The pro-treatment style masks work in either 15 minutes or overnight, depending on your skin goals, and they come in at under £20. We used both to see if they really rival a facial…
What’s a skin paste when it’s at home? I wasn’t sure either, so I took the new No7 Laboratories Skin Pastes , £18 each, home to suss just that very thing out, under the vague impression that they were essentially a thick textured face mask promising to rival “the efficacy of a transformative treatment”. Both work very differently, as I’ll outline below…
No7 Laboratories Resurfacing Skin Paste
The big idea: As the name would indicate, this “paste” is your exfoliating option- it combines AHAs , renowned for their skin surface refining effect, with gentler PHAs that penetrate more slowly than their more aggro AHA counterparts. I say “paste”, because the texture isn’t really pasty as all- it’s a thick orange gel that you smooth on with your hands and leave on for up to 15 minutes to get to work on dullness, clogged pores and flakiness.
I’m always hyper AHA aware having overdone the glycolic acid in the past (think red, raw skin immediately after removal..not the one) and while the tube warns you that this mask could tingle, I barely noticed any sensation beyond a cooling feel. After 15 minutes I smoothed the gel away with the muslin cloth as instructed and my skin immediately felt very soft as well as looking shiny in a healthy rather than greasy way.
Does it work? From a brightening, smoothing perspective, definitely - it achieved its exfoliation aims in a far more gentle manner than other AHA masks I’ve tried, yet still nailed the results aspect, although I didn’t notice any difference as far as blackheads and pores were concerned (a BHA would likely be required to get deep down and dirty there). While the glycolic, lactic and fruit acid based gel is without doubt a very capable home exfoliant, it’s certainly not strong enough to mimic the effect of a professional peel, and that’s probably a good thing (you visit the pros for a reason). As such, the two to three times a week usage suggestion seems appropriate, and it’s easy to fit into an evening shower routine too. In short, you should see results, but ‘resurfacing’ is stretching it.
No7 Laboratories Cica-Rescue Skin Paste
The big idea: Basically the counter to the Resurfacing Paste, Cica-Rescue Skin Paste taps into the K-beauty Cica cream trend in that it’s based on the soothing medicinal herb Centella Asiatica , and unlike the fast-action AHA mask, you smother this on and leave it overnight. It lives up to the paste description in texture terms- it’s thick, and you need to leave it to sink in for five minutes before you massage it in. I feared for my pillow, but it absorbed quickly and didn’t leave any residue on sheets/ sofa/ boyfriend. The enclosed silicone spatula intended for application felt a little bit redundant - the paste is a bit too dense to spread evenly, but this isn’t really an issue as you can just as well apply with your hands. The end game is plump, hydrated skin, and it also claims to reduce redness.
Does it work? If you’ve got sensitive or reactive skin that’s in need of an overnight drink, Cica Paste serves up some serious moisture, and the gentle formula means you could wear it as often as required. It’s essentially a turbo charged moisturiser, and my skin felt softer and stronger after a few night’s use, although it’s likely a bit too rich for oily or breakout prone skins. I can’t say that there was a noticeable reduction in redness (around my chin and nose are the main inflammation zones), but I do feel that my skin’s a bit more resilient for a few night’s kip in this, plus I needed less moisturiser in the morning. If you’re after a deeply hydrating addition to your autumn beauty routine, it’s got legs- it just won’t cure rosacea .
Keep an eye out for the launch of the No7 Skin Pastes at Boots.com