Category: Reviews

The Humble Face Mask - Lazy Skincare?

The humble face mask – lazy skincare?

I have a routine every Saturday night.  Usually involving a cheesy bites pepperoni pizza, sometimes salt & chilli chicken strips and fried rice.  Always involves Casualty on BBC1 and a face mask.  I get upset when there is sport on the TV,  it messes up my routine because they knock Casualty off the schedule.     I work hard all week, leaving the house at 7:30am and returning most nights at 7pm if the trains are running on time.  And I’m off just about every single Sunday, so my Saturday night ritual is how I unwind and relax; and set myself up for the following week.

I’m not particular about what face mask I’m using, I make a choice based on what my skin needs – or let’s be honest, the ones I come across first when I’m running a bath.  But I do have a collection of masks on the go and I do have favourites that do different things for your skin, so here are my faves in no particular order.

Just to let you know – I have oily, acne-prone skin with dry patches and acne scarring. Lucky me, eh? I prefer a face mask that helps to clear pores of excess oils, target blemishes and reintroduce moisture, so the active ingredients of clay and charcoal feature heavily!

7th Heaven Black Seaweed Peel Off Face Mask

7th Heaven Black Seaweed Peel Off Face Mask

Everybody loves some 7th Heaven, surely? Available pretty much everywhere that skin care is sold for about 99p, these masks are a staple in my skincare drawer.  I love the Black Seaweed Peel Off mask out of all the peel off ones, because I feel like I can really see all the dead skin and.. stuff? that comes off with the mask against the black! I’m just disappointed it doesn’t smell more like the sea, even though it’s packed full of Welsh seaweed.

Good for: oily skin, clearing out pores, skin detox
£0.89 – £1.00 from Savers, Superdrug, Boots, FeelUnique, Wilko, Asda… yeah pretty much everywhere.

7th Heaven Dead Sea Mud Face Mask

7th Heaven Dead Sea Mud Pack Face Mask

Similar to the peel off mask, but this one you need to wash off so I usually use this one when I’m in the bath for easiness.  Again, it’s packed full of detoxifying seaweed and sea salt and helps to clear out pores and leave skin feeling squeaky clean afterwards.

It takes around 15-20 minutes to fully dry, but I swear you can feel it drawing out impurities from pores whilst it dries but that just might be it stopping your skin from moving! It feels amazing to ‘crack’ the mask when it’s fully dried by smiling or raising your eyebrows, but then again I am a bit of a weirdo.

Good for: oily skin, clearing out pores, skin detox
£0.89 – £1.00 from Savers, Superdrug, Boots, FeelUnique, Wilko, Asda… yeah pretty much everywhere.

Montagne Jeunesse Face Food Vitamin C Peel Off Face Mask

Face Food by Montagne Jeunesse Orange Oil & Vitamin C Peel Off Face Mask

Face Food is another range of masks from Montagne Jeunesse, who make the 7th Heaven Brand.  I love their masks because they feel and smell so amazingly fresh and vitatlising for your skin.  My favourite one is the Orange Oil & Vitamin C Peel Off Mask for those days when my skin feels dull and sluggish.  The smell alone is enough to perk anybody up. 

This mask goes on clear and really easily – they’re not quite as sticky as other peel off masks – and dry super quickly without loosing the amazing smell of oranges with a hint of lime. I leave these on for about 15 minutes, peel off in one go and honestly, my skin feels so much perkier and brighter after this mask. 

These masks come as a two piece that you split by tearing down the middle & I’ve only actually seen them in Savers on the UK High Street where you get two different masks together for 99p.  I like the Avocado and Walnut Shell one two for exfoliating my skin when it’s needed. 

Good for: dull skin needing a pick me up.
£0.99 for a twin pack in Savers, £4 for a 4 masks on eBay / Amazon.

Creightons Photo Perfect Ultra Mattifying Face Mask

Creightons Photo Perfect Ultra Mattifying Face Mask

This clay mask is another great one for helping to soak about excess oil from my skin. That sounds absolutely disgusting, and it is a bit if you think about it too much, but it does really work to reduce the shine on my forehead and nose!

It smells really fruity (berries, I’m sure) and feels nice and cooling on my skin.  Usually I use this one to mutlimask with an exfoliating mask too to save even more time.  The result is super clean feeling skin that looks matte and my makeup lasts a wee bit longer the following day without going super shiny! 

The tube also makes this really easy to apply with no mess or waste as you only squeeze out what you need. This tub usually lasts me about 10-12 applications for the areas that I’m targetting. 

