This should come as no surprise to anyone who has known or worked with me professionally, but I have a bit of a thing for Mario Badescu products. I love crazy cutting edge skincare with insane packaging and wild ingredients as much as the next person, but deep down at my core I just like products that a.) work, b.) work and c.) work.
That’s the thing about the Mario Badescu line: what you read on the label is what it’s going to do. Nothing more, nothing less. That kind of blunt, no bullshit approach in skincare is as refreshing as it is rare.
I thought I’d kick off Mario Mondays with product that I’ve been using more or less continually for five years now. Talk about a long product trial period, right?
Whitening Mask from Mario Badescu is a white clay-based mask that brightens the complexion and gives a pep to dull skin. The most important thing I can think to say about this mask is that it is not a bleach-based pigmentation treatment. A bleach-based treatment requires an on-off cycle of use (i.e. use for two weeks, take one week off) to avoid thinning or damaging the skin, but as Whitening Mask is a neutral product containing no bleaching agents it’s both suitable for sensitised skins and appropriate to be used more or less continually for as long as you want to keep using it.
The active ingredients are kojic acid (a mushroom extract used to prevent pigment oxidisation in food products and a common by-product of malted rice in sake production – not entirely dissimilar to a very $$$ brand that tout a ‘miracle’ by-product of sake production, no?), licorice extract (light doses applied topically can assist with hyperpigmentation), mulberry extract (compliments and duplicates the effects of topical licorice extract) and grape extract (compliments the effects of licorice and mulberry extracts). These are all mild, low intensity active ingredients, and unless you had a contact allergy with any of the ingredients, I’d be confident in recommending this mask to all but the most hyper-sensitised skins.
The reason why Whitening Mask has been an old faithful product of mine for so many years is that it’s wonderful for keeping my freckles at bay. If I’ve been a bit slack on the sunscreen or I’ve cycled off using vitamin C products (topical vitamin C is marvy for porcelain skinned gals and boys as it gives your skin a bit of lit from within glow, not unlike a glass of champagne~) and I’m looking a bit haggard and grey, then using this for a couple of weeks gives me that perkiness all over again.
Contrary to what Mario Badescu claim, I don’t think this is a hydrating mask at all. If anything, the white clay leaves me wanting to go to town with my moisturiser. My skin is normal-dry though, so your mileage may vary wildly.
My method for using this product is about as low-key as you can get. First thing in the morning, before showering or doing any cleansing, I slap on a thin layer and then blearily check my email and slam back a cup of coffee. When it dries to the point that I’m either gently shedding a fine flurry of white clay or it feels tight, I stumble into the shower and rinse it off before doing my usual cleanse-tone-moisturise.
If I’m looking to give some serious glow to my skin I’ll be unusually dedicated and use it two or three times a week. Normally though I just reach for it if I haven’t had enough sleep, I’m looking a bit ill or – and this is a valid excuse for doing a mask! – I just want to sit around for a few minutes.
Is this all making sense? If not, here’s the super short version:
- If you’re looking for an instant super noticeable brightening effect, you’re better off looking at a cheap cloth mask with a bleaching compound.
- If you’re looking for a longer term and/or gentle way to even out your complexion without being bleachy mcbleach-a-lot, this is a good choice.
- A little bit goes a very, very long way.
- It isn’t hydrating.
- It’s an excellent put-on-a-mask-for-the-sake-of-wearing-a-mask mask.
- Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Ingredients: Deionized Water (Aqua), Kaolin, Balsam (Myroxylon Pereirae Resin) Peru, Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Starch, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Sorbitol, Kojic Acid, Mulberry Extract, Licorice Extract, Grape Extract, Scullcap (Scutellaria Galericulate) Extract.
Mario Badescu Whitening Mask retails for AU$64.95 at Kit Cosmetics.