Instant Lift & Firm Hydro Serum Facial Mask
Andalou Naturals' Instant Lift & Firm Hydro Serum Facial Mask is yet another sheet mask, and what's frustrating about this one is that it contains some very good hydrating ingredients alongside several fragrant oils known to irritate skin—this is a highly fragrant cloth mask.
Housed in an attractive foil pouch is a white cloth mask made of renewable materials. That's good for the environment, but we wish this one wasn't so drippy. It drips as soon as you remove it from the pouch, and the water-based formula also drips when the mask is fitted to your face.
Speaking of fit, the cloth sheet adheres well and feels comfortable during the 10-20 minute timeframe you're instructed to leave this on.
After use, skin feels hydrated and smoother with a fresh-faced glow that, to be totally honest, feels a bit sticky for hours afterward (we didn't follow with more skincare products, so your experience might vary).
As for whether this can firm or lift the skin, it can't do that. The blend of aloe, sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, antioxidants (including fruit stem cells; more on those below), and plant oil aren't capable of lifting skin and their firming benefits aren't supported by research. What these ingredients do really well is hydrate, soften, protect, and plump skin. All of that is great, but not when joined by potent fragrant oils known to irritate skin.
The fruit stem cells sound high-tech and special, but there's zero research proving the benefits fruit stem cells convey to their "parent" fruits can somehow transfer to human skin. At best, fruit stem cells work as antioxidants (which is good!), but nothing more.
These sheet masks are the ones to try instead!
- Contains some very good moisture-binding ingredients.
- Adheres well to skin, yet is easy to remove.
- Leaves skin feeling hydrated and looking smoother.
- Somewhat drippy right out of the pouch and when on skin.
- Contains fragrant oils known to irritate skin.
- Cannot lift or firm skin.
Strengths: Good options for well-formulated facial moisturizers and serums; many products contain multiple antioxidants; a few good toners; (mostly) refreshingly free of hyperbole that is common with many natural-themed brands; reasonably priced products; multiple broad-spectrum sunscreen options.
Weaknesses: A few moisturizers packaged in jars; some products contain potentially problematic amounts of fragrance ingredients; lacks research-proven treatments for acne; the body-care products tend to be overly fragrant; claims about plant stem cells are over the top as they dont renew or generate human cells of any kind.
Andalou Naturals is a rare presence in the saturated market of natural-themed cosmetics lines because the brand manages to keep the focus on their products and ingredients without resorting to the silly scary chemical and fear-mongering marketing approach common to so many other natural lines.
Just as impressive as their marketing are many of their formulas, several of which include many antioxidants and multiple skin-repairing ingredients, and arent laden with natural fragrance ingredients, which may please your nose but can be very irritating to the skin, even if you dont see or feel the damage taking place.
Headquartered in Petaluma, California, Andalou Naturals was founded by husband and wife Mark and Stacey Egideboth of whom also created the Avalon Organics line. The duo sold Avalon Organics in 2002, and started Andalou Naturals in 2011, where its sold at health food stores and online.
Visit their site and youll quickly find the brand is focused on the feel-good approach to skin care. Andalou Naturals brand philosophy is heavily steeped in philanthropy: Their A Force of Nature fund regularly donates to various nonprofit groups, and every order you place on their site adds $1 to this fund. How wonderful!
Andalou Naturals offers an extensive line of face-, body-, and hair-care products, themed around what they call, Fruit Stem Cell Science, which includes extracts from apple, grape, and argan. While these types of ingredients have antioxidant benefit, the idea that they work like your stem cells to turn back time isnt supported by published research of any kind.
Stem cells work only if they are alive, and in a skin-care product, they are long dead. Not to mention that even if stem cells could survive the skin-care formulation process, an apple stem cell is helpful only to an appleyour skin cells wouldnt have the first clue how to use stem cells from a plant. Stem-cell research is still in its infancyscience is just beginning to understand how stem cells work and/or how they can actually benefit our health; the cosmetics industry isnt beating the medical industry in this regard!
The company also includes what they refer to as BioActive 8 Berry Complex in many of their products. This is really a blanket name for a mix of non-fragrant berry juice extracts (acai, aronia, bearberry, bilberry, black elderberry, goji berry, rosehips berry, and sea buckthorn berry). All of these ingredients have antioxidant function on the skin, but, again, they arent miracle ingredients by any stretch, nor is Andalou Naturals the only line using them.
We should note that Andalou Naturals, at the time of this review, doesnt list all of the ingredients in their BioActive 8 Berry Complex on their product labels. While the individual berry extracts mentioned above are listed on their website as part of their marketing messaging, they omit them on their products, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and FDA labeling regulatory requirements. This is an important oversight, because you have the right to know all of the ingredients in your skin-care products, without having to jump through extra hoops. We hope the company rectifies this in the near future.
On a more positive note, we found that many of the skin-care products Andalou Naturals offers were goodmostly for normal to dry skin, although there also are a few winners for those with oily to combination skin. Many contain some amount of fragrance (but to their credit, the facial formulas that did contain fragrance mostly had only a minimum amount, which is not typical of natural-themed lines).
We were especially impressed that they avoided the boring or basic formulas so common among natural skin-care brands. Several of their products contain the types of beneficial ingredients that have plenty of published research to back up their claims. What a great change of pace!
The missteps were the few instances of jar packaging (which marred what wouldve otherwise been well-rated products) that expose delicate ingredients to air and light, as well as their body-care formulas, which tended to include higher amounts of fragrance.
For more information, call (888) 898-6955, or visit www.andalou.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.