The Clay Mask that Ruined My Night, Plus Some Gentler Pore Cleaners and My Rescue Masks

I’ve had a few bad reactions to products in my time as a K-beauty and skincare enthusiast, but never have I ever had a reaction as immediate and as bad as I did to the clay mask I used tonight. Within minutes after putting the thing on, I was in full ABORT! ABORT!! ABORT!!! mode. Let’s talk about the Skin & Lab Dr. Pore Tightening Glacial Clay Facial Mask, the better alternatives for cleaning out and minimizing the look of pores, and what masks I can count on to save my face tonight.

Some products featured in this post were provided for my consideration by Fifty Shades of Snail sponsor Memebox through the Memebox Ambassadors program and are marked with double asterisks(**). Affiliate links in this post are marked with an asterisk(*).

Review: Skin & Lab Dr. Pore Tightening Glacial Clay Facial Mask**

I’ve actually had this mask in my stash for months and months. It was sent to me in a box of Memebox Ambassador stuff sometime last fall, but because I was at the time deep in the throes of tretface troubles and had a different pore-cleaning mask open anyway, I put it away and forgot about it. I recently ran out of my Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask*(also an Ambassador item, but one that actually worked well for me), dug up the Skin & Lab mask, and figured, oh, why the hell not.

Skin & Lab Glacial Clay Facial Mask review
I shot it posed as an exclamation point in order to show the extreme distress this mask caused for my face.

Purpose: Skin & Lab Dr. Pore Tightening Glacial Clay Facial Mask claims to clean and minimize pores, control excess sebum, exfoliate, and moisturize skin.

Best suited for: People who hate their faces; masochists with face-burning fetishes.

Do not use if: You don’t like it when your face burns.

When and how to use: After cleansing and drying face, spread a thin layer of product over skin. Let dry for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off and follow with your normal skincare routine. That’s what it says on the box. Personally, I say just don’t. Don’t.

Skin & Lab Dr. Pore Tightening Glacial Clay Facial Mask ingredients:  Water, avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, kaolin, bentonite, glycerin, Canadian colloidal clay, stearic acid, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, portulaca oleracea extract, pentylene glycol, triethanolamine, glyceryl stearate SE, cetyl ethylhexanoate, magnesium aluminum silicate, butylene glycol, saccharide isomerate, allantoin, cetearyl alcohol, xanthan gum, disodium EDTA, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol, propylparaben, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), chromium oxide greens (CI 77288)

CosDNA analysis

Notable ingredients: I count three different types of clay in this mask, including Canadian colloidal clay. I’m not super sure what the Canadian origin of the clay is meant to convey here. Natural, clean, and pure are my top guesses, followed immediately by gentle and polite. Well, it may well be natural, clean, and pure, but this mask is friggin rude and not at all gentle. The tea tree leaf oil is likely in here to target breakouts, while the oat flour should provide some gentle exfoliation and ingredients like glycerin, saccharide isomerate, allantoin, and cetearyl alochol aim to moisturize, which is important to offset the naturally drying qualities of clay masks.


Things didn’t start off badly with this product. Softer than many clay masks and a little chunky thanks to the oat flour, Skin & Lab’s Glacial Clay Facial Mask spread easily over my face and felt, at first, creamy and refreshing. It has a pleasant minty fragrance and gave me, at first, a pleasant mild cooling sensation.

Skin and Lab Glacial Clay Mask consistency
It looked harmless enough.

And then the burning started. Oh God the burning.

My skin began to tingle immediately on contact with the mask, and the tingling intensified rapidly. Within a couple of minutes after I finished covering my face with this stuff, the tingling went from from “hm, fun sensation” to “I don’t know about this” to “shitshitshitshitshit get this off of me,” at which point I leapt out of my chair and dashed for the shower.

The most I can say for the rest of the experience is that the mask rinsed off much more easily than most other clay masks, and that it did leave my face slightly brighter and my nose pores a little clearer. These benefits are nowhere near worth the literally painful experience of wearing it for 4 minutes, tops.

After rinsing the mask off and embarking on the rescue routine I’ll talk about below, I consulted with the Snail Unit, including Chel of Holy Snails handmade skincare fame, to see if we could figure out, based on the ingredients, what had gone wrong.

