Balance Me for Face Mask Friday

Balance Me AHA Glow Mask

Today my darlings we are going for another Balance Me Product for Face mask Friday.  This brand.  Oh this brand.  At this point I have tried a multitude of their products.  And here are the two basic truths. 

They work really well.

I can’t get past the scent.


I tried the Vitamin C serum.  It worked really well. The formula was excellent on the skin.

It also smelled exactly like Lemon Scented Pledge.

I tried their Bakuchiol Serum. (Bakuchiol is like retinol but doesn’t give you the same sensitivity to sunlight.) I loved the way it worked on my skin and even in a small sample tube I saw some decent results.

It smelled like high end floor cleaner. The floral kind.

For me this is the curse of Balance Me products.  My nose gets me every time. I was however excited to see this in one of my subscription boxes though, because it is a mask. And I know I love masks.  I love them in all shapes and sizes.  Even if there are some I won’t try more than once, I will try most of them at least once. 

Oh speaking of masks, Facetory is having a massive Spring Sale.  I’ll put the link below but if you are looking to stock up, now is the time to hit them up.  Fabulous products and while they are usually affordable anyway, the sale just makes them super fabulous. I highly recommend checking them out. I use the four-ever fresh mask subscription but they also sell individual skin care products (not just masks).

Four-ever Fresh Subscription!

But back to the AHA Glo Mask from Balance Me.  Why was I so excited to get a mask from them? Because masks aren’t worn every day. The thing with the other two products I mentioned is that they have to be used on a consistent daily basis to achieve results.  I knew that no matter how good they were the scent would still make using them a chore and I would seek out other products. At this point in my life I know this about myself.  I’ve tried to use good products whose scent I just don’t like and it just doesn’t work out, no matter how much I tell myself that this time will be different. There are just so many other products to choose from.

With a mask I am hoping that it works as well as all the other Balance me Products but that even if I am not as fond of the scent as I might be, it will be okay because it isn’t an everyday use product.

So are you ready?

Then it is masking time?! (and yes the theme song that I am now singing is oddly  enough based on the Adam West Era Batman song. Sing it with me…da na na na na na na na Mask Time!)

Okay now that we are all on the same page it is time to dispense the mask. It is white.  It is creamy and while it does have a citrusy scent that leans towards lemon and an underlying tone that makes me think floor cleaner, it is actually not bad.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picking it up in a body butter scent, but it is a lot less strong than any of their other products have been. 

Oh my darlings, could this be the Balance Me product I enjoy?

Let’s apply and see.

I applied it to the face in a thin layer. The scent is a little stronger when applied but it still isn’t too bad.  The timer is set for fifteen minutes and While normally I lie down and relax, een if my thoughts aren’t as zen like as are usually encouraged, today I have several e-mail I need to type up so I will unfortunately be sitting at my desk.


But if you are missing your candles I suggest bouncing on over to Paddywax.  The last of their holiday scents (I adore the spicier candles and stock up on pre spring sales each year) are now all listed on their sale page AND they just released a line of incense called HAZE if that is more your thing than candles. I tend to lean more towards candles, but some of the incense scents are quite tempting.

Okay everyone back from the Paddywax site?  Excellent.  I finished my emails and the timer has dinged so off to the bathroom I go.

Much of the mask has absorbed which is usually a good sign.  According to the Balance me website …

After fifteen minutes

Restore radiance with our triple-action chemical exfoliation. Packed with a bio-active blend of fruit acids including glycolic, lactic and malic for maximum efficacy, our face mask will brighten, deeply purify, plump, and reveal a natural, more youthful, luminous glow in less than 15 minutes. To boost the formulation, we’ve blended with Kaolin Clay to draw out impurities and maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier to lock in hydration and combat potential irritants.

RESULTS: Brightens, plumps and deeply purifies. Expect a natural, more youthful complexion.

Here are my before and afters.

makeup newly removed on the left, mask freshly taken off on the right (the red is partially because the water was really cold)

I have to say it was easy to wash off and quite enjoyable to wear.  I would say my skin looks a little brighter.  Most skin care requires repeated use for differences to be obvious.  While I don’t think my sample size will give me repeated use results, I do have enough in the tube for about two more applications.  I think what I may do is try this out on Monday and Wednesday for my masking and see if there is any greater difference.  I don’t think I’ll see major differences with such a short trial length, but there might be a few more details I can find out.  The detail I am most interested to see is if I am relieved that the tube is used up or wishing there was more in it.  Balance me is a relatively affordable brand.   A full sized 50 Ml tube is $29 (although it is only $21.95 on the Allbeauty site – I love their everyday discounts).

Which means that if the scent doesn’t get to me and I see some slight results, this may be the first Balance Me Sample I’ve tried that I am willing to put on my try in the full size list.  And honestly because I so liked the effects of the other products and couldn’t take the scent, I suspect that if the scent doesn’t make me want to avoid this by the end of the product then I may just give the full size a more complete try to make up for my noses rejection of the others. But that is something I’ll have to get back to you on.  For now, this AHA Glow Mask from Balance Me is a definite maybe.

Korres and the Friday Face mask

Have you ever tried a face mask and thought, that’s okay but nothing super fabulous, but then later you try it again and and are blown away by how fabulous it really is?

For me this is the Korres Hydra-Biome Probiotic SuperDose Face Mask.  I tried it and it was a good mask but not one I would reach for consistently.  Then I saw it and said to myself ‘Self, you really need to use that and not let it go to waste since it is open.’

