Boscia Luminizing Peel-off Black Mask

I would prefer if my blog focussed on products that I love and recommend – but I think it’s important to also flag up products that I think are in fact bad for your skin…this, unfortunately is one of them.
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Boscia is a brand from California focussing on paraben-free, botanical skincare – which sounds good enough right?! They also have some really interesting looking products on their website, like this Konjac Cleansing Sponge with Deep Hydrating Clay and some other really unusual things including this black mask. I was particularly excited to try this mask, partially because it’s been years since I have used a peel-off mask, let alone a black one, but also for its promise of Vitamin C and brightening, clarifying effects…

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The application was fairly straight forward – the mask is so thick in consistency that it was actually quite easy to control. After 15-20 mins the mask was already almost dry – when I tried to take a sip of tea, I quickly realised that I could barely move my face at all.

At this stage a mild panic started creeping over me, as I desperately clawed at the mask, trying to lift the outer edges. I managed to get the peel going (with a major sigh of relief), only to confronted with – WOW – a lot of pain. It, quite literally, felt like I was ripping my skin off! By now severe panic had set in, I still needed to take the mask off the rest (80%) of my face.

Now I don’t have a particularly hairy face (some of us have more ‘face fluff’ or ‘down’ than others), but I can testify that the pain was overwhelming – I was practically in tears. I would liken the experience to having duct tape stuck to your face and having to rip it off, yourself.

And it just got worse. Like an idiot I put the mask over some of my eyebrow hairs – never do that, mine are now barely intact.

Overall the experience was terrifying and stress inducing.

Luckily I have a wonderful Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner that I used to get any last bits of the mask off and also to cool and calm my aching face!

I really believe that this kind of product can in no way be good for your skin. I wouldn’t even recommend patch testing it – just stay away. Saying that I have seen some positive reviews –  I imagine it would work best on oily skin – but still not worth the risk.

Boscia Luminizing Peel-off Black Mask is around the £20- £25 mark on places like ebay. Avoid.

Best Hydrating masks for all budgets

I am constantly on the lookout for products to hydrate my dry skin. I love the feeling of plumped, smooth, relaxed skin, and I love how masks can deliver this fast and easily. In this post I will look at  various hydrating masks at prices to suit all beauty budgets.

First up Glamglows’ ThirstyMud Hydrating Mask, £49.99

I have been wanting to try a Glamglow mask for a while, as everyone seems to be very impressed by them. ThirstyMud is the one in the range that best suits my skin type, although the whole range claims to be for all skin types. Firstly the mask is an opaque light brown colour and the texture seems almost gel/cream-like. It spreads easily over the skin and is immediately cooling with a strong menthol feel and smell. After about 30 seconds I could feel the mask going to work with a quite strong tingling sensation. This and the strong cooling menthol sensation lasted the entire 15 minutes, it’s definitely an active mask.

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Ingredients include hyaluronic acid, coconut oil and apple extract to name a few.  By the end of the 15 minutes I was quite keen to take it off as I found the menthol increasingly overpowering! The mask remains on the skin and doesn’t sink in and disappear , so you really do need to remove it. Once off, although the menthol lingered with me for the next few hours, the results were incredible!
I can honestly say that I have never seen such dramatic results from a cream mask before, the only masks that I have tried that offer such visible results are hydrogel masks (see my post on them HERE).

With Glamglow, my skin appeared visibly brighter, more even and glowing. Even more apparent was the reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. They had definitely smoothed and relaxed, appearing far more shallow. Of course the results aren’t permanent, but for at least the next 24 hours my skin looked and felt bright and youthful.

In my opinion this mask is the most effective hydrating and brightening cream mask (i.e. a mask that you apply to the skin and then remove) that I have tried to date. My only fault would be the excessive menthol. For me it was way too much, and I usually associate products with menthol as being for oilier skin types, rather than for a hydrating product (not that oilier skins don’t need hydration!). That said others may love the menthol, it’s very much a personal preference. Overall a fabulous mask, that is worth the high price tag.

