Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Going Glam at Home with Mix-It-Yourself Masks and Bath Bombs

April 5, 2018

Content Creator Hadley poses with her spa-ready wares.

Product

Create Your Own Bath Bombs and At Home Tranquility Mask Set

Research

I’m a sucker for anything you can slather on your face that promises baby soft skin or smaller pores or… well, I won’t lie, I’m mostly in it for the baby soft skin. I’m also a sucker for any excuse to light a candle, put on a podcast, and take a warm bath, but that’s a newer obsession of mine. I’d been looking for something new to Gift Lab ever since I gave our Homemade Tortilla Kit a (very successful) trial run, and when I noticed our At Home Tranquility Mask Set and Create Your Own Bath Bombs kit, I was supremely intrigued. One can never have too many masks—just ask my medicine cabinet—and hey, who can resist a fun, fizzy bathtime accoutrement? Not me. And so a new Gift Lab was born.

Hypothesis

Armed with our At Home Tranquility Mask Set and Create Your Own Bath Bombs kit, I’ll be able to host a successful girls’ night that ends in soft, supple skin for all and the promise of a relaxing soak once you retreat to your tub. Plus, the Create Your Own Bath Bombs kit is kid-friendly, so it’ll be super easy to use… and will maybe even help me reconnect with my inner child (or something like it).

Experiment

At left, we mix; at right, we wait (for impeccable skin). And jeez, my apartment is dark.

I invited a few friends over for snacks, masks, and bath bombs and threw on the Olympics to set the mood, because nothing brings the gals together quite like figure skating, am I right? Once we’d all had our fill of guac and chips, we set out on our DIY detox mask adventure. The set comes with two types of powdered masks, matcha mint and charcoal cardamom, both of which contain bentonite clay, a cleansing ingredient with somewhat of a cultlike following. You can mix the masks with any type of liquid you want, though the packaging suggests using purified water, milk, or apple cider vinegar (also a purported miracle-working ingredient, at least according to Scarlett Johansson). I did a bit of Googling and saw that honey and yogurt are also popular suggestions when it comes to mask mix-ins, so I rifled through my pantry and fridge and came up with the best stuff I could: some honey (duh) and the dregs of a container of Anita’s coconut yogurt, which is so good I would literally cut off a limb for it.

In the end, each of us chose a different concoction in hopes of soothing our faces. I chose to mix the matcha mint mask with some coconut yogurt, which really brought out the clay-like texture. My boyfriend, Royce, who is an extremely good sport and did a mask for the sake of this post, opted to mix the charcoal cardamom mask with some tap water, while my friend Danni, who has sensitive skin, went for a combo of both masks and honey. Lizzie and Carlen, my remaining two guests, also mixed both masks, each using a bit of honey and some apple cider vinegar to thicken theirs. Most of us applied ours with our fingers or a spoon, but Lizzie used the vegan fan brush that came with the set, which she said “felt really good.” That’s a direct quote, ladies and gents.

Now, here’s where I’m going to launch into mom mode a little. Make sure you go easy on your face! No matter how many people sing its praises, an ingredient like apple cider vinegar is still pretty acidic, and it’s not going to agree with everyone’s skin. Everyone here turned out just fine, but I know Lizzie, at least, experienced a bit of irritation on her face and in her eyes while waiting for her mask to dry. That’s not the product’s fault; it’s just what happens sometimes, especially since everybody’s body is different. So if you have sensitive skin—or even if you just want to be extra safe—make a point to test a little bit of your mask on a small area before you go wild with it. OK; let’s get back to the good stuff.

Please excuse my chipped nails.

As our masks started to set, I decided it was time to tackle bath bombs. The good news: the kit was super simple, as I’d predicted, with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and carefully labeled ingredients, including mineral color and fragrant oils. The bad news: it really is for kids, by which I mean the gloves that come with it are extremely small, so keep that in mind. It’s also more of a one- or two-person activity than something you can do with a larger group, so I wound up doing most of the mixing myself, though we did all  discuss what scents and colors we wanted to use. It was also super quick to do. In the 20 minutes it took our masks to dry, I’d successfully mixed a batch of ten bath bombs of two different colors and scents and put them in little molds to dry. Score.

Once we all washed off our masks and dabbed a little moisturizer on our cheeks, we agreed our faces all felt… well, pretty good. (Note: honey is a super sticky mix-in and a little tough to get off, so keep that in mind if you use it.) The charcoal mask seemed to redden everyone’s skin slightly, but the packaging assures us that’s normal for a bentonite clay mask, and all told, we felt pretty refreshed. The matcha mask didn’t leave me looking red at all, and it washed off pretty easily with warm water. Double score.

I waited a week to remove my bath bombs from their molds, and even longer to test them. I actually tested mine while I was sick and experiencing body aches, when I took a bath in hopes that it might help soothe my muscles, and was concerned that the fragrance might bother my sick brain a little, but it was surprisingly light. I dropped the bath bomb in and it fizzled for a moment, leaving the water lightly colored and with a super moisturizing feel. The fizzing didn’t last super long, but it was pretty strong, and it really did feel pretty darn soothing, so in all, I’d call that a success. If you use these, just make sure to wash the color out of your tub afterward, because it won’t go down the drain with your bathwater.

Conclusion

Girls’ night was a success, and it wasn’t just because of the figure skating! I’ll definitely use these masks again, though I might steer clear of super sticky or acidic mix-ins to make sure my face stays in fighting shape, and I know next time I’ll have to give the vegan brush a try. The bath bombs were a fun activity, too, though they’re definitely best for small groups of kids (or… you know… kids at heart).

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