face masks for oily skin

Beauty Review: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask

Beauty Review: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask | Writing Between Pauses

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I see something all over Instagram—you know, those viral products that every single Instagram baddie seems to be making videos about—I get intrigued. The part of me that works in marketing knows this is a marketing trick. The more we see something, the more we want to try it. Like those Coco & Eve hair masks. Or, in this case, the Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay masks.

A bunch of beauty gurus I follow had videos about this mask. They’re all similar. I know you’ve seen them! The Pink Clay mask is particularly intriguing to me because clay masks are amazing for oily and acne prone skin—but they can also be super drying, so your skin requires a lot of babying afterwards. I wanted to try it, but the price tag (nearly $50 for a tub) held me back.

However, a few weeks ago, Ipsy was offering some deals on sample and full size products to add to your Ipsy bag. Well, color me foolish, I saw the Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay available as a deluxe sample and thought, yes, I will pay $3 for that! It should be at least big enough to use 5 times.

Guys, I’m a fool. Truly, I don’t know how Ipsy keeps fooling me. You’d think at this point before I throw that sample into my cart and buy it, I’d look at the size information. To me, deluxe sample sizes should be fairly substantial. “Deluxe” implies you get at least a few uses, right? I’m not off base here. This is the hill I will die on. This sample is too small!! And for $3? I’m a fool, but you know what, this mask is pretty dang good. Sorry, spoiler alert.

I received this in my ipsy bag and immediately lost it because it is so small, it’s basically naked to the human eye. Just kidding. It’s not that small. But it’s pretty tiny and cute! I was so excited to try it, but I had just gotten back to Idaho—aka my skin was dry as a bone and absolutely wrecked. I decided to give myself a few days of moisturizing before I tried it and I’m glad I did. Without further ado, let’s jump into this review.

(If you want to read more about my adventures in teeny tiny Ipsy samples, click here.)

As a mask…

So, one of the ways to use this mask (yes, there are multiple ways, let me get to it!) is to use it, duh, as a mask. All over the face or in your problem areas (most likely your t-zone). After a few days of hardcore moisturizing (thanks Meriance!), I decided to go for it. I slathered this mask on, using almost half the tube for my apparently giant face, and waited.

And it dried down. Y’all, it dried down. My face was basically one, big tight bandage. Danny was laughing at me because I couldn’t really talk. It didn’t feel painful or bad, it just felt like I had gotten the most intense facelift in the world. It was funny, but also slightly horrifying. When I rinsed it off, my skin definitely felt super clean. Like, cleaner than it has been since I hit puberty and turned into an oil factory. I moisturized and put on some hyaluronic acid because… I was dry. I was clean, but my skin was parched. The next morning, my skin was glowy, but still very dry; I ended up putting on a few dabs of Dove’s DermaSeries moisturizing cream, which is technically for your feet. It helped though and truly, my skin looked amazing. It helped clear up some congestion I had from dry skin and environmental changes (that Idaho to Oregon drive, y’all) and definitely improved the texture of my skin.

So as a mask, I give it a solid 5 stars. It’s great if you have oily skin, but you need to moisturize a lot after using it. Or else, you might really wreck your skin. It also smells really good; lightly sweet without being overpowering.

Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask Instagram

As a spot treatment…

And here’s the second way to use it. Instead of using it as an all over mask, you can use it to spot treat individual blemishes. If you’re prone to dry patches, like I am during the winter, avoiding it as an all over mask it probably a good idea since it is quite drying. However, I had a cyst pop up over the weekend; I dabbed a bit of it on, let it dry, then went to sleep. When I woke up, it was pretty much deflated. I rinsed and moisturized and felt amazing.

So, if you need a spot treatment, this is kind of perfect. And really, it’s the perfect size for spot treating. Genius.

Final Thoughts

Is this worth the $3 I paid for it? In this size, I want to say no because I am naturally frugal and I really sometimes believe $3 should last me a month. But honestly, it is worth the $3, even though the size was a shock when I first got it. A full size tub costs $49 and has a net weight of 60 g (or 2.1 oz). The sample size tube is 13g, or a little less than 25% of the full size tub. In that respect, this little sample was worth it. It’s hard for me to say whether I would pay $49 for a full size tub of it; I do really like it, but there are comparably good pink clay masks out there from other brands that are much more affordable. They do have a holiday kit on sale at the moment for $59 that includes the mask, a mitt for rinsing, and a storage pouch.

Have you tried this mask? What did you think?

