Epic Face Mask Battle: GlamGlow Vs. Peter Thomas Roth

Published on March 1, 2015 by   ·   1 Comment

If you’re going to paint a good picture, you have to start with a decent canvas.  Know what I’m saying?

I don’t obsess a lot about skincare, though as I’ve gotten older I have tried to establish more of a routine to keep away the “signs of aging” that everyone keeps talking about.  That’s how I’ve managed to remain a fresh-faced girl of 22 for all of these many years!

Queen HeleneBut even in my devil-may-care youth when I threw caution and SPF to the wind, there is one beauty treatment that I’ve always adored: the mask.  It’s like a relaxing day at the spa you can do at home and there are so many great products out there to choose from.  My favorite mask ever was one I used to find at Walmart for like $2.50: it was called Queen Helene’s Mint Julep mask.  It was a green clay mask that smelled minty and delicious, hardened to an amazing crust, and washed off leaving my skin feeling cool, tingly, and super soft.

There are two main types of mask products: clay-based “mud” masks that harden and then are washed off, and gel-based masks that dry out and are usually peeled off.  In the interest of transparency, since it may affect my review, I should say that I have always preferred the mud masks to the gels; there is nothing like the feeling of the clay forming a firm layer as it leaches all of the yuck out of your skin.  This gives GlamGlow a leg up in this “competition” as all of their masks are clay, while all of the Peter Thomas Roth masks are gels.  But then I remember that this competition is one that I made up in my head, there are no prizes, and it’s on my website so I can do whatever the fuck I want, and I started to feel better about my life choices.

Mask 02 MainAnd as I started to sample each of the different masks, I realized that things have changed in the world of mask treatments.  As I’ll note below, you can’t always anticipate how a mask will work and what the end experience will be.  Not all of the mud masks harden to a flaky crust, and not all of the gels form a peelable layer.  In addition to helping me find my new favorite masks, this little challenge also helped me learn more about all of the fabulous facial possibilities out there.

So here is a list of each of the products in the two brands that I decided to sample:

Supermud Clearing Treatment (white)
Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment (black)
Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment (blue)
Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment (green)

Mask 09 PTR MinisPeter Thomas Roth:
Cucumber Gel Mask
Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask
Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift &  Firm Mask

BONUS PRODUCT: Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

At the time of experimenting with these masks, my skincare routine also included the following products (which probably can take some of the credit/blame for how my skin was feeling during the process):

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser with FAB Antioxidant Booster
Burt’s Bees Garden Tomato Toner (I live!  This product may get it’s own post soon – stay tuned!)
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

First, let’s start with the GlamGlow products:

Mask 06 GG JarsSupermud Clearing Treatment (white)

This mask is probably my favorite of the GlamGlow bunch and really sets a high bar to compare the other masks against.  The blackish-gray mud goes on smooth, though it tended to thin out in places more than other masks and I had to apply more to cover up open or under-covered areas.  The scent is divine: herbal with a generous amount of mint with a gorgeous undertone of anise (I know some bitches will fight me on this, but I love, love, LOVE the smell of anise! One you go black – licorice – you NEVER go back!).  The mask hardened quickly into a smooth and stiff light gray crust and I could feel it pulling my skin tight.

There were a few large particles that I’m assuming were from the herbal ingredients that seem to have worked there way through whatever filtration method was in place, but I didn’t really mind them because of how good the mask felt on my face.  Washing it off wasn’t much of a chore; adding water reactivated the formula and allowed it to be washed off pretty easily – along with a ton of gunk!  I decided to be crazy and do this mask the night of a show, before going to bed, and so not only did I have my usual stored up face yuckiness, but I also had the remnants of my super thick “paint job.”  Despite the fact that I did this mask when it had the most work to do, my face felt the best after this trial than it did after any of the other masks.

Mask 03 GG BlackYouthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment (black)

This was the first GlamGlow mask I tried.  I did it the morning after a show and my face was feeling like 30 miles of bad road.  The mud is gray with a greenish tint and dries to a light green, a lot like the Queen Helene mask I used to use.  Because it’s an exfoliant along with a mask, it had a gritty texture that wasn’t altogether unpleasant, although there were some bigger chucks of unidentifiable material that I had to manually pick off my skin and throw in the garbage that were a little off-putting.  After I washed my face, I found a piece of leaf in the sink, with stem attached.  So it’s a little odd.  The smell is very light, sort of a general fresh, herby kind of smell, nothing that really stood out as an identifiable ingredient.

As I spread the mask on my face it started to tingle – in the good way, not like the “I have to go to the free clinic and get my special shampoo” kind of way.  It dried out nice and evenly to a hard crust.  I was a little worried that the exfoliation element would be too harsh when I washed it off, but it was actually pretty gentle and just felt like a nice medium skin buff.

