Now that there’s a lull in my nail polish addiction I’m back to my first love of skincare. I’ve got a bathroom full of skincare products. Why? Because I’m a junkie that’s why, and my main addiction is masks, though I’ve got probably half a dozen scrubs in there right now too (what? it’s really hard to find the perfect one). The last few years I actually got my skincare routine down pat. Like to the point that I had one (1!) face mask. And I barely used it. Then Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair completely fucked up my skin, and you know what I did? If you guessed Went out and bought like a bunch of masks well then *ding*ding*ding* we have a winner.
So, I’ll start with the worst and work my way to the best.
Active ingredient – Sulfur 10% Pro-X Intensive Refining Sulfur Mask is a sulfur acne treatment that can be used twice a week to dry current breakouts, immediately absorb oil and reduce overall shine for a consistently clear complexion.
I had been eying this for a while. My skin usually responds well to products with sulfur in them, so that wasn’t the issue. My problem is that it’s Olay. Olay, okay? It’s a drugstore brand, and I really had a hard time dropping nearly $30 for this. I know it’s my perception, and the Pro-X line is as good as high end stuff, and blah, blah, blah. I get it.
I would have been fine paying it if the product worked, but it didn’t. At all. I used it more often than directed on the package (3x a week), for longer than directed (20 minutes instead of 10), and… nothing. And even just applying a thin layer each time I got around 12-ish uses out of this, which just isn’t enough even if it worked, which -again- it didn’t.
Acne-soothing mask’s cool, refreshing tingle lets you know treatment is penetrating each pore to relieve redness and absorb excess acne-causing oils. AcneFree Therapeutic Sulfur Mask by University Medical is formulated with sulfur, Vitamin C, copper, zinc and meadowsweet to minimize the appearance of pores and refine skin’s tone and texture. Color signal technology turns formula light blue when treatment is complete and ready to be rinsed off.
So I thought I’d try the drugstore sulfur mask route again with this one. Right off the bat I will say it’s much more reasonably priced (around $10) for the same size as the Olay. I like that. Secondly, this is a really tricky mask to use. You have to follow the directions. To. The. Letter. It has to be applied to wet skin and then rubbed in for a few minutes until all the beads containing the sulfur have burst. It does turn a helpful shade of blue to let you know it’s happened, so that’s nice. If you don’t do that though it’s not going to do anything but sit on top of your skin until you rinse it off.
I’m not really sure what was going on with this. My skin definitely looked better after I rinsed it off. Like immediately afterwards my skin looked great. And then the next morning I’d wake up to a whole new round of cystic acne. I’m not sure if it was just pulling out all the shit the Rapid Wrinkle Repair buried deep in my skin, or if it was causing the breakouts. Either way I kept using it until it was gone, which wasn’t long because you need to use a lot of product to cover your face. Needless to say I didn’t buy a second tube.
To keep skin at its most pure, you need this deep detoxifying mask. Volcanic ash works to extract and absorb pollutants while activated charcoal pulls the deepest impurities to the surface to help detoxify. Antioxidants of acai and goji berry dive deep to fight free radicals. As your mask experience comes to a close, a pleasant cooling sensation envelops your skin. pH balanced. For all skin types.
So I gave up on the sulfur masks for the time being and switched to this. A good, reliable, basic clay mask. It’s not fancy, but it did work. It wasn’t miraculous by any means, but it definitely started getting my skin back to where it should be. After I used it my skin was soft and smooth. I’ve never had large pores, so I have no idea if it helps with that, but it didn’t dry out my skin, and at the same time helped heal my acne.
Acne Complex Clarifying Mask by Murad draws out impurities and absorbs excess oil to control and prevent breakouts. Reduces severity of acne and delivers powerful acne medication.
My mom gave me this one after it didn’t work for her, and guess what? It worked freakin’ great for me! I’m not sure what the deal is because it has sulfur (like the Olay and Acne Free) and zinc (like the Acne Free). It may be expensive, but it worked. I’ve never been a fan of Murad products since they usually dry the crap out of my skin, but this is perfect. Left my skin soft, but not dried out like the Sahara, and actually did what it claimed to do. Halleluiah.
Deep down detox ultra cleansing mud mask by Formula 10.0.6 super-cleansing detox mask cleanses impurities for a clearer, brighter, complexion.
If you’re old enough you’ll remember that harsh 10.0.6. astringent that used to be in every drugstore. I’m not sure if this is the same brand or what. Either way it gave me pause, but in the end I’m glad I bought this because this is one of the best masks I’ve ever used (and believe me I’ve tried a lot of them) and it’s like $6.
Did it leave my skin detoxed? Clearer? Brighter? Yes, yes it did. It also left it soft, and so smooth that I don’t need to use foundation primer the morning after the night I use this. I’ve used some pretty harsh skin peels that haven’t been able to do that. Seriously, I love this so much that when I saw this was Buy One, Get One 50% off at Ulta I bought two bottle of it (and still spent less than $10) just so that I’d never run out. And bonus, it’s smells faintly citrusy and wonderful. So after my glowing words why is this not the best mask out of the lot? Because while it’s great, and it did help with the acne, it didn’t help as much as the two below did.
No need to freak out when you break out! This skin smoothie will deeply cleanse, draw out all the bad stuff and helps tighten pores, leaving skin spotless, smooth and flawless.
Since I seemed to be doing better the more natural I went I decided to throw this in my basket at Ulta as well. Like 10.0.6. this was not a brand I used before, but I liked the ingredients, so I thought I’d give it a try, and I’m glad I did. It definitely cleared up my “regular” acne in a few applications, and helped heal the cystic spots as well, though it didn’t completely eliminate them. Again, I have no idea if this “tightens” pores or helps shrink them or whatever since I don’t have that problem, but it works great for clearing acne without drying or otherwise irritating my skin. It doesn’t leave my skin quite as smooth as the 10.0.6. masks do, but unlike the Detox Mask it helps with acne, and since that was my main concern it gives this one the slight edge.
Pores Be Pure Skin-Clarifying Mask by Formula 10.0.6 is a skin-refining mask with berry boosters goes straight to work on clogged pores. Strawberry and Rosemary eliminate impurities, while yarrow clarifies skin for instant complexion perfection.
Since I had such good luck with the other mask from this brand I had to buy this one too, and Oh. My. God. It’s even better, but this one comes with several caveats.
1.) It’s got hydroxy acids (fruit based), which my skin is very tolerant of. This does tingle a bit on initial application for me, so if you’re sensitive to AHA’s you might want to give this one a pass.
2.) It’s pink. It turns your skin pink. I’ve tried varying the amount I put on, the time I allow it to stay on my skin, etc., and it still leaves my skin pink. It’s not that the AHA’s irritate my skin and turn it pink, it’s literally that the mask is pink and it dyes my skin pink. I’m super pale, so I suspect that’s why it’s noticeable to me. If you have something other than a ghost-like complexion it might not be a problem. Do not dismiss it out of hand though, because usually after a wash in the morning you don’t notice it.
So it’s definitely not perfect, but I’m telling you, if you have issues with your complexion give this a shot because it’s amazing. A couple applications of this and my cystic acne was gone, just gone. If you’ve ever had cystic acne (and unfortunately my skin is sensitive, and contact dermatitis usually comes with a side of cystic acne) you know how rare that is. It also completely dries up normal acne with one application, and just like the Detox Mask from this line leaves my skin so soft and smooth I don’t need to use foundation primer the morning after using it.