Tag Archives: Facial Cleansers

Cupcake Face Mask by Alex

About the Item

Cupcake Face Mask

1 Pot (4-8 uses) for 10.95


The official Lush website has this product listed in the Biofresh section, which means that it is too fresh to be mailed and must be purchased at a Lush retail location and refrigerated. The website says the product contains “mint, Rhassoul Mud and absorbent cocoa powder to treat spots, black heads, open pores and oil happy skin in a delicious chocolate mask.”


Ingredients: Rhassoul Mud, Linseed Infusion, glycerin, talc, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, fresh mint, sandalwood oil, vanilla absolute, spearmint oil, peppermint oil (mentha piperita), Limonene Perfume.

My Review:

I’ve got to say, this one was a first. I’ve always liked the idea of using mud to clean pores and using something that smells and feels just like cupcake frosting is practically Through the Looking Glass (or if you’d prefer, Bizarro World) in terms of skin care. How deliciously ironic.


A few logistical things before I get into the review itself. First of all, this product cannot be purchased online because of its fresh ingredients and it must be kept refrigerated. It also has a decreased shelf life of about 14 days for this reason. And before you ask, freezing the mask to increase the shelf life is out of the question. It would kill the helpful enzymes found in the fresh ingredients. I spoke to the Lush employees about this product at the store in Harvard Square, Cambridge and they suggested starting out with a face scrub (I used Herbalism), then applying the mask and leaving it on for about 10-15 minutes. Then rinse with warm water and finish with one of their moisturizers, Enzymion, Imperialis or Gorgeous. Lush face masks are also good for spot treatments and break-outs, but should be used 2-3 times a week maximum.


I must admit, I hadn’t done a whole lot of research on this product before I used it, which I think ultimately gave me a better perspective on the results, as you shall see. So, having washed with Herbalism, I applied the brown, thoroughly cupcake-scented mask, popped in a frozen pizza and sat in on about 10 minutes of Angel with my boy Langer and his lady friend Amanda. I got a few laughs from the pair, mostly because I looked like a caveman with my mud-caked face and crusty beard, or Gene Wilder from that blackface scene in Silver Streak. It was tough not to smile, but I endured the ridicule with a stony face and tried desperately not to smile for fear I’d mess up the mask’s mojo. Anyway, after washing it off, I immediately noticed a difference. My skin felt tight and stretchy, which at first I thought might have just been because it had felt so coarse and brittle from the mask (felt a little like I imagine botox would), but after I put on some moisturizer I could definitely tell something had changed. My skin felt smooth and clean and… bouncy. It’s hard to describe, really. You know how your skin hurts a little sometimes when you stretch it out for a big bight of a sandwich or a huge toothy smile? After using the mask I felt like I could fit a whole horse in my mouth without much trouble. My skin was incredibly elasticy and flexible. I was surprised to find, upon doing some research, that this was more or less the intended effect. Rhassoul Mud, which makes up the base for this mask, comes from Morocco and apart from being anti-microbial, deep cleansing and full of healthy minerals like Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium (properties belonging to most types of volcanic mud) it is known to reduce aging lines and wrinkles by making the skin more elastic and pliable. So I guess there was a little truth to my original claim. The mask also has peppermint and spearmint oils, which help sooth the skin and cleanse pores.


Another huge benefit is that the mask left my face smelling like rich, chocolaty cupcakes. It’s remarkable to me that the people at Lush can make mud seem so appetizing.


I can’t really think of a lot of cons for this product apart from its limited shelf life and perhaps that its not something I would consider a necessity. I am lucky to have been blessed with a relatively acne-free face, nor do I often wish my skin was more flexible, so it’s less of a staple and more of a luxury for me (which is not necessarily a con). Cost wise, It’s about what I would expect to pay for a mask like this. It gets extra bang-for-your-buck points because the ingredients aren’t the kind of things you can easily acquire. I always have a hard time paying for something I could put together my self for the same cost, but I’m not going to go out of my way to import Rhassoul mud from Morocco when Lush can do it for [probably] cheaper. Not to mention, masks like this usually cost $30 or more for one treatment at a spa and although Lush says that you can get about 4 uses out of a pot, I think the average user could easily get 6-8. I’ve also heard that this stuff is good for softening up your whiskers before a shave. Haven’t given it a shot yet, but as a fellow who appreciates just about any product that makes the daily scrape a little more bearable, you can bet I’ll be trying it out as soon as I work up enough scruff to truly put it to the test.


