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.

Our Eyes Wide Open Kit!! Shop Now

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.


Its a pore clearing extravaganza for Face Mask Friday

This week my plan was to use the three in one mask that came in this month’s Birchbox. It was interesting and it seemed to have everything; a scrub, a mask and a follow up toner. And I do love a good vitamin C mask. However my darlings, today is a day of clogged pores and I did end up using an exfoliator mid-week to help deal with the issues.

It was good, but it wasn’t enough.

That’s right, you know what is coming.

It is time for the Herbal Dynamics Beauty Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay mask to ride out of the skincare drawer and save the day. You can practically hear the horns blasting and the white charger thundering across the plains.

Or at least I can.

The pre mask face

As you can see from the before picture, my chin is looking especially rough. If you zoom in, I’m sure you can also see some bumpy texture along my upper cheek bones. I don’t advocate zooming in, but you feel free.

This mask is quite fantastic. But I admit, I don’t generally use it as a full face mask as I am doing today. More often I just use it as a spot treatment. I will typically add a stripe of the mask over the areas currently giving me problems.

It is a clearing mask in that it draws things to the surface so that they can be cleared away. What I’ve noticed is that when I apply it, reveling in the chocolate-y scent, it dries and feels like it is tightening. I’m pretty sure that is mostly the action of the clay drying. Once rinsed off, my skin can look a little blotchy but it will look like not very much has happened. About an hour after the mask has been removed I can actually see where things (mostly the clogs from pores) have been moved to the surface. Often my skin will look worse than it did before the mask was applied.

newly applied mask

I then go in with some Peace Out Acne Dots on some of the newly risen blemishes. Once they have done their job, I use a gentle physical exfoliate to clear away some of the debris and make my skin look better. Mostly this is a lengthy process. The exfoliator may not come into play until the next day. In fact it usually does come in the next day. So it is a process, but it works.

Key to the system is this lovely Herbal Dynamics Beauty Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Mask. Today I decided that as the sunscreen did a number on all of my skin, I would just go for the full mask instead of the spot treatment. If you have very sensitive skin, then I would suggest leaving the mask on no more than ten minutes. I generally go for fifteen, but I never go over fifteen. The mask tingles slightly, but mostly what I feel is the clay drying rather than any chemical tingle.

Can’t move mouth to smile…the mask goes light as it dries down

Once it is dry and I am ready to remove it, I loosen it up with some water and wash it off with a cloth. Even though I can’t help but inspect my skin as soon as it is removed, I know that there won’t be much change right away. There is sometimes a light redness to the skin in patches but it fades within a minute or so. If you are using this mask, dry your newly mask free face, leave the bathroom and don’t go near a mirror for an hour. Then, check out your skin to see what came up.

Then of course you get to deal with what came up. When you finish with the mask make certain the inner lid is in place and then tighten down the lid so that it doesn’t dry out. I’ve been using this mask for about four maybe five months and I am about half way through the jar. I tend to use it only when I need a good pore clear out and then, often only in places where it is needed (as mentioned above). However the mask is just as good as it was when I opened it (no drying out in the container) so I am confident I will get to use every drop of it.

Hopefully though it will be a while before I need to go full face with the clearing mask. As much as I like the mask, I prefer when my skin doesn’t need the extra assistance. I am however glad I know where I can find the help if I need it. I’m sure it is self-evident by this point a this is one of my favorite masks, but yeah, I will definitely be purchasing a replacement for this mask when the current jar is empty. It is a wonderful asset to have in my skin care arsenal.

This morning in my skincare line up, I included both a product from the Olay Regenerist line and as well as the current Crest product I am using. Lo and Behold what did I then see? Olay has a gift set that partners Olay with Crest. this weekend they have a limited time offer if you are interested in trying them out.

OLAY and Crest Gift Set – Regenerist Hydration Max Serum and Crest 3D Whitestrips

In addition, if you just want the whitestrips, Crest has a deal currently going for them as well.

