Things We Finish: Goodal Phytowash

I am a huge yerba mate fan. When I went to Berlin a few summers ago, I drank Club Mate literally every day. If you don’t know what this cult German “natural energy” drink is yet, read about it here (or follow them on Instagram if you become addicted like me and need to know its US whereabouts at all times). For the uninitiated, yerba mate is a tea drink made from the leaves of the mate tree and is known for providing an energizing (yet mellow and non-jittery!) caffeine buzz as well as a high dose of antioxidants. If you’re thinking, “That sounds exactly what I would like in every part of my skincare routine,” lucky for you, it also happens to be the hero ingredient in the Goodal Phytowash I just finished. Let me tell you about it:

Ingredients aside, I consistently went back to this product because the process of using it was so satisfying. You dispense a few pumps onto your fingers, apply to your face in an even layer…and then wait. At about 60 seconds, what was translucent transforms into a very dense, thin white layer of foam on your face (think shaving cream consistency, but lighter). Once it transforms, you can massage the tiny micro bubbles to exfoliate ever so slightly. It’s a noticeable scrub, but not an abrasive one. And bless those yerba mate antioxidants—after rinsing off, you’re left with smooth, refreshed, and toned skin. Not quite the same buzz as you get from a Club Mate vodka, but good enough for weekdays.

—Casey Zhang

Photographed by the author.

Mourning products we’ve loved and lost: Read more of the Things We Finish series.

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A Moment For Skinceuticals

The world (and we’d like to think this site) is full of good skincare advice. But of course, some of that advice carries more weight than the rest. This particularly applies when anyone says “I use XYZ product from Skinceuticals.” Because Skinceuticals is not messing around—they know what they’re doing when it comes to making products. It’s a brand our Market Editor Pauline Maynard—she of charming French accent and discerning French taste—likens to life insurance: “The price is pretty painful now, but it’s the best protection and prevention I can get, simply because the ingredient concentration is unparalleled.”

It’s not just her. Other fans include: Stevie Dance, Alexandra Spencer, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, and Martha Stewart. But the product line is vast, full of very science-y ingredients, and is a bit like an insider’s game. If you’re new to the brand, a) welcome to the club, we’re happy to be in good company. And b) there are three standouts we’d like to call your attention to as ultimate skincare “investment collection.” They are as follows, in order from least to most complicated:

Hydrating B5
This super lightweight gel works under any moisturizer, day or night, for an extra boost of hydration (thanks, hyaluronic acid!). Put simply, it feels like applying water directly to your face—no residual stickiness at all. Can’t help but love a product that feels exactly the way you want it to feel.

Phloretin CF
This product comes in two forms—a serum and a gel. Both have 10% vitamin C (when most have about 1-2%), 2% phloretin and 0.5% ferulic acid. Both are still very gentle on sensitive skin—but you’re going to want to have a game plan for when to use which form. Some suggestions from Pauline: “The liquid is great for when I want to feel like it vanishes on my skin and leaves nothing behind. The gel I love to take with me when I travel because the pump is made for carry-ons. It’s also much easier to use as it’s not drippy like the liquid one. It does feel richer though and leaves more of a slight tack afterwards—but nothing I can’t sleep on.”

CE Ferulic
This one is the heavy hitter, with a whopping 15% vitamin C, 1% vitamin E and 0.5% ferulic acid. Lots of numbers that add up to glow. It is richer than the Phloretin though and might leave a slightly tackier film—good news if you find yourself dealing with dry skin. Thank goodness it’s winter.

Photographed by Tom Newton.

For more products well-loved, read up on ITG’s Things We Finish.

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Things We Finish: R+Co Sunset Blvd Shampoo And Conditioner

Ever since I went from my natural dirty blond to almost-white blond, I often relate to that excitable blond emoji lady in the pink shirt with her hands on her head. Really—it’s a very fun hair color. But going blond is never easy—even if you’re already blond to an extent—and now that I’m in highlights overdrive, I’m more aware that my shampoo and conditioner should address any potential brassiness.

