Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée in “Pink Escape”

I was recently swayed by the travel-size display at the checkout counter, and purchased the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée. Described as “innovative coconut water-infused cheek gelée with up to 14 hours of color and hydration,” this product is fun to use and is surprisingly user-friendly. I expected this product to be scented, but it isn’t! I like having this travel-sized version in my makeup bag for “on-the-go” purposes; and, I think it’s perfect for traveling or for when you don’t have access to a blush brush.

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Keep in my mind I purchased the travel-size version of this, and it’s a teeny tiny product for $13.00 USD. (0.095 oz.). For that reason, it’s hard to reach into the teeny tiny pot to get the product onto your fingertip. But I use my pinky finger to dab and apply to my skin, so it’s not a big deal for me.

This gelée is kind of like a cream blush, but the texture of it like a smooth jelly. It’s bouncy so I try to not dent the product with my fingernail on accident. As a “buildable, blendable blush hybrid [this] provides the natural look of a cream blush with the long-lasting hydrating color of a gel stain.” The color “Pink Escape” is very subtle, so I have to dip back into the pot to get more product. I don’t mind though because it allows me to build the color on my cheeks without going overboard.

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This product is “infused with 50 percent pure coconut water [and] it instantly hydrates while nourishing with the powerful benefits of vitamin E-rich argan oil. Like a refreshing sip of coconut water for your skin, this moisture-packed blush instantly drenches cheeks in a cool veil of color.” I agree that this provides the skin with “a cool veil of color,” and I like it for that reason. It’s very natural and subtle without looking too heavy or too stained. It applies easily and stays put without feeling dry on the skin. I recommend this for traveling, the weekends, and on days when you just want a quick pop of color on the cheeks without doing too much.

Retails for $13.00 USD.
Item contains 0.095 oz. (travel-size)

REVIEW: Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner — Total Pore Solution

Nothing is more annoying than to have to deal with big pores. No matter what brands promise, “shrinking” pores is not possible — and, unfortunately, the best we can do is to keep them clean and clear so it doesn’t look worse. I don’t have huge pores, but my pores are visible. It’s important for me to use foundations and BB creams that conceal pores since that’s the look and finish I prefer. Occasionally, using a primer before base products helps with pores and oil control as well. Currently, my favorite primers are the Benefit The POREfessional primer and the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 15.

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Lately, I’ve been using the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner that can be found here on eBay. I can’t say that it’s been doing anything magical for my skin or pores, but it’s great for controlling oil — which is a bonus for me. This product claims to be a 7-in-1 toner that:

1. deep cleanses pores
2. maintains ph balance
3. controls a large amount of sebum
4. minimizes appearance of pores
5. refines skin tone
6. keeps the elasticity of pores
7. moisturizes inside and outside of the skin

wonder pore freshner

The toner feels nice and refreshing on the skin, so it’s nice to apply it in the mornings. I like the toner for its oil-controlling abilities, but it really doesn’t clean my pores or minimize the appearance of them either. I think I will continue to use this throughout the summer since it feels nice and it controls oil, but I think doing regular masks and exfoliating your skin is more important for caring for your pores than anything else.

Etude House is a Korean roadshop brand, so it’s budget-friendly even though it’s not readily available here in the U.S. I recommend this toner for those with oily and combination skin.

Made in Korea.

REVIEW: Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream

Recently, I was gifted the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream, and I was excited to try it since it’s been highly raved with positive reviews. Because I’m so picky about skincare products in general, what I will say about this product won’t necessarily mean it’s not a good product.

This cream is described as a “rich yet lightweight formula [that] instantly hydrates and steadily releases moisture, skin conditioners and nutrients throughout the day.” While there are multiple formulas in Bobbi Brown’s range, I believe the face cream in its original form caters to those with normal, normal to dry, and drier skin types. The cream promises that skin will be smoothed and plumped, and is recommended by Bobbi Brown’s makeup artists to apply before makeup to ensure its longevity and freshness. A “long-lasting cushion of humectants and hydrating ingredients [with] Algae Extracts moisturize and conditions skin.” Also included is caffeine, which has been a popular skincare ingredient to soothe skin.

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The cream is thick but applies thin, so it is easily absorbed into the skin and dries down pretty matte. My skin felt comfortable and moisturized, but there was a slick feeling of product on my skin afterwards — kind of like a film type texture. My skin felt nice and well hydrated all day, but I didn’t notice any visible improvements in the longevity of my makeup. In general, makeup tends to adhere better to well-moisturized skin — so, I’m more inclined to believe that any moisturizer that you’re comfortable with can do the job. A little bit goes a long ways; the product feels breathable — meaning that my skin didn’t feel heavy or oily with the product.

