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Beautycounter Reflect Effect AHA Mask Review (best smoothing facial mask!)

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Beautycounter has been discontinued! Read about what happened to Beautycounter (and when it might come back) here. In the meantime, I have lots of great recommendations for Beautycounter product swaps linked in this post. Also, be sure to join my email list so you can be the first to know when your Beautycounter favorites come back.

Beautycounter launched their Reflect Effect AHA Smoothing Facial Mask last year and I am SERIOUSLY obsessed. And considering I generally hate doing masks, that’s saying something. I never want to do them at night when I’m tired, I’m too rushed in the morning, they’re messy, etc. But this mask changed me. Dare I say I look forward to using this mask? I think I do.

The mask was available as part of the Beautycounter holiday sets in 2021, and it was so popular that they decided to incorporate it into their regular skincare line-up. The mask came in a smaller size in the holiday set and I savored it all winter and spring, trying to make it last as long as possible. (So needless to say, when it launched last year I was so glad I could buy it again!) I’ve been using it once a week religiously, as part of my skincare routine, and my skin looks SO much brighter and smoother.

Most skincare products take a few weeks to notice a difference, but this is one of those products that I noticed a difference with immediately after using it. If you’re familiar with the Beautycounter Resurfacing Overnight Peel, you know that it makes your skin look amazing after a few uses. This mask is like the Overnight Peel, but on overdrive. You get results even faster, but it’s still gentle.

Okay you get it, I love this stuff. Let’s get into why.

Beautycounter Reflect Effect AHA Mask Review

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Beautycounter Reflect Effect AHA Mask Review

The AHA Smoothing Facial Mask is both a physical AND chemical facial exfoliator, making it extremely effective from the first time you use it and you’ll get even more results with continued use. I use this 3-in-1 Facial Tool to apply it and to massage it into my skin when removing it. (You can buy a bundle with the mask and tool if you want both).

What does it do?

1. Exfoliates to increase cell turnover

The first thing this mask does is help get the dead skin cells off of your face. Like my favorite sugar scrub does for my feet and legs, this mask contains small particles (bamboo, actually) that act as a physical exfoliant to gently remove impurities which ultimately increases cell turnover.

2. Improves complexion

Because of the chemical exfoliator in this mask (AHA), your skin also becomes more radiant after one use AND over time. The AHA in this mask is the same ingredient found in the Overnight Resurfacing Peel, which reduces fine lines and helps discoloration.

3. Increases hydration

This mask also includes hydrating ingredients (a sugar based moisturizer) so while you’re exfoliating, you’re also hydrating your skin. So many exfoliators only strip the skin without restoring moisture. (Cough, cough. St. Ives Apricot Scrub! Looking at you!) By contrast, this mask exfoliates AND hydrates skin, making it the perfect balancing combo.

Alright, let’s get into a few more details if you, like me, like to know how and why things work! 🙂 If you don’t care about all these details, you can skim or skip the below, and just use this link to add it to your cart.

Beautycounter facial mask

What’s special about the AHA Mask?

It’s safer and gentler

Some exfoliating masks on the market have SUPER high AHA, which can cause irritation. Additionally, every ingredient in this mask gets diligently screened by Beautycounter for safety for 23 health and environmental end points. Beautycounter has a list of ingredients that are never found in their products. It includes around 1800 ingredients, many of which are used in lots of brands that you likely know! While I’m certainly not perfect with all of my beauty products I use, I always strive for safer and cleaner and Beautycounter is a brand I 100% trust to be the best of the best.

10% Potency

AHA can be irritating to the skin if it’s too potent. Beautycounter found that 10% is the perfect blend of high efficacy while still being gentle enough not to irritate skin. I can attest that this is true. I use the mask once a week, and my skin is very dry. Too much AHA would generally irritate my skin, but this does not.

Here’s a break down of the active ingredients:

Glycolic Acid

This is the smallest AHA molecule. It absorbs easily into skin, and it effectively removes dead skin leaving a brighter complexion.

Phytic Acid

This helps exfoliate the buildup we get on our skin to reduce dry, flaky skin. This gives you a more even, smooth complexion.

Bamboo Particles

The bamboo particles are the physical exfoliator. Just because an ingredient is natural and biodegradable doesn’t mean it’s great for skin. For example, St. Ives Apricot Scrub, which uses walnuts, can create long-term damage to the skin since it’s VERY abrasive. (The product was actually involved in a class action lawsuit in 2017.)

However, unlike walnut powder, Bamboo is a GREAT exfoliator because it’s very gentle on skin since it can be ground down into perfectly round beads. That’s one of the reasons high-end skincare lines incorporate it. Another reason is because bamboo is the richest known source of silica, a compound that strengthens skin and promote collagen production (yes, please). Bamboo is also high in vitamins C and E. These vitamins are antioxidants and help reduce and repair UV damage .

Saccharide Isomerate

This is the sugar-based moisturizer that I mentioned above. It combats dryness while soothing skin at the same time.

Get the AHA Smoothing Facial Mask here

How to use Beautycounter Reflect Effect AHA Mask

Beautycounter Reflect Effect AHA Mask Review: FAQs

How often do I use this mask?

If you’re new to exfoliation, start slow and build up. Try using it once every 2 weeks. Eventually start using it more often, working up to about once or twice per week, depending on the other products you’re using. I stick to once per week because I have other AHA and active skincare products that I use during the week, and I don’t want to dry out or irritate my skin.

When do I use it?

I recommend using it at night, but if you do use it in the AM, just make sure to apply SPF after. Use it after your cleanser and before your toner, then follow with your serum and moisturizer before applying face sunscreen last.

How do I use it?

  1. Apply the mask on dry, clean skin with your fingers or with the 3-in-1 Facial Tool
  2. Let it dry for 10 minutes.
  3. Add warm water to your fingers or the exfoliating side of the tool and then gently massage the particles into your skin. Massage your skin gentle (don’t scrub), to avoid irritation.
  4. Rinse skin well to fully remove the mask, using a warm wet washcloth to gently remove any remaining particles on your skin.
  5. Pat (don’t rub) your face on a towel to dry.
  6. Follow with the rest of your skincare routine, i.e. toner, serum, moisturizer and eye cream. (My favorites are listed here.)

How long does it last?

The mask will last about 8.5 months if you use it once a week. There are 34 uses per jar!

Can I use it with the Overnight Resurfacing Peel?

Yes, but not on the same day, since they both contain AHA. That’s why I typically use the mask once a week versus twice. I like to use the Overnight Peel and these Peel Pads, so I use this mask on a night that I’m not using those.

Should I get the bundle, or just the mask?

The bundle includes a 3-in-1 Facial Tool to use for application. Considering I hate using masks, I’m all for anything that makes it less messy and easier to use. The tool certainly isn’t necessary, but I like it.

Bottom line

Coming from someone who hates using masks, this one is 100% worth the purchase. I’ve loved the results so much that I look forward to using it, and I’ve loved seeing improvements in my skin after immediate use and over the last few months as well.

If you’re new to Beautycounter, you can get the mask for 20% off with code CLEANFORALL20 when you select TeriLyn Adams as your consultant when you check out. If you need help with the rest of your skincare routine, fill this form out and I’ll email you some other recommendations!

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