This mask has had a lot of hype lately – people are going nuts trying to get their hands on a jar. So let’s get one thing straight right now. The Problem Solver mask from May Lindstrom is one of the most effective masks I have ever used. But it is also without a doubt the most user unfriendly mask ever.
The product claims are covered in hyperboles – describing itself as a “Hero”, “Over Achiever”, and “Superstar”, this is one mask without a self-esteem problem. Normally, I would recoil from these terms simply for being arrogant, but dammit they’re right. This treatment mask intensely cleanses, purifies, fights blemishes, speeds up healing, and makes my skin genuinely look better.
It contains a combination of Fuller’s Earth, Ghassoul (more about which here), Raw Cacao, Salt, Vitamin C, Charcoal, and Sodium Bicarbonate which makes a completely strange powder-to-mousse texture, which sucks up, for want of a better term, all oil, impurities, pollution, and gunk. Simultaneously, a spice combo of Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove, Frankincense and some others make the mask a tingly, warming stimulation treatment, which means that your skin is actually perked up.
It is not a quick fix, and is a pain in the butt to use (more on that later) but two days after using it, your skin is genuinely better. I have oily, blemish-prone but also dry-as-a-desert skin (just saying that I feel like I have exposed my passport number to you. But we’re all pals here.), and this mask is effective on a completely other-worldly level to make my complexion better. I usually get a small breakout the day after using it, but I feel this is due to the skin expelling the impurities, like after a good facial, especially because afterwards I have remarkably pure skin for another week or so. I’ve been using it for a month, and let me tell you, I’m not going to be without it for a long time.
The texture is pretty cool – you mix equal parts water with the powder, and stir until it froths up into a mousse. The brand suggests that you mix a tablespoon of each, but I find that a teaspoon is more than enough to cover my face. I would highly recommend applying it with a brush – you could even use a pastry brush instead of buying an expensive skincare one.
Before you start thinking that I have lost my mind to a mask, I shall assure you that it isn’t all sunshine-and-roses with this guy. This is NOT a mask that you can put on and imagine you are at a spa with plinkety-plonkety music – I would equate it to a war paint. It is obscenely expensive, messy, and requires you to get equipment from the kitchen (euurrgh). It is intense on application, with a strong warming and tingly sensation, and doesn’t wash off easily. If you get it in your hairline, you’ll be at the sink for ages trying to wash it out. AND you have to leave it on for 45 minutes – during which you cannot watch a funny movie because if you smile while it is drying, your face moves too much and it descends in black/green flakes all over you*.
The important thing though, is that even with all of this, I still love it. Love it. Adore it. Can’t rave enough about it. Using this once a week, with another exfoliating mask mid-week, I am sorted.
You can find it at Cult Beauty here, and they ship worldwide so that’s cool.
*Speaking from personal experience. Also don’t sniff the powder. That clove and cayenne combo gets right up to the sinuses.