Our first suspicion was that the mask was extremely alkaline, since it contains plenty of clay as well as stearic acid. I thinned the mask with a bit of water to make it runny enough to test with pH strips and found, surprisingly, that it isn’t. It tested at about a 7, fairly neutral.

(Mixing product with a tiny bit of water won’t change the pH enough to invalidate testing results, by the way. Snow explained it by likening an acid to a room full of horny ladies, and a base as a room full of horny bros. Water, which is more or less pH-neutral, enters the room as a heterosexual couple. The addition of that couple to either a room full of ladies or a room full of bros won’t contribute much to balancing out either scenario. For more raunchy pH analogies, check out Snow’s pH primer over on Snow White and the Asian Pear.)

Anyway, the point is that the pH of the mask turns out to not be the issue here.

Skin & Lab clay mask pH test
This may actually be the best/most readable pH test picture I’ve ever taken, and it has strips crusted in nasty evil clay mask goo.

More likely is that it’s the overall formulation of the mask that’s the issue, with the soothing and moisturizing ingredients  being inadequate to even out the inherent harshness of the clays and the tea tree oil. The fact that I’m using prescription tretinoin does make my skin more sensitive than it would be otherwise, but on the other hand, I always use gentle, non-stripping low pH cleansers that don’t leave my skin thin or dry. I also haven’t used my acids for over a month and don’t use physical exfoliants more than once a week. My barrier isn’t that compromised. And even when it was much more compromised than it is now, I never had such an instant and painful response to a product, even one loaded with ingredients considered irritating. For me, Skin & Lab Dr. Pore Tightening Glacial Clay Facial Mask is something very, very special, in a very, very bad way.

Conclusion: I can’t recommend this. Personally, I think that even if this mask doesn’t make your face feel like it’s on fire, any strong tingling indicates that it’s suboptimally harsh. There are better ways to deal with pore issues. If you want to “shrink” your pores by clearing them of accumulated sebum and dead skin cell gunk, and/or if you’re looking for a clay mask alternative that can fit into my three-step pore killer routine, look elsewhere. I’ll give you some better alternatives below.

Rating: 1.5/5

Rating scale:

1 – This should be taken off the market, or this failed at its one primary job.
2 – Caused me some problems or doesn’t work very well; would not buy again.
3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.
4 – Pretty good. Would buy again unless I find something better.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.

Clay masks to clear pores without destroying dry skin (or any skin)

My time in the tretface trenches has forced me to look beyond traditional clay masks like the classic Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask*, which is excellent for normal, combo, or oily non-sensitive skin but just a tad bit drying for my skin type and condition. Here, to make up for the disappointment of a pore-clearing clay mask gone terribly wrong, are my three favorites.

It’s super nice.

For times when my skin feels particularly dry and/or sensitive but does need a bit of deep cleansing, I love My Beauty Diary Moisturizing & Repairing Cleansing Pack. This is a two-step mask set. Each pack comes with a single-use Algae Moisturizing Mud Mask and a Glacier Water Soothing Repair Mask. The mud mask has the silky, soft consistency of a smooth pudding and delivers gentle gunk removal while simultaneously actually moisturizing my skin the way the Skin & Lab glacier clay mask promised to but didn’t. The sheet mask has some fit issues on my face but deeply hydrates and calms my skin afterwards. ($9 for pack of 4, Amazon Prime*)

Algae Moisturizing Mud Mask ingredients:  Water, kaolin, glycerin, neopentyl glycol dicaprate, propylene glycol, bentonite, hydroxyethylcellulose, fragrance, allantoin, chlorphenesin, phenoxyethanol, xanthan gum, hydrolyzed conchiolin protein, punica granatum extract, algae extract, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate  (CosDNA)

Glacier Water Soothing Repair Mask ingredients:  Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, propylene glycol, arnica montana flower extract, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin, polysorbate 20, triethanolamine, polyquaternium-51, sodium hyaluronate, sodium lactate, citric acid, hydroxyethyl urea, macadamia seed oil glycereth-8 esters, hydrolyzed jojoba esters, acer saccharum (sugar maple) extract, algae extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, citrus grandis (grapefruit) fruit extract, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel extract, codium tomentosum extract, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, fucus vesiculosus extract, laminaria digitata extract, lecithin, malva sylvestris (mallow) flower extract, polysorbate 80, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) leaf extract, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract, PEG-15 hydroxystearate, alanine, arginine, betaine, carbomer, glutamic acid, glycine, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, lysine, proline, serine, sorbitol, threonine, xanthan gum, sodium hydroxide, glycosphingolipids, tocopheryl acetate (CosDNA)

