As long as I'm on this January self-improvement "try new things" kick, I've decided that in my neverending quest for perfect hair and skin I should try new products and new tricks. On a scale of 1 to 10 I think I'm about a 6.5: I know my skin and hair could be a lot worse than they are now, but I realize there's room for improvement, especially with the occasional breakouts I experience and the slight natural waviness in my hair that makes it frizzy.
My current skincare routine and the one I've been following for ages consists of a mild cleanser (Aveeno), a mild moisturizer (Neutrogena or Cetaphil depending on how my skin is behaving), and my skin medication (a prescription I've been slathering on since I was 14). I use a spot treatment that contains salicylic acid (Garnier) to dry up present and potential blemishes. Every once in a while, though, I love the deep cleansing and invigorating pampering of a good facial mask. In the past, I relied on the Freeman white grape and antioxidant peel-off mask for that. The alcohol and glycerin mixture in the formula dried out any blemishes and oil on my face and still left me with soft, smooth skin. After a good night's sleep, my face would be glowing.
Lately, though, my skin has been a little more rebellious than usual, and the last time I stopped at the drugstore I was on the lookout for a product that packed a little more punch than my mild Freeman mask. I was intrigued by the Biore Self-Heating Mask and its promises: "Absorbs and purifies. Turn up the heat on dirt and oil. One-minute facial warms on contact to purify pores, exfoliate skin and combat shine." A package of 8 single-use packets cost about twice as much as a huge tube of the Freeman's mask which would've lasted me about six months, but I figured that it sounded more powerful and was thus worth the price.
I've used it twice so far and been disappointed both times, sad to say. According to the instructions, you smooth the mask onto wet skin and it warms on contact with the water; then you massage it into your skin for about a minute until it turns blue, and you rinse it off. The mask did indeed heat up a lot on contact and it was a really neat invigorating feeling, quite different from the cooling sensation of my Freeman mask. The warming effect only lasted about a minute, though, and then I was left furiously massaging a lukewarm blue paste into my skin. I used a face towel to get all of it off, including the residue, then waited about 5-10 minutes before I examined my skin in the mirror and applied my skin medication and moisturizer for the night. What I saw appalled me: instead of the glowing skin I was expecting, some patches looked red, dry, and irritated, and the blemishes that were already there seemed bigger. It even looked like it caused more blemishes! In the morning those signs of skin irritation were gone, but I think that was more due to my trusty Garnier anti-blemish pen (great spot treatment; highly recommend it), my skin prescription, and a good night's sleep.
As I said, it is neat to try it if only for the satisfaction of the warming sensation and seeing the mask turn blue, but for the price and the aftermath it caused my skin I wouldn't buy it again. I think I'll stick to Freeman for now...apparently they've reformulated the peel-off mask and it's made with cucumber instead of white grape now.