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Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare is quickly becoming one of my favorite skin care brands. After becoming enamored with a Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum ($68 in the shop) sample recently, I had pretty high expectations for the Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask ($42 in the shop) and it mostly lived up to them! I’m in my mid-twenties and my skin is frustratingly combination — dry on the cheeks with clogged pores and some blemishes around the t-zone. I am also on a strict budget and prefer my products are efficient but low-maintenance.
According to the DDG website, this mask is designed to minimize the appearance of pores, dissolve blackheads, heal breakouts, and absorb excess oil. The key ingredients are colloidal sulfur and kaolin clay. While sulfur was new to me, I had used other clay products before and found them inefficient, messy, and difficult to use. This product, in contrast, is light, creamy and smooths on more like a lotion. It also contains healing bentonite clay, hydrating glycerin, soothing aloe, brightening licorice root, collagen-boosting retinol, and other great ingredients.
The directions on the packaging say it can be worn in a thin layer under makeup during the day or in a thicker layer overnight — but either way, it should be applied to clean, dry skin. The instructions online are slightly different: Apply a thin layer up to 3x daily, leave on for 10 mins, then wash off (or wear overnight). I usually chose to wear it on overnight. Sometimes it itched a little, but I never needed to wash it off. There is a slight sulfur smell, but it isn’t obtrusive (though it doesn’t fade). I have had no issues with this product rubbing off and staining my sheets, pajamas or towels.
Applying this product takes a bit of practice. I found that using it as a spot treatment or applying thicker layers didn’t work well, so I always smeared a thin layer over each region of my face (forehead, nose, and chin). I would press the applicator very lightly to get a scant pea-sized amount, then rub it in gently yet quickly until it disappears (then stop!). Too much product, too much rubbing, or too much moisture on the skin and the product will pill and flake off. Another helpful tip: Be sure to apply after flossing. Blegh.
On my fair skin the product disappears, doesn’t affect my makeup, and even blurs imperfections slightly. However, it may cause a slight grey cast on dark or warm skin tones. It’s a great mattifier and definitely helps heal existing breakouts and reduces their redness (both aesthetically and by treating the inflammation). The mask does not help irritation not caused by breakouts, but it doesn’t make it worse either. Also, my blackheads and clogged pores haven’t really improved since using.
This product hasn’t completely turned my skin around, but I’m relatively hopeful that I will see cumulative benefits in the near future. It’s so easy to use, and with such a tiny amount needed for each application, the jar should last for ages. If I ever run out there’s a good chance I will repurchase, and I would definitely recommend it.
While the Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask hasn’t solved all of my t-zone problems, it’s a definite step in the right direction. I’m looking forward to discovering more new favorites in the Dr. Dennis Gross line!