January 2016 Birchbox Review #4: RE:P Bio Fresh Mask

I always enjoy a good mask.

Clay masks are my go-to whenever I feel the need to do a deep cleansing. I normally rely on them in the summer, when my oily t-zone is acting up, but in the cooler months I’ll occasionally use them if my skin feels especially icky.

This past month, I went on an international trip to the Motherland (Peru). There, it’s currently summer and the humidity is off the charts. Throw in long plane travel into the mix and I was dying for a deep cleansing clay mask by the time I got home.

This mask from re:p (real elemental practice) could not have come at a better time. The Bio Fresh Mask with Real Calming Herb (USD $41.00, full size) is a clay mask from South Korea. And boy, is this one pricey mask! Definitely not the most expensive I’ve received in a subscription (that goes to a $60 mask I got in a Boxycharm), but still expensive enough that this better have the power of unicorn tears to justify the price. Now, you do get 130 grams (4.5 oz) so there is quite a bit of product in the full size. Still, that’s a little under $10 an ounce.

The ingredients don’t look very problematic, except for one: the dreaded fragrance. Granted, it is super hard to find face masks that don’t have fragrance, but I really wish skincare companies wouldn’t put this in their products or at least have a fragrance-free option. My skin did not get irritated, so the amount is probably small, but if you’re particularly sensitive to fragrance you’ll want to be cautious and do a test strip first.

It does have a hefty amount of plant, flower, and seed extract, enough to justify it’s plant power claim. I like it when the ingredients match the product’s claims. There are a good amount of oils, which makes it a great clay mask for drier skin or for winter-time skin. But if you have very oily skin, you may need a clay mask that doesn’t contain so many oils. I don’t think it will make you break out, but you may be disappointed with the results.

Anyway, I’m not sure what fragrance was added because the clay mask still smells mostly like the herbs in it. It is very much a “I have plant paste on my face” scent. Not bad, but not the nicest scent. It didn’t bother me, though.

The kaolin clay base that’s used is really nice. It’s very much a soft clay in that it doesn’t dry down tight and tough like a traditional mask. Instead, you end up with a smooth, powdery finish where you can still move your face without breaking up the clay. It’s very comfortable to wear and doesn’t make your face feel like a sculpture.

I wanted to see just how much this mask had exfoliated, so ignoring the instructions, I used it after cleansing but before toning. And let me tell you, after toning I did notice some extra gunk being removed by my toner from the surface of my skin. I think it’s best to do it this way so you can make sure you’re getting rid of everything the mask has extracted.

My skin was left feeling soft, clean, and firm but without feeling tight and overly dry. I don’t think this mask will be enough to tackle my t-zone in the summer, but it should be good while the weather is dry. The sample size comes packed with a ton of uses, so it’ll keep me set until June.

Now, does this take care of zits and the like? No, it’s not going to. Why? Because once a breakout is there, it’s going to stay there and you just have to deal with it until it goes away. I do think the ingredients can help soothe the redness and inflammation, but isn’t going to make the breakout go away. Regularly using a clay mask like this can help to prevent breakouts by giving pores a deep cleanse. But sadly, once the break out is there you can’t “treat” it.

Rating: 4.5/5. This mask does deliver on its promises. I’ve used it a few times now and each time I get the same results: deeply cleansed skin that isn’t dried out. This mask should be good for people with normal/dry/combo skin, but those with oily skin may find it to be lacking. If you have sensitive skin, note that there is fragrance and some rose water so make sure to do a test strip before using it on your face. Is it a mask that’s worth the price? I think it can be. Am I going to repurchase it once my sample is gone? Mmm, probably not. I have other exfoliating masks that are fragrance free and less expensive that I prefer. But if you love splurging on skincare, this might be something nice to try.

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