$25 OFF Crest Crest 3DWhitestrips LED Light Kits – Code: AUG25OFFF

Face Mask Friday: Jant Blanc Aloe Essential Sheet Mask

Growing up my mom always kept an aloe plant in the house.  I’d like to say it was a beautiful plant allowed to grow to majestic proportions, but our aloe plant always looked a little rough around the edges.

It was well cared for and certainly allowed to grow large and healthy.  However it has lots of marks showing where pieces were sliced off.  It was an aloe plant that had been through the wars.

In our house, small rashes from nettle stings to poison ivy were treated with a quick rub of alow to get rid of the itch and the sting.  Burns from those incurred while cooking to sunburns were likewise treated with aloe. 

Summertime was a bad time for our aloe plant growing up.  Almost anytime I ended up coming back from swimming I would be given a piece of aloe leaf to rub across my face, especially across the bridge of my nose.

If you smile, serum gets on your lips.

While I keep an aloe plant in my house, and have pretty much since I left home. It doesn’t get as much of a work out.  Occasionally a kitchen burn will be cause for a trimming.  A few springs back massive sunburns on my legs caused the largest leaves to be harvested from the plant.  But over all it has been left in peace.

This year the summer has been brutal and despite my best intentions, My face has gotten far more sun than I intended.  Instead of stripping my aloe plant bare (especially as it is just now starting to recover from my sunburn hack down)I am turning to a sheet mask.  The Aloe Essential Sheet mask from Jant Blanc to be more precise.

This mask is from Facetory.  (Incidentally I do have a coupon code for them it is MSMIMSY15 if you are going shopping you can save additional by using it. And yes I get points towards products if you do use it so if that makes you uncomfortable feel free to skip the code, no problems from me)They have several subscription tiers available if you are interested in a subscription.  I like their service as it is a great way to try a bunch of different sheet mask out.  There are a lot of sheet masks out there.  Some I have tried and thought this is okay but not something I would bother with again.  Others become staples for anytime my skin needs a little pick me up. Through the Facetory subscription I have tried bunches of sheet masks and have started building a list of masks I really like.  I’ve also found a few brands that I enjoy so it has been a good experience.  If the subscription is not for you, I would still suggest going to visit their site, especially on Mondays.  Every Monday they have a selection of sheet mask available for one dollar.  I tend to visit with my list of masks that I like on hand and when the ones I like rotate into the sales I stock up.

This Aloe mask I have used before and will certainly use again.  When you open it, the mask smells of Aloe.  It feels as soothing as aloe on the skin and after removing the mask my skin feels like it has had an aloe pack pressed on top of it for fifteen minutes. 

I know shocking right.  An aloe mask is aloe-tastic.

But it really is.  Despite wearing sunscreen, my skin takes a beating from the summer sun.  A little extra care isn’t a bad thing.  Today I put on the aloe mask and was transported back to my childhood in the best way.  Most of the details of this mask are written in Korean.  I neither speak nor read Korean.  But I can say that my skin is very happy with the Aloe that was in this mask and next time the Jant Blanc Aloe mask comes up on the Face tory $1 Monday list, I will be stocking up.

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The Removalist for Face Mask Friday

This mask was in my IPSY Glam Bag plus this month, but I have to admit it is one that I have been toying with picking up for a while now.  In general I like Go-To Skincare products.  The only item I;ve tried that I wasn’t incredibly fond of was the Exfoliating Swipies and even that wasn’t a complete dislike.  I liked the formula and the pads but I thought they were a little too exfoliating for daily use and worried that the pre-moistened rounds would dry out before I could actually work my way through them.  Otherwise they were great for a once a week use.  I’m actually slowly working my way through the open container I have.  As of yet they haven’t dried out so perhaps my fears were unfounded.

Regardless, this  mask has been one I have wanted to try for a while.  Clay masks in general are my favorite.  Ones that can get deep down into the pores, especially in the summertime are essential. While I have several that I enjoy using, I am always looking to try new masks from brands I like.  And this one’s description just sounded interesting.  According to the Go-To Skincare Website The Removalist Mask is …

A luscious clarifying clay mask that replenishes while it detoxifies so you get clear, radiant, bouncy skin, without any gross, dry, tight afterfeel. No more clogged pores! No tight, dryness! No worries!

