Blush contributor Annie makes the case for the budget face mask.
Summer is coming and I am getting ready for three months of feeling pretty consistently in need of a good clean. For times when oil and dirt are causing a facial mutiny, restoring calm and order with a mask is an ancient solution. It’s one of those weird beauty oxymorons: rub mud on your face to remove the dirt. What? Something to do with drawing out impurities and positive vs. negative ions. No, me neither. Never mind, let’s just dive in blindly, ok?
One of the best kept secrets of the beauty world is that you really don’t need to spend a lot of money on a clay mask. I think because it seems like such a luxurious, day-in-the-spa, slumber-party thing to do, people assume that the product needed is similarly luxurious. There are expensive clay masks which work really well, sure. But check the ingredients, the first three will likely be water, kaolin and bentonite.
For me, one of the most effective cleansing masks comes from Queen Helene, a US drugstore stalwart, available on Amazon in the UK. This is, quite simply, an effective and pleasing mask. Firstly, it is bright green like masks that scary old ladies answer the door wearing in cartoons – fun. Secondly, it smells like toothpaste, which, if nothing else, gives the impression of something very clean. And, like all masks, it dries and washes off, hopefully having absorbed all the nonsense and leaving a smoother, cleaner and clearer complexion.
As with all great cheap things, there are a few catches. I don’t think this would work well on sensitive skins on the drier side. It does have fragrance and colour in (although they are the last on the list). But it also has good-face-stuff, like glycerin (for moisturising) and sulfur (for blasting spots.) It also comes in a giant and pleasingly packaged tube, and has the name mint julep which cheerily reminds me of the Great Gatsby (good) and drinking alcohol (better). And, in a way only a real psychopath like me will probably appreciate, it’s called a ‘masque’ instead of a stupid ‘mask‘. As we all know, ‘masques’ are posher, more effective and all around better. With the change of just three letters, your product (and therefore, life) status is elevated.
If you suspect you might need a face mask, but you aren’t actually sure you want to commit to one, I highly recommend going down the Queen Helene path. It’s fully functioning, properly effective and is really, really cheap. Put it this way, it’s a ‘masque’ for the price of a mask, and I think we all know what that means.
Queen Helene, Mint Julep Masque, £3.18, Amazon
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