What’s the thing that stops most people from accessing excellent skincare? For me it was always price. I preferred to spend under $10 on products that seemed frivolous and mostly unnecessary. Obviously, that perspective on skincare changed when I hit in my thirties, but an overall cringe over expensive price tags remained whenever I looked up a cleanser or serum my friends were raving about. So the attention to lower price points is what immediately drew me to Formula 10.0.6. After being gifted a few of their products to try, it was clear to me that the quality was there, but when I looked it up, everything I was using was under $10. In a year of turmoil and chaos, while under quarantine and on unemployment, this discovery couldn’t have come at a better time.
Apparently, I’m late to the party when it comes to this skincare brand though — they’ve been around as a family-owned business since 1933 (!) and over 87 years they’ve perfected using natural ingredients and botanicals to make their products more effective. That’s something plenty of beauty brands are just now beginning to catch onto after years of using harsh chemicals and even potential harmful additives in their products. On the other hand, everything in Formula 10.0.6.’s well, formulas, has been tested over the decades to make sure it’s gentle, effective, and simple.
Though earlier iterations of the family’s brands like Lip Smacker and Bonne Bell have a bigger name, sisters Peyton and Hadley Bell are carrying on their grandfather and great-grandfather’s legacy by turning the “Ten-O-Six” name into a modern skincare empire. Split into two primary sections, Face and Body, the Face collections appeal to me the most at the moment, with cleansers and scrubs, moisturizers and primers, serums and treatments, masks, vitamin formulas, and travel/gift kits. Body products include washes, scrubs, moisturizers, and foot care. No single product is over $15, though a couple of the multi-item kits get into the $20-$40 range as they contain multiple products. Mostly, the price point hovers under $10, which means this skincare is affordable even if you’d been laid off.
Where to start with modern skincare? Pore strips, of course. For $6.99 a package of Down To The Pore strips contains eight individually wrapped strips, working out to less than a dollar a pop, with two variations: A nose strip and a chin/forehead strip combo pack. Made with witch hazel and charcoal, these have really helped me target blackheads, a recurring issue for me, particularly when air quality gets very low due to rampant wildfires fires in California. Most strips I’ve used go on dry, but these need to be applied to wet skin. They’re not harsh, but there’s a slight tingling from the witch hazel, and sometimes they leave little black residue from the charcoal, so it’s best to use them at night or check very carefully that your face is fully clean after. Leave them on for about ten minutes, longer than that and the strip gets too stiff and starts to peel off. Also, avoid using the forehead strip and the nose strip at the same time as they tend to overlap. But for less than a dollar, this fast fix has helped me keep sane when it comes to enlarged pores and blackheads.
My other go-to method for skincare/self-care when getting a facial is off the table — I miss you Heyday! — is masks. I love the weekly or nightly process of them, doing them together with friends, or applying one the night before a big day. Luckily, 10.0.6 has a huge assortment of them, and I tried three. The Pores Be Pure skin clarifying mud mask ($6.99) with strawberry and yarrow is thick and creamy, not flaky like some mud masks, and smells faintly sweet because of the berry extracts. Rosemary and strawberry help target impurities in skin while yarrow is great for clarifying. Since my maskne has been at an all-time high this hot, sticky LA fall, this other kind of mask has been a game changer for helping soothe breakouts on my chin and jawline. Again, don’t leave this mask on for more than 10 minutes or it starts to get dry and tight.
The Total Take Away skin-purifying bubble mask ($8.99) is more of a cleanser pretending to be a mask. It goes onto damp skin glossy and clear, then immediately puffs up into a white, foamy lather. After a minute or two, use your fingers to massage the foam into your skin, then rinse it off right after. With rhassoul clay, a singular, magnesium-rich clay found only in Morocco, this mask lifts dead skin cells and sebum with the oxygenation (bubble) process. It’s very soothing and not at all harsh, so I actually like using this in the morning to wake my skin up on days when I feel groggy.
Finally, the Draw It All Out skin-detoxifying peel mask ($6.99) with charcoal and plum is a little terrifying at first, but wildly effective. It goes on pitch black and sticky, almost tar-like, but quickly tightens into a thin layer that can be gently peeled off after about fifteen or twenty minutes. I like to leave this one on a little longer because it doesn’t over-tighten like some clay masks do. Though it looks scary, the notes of plum soften the mask’s scent and peeling it off is deeply satisfying. Because of the dark color of this charcoal mask and the charcoal pore strips, looking at them after removal and seeing all the dirt and dead skin that these products have lifted is highly satisfying. Please also note the mask can get stuck to other surfaces, so be careful of your favorite sleeping shirt or pillowcase while wearing it.
There’s a whole plethora of other masks, cleanser, serums and moisturizers the company has available that I have yet to try, but since the products are so affordable, taking a risk on something I’m unfamiliar with is part of the fun. My best takeaway from using Formula 10.0.6 products is that expensive formulations can be a super effective part of a skincare regimen, but products don’t necessarily need to be expensive to work or have effective ingredients. Getting products from a family-owned business has never been more important to me than during the pandemic, so I’m happy to spend the little disposable income I still have on these masks as a much-needed pick-me-up.
Shop skincare at Formula 10.0.6 here.