FAB Pharma Arnica Relief & Rescue Mask
First Aid Beauty’s FAB Pharma Arnica Relief & Rescue Mask is an OK mask for dry to very dry skin that would’ve been much better if it weren’t for one troublemaking ingredient.
Housed in an opaque squeeze tube (which protects its antioxidant-forward formula from breaking down in the presence of air or light), this cream mask’s initially thick texture smooths out and absorbs quickly. Though it’s a pale blue color out of the tube, this isn’t the case once it sinks in to skin. First Aid Beauty recommends leaving this on skin for 15 minutes, then you can either tissue the excess off or rub in to skin.
This cream feels deeply hydrating and soothing, thanks to a number of skin-beneficial ingredients. They include moisturizing shea and cacao butters plus hemp and coconut oils, antioxidant plant extracts including chinaberry and eggplant, plus skin-soothing aloe, allantoin, oatmeal, calendula, green tea, and licorice. It’s an impressive mix, especially for sensitive skin.
Interestingly, though arnica is in this product’s name, it’s not present in a significant amount. But that’s actually a good thing, since in larger amounts arnica is known to irritate skin. In this low amount, however, there’s no cause for concern.
What is an issue is the fact that higher on the ingredient list is fragrant blue tansy oil (listed as Tanacetum Annuum leaf oil). Blue tansy is a mixed bag ingredient for your skin; although it has some skin-soothing properties, one of its main components is camphor, which is a potent source of skin irritation, even on healthy, non-sensitive skin. For skin that’s “stressed-out, dry and irritated” (which this product is intended to treat), that’s reason enough to leave this mask on the shelf. This mask is so scented that you can smell it as soon as you open the tube, and unfortunately, the odor lingers on skin.
It's a shame, because otherwise this would be a slam-dunk solution for sensitive skin. As it stands, there are better, less problematic options our list of best face masks.
- Creamy texture provides rich hydration for dry to very dry skin.
- Contains numerous moisturizing, antioxidant, and skin-soothing ingredients.
- Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- Contains fragrant blue tansy oil, which puts skin at risk for irritation.
Instant Rx for stressed-out, dry and irritated skin, this creamy, calming and soothing mask helps nourish, repair and strengthen the skin. Inspired by the pharmacy, this nourishing mask helps relieve redness, dehydration, irritation, stress and tightness. The star ingredient Arnica, said to have healing and anti-inflammatory properties, helps soothe and smooth skin. Skin appears soft, supple and dewy after just one use.
First Aid Beauty At-A-Glance
Strengths: Several fragrance-free products; relatively reasonable pricing; sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection; wonderful fragrance-free body wash.
Weaknesses: AHA pads contain a low amount of glycolic and lactic acids; some products contain fragrant plant extracts; every product contains feverfew extract, which has benefits, but also can be an irritant; jar packaging; for a line meant for sensitive skin, their use of common irritants is disappointing.
With a name like First Aid Beauty (FAB for short), it's obvious this line is meant to rescue your skin from distress, and, indeed, these products are targeted toward those who have sensitive, easily irritated skin, but who still want an elegant, department-store flair. Ironically, FAB falls short on both ends of the spectrum.
Despite the company's claims of providing "therapeutic action" for "tough skin conditions," some of the products contain irritating ingredients that are extremely problematic for any skin type, especially for those with sensitive or compromised skin. It was disappointing to see known irritants like sulfur, balsam resin, and witch hazel in products claiming to calm your skin and reduce redness. "What were they thinking?" was a question that came up more than once while reviewing this line!
On the bright side, First Aid Beauty does have a very good fragrance-free body wash. There are also a few products that omit the fragrance, which is a definite must for sensitive skin, although, in fact, all skin types do best with fragrance-free products. Unfortunately, the fragrance-free formulas in this line come up short on important ingredients, like antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
It is best to avoid their Ultra Repair Cream, the SPF 30 sunscreen, Detox Eye Roller, Blemish Eraser, and the Anti-Redness Serum because they all contain enough irritating ingredients to make conditions like acne, redness, and sensitivity worse.
For more information about First Aid Beauty, visit your local Sephora or Ulta or call (800) 322-3619 or visit www.firstaidbeauty.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.