The Inkey List Kaolin Clay Review

Kaolin Clay from The Inkey List claims to be a gentle yet powerful mask to deep-clean the skin while absorbing oils and toxins and unclogging pores, leaving skin looking clearer and more even. This mask is for all skin types.

Ingredients: Aqua, Kaolin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Dimenthyl Sulfone, Centella Asiatica Extract,Glyceryl Caprylate, Decyl Glucoside, Cellulose Gum, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Carbomer, Tocopherol, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Sea Water Extract, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Vitis Vinifera seed oil, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract,Sodium Hydroxide, Lonicera Japonica Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Oryza Sativa Bran Oil, Geranium Maculatum Extract, Taraxacum Officinale Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Spirulina Maxima Extract, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil

Directions state to use this in the morning or evening once or twice a week, applying a thin layer to clean, damp skin. Leave on for 10 minutes, rinse and pat dry.

I have combination skin now that it is winter; oily in the T-zone and dry on the cheeks, that is prone to large pores, congestion and breakouts.

This mask has a soft, cream-like consistency with a light clay scent that applies smoothly to the skin.

The photo above is a thin layer of the mask applied to damp skin as directed. Starting at about 5 minutes, the product seems to disappear on the skin as it dries. It doesn’t fully dry out and crack like other clay masks (clay masks really should not be left to dry and flake on the skin anyhow as it causes dryness and irritation).

Above, I applied the mask to dry skin in a thicker layer, which seems to work better than the thin, damp layer for absorbing oils and smoothing the skin.

I have been using this product two to three times a week in the evening for about two months. On first use, I was surprised by how light and non-drying and non-irritating this is on the skin. The skin felt a bit smoother after rinsing. After using this for the two months, the skin does not look much different; no more radiance, not much less congestion, no less blackheads around the nose and the pores do not appear more refined nor the skin deep cleansed. This is such a light mask, that it doesn’t feel like anything is happening on the skin. The mask takes a bit of extra effort and water to rinse well and there seemed to be a bit of residue left that I needed to take off with toner on a cotton pad (I quite like this toner and these toner mates). The skin felt maybe more smooth applying to dry skin in a thick layer. Unlike other clay masks, this one from The Inkey List doesn’t seem to really stay on the skin long enough before sort of drying down and disappearing. The Inkey List Kaolin Clay mask may be better suited to dry or sensitive skin with minimal issues. A kaolin clay mask that performed well for clarity of the skin and deep cleansing the pores is that from Michael Todd. Also, while not a similar product, I get better results with NIOD’s Sanskrit Saponins using as a mask/cleanse when compared to The Inkey List Kaolin Clay.

I would not repurchase the Kaolin Clay mask from The Inkey List.

Thank you for reading.

Dermalogica Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask Review

Dermalogica’s Clear Start line of products are targeted toward teens with acne, blackheads, oily skin and breakouts. These issues have followed me into my late 30s. I get blackheads on and around my nose and chin area that are hard to get rid of.

The Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask has a fizzy texture on application and claims to clean pores, decongest skin and target blackheads before they turn into breakouts, while facilitating blackhead extraction.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Disiloxane, Sulfur, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Kaolin, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Acacia Senegal Gum, Polyacrylate-33, Hectorite, Butylene Glycol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Quartz, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Leaf Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Flower/Leaf Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Sage) Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Abies Sibirica Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Cymbopogon Nardus (Citronella) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Sodium Cocoyl Threoninate, Xanthan Gum, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Citrate, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Phenoxyethanol.

The key ingredients – sulfur, provides antimicrobial benefits and helps clear breakouts, kaolin clay absorbs excess oils and apple fruit extract provides some hydration. This product has a number of plant oils; I wonder if this is to cover up the sulfur scent.

Directions state to apply to clean affected areas 2 to 3 times a week, allowing the product to fully activate for 3 to 5 minutes, then rinse.

The mask has a medicinal scent, almost like a medical ginger/licorice smell. I wouldn’t say it smells like sulfur. The skin has a slight tingling sensation on application that lasts for less than a minute as less product sits on the skin while it bubbles up. I’m guessing the tingling is caused by the plant oils – ginger, spearmint, eucalyptus.

It fizzes up almost immediately on application and gets progressively more fizzy and bubbly on the skin. Once it starts fizzing, the skin tickles from the bubbles popping. Once it’s been on the skin for about 5 minutes and the bubbles have popped, it’s time to rinse.

I’ve used this for about a month, every second to third day, in the evening. I find the product a bit drying.

