The Beautypedia Research Team has seen its fair share of novelty skincare products, and though there's definitely a cool factor about most of them, they typically don't deliver the goods when it comes to providing skin with what it needs to look and feel better. Such is the case with Dr. Brandt's Magnetight Age-Defier Skin Recharging Magnet Mask.
This mask comes in a jar (more about that in a bit), with a spatula included to spread it over your face. The texture of this slate-gray mask is rich and mousse-like, and it feels instantly moisturizing. That's because it includes a number of emollients, which are here alongside skin-replenishing ceramide and peptide. This also contains iron powder, which has no skincare benefit, but it is the ultimate "hook" of this product.
To use this mask you're supposed to apply it and then leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. The packaging includes a powerful magnet that you wrap in a paper towel and then apply to your face. (No, we're not kidding about any of this.) Because of the iron powder, the effect is that the mask is attracted to the magnet and, essentially, is sucked off your skin. After that, you let the rest of the ingredients sink in without rinsing. It's certainly the most novel (although useless) way of removing a mask we've ever encountered!
The iron and magnet nonsense has no impact as far as improving skin. Dr. Brandt claims that "electromagnetic interactions" help skin rejuvenate itself, but that's sheer fantasy, with no substantiated research to support this fantasy-speak. Pulling iron powder off your face with a magnet isn't going to result in younger-looking skin! In fact, research has shown that topical application of iron has mixed results, with the benefit depending on the type of iron and the amount applied (too much can be a problem), but with this mask you don't know how much you're getting (Frontiers in Pharmacology, July 2014, ePublication).
Aside from the over-inflated claims, there are other issues with this mask, starting with the packaging we mentioned above. Jar packaging means some of the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable for long after you open this, and also means that contamination can be introduced into the product (even with the included spatula), causing the ingredients to degrade. Of course, nothing can cause the iron to degrade, and it would take quite a while for it to rust. See More Info for details.
The other problem with this mask is that it's quite fragrant, and the fragrance lingers. That fragrance is from volatile plant oils, like lavender, bergamot, and geranium, which all have the potential to aggravate skin. See More Info to learn why fragrance in skincare is a problem.
While this certainly is a unique product, it is far more gimmicky and problematic than anything else. There are far better options worthy of your beauty dollars on our list of Best Face Masks.
Jar Packaging & Anti-Aging Products: This anti-aging formula is packaged in a jar, which means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable for long once it's opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients are air-sensitive and begin to break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate, becoming less and less effective.
Jars are also unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, contaminating the product. This leads to further deterioration of the beneficial ingredients.
When shopping for an anti-aging product, the ingredients that provide the most benefit for addressing visible signs of aging, among many other concerns, need to be in airtight or air-restrictive packaging.
References for this information:
Pharmacology Review, July 2013, issue 14, pages 97–106
Dermatologic Therapy, May-June 2012, issue 3, pages 252–259.
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, May 2011, issue 9, pages 4676–4683
Current Drug Delivery, November 2011, issue 6, pages 640–660
Journal of Biophotonics, January 2010, pages 82–88
Guidelines of Stability Testing of Cosmetic Products, Colipa-CTFA, March 2004, pages 1–10
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 can lead to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, and depletion of vital substances in skin's surface. Generally, it keeps 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 effect on skin of using products that contain fragrance, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage it may cause may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1-419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
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, issue 11, pages 789–798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191–202
Dr. Brandt At-A-Glance
Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on the company website; a good daytime moisturizer with sunscreen.
Weaknesses: Expensive; overwhelming number of products that contain irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin; no products to comprehensively address acne or oily skin; every Pores No More product is a disappointment; jar packaging; several products make claims on par with what cosmetic procedures (not skin care) can do.
The late Dr. Fredric Brandt (he passed away in April, 2015 at the age of 65) was a Miami- and New York City–based dermatologist whose claim to fame rested on two main points. The first (and it is a very important credibility factor for consumers) included the many celebrity clients worked with, while the second was his assertion that he performed more Botox and collagen injections than any other dermatologist in the world. According to Allergan, the company that makes Botox, they no longer rank the physicians who purchase Botox from them; however, they did confirm that Dr. Brandt was definitely one of their biggest buyers. Yet regardless of how much Botox or collagen Dr. Brandt or any other physician uses, what in the world does that have to do with cosmetic formulations? If anything, you have to wonder why Brandt was using so much Botox and collagen if his products truly fight wrinkles, sagging, and on and on.
Beyond Brandt's cosmetic enhancement procedures, he is the author of Age-less: The Definitive Guide to Botox, Collagen, Lasers, Peels, and Other Solutions for Flawless Skin. His book and skin-care line are competing against the vastly more popular books and product line from fellow dermatologist Dr. N.V. Perricone. Although Perricone's skin-care line has some drawbacks, including irritating ingredients and the lack of supporting research for his neuropeptide products, the majority of his products, though overpriced, have more pros than cons. Sadly, the same cannot be said for Dr. Brandt, whose namesake skin-care line is on the disappointing side, especially given the product's price points.
Brandt's products are sold with the tag line that they are "prescription strength, prescription-free," and "are formulated under dermatologic control for maximum safety and efficiency and offer the highest performance without a prescription." Aside from how unbelievable that assertion is, what is not mentioned is the fact that none of the ingredients in Brandt's products are comparable to prescription formulations. And what is "dermatologic control" anyway, given that there are no such standards anywhere in the world? Moreover, what do dermatologists know about the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, much less cosmetics? The two arenas of expertise are completely unrelated.
Dr. Brandt positioned his products as clinically superior to what you would find in other cosmetics lines, an unproven assertion to say the least. Many of his products tout benefits that don't just stretch the truth, but snap it in two—and these fallacies were more disconcerting coming from an esteemed dermatologist. When products contain the problematic ingredients that are so pervasive in Brandt's line, such as irritating plant extracts, drying detergent cleansing agents, and far too many products with skin cell-damaging lavender oil, it becomes nothing more than a line that should be approached with extreme caution.
The line does have a few bright spots: many of Brandt's products do contain significant amounts of antioxidants, though that certainly doesn't make his line unique because many other product lines do that, too. (Here it's fair to say that while no specific amounts have been established for any antioxidant that will ensure their effectiveness, the general consensus among researchers is that more antioxidants are better than less, and less is still better than none at all.) Unless you were a devoted patient of Dr. Brandt and would be racked with guilt for not purchasing his products while visiting for an appointment, there is no reason to seek out this disappointing line.
For more information about Dr. Brandt's products, call (800) 234-1066 or visit www.drbrandtskincare.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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