For $90 one would hope that Sircuit Skin's Cool Lychee Wa Mask is not your mother's face mask. Fortunately, you'd be right. Sircuit is Claire's latest find and, even for skeptics like us, they appear to be on to something with their 'Chiral Technology'.
The idea is that the human body is selective about which side of a particular molecule is able to form a perfect bond with the skin's cells (or cell receptors). When you use only the "effective" side of an ingredient molecule you are guaranteed that each ingredient has the greatest benefits possible. So, Sircuit Cosmeceuticals product claims its ingredients are "body friendly" because they've separated out the correct side of the molecule.
Claire scored some samples and I tried the lychee mask. It has a creamy, but light texture and it doesn't dry in that way that some masks have of making you feel as if a cast is being made of your face. After rinsing off, the face is soft and hydrated.
But what are the ingredients that Sircuit claims are showing off their best sides? Well, they turn out to be something of a mixed bag - hence, I haven't given this the stamp of a TIA recommendation.
First the good stuff. Lychee, due to the presence of flavonoids, has an impressive clinical pedigree. For example it has been demonstrated by several different research teams in China to be an effective antioxidant that inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Then there is epigallocatechin callate. This is one of catechins in green tea and probably the most potent antioxidant. Next there is goji berry, that packs a huge vitamin C punch leaving the humble orange in its tracks.
Less convincing is vitex agnus castus (sometimes known as the chaste tree). Extracts do contain flavonoids, but most of the research seems to be centered on whether it eases PMS. Welcomed if it does, but not the task at hand here. And then there is mangosteen. Claims of superfruit status for mangosteen are at best premature. All mangosteen's micronutrients fall below 5% of their respective Dietary Reference Intake (US Academy of Sciences). The exceptions are carbohydrate and dietary fiber, and some relatively puny amounts of vitamin C, manganese and folic acid. There is something in mangosteen called xanthones that might be antioxidant, but the research is still sparse.
Finally, there are a couple of things that I really don't like at all: the preservative and irritant, phenoxyethanol, and sodium benzoate, which can become carcinogenic if it gets mixed up with vitamin C (of which there are two types here) and, according to a British researcher, it knocks out DNA (which I would have thought is the opposite of the desired effect).
Ingredients in Sircuit Cool Lychee Mask
Aqua (Water), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Litchi Chinesis Pericarp Extract, Epigallocatechin Gallate, Glycol Distearate, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Titanium Dioxide, Glycerin, Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Extract, Vitex Agnus Castus Extract, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Cyclodextrin, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Alcohol, Garcinia Mangostana (Mangosteen) Peel Powder, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Vanilla Planifolia Oil, Passiflora Incarnata Flower Extract, Dimethicone, Tocopherol (D-Alpha), Allantoin, Resveratrol, Menthyl Lactate (L), Phenoxyethanol.