Vichy is a L’Oreal-owned skincare brand originating from France, founded in 1931. In North America they’re one of the often overlooked brands at the drugstore but in Europe they are well-known and loved. Lifelong clients remain faithful for (among other things) the exclusive thermal spa water used in their formulas, which comes directly from the town of Vichy. I like that they also maintain strong company values, like respecting the environment and you, the consumer. It’s a great stance to have in our crazy world.
This latest launch from Vichy is all about masks, a global trend that everyone and their mother is going crazy for. Don’t get me wrong, I mask as often as any other self-respecting beauty blogger, but at some point the different labels blur and the points of difference become unclear. I sometimes yearn for originality in this category, but Vichy went with a definitive traditional approach instead. First-time masking novices and Vichy fans will find the release easy to navigate, which I suppose is more important than satisfying my curiosity.
There are three seperate masks in this collection, each retailing for $34* online (available now in-store at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada). For comparison, Sephora-favourite Origins masks retail for around $31*, making this an exceptionally pricey item for the drugstore. You are encouraged to use two and even all three of the masks at a time for “Multi-Masking.” Suggested combinations include the “All-in-one Skin Refresher,” “Tired Skin Pick-me-up” and “The Balancing Act.”
The first mask I gave a whirl was the Pore Purifying Clay Mask, intended for combination to oily skin with clogged pores. My skin is generally pretty dry but my pores are definitely clogged from the piles of product I apply every day and outside pollutants. The mask, which is made with two types of ultrafine mineral clays, spreads on the skin with the consistency of sour cream. I used my favourite $2* THEFACESHOP Daily Beauty Tools Mask Pack Spatula to apply a thick, even layer on my cheeks, nose and forehead and settled for the 5 minute wait. By the fourth minute or so I was running to the bathroom to wash it off, as it had become uncomfortably hot on my skin. I’d heard of foaming masks before, but self-heating? That was new and unexpected. After a thorough rinse I studied the affected areas, and was thoroughly impressed to see that the pores on my cheeks had literally opened up from the mask and spewed forth whatever gunk they’d been holding on to. I had to scrub the skin to get rid of the little bits of dirt, but despite the embarrassing baggage I had let go of I was pleased.
A couple days later it was time to put the Double Glow Peel Mask to the test. This one is formulated to brighten dull skin through a double-peel action, using fruit acids to remove dead cells and volcanic rock to gently exfoliate. It also contains vitamin CG to illuminate skin, making for an overall promising concoction. On the mask went, clear this time, and the waiting game began. Around the two minute mark my skin became tingly, and by five minutes it was completely numb. It was as though I had been injected with local anaesthetic, it was cold and quite bizarre feeling. As instructed I massaged the product in some more for a while before washing it off. Let me tell you, that hurts! The grains in the mask become unbearably painful to scrub off after the fruit acids eat away at the dead skin and reveal newer, more sensitive layers. In fact, even applying serum afterwards was unpleasant. It was like I’d been sunburned. I can see how it would soften skin after a month of use, as advertised, but the pain wasn’t worth it for me.
For my final round of sampling I went for the Quenching Mineral Mask, with rare minerals and vitamin B3. This is quintessential Vichy, a moisture-laden mask intended to be left on as a moisturizer… so, which one is it? It has a lovely mango fragrance and similar gel consistency to the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask. You begin by tapping the mask with your fingertips immediately after application, purpose unknown. After wearing the mask for 5 minutes you are instructed to massage the excess into the skin without washing it off, then spray with the Vichy Thermal Spa Water (a seperate $13* purchase) and blot off with a tissue. That’s a lot of work for what is, essentially, a moisturizer. In reality I was forced to wash it off, the mask had become very sticky and tacky on my skin and wouldn’t absorb properly.
So in conclusion, at least two of these masks certainly work, there’s no question that they do what they claim. My problem is more “Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it,” meaning I am not sure I want my masks to be so aggressive. I like to soak in a hot bath while I luxuriate in a mask for 20+ minutes, but with these you need a finger on the trigger, ready to jump to action once they become active. If these types of results sound appealing to you, I highly recommend sampling first if possible. My mom, for example, did not feel the same irritation with the clay mask and quite liked it, so it might be a case by case thing. Thank you to Polina and Mara for organizing this review, I look forward to trying new Vichy products in the future and finding what works for me!
*Prices true at time of writing.
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