Sometimes I yell at myself for things like that.  Especially with face masks.  I really love trying new face masks and so sometimes I have to reign myself in and use the ones that are already open before moving on. I have had some very stern talks with myself on the subject.

And when I tried the mask on, I found I loved it.

Now truthfully, the mask didn’t change.  A masking fairy didn’t fly into my skin care drawer wave a magic wand and poof suddenly it was an entirely different mask.

Although seriously how cool would it be to have a face mask fairy?

I bet she would smell of cucumbers and pomegranates.

But I digress.

The Hydra Biome mask.

the mask in the jar

The thing that changed, was the season.  When I first tried this mask, I tried it in the summer time.  I remember it being cooling and refreshing and good, but not something I wanted to reach for repeatedly. Then winter came.  The air dried out and so did my skin.  I stopped sweating outside and wasn’t nearly a oily as I am in summer months.  This is when I tried the mask again and oh my darlings did I love it. This is now one of my favorite winter pick me ups.  It is still cool and refreshing, but now my skin drinks in the moisture and my skin feels healthier because of it.  I know it probably did all of those wonderful things for my skin in the summer time, but I think then the product was too moisturizing for me to really appreciate it.  Now that my skin is craving extra moisture, this mask really shines.

I applied it today and really loved it.  Last week I used the quick and easy (and beloved by me) Milk Hydrating Clay mask and earlier in the week I used the herbal essences Herbal Dynamics Beauty Cacao and Chamomile clearing mask on my few problem areas so today I had no clogged pores to address.  I just needed moisture and soothing and that is exactly what this mask provided.

I popped it onto my face using my masking brush.  This is one of those masks where the silicone spatula brushes really shine regardless of which one you use.  It lets you neatly apply the product without dipping your fingers in the jar, but also lets you use less product.

The mask after fifteen minutes

Once applied I lay down and put on my music while it soaked into my skin.  I went with the Pogues  today as they suited my mood, and I thought of skin care fairies.I know, I wish I could claim deep thoughts, but my thoughts were kind of shallow.  I went with my Poe Candles from the Library collection from Paddywax as my accompaniment.  It is sweet and spicy with a hint of musk and quite frankly I really like it.  I picked up the small candles (the $12 ones) because I really like the little tin box, but quite frankly I really should have gone for the larger amber glass ones as I like them so much.  The tin I’ve got is almost empty.  There is just something so appealing about those little boxes though.

The candle worked well with the music.  The slight yogurt scent of the mask luckily faded into the background.  As much as I love the mask, I’m not a huge fan of the yogurt scent of it. It doesn’t bother me as much in the winter as it did in the summer though.  I think in the summer I kept thinking dairy in the heat and wasn’t happy with it.  In the winter there is no heat so the dairy scent doesn’t concern me.  I know that is very silly, but my sense of smell is always getting me into trouble.

At the end of the fifteen minutes I blew out the candles, turned off the music and dismissed thoughts of skin care fairies. Most of the mask sunk into my skin and the rest wiped off easily with a damp washcloth.  My skin now feels refreshed and clean as well as very moisturized without feeling greasy.  I may have been on the fence about the Korres Hydra Bioma Probiotic Face Mask in the summer, but in the winter, with my skin, this mask shines.

Greek Yoghurt Probiotic SuperDose Face Mask

A probiotic face mask with real Greek yoghurt that rehydrates, reduces redness, and reb… [More]

Price: $49.00

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Milking the Friday Face Mask

Today I decided to go for a no muss no fuss face mask with Milk Makeup’s Hydrating Stick Mask. Time is a little limited today as there is a long list of things I need to get done before I can call it a weekend. And so I turn to Milk Makeup and their face mask in a stick.  I have to say once I clear out a few of my open face masks I am going to be stocking up on these, in all different varieties. They are good masks and so convenient to have around.

Easy on

The mask I have is the hydrating version with cannabis sativa.  It is said to soothe and hydrate, which is exactly what it does.  My skin always feels so smooth and refreshed after I use it.  The trick to keeping these mask looking and working properly is in the little plastic cap that comes inside. 

It looks like something you should throw away when you open it, but don’t.  Keep the cap and when you are finished using it, roll the mask back down into the tube and put the cap back on.  It may not fit exactly as it did at first, but it will keep the product from drying out.  Once it dries out it cracks and becomes unusable.  So keep the cap. 

I’m ready for my Elphaba audition…now if only I could actually sing…

The reason I chose this mask today wasn’t because I felt like imitating Elphaba, but because it is just a jam-packed day and this is a quick, clean (and good) mask. You roll the stick mask over your face until your face is covered, let it sit for ten minutes and then take a damp wash cloth and wipe it off.  Seriously, easy on, easy off.

I’d like to say that in the ten minutes I wore the mask I relaxed with music and candles.  Sadly today I did not.  I wore the mask at my desk as I read through some notes I need to sort through for a complicated e-mail I need to write.  I managed to get a little bit of green mask on my reading glasses, but luckily they are super lightweight so it didn’t press too hard and of course the mask washed right off.

Today this Milk Makeup Mask was a great one to use.  It goes on with no mess, doesn’t drip or run or, as in the case of some sheet masks, slip and slide. I can wear it at my desk with absolutely no issues. I know that is a strange thing to say about a mask, but it actually comes in really handy when working from home. Just remember not to turn the video camera on for the ten minutes you are wearing it and you are golden. Then pop to the bathroom for a moment when your ten minutes are through.  It is a thin clay mask that comes off with a simple wet washcloth.  Easy peasy.  I definitely need to look at keeping more of these masks in my collection for future use. But now, skin feeling nourished, I need to take my notes and write up a proposal. (that’s what the notes were about).  Wish me luck!

