Good afternoon my darlings and I hope your Friday is going fabulously. The word of the day is hydration. In fact it was really the word of the week.
As I had some break outs to clear away, I started using the Acne Control Cleanser from Murad. While it did a magnificent job clearing everything away, once the bulk of my blemishes were dried out and gone, I didn’t stop using it. I just reached for it automatically because it was on the edge of my sink.
I know, bad Mimsy.
As a result I ended up with some very dry patches which were exacerbated by the cold wind that seems to be lowling through my area. So this week became all about hydration. While I switched up a lot of my products this week, one of my best friends has been the Vichy Laboratories Masque Mineral.
I know this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about it and it won’t be the last. It is the mask I turn to when my skin just needs a really good hit of moisture. I use it in the summer when I’ve had too much sun, even though it is to moisturizing for everyday use then. The winter is it’s time to shine. Quite frankly I have lost track of how many jars of this I have gone through. It is the sort of mask you can put on and leave on overnight if you have to and I have been known to apply it to knees and elbows and let it sit until I shower it off. It is really good on dry skin and I have never had a problem with any sort of irritation from it.
It looks like blue tinted jelly and when you scoop it out of the jar it melts to liquid with the heat of your palm. It actually reminds me a lot of the Illamasqua primer I used this week. The scent of this mask is light and unsurprisingly slightly minerally. It actually reminds me of bottled mineral water. It is light and fresh as well as refreshing. While I have used it throughout the week, I will be using it again today for my Friday Face Mask.
I love the fact that it takes so little to cover the entire face. You can apply a thin coat and just let it absorb in and leave it for the afternoon or you can apply a thicker coat and just use it as a mask. Today i am going the mask route.
I applied it in the bathroom and set my timer for fifteen minutes before flopping out on the bed with my i-pod. Today, I went with a podcast. I’m going with Dressed: A History of Fashion by Cassidy Zachary and April Calahan. It is very entertaining and I am quite enjoying it. They are either starting their third year or they just finished their third year of podcasts. I only cam across them a few months ago so I am catching up. They have about two hundred podcasts in their library. Today I went back to the earliest ones and pulled up a podcast dealing with the House of Worth.
It is however an hour long so I unfortunately only managed a short bit before I had to turn it off and go to wash my face. I’ll be finishing it up later. That is the one downfall. I tend to only listen to podcasts in short bursts so the longer ones I have to break up into segments.
But at least I can look forward to the rest.
When I went to wash my face it looked more or less like it did when I first applied the mask. Most of the mask soaked in but my skin still looked wet and felt slightly tacky to the touch. The remains of the mask washed off quickly with warm water and I patted my skin dry. After using this mask all week, my skin is now plumped and all of the dry spots are a distant memory.
The lesson remains though. Don’t over do it on the acne fighting cleanser. Sometimes less is more. At least with something that drying. I will say it took excellent care of my break outs though. And with the aide of Vichy Laboratories, no permanent harm was done. Once again my decision to always keep a jar of the Vichy Masque Mineral in my cabinet paid off. I love when that happens.
Yes my darlings, I am giggling. We have reached the review post I was so looking forward to doing. As you know I am a frequent face mask user. I create posts every week for Face Mask Friday. When I sat down to think about the face masks I would reorder (or in some cases constantly reorder) I expected it to be a huge list. I expected it to be massive and unwieldy. Instead it isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, it is still substantial, but it isn’t nearly as massive as I expected. I think this is because while there are many face masks out there that I have tried and liked, because let’s face it, there are a lot of good masks out there, most fall into the I would use instead of pass on category. I get a lot of my beauty products through subscription boxes. This is one way I can try a multitude of products for a fairly reasonable outlay of cash. I like to think of it as clever resource allocation. Many of the products that arrive I have never tried before or have only heard about but never picked up. Some of them I don’t pick up again after trying them and there are some that I just pass on to others automatically.
When looking over my lists, both what I’ve posted for Face Mask Friday and the masks I’ve used at other times, I’ve concluded that a lot of them I would use if they came in a subscription box and I might consider picking up if I spotted them on sale. But that just wasn’t good enough to make this post.
The list of masks I would repurchase deliberately at any time of year, was relatively short so those are the ones I will concentrate on. Because if I am willing to pay full price for each and every one of these masks then you know I am going to stock up on sales.
So let’s jump in. I am going to start with the flash mask category. I know, who thought that would be a category? I technically have three items here. The first I have already mentioned in the skin care post because I use it as an exfoliator. It is the Nuxe Insta-Masque. It is exfoliating particles held in a jelly like consistency.
You apply it and let it sit 2-3 minutes, then massage and rinse off. I like to brush my teeth when doing this mask. It is a gentle exfoliate that has that lovely French Skin Care rose scent to it (while I’m not a big rose scented product person, the rosy scent of French skin care is somehow different to my nose, no clue why but it isn’t cloying and just feels soft to my nose if that makes sense). I put this as a repurchase on my skin care list and I would put it again as a repurchase here. I will also be trying out the other products from the Insta-masque line, but that is a post for another day.
