Many, many samples later, this is what I've found:
This mask has many different alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, as well as kaolin and charcoal to pull out the toxins and oils in your pores. You can actually see the spots on your skin where it's pulling out the sebum! Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids really help your cell turnover, and slough off all the dead skin cells that cover up your beautiful, new skin. It leaves your skin looking healthy and glowing, and the results were noticeable the moment I washed off the mask. The texture of my skin was very soft and tight, but not uncomfortable, and any active blemishes appeared smaller and less inflamed than before. GlamGlow has a great sample pack, for only $11.99, that allows you to try out three of their products. I've used it a few times now, and the results are consistent with each use.
Now, as I was looking at the ingredients, one major thing that stuck out to me was, uh, sodium hydroxide. Which seriously makes my skin crawl. Sodium hydroxide is also known as lye. It is also the 4th ingredient on the list, only after water, kaolin, and magnesium aluminum silicate, which is a product thickener and essentially just a filler. If you didn't know, the order in which the ingredients are listed is based on how much of that ingredient is in the product. Therefore, there is more water than any other ingredient in this mask.
The point I'm trying to make is that there is a pretty substantial amount of sodium hydroxide in this mask. Sodium hydroxide can be extremely dangerous if not used with caution. It is a primary ingredient in many detergents, drain cleaners, etc, and, when mixed with water, can be used to decompose animal and human corpses (or for a more scientific source, click here). Now, sodium hydroxide could be a good thing, as it could easily dissolve a few top layers of skin. But that makes me wonder. Is that what makes this "miracle product" a miracle? To burn off the top couple layers of skin would bring forth new, refreshed skin, and with the addition of a ton of alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acid, as well as pyruvic acid (used for skin lightening), this is an overnight success story. You will see results instantly. However, I honestly can't imagine this being great for long-term use, especially with limonene, linalool, and benzyl benzoate packed in there simply to make it smell better. I almost I figure that this is just a fad that will go as quickly as it came, especially with an incredibly high price tag of $69 for 1.2 ounces.
Now, onto my solution for my GlamGlow problem!
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. I am in love. This mask is so incredible. Origins has the slogan "Powered by Nature. Proven by Science," which drew me in. I am a sucker for natural ingredients in skincare products, and I have only heard good things about this brand. They recently had a tiny sample size of this mask as a 100 point perk at Sephora, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it. As soon as I tried it the first few times, I wanted more. I am definitely going to repurchase this once my deluxe sample runs out! That being said, you don't need a lot of product. I've used my small 1 oz sample at least 3 or 4 times now, and I'm pretty sure I still have enough for one more use. It runs at $24 for 3.4 ounces, which is a third of the price and three times the size of GlamGlow.
For me, it does the same thing as GlamGlow -- naturally. The ingredients list for this product is about half the size of the list for the GlamGlow mask, and I actually recognize most of these ingredients. There are four clays in this mask: kaolin, bentonite, montmorillionite, and of course, charcoal. Each of these clays is used to suck the toxins and oils from your pores, and montmorillionite is actually used to treat contact dermatitis. This mask also has an antioxidant called lecithin, which is found in all living organisms, and is a great moisturizer. The most "bizarre" ingredients I found in this product are the ingredients that keep the product from separating, none of which are really that scary.
Something that actually completely shocked me is that it is appropriate for different skin types. I have dry-combination skin, with patches of psoriasis, and since using this mask, I have noticed my psoriasis actually decreasing and the balance returning to my skin. Most masks like this just irritate my psoriasis and make it flare up, and make my dry patches even drier. My boyfriend, who has oily-combination skin, found that he had similar results. To him, it felt like the GlamGlow mask. For example, he could feel the tingling, like the sebum was being pulled out of his pores, just like the GlamGlow mask does! He also found that his skin felt fresh and tight (but not uncomfortable) after washing this mask off.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to sit here and bash one mask while praising another. If you like GlamGlow, and it works for you, more power to you! But I honestly can't comfortably recommend using that product long-term or daily, despite the "use as often as needed" direction on the packaging.
Final thoughts: GlamGlow? Not worth the hype. Origins Charcoal Mask? YES!
p.s Don't forget that there is still plenty of time to sign up for my Catching Fire giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway