Is that headline a little gimmicky? Maybe. But honestly? I am too excited about this find to care. ARE YOU READY?
So an awesome friend of mine sent me a little care package recently and among the other goodies were two packets of face mask. This one here:
Looks pretty unassuming right? But we always send each other fun little items so I figured I’d give it a shot.
But its a face mask so you know what that means….
(i’m probably the only person that is amused by those…and yet i continue to post them…)
So when i was younger (just after the earth’s crust cooled) peel-off masks were around, but I don’t think they were terribly popular. I tried them, but I stopped buying them because they always seemed damn near impossible to remove, and i’d wind up scratching up my face trying to remove them. So honestly I was a little nervous going in, and definitely made sure to apply this generously.
The removal process was so simple it was even kind of fun! This mask peeled off quick and easy and nearly stayed in a complete piece! I would have tried to take a picture of it but I managed to destroy it almost immediately after removal, because I am so graceful.
After I peeled it off, i put on my usual nighttime moisturizer and went to bed, noting that my skin was not at all irritated, so I was happy enough. In the morning, when I washed up, I noticed my skin was SUPER soft, and in fact, looked clearer too. Since my friend was awesome enough to send me two packets of this mask, I tried it again about a week later and found that my skin was amazingly soft and clear again.
Finding that I was a little sad that I had no more packets of this mask, I ventured onto the internet to see if I was able to order it and what the damage would be. So imagine my DELIGHT when I found it at Ulta for $1.99 each!
So I have to say, this is a fantastic mask. I have tried a lot of face masks in recent history, and this one gave me such great results, for it to be so cheap I am definitely excited. Especially since this line apparently has a TON of different masks, and yes, some more peel-off ones! So I’m calling this a total rave, because for such quality results and low price, where could the downside possibly be?
Do you get overly excited about bargain products that work well too? Do you have a face mask that you think beats this one? Let me know in the comments!
Lets look at the Sephora Honey Mask. These are sold individually, so I purchased one to try at Sephora. According to their site, this mask “nourishes and balances to soothe and refresh dry or sensitive skin.” This one’s a sheet mask so you know what that means:
Obviously sheet masks are fairly quick to apply, but this one particularly made me feel like I have a tiny(!) face. here’s an even better shot of the excess material:
Obviously these masks need to be able to fit everyone, so the excess fabric I get, but the mask itself slid around a lot, I spent most of the 15 minutes I wore it trying to make it stay out of my eyes. These masks can also be a bit drippy, so I’m glad I was just wearing pjs when I tried it.
When time was up, I easily pulled the mask off and discarded it, and proceeded to try and rub the remaining serum into my skin as the packaging directs (and there was quite a lot on me). I found it took at least ten minutes for all the product to finally be absorbed, and my skin to no longer feel tacky. Once it was finally done though? My face felt wonderfully soft and smooth.
Next we have the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to clear pores. (Quite a long name!) No sheet for this one, its just directly applied to the face:
This one went on fairly easily, and didn’t run or drip, despite having a thinner texture. It did dry, but didn’t get very tight. I also found that it was a bit stubborn to remove – it took a couple minutes at least to get all traces off. I didn’t feel like I saw or felt a huge difference in my skin, but I did note in the directions for the full size that they want you to use this twice a week in conjunction with daily use of their “cleansing powder” to see improvement. Since I only had a sample packet with enough for one use, I can’t really gauge if their claims are accurate. Once I finally got it all off, I felt the need to apply my usual moisturizers, and my skin felt ok afterward, but nothing unique.
The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal mask seems focused on convenience to me. Its light texture allowed it to be applied fast, it only needs to stay on for ten minutes to be effective, and it rinses away very easily.
This mask’s claim is that it ” calms, nourishes, and smooths distressed skin.” And it may not be dramatic, but I think it gets the job done. It contains colloidal oatmeal and feverfew – both of which are great for soothing and reducing redness. My skin felt nourished and looked calmer after I rinsed this one off. This mask also recommends use two to three times a week as needed, but the sample pack I received of this mask contained enough for at least 3 applications, and I felt I saw improvement after only one use.
