FC5 Deep Cleansing Mask
3 fl. oz. for $32
Last Updated:11.19.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

The clay in this mask is said to be “glacial clay,” which simply means old clay from a lake in the north that has been or routinely is frozen. How is that special for your skin? It isn’t. Clay is clay, and all clays have absorbent properties that are useful for oily skin.

Although clay has its benefits, those with combination or oily skin are bound to experience problems from this mask because the absorbent clays are joined by emollient thickeners, which those with oily skin (and breakouts) should avoid.

The worst aspects of this mask are the numerous fragrant oils and plant extracts. We understand that these ingredients will increase this mask’s appeal for those seeking natural skin care, but the fact is most of the natural ingredients Arbonne chose to include can cause irritation. This irritation not only hurts your skin’s healing process and damages healthy collagen production, but also can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, which defeats the purpose of using this mask, which is to absorb oil!


Features a formula with glacial clay to draw out impurities and excess oils, refining pores for exceptional clarity and a revitalized appearance.


Aqua, Bentonite, Kaolin, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Caprylate, Montmorillonite, Strawberry Fruit Extract, Pineapple Fruit Extract, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Matricaria Flower Extract, Witch Hazel Extract, Ivy Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Nasturtium Officinale Extract, Punica Granatum Extract, Sodium Phytate, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Ilex Paraguariensis Leaf Extract, Grapefruit Peel Oil, Galbanum Resin Oil, Sandalwood Oil, Hexyl Acetate, Mandarin Orange Peel Oil, Bergamot Fruit Oil, Ethyl Acetate, Lime Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, 3-Hexenol, Ginger Root Oil, Lemon Peel Oil, Geranyl Acetate, Allyl Caproate Natural, Orange Oil, Orange Fruit Extract, Limonene, Bismuth Oxychloride

Brand Overview

Arbonne At-A-Glance

Strengths: A small selection of basic but effective cleansers and masks; good brush set; lip balm with reliable sun protection.

Weaknesses: Consistent and pervasive use of volatile fragrant oils that are irritating, allergenic, and/or photosensitizing for skin; disappointing toners and masks; no effective AHA or BHA products; no skin-lightening or effective anti-acne products; several sun-care products contain problematic ingredients.

Founded in 1975 with the goal of providing skin-care products with "unparalleled quality and effectiveness," Arbonne International is a direct-sales line many of my readers have an intense curiosity about. There must be lots of assertive Arbonne salespeople out there, because no other line with this type of business structure has generated the amount of email we receive, all asking if Arbonne products are worth it and whether or not many of the company's outlandish claims are true. More than many other lines, Arbonne is big on playing up the alleged evil of many benign cosmetic ingredients. Topping this list is mineral oil, which the company maintains interferes with skin functions and delivery systems. Cosmetics-grade mineral oil is not a problem for skin and is in fact one of the mildest and most effective ingredients for making dry skin look and feel better. It doesn't have the best texture or finish, but its effectiveness is indisputable (Sources: Journal of Burn Care Research, May-June 2006, pages 345–351; Contact Dermatitis, June 2003, pages 293–299; Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2001, page 79; Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 44–46; and Dermatitis, September 2004, pages 109–116).

We have also been asked about whether it is true that all mascaras except Arbonne's contain bat excrement. Yes, you read that correctly. It seems many Arbonne salespeople are telling potential customers that all mascaras (except for Arbonne's, of course) contain this substance. We also found that many of the Arbonne representatives we spoke to love sharing the false rumor about lipsticks containing road-kill remnants (except for Arbonne's, of course). We wouldn't mention these tall tales if these were a few isolated incidents, but dozens upon dozens of women have contacted us asking for the truth behind these ludicrous claims. Just to be clear, cosmetic chemists are not venturing into dark caves to collect bat excrement or picking up carcasses of animals on the side of the road all in an effort to save money and create harmful cosmetics. And you have to wonder: If Arbonne products are so wonderfully effective, why do they need to sell themselves using scare tactics about what every other company's products supposedly contain?

Arbonne also advertises the fact that their products don't contain chemical fragrances because of their potential for causing allergic contact dermatitis. We agree with that stance, but it would give Arbonne more credibility if they didn't replace "chemical" fragrances with a slew of irritating plant extracts and volatile oils, several of which are well-known for their potential to cause skin problems. It is their overreliance on such ingredients that makes a disproportionate number of their products impossible to recommend.

we could go on, but to sum it up, despite my reservations, Arbonne has some good products to consider. However, the rather misleading marketing language is not convincing. None of the natural-sounding ingredients in the world can keep you from reacting to an irritating preservative or fragrance, or from breaking out due to cosmetic waxes such as stearic acid or myristyl myristate.

For more information about Arbonne International, call (800) 272-6663 or visit www.arbonne.com.

Arbonne Makeup

Arbonne's makeup is known is divided into two main groups, About Face and Virtual Illusion, and in contrast to its skin-care products, the claims are somewhat tempered. The color palette presented is divided into warms, cools, and neutrals. Although we don't agree with all of Arbonne's classifications, this system can be helpful for making your selection. Regrettably, this collection has seen very little change over the years. Instead, Arbonne focuses heavily on skin care while their latest makeup fails to approach the benchmark standards being set by dozens upon dozens of other companies. The average to poor products are particularly distressing because, for the most part, Arbonne's makeup is overpriced.

Despite this, there is some good news. The makeup categories to focus are blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, gloss, and brushes. You should know that contacting an Arbonne representative to purchase makeup (you cannot purchase it via the company's Web site without having being assigned a representative) will result in more than just a monetary transaction. The Arbonne representatives we encountered were on a mission to recruit anyone who buys (or expresses interest in) their products. Dealing with this company demands patience or a strong resolve. You will need to refute not only the employees' fervent belief that Arbonne products and philosophies are superior to all others, but also the assertion that joining the company is a life-altering experience on par with the most profound spiritual journey you can imagine. Speaking as a consumer, this sort of selling is not appealing, but we are sure there are others looking for just the financial opportunity and lifestyle change Arbonne offers. Those who agree with me should know that the About Face and Virtual Illusion collections include nothing that can’t be found elsewhere, from companies that make it much easier to obtain products than Arbonne does. One more point: Returning products to Arbonne is incredibly frustrating. You must contact your consultant to obtain her information, and then call the company to obtain a return merchandise authorization number. If your consultant doesn't step up, you're stuck with the products unless you want to deal with the company directly, which is about as pleasant as a root canal.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Animal Testing

I have never had a problem with any of Arbonne's products and I have purchased skin care and make up. Plus they do not test on animals and that is important to me. Most companies do it and it is cruel.

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Dont Beleive everything you hear!

As an Arbonne Independent, and i mention the 'Independent' Consultant because we are just that..Your review may i add is so far off , the realistic mark you can get! Coming from an "Expert" you claim yourself to be, i am so shocked that you really haven't done your du dilligence. Your Alleged claims, brand overview, is so unrealistic of a company that is going into its 35th year, makes me realise you are not the expert you claim to be. Check your sources of misleading information.

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response

We would be happy to share all of the research we consult to come to the conclusion we did about this mask. The review is accurate based on the formula; we're not making stuff up. Being a consultant for Arbonne, independent or not, doesn't mean you have any knowledge of cosmetic science or formularies, but does mean you have a lot of misinformation from the brand's sales and training tactics.

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