It’s a Double Take for Face Mask Friday!

Herbal Dynamics Beauty clay mask and High Maintenance Peeling Mask from High

Welcome my darlings once again to face mask Friday. Today I am doing a two part masking. And no this doesn’t mean I am making myself look like the Batman Villain Two Face. Or is that Twoface. I can never remember.  Either way, it doesn’t apply.

this is a maks not chocolate, ignore the scent and do not lick the masking brush

I noticed this week that I have a few clogged pores and I would like to work on unclogging them.  Based on my previous use of the Herbal Dynamic’s Beauty Cacao and Chamomile Clay Clearing Mask, I know just the way to do it.  So I am going to mask and let the fabulous chocolate scented mask bring the blemishes to the surface.  And then after giving my skin a moment to relax, I am going to return to the bathroom and use the High Beauty High Maintenance Peeling mask to clear away dead skin and other bits from the surface.  At least that is my plan.  We will see how it goes.

So Step one: Apply the Herbal Dynamic’s Beauty Cacao and Chamomile Clay Clearing mask.  You can click here for my full review of the mask if you want to see a breakdown of the ingredients.  I actually enjoyed breaking down the ingredients because this mask had so few and each one in the mask was there for a very specific purpose with nothing extra thrown in for funsies.

Because of my previous test of this mask I know it will draw impurities to the surface of my skin so they can be more easily cleared away.  It also does some other really good stuff for my skin as well.  I can’t use it too often or it can dry the skin, but it does help with those deep down clogged pores.  Since it draws them to the surface my skin doesn’t look it’s best for the next few days, which is why I want to do it this weekend instead of on the Friday before Valentine’s day.  Hopefully by the 14th my skin will be all cleared out and fabulous again. I’m also hoping the High peeling mask will help in that regard.

So to the Clay Mask!

As always it smells of chocolate. (And yes in my head I heard Chunk from The Goonies say Chocolate)

I use the Cosmedics flat masking brush to apply it because it not only keeps the clay mask from making a mess but I end up using less mask product when I use the masking brush to apply it and this is not a mask I want wasted. It feels cool to the skin and once in place, well… it isn’t the most attractive look and as it dries I will lose facial mobility, but that is fine.  I can live with that. I don’t want to talk to anyone when I am masking anyway.

Get 25% off using code WINTER

Which is good, cause I can’t.

So I am going to lay back on the bed and listen to Vivaldi while I wait.  I know my music choices seem strange to some as my tastes tend to range wide.  I think because I have been working on planning Valentine’s day things, Champagne has come to mind and Vivaldi always seems effervescent and champagne-y to me. Like an auditory mimosa. I can’t have a steady diet of it, but it is fine for Sunday brunch.

Mask dried

And now the time is up and I feel somewhat light and effervescent myself. The Clay mask has of course hardened so my face looks a little like a dirt road during a drought, but that will soon end. Washed off and patted dry, my skin feels great and I can see places where nasties have edged closer to the surface.  I’m going to wait a few moments and then deploy part two of my masking plan today.

Incidentally if you are wondering why my lips are so super shiny I took the masking as an opportunity for a mid day application of the Teadora Wild Superfood Lip drops. They arrived at the beginning of the week so I’ve only been using them for a few days but thus far, I am really loving them. After a little longer trying them out, I’ll post a review.

Part two of today’s masking involves the High Peeling mask I’ve used it before and I have to say I really like it.  It is a cannabis infused peeling mask which basically means when you put it on your skin and rub all of the dead skin cells roll up into little balls and can be washed off leaving fresh lovely skin revealed below.  There are a host of other peeling masks that I wouldn’t do this with but the High peeling mask is gentle enough that I know I can get away with it. It will only remove the dead skin cells and if there aren’t any left behind to remove, it won’t do my skin any harm. 

the peeling mask in hand

And so off we go.

peeling off

My skin is slightly damp but not wet, which seems to work best for this mask and in less than a minute of rubbing all of the dead skin cells and a few of the bumps that were closer to the surface have been removed.  Once the High Mask has done its job I rinse it off and once again pat my skin dry. 

I have to say I really like this combo.  It worked out really well for me and my skin feels absolutely fantastic.  I wouldn’t recommend doing this with a stronger peeing mask or very often.  I can’t see myself doing this combo more than once every month or two, but for today it worked fantastically well.

And I get to go through the rest of the day feeling good in my skin. And that is a nice feeling.

Herbal Dynamics Beauty

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

About a year or two ago I saw this Summer Friday’s Jet Lag mask everywhere.  Anywhere I went on line someone was talking it up and extolling its utter fabulousness. Then everyone suddenly stopped talking about it.  I have no idea if it was part of a PR campaign or if everyone was just talked out about the mask, but people stopped mentioning it. 

Clean face to start

While I am always willing to try a new mask, I have quite a stockpile I was working through on my own and I generally find that when something is that hyped up it creates false expectations and then after the hype fades people start complaining. So typically when I see a really talked about product I make a note of it, wait a while and then when the praises are no longer echoing in my mind, I work my way around to trying it out. 

I know that is not how marketing works but for me, I prefer having a clear head to make up my own mind about a product.  If it sometimes means I don’t always jump on the newest things right away, I’m okay with that.  I don’t need to be the first to try something. I just need to know how I feel about it without interference.

