astara activated sea mineral mask

Reviewed by TIA Community Member on March 10, 2014


by Michele

My skin is very oily, especially around the T-zone area. However, I am concerned about over-drying my skin in my problem areas since during the winter months my chin and cheekbones dry and flake. Although I am happy to say I just turned 51, I am involved in the local community theatre scene and am still able to play characters in their 30s! My daily routine consists of using Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser (Normal to Oily Skin) with a Clairsonic Mia, using squalane in certain areas, and changing my make-up and skincare regimen according to the seasons.

Upon opening the jar of Astara Activated Sea Mineral Mask ($33), I found the smell to be a bit much. The ingredients include oatmeal, spirulina algae and rosemary to remineralize the skin, jojoba beads to stimulate circulation, and organic methol and ginseng, which gives the mask its cooling and warming sensation. The consistency is that of pancake batter. The directions on the jar were a bit limited. Maybe this was because the product was not in a box with instructions? On the jar it stated to leave the product on for 5-10 minutes. I was a bit confused. Do I massage the mask until the blue jojoba beads dissolve? I didn't know, so I consulted the website for more information.

The website’s directions instructed me to “massage on to clean skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave on 10-20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. To activate the cooling effect and increase nutrient penetration, place a damp, warm washcloth over mask. Or, apply a thin layer, allow to dry and gently buff off, similar to a gommage.” I had to idea what “gommage” was so I had to look that up, too. Gommage is a French word that means “to erase.” You basically rub the mask off and, hopefully, your skin will feel soft.

Since I usually do masks once a week, I decided to use this mask for a total of four times in all sorts of combinations. The first week, I followed the jar’s directions. I put a somewhat thick layer on my face, waited 10 minutes, then washed it off with warm water. My face was a bit tight and, unfortunately, it made my dry areas more so. The second week, I followed the website’s directions. After 10 minutes I placed a warm washcloth on my face until it was no longer warm. I did this three times until the mask was on my face for a total of 20 minutes. The results were a little better with slight drying on my chin and no drying on my cheekbones. Unfortunately, the smell was so over-powering that I had to wash my face and use the Clairsonic to get rid of it.

For the third week, I decided to give “gommage” a try. I applied a thin layer, let it dry, and then used circular motions to buff it off. Wow! My skin was silky smooth with no drying. An added bonus was the fact that I rubbed off the smell! For the last week, I again used the “gommage” method with the same silky smooth results and no smell. Just remember to lean over a sink or stand in the shower when rubbing the mask off!

I’ve been using this product once a week utilizing the “gommage” method. Last night my mother, who is ultra critical, said my skin looked really smooth and even. This was at 6:00 pm! I do not retouch my make-up during the day so this was a big surprise. The only down side is the smell. For me, it was a bit much and I could smell it even after I rinsed and cleansed again.