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A reader recently wrote to ask me the purpose of face masks. There are three good reasons for using a mask that I can think of: when you need to use a strong active such as glycolic that should be left on for only a limited time; the formulator can focus on actives and not have to find ways to make the product absorb instantly, work under makeup etc; they give you 15 minutes of Me Time. Royal Nectar’s with bee venom has achieved cult status and is a huge bestseller – a Gold Medalist if ever there was. The Silver goes to La Vie Celeste for its still-lovely gel mask. And Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel, which helps fade dark spots, gets Bronze.

Royal Nectar Face Mask with Bee Venom ($59). It is thanks to Truth in Aging community member Faye that I found Royal Nectar. The company behind it, Nelson Honey, actually makes the bee venom active used by Heaven - the bee venom face mask said to be favored by the British Royals. Faye hadn’t just found a lookalike, she’d gone straight to the source. A wonderfully hydrating and lifting face mask with anti-inflammatory bee venom as the key active. It gives skin a fantastic healthy glow, meriting all the Kate Middleton and British Royals buzz. One of my favorite all-time beauty products, this mask is a staple I use at least once a week. Read the review

La Vie Celeste Restorative Exfoliating Gel Mask ($60 in the TIA shop). Reviewer Kelly described this as “a little gem” and I couldn’t agree more. I recommend this to people who ask for “dewy skin.” Its gentle but effective dose of glycolic acid refreshes the skin wonderfully. There’s also bamboo grains, licorice and bearberry extract, which is loaded with alpha arbutin. I have lost count of how many pots I have bought. Read the review

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel ($39). This classic is Juice Beauty’s bestseller for the simple reason that it works. Frequent use will have a striking impact on uneven skin tone and even fade age spots. A veritable showcase for Juice Beauty’s signature citrus complex. Here the hydroxyl acids come from grape, citrus, sugar cane and apple. There’s saliyilic acid and milk peptides, plus most of the ingredients are organic. There are sensitive ($39) and full strength ($45) versions.

Ingredients in Royal Nectar: Distilled Water, Nector Ease (manuka honey, bee venom), Lanette Wax, avocado oil, tocopherol oil, apricot kernel oil, easyliance, rose hip oil, rose water, bees wax, evening primrose oil, optiphen plus, natural fragrance, cocoa butter, ticaxan, marshmallow extract, manuka oil, lavender essential oil.

Ingredients in La Vie Celeste: Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Gel*, Aqua (Purified Water), Sclerotium Gum, Bamboo Grains (Bambusa Vulgaris) Extract, Kaolinite (Pink Clay), Glycolic (Hydroxyacetic) Acid, White Tea (Camellia Sinesis) Extract*, Bearberry (Acrtostaphylos Uva Ursi) Extract*, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabral Licorice) Extract*, Melon (Cucumis Melo) Extract*, Chamomile (Anthemis Nobillis) Flower Extract*, Cosmocil CQ (Polyaminopropyl Biguanide), Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Paradis) Extract*, Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic) Acid. *Certified organic

Ingredients in Juice Beauty: Organic Hydroxy-Acid Juice Solution Of Pyrus Malus (Apple) Juice (Malic), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Juice (Citric) & Vitis Vinifera (White Grape) Juice (Tartaric), Organic Raw Cane Sugar (Glycolic), Salix Alba (Willow Bark) Extract (Salicylic), Organic Milk Peptides (Lactic), Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Organic Algae Extract, Sclerotium Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate & Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Phospholipids, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Tetrasodium Edta, Xanthan Gum, Azulene, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin), Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) & Cinnamomum Camphora (Ho Wood) Pure Essential Oils