Welcome to another installment of Beauty Bucket List, a series in which we roll up our sleeves to do some hard and fast testing of cult classic beauty products, because just hearing about how great something is just isn't good enough. Through the eyes (and bodies) of contributing writers Alex and Colleen (one a beauty lover, the latter mostly beauty clueless), we've assessed the hype-worthiness of Maybelline's best-selling Great Lash Mascara, the sort of scary exfoliating foot peel, Baby Foot, and Josie Maran's "magical" 100% argan oil. Next up, the mostly ridiculous but mega-hyped Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask.
Meet the Testers (& the Product)
Colleen Murphy, makeup/skincare skeptic. Couldn't care any less about "trends" in the beauty world.
Alex Nursall, beauty devotee and lover of all the "trends" Colleen doesn't care about.
Product tested: Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ($9 at Memebox). This crazily named Korean bubble mask has infiltrated Instagram and beauty blogs as of late, with testers itching (literally) to post photos of their foamed up faces all over the web. From Elizavecca: "Say hello to the most amazing jar to sit cutely on your top shelf! This carbonated clay mask is a powerful pore treatment packed with star ingredients like Charcoal powder, Green Tea and Pomegranate extracts, and Collagen. The carbonation causes the mask to froth up once it's applied to the face and oxidizes with the air. The bubbles help exfoliate dead skin cells and unclog pesky pores while delivering the nutrients deep into the skin. The effect is purer, tighter pores and excessive sebum-control that helps fight against future clogging."
A Little Info On Milky Piggy (& Some Science!)
Alex: If you've spent any time around internet beauty forums (especially ones that focus on Korean beauty products), you'll be familiar with the bubble mask, especially the mouthful that is the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask, which we'll be reviewing here. If not, a bubble mask is basically a type of (usually) clay mask that foams up after application, making it look like you dipped your face in a bunch of thick suds. Most of them claim to have cleansing or anti-aging properties (Spoiler Alert: The first one is accurate, the second one, not so much.)
Colleen: While I have heard whispers of the mysterious, advanced and confounding world of Korean beauty products, I would say my limited knowledge of the subject would be similar to that of the WWE franchise – it's an expansive universe with elaborate names, passionate fans, and I'm probably not spending my money on it. Tell me Elizavecca doesn't sound like a spandex clad diva about to thrown down her finishing move, the dreaded "Milky Piggy."
Alex: YEAH, IT'S A MILKY PIGGY STRAIGHT THROUGH THE JUDGES' TABLE, BOOYAKASHA. Also, ding ding ding, it's science time! This mask (and other ones like it) contain a type of perfluorocarbons (just look for the ingredient with "perfluoro" in it), which are able to hold a lot of soluble oxygen. Once exposed to air, they start to release that oxygen in the form of bubbles (kind of like chucking an Alka-Seltzer tablet into a glass of water. Plop plop, fizz fizz on your face, I guess). The main reason the mask itself isn't just constantly fizzing is because of the thickness of the clay, which helps keep the whole thing from reacting in one go. ("Hey, check out my sweet new mas-[KABOOM]")
"It's clay! It's bubbly! It looks funny in photos! What more could someone raised in an online persona-cultivating world ask for? This will look great on my perfectly curated Instagram feed, right next to my picture of a latte." — Alex
Colleen: Ok, this sounded like a good time and I was down. Fizzling clay is about as far beyond the line of "sounds natural enough" that I'm willing to cross, and I say this knowing that I am in no way actually educated enough or responsible for learning the true ingredients of most of the products I have used. Parabens? Bad? Good? Who knows?! (Pardon this interruption by Alex: Don't make me open this can of worms. They are a commonly used preservative in cosmetics and are also found naturally in foods such as barley, strawberries, onions, and carrots, although the effect on the body is different when ingested rather than applied topically. There is still a lot of research being done on them and most products carry them in safe levels, it's more about the amount of products people are exposed to rather than the singular product being used. The EU bans them but Canada and the US do not. There are no direct links shown yet between paraben exposure and various diseases but this is still being studied. If the idea of using them makes you uncomfortable, please be aware of what kind of preservative is being used in your cosmetics - not all plant-derived ones are effective. Ok, enough things that will cause a fight in the comments, back to the mud masks.) That said, things like chemical peels are a hard pass for me. Foaming mud? Sign me up!