For my particular skin type, even though I’m fairly normal, I felt that this cream was a bit much for day time use. To be fair, there is a Hydrating Gel Cream as well, so that might’ve been a better match for me.

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Overall, this functioned like a regular moisturizer for me and it didn’t appear to be anything special. Because of that and for the price, I don’t recommend it since there’s other viable options out there. I felt that after a few days of use, my skin was just regular since the cream didn’t do anything spectacular; however, I did notice some congestion in my cheeks — which was odd since I don’t ever have issues with congested skin on my cheeks. When I stopped using the cream, the congestion went away on its own. I can’t confirm and say that this product caused me “to break out,” but I didn’t like the results nonetheless.

I think if you’re just looking for a good moisturizer, there’s plenty of options out there. I would recommend the Olay Fresh Effects Dew Over Hydrating Gel Moisturizer as a great, budget-friendly option; and, a great “high end” option I would recommend is the Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream With Super 7 Complex. Moisturizers and creams are entirely personal and it’s important to address your skin care concerns. Unfortunately, the Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream wasn’t special enough to warrant to the high price tag.

Made in the UK.
Retails for $56.00 USD.
Product contains 1.7 oz./ 50 ml.

Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in “52 Genie”

I find Chanel’s lip glosses too sticky for my liking — even though time and time again I will purchase one just because it’s so pretty, lol. On a random whim, I ordered the Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss in “52 Genie” because it looked so pretty. Partnered with the Notes de Printemps Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colours, the Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colours, and the Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colours, the Rouge Allure Extrait de Glosses are designed to be premium glosses in Chanel’s gloss range.

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The Rouge Allure Extrait de Glosses are formulated to be rich with pigment and intense shine. Because they’ve been inspired by the iconic lipsticks ‘Rouge Allure,’ it’s only natural for the glosses to be just as bold. Formulated “with the smoothest, silkiest gel texture for luxurious hydrating wear and deeply dramatic effect,” these glosses are extra thick as they lay on color and hold in the moisture. While my lips do feel comfortable when wearing this, it feels heavy and sticky on the lips. The shades are admittedly beautiful and there’s something about the formula that allows your lips to look luminous, full, and sensuous. The “double-sided flocked applicator is beveled to deliver ultra-precise definition,” and out of all the lip glosses I’ve tried, this doe-foot applicator is simply the best.

The packaging is heavy with the opaque black glossy tube looking and feeling so luxurious. You can’t see the color of the gloss through the packaging, but it doesn’t really bother me. The effects of the gloss are high shine and high pigment — which makes the gloss well worth the money. Lasting power is truly amazing — even after eating and drinking, there’s not a lot of transfer unless you’re wiping your lips.

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“52 Genie” is an intense coral color that leans very peachy-orange. In some lighting, it feels like the color is more red-orange than anything else. It’s highly pigmented and lasts very long on the lips — leaving the leftover pigment to linger even after the gloss has worn off. It’s very pretty and can be a versatile shade for all seasons. However, the formula is just too thick for me. It applies so smooth but it lays heavily on my lips; I feel like it’s getting in the way of everything, including talking, eating, and drinking. If you don’t mind that kind of texture, you’ll love this gloss. It deserves all the hype and attention — I’m not denying that. But for me, I prefer a lighter-textured formula since I don’t mind normally thinner glosses don’t last as long.

Made in France.
Retails for $32.00 USD.

Concealer Update

Sometimes concealers can make or break the way your skin looks. If I’m lucky on a particular day and my skin is doing pretty well, I skip foundation all together and wear concealer with a light dust of powder. Not all concealers are equal; and, as with all makeup products, it’s important to choose one that suits your skin and its needs. For me, I like to have an array of formulas since it depends on my mood and my skin needs. I’ve learned that powder foundations apply well over a creamier concealer; stick concealers are portable and convenient; and, liquid concealers spread easily so it’s best to use that on areas of coverage that more wide.

Now, pigmented concealers are all over the market — whether it’s high end or low end. Indeed, the coverage is important, but for me, the texture and formula are essentials as well!