Packed with soothing minerals to calm and clear skin, and plenty of skin-loving antioxidants to brighten, hydrate, and protect, this clay mask takes away impurities, absorbs excess oil and eliminates the blahs.

Suitable for all skin types (even sensitive!) and particularly useful for the oily, congested, or acne-prone, in just 10 minutes The Removalist will reset your complexion, giving pores a big-time clear out and levelling up your at-home facial by at least 200%.

This isn’t your average clay mask. This is your weekly all-out cleanout for healthy, nourished, clear skin.

I kind of like the thought of having a weekly clear out of my pores.  It’s like laundry day for your skin.  Well, if it works that is. 

So on to the skin it goes.  To apply the mask I am using a silicone masking spatula. Mine is from Cosmedix if you are interested.  I really like the rounded corners, but really any silicone masking brush will do.  I like using the brush because it keeps things a little tidier and wastes less product. 

The mask is an interesting purple color as it applies and oddly enough smells a bit like candy.  I always sort of expect clay based masks to smell a little earthy (although my favorite from Herbal Dynamics Beauty smells like chocolate so I shouldn’t be terribly surprised)

Once in place there is nothing to do but sit back and relax for a bit while the mask settles in. The mask was hard to relax with at first as it tingled slightly.  The tingles soon faded and I was left listening to my History of Rome Podcast while the mask did it’s job.  In the background my La Playa Candle from Paddywax (I have the salted blue agave at the moment) burned, still smelling summery fresh and oddly mixing well with the still slightly candy scent of the mask.

At the end of fifteen minutes I blew out my candle, finding that the mask had firmed up but not gone the solid hard of most clay masks.  I could still move my face without leaving a fine powder of cracked clay behind.  As recommended I used a warm, damp wash cloth to remove the mask.  It always makes a mess of the wash cloth, but I have a set of wash cloths I specifically use during masking and I also do my mask just before throwing on a load of towels for Friday afternoon laundry. So the mask filled wash cloth will soon not be an issue. 

I know it sounds silly, but as it is sometimes difficult to wash a mask completely out of a wash cloth just by rinsing it out in the sink, I have occasionally stretched the wash cloth out to dry, forgotten there were mask remnants on it and then put mask remnants where I didn’t particular want them, so I now time my Friday afternoon Towel wash accordingly and just pitch the still damp wash cloth in.  Easy peasy.

But how does the mask feel? 

skin before the mask on the left, skin after mask removal on the right.

Actually it made my skin feel quite good.  One of the things that makes your pores look bigger is having them filled with gunk.  So even though I know thee is no actual pore shrinking, they look a little smaller in the areas that usually concern me because they are now freshly cleared.  I suspect that in a few hours I may have a few clogged pores brought to the surface.

One of the reasons I wanted a pore clearing mask was that my moisturizer this week was too heavy for my skin and in addition to noticing a lot more of an oil sheen to my skin, I was getting more clogged pores.  I wanted something to clear them out.  I figured that if the Go-to Skincare The Removalist Mask didn’t work I could always take out my Herbal Dynamics Beauty Clearing mask.

However I think it might not be necessary this week.  I believe The Removalist has done its job.  I will have to check in a few hours to see if there is any change to the clogged pores beneath, but at the moment I am quite happy with my skin and will happily use this mask in the future.

Go-To Skincare

An Ace for Face Mask Friday

Aceology Lifting Treatment Mask

Today I decided that I would use the Aceology Lifting Treatment mask for my Friday Face Mask. It is an new edition to my collection and I feel that as I have been working really hard to clear out some of the older masks, it was time to try for a new one.

