Monday, 29 January 2018

beauty review: face masks


I'm a bit obsessed with face masks. I love the idea of them: the pampering nature of slathering your face in a viscous paste and sitting back with cucumber slices on your eyes to the scent of a lavender candle. The reality isn't ever quite so glamorous (has anyone actually ever put cucumber slices on their eyes?!) Truth be told I end up stockpiling masks and then never get around to using them. It just seems like so much effort. So for a face mask to really impress me, it needs to fall into one of three categories: either really, really good and therefore worth the hassle, or super quick and easy to remove, or a leave-on formula that doesn't require any waiting or faffing. Below I've shared my thoughts on some of the ones I've been trialling recently (and doing this has made me vow to use all of them more often!) As always the usual disclaimer that nothing is sponsored or otherwise biased, and these are not foolproof beauty reviews as I haven't used any of these religiously: they are just my own personal thoughts and impressions.

Rating: 7/10
This falls into the "quick and feels like it's doing something" category. It's almost more of a peel: it's a citrus-scented gel-like consistency which tingles a little if you're not used to glycolic acids (my skin definitely is; I'm an obsessive devotee of Alpha H's Liquid Gold - do try if you haven't). You only have to leave it on 10 minutes for fresh, tighter-feeling skin. My overall impression is it does feel like it's done something, without really delivering any miraculous results. Definitely one for the collection, if not my absolute go-to.

Eve Lom moisture mask / £65 for 100ml (10ml sample pictured)
Rating: 3/10
This was a recent addition to my collection, courtesy of the Eve Lom gift set I purchase every Christmas in the Space NK sale. It's a jelly-like consistency, which feels quite sticky on the skin. I like that it's leave-on so easily applied before bed, but to be honest it didn't feel that nourishing and I didn't notice any difference in my skin. Not worth the steep price, in my opinion. (In fact, I prefer the Eve Lom TLC cream, which feels more like a nourishing mask than this.)

Oskia renaissance mask / £51 for 50ml (12ml sample pictured)
Rating: 6/10
There are a lot of rave reviews around for this mask and I'm always pretty sceptical of those: to me no surface-applied product is ever going to work miracles (the only thing I would give that accolade to is the medication Roaccutane). But if you buy this expecting a very nice mask, rather than something that will transform your life, then you won't be disappointed. This is almost a cross between the two previous masks: quite a similar consistency to the Eve Lom, but a fruity enzyme formula like the REN. It's a little fiddly: you massage it in until it turns from a baby pink to white, then leave for 10-20 mins, before adding water and massaging again, then rinsing off. To be honest this it what has put me off from using it more often, but I do like it when I do: my skin feels fresh and glowing. It loses a mark for the price, though.

Rating: 2/10
There had to be a dud in here: I'm afraid this really just doesn't do anything, nor does it feel like a treat. It's a cream formula but not leave-on (which should surely be the whole benefit of a hydrating cream mask), and the cream is so thin it doesn't feel at all nourishing, let alone intensively so. It doesn't even smell that nice, either.

Omorovicza deep cleansing mask / £62 for 50ml (15ml sample pictured)
Rating: 6/10
Clay masks are my favourite for really decongesting and tightening the skin. This Omorovicza one is a lovely, decadent version which smells like a spa. I got this sample in my very reasonably priced Space NK sale gift set, but to be honest I'm not sure I would pay the exorbitant full price. The bonus of this is that it doesn't set your face hard, but because of that it doesn't feel very intense. A luxurious treat, but ultimately I prefer the Eve Lom rescue mask for the same purpose (see below), and that's less than half the price.

Eve Lom rescue mask / £55 for 100ml
Rating: 10/10
Step forward my ultimate favourite mask. This is the clay mask to end all clay masks: it is deliciously thick, unctuous and full of little exfoliating flecks - in fact, it basically looks like mud dredged from the bottom of the sea, and I mean that in the best possible way. Slathered on, it sets your face hard to the point where you can barely open your mouth (hilariously) and you look like a zombie. After 20 minutes it is a little bit messy to wash off, but worth it: you really know you've applied a mask, and that's the best compliment I can give because I don't give it lightly. Whenever my skin starts getting a little spotty or irritated, this tightens, brightens and shrinks pores straightaway. I notice the difference immediately. It may not seem cheap, but it lasts forever (up to a year of weekly use) and it's well worth it.

Origins clear improvement mask / £25 for 100ml (30ml sample pictured)
Rating: 5/10
This is like the cheat's version of the above: cheaper, quicker and less messy, but ultimately way less effective. The bonus with this is that you only leave it on as long as it takes to dry, i.e. about 3 mins, so if you're in a rush and want a little pore tightening charcoal action, this is a good quick fix. But don't expect much more from it than that.

Rating: 7/10
This is one of the leave-on moisturising masks, and overall I like it. It feels reassuringly thick and it smells divine (I love the scent of rose). I often take this on long-haul flights, as it's great to layer on and let sink in. Ultimately I've never noticed much long-term difference from it, but it's always left my skin feeling suitably hydrated in the morning, and the price is very reasonable.

Rating: 9/10
This was a recent birthday gift from my lovely friend Kristy, who swears by this, and I'm now a convert. It's actually very similar to the Eve Lom rescue mask (great minds think alike) in that it's a clay mask consistency with added exfoliation. Be warned: the turmeric means this is an alarmingly yellow colour (see below), and it will indelibly stain whatever flannel you use to remove it. But like the Eve Lom it is reassuringly thick, leaves skin tight and glowing, and feels like a real treat. Loses a point for staining my flannel (ha), but gains one for the great price.


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