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Before being granted the opportunity to test the Innarah Defense Masque Oxygenating Masque ($125), this skin care category was conspicuously under-represented in my otherwise mountainous collection of beauty products. I owned no masks at all! I will explain why shortly.
Speaking of mountains, the Defense Masque appears to be made from them. The first ingredient after water is Sierra Nevada Earth Minerals — a nice way to say “clay earth,” a classic mask ingredient. It gets more interesting than that, though, with all kinds of fun mineral ingredients including zeolite, moldovite, agate and even ocean silt.
Other oceanic ingredients include varieties of algae and phytoplankton. Its land-based ingredients are several botanical oils and calming herbs. And that’s the key — there’s not a single artificial chemical ingredient. Got to love that!
Nevertheless, what would inspire me to paste plankton and ocean silt on my face, you may reasonably ask? Well, my limited experience with masks 15 or 20 years ago did not inspire me to keep using them, yet my curiosity remained and was piqued by reading about Defense Masque. Plus, if movies are to be believed, mask-application is a popular female pastime and bonding ritual. I had obviously been missing out, so decided to give masks another try.
And I’m glad I did. The masks that I tried in my younger years were pretty unpleasant, leaving skin not so much purified as desiccated. My skin ended up taut, dry and uncomfortable. Not so with Defense Masque. Although its claim to be “hydrating” is stretching the truth a little too far for my liking, it is not too drying. My skin felt relatively comfortable afterward, probably due to the natural oils and phospholipids.
Because of my caution about potential drying — I do not have oily skin but normal mid-40s skin — I waited for the right times to test Defense Masque. I tried it after a particularly hot, humid, sweaty, grimy day, and on a premenstrual day, which is pretty much the same thing. My skin appreciated Defense Masque’s contributions on both occasions. It felt cleaner and calmer afterwards, in a way that is hard to describe except to say that it was better than simply cleansing. It felt as though some gunk had been drawn out somehow, and the result was closer to what nature intended!
The mask itself is a pale mint green paste — almost white. It spreads easily and dries incredibly fast. I used quite a thick layer, but it still dried quickly — fortunately not into the stiff “cracked desert” appearance of old style clay masks, but a dry yet still flexible paste.
I left it on for 10 minutes, as instructed for normal or dry skin, as opposed to the up to 30 minutes that oily skin apparently prefers. It washed off easily at the end with plain water.
So I’d say that Defense Masque’s main benefits are that it can be used by those with normal skin, its ingredients list is interesting and impressively all-natural, and it does its job more or less as advertised. Skin is left calmer, cleansed and quite comfortable. I’m very glad to have it on hand.