Applying face masks always seems like a great form of self-care. I put one on my face, and since I have to wait 20 to 30 minutes for it to dry, I’m left with few options other than to be still and watch TV, read a book, look at my phone, or stare into space and contemplate life. When I wash it off, if the mask has done its work, my face might look clearer and feel more radiant too.
But for all the benefits of masking, there are some serious drawbacks. My hands get covered in clay or activated charcoal. The mask sits on my face for so long that I can feel my skin dry up and the mask crack all over. The mixture can be so goopy and thick that washing it off my sink or towels becomes a massive chore. And sometimes I just want the benefits of masking without waiting up to a half-hour for it to work its magic.
So I went looking for a face mask that would give me that fresh-masked feeling, without the aforementioned drawbacks. I am happy to report that I definitely found it in Milk Makeup’s Watermelon Brightening Face Mask.
I wanted a mask that felt hydrating and gave my skin a kind of weekly detox by removing all the bacteria, dead skin, and anything else that I felt was polluting my face. My skin is sensitive and acne-prone, and certain masks have triggered flare-ups and allergic reactions. This meant the mask had to meet additional criteria: vegan, cruelty-free, and without any fillers that could possibly cause more breakouts or reactions.
I’d seen Milk Makeup in my Instagram feed before and decided to check out their products while I was in Sephora. While browsing Milk’s pretty highlighters and CBD-infused Kush Mascara, I came across this face mask in a stick form. All the masks I’ve used previously have come in single-use sheet form or a squeeze bottle, so this sparked my interest.
I wondered, would this feel like rubbing a deodorant stick on my face? Could it work as well as other masks I’ve tried? I decided to find out.
When I took a better look at the ingredients and read the description on the package, I was excited to learn about the mask’s benefits. Swiss garden sprout extract, which sounds like something I’d get in a Sweetgreen bowl, is an antioxidant that reduces the appearance of dark spots over time. Vitamins C and E fight free radicals and have antibacterial properties. Matrixyl, which imitates skin’s biology, improves the face’s elasticity.
And the hero ingredient here is, of course, watermelon extract, which the K-beauty brand Glow Recipe made popular with their Watermelon Glow Moisturizer and Mask. Watermelon is known to be superhydrating.
While this mask is designed to provide both short- and long-term benefits, a big benefit is the way it is actually applied to the skin. Because the mask is in stick form, I just rubbed it onto my face, which coated my skin a shade of red.
The stick felt smooth against my skin, giving the sensation that it was melting onto my face, much like a lighter version of the clay masks I’ve tried before. I did have to apply some pressure, but it spread onto and around my face with ease. While I thought it would feel similar to applying a stick of deodorant, it felt more like painting. And the mess I experience with regular masks? Thanks to its easy application, the Watermelon Brightening Face Mask didn’t end up on my hands, sink, clothes, or towels. It just went right where it was supposed to go, directly onto my face.
This mask is more concentrated than the ones I usually apply. That means I can put on less mask for the same results, and it dries in five minutes rather than a half-hour.
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I also noticed that I didn’t get that tight, cracked feeling when I left it on for too long. It really felt like a much cleaner experience than my usual sheet masks. After five to 10 minutes, the color got a little darker than before and it felt dry on the face without my skin feeling parched for water. Surprisingly, the formula does not have much of a fragrance (sorry to those who were hoping for a burst of watermelon).
The bottom line
While I can’t speak to the long-term effects of Milk Makeup’s Watermelon Brightening Face Mask as I only began using it recently, I do notice that my skin feels soft and supple post-application. And I love that it comes right off with warm water. I apply this mask when I’m getting out of the shower or have some extra downtime at home. When I wash it off, my skin feels prepped and primed for my vitamin C serum, moisturizer, and makeup. It hasn’t caused my skin to break out or turn red either.
If I used it at night, I think I could get away with skipping my AHA/BHA exfoliant, as I feel like the mask does a great job removing all of the dead skin cells and gunk. The mask costs $24, but I’ve used it multiple times and it doesn’t feel like I’ve made much of a dent in it. So if you just want one mask to do the trick for that weekly reset, it’s worth the price.