Women have been masking for years and I believe that using face masks, once or twice a week, depending on your skin needs, is like having a mini-facial in the privacy of your own home. One of the latest trends is ‘zone masking’ and using several ones on your face but, to be honest, I don’t have the time, nor do I want to complicate ‘me-time’, which is precious for any woman balancing work and family. Instead I just examine my skin, consider what it might need and choose one to spend the evening with.
Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Mask & Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask, 75mls, £28 ( also available in a small, 28ml size ): I like some of Kiehl’s products, as they work for my skin and had high hopes for those two launches. The first mask promises to protect your skin against impurities, as well as replenish it – sadly our environment is not getting cleaner or healthier for our bodies or skin, with the rising pollutants and stronger sun rays, which contribute to skin’s dullness and ageing. The mask contains antioxidant-rich orange extract to help prevent DNA damage, as well as cilantro (coriander ) seeds oil that should help to strengthen your skin’s barrier with regular use. This mask is recommended to be used three times a week at night. You need to apply a ‘visible’ layer to clean skin, leave on for five minutes and then tissue off the excess, leaving a thin protective layer on skin to work overnight. In the image below on top of my hand you can see the texture of the mask, on the bottom is what skin looks after 20 minutes and ’tissuing’ off.
This mask has a mixed smell of herbs and chemicals and I found it too ‘rich’ for my skin. Waking up to the skin that feels somewhat greasy is not my idea of a mini-treat for my skin, so sadly this mask wasn’t a success for me. In addition, after sleeping with a face mask like that on my face, I also have to wash my pillowcase……
The second mask promises to ‘invigorate and brighten skin’s appearance’- with skin feeling dull after the prolonged winter, this sounded wonderful. I got to ‘play’ with this mask while in Paris with my best friend and we were in fits of giggles applying this yellowy-coloured mask with mini seeds onto our faces and jumping on the beds, like teenagers, before indulging in what French TV had on offer for late-night entertainment, Marriage Freres tea and Laduree macaroons.
This ‘instant facial’ promises ‘to brighten and energize the look of dull and fatigued skin and restore a healthy, rosy appearance. Formulated with Cranberry Extract and Turmeric, this invigorating formulation promises to visibly even out your skin tone, while crushed Cranberry seeds gently exfoliate for smoother, brighter, illuminated looking skin’.
After cleansing our skin, we applied a thick layer to clean skin and allowed the mask to dry for ten minutes. After that you are supposed to rinse it off while gently massaging your skin with circular motion, allowing Cranberry Seeds to exfoliate your skin. After that you are supposed to pat dry the skin, however before we did that, it took us a lot of time to actually wash this mask, particularly the seeds, off our faces. The skin felt soft and plump but I found it seriously annoying to wash and wash and wash my face, with the seeds even ending up in my hairline. This mask is recommended to be used up to three times a week but after two quite messy experiences I wouldn’t be using it again, as the process ends up feeling more frustrating than pampering.
My skin did end up feeling softer, rosier and clearer, after using each of those mask, but it takes a lot to impress me and personally, I prefer my mask to appeal to me not just with the end result, but with texture and smell as well. This has been my experiment and yours might be less messy and make you feel pampered and glowing, so please don’t let me dissuade you from trying either or both of those masks, as one woman’s battle can be another woman’s path to success. Sadly for those masking experiments that I undertook with new Kiehl’s masks, I wouldn’t be purchasing either of the masks, but will keep an eye on brand’s new launches.
Tata Harper Purifying Mask ( deep cleansing detox treatment ), 30mls, £52
Tata never does things by half and each product gets tirelessly perfected, before it is launched. She already has a mighty popular Resurfacing Mask in her arsenal and I adore her Moisturising Mask, which makes my skin look plump and dewy. However this time the focus has been on ‘fighting the visible ageing effects caused by environmental exposure and pollution, while purging build up from the surface of the skin with this probiotic-powdered deep cleansing mask’. Tata does live on a gorgeous farm in Vermont but her work travel schedule is relentless, so this mask got thoroughly tested after endless plane and car journeys.
When you open the 30ml jar, lifting the golden lid, you set your eyes on the smooth, mousse-like mask that has the colour of blueberries. Tata combined 23 high-performance ingredients in her lab and the ‘stars’ of this 100% natural formula are kaolin clay that deeply cleanses your skin, without unsettling the skin matrix or protective barrier and probiotics ( probiotic yogurt powder ), which offer the power of fermentation that will assist the process of natural detoxification of the skin that has been exposed to environmental toxins. Both of those ingredients will help to clear away the build up from the surface of the skin with regular use. It is also worth it to mention that this mask also contains cold-pressed Prickly Pear oil, which is rich in Vitamin E, as well as Sandalwood and Olive oils, both of which help to maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Cleanse your face ( I use Tata’s Refreshing Cleanser, as my skin simply looooves it ) and apply a layer of mask to clean and dry skin, avoiding eye and lip areas. Leave for up to 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with cold water and examine your complexion. When you apply the mask it has a pleasant ‘cooling’ effect that you continue to feel even when the mask dries up. I normally wouldn’t be seen dead parading with a face mask in front of my other half but as this mask has the most beautifully evocative smell and looks quite subtle on the skin, I have been known to apply it and do my evening yoga routine, enjoying the pampering sensation on my skin and calming energy settling over my body. When I wash the mask off, my face feels confidently content, so sometimes I just spray a facial mist over my skin, let it sink into the skin and go to bed, with my skin feeling soft and nourished, without applying serum or cream.