4 Face Masks to Try This Autumn

4 Face Masks to Try This Autumn | Writing Between Pauses

Face masks are one thing that I started doing just a year or so ago… and I’m not sure I can ever go back to not doing them. There is something so soothing about a face mask. It might help your skin. But many people say it’s not really enough to make any difference in your skin, that you need to use product semi-regularly to see a big difference. And while I enjoy the potential skin benefits, that’s actually not why I do masks: I just find them really fun and I spend a lot of time looking at different face masks.

I put together this post of my 4 dream face masks for Autumn. I’ve tried two of them, but the other 2 are on my wish list.

1. Watermelon Glow Jelly Mask from Glow Recipe

Relive the glory days of summer with this delicious, jelly watermelon mask from Glow Recipe. (Is that too salesy? I swear, I’m not trying to be salesy.) This mask is perfect for anyone struggling with dryness (the heating goes on and suddenly, we’re all very dry), uneven skin tone, or dullness and texture issues. It also comes in two pieces, which makes it much easier to cover your entire face and have it actually fit, so you can mask while doing housework or other tasks.

2. Pumpkin & Honey Glycolic Mask from Andalou Naturals

This mask is perfect for the season. It contains vitamin C, which helps with surface pigmentation, uneven tone, and dark spots, as well as helps with cell turnover. Pumpkin puree provides natural enzymes which remove dehydrated cells to brighten up your skin. Manuka honey is soothing and helps to heal any blemishes (very nice). Glycolic acid helps to dissolve and exfoliate dead skin cells to get a lovely, smooth complexion. This mask smells amazing (just like pumpkin with a hint of sweet honey) and feels great on.

3. Cold Plunge Pore Mask from Ole Henriksen

Hit the slopes with this Cold Plunge Pore mask. Ole Henriksen makes some of the best products for those with oily, acne-prone skin and this mask is no different. Here’s what this mask promises:

Take the plunge for smaller-looking pores—instantly. Deeply purify and diminish pores with an exhilarating chill. Inspired by the “cold plunge” part of a Scandinavian sauna cycle, this cooling clay mask detoxifies, controls oil, and reduces the look of pores. The innovative formula harnesses the power of alpine willow herb and snow lotus—antioxidant-rich botanicals that have adapted to thrive in extreme cold—to soothe, mattify, and refine pores. Add cool water, and the turquoise clay mask thaws into a luxurious lather that sweeps away excess oil and impurities.

It’s absolutely perfect for anyone who wants to cleanse and shrink their pores, improve their skin’s texture and appearance, and control oiliness.

4. Pumpkin 24K Gold Sheet Mask from Too Cool for School

I’ve been getting targeted ads for this mask for weeks and, I have to say, it intrigued me so much I went in and bought one. It was just so cute! I immediately loved it: it smells amazing, feels amazing, and left my skin feeling super soft. I’ve been very dry lately (probably a combination of the change in season and turning on the heat in my house) and it helped a lot with that. Here’s what this mask promises:

This environmentally conscious, and skin-friendly bio-cellulose mask provides the optimal base for holding active ingredients. Holding up to 100 times its dry weight in fluid, it fits like a second skin and delivers intensive benefits. Superfood pumpkin’s soothing nutrients relieve dry and flaky skin, beta carotene adds a natural dewiness, and vitamin A supports natural elasticity.

It’s a lovely mask and absolutely perfect for Fall!

Beauty Review: The Body Shop Tea Tree Mask

Beauty Review: The Body Shop Tea Tree Mask | Writing Between Pauses

If you've been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that I struggle with oily, acne-prone skin. I've found a routine that is relatively beneficial for my skin (it involves a lot of jojoba oil and a recent addition of rosehips oil). One of my favorite products is the Body Shop Tea Tree Face Wash

A few weeks ago, I had a 20% off coupon at Ulta. I was in one of those moods where I didn't really feel like buying makeup. I have my routine; I have the things I use; I didn't want new eyeshadows or anything. (This may be shocking, but I believe in not buying everything out there, you know!) I was wandering through the skincare aisle, spotted the Body Shop section, and thought, "Should I buy some more face wash?" Then my eyes fell on this mask. 

It was meant to be. 

At $17, the Body Shop Tea Tree Clay Mask is one of the most expensive masks I've ever bought. But at a total of 3.85 oz, it's not a use-once-and-toss mask; this little tub will last a pretty long while!

Here's what this mask promises: 

Cool and deeply cleanse your skin with our Tea Tree infused clay mask. Perfect for blemished complexions, the instantly cooling sensation refreshes skin, without over drying. This mask will help to clear impurities while absorbing excess sebum, leaving skin feeling smoother and clearer looking.

