Tag Archives: sanctuary 5 minute thermal detox mask

Beauty review: AHA and clay face masks

face masks

I am a massive fan of face masks. Maybe because they give you an instant result, rather than the “better skin in 2 weeks”, gradual thing you get from a lot of skincare products. I try to restrain myself and use them no more than once or twice a week. It is the ideal thing for me to feel like I am looking after myself.

This post is about the two types of face masks that I regularly use – exfoliating/radiance masks and clarifying/detoxing masks. I don’t really use moisturizing masks, mainly because I rarely feel like that is my primary skin concern.

Exfoliating/radiance/AHA/fruit acids family

Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask (50ml – £30)

This is probably my favourite mask of all times, mainly because it makes such a dramatic, immediate difference to my skin. Various fruit acids eat away your dead skin cells and leave your skin smooth and noticeably more radiant. It isn’t the most pleasant mask to apply as it is very sticky, but so worth it. I’ve done a first impression video on this, so you can watch me apply the mask here. It’s arguably very expensive, but you only need a thin layer so it lasts a long time. I bought my first bottle online from Marks and Spencer during one of their 20% off all beauty promotions (Amazing – they stock Ren, Nuxe, Murad, etc) and the second at Heathrow airport Duty free (£25).

Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating mask (6 x 7.5ml – £22.50)

Two of these came in a Pore Refining starter set I picked up at TK Maxx for 12 Euros. Such a bargain! This mask does similar things to the Ren one, but feels more cooling and tingling. I think it is similarly powerful at exfoliating, but the Ren mask might have the upper hand in terms of radiance. The packaging in individual sachets is a serious downside – 7.5ml is a ridiculously large amount for a single sachet. You can get at least two uses out of this.

Superdrug Radiance Renewal Brightening Renewal mask (75ml – £4.99)

Here’s your drugstore alternative of a fruit acid mask. Less powerful, but still gives you smoother skin. It feels cooling and slightly tingling,. Superdrug often sells this range for 1/3 to 1/2 off the already very reasonable price. A good way to dip your toe into the fruit acid business or maybe if the big guns above are too harsh for your skin.

Clarifying/detox/clay based family

Origins Clear Improvement mask (50ml – £10)

A clay based mask that has an amazing deep colour and feels very smooth when you apply it. It dries to a typical tight fit on the skin. My skin feels very clean and smooth afterwards. Probably the most powerful out of the three. I bought it from the Origins website with free delivery and got to choose two free samples.

Boots Botanics Shine away Ionic Clay mask (100ml – £4.99)

This contains only three ingredients on top of clay and water – one of them willow bark extract, according to the label a natural source of salicylic acid. I’m assuming it’s the lack of smoothing/silicone ingredients that means this really feels like putting fine grained mud on your face. It dries completely on the face. This is the only one of the three where your can see little dots once it’s dry where the oils of have been drawn out of your skin … if that sounds satisfying to you, give it a try.

Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox mask (100ml – £10.50)

This mask has the lovely effect of warming up and cooling down as soon as you apply it to the skin. It has a slightly gooey texture and does not dry down in the typical clay mask fashion. As you only leave it for 5 minutes, I think it has a much milder effect than the other masks. Still good for a spontaneous pick-me up if you feel your skin is congested but don’t have time for a full face mask. I tend to apply this before I get in the shower and wash it off in the end – hardly an extra time investment.

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Why I care about skincare

skincare products

As part of psychotherapy I was told how important it is to look after oneself properly. Easier said than done when it comes to things like regularly exercise, healthy relationship choices and good sleep hygiene (yes, this is a medical term).

As an ex self-harmer, being good to my body doesn’t exactly come naturally to me. I like restrictively diets (temporarily) and other unpleasant things like that.
But the one bit about me that I look after quite religiously is my skin.

I’ve always wanted to have good skin, but I never really managed to get rid of my spots. I didn’t have a set skin care routine and swapped products regularly – I didn’t have any holy grail products (picking up the blogging lingo) for a long time. In hospital I got temporarily obsessed with dead sea face masks – they are the German drugstore version of clay masks. They are about 60 pence per sachet, which lasts for two applications. It’s literally like putting mud on your face that slowly dries. It does leave your face feeling very clean and stripped. At one point I seriously scared a fellow patient, who knocked on my door when I was halfway through the drying stage – my face half grey half brown.

Face masks are nice, but on their own they weren’t enough to turn my skin around. However, for the past month or so, I did some extensive research and put together a small set of products. I only half heartedly believed that it would work – I cannot imagine what it’s like not to have spots.

But then I noticed the other day that they were all gone! I still have the odd clogged pore on my nose, but no pimples, no blackheads, no painful spots on my chin.

It makes me so happy. My skin feels much softer as well. I look forward to my evening routine because I now have pretty good evidence that I am doing something good to my skin. I am being good <em>to myself</em>.

So – if your therapist tells you to be good to yourself, one way to start is to be good to your skin!

Enough rambling. Here are the products I use. Note that I have normal to dry skin and that every skin is different.

Simple nourishing eye make-up remover

I like this because it removes waterproof mascara and doesn’t irritate my eyes. My eyelids tend to get dry patches so this feels nice and moisturizing. Possibly not ideal for oily skin.

Boots Tea tree and Witch hazel Cleasing and Toning Lotion

I use this to remove any face make-up before cleansing properly, using a cotton pad. It smells of tea tree oil, which is good for blemish prone skin. It does give me a slightly “disinfectant”-like feel, which I like.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

This is a cult product that in my opinion is worth the hype. You massage the cream into your dry skin and then wipe it off with a wet muslin cloth. I love this part – it makes me feel like my skin is getting a really deep cleanse and also gets exfoliated.

Sanctuary Fresh-faced Purifying wash

Usually I use this in the shower in the morning and the Liz Earle cleanser at night. I have to note that it does sting if it gets into your eyes.

Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask

I use this once or twice a week. The mask has a nice texture. When you apply it onto your skin, it immediately warms up, which feels nice. While it is meant to be cleansing, it does not leave my skin feeling as stripped as other clay masks. I do like that as my skin tends to be dry rather than oily.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

This is an amazing product, recommended by beauty gurus such as Ruth Crilly (in this video) and Tanya Burr (in this video). It is meant as a treatment for “severe imperfections”. It helped me clear up my skin and get rid off acne and breakouts. I use it as a daily moisturizer morning and night after cleansing. It has the texture of a light gel that is immediately absorbed into your skin. The only complaint I have is that it does not have SPF, so I am using an additional suncreen or foundation with SPF on top.

Origins Super spot remover

This is little bottle is very potent stuff! I don’t use it much these days as the Effaclar Duo seems to successfully prevent any breakouts at the moment – but in the past I have applied this to any newly forming spot. It has at times managed to clear them up over night without them ever breaking out properly. As I said, it is strong stuff that will dry out your skin and will sting – but I don’t mind that. Contrary to other blemish treatments, it makes me feel like it is actually doing something.

What are your thoughts on skincare? Does it feel like a chore or do you enjoy it as a nice way to be good to yourself? Any product recommendations?

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