Beauty counter vs Mary kay – Which face mask & serum is best

Both beauty counter and Mary kay are skincare brands with unique business models selling direct to consumers. Instead of getting products onto shelves, Beauty Counter built up communities of passionate users through it’s founders tireless work bringing awareness to the number of ‘bad for us’ ingredients allowed in US skincare products compared with European regulations which are much stricter. While Beauty Counters passion was on clean ingredients, Mary Kay was founded over 50 years ago with the vision to try and empower women to control their own future.

You might think the business models these brands use is a pyramid scheme and not trustworthy but in this case it appears that both brands have produced a set of skincare, beauty and healthcare products that many people are passionate about because of their focus on sustainability, safety and high quality ingredients with stricter safety regulations.

Let’s take a closer look at these two brands and see if their bestselling products contain the ingredients and have the effect we are looking for when buying serums, face masks and other skincare products.

Best selling face masks from each brand

When I choose a face mask it’s usually because my skin is getting oily, I’ve been busy and I feel like I need to clean out my pores. I’m sure you’ve felt that clogged, greasy feeling that none of us like to experience. Exfoliating and unblocking pores isn’t the only use for a face mask, they can add moisture or try to penetrate our skins natural barrier to let ingredients like vitamin C soak into our skin and do us some good.

Getting all those vitamins, natural oils and goodness into your skin is harder than it sounds as our skin naturally protects against the elements and doesn’t just allow anything into your pores. This is why having the right ingredients in the mask and the right PH levels can help to give you the best chance of the mask working for your skin.

Beauty Counters reflect Effect AHA facial mask comes with both a mask and a unique tool which functions as a mask applicator, remover and a massager for your skin. I wasn’t expecting this and I’ve never used a tool to apply a mask before but it works pretty well and adds to the experience. Two noticeable ingredients in this formula are Phytic acid and Glycerin.

Phytic acid is used more widely as an acne fighting ingredient that can clear out and shrink your pores as well as brightening your skin. It can be irritating on the most sensitive skin but it’s difficult to get exfoliating ingredients without a little redness afterwards and the chances of irritation are quite low. Glycerin is super common humectant, that will pull all the moisture into the outer layers of your skin where it’s needed the most. As we have come to expect with beauty counter, this mask is vegan and cruelty free

In comparison my favourite Mary Kay mask is the brands Clear Proof deep cleansing charcoal mask. This mask is exfoliating and you can see all the unwanted dirt that’s been removed from your pores as it dries. Glycerin is again used in the formula to moisturise and the other ingredient I like most is Kaolin. Kaolin is often used to help reduce oily skin as it soaks up excess oil pretty well and can also dry out your blackheads and draw out impurities deep in your pores. This is an excellent ingredient for an exfoliating mask. The scent on this mask is subtle and hard to describe but I like it.

Mary Kay Clear Proof Deep-Cleansing Charcoal Mask

Click the image to view on Amazon

Bestselling Serum comparison

Product image
Vitamin C Serum
BeautyCounter Counter + All Bright C Serum
Light moisturising formula
Mary Kay Timewise Replenishing Serum + C, 1.5 fl oz
Product name
Beauty Counter All Bright C Serum
Mary Kay Timewise Replenishing Serum
Click to view on Amazon
Vitamin C Serum
Product image
BeautyCounter Counter + All Bright C Serum
Product name
Beauty Counter All Bright C Serum
Click to view on Amazon
Light moisturising formula
Product image
Mary Kay Timewise Replenishing Serum + C, 1.5 fl oz
Product name
Mary Kay Timewise Replenishing Serum
Click to view on Amazon

A serum can nourish, hydrate and protect our skin from the elements. A lot of anti-ageing serums have come onto the market recently too and most serums offer a more intensive skincare experience than a cream or moisturiser. We all love to read about all the wonderful natural and active ingredients in our newest skincare products but all those luscious names aren’t any use if they can’t penetrate your skin. Both Mary Kay and Beauty counter sell a range of serums for different skincare needs but today I want to take a look at two of my favourites.

Beauty counter All bright C serum

This Vitamin C serum from beauty counter has a brightening effect on your skin and a high concentration of vitamin C. However, the form of vitamin C used in this formula is tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate which needs your skin to convert it to pure vitamin C. We always like to see the purest form of Vitamin C in skincare products, which is ascorbic acid, as its most effective.

You should try to use a salicylic acid cleanser before applying vitamin C serum because it will help reduce the PH level of your vitamin C serum and prepare your skin in a way that gives salicylic acid the best chance of penetrating deep into your skins cells. It’s easy to get lazy when washing off a cleanser, but be sure to wash a salicylic acid cleanser off quickly, avoid the skin closest to your eyes and use cool water. The idea isn’t to scrub hard and exfoliate but to prepare your skin.

Beautycounter’s All Bright C Serum is vegan, cruelty free vegan and EWG Verified. Beautycounter are very clear about all the ingredients they use in their products and we really like this kind of transparency. It can be difficult to know what you are putting on your skin so more detailed ingredients lists help to give you a better idea. Look for ingredients that are backed by scientific research or studies where possible. Knowing some ingredients are proven to have some effect is always reassuring.

Mary Kay Timewise Replenishing Serum

Mary Kay market this serum as a replenishing serum that can moisturise and brighten your skin tone. The product comes in a container that is simple and has a bold black lid. The bottle design makes me feel like it should contain foundation and not serum. Some users claim that this serum does feel moisturising and It does contain many of the important ingredients your skin needs to stay hydrated.

Mary Kay don’t stray far from the most recognisable key ingredients used in the facial skin care market and this cream contain dimethicone, glycerin and betaine, all three of which you have probably seen on many ingredients list.

Betaine is used less than the other 2 ingredients but is a humectant that has a few other interesting qualities too. Betaine can control the balance of water in you cells and also help to reduce the severity of ingredients, giving a formula a milder touch.

The Mary Kay time wise replenishing serum has a light consistency and barely any scent. It’s nice to experience a scented face serum but adding those fragrant ingredients leaves more chance of skin irritation. This formula will definitely moisture your skin well which is great for this price point but will the vitamin C penetrate your skin cells deep enough to activate and allow your skin to benefit from the vitamins.

Well, the vitamin C in this formula comes from fruit extracts rather than the pure form of vitamin C. It is also way down on the ingredients list so we think the antioxidant qualities are likely to be low. This is a nice formula, but if vitamin C is most important for you I’d suggest you try out DRMTLGY or Skinceuticals as they use more pure forms of Vitamin C in their formulas.

Final comparison

Mary Kay and Beauty Counter both sell their skincare products directly to customers, although they do now sell through some retailers too. The main difference between the two brands is the brands vision. Beauty Counter was founded by a lady who wanted to improve the standards of beauty products by using ingredients that are good for you and trying to reduce the use of bad ingredients in the beauty industry. Whereas Mary Kay was a strong advocate for women rights and empowering women to succeed in life.

Beauty Counter is completely transparent about the ingredients used in its products and believe strongly in using sustainable packaging and being as transparent as possible. Mary Kay focus hard on making sure they use safe ingredients too and they have an extended banned ingredients list they use that goes beyond health and safety regulations.

If you are looking for a face mask then beauty Counter reflect effect AHA facial mask is my favourite, especially as it comes with a useful applicator tool. Both brands sell a range of face serums, but their vitamin C serum doesn’t contain the purest form of Vitamin C. For the price range, these brands offer a good experience lots of proven ingredients and the chance to belong to a group of ladies with a similar vision for skincare and beauty.

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