I’m starting to get to my backlog of reviews. Good news, right? I’ve had my products from The Body Shop since my epic haul back in November (read about that here), so I’ve had a lot of time to try them and now I’m ready to start sharing with you guys what I learned.
 

image is a photo of the body shop tea tree face mask. It is in a round greenplastic jar with the green product visible through the package. The label is green with green tea tree graphics.
 
$15.50USD, comes in a 100ml (3.38oz) jar.
(I paid about $6 for mine due to epic sale abuse).

 

I bought the Tea Tree face mask because I have acne-prone skin and I thought trying another anti-acne skin product would be a good idea. If it worked well it could help when I get breakouts, or keep me from getting breakouts!
 

image is a photo of the body shop tea tree face mask open jar. The green creamy contents are clearly visible.
 
Check out this sweet texture.

 

When you put it on your skin, it’s very light, fluffy, and the texture is pleasant to work with. The smell will clear your sinuses (this mask also contains menthol), but for a tea tree product it’s not the worst I’ve smelled. I didn’t expect much, as tea tree is really only shown to be effective against acne at concentrations of at least 5%, and this product doesn’t say how much their concentration is (so it’s probably very low).
 

Image is a photo of the cakepie with the tea tree face mask on her face. She is fair skinned with blue grey eyes, she is making a neutral expression. The product is a semi sheer light green and very thin.
 
The mask is thin and semi-sheer on the skin.
Dries lighter in color than what you start with.

 

Normally when my acne is problematic I like sulfur masks (Proactiv’s best product is their sulfur mask imho), or the Queen Helene Mint Julep mask. My skin is oily and also my skin sheds too fast (my two big causes of acne), so I exfoliate and then apply anti-acne masks to improve my skin.
 

When I first applied the Tea Tree mask it felt a bit burn-y, which I think is strange. I can’t be sure what ingredient causes that.
 

INGREDIENTS
Water, Kaolin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Myristyl Myristate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Propanediol, Alcohol Denat., Caprylyl Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Cyclohexasiloxane, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Menthol, Limonene, Leptospermum Petersonii (Lemon Tea Tree) Oil, t-Butyl Alcohol, Denatonium Benzoate, Tocopherol, Chromium Hydroxide Green, Iron Oxides.
 

If we look at the ingredients we’ll notice it has Kaolin clay (drying, ie good for my purposes!), cetearyl alcohol (this is not drying; it’s a fatty alcohol), glycerin (one of my fave moisturizing ingredients), myristyl myristate (emollient/thickener, softening). Exactly 15 ingredients in, you have Tea Tree oil. I’m not really sure it’s a high concentration due to its low placement on the list (ingredients are listed by concentration). I also didn’t see any particularly effective preservatives (the safest and best studied, also the most effective are in the paraben category) so ironically this may lead to the product CAUSING acne if the jar becomes contaminated.
 

image is a photo of a tiny white plastic spoon with a little bit of the tea tree face mask product in it. Below you can see the jar it comes in with product visible.
 
I used my cute Baviphat spoon to prevent contaminating this jar of spoilable product.

 

How did it work, though? It definitely “feels” like it’s doing something (burning?), but is it really helping my skin?
 

First let’s make a note about what the product CLAIMS to do. It says it’s “suitable” for blemished skin, not that it treats it in any way, or that it does anything actually (clever marketing!). It also says it “instantly cools and lifts away impurities”, but I’m not sure how it would do any lifting, because it’s a wash-off mask. As for cooling, a cooling “effect” is probably because of the menthol in the product, and ice will “cool” skin for free so I’m not sure what the benefit there would be.
 

The Good:

  • Unlike most acne masks, it doesn’t dry hard, which means it doesn’t start to hurt if you accidentally leave it on too long. (I do this a lot)
  • Fun to work with, product in the jar has a “whipped” sort of texture.
  • Mild/tolerable smell, unlike some tea tree products.
  • My skin felt noticeably softer and smoother after use, probably thanks to all the emollient ingredients

The Bad:

  • Smells stupid, like all tea tree products. Bearable but not exciting
  • Burns a little. And that’s strange considering how impenetrable my skin is. Sensitive skin people be warned.
  • Weak preservatives mean you should try to use it up before germs grow in it. This can cause acne!
  • Comes in a jar, so please don’t use your hands or you will infest your product with germs.
  • Terpinen in tea tree oil can cause allergic reactions
  • Concentrations of tea tree oil at 5%+ are shown to be effective, but lower concentrations are not. The amount in this mask is unknown, and could be too low to be effective.