Like most clay masks, it promises to clean out your pores and tighten up your skin, which is always a plus. This mask contains menthol to cool down your skin (great if your skin is feeling particularly red and inflamed) and tea tree to heal blemishes.

(As a note, tea tree oil is best used in something, not plain, as it can burn your skin; a clay mask is perfect. But just a warning to never, ever put undiluted tea tree oil on your face!) 

How I Use It

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Mask

I try to keep clay masks to a minimum as they can be quite drying. Naturally, my skin is dehydrated, which is why it gets so oily. I don't want to dry it out even more! I've been struggling lately with hormonal outbreaks, as I've fallen a bit off the bandwagon when it comes to dairy (did I not learn my lesson the first time!?). 

I usually apply this mask to my t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), then on my cheeks. Sometimes, I pull it onto my neck and underneath my jaw, as I can get quite congested skin there. I use it twice a week, maximum, but usually just on Sunday evenings when I have the spare time and need it. 

My Results

This mask feels so cooling when it goes on--that's the menthol--and smells amazing from the tea tree oil. It can definitely feel a bit tightening when you first put it on, but as it dries, it feels quite good. More soothing than anything else. Afterwards, my skin always feels very smooth and clear and my pores look quite good. 

This mask is definitely best for helping heal active acne and preventing breakouts. It doesn't do much for older breakouts (like those awful cysts that in the process of healing), but it does help sooth that wrecked feeling skin. If you have inflammation, it can be helpful with that too; I always see a reduced amount of redness in the days after I use this mask and as I use it more frequently, those days last a bit longer each time. I can get quite red when my skin is dry or struggling, so that's a huge help! 

If you're in the market for a more high-quality mask, this is a great middle price option. As well, if you struggle with breaking out, inflamed or aggravated skin, or hormonal breakouts, this is a great mask to have in your arsenal to use! 

My 3 Absolute Favorite Masks to Travel With

My 3 Absolute Favorite Masks to Travel With | Writing Between Pauses

I love masks. I don't love traveling. But I do like pampering my skin while I'm traveling. I've always heard that it's great to wear a sheet mask on planes, because it protects your skin from the dry air. Next time I take a plane, I'll definitely be packing a sheet mask to relax with... but for now, I want to share the 3 masks that I always bring for road trips and quick weekend trips to keep my skin looking the best it possibly can (even in adverse conditions, like extreme dry heat). 

If you didn't catch my post last week about keeping your skincare routine while traveling, you can read that here

1. The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mask

I love the Body Shop's Tea Tree facial cleanser--I use it every single day and it has made a huge difference in my skin. So, when I had a 20% off coupon at Ulta in June, I decided it was time to treat myself to the matching clay mask. Here's what it promises: 

Cool and deeply cleanse your skin with our Tea Tree infused clay mask. Perfect for blemished complexions, the instantly cooling sensation refreshes skin, without over drying. This mask will help to clear impurities while absorbing excess sebum, leaving skin feeling smoother and clearer looking.

If you have a lot of issues with acne, this mask is perfect: it contains tea tree oil, which we know helps with acne, but isn't as tight and drying as many clay masks. I've rocked clay masks before and while they always helped my acne a little bit, they also left my skin feeling very dehydrated--which make texture on other areas of my face (like my forehead) worse. This mask doesn't so that; it feels lovely on, smells great, and has made a huge difference in my skin. The next thing I want to try from this line is the Tea Tree Night Mask

The Body Shop Tea Tree Mask

2. YesTo Coconut 2-Step Lip Kit

I always get chapped lips when I travel, probably because 1) I'm usually drinking less water and 2) I don't have access to my usual glut of lip balms. I'm a firm believer that lip balm just makes dry lips worse, but at this stage in my life, I'm too far gone: save yourselves, I'm addicted to lip balm, I know it's a problem. That being said, this mask is one of my favorites to bring on trips or to pick up while I'm traveling (because it's at almost any Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, or Target). Here's what it does: 

Say Yes To the Coconut 2 Step Mask and going coo coo for coconut, sugar and sodium hyaluronate to plump and smooth lips naturally. Step 1 features a lip scrub to exfoliate and smooth lips, preparing them for plumping. Step 2 includes a lip mask to plump and hydrate lips, making them softer, fuller and more supple.

