Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: Ling Skincare Herbal Clay Clarifying Mask

Beware! I have photos of this mask in action!

Anyone who's ever even thought of facials has tried some sort of clay based mask. I'd be shocked if you, my readers, haven't tried one at some point (knowingly or unknowingly). Clay based masks have been around forever and will continue to be around for years to come. Why? Well, that depends on what your mask was intended to do. I have read about clay masks (on the backs of many labels) that promise to nourish your skin with specific minerals found in the clay. I've also read (in many teen magazines growing up) that clay based masks are good for drawing out the oil in your skin - theoretically helping your oily skin from being too oily. I remember trying to hunt down the perfect clay mask when I as a teenager because of that advice. I continued that hunt through college. Now and again I pick it up again. This time, it appears a clay mask has found me, not the other way around.

So what makes the Ling Herbal Clay Clarifying Mask different from all the other clay masks out there?

What the Website Claims
"Fusion of natural Clay to detoxify & purify skin and herbal Witch Hazel to refine. Trapped oil and impurities are drawn out of the pores, leaving complexion clarified and large pores minimized. Excellent for treating congested and problem skin."

What My Big Book of Ling Skincare Stuff Says
"Kaolin and Bentonite possess natural electromagnetic properties to draw toxins, oil, dirt, excess sebum and impurities from the pores. Witch Hazel tightens pores and disinfects, killing acne-causing bacteria. Pores are left clean and ready to absorb nutrients from other products applied afterward."

Note: My friend the skincare guru (esthetician)  highlighted a couple of the products in this mask as having the potential to block pores (the clay components Kaolin and Bentonite) which is exactly what they are not supposed to do here. Talking with the Ling Skincare rep and my friend, the conclusion has to do with what these components are mixed with. You shouldn't be blocking pores with this sucker.

Non-gritty, smooth red cream. This mask was not intended for manual exfoliation clearly. Honestly, I wasn't expecting to use the words "cream" or "smooth" when describing a clay mask. Ever. As it dries it becomes, well, dry and hard like you would expect of a clay mask. Here's the funny thing - my face didn't feel "dry" after using it as much as other masks I have tried. This is so gentle you'd swear it's not clay.

There is a smell to this one. I found it pleasant and non-irritating. I suppose that's the "herbal" bit involved. If you're sensitive to smells you might want to keep that in mind. But personally, I think it is rather relaxing. I can't describe it except to say that it's the mask equivalent to some of my favorite cups of tea.

Clay mask lovers rejoice! This is one of the cheaper products in the Ling Skincare Line at $35 for 2 fl oz. And best yet, a little goes a long way with this one. In the picture I took of the product to show you the color, you can see I am only about half way through the small 0.5 fl oz portion I received with the Ling Skincare Weekly At-Home Facial and Daily Regimen Kit. I have used it approximately 5 times.

My Results
In general I found this mask very pleasant to use. The smell was soothing and it felt great on my skin. What I found surprising was the way it appeared on my skin as it hardened. You can see in the pictures below.


My Cheek On Ling Skincare Herbal Clay Clarifying Mask

My Nose (most dramatic) on Ling Skincare Clay Clarifying Mask
That is probably the first and the last time you will ever see a close up picture of just my nose on this blog unless I go to review something else in the future that makes in necessary.

I have to believe that my pores are so visible post-drying because the mask drew out the oil from within my pores. Like when oil breaks through your foundation. It really is quite a frightening site, wouldn't you say? The cynic in me wonders if the mask sunk into my pores and will inhibit the clearing of my skin.
  • Do I think My Skin Is Less Congested Using This Mask? - Maybe just a little. I know that by using the At Home Facial Kit itself my skin has become a little more even and my pores have gotten smaller over the last few weeks. I think this mask had something to do with it. But in all, I still am having frustrating breakouts.
I will say this - any oil drawn out was definitely absorbed by the mask, not left on my face. My face felt smooth and non-greasy after use.

Bottom Line
If you're a clay mask lover you will love this mask. It's not as harsh as any other clay mask I've tried and for that I am thankful. Plus, at $35 it's not that huge of a skincare investment if it doesn't work out for you. Gets my approval, but I do think it works best in the context of other products (like Spotlight Papaya Resurface Peel and a moisturizer of your choice).

Full Disclosure
The products in this review were furnished to me by Ling Skincare not only for my use but for review. I will not be compensated in any other way by Ling Skincare and have provided my honest opinion of the product. I don't sell Ling Skincare products, nor am I affiliated with Ling Skincare in any way.