When my skin’s feeling dry-to-normal or just normal, I love whipping out the Elizavecca Kangsi 24K Pack**, which was also provided to me through the Memebox Ambassador program. A very strange smooth golden goo, this mask is actually marketed as a hydrating and brightening mask. It consistently gives me clearer and smaller-looking pores as a bonus on top of the radiance-boosting results, though. It’s also really fun, in that Wacky K-Beauty Gimmick way. It goes on gold but turns white and crumbly when ready to rinse off. ($16, Memebox*)

Elizavecca Kangsi 24K Pack ingredients: Water, silica, alcohol, maltose, glycerin, polyvinyl alcohol, cyclopentasiloxane, polysorbate 60, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) extract, origanum vulgare flower/leaf/stem extract, thymus vulgaris (thyme) extract, phyllanthus embilica fruit extract, aristotelia chilensis fruit extract, euterpe oleracea (acai) fruit extract, rubus idaeus (raspberry) fruit extract, vaccinium angustifolium (blueberry) fruit extract, vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract, vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) fruit extract, propolis extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, portulaca oleracea extract, hydrolyzed collagen, adenosine, ceramide 3, gold, synthetic fluorphlogopite, tin oxide, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, carbomer, tromethamine, fragrance (CosDNA)

Finally, when my skin’s either pretty robustly normal or I’ve got makeup on and want to combine clay masking with first cleansing, I reach for the famous Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask**, yet another Memebox Ambassador item. This one gives both skincaretainment and excellent deep pore cleaning (and makeup and sunscreen removal if used without cleansing first!). ($11, Memebox*)

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ingredients: Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, White Clay, Acrylate Copolymer, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Lauramide DEA, TEA-Cocoyl Glutamate, Green Tea Extracts, Glycerine, Dipropylene Glycol, Bentonite, Collagen, Charcoal Powder, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Flavouring Agents, Carbonated Water, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Allantoin, Butylene Glycol, Lavender Extracts, Monarda Didyma Leaf Extracts, Peppermint Leaf Extracts, Freesia Leaf Extracts, Chamomile Flower Extracts, Rosemary Leaf Extracts (CosDNA)

The masks that will be saving my skin tonight

I already had my recovery routine plotted out by the time I finished cleansing the last of the horrifically harsh Skin & Lab Dr. Pore Tightening Glacial Clay Facial Mask from my face.

Dry skin rescue routine
In times of distress, I often reach for the honey.

I’m not going to discuss every step of tonight’s rescue routine (check out my skincare wardrobe if you want links and details about the products in here, or ask me in the comments) but I do want to highlight the masks I’m using.

Immediately after cleansing off the Skin & Lab glacial clay mistake and patting my face dry, I slathered on a layer of I’m From Honey Mask, which I personally think is just about the best honey mask ever made. It contains a substantial amount of uncut honey, as well as snail and a ton of other good things. I left the mask on for over an hour, and my skin felt so good once I rinsed it off that I almost decided to go ahead with my Curology as if it were a normal night. (I didn’t. One risk a night is enough.) (Full review)

Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Mask mini review
A mask that actually lives up to its claims.

Then, much later in my routine, after my final ampoule step, I put on a Dear, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Sheet Mask. These soft cotton sheet masks come soaked with 23ml of a hydrating essence that is exactly what the product’s name suggests. I keep a few of these masks refrigerated at all times in case of irritation or other emergency, and they never fail to calm my skin down and get it feeling normal again. (Amazon*| Wishtrend*)

Dear, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Sheet Mask ingredients: Water, sodium hyaluronate, butylene glycol, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, dimethyl sulfone, betaine, natto gum, disodium EDTA, centella asiatica extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, carbomer, arginine, chlorphenesin, tocopheryl acetate, panthenol, luffa cylindrica fruit/leaf/stem extract, althaea roea flower extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, fragrance, portulaca oleracea extract, lysine HCI, proline, sodium ascorbyl phosephate, acetyl methionine, theanine, apium graveolens (celery) extract, rassica oleracea capitata (cabbage) leaf extract, brassica oleracea italica (broccoli) extract, brassica rapa (turnip) leaf extract, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, solanum lycopersicum (tomato) fruit/leaf/stem extract (CosDNA)

All right, fess up. What’s the worst or fastest reaction you’ve ever had to a product, and what did you do to save yourself afterwards?


