My Entry Into the World of Charcoal Face Masks

charcoal face masks

Charcoal face masks are all the rage

In recent years, charcoal face masks have gained in popularity because of their detoxifying power. Here are just a few of many charcoal face mask benefits:

  1. They deep cleanse and shrink your pores.
  2. They balance out oily skin.
  3. They soothe and heal skin irritation.

They also prepare your face to receive other cosmetic products better (I don’t wear makeup, so that’s not an issue for me), and they can even help prepare your underarms for the switch to natural, aluminum-free deodorants and antiperspirants.

Why would you want to switch to natural deodorants? One word: cancer. Some studies have shown that the aluminum that is in many popular brands of deodorant/antiperspirant is linked to increased breast cancer risk, although the research isn’t conclusive. Still, as far as I’m concerned, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so I made the switch to natural aluminum-free deodorants a couple of years ago. And I’ve never been sorry. One of the best brands I’ve found comes from my favorite online shopping club. One tube lasts for almost SIX MONTHS, and it’s as effective as most aluminum-laden brands I’ve tried.

But this isn’t a post about deodorants. It’s a post about charcoal face masks, so back to those…

The Charcoal face mask I chose

As a Gemsta/Jewelscent consultant, I want to really believe in and know about the products I’m selling. I’ve known about and loved the Jewelscent candles for years now, but I’m not as familiar with all the Gemstra partner brands. As I mentioned before, I don’t wear makeup, so I’m naturally not going to spend much time examining the world of Pulse Cosmetics, for example.

But one thing I do care about is my skin, and especially the skin on my face. So the Measurable Difference face masks were the perfect choice for my first foray into the broader Gemstra universe. The Measurable Difference line offers cruelty-free, mostly natural products aimed at making women feel like their most beautiful selves, both inside and out. With that in mind, I had no problem putting this activated charcoal mask on my face, and I was more than a little curious to see what it would do for me.

Here’s the complete ingredient list. The only marginally questionable things on here are the “fragrance” (we can’t really know what’s in anything that has this catch-all term in the ingredient list), “methylparaben” (the EWG lists this as a moderate hazard, but it’s low on the ingredient list, so we can assume there’s not that much in the masks), triethanolamine (again, a moderate hazard, but it’s higher up, so there’s more of it), and diazolidinyl urea (moderate risk of a formaldehyde allergy, but it’s pretty low on the list):

  • Water (Aqua)
  • Glycerin
  • Butylene Glycol
  • Trehalose
  • Carbomer
  • Triethanolamine
  • Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract
  • Centella Asiatica Extract
  • Portulaca Oleracea Extract
  • Allantoin
  • PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
  • Fragrance
  • Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Methylparaben
  • Charcoal Powder

The Charcoal face mask Experience

Here’s my “before” picture. Every post like this needs a “before” picture, right?  Here’s mine. Obviously, I’m not well versed in the art of taking selfies.

Here’s a picture of me with the mask on. I did this on a Saturday morning, and my girls were both awake. They weren’t at all sure how they felt about the creepy black thing hanging off of Mommy’s face, but I assured them it was supposed to help me look better and was easy to remove (all you have to do is peel it off, and the thing was literally about to fall off of me at any moment, anyway). That seemed to ease their minds a little.

As you can see, the one-size-fits-all approach takes a little adjusting. I had to keep moving it over slightly and slapping the bottom and sides to my face to help it hold a little better.

The Measurable Difference Detoxifying mask set comes in two versions – cucumber and tomato. I chose the cucumber set because I thought it had obvious skin advantages over the tomato one (although I could be wrong about this). I just hear more about people putting cucumbers on their face than I do about people splattering tomatoes all over their faces. Just the thought makes me laugh!

The cucumber scent was strong on this mask from the time I pulled it out of the package, so if you’re not a fan of the cucumber scent, you might not enjoy that. I didn’t mind it so much, but I can’t imagine how strong the tomato scent would be on the tomato version on the mask. Now I want to buy some of the tomato masks just to see what they’re like!

The mask is wet and a little slimy, and very, very cold! I was surprised at how cold it felt going on my face. I imagine this would be an especially lovely treat on a hot summer’s day. In the winter time, though, it’s a bit of a shock to the system.

You keep the cold, cucumbery-smelling mask on your face for 15 minutes, and then you peel it off. When I did that (and then massaged the excess liquid from the mask into my skin, as you’re supposed to – you don’t rinse anything off!), this was the result.

I didn’t see a great big difference when I looked in the mirror. A little bit of the oily sheen was gone, some of my natural redness was gone, and I think I saw some pores that looked a little bit smaller.

I felt a big difference, though. My skin felt tighter and cleaner, so I really think the mask did something – even if it wasn’t totally conspicuous.

The detoxifying masks come 5 in a package, and at just $10, that’s not a bad price at all for an at-home beauty treatment. Visit my Gemstra site today to buy some masks for yourself, and take a look at all the other amazing products we have to offer.

