the ultimate 

The game-changing clay mask that has makeup artist Michael Ashton feeling like a modern-day Cleopatra.


As a celebrity makeup artist and part of The Violet Code committee, I have the enviable task of previewing the latest beauty innovations. So when the Erno Laszlo Pore Cleansing Mask came across my desk, I was excited to test it—especially because it combines a slew of ingredients that I am passionate about.

Growing up in New Zealand and being part Maori, I spent a lot of time in Rotorua. My mother’s side of the family is from this culturally historic geothermal region in the North Island. Rotorua is famous for its mud pools, geysers, and thermal hot springs, so my love affair with mud masks and their benefits started at a young age. But my affinity for Erno Laszlo has lasted for more than a decade. I was not only impressed with the products, but also enchanted by the history and heritage of Laszlo himself. He is one of the original skincare pioneers, with a client list of Hollywood icons including Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Onassis, Greta Garbo, and Audrey Hepburn, who famously said, “I owe 50 percent of my beauty to my mother and the other 50 percent to Erno Laszlo.”

While the mud masks I used when I was younger delivered some of the benefits you would expect, they were slightly crude in their formulation. This is not the case with Erno Laszlo’s newest addition! One of the first things I noticed was the delicate scent, which errs on the chic side of floral (think: a hybrid of Rose and Baies Diptyque candles). The formula also has a refined texture and glide.

I am very detail-oriented, and I loved being able to get an even layer on the first go. Ten minutes later, I removed the mask with a warm muslin cloth—which was just as easy as the application—and there was no flaking or dragging of the skin. But what really sealed the deal were the instant results. My complexion instantly looked brighter, my pores seemed smaller, and my skin texture appeared firmer, with an overall deep clean feeling sans dry sensation.

Doing a mask in this fast-paced world means taking a considered moment for a bit of indulgence and self-care. I might not quite be at the point of bathing in donkey’s milk every Friday night, but this mask definitely gave me a modern-day Cleopatra moment!