45 thoughts on “The Clay Mask that Ruined My Night, Plus Some Gentler Pore Cleaners and My Rescue Masks

  1. It was not one particular product but the sequence of two. I used OST C20 and after the 30 minute wait, decided to use one of those DIY cotton masks that I soaked in SK-II FTE. My experience seems to be exactly the same as yours… at first a gentle tingling and then a rapid escalation to “OHMYGOD HAVE I RUINED MY FACE FOREVER?!?!” level of panic at the burning sensation. I ran to my mask stash, tossed a Benton Snail Bee mask into the freezer while I rinsed the SK-II off, and then put on the mask even if it wasn’t as cool as I would have wanted it to be. And that is why I will never use SK-II after vitamin C ever again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oooooh that’s crazy! Does SK-II have niacinamide in it? I wonder if you have that rare sensitivity to the little bit of niacin that can form when layering B3 over an acid?


      1. SK-II doesn’t have niacinamide. I made sure to check before using it after vitamin C, and I checked again just to make sure, once the burning calmed down and I was able to process a thought beyond “IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTS.” So I still don’t know what could have triggered it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s really strange. I’ve been using the Skin & Lab clay mask for a few months now, and I’ve never had the reaction you did. Maybe there was something wrong with the container you were given? Hmmmm. I find that it clears my pores quite well, and it washes off easily, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I imagine it’s YMMV. There wasn’t anything to indicate that it had gone off, and the people I talked to didn’t sound surprised at all that it would cause the response it did in me. It’s awesome that it works for you!

      Btw I do find that it washes off easily, which was a relief for me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m no chemist, but what did Chel think about the magnesium in it? Totally non-skin related, but I’ ve had friends who have gone into pre-term labor, and apparently some form of magnesium is given via IV to stop the contractions. Both friends talked later (babies were fine) about how the magnesium made them feel like they were burning internally. Apparently this is quite common.


    1. That’s really interesting! I asked her, and she said that magnesium aluminum silicate (which is in this mask) isn’t the same thing as magnesium. It’s a fairly common ingredient apparently (though it certainly could have contributed for different reasons, hahaha).


  4. You know, I used to think of Canadians as polite and gentle, but after working with them (several of my clients at work are Canadian), I’ve also noticed they can be pretty passive aggressive, which kinda goes in line with the nature of this mask D:

    Ridiculous generalization and joke aside (I don’t really think that way about Canadians, just my clients), that mask sounds like a nightmare! It actually reminds me a bit of the Glam Glow mask sampled I tried once – holy crap that burned too, and I wasn’t even on actives/Curology then!

    Glad that there are plenty of gentle cleansing mud mask options out there though. The bubbling mask sounds like fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Just want to pipe in, I think your reaction to this mask is 1,000% because of the tretinoin. It’s probably on the harsher side of clay masks. A couple days ago I tried to do a clay mask I’ve been using for years – Queen Helene’s Mint Julep mask – and it was like the breath of a dragoons on my face. I’m only on .0125% tret on my Curology, and I completely blame it. I couldn’t get it off my face quickly enough. I’ve never, ever had a reaction like that and the only thing that has changed is my tretinoin use. I think it’s just too harsh. I can’t find much actual information to back this up, but it may have to do with possible thinning of the skin, especially when you are just starting or upping your dose. Your use of products with niacinamide probably helped with the sensitivity in the initial period, but didn’t you just up the dose recently?

    (This study is interesting – shows that myristyl nicotinate, a form of B3 (niacin) that is similar to niacinamide, may help with the thinning of the stratum corneum caused by tretinoin. I wonder if there are any AB products out there with this ingredient.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. If this mask were prone to causing this type of reaction to somebody with normal skin I imagine that it would be off the market by now. In the past, whenever I have had a burning sensation in reaction to a product it has usually been because my skin barrier was compromised in some way.

