Drat! Samples. Skincare samples!
Ever the cynic towards skin products, I'm fairly open about what does and does not work. I'm not some starstruck beauty blogger saying everything is awesome for the sake of getting free products.
The samples attained in this review came from a family member's holiday order. No PR involved.
Our Shaky Relationship
A little history on my relationship with the Mario Badescu brand. The name became familiar when began going to Manhattan in junior high. At this pretty looking store I walked into called Henri Bendel, a woman sold me two vials of the pink acne killer you applied with a cotton ball. One of my vials I bought back then broke in the suitcase thanks to my dad smashing it into the trunk. Thanks. He's often careless like that.
The acne killer wasn't replaced. It was good enough but drugstore stuff did the job better and faster.
Later on, amongst the many NYC apartments I've lived in, I once lived on the same block as the physical Mario Badescu spa. Every day, I saw women looking their worst going into the spa as I probably looked run over by a few trucks returning from an early morning modeling audition/journalism job hunt/something along that/networking whatever/both. Women were always going into the spa with little to no makeup on and leaving looking really blotchy. This for years led me to questioning how good the products really are when over half the clientele for dropping all of that money on facial services really didn't look that good.
Referring to skin here, because as always, I believe all women clean up to be runway goddesses with good hair and makeup. I've lived by other salons and used to see women looking reasonably decent and a few bad skin types hitting the salon. Hmmmm. A family member told me, "They probably go to Mario Badescu when the skin issues get so bad, it's too late and hard to reverse things." See, family members know all.
I once went in the spa and got mad that you can't have a manicure nor pedicure unless you are booked for a facial. Is this spa not based in Manhattan? Where, like Chicago, people love money!? I can tell you a million restaurants where they, if it were legal, might bust out a pedicure station if that's what I wanted!
The people seemed really friendly. On the wall, a prehistoric Sex and the City era Sarah Jessica Parker said something nice with a pretty signature below.
As I am frequently a bad influence on children and young folk, I enjoy laughing with kids/tweens/teens when possible. Youth and honesty are on the same page. An elementary kid then told me his mom went in the summers for waxing and was curious as to why she was so hairy "like the Wolverine!" the rest of the year. Oh my. :) His mom recommended the waxing service to me if waxing were my thing.
The spa's menu is reaaaalalalallllllll-la-lal-llllllly big. Enjoy it if you go in person.
My nose gives me oil drama, hence, the drying mask went only over my nose. The drying mask is outstanding. Be prepared for the weird smell. No kidding on the "blocking pore clogging oil" promise. Reading the ingredients list, the bizarre, filthy mud smell probably comes from the sulfur overlapping the calamine. Where's the green sick emoji? Rancid!
The smell aside, the drying mask is worth the results. I'll probably buy this and put up with the bad smell for the few minutes I leave it on. This works like a million Bioré pore strips taped together. No clogged pores visible. No oil. Nothing bad. My nose hasn't looked this clean in years.
Kiwi Face Scrub
Definitely a placebo and not a scrub at all. This is practically the same thing as the almond face "scrub" the brand sells. Both smell nice and have bits of hard stuff in them. The kiwi face scrub turns you alien green and is kind of hard to remove. Or Jim Carrey in The Mask. Truth. My skin looked like this when I was struggling to remove it.
As White Chicks says "your lips went from Cameron Diaz to Jay-Z," I wanted my skin to go from The Mask to 1993 Cameron Diaz. I was stained split pea green for some time that afternoon. The product deposits a bit of softness. Nothing remarkable enough that can't be outdone by a face cream.
The same family member suggests its proper use is for DIY pedicures. Agreed.
The Facial Spray With Aloe, Cucumber, and Green Tea
Marked on their website as a BESTSELLER! Capital letters. Saying bestseller in lowercase probably doesn't give Mario Badescu online shoppers the Wheel of Fortune enthusiasm.
The spray promises to "wake up" your skin. You wake up because something is being sprayed in your face, come on. The spray is a great idea for people who have problems focusing at school or work. I could've used this when I was younger!
I was told some people use this to set makeup in. And today, I was told by the Mario official website.
The spray feels nice. I don't think it does very much. You feel like you're using a Korean product in part of a set of three million pieces bundled together.
Pretty sure makeup can do whatever that spray is said to do. Sephora is not going to be put out of business selling highlighters over the Mario spray – and the only way to truly get green tea's beauty/health benefits is by drinking tea. Italics, ladies and gentlemen. Note the italic sections!
From a strictly placebo view, I have fun using the spray like I'm my seventh grade self loving my Clinique makeup counter purchases. I feel silly-fun kind of fun. As in, using a spray makes me feel like if I look up in the mirror in a minute, I will look like a popular girl in a high school movie.
In all actuality, I look like a makeup-less girl wearing glasses who's been sprayed in the face. No dewy look in ten minutes with or without makeup on.
I will hang onto this sample for days when I need to be woken up from hibernation.
The Lesson Learned
Gee, Beaver! Did you learn your lesson about telling the teacher Eddie Haskell cheated on the math test?
What, you've never seen Leave It to Beaver? What's wrong with you!? ;)
Our lesson today, Beaver, is you should buy the drying mask. Amazing stuff. The majority of skin care products in this world remain gimmicks. Some are fun. Gimmicks nonetheless.