A downside of living in living in New York City (aside from the taxes) is that one’s skin is subjected to the full effect of all four seasons, often in extremes. The harsh, ice cold winters, dehydrate my skin, causing dry patches while the sweltering, hot summers  induce oiliness. Heat and humidity soften pores; add in perspiration and you’ve got the ideal environment for blackhead formation. I wear two antioxidants and two sunscreens daily (a chemical sunscreen layered under a physical) so while I don’t wear makeup, I have quite a lot of product on my face. While I know it’s not possible for pores to actually become larger, I admit that I’ve paused in front of the mirror more than once lately wondering just that. I use my Clarisonic Mia diligently but this summer has been exceptionally unkind to my skin. Enter Skin Nutrition’s Deep Cleansing Mask ($45).

Skin Nutrition’s Cell CPR ($170 in the shop) is a staple in my skincare regimen and like Cell CPR, the Deep Cleansing Mask is teeming with skin beneficial ingredients, some of which are  rather exotic. Like other Skin Nutrition products with rather deceivingly elementary monikers such as the Moisturizer ($70 in the shop) and the Night Cream ($75 in the shop), the Deep Cleansing Mask is far more complex than the name would imply. This is not your average cleansing mask; the mask also detoxifies and revitalizes your skin while neutralizing free radicals.

The second ingredient is kaolin, which is not uncommon in masks; however, Copley has previously pointed out the rejuvenating properties of kaolin including its ability to absorb oils without drying out skin. Moreover, kaolin soothes and mattifies skin while stimulating blood circulation. Regular application has been shown to heal blemishes, remove debris from the pores, and bring about a glow. The formulation includes spinach leaf extract, which has been credited with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-cancerous properties, and studies are being conducted to further evaluate the potential of this extract. Per Skin Nutrition, the mask also contains a synergistic blend of proprietary super-berry extracts and they aren’t kidding. There is an array of fruit extracts with almost every fruit you can think of that has the suffix “berry.”

An intriguing ingredient is vitex agnus castus extract (aka monk’s pepper berry as it was believed to used as anti-libido remedy by monks). In one open study, acne patients treated with topical applications of the extract reported a quicker healing rate. According to Cosmetics Design Europe, the ingredient was found in vitro tests to significantly stimulate the proliferation of human epidermal cells in culture. Skin Nutrition has even included a mild, stable form of the antioxidant vitamin C via tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, known for its ability to increase collagen levels and  reduce melanin production. It also has the ability to stimulate the production of glycosaminoglycans, natural moisturizers that allow skin to absorb moisture from the body itself.

I’ve been using the mask twice a week,  applying it at the end of the day when my skin feels particularly greasy. After a gentle cleansing, I apply a thin layer of the mask, leaving it on for about 15 minutes. There is just the slightest hint of a cooling sensation upon application, which I find refreshing. I then jump in the shower and I feel as if the pollution of the city is being cleansed from my face. And, yes, this wonderful mask has kept the blackheads at bay!

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Kaolin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Zinc Oxide, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Glucose,Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach) Leaf Extract, Xanthan Gum, Niacin, Butylene Glycol, Opuntia Ficus-indica (Cactus Pear) Extract, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) Fruit Extract, Euterpa Oleracea (Acai Berry) Fruit Extract, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Glucose Oxidase, Citric Acid, Lactoperoxidase, Vitex Agnus Castus (Monk's Pepper Berry) Extract, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Extract, Phaeodactylum Tricornutum (Algae) Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Levulinate, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Oil, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract SN-NPS™ * (Proprietary Natural Preservative System) *Patent Pending