Fourth Ray Beauty

A-HA Moment Exfoliating Enzyme Mask

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 15.00
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Fourth Ray Beauty’s A-HA Moment Exfoliating Enzyme Mask encounters many issues in its effort to resurface skin, starting with its packaging…

The problem with the jar that this mask comes in is that it allows its beneficial ingredients (such as antioxidants) to break down prematurely, while also presenting hygiene issues. See More Info below for an in-depth discussion on this.

Next up, you’ll notice this mask has uniquely lightweight milky-cream texture with cranberry powder granules. Surprisingly, the granules don’t feel harshly abrasive as you layer the mask over skin, nor do they feel scratchy as you rinse the formula off, so we’re actually not too concerned about that damaging skin’s barrier. Phew!

As for the blend of alpha hydroxy acids (lactic and tartaric) that give this mask it’s “A-HA” name, those would have a better chance of exfoliating skin if this mask were in the proper pH range of 3-4. As is, this formula’s pH of 5 is too high to effectively slough off dead skin. Likewise, the salicylic acid (BHA) and gluconolactone (PHA) this contains are excellent exfoliating ingredients, but the pH issue hampers their effectiveness as well.

Fourth Ray Beauty makes a big deal about the exfoliating enyzmes in this formula, which they’ve sourced as a combination of papaya extract + lactobacillus ferment (a probiotic). Unfortunately, those aren’t very effective at exfoliating skin, but the bigger issue is that they’re accompanied by several fragrant citrus extracts that pose a serious risk of irritation to skin. That alone is reason enough to not use A-HA Moment Exfoliating Enzyme Mask.

We also have to comment on the fact that this mask’s contradictory blend of absorbent and hydrating ingredients cancel each out so skin is left feeling blasé—not too tight or dry but also not soft or moisturized.

Our final verdict? You’re better off perusing our list of best aha exfoliants and best face masks instead.

  • Contains antioxidant-rich extracts and oils.
  • Packaged in jar, which compromises some of the beneficial ingredients.
  • Formulated with several fragrant citrus extracts that put skin at risk for irritation.
  • The pH is too high for the AHA, BHA and PHA ingredients to work their exfoliating magic.
  • Fruit enzymes are not effective at exfoliating skin.

More Info:

Jar Packaging: Beneficial anti-aging ingredients, which include all plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients, are unstable, which means they begin to break down in the presence of air. Once a jar is opened and lets air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective. Routine exposure to daylight is also problematic for these ingredients.

Jar packaging is also unsanitary because you dip your fingers into the jar with each use, contaminating the product. This stresses the preservative system, especially in water-based formulas, leading to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.

Remember: The ingredients that provide the most benefit in addressing visible signs of aging must be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging to remain effective throughout usage. Buying products in this type of packaging means that the ingredients have the best chance of remaining effective—to the benefit of your skin.

References for this information:
Molecules, July 2018, ePublication
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, pages 97–106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, pages 252–259
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, pages 640–660
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, pages 4676–4683
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82–88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10

Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.

This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.

A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.

References for this information:
Toxicology In Vitro, February 2018, pages 237-245
Toxicological Sciences, January 2018, pages 139-148
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: Yes
Tested on animals: No

A-HA Moment Exfoliating Enzyme Mask is the must have, at-home facial to instantly resurface skin. Powered by a blend of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's) and Papaya Enzymes that are known to exfoliate dull skin, instantly revealing a fresh, new, and nourished complexion.

Water, Glycerin, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Glycolic Acid, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sodium Hydroxide, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Lactobacillus/Papaya Fruit Ferment Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Powder, Cetearyl Olivate, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Hylocereus Undatus Fruit Extract, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Gluconolactone, Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Clementina Fruit Extract, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, Opuntia Ficus Indica Seed Oil, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Quartz, Algin, Xanthan Gum, Sorbitan Olivate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Citric Acid, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate , Aluminum Hydroxide, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).

With as much focus on the metaphysical as on the scientific, Fourth Ray Beauty is the brainchild of Seed Beauty, the creator of social-media savvy lines like Kylie Cosmetics and ColourPop. The brand says its focus is on wellness-inspired skin care, and that the name Fourth Ray is derived from the fourth ray of the rainbow, which represents “beauty, harmony, purity, wholeness, and integration.”

Its lineup consists of mainly the basics when it comes to a skin care routine: cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and acne treatment. The formulas are largely unremarkable, with a lack of impressive ingredients, and most of its products contain fragrance. The standout is their cleansing oil which bypasses most of the pitfalls of its competition.

When it comes to its approach to acne and oily skin though, this brand with a New Age philosophy has a decidedly old-school approach by including witch hazel, alcohol, and other irritants that can make acne and oily skin worse.

Fourth Ray infuses each of its products with crystals to, as stated on its website, “cleanse not just your skin but your energy.” This is just marketing, though; there’s no scientific research proving that crystals can do anything for skin.

You can learn more about Fourth Ray Beauty on its website, fourthraybeauty.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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