Mask when first applied

So after the hype there was silence. And then the Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask appeared in BoxyCharm Premium.  I believe it was an item everyone received. The problem was that shortly after boxes started arriving some people reported skin irritations.  Then Boxy Charm sent out a notification from the brand.  Apparently some of the product was contaminated.  A search was ongoing but they felt they managed to remove all of the contaminated product.  In addition they advocated test patching to make certain that the mask was not contaminated before you used it on your face.

So I received the mask and the warning with my BoxyCharm Premium. Usually with masks, if there is enough product, I like to use them Monday and Wednesday as well as on my Face mask Fridays.  The Monday and Wednesday masks are in the evenings while the Friday one is in the afternoon, but that’s really the only difference. This week instead of actually using the mask on Monday and Wednesday, I did one test patch on Monday and a second test patch on Wednesday. 

Mask at the end of fifteen minutes

I had no reaction, so either my product was not contaminated or I am just not allergic to whatever the contaminant is. And so I will be using the Summer Friday’s mask in full today. Now that I know there are now skin irritating contaminants, what should I expect?

You don’t have to be a jetsetter to have that lag.

Upgrade your skin to a business-class complexion—no matter what time your red-eye gets in, or what time your head hits the pillow. This uber-dewy, hydrating mask soothes thirsty, stressed-out skin by steeping cells in a nourishing mix of vitamins, ceramides, antioxidants and gently exfoliating extracts. Skin looks instantly renewed, radiant and ready for anything!

Well yesterday was stressful and last night’s sleep wasn’t great. So perhaps this is the perfect time to try this mask.  Into the bathroom we go.

The mask is a white paste that feels thin and a little on the greasy side. I pulled back my hair and applied it as directed.  I actually used my silicon spatula for this and it worked really well. The mask is cool to the touch and has very little scent.  It mostly smells like cream. The skin care kind of cream not the kind you whip with sugar and vanilla for a delicious fluffy topping.

Face at the end

Mask in place, I retreated back to the bed. Set the timer and tried to relax. Thoughts of work kept intruding so I turned to old school Vandals to keep the work thoughts at bay.  You know the Vandals before they went through that brief and regrettable Country phase. It helped keep work thoughts away for the fifteen minutes and gave me a surprisingly relaxing masking time. 

I know it isn’t really zen, but the point is to just spend fifteen minutes letting go of all the stress and worry.  Listening to the soothing sounds of water or whales or gentle ‘soothing’ music is not actually a requirement and for me songs I can sing along to without having to think about the words or podcasts that cause my brain to wander far from my office work really does help destress me. And the point is to destress not to conform, so whatever lets your brain take a break is what you should go with.

And yes it took me a long time to realize that.

So I lay down with my eyes closed and mouthed along with the songs until the timer went off. Then I turned off the music and went into the bathroom.

Much of the mask absorbed into my skin. The website does say that you don’t need to wash it off.  You can let it sit on overnight and let it absorb all the way in or use a thin layer under makeup.  I wiped the remainder off with a wet washcloth. I recommend using warm water on your wash cloth.  I’m sure there are some pore opening benefits but the truth is, that the warmer the water on the washcloth the easier the mask is to remove. 

There is some sort of waxiness to the mask and since it takes my water a little while to warm up and my wash cloth always needs to be rinsed out when I am taking off a mask like this, I started wiping it off before the water was fully warm and then let it run.  The cloth took off the mask but left the waxiness behind.  A warm wash cloth took off the waxiness.  Once that waxiness was taken off and my skin patted dry, my skin felt really good.

Was it amazing? No. It was nice, and it made my skin soft.  If I am to go for a skin soothing mask, I’m probably going to lean towards the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask or my Vichy Mineral Masque before turning to this one. If I want my skin to be amazingly soft, I’d probably pick up the Korres  Pomegranate resurfacing mask. If I want impurities drawn out of my skin, I’m going to turn to the Herbal Dynamics Beauty Cacao and Chamomile mask.  That one also makes my skin feel soft and healthy. All of those are options I would choose before the Summer Friday’s Mask.

The Summer Friday’s Jet lag mask is nice, but it is probably a mask that I will use until it is gone and then not bother replacing.  It is nice but not one I feel the need to keep stocked. I am glad I got to try it and see how I feel about it beyond the hype, but it is not going to become one of my staples.

Rehydrating with the Vichy Mineral Masque

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.

20% off on orders $50+. Use Code: NEWYEAR21. Valid: 1/21-1/25.

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.

with the mask on, my face just looks wet It’s kind of a nice break from the pseudo bank robber look I usually get with masks.

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.

Vichy USA- ACD

Cool Down and Drop Kick with the Face Mask Friday

Good afternoon my darlings and welcome to the Friday face mask.  Today was a sheet mask kind of day.  I love masks but somedays are not meant for the wash off kind of masks.  This was one of those days.  This was a sheet mask day.  In fact it was a Cool Down Drop Kick kind of masking day. 

That’s right is was time to try the Haruharu mask that came in one of my Facetory Boxes.  For those who don’t know, Facetory is a sheet mask subscription.  I absolutely love it because it lets me try all sorts of different sheet masks so I can build a list of those I want to re order.  It also lets me reorder the ones I like. Sheet masks can pile up though, especially if you have any subscription boxes and Face Tory is super easy to pause. If you are drowning in masks you just press a button and skip the month.  They have different numbers of subscriptions.  I use the Four pack masking subscription as that is the right amount for me. 

Four-ever Fresh Subscription!

They also have other skin care products and non-sheet masks and you don’t actually have to be a member of the subscription service to order from them.  Even if you don’t sign up for a subscription, I highly recommend signing up for their free newsletter.  They’ll send you e-mails about deals that way. And every Monday they have a selection of masks reduced to a $1. The newsletter lets you know which ones.  Some of my favorites have made the rotation list into the $1 Monday lists so I think it is well worth checking out.