In the photos, the mask looks to have cleared some surface blackheads a bit. While it didn’t clear up most of the blackheads, it seemed to make them softer and easily removable. I didn’t find that my skin really felt cleaner or looked less congested as it does with a regular clay mask, but my pores looked a little better. The Clearing Fizz Mask would likely work well in conjunction with a salicylic acid serum.

I might purchase the Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask again – it does live up to the claim of facilitating blackhead extraction.

Thank you for reading.

Herbivore Botanicals Pink Clay Exfoliating Mask Review

I bought the Herbivore Botanicals Pink Clay Exfoliating Mask a while ago and have used a few times now. This is a dusty rose colored powder that comes in a heavy clear glass jar.

herbivore pink clay

This mask claims to be for all skin types and is used to exfoliate the skin and to make it softer, brighter and glowing after use.

Ingredients: French Pink Clay, White Kaolin Clay, Organic Rosehip Powder, Organic Rose Powder, Organic Chamomile Powder

French pink clay is a mix of red and white clays. It is a mild clay for all skin types used for exfoliating, cleansing and softening. White kaolin clay is used as a mild exfoliant that softens skin. Rosehip powder can help repair damaged skin tissues as it contains omega 3, 6 and 9. Rose powder has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties to soothe skin inflammation. Chamomile powder is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

I have oily skin prone to breakouts and blackheads. I switch between two other clay masks, the Michael Todd Kaolin Clay Detoxifying Facial Mask and the Clarity Matcha Mask from Your Best Face.

I put about 3/4 tbsp of the Pink Clay Mask powder into a small bowl with about 1 tsp to 1.5 tsp water and mix with a spatula. The instructions say to add a few drops of water, but I definitely need more than a few drops. I find that the clay powder doesn’t mix into the water right away but sits on top and I need to let the mask sit for a few minutes to get it to combine. I use this in the evening. It has a very mild earthy floral smell. I find it goes on rather clumpy and thick in places even though it spreads relatively nicely. It dries fast and I let it sit for 7 to 10 minutes.I soften it with warm water and rinse. It rinses pretty well with a facecloth. There is no tingling or stinging sensation to my face as with other clay masks. My skin only got a bit itchy and tickly in spots as the mask dried.

I was quite impressed by the results even after the first use. My nose is always a bit rough due to blackheads, buildup and oils and after I rinsed the mask off, my skin was definitely smoother and exfoliated. My skin was a bit brighter and indeed softer, and I noted the glow the next morning. This mask lives up to the claims it makes; however, I find it very drying, and I have oily skin. The nice thing about powered masks is that they can be customized a bit. I add a facial oil by Your Best Face Skincare. You could also add manuka honey and/or rose water. I think it’s important to add that I don’t find the benefits of the mask cumulative, as with an antioxidant or vitamin C mask, for example, but my skin does need exfoliating every few days, and this mask does a great job and is very gentle.

Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Resurfacing Mask Review

I recently found this company online, Herbivore Botanicals, and bought four different face masks. Herbivore Botanicals is a company that focuses on using all natural, therapeutic and food grade ingredients. According to their website, their products are made without synthetic ingredients, chemicals, mineral oils, petroleum and SLS.

blue tansy

The Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask from Herbivore Botanicals is an AHA/BHA mask using aloe, fruit enzymes, willow bark and blue tansy oil to gently resurface, decongest and sooth skin.

The directions that came with the mask state to use the mask every day for 3 or 4 days and then a few times a week to maintain results. It should be left on for 15 to 20 minutes (5 minutes if you have sensitive skin). It is suggested to be followed with their Rose Hibiscus Face mist and Lapis Facial Oil. I don’t have these two products, so follow this mask with Your Best Face Skincare’s Uplift Toner Mist and  facial oil, Slumber Blend Private Reserve.

I bought this mask in hopes that it would help clarify and clear my oily breakout prone skin (hormonal breakouts I believe). I used this for 5 nights in a row and am currently using twice a week.

Ingredients as per the website when I checked on November 21, 2015: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (plant derived), Papaya/Pineapple Base (Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Ananas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract. 

Ingredients on the packaging: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (plant derived), Glycerin, Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine Grandiflorum) Flower Oil, Natural Raspberry Melange, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Ananas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Leucidal (radish root ferment).