This was a new arrival that came in the June IPSY Plus Glam Bag. I’ll admit, I was a little on the fence about it because over all I am not the biggest fan of peel off masks. Often I feel that they are more traumatic than helpful. Don’t get me wrong I have tried one peel off mask that was both traumatic and helpful. The Hey Honey Take Away the Drama Peel off mask was copper colored and left my skin feeling silky smooth with pores so clean it looked like they had been freshly vacuumed by an expert cleaning service. It was also the most painful peel off mask I’ve tried. At least the first few times. By the end of the tube it didn’t hurt that much. I think I had no more fine hairs to rip off. So the pain faded but the fabulous remained.

Dried down mask

Which is part of the deal with a good peel off mask. If you find one that works, you have to sort of commit to using it regularly. If you do the pain sort of fades. At least that has been my experience.

The trick however is finding one that actually works. Many of them don’t do anything more than pull out all of the miniscule facial hairs.

To figure out what category this mask falls into I had to try it. As it has been quite a while since my last peel off mask, I figured this one would hurt. Still I pulled on my big girl pants and took the mask to the bathroom.

The mask is a sort of gold color with a greenish tinge to it. In person it looks a little like copper that is just starting to get that patina of age to it. Surprisingly it smells a little like apples when I put it on. I think I was expecting something more metallic in nature due to the color. The apples sort of threw me for a loop.

The mask applied easily enough, but then the application wasn’t the part I was overly worried about. Generally face masks state you should keep them on about 15 minutes. Peel off masks generally need to be completely dry before you peel them off (hence the name) and I rarely find a peel off mask that dries completely in fifteen minutes. Yet most of them still say that fifteen minutes is the duration of wear. which is why I always get a little squidgy about leaving them on longer, worried I will do damage with keeping it on too long. The Aceology mask suggests twenty to thirty minutes of wear.

peeled off

Its a small thing, but I actually like knowing that if I leave it on my skin that long it shouldn’t be a problem. I also figured half an hour was plenty of time for it to dry completely. I also knew that if I laid down on the bed while wearing the face mask with a lit candle and music playing, I would completely fall asleep. Fifteen minutes is a relaxing mask break. And longer and I am flirting with nap time.

So I used my half hour to look into the mask. According to the website…

The Aceology Lifting Treatment Mask is a peptide-packed spa worthy treatment to polish away dead skin cells for an instant lifting and luminous effect.

The formulation of botanicals reduce inflammation and protect skin whilst peptides boost elasticity; combined with hardy orange, green purslane, purple perilla and asphodeloides root making the Lifting Treatment mask perfect for ageing and lacklustre skin.

Delicately infused hardy orange works to calm skin from the deeper layers for intense clarification, while a dream team of antioxidant rich green purslane and purple perilla lock in the skins natural protective barrier and keep moisture intact. Asphodeloides Root – an Asian botanical, is excellent at stimulating natural bounce and reducing inflammation.

just after removal with one wet spot remaining

I’m not entirely certain what combination of hardy orange, green purslane and purple perilla end up smelling like apples, but the only scent I really got was apples. It was a mild scent that faded rather quickly. I applied the thin layer using one of my silicone mask brushes. (I use one from Cosmedix because i liked the curved corners rather than sharp points). I would recommend using the masking brush, whichever brand you use, as it makes clean up easy and wastes less product.

It did take about thirty minutes to dry. I live in a very humid climate and today the air is heavy with rain and it is hot. I think the humidity level is around 92%. So that could have easily affected drying time. After half an hour though there was only one damp spot on my cheek.

Which meant it was time to face the music. That’s right, peeling masks that go on, have to come off.

To my surprise, this one came off really easily. There was some minor wincing as fine hairs were pulled, but over all it came off with no tears. I was quite impressed by that actually. But how does my skin look?

There were a few slightly red spots when the mask came off, but they faded quickly. My skin felt smooth and oddly enough for a peel off mask, hydrated. I can’t say there was a magical difference but I think if there was some sort of magical difference after only one use I would suspect heavy chemicals at work. I suspect that as with most skincare if I want to see a change in my skin I would have to use the mask repeatedly. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind doing that. The mask was pleasant to wear, not all that painful to remove and my skin feels very nice. While I am not certain yet if it would go on my repeat buys list, it has certainly earned repeated use to see if the skincare benefits of repeated use make it worth a repurchase. I will continue using this mask and hope that there are some long term results that come through. For now, I am pleased to have this in my skincare repertoire.

