Showing posts with label masks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label masks. Show all posts

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Like Buttering Your Hair: Windle & Moodie Intense Treatment Masque

This incredibly thick mask has been sitting in my chest-of-random-haircare-products for quite a while, being overlooked in favour of my mask favourites from Ojon and Bleach London.  What a mistake.  I cracked it out recently and was incredibly surprised by what I found inside the nondescript white jar - an insanely thick mask whose texture is more like the thickest of body butters than any mask I've ever tried.

To use it, you need to dig in with your fingers and scoop out a palmful, spread it between your hands, and then apply to your hair.  My usual mask application method involves a handful of mask which I slap straight onto my hair, relying on a frenetic rub through my hair to distribute.  This technique doesn't work with Windle & Moodie's mask - if you apply it in a blob to the hair, it'll remain in a blob, so spreading it out first is essential.

Ten minutes later and my hair is soft, bouncy and very well hydrated.  It also feels really light - not overly silky or smooth, the way it can do after using an intensive mask.  One thing I've observed is that the ingredients and the thickness make for a mask that isn't entirely water soluable - when I rinse it out (and rinsing does take a little longer than usual) there are little globs of undissolved product left in the bottom of the bath.  Neither here not there, but it does give you an idea of just how thick this stuff is.

Anyway, texture and thickness aside, this is an excellent conditioning mask, and worth trying - even if it is pretty damn spendy at £29 for 200ml.  Not that you need a lot, thanks to the thickness. Find it at Windle & Moodie salons and online.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Jolly Good: Clinique Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm

Clinique have introduced a new skincare format with their new Moisture Surge Melting Mask Balm - I predict solid, portable oils will be a Thing in 2016 as a result.  Billed as a balm, it can be used on dry patches throughout the day, as a ten minute moisture boosting mask, or overnight as an intensive moisturising treatment.

I don't really suffer from specific dry patches all that often, so I've been using it mostly as an overnight treatment.  I'm very, very fond of using oils overnight - I love the smooth, plump, hydrated skin I wake up to in the morning, but I do find them messy - a couple of drops on my fingertips usually ends up mostly on my face, but also on my hands and sometimes on the carpet too.  Melting Mask Balm eliminates all the messiness of oil - I scrape a little bit off the top of the product with my fingernail, warm it on my fingertips, and massage it onto my face - no mess, no drips.  The next morning my skin feels smooth, soft and very well hydrated.

The major benefit of this product is that it turns the humble oil into a portable, easy to use, mess free balm.  I've also been sneakily using it to add a bit of definition to the ends of my hair in a pinch whilst travelling with little hair product - it works pretty damn well.  This little pot is coming with me on every trip abroad from now on.  Find it at Clinique now, where it costs £26.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A Tale of Two Masks: Clinique Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask & Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask

Clinique recently introduced two new masks to their already extensive range, and I've been giving them both a good test recently.  Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask, £23, targets oily, congested skin, drawing inpurities out and mattifying, and Even Better Brightening Moisture Mask, £35, is more of an all-rounder, intensely hydrating most skintypes.

I'm completely sold on the Charcoal Mask - my skin is generally pretty clear, but every so often it has a hissy fit and gets congested, full of blackheads and breaks out with cystic spots.  Lovely.  The charcoal mask has become an essential part of my anti-hissy-fit defense, as it gives me a good deep clean and seems to calm down the spots a bit without drying my skin to hell.  Which is nice, and somewhat unusual for a charcoal mask.  At £23, it's reasonably mid-range, and you don't need a ton for a good deep cleansing mask.

The Brightening Moisture Mask is a completely different beast - at £35, it's quite a bit more expensive than the Charcoal Mask, and for me at least it's less effective.  Yes, it's a lovely cream mask which squishes a good deal of moisturising power into my face.  But I can't see a great difference brightness wise, and I've tried other moisturising masks which have the same hydrating clout at a lower price.  In fact, Clinique's own ranges have much better options available for the same pricetag - the Turnaround mask combines exfoliant and brightening mask and has a much more obvious effect for the same price.

So there you have it.  If you suffer from any kind of congestion or oiliness, I definitely recommend the Charcoal Mask.  If you have cash to burn, the Brightening Moisture Mask is good, but ultimately nothing special in a sea of moisturising masks.

