Each week I talk about the line up of products I’m using and how i feel about them. while I love trying and using the products, one thing I love about skincare is the ritual of it.

I don’t think I realized quite how much I loved the ritual of skincare until I set about doing this month long trial of the Healing Bark’s Golden Tree Bark Mask. While this mask can be used a couple of times a week (like most other masks) it can also be used daily. Once I tried it and realized my skin reacted well to it, I decided to use the mask each day for the month of October.

wet mask

As anyone who loves skincare knows, effects are cumulative and it generally takes thirty days to see results. This week was the third week of using the Golden Tree Bark Mask. All the pictures in this post are from today. I am saving the comparison for the end of the month (only one more week to go). I have actually not looked back at the pictures to see if there is any difference yet because I want to see what appears at the end of thirty days myself.

I can say that my skin feels smoother. I know that doesn’t always translate well to photographs, but my skin feels very fresh and clean. And it isn’t just a fresh and clean feeling right after I use the mask, but a feeling that lasts. I have gone to wash my face and been impressed by the improvement in texture.

And I really like the ritual. For the first week it was difficult to remember. I have been (except for Fridays) using the Golden Tree Bark Mask in the evenings. After dinner I remove my makeup and wash my face. I pat the skin dry and then mix up the mask. There is no rushing the mixing. It is going to take the powder the same amount of time to absorb the water no matter how you stir it. Then there is the slight adjustment.

Is the mask too thick to spread easily in a thin layer? If so add a little water and stir. Because you have to watch how much water you add in so that it doesn’t become too wet and drippy, you have to really focus on what you are doing. It doesn’t require a lot of brain power, but it does require you to be present.

No matter how stressful the day, I have found that that short minute to mix the mask, really helps to kind of slow down my thoughts and relieve some of the stress. And then there is the application. Again applying it in a thin layer on the skin with a silicon brush doesn’t take much brain power, but again, it is a calming part of the ritual.

pre-mask exfoliation

Rinsing the mixing bowl and utensils is super easy. This mask doesn’t cling so the remnants are easily removed. Everything just requires a quick rinse to clean and then a towel to mop up the few drips.

Then there is the half hour to sit and wait, letting the mask do it’s job. This isn’t a mask you can wear in the back yard without anyone noticing. With it on, I am not running to the mail box. I am not popping out for a quick errand. Having to sit and let my multitasking be accomplishing one small thing while the mask works is again another calming thing. I have actually taken to planning out the following day while sitting with the mask. I sit still and use the half hour to make a checklist of things that need to be accomplished the following day.

The checklists themselves have actually helped calm my brain a bit and made the following day a little less stressful. Three cheers for planning!

Because this is week three I don’t have to remind myself to mask as much. It has simply become part of the evening ritual. And because of it I can actually feel myself settling after my day as soon as I walk into the bathroom to take off my makeup. It is a nice and somewhat unexpected feature. I know I’ll have to wait to see visual skincare benefits until next week, but personally, that has been a good life benefit to using the mask each night.

This week, I did something a little different. Monday, Wednesday and today, I used a gentle exfoliator on my skin just before I used the mask. I went with something that was extremely fine grained, very gentle and didn’t leave any skincare based residue on my skin. I did use a physical exfoliator rather than a chemical one. I wanted to see if the exfoliator taking off the last tiny dregs of any other product and helping to clear out my pores might help the mask.

Dry mask, can’t smile it will crack

I think the exfoliation did help. The cleanser I am currently using tends to leave a little bit of a moisturizing layer on the skin and the days where I used the exfoliator before the mask, my skin felt a lot better when I took the mask off. I know part of that is due to the assistance of the exfoliator, well exfoliating the skin. But I think it really did help clear out the pores so that the mask was freer to work. I wouldn’t recommend exfoliating every day. That would far too much for anyone’s skin. But even if it is once a week, I would recommend using a physical exfoliator just before using the mask. It provides a nice assist. Just try to go with a gentle formula that doesn’t leave product behind when you rinse it off.

clean skin, feeling glowy and relaxed.

This week was especially hectic as I am trying to wrap up a few projects while working on an upcoming one. I am also trying to get my thoughts together for the upcoming holiday season and lists upon lists keep circling through my brain. I actually woke up this morning with my brain listing the top five baking essentials for the holiday season. Admittedly i think one of them might have been from a Dr. Seuss book. Or possibly a favored item from the Kitchen of the Swedish Chef from The Muppet show.

