Do you know what makes me feel so amazing? I love the feeling I have after a face mask. My skin always feels super detoxified, fresh, and firm. It’s my at-home facial experience that gives me a post-spa glow. I can’t help but feel that I have done something really good for myself after a face mask. Like “Damn Danielle, look at you doing face masks and flossing, maybe you do have your body ritual shit together.” But maybe I don’t…? Maybe this mask is toxic and I don’t even know it!
This week, I am going to find out in Part 2 of my skincare product evaluation journey. In Why Brands Who Lie About Being 100% Natural Can Kiss It, you discovered how labels and green beauty buzzwords can lead to dangerous misconceptions. Not everything labeled as “natural” truly is and unfortunately this means that you may think that you are giving yourself the best but you aren’t. Let’s continue as I compare two of my face masks, so you can have more details about what to avoid and what really is the good stuff!
✓WINNER ArgaPur Green Clay Mask
I am wearing the ArgaPur Green Clay Mask in my featured image. I am pretty sure I purchased this mask in a Marjane Supermarket while living in Casablanca so it was super affordable. As shown below, I mix it with water and jojoba oil since I have very dry skin. However, on the bottle the suggested directions say to “mix a sufficient quantity with rose water to obtain a light paste. Apply the ARGAPUR Green Clay as a face mask (for mixed and oily skin types).”
This mask is smooth and goes on like a thick liquid rather than a grainy past or a gel. The texture depends on how much liquid you mix with the green clay powder. It dries in about 15 minutes and creates a tightening sensation in your skin. Once hardened, the mask can crumble quite easily so it can get on clothing or furniture. I have never had a big issue with this staining clothing or making a mess. However, it is good to be careful to avoid any mishaps.
The Green Clay Face Mask Ingredients!
Ingredients on Label: Silica, Aluminum, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Cobalt, and Manganese.
After perusing several websites, I finally landed on reliable sources French Green Clay and a cited article History and Benefits of Clay on Environmedica. I confirmed that the ingredients are in line with the natural mineral composition of pure Green Clay and there are no suspected unnatural additives. Also, Green Clay is part of the Illite Clays and has amazing healing and detoxifying properties such as relieving pain and inflammation, eliminating toxins in the body, purifying the digestive system, healing external wounds, removing heavy metals from water, stimulating the skin’s blood flow, and much more! I highly recommend you check out the linked pages to learn more. I am overwhelmed by the seemingly endless goodness offered by Green Clay, a real super(skin)food of the earth!
If you are interested in getting some Green Clay Masks for yourself, you can find this product along with many other certified organic products here! By visiting Argapur’s official website, you can find an assortment of my favorite Moroccan goodies like Argan Oil, Rosewater, and African Black Soap. An extra bonus of supporting this company is that you can contribute to the development of rural regions of Southern Morocco.
✗ LOSER Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask
I have been using this product for years as it’s much more commercial and readily available in the US in department stores and Sephora. Until now, I trusted that Origins is truly “powered by nature and proven by science.” While the brand claims that the products are studied by more than 100 scientists worldwide, there are just way too many unpronounceable ingredients in the Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask for my comfort or trust level.
I always purchased this mask on Sephora.com and will use it as my reference since my travel-sized bottle doesn’t have the ingredients listed. On the site, I found an interesting disclaimer that warns, “Ingredients listed may change or vary from time to time. Please refer to the ingredient list on the product package you receive for the most up to date list of ingredients.” So basically, you will not know what the ingredients will be until it has arrived at your house if you purchase the product online. Not liking this so far…
With 4160 reviews averaging 4.3/5 stars and Sephora’s boast that this mask is “the #1 face mask in North America in 2017” I am really hoping it isn’t toxic AF. For the sake of my time and your attention span, I will do a quick rundown of the top 10 ingredients.
The Scary Origins Mask Ingredients!
Ingredients: Water; Myrtus Communis (Myrtle) Leaf Water, Kaolin, Bentonite, Butylene Glycol, Montmorillonite, Polysorbate 20, Peg-100 Stearate, Charcoal Powder, Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Peg-150 Distearate, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Sorbitan Laurate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol Laurate, Simethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Trisodium Edta, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol
Myrtle Leaf Water: clears acne, balances hormones, boosts immune system
Kaolin: clay that nourishes, exfoliates, and detoxifies skin
Bentonite: volcanic detoxifying clay
Montmorillonite: clay that absorbs and detoxifies
Potentially Toxic Culprits:
Butylene Glycol: petroleum product that dries skin and used to keep products from drying out
Polysorbate 20: resulted in developmental and reproductive toxicity in lab Studies
Peg-100 Stearate: This one is bad enough that it deserves a block quote.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, PEGs (including PEG 100 Stearate) can contain harmful impurities, including: Ethylene Oxide, known to increase the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer, according to experimental results reported by the National Toxicology Program; 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen; PAHs, known to increase the risk of breast cancer; lead; iron; and arsenic (source). (“PEG 100 Stearate,” 2018)
Xanthan Gum: thickening Agent that can cause flu-like symptoms and intestinal issues
Lechtin: may be derived from animals and are not recommended to be inhaled or constitute more than 15% of a skincare product
*Highly divisive findings require further research: Charcoal Powder
So there you have it, pure natural products like green clay in their raw form have more benefits and less risks than commercially produced “natural” products. This is my story and these are my findings, but I would like to know what skincare or body rituals you do to feel amazing? Have you explored the ingredients in your products and found anything that has surprised you? Share your story. I would love to hear what you have to say!
“8 Impressive Benefits of Myrtle.” Organic Facts, Organic Facts, 8 May 2018, www.organicfacts.net/health- benefits/other/myrtle.html.
Annmarie Skin Care. “Ingredient Watch List: Butylene Glycol, Another Questionable Petroleum Product.” Annmarie Skin Care, Annmarie Skin Care, 12 Oct. 2017, http://www.annmariegianni.com/ingredient- watch-list-butylene-glycol-another-questionable-petroleum-product/.
Annmarie Skin Care. “Ingredient Watch List: Polysorbate 20-It May Be Contaminated with Carcinogenic 1,4-Dioxane.” Annmarie Skin Care, Annmarie Skin Care, 12 Oct. 2017, http://www.annmariegianni.com/ingredient-watch-list-polysorbate-20-it-may-be-contaminated-with-carcinogenic-14-dioxane/.
“PEG 100 Stearate.” Honest Reviews of Anti-Aging Skin Care and Beauty Products, http://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/peg-100-stearate.
Wells, Katie. “Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay | Wellness Mama.” Wellness Mama®, Katie Wells, wellnessmama.com/5915/bentonite-clay-benefits/.