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Road Test: I tried Mecca’s $20 skincare line to see if it’s as good as it claims to be

WORDS BY JASMINE WALLIS

Good, clean (skin) fun.

I finally have my life together. I don’t own a house or drink green smoothies every morning, but I have been indulging in a skincare regime. Usually, my evening beauty routine consists of assessing my skin in the mirror, and then browsing shelves of various potions and lotions hoping that whichever serum I slop on that night will make me glow come sunrise. 

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but thanks to Mecca, I’ve been testing out an actual skincare range. You know, where the products are all meant to complement each other? I feel like a whole new woman. 


Looking for more skincare recommendations? Head over to our Beauty section.


Mecca Max Skin is a range of skincare essentials for everyday use. From cleansing to masking, the pink and orange bottles are full of vegan, cruelty-free and clean ingredients (i.e. no nasties) and are the perfect gateway into the often over-saturated skincare space. The range has been developed by the trusted Mecca skin specialists and comes in terracyclable packaging that can be dropped off at your local Mecca store. Win, win right?

At first, the cheap price point made me nervous. Shouldn’t quality skincare come with a quality price tag? But in the name of journalism, my combination/ acne-prone skin and I gave it a shot. I trialled the cruelty and fragrance-free range over a period of three weeks and here’s what I found. 

Foam-O Gentle Gel Cleanser, $15

I’ve been using the same cleanser for the past six months and it’s served me well, so adding a new bottle into my shower felt like cheating. Alas, I tested out the Foam-O and was convinced. Less is more with this one as the product flowed out quickly compared to my old pump bottle and I found that when I used too much, it made my skin feel a tad more oily than usual. 

Featuring citric acid to gently exfoliate, niacinamide to even skin tone and aloe vera to calm redness, the cleanser did a great job of making my skin feel fresh and clean without stripping it. 

Get it here.

Clean Sweep Exfoliating & Brightening Toner, $15

Back in the day, toners were drying, stripping and full of alcohol. It erased the pores of natural oils, resulting in malnourished skin. These days? Toners are just another tool to add to your arsenal of hydration. 

With three types of acids, this AHA/BHA blend helps to control oil in your T-zone section as well as clearing the skin of daily build-up. The aloe vera and chamomile step in to hydrate and calm. My skin felt so clean and soft after using this and the next morning, I looked a tad brighter as well. I wouldn’t use it every day as I don’t have an oil issue but adding it into my toolkit two to three times a week works for me. 

Get it here.

All Day Everyday Oil-Free Moisturiser, $20

This moisturiser is the pièce de résistance of the range for me. The lightweight product is fragrance-free which is important to those of us with sensitive, angry skin.

It’s definitely my new, no-fuss morning moisturiser as it leaves my skin super soft and hydrated without clogging my pores. The niacinamide evens skin tone and reduces irritation on account of its anti-inflammatory benefits, while silica smooths and absorbs excess oil throughout the day. Follow with the Mecca sunscreen and you’re good to go. 

Get it here.

The Breakup Blemish Busting Serum, $25

I love a spot treatment. While this serum can be used all over, I preferred to dab it on my hormonal, cystic breakouts. The salicylic acid (aka an anti-bacterial BHA) reduced my congestion and the zinc is supposed to help in the healing of angry skin. 

Again, I wouldn’t use it every day but it will definitely be in rotation around my period when those pimples come out to play. 

Get it here.

Night Duty Hydrating Overnight Jelly Mask, $22

To be used as a treatment or as an evening moisturiser, the Night Duty Jelly Mask is your go-to for hydration in this range.

I went ham on this product as my mid-winter skin was practically begging for some deep moisturising. It reminded me of the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser in texture and definitely made my skin feel softer and look plumper the morning after.

Get it here.

X-Zit Strategy Clarifying Mask, $22

Anyone who’s dealt with acne knows that clay masks are a must-do. In this version, kaolin clay and bamboo charcoal bring out congestion and the lactic acid gently exfoliates to prevent future breakouts. 

This mask felt cooling to put on but I would rinse off closer to the five-minute mark as opposed to the 10 if you don’t have particularly oily skin. On the days I left it on a bit longer, my skin felt a tad dry but in saying that, my congestion looked less red and angry, so that’s a success in my books. 

Get it here.

Watercooler Calming Hydration Serum, $25

On first use, I could definitely see where this product gets its name from. The serum is like dripping cool, refreshing water all over your face but with way more benefits. Featuring fermented birch juice, the serum is supposed to boost your skin’s microbiome, and the vitamin B5 and green algae extract give you deep hydration. 

You only need a couple of drops as the consistency of the serum is watery, but it rubs in so nicely and feels refreshing and hydrating. It’ll be amazing in summer after spending the day outdoors. 

Get it here.

Spot Dots Blemish Busting Patches, $26

Are you a pimple picker? It’s one of my toxic traits. Even though I know it can leave a nasty scar (or worse, an infection), I can’t help but absent-mindedly touch my skin while sitting at my computer or go on an extraction frenzy and leave my skin rawer than steak tartare. 

When I can’t stop picking at my skin, I usually put a spot mask on my pimples. But these blemish stickers make for the perfect alternative. As an experiment, I put one sticker on two pimples side by side. After leaving it overnight, I pulled the sticker off and the blemish underneath was less red and sore, the spot next to it still angrily growing. Infused with skin-protecting ingredients, the stickers keep dirt and bacteria at bay and protect sore spots. 

Get them here.

The verdict?

Overall this range is a no-fuss, back-to-basics skincare routine. The whole set works well together but you could also pick and choose what you need as they all have beneficial properties targeting different areas. 

Plus, having a whole set of pastel pink bottles lined up together makes me feel like an extra in a ’00s teen drama, so that’s also a bonus. It’s a great place to start for people new to the skincare space or for those needing a fragrance-free reset. Happy cleansing, folks. 

Explore and shop the entire Mecca Max Skin line here

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