Good for: oily, shiny skin

£4.99 on icon

L’Oreal Pure Clay Mask range

Loreal Skin Expert Pure Clay Detox Mask -  Detoxifying and Clarifying Face Mask

The L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox face mask is part of a range of 5 clay masks that promote multimasking – i.e using a different mask for different parts of your skin that need different care. Which is both obvious and a clever marketing spin. Which I’ve fallen for hook, line and sinker.

What I love about this range is that it feels, looks, smells and acts like a high end, expensive face mask. The jars are glass and feel heavy, and don’t look out of place on your makeup desk or on a bathroom shelf. 

Typically I use the black Charcoal Detox mask on my t-zone to suck out all the excess oil in my pores and the green Eucalyptus Purifying mask for my cheeks and chin to help keep my skin looking matte.  Both of them smell amazing, like a fresh spa treatment and you can see the impurities being drawn out into the clay as darker spots as the mask dries down.  

Leave this one on until fully dry and wash off with warm water for clearer looking.  Or use all 5 coloured masks to paint your face in intricate patterns for a topnotch Instagram photo. Your call. 

Good for: all skin types with all sorts of problems – there’s a mask in the range for it all and you’re encouraged to multimask!
£4.99 in Savers, £7.99 in Superdrug & Boots.

Garnier SkinActive Pure Charcoal & Algae Tissue Mask

Garnier SkinActive Pure Charcoal & Algae Black Tissue Mask  - Face Mask

Sheet masks are big business.  Hailing from South Korea and a staple of the biggest beauty trend of 2018, K-Beauty, these masks are packed full of ingredients to help your skin.  One of the first ones that I ever tried was from Garnier’s SkinActive range and to this day they are my favourite type of sheet mask.   The Pure Charcoal & Algae one is light and refreshing (you’d be forgiven for thinking the opposite was true) and helps make my skin more matte and more hydrated after use. I don’t know what witchcraft that is, but I’m living for it. 

Because the mask is soaked in  a serum packed full of Hyaluronic Acid, it’s best to use this one lying down! After 30 minutes (longer than advertised but once I’m comfy.. I’m comfy), just remove the mask and pop it back in the packaging for disposal and massage the remaining serum into your face and neck.  I rub it in my hands, too for good measure because who wants to waste skincare?

Good for: dry skin, sensitive skin
£2.49 – £2.99 in Savers, Superdrug & Boots.

Superdrug Coffee Face Mask

I love Superdrug own brand skincare, I really do. It’s made from such good quality ingredients and priced on the lower end of the scale plus it’s usually on a 3 for 2 offer and you get BeautyCard points. What’s not to love?

The Coffee face mask reminds of the Korean brand Skinfood in both packaging and ingredients. It comes in a little plastic resealable pot with probably enough product for about 8 applications (although, obviously depends on where on your face you’re using it).  It’s an exfoliating mask and the exfoliating goodness in this one is.. go on guess.. it’s crushed up coffee beans but it’s super gentle so it’s suitable for sensitive skin. 

If you’re not a fan of the smell of coffee, give this one a miss because it has a beautiful aroma of coffee which I think helps make you feel like your skin’s getting a wake up call!

Good for: dull skin,  sensitive skin
£4.99 in Superdrug

Starskin Ready Carpet Ready Sheet Mask

Starskin Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Face Mask - Red Carpet Ready Sheet Mask

Another sheet mask for dehydrated skin and admittedly this one isn’t a regular feature in my skincare routine because of the price of it.  But it is worth every penny.  I generally use this one when I’m heading out somewhere that I know that I’m going to have photos taken – so well done to the marketing team for the name of this sheet mask!

This sheet masks pretty much sinks into your skin, coating it in a mix of coconut juice, amino acids, brown algae and sugar maple.  Which all do their thing in 20 minutes to give you fresher looking skin that’s a dream to apply makeup to.

Good for: pre-event prep, dry & dull skin, indulging 
on BeautyBay and Birchbox

Featured Photo by Isabell Winter on Unsplash

All opinions are my own, and I’ve bought all these products with my own money. I’m just sharing my favourite face masks so hopefully, you can find your own holy grail!

This post does contain some affiliate links.

Remove makeup with just water?

I’m all for an easy life. I’m also for saving the planet, so I’ve been trying my hardest to stop using makeup wipes and cotton pads to remove my makeup.  I actually haven’t bought any more wipes or cotton pads in the last 4 months or so and was just working through the ones that I already had – and it turns out I apparently compulsively buy different wipes to try when I’m buying other toiletries without giving any thought to what I already have at home… tell me I’m not the only one?

My first option for removing my makeup with no throwaway products was using Micellar water with a muslin cloth.  Which was working well for the first few weeks but eventually I felt like I was washing the muslin cloth that often that whatever planet saving that I was doing by not buying one-use wipes was being cancelled out with the amount of electricity I was using washing the muslin clothes not to mention the extra washing powder and they never actually ended up that clean anyway.

