Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial
As with most manual, rinse-off scrubs, Youth to the People’s Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial leaves all skin types smooth and refined. It’s the formula itself, how it feels in use, and the packaging that gave us (and should give you) pause.
You’re supposed to apply this misnamed “facial” to dampened skin, leave on for 2-3 minutes, then rinse. That’s enough time for the enzymes this contains (papain and bromelain) to begin breaking down skin cells but how long these delicate ingredients remain stable in this scrub’s jar packaging is a good question!
As we explain in More Info, jar packaging hinders the effectiveness of not just the enzymes but all of the other light- and air-sensitive ingredients this contains, like the smoothing safflower oil and antioxidant turmeric.
The brand recommends using this product 1-3 times per week, but you may opt for much less frequent usage once you experience how abrasive this feels! The scrub ingredients are bamboo stem and diatomaceous earth (crushed up fossils). While natural, both have uneven edges that can scratch and tear at skin, leading to signs of irritation and depletion of skin’s barrier.
Making matter worse, this also contains fragrance, particularly in the form of ginger root oil (a plant oil with strong antioxidant capacity but also sensitizing compounds; ginger extract is preferred since it lacks volatile compounds present in the oil). As a minor upside, the fragrance isn’t especially potent but fragrance free is best for anyone’s skin.
As for the caffeinated plant extracts (yerba mate, guayusa) mentioned in the claims, neither has been proven to energize or otherwise invigorate skin. The only wake-up call this scrub makes is one that can trigger your skin to send distress signals from irritation.
- Leaves skin feeling smoother and looking more refined.
- Abrasive texture can irritate skin during application and rinsing.
- Jar packaging likely causes the unstable enzymes to break down sooner.
- Topically-applied sources of caffeine cannot energize or invigorate skin.
- Ginger root oils contains volatile compounds that can irritate skin.
Jar Packaging: Beneficial 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 is also 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, especially in water-based formulas, 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:
Molecules, July 2018, ePublication
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 dual-action microdermabrasion facial breaks down dead skin cells with active enzymes, papaya, and pineapple, while sustainable micro-exfoliants bamboo and diatomaceous earth smooth skin texture. Amplified by highly caffeinated extracts, yerba mate and guayusa, this two-minute facial energizes and invigorates.
Youth To The People is the creation of cousins Greg Gonzalez and Joe Cloyes, whose decision to start a skin care company was a roundabout way to continue the family business. Their grandmother was an esthetician whose own line of products, Eva’s Esthetics, is sold in spas and salons throughout California. Inspired by seeing her work over the years, the pair decided to start their own line, but with the focus being on vegan, superfood-focused products.
To that end, most of Youth To The People’s products feature well-known “green” ingredients such as kale, spinach, and berries. While appealing to people’s desire for natural, these ingredients are also rich in antioxidants, so there’s research-backed merit to their inclusion beyond the marketing appeal.
The brand speaks a lot about science and uses lab-created (synthetic) ingredients as well, including hyaluronic acid and peptides, so it’s good to see both sides being embraced. That’s because skin needs a mix of naturally-occurring and synthetic ingredients to look and feel its best. Natural can’t address every skin care need on its own.
There’s also some talk about “adaptogenic” ingredients in a couple of products, which is the concept that these ingredients, once applied, can adapt to skin’s needs in certain ways to create certain results. There’s less science showing this can actually happen, though all the adaptogenic ingredients used here have antioxidant benefits as well so they’re certainly not wasted--well, at least when packaged correctly.
Most of the products are good, though none of them are without a couple of missteps. In some cases, it’s the inclusion of fragrance (and fragrance, even naturally-derived, puts skin at risk of irritation), in others jar packaging and the problems it presents for natural ingredients. While jars look pretty, they expose all those wonderful antioxidant ingredients to light and air, which over time breaks them down, leading to lost effectiveness.
To learn more about Youth To The People, visit https://www.youthtothepeople.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.