The mask is suitable to use on all skin types, including sensitive, and after using this mask weekly for a couple of weeks I noticed that my skin is becoming clearer, more in-balance with itself and there are less blackheads around the nose, which I only manage to address properly when I go for a professional facial. For me, the visible results are worthy of the promises made and this mask makes me feel like a gorgeously pampered gal – from the texture to the smell, this mask has become one of my favourites in a short period of time.
Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Kaolin (White Clay), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Propanediol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, Glyceryl undecylenate, Opuntia ficus indica*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Santalum album (Sandalwood) Seed Oil, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Olea europea (Olive) Oil*, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Lysate Extract, Papain, Arnica montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract*, Calendula officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Bioflavonoids, Curcuma Zedoaria Root Oil, Xanthan gum, Zingiber Officinale Root Oil, Leptospermum petersonii, Aroma**, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Eugenia Caryophyluss Flower Oil, Lactobacillus/Punica granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Jojoba Esters, Abies Pectinata Leaf Oil, Foeniculum Vulgare Oil, Octyldodecanol, Water (Aqua), Iron Oxides (C.I. 77491), Iron Oxides (C.I. 77499), Trihydroxystearin, Sodium Phytate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Cetearyl glucoside, Acacia Senegal Gum, Citral, Eugenol, Limonene, Linalool
*Ingredients from Organic farming ** Clinical grade essential oils blend
Skin & Tonic Coco Mask, 50g, £22
I will start a review of this mask with an admission of two things – I do like this brand BUT I don’t generally like ‘powdered’ masks. They might be effective and offer multiple benefits, but they can also be messy and I don’t want the pampering to be followed by the cleaning of my bathroom. Having said that, this mask is white-powdered, so my initial concerns of messiness were sort of laid-to rest straight away.
This mask has just five ingredients and contains the following:
– Cocos nucifera ( coconut) milk powder, – Zea mays (corn0 starch, – Kaolin clay, – Aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice powder and – Lavandula augustifolia (Lavender) flower oil. So far, simplicity rules .)
Sarah, co-founder of the brand, created this mask to ‘feed’ thirsty skin but made sure it was suitable for all skin types, not favouring some of the customers over others. You can expect gentle detoxification, to assist your skin’s natural ability, which is slowed by our lifestyle, stress and over time, age as well.
You can use this mask in two-ways, as helpfully suggested by Sarah:
1) Mix 1/2 a tsp of powder with one tsp of warm water to make a liquid paste. Massage gently onto damp face, then leave for ten to fifteen mins before removing or
2) Add one tsp of raw honey or yoghurt to the liquid paste for a super hydrating mask
I am lucky to have a few artisanal bowls just for masking in my bathroom but don’t worry if you don’t have one handy – a small, low-edged cup works equally as well. The smell of coconuts and lavender that becomes stronger when you add water is bound to make you feel peacefully content and is one of the benefits of this mask – I think the smell is no less important than the list of ingredients or texture. Another bonus is that the mask jar is generously ‘filled up’ almost to the rim, so you can mask to your heart’s content and skin’s delight with this one. This one is a gentle true beauty!
Evolve Organic Beauty Radiant Glow Mask, 60 mls, £18 ( also available in a generous 30mls sample pot )
I have been familiar with this brand and its founder Laura Rudoe, who is also a founder of S5 Skincare, for a while, but last year Evolve had a complete change, from the formulas to the packaging. I recently ordered some of the products to try and this mask fitted nicely into this review.
This rich mask blended with raw cacao powder and clay revitalises and purifies, whilst coconut granules buff the skin to silky perfection. Organic Baobab seed oil smoothes and nourishes. Natural sugar extracts turn the exfoliating mask into a creamy milk on contact with water, that rinses off easily, leaving skin smooth, moisturised and calm. Fragranced with Organic Vanilla oil it smells of chocolate and indulgence and it is exactly what it delivers for all skin types.
After cleansing your face with your favourite evening cleanser, apply the mask generously all over your clean and dry skin, omitting eyes and lips ( try not to lick it, as tempting as it might be, because of its enticing smell that reminds me of freshly made hot cocoa and chocolate cookies, but at least when you are doing this mask, no damage would be done to the waist-line). Leave it on for about five minutes ( my top tip is to do it while you are having a shower or bath, so not to scare your other half – some things are better left behind closed doors in the name of lasting romance ! ) and then rinse it off with warm water.
Team Evolve top tip is to make sure your hands are dry to apply the mask in the first place, so you don’t ‘add’ water to the mask jar, as it can become a breeding ground for bacteria and spoil the mask, as well as have a negative impact on your skin.