There are a couple of really great, oft-mentioned purple shampoos and conditioners that come in deep eggplant-y shades. They do their job very well if you use them once a week. If you use them more than that while in a state of hyper-blond, your hair can take on a slight purple tint, which is what happened to me. Looking for some guidance, I emailed Colleen Flaherty of Spoke & Weal, who does my highlights—she quickly confirmed that I needed to cut back on the Shimmer Lights:

“You wouldn’t want to use a purple shampoo every day because your hair shaft has different porosity throughout the strand and can pick up the purple unevenly and possibly progressively.” And if that happens, the accidental gradient (oh hi, ombré, is that you, again?) of purple wash on your hair might take professional color correction to clear up.

But the thing is, I wash my hair every day, and I only want to use one shampoo and one conditioner. So I started searching for a pair that I couldn’t accidentally “overuse.” That pair is R+Co’s Sunset Blvd Shampoo and Conditioner. They’re both significantly paler in color than most purple products, which means they fight brassiness well, but also that you can use them as often as you like without worrying about unnatural buildup. They don’t strip hair of moisture, and both come in photogenic bottles that remind me to Instagram more than once every five days. Now that I’m all out, I keep forgetting to Insta, and my latest shower thought has been that it’s time to reorder.

—Claire Knebl

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Go for blonde with the best fair-hair drugstore shampoos. Or, consider lightening up (no bleach required).

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Things We Finish: Sachajuan Hair Repair

I’d like to tell you a hair mask horror story.

One time, I did a coconut oil hair mask. It started off pretty well: I applied a thin slather, chilled out in my bathroom for 10 minutes, and then rinsed and went to bed. But when I woke up the next day, my hair was still slick with the coco and my pillow smelled like a virgin piña colada. So I showered, scrubbed furiously with shampoo, and toweled off—but my hair was still hopelessly greasy. I dunked my head in the kitchen sink and ran the water for five minutes to no avail. My roommates laughed at me. I was late for work. The scent of coconut lingered on my person for the next three days, until I was finally able to banish the last traces of the mask down the drain.

If you are in need of an effective hair treatment, maybe opt for Sachajuan Hair Repair instead—a low-commitment alternative. One 5-to-10 minute lather after shampooing is all you need…think of it like a conditioner, but with a little more power. After your rinse (singular—hear that, coconut oil?) your hair feels better, softer, stronger, with some just-blown-out fluff that’ll last you through the weekend. And the bottle looks so good, you’ll keep it sitting in your bathroom even after it’s empty. Right next to that full tub of coconut oil.

—Brennan Kilbane

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Good hair: hard to achieve, harder to sustain, but Editor Emily Ferber can help with that.

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ITG’s Favorite Sheet Masks

There’s been a fair amount of mask-talk around these parts for the last, oh let’s say, three to five years. Our approach tends to be pretty equal opportunity in scope—detoxifying, toning, and moisturizing all have their time and place. But nothing quite says “epitome of serious relaxation and renewal” like sticking some high-quality paper (albeit high-quality paper, and quite often it’s actually fabric or cellulose) to your face. Of course, sheet masking requires an extra level of commitment—don’t just marinate for 20 minutes; marinate and be very still because you don’t want that sheet falling off your face and onto the floor.

The field of options here is vast, so here’s a list of some of Glossier HQ’s most trusted packets:

Sandra Sou, Senior Copywriter: Arsainte Eco-Therapy Extreme Moisture Sheet Mask
“Before I moved to NYC, I used to visit my grandma in South Korea for months at a time and come back with the most amazing skin. Most of it can be attributed to the fact that I would sleep in a sheet mask every single night. Over there, they cost about 50 cents to a dollar each so I would buy them in bulk. The Arsainte is my favorite because the sheet itself is 100 percent organic cotton and feels like it breathes. Whatever slime it’s soaked in is super gentle on my sensitive skin and it’s incredibly moisturizing. Before I put one on, I refrigerate it—something about the coldness on my face makes me doze off within minutes. Also, it’s fun to wake up and play ‘Find the Mask.'”

Emily Ferber, Editor: Sephora Sheet Masks
“An oft-overlooked problem when it comes to masks is mask beard. It’s that thing where the mask is cut too large for your face and then the excess, because of gravity, just hangs off your chin, like a cold, wet rag. However, Sephora’s house brand of sheet mask—which come in a bunch of flavors, but my favorite is Honey—cost a grand total of $6 and fit my face like a glove. The simple genius is that they’re wider than they are long (yes, ha) and vaguely texturized to hold on tight.”

