January 07, 2014

Splurge / Save: Pore Purifying Masks

A decent, deep-cleansing mask has been a staple in my skincare routine for years; it's something we all need, and if you have oily or combination skin, you really need one! For nearly two years, I relied solely upon a stockpile of the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque (excellent stuff if you can get it - it's only available in the States), and after that was gone, I really enjoyed using the REN Invisible Pores Detox mask, which is probably one of the best masks I've ever used. After that, another clay mask from Yon-Ka was a very close contender - you can read about both of these, plus another mask by Voya here.

It seems that I haven't run of of steam when it comes to face masks, as I'm back again to write about the pair that I currently have on rotation. What can I say? I like to try everything! It struck me that one is quite a bit more expensive than the other, so I thought it'd be interesting to compare and contrast the two and see if the more expensive one is really worth the splurge!

Super Facialist by Úna Brennan Tea Flower Deep Clean Pore Purifying Face Mask (€10.99 for 125ml from Boots)

This is a clay mask that comes out white in colour and smells quite herbal - it's not my favourite scent but it didn't bother me too much. The clay is evident as it dries to an almost crumbly finish, and washes off to reveal smooth, soft and balanced skin. It didn't dry my face out, yet left it feeling clean and helped to clear up a couple of zits.

I feel like this is a great quality mask for a Boots brand, and it comes at a fair price. I have to be careful not to motor through my facemasks as I use them all the time and will apply them with a very liberal hand if I don't think about it! So overall - thumbs up for efficacy and good pricing.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask (€29 for 100ml from department stores)

We've all heard about this one - it's a bit of a cult product and Sinéad really enjoyed it last year. It is quite a satisfying mask to use, but for me, the results just weren't there, especially considering the price. It did leave my skin very clean, but that's about it. Other masks I've used over the last year have been more effective, including the Úna Brennan one.

 I used this diligently during what was probably my worst breakout of the year in early December and it didn't make an ounce of difference - the breakout remained the same and was quite slow to clear up. I was surprised and a bit annoyed as in my experience, a good clay mask will accelerate blemish healing - but then I realised, this isn't really a clay mask at all. It is billed as a charcoal one but feels a bit gummy and synthetic on the face as it dries. To be honest, if I'm looking for a charcoal skincare product again, I'd turn to Lush's Dark Angels. Overall, though, what I am taking away from this product is that clay-based masks are what I should always be relying on.


  1. I really like the Una Brennan mask. I sometimes use it as a facewash if I'm having a spotty day ;) It's amazing value for money!

    alex @

  2. I was chatting with my friend recently about these masks, we've both had different experiences. I had a bit of a sensitive reaction to the Úna Brennan mask, left my skin tight and a bit irritated on a few occassions (sometimes it has been fine). My Origins mask has been a faithful friend though, it clears my skin and helps with scarring. I love it. I do tend to leave it on a bit longer than I should, but I just love it! I've oily/combo skin. You should try some of the Liz Earle masks - I've recently discovered them and they are rather wonderful - I'm currently using the Deep Cleansing mask, I prefer it over both the Origins and Úna Brennan! Great post :)

  3. That Uná Brennan mask has been on my radar for a while. Will be purchasing this month I think :)

  4. Thanks for reminding me! I've been meaning to try Úna Brennan's range for ages!!


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