Top five and top ten lists have been springing out of nowhere when i least expect it. It makes the ritual of slowing down nightly with the Healing Bark Golden Tree Bark Mask a more appreciated part of my daily routine and nightly ritual. Of course, I can’t wait until next week when i sit down and actually compare my post mask photo to the pictures taken on October 1st. For now, I am enjoying the mask, enjoying the soft texture of my skin and loving the calming ritual of this mask, bit during the week and as part of my Friday Face Mask.

Face Mask Friday: Healing Bark Golden Tree Mask

Today I have a very interesting face mask to try out. It was sent to me by Healing Bark. They actually sent over the mask along with their Mask Kit. Why, you might be asking would you need a mask kit to go with the mask? Well this mask is an add your own water sort of mask. The mask itself is in powdered format.

I kind of like these masks. They come in powder form and you add your own water. It means you are paying for the actual mask itself and not for the water. It also mean that one jar tends to last quite a long time. I think what I like most about the mixing your own mask powders is that you can decide the consistency of your mask. For today though, since it is my first time using the mask, I am going to follow the directions.

Their directions are two teaspoons of Healing Bark mask powder mixed with three teaspoons worth of water. I also used the masking kit that Healing Bark sent over. I actually quite like the bowl. It comes with a nice little lid that locks down tight. The lid has a divot in it and the divot actually holds one teaspoon of either water or masking powder. I’m not sure if that is deliberate in case you are masking without the measuring spoons that also come in the kit or if it just turned out that way. I would think that it is deliberate. But that’s just me.

I will say the measuring spoons threw me off a little bit. I was fairly certain that the medium size was a tsp and the large a tablespoon but the small was labeled 2.5 the middle one 5 and the large 15. I know the smarty pants out there realize immediately that they are labeled in milliliters but as everything else included said teaspoons I was momentarily baffled until one side of my brain slapped the other. So if you get the kit just realize that’s how they are measured and just use the middle spoon.

While I used the measurements they gave, to start with I just put the powder in and then added the water. Mostly because that is what the instructional card said to do. It ended up mixing well, but it mixed a lot like adding cocoa powder to cold milk. It took a while for the powder to absorb the liquid. When making hot cocoa I always heat the milk before adding the cocoa powder and it absorbs much faster, I think that in the future I will use warm water to mix this mask as I suspect it will mix a lot more easily. It took a while but the water and powder finally combined.

Face before use

The mask was a thinner consistency than I expected as it is referred to in the papers as a ‘paste’ . I think that in addition to heating the water up a bit, I will add the water a little bit at a time to get a slightly thicker paste. I’ll have to play with the ratios.

Still, even though it was thinner than I expected it went on fairly well. There is absolutely no scent to it. I used my fingers for application. It was simply too thin at this consistency to use any form of spatula. Once on, the mask recommends you let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes. Since it is the first time I’ve used the mask I decided to stick with 15 minutes and then maybe work my way up. And yes I did a test patch on my arm the day before to make certain I had no allergic reactions, but thirty minutes is a long masking time.

The wet mask

So while we wait let’s talk about the mask and what I should be expecting.

Healing bark is bark taken from the Thanaka tree in southeast Asia. It is ground into a powder and then mixed with water to form a paste. While it is recommended for one to three times per week there are many people who use it daily.

That sort of makes me feel better about the possible thirty minute making time actually. If you can use it daily without any major repercussions then half an hour should be fine. Still I stuck with the 15 for the first go.

Apparently the Thanka Tree bark contains Coumarin which is an antioxidant, Arbutin which evens skin tone and Marmesin which reduces the signs of aging. Now clearly one use isn’t going to work like magic. No skin care (even if endorsed by the Magic Circle) is really going to magically give you fantastic skin in one fifteen minute session. And if it does, I’m pretty sure I’d want it administered by a doctor. Not that I think you could magically turn yourself into a twelve year old by accident, but it sounds like it would have ingredients that should be monitored.

face post mask

So I will be trying this mask repeatedly throughout the month (at least) to see how it performs over time. And there is plenty of powder to try with. I used the measurements for one full mask and it doesn’t actually look like I took any powder out of the jar. So we will take the photos today and then even though we will compare them as before and after today, I’ll save the before and compare it to the end of the month pic as well.