Disclosure:  PR samples

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Review: Akane Cocoon Nocturne Mask

This Akane mask is exclusive to Birchbox, and it makes use of apples, black tea and hylauronic acid.  It claims to be perfect for stressed, dehydrated skin, and works by adding moisture overnight - you apply it just before bed in place of a night cream or serum, and rinse off in the morning.

Unfortunately that's as much detail as I can find about this product, or indeed, about Akane as a brand.  Having tried it a few times now, I'm not really all that impressed.  It has a slimy, bouncy texture which is relatively easy to spread across the skin, but which tends to form little strands of product if you try to massage it into the skin.  As for the effects, I've not woken up to amazingly different skin at all - my skin's hydrated, yes, but it's not particularly radiant, nor does it look plumped up or particularly different from normal.

In fact, I don't really think it offers much above a decent night cream or serum.  I also find it a bit weird that after an entire night sat on my face (smirk), there's still a residue which needs washing off in the morning.

At £18, this isn't the most expensive overnight mask I've tried, but it's also one of the least effective.  If you're interested in spreading slime on your face overnight for no visible effect in the morning, you'll find a little more detail on the Birchbox website - although if you can figure out how you actually buy it, you're doing better than I am.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sampar Equalizing Foam Peel

When I see the word "peel" on a product, I always get a little bit of nostalgic excitement, nursing a hope that it will be like one of those amazing masks from the 90s that go on wet but then dry into a weird film that you peel off like PVA glue. (Anyone else get this?)

French pharmacy brand Sampar have not granted my child-like wish for zombie-skin peeling, but they have created a richly fragrant foaming exfoliant that's altogether a much more classy proposition.

Housed in a pump bottle with the brand's usual minimal pink branding, the product dispenses as a transparent liquid with a honey-like consistency. It smells beautiful - lots of lavender, geranium and sage. Very natural and soothing. You apply this to damp, clean skin and then massage, at which point it foams up into a lather.

After rinsing, skin feels extra-clean and very smooth indeed, without the irritated feeling that can result from over-zealous use of scrubs. It's a non-granular exfoliant, relying on what the box copy calls "probiotic enzymes" to do the skin-resurfacing job. I'm not clear what the active ingredient is, but it definitely makes skin much smoother. It's recommended for use 2-3 times a week.

At £48, this is not a cheap buy - it's more of a treat purchase. However, if it's within your budget, you enjoy the smell of fresh herbs, or if your skin does not take kindly to mechanical exfoliation via regular scrubs, this is certainly worth a look.

In the UK, you can find it at M&S beauty halls, where it costs £48 for 50ml.

Read more and see the ingredient list at Sampar's website

Disclosure - PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

REN: Three Saviour Products for Combination Skin

I was recently recommended this trio of products for combination/oily skin when I visited the REN headquarters.  And they've turned out to be utterly brilliant!

Of the three products, the Clarifying Toning Lotion, £18 for 150ml, is probably the least revolutionary.  That said, given that it's a toner for combination/oily skin, it manages to balance and clarify the skin without being overly harsh or stripping, unlike some other clarifying lotions I could mention (ahem, Clinique).  It's also very refreshing, and contains glycolic acid to provide a mild exfoliating effect.

T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid is a wonderful moisturiser - although it is expensive at £26 for 50ml.  It has a light texture which is incredibly easy to spread across the skin but isn't too fluid; it definitely injects moisture into the skin but doesn't feel heavy, greasy, or overly rich.  I have noticed that the dry patches on my forehead can look pronounced halfway through the day, so it's worth using a richer cream on any dry spots to keep them hydrated through the day.

My favourite product of the three is the Invisible Pores Detox Mask, which is worth every penny of its £18 for 50ml pricetag.  It's incredible.  Having a clay based formula, it deep cleanses and draws out impurities, but doesn't dry out the skin or leave it feeling in desperate need of hydration.  It's become part of my routine to deal with pesky, deep rooted spots - I apply a herbal astringent in the evening, and then apply this in the morning to dry out the spot.  I particularly like the packaging - it has a little cap to go over the end of the pump spout, which helps prevent the product drying out in the pump.  Brilliant.

