Face Masks That Are Also Cleansers That Are Also Face Masks

When skincare gets all Inception on you.
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Publish date:
April 28, 2016
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cleansers, fresh, multitaskers, face masks, Shea Terra Organics, Espa

Call it straight-up hubris, but I have long-disposed with rookie things like "reading directions" and "heeding precautions." I've used a face cleanser or two before, thanks very much. I'm pretty sure I know how to use one—same goes for face masks. Slap it on, rinse it off. There isn't much to it.

But then suddenly skincare is like, "Riddle me this!" and presents to me the hybrid of a face cleanser that is also a mask — and a face mask that is also a deep cleanser.

OK, take a moment to absorb that.

Great, welcome back.

As far as weird hybrids go, this rates low on a scale from Cronut™ to turducken. In a way, it makes sense that a thick cleanser could very well become a face mask if you just let it marinate for a few minutes. Also, a face mask, given the right consistency, could very well be an easily rinsed cleanser.

Shea Terra Rose Hips Black Soap Facial Wash has African black soap and rose hip oil as a one-two punch for pore-clearing and skin-conditioning. The directions say to slather it on a damp face and "let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes." But it's clearly billed as a "facial wash" so I guess it's just more of a slow cleanser...? It also warns of a slight tingle, which was not for naught; it did indeed tingle (and get in my eye, which I strongly advise you avoid). The rinse-off left my skin feeling a bit like a film was left on there, but lots of natural-billed face products tend to do that. Nothing a little toner swipe can't handle.

Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask is clearly a face mask that wishes it was a cleanser, the same way I wish I was as cool as Imogen Poots in Green Room (oh my god, have you seen this film? It's so good). It has the consistency of a clay mask, albeit slightly gloopier. But it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, if you catch my drift. As a cleanser, things got a bit slimy, but my skin felt rather "purified," so well done, clay. I'd probably stick to using this as a mask or spot treatment, but for what it's worth, you may want to get every penny's worth out of this fancy jar of prestige mud.

ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser is not just a gel cleanser because SURPRISE you can also mask with it. I mean, we're not going to get this far into the story and deviate from the hook here.

This is billed not only as a cleanser/mask but also an exfoliator, which comes in the form of pumpkin enzymes and these jojoba spheres ("smooth round micro-scrubbers"). This makes the most sense as a daily cleanser, and as a mask serves mostly as a melty conditioning agent. But the combo of a gentle physical exfoliant with the hydrating and nourishing jojoba means my skin was soft and smooth as a rabbit's foot afterwards (which pleases my instant gratification sensibilities, given the steep price tag).

I get that multi-masking paved the way for all these new innovations of masking, but when it comes to cleansers I rarely eff around if I want something to work. I have less qualms with combining skincare products, but am more skeptical with dual-purpose things. So if you're a cleanser—cleanse. And if you're a mask... do whatever you're supposed to do. What is this world we've come to? I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS.

Do you guys mess with dual-purpose skincare products? Do you go rogue and dual-purpose-ify anything you see fit? Is that against the rules of physics? Will it make your face implode? Questions.