M61 Skincare

Encyclopedia of Face Masks

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The western skincare scene has usually been limited to clay, mud, charcoal, cream, gel kind of masks. Move to the east and we have a whole new innovative category of masks. Starting with the more traditional sheet masks for various parts like face, hands, feet with different materials to a rather new age innovative Oxygen bubbling, Splashing or Patting, Rubber modeling, Spot treatment, Lip masks!!!! Below I have a list of masks based on various consistencies and textures:

  • Clay, Mud, Charcoal
  • Powder aka Ubtan
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Sheet – face and eye – cotton, gel, sea weed/kelp, hydrogel, foil back sheet mask
  • Sleep or Overnight – cream, gel or bouncy textures, water pack
  • Peel off mask – Gels
  • Rubber modeling
  • Oxygen Bubbling
  • Splash or Patting
  • Mousse pack – too cool for school eg mousse pack
  • Nose pack – mainly for white and black heads
  • Spot treatment
  • Hand & feet
  • Lip mask

In terms of why we mask, its simple – immediate crash injection of whatever skin needs. Below are some outcomes expected of masks, and the gobbledygook it’s usually marketed with:

  • Repair, Rescue
  • Detoxifying, Decongesting, Purifying, Deep Cleansing, Mattifying, Clarifying, Pore Correction
  • Exfoliating, Resurfacing, Retexturizing
  • Radiance, Brightening, Glow, Luminous
  • Hydration
  • Moisture
  • Firming, Lifting, Shaping
  • Self Tanning Sleep Mask

I’ll talk about my current masks on rotation based on their purpose in life and intended outcome for my skin. Here I have a decent mix of price points and regional availabilities. Of course if all else fails, diving into your kitchen and whipping up one of your own creations is always an option. I have a post on DIY masks you could refer for some ideas and inspiration.

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Charcoal, Clay and Mud Masks

I hate paying ridiculously priced clay, mud or charcoal masks! They are the cheapest ingredients and formulating a mask with them as a base doesn’t cost an entity as much moolah. Large mark up zone, so beware and ensure you read inci list here. Look for life changing ingredient (as if they exist – eye roll) to justify a price tag.

Generally formulated with some soothing, hydrating and moisturizing ingredients. This category of masks can leave the skin dry and parched. This happens because the mask is left on too long. These masks should be left long enough for it to work but not to the point where they are bone dry. By doing so it is drawing moisture from skin. Once you let it dry completely to the point you cannot move your face, you would need a bloody chisel to break through (exceptions: Aesop, SkinFood NZ, Sanctuary Spa). Therefore I prefer slapping these on when I intend to step in the shower. With the steam and clay/mud/charcoal it draws impurities to surface and truly detoxifies the skin. Plus its easier to remove and goes down the drain instead of messing up the sink.

Great for oily, combination, congestion prone skin. Alternatively also good for skin who need a detox. Drier skins need to be slightly careful with masks, add couple of drops of facial oil to avoid any post-mask tightness or dryness.

Quick blurb on all masks pictured above: Dr. Organic Virgin Olive Oil – too drying, hard to work with; Good Things Manuka Honey – purifying yet leaving skin supple; Nip+Fab Kale Fix – seriously softens the skin; Caudalie Purifying – too strong essential oils, not crazy about this one; Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus – smells amazing but results are mediocre; Moreish – another Kiwi fave mask, almost creamy and leaves skin supple; Cattier – limited availability outside France, good basic clay mask; Mahalo Bean (limited edition) – not available anymore but left skin radiant; Andalou Naturals – great drugstore option; Aesop – long time fave, wonderful detoxifier; SkinFooz NZ – the best mask truly, not drying, applies nicely, very mild exfoliating and nourishing; Derma E – exfoliating particles not for sensitive skins; Sanctuary Spa – warming sensation, easy to remove; Colleen Rothschild Detoxifying – minty freshness, leaves skin refreshed and purified.

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Brightening, Radiance, Firming Mask

Texture wise this category varies between gel, cream and whipped mousse. Ingredient base will usually have some form of AHA, or Enzymes to allow the surface exfoliation which results in brightening and radiance. Occasionally some masks include physical exfoliation aspect as well, in this case its M61 Skincare Vitablast C Scrub & Mask. I tend to slap it on, leave it for a while and then gently massage/exfoliate the skin. Given its formulation with Vitamin C it helps brighten the skin. Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey mask is an unusual one in this category, whilst Antipodes claim it to be purifying as honey draws impurities to surface I prefer this mask for subtle glow and brightening my skin. Easy cream application leaves skin soft, supple and glowy.

Blurbs on others: Andalou Naturals Berry Enzyme – again great drugstore alternative without hefty price tag; Forest Essentials Yogurt Purifying – stings skin slightly, smells yummy, whipped yogurt texture and results are meh; Dr Lewinns Reversaderm – sure shot radiance with runny blue lotion like consistency; Natio 10min Brightening – so good, but limited to Australia; Farmacia Barcelona Gold Mask – slightly gimmicky with gold ‘powder’ but decently hydrating; Nip+Fab Bee Sting – nothing firms skin like this fella, taut skin; Chantecaille Fruit and Flower – smells amazing, feels creamy and leaves skin glowy. love.

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Hydration Boosters

Hyaluronic acids, Glycerin, fermented ingredients or masks formulated with serious humectants are all about major hydration. Absolute treats for skin and sensorial experiences include Mahalo Petal – the smell is heavenly, apply and step in shower and the whole bathroom smells divine. Words are not enough to describe the scent. In terms of hydration its a mild everyday use mask. May Lindstrom The Honey Mud classified as cleanser, but No its too lush to go as cleanser hence a sweet spicy honey mask. An inexpensive treat is Super Facialist Una Brennan Rose Hydrating mask and Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses mask.

The beauty of these masks is you can use everyday (if your skin needs it). Leave it on for as long as your heart desires and skin is left hydrated, nourished and smooth.

Serious hydrating masks are – Bioderma Hydrabio (nothing like this fella), Rodial Dragons Blood Hyaluronic Acid (overnight leave on mask), Natio Ageless Vitamin C hydration and The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture mask.

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Powder masks

The purpose could vary from mere cleansing, exfoliating, detoxifying to enzyme radiance. Recently I wrote about cleansing powders aka ubtans could also be used as masks. Since the ingredients are in dried powder form this one has greater shelf life but can be messy to use. At the same time it gives you the flexibility and allows creativity on the liquids to use for mixing. May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver is enriched with spices and oils and tends to self heat (due to spices) when applied to the skin. Love this mask for its ability to decongest and purify skin.

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The new concept of splashing or patting unadulterated concentrated ingredients on skin for crash radiance. The methods of application can be as creative as they can get, but what remains consistent is the result on skin. Bright, radiant skin like someone slapped it to life! This product is truly tailored for clumsy individuals like me. Definitely look into this, now available in Sephora too, so you can try a sample.

Click here for my detailed review

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Sheet Masks

These masks are now becoming all the rage in western markets whereas they have dominated the east Asian market for decades. Made with various materials, ingredients these masks pack a punch and truly feed the skin. The beauty of these masks is you can get it for absolutely any skin concern. Sheet masks are also made specifically for neck, hands, feet, eye, and lips.

Personally I love using these after acid tone stage, as my skin drinks up all the essence in these masks, follow with serum or ampoule and finish off with oil or moisturizer. The fits and sizes of these masks can vary for a lot of non Asian faces. In some instances, the forehead is not big enough or nose is tiny, or mask in general is smaller. They are made with Asian faces in mind however the outreach of these masks is phenomenal.

Whilst Korea dominates the sheet masks domain, Asian countries like Japan (HadaLabo, SKII, Shiseido, Harihada, Biore), Taiwan (My Beauty Diary, Naruko, Neogence, Silk Whitia), Singapore (DrGL, BioEssence, RachelK), Hong Kong (Hiruscar,Wai Yeung Tong) are not too far behind and worth giving a try.

These masks are wildly creative with the ingredient formulation too, from oils to fermented ingredients to animal by products (donkey milk, snail mucin, abalone serum), EGF factors, etc. The price points can also range from a $1 to $40 per sheet mask.

The new trend also includes cleansing gel, peeling gel, aqua or milk peel swab (aka acid tones), essence and sheet masks making it a one stop shop for convenience and travel friendly. Reme G, Ettang, Papa Recipe, Somoon, The Saem are some brands which have got on board with this concept.

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Not a huge deviation from above mentioned Sheet Masks, these Eye patches specifically address puffiness, bagginess and brightening eye area. Common ingredients that are often used are caffeine, retinol, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, bamboo water and other fermented ingredients.

On a disgustingly warm day, keeping any sheet mask in fridge for few minutes before application can seriously feel amazing, slapping on cool sheet mask whilst everything around you is boiling and feel like your insides are melting. Amazing for travel, excellent short cut to an elaborate routine without compromising on results.

How innovative and experimentative are you with masks? I’d love to know in comments below is there any category of mask or brand I absolutely must try.

HHW.com

xx

Battle of the Peels – Dr.DG & M61

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DR DENNIS GROSS UNIVERSAL PEEL

M61 SKINCARE POWER GLOW PEEL

Claims

Resurrect radiance with the appearance of reduced wrinkles, and refined pores with Dr. Dennis Gross’ iconic renewing peel, an easy and safe for at-home use version of peels he uses for patients at his NYC practice – without requiring recovery time.

Step 1 is packed with rejuvenating, powerful yet gentle exfoliating acids.

Step 2 controls the alpha hydroxy acid activity and delivers anti-aging actives, nourishing skin, keeping it balanced, smooth, and radiant – perfectly prepped for a more effective skincare routine.

