Today, I'm writing about one of the strangest-smelling skincare products I've ever come across.
That's not a joke. This stuff is like applying Marmite, Vegemite or soy sauce to your face.
And as you can see, it's not exactly... pretty:
But bear with me, because these things should NOT deter you from using it.
Y'all will remember me singing the praises of Biologique Recherche's Lotion P50, the cult-favourite exfoliating toner that some call "the best beauty product in the world." (It really is that transformative.)
Well, now I want to tell you about the brand's Masque Vivant, a balancing face mask that is also wildly, surprisingly effective. It just might be the most worthwhile face mask you'll ever purchase.
Masque Vivant Benefits
Now, what's a balancing face mask, you ask? Well, Masque Vivant is designed especially for oily or combination skin; you can also get results from this if you feel your skin is looking dull.
The promise is brightening, purification and a reduction in shininess, though esthetician Danuta Mieloch, owner of Rescue Spa, goes a step further:
"If you do Masque Vivant at least twice a week, you'll never age. This unique mask contains live yeast extracts which are packed with amino acids and famously nourishing vitamin B. There is no product like it to keep your skin purified, revitalized and bright. In my 20 years of experience with it, I have seen it drastically improve many people's complexions."
Well, THAT's encouraging.
Masque Vivant Ingredients
Here's what makes the magic happen:
Ingredients: Yeast Extract (Faex Extract), Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Bentonite, Kaolin, Alcohol Denat, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Vinegar, Lactic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana Bark/Leaf/Twig Extract, Hypericum Perforatum Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Acacida Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum.
So there are a few things in here that I love. The yeast, first of all. It smells gross, but I swear it's doing great things to reduce oil production and draw clogs out of your pores.
There's also soothing cucumber extract and glycerin, so this isn't as harsh or drying as, say, using a clay on its own. Plus you get the amazing exfoliation benefits of the lactic acid, which is the star ingredient in Lotion P50.
How To Use Masque Vivant
1. Wash your face. Like any face mask, you want to apply this to clean, dry skin after cleansing.
2. Exfoliate. If you can use Lotion P50 before you mask up, even better. (Alternatively, just use your exfoliating product of choice—it really does make a difference with how effective your mask will be.)
3. Apply the mask. Spread a thin, even layer of Masque Vivant all over your face (and ideally, neck and décolleté, though I will admit I don't do that). Avoid the eye area. It spreads really easily, so you won't have to use much at all to cover... making the $70-something price tag actually somewhat reasonable.
Note: Like I said, when I can't be bothered doing a full mask, I'll just use it as a spot treatment on breakouts.
4. Leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes. Try not to look in the mirror during this time (this is not a "cute" mask). You may also want to avoid scaring your loved ones with your face of brown, smelly goo.
5. Remove it. They say to use a sponge and tepid water, but I don't have a sponge, so I just splash around at the sink. It comes off super-easily; no tugging or pulling like with those masks that harden on you.
6. Moisturize. Follow with your usual serums, moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup, etc.
Repeat once or twice a week, at minimum!
Optional Steps For Blackheads, Acne and Sensitive Skin
Here are a couple different "recipes" to tailor Masque Vivant to your skin type:
- Blackheads, Acne and Oily Skin: Mix Masque Vivant with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and a few drops of water. Apply up to three times weekly for 10 to 20 minutes to dissolve blackheads and prevent breakouts.
- Sensitive Skin: Mix two parts Masque Vivant with one part Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2 (an oxygenating and moisturizing mask for dull and stressed skin). Apply twice weekly for 10 to 20 minutes to brighten and nourish the skin. If you don't want to buy another splurgey BR face mask, I'm sure you could mix it with another favourite moisturizing mask.
When I take off Masque Vivant, my skin feels smoother, softer and more matte—but not dry. It feels like it slows down oil production a little bit.
It also leaves my skin looking rosy and bright, but CALM. (Unlike so many other brightening masks, which actually work by causing irritation.) I usually get redness after doing skin treatments, but miraculously, I don't with this one.
Never again will you think face masks "don't do anything." This one does quite a lot. And thank goodness, because the results definitely make up for the smell!
Where to Buy
Find the Biologique Recherche line in Canada at:
- One2One Studio in Toronto
- La Chambre des Dames in Montreal
- Bren's Skin Care in Manitoba
- Little Spa in Vancouver
In the US, try Rescue Spa.
Have you tried Masque Vivant?
Or anything else from Biologique Recherche?