Raw Cacao: is high in antioxidants, which help protect & hydrate the skin, as well as magnesium, vitamin C and Omega 6, which promote cell repair and rejuvenation.
Sweet Almond Oil: rich in Vitamin A, E and Bs, it is known for its moisturising, emollient and nourishing properties. It is easily absorbed and leaves skin feeling nourished.
Coconut Shell Powder: delicately buffs away dead skin cells, leaving skin smooth, soft and brightened.
All Ingredients (INCI): Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Glycerin*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Shell Powder, Kaolin, Theobroma Cacao Seed Powder, Prunus Amygdalus (Sweet Almond) Seed Oil* Sucrose Laurate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Water*, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract, Tocopherol. *ingredients from organic farming
What you can expect to notice when using this mask at least once a week, is an improvement in your skin’s radiance, as skin tone becomes more even and seems better hydrated & smoother in appearance.
True Nature Botanicals Pacific Exfoliating Moisture Mask, 50mls, $90 or as part of Beauty Heroes April Beauty Box
There are so many beauty brands, particularly when it comes to natural beauty, that I want to try, but due to shipping costs & taxes the list grows longer. Luckily, thanks to the creativity & knowledge of Jeannie Jarnot, founder of Beauty Heroes ( the one and only monthly beauty delivery service that I subscribe to ), I get to try products that are on my list or that I haven’t even heard of. True Nature Botanicals has a very loyal following in the US already but I was particularly curious about trying their hero-worshipped Exfoliating Mask. How can exfoliating be moisturising you ask? That was the question on my lips too!
For brand’s founder Hillary Peterson natural beauty means healthy beauty. As a thyroid cancer and melanoma survivor, Hilary is determined to change perceptions about efficacy of natural and non-toxic products. With a commitment to the most effective ingredients sources from conscientious suppliers, result-driven product development and 3rd party clinical studies, True Nature Botanicals prides itself on formulations with the highest percentage of actives and no toxins. Hilary even assembled an advisory board od green chemists, doctors, aestheticians and an aromatherapist, who collectively collaborate to ensure that each products delivers visible and measurable results.
Exfoliating Moisture Mask is like infusing your skin with light, spring air, as it promises to renew, balance, brighten & boost radiance. With my pasty skin seeking all the help it can get in the sanctity of my home, masking was the order of the day.
Start your evening ritual with cleansing your skin with your usual cleanser and pat it dry. Apply the mask by massaging a thin layer on your skin and leave it on for three minutes, if you have sensitive skin, and five if you have dry, mature, normal or combination skin. When the time is up, gently wipe away with a warm, wet cloth – I highly recommend bamboo ones for this. When you read the instructions, it says that you might experience light tingling but that wasn’t my experience every time I used it. Post masking, apply your usual serum, moisturiser or face oil, enjoy a good night’s sleep and examine your complexion in the morning. Smile, don’t forget to apply an SPF over your normal skincare and you are ready to face the world, naturally beautiful.
Now, what makes this mask special in terms of the ingredients? Well, it is formulated with replenishing lactic acid ( the only alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) the brand uses ) derived from beets, which actively but gently exfoliates your skin without causing irritation, wakes up the falling asleep beauty that is collagen production and boosts hyaluronic acid levels, taking your skin from average or dull to dewy. It also increases production of natural ceramics to prevent moisture loss and helps to lighten the skin by inhibiting melanin-triggering enzymes. Was I a little sceptical? Yep, I was, but then I don’t expect miracles from skincare; what I expect is to see whether the product delivers on the promises that the brand producing it makes. In addition to lactic acid, you have avocado and mango butters that help attract, but more importantly, retain moisture in your skin, being natural emollients, nourish with vitamins and essential fatty acids and help to improve the elasticity of your skin, even after exfoliating. There is also enzyme-packed potato flour, that lightens and brightens the pigmentation, from which, sadly, we are all starting to suffer earlier than our mothers did it contains high amounts of catecholase, a potent skin-lightening enzyme).
The mask itself is pink and girly, dewy and pre-blended, so there is nothing for you to mix – just apply it, inhaling the notes of Indian tuberose, Egyptian star jasmine and Moroccan neroli and dream of holidays of far away lands that are still to come your way.
Expert Beauty Ritual: ‘Before an event or evening out, apply Exfoliating Moisture Mask with fingertips or a clean brush, extending to the neck and chest area. Non-sensitive skin types can leave on up to 15 minutes, then remove with a warm cleansing cloth. Follow it up with your favourite face oil or moisturiser, pressing along the contours of cheek and brow bones for extra luminosity’.
Ingredients: Camellia sinensis (green & white tea)*, glycerin (vegetable glycerin)*, lactic acid, mangifera indica (mango) butter, persea gratissima (avocado)butter, solanum tuberosum (potato) flour, xanthan gum, tuberosa (tuberose) essential oil, trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) essential oil, citrus aurantium (neroli) essential oil.
This mask turned out to be a revelation and I think every woman above 30 needs to experience its transformative power, especially if you have been lacking confidence in efficacy of natural skincare .)