Last but not least, we have the Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment. Given the large amount of positive press/reviews this line has received and its high price tag, I was very excited to receive a sample tube of this to try out. This mask’s goal is clearing your complexion of blemishes, redness, scars, razor bumps, and in-grown hair, as well as softening and brightening your complexion. A tall order! This mask was not as creamy as I expected, so it took a bit longer to apply, and already felt a bit dry when first applied:
The instructions also note that as this mask dries, you will see dots appear where the mask is extracting from your pores and/or blemishes, which it refers to as “Pore-Matrix Technology”. I can’t speak to the science of that, but I can show you how the mask looks after 15 minutes:
Do forgive the closeup, I wanted to show how the pores became visible as the product did its work. The darker spots do correspond to where I had some small blemishes. As this mask dried, it got extremely tight, almost to an uncomfortable degree. However, I was surprised to find that this mask rinsed away very easily for a mask that dried down so much. I also have to say that I felt like my skin felt tighter and brighter after using it; and blemishes seemed reduced as well. The sample I received was small, but I suspect I can get another use, possibly two out of it.
Overall, I enjoying using face masks, its nice to take a little time just for pampering your skin. While these masks don’t all do the same things, these all serve a purpose. The Sephora sheet mask was nice except for the long absorption time, but from what I have read, this may be unique to the honey variety, so I will likely try other versions of this one, as sheet masks can be quite convenient, even when they don’t fit perfectly. The First Aid Beauty Oatmeal mask is a great quick soother, and I’ll definitely use the rest of it up. My favorite of this group was probably the Glamglow, because of the easy removal and the visible results in one use. My least favorite was the Origins mask, because of its lackluster result and difficult removal.
Is there a facemask out there that you think I just HAVE to try? Do you disagree with my assessment of any of these? Let me know in the comments!
Happy New Year everyone! With a new year, I’m hoping to do a lot more posting, so lets get right back into the goods!
Even though it is already January, and new boxes are making their way to our homes, I though I would take some time and see which box ended the year with the biggest bang. Subscription Box Showdown Time- Sephora Play vs Ipsy Vs Allure Beauty Box!
First box: Ipsy!
While it is technically a bag not a box, Ipsy was one of the first, and for $10/month, they seldom disappoint – and the bag is part of the subscription, every month we get a cute new design. This month’s is intended for party time, and to my surprise? Its fuzzy! And whats inside?
Ouai Wave spray – I actually have a bottle of this in my bathroom right now! I received it from another subscription box a few months back. It has a lovely smell and when spritzed on damp hair, I find it does help encourage more waviness in my hair, especially if i let it dry in a bun or braid. So even though this isn’t new for me, I’m definitely happy to get another bottle.
Nyx prismatic shadow in Punk Heart – I am no stranger to Nyx cosmetics, but I had not yet tried the prismatic line, and after this quick swatch I’m delighted to have it! This shadow is a rich amethyst with a gorgeous sheen, and the powder is a soft, smooth texture that was easy to swatch and I’m sure will be easy to apply and blend.
Ciate London Liquid Velvet Matte Lipstick in Pin Up – While I’ve heard of Ciate London, this product is totally new to me in all but reputation. I’ve heard excellent things about this company’s matte lipstick, and this is a generous sample in a pretty warm berry shade that I’m looking forward to trying out.
tarte cosmetics deluxe maracuja oil – i’ve heard loads about tarte’s oil, mostly about how versatile it is – face, skin, nails, hair etc can apparently all benefit – but what i was pleased with when I opened this up is that its nearly scent-free and absorbs quickly, but not so quickly that you can’t spread it out evenly. I use a serum or face oil as a part of my skin care routine, so I may try subbing this in to see how it compares.
All in all, this was a pretty good box. While I did get some familiar items, everything here is good colors, good quality, and products with strong reputations. Good variety of items too, hair & skin care as well as cosmetics; December was definitely a good month for Ipsy.
