Thursday, September 13, 2018

PEEL-OFF FACE MASKS || Do they do anything or are they a gimmick? || Rivet Licker

Remember when you were a kid and you would brush PVA glue on your hand, wait for it to dry, then peel it off? Satisfying hey?

Peel-off face masks have been trending lately, and some, well, they are quite fun, but very expensive. Do these masks actually do anything for our skin, or are they just a huge gimmick?


Peel-off masks have their purpose, they definitely give a good exfoliation and make the whole mask experience a lot cleaner than having to wash off a mud based product, but what is it that makes them special?

Some masks claim to help remove blackheads and smooth skin, others claim to hydrate, but when it comes down to every formula, they have one thing in common; Polyvinyl Alcohol, a precursor chemical to PVA glue. It's a pretty benign chemical when used in the amount present in face masks.

Polyvinyl Alcohol is the ingredient that helps the mask peel off once all the wet stuff has evaporated. With this peeling action, it picks up loose dead skin, bits of hardened sebum, and ouch, your peach fuzz, so yes, you are going to definitely have smoother skin after, and maybe find your pores are a little unclogged.

There are plenty of products on the market, ranging from super budget to ridiculously expensive, but overall, formula wise, they're mostly the same base with different additives, and pigments. The novelty factor comes into play here, where brands are taking advantage of the satisfaction of peeling something off the skin and adding things like chunky glitter, or collaborating with the My Little Pony franchise, with the hopes that people will buy it.

Frankly, even though I'm huge on unicorns, I'm not huge on these masks. I like them when I can be bothered because I have to sit up while wearing them (if you saw the way I lie down, you wouldn't do masks either). Regardless of price point and extra additives, I feel that they all do the same thing - dry down on your face and you peel them off. Some might draw out oil, others might hydrate.

Some of these masks should not be used by people who have active inflammation from acne or dermatitis, or if your skin is sensitive. Some can really hurt when you remove them, especially if you have a lot of vellus hair (peach fuzz).



Daiso - Natural Pack Charcoal 80g - $2.80AUD - Daiso [Purchase]
Note: The cruelty free status of Daiso products is unknown.

Daiso Natural Pack

This is probably the best bang for your buck product, but heed my warning; it hurts to take off. This mask is designed for congested skin as it helps to remove blackheads. Pitch black charcoal powder in this mask helps to soak up oils. It's effective if that's what you're looking for.
[Full Review]


Formula 10.0.6 - Sea Side Glow Skin Hydrating Peel Mask 100mL - $9.99AUD - Priceline [Purchase]

Formula 10.0.6 Sea Side Glow

A surprisingly gentle alternative to peel off masks, this one is more like a rubber mask with some clay. It has the added algae which gives it a gelatinous texture once dry. It cools and soothes skin from the moment it is applied, and the sea clay helps draw away excess oils. It doesn't smooth on very well with fingers, or a brush for that matter, so getting an even application is difficult, but the mask itself is very nice to have on. I fully recommend this mask, even for those with dry skin!


Skin Republic - 24K Gold Peel Off Mask 27mL - $8.39AUD - Chemist Warehouse [Purchase]

Skin Republic 24k Gold

This mask provides three* applications of a luxury gold. It does contain some real colloidal gold, but it's very far down the list, and the colour is from a gold coloured pigment. This mask also contains fruit acids to help exfoliate, and it claims to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. I find it really dries out my skin and is also painful to remove, but it's always on sale somewhere or other, so it's worth giving a shot.

*I got four applications.



BLAQ - Blackhead Charcoal Face Mask 60mL - $24.99AUD - Priceline

Image credit: BLAQ

This mask is by the newly emerged and trending brand, BLAQ, and is pretty similar in formulation to the Daiso Charcoal Pack. The only ingredient that stands out is activated bamboo charcoal. I've not personally tried it, but I've been wanting to put this in the spotlight because it is an Aussie brand that is also cruelty free. I'm hoping it's not one that really hurts to remove, could anybody give some insight?


GlamGlow - GravityMud Firming Treatment 50g - $86.00AUD - Mecca
Note: GlamGlow is not a cruelty free brand, but it had to be mentioned.

Image Credit: GlamGlow/Mecca

This cult favourite mask that applies white and turns silver is designed to help firm and lift skin, defining contours and leaving a tightened appearance, featuring marshmallow and licorice leaf. The product does come with an application brush in the 30g and 50g sizes. I'm personally not ever going to buy or use this unless GlamGlow suddenly become cruelty free and I can afford the hefty price tag, but it's quite a popular product, especially from the limited edition collaborations with Sega for a Sonic the Hedgehog blue, and My Little Pony glitter masks.


Too Faced - Glow Job Radiance Boosting Glitter Face Mask 50g - $61.00AUD - Mecca

Image Credit: Too Faced/Mecca

I think this is absolutely ridiculous and awesome at the same time. This limited edition mask was released for Too Faced's 20th anniversary and is for people with money to spend. Aside from containing real gold, it does contain some promising ingredients, such as apple fruit extract for exfoliation, and algae oils to hydrate, plus it's designed to be used prior to applying makeup to create the perfect base. Hopefully somebody has tried it and can elaborate!


While charcoal coloured hair removal may not always be my best friend, I'm definitely partial to the hydrating masks that actually don't hurt to remove. If you need a good exfoliation, try not to rely on these types of masks and opt for an acid or enzyme based product instead!

Have you tried a peel off mask? Let me know what you think!

This post is presented as a knowledge piece. Acquisition of products and/or services stated alongside each item, my thoughts are honest. For more information, please read my Disclosure Policy.


  1. I did that as a kid! Used the clag clear glue, wait for it to dry, then peel it off. Then I could afford to buy the real thing so I used to get an Avon peel off mask.

    1. Oh gosh, kids used to eat clag, not me, but I saw many kids do it!

      Remember the scene in Billy Madison (terribly crude and poor piece in film history) when he was in first grade and he started eating the glue, but then later his teacher was putting it all over her face as a mask. Haha.