Abstract - This mask is the Rachmaninoff of masks. Plain, sad, reeking of failed crops in a post-Feudal society, and then it sneaks up on you and messes with your emotions until it's on repeat on your skincare playlist. Is it worth the confusion? Yes, it is. It is a thing of smelly beauty.
Full Review - I tried Masque Vivant because Lotion P50 is my high-quality skincare heroine (the beautiful princess protagonist, AND the drug!). I read everything I could about its effectiveness and offensive odor, and I was prepared. Honestly, all that reading made me think it would smell like the remnants of a mass lemming suicide, but to me, it smells like Marmite/Vegemite. It is yeasty in the way of bread-baking yeast or fermenting beer yeast, a "warm" sort of yeasty. It it not yeasty in a "sour" sort of yeast like a dog's ear infection. It's doable. It does get a bit stenchier as it's rinsed away, but it does not make me gag, and I have one heck of a gag reflex.
The effect I see from twice-weekly use is really, really great. The clay content works as any clay mask does, drawing some gunk to the surface and generally helping to unclog pores and smooth the skin. It's not remarkable in that particular category, as clay works like clay. However, the other ingredients, which I attribute mostly to the yeast, sets this mask apart. I leave it on for twenty minutes after applying Lotion P50 1970 as recommended. I tried the pinch of baking soda one time, but as I saw no discernible difference, I haven't tried that again. The masque does not tighten as clay masks typically do. Instead, it becomes stickier in a way. It's pretty easy to rinse off, though I have to "sweep" my fingers over my skin to make sure the residue is gone. Afterwards, my skin has a slightly alkaline feel, and when I look in the mirror, I immediately see a reduction of redness from old acne scars and remaining spots, as if the mask sucked the pigment from those areas. It's weird and highly satisfying. Next morning, my skin is baby soft.
Now for the price...the tube is six ounces, and I purchase from Rescue Spa for $60. It's a high price. There's no getting around that. This is a luxury product. However, I like to break this down further in a sad attempt to justify purchasing, even though the results mean I will re-purchase no matter what. So far, my six ounce tube remains about two-thirds full after eight uses. I actually think there's much more in there, but tubes tend to hoard product in the corners and at the base of the neck, so I won't know for sure until it's almost gone and I cut it open to scrape that crud out like the gold it is. When I conservatively estimate, it should yield more than twenty-four uses, which breaks down to about $2.50 per use. To me, the results are absolutely worth this, and I do think I will get more than twenty-four uses in the end. I will update with more accurate figures when my tube is gone.