This mask did an amazing job of clearing out the yuck in my skin and my face felt cool and refreshed when it was done.  I didn’t have any of the sting or burn that I sometimes get with other exfoliating products, even when I used my toner, and when I put on moisturizer it ate it right up and created a super soft barrier.

Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment (blue)

ThirstyThis mask started off so wonderfully…and it was all downhill from there.  I had such high hopes.  From the second you open the jar, the mask has this gorgeous, yummy coconut scent that manages to avoid the unfortunate connotation of tanning lotion that coconut usually has.  Instead, this mask smells like a delicious dessert, and it’s a fluffy, soft light brown color that goes on super smooth and transparent.  I didn’t check out the ingredient list, but I’d bet more than a little coin that coconut oil would be up at the top.

Unlike other mud masks, this one doesn’t harden to a crust.  As you spread it out on the face, it loses its color and feels much more like a gel than a mud.  It never truly hardened; instead it partially dried out like a gel mask.  One of the Sephora girls told me that I should let it dry, then add a little water and massage it into my skin.  Adding water reactivated the product into a light oil, but it never really absorbed into my skin and I eventually wiped it off.

This mask is better for people with dry skin whose pores will lap this up like a thirsty puss with a saucer of milk.  For me, since my skin tends towards oily in places, the feeling at the end wasn’t entirely pleasant and the product never absorbed into my skin.  I don’t think it’s a terrible product for everyone, but people with oily skin should steer clear.  I was hoping that the dreamy, creamy smell when I opened the product would be indicative of the overall experience.  Unfortunately, this just wasn’t the case and this was one of the biggest disappointments of the bunch.

Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment (green)

PowerMudThis mask had a delicious scent that for the life of me I can’t pinpoint.  It had a great freshness and almost a hint of something fruity, just like yours truly!  As I spread it on my face, it had a super cooling feeling.  Comparing this mask to the other masks in the group that were cooling is like comparing an Altoid to a life-saver – it was curiously strong.  The tingle was almost a little too much for a few seconds, but overall I didn’t mind it and it was very refreshing once you get past those first few seconds of crazy sexy cool.

The mask hardened to nice soft crust – it was firm, but seemed to have a little more elasticity than other mud masks.  I was able to move my face a little bit more than usual without breaking the crust.  The crust was nice and smooth as the mask doesn’t have any small, gritty particles.  It was a light gray in color and didn’t really change throughout the process.  I have a hard time trusting a mud mask that doesn’t harden into a tight crust on the face, but in this case I may have to make an exception as the final result was simply divine.

Washing it off, I got another little wiff of the fabulous fragrance.  It came off pretty easily with just warm water and a washcloth, and afterwards my face had a nice glowy softness.  It wasn’t as dramatic of an effect as some of the other masks, but it definitely didn’t feel like a waste of my time.


I was mostly thrilled with the experience of the GlamGlow products.  The Supermud was my hands down favorite, and the experience of both the Youthmud and the Powermud were really spectacular.  The regular sizes of the masks all sell for $69, though you can also get smaller sizes to try out of the green, blue, and black for only $19 each.  The white is the only one that doesn’t come in the smaller size, but if you’re looking for a good, solid mask for regular use, this is my top recommendation anyway, and this is the one I definitely wouldn’t have any qualms about purchasing if I wanted to spoil myself with a mask treatment…or if there’s a sugar daddy out there who just wants to help a bitch feel pretty!  The green and black are also both worth the regular price, though since the black also exfoliates, you will probably want to space it out a Mask 05 GG Cleanserslittle more than you might other masks unless you use no other exfoliating products.  Since it’s less of a regular use item, the smaller size might be a better value for you.  As for the blue, I’m hesitant to recommend it, especially the regular size.  I get that I have a bias: I like a mask that has a clear “finish.”  I don’t want the awkward “Is the process over yet?” or “Did I leave it on too long/not long enough?” thoughts running through my mind.  As I noted, if you have super dry skin, this mask just might change our life, but for me, who has mostly normal skin with a few oily patches, the mask just wasn’t a stellar experience and it didn’t really pamper me the way I want a mask to.

I love this brand and I feel like some of their products may make their way into my regular routine very soon.  I’m especially excited about three new “mud to foam” cleasers that they’ve launched.  Those might just need a review of their own in the near future…stay tuned!

