This 'lump of coal' will make your sister J-Law beautiful

In this issue of The Checkout, here's a humorous but helpful gift for the sister you love to hate.
IMAGE The Body Shop

Oh, the possibilities of writing your dedication for this gift is endless: “Dear Sister: You deserve only coal,” or  “Hi Mom: You got mud on yo’ face.” But we don’t mean actual mud (if only we can put that in a box and be done with this madness, right?). For the women in your life, the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Face Mask by The Body Shop is a magical, mud-textured beauty solution.

The Body Shop, Greenbelt 4

This is like that scene in the Predator where Arnold Schwarzenegger smears mud all over himself to outsmart ET. Okay, that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but hear me out: The mask’s bamboo charcoal, green tea leaves, and tea tree oil clean out clogged pores, wipe out toxins, and exfoliate the skin, giving Arnie-imitators a moonlit glow.

This is how it feels: wet, cold, and gloopy—you know, like real mud. Which just means that the application has the potential to be messy and the pot that it comes in will become grody (no matter how careful she is). Once on her face, the power of the beauty gods will compel the semi-liquid concoction to quickly harden. She’ll feel a tightening around her face, as if an invisible hand is pulling the skin on the back of the head, and that will be accompanied by an all-over tingly-cold sensation. Both will feel good.


When the stuff dries, the lovely lady will really look like a mud-covered Governator, so take a photo (I also tried to surprise my brother with my best impression of Swamp Thing, but he didn’t even budge because he’s so used to me testing all these face stuff—for you). After removing the grit, she’ll be left with skin in the pink of health: ultra clean, smoother, and radiant.

There are four more variants, which can be applied all together on different areas of the face (mud on the forehead, a rose plumping mask on the cheeks, and rice polishing mask on the chin, for example). Get one or two or all. Ladies love these things. 


The Dermatologist Solutions Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate by Keihl’s is a gentle-as-a-baby chemical peel that, unlike a doctor’s treatment, can be done daily at home. Things she’ll like: the light texture, which means it can be added to her multi-step routine (after the toner and before the serum) without getting that caked-on feeling, and the fact that it sinks into skin quickly, so she can move on the many next steps without waiting—and then finally sleep. With continued use, she can expect brighter skin with a refined texture and even tone.

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Keihl’s, Greenbelt 5

The Ultimate Illuminating Complex Mask by Yllume is part of a skincare system (cleanser, cream, tonic mist, and supplement) that brightens, calms, and evens out tone through the power of colorless carotenoids. Science time: The hero ingredient, which is harvested from unripened white tomatoes, is actually found in skin, and people that lack it exhibit “signs of hyperpigmentation, sensitivity, acne, and [dryness].” This thick goop, which is equivalent to prescription-strength hydroquinone, doses skin with carotenoids. It applies clear and can be left overnight for an intense treatment. But if she has oily skin, the mask should be wiped off after the prescribed 10 minutes. Yllume has an emphasis on whitening (its actives work on controlling melanin content), but consider, too, the qualities of evenness and clarity, a skin polishing effect that makes any woman beautiful.

Yllume, Mercury Drug and Watsons

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Clifford Olanday
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