      I understand that the product was very unpleasant to use and that a blogger is just sharing their experience but it does seem slightly unfair to me to write off a product that harshly when it’s a clear case of YMMV.


      1. Hiya! I do hear what you’re saying and wanted to acknowledge that 🙂 I hope the language I used was clear enough in that, like my other reviews, this is my personal experience. Any recommendations I make or choose not to make are based on that. If I have a great experience with a product, I feel I can vouch for it, and if I have a terrible experience, I can’t vouch for it but also feel it’s important to share the experience. Based on things non-bloggers have said to me over social media, it sounds like others have also found this mask quite harsh and irritating, but as they may not be bloggers, unfortunately their experiences aren’t heard.

        As with anything else, if it works well for someone, that’s awesome! Hell, I know plenty of people who swear by pH 10 cleansers and are totally fine, but it’s not something I’d personally recommend because my experience was different 🙂

        Thanks so much for your feedback!


    2. Oooh the myristyl nicontinate study is very interesting indeed! I upped my dose about a month ago but have been alternating between my 0.05% and my 0.07%. Oddly, my barrier is actually in better shape these days than it has been for a long long time, since I stopped using acids. I’ve sampled a few random clay masks here and there in the last few months and been okay with them.

      Someone elsewhere in this thread mentioned the tea tree oil content and the possibility of it being improperly diluted–I think that may be the culprit behind the burning, as my Lador hair products also contain TTO and give my scalp a pleasant tingle that’s like the nice, friendly version of the burning I got from this mask.


      1. Interesting you mention the Lador Tea tree stuff…I’ve noticed since I started tret that if I get a little bit on my face near my hairline it burns like the dickens – same kind of feeling as the mask. I really do think it’s an issue of making your skin a bit more sensitive, because I’ve never had sensitive skin outside a bit of occasional flushing in my life, except that mask and the Lador scalp stuff…and that one time I stupidly put straight TTO on my face without thinking…hmm…forgot about that!

        Now I’m off on a mission to find myristyl nicontinate products!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, tea tree oil is very high on that list of ingredients. I know that certain things are not necessarily listed in order, but I definitely find that improperly diluted tea tree oil will burn like crazy. Also, the fact that the mask is water-based and has almost nothing in the way of carrier oil ingredients suggests that the tea tree would not have been properly dissolved anyway. I really wish cosmetics companies would be more careful with essential oils.

    That said, your review is hilarious. I admire your ability to bring humor to situations of pain and suffering.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m guessing that the tea tree oil played a pretty big role, yeah! It’s funny because I’ve used other products with TTO in them without an issue, but I imagine the other products only have it in lower concentrations. My Lador hair stuff has it and that does indeed give my scalp a pleasant cooling sensation, not overpowering like this.

      Thanks for the very credible theory and thanks for enjoying my pain and suffering. I mean it! Hahahaha!


  7. Wow thanks for sharing a bad review! Luckily this has never happened to me but I have felt really itchy because of some masks before.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ugh, I hate when something like this happens. I think my worst encounter was with the famed Su:m37 Rose Cleansing Stick, which resulted in 12 pimples and a rash-like redness all over my face. That was a HUGE disappointment. My interest was piqued by your heavy use of honey products as a recovery reaction. I don’t have any honey products because the samples of the ones I do use have not really done much for me. Maybe that I’m From Honey mask is next on my wish list…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Try ittttt. It’s so lovely. And unlike other masks that smell like food (cough Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry mask cough), if you get this one in your mouth, well it’s not delicious but it tastes sweet and not like sadness and anger.


