Abrione describes its new Hydrodynamic Facial Masque ($22 for 1.9oz) as 'a must in face care'. I've just tried it out and I have to agree. I look as if I've just come back from vacation - all glowing and rested. This mask exfoliates, hydrates and firms.

Founded by Dr Vivian Valenty, a chemist from the Philippines, Abrione focuses on the healing powers of botanicals. The first skincare product that the company produced was made from aloe vera and fruit extracts. It proved to be a cure for acne and now sells under the name of Vanishing Point. The new mask builds on that tradition with aloe being the base ingredient.

Alpha beta hydroxy acids do the exfoliation job. This means it is advisable to follow this mask with a sunscreen. There is also pineapple, which has enzymes that 'eat' away at dead skin cells. Of interest amongst the botanical ingredients is passiflora incarnata (passionfruit extract), which is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic as well as a source of vitamin C.

The firming of the skin is achieved by the essential oils of cedarwood, eucalyptus and geranium. Dead sea mud and montmorrillonite provide minerals and detoxify. You will also note that in addition to the ubiquitous vitamin E, tocopheryl, there is also tocophersolan, a more stable and potent version.

The inclusion of carrageenan gave me pause for thought. This is a seaweed that is used in food and cosmetics primarily as a thickener. However, various animal tests seem to link it incontrovertibly to intestinal cancer - to the dismay of soy milk drinkers everywhere. This only happens when the carrageenan degrades by being subjected to heat or acidity. Despite the lactic and salicylic acids, I am assuming that this didn't happen in the production of this mask and anyway I am not ingesting it.

As always, I'd prefer products to avoid potential irritants such as sodium laureth sulfate, phenoxyethanol and hydroxybenzoate (which is ethyparaben).

Ingredients in Abrione Hydrodynamic Facial Masque

Aqueous extracts of aloe vera (aloe barbadensis), passionflower (passiflora incarnata) fruit, lemon (citrus medica limonum), grape (vitis vinifera), pineapple (ananas sativus) and sea kelp (macrocystis pirifera), glycerin, montmorillonite, cetyl alcohol, dead sea mud, sodium laureth sulfate, tocopheryl acetate, tocophersolan, carrageenan, sclerotium gum, locust bean (ceratonia siliqua) gum, royal jelly, glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, sodium citrate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, matricaria (chamomilla recutita) extract, cocamide DEA, cocamidopropyl betaine, glycol stearate, PEG-46M, grapefruit (citrus grandis) oil, eucalyptus (eucalyptus radiate) oil, geranium (geranium maculatum) oil, lavender (lavandula angustifolia) oil, cedarwood (cedrus atlantica) oil, orange (citrus aurantium dulcis) flower oil, jasmine (jasminum officinale) oil, imidazolidinium urea, phenoxyethanol and hydroxybenzoate esters.