The only issue I have with some of the masks is that most of the information is in Korean.  I do not happen to be able to read Korean so sometimes I have to sort of guess as to what the mask is for.  This one actually says soothing and Maqui berry in English.  Hich would provide me with more information if I knew what a maqui berry was.

According to Healthline: Maqui berry (Aristotelia chilensis) is an exotic, dark-purple fruit that grows wild in South America. It’s mainly harvested by the native Mapuche Indians of Chile, who have used the leaves, stems and berries medicinally for thousands of years 

When I took the mask out, it smells somewhat grape like. Beyond that the only other English on the package is Cool Down Drop Kick.

I will say the mask, right out of the package is quite juicy with serum.  On the face it feels instantly cooling.  The extra serum means that the mask sticks well to the face.  Even though it felt oversaturated, no serum ran down my face once it was on.  I did have to wipe off my hands, but the mask didn’t drip.

So mask in place I lay down closed my eyes and listened to my ipod. Today was actually a Beethoven kind of day.  I know, surprise. But that was what appealed when I scrolled through my play lists. So I relaxed and I listened.

As I lay down, he mask almost felt like it was getting colder and colder.  It was kind of fun, in an odd sort of way.  After fifteen minutes I turned Beethoven off and returned to the bathroom. There was no noticeable drying of the mask.  It appeared just as soaked as when I applied it.  Once removed there was a lot of serum on my skin. I rubbed as much of it as I could into the skin but had to wipe some off in the end.  Once my skin was patted dry, I have to say I really liked it.  I felt super refreshed as though my skin just pounded back an energy drink.  It was kind of nice actually.  The skin felt soft and clean, but it was mostly the feeling of suddenly being wide awake that this mask provided.  That is I think this masks strong suit. I didn’t feel terrible soothed, but I did feel invigorated.  I feel ready to tackle the rest of my day.  And so that is where I will be going now.  Later I’ll return for the Friday Night Happy Hour post, but for now, I am going to finish out my workweek feeling energized and revived.  I also think that this mask is going to go on my list of masks to reorder. I don’t think it is one I would use often, but I can definitely see the perks of keeping it around for occasional use.

The Curateur Subscription box has launched a new Welcome Box for you to try out the Subscription. The Welcome Box costs $25 (instead of the usual $99 of the full subscription box) It includes the best sellers and member favorites: Kat Burki Form Control Marine Collagen Gel (retails at $160), Carly Cushnie Grey Horizon Ombre Scarf (retails at $150), Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Glow (retails at $25), and Eddie Borgo Supra Link Necklace Gift With Purchase (retails at $350).

Those who sign up for the welcome box receive the same member benefits that seasonal members enjoy (you can find them listed on the website) and the box will roll into the normal seasonal subscription in Spring of 2021. I haven’t heard any spoilers from the Spring box but their past boxes look really amazing, so I’m sure the Spring one will be as well. The Welcome Boxes go on sale to day and I expect they will run out quickly.

Face Mask Friday: Herbal Dynamics Beauty, A week of masking

This week I have been using the Herbal Dynamics Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay Mask.  It was very kindly sent over by Herbal Dynamics Beauty for me to try out and review.  I very much appreciate it. 

the newly opened unused mask

It was also a very good time to try out this mask.

The holiday’s have been full of very rich food for me.  I honestly didn’t think it would be that bad as we weren’t traveling this year and pared things down.  I think the issue is that we have been eating rather healthy for a while now so the traditional favorites wanted at this time of year really threw my body for a loop.

We may have pared down at my house but the difference between the holidays and what we normally eat was very apparent.  And while it did send my weight up (temporarily) it also did a number of my skin.

Tis the season for clogged pores, my darlings. And I was blessed with a truckload.

So bring on the Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay mask.

First, let’s look at the specifics.

Brightens and evens skin tone.  Deeply detoxifies and cleanses with clays and blemish-fighting botanicals. Soothes inflammation and redness over time. Supports radiant, smooth complexion.

Indulge without the guilt with this delectable mud mask packed with antioxidants and skin-clearing botanicals. Cacao provides rich antioxidants that target signs of aging and inflammation while chamomile soothes. Gentle clays deep clean pores as botanical extracts and sulfur calm breakouts and blackheads.  Use twice weekly or as needed.

Ingredients: purified water, Bentonite, Montmorillonite, Watercress extract*, Lecithin, Salicylic acid, Kaolin, Sulfur, Extracts of Chamomile*, Lavender*, American ginseng*, Calendula and Honey suckle flower, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) powder*, Natural chocolate flavor*, Organic kelp powder, L- Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Essential Oils of Kola nut and Coffee arabica, and Vitis vinifera (Grape) seed extract*.

*Organic/ All natural / paraben free. Not tested on animals. Made in the U.S.A. 

Herbal Dynamics Beauty

So let’s break down the ingredients list. 

Purified water is to be expected as you do need something to turn the clay from powder into a mask. Bentonie is a type of clay that has a fine, soft texture, Montmorillonite is likewise a clay (it is actually named after Montmirillon in France in case you were wondering).  Both clays are frequently used in clay mask.  As this is a clay mask I would expect to see clay in the mask.  I’m rather pleased to find it at the top. Kaolin a little further down is also a type of clay as well and again it is used in a lot of clay based masks.

