Bright On Massage-Activated Vitamin C Mask
Farmacy’s Bright On Massage-Activated Vitamin C Mask has the makings of a good clay mask but fails cross the finish line because of its mix of problematic ingredients and unrealistic claims.
This clay-based mask comes in a squeeze tube and has a somewhat creamy texture suitable for all skin types. You’re instructed to smooth it across skin and let it sit for five to ten minutes before rinsing. It’s easy to rinse (not all clay masks can boast this), and skin is left feeling softer and smoother after.
As claimed, this contains vitamin C (in tiny beads that “burst” when you apply them) for skin brightening, alongside other beneficial ingredients, among them antioxidant blueberry and skin-soothing licorice.
The antioxidant and soothing benefits can occur within the timeframe this mask is left on, but don’t expect much brightening from the vitamin C; it really needs prolonged contact with skin to address concerns like dullness and uneven tone.
Farmacy also claims this mask has plant-derived AHAs that will refine skin. While glycolic acid can be sourced from sugar cane and sugar maple (which are included here), the source ingredients don’t have the same exfoliating power as the isolated acids themselves. Even if they did, this mask is formulated at a pH (5.7) that is above optimal for exfoliation (which is between 3 and 4), and it’s rinsed from skin before it can begin to truly work (see More Info for details).
More problematic: this contains a laundry list of irritating citrus oils and fragrant plant oils. Though they, too, are rinsed from skin, they can trigger a cascade of irritation even in the brief time they’re in contact with it, meaning it’s just not worth the risk.
One final note: this mask cannot detox skin as claimed. Skin doesn’t accumulate toxins that need to be purged, and regardless, only your liver can detox your body (with able assistance to some degree from your kidneys). The detox claim that’s not uncommon in the world of skin care, but that doesn’t mean it’s true! It’s best to skip this and select a far gentler mask that avoids the bogus claims and harsh ingredients.
- Easy-to-rinse formula leaves skin feeling softer and smoother.
- Contains some skin-beneficial ingredients.
- Packaged in a container that protects its ingredients from light and air.
- Beneficial ingredients are rinsed off before they have time to take full effect.
- Cannot detox skin as claimed.
- Contains numerous fragrant oils that pose a risk of irritating skin.
AHA Ingredients in a Rinse-Off Product:
This cleanser contains alpha hydroxy acids, that when included in a well-formulated leave-on product can work beautifully to gently exfoliate skin. However, in rinse-off-mask, AHA ingredients are far less effective, if effective at all, for exfoliation because they’re removed from skin before they can begin to work.
So, if you’re hoping this will provide exfoliating benefits, think again. On the other hand, the AHA ingredients can provide hydrating benefits during their brief contact with skin.
Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice!
Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.
Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.
A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for your skin to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don’t get lulled into thinking that if you don’t see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.
Generally, it’s best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there’s no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.
References for this information:
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
This dual-action formula helps detox and brighten without drying or breaking you out. It’s suitable for all skin types and will never strip. Fruit-derived AHAs gently resurface skin, creating a virtually poreless finish and leaving skin feeling smoother and softer.
Farmacy is the creation of entrepreneurial businessman and self-described “plant geek” Mark Veeder. Due to a chance discovery, he was able to bring together his childhood background on a farm and his experience as a marketing and public relations expert to create a skin care brand focused on farm-raised ingredients.
As the story goes, during his time as a marketing professional in New York City, Veeder still maintained a 7-acre farm 90 miles away. The chance discovery happened in 1999, when he noticed an unusual green variant of the normally-purple Echinacea Purpurea on his property. Excited by what this could mean, he sent the plant to a lab for testing. The test results showed that this version had 300 times more of the antioxidant cichoric acid than the usual strain of the plant. Veeder patented it, sold it to local nurseries, and named it GreenEnvy. Fifteen years after the initial discovery, he resolved to create a skin care company, Farmacy, with GreenEnvy as its star ingredient.
Before you get too excited: there’s little independent research backing the claims surrounding GreenEnvy’s potency (most of the research has been done on Farmacy’s behalf), though as with most plant extracts, it provides antioxidant benefits and may also prevent collagen breakdown, which is nice but hardly unique to this plant.
As for the products themselves, most have solid foundations (great, plant-based antioxidants abound) but some of them are undone by additions that make them less-than-ideal for skin. Many contain fragrant plant oils which, while natural, aren’t good for skin. Fragrance, whether natural or synthetic, puts skin at risk for irritation that can cause numerous problems. Frustratingly, many of the fragrant plants are, in fact, also brilliant antioxidants; however, plenty of natural ingredients also provide antioxidant benefits without risking skin irritation and other problems.
We like that Farmacy’s take on natural is to combine it with key lab-engineered (synthetic) ingredients. This approach is refreshingly honest and affirms the research-supported fact that just because an ingredient is synthetic doesn’t mean it’s bad for skin. The truth is there are good and bad natural ingredients as well as good and bad synthetic ingredients.
Farmacy’s other issue beyond fragrance is that several of the products are packaged in jars, which exposes their good ingredients to light and air that will eventually cause them to break down and lose effectiveness.
There is one mineral-based sunscreen that’s a standout, especially for sensitive skin, but because of the issues mentioned above, this line isn’t quite the farm-fresh merger of nature and science it’s made out to be.
To learn more about Farmacy, visit https://www.farmacybeauty.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.