Fantastic face mask, but too brief a treat!
March 24, 2009 5:49 PM   Subscribe

Are there any comparable alternatives to the Proactiv refining mask?

I was reminded by this question how much I like the little tube of Proactiv refining mask. It's stinky but works like a charm.

Its active ingredient is 6% sulfur, but I have not seen any other products (in the drug store or elsewhere) like it. Has anyone here tried another brand and been satisfied with the results?

Also, the tube is rather small (1oz) and somewhat expensive, so any kind of generic product recommendation would be appreciated.

posted by amicamentis to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've never used the Proactiv product, but I looked up the ingredients on my favorite masque and sure enough - sulfur! Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque is crazy cheap, and it's a really effective spot treatment - drys 'em right up.
posted by moxiedoll at 5:59 PM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

When I was younger, I used to swear by sulfur soap--I was never particular about the brand, and it was readily available at beauty supply stores in lower-income neighborhoods. Like you say, it stunk pretty badly, but it was cheap and worked beautifully when I washed with it once a day. Sadly, as I got older, my skin got more sensitive and would no longer tolerate it.
posted by tomatofruit at 7:05 PM on March 24, 2009

I'm the person who recommended the Proactiv in the other question. I find that Phisoderm Clear Confidence Blemish Masque is almost as good, and much cheaper.
It's about equally good as Proactiv for clearing up / drying out your whole face, although I don't like it as much for emergency spot treatments. I tend to use it in the summer or when my face slicks up from sweat, heat, or makeup & wants to be clay-dried all the time- when quantity is an issue, Phisoderm is an acceptable substitute. It has a light soapy/floral fragrance and runs about $7 for a large tube that'll last ages.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:16 PM on March 24, 2009

Murad's anti-acne products are sulfur-based.

Also, ask your pharmacist about sulfur based skin care products--the facial bar my dermatologist recommended when I was in high school was available without a prescription but kept behind the counter for some reason. It was a nasty rust-colored bar of stink that left orange suds all over the place and stained the hell out of my washcloths, but it worked.
posted by padraigin at 7:21 PM on March 24, 2009

Seconding the cheapness-to-effectiveness ratio of Queen Helene. I have moderately problem skin-- I even use it on my back. Magical.
posted by oflinkey at 7:29 PM on March 24, 2009

As with the others above, myself and my husband both use the Queen Helene Mint Julep from time to time, and have always found it great. And it really is cheap!
posted by jamesonandwater at 7:36 PM on March 24, 2009

DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask is pretty good.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:03 PM on March 24, 2009

Another vote for Queen Helene.
posted by Evangeline at 8:16 PM on March 24, 2009

Response by poster: Great responses! I've seen the Queen Helene mint julep face masque (fancy!) touted here often enough and have tried it myself, but something seems different about it - it feels more solid and clay-like than the Proactiv stuff and dries my skin out more. I'll try the other stuff one by one and see how they work.
posted by amicamentis at 4:43 AM on March 25, 2009

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