If you’re a human who uses the internet, you’ve probably come across Sand And Sky – the Australian Pink Clay Mask and Exfoliating Treatment said to be making everyone’s face brighter than sunbeams, but does it really work?
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Sand and Sky is an independent Australian company that fashioned a face mask and exfoliating treatment from Australian pink clay, and its been wildly successful.
The mask supposedly absorbs dirt and impurities, detoxifies, tightens pores, restores the skin’s natural defence barriers, and brightens skin tone, while the exfoliating treatment does all of the above, and resurfaces and mattifies the skin.
As a traveller, I find my skin often doesn’t know how to handle extreme climates. It loves the weather in warm and sunny Sydney, and doesn’t deal with extreme humidity or extreme cold very well. My skin was so dry in summer in Banff that no amount of moisturiser kept it hydrated, and freezing cold temperatures in Montreal weren’t much better.
It was a nightmare, but I know I’m not the only one who has this experience when they travel. So, after the realising Sand and Sky had thousands of fantastic reviews, I decided to make the most of the Black Friday sales and get on the bandwagon in the hope of finding something that can fix whatever my skin does while travelling in new climates.
Here’s what happened.
Sand and Sky Clay Mask and Exfoliator: A Review
Having spent my entire life in sunny Australia with skin so pasty-white that finding foundation in the right hue is legitimately a struggle, I have mild discolouration from sun exposure, and my nose and the apples of my cheeks have always been slightly red. Make-up covers it pretty well, but I have a fairly uneven skin tone all-round.
(I don’t generally take photos when I have no make-up on so I don’t have a ‘before’ shot, but the one below was taken a few weeks after I started using Sand and Sky.)
Having fallen for a few cult ‘miracle’ products in the past, I wasn’t so sure about Sand and Sky. The products promised to help with almost all my skin issues, but the raving reviews are largely by girls who are young and already supremely beautiful with pre-mask skin that looks radiant with no makeup on. I’m not denying any skin issues they may have, but I, for one, do not look like that in front of a camera with no makeup on. It seemed too good to be true.
But I’m a sucker for natural vegan products, and there were so many reviews that my curiosity got the better of me and I had to know if it was really worth all the hype.
I bought the Perfect Skin Bundle as part of a Black Friday package, which included:
1 x Porefining Face Mask + brush applicator
1 x Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment
1 x Sand and Sky ‘Holiday Pouch’
1 x Sand and Sky hairband
On sale it cost $101 CAD, but if you buy it without a discount it’ll cost $122.
It sounds like a lot of cash to hand over, but the items don’t feel cheap. In fact, everything about the packaging of the mask and exfoliator is high-quality, beautiful to look at, and satisfying to hold. The clay needs to be stored in a cooler environment to stop it from drying out, so the pot itself is thicker and heavier than you expect it to be to insulate and protect the product. It’s weighty and feels almost like it’s made of ceramic. The exfoliator tube is smooth matt plastic with a click-lid, and the same beautiful pink branding.
The only things I didn’t really ‘get’ were the ‘Holiday Pouch’ and hairband. Sure, they were part of a package deal, but the pouch is made of the same translucent pink plastic used for inflatable chairs in the early 2000s. It doesn’t have the same high-quality feel as the rest of the packaging and seems gimmicky.
The hairband is white with pink stitching, and feels like a cheap towel. I used it once and decided it didn’t do much a scrunchy couldn’t do, but I can see how it might be useful for people with really curly hair, or people who have a lot of fly-aways that might get caught in the mask.
For best results, Sand and Sky recommend applying the mask on one day, and the exfoliator the next. They also recommend using the exfoliator in the evening so your skin has time to rejuvenate overnight after being scrubbed. So that’s what I did.
The clay is a dark shade of brownish-pink, and it’s quite thick and very smooth. A little bit goes a long way, so after cleansing and drying my face, I put a bit on the brush and pasted away, avoiding my eyes and eyebrows, mouth, and hairline.
The brush makes application really easy. There’s no mess, and you have a lot of control over the amount of product you’re using. I can’t imagine how much mess and waste there would be if you were only using your hands, and it’s not a cheap product, so the brush is a nice touch.
