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I tried the Michael Todd True Organics Kaolin Clay Detoxifying Facial Mask ($34) for a month. This is for oily, combination and acne-prone skin. My skin is quite oily and prone to blackheads around the nose that are very hard to get rid of. And even at age 33, I still get bumps on my forehead.
Michael Todd True Organics is a company that develops and makes products in an FDA registered and certified organic facility. A quote on their website states, "You'll love what's in it. You'll love even more what's not." They use aloe juice instead of water in most of their products.
In this mask, aloe juice is the first ingredient, followed by French green clay. The third ingredient, surprisingly, is phenoxyethanol, which is not what I expected from a natural and organic company. The mask contains kaolin clay, also called white clay, and montmorillonite (pink) clay. It also has manganese violet, which is a popular inorganic pigment. I don't find color necessary to add to skin care.
This product comes in a nice purple bottle with a pump, which I like, as this keeps impurities out of the product. The mask is an orangy-brown color and a little more runny than I expected. The smell is kind of muddy and musty but fine. The mask went on smoothly and seemed to have a few tiny crystal-like exfoliating pieces in it, but the product dried quite quickly, so the exfoliating pieces weren't as useful as they could have been. It spread on smoothly and dried fast. As soon as I put it on, my face stung, mostly around the creases of the nose and around the mouth. I was not expecting this, and the stinging lasted for about two minutes. According to my research, this is due to the clay’s absorptive properties and its ability to draw out impurities and toxins from the skin. As this happens, blood circulation increases and is pulled to the surface of the skin, which causes the stinging sensation. I imagine that those with sensitive or dry skin could be quite bothered by this sensation. But my skin wasn't red and didn't seem irritated when I took the mask off.
I found the mask difficult to rinse off completely. After my first use, I waited about 20 minutes before washing off the product using just my hands and lukewarm water. This method didn’t work very well, and I had to use three toner pads to get the mask off my skin. The second time, I used a facecloth to wash off the mask, and I still couldn’t get all of the product off. The best rinse I got was in the shower, and even then, I had to use two toner pads to completely clear it off.
After rinsing, I used toner and a light serum. The first thing I noticed even after the first use was how clean my skin was. I use the Clarisonic deep pore cleansing brush, which I thought kept my pores pretty clean, but there is no comparison to this mask. I also noticed that the pores on my cheeks and by my nose looked a little smaller after the first use, likely because there was less dirt in them. My skin felt soft and supple, not like it had a residue on it.
Three days later when it came time for the second use, the pump was completely clogged, and I ended up just unscrewing the lid for the remainder of the use.
After a month, my pores were clean and smaller, and I actually had fewer blackheads on my nose. This is a great product that provided immediate results. With the exception of the packaging and the phenoxyethanol in a higher concentration, I loved this product. I hope Michael Todd plans to reformulate and repackage, but I plan to add this to my regimen, as it has greatly helped clear my skin.