How Do Bubbling Oxygen Masks Work? (with Video)

How Do Bubbling Oxygen Masks Work?

Oxygen masks are products which come out of the bottle as a gel, but start bubbling with oxygen gas after a few seconds on the skin. Brands like Bliss, Peter Thomas Roth, Dr Brandt, Oseque and Sephora have oxygen bubble masks. What do they do, and how did they get the gas into the bottle?

Here’s the video, scroll down for the text version…

How do oxygen masks work?

Oxygen masks work a lot like soda water or soft drinks, where gas is dissolved in water under pressure (carbon dioxide gas, for soda), and is released when the pressure drops (when you open the bottle).

How Do Bubbling Oxygen Masks Work?

Oxygen doesn’t dissolve as well in water, so instead it’s dissolved in chemicals called perfluorocarbons, which are stable, unreactive carbon-based compounds containing fluorine atoms. They can dissolve 20 times more oxygen than water, and have even been investigated for use in artificial blood.

These oxygenated perfluorocarbons are then sealed in a pressurised bottle. When the mask comes out, the oxygen starts fizzing out slowly like the bubbles in soft drink. For some thicker products, a pressurised bottle isn’t required – the thickness of the product itself is enough to hold the oxygen until you massage it out by applying it on the skin.

How Do Bubbling Oxygen Masks Work?


The most commonly used perfluorocarbons in cosmetics are perfluorodecalin and methyl perfluorobutyl ether, but pretty much anything in the ingredients list with “perfluoro” in it will be a perfluorocarbon. Here are the perfluorocarbon ingredients in some popular oxygen masks:

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Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

My skin gets dehydrated in winter despite my best efforts to gently cleanse and exfoliate it, so I’ve been using hydrating masks (both sheet and not) to try to boost the moisture levels. I came across this nifty silicone sheet mask tool at Daiso and knew I had to get one!

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

The Daiso Silicone Mask is essentially a silicone sheet mask with ear loops to hold it in place.

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

You can use it on top of a sheet mask, or on top of a regular mask or even by itself, according to the instructions on the back. I’ve also been using it over hydrating masks.

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review

Daiso Silicone Sheet Mask Review


There’s a bunch of advantages to using this mask:

It keeps your face warm when masking in winter: When water evaporates, it takes a whole bunch of heat with it, which is why sweating cools you down so well and why hypothermia happens so much more easily when you’re wearing wet clothes. Some people use sheet mask warmers, but the mask only stays warm for a few minutes after application, and if it gets too hot, there’s the chance that sensitive ingredients could break down.

When water evaporates from the top of the sheet mask, it carries all the other ingredients with it. This means that as your mask evaporates, unless it stays absolutely soaked in essence, all the good ingredients will end up clustered on the side furthest away from your skin. The sheet mask slows down evaporation so the ingredients don’t migrate away.

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Science: Pantothenic Acid/Vitamin B5 for Acne (and Skin B5 review)

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) for Acne (Skin B5 Review)

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is found in anti-acne ranges by brands such as Skin B5, who use it in oral supplements as well as skincare products. Here’s the science behind it, and a review by my sister on how it worked for her.

Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that’s found in a wide variety of foods. It’s structurally related to panthenol, the key ingredient and namesake of Pantene hair products.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) for Acne (Skin B5 Review)

How does Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) work against acne?

The theory behind how large doses of vitamin B5 works for acne comes from a 1997 paper by Dr Lit-Hung Leung, in a rather non-mainstream journal .In short, the theory is:

  1. Pantothenic acid is used by the body to make Coenzyme A
  2. Coenzyme A is required for making hormones and metabolising fats
  3. If you don’t have enough pantothenic acid, you won’t have enough coenzyme A. In that situation, your body will preferentially make hormones leaving your fats unmetabolised
  4. The fats will then leak out through your face as sebum
  5. Excess sebum leads to acne

There’s very little evidence for this theory, and there are a lot of dodgy claims and bizarre leaps in the paper. For example, he writes:

“When lipids are deposited in the sebaceous glands and excreted as sebum secretion, it does suggest some abnormality is going on and hint that some form of fat metabolism may be at fault. These fatty materials, after all, are energy rich compounds. Under normal circumstances, they should be stored away in fat depots.”