 

COST: One of the more reasonably priced masks from The Body Shop at $15.50USD (as of this posting)
 

Bottom line: Without knowing the concentration of tea tree (but having reasons to think the concentration is low) it seems like the marketing story is just to sell a product. It does soften my skin nicely, but My Beauty Diary Bird’s Nest masks do a better job. The Tea Tree mask isn’t bad, but it’s a waste of money if you need an acne product. If you just want a good mask to relax at night, this an option but there are MUCH better options available and for less. I will not be repurchasing this but I’m glad I was able to try it out.
 

Have you used this tea tree mask before?
 
Have you ever tried a tea tree product?
 
This product was purchased by me. Read my Disclosure here.
 

Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 27th February 2013
Filled Under: Beauty, Reviews
Comments: 20 Comments
Image is a photo of the my beauty diary red vine mask. It's a small rectangular pale pink pouch with vertical stripes and tiny red wine bottle and grape graphics on the top and bottom of the mask. In the center of the mask it reads Red Vine Mask in english, and there are some words in Chinese characters as well, but I can't read them.

 

Hey guys, I’m still feeling a bit better, so I have another review for ya! I know you all still want the Coastal Scents review, and don’t worry IT WILL HAPPEN. I have to save that for a day when I don’t have a lot to do, thanks to Lyme disease I always have to ration my choices. A great story about how that works was written by Christine Miserandino called “The Spoon Theory” (read it here) and it’s worth reading if you or someone you know has a difficult illness or disability with a fatiguing aspect.
 

I picked up this particular My Beauty Diary (MBD) mask during my Imomoko haul in September (want to see what I got? click here). It came in the “Top Seven Sellers” mask pack, and I’ve reviewed almost all of them now (just the Black Pearl and Arbutin left!), so far the Bird’s Nest mask has been my favorite, and you can always read about my favorite products I’ve reviewed in my “Best of” tab on my top bar.
 

If you’re new to sheet masks, you should read about how to use them here. There’s also info on the different MBD masks there as well so you’ll be all prepped forever.
 

Upon opening the package, the scent truly does smell quite a bit like red wine, but it’s not like red wine really smells good, so I don’t know if that’s the greatest idea. It doesn’t smell unpleasant or anything, thankfully, but it’s not exciting to me.
 

As always, the MBD masks are very thin so I had to be careful not to tear it. Successfully applied, I left it on for more than the recommended 20 minutes because I’m a rebel. Afterward I didn’t notice too much of a change. The Red Vine mask is supposed to have a toning, brightening, tightening effect, and I did feel like my skin was “tighter”, like an astringent had been applied. It was NOT overdry, and I think with regular use perhaps it would be good for my oily, acne-prone skin (overdrying oily skin can trigger your skin to produce MOAR OIL, which is not desireable).
 

MBD also advertises that the Red Vine Mask has a lot of antioxidants, and perusing the botanical ingredients it has the “tea” plant (camellia sinensis), grapefruit, licorice, chamomile (beware if you have ragweed allergies!), and watercress (nasturtium officionale). In just a quick lazy search I found some pubmed articles on some of their antioxidant activities. If this mask does have antioxidant effects the benefits to skin would not be obvious with one use.
 

Ingredients:
WATER, GLYCERIN, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CITRUS GRANDIS (GRAPEFRUIT) FRUIT EXTRACT, GLYCYRRHIZA GLABRA (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT, TRIETHANOLAMINE, ARNICA MONTANA FLOWER EXTRACT, YEAST EXTRACT, STYRENE / ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, DIMETHYLSILANOL HYALURONATE, POLYSORBATE 20, METHYLPARABEN, HYDROLYZED LACTOBUMIN, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT, NASTURTIUM OFFICIONALE FLOWER/LEAF EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, SODIUM HYALURONATE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, SQUALANE, DIMETHICONE, CARBOMER, XANTHAN GUM, SODIUM HYDROXIDE
 

The Good:

  • Doesn’t smell bad
  • Does what is promises (tightening effect)
  • MBD masks are very cheap!
  • May even have long-term effects due to antioxidant ingredients
  • Doesn’t dry out skin
  • Good for oily skin

 

The Bad:

  • Not a moisturizing mask (but it doesn’t say it is, though!)
  • Smell is not bad but it’s also not exciting.
  • No way to know the concentration of botanicals, there might not be enough to do anything
  • Ragweed allergy people avoid it or your skin may react.
  • Not as effective as retinols or other expensive ingredients (but it doesn’t claim to be!)

 

Bottom line: I’d include this in a once-weekly mask protocol to keep skin youthful over time. I imagine the effect wouldn’t be very noticeable, you’re far more likely to get results from retinols, but it may help the health of your skin, and at the very least the astringent qualities can help oily skin.
 
