Herbivore is a true millennial brand: clean ingredients, minimalistic packaging, good vibe gemstones, cruelty-free status, and an underdog, kitchen-to-Sephora husband/wife founder story that you can really root for.
Funny enough, I first encountered Herbivore on Etsy.
“What an amazing brand!” I thought. “Their photography and packaging is so beautiful!”
A month later, I received an email from Sephora, highlighting the brand.
It is because of Herbivore’s modest roots that there is a place for them to sit at both tables–so to speak. The brand began in the founders’ Seattle kitchen. They were looking for a way to make clean, natural beauty products. Their minimalistic packaging and clean ingredient lists caught on, and today they’ve made it about as big as any brand could dream.
What I specifically love about Herbivore is their commitment to a few simple ingredients. Throughout their products, you see common threads: azulene—which is a highly anti-inflammatory compound derived from blue tansy—finds its way into their products again and again. Their Lapis facial oil, which I previously reviewed, prominently featured azulene and squalane; it was one of the best facial oils I’ve ever used.
Today’s review also focuses on high-azulene blue tansy: The Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask.
Review: Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask
The Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask is a combo AHA/BHA mask, aimed at gentle skin cell turnover (resurfacing) via chemical exfoliation. Fruit acids bring the AHAs, blue tansy adds an anti-inflammatory benefit, and Willow Bark (natural source of salicylic acid) brings the pore-cleaning BHAs.
The ingredients are as follows:
Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hydroxyeythl Cellulose (plant-derived) glycerin, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine) Flower Oil, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Anasas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Ultramarines Cl 77007, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Leucidal (Radish Root) Extract.
The instructions say to wear the mask for 20 minutes, which is as long as one can wear a face mask and still expect to derive any benefits (read more here). For those with sensitive skin, 5-10 minutes will do. Usually one should only use an AHA mask 2-3x a week, but the packaging doesn’t indicate a suggested frequency of use.
There’s plenty to say about this product, so let me get right to it:
The Positives: Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask
First of all, the experience of using the mask is great. It smells great—the same faint smell that the facial oil has—with a light blue tent and a syrupy consistency. It’s easy to apply and fully coat the skin without wasting excess product on the application.
For an AHA/BHA mask, it’s surprisingly gentle. I felt no stinging at all—not like the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask.
After applying the mask for 20 minutes and rinsing off, my skin was glowing.
It left a nice finish on my freshly-washed skin; a clean, hydrated glow.
This definitely one of those products that works—and quickly.
Or does it?
The Negatives: Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask
Ohh.. I had to be the bearer of bad news, but there were a few things I just really didn’t like about the mask.
Like: Why would Herbivore choose to add coloring to the product?
For a natural, clean brand, this seems to go against everything they stand for. It makes me wonder—is the scent natural, too? I hope so, because otherwise the product is not labeled correctly under FDA cosmetic packaging standards.
What about the AHAs and BHAs?
Paula Burgeon seems to think that fruit enzymes acting as AHAs are not strong enough—or even measured at all—so we cannot make an estimate about the effectiveness of the product. They may also be irritants.
She also says specifically that willow bark extract used as a substitute for salicylic acid is ineffective (mainly because willow bark contains salicin, which needs an enzyme to become salicylic acid) but willow bark may provide skin soothing benefits (source).
Finally, this beautiful mask is in a jar.
Although I have been light on my criticism of jar packaging in the past, Nicki of Futurederm recently brought the jar packaging—and its many faults–back into the spotlight (source). She says it all with this:
Jars are the worst offenders of the available skin care containers, because they are opened and closed frequently, exposing the entire surface of the product to airborne contaminants. Add in the fact that light and air also hit the top surface of your cream every time you open the jar, breaking down unstable antioxidants, and you’ve got me seriously wondering why any moisturizer comes in a jar.
Jars look and feel beautiful, but they’re just not worth it… especially at this price point! $48 for a product that will break down in less than a month. Ugh.
Takeaways: Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask Review
Experience and results (anecdotal evidence only, of course!) I would give it a solid 8/10.
However, research wise–especially for its claims–it gets a 3 or 4/10.
Overall, I had a great experience with this mask. The packaging is adorable (did I mention that I kept the box? Because I did.). The mask smells good, feels good, and gosh do the results show immediately. It’s just one of those masks that you want to use over and over again.
With all the criticism of fruit enzymes as AHAs, willow bark as a BHA and jar packaging—oh, not to mention the lofty millennial price point–it does make you stop and wonder: is this mask really the one?
Personally, I’m still on the search for my perfect resurfacing mask. I love Drunk Elephant’s Framboos TLC Serum for my AHAs and BHAs, but it’s just not as much fun as masking! Sure, skincare should be routine so that the results add up over time, but can’t it be routine and fun?
I’ll keep you all updated on the journey, as I search for the perfect mask. In the mean time, if you want to try the Blue Tansy mask, feel free to purchase through the widget below (proceeds help keep this content free!).
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