Mask on

Watercress extract is something I find amusing as I ate a lot of it growing up.  I am somewhat anemic and my family tried to balance as much of my iron level with food as possible. Watercress is high in iron as well as calcium actually and we used to have it in salads and as a water cress soup when I was growing up.  It was very much a part of my childhood.  In skin care it is supposed to boost collagen production which I didn’t know until I looked it up.  I love that something that always helped my insides is also good for the outsides.

Lecithin is an emollient used to soothe the skin and I’m guessing it works well with the extracts of Chamomile which also sooths the skin and calms irritation. Salicylic Acid targets acne-causing bacteria via exfoliation and helps keep pores clean and reduce risk of future breakouts.  In most acne reduction formulas you will find some level of salicylic acid.  One of my favorite blemish fighting cleansers is from Peter Thomas Roth and features a pretty high concentration of it.  I was surprised to find that in this mask the salicylic acid is derived from willow bark.  I find that pretty cool actually. Sulfur is also often used in treating acne and blemishes so I wasn’t terribly surprised to see it on the list of ingredients.

Mask dried down

In skincare Ginseng works as an anti-inflammatory while Lavender not only fights acne but it has been used in the treatment of dry skin and eczema.  Calendula and Honey suckle flower are likewise also used to help treat dry skin and Cacao powder is a powerful anti-oxidant.

I have to say when I opened the container it was the cacao that felt like the dominant ingredient.  As you can see from the picture of the mask it looks like thick chocolate.  You want to know something?  It smells like chocolate too.

It doesn’t taste like chocolate though.  In case you were wondering.  It tastes like clay. Not that I recommend tasting it, I just couldn’t resist.

Given the ingredients I would expect a powerful detox to my skin when I apply it and I was not disappointed.  As I said, I used this mask this week as well as today.  I applied it as a full mask on Monday and Wednesday but did something different today.  I’ll get into that in a moment, first I want to talk about the full masking.

Mask off

I applied the mask in a thin layer over clean dry skin and let sit as directed for fifteen minutes.  I actually used my Cosmedix Masking brush to apply it.  The smooth side not the textured one.  I was actually impressed by how little I actually needed to use to cover my entire face.  While the top photo showing the product in the jar shows it untouched, the photo with the masking brush shows the mask after a week of use. I think that if I were to use this mask every week three times a week it would last at least two months.  It is a lot of product in the jar and not a lot is needed on the face.

Once applied,  I could feel the clay start to dry and tighten.  It felt cool on my skin but not tingly and the longer I used it the cooler my face seemed to feel for some reason.  I can see that eing a big advantage in the summer time.  As with most clay masks once it started drying changes in facial expressions were difficult, hence the stuck in place face I am making in the photos. 

The surfacing of the clogged pores. It may not look the prettiest but it is exactly what needs to happen to get them cleared away.

In fifteen minutes all but the oiliest parts of my face tried down.  If you ever want to find out where the oily parts of your face are, this and most, clay masks will help you out. 

After fifteen minutes I used a soft bristled brush to wet down the mask so it could be rinsed off.  It is a clay mask so it didn’t magically slide off the skin but it wasn’t difficult to remove. I’ve had clay masks that were much more difficult. This was relatively easy.

After my initial use I patted my face dry with a towel.  My skin felt soft, but I’ll admit I didn’t see much difference.  Then about ten minutes after I rinsed the mask off I went back into the bathroom and looked at the sink.  I was amazed by how many of my deeply buried clogged pores were brought to the surface.  It wasn’t a very pretty sight, but it is an effective mask. 

Luckily I didn’t have anywhere I really needed to go, so pulling all of those clogged pores to the surface so they could be cleared away was fine.  It was also the reason I didn’t test the mask when I had a bunch of video calls. 

I was very impressed with the way it worked with my skin.  The second time I used the mask didn’t look much different, but the blemishes that surface dried out faster and the second round brought more of the buried clog pores to the surface. Today I am doing something a little bit different.

Spot treatment

As I put the mask on and get ready for my fifteen minutes of calm, I am spot masking.  Instead of using the mask all over my face – because not all of my face needs a good clear out – I am putting the mask in the areas that need the most help.  For me that is along the lower orbital bone and on my chin.  I have always had issues with the area along my lower orbital bone breaking out.  The chin hadn’t really given me trouble since highschool, however with Face Masks in use when I leave the house, this has become one of my problem areas for clogged pores. 

Sure it looks a little strange to just mask in those places, but for me that is the best benefit. On the parts of my skin that don’t tend to get clogged pores, the second application of the mask was a little drying.   I can see myself using this as a full face mask once a month (or after a series of rich and heavy meals) to give my skin a full deep down cleanse.  I could see myself using this more as a spot treatment about once a week, especially with face masks being part of my daily use for a while.  It is excellent for that sort of use.

I think that while I may use more moisturizing masks to cover my whole face, this will be a once a week spot treatment for those congested areas.  Not only will it keep the non-congested areas of my skin from drying out unnecessarily, it will really help with my areas of clogged pores and it will last a really long time with the once a month full treatment and the once a week spot treatment. It will greatly extend the length of time I can use the Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay Mask as well as use it to its best advantage on my skin. Oh and did I tell you one of the best parts?  This large jar of chocolate scented masking is only $24. How cool is that?

So the question as always is would I pick up this mask again? The answer is yes. It is a lot of product for a reasonable price and it does exactly what it says it is going to do in the description. It brought my clogged pores to the surface and helped to treat my blemishes. The Cacao and Chamomile Cleansing Clay mask is definitely a keeper.

