I already mentioned in my 37 week bump update that I'm obsessed with cleaning products and that obsession has officially crossed over into skincare as well. Specifically anything that promises to "detox" "unclog" or "brighten" instantly catches my attention. As a teenager I had oily skin, and now that I'm older it's balanced out to normal, but since I've never really had a problem with dry skin I tend to stay away from anything that's overly moisturizing because it makes my skin feel greasy and sometimes causes me to break out. Instead, I'm loving clay, mud, or charcoal-based masks.
Lately I've been using masks about twice a week, and switching it up between these five. My skin hasn't been too problematic this pregnancy, so I'm not specifically trying to correct anything, it's just an overall obsession with cleaning that has spurred this routine. Aside from the Biore mask (which I talk about later), I start all my face masks by either holding my face over steaming water or placing a warm, wet wash cloth over my face to open the pores. Then I let my skin dry for about a minute before putting a thick layer of the mask on. I usually leave it on for about an hour (or an episode of Chopped), and then take it off by placing a warm, wet wash cloth on my face and letting it sit for a minute before rubbing it all off. I follow up with my normal nightly moisturizer (Clinique Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer).
Obviously, I'm not a beauty blogger or a skincare expert, but here's my amateur reviews on these 5 masks:
2. Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Mask - This is both the cheapest mask I own, and also my favorite. What it promises to do: "Activated charcoal locks onto oils and toxins and lifts them away without over-drying. Black sugar helps skin hold onto hydration, which helps smooth out roughness and fine lines." Like I've said, I'm obsessed with the idea of getting all that gunk out of my pores, and after leaving this on for awhile, I could actually see it sunk into my pores. As Joe said while it was on, my pores were very "pronounced." I was really fascinated staring at all that black charcoal sitting in my pores, and it gave me the same kind of satisfaction you get from staring at all the blackheads on a just-used Biore strip. As gross as it is, it's nice to get visual confirmation that it's working. When I washed it off everything felt clean and tight, and not at all dry. At $4, I'd buy this over and over again.
3. Biore One Minute Self-Heating Charcoal Mask - What it promises to do: "Unique formula heats on contact with water to open pores and draw out pore-clogging dirt and oil, then cools leaving skin tightly smooth and refreshed." I have to admit that I'm a huge fan of the heating sensation when I put this on. It makes you feel like it's instantly working. I usually put on half or a third of the little packet at a time, massage it in my face for about a minute until it cools down, then I put on another layer and repeat. I'm also a huge fan of being able to do this right in the shower in a short amount of time. The only con to this is that my skin does feel dryer than with the other masks, but after a good coating of moisturizer my skin is back to normal.
4. Origins Charcoal Mask - At $25 for a full size bottle, this is the most expensive mask I've tried (I just got the sample 4 pack), so I'm slightly more critical of it. What it promises to do: "Activated charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out deep-dwelling pore cloggers." I do think that it worked as far as drawing stuff out of my pores, but I don't think it worked better than the Freeman $4 version, so I wouldn't splurge on this again.
5. Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask - This is my original go-to face mask from high school. Whenever I feel myself getting a zit I put this on (sometimes overnight, although it gets a little crumbly) and it dries it right up. Something to keep in mind is that if you are getting a zit, it sometimes takes a few applications of this stuff, because your skin will look worse as it pulls everything to the surface, and then after one or two more times it dries everything up. What it promises to do: "a natural home treatment to help dry up pimples, rinse away blackheads, and shrink enlarged pores." This mask definitely does as it promises, but it's only downside is that smells like sulphur covered up with mint. Not the most pleasant smell, which is why I eventually branched out trying different mud and clay masks. Still, at $4 for a large bottle, this does make a cheap, very effective spot treatment as well.
* This post contains some affiliate links for the products mentioned.
Don't you feel pampered just looking at these?
Any other mask junkies out there? What's your go-to favorite? Or maybe some DIY recipes I should try out? I tell myself my collection is big enough, but let's be honest, I'll probably add a few more before the year's up ;)