Disclosure: PR samples

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating our copyright.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Review: Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

I'm a big fan of Clinique's Moisture Surge products.  They manage to pack a huge amount of hydrating power, and are always my first port of call for dealing with sunburned or otherwise parched skin.  The latest product in the lineup is Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, which has the familiar gel-cream texture, and aims to provide a dewy glow in the morning by hydrating the skin overnight.

I've tried it a few times now, and it definitely does what it says on the tin - applied after cleansing at night, it absorbs quickly and leaves the skin feeling plumped up and hydrated come the morning.  But I'm not really sure what makes this product a mask - the instructions say to massage it in until it's fully absorbed, and there's no film or residue to wash off in the morning.  So it's really more of an intensive hydrating cream, not a mask.  And whilst it's perfectly nice, I'm not sure it really does a lot more than the Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief cream I already own and love.

If you prefer a squeezy tube format, or don't already own one of the Moisture Surge gel-creams, you'll enjoy the hydration that this product brings to your skin.  If you already have a Moisture Surge product, though, I doubt you'll find a lot of difference in this one.

Find it at Clinique counters and concessions, and online at the Clinique website, where it'll cost you £28.

Disclosure: PR sample

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Review: Clark's Botanicals Intense Radiance Mask

I'd never heard of Clark's Botanicals until I was introduced to the brand at a recent Space NK event.  Founded by father-and-son team Harold and Francesco Clark, it uses botanically based formulas and has grown from a couple of products designed to address an individual's needs to one which has been popular enough with consumers to launch in select retail locations such as Space NK.

The Intense Radiance Mask is a white clay based affair which claims to revitalise the skin, adding smoothness and luminosity.  Unlike other radiance masks I've tried in the past, it's a bit of a slow burner - it needs to be left on the skin for 20 to 30 minutes to work its magic.

Having tried it a couple of times now, I'm not particularly convinced.  Granted, after half an hour of wandering around the house, my skin does look smoother and a little more clear, but it's not a particularly noticeable change.  Certainly not as impressive as the Liz Earle brightening mask I tried and still love - and the Liz Earle version only takes a few minutes to work.

At £58 a pot, I expect miracles.  Unfortunately, this mask doesn't really deliver.  It's a nice weekly treat and I do feel it gives my skin a good deep clean and a bit of extra glow, but it needs to give a more noticeable effect to match that pricetag.  Find it at Space NK if you're curious to try it for yourself.

Disclosure: PR sample

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spa Masques

Montagne Jeunesse, purveyor of well priced single use masques, are upping their game with their new Clay Spa masques.  Taking the Asian favourite cloth mask concept, they've given it a Western twist by saturating the cloth with clay, as opposed to the moisturising gels favoured in Asia.

There are two kinds of masque available; Glacial clay, and Dead Sea mud.  Both give a very refreshing, deep cleansing mask experience.  They're also quite easy to use - simply open the sachet, unfold the cloth mask, lay over face, pat into place, and leave for fifteen minutes.

The bonus is that where normal face masks generally make the uninitiated (i.e. my husband) laugh, this cloth mask looks entirely more sinister and stands a fighting chance of making said husband jump.  Which is a big benefit, in my book.

Once applied, I can feel the clay starting to contract on my skin, and after fifteen minutes, my skin feels fresh, clean, and firm, as well as looking even and smooth.  For a grand total of £1.49, this is a real treat of a mask - not only does it leave the skin looking and feeling great, but it's fun to use, too.

Montagne Jeunesse's Clay Spa Masques are available now from their website, and launch in-store nationwide in September.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Always Read The Label: Vinies Luminous Skin Mask sample in Boudoir Prive November Box

November's Boudoir Prive box contained two small samples of Luminous Skin Mask, made by natural brand Vinies Ayurveda's Soul.  Being a bit overrun with products and a bit low in time, I've only just managed to get round to trying them... and I'm really wishing I hadn't.  I applied the brown, potent smelling mask to my face in the bath and washed it off a few minutes later after my skin started to feel overheated and a little bit burn-y.  Five minutes later, I was out of the bath, frantically pressing a cold-water drenched flannel against my very red, very irritated face.