I want to send a big thank you to Herbal Dynamics Beauty for sending the mask to me to try out. I really appreciate it, and this will be far from the last time you hear about this mask my darlings.  Me and my boatload of clogged pores agree on that.  Admittedly there are a lot fewer of them than there were at the beginning of the week.  Who knows, I might soon gain the upper hand.

And now me and my clay goatee and under eye patches are going to light some candles, play some tunes and lie back and relax for the next fifteen minutes. I’m thinking today might be another history podcast. It’s been a while since I have checked in on the Soap Opera that is the early Roman Empire.  That sounds like a fun way to relax. If I’m not mistaken I believe I’ve reached the age of Caligula.  Not exactly Zen but it is interesting. And since today’s candle is from the Paddywax Library collection and named after Edgar Allen Poe, perhaps zen isn’t the theme of the masking.  Besides with the under eye and chin masks on I am strangely reminded of Cardinal Richelieu. And that certainly isn’t zen.

But it is kind of fun.

Herbal Dynamics Beauty

Tool Talk: Cosmedix Skincare Brushes

This summer, I entered the world of masking brushes.  Prior to this I simply used my fingers and thought ‘why would I bother using a masking brush?’

Then I ordered a super cheap one (less than $1) and tried it, just to see why so many people seemed to use them.

my less than a dollar masking brush

Wow, what a difference it made. 

I won’t lie and say I always use the brushes, because I don’t.  I also won’t say you HAVE to have the brushes. Because you don’t.  I also won’t tell you that you need expensive brushes, because you really don’t. But if you are interested in adding brushes to your masking routine, and maybe being a little extra, this might help you out.

First off, there are two main benefits to using the silicone masking brushes.

The first benefit I noticed is that I tend to use less product when I use the masking brushes than when I don’t. While there may be some seasonal swelling or water retention now and again, neither dramatically changes the surface area of my face in a massive way.  Yet when I use the silicone brushes, I use less product than when I don’t.

Part of that is because of benefit number two.

And that is less mess.  When applying masks with fingers, it naturally gets all over the fingers you are using to apply it to your face.  It can also get on the sink and the faucet taps, but mostly on your fingers. The silicon brush has less of a surface area than my fingers.  Even though I use a spoon or spatula to get masks out of the jar and start applying using one finger, I usually end up with three fingers covered in mask which I then have to wash off.  The silicone doesn’t absorb any of the mask so little is left on the masking brush.  In addition, it is easy to rinse off and in the case of peel off masks, you just let it dry, then peel the mask off.  Then of course you wash it, but that is super easy with the mask gone.

Easy Peasy.

Now the less than a $1 masking brush I picked up does the job no problem.  I am quite happy using it. However I recently received a Cosmedix Brush set in a Boxy Charm.  The set is composed of two brushes.

According to the Cosmedix website, the Cosmedix Skincare Brush Set…

Take cleansing to the next level with this embossed brush designed for gentle exfoliation and effective deep pore cleansing. Plus, bring the spa experience home with a dual-sided silicone spatula that effortlessly and evenly distributes product across your face. Use it to apply cream, exfoliator, serum, or masks with ultimate precision and no mess.

The set retails for $25. While you can clearly get brushes for less money, I would say this is not an unreasonable price. There are two brushes so you are paying $14.50 per brush.

Let’s look at the silicone brush first.  The handle is tapered and easy to hold.  The brush head itself is flat, with an angle and has one smooth side and one textured side.

The angle of the brush is really nice.  One of the ways my cheap brush falls down is that the shape of the head is triangular so the points are really hard to get into the crevices around the nose so I end up using my fingers to smooth things over, which sort of defeats the purpose of using the brush.

Not only is the Cosmedics brush angled but the corners are rounded which makes applying masks really easy no matter where on the face you are. The flat side of the brush is perfect for clay based masks.  I have been using it this week for my Herbal Dynamics Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Detox Mask and it has been fantastic.  I can run the brush over the top of the mask in the jar to pick up product and put it on my face with very little waste.

The textured side is not good for clay based masks but I find it is excellent for gel based ones.  Recently I used both the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber mask and the Kiehl’s Calendula Petal infused Gel mask.  While both of these masks could be applied with either side of the Cosmedix silicone brush, The textured side does have a purpose.  Just before those masks are removed, it is recommended that you massage the mask in a little before rinsing.  The textured side of the brush is perfect for this. Just remember to rinse thoroughly, possibly even soaking the brush a bit especially if it is an exfoliating mask with particles, so that you can be sure to get all of the particles out.

The second brush, I’ll admit, I found a little confusing at first.  I tried it a number of ways, but none of them seemed to be a benefit to my skin care routine. This second brush is not silicone, but an actual fiber brush with densely backed bristles.  The head of the brush is not flat but textured with a circle of round nubbins. The issue I had with it, was that it is very absorbent.  If you dip it into a mask or serum, or even a cleanser, it will soak up the product like a sponge, using far more than you actually need to use in one sitting.

However it is useful.  The first use I found for it was to loosen dried clay masks.  Wet the brush, but remember it will soak up a lot of water so when you first press it to your face be prepared for a release of water unless you squeeze the brush out first, and even then be prepared. It does an admiral job of loosening clay masks without harshly scraping the skin. The texture from the nubbins really helps in its effectiveness.

The second use is for massaging serums into the skin. Do not dip the brush into the serum or you will very quickly lose your serum as it is sucked in.  Apply the serum to the skin and then lightly massage it in with the brush.  The serum stays on your skin and the brush just helps it absorb.

brush with Erno Laszlo Black soap cleansing bar

I have also found that it is very useful if you are using a bar cleanser. While the brush will absorb liquid cleansers just like any other liquid.  If you have a bar cleanser like the Erno Laszlo Black soap (which I personally really like) you can wet the brush (which absorbs a lot of water) rub the water loaded brush on the cleansing bar and then apply it to the face.

