Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Masking and Relaxing with Bird & 98th

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I teased these cute little packages from Bird & 98th, which is a handmade beauty line on Etsy. I also promised to blog about them tonight or tomorrow, so despite all the crazy after-school stuff (helping with homework, packing lunches, making dinner, laying out clothes for tomorrow, etc.), I still managed to get this review typed up for you. That probably doesn't phase you, but I'm happy to have kept that promise.

Anyway, did anyone guess what was wrapped up inside these tiny bundles? Does the small wooden spoon give anything away?

It all started with this Chocolate and Coffee Mask that I saw posted on Bird & 98th's Instagram page. I love chocolate and a pampering face mask, so of course I commented about this scrumptious combination. To my surprise, the shop owner, Suhey Saldarriago, offered to send me some for review, as well as samples of the Charcoal & Matcha Purifying Mask and the Palmera Balancing Facial Oil. She also sent her Facial Steam No. 1 that you probably already noticed in the first pic.

Let's start with the Chocolate and Coffee Mask, which comes with this cute wooden spoon for scooping out the product and mixing it. This mask is a combination of raw cacao and coffee, making it good enough to eat. It's packed with antioxidants and is supposed to provide a very gentle exfoliation.

You'll notice that this mask comes in a powder form to preserve the qualities of the mask, as it does not contain preservatives. Simply scoop a few spoonfuls of the powder into a non-metallic container.

Then, you'll need to mix it with water, yogurt or whatever you fancy to reach the consistency of your liking. I opted to use just water, but I also tried it later with raw honey. When I added water, I used the wooden spoon to measure out about the same amount as the powder and to mix it, as shown. It really does look good enough to eat, and when you use honey, it tastes great (when using honey, I also added a tiny bit of water to help stir it and thin it out).

Okay, now for the crazy looking pics. Here's what the Chocolate & Coffee Mask looks like on my face, after it dries. It's easy to wash off with your favorite cleanser (I used a basic argan oil cleanser), but I wouldn't recommend doing so with your nice white washcloths, especially if you added honey to the mix.

After I removed the mask, I applied the Palmera Balancing Facial Oil (this blend of pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, jojoba, calendula, olive-derived squalane, blue chamomile and lavender oils is cruelty-free, vegan and formulated to balance troubled skin). It absorbed nicely, and after more than a week of use, I have not experienced any breakouts. Keep in mind, though, I've also been doing regular face masks at the same time (the Chocolate & Coffee Mask, as well as the Charcoal & Matcha Purifying Mask).

You can also see that my skin is not irritated from the Chocolate & Coffee Mask, as it is quite gentle. It calms my skin, leaves it soft and smooth, and reduces the size of my pores. It also slightly tinted my skin for a bit, almost like a natural bronzer (I have used cocoa powder as a bronzer in the past). When I mixed this mask up with honey, I also found it to be quite moisturizing.

Before using the masks, I opened my pores and relaxed with this Facial Steam No. 1. I found this combination of dry flowers, including lavender and rose, to be quite luxurious.

To use, I boiled some water, poured it into a shallow bowl and added some of the dried flowers. The flowers will begin to steep and release their fragrance. Some of them actually open up like a flowering tea. I allowed it to cool slightly, and then leaned over the bowl with a towel "tent" over my head. At this point, I breathed in the steam and let it work it's magic. It even helped to open my nasal passages. I'd definitely recommend this, as long as you are not allergic to these particular flowers.

The other mask I've been using is this Charcoal & Matcha Purifying Mask, which also comes in a powder form. This sample came in this glass vile, which made it extra special. According to the description on the Bird & 98th Etsy shop, "the mask brings together the detoxifying properties of activated charcoal and Rhassoul clay with the antioxidant properties of matcha. It provides the perfect combination to cleanse and nourish congested skin."

Like the Chocolate & Coffee Mask, you need to mix the Charcoal & Matcha Purifying Mask powder with the liquid of your choice. I opted to go with water, mixing it in a 50/50 ratio, as shown.

Here's how it looks on my face. I applied just a thin layer, since I have very sensitive skin. It didn't bother me while I was wearing it, but when I washed my face with my usual argan oil cleanser (same as with the other mask), my skin appeared very red. It lasted for about 15-20 minutes, before fading away. This happened both times I used the mask, so maybe it's a little too detoxifying for me. I will say, though, that my skin looked amazing the rest of the day (both days). I'd even say my complexion was flawless (sorry, I forgot to take a no makeup pic after this mask). If you don't have sensitive skin, it's worth a try.

In the future, I hope to test out the Maca & Honey Mask, which is right up my alley. Has anyone else tried that one or any Bird & 98th products? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Bird & 98th sent me these products for review. All opinions are my own.