Aqualibrium Sea Mineral Mud Mask

by H2O+  
Price:
$25 - 3.4 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Facial Masks > Moisturizing/Firming Masks
Last Updated:
3/18/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This clay mask for oily skin cannot deep clean skin (how deep is deep, anyway?) nor do the marine ingredients it contains have any impact on oil control. Clay masks can be a good option for oily and breakout-prone skin, but this one is much less desirable because it contains irritants such as witch hazel water and a form of menthol known as menthyl lactate. Applying irritating ingredients to oily skin stimulates excess oil production at the base of the pores, so skin ends up being more oily and pores become (or stay) enlarged. If you want to see improvements in oily skin, the best approach is to treat your skin gently with effective products designed to absorb excess oil, exfoliate inside the pore, and help normalize pore function (Sources: Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366; and Dermatology, January 2003, pages 17–23). By the way, this mask has far more coloring agent (ultramarines) than the sea-based ingredients H2O+ brags about being so amazing for skin.

A mineral-rich, oil-free mud mask that deep cleans and purifies the skin while stimulating cell renewal with Kaolin Clay, Allantoin and Oil-Controlling Marine Blend

Aqua, Kaolin, Propylene Glycol, Montmorillonite, Glycerin, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Ultramarines, Titanium Dioxide, Polysorbate-20, Alcohol Denat., Xanthan Gum, Butylene Glycol, Maris Sal/Sea Salt, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Isostearyl Lactate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Menthyl Lactate, Parfum/Fragrance, Panthenol, Allantoin, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Trisodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Benzophenone-4, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sea Silt, Oyster Shell Extract, Gigartina Stellata Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Betula Alba Bark/Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Himanthalia Elongata Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Linalool

H2O+ is a boutique line that's been on the scene since 1989. The brand has had its ups and downs over the years, and, like many natural-themed boutique brands, has lost much of its retail distribution and cachet due to their own overzealous expansion and the boom in other natural product lines. Now H2O+ is back, but not with the same widespread availability they enjoyed during their heyday. Previously, there were lots of H2O+ stores in malls throughout the United States; today the brand has only a handful of stores in only a few states. Other than the stores, the line is haphazardly distributed in various department stores and retail locations, such as Ulta. The trouble is that these other locations do not stock the complete H2O+ line, so it's hit-or-miss that you'll find the specific H2O+ product you're looking for. This was not an easy line for the Cosmetics Cop Team to compile.

As you might have guessed from the name, H2O+ is all about water. Specifically, they want you to think that seawater contains essential elements that your skin must have to get rid of everything, from wrinkles to acne. As a result, the majority of H2O+ products contain various types of seaweed, algae, and a mishmash of other marine plants. What H2O+ fails to provide is proof (meaning research) showing that these marine plants and marine creatures are the answer to your skin-care concerns.

What is known is that most plant extracts, from the sea or the land, provide antioxidant properties, and that's great. But, the plants that live in water hold no special advantage in a skin-care product.

As an aside, certain types of algae such as Corallina pilulifera have properties that can help collagen from breaking down in the presence of sunlight. To that end, certain types of algae could be described as anti-aging, but this is true for lots of plant extracts, not only for the marine variety. By the way, despite this research, H2O+ products do not contain Coralline piluifera (Sources: Marine Drugs, March 2010, pages 1189–1202; Experimental Dermatology, September 2008, pages 771–779; and Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, February 2002, pages 840–845).

Keep in mind that the exotic identities and seaworthy origins do not make algae and other marine extracts better or more significant for skin than other ingredients from other sources that can provide the same, or, in many cases, more significant, benefits.

What you'll find is that H2O+ skin-care products are far more about fragrance and spa allure than about the beneficial ingredients skin needs to defend itself against environmental damage and be able to resist signs of aging. Sea plants may indeed hold some exciting advances for skin, but the manner in which H2O+ uses them isn't likely to net you great results. Instead, they use the same cosmetic ingredients most other brands do to create silky, elegant textures. These ingredients definitely count toward a product's appeal and performance, but they're best for your skin when they're interwoven with other essentials—and that's where H2O+ often falls short. This line's biggest obstacle is its love of fragrance over ingredients such as antioxidants, skin-identical substances, and ingredients that help damaged cells make healthier cells (the kind that act younger so you'll look younger).

The high points include the cleansers and makeup removers along with a smattering of odds and ends that are worth considering if you happen to come across them in the store; otherwise, there is nothing here you must seek out. The most important thing to keep in mind is that H2O+ doesn't have a range of products to address various skin types and concerns. Fragrance isn't skin care, yet this is the very thing H2O+ uses more than anything else.

For more information about H2O+, call (800) 242-2284 or visit www.h2oplus.com.

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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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