Review: NIOD Voicemail Masque
“One product, two impressions”! While I enabled Astrid to try some The Ordinary products, she enabled me to buy this face mask. We’ve quite different skin types, live in very different climates – what could be better to test a product thoroughly? We’ll compare our impressions in this post and find out for you if it’s worth getting.
Niod is a brand under the Deciem umbrella, like The Ordinary. Niod products are generally quite pricey and have a similar approach to skincare like The Ordinary does – it’s ingredients-driven, and concentrates on ingredients generally approved scientifically on being beneficial for the skin.
They’re masters of PR (the whole kerfuffle around The Ordinary proves that), and samples of the Voicemail Masque were send last year when it launched as blind samples to random customers. It got raving reviews, the usual waiting lists, and here we are now, looking at a brown apothecary style bottle with brown goop in it.
Per Niod’s website, here’s what it does (plus incis). To recap, it targets dull and stressed skin that’s dull and stressed because an impaired cellular communication. I guess that means that signs of stress in your face come from cells that don’t respond well to each other and don’t send out those signals to repair themselves? (Sorry, my biological knowledge is a bit rusty and I didn’t want to look that all up, because which normal customer does? Also, shouldn’t companies explain how their stuff works in layman’s terms?! But nooooo, that pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo actually benefits them too well, because … see below.)
Additional ingredients are hyaluronic acid for hydration and plumping, and some polyphenols that are usually used in skincare for anti-aging purposes. Also some silicones to form an occlusive layer on your skin (all sleeping masks do). And then we have this blurb: „The result is skin that looks healthy, well-rested, bright and uniform from the very first use.“ This is what we’re going to test below.
I’ve sensitive combination skin that’s suffering from breakouts (I blame Shanghai’s polluted air and water) with some signs of aging. I don’t know if my skin is suffering from stress and can’t say if it’s particularly dull or not, but it’s rather uneven in tone. Here’s actually my first issue with the mask (apart from that hoity-toity spelling it MASQUE) – dullness can stem from various issues. Usually a Vitamin C serum should target dullness (or a nice peeling). Implementing that cell-communication thing into the marketing blurb is a clever way to counter consumers who just want to grab a good Vit C product, because how do you find out if your cells properly communicate with each other?! Ask them?
Texture and application
While the bottle with its apothecary style chic is certainly pretty in Instagram pics, I can imagine that it’ll be a pita when you’re trying to scoop out the remains of the product. I use an espresso spoon right now. (You can buy an additional super special spatula for it on Niod’s site. Errr – no?) The mask itself is a brown goop that smells like licorice for me. I like it.
I’ve used it now half a dozen times. You apply it and and, per directions on the bottle, should massage it into the skin for about 20 to 40 seconds. You’re supposed to sleep with it on your face, and here’s where my complete and utter hate of the product comes in. The mask sits on my skin and never sinks in completely. Brown goop on my pillow?! Yes, indeed. Also brown goop on my sleeping mask. Brown goop in my hair? Quite likely. Cuddles with my SO before bed? Impossible. And no, I don’t use many products under it (a hydrating essence mainly) or over-apply.
This might target stress-induced dullness due to impaired cellular communication, but it’s impossible to test the results on that, because you can’t test if your cells communicate better or not after applying this. What you can see if Niod’s claims hold up. Does my skin look healthy, well-rested, bright and uniform from the very first use, like the website claim it should?
Maybe? I know, that’s kind of anticlimactic. Healthy is a parameter that’s totally up to you – my impression of healthy might totally differ from yours. As long as I’m not white as a sheet, peeling and breaking out in hives I usually think my skin’s healthy. So too after a night with the mask on. I usually also like how my skin looks in the morning as long as I got enough sleep, so again, a parameter that I don’t connect specifically with the mask.
Bright and uniform. Kind of. The effects aren’t dramatic, but rather subtle, and I couldn’t say it’s more visible than a night with my cosrx sleeping mask, but yeah, somehow… maybe.
It doesn’t break me out, though.
Would I recommend it? No. Would I repurchase? No.