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Benefit Boi-Ing $20.00 USD – SHADE 01
The Benefit Boi-Ing is an “industrial-strength concealer” that “camouflages dark circles, shadows, and discoloration without creasing or fading.” It’s smooth and lightweight and provides strong coverage. It spreads easily, so I like to use it when I have a problem area that needs extra attention under base makeup. Usually, I don’t like to wear this alone because I like to pair it under powder foundation or over liquid foundation. While this isn’t my favorite go-to concealer, I have it on hand for days when my skin needs kind of creamy formula.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer $28.00 USD SHADE Vanilla
This is by far my favorite concealer. It is a “creamy concealer with hydrating, multiaction skincare benefits and light diffusing technology to create a softer, smoother complexion.” It is a “multiaction formula that instantly obscures imperfections, blurs the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and hides dark circles and signs of fatigue. Hydrating and luxuriously smooth, it layers lightly for buildable medium-to-full coverage and a natural luminous finish.” The formula “hydrates, firms, reduces redness, and strengthens the skin by helping its barrier retain vital moisture. It also delivers antioxidant protection to protect the skin against damaging free radicals.” The texture is smooth and light; and, best of all, it blends easily.

Cle de Peau Beauté Concealer $70.00 USD SHADE Ivory
As a “perennial makeup-artist favorite, [the] Clé de Peau Beauté concealer is highly editorialized and continues to win major awards year after year.” It is also the most expensive concealer I’ve ever owned and re-purchased. While there are other concealers that are more budget-friendly, there’s something magical about this formula and there is not dupe for it. “Enhanced with Revitalizing Moisture Complex, this concealer is designed “to lock in moisture, smooth out texture, and blends sublimely to expertly conceal dark circles, spots and imperfections.” The “high-performance powders ensure flawless skin in any light, providing maximum coverage with a smooth, even finish that does not crease.” It’s lightweight, blends easily, and stays perfect all day.

Candy Doll Concealer Color SHADE 01
This concealer’s peachy undertone is important to me since none of my other concealers have it. It’s great for cancelling out pigmentation like a healing pimple or darkness under the eyes. I would say that this is the concealer that provides me with the most coverage; however, it’s difficult to use because you only need a teeny tiny bit to achieve full coverage. For this reason, I think I tend to waste this product because I keep having to wipe it off. When in a pinch, even when I’m skipping foundation, this concealer can provide me with enough coverage. You have to order it on eBay, but because a little bit goes a long ways, it’s not a bad trade-off.

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If I had to recommend one concealer out of the ones I’ve written about, I’d say go for the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. It’s way more versatile and the price is decent for the brand. Generally, I tend to prefer the NARS concealer because it’s always performed so well.

What are the concealers in your makeup arsenal? Are they essentials?

REVIEW: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15

Speaking of summer products, I’ve been trying the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15 ever since I was compelled to purchase it after watching Essiebutton’s video called “Holy Grail Round-Up with Claire.” Described as a “long-lasting foundation powered by Amazonian clay,” it sounded gimmicky which is why I’ve overlooked the product for so long. This foundation claims to provide 12 hours of flawless coverage.” Designed to be long-wearing, Tarte’s “skin-perfecting formula with UVA/UVB SPF 15″ protection is a good combination especially for the summer months.

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This foundation is marketed as a “full coverage with a weightless texture,” and “with a broad range of shades available, [this foundation is] supremely blendable [with] a buildable formula.” The texture of the product is whipped and moussey. Because of this, it may feel thicker than a traditional liquid foundation. However, it spreads easily and blends flawlessy very quickly into the skin. Once applied, it feels light and fluffy on the skin. The effects of the foundation are lovely — your skin looks healthy and even, pores and redness are concealed, and it looks so light on the skin despite the fact that it’s full coverage. With this foundation, I don’t need additional concealer. Packed with “skin-smart” Amazonian clay, the product claims to “intuitively adjust to meet and address your skin concerns for makeup that wears better, longer, and truer.

This revolutionary foundation reduces the appearance of pores, discolorations, and imperfections and ensures a perfectly flawless complexion every time.” I agree that the tone of the foundation is adjustable — on me, it seemed to warm up a bit, but it’s subtle so I wouldn’t say that it oxidizes. It applies very smoothly and I like how it feels and sits on the skin throughout the day. My shade is “Ivory” which has some pink tones in it. I’d say that it’s a good, comfortable match.

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My only gripe is that this foundation has ZERO oil-controlling abilities. For that reason, I can’t say that it’s true to its claim to being long-wearing. It looks lovely on the skin and there’s no denying that. However, even on my normal-combo skin, oil broke way faster than when I use other foundations. I looked greasy and oily nearly instantly — especially in the Texas summer heat. Once I blotted the excess oil, I liked how my skin looked again. However, the oil, of course, returned.

I like this foundation, but it’s truly not long-wearing. And with constant blotting, re-powdering, and touching up, I find that this foundation is high maintenance. I think I’ll see how it wears when the weather is cooler in the fall and winter months, but I wouldn’t suggest wearing this on a long, hot day.

Made in USA.
Retails for $38.00 USD.