Brennan Kilbane, Editorial Assistant: TonyMoly Wonder Water Sheet Mask
“The three dollar TonyMoly masks that you can buy in the checkout line at Urban Outfitters were my first foray into sheet treatment territory, and I consider these Wonder Water Sheet Masks to be the wisened, grown-up version to those. They’re thin but very hydrating, and I wear them way past the 20 minute window, basically until they’re dry. Also, I have a beard, so I’ll cut off the bottom part of my mask and use it on my neck wipe-style—no harm, no foul, because they’re pretty inexpensive.”

Eva Alt, Social Media Editor: Cremorlab Perfection Hydrating Mask
“Whenever we get Cremorlab in the office I kind of hoard it because it’s so pretty to look at—plus, the products are extremely effective. The Perfection Hydrating Mask rings true to its name. Hydrating perfection. It’s $15 for one, so I try and be savvy and use up every last drop of the hydrating goop. Muji sells dry cotton sheet masks, so I’ll use one of those to soak up the remaining liquid and do the mask two nights in a row.”

Claire Knebl, Managing Editor: BioRepublic Sheet Masks
“I’m a pretty regular sheet masker, and I’ll try most anything. That said, one brand that I keep coming back to over and over again is BioRepublic. The masks are a single sheet, so there’s no piecing together separate top and bottom sections (a way of doing things that’s always been a nice thought but ends up not working out for me). Lately I’ve been using their green tea mask, which is good for those who deal with oily skin. When it’s warm out, I like the aloe one. It leaves my skin feeling plumper and soothes any inflammation.”

Amelia Sabra, Editorial Intern: Lululun Sheet Masks
“Being a broke college student, I’m constantly on the search for skincare with maximum benefits at a minimum price point. One day a few years ago, I was wasting time in Ricky’s and found the Lululun sheet masks. I was wary, as I am with putting anything other than CeraVe on my face, that these would break me out, but they were cute and $8 for seven masks, so I bought them. They leave me dewy and moisturized, plus now I have an excuse to stay in every night of the week during what I can only assume will be another hellish winter.”

Tom Newton, Photographer & New Media Editor: Boscia Charcoal Pore-Minimizing Hydrogel Mask
“I’m usually against sheet masks, as a rule almost. From what I initially understood, they’re for people with dry skin…so, not me. But during my charcoal phase this summer—charcoal juice, charcoal masks, charcoal cleanser—I tried the Boscia Charcoal Hydrogel Mask. It left me feeling cleansed like a traditional charcoal mask would, but took out the step of having to abrasively scrub it off. It’s also got a cooling, gel feel. Would definitely use again.”

Casey Zhang, Social Media Manager: TonyMoly Aloe Mask
“What I like most about sheet masks is that I don’t have to wash off extra residue or gunk that gets into my hair, especially because I have thick bangs that try to sneak out of whatever pin or headband I’m using. I don’t know if the Tony Moly Aloe Mask is really that different from their other masks, but the reason why I like it is largely because I like the idea of putting aloe water on my face. I like to rub the extra into my face and neck, and I also don’t mind if gets in my hair…”

Pauline Maynard, Market Editor: Nature Republic Marine Aqua Collagen Mask
“This one is a hydrogel mask, which means it’s cooler to the touch and doesn’t really drip the way usual cotton sheet masks do. Another perk: It comes in two pieces so you can perfectly fit it to your face. I leave it on for about 15 minutes and because it fits so well, I can just walk around and keep on doing whatever I was doing. I massage in some of the essence left on my skin once I take it off—but after another 10 minutes, it’s soaked in enough and I wipe off the excess.”

Jessica Sheft-Ason, Digital Product Manager: Dr. Jart Dermask Micro Jet Brightening Solution
“I love this mask because it is ridiculously creamy and has a soft, form-fitting texture. While it’s not a hydrogel, the microfiber texture is pretty unique and it contours nicely to my face. The goo (serum? idk tbh) is so creamy that even after wearing the mask for an hour while watching TV, the mask still hadn’t dried out. Since my skin is super dry, I feel like I need all the goo I can get.”

Photographed by Olivia Richards.

More best-of skincare: Read about ITG’s favorite clay masks and treatments under 10 minutes.

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