Alex: I'll preface this by saying that I do like a good face mask. I have that kind of facial skin where it's both oily and dry, meaning I'm blessed with both a shiny forehead and dry patches on my cheeks (where I get acne). It's twice the annoyance for the price of one! Normally, I use various sheet masks on my face, but I liked the idea of Milky Piggy. It's clay! It's bubbly! It looks funny in photos! What more could someone raised in an online persona-cultivating world ask for? This will look great on my perfectly curated Instagram feed, right next to my picture of a latte.
Colleen: Who doesn't like a face mask? It's a staple in the first 30 minutes of many romantic comedies when our lonely heroine answers the door to receive her large extra-cheese pizza for one and (LOL) totally forgets she has on her green goo mask! The look on that poor pizza guy's face is classic! Anyways, the point is that I've always used face masks for the fun factor alone. My twitter picture is me with a face mask!
Alex: Once I put the mask on, the bubbling started and dear god, I did not enjoy that feeling. I know above I said that I like using sheet masks, but I have to admit that I have a real love-hate relationship with them because I hate having stuff touching my face for a long time. I mean, I can barely handle scarves in the winter, never mind a wet wad of cloth limply hanging from my face. This mask was sort of like mud with a liberal dash of pop rocks. Turns out I TOTALLY HATE THAT FEELING. It made my nose itch and I constantly wanted to touch my face, but I knew that if I did that it would mess up the bubbles and would also get the weird sticky mud all over my hands. It was a stressful five minutes. I also have to admit that I was super disappointed in how little it actually bubbled. I was expecting giant cloud face and I got about as much foam as I would have gotten if I had just used a foaming cleanser. Maybe it's just my skin or maybe I got a dud bottle, but it was highly underwhelming in the fun foam arena. 4/10 would not post on my Instagram feed, not hilarious or enviable enough.
Colleen: The mask comes in a little box with a 10/10 illustration of the Milky Piggy him/herself luxuriating with a face mask on, so I was already enjoying myself even as I was opening it up. On top of that, the mixture comes with a mini-trowel for you to paint the clay onto your face Bob Ross-style. What's not to like? I applied it pretty liberally (there were no English instructions so I had to Google some) and after a few minutes, the "bubbling" began. Like Alex, it wasn't as much as I had expected, but there was definitely some action. Any more foam and you'd probably run the risk of it getting into your eyes. The sensation was ticklish like if you let a bunch of soap suds dissipate on your face. I thought it felt cleansing but I could see for some it might find it instantly irritating.
"The mask comes in a little box with a 10/10 illustration of the Milky Piggy him/herself luxuriating with a face mask on, so I was already enjoying myself even as I was opening it up." — Colleen
Alex: Once done, I massaged the mud into my face to… I guess make my face cleaner? Or muddier? Instructions unclear. Anyway, I mushed the mixture into my face and then tried to remove it. I say "tried" because this may be the most difficult to remove mud masque I've ever used. It's somehow both slippery AND sticky, meaning it just kind of moves around my skin awkwardly rather than rinsing away. After a lot of chucking water at my face like a lady in a facial wash ad and pointless rubbing, I grabbed a wet washcloth and wiped the rest of it off. Now it's all over a washcloth and I'm annoyed because I've dirtied a perfectly good washcloth with this goo.
Colleen: I took a million pictures of myself and had a great time! Removal was definitely a two-part process – the foamed-up clay wiped off easily but the bottom layer required some scrubbing. As someone who doesn't even regularly wash her face, I was spent.
Alex: To its credit, I will say that Milky Piggy did leave my skin balanced; clean, but not overly dry or tight. I also didn't have any adverse reactions to it afterward. It didn't remove all the dirt from my pores (that's not what cleansers do) or reduce fine lines (there's no evidence that topical, wash-off cleansers or masks like this have any anti-aging properties) or even foam up that much (see the sour grapes above), but it at least made my face feel nice. I just didn't enjoy anything leading up to it. Honestly, I'll probably just give my bottle to Colleen.
Colleen: My face felt nice, as well. It's not going to become a part of a regular routine (because I don't have a "routine"), but I'll use this again for the thrill. Bottle accepted. Thanks Alex!