There’s something about packaging that just gets you, isn’t there? It was 100% the packaging that drew my attention to Herbivore Botanicals when I first saw the Blue Tansy mask pop up on The Beauty Bloss’ instagram feed. It’s clean and minimalist, at the same time looking high-end and luxurious.
I started to see the Blue Tansy BHA appear in more and more places with rave reviews, and after a while I decided it deserved a place in my stash. Along with this mask, I picked up the Winter Glow Kit ( I think this was limited addition), which featured the Brighten mask, Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water, Orchid facial oil roller and the Coco Rose lip polish and conditioner.
I’m going to talk to you specifically about the masks (the Rose water is lovely though).
What do they say
Pretty limited descriptions on the Herbivore website, which I like (I think) – no over-inflated marketing claims, they just focus on educating you about the key ingredients and let you make a call from there.
Blue Tansy: “Blue Tansy oil, fruit enzymes, and White Willow Bark combine in this gently resurfacing and clarifying mask.”
Brighten: “Gentle fruit enzymes combine with micronized Tourmaline gemstone and rice powder in this brightening radiance mask.”
Herbivore is a ‘green brand’ and are very upfront about what they promise to deliver in their ingredients lists:
Created with: Natural ingredients, plant-based food-grade cold-pressed oils, steam distilled therapeutic-grade essential oils, GMO free soy wax, recyclable and reusable packaging, many certified organic ingredients.
Created without: Synthetic ingredients, parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, phthalates, chemicals, fillers, animal testing, mineral oils, petroleum.
They also don’t use any filler products, so if you like your products really clean and simple, with every ingredient having an ‘active’ role, this is a brand worth looking at.
Back to the masks.
Blue Tansy: First up you’ve got White Willow Bark, a natural BHA high in salicylic acid (BHAs are great for breakouts and acne as they get deep into the pore to exfoliate). Then we have the natural AHA exfoliants – fruit enzymes. Pineapple, papaya fruit and papaya leaf to be precise. Any finally, the incredibly popular and trendy Blue Tansy oil – a great anti-inflammatory. Chuck in a few hydrating ingredients and that is pretty much it.
Full list of ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (plant derived), Glycerin, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine) Absolute, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Ananas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Ultramarines CI 77007, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Leucidal (Radish Root ferment)
Brighten: This mask also contains the pineapple and papaya enzymes for gentle exfoliation. Added to that is Rice Powder, an eastern skincare favourite that claims to smooth and brighten (this settles at the bottom so recommend stirring before use!). The final star ingredient is Brazilian White Tourmaline Gemstone.
Given that this product is not supposed to be massaged into the skin (limiting any physical exfoliating action) this gemstone seems like a surprising ingredient. However a bit of Googling led me to this article which says there is some research claiming that tourmaline radiates infra-red rays and this heats the skin, therefore boosting circulation (and glow!).
Full list of ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Gel, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (plant derived), Glycerin, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Fruit Extract, Pineapple Natural Melange, Ananas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Brazilian Micronized Tourmaline Gemstone Powder, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Powder, Leucidal (Radish Root ferment)
I like Herbivore’s approach to their formulations – the brand really has faith in the efficacy of the ingredients they choose and are willing to let them stand alone and let them prove their worth.
How do I use it?
As with all masks, I apply after cleansing using an old foundation brush (for clay masks I do a quick spritz with a hydrating toner before applying – not with these though). Given the gel texture of these, they set like a film over the skin, but are not tight or drying. The instructions say 15-20 mins, but I would normally leave these on for about 30 (just because they are so comfortable I almost forget I have them on, and they don’t irritate after prolonged use). Remove with face cloth. Follow with serum/oil – you know the drill.
What do I think?
Blue Tansy: In theory, of the two, this should have been the mask for me. BHA? Check. Anti-inflammatory? Check. But this just didn’t do much for me. It’s nice enough to use – the gel texture is nice and cooling, but it just doesn’t pack as much punch (or any?) as other BHA/breakout-targeting products I’ve used. For me that’s a deal breaker. I don’t find BHA to be particularly ‘resurfacing’ on my skin, not like glycolic and lactic, so it’s got to be able to do battle with the spots to be worth it. This is a nice product, but I would recommend it more for people who have pretty decent skin, but are occasionally bothered by blackheads and dullness.
Brighten: This product was a surprise for me. I really wasn’t expecting much, as its star ingredients are essentially physical exfoliants – which didn’t make sense to me given that this doesn’t call for massaging into the skin. However, this seriously, genuinely works. Using this results in that li’l bit of magic I’m such a fan of – my skin just looks tighter and brighter, inexplicably so. And, not just bright as in glowy, but bright as in lighter – pigmentation faded, even skin-tone, that kind of thing. This really is a lovely product and I would highly recommend for anyone who has issues with general dullness. I wouldn’t recommend relying on it for serious hyper-pigmentation, but it might make a nice addition if you use a serum treatment specifically for that.
Would I repurchase?
Not the Blue Tansy. I’m afraid my money is better spent on more potent BHAs.
I’m undecided on the Brighten. I think I would consider repurchasing if my skin got to the stage where it was consistently in a good place, because I really do like and rate it. But, for now, I have bigger fish to fry and there just isn’t a place for this is my current routine.