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After trying the Astara Botanical Eye Treatment a few months ago, I found myself not terribly eager to give Astara another shot. So, when Truth In Aging offered me the chance to try the Astara Commitment Kit ($62), I wasn’t overjoyed, though I gamely agreed (I’m product-obsessed, what can I say?). The research I had originally done on Astara and the company’s dedication to natural ingredients still intrigued me, but I was leery of this “commitment kit” for two reasons — first, because my Botanical Eye Treatment trial was less than thrilling, and second because I really just am not a fan of facial masks. I did a little research while awaiting the arrival of the kit and, once again, wasn’t thrilled. Some reviews were pretty negative, warning of everything from skin dyeing to adverse reactions. There were also some positive reviews, but mostly for the individual masks — I had a hard time finding many reviews for the kit.
Regardless, the kit arrived in an adorable little package with three different colored mask pots, a handy zip-up case, a brush for applying the masks and a color-coded diagram with instructions. I immediately washed my face and used an alcohol-based toner to make sure I had a clean canvas. Following the included instructions, I used the brush to apply the blue mask to my forehead and nose, the purple mask to my cheeks, and the green mask to my chin and around my mouth. The directions stated that I could leave the mask on for anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes. I ended up leaving the mask on for 30 minutes for every application (I loved how it felt when the mask dried on my face — it tightened my skin up and made me feel like I was anti-aging in a matter of minutes).
Overall, the first thing I fell in love with was the brush that came with the masks. I absolutely hate applying masks with my fingers — I feel like I’m merely rubbing oil on my face, no matter how clean my hands are. Each mask smelled and felt different on my skin — I’m not sure that I would choose to use any of the masks individually on my entire face — but using the three together was a perfect juxtaposition. The Blue Flame Purification Mask ($42/2 oz in the shop) did sting the first few applications, but not enough to make me more than a little uncomfortable. The Violet Flame Enzyme Mask ($48/2 oz) had the strongest smell — a very organic, earthy scent that my husband hated. The texture of this mask was a little more liquid-y, but it felt good on my cheeks. The Green Papaya Nutrient Mask ($42/2 oz) was the thickest and had a very aloe-like scent. After about 15 minutes, all the masks were more-or-less dry and my face was basically frozen due to the strength of the dry masks. After 30 minutes, I removed the masks using a lot of warm water and a washcloth. I tried using makeup remover a few times, but it wasn’t getting the job done — lots of water was really the only solution. Then I used my alcohol-based toner to verify that my pores were clean and the mask was completely gone. This step is one I highly recommend — I didn’t have any skin staining like other’s complained of, likely because I was religious with the toner.
Each mask has specific ingredients designed to target varying skin concerns. The Blue Flame Purification Mask is meant to address oily and/or acne prone skin and is made with tea tree oil — an ingredient known for its blemish fighting abilities. I only used the Blue Flame mask on my forehead and nose, the most oil-prone areas of my face. I read a number of suggestions for using the Blue Flame mask as a spot-treatment and leaving it on overnight. I tried this and it did work, significantly helping to diminish the blemish overnight. The Violet Flame Enzyme Mask is designed more for mature skin or any skin that needs a little extra healing. The active ingredients include vitamins C, E, A, and B5 — but it also uses sugar cane and fruit enzymes to exfoliate. The Violet Flame mask is the one most likely to stain the skin, so do be aware of this. I wouldn’t recommend using it without a toner or serious makeup remover after the mask is removed. Finally, the Green Papaya Nutrient Mask uses algae and green papaya enzymes to help exfoliate gently. The Green Papaya mask seemed like the least effective for my skin, but my skin tends to need less “gentle” and more “ow, that stings!” For individuals with sensitive skin, I think the Green Papaya Nutrient Mask would be perfect while the other two masks might be too harsh.
Overall, I highly recommend the Astara Commitment Kit. I didn’t expect to like it, but I quickly fell in love. I adore how smooth and tight it makes my skin feel. Unfortunately, these effects weren’t terribly long lasting, but I’m sure they improve with continued use. I don’t get many black/white heads, so I really can’t speak to its impact there, but it certainly helps my skin stay blemish-free. It also performs well as an anti-ager, with its nourishing and tightening properties, even if those effects are not permanent. The scents take some getting used to, as does the mask removal process, but it’s easily a product I will purchase again and again. I did notice some separation in a couple of the masks, but after some research I discovered that this is normal and the masks just need to be stirred for the water and enzymes to re-merge. The kit is a little pricey, but when you consider that you’re getting three different products all wrapped up in one treatment, it makes it seem more cost-effective. I will definitely be repurchasing once I run out!
Final thought: be warned, you WILL look like a clown when wearing these masks. They do not go on, or dry, clear. These are not masks that your significant other won’t notice — in fact, they could possibly work as face paint for Halloween, if so desired. But that little issue didn’t stop me from falling in love, so I hope it won’t stop you either!