The #MaskOff hashtag on Instagram took off as a fun—slightly scary—way to connect with other skin care aficionados and share their favorite masks…while wearing them. More than a few beauties pampered their faces with every colored mask imaginable.

The hashtag had the added bonus of introducing me to Joyce Chow, the gracious founder of Huckleberry, a company that delivers customized face masks straight to your door. The playful, share-with-friends vibe of #MaskOff met its ideal match in this company—and you’ll soon see why.

Fun as masks are, there are loads of therapeutic reasons to use them too. Good masks are jam-packed with nutrients and minerals to infuse skin with concentrated doses of healing power. Depending on what issues you’re targeting, a well-formulated mask can often whip your skin into gear in a relatively short amount of time. Plus the 20 to 30 minutes that you set aside to nurture yourself is a lovely departure from the fast-paced world. It is definitely an opportunity to take a breather, sit back, relax, and not go anywhere (you wouldn’t dare).

Huckleberry is one such company that fuses fun, friendship, and craftsmanship right from the get-go. The brand is dedicated to formulating masks with therapeutic value and stellar ingredients that are farm to facial fresh. But it’s the way that this company got started that really moves me.

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Meet Huckleberry:

The concept for Huckleberry began when Joyce wanted to share beauty treatments with her “skincare junkie” mom for her birthday, even though they lived in different countries. Here’s what she told me:

“Huckleberry was made to be a social experience. I created the company because I moved continents away from my Mother, whom I used to share regular Mom/Daughter spa days with. To continue the tradition while living so far away, I wanted to create something where I could send her a facial treatment and we can have our spa days via video chat!”

Don’t you just love that?! What a beautiful way for parents and their children to bond. (Yes, that means fathers and sons too—we won’t tell!)

Huckleberry launched as a way to offer these spa-quality experiences to a broader community. The masks are handcrafted in small batches from natural and organic ingredients to ensure freshness, then shipped out instantly—so no need to worry about shelf-life. The smaller jars ensure faster turnover with no toxic preservatives necessary. If that were not great enough, the company also donates one percent of profits to non-profit organizations that are aligned with their mission to create opportunity through education.

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How it works:

Members customize the experience through a brief quiz upon signing up. Questions hone in on the sensitivity level of your skin, several oily/dry/combination skin inquiries, and what weather conditions may affect it. These help determine the right masks for each skin type. (My profile type came up as “Maintain Me!”)

Masks arrive weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly as a set consisting of a 5% glycolic peel or an exfoliating fruit scrub and a mask. I chose the Sampler option which serves up 12 treatments over 3 months (for $9 each). Since I can get more than one treatment out of the recyclable containers, this seemed like the most cost effective option. You also receive a handy brush to use for the masks with your first order.

The instruction cards that come with each mask (shown above) clearly explain how to use the peel and the mask. It’s really quite simple.

The potpourri of masks to choose from amazes me! It’s hard to settle on just one when options like Jasmine, Sangria, Fruit Smash, Citrus Mud, and Spiced Wine sound so scrumptious. Fortunately, after taking the quiz, Huckleberry handpicks the masks for you.

My experience:

First, the peel or scrub goes on for about 10 minutes. Both peels that I tried create quite the tingle on the skin thanks to the glycolic acid. To me that means that they are potent and prepping my skin to receive the nutrients from the masks. Actually, I’ve often done this type of treatment on my own by combining a Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask or Cecilia Wong Rescue Blemish Peel Mask followed by a detox mask. So it’s quite nice to receive both as a synergistic dual-performance treatment.

After rinsing the peel/scrub, the mask follows. The first two mask sets that I tried were Jasmine, a gel mask with green tea, collagen, daisies, calendula, and arnica extract, and Sunrise, a cacao confection formulated with pineapple, jojoba oil, ginseng, meadowsweet and white willow bark.

As you can tell, both are quite different in terms of texture and function on the skin. Jasmine offers a whopping dose of antioxidants to fade blemishes, while Sunrise lightens hyperpigmentation, removes dead surface cells, and smells like a decadent chocolate bar.

With all the tingling from the peels, I was surprised that my skin didn’t look red and irritated. Actually, it felt smooth, hydrated, and purified.

After I tried and tested the masks, Joyce and I both knew that a fun #MaskOff deserved sharing.

The giveaway

IMG_20140806_115053I rarely do giveaways which is sad for me because I love to share what I enjoy with everyone. [Enter sappy violin music.] It’s true though! The problem is that my site won’t host Rafflecopter (I hope to remedy this soon). So when Joyce suggested an Instagram giveaway I jumped at the chance.

The Rules:
  • follow @hellohuckleberry and @saritacoren on Instagram
  • follow @hellohuck on Twitter
  • post a fun mask selfie to Instagram
  • tell us who you’d love to share a spa day with in your caption (<–more on this below)
  • tag #MaskOff and #HuckleberryGives
  • Fine Print: we may repost some submissions to our Instagram
  • INTERNATIONAL SUBMISSIONS WELCOME!! Hooray!!!!
The Prize:
  • Winner will get to choose TWO facial treatments to be delivered, AND also send TWO facial treatments to someone they would like to share a spa day with!

Come on! How fun is that? So let’s get started posting those selfies! The winner will be announced on Monday so you’ve got all weekend to #MaskOn and #MaskOff. See you there!!

Have you already tried these masks? If so, tell me what you think of them in the comments here or on Instagram (or both).

Here’s me in my FIRST VIDEO [SCREAM!] using the Emerald Rose Scrub which, I must say, left my skin luminous and smooth!

[Right on cue, my next shipment of masks arrived today! Photo is already up on Instagram.]

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