Masquerade: Josh Rosebrook

Active Enzyme Exfoliator ($65 for .75 FL OZ/ 22 ML)

This review may come as a surprise to some, as this formulator is known to be a master apprentice of nature, bringing to us beautiful plant-based products; Josh Rosebrook literally has the gift of a green thumb. The Active Enzyme Exfoliator in itself contains a highly impressive list of over 30 active extracts (click here for more info). I have already spoken highly of his newer Vital Balm Cream (read here), and his haircare line (read here). This Active Enzyme Exfoliator is no doubt one of the more popular masks in green beauty to select, nevertheless this is the only mask in my current collection that I have a hard time deciding whether I like or not, and this is my second re-purchase in a matter of two years. My final decision is that I will not be repurchasing it again.

First, I am not a fan of the walnut shell grains. Although they aren’t necessarily large particles, I generally avoid using physical exfoliants that are rough on my skin in order to avoid microtears and discomfort. With this mask, I definitely find the walnut grains don’t feel good on my skin, even if they are finely milled. Perhaps with their exclusion I could gain more benefits, as the enzyme exfoliation is I feel enough for its function. Further, the mask requires you to rub it over your skin in order to spread the product evenly over your face and gain the benefit of physical exfoliation, but I find these walnut grains to be too harsh for me to do so properly. You need a good amount of product to really get it to cover your face, and aside from the fact that it will be too rough to evenly spread, I also notice it will also bunch up in some areas while leaving a very thin film over other areas. Thus you cannot get away with using a little amount or laying it on thin in my experience, which is unfortunate because masks can be quite expensive and I don’t want to use too much of the product each serving. Perhaps diluting with water or more honey will ease the application.

It could be due to these reasons that I don’t properly massage the product over my skin or put a thick enough layer that I don’t feel much of a difference when I use it. In some cases, I actually have ended up using another mask right after I wash it off in order to take care of my skin when it’s feeling congested or dull, because I just don’t see an ample improvement after I use this. At other times, my skin does feel softer, but that will be all. Thus, I don’t see the same immediate results as I do from the other masks I own.

I like the fact this mask includes beneficial ingredients, but I don’t feel comfortable recommending it from my experience due to how the inclusion of the walnut grains hinders it’s usage and experience. However, that being said, the numbers of those who love this mask and see immediate benefits from it is many, thus it could be worth trying if you are considering it.

Ingredients: *Honey, *Vegetable Glycerin, Water, *Soy Lecithin, *Avocado Oil, *Jojoba Oil, *Sunflower Oil, *Evening Primrose Oil, *Neem, *Echinacea, *Hawthorn Berry, *Alfalfa, *Ashwagandha, *Goji Berry, *Beetroot, *Bilberry, *Black Cohosh, *Rosemary, *Fennel, *Dandelion, *Calendula, *Fo ti Root, *Turmeric, *Sage, *Stevia, *Chamomile, *Rose Hips, *Licorice, *Chickweed, *Horse Chestnut, *Eyebright, *St. John’s Wort, *Coriander, *Burdock, *Elderberry, *Yucca, *Thyme, *Lavender, *Olive leaf, *Raspberry leaf, *Red Clover, *Papaya Enzyme, Walnut shells, *Guar Gum, * Gum Arabic, †Lemon Essential Oil, †Cypress Essential Oil, †Fennel Essential Oil, †Bergamot Essential Oil, †Lime Essential Oil {*CERTIFIED ORGANIC / †ORGANIC}

Advanced Hydration Mask

I have thus far amassed a wonderful collection of masks, but I do not want to purchase the same product in difference disguises when it comes to this category; I am looking to masks that are more innovative than those including the usual clays to detoxify your skin. I simply already have enough masks that can accomplish this, and until they run out or a product captures my attention, I’m more interested in trying those that are centered around other needs such as hydration for a change. Here is quote from Josh Rosebrook himself on the importance of prioritizing hydration in our skincare routines and mindset:

“Skin dehydration isn’t taken seriously enough for the role it plays in accelerating aging of the skin. It’s place of importance is often minimized or relegated behind the active serum step that assists with hyper pigmentation, damage and lines. Maintaining an optimum skin hydration level is imperative to offsetting and slowing the decline of skin – when your skin is dehydrated, proper skin function is impaired, the skin’s innate healing ability is debilitated, circulation of nutrients is slowed, and the skin can’t repair itself as rapidly… An effective treatment helps restore total skin function by restoring circulation of nutrients, proper barrier function, assisting balance of oil production and healthy skin cell turnover.”

Herein comes the Advanced Hydration Mask as one of those said effective treatments. Upon release, I noticed that the Active Vital Balm and Advanced Hydration Mask contain very similar ingredients, and thus decided to purchase the balm for every day use (see review here). Notice below, I have bolded all the same ingredients, regardless of what order they are included. The concentration of these ingredients vary, as for example shea butter is included first in the mask, whereas in the vital balm cream it comes in as the 4th listed ingredient. Naturally, the formulation of the mask has to be thicker. Overall, you can note the similarities of the two.

Vital Balm Cream:

*Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Mango Seed Butter, *Honey, *Indian Senna Seed Extract (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), *Shea Butter, *Olive Oil, *Avocado Oil,*Jojoba Seed Oil, *Borage Seed Oil, *Evening Primrose Oil, *Sea Buckthorn Oil, *Vitamin E, †Broccoli Seed Oil, *Witch Hazel, *Ashwagandha,*Turmeric,*Rose Hips,*Goji Berry, *Calendula, *Black Cohosh, *Elderberry, *Bladderwrack, *Marshmallow Root, *Ginger, *Fenugreek, *Chickweed, *Licorice, *Raspberry Leaf, *Dandelion, *Sage, *Eyebright, *Milk Thistle, *Rose Petal, *St. John’s Wort, *Cat’s Claw, *Cinnamon, *Lavender, *Ginkgo Biloba, *Gum Arabic, §Xanthan Gum, §Potassium Sorbate, †Blue Tansy Essential Oil, †Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, †Lavender Essential Oil, *Vanilla Extract.