If you are looking for another quick, gentle exfoliating mask, this one of the 3-5 minute variety instead of the 2-3 minute one, I would suggest the Korres Pomegranate AHAS and Enzymes Resurfacing Mask. It is for oily to combination skin and I find that when I am feeling oily and in need of a refresh, this is the mask I reach for. It is gently exfoliating using soft pomegranate seeds instead of something harsher that could damage the skin and it has that wonderful pomegranate scent to it. I was using this predominantly in the summertime as that is when I am more oily (my skin rides that strange line others call normal and leans oily in the summer and drier in the winter), but I have been finding that the more I wear masks, the more helpful this mask has become. Even though the summer has ended I find a once a week use of this mask (combined with other masking which I’ll cover later in the post when I get to the clay masks) had been really good at keeping my skin in check. This is a mask I will be repurchasing often, in fact as soon as the tube gets to the halfway mark, I reorder it.
The third flash mask that I have been really enjoying is the Ursa Major Bright and Easy Flash Mask. It too has a jelly like consistency and when you put it on your face its brown color just makes your face look slightly more tanned than usual, and a bit shinier. It may be the least noticeable of the flash masks and it is one I have worn at my desk with no issues. It is a flash mask so you only wear it for three minutes before rinsing it off. Unlike the other two it does not have any exfoliating properties. It is soothing and hydrating. It makes my skin look beautifully radiant. It smells clean and green although the scent is very light and fades almost instantly. It makes me feel refreshed.
While speaking of refreshed, I have to mention the eye masks that are currently my favorite. It is the Grace and Stella It’s like an energy drink for your eyes eye mask. For a long time I could take or leave eye masks. Then I discovered that almost all of them helped with my puffy eyes during ragweed season. While a victory for eye masks everywhere, the Grace and Stella ones went the extra mile. Not only do they de-puff and offer anti wrinkle serum (always a plus) but after wearing them I do actually feel slightly energized. Or at least my eyes feel less tired. I don’t know about you but video conference calls always leave me feeling drained with my eyes sagging. I think it is too much computer time. I can pop these on before my meeting so I can hit the meeting looking full of vim and vigor or I can wait until after I’ve been drained by the meeting and then pop them on to sort of wake me up so I don’t sleep walk through the rest of the day. At the moment, these are my favorite eye masks and the ones to beat.
Another nourishing mask I enjoy is the Elemis Superfood Vital Veggie Mask. It looks green, it smells green and it is quite nourishing to the skin without being too much moisture added to the skin. I think this is my second or third tube of this mask and it will certainly not be my last. I know that probably doesn’t surprise anyone as I tend to be a big Elemis fan in general.
Speaking of moisturizing masks, one I have really been enjoying lately is the Vichy Masque Mineral. It is a lightly blue tinted jelly like formula and you really need very little to cover your face so it lasts a while. It isn’t a terribly expensive mask compared to the others on my list, but it feels very luxurious.
It is a little different from the others as well. You apply the mask in a thin layer and just let it sit. You don’t need to wash it off. I have actually slept in this mask a number of times. It provides a deep hydration to the skin and when you do get around to washing it off, the skin is smooth, plumped and healthy looking.
To be honest while I have remembered to add sunscreen to my face more this summer than I have in the past (Thank you Volition) on occasion I will forget my neck and upper chest as well as my arms. Or I will just be in the sun longer than I expected and my skin will take a beating. I tend to apply this mask on the sun beaten skin and wear it overnight. It really helps. I t has also never given me issues with clogged pores, despite the massive moisture burst to the skin.
However dealing with clogged pores is where the clay masks come in. Most of my clay masks, at least the ones I consistently repurchase tend to fall into the detoxifying category, or at least they have the effect. The Generation Clay Ultra Violet brightening purple mask is technically brightening as is the Milk Makeup Cannabis Hydrating Face Mask. Both however are clay masks and clay for me helps wick away a lot of my oil. These two do that without stripping my skin. I have lost count of how many times I have ordered masks from Generation Clay. I’ve used this one, the black charcoal and the pink clay one and to be honest I would order all three repeatedly. The Milk Makeup Cannabis mask is new to me but I will be using it until it is gone and then reordering it. I was really impressed with it as a mask and I am also looking into other Milk Masks in the future because of it.
The Cottage Greenhouse Orange Blossom and Honey mask I received in an IPSY box a while back and I used every drop of this product, scraping the jar clean. It was actually in my empties bin at the beginning of the month. The label was kept on it for this post but after this the glass jar will have the label soaked off and the jar repurposed. The mask itself will be repurchased. Not only does it smell utterly delicious, like freshly pulled from the oven orange infused biscotti, but it hydrated my face and left me feeling clean and fresh. I found I could use this on a day I felt greasy and just feel fabulous afterwards with the excess oil gone but nothing feeling overly dried.
The final clay mask I need to bring up is the Bliss Pore Patrol Clay Mask. I finished using it, thought that I could pick up another one at Target, found they were out and went home to immediately order it. I know I should have waited as they have a great sale on right now but as I have a couple of other products to order from them I will just use the sale for that. The Pore Patrol is even now making its way through the postal system towards me. Now not only is it a god mask, But because of its dispenser it is easy to spot mask with this product.
