Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Elizabeth Arden Hydrating Mask

It's no secret that I am notoriously shrewish and anal-retentive when it comes to my skincare. I have a specific set of products that I use in a very specific order and manner, and it's incredibly rare that I try something new. After all, I've managed to keep my skin relatively clear and healthy throughout the years, but there have been a few instances where trying a new, much-raved-about product tore my face up for days at a time. This is primarily because my skin--especially on my cheeks and chin--is sensitive and reacts poorly to most products, although I'm not entirely sure what causes these reactions, as many of my HG products are made from a mildly terrifying laundry list of chemicals. It is what it is, I suppose.

But when I saw the Elizabeth Arden Hydrating Mask on sale for $5 at TJ Maxx, I just had to try it. I've recently fallen in love with Elizabeth Arden skincare, namely the sadly-discontinued Let There Be Light SPF15 day cream (I have 2 back-up bottles in the basement fridge). More importantly, I've never had a problem with any Elizabeth Arden items

Until now.

First, the basics. The Hydrating Mask comes in a light pink tube and normally retails for $15 for 3.7 oz. It's quite a hefty tube, and considering it only takes a quarter-sized dollop to cover most of my face in a thick layer, it's bound to last you a while.

The mask itself is a thick, mauve-colored cream with a faint berry scent. It feels really lovely when you apply it, sort of like you're coating your skin in a rich moisturizer, and it actually starts to tingle with a vague cooling sensation after you've left it on for a few minutes. There were a few moments when the tingle bordered on stinging, which should have been a warning sign for me, but it would fade away and go back to feeling tingly and cool and kinda awesome, so I ignored it.

The directions say to leave the mask on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse or tissue it off. I've used this mask twice and tried both, and to be honest, I didn't see much of a difference: both methods left my post-mask skin in the same state...

...slightly plumped-up and hydrated, but also slightly sticky and quite irritated.

Now, again, my skin tends to be relatively sensitive, especially along the cheek area, but you can see just how much it irritated my skin after a mere 5 minutes. My cheeks are normally pretty smooth, but after using the Elizabeth Arden Hydrating Mask, they were covered in itchy red irritation bumps. These bumps went down and faded after about 10 minutes, as did the itch, but they were still slightly visible.

I also really, REALLY dislike how sticky my skin feels, even after I've rinsed the mask off with warm water. It's sort of a catch-22, because I love how plump and "full" my skin feels when I press on it, but when I lift my fingers and feel that filmy stickiness on my fingertips, I just get icked out. I probably never had to apply my night cream after using this mask, but the stickiness unnerved me, so I always used a small amount once the irritation bumps had calmed down.

Overall, this is an OK hydrating mask. You might be wondering, "How is it ok if it tore your face up?!" Well, you have to remember:

1) the irritation was only temporary, unlike my reactions to some other skincare products,

2) it DID plump up my skin and moisturize it a bit, and

3) not everybody has whacko skin like mine.

Most people would probably be just fine using this mask, and because it has that plumping quality to it, I think it would be especially nice for more mature skin. Personally, I find a Greek yogurt and honey mask just as hydrating and far less irritating (albeit a little smellier), and I strongly dislike having "sticky" skin. It's not a terrible product, but I'll pass on it in the future.

3 out of 5.

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