‘This face mask made my pores vanish’

Beauty editor Ashleigh Austen, tried the popular NIOD’s Flavanone Mud. Watch as this mud dries and your pores shrink before your very eyes. 

I love a face mask. Like, love. Not lukewarm interested in, not might text at 11PM if I have nothing else on, actual fully-fledged, Seth Cohen standing on a coffee cart love.

You see, for me they’re the gold standard in self-care. Not only do they encourage you to lie down for 15 to 20 minutes (have you ever tried to vacuum with a sheet mask on or open the oven while your face was covered in clay?), but they deliver a hit of supercharged ingredients straight to your skin.

Now, I’ve tried a lot of brands and a lot of formulations. From snail goo to jade stones to ground down 24 karat gold, if it promises flawless skin, I’ve probably slapped it on.

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And when you’re averaging several masks a week, it’s safe to say some are better than others. While almost all are relaxing (bar the ones that feel like you’re being aggressively kissed by a blue bottle), many of them don’t do much. Sure, it was nice to lay down and your face smells like lavender, but aside from that, there isn’t much in the way of instant results.

The latest one I trialled, however, hoo-boy, did it WORK (caps necessary). Created by the same company who produce The Ordinary, Deciem, NIOD’s Flavanone Mud is some next-level stuff.

Like the majority of beauty products, I first read about it on the sub-Reddit thread, SkincareAddiction, where fans purported it magically made pores disappear.

“It’s very unusual for a mask for a few reasons (and by far the best mask I’ve ever used). Firstly, it stings after you’ve washed it off and your skin is clear. Very bizarre. Secondly, its magic happens over a few days – around Tuesday I’m “Wait… my skin is looking awesome?’” one fan reported.

“I’ve now used it four times over the past six weeks, and it’s honestly amazing. I use it at night, skip any actives that night, and load on my moisturiser. In the morning my skin looks so good. It looks more even, my pores look smaller, and it feels so soft. And, I feel like the results are not just temporary. They last for days, and I have seen a noticeable improvement in my overall skin appearance (brightness, texture, tone, fewer breakouts) since incorporating this product,” said another.

As someone who considers brightness as her number one goal in life (when it comes to both skin and disposition), I was instantly interested.

According to NIOD, the mud works as a three-phase rinse-off dermal decongestion system (OK, sure) which basically means it purifies your skin in steps: a purifying phase, protective phase, and responsive phase. The process means the mask decongests from the inside, the outside and shields against further congestion, as opposed to just peeling the top layer of your skin off.

On first sight it looks like reddish-brown mud in a jar – almost akin to a puddle you’d find in outback Australia. After scooping some out and swiping a thin layer across my face, it looked even more so. So far, so dirty.

Once it dries, however, you can already see your pores vanish. Like, you can no longer see them underneath the mud. Yep. When you wash it off – and be warned this part briefly stings – the pore shrinking effect only gets better.

From day one, your skin is pleasantly tight (although not overly so) and it looks even – no red marks, no blotches, no breakouts – just happy skin. After using it for five days in a row, however (which the brand calls an “intense accelerated method”, it’s almost like you live with a dermatologist – alas, for only $59 – and 20 minutes a night. Easy.