Our Rating: 4 stars

Michael Todd True Organics Pumpkin Nutrient-Rich Facial Mask ($34) deserves a positive review, despite having the worst pump dispenser I have encountered so far (more on this below).

Michael Todd’s pumpkin mask is a very potent 5% glycolic acid mask with proteolyticenzymes, balanced out with soothing and moisturizing ingredients, such as aloe, glycerin and meadowfoam. Also included are antioxidants ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C derivative), vitamin E and beta carotene, provided by the eponymous pumpkin. Proteolytic enzymes? My curiosity was piqued, and I discovered that they selectively digest diseased and dead cells while leaving healthy living cells unharmed. I want to bathe in proteolytic enzymes!

I found the mask’s effect on my skin to be quite an intense experience and this is from someone who does 20% salicylic peels monthly and annual TCA peels. It is not a harmful burning to fear, but an intense heat. I really liked the feeling. After using it, my skin would have a nice approving rosy, dewy glow and the cliché smooth-as-a-baby-bottom texture. Michael Todd’s pumpkin mask also helped me a lot through a recent, unexpected breakout.

Do not expect Michael Todd’s mask to smell like pumpkin pie – instead, it smells like raw pumpkin. Not my favorite, but it was not something that discouraged me from using. The consistency reminds me of baby food. It is lightweight and goes on very smoothly with my fan brush. Once on, it looks like you have iodine on your face. It does not dry hard, but washing it off can be difficult. There have been a few times I was sure I had thoroughly rinsed it off, only to see orange on my toner pads.

Michael Todd’s Pumpkin Nutrient-Rich Mask comes in a very generous, airless 3.4 ounce pump dispenser. The size made me happy… but about that dispenser: upon the first couple of uses it took a lot of effort to get a small amount out. Around the third use, the pump quit working altogether. (I created this video to show TIA.) It seemed like it might be complex to break it open, but it turns out you can unscrew the cap and shake some out. This can be a little messy and possibly contaminate the product, but I wasn’t worried about it. I hope that I just happened to receive a bad pump. The only other negative is the inclusion of phenoxyethanol. It seems really out of place in a “true organics” product and is disturbingly high on the ingredients list.

I have not used any other AHA masks for comparison other than the very mild Osmosis Polish ($44), and I feel I’ve been missing out. I really enjoy using this; it feels very luxurious, balanced, and worthwhile to me. I’m a huge fan of AHAs and Michael Todd’s pumpkin mask is fitting complement to my affection for exfoliation. It has earned a place in my routine.

Ingredients: Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin), Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Vegetable Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Glucolactone, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Oil, Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Cinnamomum Cassia (Cinnamon) Bark, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Powder, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai Fruit) Pulp Powder, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Powder, Pimenta Officinalis (Allspice) Powder, Rosmarinus Officnalis (Rosemary Oleoresin), Azadirachta Indica (Neem) Oil