Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask comes with quite the story. The company waxes poetic about it coming from Italy on the hill tops of Umbria and how it can purify skin and minimize pores. When you pull back the curtain the main ingredient in this jar packaged mask is fuller's earth—an extremely basic clay-like ingredient. It does have impressive absorbent properties, which is why fuller's earth has been used for decades as the primary ingredient in cat litter. Not quite as romantic sounding when you look past the fiction and get down to the facts.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with fuller's earth as it does make for a decent clay facial mask, but in this case, the amount of overpowering skin-aggravating fragrance that lingers even after the mask is rinsed off makes this a problem for all skin types. Fragrance, whether it's natural or synthetic is always a problem for skin and we explain that in the More Info section.
FYI: Although Fresh markets this mask as being multifunctional as a deep cleanser, the clay-like texture and overall formula aren't conducive to that (trust us, we tried it just to be sure).
Due to the influence of the skin-aggravating fragrance, Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask is more likely to make skin worse—not better—especially oily skin (see More Info to learn why). In short, save your hard-earned dollars on this unjustly overpriced mask!
Check out our list of recommended face masks for oily skin—none of them have the problems Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask does.
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 leads to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, depletion of vital substances in skin's surface, and generally 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 the negative influence of using products that contain fragrance has 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 always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
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
Not being gentle to skin can increase oily skin & breakouts: Whether you can see it on the surface of skin or not, using harsh, skin-aggravating ingredients or cleansing brushes with stiff bristles, is a serious problem for all skin types but uniquely so for those with oily, combination, and blemish-prone skin.
Research has clearly established that when skin is aggravated the oil gland is stimulated by nerve endings to make more oil creating a perfect environment for blemishes, breakouts, and clogged pores to get worse.
Using any product that's gentle and completely non-irritating is without question the only approach to taking the best care of your skin; doing otherwise hurts your skin.
It's also vitally important to use appropriate products that research has shown are beneficial for oily skin and blemishes. The two gold standard ingredients are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
References for this information:
Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2016, issue 1, pages 25-30
Journal of European Dermatology and Venerology, May 2014, issue 5, pages 527-532
Journal of Dermatology, May 2012, issue 5, pages 433-438
Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, April 2011, pages 41-53
Dermato-Endocrinology, January-March 2011, issue 1, pages 41–49.
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, issue 10, pages 821-832
European Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2002, pages 422-427
Journal of the American Medical Association, August 2004, issue 6, page 764
Dermatology, January 2003, issue 1, pages 17-23
The story of how Boston-bred "fresh" came into existence is full of compelling adjectives and phrases like "dynamic," "passions," "inspiration," and "destined to create." It seems that back in 1991, two happy newlyweds, both with artistic backgrounds, felt there was a void in the world of luxury bath soaps. They searched far and wide, but could not find a soap that met their criteria. They began experimenting, gained a following for what they developed, and fresh was born.
Their success has led them from a single boutique in Boston to a series of shops in New York City and a presence in upscale department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. In 2000, fresh was purchased by luxury good purveyor (and owner of Sephora) LVMH, which is not surprising given fresh's price point and positioning.
Naturally, given all of this attention, fresh quickly expanded beyond soaps. They now also offer "future of beauty" products that capitalize on such innocuous-sounding, good-for-you ingredients as black tea, rice, and soy, coupled with the latest scientific advances. In other words, according to fresh, they're giving you the best of nature and science, with a heavy accent on natural (even though in most cases it's the synthetic ingredients that are responsible for their product's texture and functionality).
In the marketing copy each fresh product includes a history of how it came to be. It's pleasant to read about products inspired by stories passed down from one generation to the next, and about cultural secrets that have been discovered, incorporated into cosmetic potions, and adorably packaged for your "fresh lifestyle" experience. However, we wouldn't encourage anyone to rely on fables and anecdotal information when it comes to making serious decisions about how to care for your skin, any more than you would do so to make dietary or health-care decisions. What your grandmother ate or what your great-grandmother put on her skin is no more relevant than basing your computer needs on what they were using back then. We now know a lot more about skin care than ever before in history. Going back to the old ways may sound idealistic, but that doesn't take the best care of you.
Almost the entire fresh premise revolves around their products' fragrance content. For all their talk of cutting-edge technology and the wisdom of traditional remedies, what you will notice most about all of these products is the almost overpowering fragrance. Compared with countless other skin-care and hair-care lines, including Aveda, Bath & Body Works, and Origins, fresh is far more perfumed—and that spells trouble for all skin types. Perfume and eau de cologne, natural or otherwise, are serious problems for skin. The irony is that fresh's signature scents are what put them on the map, and what continue to enthrall consumers. (Women find it hard to give up fragrance in their skin-care products, just like lots of women can't eschew sun tanning, smoking, or using overly expensive skin-care products.) In contrast, many of the natural ingredients in fresh products are present only for show, not effect, and the effects from the beneficial plants are impeded by irritating plant extracts.
From facial skin care to body and hair care, fresh products are a collection of relatively standard to below-average formulations counting on the romanticized stories behind them to help them make the leap from store shelf to your home, and that seems to be happening quite a lot. However, very few of fresh's facial-care products have anything that approaches the current state of the art, especially in regard to interesting skin-identical ingredients, anti-irritants, or antioxidants. And for all the fancy posturing, their soaps are just that, soap, and the fragrance is the only unique aspect of each. None of this makes for superior skin care.
For more information about fresh visit www.fresh.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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