Next up: The Allure Beauty Box. This one comes in an actual box, every month you get the same bright red box, but they are very well constructed and could be useful for storage, or as gift boxes. One thing unique to this box is the “mini-magazine”, which is simply a booklet with an entry for each item in the box. I really like this because they often provide advice on how to best use the product, and they give thorough explanations of what each item is. While it’s always a simple task to look things up online, I rather enjoy the experience of sitting down with a new Allure box and opening each product and reading about them without having to hunt down information on the products one by one. So what did I get?
Coastal Salt & Soul Heavenly Hand cream in Mediterranean Citrus – they are not kidding about the citrus! When I opened the seal on this lotion, a wonderful bright citrus scent hit me instantly. I am always in need of hand cream in the winter, and a bright cheerful scent like this is ideal for the dreary winter days ahead.
European Wax Center Oh My Brow brow highlighter – This product is new to me and honestly already quite nifty. Its a chubby pencil highlight that goes on very easily, it has a smooth even texture, and a flattering champagne sheen. Whats especially nice about this is that on the other end of the pencil, there is a smudger tip! Hidden under a smaller cap is a soft black sponge tip that makes quick work of blending. I love that kind of convenience in a product, makes it ideal for on-the-go!
Tula Advanced Neck Cream – Honestly this item surprised me, it never occurred to me to have a separate cream just for your neck, I usually just use my face moisturizer on it. But what the heck, its fun to try new stuff.
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre – I thought this was just a moisturizer, but apparently you can use it as a cleanser or shave cream, so I may save this for travel!
Beautyblender Liquid Blendercleanser – As a long time beauty blender user, i’m delighted to have a good sized sample of this to try out. I have a small solid version of their cleanser I got in a beauty blender multipack, and it works very well, so i’m curious to see how it compares to the liquid
Skinceuticals Blemish & Age Defense serum – This I am definitely excited to try, its a skin oil that helps with breakouts AND signs of aging. I have a serum right now that is supposed to work on various skin problems like breakouts, but it does not address aging, so it will be cool to compare to this one.
This month’s Allure box is full of things that are new to me! The cleanser is the only thing I was previously familiar with, so its great to learn about some new stuff I might not have found otherwise.
Last and certainly not least, its the Sephora Play! Box.
Sephora’s Play! box is relatively new to the scene, but it is already popular thanks to their name recognition. The subscription is $10/month, and arrives in a black & white striped box; inside of which there is a cloth, drawstring pouch (each month with a new design) holding all your samples:
Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red – A long wearing, matte finish lip color, Sephora recently released a “vault” of 40 colors of this product, so I’m not surprised to receive this. Its lightweight, and its a nice color that would probably work on most people.
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose – this is one of those vial sized sample with a sprayer, the notes are Rose de Mai, Geranium, Vetiver. I’m not a big fan of florals, so this one isn’t really my style, but its not a bad sample.
Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – I don’t know much about Drybar’s products, but I love getting trial size dry shampoos. This one seems to have a strong smell, but I’ll still try it out.
This month’s Sephora box is exciting! The majority of the stuff in here I may have heard of, but its almost entirely composed of things I wanted to try, which is awesome.
All in all, December was a good month subscription-wise. Since I didn’t really feel like any of the items I received were failures this month, choosing a favorite simply comes down to which box I am the most happy about, and I think this month that would have to be Sephora Play! Even though I do not particularly care for the perfume from that box, everything else I received was either something I knew of and wanted to try or something that I am now looking forward to trying.
Do you disagree with my ruling? Do you have a favorite subscription box I’ve never mentioned? Tell me about it in the comments!
What they say about it:This natural coconut gel mask with orange extract brightens the skin and improves skin texture by cleansing and tightening the pores. Orange extract is abundant in Vitamin C which boosts collagen and brightens skin, while AHA improves texture by exfoliating.
