Do Summer Fridays Make the Best Masks Ever?
Main Image – Live That Glow
Sometimes a brand comes along which is so niche that you have to kind of have to sit up and take notice.
Enter Summer Fridays; a company which (apart from the recent additions of a serum, AHA toner, cleanser and lip balm) is mostly known for its three primary colour-shaded masks: Jet Lag, R+R, and Overtime.
And while all three promise hydration, softer skin, and a dewy glow, it’s the gritty manual exfoliants in R+R and Overtime which really bring them into their own.
Created by influencers Lauren Gores Ireland and Marianna Hewitt who realised there was a gap in the beauty market for natural, effective products with results quick enough to fit into their busy lives, Summer Fridays is all about luxury beauty with a glowy payoff.
Launched in 2018, the brand has since gone on to mega success, thanks in part to their (highly) Insta-friendly packaging, added to the existing media profile of both Hewitt and Gores Ireland (with the former having over a million Instagram followers).
And that social media savvy is apparent from the outset, with the Summer Fridays aesthetic focusing on a different pastel hue for each product, alongside clean, minimalist lines and eco-friendly aluminium tubes wherever possible (which happen to look as photogenic full as they do artfully crinkled post-use).
The minimalist-yet-luxury vibes continue with their ingredients too, with the focus firmly on no-nonsense actives like vitamin C and niacinamide alongside the essential oils and plant-based manual exfoliants that give this line a touch of indulgence.
But beyond the stunning visuals, impressive social media stats and yummy-sounding ingredients, how do two of their most cult products actually measure up?
Summer Fridays R+R
Summer Fridays’ rose-scented mask R+R is in fact something of a three-in-one. While the gel itself offers an instant hit of hydration, the addition of rose flower powder provides gentle physical exfoliation, and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (a relatively stable and water-soluble form of vitamin C) offers a light chemical exfoliation.
Designed to be gently massaged over freshly-cleansed skin (most definitely avoiding the eye area since this contains gritty rose flower powder), before leaving for 10 minutes, R+R also boasts Bulgarian Rose Oil for hydration and dreamy fragrance.
Meanwhile, powerful antioxidants in the safflower oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, and grape seed oil (all of which contain high levels of Vitamin E) help to undo and ward off free radical damage.
The Full List of Ingredients
Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sucrose, Silica, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Rosa Damascene (Bulgarian Rose) Flower Oil, Rosa Gallica (Rose) Flower Powder, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, All Natural Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin
The result for me is a lovely glow and skin that is thoroughly hydrated. Perhaps more importantly though, the spa-like scent of R+R also delivers 10 minutes of relaxation which most people would appreciate at the end of a long week.
Possibly most useful after particularly stressed-out days or for post-bath zen, R+R really does feel like total luxury to use; from its gorgeous rose oil scent to its comforting gel-like texture. And when you couple this with an impressive glow after use, it does somewhat take the ouch out of the price tag.
Is that enough to make me re-buy, however? Mmm, not too sure. While this really does feel like a treat, the rose powder exfoliant here is *really quite* gritty and I’m not sure my sensitive skin could take this on too regular a basis. Having said that this really is just gorgeous to use so I may well end up changing my mind at some point.
Great for: Softening and brightening (as well as just for the fun of rubbing rose petals all over your face).
Not-so-great for: The price: for the money this isn’t a skin-changing mask for me, more of a lovely treat, and I’m not certain I’ll be re-buying.
Summer Fridays’ R + R Mask is £46 for 64 g, Cult Beauty UK and $52 for 2.25 oz/ 64 g, Sephora US
Summer Fridays Overtime
Just as yummy-smelling but slightly more on the moisturising side for skin that’s really dry, Overtime also offers physical exfoliation, but this time in a creamy base.
Literally the scent of Autumn in a tube, Overtime combines gritty apricot seed powder with a host of nourishing goodies, and nutmeg, pumpkin and clove oils.
Designed to be massaged onto dry, cleansed skin for a full minute before leaving for 10 minutes, Overtime very much focuses on the slightly drier, flaky skin of winter, rather than the dehydrated skin types R+R zones in on.
Slightly self-heating once on the skin, Overtime also packs a punch in terms of ingredients, which include vitamins A, C, K and E for antioxidant protection- great for weather and pollution-exposed skin too.
In addition, sweet almond, safflower and pumpkin seed oils moisturise, while oat kernel protein soothes and hydrates.
The Full List of Ingredients
Water, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetearyl Alchol, Ceteareth-20, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Seed Powder, Beta-Carotene, Acrylates/Palmeth-25 Acrylate Copolymer, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Protein, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Leaf Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg ) Kernel Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cinnamic Aldehyde, Eugenol
The results are comfortable, hydrated skin which can happily wait before moisturising (as well as a healthy glow and a very relaxed me). More sensitive or rosacea types might find this a little too gritty, though, while the essential oils have the potential to irritate.
Those who love essential oils (and anything vaguely autumnal-smelling) are likely to enjoy this one though, since it really is a pretty unique formula (in fact, I don’t think I can think of another facial product with the same warm pumpkin and clove scent).
For me personally, I’m a definite fan of the slightly lower price tag here- and I’m also genuinely impressed with how many uses I can get out of this tube.
Great for: A gentle physical exfoliation, moisturising and a relaxing treat.
Not-so-great for: Sensitive skin types as both the gritty physical exfoliants here and the essential oils have the real potential to irritate.
So overall do I think these masks are worth the hype (and the price tag)? Well as ever I think that comes down to personal taste and budget…
If you’re someone who absolutely loves manual exfoliants alongside a touch of aromatherapy and a whole lot of luxury then these cult classics are definitely for you.
On the other hand, if you have skin that reacts to essential oils or gritty scrubs then your money may well be better spent elsewhere (instead I really like Lixirskin’s Vitamin C Paste for a vitamin C-based exfoliation with a seriously glowy skin payoff).
And if you’re sure you want to dip a toe in Summer Friday’s oh-so-beautiful world of masks but are stuck on which to choose though, the simple answer is to work out whether your skin is dry or dehydrated. For drier, flaky skin Overtime packs in a host of moisturising goodies in a creamy formula, whereas R+R really gets to grip tackling slightly more dehydrated skin with a light, gel-like texture.
For my own sensitive, often dehydrated, skin though I’m more likely to repurchase R+R; as much for its abilities to transport me to a five-star spa from my own home as for its glowing skin results… A beauty win!