Except that sebum does have a functional role, as a natural lubricant and moisturiser for skin and hair. Leung also bases his recommended dosage of B5 on Linus Pauling’s discredited theories on how most cancers can be cured by taking a metric truckload of vitamin C.

There are some newer potential explanations for how B5 works to improve acne, that are a lot more plausible. B5 has been found to be important for the growth and development of skin cells (keratinocytes), so increasing the amount of B5 available could help this process. Additionally, an enzyme involved in coenzyme A metabolism is also involved in inflammatory pathways, and since acne is an inflammatory disease, this could be a potential link.

Are there any studies showing that Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) works against acne?

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Biore Self-Heating One Minute Mask with Charcoal review



Biore Self-Heating One Minute Mask is one of Biore’s new look range featuring charcoal as its star ingredient. Activated charcoal is known for sticking to non-polar substances, so it could potentially stick to dirt and oil so they can be washed off the skin easily. I was excited to try this product, but at the same time I was a bit hesitant – Biore’s skincare products contain menthol, which gives a tingly cooling effect that I find unpleasant, and I always manage to spread the menthol to the wrong bits of my body in the shower!

Here are the ingredients:

Butylene Glycol, Zeolite, Kaolin, PEG-8, Methylgluceth-20, Cellulose, Talc, Parfum, Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Charcoal Powder, Dimethicone, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Menthol, Disodium EDTA, BHT.

To use this mask, you apply a layer to your wet face. You then massage the slightly grainy, sticky mask over your face for a minute with wet hands, then rinse it off. The mask contains a fair bit of zeolite, which heats up in contact with water – I found that it got surprisingly hot. After rinsing off, the menthol gives a cold tingle. It’s an interesting sensation! I wasn’t a huge fan of feeling the tingle for hours afterwards, but I’m sure a lot of people would enjoy it. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to proceed carefully.

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May Empties


I can’t believe it’s June already! This year has flown by. Here are my empties from May: I have a lot of hair, so I go through a lot of shampoo and conditioner. I finished off Toni and Guy Nourish Conditioner for Damaged Hair, which I really liked, as well as Appelles Blackseed Shampoo and Tamanu Conditioner, which had lovely …

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How to choose a skincare mask


There are a lot of masks out there – which one should you use to boost your skincare routine into hyperdrive? Let me help!

What is a mask?

A mask is a treatment that you put on your face for an extended period of time (between 10 minutes and 10 hours). You’re not meant to be seen in public while it’s on. The effects of a good mask will last around 1-3 days.

There are a bunch of different types of masks, good for different purposes. There’s a bit of crossover, especially if you’re mixing the mask yourself, but these are the basic categories:

Clay masks

Clay masks have clay as their main ingredient, and are helpful for sucking oil out of your pores, along with any random gunk in the oil. There are a range of clays with slightly different textures, but since all sorts of ingredients (oils, humectants like honey, etc.) can be mixed into a clay mask, it’s hard to say what effect a particular clay mask will have without trying it (though we can safely say that none of them will detox your body).

Kaolin clays are less absorbent than bentonite, so kaolin-based masks (usually white or pink in colour) are generally better for dry and sensitive skin, while bentonite masks (usually green in colour) are recommended for oily skin (I’m using handwavy language on purpose, because there is a LOT of variation – look up reviews of that specific mask before you buy).

How to use: You can apply a clay mask with your fingers (my preferred method) or a brush (feels posher, but requires more clean-up). Wait 5-30 min depending on your skin’s tolerance, then wash off (you may need to use a cloth to soak it off – I find that sticking my face under the shower head for 5 seconds helps tremendously). You don’t need to wait for it to dry before removing, but letting it dry will result in more oil absorption (but also more irritation potential).


Examples: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is pure powdered calcium bentonite clay that you can mix into a mask yourself. If you mix it with an acidic substance, you’ll end up with a more skin-friendly pH and a very absorbent mask (here are some recipes for mixing bentonite with non-stinky citric acid and for mixing with slightly stinky ACV). You can make it less absorbent by adding humectants and oils. I’ve also got The Cosmetic Kitchen Raw Chocolate Clay Mask, which consists of pre-mixed Australian pink clay and raw cacao powder (antioxidant).