I'm a huge fan of YesTo products; they are one of the handful of truly cruelty free drugstore brands out there and their masks have always worked for me. While this mask does contain coconut oil, it's not a face mask; it's a lip mask, so I don't have to worry about the oil clogging my pores. (Reminder: coconut oil is horrible to put on your face. Scalp and hair? Ok. Lips? Ok. Face? If you're acne prone, absolutely never.) 

3. Oh K! Korean Multi-Step Charcoal Mask 

The Oh K! masks are a Korean brand that you can find at CVS and Walgreens. They're super cute, which great packaging, and this one is one of my favorites. If you're going on a short trip, perhaps just overnight, it's a great one to bring along because it condenses your routine into one mask. It includes a cleanser, a mask, and a moisturizing serum, so you're all set. Here's what it promises: 

Charcoal acts as a magnet to extract dirt from the skin and this multi-step mask offers a complete cleansing regime: deep clean wash, charcoal fiber mask to remove impurities and a moisturizing serum. Fiber masks are super nourishing, the sheet acts as a barrier to prevent the formula evaporating so skin can absorb 3 x more than a liquid mask.

Those are powerful promises! This mask includes one of my absolute favorite serums: the moisturizing serum seriously was so amazing, I tried to see if Oh K! sells is alone. It doesn't appear they do, so I do one of these masks every month (they're a little spendier than the average sheet mask) just to use that dang serum! Cute, compact, and effective, it really doesn't get better than that. 

Beauty Review: Erno Lazlo Firm & Lift Masks*

Beauty Review: Erno Lazlo Firm & Lift Masks* | Writing Between Pauses

Disclaimer: As always, the asterisk* on the end of this post title denotes a sponsored post. I received the Erno Lazlo Instant Firmer Firm & Lift masks via Influenster for review. To learn more about my disclosure policy, please see here. As always, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Originally, I had been planning to do another Inspiration Sunday today--but when I received these masks in the mail during the last week of September, I knew I had to free up some space in my blog calendar for October! That's the hardest part of doing Blogtober--planning everything in advance makes it easier, but opportunities like this throw things for a loop! 

When I found out I was going to receive these Erno Lazlo two-step masks from Influenster, I was beyond excited. I love face masks. (I wrote about my favorite ones here.) However, when I received my box and saw I had received the masks designed to firm and lift, I’ll be honest: I was a little disappointed. I don’t know all the other varieties of Erno Lazlo two-step masks, but I do think others would be more suited to my skin type. However, I was still very excited to try these, because, honestly, who doesn’t want a little bit of lifting in their skin? (Don’t answer that if you’re, like, 18.) 

Here’s what these masks promise to do: 

A mix-to-activate firming and hydrating modeling mask that softens fine lines and wrinkles, quenches thirsty skin, soothes, cools and instantly plumps skin’s surface. Made with mineral-rich sea water and spiraling maxima — a high powered age extract. Restore firmness and bounce from the inside out.

Also: “Our new mix-to-active, two step powder masks deliver instant gratification with the potent powers of key ingredients and botanicals.” 

Interestingly, this is what the description on Sephora says (it’s interesting that it’s totally different from the packaging on the box): 

Harnessing age-old secrets of Korean spas this dual-phase formula you mix to activate and peel to reveal gives you firmer, more youthful-looking skin. Powerful actives cool while working to restore the look of elasticity and tone for spa-worthy results. Use it before a big night out, after a long day, or whenever tired skin craves it most.

Woo! That’s a lot to promise. And frankly, the promise of restoring from the inside out—am I eating this or what? Human skin is not that porous, realistically, so that’s an odd statement. 

Let’s get to the masks though. 

As has been said, these are two-step masks. In the box, there were 4 masks: 8 packets total. One packet is powder and one packet is liquid; it also comes with a stirrer stick. First things first, you’re going to need a bowl when using these masks which is definitely different from my usual face mask! 

The powder mix, when I dumped it out, was faintly blue. Alright, easy enough. I opened the liquid packet and went to pour it in—and realized it’s not really liquid exactly, but closer to a very thick gel. I had to work pretty hard to squeeze it all out. Once I started stirring, I had to work hard to incorporate the gel into the powder (and I got a little excited at one point and got powder everywhere. Oops); but once it get mixed together, it formed this very cool, almost mousse-like texture. 

Using the stirrer stick to smear it one my face, I really struggle. It was slightly gooey and clumpy and I felt like it wasn’t covering some spots. I switched to my hands and that worked much better, but I still got a lot in my hair and eyebrows on accident. Once I was done, I realized I still had about half the mask in my bowl. So that’s a big thing: if you want to do this mask, unless you have a pretty big face, have a friend with you so you aren’t wasting mask! 