These photos were taken after twenty minutes of using a cold water compress, and after taking an anti histamine.  In the full face photo, you can clearly see a red line of irritation near my hairline - it's most clearly visible by my temple - which follows the exact area where the mask was applied.  The mask left my skin feeling inflamed, overheated, and very, very angry.  As it turns out, the ingredients (mostly clay with some spices and oils) are intended to provoke a slight reddening in the skin under normal circumstances- apparently this means that the product is working.  The redness is supposed to fade after fifteen minutes or so, leaving the skin looking soft and radiant..  This information wasn't provided in the Boudoir Prive beauty box, nor was it printed on the samples.

Many others have reported severe or slight reactions to this product via Boudoir Prive's Facebook page, and the experience has no doubt been made worse by the fact that not enough information was provided about the product in the first place.  I've thrown the rest of my samples out - and from now on, I'm likely to view new products from unknown brands a little more suspiciously.  Granted, as responsible owners of skin we should be patch testing every new product before slathering it on our faces - but in all reality, I doubt many people actually manage to do this consistently.  In future, I'll do my homework (via a bit of judicious Googling) on new products before I slap them on.

Have you tried a sample of this product?  What were your experiences?  Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Review: Prai O2 Infusion

Described as a "foaming lotion", this Prai product claims to protect the skin against the signs of aging and to boost radiance.  I think it's a sort of high tech face mask - you use it a maximum of three times a week, leaving it on the skin for a few minutes, and remove it with a cloth or warm water.

The texture, though, is unlike any face mask I've tried before - the thin, orangey lotion spreads easily onto the skin, and after a scant few seconds, bursts into a profusion of tingly foam.  On the face, this foam bubbles and fizzes in a strangely tickly fashion - it feels like there's definitely some kind of chemical reaction going on.  This isn't a static, sit-there kind of mask.

As you can see, the foam is quite light and airy.  According to the Prai website, the foaming action is supposed to help carry oxygen to the surface of the skin; it's this oxygen which is supposed to have a brightening affect on the skin.  In fact, the use of both foam and oxygen reminds me of Bliss' Triple Oxygen Mask, which I've not tried personally, but which seems to have had relatively positive reviews.

Anyway - let's get down to the before and after photos, shall we?

left: before; right: after

Whilst I think my skin looks a little brighter in the right-hand after photo, I don't think the results are staggering.  That said, though, my skin isn't exactly dull to start with, and I can image that if I tried this product on a bad skin (or even hungover) day, I'd probably like the results a lot more.

Overall, this is a tingly fresh mask, which provides a little bit of a brightening boost.  The product costs a fairly reasonable £19.75 for 40ml - and given that you barely need three pumps per use, I'd imagine that the bottle would last a fairly long time.  Word to the wise, though - if you're considering trying this, and your skin is dry, you might find it a bit irritating - some of my friends with drier skin have found the product pretty unusable, so probably best for those of you with slightly dry / oily / combination skin.

If you'd like to try this product yourself, you'll find it both on QVC and at the QVC website, where 40ml will cost £19.75.  What do you think?  Tried any oxygen masks yourself?  Let us know in the comments!

Disclosure: PR sample

Monday, 22 November 2010

Review: Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask

Disclosure: PR sample

Liz Earle's Brightening Treatment Mask claims to instantly revitalise the skin within just a couple of minutes.  Formulated for dull skin, it's labelled as being unsuitable for sensitive skins: it uses some fairly intense ingredients which have been known to aggravate sensitive skin, such as witch hazel, camphor oil and white clay.  Applied to the skin and left for just one to two minutes, this tingly mask draws out impurities and wakes the skin up, leaving it refreshed and with a natural glow.

I decided that the best possible time to test this out was the Sunday evening after my friend's hen party, which had seen me up til 3AM dancing, and imbibing a fair few lemonades.  Naturally, my skin was looking and feeling just as tired as its owner, so I pulled this tube from my cupboard and gave it a shot.

The mask itself is creamy and spreadable, and has that thick, unctuous consistency common in masks containing clay products.  After the required two minutes on my face, the mask had tightened noticeably, and I'd noticed a distinct tingling sensation, which is normal, according to the tube.  I removed the mask with a dampened muslin cloth to find skin that was looking much brighter than it had before.  My skin also felt incredibly clean, and a little bit tight with it - a good shot of moisturiser is definitely needed after using this mask.