If you don’t want to go through the fuss of mixing, Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque is a popular option which contains both kaolin and bentonite, but I find that the anti-acne sulfur in it smells very unpleasant (lots of other people disagree). Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil Absorbing Mask* is another example, but I found it quite itchy. Moreish Emergence Clay Mask* is a premade kaolin clay mask that’s super gentle, with lots of humectants and oils thrown in.

Hydrating masks

Hydrating masks are a pretty broad category – there are oil-based masks which soften your skin, there are humectant-based masks which help water bind and absorb. I’m lumping them together because most oil-based masks have some humectants in them. These masks aim to leave your skin smooth and plump.

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How to Mix an Aztec Clay Mask Without the Smell



Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay makes a great mask, but it’s alkaline so you need to mix it with apple cider vinegar to bring the clay to a skin-friendly pH. But then you slap it on your face and try to relax, but you can’t because all you can smell is vinegar. What can you do?

I was stuck with that conundrum, when I realised that there’s a safe, non-stinky acid you can buy at the supermarket: citric acid! Citric acid is used for baking, jams and making bath bombs. It comes as sugar-like crystals, and only costs a few dollars. It smells extremely mild, so you can do your mask and feel pampered and not like you’ve stuck your head into sauerkraut. It’s a win all round!

(Technically, citric acid is also an alpha and beta hydroxy acid and has nice effects on skin, but it doesn’t seem to be as effective as glycolic or lactic acids, and there’s only a tiny chance that it’ll do anything with the concentration, pH and application time we’re using.)


I picked myself up a shaker of citric acid, did some calculations (skip to the bottom of the post for those) and played around with proportions. A ratio of 1:8 acid to clay worked well – that is, 1/8 tsp acid for 1 tsp of clay. I added enough water to get the consistency I wanted (about 1 tsp), and the final pH ended up as ~5. This recipe gives a pretty thin mask – double it if you prefer a thick layer.

I also tried 1:4 acid to clay (1/4 tsp acid mixed with 1 tsp clay), which gave a pH of 4-5. While it was OK going on, the mask stung a little by the time it was dry, though it didn’t leave the redness I usually get with 1:1 clay/ACV. My skin also looked particularly nice afterwards. If your skin is pretty resilient to acids (e.g. you’ve used chemical exfoliants a lot), you could perhaps cautiously try this stronger version out.

If you decide to try these recipes, please be cautious the first time you do it – either test the pH with strips, or patch test it behind your ear, or at least be ready to jump into the shower and wash it off your face immediately if you feel an unusual amount of irritation. It’s quite likely that our measuring methods and our ingredients are a bit different (different degrees of packed down, levelling scoops etc).

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Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Range Review


Last time I reviewed Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol, which is my new favourite retinol product. I also tried out Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing range recently, which is formulated for normal/oily combination skin – my skin type, which also happens to be Paula Begoun’s skin type. No one quite understands Oily Life like another Oily Lifer, so I had high hopes for this range!

I tried out 4 products from the Skin Balancing range: Oil-Reducing Cleanser, Pore-Reducing Toner, Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense and Oil-Absorbing Mask.


Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

This is a straightforward lightly-foaming cleanser, that almost resembles a cream cleanser. I really like the texture and the non-stripping gentleness, and it’s pretty good value – it spreads nicely so you don’t have to use a lot. It’s fragrance-free, which is good for sensitive skin, and has some moisturisers in it (such as humectants glycerin and aloe vera, and emollient sunflower seed oil), but no other really notable ingredients – which is fine with me, since I don’t think cleansers sit long enough on the skin to really have much effect. I’d rather save my expensive potent active ingredients for treatments that stay on my face!


Ingredients: Water, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Glycol Distearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Acrylates Copolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.


Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner

I really like the idea of this toner – it’s got niacinamide, which is good for treating ageing and pigmentation, as well as some good moisturisers (glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, ceramides) and soothing chamomile extract. I don’t use toner much though, and I tend to use Paula’s Choice 2% BHA straight on my skin after cleansing, so I found that I simply forgot to use this most of the time. If you’re a toner person though, this is a good option.

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