Let me start off by saying that even though I’ve used both Yuli Skincare’s Pure Mask and May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver, comparing the two masks is an extremely formidable task. Before the purchase of these masks, I hardly ever used to apply DIY clay masks on my skin. In fact, my mindset was “Why should I have to mix my mask? It should be ready made. Doh!”. It is due to the results and beauty of these masks that I started believing in the power of purchasing masks in concentrated, powder form and then adding the liquid of choice during preparation stage, depending upon the skin condition. A year after using these masks, I no longer wish to purchase ready made masks – although these are fast and efficient, we do pay for the convenience, and a lot of times, these masks need to be used up faster because of the liquid/water content. There are numerous blog posts on both masks; so I thought I would do something different and compare the two instead, especially for those who are new to green beauty and are still in the process of making up their minds – So, which mask wins?
Price: Pure Mask costs $65 for 1.7 oz and The Problem Solver, $90 for 8.45 oz. Yuli’s instructions state that we need to use 1 teaspoon of mask per application, whereas May’s instructions call for a more generous 1 tablespoon per application. In reality, I’ve used approx. 1 teaspoon of TBS per application, since I only use it on my face and neck. So, per application wise, in the long run, I would say May’s mask wins, even though the initial investment is high. I’ve run out of Yuli’s mask, but I still have some of May’s left (also a replacement is in shipment from Spirit Beauty Lounge).
Packaging: Both masks come in dark Miron glass jars and look quite stylish. Yuli’s has a stick on high quality label that’s water resistant and doesn’t get ruined. However, now that I’m done with the mask, I’d like to remove the label and reuse the glass jar to store some spices in the kitchen and here is where the battle ensues – the label is not easily removed without leaving a sticky feeling behind. May’s packaging avoids labels altogether, and instead as a beautiful, luxurious gold-etching that I cannot help but truly fall in love with. I’ve noticed that the gold-etching has faded over time on The Youth Dew Face Serum bottle; so I think the same might happen with TBS too, but so far, the labeling stays strong. From a long term reusability perspective, I prefer May’s TBS, although Yuli’s is more portable for short trips. Very close call, but I’ll go with May on this one.
Ingredients: As with all things Yuli, ingredients can never be simple extracts or additions. They have to be biodynamic, supercritical and supercharged. Yuli’s mask has 4 different types of clay (Rhassoul Clay, Australian Beige Clay, French Green Clay, Zeolite). In addition, a sophisticated mix of anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as mung bean, rose petals, willow bark, and cucumber – I simply love the addition of mung bean, a bean very close to my heart as it’s used very often in Indian cooking for its proteins, and so glad that the Western world has picked up on it and are adding it to their products. The mask also has MSM, Rice Powder, Fruit Enzymes and Biophotonic charged Matcha (told you nothing can be simple!) – again, very pleased to see MSM for acne prone girls like me, as well as Rice Powder. Although I never used Rice powder in growing up years, I’m becoming a firm believe of its benefits after using it regular in the form of Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder. Altogether, the ingredients contribute sum totally to a mask that’s a heavy worker, but very soothing at the same time. In my opinion, these ingredients should do well for sensitive skinned girls too, because there’s nothing here that might aggravate your sensitivities. Overall, the ingredients react together to produce a finely ground mask, greenish-yellow in color.
May’s TBS also has two extremely beneficial clays – Fuller’s Earth Clay, and Rhassoul Clay. I’ve used Fuller’s Earth Clay in its raw form in my growing up years because it’s the most commonly available clay in India and quite popular for drawing our impurities, and in combination with Rhassoul clay, it does an even more beautiful job. The Cacao powder in the mask lends a strong chocolatey smell to the mask that’s adored by many; in addition, we get great antioxidant benefits too. Sea Salt is finely milled and my naked eyes can hardly detect any and this gives the skin a really good scrub. The Soda bicarb has been added for a really cool chemistry effect where the mask puffs up when it comes in contact with a liquid. Vitamin C is a lovely addition for folks like me who are always looking for a little bit of brightening effect and help with hyper pigmentation. On the whole, in addition to the ingredients already mentioned, the addition of the spices (Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper) is what really differentiates this mask from many others in the market. I welcome these additions because they lend a warm, detox effect to the mask and you can really feel the clays and spices interacting to purify the skin. There’s lavender flower, marshmallow and frankincense to balance the effect of these warm spices. I’ve read reviews on online forums/chats where some have really been bothered by the warmth and general “spiciness” due to the addition of so many spices, but I haven’t experienced any issues on my skin. I can see how this initial warmth might be too much to handle for those with sensitive skin – So I’d definitely recommend some caution. May has recommended that it be combined with The Honey Mud or plain Manuka Honey to mellow out the warmth a bit, and make the mask more soothing. More to come on the application method a little later, but the only other thing I’d like to add is, I hope May doesn’t change the formula to temper the warmth, because it’s really the addition of these spices, and the heavy duty effect that I’m really drawn to. This is what sets this mask apart from numerous other clay masks on the markets, and wish the formula always remains the same.
Overall, Yuli’s mask is more complex and balanced to suit a wider audience and think Yuli wins in this category.
It’s admirable that Yuli adds ingredients only when they serve specific purposes. They don’t rely on heavy essential oils or ingredients for fragrance purposes. Having said that, this mask has a very subtle, fresh, herbal scent. It’s very soft, but definitely there. Quite likable and extremely soothing.
May’s TBS has a strong spicey, chocolatey fragrance – kind of reminds one of the holiday period, being surrounded by all things lovely, pretty and lovable. Don’t dig your nose too close into the jar, else you might just sneeze, thanks to the warm spices.