  9. honestly, i’ve tried a few clay masks, and had stinging-burning-hell sensations from most. the only commercial pore pack i can use and love love love this stuff is GOODAL Nature’s Solution Bamboo Charcoal Pore Pack, this stuff is divine especially for mature skin with dry patch tendencies, and it does work, i combine it with some AHA/BHA exfoliating same am or pm when i do it, then next day i soothe and hydrate, and my skin is glowing and smooth. the only clay mask i’ll use is one i make myself with french green clay, green tea and manuka honey plus some other yummies.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I apologize on behalf of our Canadian clay for taking part in this crime D= Speaking of crime though, you’ve provided with us the best means of torture muahahaha (Officer, I was only trying to help purify their face! Everyone wants a clearer complexion!) Silliness aside, I’m really glad you provided the latter how-i-saved-my-face part of this blog post. I didn’t have an experience quite as ‘get-this-off-my-face’ as yours, but did recently try a new product that resulted in 6 or 7 zits T_T I didn’t know how to do an extensive post-treatment so I’ve learned for next time! I haven’t thought of putting the Klairs mask in the fridge (that sounds equal parts awesome and COLD) and that Honey Mask is definitely going on my wishlist!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Best suited for: People who hate their faces; masochists with face-burning fetishes.

    Haha! I had a very similar reaction when I tried The Body Shop Seaweed Clay Mask. It went on like any other mask and then within a few minutes a terrible burning started to happen and I was quickly soothing my skin with every moisturizing product I could find.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This made me cringe so badly. The worst I’ve done is keep buffing a cotton pad loaded with acid toner onto a pimple. “Hm, tingles and burns slightly. Pretty sure that’s normals. Hm, looks pretty red. Still normal. OH GOD, it’s bleeding!!! NOT normal!!!”


  13. I had a similar reaction with the Tony Moly, I think it was cooling pore pack, the one in the egg. My face was really red and irritated after that, it took about a week of using only my gentlest products before it was anywhere near normal. I do have very sensitive skin though, my sister did not have such a dramatic reaction as me.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The worst product experience for me so far was the Caolin Blackhead Steam Pore Pack Premium. At the time I was new to K-beauty, and thinking “should it really feel like this”? I gave it the college try two times and then tossed it in the trash. Also, since I was new I did not have an arsenal of recovery items, and just tried to moisture as best I could (basically staying away from that stuff was the best possible recovery strategy).


  15. I’ve had a really bad reaction from three products:
    *Benton Honest Cleansing Foam
    *Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask
    *Lush Kalamazoo
    and I cannot for the life of me figure out why those three. They don’t all have any ingredients in common. I actually used a full tub of Kalamazoo when it first came out and I loved it, but when I got a new one I started reacting to it 😦 .
    When I react badly, I get red, dry/flaky (my skin is super oily so you know it’s bad when this happens), and really itchy. It’s usually all along my nasolabial folds and my chin, occasionally my neck, but nowhere else, which is also baffling. It takes at least a week to get back to normal.
    How’s your skin feeling now? Did your post-mask routine do the trick or are you still recovering?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG that sounds so painful! I would be super curious to know what it is about those three products that makes you react, too. Do you think it might be something hidden in the “fragrance” ingredient? Since brands aren’t required to break down their fragrances into each distinct component, surprises can lurk there sometimes.

      My skin is feeling fine and dandy now. Getting the stuff off right away (instead of waiting it out for the full 15 minutes I’d planned to wear the mask) and immediately slapping on something ultra moisturizing did most of the heavy lifting, and the rest of the routine did exactly what I wanted it to do as far as mitigating the drying effects.

      Interesting thing is that I used a different clay mask the next night (the My Beauty Diary one I talk about in this post)–it has kaolin and bentonite as well but felt just wonderful and cleared out my pores and brightened up my skin very well. I should have just used that instead of the Skin & Lab 😐


  16. Ugh. Where to begin. After having “normal” IN-sensitive skin of steel all my life, age has turned me into one of those people who has sensitivities and allergies to all kinds of things.

    About 2 months ago, I discovered I have an allergy to beeswax/propolis/bee venom/royal jelly/honey, i.e. all things bee. I’d developed a rash around my lips after adding Benton Snail Bee Essence, Goodal Sleeping Pack in Honey, and Skin Food Black Sugar Honey Mask Wash Off to my regular routine. I eliminated BEE from my arsenal (which as a skincare and makeup junkie meant DAYS and DAYS of going through ingredient lists.) Sadly (and I do mean nearly breaking down in tears many times over) I had to get rid of hundreds of products, including most of my favorite lipsticks and lip balms, my HG mascara, eye primer and facial exfoliant, some of my favorite eyeshadows, and my beloved a.m. skincare routine (Sulwhasoo TimeTreasure, which I’d used for years and had no plans to change up. Ever.)

