This article is brought to you in collaboration with Fillerina. However, this is an honest review and all opinions are my own.
I’ll be honest: maskne hit me hard.
I’ve suffered from mild to moderate acne throughout my 20s but wearing face masks has taken things to the next level — especially in the summer heat! The sweat gets trapped between my skin and the mask and the result is definitely *not* cute.
So, when I heard about Fillerina’s new collection, After Mask Active Oxygen, which is specifically targeted to soothe skin that’s been suffocating under a face mask all day, I knew I had to try it.
The products contain hyaluronic acid (aka skincare’s holy grail ingredient) and active oxygen.
Active oxygen (aka ozone or O3) is a bit controversial, with some dermatologists convinced it’s a miracle ingredient and others still skeptical. Proponents claim that active oxygen can reduce the effects of aging, fight acne, and shield your skin from the environment.
As for After Mask’s products in particular, the collection promises to “help the skin breathe” again, to provide anti-aging benefits, and to offer microbiome protection.
So — does the skincare set live up to its promises? Let’s take a look.
On the first day, I only used the Protective Day Cream and Calming Night Cream to make sure there were no major interactions with my skin (there weren’t).
The creams have a wonderful, luxurious texture and somehow manage to be both lightweight and hydrating. They both went on my skin smoothly and have a lovely, light scent. I have an extremely sensitive nose so anything too perfumey is a big no-no — but this definitely passes the smell test!
I was a bit nervous to introduce the Active Oxygen Gel into my routine since I’m a skin minimalist and never want to use more products than I absolutely have to (sorry, but I’m definitely not a 13-step skincare kind of girl).
But I’m pleasantly surprised with how nicely the gel goes on. And it works exactly as it says it does — after about 20 seconds, you start to feel some tingles on your face as the gel gets to work. The gel foam ups for a minute or so until finally slowing down, at which point you can either rub in the remaining product or rinse it off.
To get the most out of the set, I used the gel vigilantly the minute I got home after I removed my mask each day.
First, I washed my face with a gentle cleanser (I went with Cerave since that’s my derm’s favorite), then smoothed on the gel, let the bubbles do their thing, rinsed it off, and then followed up with the day cream.
After two weeks, I’m totally hooked on the night cream. I have particularly dry skin that’s eczema-prone so I decided to layer the cream with my Cereve AM Moisturizer and the results are absolute magic. My skin has literally never felt more plump and hydrated. And for the first time, I’m not running to add more moisturizer 20 minutes later.
(Note: those with oily to normal skin can probably get away with using the night cream on its own without adding a moisturizer)
As for the gel, the tingling bubbles made me feel like my skin was actually getting squeaky clean for once. And, most importantly, I didn’t get any new acne while I was using it. Success!
But frankly, the best part of the gel was it forced me to slow down. I had to wait a good 20 seconds before the bubbles started and it made me have to take a breath, instead of merely rushing through my skincare routine like I usually do. It felt like the ultimate self-care item.
My biggest concern is whether I can realistically keep this new routine up. Prior to this, I had an extremely streamlined routine — cleanser, retinoid, moisturizer, done. So to add in an extra mini routine after I get home in the evening might not be sustainable for me.
The Calming Night Cream has 100% earned itself a place in my regular routine — which is a hard feat considering how few products I like to use. But the combination of the night cream and my moisturizer makes my skin so ridiculously hydrated that I’m not sure I can ever go back to just the moisturizer on its own.
As for the Active Oxygen Gel, I think I’ll keep it as a special once-a-week treat. I realize this means I won’t get the full benefits of the active oxygen and am risking more maskne but I’m just not sure I can keep up the routine of coming home and immediately washing my face and using the gel. I’m usually pretty tired once I get home and just want to crash.
If you’re looking to keep your maskne in check, this is definitely worth a try. One of the great things about the collection is that it doesn’t have any harsh ingredients or additives so it’s a pretty safe bet for anyone with sensitive or reactive skin.
It’s also an extremely gentle set of products that won’t interfere with the rest of your routine. I personally use a prescription retinoid and didn’t experience any negative interaction between the products. (But you should definitely consult your dermatologist before adding anything new to your routine).
If all of your other attempts to squash your maskne haven’t worked, then there’s really no reason not to give After Mask a chance. There’s little to lose and everything to gain.
Learn more about Fillerina’s After Mask collection here.
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.