I’m Recommending This Affordable Face Mask To Everyone I Meet

Consider your blemishes busted.

Skincare evangelists and rookies alike have been singing the praises of The Ordinary for years now, with particular fanfare pertaining to the cult serums. The brand chooses to forgo fancy packaging for minimal, does-as-it-says branding to cut through the decorative hyperbole. Instead, it reroutes company resources from flashy marketing campaigns into high quality formulas at an accessible price point (and we’re talking $9.90 for a potent skin treatment).

So when The Ordinary announced the impending launch of their first foray into the face mask category, skin shelves were cleared in anticipation. And lucky me, I got my hands on a lab sample of the Salicylic Acid 2% Masque in the weeks leading up to the launch. Want to know if it’s worth the hype? Read on for my review of The Ordinary’s first-ever face mask.

Eager skincare devotee that I am, I tried the mask the night it arrived on my desk. The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Masque contains, as advertised, a high concentration of salicylic acid which is basically repellent for irksome breakouts. My jawline happens to be a hormonal hotbed, so bathing my skin in salicylic acid is my idea of complexion nirvana. The charcoal and clay-infused formula is designed to unclog pores and leave dull, congested skin feeling reinvigorated and smooth, as the BHAs in the formula work their magic on dead skin cells and subdue excess sebum. Essentially, it’s intense exfoliation.

I opened my sample, which will be housed in a tube when it lands in stores from June 10, and smoothed it over my face. It has a slightly granular texture and a thick, inky colour–similar to Glamglow’s mud masks, but not quite as thick and with a scent that smells, at least to me, faintly peppermint. As I’m spreading it over my face, I notice the acne areas I’ve covered feel oddly refreshed and cooled, as if the mask is seeping straight into my breakouts.

It hardens over the recommended 10 minutes that I leave it on, but it doesn’t render my face expressionless like some masks do. I begin to rinse it off with tepid water as per directions, but become too impatient and instead remove with a warm face towel. I look in the mirror at my breakouts and note that my pimples look significantly less inflamed, but still there–not that I expected them to magically disappear. Satisfied with my visibly calmed spots, I put on my regular night cream and went to bed.

I sleepily trudged to the bathroom the next morning, I couldn’t believe my bleary eyes when I looked in the mirror–my breakouts had all but cleared. The pimples that had stubbornly taken up residence on my chin for weeks were now minuscule or gone altogether. They were no longer forcing their way to freedom beneath the surface of my skin, instead they were now tiny specks on my otherwise clear complexion. Within days, there was none left and my skin was the calmest and clearest I’ve seen it in months, and I’ve been espousing the benefits of this mask ever since.

But enough superlatives, let’s get down to it–sure it might be my new hormonal skin holy grail, but would I recommend it to everyone? Well no, but it’s not designed for everyone–it’s an acne mask, formulated for acneic skin and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who struggles with persistent breakouts. And for $21.90, it’s set to be another cult success for The Ordinary, so I truly wouldn’t begrudge you if you bought two. Just as long as there’s enough for me to snap up a tube or 10 too, as this formula is anything but ordinary.

Click here to find out exactly where to buy The Ordinary in Australia, and to learn the diff between The Ordinary, NIOD and Hylamide.

Header image source: @georgiafowler.