    More recently I realized that every time I put Scinic Snail AIO Ampoule on my skin it made me itchy within minutes – so I pulled that from my arsenal. I also have Cosrx Snail 92 AIO Cream and that seemed to be fine. Then a few nights ago, I did a Freeset Donkey Milk mask and followed that with Cosrx Snail AIO and Freeset Donkey Milk 3D cream and got the same tickling and itching, increasing the longer it sat on my skin. I pulled the Cosrx Snail from my lineup and figured I’d developed some kind of snail allergy.

    I wondered, though, if it was the Donkey Milk instead, so the following night I used the same mask followed by the 3D Cream and had the same reaction, though not as immediate or extreme. It seemed to be caused more by the cream than the mask. I still don’t know what’s causing the reaction.

    Not only is this exasperating (and mysterious – and expensive!) it also makes shopping for and using new skincare products NOT FUN. Many years prior, I’d discovered allergies/sensitivities to SLS and dimethicone so I’m already a seasoned ingredients label reader. But shopping for AB products can be an exercise in frustration since sites selling them rarely, if ever, provide ingredients lists. Thanks to bloggers like you and others, who take the time to carefully list ingredients, I can shop with more confidence. I’ve stopped blind buying skincare and have finally learned to only shop from vendors who will accept returns. But I’m still often discouraged and exhausted trying to find products that will work on my skin and actually be effective without causing a reaction.

    All of that said, this whole process has made me wonder if the things we accept as “problem skin” or individual particularities are really just reactions to certain ingredients. I’ve been using Koh Gen Do Makeup Color Base (primer) in yellow for ages since it’s so effective at neutralizing redness but I don’t really need it anymore. After eliminating bees, my skin is clearer than it’s ever been, with minimal redness – and on a good day, no redness at all. For years, my eyes were painfully dry with little red patches around them. Those have gone away, as has the dryness. I’ve had red dots around my lips for as long as I can remember that I thought were little zitty things. I stopped using lipstick and balm with beeswax; they disappeared and my lips no longer get cracked and dry. Before I realized my scalp was sensitive to SLS and dimethicone, it was itchy, flaky and inflamed. Eliminating those products cut down the inflammation 95%. Finally I stopped using shampoo altogether and the problem is 100% solved. I replaced my shaving cream with conditioner and my calves don’t get crazy dry and itchy anymore. And so on…

    Dry eyes, dry lips, dry itchy legs. These things didn’t seem unusual so I wasn’t thinking about the cause or trying to prevent them – I was trying to find products to treat the problem. KWIM? Turns out I don’t just have naturally dry eyes or lips – the products I was using was causing the dryness, the red dots, the flakes, the itchiness, and so on.

    It makes me wonder – if I could pinpoint every ingredient that I’m sensitive to and completely eliminate it from both my skincare and makeup, would all of my skin issues go away for good? Of course, that would probably leave me with like 3 things to choose from and I’d probably have to stop using makeup altogether – but HEY – maybe underneath it all there’s perfect, beautiful, glowing, clear skin and I’m the one effing it up!
    Sorry so long 😉 Love your blog!


  17. Hey Fiddy! I appreciate your insight, I’ll be sure to watch out for that nasty product.
    One thing that flopped on me is the Face Shop Perfect Sun Eco SPF 50+ PA+++ cream. It’s very fragranced, thick, bad absorption, and to add insult to injury – it has white cast for days! I could not believe my eyes when I applied it. I looked like I smeared white paint on my face! (not to mention the amount I applied was less than you recommend, just to test it out). The white cast didn’t disappear until 3 hours later, after face extensive rubbing. Definitely a 1.5/5 product. I’ll be better of sticking to SPF 15, unknown PA Body Shop moisture cream. sigh
    At least I have a Biore sunscreen on the way!
    What do you think of The Face Shop products, Fiddy?


