I Don't Do Skin Care, but I Swear By This Face Mask

This mud mask convinced me to overhaul my take-it-or-leave it approach to skin care.

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girl applying charcoal mud mask in white bathroom
Photo: Marissa Wu

I do not wear makeup. It's not a habit I picked up, and I was also fortunate that during the coming-of-age years, my skin was relatively clear. The endless tubes of lipstick, cakey (or not) foundations, eyeshadows, and blush were overwhelming. It didn't help that I spent 10 years as an ice skater, where cakey make-up was obligatory. And, my one-time experience with mascara did not end in dazzling results—after three applications to each lash, I was left with nothing better than when I started. (If you don't believe me, you'll have to meet me; I have barely any eyelashes at all.) The most effort I'll ever make is with my nails. Even that requires an occasion most times.

Beyond makeup, I have, for years, eschewed any form of skin care, too. Call me lazy or cheap, but it just never worked its way into my routine. However, a few years ago, I was introduced to Good Common Sense Naturals, a local handmade beauty products shop, and last December finally decided to try the same charcoal mud mask I had gifted a friend those three years prior.

hand holding jar of charcoal mud face mask
Marissa Wu

BUY IT: From $14.98, etsy.com

The verdict? I am hooked. (I even bought two more jars to keep me going when I move to Alabama, and I've got it on as I type this. It's dried, so it's getting hard to smile.) This is the only skin-care product I use with some degree of regularity, in addition to the five-step skin-care routine (of which I dutifully do maybe one or two daily) that my beauty guru friend prescribed me. (She even had to write me instructions because I am THAT clueless.)

It's a charcoal mud mask that promises to lighten, brighten, and tighten. I will apply it once a week or maybe twice if I fancy it, but on the days when everything seems to feel irritated and red, I'll do it every day. This mud mask is soothing, cooling, and helps reduce redness—speaking from experience. Did I also mention that it smells like roses?

My preferred application is to give the jar a good shake (it will sometimes separate), open, and scoop from the cap. The vigorous shake leaves more than enough mud sticking to the lid, and you don't need to slather it on. It'll dry in 15 to 30 minutes and then you can rinse it away. (Your sink will look like a riverbed afterwards, though.) After taking it off, I like to slap on toner. On the days I feel particularly motivated, I'll do moisturizer on top of it and pat myself on the back.

If I could only pick one thing to be in my (non-existent) makeup cabinet, there's a sure bet this charcoal mud mask would be the one. It lasts a long time—I'm still on my first jar from December, and that's with using it about twice a week. Anything that motivates a girl who is lazy at best, and usually flippant about skin care and beauty to actually try and take care of herself must be a darn good product.

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