Squalane + Tea Tree Detox Mask
Biosssance’s Squalane + Green Tea Detox Mask turns out to be more problematic than it’s worth. The issue? Multiple potently fragranced ingredients in the formula (including the namesake tea tree oil) pose a risk of irritating skin.
Housed in an opaque tube, this mask spreads smoothly, imparting a green hue, which comes from the absorbent clays montmorollinite and illite (or as Biossance likes to call it, “French green clay”).
According to the directions you’re supposed to: “Apply to clean, dry skin. Avoid eye area. Leave on 10 minutes.” They mention, “a tingling sensation may occur,” and in our experience that rang true... in fact, it stung so much that we had to rinse the mask off after just a couple minutes.
We must point out that a “tingling sensation” is not a good thing nor does it mean that skin is being detoxified—instead, it’s a red flag for the inflammation (irritation) taking place on and within skin.
Which ingredients could be causing that tingling? The combination of tea tree oil, lavender oil, and linalool are primes suspects due to the volatile reaction that their fragrance components create, inciting an inflammatory response. The scent is potent enough to linger on skin even after you rinse the mask off. (See More Info for a deeper dive into why fragrance is detrimental for skin.)
Without those troublemakers, this mask’s nice mix of skin-replenishing ingredients including squalene and glycerin help balance the absorbent nature of the clays. But alas, all of that is for naught considering you can find far better face masks that deliver on their promises without irritating skin.
- Skin-replenishing ingredients balance the absorbent clays, so skin isn’t left feeling dehydrated.
- Contains a potently fragrant mix of ingredients that pose a risk to skin.
- May cause a stinging sensation, which is a sign that skin is being irritated.
- Cannot detoxify skin as claimed.
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:
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
French green clay helps draw out impurities within pores while tea tree helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and other imperfections. Non-drying formula features squalane to help boost the performance of tea tree as well as replenish hydration, help calm, and keep skin feeling ultra-soft.
Biossance is the commercial beauty arm of biotechnology brand Amyris. Amyris manufactures plant sugars (like that from sugar cane) into specialty ingredients for use by other companies, but chose to center Biossance around one ingredient in particular: plant-based squalane.
Each Biossance product prominently features squalane; so much that it’s in the name of every offering. Squalane has its merits—it’s an excellent skin-conditioning ingredient and has antioxidant properties—but skin needs much more than one focused ingredient to feel, look, and perform its best.
Thankfully, Biossance includes other ingredients in many of its squalane-centric products and these are also impressive, particularly bakuchiol (which has many retinol-like properties), antioxidants, and peptides. Unfortunately, the brand also uses a number of fragrance ingredients in many of its products, and whether naturally-derived or not, fragrance is known to irritate skin—even if you don’t see or feel the damage taking place. For this reason, most of the brand’s offerings wind up being middle-of-the-road, though there are a couple of standouts.
For more on Biossance, visit the brand’s website at https://biossance.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.