Now that I’ve gone over the four competitors from GlamGlow, let’s take a look at the challenger: Peter Thomas Roth.  The containers for these masks are sleek and clear, showing off the beautiful gel textures inside.  Gel masks definitely have an asthetic advantage over their muddy sisters, but let’s see if the beauty is more than skin deep…

Peter Thomas Roth:

PTR TTrioCucumber Gel Mask: Extreme Detoxifying Hydrator

This mask is a good place to start with the Peter Thomas Roth masks as it’s a simple, refreshing mask with a light scent.  It didn’t have a strong cucumber smell but more of a general fresh light scent; gone were the heavy herbal tones of the GlamGlow products.  This gel applied smoothly and evenly and it dried into a thin but solid layer on my face.  The cooling sensation fades as the product dries, but it felt nice on my skin and seemed to be doing something.

Like all of the PTR masks, this one is not a peel away and needed to be rinsed.  Adding water reactivated the product nicely and it washed away without any real fuss.  Afterwards my skin felt smooth and super hydrated.  I was pleasantly surprised how well it worked and really enjoyed the results.

BeastRose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask: Bio-Repair Gel Mask

People are divided on the scent of rose.  I think it’s gorgeous and classic; I have a friend who hates it because it makes her think of tampons.  Touche, sister.  I opened up this mask and I loved that the scent was light and classic rose, but not overpowering.  Hopefully, the lightness of the scent will help placate those whose opinion of rose veers into feminine hygiene territory.

The gel mask was light and spread on easily, but it never dried.  I’m used to a gel mask that hardens and peels off; when the product doesn’t harden or peel, it’s hard to know when it’s done.  It feels…unfinished.  I left it on for about 20 minutes, ten minutes longer than it suggests on the directions, and when I washed it off I didn’t really feel a dramatic difference.  My face didn’t feel much different than it does after I wash it with pretty much any cleanser – just clean, with a little hint of a rose scent.  It was really nothing to write home about.

Pumpkin Enzyme Mask: Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer

TameThis mask almost didn’t even get to be included in this review.  I committed myself to trying and reviewing all 4 masks by both companies, but the minute I opened the lid on this one I was put off.  It smells a lot like pumpkin pie (which I hate), but because it’s a facial product and not a dessert, it doesn’t have any sugary notes to elevate it.  Some people will probably think I’m a crazy bitch (I’ve been called worse), but I just couldn’t get over it.  I know I probably should like it – ’cause I’m a white girl and those bitches blow up my fucking Twitter feed every time something pumpkin sashays into their life – but I just can’t get on board.  However, I was determined to follow through on my project, so I spread it on my face, hoping that the experience would be better than the smell.

The only word to describe the feeling as I spread this mask on my skin: aggressive.  It immediately feels super cool and tingly, almost to the point of being uncomfortable.  There is very fine particulate matter in the mask for exfoliation, and the label indicates that the product also contains alpha hydroxy acid.  That combination was quite the experience!  After a minute or so, the product calmed down and the experience was much more pleasant.  You can definitely feel the product working, and after it’s spread out the smell is less off-putting (again, if you like the smell of pumpkin pie, you might be in heaven with this one but I just wasn’t feeling it).  This one is a much quicker turn around – you should wash it off after 3-7 minutes.

I was surprised that I ended up liking this mask more than I thought I would.  The full force attack at the beginning was a little much, but once that settled itself down, it felt like it was doing its job, and when I washed the mask off my face felt smooth and firm.  I wouldn’t use this mask often, but as an occasional treatment when my face is feeling really rough, it might not be a bad idea to keep it in my arsenal for very occasional use.

24K Gold Mask: Pure Luxury Lift &  Firm Mask

This mask seems to be the “new kid on the block” – I had seen the other three masks on displays at Sephora for a while, but this gold mask just showed up as I was preparing to write this post.  To start with, it’s gorgeous – a thick gel with shimmering gold particles suspended throughout.  What drag queen doesn’t love a golden, glittery treat?

Mask 10 PTR GoldOne small disappointment with this mask is that there isn’t really much of a smell.  Granted, it’s not like gold has a strong, signature smell – or any smell at all – but for a mask billing tiself as “pure luxury” you’d think they could have planned for some sort of gorgeous, herbal, fresh, yummy scent.

The gel spreads on gorgeously, but the odd thing with this mask is that it never fully hardens.  I left this mask on for almost 30 minutes, and throughout that time it maintained a sticky texture; even after I washed it off, I felt like there was still some sticky residue left on my face.  I was a party girl in the late 90s hunties and let me tell you – a sticky face never means anything good.  I really wanted this mask to be the best of the bunch, both because of its gorgeous look and also because it has the highest price point of any of the products in this review, but it just didn’t have the follow through.  After washing it off, my face felt smooth, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I felt lifted or firmed.  Overall, the performance of this golden girl was strictly mediocre.