Skin immediately looks refreshed and glowing. This universal formula contains a combination of five acids, ideal for first-time peel users and those of all skin types.

A quick glycolic and salicylic acid exfoliating peel with vitamin K, bilberry and chamomile.

100% paraben-free, 100% synthetic fragrance-free, dermatologist tested, allergy tested
 vegan

This radiant glow peel provides deep exfoliation, resurfaces, clarifies and helps to firm the skin. Glycolic and salicylic acid help reduce pore size, reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve the skin’s tone, texture and clarity.

Vitamin K helps to reduce the appearance of spider veins and combats dry, rosacea-like patches.

Antioxidant bilberry extract helps promote an even skin tone, while chamomile and lavender assist in calming and soothing irritation.

Size of Pads and Solution Soak Level

Size 2″x 2″ square pads

Very well soaked pads

Pads are gentle on skin, like a soft tissue.

Size 2″x 3″ rectangular pads

Very well soaked pads

Pads are slightly thicker than DrDG pads, very gentle on skin.

Scent

They smell so similar, the scent I find hard to describe, it’s pleasant is all I can say and not overbearing. However, with Dr DG Step 1 the first whiff of alcohol can be strong. 

Ingredients

 

Step 1: Water/Aqua/Eau, Alcohol Denat. (SD Alcohol 40-B), Glycolic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Copper PCA, Zinc PCA, Lecithin, Disodium EDTA, Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Fragrance (Parfum), Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate

Step 2: Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium Bicarbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Resveratrol, Ubiquinone, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract , Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Soy Isoflavones, Phospholipids, Copper PCA, Sodium PCA, Zinc PCA, Dimethicone, Lecithin, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, PEG-30 Stearate, Octoxynol-9, Alcohol, BHT, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol

Water, Alcohol Denat., Glycolic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Salicylic Acid, Phytonadione, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf ExtractChamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Boerhavia Diffusa (Crawling) Root Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Glycerin, Superoxide Dismutase, Ammonium Hydroxide, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Zinc PCA

My Thoughts on Ingredient Listing

Common Acids: Glycolic (both listed as the third ingredient – with exact same preceding ingredients), Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid. Only extra addition on Dr DG side is Malic Acid.

Other Similarities include: Witch Hazel (both listed as the fifth ingredient). Whilst DrDG stops at Camellia and Yarrow, M61 goes on with a whole host of other extracts (Crawling root, lemon, ornage, sugar cane, peppermint, lavender, sugar maple).

What makes DrDG stand apart is their step 2, where they take it a notch up after exfoliating skin in Step1, step 2 intends to nourish, hydrate, plump with Vitamin A, C, E, Resveratrol, Ubiquinone, Camellia, Radish Root, Copper, Zinc and Sodium PCA!!!

Point to Note: both formulations have Alcohol Denat as their second ingredient, this is notoriously known to dry skin and basically proclaimed as big No from the top of Himalayas. But much to my surprise both the formulations have Not dried my skin at all. I’ve read somewhere in some acid heavy formulations, alcohol denat works in balancing and preserving the formulations (avoid bacteria formation). Is there truth in this statement? I don’t know, chemists please come forward to clarify.

 Application/Use

Recommended

Once a day, apply step 1 pad to clean, dry skin, using circular motions.

Continue application until pad feels dry.

Wait two minutes.

Follow with pad in step 2 using the same technique as step 1.

Do not rinse after either step or use products containing alcohol.

Avoid contact with eyes. Make sure to use sunscreen daily to help prevent photo-aging.

Apply peel (a pre-soaked towelette) to clean, dry skin. Gently move over face and neck while avoiding eye area. Do not rinse off.

Recommend starting 3 times a week and building up to every day.

Application/Use

How do I use them?

After cleansing, before hydrating toner or essence or lotion.

I do NOT wash them off my skin. These pads are very well soaked so it goes all the way down to my chest, neck, back of ears, behind my ears and if it still feels damp, on back of my hands.

I always follow with serum and oil/balm/moisturizer.

Cleanse – Acid Peel – Hydrating Tone – Eye Cream – Serum – Oil/Balm/Moisturiser

 

Performance/Results 

Overnight noticeable result with the tone, texture and glow is visible the following morning. I don’t use these every day and reserve them for when my skin needs to revisit to the default, basic, guaranteed result.

With this peel, I can see visible improvement in skin but not at the rate of DrDG peel. I could easily use this every night. They don’t feel as strong on skin. The skin glows and appears healthy.

 

30 Treatments – $88

$2.93 per peel (exfoliation and other actives for prepping skin)

At first glance, DrDG appears dearer in price, however I can justify this peel price as getting step 2 that does far more than merely exfoliating. With its added ingredients, IMO DrDG appears to be a better deal.

30 Treatments – $62

$2.06 per peel (only exfoliation) 

Individuals seeking only exfoliation, I think M61 does a fine job with more fruit extracts and oils. It really drills down to your personal preference and how far do you want to take it with peel pads.

HHW.com

xx