As it is the fourth of July Weekend there are many sales out there. On that you may want to take advantage of is from Paddywax. while I didn’t like the candles for my fifteen minutes of zen today, I really love PaddyWax candles and use them frequently. Currently they have a sale going on. The  ENTIRE SITE will be 15% off this weekend! Through Sunday, July 4th, the discount will be automatically applied. If you like having candles around, this is definitely a sale to check out.

Alyaka 4th of July

Ah…now that is a refreshing mask

There is no way not to look just a little bit crazy where wearing a face mask. I’ve accepted this. At least this Purlisse Match Green Tea and Lemon Detoxifying Charcoal Mask doesn’t make me look like I am ineptly attempting bank robbery. It is more of the pie in the face version.

I am quite surprised by the whipped cream look to the mask. With the word Charcoal in the title I thought for certain it would be black. Clearly I was mistaken.

This Purlisse Mask came in a subscription box this month (Birchbox I believe) and after applying one layer I can tell there is enough product left in the tube for two more applications. According to the Purlisse website this $35 mask will…

Detoxify, brighten, and clarify all in one step!


I know, a one sentence description. Technically I don’t think that’s even a full sentence. It is however short, sweet and to the point. And to be honest, Today I don’t feel like long drawn out descriptions. This week started off slow and steady and then got very stressful. To be honest, I was okay with what the oral surgeon had planned, but then they gave me three pages of worst case scenarios to read through. I know legally they have to cover themselves and I know I need to know what is going down before they start, but those were a dramatic and traumatic three pages. It is a back tooth so you can’t see it actually, it just affects me eating.

But it caused stress and as I will not be unwinding with a happy hour tonight as food is problematic and I really don’t think alcohol is a good idea, I made my friday masking time a little longer than usual.

I applied the mask using the masking brush. Mine is from Cosmedics and I do like the rounded edges, but really any silicone brush will work. Using the brush lets me use a little less product as I don’t have bunches stuck to my fingers that I have to wash off. So it lets me get the most out of this small tube.

As I mentioned before, I was not expecting the mask to be white because of the charcoal in the name. However it was. The mask has the consistency of a thick cream and a slight grittiness. I’m guessing those are the charcoal bits. They are very fine grained and when you rub a little bit of the mask between your fingers it feels like there might be a slight exfoliation going on but mostly it feels kind of like a sticky primer. It has that same, slight tacky feel to it.

The scent however is lovely. If you have ever had a bottle of the Lipton Iced tea green tea with lemon then you know what this smells like. This smells exactly the same. Which really shouldn’t come as a surprise as it is a Matcha Green Tea + Lemon face mask. I think I just expected it to smell more like skincare. The scent is very refreshing and the mask applied well.

Once the mask was on, I lit my candle (loving the La Playa Salted Blue Agave by the way – the fresh scent complemented the mask well) and lay back on the bed. Because I wanted something without words to I could just float away, I went with Vivaldi since it is light and frothy and seemed to suit both the mask and the candle.

When my fifteen minutes were over, I regretfully put the music aside and blew out the candle. The mask, while stiffer than when first applied, did not dry down hard and stiff like a clay mask. It stayed supple enough to allow facial movements. As I sometimes like to wear masks while working at my desk, I like to identify what masks I can wear at my desk and still, if necessary answer the phone, even if it is using the speaker function.

Instead of going to the small powder room I use for my skincare needs, I went to the full bathroom and went ahead and took a shower to wash off the mask, and wash my hair (still using the Zents Mandarin Shampoo and Water Conditioner – super fabulous and they continued the fresh theme. Even though I normally go with a hair mask on Saturdays, i decided today was the day i was going to need a little extra destressing time, so I used My ESPA Pink Hair and scalp Mud. It is the one that needs to sit in the hair for about 25 minutes.