I’ll also do more research on the ingredients list. This is however a first impressions post so today is mostly about how I feel about the first use of the mask. So mask on and I set my timer laying back down for fifteen minutes. I lit my pumpkin soufflé candle which quite honestly smells warm and delicious. I put on my China History Podcast (CHP) by Laszlo Montgomery. Today’s episode is about Silk in ancient China. I highly recommend it if this is a topic of interest to you. The podcast has been going for a number of years and has over 300 episodes. I really enjoy it. The episodes are about 45 minutes though so reluctantly I had to leave it when my timer went off. I’ll have to listen to the rest at bed time tonight.

When I went back into the bathroom I have to admit when I saw my face the first thing I thought was tre bark. Yellow tree bark, but still tree bark. Which is more or less what it is actually. I think because it was a bit watery when I mixed it as it dried I got a bit more of a tree bark effect.

Washing it off was super easy. I wet my masking cloth and it wiped right off with absolutely no rubbing. It was just a damp rag wipe down. Then I pat my skin dry and let it sit for a minute before touching the skin to see what I found.

I found my skin felt soft and I think looked pretty nice too. There clearly aren’t major changes after one use. To expect that would just be silly. However what I did see and feel did encourage me to use it again and see how my skin reacts over time. It was a good first use of a product and as I know nothing really about the Thanka tree I am excited to investigate a little bit more into the main ingredient….well actually the only ingredient. That’s right under ingredients there is a very short list. Hesperethusa crenulata (Thanka) bark powder. That’s right, it’s a one ingredient mask. So break out the botany books my darlings, we’re going on an ingredient hunt.

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Face Mask Friday with Annmarie Skincare

Welcome once again to Face Mask Friday.  I know I only skipped one week but it feels like forever.  And I have a new mask today!  Well new to me anyway.  Annmarie Skincare sent a bundle of samples for me to try out and review.  This mask was in the bundle and I just couldn’t wait to try it out.

I have used Annmarie Skincare before and really enjoy it.  Once a year I order their Purifying Mud mask.  It comes in powder form. I love the ritual of mixing it with water and getting it exactly to the consistency I want.  It is one of my favorite mud masks.

The trio bundle of samples

But this is not that mask.  This is something I haven’t tried before.  The sample Annmarie Skincare sent to me is the Charcoal Cacao Mask.  While it is sold separately it is also sold as part of a sample bundle.  The sample bundle is a trio and includes the Illuminating Pearl mask (which I’ve tried, enjoyed and look forward to using again) and the Kaolin Micro Exfoliant (which I haven’t tried and am looking forward to giving a go this week.) One of the things I love about Annmarie Skincare (besides their products) is that they actually will sell sample bundles relatively cheaply and then give you a coupon with the samples so the samples are pretty much free.  That way you can decide if a product works for you before you actually go out and buy the full size. 

Inside the jar

So what is this mask?

This activated treatment mask infuses your skin with potent antioxidants, gentle clays and cooling botanicals to reveal a smooth and clear complexion. Hydrating aloe vera works to lock in moisture, while coconut charcoal draws out deep impurities. Turmeric’s bioactive compounds leave your skin feeling calm, making this mask ideal for sensitivities. Cacao delivers complex nutrients for healthy skin, visibly improving texture, tone and radiance.

Full Ingredient list: *Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice powder, Charcoal powder (coconut derived), *Glycerin (vegetable derived), *Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) flower/leaf/stem water, Kaolin (white kaolin clay), Bentonite (bentonite clay), *Theobroma cacao (cacao) fruit powder, Populus tremuloides (aspen) bark extract, Aqua (water) and *Glycerin (vegetable derived) extract [*Salix alba (white willow) bark], Essential oil [Curcuma longa (turmeric)], Xanthan gum (wood pulp derived), Essential oils [Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Leptospermum petersonii (lemon tea tree)]. * *Organically grown or wildcrafted

Annmarie skincare

Looking through the ingredient list I see so many things that I really like.  In addition to Charcoal and Cacao both of which do well with my skin, there is aloe vera, which  I am a big fan of.  In fact it is a compact list with nothing on there that actually bothers me. 

