Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Absorbing Mask

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114 reviews

57% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.6

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.6

Price: $$

Not tested on animals


Water, Glycerin (water-binding/slip agent), Bentonite (white clay/absorbent), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (mineral-based absorbent) Decyl Oleate (emollient) Sorbitan Stearate (emulsifier), Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Stearate (thickeners), Sea Whip Extract (anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent), Silt (Sea Mud) (absorbent), Fucus Vesiculosus (Bladderwrack) Extract (antioxidant), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract (antioxidant/anti-irritant), Carbon Black (charcoal/absorbent), Salix Alba (Willow Bark) Extract (anti-inflammatory), Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben (all preservatives).

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on 8/12/2017 5:40:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Oily, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I don't like this mask. When I applied it I found it stung badly on my skin and left it looking red and patchy. It's too harsh even for my non sensitive combination skin

on 10/2/2016 8:04:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Black

I received a sample of this clay mask with my PC's BHA liquid exfoliant, which I've found to be fantastic. Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said for this mask.

I have combination skin so it can stand some stinging but this mask stung like nothing I've subjected my skin too! I stuck with it until it dried and washed it off asap and it burnt so badly even after toning and moisturising! It might have made my skin look brighter but the pain associated with this is not worth it! This is the first mask I've ever tried that has had this effect. Stay away! Really happy I never purchased this.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 7/9/2016 3:02:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I've had Paula's Choice recommended to me a lot, and I've yet to try the cleansers or other products, but wowza I will not be buying this one again. The consistency is fine, not that different from other clay masks I've tried, and the packaging dispenses it fine-- nothing particularly special or out of the ordinary. But within a minute or two of putting it on, my face started burning to the point of being unbearable.

I tried to stick with the 10 minute time they recommend, but i couldn't last it and had to wash it off. I didn't really have it on long enough to expect any results, to be fair, so I can't say much for what it did for my skin's appearance. No pore minimizing, just a bit more redness.

My skin does feel nice now that it's off, but maybe that's just relative to the burning.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 4/2/2016 11:49:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown


Absorbs Oil
Minimizes Pores
Smells Great
Softens Skin


Burns When Applied

Best Uses

Bi-weekly Use
Spot Treatment
Weekly Use

I tried Skin Balancing Oil Absorbing Mask from 2 samples (needed 2 for full coverage). This is a high quality clay mask that reminds me of much more expensive products I've used in the past.

The SB mask tightens as it dries, and pulls out a lot of oil. My pores were visibly smaller after use. My skin felt soft, and was not irritated or over dried. The mask has a natural scent which I found enjoyable.

While the SB mask does burn when applied, it doesn't seem any different than other clay masks in that regard. I think it might be a property of the clay ingredient. I found it tolerable, in a way pleasant, because it was tingly and cooling.

I think the SB mask would be great for weekly or bi-weekly use, but I can see that it might also work more often as a spot treatment for troubled areas. I will definitely consider this mask for full purchase once I finish what I have on hand!

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Other, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Other

I find this to be an effective mask for decongesting my large, clogged pores in the T-zone area. I leave this on for about 20-30 minutes. I like that it contains kaolin and bentonite clays along with the natural BHA of willow bark extract. Also contains skin soothing ingredients of colloidal oatmeal. Sea Whip extract, bisabolol and vitamin B5. Plus the mask also includes vitamins A , E & C. I like that it is unscented and that is leaves my face feeling soft and smooth. The only con with this mask is that it causes a burning sensation while it is on my skin. For that reason I would not repurchase this. A great alternative mask that does not cause a burning sensation but provides the same results as this Paula Choice mask is the Freeman Sparkling Pear Pore Cleansing mask.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

on 10/24/2015 5:43:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Grey

Tried a few samples of this mask, it was nice for my blackheads on my nose but with the current update in my skincare my bha is much more effective against them. Plus I found out that clay masks dehydrate my skin like crazy.
(I'm one of those Lucky ones with a dehydrated, oily t-zone)
So although it is a nice clay-mask it isn't suitable for my skin and mask wise, the way cheaper Freeman masks, like charcoal our clay, are effective as well.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 3/26/2015 12:28:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

Something in this stung my skin like a mofo which seems to be a common occurence for me when it comes to most of PC's products with the exception of her BHA and AHA products.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 2/19/2015 4:14:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Other, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

Unfortunately I have found others review of this product burning upon application spot on. While the burning sensation doesn't last long it is bothersome. Not only that, I have found the consistency to be incredibly thin and not all that great at covering the face. After removing it, I find my skin to look a little worse instead of better. It makes my skin too dry and causes any irritation or breakouts I have to look worse instead of better. I do like that it is fragrance free, but that is really the only great thing about this mask. There are many better clay based masks out there for less money that work much better than this one.

on 6/15/2013 11:56:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Blond, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Green

I received this mask in a beauty subscription box and I have used it 3 times. I also experienced a burning sensation when first applying the mask, which lasted for a few minutes until the mask started to dry. This mask hasn't helped my skin at all. I have combination skin and this mask just made the skin on my t-zone flakey and dehydrated. I have since thrown the mask away as I can't imagine it being suitable for anyone I know and would not want to feel responsible for damaging someone else's skin.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 6/13/2013 7:54:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Brown

As soon as I applied this to my face, it burned like fire, like nothing else i've ever experienced on my face before (or after that experience). as i tried to apply it to my face, i had to give up after half my face, because the burning only got more intense. when i pretty much immediately rinsed it off, my fair to medium skin was no lie, tomato red (ive never seen it get red like that before) in the exact outline of the area i applied it to. im guessing im sensitive to something in the mask, because some people have no issues although scarily a lot of people do. i think maybe this mask was discontinued because of this issue, not sure. let me just tell you to spot test! because while some people may have been able to tolerate the burning, i personally was seriously AFRAID i had done permanent damage to my skin, thats how much it burned. zero lippies.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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