The irony that the first product I’m formally reviewing after I spent my first post bitching about crunchy, all natural beauty products is not lost of me.
I have been battling some horrible plague-type cold for the last month (actually about 5 weeks); it strikes and lays me low for days and then fades and then just when I think I’m finally over it BAM! Like Emeril Lagassee it pops back up to season my life with snot and phlegm and misery.
Naturally this sometimes leaves me less than enthusiastic about performing a nightly skincare routine that can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on how involved I want it to be. So, sometimes I just… don’t. Sometimes I just fall into bed, curl up in a little ball under my blankets, and let a gunky layer of flakey, dehydrated, greasy skin overtake my face for a few days. It’s been a fun month.
Currently I’m still sick, but I am trying to stick to my normal routine, which means I’ve had a chance to test this both when my skin is at it’s worst and when it’s normal, so onto the review!
Product Information: Fruit stem cells, vitamin C, and glycolic AHA blended with manuka honey and organic pumpkin, rich in beta carotene, gently dissolve and sweep away dull, dry surface cells, exfoliating and resurfacing for even tone, smooth texture, and a luminous complexion. For Normal/Combination Skin
Ingredients: Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Puree*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Purified Water (Aqua), Vegetable Glycerin, Manuka Honey, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Tocopherol, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Glycolic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract*, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract*, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract*, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lecithin, Caprylyl Glycol, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Extract*†, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract*, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Kernel Powder*, Cinnamomum Cassia (Cinnamon) Bark Powder*
*Certified Organic Ingredients †Fair Trade Ingredients (CosDNA)
It works, and your skin will immediately feel smoother. That’s more than I can say for a lot of exfoliating masks, to be honest. But this one was able to remove that real nasty gunky layer of dead skin with one application, and easily cleared away some minor surface clogs. That is not surprising considering that glycolic acid has the smallest molecular structure of all alpha hydroxy acids, which enables it to deeply penetrate skin easily.
That said, I don’t know the percentage of glycolic acid this contains – and it’s not provided by the manufacturer -, let alone the pH it’s at. Since it’s so effective I know that pH is 4 or below, but that’s about it. I will say though that when using the products as directed I haven’t had a problem with this sensitizing my skin despite the fact I tretinoin too (though never on the same night).
Because glycolic acid is small and easily able to penetrate your skin you do have to exercise a certain amount of care when using products that contain it, which is something I learned the hard way with this mask. The second time I used it I lost track of time and instead of washing it off after 10 minutes, 15 elapsed before I did. The next day my skin was irritated and peeling like crazy. This is a product you’ve definitely got to follow the directions to the letter with.
The only thing I don’t quite like about this mask is that when I go to wash it off after 10 minutes it’s definitely dried down and I’ve really got to work at it with a baby washcloth to get completely off. I worry that because of that I’ll end up over exfoliating my skin, so I wish it stayed moist and I could just wipe it off.
While I think Paula B. way overreacts to products in jars, I 100% agree with her that any claims that the plant stem cells in this have any effect on skin are just marketing (link). It’s also going to take consistent, repeated use to see any skin tone evening/brightening effects, which the marketing doesn’t really make clear, though it does have ingredients that will have those effects (glycolic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate).
The only question that matters is this: Would I repurchase this product? Yes. It’s an effective exfoliating mask that allows me to easily include a beneficial glycolic acid product in my routine. The fact that it’s so natural is just gravy: nice, but not essential.