Shop the iconic Laszlo-original cleansing bar!

Not only does it work really well, but it helps contain the mess that the Erno Laszlo Black soap can create with drips (although really, the cleansing bar is worth the drips).  If it stays on the dish or other container where you keep your soap then it can’t drip all over your sink.  It also helps keep the bar longer as bar cleansers (or any bar soap really) starts to disintegrate when it is wet.  The secret to keeping a bar of soap (or cleanser) for longer is to make sure it stays dry when you aren’t using it.  Because the brush localizes the water, the bulk of the cleansing bar stays dry. So it lasts longer.

All in all once I figured out the best way to use the second brush in the set, I enjoyed using the brushes and incorporating them into my skincare routines.  They are lightweight, but sturdy.  Not only do they look good but they perform well.

The brushes may not be absolutely necessary to any routine.  There are many other ways to apply product, but they do have benefits. If you are looking to add brushes to your skin care routine, this may be a set you might want to look into.  I am quite pleased to be able to use them. I believe my less than a $1 silicone brush will still be used when I do peel off masks as I don’t want to deal with the textured side of the Cosmedix silicone masking brush, but otherwise I will be using these brushes for quite a while.


Kiehl’s Calendula Petal Infused Calming mask

Welcome my darlings to Face mask, er, Wednesday. Yeah, Wednesday.  Again because of the holiday some of my scheduling has been a little off.  But no matter, today I masked!

Actually, I used this mask Saturday, Monday and today so that I could get a full week in with this mask.  Wile after the New Year’s holiday I will be doing a week of the Herbal Dynamics Beauty Cacao and Chamomile Clearing Clay Mask, detoxifying masks have a tendency to bring things to the surface (which is part of their job, to be fair).  And I know it is vain of me, but I will be doing a lot of friends and family video calls for New Years and I figured I would put off any potential detoxifying break outs off until after I did the video calls.

So this week I went with the Kiehl’s Calendula Petal Infused Calming mask. This mask came to me via the Macy’s beauty Bag and when you open the little glass jar the mask looks a bit like whipped honey. And since you know me, you know, I had to sniff it.

The scent is an odd cross between something vaguely medicinal and my grandmother’s dried flower arrangements. I know that sounds really strange, but after smelling it, and actually while I was wearing the mask, I looked up Calendula flowers and I believe she used them in her dry flower arrangements. However before we get further into my interpretations of the mask, let’s look at what Kiehls has to say about the mask…

This lightweight gel face mask refreshes and hydrates dry skin for a healthy-looking appearance. Experience a cool burst of hydration with our soothing face mask. Infused with Calendula and Aloe Vera, this hydrating mask leaves skin soft, smooth and refreshed.

Hydrates and soothes skin with moisture and helps reduce signs of distress; Bursts into a refreshing surge of cooling hydration upon application; Revitalizes skin over time for a healthy-looking complexion; For all skin types.

Mask On!

So on to my clean dry face the mask went.  The whipped honey look fades as it is applied and like many gel masks it leaves the face just looking a little wet rather than looking like you have a full face mask on. There are little bits in the gel which surprised me, until I realized they were small flower petals, Calendula flower petals to be exact and I realized that Calendula petal infused meant that there were petals in the mask.  I thought it would be like tea, you put them in when making the mask and then strain them out. 

Apparently not.

I didn’t mind the petals.  There weren’t that many of them and they are small so it wasn’t a concern. They are the darker spots on my face as I am wearing the mask.  See, really not that noticeable.  It was just the solid bits in the gel that threw me.  I got over it.

I’d like to say that I lit my candles and lay back for the fifteen minutes of quiet, but this week that would be a lie.  My Baby doll is on vacation this week and any attempt at zoning out was met with questions.

Why are you laying down, do you feel okay?

Why is your face so greasy?

What are you listening to?

Why is that timer running?

Are you done working for the day and can I use your computer?

Yeah, I love him but sometimes he can be like a sugar amped three year old, especially if he sees something unexpected.  Then he has to question it to death. While sometimes endearing, it is not conducive to quiet masking moments. So this week’s masks were taken at my desk, as when I’m in my office, I am clearly working and to be left alone. So, I worked while masking.

Not exactly a fifteen minute break, but my skin enjoyed it.  Actually, my skin enjoyed it a lot.

before I applied the mask on the left and after I removed the mask on the right (the tap water was really cold so the redness is more from the really cold water than anything else, it faded once I warmed up a bit.

When I rinsed my mask off and patted my skin dry, my face felt healthy. It felt clean and refreshed, even without my attempts at zen.  My skin looked refreshed. I didn’t have any real damage to the skin that needed repair, but my skin felt very nice after using this mask.  After three uses my small jar is all but used up.  I think I have one more use left in the jar.  After that it will be gone.  This Calendula petal infused face mask however will be going on my to be repurchased list. 

And as an exciting aside, I have a jar of moisturizer from this same Kiehl’s line (the Calendula infused one) having used this mask, it makes me more excited to try it.  I am currently finishing up a moisturizer, but I think I may rotate the Kiehls into the line up after so I can test it out and compare it to the mask. Clearly they are different products with different uses, but I think it will be interesting to see if there are any crossovers or if one is better than the other. Perhaps I will like them both, who knows.  I do know that this mask is going on my repurchase list.

Herbal Dynamics Beauty