Blue It: Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask Review

01 Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask Review

And so my obsession with blue skincare continues.

My latest acquisition is the Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask ($48 for 2 oz./60g).  OK, fine, the full name is ::deep breath::

Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask

That, in a word 8 words, sums up the mask.  Blue?  Check.  Anti-inflammatory blue tansy oil as a star ingredient?  Check.  AHA (alpha hydroxy acid)?  Yup, in the form of fruit enzymes.  BHA (beta hydroxy acid)?  Yup again, in the form of willow bark and aloe leaf.  Resurfacing and clarifying?  Sure but only temporarily.

That last point is why I returned the product.

Before we get there, let’s talk about the mask first.

 Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask Ingredients and Old vs. New Version

I used the old version of this mask, purchased from Sephora in December 2015.  Herbivore has since reformulated the mask to be “a bit more powerful.” 

Update: Herbivore clarified in an Instagram comment that the new version “is only a very slight reformulation containing a higher amount of enzymes, the jasmine scent is not new and has always been a part of the product.” This section has been corrected accordingly. 

Herbivore Blue Tansy old formula
While I appreciated Herbivore’s generous, unsolicited offer to send me the new version, I never received it and so can’t compare the two for you. I can only take Herbivore at its word that the new version is more powerful.

There are also different ingredient lists for the mask out there.

To clarify, Herbivore confirmed in an Instagram comment that this is the correct ingredients list (credit to Michele of Unboxing Beauty/@colebiancardi):

Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (plant derived), Glycerin, Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy) Oil, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine Grandiflorum) Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Ananas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Ultramarines (CI 77007), Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Leucidal (radish root ferment)

Herbivore Blue Tansy new formula.JPG

Notably, Sephora does not show the correct ingredients.

Below are the incorrect ingredients listed on the version that I used and that appears on the Sephora product page–missing willow bark extract (BHA), jasmine extract, and ultramarines (a colorant):

Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (plant derived), Glycerin, Blue Tansy Oil, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Ananas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Leucidal (radish root ferment)

Just for the record, below are the ingredients currently on Herbivore’s product page.  Still not quite correct, but it’s mostly the same ingredients, just in a scrambled order:

Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (plant derived), Papaya/Pineapple Base (Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Fruit Extract, Carica Papaya (Organic Papaya) Leaf Extract, Ananas Comosus (Organic Pineapple) Fruit Extract, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Tanacetum annuum (Blue Tansy) Leaf Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract

I know that ingredients are important to you guys, so I hope that clarifies confusion.

Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask Description & Directions

This wash-off mask is an alluring deep turquoise blue shade.  The consistency is a thick, liquidy gel that you scoop out with the included spatula and feels cold and clammy on the face.

The scent is a stimulating herbal (blue tansy?) smell that I don’t love but don’t hate either.  (Unboxing Beauty said “herbaceous jasmine.”)  It goes on clear unless you really pile it on, and then the gel appears a deep murky blue.  After a few minutes, the gel begins to dry and clings to the face.

02 Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask Review

Directions: Apply a thin layer to clean skin.  Leave on for 15-20 minutes or until the mask is completely dry.  For sensitive skin, leave on for 5 minutes (mask will only be half dry).  To remove, use a washcloth and rinse with warm water.  Herbivore also recommends, “For the first five days, use every other day for best results. After day five, use 2–3 times per week to maintain results.”

A slight tingling feeling is normal (especially if you’re new to chemical exfoliation).  I experienced it initially, but after two uses, all I felt was coldness.

I used this probably a dozen times within 2 months, and at one point used it daily or every other day, which tells you how determined I was to make this work.

03 Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask Review

Usually I’m too lazy to use wash-off masks, and this one in particular was annoying because it’s hard to rinse off.  No wonder the directions advise to use a wash cloth.  I used a wet konjac sponge to scrub it off and even then, I had to use foaming face wash to help remove the mask completely.

Given my fear of overexfoliation, I started off using the mask for only 5 to 10 minutes and eventually worked my way up to 15.

Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask Results: Before & After

What did I expect from the mask? I was experiencing some minor and major breakouts in January and February (maybe or maybe not because of another blue product, Sunday Riley Blue Moon) and hoped that the mask would alleviate existing zits and prevent new ones from popping up.

The immediate results are impressive and visible.  Brightened skin tone.  Reduced redness.  Flakes gone (partly from scrubbing off the mask).

Here you can see that my nose looks smoother and my skin looks brighter:

05 Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask Before and After

Below, the red spot by my nose is nearly gone and my skin again looks brighter:

04 Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask Before and After

So what’s not to love?  The results didn’t last.

By the next morning, redness was back, my skin tone was back to normal, and–the worst part–nascent zits were worse.

To be clear, I don’t think the mask worsened my skin.  But I thought it would at least slow the progression of acne.  However, the next morning always demonstrated that it had not, and the pimples continued developing into larger and redder bumps.

The results also weren’t cumulative.  Sephora claims that “skin gains increased clarity and smoothness with continual use,” but despite using it regularly for several weeks (including every other day as Herbivore suggests initially doing), I continued to experience pimples as usual throughout my testing period (even after I discontinued using Sunday Riley Blue Moon).  So acne prevention was a fail.

Ultimately, I returned the mask.  The results were just too temporary and not worth the annoyance of scrubbing it off.

It’s a decent option to use right before a special occasion (so long as you’ve used it before and know that the exfoliation won’t irritate).  And judging by the many positive reviews, it may very well work on other types of pimples (acne has many causes, and my breakouts were particularly stubborn).

Pros: Immediate brightening and redness-reducing results.

Cons: Results are short-lived, not cumulative, and don’t reduce or prevent acne (at least not my type of acne).

17 Replies to “Blue It: Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask Review”

  1. I just got into skincare around the beginning of last year, especially Korean products and it is refreshing to see something as informative as your blog. You just gained a new follower 😄

  2. Aww, that sucks that the mask didn’t work out. I’m not a fan of wash off masks either, only because I’m so lazy, but it sounds like this could be a good mask to use before a big event for some temporary brightening? Not sure if it’d be worth the hassle or price tag though.

  3. Oh man. It’s so so so pretty and that alone is super tempting, but all that confusion around the ingredients lists are NOT tempting at all and neither is how temporary the effects are. Too bad, but I can’t feel too blue, because at least you’ve saved me some money.

  4. Oh man! This is so disappointing because it’s blue and pretty and all the photos of instant gratification! At least you got it from Sephora instead of their Etsy page. Easy returns!

  5. I love blue. Thanks again for the savings. I actually mentioned you guys in my explanation of what I hope to get out of writing a blog. I hadn’t reevaluated in a while and then I remembered the Cremorlab Post and I knew… If I can convince someone it’s NOT worth parting with their money because I’ve already done it then mission accomplished.

    That said… I would rather love every product… And it’s blue. If it were purple I might be dead in the water anyway.

    1. I am DYING for purple skincare. I don’t even care if it’s artificially colored. The only purple I’ve seen is a pale lilac moisturizer by Tatcha.

      Btw, I agree with your blogging philosophy and am also not too into posting about products that have been adequately covered by others already (unless I have an opinion that I haven’t seen anywhere else). Hehe we probably overthink this blogging business.

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