Have you tried this mask? What did you think? What are some of your favorite MBD masks or other mask brands you enjoy?
 

Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 8th January 2013
Filled Under: Beauty, Reviews
Comments: 7 Comments
Image is a photo os 3 products in front of an open box with some marketing materials. All are displayed neatly. The three products are all hair care from It factor, 2 are in tubes one is a pump. All three are very cute pink packaging with a apple-green circle with the brandname, and embellished with white filigree vector art.

 

One day, out of nowhere, I received a very nice email from a nice company, but one I’d never heard of before, It Factor:
 

I came across your blog and was wondering – do you review salon products? I work with a company called IT Factor and its products are available in salons in Vermont. Is that the kind of thing you might be interested in?
 

It’s called Simply It Quick Blowdry Smoothing Lotion. It lets you condition and style with hold, reduce drying time and smooth both wet or dry hair using just one product.
 

See? Isn’t that nice? They even knew I was from Vermont! So I replied with something along the lines of “Yes, I’m a total hair junkie, and a quick blowdry is on my list of things to sell firstborn children to get.” They have been very patient considering we first starting communicating in October (but guys, I have a pretty serious illness so I’m not a lazyface), and they sent me a seriously generous package with the full line of the Medium to Coarse hair products (shampoo, conditioner, smoothing lotion). They do have another line made just for Fine hair.
 

Image is a photo of a pink card that is part of the marketing package sent by It Factor. A finger is pointing to a hilarious pun that reads: You'll be blown away!
 
Also readers, by now you KNOW I love a good pun

 
Read more…
 

Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 4th December 2012
Filled Under: Beauty, Reviews
Comments: 12 Comments
image is a photo of a manicured hand holding an opened package of the My Beauty Diary Bird's Nest sheet mask. The packaging is cream colored with silver Edible Nest Swiftlet silhouettes and Chinese characters as well as the English product name.

 

Today I’ll be reviewing the My Beauty Diary Bird’s Nest mask (learn more about sheet masks and My Beauty Diary here). Right now you might be saying “Bird’s Nest?!! Asia, what the fuck?” but before you flip out let’s learn more about it.
 

One of the largest consumers of bird’s nest products is mainland China, the nests being used to make soups, beauty products, and PROFIT. Male edible nest swiftlets (aerodramus fuciphagus, similar to swallows) produce the nests using their saliva. The nests take 35 days to create, and workers are specially trained in climbing and extraction, only taking part of the nest so that the swiftlets can rebuild. After harvesting the nests, they are painstakingly cleaned strand by strand to remove anything that is impure. As you can see they’re difficult to produce, and therefore very expensive. Even just a handful of bird’s nest can run about US $100! A figure I discovered here puts the Malaysian production of bird’s nests at US $1.59 billion, and other countries also produce bird’s nest, notably Thailand and Indonesia.
 

Image is a photo by Paul B. Jones of swiftlets and their nests on cave walls. The birds are dark grey and light grey, they're similar-looking to swallows, and their nests are white flecked with grey, possibly feathers.
 
Adorable swiftlets! Producers house swiftlets in caves (like these) and buildings.
(Photo by Paul B Jones)

 

Bird’s nest is considered one of the “four great youth tonics” in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and the wealthy elite during dynastic times would eat bird’s nest soup daily to keep their skin healthy and young. Today, bird’s nest is said to benefit the skin and is used worldwide for that purpose. It’s a strong symbol of luxury, and due to the building’s shape China’s Beijing National Stadium (2008 Summer Olympics) is nicknamed “The Bird’s Nest”.
 
Read more…
 

Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 25th November 2012
Filled Under: Beauty, Reviews
Comments: 12 Comments

Image is a photo of the packaging for the oriental gold bb cream. It is a cylinder shape with a pink bottom half and a gold top half.When I first I learned about BBs I did a lot of research, I read a TON of reviews (both domestic and foreign) and this product kept coming up. I bought it because I wanted to start out with a good quality BB cream rather than randomly experiment, and overall I was glad I did. If you’re new to BB creams, it might be good to start by reading about what they are, as there are no truly analogous western products.
 

Skin79 is a large brand from South Korea, but it’s more popular and well-known in the west in that it’s a big deal here, and not so much in South Korea. Most women outside of Asia try a Skin79 brand for their first BB cream, but most women in BB-popular countries aren’t as into Skin79. It’s not an inferior brand, personally I think the difference in popularity is a matter of marketing because Skin79 spends a lot of time enticing the foreign market. Read more…
 

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Posted by Cake-Pie
Dated: 25th October 2012
Filled Under: Beauty, Reviews
Comments: 23 Comments