I am having such good luck with face masks that I am beginning to think that Jimmy is right to obsess about them. Really good ones (see our Five Best face mask picks) can combat breakouts and/or restore radiance with an effect that will last several days. I've just found another one to add to the face mask arsenal: PCA Skin pHaze Purifiying Mask ($47).

This mask is both anti-aging and an acne/breakout cure. And not just for the face: the neck and chest also benefit. The first time I used it, I appreciated that the directions suggest rinsing off after three to five minutes (I'm not one of those people who can lie around for half an hour as though a cast is being made of my face).

The orangy brown (well, more brown) color is a bit of a surprise, as is the initial tingling after application. Welcome is the mild citrusy scent (grapefruit peel and orange oil). Protein and vitamin rich algae are a dominant feature, followed by that good old mask standby montmorrilonite - a detoxifying clay. There is antioxidant grape seed and wine extract, while tea tree oil is an acne zapper. Eucalyptus is an anti-inflammatory and increases circulation.

The effect afterwards is clear, soothed skin for at least two days!

In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out the nasties (although they aren't too evil). Magnesium aluminum silicate is there to provide viscosity and in one test on rabbits was a mild irritant. The preservative is sodium hydroxymethyglycinate, about which the data is mixed. Some tests found it to be non-irritating, nonsensitizing, non-toxic by skin absorption and non-mutagenic (does not damage the DNA or possess the potential to damage chromosomes). But a guinea pig test showed it has the potential to be an allergan. And it can break down to become formaldehyde, which is an irritant. In Europe, it is limited to concentrations of 0.5%.

Ingredients in pHaze Purifying Mask

Water, algae, montmorrilonite, pumice, olivoyl hydrolized wheat protein, coco-glucoside, glycine soja (soybean) oil, grape seed oil, magnesium aluminum silicate, sodium PCA, lavendar oil, tea tree leaf oil, spearmint, thyme, eucalyptus, orange oil, grapefruit peel oil, tocophenyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, wine extract, sodium hydroxymethyglycinate, potassium sorbate.