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A few weeks ago, I was asked to recommend a “truly” hydrating facial mask and, I must confess, I was a little stumped. I am something of a mask-file and at any one time have about six to choose from that do all sorts of things such as soothe and calm troubled skin, deliver a concentration of anti-agers, or exfoliate (see my Five Best facial masks), but a really moisturizing one…. In the end, I suggested one by Abrione . But now I have a very worthy alternative, E’shee’s Aqua Radiance Hydra Mask ($96).
It is new to the E’shee repertoire and bucks the usual trend of diminutive, intensive, very expensive serums and is a (relatively) gigantic 3.4fl oz. When considering the price, bear in mind that Aqua Radiance Hydra Mask is actually much more than a mask and multitasks as a moisturizer, night cream and after shave lotion. And it really does give the skin a hydrated glow.
I have used it as a mask and have also found that is well-behaved – this is a clear gel - over serums to bring additional hydration. Younger skins could probably use it on its own as a daily (or nightly) moisturizer. It is not greasy, or oily, is instantly absorbed and peppermint and menthol give it a refreshing coolness that is very welcome on a hot New York evening. E’shee even suggests keeping it refrigerated for an extra cooling sensation.
Apart from water, the base is aloe vera gel, which stimulates collagen and is a protector of healthy cells, and rose distillate. I’m a big fan of witch hazel – as is E’shee (you’ll also find it in their serum). Much more than a humble astringent, it is an antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory. Another E’shee favorite is fucus vesiculosis, or bladderwrack, a rich source of vitamin C.
Other helpful ingredients include cucumber, hydrating sodium hyaluronate, antioxidant grape and d-panthenol (vitamin B5). I recently found a study on cucumber extract that found it to be effective for anti sebum secretion, skin whitening and moisturizing. Cucumber is also a good source of vitamins and folic acid.
There’s a couple of things that I don’t like in E’shee’s mask; there’s propylene glycol near the top of the ingredients list and – admittedly after all the good stuff, triethanolamine. Propylene Glycol acts by retaining the moisture content of skin or the formula, preventing the escape of moisture or water. However, it is classified as an irritant (I have not had an adverse reaction to using this mask) and should not be used on damaged skin. Triethanolamine, typically used as a pH adjuster, is a toxin and should not be used at concentrations over 5% (I imagine it is well under at that here, but I’d still prefer it not to be here at all).
Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Vera Gel, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Distillate, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Lecithin, Fucus Vesiculosis (Seaweed) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mentha piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Menthol, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, D-Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Menthyl Lactate.