Masquerade: Earthwise Beauty

Catharsis ($90 for 2.2 OZ / $50 for .95 OZ)

I’m 2/3rds of the way through with this mask, and have had it for about 3-4 months. I’ll use this product multiple times a week, sometimes just once, or instead I will reach for it weeks later. The point is that throughout the time of its possession, I’ve repeatedly been drawn to the product and it’s remained a constant companion to my skin. It has become a highly regarded product in my eyes.

I want to start out by saying I love masks that don’t use clay- not because it’s an ineffective ingredient, but as there are so many products out there that utilize it, I simply appreciate more innovative alternatives. It’s not to say The Problem Solver by May Lindstrom or the Pure Mask by YÜLI have lost their place on my shelf, I find these choices still very effective, but now when I look for new masks to try, I’m quite picky in choosing ones that will fulfill a new spot on my shelf. I understand the “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” motto, however I also think it showcases the creativity and skills of the founder when they are able to use new ingredients in their formulations rather than follow the trend; it highlights their knowledge and mastery with plants, and at times can produce even better results. This is a quality I appreciate about the founders of my most-trusted brands, such as Ava, an individual who is constantly creating impressive, pure, and unique formulations.

In this respective product we can find powdered aloe leaves – the inclusion of aloe is one of the reasons we all love Earthwise Beauty, whether it’s in liquid or powder form, and it’s no surprise to find that it serves as this mask’s moisturizing base. One of the reasons this product was formulated with the omission of clay was to counteract the drying effect, so instead with this base we can get a non-drying experience. These fine particles also serve the purpose of giving your skin a bit of exfoliating action as well. I lightly massage the product when I first apply it, as well as when I wash off the mask from my skin, and its perfect for lightly encouraging the skin to get rid of dead skin – I like to alternate between mechanical and chemical (enzyme) exfoliation. If you’re worried about it being too harsh, I will add now that the exfoliating action is quite gentle: “This cleanser contains no gritty or overly scrubby particles that might scratch the surface of the skin and cause irritation or scars.” So we have a moisturizing and gentle cleanser thus far. What makes this cleanser/mask as effective as clay masks in clearing your skin? In addition to powdered aloe leaves, the mask is also formulated with neem, spirulina, and chlorella algae powder. Neem is a powerful antimicrobial, while spirulina and chlorella algae clean the pores and detox the skin. These four ingredients form the basis for Catharsis, and although in total are much less in quantity than many other masks out there, serve to make a product that is just as effective. Orange peel powder finishes up the ingredient list, which also has vitamin/anti-inflammatory/purifying benefits.

Ingredients:

Aloe barbadensis leaf powder*, Azadirachta indica (neem) leaf powder* (India), organic Spirulina platensis powder, organic broken-cell Chlorella vulgaris powder, Citrus sinensis (orange) peel powder* {*Certified organic}

A very interesting point is brought up by Ava under the product description“Neem is a powerful plant that can send out a message when its healing has been accomplished […] either you may start forgetting to use the cleanser, or no longer feel drawn to its powers, or, if you overlook the subtle messages and continue using neem religiously, you may even develop a mild rash or itching. If neem tells you that it is time to take a break, heed its advice and switch to a different cleanser or mask for a while.” Once again I will say that listening to your skin is intuitive- it’s important to listen to it and know when to stop/continue using a product.

The smell of the powder is almost like sour matcha in my opinion- not something I exactly enjoy, but also not a detail I mind in the least. It’s quite invigorating, actually, if we talk strictly aromatherapy and not preferences. The texture, when wet, really is reminiscent of algae, which makes for an unconventional but very fun mask. It does state you can use it as a cleanser, but I personally like to use it more as a mask for about 15-30 minutes. When I solely mix it with water, I will notice that it will coagulate in different areas, making it more difficult to evenly spread around the skin. This isn’t an issue if you’ll be using it as a cleanser, since you’re working and massaging it everywhere, but as a mask it’s preferable to have an even layer. Mixing it with honey (which I always do because you know how much I love it) addresses this issue for me, making for a much smoother process. I leave it on for 20-30 minutes at a time, and remove with water. I’m always left with brighter, cleaner skin and smaller pores after application.

If you’re not a fan of the way the product coagulates, don’t give up on the product all together, try adding thicker ingredients such as honey/oils/oil-based serums and using a greater quantity of the product than it states. Leave it on for a few minutes, and take an additional few minutes to massage it on and get gentle mechanical exfoliation. Every product has its own application techniques that best serve its formulation or your preference, it’s just a matter of discovering what works with you. Earthwise Beauty is excellent when it comes to samples, so if you want to try the product before fully committing, a 0.1 oz sample will cost you $8 – I can see this working for all skin types. If you use 1/2 teaspoon of Catharsis at a time, it’s stated that the 2.2 oz. jar will be enough for a little less than 50 applications, the 0.95 oz. jar will be enough for 24. If you use 1/4 teaspoon at a time, then the product will last even longer, making it worth its price. I’m personally guilty of using one half to a full teaspoon at a time. However, if I do choose to use it as a cleanser instead of a mask, I will use less. Another note to state is that Ava has stated that Catharsis can actually remove makeup as well, so you could try to do a single cleanse only with it, rather than first wash off the makeup then use this product. I personally prefer an oil-based or creamier formulation for removing my makeup, but this may appeal to you.

All in all, this is a fantastic product, which goes up there with Tigress for me. In fact, I think it’s quite underrated, and deserves more attention. If you are no longer inspired by lifeless detox face masks, particularly those with clay, then I highly suggest you try this product.