I read that it’s totally normal to feel a ‘stinging’ or ‘tingling’ sensation after applying the mask. Apparently that means it’s doing its job, but I left it on for 10-15 minutes until it dried and never felt anything like that. I did notice the clay was more translucent around my nose, which means there were more ‘impurities’ there for the mask to draw out, but overall the mask made my face look like a cracked shade of pinkish-white.
Washing it off was ridiculously easy (seriously, it just slides off without scrubbing or anything) and, after following up with my usual moisturiser (coconut oil – it’s the bomb), my skin did feel really, really smooth.
The product is brown, dense, and granular.
The directions say to use the exfoliator on clean, damp skin. You’re supposed to rub it in with your fingers in a circular motion for around 30 seconds, and let it sit there for five minutes, or until it dries.
Given how dense it is when it comes out of the tube, the exfoliator mixes with the water that’s already on your face and spreads surprisingly easily. I did feel like I had more on my fingers than my face, but I did what I could and left it there until it dried. As with the clay, washing it off was really easy. I followed up with coconut oil, and my skin felt super-smooth afterwards.
After the first use, my skin was definitely smoother.
Make up application was a smoother process, it looked more even, and my skin wasn’t dry. While there was a brightness to my skin, it wasn’t really noticeable to others – my boyfriend is usually pretty good at noticing subtle changes with all the different products I’ve tried, but even he could only vaguely tell the difference after I pointed it out. My pores also didn’t really shrink like they seemed to for all the influencers, but because my skin looked smoother, I don’t think they were as noticeable.
After a few uses I noticed the redness in my skin had decreased, my skin tone was a little more even, and I suddenly felt a little more comfortable walking outside without makeup on. I used it twice per week for a couple of weeks, before cutting it down to once per week for experimentation purposes and it made no difference.
Having now used Sand and Sky for a few months, I use it on a need-to basis and it does actually make a difference to my skin texture. While I don’t look like a glowing moonbeam and I’m not floored by a newfound brightness to my skin like the people on Instagram, I use it when my skin starts looking a bit red or feeling uneven and it fixes it right up – foundation goes on smoother, powder doesn’t look cakey, and blending is so much easier it’s ridiculous.
Some people say they have breakouts after using it the first few times, but that didn’t happen to me, and I still haven’t experienced the ‘stinging’ or ‘tingling’ sensation others talk about, but that could be to do with the amount if product I’m using. Some people really cake it on, whereas I apply a thinner layer and, as far as I can tell, it still works. I will eventually try a thicker coating so see if that makes a difference, so watch this space!
Overall, I find the benefits of the mask are only visible for me on day one and whatever ‘glow’ I had disappears by day two. I much prefer the exfoliator because I feel like it actually works to make my skin tone and texture more even, and the results are visible for a few days. Having said that, I have a Baiden Mitten that does a pretty similar thing, but cost $50 and lasts for at least two years.
Is It Worth It?
Sand and Sky is pricey. If you forgo the bundles and buy each product individually, one 60g pot of mask will cost you more than $65, and the 100ml tube of exfoliator will cost $57.
Given that the product is all natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and is made and manufactured in Australia with free shipping, the price is totally justified, but if you use it the way Sand and Sky recommend, it won’t last long at all.
Sand and Sky recommend using the mask and exfoliator combo twice per week on average (more if you have oily skin, less if your skin is dry). Sand and Sky also suggest the clay pot contains enough for around 15 uses, which means you could be ready for another in under two months.
Having said that, I’ve almost had mine for four months and, after an average use of once per fortnight for the mask and once per week for the exfoliator, both products still have more than half left. The key is to keep track of how much you’re using – I read one review where someone only got seven masks out of her pot because she piled it on, so it really depends.
Another major selling point is that it’s supposed to decreases the appearance of acne scars quite significantly, and the before and after shots do look pretty amazing. I’ve never had acne so I can’t provide any insight on this one, but if you’re looking to get rid of acne scars, Sand And Sky might be a good thing to try.
The other thing I can’t really look past is that the price is set to USD, even though it’s an Australian company. This means people from the US will pay $78 for the bundle with shipping, while Australians will pay $111 for the same bundle that’s made, manufactured, and shipped within their own country. On one hand I understand that decision, but on the other hand it’s a bit unfair to local customers.
All in all, if you have the cash but you’re on the fence about it, give it a go! It’s a natural, vegan, and cruelty-free product, and if it helps you feel great in your skin, it’s priceless.