I lead an incredibly busy life, so when I hear about products (like the MD Skincare Intense Hydrating Mask) which allow me to do something great for my hair/skin in the privacy/comfort of my own home, on my own time schedule, they get my attention.  Sure, the $62 MD Skincare Intensive Hydrating Mask kit is a bit pricey for a frugal consumer like me, but when I estimated that I could easily get at least six intensive hydrating treatments from the kit, it seemed a little more reasonable, and certainly more reasonable and more convenient than six trips to my local spa. The MD Skincare line has a great reputation and their products generally contain quality ingredients, so this looked like a great prospect. When I read that the product promised to provide "professional results"  I decided the MD Skincare Intensive Hydrating Mask might just be the perfect product to put to the test. I decided to apply the Hydrating Masks as a follow up to my weekly Reviva Light Peel exfoliation treatment (instead of following up with my nightly niacin-based deep moisturizing cream), and give my newest skin a little extra hydration.

The application of the hydrating mask is a simple two-step process. First, a clear gel is painted onto the face. The literature explains that Step 1 is "pure hyaluronic gel with a cocktail of antioxidants that plumps trouble areas, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles caused by dehydration". Step 2 is then massaged on and it is a "self-heating vitamin C mask that increases circulation and forces antioxidants and collagen-stimulating ingredients deep into the skin". The whole process can be done in your own bathroom in 20 minutes or, if you like to multitask, you can paint everything on, read the morning paper, check your emails,  and drink coffee...  and then go about your regular routine.  All in all, it is simple, clean, and there is no residual redness or downtime of any kind....you can apply make up or resume all normal activities right away.

So.... how did it work?  Not that great. While the hyaluronic gel certainly felt nice going on, and the self-heating vitamin enriched topcoat was a novel and relaxing addition. The reality is that after six treatments, I couldn't see any difference whatsoever (short term or long term) in the condition or hydration of my skin.  It might improve the appearance of your skin if you don't normally apply a daily moisturizer or a sunscreen or an after shave, but I don't know ANYONE who doesn't put at least SOMETHING on their face each day.

It isn't that the MD Skincare Intensive Hydrating Mask is a bad product, it just isn't the great product I expected it to be. To be fair and give it every chance to dazzle me, I also tried a few experiments hoping I could get it to work a little better. I tried leaving the completed hydrating mask on longer to be sure it had plenty of time to soak in, (even over night), using it more often (twice per week), and I also tried (alternately) putting Step 1 and Step 2 on thicker. None of my experiments made any difference in the outcome. My face wasn't any more hydrated than usual.  And at $10 a pop, the Intensive Hydrating Mask really needs to be noteworthy, in order for me to recommend it.

PS... Last weekend (after my exfoliation treatment) I tried one additional experiment.  I applied a thin layer of the quality vitamin C serum (Skinceuticals C E Ferulic) I have been using and followed up a few minutes later with a generous amount of my regular niacin-based deep moisturizer (Nia-24 Intense Recovery Complex). I then wrapped my face in a steamy damp towel for 10 minutes. That home-made concoction seemed to work AT LEAST as well as the MD Skincare Intensive Hydrating Mask, if not better. When the towel came off, my skin was plumper, the tiny wrinkles around my eyes were almost non-existent, and my entire face was smooth and soft.

Step 1 ingredients : Hyaluronic gel
Cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, sodium hyaluronate, camellia sinensis leaf extract, purified water, ascorbic acid, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, ascorbyl palmitate, ubiquinone, ascorbyl glucosamine, superoxide dismutase, phospholipids.

Step 2 ingredients : Self-heating mask
Butylene glycol, sodium silico-aluminate, peg-8, camellia sinensis leaf extract, white tea, ascorbyl palmitate, tetinyl palmitate, tocopheryl acetate, dimethicone, methyl gluceth-20, hydroxypropyl-cellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, petrolatum, titanium dioxide.