I emailed Herbivore Botanicals to ask which set of ingredients were correct. They responded to my email the next day (I am always impressed when companies are so quick to respond and willing to answer questions). The website shows the correct ingredients and they are working on updating the ingredients on the packaging. Two things that stood out when comparing the updated ingredients; the natural preservative leucidal was changed to phenoxyethanol and the blue tansy went from near the top of the ingredient list to the bottom. I emailed to ask why the preservative was changed especially given the fact that this is advertised as an all natural company. The response was that the phenoxyethanol was chosen as an alternative to parabens and makes up about 1% of the formula. The leucidal was found not to work well enough to preserve the mask (this makes me wonder how effective leucidal actually is; I see it in more skin care products). They also shared that phenoxyethanol is included in the Handbook of Green Chemicals and is Whole Foods Premium Body Care approved. According to the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, in high concentrations it can be everything from an allergen, skin irritant, damaging to the brain and nervous system and a carcinogen. The CIR Expert Review Panel confirmed that phenoxyethanol is “safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the present practices of use and concentration.” In skincare this is generally used at 0.5-1% concentration. While I am surprised to see phenoxyethanol used in a product from an as-advertised all natural and chemical-free skincare company, it is obviously important to use an effective preservative.

As for why the blue tansy is near the bottom of the ingredients, it was explained by the company that it is a very concentrated ingredient, so does not take much to be an active ingredient in the product.

Let’s take a look at the other ingredients; this mask is in a base of aloe leaf juice. Hydroxyethyl Cellulose is a plant derived amino acid that can be used as a preservative, emuslifier, thickener and binder in skincare products. The fruit extracts come from papaya and pineapple. In the description for this product, it says that this mask has fruit enzymes. Are extracts the same as enzymes? According to Beautypedia, extracts are not the same as enzymes. The papaya enzyme is called papain and for pineapple is called bromelain. Beautypedia also says that enzymes are unstable. In looking for more information, some websites mention that enzymes are in the extracts. In any case, the pineapple and papaya enzymes break down the keratin in the skin resulting in smoother skin. Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract is a source of natural salicylic acid-like ingredients and can promote exfoliation and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil is high in azulene which has anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties to calm the skin. Jasmine extract is an antiseptic and antibacterial.

This mask comes in a heavy clear glass jar. The packaging is simple and nice; however, I think  an amber glass bottle would be better. Amber glass protects skin care ingredients and essential oils from UV light, thus extending the shelf life and effectiveness of the ingredients.

I love the smell of the mask. It’s herby and sweet. The blue color is natural and comes from the blue tansy. I put a thin layer on my face with a brush and let it dry on my skin for 20 minutes. Unlike other AHA masks I’ve used, the Blue Tansy mask had a warm sensation on the skin, not a harsh stinging. It rinsed nicely with just warm water.

The 5-day results:

hb blue tansy

I get these cyclical breakouts on the right side of my face with large pimples and inflamed, irritated and red skin. For some reason old acne scars seem to get redder during these breakouts. My skin takes a while to heal from this, about 10-14 days, and then breakouts start again 3 or 4 weeks later. I used this mask for 5 days in a row and was surprised by the effectiveness of this mask. So many products take weeks or months to see results, so it’s really nice when a product produces visible results so quickly. The mask took down the redness and inflammation of my skin and the pimples healed much faster than they would have without the mask. I’m using the mask about 2 times a week to keep inflammation down and hopefully reduce the size and redness of the breakouts, and so far it has worked wonderfully. I did get two pimples the usual 4 weeks later, but they were smaller and my skin was less red.

This has quickly become a favorite mask and I plan to keep it in my routine rotation.

Update December 27, 2015: It has been brought to my attention (via the comment below) that the ingredients have changed on the website and there are different ingredients on packaging dependent of when it was printed I assume. Ingredients on the website when I checked December 27, 2015: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (plant derived), Papaya/Pineapple Base (Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Ananas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract.

I am assuming the ingredients on the website are correct and packaging will be updated. It looks like Herbivore Botanicals went from Leucidal to phenoxyethanol to Leuconostoc as the preservative. I was told by the company that Leucidal did not preserve the product well enough and they therefore went to phenoxyethanol. Are Leucidal and Leuconostoc the same thing? Leucidal is derived from radishes fermented with Leuconostoc kimchii, a lactic acid bacteria, so it seems to be the same thing to me, but I’m no expert.

I still love the blue tansy mask and don’t need to my skin care to necessarily be all natural and chemical-free, but Herbivore Botanicals seems to have made a number of changes to the ingredients (using the chemical phenoxyethanol) in the Blue Tansy mask in such a short time (this mask is still relatively new and I’m guessing they are doing reformulations). However, this causes confusion (and perhaps some feeling of being deceived) to customers looking for chemical-free skin care.