Oh Peter Thomas Roth (can I call you Pete?!), I really wanted to love you.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always given gel masks the backseat to mud masks and I was hoping that you’d be the man who could make me change my ways.  Unfortunately, you haven’t managed to convert me.

Mask 04 BubleI think where I’m getting caught up is on the word mask – there is something about these products that doesn’t have the satisfying finish for me that makes a mask such a great experience.  When you do a gel mask and peel it away, you get to feel it pulling all of the nasties right out of your skin.  Washing it away doesn’t provide the same experience.  True, you wash off the mud masks when you’re through, but they harden to that stiff, flaky crust and when you finally wash them off you can also feel them working to take away all of the bad stuff from your skin and leave only the yummy soft skin you were hoping for behind.  Though the cucumber mask was closest to the typical gel mask feeling, it still needed to be washed away; the gold mask never fully hardened and I never got to feel that refreshing after mask feeling with any of these products.  If these were just presented as skincare treatments it might have affected my reaction, but if you’re billed as a mask you’d better deliver some mask realness.  Sadly, I never really got there.

As far as price goes, there are a few different options.  The cucumber and rose masks can be purchased in their regular size for $45 each; the pumpkin mask is $58 at full size and the gold mask will take the most from your bottom line at $80.  Except for the gold, these are all cheaper than the full sizes of the GlamGlow, but the results for me weren’t nearly as satisfying.  Sometimes it’s worth a few extra coins to have a really great Mask 11 PTR Mudexperience – masks are all about pampering yourself!  Luckily, these masks do offer one of the best values: you can get a sampler set of three small jars of the cucumber, the rose, and the pumpkin for a steal – only $20!  If you think I’m a crazy bitch who didn’t give these products their due and you want to give them a try for yourself, I definitely recommend this route.  Even if you just use them as occasional treatments to add to your “bag of tricks,” you’ll get probably 2 or 3 applications from each jar for a great bargain price.  If they put out a small version of the gold mask if might be worth checking out, but I just can’t recommend the gold mask for 80 big ones.  That’s just not enough bang for your bucks, ladies.

Looking at the PTR collection online at Sephora.com, I see that they do have a mud mask in their lineup.  If I see that product pop up in my local store, I may just have to grab a sample or two and see if they can win me over from my newfound love of GlamGlow.

BONUS!  Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

OriginsThis mask I bought while I was in Seattle because I wanted something easy I could do in my hotel to destress after a long day, but I didn’t want to spend a ton of money.  This is the best bargain of the masks presented here at only $25.00.  It’s a mud-based mask with active charcoal; it comes out of the tube dark gray (almost black) and only lightens a little when drying.  The smell is just sort of “meh” – it doesn’t have any really strong smell, either from the ingredients themselves or any added oils or fragrances.  I would have loved a little something extra to round out the smell of the natural ingredients – just because you’re rubbing charcoal all over your face doesn’t necesarily mean you want it to smell like charcoal all over your face.  Know what I’m saying?

This mask seemed to take a little longer to dry than other clay masks I’ve tried, but I may have put on a slightly thicker layer which will affect drying time. But once a crust was formed it was impressive!  It really stiffens up nicely, and when you wash it off it grabs all of the dirt, oil, and nastiness that is clogging up your pores.  I would definitely recommend this mask to anyone with acne-prne skin as it really does a nice job of clearing up oily or problem skin, and it’s at a great price point for someone who wants to dip their toes into the world of face masks.  If you have really dry skin, I wouldn’t necessarily avoid this mask, but you must follow it up with a really good moisturizer, or else your skin will be thirsty as fuck!

Mask 07 Hot Or Not


Mask 08 GG CollectionGlamGlow, you’ve got a new fan girl!  Both of these companies have some good products, but the Peter Thomas Roth products really felt more like specialty treatments than actual masks.  Both of the lines were a little inconsistent, with both standout products and a few clunkers, but GlamGlow delivered a better experience much more consistently than Peter Thomas Roth.  And the Origins mask was an impulse buy and one of the best of this whole bunch, even though it was never intended to be part of the article.  That’s definitely a brand I need to take a closer look at – if everything else they offer is of the same quality while offering really competitive price points (a mask for $25 that works as well or better than a $69 mask is always a winner in my book!) then I may just add them into regular rotation on my mug.

Whatever route you choose – ultra high end with 24K gold or a bargain beauty from the bottom shelf at Walmart – I really do recommend adding a face mask into your routine from time to time.  They are a great way to relax and destress, and they feel absolutely wonderful – after trying these 9 masks, my face is snatched for the gods!  So find a product that works for you and get to pampering.  No matter who comes out on top in your own epic mask battle, the winner will be your soft, rejuvenated skin!

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