Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: The Magical Powers of Kate Somerville's Clearing Mask

I was really excited to write this review because it's for one of my all-time favorite products.

Let me begin with a little story.  Five years ago I was lucky enough to marry Hubby.  It was a beautiful day in the Colorado Mountains and all was well in the world, including my complexion.  This was amazing because I've always had temperamental skin that would suddenly break out for no reason.

Here I am getting ready for the wedding.
My photographer, Autumn Burke, was fantastic and I didn't even notice when she was taking this photo.
This was the short time in my life between breakouts and before hyperpigmentation. 

In college I went through a bad phase with acne that didn't let up until I finally tried Proactiv.  It was amazing to finally find something that worked.  Maybe that's when the obsession really started.  I think my lovely wedding skin was due to a few different things including not drinking any alcohol for the month or so leading up to the event, exercising and eating healthy.  I also simplified my skincare routine A LOT because I was more concerned about maintaining the status quo for a while than anti-aging.

After the honeymoon everything went back to normal, including my breakout prone skin.  I felt like I had used up all of my "Good Skin Karma" on the wedding and none of my usual go-to products seemed to help.

Finally I saw a blog post somewhere that mentioned the Kate Somerville 911 Kit.  I wish I could remember who it was so I could thank them.  It contained the Detox Daily Cleanser, Clarifying Treatment Toner, Anti Bac Acne Treatment Lotion and the Clearing Mask.

As soon as I started using the kit my skin immediately changed.  I could not believe it.  The Detox Daily Cleanser is still one of my favorite cleansers, especially to use with my Clarisonic.  Over time my skin calmed down and I strayed away from Kate's magical 911 Kit except for one of the products: The Clearing Mask.

I love this mask for so many reasons.  It sucks up oil with Kaolin Clay but somehow isn't as drying as other clay masks.  That means you can use it several times a week.  It's chockfull of antioxidants A, C and E to fight free radicals and it contains Phytic Acid to decrease hyperpigmentation.  BHAs help exfoliate while it unclogs pores and helps fight current zits.  This sucker packs a punch.  I often use this as a spot treatment because, as I already mentioned above, it doesn't dry out the skin as much as common benzoyl peroxide products.

I think that the formula has changed a bit over the years like we've seen with other Kate Somerville products.  A little while ago Kelly over at Gouldylox Reviews posted about how the famous Quench Serum has changed a bit as well.  This just happens sometimes when brands grow, change manufacturers, find new investors or get new product development directors, etc., and sometimes it leads to a better product.

The main change I noticed is that the older bottles mention a trademarked compound for sebum regulation they called "REGUSEB"that isn't in the newer descriptions.  Most of the ingredients on the ingredient listing look the same although the order one a couple ingredients has changed slightly and maybe one or two aren't there anymore.  Here is the current ingredient list from the Kate Somerville website:
Water/Aqua/Eau, Kaolin, Cetyl Alcohol, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Glycerin, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Bisabolol, Phytic Acid, Triethanolamine, Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract, Butylene Glycol, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Extract, Guaiazulene, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Allantoin, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Caprylyl Glycol, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Cyclopentasiloxane, BHT, Cyclohexasiloxane, Disodium Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Carbomer, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Oleanolic Acid, Sodium Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Chlorphenesin, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947)
I still think this is a great mask and I can really see a difference in my skin.  I always know when I've gone too long without using it because I'll start getting little clogged pores on my forehead and chin.  This helps clear them right up.

As you can see from the photo, it looks like a typical white clay mask but it doesn't feel chalky or muddy.  It's more of a creamy, lotion-like texture.  I usually put on a thinner layer than in the photo above and it works just as well as a thick layer.  A little goes a long way!

You may see some redness right after you use this and I'd recommend testing it on a patch of skin first because these are some truly active ingredients.  I like to use this whenever I take a nice relaxing bath and then rinse with cool water.  I can leave it on for a while since my skin is used to it but I'd start with just 5 minutes if your patch test goes all right.

This is a mask that is worth the $45 price.  A bottle will last for months, even if you use it regularly.  For sale at Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and

Photos: Me & Autumn Burke Photography

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