While attempting to use up my considerable stash of samples and minis via my Project the past two months, I've realized I had a lot of nice deluxe samples of masks and peels that were all aimed at brightening the skin. As a fair-skinned person, I struggle with hyperpigmentation all the time: freckles, age spots, post-inflammatory marks from acne and mosquito bites (yeah, that's a new one even for me) - you name it, I've got it. Which is why I've been enjoying treating my skin to a more intense exfoliating session about once a week, and these masks are perfect for a quick at-home treatment.
Starting with an old favorite, and the only full-sized product in this overview: the Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant ($41 for 2.5 fl. oz
- they hiked up the price by at least $5 since the last time I bought it!), which I've talked about a couple times in the past
, now sadly all used up and gone from my medicine cabinet. This is a fantastic option for combination and oily skintypes, as it both exfoliates with fruit enzymes, salicylic and lactic acid, but also helps to absorb the oil and minimize the appearance of pores with diatomaceous earth, which gives it a clay-like consistency. There aren't many products that give me immediate, visible results every time I reach for them, but this Gentle Cream Exfoliant really was one of those. If your skin is very sensitive, I'd definitely ask for a sample first, because it's not really that gentle - on my somewhat reactive skin, I'd get a tingle, but no irritation and little redness after application. I'm considering a repurchase.
Speaking of clay-like textures, I had high hopes for this Boscia Bright White Mask ($38 for 2.8 oz)
, which contains titanium dioxide as well as bentonite and kaolin clays, but it doesn't work for me at all. First off, my bad for not realizing this is a peel-off mask, which is a type I generally dislike partly because of the high alcohol content. It also took me a good 10 minutes to try and peel this mask off, at which point I gave up and just took it off with a warm washcloth. More importantly though, I could not see any brightening effect on my skin at all, and looking at the ingredients' list, I'm really not sure how this is supposed to brighten - there are some plant extracts and peptides in there, but with sporadic usage, I don't know how you'd be able to observe any significant results. I'd give it a pass.
The Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel ($66 for 1.7 fl oz; full size comes in a glass jar) is the only mask in this line-up that uses a combination of manual (jojoba beads) and chemical (mostly papaya enzyme but also glycolic, malic and lactic acids in a low percentage) exfoliants. Radiance Peel also contains vitamins A, C and E, manuka honey and nourishing oils like macadamia, olive and argan. I personally could do without the exfoliating beads, but otherwise, it's a lovely mask I'd recommend for normal to dry skintypes, as the creamy formulation seems to have an added moisturizing effect on the skin. The directions say to leave it on for 4 minutes, but I found that to be too short of a time to notice a result in my skin, so I'd leave it on for 10-15 minutes instead. I also think this one would be good to try if you're particularly sensitive, as I didn't get much of a tingle but still saw improvement in the texture and softness of my skin.
Jumping from one of the gentler options to something more hardcore, I found the Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel ($55 for 1.7 oz)
to be too much for my skin. This creamy mask contains glycolic acid, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, and while I love all of these ingredients, the Intensive-C mask burned my face like nobody's business - the sensation was actually quite similar to the mentholated tingling you'd get from lip plumpers. Yes, I saw noticeable improvement in the texture and clarity of my skin, but using this mask just wasn't pleasant. I'd recommend it to most skintypes with no sensitivity whatsoever, and preferrably after patch-testing a sample. You've been warned.
The popular REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask ($55 for 1.7 oz) also relies primarily on glycolic acid in combination with lactic acid and fruit enzymes (papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple fruit extracts) in a moisturizing base of grape seed, cranberry seed, and seabuckthorn berry oils. I'll be honest with you - while I think this is a nice exfoliating mask that smells and looks like orange marmalade, I don't know why so many people rave about it over these other options I'm discussing today. My main problem was that this mask went off very quickly after I first opened my sample, becoming separated, grainy and very weird-smelling. I've also found a lot of citrus essential oils in the ingredients' list (bergamot fruit water, orange, mandarin, tangerine and grapefruit oils) and unfortunately, I'm allergic - although fortunately, I didn't come up in a big rash the few times I used it. Why do brightening products always have to smell like oranges, I ask you?
Lastly, we have another natural option: the Enzyme Peel Mask with Vitamin C and Papaya from The Organic Pharmacy ($79 for 40ml)
. This gel mask contains lactobionic acid (a Polyhydroxy acid, also known as PHA, which some studies have proven to be less irritating but as effective as glycolic acid thanks to its reduced absorption due to larger molecular structure), lactic and salicylic acids, both papaya and pineapple enzymes, and hyaluronic acid. It's a lovely product - slightly tingly on the face but not irritating, and I can definitely see an improvement in the texture, tone and hydration of my skin after usage. This is the first product I've ever tried from The Organic Pharmacy, and I have to say the experience has got me a lot more interested in their skincare range; although sadly, the products are without a doubt on the pricey side.