What I have been doing because of mask related break outs is using the Korres Pomegranate resurfacing mask more often and then as soon as I come back from wearing my public (cloth) mask out for an extended period I apply the Bliss Pore Patrol on to the mask lines where I am prone to clogged pores and onto my chin and around my mouth. It looks sort of like I have a green clay goatee but it has helped keep the maskne in check. At least this far. It is a strange system I’ll grant you but thus far it has been working.
Another masking product that I have been using with good effect this way is technically not a clay mask. It is a mud mask. The Annmarie Skincare Organic Purifying mud mask to be specific. I wanted to mention it separately as technically it is mud and not clay. It is also one of my favorites. It comes as a powder form and you put it in a little dish and mix it with water. You can make it as thick or thin as you want, plus as it is powder it keeps a really long time. I am a huge fan of it. I got it first as a sample (Annmarie skincare does fantastic sample sets and even though I forgot to mention it in the skin care post Their Aloe Herb Cleanser is AMAZING) and picked it up right after. It has been an amazing product to work with on the clogged pores caused by the facemasks. And truthfully given the current state of things, if there was one mask on this list I would recommend keeping around, this is the one. Don’t get me wrong all of the masks in this post are fantastic (otherwise I wouldn’t have them in the post) but this has proven to be the most useful and most versatile for this wack-a-do world that we are now living in. It can’t fix everything, but it does amazing with the skin.
And with that we enter the world of sheet masks. Don’t worry, I may use a lot of them but not all of them stand out so this is a really short section. I have been getting the Facetory Four-ever fresh face mask subscription for a while. It is $8.90 per month and generally comes with (you guessed it) four sheet masks. Every other month or so they will add a fifth one in as a bonus. I am in love with this subscription. I know they have higher tiers to their service and offer a selection of non-sheet masks, but this four pack gives me just enough without becoming too much and lets me try all different brands, most of which I never would have picked up on my own. I also love the fact that pausing the subscription or skipping a month is incredible easy. They have six months listed out on their subscription page and you just click the months you don’t want the subscription marking them as skipped. So you could make this an every other month subscription or a once a quarter subscription with the click of a button. So I personally love the ease and versatility a well as the variety. I skipped November but will be going back in December.
Having said that, many sheet masks I’ve used I liked and would use again, but wouldn’t order in a pack. The ones I would order again surprised me. The ones that I would order again are actually the ones I laughed at when they arrived. The first is a sheet mask simple labeled Aqua by Beauty Chuck. Everything else was pretty much in Korean so that was all of the hint I got from it. I suspected it had something to do with moisture. And it did. The Aqua mask left my skin feeling smooth and silky and very hydrated without being too wet with excess serum. It is one of the few that I would not only keep on hand but that would actually cause me to write a letter to the company begging to put the making serum in a bottle. Although I’m not certain I could actually mail a letter that started Dear Beauty Chuck. The point is though, it was fantastic.
The two other noteworthy masks both came from the same company. The company is Candy ‘o Lady. The latest was the Little Witch Candy mask and features a cupcake and pumpkin candy on the package. The previous one had rainbows and candy on it and was called Mellow Cotton Candy. I had no expectations for the masks and expected something sickly sweet from them. They didn’t smell like candy at all. They smelled herbal-ly and clean like a high end facial treatment. They were refreshing and worked really well with my skin, leaving it soft and fabulous. They look like they are designed for children to play around with, but there is some serious skin care under the cute. Both Candy o’Lady masks were fantastic so as a brand I will be keeping an eye out for more as well as keeping up my Facetory subscription, even if I do skip a month here and there. And to be fair I never would have picked up any of those masks had I seen them in a store or on line. And now they are in my favorites list. Go Facetory!
There is one mask I tried that I liked in its single use packet and will be picking up for a full sized trial. That is the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. I almost didn’t mention it as I tried only a sample and haven’t done the full size, but as I will be picking it up during the holiday sales, I felt I ought to. I liked it enough to buy a full sized jar. More details will of course follow post week long use. Perhaps it will become a favorite, perhaps I will try it and not like it as much as I think i will. However since it is going to be a holiday purchase I decided to put it on the list.
Finally my masking post would not be complete if I didn’t mention my masking spatula. I picked up a masking spatula from Amazon for less than a dollar and it has been utterly fantastic. The link will take you to Amazons set of five. I couldn’t find one listed singly, but this is the tool I got so cheaply and love. There are oodles of them around at varying price points. All are pretty good. Recently Boxy Charm sent out two higher end masking brushes from Cosmedix. I have unboxed them but haven’t tried them yet. I’m sure I will get a lot of use out of them but quite frankly, my less than a dollar masking brush is still super fabulous and I highly recommend picking one up if you do a lot of face masks. They keep things clean and quick with much less wasted product.
I’m sure the pricier ones are nice too.
So there you have it my darlings, my masking review. I am certain that there are a few good masks I have forgotten and I am certain there will be more that I will try soon that I will wish I tried earlier and let you know about. But right now, these are the staples of my masking drawer and the products I am really loving at the moment. If you are looking to expand your masking game, I really hope this helps you out.