Though this mask says it is made of coconut gel, it applies in one piece, which is generally referred to as a sheet mask. These have gotten very popular lately, but I often have trouble positioning them, and keeping them in place. This one was just as awkward to open and place as other I’ve tried, but, unlike some masks I’ve tried in the past, this one was not constantly dripping the whole time, and I didn’t have trouble keeping it on my face, so those factors definitely raise my opinion of this mask. But, if we’re going to talk sheet masks we have to address this one fact:
Yeah, Sheet masks can look freaky and weird when you’re wearing them. But honestly, covering your face with colored goo doesn’t look totally normal either, so I guess its just a question of whats comfortable for you.
This mask recommends you leave it on for 10-20 minutes, and once I had it in place, it was actually comfortable enough that I easily let 20 minutes pass before removing it. With this mask, you’re directed to “gently pat your face until all serum is absorbed” after removing it. This didn’t take too long, maybe 15 seconds at most, but it left my face feeling a little tacky, even five minutes later. I did notice a nice sheen to my skin though, and it looked brighter and fresher. It wasn’t until I washed my face to get ready for bed that the tackiness subsided, but at that point I noticed that my skin did feel a bit softer and smoother.
Overall, this is a decent mask. It was a little difficult to apply, but it was comfortable to wear and easy to remove, and I did feel it provided some improvement to the skin. It was nice, but I didn’t find the experience or result all that noteworthy, so its not likely I will go out of my way to repurchase.
Disclaimer: I received this mask in my Allure Beauty Box, which I pay for. I have received no compensation from Allure or Leaders for this review.
Sedona Lace Synthetic Blender, EB13 – I’ve only heard of the Sedona Lace brand from some makeup artists online, so its neat to get one to try out. The brush feels solidly constructed and the bristles are soft but not too flimsy or sparse, overall the quality seems very good.
Bellapierre Cosmetics Banana Setting Powder – I’ve gotten products from Bellapierre from Ipsy before. One was a loose powder blush that I quite like, so I am looking forward to trying out their setting powder, its quite soft and blended very smoothly when I swatched it. (see the swatch below with other swatches from this bag.)
I’m a big fan of the Balm, and do not have this palette, so getting a color from it was pretty cool. Its a nice, warm shade:
I’m only loosely familiar with bareminerals, but everything I’ve tried from them has been very nice quality. This liquid lipstick seems to be no exception. It has no noticeable scent, and the color is a soft, neutral pink I am sure to get plenty of wear from:
And of course, the setting powder:
This month from Ipsy I also redeemed points for a bonus – a very nice one too!
With the Ipsy subscription you have the opportunity to earn points by answering short surveys about each item you get. The points are not the only benefit, your selections each month are also affected by your survey responses, so if you like a brand (like I mentioned Bellapierre), its likely they’ll send you other samples from it, or send you similar products to ones you like. You can also earn points from sharing your bag on social media, or referring friends to sign up. (I get most of my points from the review surveys.) I was lucky enough to have enough points saved up when they announced they were offering the TooFaced Born this Way concealer as a bonus for July, before it was even available for sale.
I guessed at my color – its always hard to tell online isn’t it? – and it looks like i guessed well.(Obviously it doesn’t match my hand, but it matched my face very well) This concealer is very pigmented but super thin and lightweight, and I haven’t noticed any creasing so far. As you can see it came in a glass tube with a doe-foot applicator. A full-sized, high-end concealer is pretty sweet bonus item in my book.
Overall the Ipsy selection this month was pretty fun. It was a mix of brands I was familiar with and brands that I’m not as familiar with, and none of the items were a repeat. The bag was also a mix of useful and fun items, which I always like.
Next up, Sephora Play!
This month included:
beautyblender – blotterazi: This is a flat sponge designed to replace blotting papers. I actually already own the full size of this, which is a compact with mirror and two sponges, so its nice to have an extra sponge for my compact! This is a cool sample to send out, because it is exactly what you get in the full size product, simply without the compact and the backup sponge, so you can really get an idea of whether this product is for you.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser: I have used some really fantastic moisturizers from this brand so I’m happy to get one of their cleansers. This has a nice creamy feel to it, and the scent reminds me of ivory soap. A travel size of a mild cleanser good for all skin types.