CHANEL SUBLIMAGE Essential Regenerating Mask, £145 at Boots

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Image courtesy of chanel.com

Now this mask is a total splurge! It’s from Chanel’s complete anti-aging Sublimage range, and it is rich and luxurious, as you would expect from Chanel. Ingredients include vanilla extract, argan oil and lotus flower (it smells amazing), all of which result in plump, relaxed and hydrated skin.

I find the best way to use this mask is overnight – when you wake up your skin really does feel amazing – silky smooth and supple. Fabulous mask at a fabulous price. As lush as this mask is, unless you have a very large beauty budget it may unfortunately be out of reach!

NUXE BIO-Beaute Soothing and 24 hour Moisturising mask, €16.20

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I really like the NUXE BIO-Beaute range and the previous BIO-Beaute mask I tried, the Vitamin-Rich Detox Mask (see post HERE) I really enjoyed, so I was looking forward to trying this mask.

The mask has a fine texture and smells amazing, just like sweet clementines. It goes on smoothly and instantly feels cool, soothing and quite refreshing. Once on, it tends to dry and leave your skin feeling a little tight which I felt was a bit odd for a hydrating mask. It contains an impressive list of organic ingredients including clementine, poppy petals, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and pear seeds – and of course no nasties. After about 20-30 mins (the box suggests only 10 mins, but I prefer to leave it on longer) I massaged the remaining cream into my skin. Instantly the cream seems to turn into a kind of oil and relieves any tight feeling. After removing with a toner (I used diptyque’s Infused Facial Water – which is amazing by the way), my skin felt comfortable and happy, and lightly hydrated. It’s a lovely mask, but the results were not dramatic on my drier skin, so I think it’s more suited to normal skin that is not severely dry.

Overall I do like the mask and will continue to use it at least once a week, but I am not sure that I will repurchase as its not hydrating enough for me. I bought mine at CityPharma in Paris for €13.90, but until the range is available in the UK, you can buy online from Farmaline for €16.20.

Clarins Super Restorative Replenishing Comfort Mask, £55 at Boots

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I am a big Clarins fan and this mask is absolutely gorgeous. The texture of the cream is fine, and the consistency is thick and rich. The smell is also lovely, hard to say exactly what is is, but it definitely reminds me of other Clarins products. Similar to the NUXE above, this mask dried a bit on the skin causing it to feel a little tight. After wiping away however the results are great and my skin feels very soothed and comfortable. I would recommend not rinsing the mask off with water, but rather just wiping off the excess or using a gentle toner to remove. I also recommend sleeping in this mask.

You can buy Clarins Super Restorative Replenishing Comfort Mask at Boots or most department stores.

Sisley Express Flower Gel, £77.50 at johnlewis.com

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Image courtesy of johnlewis.com

This mask is a little different, perfect for those who want really fast results, anytime of the day. This is a 3-minute mask. You apply to a cleansed face, leave on for 3 minutes, wipe away (no rinsing with water) and continue with your usual moisturiser/skincare routine. Active ingredients include flower extracts iris, rose, sesame and white lily.

For something that stays on the skin for such a short time, it really does give great results. Skin feels fresh, plump and definitely toned and supple. Makeup goes on smoothly afterwards and skin glows. Its perfect for a quick morning lift if your skin is looking a bit tired and dull, or an absolute skin savior on long haul flights.

Avene Soothing Moisture Mask, £9.75 at escentual.com

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Image courtesy of avene.co.uk

Avene is a great French brand if you have sensitive to intolerant skin. The whole range is based on their Thermal Spring Water which is known for its soothing and anti-irritating properties. One of my all time favourite face washes comes from Avene and I can’t resist mentioning it: Avene Ultra Rich Soap-Free Cleansing Gel with Cold Cream, £6.80.

Anyways back to the mask. This is a great basic mask that’s good value for money. Its not the kind of mask that you need to wash off – you can just let it sink in (10-15 minutes), massage in the excess and carry on with your routine. It is not an intense moisture surge, but rather soothing and nourishing. The beauty of this mask is that it’s gentle yet effective, fairly priced and will never react with your skin.

Overall a great mask that leaves skin soft, hydrated and very smooth. Although a French Pharmacy brand, Avene products are available in most Boots stores, many independent pharmacies and websites. My favourite place to buy Avene products is Escentual.com because they have a really wide range and often have great offers.

Happy masking 🙂