What's a Honey Mask? A Head to Head (to Head) Review

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

I'm not sure what it says about me or my intelligence that I didn't think about writing this post sooner. Especially since (to be honest) I bought two of these after being inspired by all the hype around one. Oh well, c'est la vie, because today friends, we're talking about honey masks.

What is a honey mask? I think it's best described not only by the prevalence of honey in the formula, but by the intended effects: hydration. Across the board honey masks are primarily intended to improve moisture/hydration levels in the user, which is why you'll see that and plumping in almost every description below. In my opinion/experience most aren't super "active" in terms of acids/exfoliation, and they can be left on the skin for long periods of time without concerns, especially in regards to potential irritation. Let me know if you have any questions, and I hope this gives you some idea of whether your skincare routine would benefit from one!

Clockwise from the bottom left: Hyaluronic Honey Mask, The Petal Honey, The Honey Mud

Product: The Honey Mud
May Lindstrom Skin
Price: $90 for 3.38 fl oz ($26.63 per oz)
An exquisitely distinctive union of raw honey, silver, white halloysite clay, and aromatic plant oils marry with our unique, natural exfoliating acid to envelop you in an intoxicating and highly-addictive cleansing and masking ritual.

This cushy, luscious pudding frees you of the day’s pollutants, infusing skin with enzymes as it plumps, softens, and revives circulatory rhythm to restore optimal hydration and luminance.

Recommended Time Worn: Up to 60min
Does it dry down? Yes.
Fragrance? Yes, via various essential oils and extracts (Cananga Odorata (Ylang-Ylang) Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense) Oil, Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Oil, Juniperus Virginiana (Cedarwood) Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Peel Extract, Gaultheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) Leaf Extract).
Source: May Lindstrom Skin
My Thoughts:
I'm not gonna call this mask the OG, but it's definitely the one that grabbed my attention first. Between Caroline Hirons and the various bloggers who were in love and sang its praises I knew I had to try it, almost (kind of) regardless of price point, but it was SOLD OUT. And it stayed sold out. And then to the horrors of almost everyone, it was announced that it was coming back "better than ever" aka reformulated. In other words I can't compare this to the original Honey Mud, only speak to how it works in its current iteration, and generally that opinion is "like, but don't love". Or maybe not
"don't love" but "don't understand the hype".

Unlike the other masks in this post, the Honey Mud does dry down due to the presence of Kaolin Clay in the ingredient list and with the inclusion of Wintergreen Extract, an organic form of salicylic acid, it's on the more active side. It doesn't tingle, but I do tend to classify this as more purifying and thus really enjoy using it when I feel like my skin is congested or on the edge of breaking out. It's not drying on my oily skin, though depending on your skin type you may want to mist while wearing it, preventing any dry down.On the other hand I do completely agree with the lush descriptor, as it's got a wonderfully thick, non drippy texture and a sweet, almost cocoa like smell. Plus it can be used either as a mask or a day to day facial cleanser. Generally, I think this mask ends up being the most well rounded when it comes to seasons of usage (ie Winter vs Summer) and ways, but perhaps not as hydrating as the other two below.

Left: Hyaluronic Honey Mask, Right: The Honey Mud

Product: Hyaluronic Honey Mask
Truth Treatment Systems
Price: $49 for 1 fl oz ($49 per oz)
Hyaluronic Honey Mask provides skin with essential water hydration for all skin types. Contains a high concentration of water-binding hyaluronic acid, which aids the skin in essential water retention and enhances overall hydration and plumpness. Pure Colorado Clover Honey boosts this mask’s ability to bind water to the skin, while providing a natural source of lactic acid and honey enzymes for additional skin softening and brightening. Vitamins C and E, and Aloe Vera nourish and calm the skin, making this the perfect finishing mask for any facial protocol.
Recommended Time Worn: 10-15min
Does it dry down? No.
Fragrance? No, but there are a few flower extracts at the end of the ingredients list (Bixa Orellana Leaf Extract, Jacaranda Mimosifolia Flower Extract, Kalanchoe Pinnata Leaf Extract).
Source: Harben House
My Thoughts: I'm so thankful for Vanessa of Goals To Get Glowing for introducing me to Harben House. Not only is it a(nother) family run business, they stock a variety of brands I've never heard of before, but not so many that I can't stumble upon gems like this. But because I love you I will start with the things I don't like about this mask: it is the most expensive per ounce and it only comes in the 1 fl oz jar, meaning most people will go through it relatively quickly. Next it has that vaguely unpleasant non-fragrance smell and the texture is not that aesthetically pleasing. But what I like? Well I really like that my face feels pleasantly cool throughout the entire time I'm wearing it, it has no dry down but doesn't drip, and rinses away to (in my opinion) leave a brighter, soft to the touch result.

Now I'm aware that brighter is super subjective (and arguably racist/a colorism holdover) and it's not even something I would attribute to any significant lightening of leftover spots of hyperpigmentation. The best way I can describe it is that it's just as if overall my face is simply better, subtly, in a way that I really like. Could just be an after effect of the hydration and plumping that is the mask's main goal, but I suspect it also could be attributed to that organic source of lactic acid and the honey enzymes.  But that price... I ordered my first jar in mid-November of last year, and I'm down to one application.

Product: The Petal Honey
Take Care
Price: $50 for 8 fl oz ($6.25 per oz)
Incredibly soothing, this facial honey is packed with the most nourishing ingredients that support all skin types — especially reactive and sensitive skin. You can apply all over face and use as frequently as desired.

I (creator Becky Waddell) personally love this mask when my skin is feeling dry and sensitive, or when I have breakouts that need to be left alone but I have the urge to mess with them. It’s just so calming and gentle.

Recommended Time Worn: No limit given.
Does it dry down? No.
Fragrance? No, unless you count the roses the honey is infused with.
Source: Take Care Shop
My Thoughts: This is the new kid on the block to me, but it's made a strong first impression. Initially created as part of a masking set that encouraged parents to introduce self care routines and conversations with their children, you can now just buy the honey mask (which was perfect for me). And for something that is unmistakably the experience of applying honey to ones face, it actually wasn't that unwieldy? I brought out an old, repurposed, foundation brush, dipped it directly in the jar, and applied it directly to my face (the product spreads easily once introduced to the heat of your skin). It smells strongly of what it is, local honey, though once on the face it's not overwhelming - and the addition of rose petals is visually appealing and I'm sure does something important I don't know, lol. The one downfall of the simplicity of the formula is that it did have a tendency to drip; not significantly, and it could have something to do with how much I applied, but for the hour or so I wore it I cleaned up a few drops from my chest and decolletage area. Probably means it's a great bath mask though?

Rinsing was much easier than I thought it'd be, and my face felt (broken record here) plump and moisturized. I think especially as we continue throughout this long LOONNNGGGG WINTER of cold dry air and indoor heating, it will be nice to come back to this and leave it on for as little or as much time as I have. Or a great pairing to the other splurge I made last year, the Sodashi Scalp and Hair Mask, because that's another product that's recommended to leave on for an hour if you have the time. Oh, and I could actually use it as a designed as the vehicle of a dry mask I bought... a while ago before I knew I wasn't the type of person who should buy anything that requires finicky mixing. 

And that's it! I wanted to do this round up in hopes that even though I don't give you a definite must buy or favorite, you would have some more information to reference when you're thinking of adding one to your own routine. Generally I think a good rule of thumb would be to ask yourself "how long do I want to wear this mask" and keep that answer in mind as you browse the interwebs. Thanks for joining me on this rather lengthy word journey, and if you have any questions let me know!

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