REVIEW: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution

Warm, humid weather means that the skin will likely be more oily and congested. While my skin can be relatively normal most of the year, the summer months can make my t-zone unbearable. Lately, I’ve had some issues with blocked and congested pores, blackheads, and general oiliness on my chin, nose, and forehead. Ulta has recently expanded their La Roche-Posay range and I noticed the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution. I’m so happy with my purchase and I recommend it if you’ve been having symptoms like me.

This is a “gentle exfoliating acne toner that penetrates deep to unclog pores and smooth skin texture. Using an optimal combination of ingredients, the Clarifying Solution exfoliates without causing unnecessary irritation and drying, leaving skin soft and smooth.” This product is oil-free, non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, paraben-free, dermatologist tested, and suitable for sensitive skin.

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A great way to try this product and the rest of the acne line, the Effaclar Dermatological Acne System can be a worthwhile investment for $29.99 USD. For me, I opted for the toner only since I already owned the Dual Action Acne Treatment separately. The toner smells very chemical-y, but it saturates a cotton pad well and applies soothingly onto the skin. For me, I’ve been concentrating the toner directly on my nose and chin area for the last two weeks. I have applied it every night along with the Dual Action Acne Treatment, and so far, I’ve seen great results. My pores are smoother and more clear, which has allowed it to look less congested and bumpy. The blackheads are diminishing slowly, but aren’t completely at bay. Small bumps I had on my chin are gone and have stayed away.

I’ve also been using this on my upper shoulder where I’ve noticed some unattractive “bacne.” The area has smoothed out greatly with minimal raised bumps. I’m left with some hyperpigmentation, but it certainly looks and feels better than before. I think in general it’s best to use the toner in conjunction with the Dual Action Acne Treatment, and results aren’t immediate but gradual. I’ve noticed great improvement in overall skin condition; and, I suspect after a few more weeks I’ll be happy with the results. I would recommend this toner and the Dual Action Acne Treatment; however, even the toner alone seems to do a great job as a preventative measure. The ingredients sound strong but are surprisingly gentle on the skin. I didn’t experience any redness, peeling, or burning when I applied this product.

Ingredients:
Active: Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid. Inactive: Water, Alcohol Denat., Propanediol, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Capryloyl Glycine, Phenoyxethanol, Benzyl Alochol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Menthol, Tremella Fuciformis, Polysaccharide, Butylene Glycol, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract.

Retails for $15.00 USD.
Contains 3.4 fl. oz./100 mL

Face of the Day: Summer Glow and Oil Control

It sounds like an oxymoron to say that I wanted to have both a summer glow and oil control, lol. However, I’m sure you guys know what I mean by that! Lately, I’ve been rotating through products that I’ve neglected due to other hyped up products. I’ve recently cycled back around to using some great products by “shopping my stash.”

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Banila Co. Moisturizing Finish Cream with Makeup Boosting Complex
This product is a finishing cream that’s applied either after skincare and before makeup; or after makeup application to bind the products together. Not only does this product boost moisture and radiance, but it also acts as a primer-like product allowing your makeup to last much longer. It conditions the skin so your skin feels and looks balanced; and, it also feels cooling for hot summer days as well.

Diorskin Nude BB Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 10
To begin, I started off by adding a light layer of BB cream to even out my skintone, add some coverage, and blur some imperfections on the skin. Because this particular BB is “enhanced with mineralized floral water and a blend of antioxidantsm” it’s lightweight on the skin and it feels “moisturized, smoothed, protected and corrected.” It doesn’t necessarily control oil, but it minimizes it greatly so I’m very happy with using it this summer.

Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder
Next, for some additional coverage and oil control, I’ve been enjoying the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder in 02 Ivory. I lightly dust it on with a big, fluffy brush to fill in pores, control oil, and blot away shine on my forehead. Because it’s a powder foundation, the added coverage it provides is nice as well. Another great thing about this powder is that it’s the best of both worlds — the powder functions like a “natural veil over the face for a luminous glow with a color-true finish. It glides on effortless while camouflaging uneven tones and hydrating skin. Plus, it even visibly reduces fine lines so skin looks as youthful as ever.”

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush
The real glow comes from the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in “Ethereal Glow.” I’ve written a review post about it here, but this shade is the best for a light flush of glowy color that isn’t glittery or shimmery. For a “seamless, soft-focus, and multidimensional color,” this is a great option if you’re trying to achieve a natural and glowy look.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in “70 Sourire” is a great warm color for the summer that really makes your lip pop in a good way. It’s light and watery so it feel glossy on the lips; however, the color is a light pinky-peach color that isn’t too orange or too pink. The subtle golden shimmers in the product is perfect for summer and I’ve been loving it for that reason. It doesn’t look like much on the lips, but strangely, that’s the reason why I like it so much.