  18. Hi Fiddy! Big fan of your blog.

    I had an odd reaction this morning and I’m not sure what caused it. Last night I used my actives (Corsx Blackhead and Whitehead power liquids), which I’ve used 3x a week for a few months now with no issue. This morning when I applied sunscreen, I felt a slight burning sensation that only lasted for a minute-ish, but when I looked in a mirror an hour or so later, I noticed that my skin was a bit red (not horrible, but noticeable) and it feels warm. I’m confused because it’s not the first time that I’ve used this sunscreen (neither in general nor the day after actives). It’s Neutrogena Sport Face SPF 70 (been using this because I’m a runner and need something sweatproof, and because I bought some Biore to try for the first time but shipped it to my parents’ house instead of my apartment on accident -__-). I’m wondering if it could be alcohol in the sunscreen or something? But again, it’s not the first time I’ve used it, but it is the first time I’ve reacted to it (and nothing else in my routine has changed).

    Anyway, any recommended masks/ingredients for soothing skin? I want to pick my sheet mask wisely tonight – I have Donkey Milk (aqua and healing), Miss Flower & Mr Honey (I’ve used 3 of my 5, and I must say I like them but am not sure I had the fabulous results you raved about 😦 YMMV, I know), Tosowoong Pure Propolis and Deep Sea, Leaders Tea Tree (which I’ve loved for soothing my skin when it feels like it’s about to break out, but wondering if it will have the same effect on my “burnt”-feeling skin)…among others. Thoughts on which might have the most soothing powers?


  19. Hi Fiddy,

    What kind of fit issues do you have with the My Beauty Diary mask? I’m looking for blank sheet masks for the Chizu Saeki lotion mask method but find that it’s really hard to find masks that fit.


    1. The ones that are used in the 2-step masks with the clay pack first step are made from a fairly low-end pulp that doesn’t cling securely to my face and doesn’t really smooth down, so since the shape isn’t perfect fit for my features, it tends to wrinkle up. I have heard that many of the dry sheet masks don’t really fit great, either. Have you thought about using cotton pads? I hear a lot of people get good results doing that!


  20. Wow I love how honest you are in this post!

    I literally just put on this mask, felt it burn my face off, freaked out, washed it off, and got on the internet to see if anyone else had this reaction. I’ve never EVER had this big of a reaction to a clay mask EVER. I’ve been a regular tretinoin user for about 1.5 years now, have consistently used all types of clay masks (cuz oily skin T_T), and have never had such a bad reaction to anything. Honestly not sure what’s in it, but I really don’t think it’s safe. Thanks for sharing your experience and not recommending a terrible product just because you’re a blogger!


    1. I am almost totally convinced it may be too much or poorly diluted tea tree. I also suspected (and it was suggested) that the tret was what sensitized my face, but I’ve done several other clay masks without an issue. And tea tree products like Lador haircare will give me a mild, pleasant tingle that, if you intensified it by about 10x, is the burn of this crap.

      And thank you for commenting and for the nice words! ❤


  21. Eh? The mask is supposed to have a “tingling” sensation…Kinda like mint toothpaste on skin….I finished a whole tub of Skin & Lab Dr. Pore Tightening Glacial Clay Facial Mask and it actually improved my skin (my pores on my nose are much cleaner).
    I tend to have red angry breakouts when I use harsh skincare products: this didn’t break me out.


  22. Hi, I love your blog!
    I’ve always used MBD masks because they are affordable and easy to find were I leave but I don’t know why exactly but every time I open a new box, the mask tingles on my chin (I’ve always had tiny white numbs there, never been able to make it disappear) and after a few minutes it really starts to burn. I’m a bit of a masochist I guess because I keep it on!!! Sometimes I’ll just wipe the product off my chin and put a tissue there but I leave the mask on because the rest of my face feels fine. The weird thing is that when I use the masks for the second time…. nothing happens! I don’t get it.
    Recently I’ve been using some lululun nourishing masks and my whole face seems to enjoy it, no burning, nothing. So I’ll keep experimenting with other masks but I think I’m done with MBD.


    1. That is a super weird reaction! I wonder what it could be that makes it happen only the first mask out of the box? If you ever figure it out, I’d love to know!


  23. The packaging of your glacial clay mask seems a little different from the original, i have oily sensitive skin but i am so good using this product.. 😄 For me it is mild than elizavecca bubble clay mask 😅


  24. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one panicking about the sharp tingling pain! Your post totally eased my thoughts. I thought my face was gonna explode


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