Fragrance wise, May’s TBS wins hands down.
Both are powder masks that need to be mixed with your liquid of choice — I’ve experimented with herbal tea (whatever I’m drinking that day), rose water, apple cider vinegar, manuka honey, and even just plain old water when I’m too lazy! For the Pure Mask, I add equal portions of liquid and the mask, but for TBS, a little less water than the product. I don’t like my masks super thick, but don’t want them to be too runny either. If it was the middle of the week when I didn’t have much down time, I saw myself grabbing The Pure Mask because it’s quicker to take off and dries faster. When it’s the weekend and I want a really deep clean, I almost always reach out for The Problem Solver. Per the instructions, Yuli’s mask can be rinsed off after 10-15 mins, and The Problem Solver is a little more demanding at upwards of 45 minutes. I don’t follow either, and leave my masks on for more than an hour, almost always. I use the time to read other beauty blogs, watch TV or play with my dog.
Out of all the liquids, rose water is my absolute favorite because it’s so soothing, aromatic, and provides just the right level of hydration for my acne prone skin. The Problem Solver turns into a super dark, almost jet black mask when it’s mixed with the liquid, but turns greenish/light brown once it dries up.
I haven’t really tried applying these masks without a brush, and can’t speak to the ease of applicability with bare hands/fingers, but both can be easily applied using a foundation brush (I use a cheap one). Pure Mask does go on much smoother, and just feels so silky! The Problem Solver feels a little grainier in comparison even though it’s finely ground. Although I use about one teaspoon of both the masks, I am not sure why, but the Pure Mask dries out quicker almost always. Sometimes, I’ll spray myself with a toner to keep the mask from drying off, and just letting the actives work a little more – I usually do this if I have active acne.
Having gone through an entire tub of Pure Mask, and almost done with my first tub of The Problem Solver, I think the application process really doesn’t matter to me much. What does matter is how these masks feel once they’re on my skin – The Problem Solver wakes my senses, and if I’m paying attention, I can feel a slight burn, and tingle. The level of burn/tingle varies, depending upon where I am in my hormonal cycle, but it’s never been completely unbearable. In comparison to TBS, Pure Mask doesn’t really make my skin burn, but it does make it tingle. There was a time when the tingling was a little too much, and I stopped using this mask for a while. I am not sure why and I haven’t seen others complain about this, but my skin would itch terribly under the wet mask. At times, I couldn’t WAIT to take the mask off!
I’ll call this category a tie between both the giants.
(Side note – Have you seen the video of May applying The Problem Solver? Of course, you have! I don’t even remember how many times I’ve watched this video. Only if us immortals could look so good and serene.)
Ease of Removal:
As far as ease of removal goes, I’d say Yuli’s is easier to remove and doesn’t ruin your sink. The Problem Solver will almost always stain white sinks and if you use face cloths, be ready for those to to turn to an ugly shade of brown. During the removal of the masks, if I want a really good scrub, I usually just wet my face, and then gently scrub the dried mask in circular motions, and then rise them off with warm water. Yuli has perfected the whole process of making the entire mask removal experience so polished – on coming in contact with water again, the mask turns into a perfect cleanser which is neither too scrubby nor too mellow, that is easily washed off. The Problem Solver, I prefer to remove in the shower since it’s easier that way. I don’t shower everyday because I find it too drying for my skin; so I usually reserve The Problem Solver for those days when I have a shower planned. During desperate days, I’ll still use the mask, but then use one of my previously ruined face cloths to take it off. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t enjoy the process of taking this mask off at the sink. It takes more work, dirties my sink, but the results and the experience are totally worth it for me.
Overall, Yuli wins in this category.
Yuli – Right after removal, face feels incredibly soft. I didn’t see any redness. Funnily, the area around my neck/jaw would itch sometimes, (but not always) but nothing that the application of a little toner and face serum won’t fix. The next day, I didn’t see any exceptional startling results, but I wouldn’t call this a negative because the way your skin feels and looks depends a lot upon more than just the application of a mask. It’s how you treat it everyday. I’d say this mask is good for a quick mid-week exfoliation/cleanse and makes my face feel much more calmer, but personally, I don’t rely on it too much for any heavy lifting.
May Lindstrom – I just really like the way this mask makes my face super duper clean. I am pretty resilient and the spices, and general scrubbiness is welcome in my life. I’d literally seen whiteheads being busted during the drying process. Post removal, my face feels a little red, but it goes away pretty soon. The next day, my face continues to feel soft and loved. This mask, for me, does a better job of handling inflammations – I can have pretty stubborn hormonal acne erupt every month and need something a little stronger, and May’s mask fits the bill.
This is a really tough one for me, because I really love both, and I’m a huge fan of Yuli’s Face Serums. But weighing both the pros and cons, and the fact that I’ve promptly ordered a replacement for The Problem Solver, I’ll say May’s mask wins by a hair strand in my books. There’s something about the overall experience of digging out the beautiful, heavy jar of the mask that makes me really excited by the though of spending time with it and I cannot see myself without this mask ever. If there’s just one product that you want to buy from her line, I’d say, get the mask. This is my other Holy Grail mask and between this, and Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask, I’m all set! During crazy hormonal/PMS phase, this is the mask that I’d whip out. I do love Yuli’s Face Serums a lot and those are permanent staples in my skincare arsenal, but when it comes to masks, if you ever have to pick one, I would recommend The Problem Solver. And if money’s or shelf space is not an issue, I’m sorry I wasted your time on this review. 😉