Speaking of prices, all of the masks I've reviewed for you today seem rather expensive to me now that I'm looking at it. I don't know if my tolerance for prices has shifted recently or what it is, but I don't feel okay spending over $50 on an exfoliating mask - to my knowledge, glycolic and salicylic acids as well as fruit enzymes are not expensive ingredients, so I'm not sure why all of these need to be so pricey. While I loved my Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant, I'm considering giving a cheaper option a try, and I've been looking at the derma-e Evenly Radiant Overnight Peel with AHAs (glycolic, lactic and malic), which retails for $15-18.75, or the Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask, which is $11-15, depending where you buy it. If you've tried one of those, please let me know!
Do you use exfoliating masks or peels on a regular basis? What is your favorite weekly exfoliating treatment?
I want to try the Dermalogica one-I've been searching for something like that with lactic acid. My skin just can't handle glycolic acid all that well, so I think that one might be ok for me.ReplyDelete
Masks have certainly gone up in price I agree. Finding something that works at a decent price point feels impossible lately.
I think you'd really like the Dermalogica one - I first heard about it from Lisa Eldridge, btw, in one of her skincare favorites videos. Yeah, I don't know why acid things have to be so expensive - both masks and toners/ pads. Most acids are really cheap ingredients!Delete
There's a good one from NUDE i think - called Miracle Mask or something!ReplyDelete
In general i'm quite afraid to delve into the AHA/Glycolic/physical exfoliation because they exacerbate the dryness and redness on my skin :( when other skin problems are solved (bumps), i'd look into them again. My facialist use a gentler form of exfoliation during my facial - think it's a gommage peel or something without beads / acid, i think it's an enzyme sort of thing, but i don't think it made any difference to the skin, lol.
Thank you for the rec, Jenni! <3Delete
Acids can be very tricky on sensitive skin - you could always try those AHAs that have larger molecules/ penetrate the skin less easily, like that PHA in the Organic Pharmacy Mask, or mandelic acid (it's in that Dr Wu serum I really like). Hmm, is the gommage peel like those exfoliating peeling gels from Korean brands? You rub those onto your skin and in a minute or two it turns into little flakies - supposedly that's your dead skin coming off (gross).
I haven't tried any for it makes me think that it does nothing on my skin. I guess I would rather go for cleansing creams or foam wash.ReplyDelete
A lot of people see better results with manual exfoliants :)Delete
I've tried a sample of that Organic Pharmacy one which really didn't agree with my skin (breakout and irritation). That was an unusually bad reaction on my skin (i normally am fine with all manner of actives).ReplyDelete
I currently use the AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel. I'm on my third bottle, and each bottle lasts forever.
My little sample of the Organic Pharmacy mask came from you with the stuff I got in your blog sale! Hmm, I read on Beautypedia that pineapple extract especially (bromelain) is very sensitizing for a lot of people, so maybe that's what caused your reaction?Delete
Is the Amore Pacific Peel the fizzy powder thingy? I have one from Tatcha that's lovely - it's like a cross between manual and physical exfoliant.
There was a Barney's SA who was super nice and generous with samples! I'm glad you ended up with one of those. :D I need to dig through what enzyme ingredient is used in the AP one. The AP one foams in a light foam. It's very much like the Tatcha, but doesn't smell like rice and has a floral scent. I find it to be more effective than th Tatcha for my skin.Delete
I want to try that Dermologica now!ReplyDelete
I use masks a lot, actually, and have for years - did not like the Ren at all, and I'm trying two of the new Caudalie ones now (moisturizing and instant detox) and I'm not sure they're doing anything :(
Hi Adele! I know most places that sell Dermalogica have their full range in sample packets, so you could always see if you could get one before you commit to the full size :) I recently got that Caudalie detox mask in a gift with purchase but haven't tried it yet - I heard someone describe it more as a soothing than purifying clay mask.Delete
You know, I never thought of pale people needing brightening products. I really had to wrap my mind around that before I could read the rest of the post. I always assumed that these types of products are marketed towards women of colour and that brightening really just means "whitening". But I guess hyperpigmentation affects all people. hmmm.ReplyDelete
I really want to try the REN product, but you don't make it sound very appetizing at all. I think for now I will stick with my exfoliating pads. thanks for sharing. I'll pay more attention in the future to posts from different types of complexions regarding brightening/hyperpigmentation.
How come I missed this one! So, an AHA product that I enjoyed in the past is PTR Glycolic 10% Hydrating Gel. I used this regularly when I was pregnant and inundated with pregnancy-related acne/back-ne. A slightly cheaper option is PC 10% AHA. Both PTR and PC leave rather tacky finish, which I don't mind but you do have to follow up with some moisturizer or else the tackiness never really "dissipate."ReplyDelete
I remember using the Dermalogica, I forgot why I don't use it anymore. I simply stop using PTR because of the price, but in its defense, it lasts forever (or at least, the whole bottle lasted me the whole pregnancy) hehe..
I like exfoliating masks better than manual scrubs on my sensitive skin. I'm currently using Josh Rosebrook's Active Enzyme Exfoliator and it's quite nice - but not terribly cheap (guess I don't mind the higher price tags either!). I tried the REN once too and wasn't wowed at all either. The Dermalogica sounds nice - strangely, I've never tried anything from the brand if you can believe it!ReplyDelete