Advanced Hydration Mask:

*Shea Butter, *Mango Seed Butter, *Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, *Indian Senna Seed Extract (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), *Sunflower Seed Oil, *Avocado Oil, *Jojoba Seed Oil,*Evening Primrose Oil, ‡Candelilla Wax, *Ashwagandha, *Turmeric Root,*Rose Hips, *GojiBerry, *Calendula, *Black Cohosh, *Elderberry, *Bladderwrack, Marshmallow Root, *Ginger, *Fenugreek, *Chickweed, *Licorice, *Raspberry Leaf, *Dandelion, *Sage, *Eyebright, *Milk Thistle, *Rose Petal Flower, *St. John’s Wort, *Cat’s Claw, *Cinnamon, *Lavender, *Ginkgo Biloba, §Xanthan Gum, §Potassium Sorbate, †Blue Tansy Essential Oil, †Blue Chamomile Essential Oil, †Lavender Essential Oil, †Rose Essential Oil, ‡Frankincense Gum Oil.

Both products feature the superstar ingredient of Indian Senna Seed, nature’s hyaluronic acid, which on the website is stated to: “[offer] high polysaccharides which are responsible for the skin cell’s natural ability to hydrate and hold moisture while also critical for skin repair. Fusing a high percentage of Indian Senna Seed extract in this powerful mask with a selection of herbal actives creates a visible impact to skin moisture level.” This is exactly what I mean when I say Josh has a green thumb- he’s able to put together products using solely plant extracts and no synthetics, and the result is so impressive. I decided to not repurchase the Vital Balm Cream, although I do highly regard it, since I am now using Tigress by Earthwise Beauty and it’s been my number one choice (review here). Also, as I’ve stated before, if I don’t use the Vital Balm with a light hand my skin will be greasy. However, finish is no issue when it comes to using a mask; it’s not for all-day use so it’s an irrelevant detail. The Advanced Hydration Mask was a perfect candidate for a new purchase- an innovative formulation designed to address hydration needs. As a bonus, it was a product that was similar to the Vital Balm Cream, a product which I had tried and already approved. I didn’t hesitate to purchase the mask in the place of the cream.

First impressions: beautiful color, lovely smell. I soon learned how little you need of the product- it quickly transforms from an airy balm to literally melt on contact and cover your skin with such ease. I personally use a little plastic spoon to scoop the product out (I never use fingers in masks or anything in a pot if I can help it, unless it’s a lip product). The first night I used it, I didn’t realize I was picking up too much product, and slathered it all over for an overnight treatment. I was immediately mortified- it was so greasy feeling, and I just looked so bad. I wiped a little of the product as the night progressed and slept. Waking up and seeing the results is what made me more confident in the product- no breakouts, and I looked so well-rested and well-moisturized. One of my favorite products I always wake up from looking brighter/clear is Illumina, a decongesting serum, from moss skincare. It never fails to impress me when I apply it at night then wake up to see radiant skin. And yet here we have a product focused completely on hydration rather than exfoliating, and I also wake up noticing healthier, brighter skin. This is why it’s so important not to undermine the importance of moisturizing and hydrating our skin through water-based creams, oils, and masks such as this.

From that first try onwards, I’ve been applying the correct amount, and although it still has that greasy finish, it doesn’t bother me anymore. I usually wipe the product after half an hour with some micellar water on a cotton swab, or lightly wet my washcloth in hot water and very lightly press it into my skin. Now I know to embrace the full benefits of a hydration mask and control Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL), you should avoid water on your skin, but I just personally prefer those two methods. I don’t go and soak my face and use a cleanser, I just lightly use a hot washcloth or cotton swab. However when I am using it as an overnight treatment, which I often do, I use no water and thus fully embrace its benefits.

I’ve come to love this mask so much- its color, scent, amazing hydration capability for my skin. So many beautiful green beauty products are capable of giving us a multitude of results these days, and the ones we use most and see the overall best results with will become our ride-or-die, always repurchased products. This is one of those stellar products for me. I see a positive difference, as my skin is happily plumper, softer, and more hydrated, with fine lines consequently also seeing improvement. Even more so, my skin just continues to look better the more I use it. Just as Josh explained, with healthy, hydrated skin, our skin can heal and repair itself better and only continue to improve in function and appearance; other skincare products will have a better effect as well.

You may think that something so intensive/moisturizing will make you breakout-it is recommended for normal to dry, dehydrated, and sensitive skin. For my oily/combo skin, I experience no breakouts and encourage you to try a sample first if you have the same skin type; the ingredients are stated to be non-comedogenic but each skin reaction differs. I think that no matter what skin type we have, in general we are so focused on washing our face, detoxing/exfoliating our skin, or have damaged our barrier in the past, that most people can benefit from using a mask such as this. I myself definitely use it more than once a week, sometimes every other day, or whenever I’m in the shower to protect my skin from the water and to let the steam and mask work together. It’s a product you could even use everyday if you wanted to, as the founder does himself , whereas with more intense masks such as those oriented around clay and detoxifying, you should not do the same. If you’re interested in including the mask in your skincare routine, which I highly recommend, you can purchase through Integrity Botanicals.