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I prefer to use natural products. I look for buzzwords like "green" and "sustainable" in my household cleaners, toothpastes and deodorants. My husband isn't that worried about chemical fumes, and he'll bring home a bleachy, preservative-loaded chemical bomb. And then I have to admit that they usually do a much better job. Natural detergents don't leave my clothes as fresh, soft or vibrant. Organic deodorants simply don't do anything -- I might as well go au naturel! Moana Instant Lifting Mask ($106), a skin care product whose active ingredients are mostly organic plant extracts, is a welcome exception to this rule.
I will be 50 in a few months, and this milestone is showing up all over my skin. After a lifetime of amply moist, plump skin, my face, hands and décolletage were feeling dry and thin. It was getting harder to disguise a lack of sleep since the skin under my eyes easily gave me away.
Enter Moana Instant Lifting Mask. The box I received described it as a typical mask, used once or twice a week for 20 minutes. The website, however, recommends using it as an eye cream, as well. I have used it as a wrinkle treatment and night cream, too.
The product is a thin, amber-colored gel without any scent. It spreads easily and can be used sparingly. I used it first as a traditional mask. It was pleasant enough. I didn't need to rinse it off, but I did. My skin was glowing, and it lasted a good four days. I started using it around my eyes during the day, and the firming effects were immediate. I tried dabbing it on specific lines as well as a small area of sun damage. I tried using it as a moisturizer on top of my nighttime serums. I mixed it with other masks to amp up their effectiveness. I saw results with any and all use.
The box says to spread on the special Moana Oil before the mask. I didn't have that, although I used another facial oil before the mask on occasion. This didn't make any difference on my face, which is only starting to feel dry, but amped up the effects on my décolletage.
Moana Instant Lifting Mask is hydrating and moisturizing. It firms and plumps the skin, diminishing wrinkles, and it also lessens discolorations, helping achieve a glowing, smooth, even complexion. I don't know if my skin has looked this good since before I was 20.
The main ingredient, red algae, is said to be an all-arounder. Moana did a clinical trial where this mask in particular gave "statistically significant improved hydration levels." This lasted throughout the 14 days of the trial, and 60 hours afterward.
I can't give algae all the credit, though. There's also MEL, active manuka honey. This is another popular ingredient, having healing, humectant properties. I didn't think I'd find something with honey that I liked better than the Royal Nectar Face Mask ($68), but this one edges that one out. It has so many uses!
This formula doesn't contain anything harsh or carcinogenic. There are essential oils, which some might find irritating, but I didn't have any bad reactions. When using it under other products or makeup, it is optimal to first let the mask sink in for 10 or so minutes. If it hasn't had enough time to absorb, it could pill.
This product is pricey, but the attractive, rounded jar will last a good long while. Most importantly, it really works. I think of it as topical nutrition. My skin feels well-fed.