I had seen microfibre makeup removal pads around the internet, especially on YouTube, but I really wasn’t into spending £20 plus postage and customs charges for 3 pads.  Hey, I’m a cheapskate ok? So when I noticed the Derma V10 Make Off Mitt when I was out shopping for just 99p, I figured it was worth a punt to try it out.

I’m glad that I picked this microfibre cloth up.  It works really well at removing all my makeup – including my mascara – using just water.   My routine for removing my makeup now involves holding the mitt under the tap for a few seconds to get it damp and turn off the tap (I’m trying to save the planet, remember?  Get that tap turned off when you’re not using it) and start gently with a little pressure, moving my hand in a circular motion to remove foundation and concealer from my cheeks and forehead first.  Then I wash the mitt to get the liquid products washed out as best I can before moving onto the tougher eyeliner and mascara removal.   This takes a little more effort, but it’s not horrendous nor does it take forever to remove.  I’ve not tried this with waterproof mascara because I generally don’t wear it, but I can confirm that it does remove my mascara without leaving my eyes looking red or like I’ve been rubbing them for 5 minutes (disclaimer: I don’t have sensitive skin, so I’m unsure if you do have sensitive skin if this would leave redness behind from the gentle scrubbing).

Again, I was out the remaining makeup from the mitt before popping it on the towel hanger in my bathroom to dry naturally overnight.  There is a little staining from mascara but it’s so much better than the muslin cloth that seemed to just let all the makeup cling to it no matter how much I rinsed it out.

The great thing about the Make Off Mitt is that you don’t need to use any additional products, so you’re not changing the PH of your skin – or spending money on remover or micellar water.  Which suits my bargain-loving self.



Ciate x Courtney Act Stamp & Drag Liner :: Review

When I first saw that my favourite human on the planet was teaming up with Ciate London to bring out a collaboration, I wasn’t imaging an eyeliner pen. But the name is perfect – Courtney Act Stamp & Drag?  Drag?? Get it?!  Courtney Act is by far the best thing ever to come out of Ru Paul’s Drag Race (lovers of other queens, feel free to try to correct me in the comments) but to me she’s not just a drag queen.  She is THE QUEEN.

Ciate x Courtney Act Stamp & Drag Liner

Enough of my obsessive fangirl-ing though.  The Ciate x Coutney Act Stamp & Drag liner is currently £15.00 on the Ciate London website, making it the same price as their other liquid eyeliners (I really appreciate brands not charging extra for collaboration products just because they know the fans will pay extra because of the name that’s on it).   Of course I ordered it on pre-sale, because I’m that fan.

I must admit, I’ve never tried any Ciate London makeup before, just nail varnishes which I have always found to be great quality for the price so I was expecting good things from the makeup that I ordered. Uhm, yeah there might also have been a few bits and bobs that jumped into my basket when I was checking out.. sorry overdraft.  And I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed. 

So what is a stamp eyeliner?

If you haven’t seen the miracle eyeliner products that include a stamp for the perfect wing every time (I think The Vamp Stamp started this, quickly followed by the likes of Rimmel, Lottie London and Milk Makeup), let me tell you they do exactly what they say on the tin.   One end of the pen is a stamp in the shape of a wing that you stamp (how many time have I said stamp in this post?) on the corner of your eye wherever you see fit and then use the traditional pen side & draw along your lash line to connect to the stamped wing. It makes having a winged cat eye a lot easier but you still need to make sure that you have the wing equal on both sides… I don’t think there ever will be an invention to make that happen.

Because I have hooded eyes, I do find it really quite difficult to do winged eyeliner myself.  I’m good at along the lash line (top and bottom, thanks to my teenage self loving a lot of khol liner, even if it was the only makeup I was wearing) but I am incredibly bad at creating a wing.  The Drag & Stamp liner has made my struggles easier, though! 

The pen is a really nice weight, and it feels natural when drawing on eyeliner. It’s a nice, dark black that doesn’t smudge easily and I found it lasts throughout the day too.  The nib is just the right size to connect up to the stamped bit in one sweep too, so there’s less chance of screwing up by overlining. 

Can we just talk about this packaging though?

Ciate x Courtney Act Stamp & Drag liner pen & angel wing packaging.

It might not be immediately obvious why the angel wings on the internal part of the box is so amazing, but let me just direct you to one of the most iconic runway looks ever seen on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.  Nice touch, Courtney.

Courtney Act with Angel Wings, Ru Paul's Drag Race.

Ciate x Courtney Act Drag & Stamp Liner: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)