Ouai Wave Spray: a texture mist for hair, for those low-maintenance, soft wavy looks often referred to as “beachy waves”. I love doing this sort of easy-going hair style, so I am looking forward to testing this one out. This has a light, clean scent to it; many sprays of this style tend to have beachy scents like coconut, this one feels a little more versatile to me.
Smashbox Photofinish Primer: a foundation primer, and its one I’ve gotten samples of a number of times before, it is very welcome, as it is a fantastic primer! It smooths the skin texture and helps your foundation last.
Nest Fragrances in Citrine: Every Play box includes a fragrance sample. This one claims that it layers fresh lotus flower, freesia, bright citrus with a base of “precious” woods. This is a clean, bright floral scent without being overly cloying. I don’t usually like floral perfumes but this one I could actually see myself wearing. The vial has a sprayer on top, which I also really appreciate.
The only product with color to it in this box, so here’s a quick swatch:
This is a pretty nice selection of products, and in my opinion, seasonally appropriate. The cosmetic related items are all things I would use in warmer weather, the blotter, the primer and the bronzer. The hair product is designed for giving your hair that “beach day” look, ideal for weather where its too hot to heat-style. The fragrance is bright, clean and not too heavy, definitely a good choice for summer. And the skin product, a gentle face wash in a convenient size, is perfect for a season when you might not only need something gentle for your face, but something portable!
And finally, Allure Beauty Box!
This month’s items:
Smashbox Photofinish Primer: No, I didn’t accidentally type it twice, I actually got this sample in two of my subscriptions this month! As I said above, this is a wonderful product, and I know I’m definitely not the first or last person on the internet to talk about liking this primer. Since I became a fan of this primer through a sample, I am never surprised to see it pop up, and never disappointed with it either.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II : a nighttime skin serum that claims to reduce signs of aging. I like using serums, especially in summer, since they absorb quickly and you can layer them with other products more easily. This serum is no exception. It has a very light consistency and absorbs very fast; there is a subtle scent when you first apply but it seems to fade quickly as the product sinks in. I’ve received some other items from this line before, so I’m curious to try this one out.
GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment: a facial mask for oily or combination skin that claims to clear up skin imperfections. I have been hearing about how amazing the products from this brand are for ages now, but their high prices have kept me away. I was legitimately excited to receive this, and can’t wait to use it!
La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream: This is a luxury skin cream, which claims to provide intense moisturization and restore radiance to the skin. The sample is small, but given its high prices ($170 for one ounce!); that is not too surprising. The cream is rich but spreads easily and absorbs nice and quick. I think I will be able to get a decent couple of uses from it, and I can come back to you guys with a full review and let you all know if I think this cream is worth the hype (and price)!
Not going to lie, Allure’s box impressed me this month. All the products are things I’m happy to receive, and frankly, fancier than I expect from these subscriptions, which is pretty cool. This box is pretty heavy on skin care, so the variety is not as exciting as the other boxes, but despite that I was still very pleased with this month’s selections. When I reviewed the mini magazine however, my opinion of the box this month dropped. It turns out there was another item available this month, but it had to be redeemed in person at a Nordstrom’s. There is no Nordstrom’s convenient to my home, so I was never able to pick it up. For me, one of the major benefits of these subscriptions is to arrive home from work and have a happy little parcel of new things to try waiting for me. Discovering I missed out on an item because I wasn’t prepared to go on a road trip to track it down is rather disappointing.
Deciding on a winner this month actually took me quite a while, but when I really thought about it, I realized that this month’s winner is definitely Ipsy! This month’s bag was full of interesting and fun products I was excited to try when I opened it up, and that excitement definitely put this subscription above the other two boxes. The Sephora Play! had some great products this month, and definitely kept my interest, but just didn’t have the same “wow” factor as Ipsy. Allure nearly had it, as I’m definitely looking forward to trying those samples; but my disappointment in the in-store item I missed out on really drove my opinion of the box down for the month.
All in all, I still enjoy all three subscriptions, but right now, Ipsy, I am totally playing favorites for you!
Do you disagree with my ruling? Do you have a favorite subscription box I’ve never mentioned? Tell me about it in the comments!
Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions with my own money.