Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mask ($4) is cult favorite among Asian beauty bloggers, or at least, that’s what I gather from the frequent appearance it makes on their websites. It’s an fine, economical choice for teenagers and struggling college students. However, I would caution those with sensitive skin.

Pros? It’s CHEAP. So obscenely cheap. In California, you can pick up an enormous 8.0 oz bottle of this mask at drugstores for less than what you’d pay for a drink at the local coffee shop. The bottle will also last you at least 6 months with regular use. As a person who is accustomed to Sephora’s high prices and miniscule bottles, I’m always thrilled to find out there that are great skincare bargains with drugstore brands.

Cons? It’s uncomfortable on sensitive skin. The first week I used this mask, it burned every time. The sensation was more intense than simple minty tingle. Rather, it felt genuinely irritating beyond any other facial product I’ve used, including exfoliating peels. People claim that this burning feeling is an indicator that it’s working, but I disagree. Using gentle products may be less interesting, but there is less risk of irritation doing unseen damage to your skin.

Results? For oil-absorbing and pore minimization, it works fairly averagely. While I noticed no changes in whiteheads on the days of mask application, my skin usually felt less congested and more manageable the next day.

For blemishes, it did not work for me at all. Neutrogena’s Clear Pore is far more efficient as an overnight spot treatment. Queen Helene’s mask did nothing when used overnight, nor did it have any long term effect on breakouts. I suspect so many people swear by it for breakouts because it works like putting toothpaste on a blemish. The mask seems very drying, so it would be able to soak up excess oils on blemish well.

Overall, since there’s almost nothing to lose at such a low price tag, I would recommend this for frugal skincare shoppers (especially for those who enjoy breakout remedies like toothpaste or aspirin masks), but with a word of caution that you may experience the aforementioned burning and disappointing inefficiency.

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