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How do you feel about creating a summer glow look while maintaining oil control? What are some of your favorite products?

Yves Saint Laurent 5 Color Couture Palette in “02 Fauves”

Normally, pricey designer eyeshadow palettes don’t really interest me unless it’s something truly worth having. With the recent release of the Yves Saint Laurent 5 Color Couture Palettes, I was intrigued after reading some positive reviews. These palettes are described to be a product that “is filled with ready-to-wear eyeshadows with intense color payoff. It allows you to create three signature looks with ease thanks to a range of matte, satin and shimmer shades that glide on smoothly and evenly and blend effortlessly.”

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I avoided photographing the outside cover of the palette because it’s so reflective since it’s mirrored. It also attracts dirt, fingerprints, and smudges very easily. This palette doesn’t come with a pouch like Chanel and Dior shadows, so I found that to be a little inconvenient and irritating. However, the product itself is wonderful and truly versatile. I decided to purchase the shade “02 Fauves” and it’s been superb. While the colors don’t look like much since I chose a rather neutral shade, this may not be as enticing as the other palettes released in the collection.

For me, I preferred the shade “02 Fauves” over “03 Afrique” and “04 Saharienne” because of the warmer, golden tones within the brown/neutral. As with many palettes designed like this, it’s great for a natural look and a smokey look — depending on what you’re going for. The formula and texture of these eyeshadows are long-lasting and highly pigmented. They blend well and are very soft to the touch — so, a little can go a long ways with the colors. I prefer to apply and blend with a blending brush; and, I like that all the shades available are useful and work well with each other.

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I really love this palette and find it more useful than a full on palette with tons of colors. You can create a variety of looks with this one palette and I really like that concept. It’s travel-friendly, convenient, and multi-functional as well. I like the Dior 5 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette as well — which is the same concept for the same price. I recommend you check these palettes out because you won’t be disappointed!

Made in France.
Retails for $60.00 uSD.

REVIEW: Glam Glow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment

I’ve been on a major face mask kick lately, so I’m taking a brief break from sheet masks and peel-off masks entirely. As you know, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment to address pores, congestion, and spots; and the Glam Glow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment has been great for maintaining moisture, hydration, and suppleness of the skin. Recently, the Glam Glow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment was released and I just had to give it a try.

As with all Glam Glow products, this mask is pricey. Thus far, the Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment is worth the money and re-purchase.

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The Glam Glow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment is a “mud-to-oil, gentle, deep cleansing treatment that removes the weekly buildup of dirt, oil, and makeup.” It is formulated to “revolutionize your cleansing routine with POWERMUD™,” which is a “mud-to-oil Dualcleanse Treatment” that allows you to “indulge in a multisensory cleansing experience.” By “uniting the power of mud and the power of oil to achieve amplified deep cleansing,” you’re able to deep-cleanse your skin gently to get rid of “weekly buildup,” congestion, pore blockage, and residual makeup/products. For super clean, velvety skin, this mask is a great bi-weekly option no matter what your skin type is.

The Powermud Dualcleanse “features OILIXER™, which is a custom blended complex of four powerful, rare, non-greasy, and fast-absorbing deep cleansing oils. CLAYTOX™ is a carefully balanced four-clay blend specifically developed to provide an ultra-gentle skin detoxification for a maximum yet delicate cleanse. And PUREIFIER™ is a complex mix of cleansers, astringents, and exfoliators, working in synergy to dramatically purify and condition the skin.”

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What I like to do is to do my usual cleansing routine at night and dry my skin. Then, I apply a thin layer all over my face concentrating on target areas such as my chin and nose. Leave the mask on for 5 – 10 minutes and allow the product to dry. For removal, I apply water to my skin and use circular motions to transform into a Cleansing Oil Treatment. The product will get oily and seem to dissolve, which I like since it feels like I’m purging my skin of the bad stuff. I rinse my face and dry it before moving onto my night time skin care routine.

This mask is pretty heavy-duty and I found it be drying if I used it too much or left it on too long. However, it’s a great weekly treatment for me to get rid of excess build-up on the skin. It feels refreshing and cooling on the skin; but, most of all, I like how after I remove the mask, my skin is so soft, supple, and firm looking. My pores appear to be smaller and less congested; and, redness and irritation are feminized on the skin. I’m really impressed with this mask, but the Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment is still my favorite. The Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment is great to have around especially for the hot summer months when you’re more oily and prone to breakouts.

Retails for $69.00 USD.