Mid-Week Pamper Treat: Fair Squared Apricot Facial Mask for Normal Skin + Cotton Facial Mask review #PlasticFree

Wednesday 28 October 2020


Face masks are a pampering staple for me and I love trying out different formulas and formats. Back when I started blogging (many years ago now!), I used to use a lot of sheet masks as the K-Beauty trend was gaining ground in the UK then and everyone who was anyone was promoting them on YouTube and Instagram.

Oh, how times have changed! As we learn more about our impact on the environment and visibly see the pollution around us, the idea of using a single-use sheet mask these days just seems so wasteful and unnecessary. Yet they still pop up in many beauty subscription boxes and are increasingly popular amongst younger skincare fans who are all too keen to show off a Sunday selfie pic on Instagram.

So what are the alternatives to sheet masks?

Well, there are three clear options that I can see. Firstly, you could choose not to use any at all and instead stick to traditional face masks, either ready-made in recyclable packaging or try out your own DIY face mask recipes. Secondly, you could explore the emergence of 'eco-friendly' sheet masks which are made from 100% biodegradable natural materials such as bamboo. They're not perfect of course as they are still single-use, but they are a better option than using the mainstream plastic-based sheet masks. 

Or thirdly, you could try a reusable cotton sheet mask which is what I've been testing out for the past month.

The Mask

I picked up this Fair Squared Cotton Facial Mask* (£6.95, 1 mask) from LoveLula after searching online for a plastic-free alternative to sheet masks. I was pleased to see that not only is this mask made from 100% organic cotton, but it's also certified fair trade so you know that the cotton farmers are being paid a proper living wage for their work and that the extra fairtrade supplement helps them to invest in their local farms and communities.

The cotton mask feels soft, durable and can, of course, be reused time and time again - simply pop it into the washing machine afterwards and it comes up good as new. When it eventually wears out after potentially a few years of usage, it can be easily recycled with other textiles.

The 'Juice'

To use with the Cotton Facial Mask, I also picked up the Fair Squared Apricot Facial Mask* (100ml, £9.95, link) which is a ready-made liquid formula packaged completely plastic-free in a glass jar with an aluminium lid and a paper label. Fair Squared have two liquid masks of this nature on offer, an Argan based formula for dry skin and this Apricot mask which is suitable for normal and combination skin types. 

This vegan-friendly Apricot mask fluid has a beautiful silky soft texture thanks to a base blend of Apricot Kernel Oil and Olive Oil and it feels amazing on the skin. Not only is it nourishing and hydrating, but it also helps to reduce any redness or inflammation as it contains Chamomile extract and Vitamin E, so it's great for soothing flare-ups and sensitive areas. 

How To Use

Combining the two is incredibly easy, you'll just need a bowl! After cleansing your face, pour some of the mask fluid (or you can use your own DIY liquid formula) into a bowl and let the Cotton Facial Mask soak in it for a few minutes. If needed, you can add some more of the fluid if you feel it's not saturated enough. This part is a bit trial and error, but I found that 25-30ml of fluid was an adequate amount for each application.

Once the Cotton Facial Mask is saturated, apply it to the face, making sure to press it down firmly onto the skin to help it to have the most contact possible. Relax and leave on for 10-15 minutes, remove the mask and massage in any excess. You can then follow up with your usual moisturiser or face oil to finish.

Overall Thoughts

Using a reusable cotton mask like this definitely has many positives for both the environment and your bank balance, but there are a couple of differences that I feel I need to point out. 

  • A cotton mask is a much thicker material than the cellulose sheet masks so it doesn't adhere to the skin in the same way unless you use a lot of the mask fluid. My top tip is to ensure the cotton mask is thoroughly saturated before applying, and to use it on a cleansed face that's still wet or damp.

  • As it doesn't adhere in the same way, I would recommend using a cotton facial mask whilst you're lying down so that it stays in place better - it's the perfect opportunity to switch off and relax!

  • The fit of the Fair Squared Cotton Facial Mask isn't great in my honest opinion as the eye holes are too far apart and I would say I have a 'normal' sized face. The mask did shrink a little after the first use which improved the fit slightly but the eye spacing is still way off as you can see in the photos above (the first photo was taken after the first washing, and the second after the fourth washing).

All in all though, I must admit that I was very impressed with the formula of the Fair Squared Apricot Facial Mask fluid and I'd happily purchase this again. However, I will be on the lookout for a better fitting reusable cotton mask or should I just cut out bigger eye holes in this one?! 

Have you tried any great plastic-free alternatives recently?

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