I applied the mask,. cleaned out the shower/tub, ran a hot bath and dropped one of the Zents Mandarin Bath Truffles into the water. In addition to smelling absolutely yummy, they have both shea butter and epsom salts in them. My muscles were relaxed and my skin was softened.

More importantly, tension drained.

I did forget my I pod so there was no music, but I did spend quite a lot of soaking time contemplating one of those in shower speakers. I’m thinking that might be an upcoming purchase. We haven’t gotten around to upgrading the bathrooms yet so I am still kicking around ideas as to what i want to do when we do move into fixing up the bathrooms.

Regardless of future improvements, the face mask, hair mask and bath soak did wonders. (I washed out the hair mask at the appropriate time). It was a little longer than I usually take on a Friday. Usually I just have the fifteen minute masking time along with clean up and application time added in. Today I took a little over an hour as a relaxation time and I have to say I do feel much better because of it. It wasn’t over the top extravagant. i used items that I already had in the house, but just taking that little extra time to completely unwind did me a world of good.

I feel better both body and soul and I am confident that my afternoon will be much more productive because of it.

As for the mask, I really liked this Purlisse Match Green Tea and Lemon Detoxifying Charcoal mask. My face feels soft and clean and I am looking forward to using this mask again. It’s light fresh scent makes it a mask I will reach for more in the summer time months, but I think that there will definately be a full sized purchase in my near future.

But for now, it is back to work.

Today there will be no Happy Hour post because quite frankly my treat is going to be a bowl of the Honey Vanilla Greek Yogurt from Greek Gods paired with plain bubble water via my soda stream. This will be paired with a couple of Ibuprofen. But oh that happy hour once this dental business is settled will be fantastic. For now though, it is back to work for me so i can slide into the weekend without leaving a load of paperwork behind. I hope the rest of your Friday is productive and that you have a wonderful weekend.

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Face Mask Friday with Korres

Have you ever come across a product that you completely forgot you had?  In the back of my masking drawer I came across the Korres pomegranate resurfacing mask.  I forgot completely that I had it.  I remember loving it, but then I had a slew of new masks come in and it ended up buried.  Since I skipped pretty much all of my exfoliation this week, once I saw the mask I knew, today it was time to see if I liked it as much as I remembered. 

This mask from Korres is also only a five minute mask.  Which given my still somewhat warped schedule, is not a bad thing.  I love the fifteen minute relaxing time with my music and candles.

(I even picked up a new candle actually.  It’s from Paddywax. They currently have a 20% off sale going on for Father’s day fight now if you are looking to stock up. I know you are braced for another Edgar Allen Poe Candle which I absolutely love and will purchase again in the fall, but I decided to shake things up and go with the La Playa Salted Blue Agave instead.  I’ve ordered it before and actually I still use the glass as a drinks glass. They are great glasses and I wanted something lighter and fresher for the warmer weather.  I love the beachy citrusy scent.)

But when time is short, sometimes the candles have to be used later in the day.  I’ll probably light the candle later tonight as it will go well with the ceviche I have planned.

It has been a while since I used the Korres Pomegranate Resurfacing mask.  It still smells as fresh as ever although there isn’t much left in the tube.  I may actually keep it out and use the last of it up this week rather than put it in the drawer again. And then repurchase a fresh tube later. 

Because this is a good mask that I do want to repurchase.  The scent is fresh and clean and very pomegranate-y.  It has a rough texture so you get both a physical exfoliation as well as a chemical one from this mask.  I know chemical exfoliation is supposed to be better for your skin because it is gentler, but there is just something I love about a physical exfoliate.  I don’t use them as much as I used to and limit my time with them so I don’t do damage to the skin and I am very careful about the ones I do use, but on occasion I really like a physical exfoliator.

And this one was really nice.  I left it for five minutes so the chemicals could do their thing and then I massaged it with a little water before rinsing it off.  My skin feels smooth and clean and super fresh.  I have to say, I am almost glad I ended up missing my exfoliation this week, just so I could have the fabulously fresh feeling that I have right now.  I will go back to my normal routine, but really, this is a wonderful feeling and I feel energized enough to plow through the rest of my work day at top speed.