5 Things That Make Soy Candles Awesome!

soy candle benefits

Almost everyone loves candles … and for good reason. They are a great way to add warmth and comfort to your home. Plus, they are affordable and can last for a very long time. But the best part is they look good, both lit and unlit. In fact, if you’re anything like me you get a little sad each time you light a candle because you feel like you’re ruining its beauty.

Candles are both practical and gorgeous, and they can be made from different types of wax. Most candles have traditionally been made from paraffin wax, but soy candles are the most sought-after candles these days. The main reason for this is because soy candles are healthier than other types of candles.

Did you know that candles made from paraffin wax can be dangerous to your health, the health of your children, and even the health of your pets? Some of these candles have been known to kill pet birds! Paraffin is not good for people to be inhaling because it is a petroleum byproduct, and some candles even contain lead wicks. Lead has been known to cause decreases in IQ, learning difficulties, and behavior problems. Candles with lead wicks emit 500-1000 micrograms of lead per hour. Compare that to the maximum safe exposure level for children and adults, one-half to one micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air, and you’ll see how much of a problem this can be.

Note: I know of one company that makes candles from food-grade paraffin wax (not nearly as dangerous as regular paraffin wax) that does not use lead wicks. These candles are gorgeous, and I highly recommend them. For more information, read this blog post.

However, with soy candles you really don’t have to deal with any of these worries. Soy candles were created in the 1990s to combat the growing problem of inferior cheap candles. These days, you can experience all the glory of good candles and the light they produce without all the dangerous components. You can even get soy candles that have amazing scents and rings hidden inside.

jewelscent candles

There are so many reasons for you to choose soy candles over regular run-of-the-mill candles. For instance, did you know that soy candles can last twice as long as other candles? It’s true, and that makes them a very cost-effective home decor choice.

Have you ever noticed how the fragrance of some scented candles gets a little overpowering? That is because those candles burn so hot and fast. When you are using soy candles this is not a problem. Soy candles burn at a lower temperature, so the scent is dispersed at a much better rate — one that will keep your home smelling fresh all day long.

The biggest complaint that most people have about most traditional candles is the soot factor. How many times have you had to try and scrub off soot after lighting a candle? Well, the good news is that you will never have to do this again when you switch over to soy candles. Soy candles have no soot production. They will never stain anything at all.

Soy is also a renewable resource. It grows in the USA, and there is an abundance of it. You will never have to worry about hurting the environment when you are using soy candles. The only problem will be if the soy for the candle comes from a Monsanto-infected field. You should be able to contact customer service and found out. Jewelscent candles, for example, are made from soy that’s grown in California, which is one of the states that’s really against the Roundup Ready crops. … And we probably should all breathe a sigh of relief (and we can safely).

Soy candles are awesome for so many reasons. You can’t go wrong with buying one — and especially if you buy from Jewelscent. And don’t forget you get a free ring inside every classic or luxe candle. That’s reason enough for me to buy them! How about you?

These Bath Accessories Are “Da BOMB”!

I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist using that for a title. I know. Bad joke.

But I’m getting ready to introduce to a very, VERY good product. In fact, it’s one of my favorite Jewelscent products (and I really love them all A LOT).

jewelscent bath bombThere it is … the beautiful Jewelscent bath bomb. These things are HUGE, and they smell amazing. Plus, they are super moisturizing. I love to dip my hands and feet in the water after my girls take a bath with them (I rarely have time for a bath, but a good foot soak I can fit in with no problem!).

soothing foot soak


I’ve also gotten some of my favorite rings out of the Jewelscent bath bombs. Here are a couple of examples.

jewelscent ring reveal


Another thing I love about these bath bombs is that there are some really good things in here, and there are not a lot of bad things. And that’s really important when you’re trying to focus on total wellness. It’s important to put the right sort of things on your skin (and avoid the wrong sorts of things). The skin is, after all, your body’s largest organ. What affects your skin can affect your whole body.

Here’s the full ingredient list of the Jewelscent bath bombs:

Sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, magnesium sulfate, polysorbate 20, fragrance, olive oil glycereth-8 esters, witch hazel, sunflower oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, sodium coco sulfate, benzophenone 4, colorant

jewelscent bath bomb ingredient list

Did you catch that “sulfate” ingredient toward the end — not lauryl, or laureth, sulfate (that’s really bad stuff, and we’ll talk about it more later on this blog.

Coco sulfate comes from coconuts, and that makes it a little less synthetically derived than either sodium lauryl or sodium laureth sulfate. There’s still some question as to how safe coco sulfate actually is, but the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database gives it safe rating. That makes it okay, in my book!

I feel I should also mention another cool feature of these bath bombs. Some of them, as I mentioned above, have rings in them. Others (the Essentials line) don’t. These are cheaper than the ring bath bombs, and they also have more of the awesome product in them.

You really can’t go wrong with either type of bath bomb! Visit my site and find your new favorite today.