Saturday, 22 June 2013

A bad reaction to Superdrug's Cucumber Cooling Clay Mask for sensitive skin

I've always known Superdrug's range of own brand products to be excellent quality. I use their Naturally Radiant products every morning and evening along with their Vitamin E hot cloth cleanser and Pro Vitamin range of shampoos and conditioners. So I figured I'd give their range of face mask sachets a go, especially as they were on offer at four for £3 (although I actually picked up five, as I couldn't decide which one to let go!)

As part of my Saturday morning pampering ritual  I decided to use the Cooling Cucumber Clay Mask, containing soothing cucumber extract and dead sea minerals, and labelled as being 'ideal for sensitive skin'. I used to love clay masks when I was younger for unclogging pores, and the added benefit of cucumber seemed like a gentle approach to tackling my crazy sensitive combination skin. 

Cucumber Cooling Clay Mask, 99p, Superdrug

Interestingly under the 'care and advice' section the instructions state 'do not apply to... sensitive skin', which seems to be something of a contradiction. Unfortunately this is something I didn't see until slathering the mask all over my face, based on the reassuring label on the front! Admittedly it does also say to 'test for irritancy first' but again, I didn't see this until after I'd applied it, and as it's a product targeted towards sensitive skin I wouldn't have thought this would be a major necessity. Oops. 

I went ahead and applied the clay mask to cleansed skin. It smells lovely, very refreshing, slightly floral with hints of cucumber. The consistency is thick and creamy, and there's enough in the sachet to stretch to two applications which is great value for money. I noticed that the mask stung slightly around the nose upon first applying, but as I've experienced this with masks before I wasn't too concerned. Perhaps I should have realised that a clay mask, purifying as it is, while excellent for acne areas might be a little strong for sensitive skin... But as the label determined it to be targeted towards sensitive skin I wasn't too concerned. Again, oops. 

There's something truly satisfying about the sensation of a clay mask hardening and cracking as you contort your face into all sorts of expressions (just me?!) You just know that once you've rinsed it off the tightness of the clay will be gone and you'll be left with super soft, refreshed skin.  I waited the full fifteen minutes as stated on the sachet and then rinsed the mask off with the aid of my regular muslin cloth.

My face suddenly felt oddly hot and looking in the mirror I noticed that little red bumps had started to appear across my cheeks and chin. They felt and looked just like the type of rash I get when my sensitive skin has an allergic reaction to a product. Damnit! I'd used the mask with the intention of rescuing my skin, not making it worse! I tried to take a good photo but could only get a slightly blurry close-up of one of my cheeks. Still, it sort of shows what I'm describing:


I slathered on some Avene Recovery Cream, my go-to for when my skin is going through a crazy phase, and after a couple of hours my face felt a little less hot and the rash was less inflamed. But it's still there and it feels very rough and bumpy, which isn't really the look I was going for. 

I'm really disappointed as although my skin is sensitive and reacts to products on occasion, I didn't really have any indication that this mask wouldn't be suitable for my skin type, what with the 'ideal for sensitive skin' label on the front. The 'do not apply' on 'sensitive skin' warning on the back of the sachet strikes me as odd, and I feel it needs some sort of clarification. I know, I know, I could have done a little patch test beforehand, but generally when using a product specifically designed for and marketed towards sensitive skin I don't, although I will be doing so from now on. While it hasn't totally put me off using the other Superdrug masks I purchased, I will definitely be doing patch tests before use to avoid any similar skin care nightmares. 

As for the rest of my Saturday, I've spent it hiding away make-up free in the hope that my rash will clear up by this evening. While I generally love Superdrug products I'm feeling a little wary and day I say 'sensitive' after using this cucumber concoction. Soothing it ain't! 

Do you always do a skin test before using a mask, or would a sensitive skin label reassure you enough to apply it straight away? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 


  1. Aw poor you! I never patch test these things!
    Cute blog.
    Would love if we could follow each other

    1. I never usually patch test either, only on hair dyes generally :( I guess I've learned my lesson the hard way!xx


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