Quite a while ago I was sent a free sample of two new products from Biore: the Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser and Self Heating One Minute Mask. I was pretty excited to try them out. According to their website, charcoal draws impurities out from the skin and cleans better than a normal cleanser.
I started out with the face cleanser, which was a somewhat unappetizing colour due to the charcoal. I didn't notice much of a difference in texture or lather from my regular cleanser. However, it did leave me with some tingling.
After cleansing I moved onto the mask. I like masks. I know they're not particularly necessary for your everyday skincare routine, and that a good cleanser and moisturizer are quite sufficient. But they're still fun once in a while and I especially looked forward to this one because I was imagining the stereotypical "woman in a mud mask" from movies and I figured having charcoal smeared all over my face would be pretty close. This mask wasn't just disappointing though, it was alarming. I experienced the same cooling and tingling as with the cleanser, but much more strongly. Combined with the self heating of the mask, I had rather intense hot and cold going on at the same time on my face to the extent that I felt like my face was burning. I couldn't even keep it on the full minute. After rinsing it off I still felt like my face was burning for a while, but at least my face looked fine, no noticeable redness.
After checking out the ingredient list and Paula Begoun's complaints about the brand, I'm going to take a guess and say it was the menthol...a skin irritant. I really wouldn't recommend either of these products. Biore says they give a "deep clean you can see" and especially with a mask I would have expected at least sort of a glow, but I didn't see any difference from normal. Their claim to leave skin "tingly-smooth" is about true, but for me the tingle was more like burning.