My first reaction to the mask on my face was that it felt really good. One of the ingredients in the mask is peppermint oil (it’s in both packets) so if you are sensitive to peppermint oil (and many people are), definitely be careful. However, it felt good to me, very zippy and made me feel quite awake. 

After about 10 minutes, it started to get a little itchy; that was it drying down to form the mask. I managed to keep it on another 5 minutes, but by then it was falling off. When I read the instructions and saw that the last step was to peel it off, I couldn’t imagine the clumpy, mousse-y stuff on my face peeling. But alas, after 15 minutes, the mask had dried down to roughly the texture of Silly Putty that had been rolled very thin. It came off in one solid piece. I used my toner than put on my moisturizer. 

Did I notice a big difference in my skin right away? I can’t honestly say. I did feel very moisturized and refreshed after the end of the day. My skin felt very, very smooth. Mostly, it just felt hydrating. 

My Final Verdict: Did I enjoy these masks? Absolutely. I love masking. Did I see any benefits to my skin? Not really. But they didn’t make me break out and they didn’t aggravate my skin either, so that’s a win. 

At Sephora, these masks cost $80 for a box of 4. That’s $20 per mask! For that price, it’s just not worth it and I would never recommend them for that reason. Plain and simple, they’re just too expensive for the lack of real changes I saw to my skin. Are they super fun though? Absolutely! So if you’re looking to splurge, or want to get a fun gift for a bridal shower, they’d be very, very fun. 

My Top 5 Face Masks for Oily Skin

If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably aware that I'm kind of a face mask addict lately. I buy, and use, a lot of them. They're one method of self-care that I absolutely love doing: it's quick, it's easy, and it feels infinitely refreshing. 

My favorite face masks are ones that, realistically, are best for oily, acne-prone skin because that's what I have. In the future, I'll share some masks for moisturizing dry skin or for sensitive skin. But for now, these are my five favorite masks for my oily, acne-prone, dull skin. 

I luckily have skin that, while sensitive, I can try new things with relative ease. I do 2-3 masks per week (exfoliating the day after usually) and have yet to have a serious allergic reaction. That being said, always spot test if you're unsure about using something on your skin! 

1. Tony Moly, I'm Real for Clear Skin 

I love Tony Moly sheet masks; you can find them in surprisingly cheap packs on Amazon. But I usually buy them as a special treat at Ulta (because I get the most points for purchases there). The I'm Real for Clear Skin mask has rice water, as well as some other cool ingredients to help soothe skin that's broken out. I always save the packet after I use a mask and use the leftover serum the next morning; whenever I have one of these masks, I get so excited about the extra serum! 

2. YesTo Tomatoes for Clear Skin Paper Mask

YesTo is a great brand and here's why: they're relatively affordable and available in most drugstores; they're also cruelty free. I love the YesTo Tomatoes line, including the charcoal sheet and mud masks. However, my favorite mask is the standard Tomatoes for Clear Skin mask (the white pack); it feels amazing on my skin and I always feel like my redness is diminished the next day. As with Tony Moly masks, I save the extra serum for the next day.  

3. Shea Moisture African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask 

Mud masks are really my favorite type of mask, but they are much more drying than paper masks. They tend to do more, typically. I started buying the Shea Moisture African Black Soap mask in packet form at Target and have quickly graduated to owning a tub of it. It's that good. It has African black soap (duh), as well as tea tree oil: tea tree oil is one of the best ways to treat break outs. I save this mask for when I'm most broken out and in need of some major skin TLC (this usually happens when I neglect my skincare for a few days). If you have dry skin, this is definitely not the one for you. But if you're oily, it's a miracle worker. 

4. Tony Moly, I'm Real for Pore Care 

Another Tony Moly mask, another day. This is the Red Wine mask for pore care. I love how it smells and feels on my skin; plus, the idea of using red wine to shrink my pores is truly magical. I found 10 of these masks at Marshals for only $5, so I have a ton of them to use. I also genuinely think regular use (one a week) is shrinking the size of my pores. Wishful thinking? Maybe. 

5. YesTo Grapefruit for Dull & Uneven Skin

Another YesTo mask! This is one of their mud masks; I find it so soothing and it smells so good (like grapefruit, obviously). I have very dull and uneven skin, with a lot of redness and melasma spots. This mask is specifically for that purpose because it has vitamin C in it. If you need a treat, this is one mask that I think could work for dry skinned people too; it's not too harsh and the ingredients are meant to sooth, smooth, and work as anti-aging tools.