Your Best Face Skincare Prep Review

YBF Prep
YBF Prep

YBF Prep is a microdermabrasion scrub from Your Best Face (YBF) Skincare (not to be confused with YBF Beauty). This is a physical exfoliant that claims to brighten skin, fight free radicals, smooth and prevent wrinkles and heal and protect with vitamins and antioxidants for a smooth complexion. This can also be used on the hands.

Directions state to use at night one to three times a week on clean damp skin. Apply in a thin layer with small circular motions and rinse with cool water followed by a moisturizer. This can also be left on as a mask for 15 minutes to get more benefit from the botanicals and antioxidants. I like to follow this with the YBF Clarity mask.

Ingredients: aluminum oxide crystals, reverse osmosis water, cetearyl olivate (and) sorbitan olivate, meadowfoam seed oil, hydrogenated olive oil (and) olive oil (olea europaea) (and) olive oil unsaponifiables, TEGO® Pep 4-Even (tetrapeptide-30 (and) glycerin (and) water), Leucidal® (leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate), ethoxydiglycol, edelweiss extract, Relistase (glycerin, acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine), glucono delta lactone, olive leaf extract, licorice root extract, Matrixyl™ 3000 (glycerin (and) water (and) butylene glycol (and) carbomer (and) polysorbate 20 (and) palmitoyl oligopeptide (and) palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7), TEGO® Pep 4-17 (tetrapeptide-21 (and) glycerin (and) butylene glycol (and) water), dl-panthenol(vitamin B5), kojic acid, aspen bark extract, coenzyme Q10, hydroxyethylcellulose, spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone),tetrahydrodiferyloylmethane (turmeric root extract), vitamin E succinate, niacin, allantoin, ferulic acid, lipochroman-6 (dimethylmethoxy chromanol), tetrahydropiperine, vitamin B6 (coenzyme B6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate)

There is no added color or fragrance.

Like most of the at-home microdermabrasion scrubs, this contains aluminum oxide crystals. Meadowfoam seed oil comes from the seeds of the limnanthes alba that has antioxidant properties and skin softening benefits. TEGO Pep 4-Even (tetrapeptide-30) reduces hyperpigmentation. Leucidal (radish root ferment filtrate) is used as a natural preservative instead of something like phenoxyethanol. Relistase (glycerin, acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine) is a tetrapeptide used to treat sagging skin and lack of firmness. Licorice root extract is a salt derived from the licorice plant and can improve the appearance of dry skin by restoring suppleness and also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Matrixyl 3000 reduces wrinkles by stimulating collagen production. TEGO Pep 4-17 is a peptide that boosts collagen and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles. Kojic acid inhibits the skin pigment melanin and is used as a skin whitener. It is, however, a known skin irritant. Aspen bark extract is derived from the bark of the American Aspen. It contains  salycin, an aspirin-like substance, that has calming and anti-inflammatory effects. It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of molds, yeasts and E. coli. Hydroxyethylcellulose is a gelling and thickening agent. Spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone) is still a pretty rare ingredient in skincare that YBF uses in most of its products. It is an antioxidant that works by stabilizing free radicals that are spinning out of control. Turmeric root extract is an anti-inflammatory and helps with acne and hyperpigmentation. Allantoin is a naturally occurring nitrogenous compound used as a skin conditioning agent. Ferulic acid is an antioxidant that prevents wrinkles and sun damage. Lipochromin-6 (dimethylmethoxy chromanolis an antioxidant. Tetrahydropiperine is derived from black pepper and helps to increase dermal absorption therefore enhancing the performance of other active ingredients.

I have used a couple other microdermabrasion scrubs including ZO Skin Health Offects Exfoliating Polish, Susan Lucci’s Youthful Essence Micodermabrasion System (this was about 8 years ago) and Astara Daily Refining scrub.

I have used Prep on and off for about 2 years. It has YBF’s, what I will call, signature scent as many of their products I have used have the same smell – kind of a mixture of almond and nutmeg (I think from the meadowfoam seed oil); they use similar ingredients in their line. The aluminum oxide crystals are very fine. You can add more water if your skin is more sensitive or dry. I like using this as a mask as well, as there are so many beneficial ingredients that I don’t want to wash off right away, but if you are short on time, this can be used as just a scrub. The crystals are in a creamy base that rinse very well. After rinsing my skin is not irritated or red and doesn’t feel stripped of moisture. After a couple months of twice-a-week use my skin is much smoother, and I always get whitish bumps and congestion on my forehead which disappear when I use this. Over time fine lines on my forehead are reduced as well.

While this might seem expensive, it has great ingredients and peptides and it lasts a very long time, as you only need a bit of product for each use.

I like to try new products when I run of something and sometimes before I run out, but the YBF Prep will always be in my routine.