e.l.f.’s Supermask seems like an oasis of hydration for dry skin, but poor packaging and a misguided ingredient choice means it winds up being mostly a mirage.
Supermask has a very thick, creamy texture that’s ideal for those with very dry, parched skin. It’s too thick for most other skin types, especially if you have any oiliness to contend with. You’re instructed to apply an even layer over skin (a little goes a long way), leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water. While warm water does melt this mask away, it takes a bit longer than normal to fully remove it, so we recommend using a soft washcloth to help you out.
Once this is rinsed off, skin is left feeling softer and smoother, thanks to a generous amount of skin-conditioning glycerin and silicone (dimethicone), along with moisturizing cocoa butter and hydrating Centella Asiatica extract. Also included are skin-replenishing ceramides, which can help repair skin’s moisture barrier. Though these ingredients would all be more effective in a leave-on formula, they’re still great to have here!
What isn’t great is the lavender oil that’s included in this mask. Lavender oil is an irritant, and its use – even in a rinse-off product – can put skin at risk for damage (see More Info below for details). Lavender’s relaxing aroma doesn’t translate to a relaxing experience for your skin!
Also problematic is this mask’s jar packaging, which is both unhygienic and can lead to some of the good ingredients here losing their potency when they come in contact with light and air (More Info has the scoop on this as well).
In the end, though there are some good qualities, they aren’t enough to make up for the potential for irritation and the poor packaging. There are far better options on our list of best face masks.
- Thick mask is richly hydrating for dry skin.
- Leaves skin feeling softer and smoother.
- Includes moisturizing, hydrating, and skin-replenishing ingredients.
- Includes irritating lavender oil.
- Packaged in a jar, which compromises many of its beneficial ingredients.
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
Jar Packaging & Beneficial Ingredients: 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 also is 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, 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:
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
This soothing treatment face mask is like a warm, comforting hug for your skin. This thick, gel-textured mask is infused with anti-redness, antioxidant-rich Centella Asiaticatica (aka Cica), a green herb found in many Asian regimens. This Cica mask helps to calm stressed skin for a complexion that’s as cool as a cucumber.
e.l.f. (it stands for which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) was founded by Scott Vincent Borba and Joseph Shamah. The story goes that one day Borba was shopping in a dollar store and noticed women dressed in designer clothing and sporting designer handbags loading up their baskets with inexpensive nail polish, eye pencils, and lip balm. He took note of the products being sold in such stores and quickly decided he could offer products of even higher quality at the same competitive price. His idea paid off, as e.l.f. has enjoyed continued success and increased distribution online and in retail stores.
For a line offering many products for just a dollar (OK, there are plenty that cost $3 and $5, too), there are a surprising number of hits in the mix (especially the makeup brushes). True, not everything is going to be as luxurious or innovative as some higher-end brands, but overall you're likely to be impressed with what they developed for so little money, and you may just find some beauty bargains!
For more information about e.l.f., call (800) 231-4732 or visit www.eyeslipsface.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.