Bring on the paperwork.  I am ready.

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Sand and Sky for Face Mask Friday

Today’s face mask is one that I have used many times in the past and will no doubt use many times in the future. I have gone through several of the small tubes as well as many of the larger, full sized containers. It is a clay mask that always makes me feel refreshed after using it.

I really like the Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay mask. First of all, I like most clay masks. Clay masks are just my happy place. This one is one I like when I feel just a little bit greasy from sweating, but don’t have a lot of major clogged pores or breakouts to worry about. It helps to kind of close down the appearance of my pores, but is less intense than some of my clearing masks.

At the moment my skin is looking really nice. I’ve had fewer breakouts and I personally feel my skin looks great. Plus as strange as this sounds, I don’t want to use something like the Herbal Dynamics Beauty Clearing Mask today because it will bring things to the surface. I just want a mask that makes my skin feel cleansed and hydrated while shrinking my pores. I didn’t need a deep cleanse.

Mostly because I am actually going out tonight.

I know, Leaving the house. For social reasons. Squee!

Can you feel the excitement?

My babydoll and I have been invited to a barbeque. I had to laugh when I received the invitation. It was just kind of amusing. it wasn’t just a, Hey we are having a Memorial Day weekend kick off barbeque, wanna come? sort of invite.

Almost dry… soon I can change facial expressions again

Oh no. It was more like…

Hey, we decided to have a barbeque because no one is really traveling for memorial day. It will be outside in the yard and on the back porch and including you two there will only be about six people and everyone invited has been vaccinated.

It was the first time I’ve been invited to a social event with so many specific notations.

Well, there was this one time where I attended a family thing where no one was allowed to mention that one of my seconds cousins was getting divorced because her husband slept with her business partner and they wanted to get through their son’s fourth birthday party before the divorce went down.

But that’s family.

And no one asked about my vaccine status.

But beyond that, it is a night out with friends. I am so looking forward to it. So today’s mask, was chosen in part because of that. It is a mask that will clean out my pores but not go deep enough to cause any clogged pores to rise. It will make my skin feel good and me feel fresh and ready to socialize.

The Sand and Sky mask goes on like any other clay mask. I highly recommend a silicon masking brush. the one i am currently using is from Cosmedix. I like it because it has a curved edge to it so I can get everything covered more easily without poking myself in the eye. The masking brush also keeps everything neat.

Although it does sound a bit extra, if you use a lot of masks, I highly suggest picking one up. You can get them relatively inexpensively in pretty much any place that sells skin care tools. I saw a boat load of them at TJMAXX last time I ventured through their doors. And even though it sounds a bit extra, the time it saves you in clean up post masking makes it so worth it.

This mask lightens as it dries and even though it says ten to fifteen minutes i like to make sure that it is actually dry. I try for a thin even layer of mask, but my cheeks always take a little longer to dry. Once the mask turns a uniform gray then I loosen it with a little water rubbed into it and then wash it off. It does take a little bit of rinsing to get it all off, but in the end the skin is clean, smooth and fabulously refreshed.

I really like this mask actually.

I’d like to say that I lay back and relaxed while wearing it, but I made the mistake of checking my e-mail just after I put it on, thinking I’d make sure there were no emergencies before i relaxed with the mask.

It turned out there was an emergency.

I dealt with it and then removed the mask. Now I feel ready to face the rest of the afternoon and then, oh yes my darlings, then it is time to socialize. With real people. Who don’t live with me. It’s a great way to kick off memorial day weekend. I plan to enjoy it fully and completely. I also plan to take the next few days off. So Monday there will be no posts, but Tuesday i will be back, bright and early. I hope you have a great weekend.

Incidentally if you are looking for a really good deep cleansing clay mask the Chamomile and Cacao clay clearing mask from Herbal Dynamics Beauty is one of my absolute favorites. And at the moment they have memorial day sales going on. You might want to check them out.

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