I mentioned buying this mask waaaaay back in the Sephora Spring Sale post, and after several weeks’ worth of twice-a-week use I think it’s probably time for a review.
The Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea GreenEnvy ($56/4.1 oz) has a name that is stupidly long, but also a pretty awesome ingredients list and beautiful packaging.
I feel like we here at PrettySuperb often (and RIGHTFULLY) complain about terrible packaging and/or design, so I’m going to devote a whole paragraph here to praising Farmacy’s aesthetic.
It is gorgeous. The heavy hexagonal glass jar echoes its many bee-derived ingredients, while the wooden lid gives it a great rustic vibe. (That’s their ~brand~.) I love their choice of fonts and botanical graphics. The label is pretty, foil-embossed, and sealed in such a way that the label is waterproof. (Can you believe this picture was taken after it’s spent about two months in my shower? The label still looks fab. Unfortunately, the wooden lid hasn’t fared quite as well — it popped off the plastic screw lid last night when I was using it, as the glue seems to have loosened. Learn from my mistake and maybe don’t keep it directly under your showerhead?)
The wooden lid covers a magnet to which the included metal spatula affixes, so you don’t have to worry about losing it … and yet I’ve already lost it, because my superpower is misplacing things. Although honey is pretty far down the ingredients list, they’ve made the goo a pretty honey color (no added dyes, though, so it must be from the actual ingredients). Top notch, Farmacy. Let’s be friends. (Collier, you’re welcome to chime in with any graphic design insight.)
BUT as I have no patience with cosmetics that look good but perform poorly, it’s time to move on to the review of the actual product inside the pretty package.
I will buy anything with honey in it. I’m a sucker for honeyed skincare. If you were like, “hey Finch, design your ideal mask,” I’d be like “idk honey plus stuff like panthenol and propolis and royal jelly and glycerin I guess? The usual hydrating anti-inflammatory ingredients? And can you make it warm up because I’m always cold? K thx.” AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THIS IS.
Did you catch that bit where IT WARMS UP? I cannot cope with cold weather (and yet I choose to live in a mountainous desert whose tagline is “Best Snow On Earth”). I spend most of the
winter year bundled in blankets and slippers and scarves. A mask that promises to apply warmth directly to my face? That’s my kind of face mask.
The ingredients list is fab. It includes glycerin (a delightful humectant), honey extract and honey (do I really need to go over the benefits of honey again?), propolis extract (‘bee glue’ — basically, bee spit + plant resins), royal jelly extract (a nutritious bee delicacy secreted by workers and served only to larvae and the queen), panthenol (hydrating vitamin B5), and allantoin (a keratolytic, among other things). Between these ingredients we’ve got antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, in addition to hydrating, keratolytic, and cell-turnover-boosting properties. That’s impressive.
The instructions recommend leaving it on for ten to fifteen minutes, but I’m cautious and started with five. The mask is sticky; not quite like honey, but like a pureed gumdrop. As you massage it over the skin, it turns white and creamy (still a little sticky, but solidly in the ‘cream’ territory — almost a little greasy) and warms up. The effect is weird, a radiant, toasty sensation. It doesn’t ever hit ‘tingly’ territory for me, much less “burninatin’ the village,” EXCEPT when I accidentally apply it too close to the lips or eyes. That pleasant warming sensation? Yeah, not so pleasant on undereye skin. Or upper lip skin. (This also means that if your skin is more sensitive than mine, which I can’t even fathom because mine is obnoxiously sensitive, this might not be the mask for you. Maybe try pure honey?) I upped the time on my skin with each consecutive use; ten, fifteen, twenty, and thirty minutes were all fine (and I do think I saw better effects with thirty minutes than ten, but I can’t prove it).
How are the results? Once rinsed, my skin is smoother and softer than usual — and flushed, unfortunately. It’s a nighttime-only mask in the Finch household. (It also leaves a little residue if rinsed with plain water, so I rinse what I can before using a tiny daub of the It Bye Bye Makeup cleansing balm to dissolve any leftovers.) The true magic happens overnight; the next morning, my skin is still softer and smoother, plus my skintone is more even than usual. I don’t find that it hydrates particularly well (which is weird, given the glycerin), but it also doesn’t dry out my skin at all. Maybe I should try layering this over a serum or applying to a damp face, same as I do with other humectants.
THE VERDICT : Good!
The First Aid Beauty oatmeal mask is more soothing and hydrating, a pure oatmeal mask is more exfoliating, and a pure honey mask is all-around steller, BUT none of them smooth out my skin texture as well as this one. (Probably the allantoin?) I feel like this is one of those masks that works better long-term and with repeated use, as my skin is incrementally smoother the more times I use it.
Would I spend $56 on it? Nah. I bought mine for about $30, and I don’t know if I’d repurchase it even at that price. But I DO like it, and will continue using it until it’s gone. Given my current skin priorities — dryness, sensitivity, flakiness — I’m more likely to reach for the FAB oatmeal mask or plain ol’ honey; once my skin is less needy, I’ll probably appreciate this type of mask more. On the plus side, it doesn’t take much product to cover the entire face, and I expect to get many more months’ worth of uses out of this if I keep using it twice a week.
p.s. The scent is weird and I can’t quite place it. It’s kind of a car smell (motor oil?), metallic chemical fire, and herbal tea (maybe the ginger and echinacea?). It’s subtle and I don’t find it unpleasant, but it annoys me that I can’t find the right description for it. If any of you try this, please let me know how YOU’D describe it!
Glycerin, Diglycerin, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Honey Extract, Propolis Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Panthenol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Allantoin, Phenoxyethanol, Echinacea Purpurea Root Extract, Honey, Water, Flavor, Vanillyl Butyl Ether.