All in all, a great mask to give you a temporary lift if you feel your skin is looking dull.  It certainly made me look more human post-hen-party, and given that it takes effect so quickly, I'll definitely be using it again in the mornings when I'm struggling to get going.

If you'd like to try Liz Earle's Brightening Treatment Mask, you'll find it on Liz Earle's website, where the starter pack, containing 50ml of mask and a muslin cloth, costs £12.75.  I really like that you can also grab a smaller travel size, ideal for a trial run or two, which costs £4.75 for 15ml.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Review: Elemis Fruit Active Rejuvenating Mask

Disclosure:  This was a PR sample.

For me, masks fall into two categories.  Those which don't really have much of an instant effect, but that help to maintain healthy skin, and those which don't really do much long term, but give a quick, visible immediate result.  Neither type is better or worse; I use the former type for weekly maintenance, and turn to the latter type before a special occasion.

Elemis' Fruit Active Rejuvenating Mask claims to restore "the glow to dulled complexions".  It's sold as a pick-me-up, perfect as a pre-occasion treat, and for me it definitely delivers.  With extracts of strawberry and kiwi in a base that contains kaolin (clay), the mask is a medium thickness white cream which spreads easily over the face.  Left on for fifteen minutes, I found that it left my skin looking much more even and bright, and feeling ultra smooth.  The scent is quite subtle; slightly dessert-y, and only a little bit fruity, it's rather non-offensive.

But anyway - on to some before and after photos, after the jump.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Fudge Sauna Masque

Okay, I'll admit it, I bought this product mostly because it says "fudge", and if there's one thing I really really love, it's fudge.  I also bought it because I was shopping for some deadly dull but very cheap cleaning products at Wilko, who bizarrely seem to have a much bigger range of the Montagne Jeunesse masks than I've ever seen in a Boots or Superdrug.

Anyway, I digress.  This is a self heating, deep cleansing mask, which is recommended for normal to oily skin, which I don't really have.  But it smells of fudge, so I bought it anyway (are you sensing a theme here?).  The amount in the sachet equates to about one generous application; unlike other Montagne Jeunesse products I've bought in the past, there's not enough for two applications in there.  Once applied to slightly damp skin, the masque heats up a little - less so than other self-heating masques I've tried in the past - and is then left on for a short while as it deeply cleanses the skin.

I will point out (once more) that this smells of real, delicious fudge - there's no synthetic edge to the fragrance.  Five to ten minutes of relaxing with the masque on was all I could take before I had to wash it off and go find something sweet to eat (sadly no fudge in my house).  After rinsing off, my skin was very clean, not dried out, and even in tone.  A few days later, it was still even - this masque didn't bring out any spots, as some deep cleansing masques can do for me.

This product is probably something you'd use more for the enjoyment of using it than for the effect; while it does clean the skin, the effects aren't particularly life changing (although maybe they are more life changing for someone with oilier skin).  But then, it does smell of fudge.  Sorry.  I'll shut up now.

If you'd like to try it, you can get it from the Montagne Jeunesse website (which I wish they'd update, I'm not interested in NEW FOR 2009 products) for 99p.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Review: Montagne Jeunesse Strawberry Soufflé Masque

I have no idea how to pronounce Montagne Jeunesse. I do know, however, that they're a good source of cheap, single use masks - a rather large range of which are carried at Superdrug. Today I picked up one of their newer ones, Strawberry Soufflé.

This masque claims to cleanse, purify and moisturise the skin, and contains strawberry, aloe vera and vanilla. It smells very strongly of strawberries - and not of synthetic strawberries either, which is a bonus! I suspect it has actual strawberries squished in somehow, as there are lots of tiny seeds within it. The combination of the creamy pink appearance of this product and the realistic strawberry scent makes me think of Eton Mess. I sort of want to eat it.

As always with Montagne Jeunesse products, you get a good amount of product for your money, plenty to cover your face with a thick layer. After applying to a cleansed face, and leaving it on for 20 minutes (during which time it slowly hardened), my skin was left feeling clean, very smooth and soft. I think the strawberry seeds give a bit of bonus exfoliation as you wash the masque off too.

All in all, for the very small cost of £1 at Superdrug, this is a nice, hydrating treat that won't break the bank.

If you'd like to try it for yourself, you can get it at Superdrug for £1, or at Montagne Jeunesse's website for just 97p.
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