It took me a while to get around to purchasing this mask, mostly because of the shipping costs but also because I wasn’t convinced I really needed another clay mask.
I remember Caroline Hirons saying clay masks are one of the products you really don’t need to spend a lot of money on. And historically I really haven’t. I mostly stick to brands you can find in Boots or the pharmacy (Una Brennan, Origins, Sukin, Body Shop) not really venturing over the £25 mark. So at £28 for 50ml, NIOD’s Flavanone Mud is fairly pricey.
Deciem, the umbrella brand for NIOD, The Ordinary, Hylamide and various other brands, really impresses me with its ethos, which is to develop highly effective products for those who really love to invest their time and energy in the health of their skin (I think they are reasonably priced so left money off that list!). I have used their Hylamide products for a few years and love those, but my first foray into NIOD took me to the Copper Amino Isolate Serum (CAIS). Much hyped on Instagram, I was disappointed in the results (or lack there of).
My lack of success with CAIS was another reason for my reluctance to invest in Flavanone Mud, so it remained lingering at the back of my mind for ages. Finally, when I jumped on The Ordinary band-wagon I added Flavanone Mud to my order from Victoria Health.
What do they say?
NIOD claims that Flavanone Mud (FM) is “more than a mud masque”. They say Flavanone Mud “removes surface impurities, deep cleanses and protects skin against pollution which can lead to premature ageing”. In a way I believe this summarises the real purpose of NIOD as a brand – their products are designed to tackle the issue, but also go the extra mile to provide preventative benefits that promote long-term skin health. (I think this is why I wasn’t seeing ‘results’ with CAIS).
NIOD says that FM takes a three phase approach to decongesting the skin:
Purifying Phase: in this phase, surface impurities including water and oil soluble pollutants, cosmetic product build-up and excess sebum build-up are physically solubilized and removed. Black Amazonian clay binds to external impurities while reducing visible pore inconsistency. A delivery system for oxygen within the formulation increases skin’s aerobic energy system and opposes reactive oxygen species that contribute to longer-term ageing.
Protective Phase: the most innovative approach to decongesting the skin using technologies that offer a shield against external pollutants. Resveratrol and a bio-technological derivative of citrus peel protect against external pro-inflammatory external aggressions which could lead to premature ageing.
Responsive Phase: this phase introduces signalling mechanisms to support dermal immunity against congestion factors while supporting the health of skin. A highly purified flavanone derived from the inner parts of citrus peel triggers sustained circulatory, non-inflammatory response to dermal detoxification and immune functions. Modified oleic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent without disturbing the pH unlike many other acids such as glycolic acid which increase inflammation, reduce derma density and skin’s defence mechanisms.
The star ingredient is flavanone (listed in the ingredients as Glucosyl Hesperidin and Naringenin), which is derived from citrus peel. NIOD states that it “triggers sustained circulatory, non-inflammatory response to dermal detoxification and immune functions”.
Other ingredients I find interesting are Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, which is derived from Azaleic Acid and is shown to help acne and rosacea, and Alteromonas Ferment Extract. Alteromonas are a proteobacteria found in deep areas of seawater and have been found to have water-binding properties for the skin and soothing qualities. There is also resveratrol which is a potent anti-oxidant and has skin-soothing properties.
Aqua (Water), Montmorillonite, Kaolin, Bisabolol, Glycerin, Silca Cetyl Silylate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Panthenyl Triacetate, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Perfluorodecalin, Ethoxydiglycol, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Argilla, Butylene Glycol, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Hydroxyresveratrol, Glycosphingolipids, L-Arginine, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Naringenin, Xanthan Gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Mica, Quartz, Sucrose Palmitate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phemoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin
How do I use it?
Let’s firstly talk about the packaging here. You only get 50ml of product and it’s in a little jar. The jar has a very small opening which proves problematic, especially for those who hate sticking their fingers in product (I’m ashamed to say I’m not too fussed by this!). There is no way you can fit a teaspoon in, so you either need a spatula or a brush. I like to apply my masks with a brush anyway, so this has turned out to be the best option for me. (I believe NIOD have now repackaged FM into a metal tube).
NIOD recommend using FM once a week, but Gill from Victoria Health suggests an accelerated method, using the mask for five nights in a row, when you first try it. This is what I did, except I only did it for four nights (I went away and didn’t want to take it with me). I then used it one week later, and then once as a spot treatment.
To use it, I just followed instructions and spread a thin layer over my face (using an old foundation brush) and left it to do its thang…
What do I think?
Before I get to the results, let me talk about the mask itself.
In an article on Victoria Health, NIOD founder Brandon said “One of the most advanced technologies used in FM is actually one that sounds the most boring: a very refined dispersion mechanism that allows for a very thin layer of the formula to cover the skin surface very evenly. Most masques require a thick layer to be applied to cover the entire face, mainly due to the fact that clays and muds do not disperse well.”
This I totally agree with. Unlike any other mud mask I have used it is possible to use just a thin layer, and it goes on so smoothly. It also therefore doesn’t flake and dust your clothing with clay. I found that when using it for an hour I didn’t need to rehydrate with a spritz, which I often do with other clay masks.
I have used this mask six times, as detailed above. For the first five times I wasn’t convinced. After the sixth time, I am sold.
I’ve come to realise that, for me, the amount of time I leave this on is key to its efficacy.
Let me start by saying, the instructions say to leave on for 10 minutes. That’s pretty standard for a clay mask right? Well, I am a great one for ignoring those kind of instructions and frequently leave masks on for at least an hour. Which is what I did the first time I used FM.
I decided to take it off in the shower as I had read some reviews that said it was very messy and can stain. (It does stain your flannel, but really doesn’t warrant being ‘showered’ off.) When I removed it my face felt like it was on fire. Victoria Health say a tingle/slight stinging is normal, but I expected to look in the mirror and see a red and angry face. When I did examine it wasn’t red, but it definitely felt sore. The mask had also sucked out EVERYTHING – a decent purge, if you will. All the reviews I had read lauded FM for its anti-inflammatory benefits, but nothing about its purging powers.
The following night, adament that I had over done it, I left it on for 20 minutes (seriously – a mask hardly has time to dry in 10 minutes!). This time I had the WOW moment. My face looked refined, tight and a little brighter, and the blemishes that had arisen the night before where calmed and no-longer raised.
Nights three and four I left it on for about 30 minutes, and the results were a bit meh. But then there wasn’t a whole heap going on for it to tackle.
When I used it a week later, it did a good job. Calmed, soothed, didn’t purge (left it on for about 20 minutes). Then last night, I had a bit of a volcano come up and a few congested areas so I decided to give it a go as a spot treatment. I dabbed it on over my cleanser (I didn’t want the rest of my skin to dry out while FM got to work) and left it on for about 12 minutes. It was like magic – congestion gone, raised bumps flattened and the volcano receded!
If I had to compare this to something else I have used, the Aesop Parsley Seed Mask springs to mind. I think they have similar results in terms of calming inflammation and I would say both go beyond basic clay masks which essentially just suction your pores.
FM however is formulated to protect against the harsher elements of the clays, which I think makes a huge difference. Victoria Health talk about the product’s ‘Respect for Dermal Integrity’ here which sums up my feelings exactly.
As for the long-term benefits? I guess we’ll just have to trust NIOD on that one, but the immediate effects are enough to make this mask seriously impressive.
Would I repurchase?
I am only two weeks into using this, so I won’t make any promises, but if it continues to perform in the way it has done then absolutely.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with FM, and/or any other NIOD products. I’m keen to try more but there are so many to choose from!