And so it is time to open the jar.  Inside the mask looks ink black.  The last time I used a mask this deep a black it was very sticky and viscus.  This feels like you are dipping your finger into ink. 

I used my finger to apply because the jar was too small for my spatula and the consistency really works well with a fingertip.  I suppose a brush would be fine and then you could actually paint your face with it, but this isn’t a job for silicone.

wet mask as first applied on left, dry mask after fifteen minutes on right

I think the most surprising was the scent.  If you close your eyes and sniff, it smells like rosemary.  I know I shouldn’t be surprised because it is right there on the list, but I think because both charcoal and Cacao have such strong scents I expected them to dominate.  However it is the rosemary you smell first.

The mask paints on easily and the little jar has enough inside for two applications. Once on the mask needs to sit for fifteen minutes. The one warning they do give with this mask is that because of the charcoal it can stain your wash cloth so you need to use a dark cloth.  However, in a recent subscription box I received a cloth specifically designed to remove masks. It is from the brand Glov.  So it is only going to be used for mask removal and if it stains there won’t be a problem.  It is just something to be aware of if you don’t want to stain your washcloth. Even without the masking removal cloth, I tend to keep one old and battered wash cloth for mask removal anyway so I don’t risk the decent looking wash cloths.

The glov masking cloth both pre and post mask removal. There is the possibility of staining so use a dark cloth or an old one that you don’t mind staining, I’m fine with staining this as it is only used for masks, but a wash will tell if the stain sticks around

I waited for fifteen minutes.  While I didn’t think the mask would run, I was leery of laying down in case I turned my head and stained the pillow case so instead of laying down I decided to pre chop some veg for tonight.  I’m making our happy hour treat a little early today, or at least the filling anyway.  Its one of those recipes where you make the filling and then let it cool before using it.  So I chopped while masking and then will cook, cool and then assemble the delicious happy hour treat just before we eat it.

More on that later. 

After fifteen minutes I returned to the bathroom and found the mask dried to a matte black instead of the shiny wet ink look when it went on.  I thought it was going to be hard to remove, but I simply wet the Glov cloth , wrung it out and went over my face. The mask came off very easily.  There was a little rubbing but not much.  I did have to rinse out my cloth periodically but that’s pretty normal.  And I can certainly see what they mean by possible cloth staining.  There is definitely some discoloration of the cloth.  I’ll have to see how the cloth fares when it comes out of the wash (I’ll report back on that along with how I feel about the glov cloth after I’ve washed it and used it with other masks.)

pre mask on the left, post mask on the right. Sorry for the different views I thought I took the pictures looking a little more symmetrical The clogged pores are just along the lower curve of my orbital bone if you want to zoom in to look. They are pretty hard to see but they can be felt.

With the mask removed my skin felt really smooth and hydrated.  I noticed that there were a few small deeply clogged pores where the blemish is now much closer to the surface.  They aren’t blemishes yet, but the clogs are no longer deeply buried and with the help of some zitsticka they should be cleared away asap.

I was pleased to see that there was no mess in the sink.  The cloth may be a bit blackish but any charcoal tinged drip that fell from the cloth to the sink rinsed down the sink cleanly.  And because of the masks consistency, there was really very little mess at all.  The wet cloth rehydrated the dried mask and the cloth wiped it away. I don’t always use a wash cloth to remove masks, sometimes I just splash water and rub with my hands to loosen and wash way the mask.  However this is one where a cloth of some kind is really your best bet.  This was a really lovely mask and I think it may have to go on my masks to reorder list.  In fact I may end up ordering this instead of the mud mask.  While I love the mud mask, I do have several mud masks.  I don’t really have anything quite like this Charcoal and Cacao Mask in my collection and with the way it worked on my skin, I think it might be one I want to keep around.

$12.99 Pure & Proven Trio

Art Naturals for the Friday Face Mask

Ah masking time. It feels like it has been forever. I know it hasn’t been as I mask a few times a week, but it feels like it has been a while since I have actually gotten to sit down and do a Friday Face mask. Maybe it is just because I skipped last week.

So what have we planned for this week?

