Luminizing Black Mask

by Boscia  
Price:
$34 - 2.8 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Facial Masks > Oil-Absorbent Masks
Last Updated:
6/2/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

Reading the long list of claims made for this mask, it’s hard for us to imagine anyone believes this stuff, but, alas, many women do. As enticing as the claims are, the ingredient list tells a different story, and it’s not one with a happy ending. Using this peel-off mask exposes your skin to a drying, irritating amount of polyvinyl alcohol (a hairspray ingredient, listed second), witch hazel water (which is part alcohol), pine bark, and fragrant rosemary oil. What a pathetic group of ingredients for any skin type.

As for the toxins that this allegedly pulls from your skin, no one at Boscia could tell us what those toxins are or why the ingredients they included were “toxic” on their own? The soothing agents this mask contains are too little, too late; they can’t make up for the irritation caused by the other ingredients.

This innovative treatment dramatically improves skin clarity, radiance, and texture. The unique peel-off action offers gratifying physical exfoliation—as you peel, you actively remove dirt, toxins, and dead skin layers. Exceptional deep-cleansing and exfoliation draw out impurities, bacteria, and excess oil, refining and minimizing pores. Recover smooth, even skintone as pre-existing melanin levels diminish, fading the appearance of dark spots. Inflammation, roughness, lines, and wrinkles fade, revealing younger-looking skin.

Water, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Montmorillonite, Acrylates Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Acrylates/Palmeth-25 Acrylate Copolymer, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Pinus Pinaster Bark/Bud Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Eucalyptus Citriodora Oil, Xanthan Gum, Iron Oxides

Hailing from Japan and distributed through Fancl International in California, Boscia has two unique selling points: first, the entire line of products is preservative-free; second, almost every product contains both the anti-irritant willow herb plus jojoba leaf, which supposedly has superior antioxidant properties. The company's belief is that preservatives do not make skin-care products more effective; rather, they simply extend the product's shelf life, sort of like Tupperware keeps food fresher, longer.

They also believe that preservatives are responsible for skin troubles such as rashes and breakouts, and so our skin is better off without them. This is an interesting philosophy, and, as is true for many marketing ploys, there is some truth and some fabrication in their assertions.

Although preservatives can be sensitizing, they usually are present in such minute amounts that most consumers do not experience any trouble, and their skin barely registers a flicker of recognition. In reality, only a few people ever react to any amount of a preservative. A report that examined preservative sensitization in the United Kingdom tested 10 common preservatives on almost 7,000 subjects. The results? Only 2% of the participants exhibited an allergic reaction, and that was under conditions of patch testing and using a pure concentration of the preservative. That reaction rate is amazingly low, and it’s important to note that the exposure in the study (extremely high given the pure concentration and use of the patch method) is quite different from the exposure you get from the minuscule amounts of preservatives present in cosmetic products, which are there to keep potentially harmful bacteria and organisms under control.

Similar results were seen in a Swiss study that examined preservative sensitization rates among almost 2,300 subjects over a period of one year (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2007, pages 165–168, and May 1994, pages 276–279). Clearly, as demonstrated by these studies, preservatives are not the source of skin problems that Boscia makes them out to be.

What Boscia doesn't acknowledge is the research showing that preservatives do make cosmetics better. An effective preservative system absolutely does safeguard the integrity of fragile or inherently unstable ingredients by minimizing the growth of bacteria and microbes, which definitely are detrimental to any cosmetic and to your skin. Cosmetics chemists worldwide consider preservatives an essential element in providing safe, stable products (as do cosmetics regulatory agencies throughout the world).

Surely the chemists behind Boscia's products must know that it is impossible to keep a skin-care product entirely free of bacteria and pathogens, even with preservatives. If they disputed this point, they wouldn't sell their products with a "use by" date or recommend that their customers use the entire product within six months of opening. Instead, they'd assert their superiority and let their customers know that their innovative and specialized practices alone are enough to keep their products free of contaminants.

It's also important to note that, technically, Boscia products are not entirely preservative-free. Some of the plant extracts they include (such as rosemary and lavender) have mild preservative properties due to their volatile chemical components. Even zinc oxide, which appears in a handful of Boscia products, has been shown to inhibit the growth of fungus when used in cosmetics products (Source: Preservatives in Cosmetics, 2nd Edition, Allured Publishing, Steinberg, 2006, page 105). We personally wouldn’t choose one of these ingredients to preserve a water-based skin-care product over tried-and-true synthetic preservatives (including the unfairly and foolishly maligned parabens), but then again, consumers considering Boscia will likely perceive their products as being more natural (and, therefore, safer) than those from other lines—when that isn't at all the truth.

Besides, if Boscia is so concerned about reducing skin reactions and with being a viable option for people with sensitive skin, why do several of their products contain known irritants? Peppermint, menthol, eucalyptus oil, clove oil, and pepper resin are a much greater cause of concern for your skin than any preservative system available. Yet Boscia doesn't bother to explain that. Instead, they position their entire line as soothing for every skin cell, when that absolutely is not true.

Turning to the two ingredients Boscia highlights in their products, willow herb and jojoba leaf, both are viable options with value for skin. Willow herb, while not unique to Boscia (we've been using it in some of my products for years) is indeed a potent anti-irritant (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, October 1999, pages 3954–3962). As for jojoba leaf, there is no published research documenting its antioxidant ability. Like most plant leaves, it likely has some amount of antioxidant potency, but given the number of antioxidants that have been studied for use on skin, why would you hang your hopes on jojoba leaf, with no research behind it? Luckily, Boscia includes other antioxidants, too, and most of them have at least some research proving they are reliable additions.

There are some bright spots in this Japanese line. Each of the sunscreens provides sufficient UVA protection, and they offer a mineral-based version suitable for sensitive skin. They have a couple of good cleansers, and a few of the moisturizers are impressive and worth the splurge. It's also a plus that almost every Boscia product comes in packaging that keeps the contents protected from light and air—not a jar to be found! Given that only a small number of consumers need to avoid products with preservatives, we wish this line offered a more complete range of products to meet the needs of those consumers. As is, you'll have to think of Boscia as a nice pair of shoes with elegant accessories, and shop elsewhere to complete the ensemble.

For more information about Boscia, call (888) 635-8884 or visit www.bosciaskincare.com.

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    4 / 4 Best
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    3 / 4 Good
Page of 1
  1. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, April 25, 2014
    • Value
      3 / 4
    • Results
      4 / 4
    • Recommend
      3 / 4
    Use it to clean pores
    • Its able to get deep into pores compared to pore strips since it goes on as a sort of goo. And unlike other peel off masks, it dries extremely strong (after a 30 min wait), so it pulls off in one piece and takes all of the dirt out of your pores with it, especially if you steamed before). I think it tones as it dries, because my pores always appear smaller. It's a bit pricey, and the black is a (cool) gimmick, but it makes pores less noticeable to an extent I'm happy with.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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