Our Rating: 5 stars

LiftLab has added a cleansing mask to its concise line of effective and decently priced anti-agers. Purify & Clarify ($65 in the shop) does what the name implies, exfoliating gently, tightening pores and hydrating. As always, with LiftLab, it utilizes some really interesting marine actives.

I found that Purify & Clarify, with its richly creamy and slightly granular texture, works best if massaged gently then left on as a mask for around five minutes and before rinsing with warm water.  It gives a deep cleanse without being at all drying – if anything it feels hydrating and my skin feels very comfortable after using it.

The most interesting ingredient is unassumingly listed as roe extract. No pretensions to caviar here! But nonetheless, it is worthy of a call out as it roe supposed to be a unique exfoliator that is more gentle and effective than just about anything else – forget your pineapple enzymes or your glycolic acid, fish eggs are the way to slough.

Hydrolized fish roe as a beauty ingredient comes with an origination myth (which as is so often in the cosmetics business is one of those “we just stumbled across this by accident” stories): salmon fishery workers in Scandinavia found that their hands were amazingly soft despite cold water and rough fish scales. Curious scientists found that there is an enzyme that helps fish larva escape their eggshell by digesting its tough, fibrous protein.

The cool thing is that this enzyme acts as an exfoliator by mimicking skin enzymes and degrading corneodesmosomes, the “mortar” in the skin’s “bricks and mortar”. Dead skin cells are gently removed without harming the living skin cells beneath.

Purify & Clarify also has LiftLab’s signature marine active, which helps prolong the life of cells. Another LiftLab favorite is crambe abyssinica, one of the richest known sources of erucic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid. Plus there’s LiftLab’s usual roster of botanicals including soothing chamomile (ormenis multicaulis), neem, turmeric and holy basil. In addition, there is solanum muricatum extract that studies show to be antioxidant, as is lawsonia inermis (henna).

The only thing that I don’t like about the formula is potassium hydroxide, an irritant that is toxic in large doses, and the preservative phenoxyethanol.

Ingredients: Water (aqua), myristic acid, glycerin, potassium hydroxide, stearic acid, peg-dipropylene glycol, lauric acid, olive oil peg-7 esters, crambe abyssinica seed oil, beeswax, peg-100 stearate, glyceryl stearate, cocamidopropyl betaine, hydrogenated jojoba oil, maltooligosyl glucoside, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) peel oil, hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, jojoba wax peg-120 esters, cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, sodium chloride, ormenis multicaulis extract, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter extract, tocopheryl acetate, tetrasodium edta, melia azadirachta leaf extract, melia azadirachta flower extract, amino esters-1, roe extract, coccinia indica fruit extract, solanum muricatum fruit extract, sodium hyaluronate, aloe barbadensis flower extract, fish plasma protein (cell protection protein®), disodium phosphate, pearl powder, ocimum sanctum leaf extract, ocimum basilicum (basil) extract, lawsonia inermis extract, curcuma longa (turmeric) root extract, sodium phosphate, tin oxide, synthetic fluorphlogopite, titanium dioxide