Today I decided to try the Art Naturals 3 in1 Facial Treatment. No it isn’t one product that promises three things, it is three products combined into a pack. This is the packet that I received in this month’s Birchbox. It has a three step process. Step 1 is a Brown Sugar Face Scrub, Step two is a sheet mask (vitamin C infused for this one although they have others. All the ones I’ve seen on their site feature the same scrub and toner it is just the mask that varies) and Step 3 is a witch hazel toner.

And so into the bathroom we go to start with step one. The first thing I noticed was that the steps had perforations between them so that you can separate the products to use one at a time. As this looked like a brilliant Idea, I separated them. I was very glad that I did as soon as I opened Step 1.

Step 1 is the brown sugar Face scrub. I’m guessing that it removes anything on the surface of your skin and gets you fresh clean cells so the following products have a better chance of succeeding. To tear it open there is a tear mark.

The Scrub

It is located in the center of the packet. I followed it and it tore open pretty easily. The problem was that it was in the middle of the packet. I folded it in half and squeezed the product out. It is brown and slightly sandy. Onto my damp skin it went.

the scrub on the face

The Brown sugar face scrub is a gentle exfoliate, but it is not really a pleasant product to use. The scent is a bit like burnt walnuts mixed with burnt sugar. It is a bitter and slightly acrid scent. It was an okay exfoliate that wasn’t too harsh, but it felt weirdly thin and syrupy on the skin, like cold maple syrup mixed with very fine sand particles. Although I do feel bad about insulting maple syrup in such a fashion. It just wasn’t terribly pleasant to rub onto the skin and I was relieved to rise it off.

The best thing that I can say is that it did wash off easily and left my skin feeling nicely, but not over exfoliated.

But I wasn’t a fan.

The mask

Step 2 is the Vitamin C Face mask, went on rather well. It had a thick paper backing so unfolding it was really easy. The mouth hole was a little small. I sort of had to pucker up to get my lips through and then felt as though the mask still wanted to cover my lips. Which is odd, because usually the mouth cut out is really large. I don’t think of myself as having large lips, but this mask made me feel a bit like Mick Jagger.

Its probably why I put on the Rolling Stones for my fifteen minutes of relaxing masking time. It might not be zen but it made me happy.

When the fifteen minutes are over, the music is reluctantly turned off and I returned to the bathroom. I took off the mask. The Vitamin C sheet mask was very juicy. It had plenty of serum left on my skin. This left me in a bit of a pickle. Did I pat it in or wipe off the excess and move on to step three?

I decided on a compromise. I took off the mask, patted in some of the extra serum with my fingers and waited a coup0le of extra minutes. Then I wiped off the excess serum and moved on to step three.

Step three is the Witch hazel toner. On the front of the packet it is labeled as such. On the back of the packet in the directions it is called a gel. It too tore through the center of the packet and sprayed some product across my sink. (the scrub did the same so I recommend opening them over a sink so you don’t have to clean a counter or floor). The witch hazel toner is thicker than a toner and thinner than a gel. It is a slightly thickened liquid. It still drips but isn’t as runny as an actual liquid toner.

I applied it and waited for it to sink in. Because my skin was pretty saturated with Vitamin C masking serum it took a while and I finally had to pat the excess off.

This three in one mask from Art Naturals was an interesting product. I like the idea of the three and I think I may take to exfoliating prior to masking. I am not certain I will add the toner after masking though as my skin really had absorbed the masking serum and wasn’t really ready to take in a toner. Perhaps an hour or so after masking it might be an idea, but not right after the mask comes off.

Would I pick up an art naturals mask again?

It depends.

The actual mask itself was good. The mouth cut out was a bit on the small side but the mask and it’s serum were both good products. The witch hazel toner may have been a good product on its own, but it really was rather superfluous. While I like the idea of exfoliating before a sheet mask and will start incorporating the idea more often, I hated every second of using the exfoliator in this masking packet.

So basically, if Art Naturals sold the mask on its own, I would purchase it and use the mask. That part I liked. I have no use for either of the other two products. And to be honest, if I wanted a Vitamin C mask I would just go onto the Facetory site and order from there. They have plenty of Vitamin C infused masks that are comparable, if not better. In short, the mask was good, but not good enough to seek out. I would consider using the mask part again but skip the other products.

The actual best part about this mask was learning that I do like exfoliating before a sheet mask is applied. That was the real take away from today’s masking experience.