Bang for Your Buck: $$$


Over-all Rating: 4


Coalface Cleanser by Alex

About the Item

Coalface Cleanser

3.5 oz for $10.95

Available in any size 3.5 oz and up

The Official Lush website says that Coalface “removes impurities and tones” and is good for normal to oily skin types.

The soap contains: Liquorice Root Decoction (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Propylene Glycol, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Stearate, Rosewood Oil (Aniba rosaeordora), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Powdered Charcoal, Sandalwood Oil (Santalum album), Glycerine, Sodium Chloride, EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, *Linalool, Perfume, Silver Edible Lustre (Potassium aluminum silicate, Titanium dioxide, Iron oxides and hydroxides).

My Review

In a lot of ways, this soap is like Robert the Bruce’s victory over the English army at the Battle of Bannockburn: NO ONE saw that one coming. Which is actually the only way this soap is like the Battle of Bannockburn. The point is, I don’t think anyone would look at licorice –the jelly beans you always eat last because they taste like shoe polish – and charcoal – a cosmetic chiefly worn by English street urchins a’la Oliver Twist – and say, hey, that would make a sweet facial cleanser. But somehow, this soap manages to defy conventional wisdom and cleanse a dirty, greasy face like no other, while simultaneously upending all we have come to expect from charcoal and licorice in the past 10,000 years of human existence.

I was intrigued by this soap for many reasons, not the least of which being that many people swear by it for general skin care and acne relief. In fact, I’ve heard that a lot of people switched to Coalface from Proactiv Solution because they found that it worked better (also it’s cheaper and all-natural).

In addition to licorice and charcoal, this soap contains a fairly sturdy soap base derived from palm oil, and with a number of fragrances, some sandalwood oil and a little bit of edible silver. Yeah. That’s right. Silver. Weird huh? Anyway, licorice is a natural demulcent (soothing agent) and has restorative properties that help heal damaged skin.

Sounds like a good thing to put in soap to me, but what’s up with the charcoal? Well, as anyone who has ever swallowed bleach and made it to the emergency room knows, charcoal absorbs and neutralizes toxins (which is why you have to swallow activated charcoal after the stomach pump). The same principle works in cosmetic applications; the charcoal absorbs and neutralizes excess oils, dirt and grime from your skin, as well as adding a light exfoliant to the mixture. Think of the charcoal particles as little sponges that suck up all the nasty crap on your face and grind away dead skin cells. Pretty badass huh?

So I grabbed a sample of the stuff at the Lush store a few days ago and busted it out as soon as I hopped in the shower. The first thing I noticed as I lathered up was that it did not smell quite as pleasant as most Lush products. In fact, it smelled like Windex, which was a little unsettling. But the nice, gritty texture of the charcoal was pleasant enough, and when I rinsed it off, hot damn, did I feel clean. My face was tingly and literally ‘squeaked’. I’ve used a number of face washes before, and probably my biggest problem with them was that they either A: left my face too greasy or too dry, or B: were so harsh with their benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid that they actually triggered more breakouts. Coalface did neither and didn’t even leave my skin dry (though I still recommend you moisturize, lest your face flip out and overcompensate for the lost oils with gnarly nose grease).

Hate it or love it, the underdog’s on top, to quote 50 Cent. This is one of my favorite Lush products, and one of the few that I would consider my ‘staples.’ The only con I can think of is the smell, which you’ll get over quickly. It’s not like benzoyl peroxide or any of the other synthetic alternatives smell any better. I do wish that they had been a little more clever with the name (Bits of carbon + rough texture = Diamonds in the Rough is a way better name?), but I really can’t fault them on it.

Bang for your Buck Rating: $$$

Overall Rating: 4.5