We Tried the Best Under-the-Radar Beauty Products on Amazon
In which we review the weird and the wonderful of Amazon’s skin-care department.
Welcome to We Tried It, an ongoing series that has Team Coveteur doing all of the dirty work. A big part of our job description involves trying *everything*: sampling new launches, trying new treatments, basically offering up ourselves as human guinea pigs for everything that life throws at us (no matter how weird). Stay tuned for more firsthand accounts on all the procedures, classes, treatments, and products we can get our hands on (and if you want us to try something, just drop us a note!).
Maybe it was the holiday craziness getting to our heads, but one afternoon last month at Cov HQ a bunch of us were huddled over a computer (no, not watching Carpool Karaoke, for once), pressing “buy” on a slew of kitschy, weird, and/or highly reviewed beauty products on Amazon. As editors, it’s no secret that we don’t typically get our skin-care products from the e-comm site—our carts are usually filled with boring stuff like socks, chargers, and paper towels, but we were curious. A peeling mask...for your feet? Sign us up. A vitamin E-packed skin-care product that comes recommended by more than one friend? Need to try. A cutesy Korean mask that bubbles? We’re in. Below, our honest reviews on the products to help you decide whether or not you need to Prime (or drone) them to your doorstep ASAP.
Brand Marketing Director
Dr. Pedicure Deep Foot Peel Exfoliation Mask
4.1 out of 5 stars
We’re all friends here, right? Because, full disclosure, I’ve always had a weird obsession with dead skin on the bottom of my feet. I just find it so oddly satisfying to see my dead skin removed (by hand, by pumice stone, by metal callous remover, all right, I’ll stop…). Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see what Dr. Pedicure Foot Exfoliating Mask was all about. Final verdict? It works. The most it requires is a little patience. The packaging is pretty straightforward: two plastic booties and some tape to keep them on your feet for the recommended one-hour treatment (although some Amazon reviews suggest keeping them on for two hours to generate even better results, which I think is worth trying). About 3 days later my feet started to shed. Seven days in and there’s still some residual shedding (apparently it should completely stop by day 14). And the soles of my feet are noticeably smoother than before. So gross-good.
Senior Editor: Beauty
4.4 out of 5 stars
When my product arrives, I realize that the Elizavecca-Milky-Piggy-Carbonated-Bubble Mask label—directions included—are all in Korean. TBH, I’d use any product solely because the label was in Korean (yes, I know this could end badly). I applied the mask using the enclosed spatula thing (side note: I hate those spatula things, no matter how fancy they are, and always throw them away after the first use). It was very jelly-like in texture, and a little hard to spread, but then immediately started frothing up. It slightly reminded me of Bliss’s Oxygen Facial Mask, so I assumed it’s working. After a quick Google search, I finally found some English directions, and learned that it claims to be packed with charcoal powder to clean pores, and bubbles to help exfoliate off dead skin (yes, please). It also said “expect a fun, tingling sensation that may cause you to giggle uncontrollably!” which definitely did not happen. Everything was going okay until it was time to rinse. I massaged the mask into my face as instructed and it turned into a clay texture, then became really hard to wash off, sudsing into my eyes, and took about two minutes to rinse clean. A quick inspection after and my skin actually looked and felt drier—maybe there’s a soap ingredient? I’m thinking I won’t blindly trust every kitschy Asian skin-care product I find on Amazon.
Senior Account Manager
Dr.G Brightening Peeling Gel
4.4 out of 5 stars
After reading the jaw-dropping, life-changing, I-will-use-this-forever reviews for this peel, I couldn’t wait to try it. One of such reviews claimed “gasping” with joy after she saw her own face after rinsing. Needless to say, I was excited. I ran to the bathroom sink when the package arrived, ready to reveal a newer, cleaner, glowy-er face. As instructed, I cleaned and rinsed my face, massaged the product into my skin, and rinsed off. My skin felt a *bit* softer but I didn’t see the results I had anticipated. Every review you read will tell you how pieces of your skin will roll off when you rinse. I hate to be the one to shatter this dream, but this is most definitely the product itself rolling off.
After three attempts like this, I decided to take my experiment a step further, because journalism. I took a piping-hot shower, and used the peel just before stepping out of the steam, sure to use a lot of the product. This definitely yielded better results—my skin was softer, smoother, and slightly more even—but this acts more like a scrub than a peel. Overall, I would say this is definitely worth a try, especially if you have sensitive skin. It’s very gentle and, for the price, totally worth it. Just don’t expect to throw away your foundation or cancel on your dermatologist.
Freeset Donkey Milk Skin Gel Mask Pack Aqua (note product image is different)
3.8 out of 5 stars
For me, it’s all about the weirder, the better when it comes to beauty products. I’ve had some pretty amazing results when it comes to weird ingredients in face masks (hi, snail slime) so when I came across these donkey milk healing sheet masks, it was a no-brainer that they were being added to my shopping cart. Promised to be packed with nutrients and vitamins, to draw out impurities from your skin, I was counting down the minutes (you leave it on for a total of 20) to peel off the face mask and check out the results. Normally with sheet masks (especially gel ones) I see results almost immediately after, as my skin looks more hydrated and glow-y, but that wasn’t exactly the case with Freeset’s Donkey Milk mask. To be honest, I didn’t notice much of a difference at all upon peeling away the gel mask, and in fact I found that my skin was quite sticky as I tried to massage the excess product into my skin. I tested this mask in the evening and, not wanting to give up on my faith in it just yet, I headed to bed with my skin slightly sticky, and waited to see what the morning would bring.
Sadly enough, upon rolling out of bed the next morning, everything had remained the same and my skin seemed only slightly smoother. I have tried the mask a few more times since and unfortunately keep having the same results, which have been disappointing as the product has a 4.3-star rating on Amazon. It was comparative in pricing to other Korean sheet masks, and there was definitely more than enough product on each sheet mask (a definite win in my books), but unfortunately it didn’t do enough for me for it to be a regular in my skin-care routine. I have now come to the realization that not every single Korean sheet mask will change your life.
Senior Editor: Health and Wellness
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing
4.5 out of 5 stars
Eleven thousand, three hundred and seventy-four reviews. Four and a half-star rating. All-natural. That’s what got me excited for Aztec Healing Clay, which promised, according to said reviews, squeaky-clean pores and soft skin. The packaging is nothing fancy, which almost made it seem more legitimate. What I didn’t expect was that it was actually a powder (I tell you this because...well, I made one hell of a mess opening it). I mixed two teaspoons with equal parts organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Surprisingly, after combining the two together, the clay diffused the odor and it was actually quite pleasant to put on. I layered it on as thick as I could (reviews recommended between 1/4-1/2 inch) and sat down to relax.
About five minutes in, I could feel it start to tighten, not unlike other clay masks. I read another review that recommend not waiting until the mask was completely dry, as the clay could suck moisture from the skin, so I washed it off just as it began to crack but when the clay was still a bit dark in some areas. I decided to time my wash with a shower—mostly because it was the lazy approach, but also because many reviews said the caveat of using the mask was the cleanup. To me, this made the most sense. My skin wasn’t left exceptionally soft (it’s been so, so dry this season), but it did feel incredibly clean. While I think I’ll have to use it consistently for a few more weeks to see definitive results, the price and natural factor make it worth the commitment.