Reading this interview with the Deciem’s founder at the telegraph: Beauty without the fluff: Meet the man who will make you look younger, I became intrigued with his philosophy and immediately wanted to try out some of Deciem’s other lines too. After Dorit’s review of the Ordinary vitamin C serum, I was curious about the more complex products from their other brands. I didn’t really know that existed!
I like to keep it simple for my skincare. I know it’s good for my skin, but I don’t like to wear day mask (no time!). More often than not, I’m using them in I race to finish the mask before the expiry date on the package (cue Pai’s Bioregenerate Rapid Radiance Mask)… But the promise of NIOD Voicemail Masque, and all the raving reviews I read, compelled me to try the mask.
My skin type – I really don’t know sometimes. It’s dry in winter (I blame the Berlin weather) and oily in summer (very oily if I’m back in my beloved Indonesian tropical weather). It’s a mix of extremes. I get occasional breakouts on my forehead and my chin, and dry patches on my cheeks. My skin was in a good condition when I first tried the mask. So it’s not easy to tell if there’s a WOW improvement at this point.
Packaging, texture and application
- The packaging is very beautifully made. Very modern minimalistic and the slide open box? Uber cool!
- The formula reminds me a lot of liquid honey but without the stickiness. Surprisingly it sinks into the skin well. The only residue I can see is a slight sheen on my face. If you ever used the egyptian cream, that one feels more oily and sticky than this leave-on overnight mask!
- I dip the tip of my finger in the bottle and that’s how much I apply. At most I need two dips.
- It smells very strongly plant-like. It reminds me of some Indonesian herbal masks, so it’s totally fine for me and the hubs (it’s definitely that strong so your bed partner will smell it too).
- The mask doesn’t stick to my hair, so it’s still safe to use even if you don’t plan to wash your hair the next day.
- I was concerned the mask leaving traces on my pillow, but in the end, it didn’t happen.
- In the morning, I totally forgot I still had the mask on, it doesn’t look oily or smell funny.
- After rinsing it as I was taking a shower, my skin felt soft, supple, and radiant.
- No allergic reaction, pimples of any kind.
I couldn’t use it as frequently as recommended. Since this product still might get into my hair, I only use it on days I would wash my hair (every other day), minus the days I go for a run (twice a week). So I could only use this mask once a week!
In general I always like the way my skin feels on the next day (although I’ve to admit I feel the same effect after I wear Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment or The Ordinary Rose Hip Seed Oil)
To be honest I can’t see any drastic improvement on my skin, as you can see on the before/after picture of my skin below. Forgive me for the different lightings, but both are taken without any makeup. Obviously I’m more tanned now as well thanks to all the running I’ve been doing :D. The skin seemed to be more evenly toned, I’ve less reddishness, and overall looking more healthy. On the other hand, I’ve been happy about my skin other than the occasional dry patches as a result of the dry windy weather or a fun girls’ outing. So it might also work quite well (just don’t expect miracles).
Would I recommend this? Yes. I enjoy using it, and my skin actually looks (albeit slightly) better. Would I repurchase? Most likely, I still like it better than all the other masks I had. Most importantly, due to the ease of use when wearing this, I wear it way more regularly than my other masks. 4 out of 5 stars for me (not a holy grail, but I like it a lot!)
Conclusion, or tldr
While I’d both describe both our skins as combination, on Astrid’s skin the formulation of the product works much better than on mine. It sinks in completely. That may be because of the very different weather in Berlin (shitty and cold) and Shanghai (warm and humid) lately. Conclusion: The mask doesn’t seem to work well in hot weather and a humid climate.
As for results, we’re both unsure. For both of us the mask isn’t holy grail material, but something that might be a nice plus in your skincare regimen. It doesn’t seem to do much for both our skins – Astrid started trialling the mask when she had good skin, I started when my skin wasn’t in the best condition, and the mask didn’t change that status quo for any of us. While Astrid has before/after pics, I didn’t take any. Shortly after I started using Niod’s mask, I introduced AHAs into my regime again, and could see quite dramatic results immediately that had absolutely nothing to do with the Voicemail Masque.