This mask has an interesting formula, but, ultimately, is too expensive for what you get, and its lifting benefits are dubious at best (more on that below).
The formula is a blend of water with clay, a film-forming agent, and hydrating ingredients. It's a strange combination that may leave skin confused; the absorbent ingredients can leave skin feeling dry and keep the hydrating ingredients from working as well as they otherwise would. Masks like this are best for normal skin, but most people with normal skin don't need to bother with a mask (absorbent masks can be great for oily skin, while moisturizing masks can be helpful for dry skin).
As for the tightening and lifting claims: These are strictly about how this mask makes skin feel. No actual lifting or tightening is taking place, but as this mask dries it will make the skin feel tighter. That's not really a benefit, but it may make you think this pricey mask is doing something good.
There are anti-aging ingredients in this mask, mostly in the form of plant extracts with antioxidant action. That's great, but, ideally, those ingredients serve your skin best when formulated in leave-on products. The clove extract in here poses a slight risk of irritation, but the amount is likely too low for it to be problematic.
In the end, considering the price and lack of long-term tightening or lifting, this mask isn't worth strong consideration. It's a decent option, just not one that's truly worth your time or money.
Many skin-care products claim they can firm and lift skin, but none of them work, at least not to the extent claimed. A face-lift-in-a-bottle isn't possible, but with the right mix of products, you will see firmer skin that has a more lifted appearance—and that's exciting! To gain these youthful benefits, you must protect your skin from any and all sun damage every day, use an AHA (glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant, and use products that have a wide range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients. Remember, no single product can do it all; it's the combination of products that has extensive research showing it can significantly improve many of the signs of aging such as firming skin, reducing wrinkles and brown spots, and eliminating dullness. You'll find them on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.
Tightens and lifts to restore natural contours. Plumps to ease lines and wrinkles.
Water (Aqua), Bentonite, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Glycerin, Diisostearyl Malate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Montmorillonite, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PVP, Urea, Yeast Amino Acids, Trehalose, Inositol, Taurine, Betaine, Spondias Mombin Pulp Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Pulp Extract, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Pulp Extract, Zinc Gluconate, Pentylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbic Acid, Chitosan, Propyl Gallate, Disodium EDTA, Polysorbate 60, Carbomer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance (Parfum)
Strengths: A few good cleansers; a selection of well-formulated AHA products centered on glycolic acid; most of Murad's top-rated products are fragrance-free; the sunscreens go beyond the basics and include several antioxidants for enhanced protection.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no other dermatologist-designed line has more problem products than Murad; irritating ingredients are peppered throughout the selection of products, keeping several of them from earning a recommendation; the skin-lighteners are not well-formulated.
Dr. Murad was one of the first doctors to appear on an infomercial selling his own line of skin-care products, and quite successfully so, at least the second time around. This was largely because the company paid for independent clinical studies to establish the efficacy of Dr. Murad's products. There's no question that AHA products, when well-formulated, can be a powerful ally to create healthier, radiant skin. But in terms of independent clinical studies, we're skeptical, given that there are countless labs that exist solely to perform such studies in strict accordance with how the company wants the results to turn out. Murad certainly wouldn't mention in an infomercial that the clinical studies for his AHA products weren't as impressive as, say, those for Neutrogena's AHA products, or any other line for that matter. And what about BHA products? Clinical studies and testimonials may have prompted consumers to order, but the results from Murad's AHA products are hardly unique to this line.
Although this is a skin-care line to consider for some good AHA options, the majority of the products are nothing more than a problem for skin. Murad may have been one of the first dermatologist-developed skin-care lines, but by today's standards his line is deplorable. This is largely due to a preponderance of irritating ingredients that show up in product after product. Any dermatologist selling products that include lavender, basil, and various citrus oils plus menthol and other irritants doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. The same goes for Murad's overuse of alcohol and his preference for treating acne with sulfur, both factors that keep some of his otherwise well-formulated, efficacious products from earning a recommendation.
Yet what is most objectionable is the endless parade of products claiming they can stop, get rid of, or reduce wrinkles and aging. Regardless of whether dermatologists know best about lotions and potions, no conscientious doctor would or should be selling products using the ludicrous claims Murad makes. Most of the anti-aging products have the same hype, the same unsubstantiated claims, and the same exaggeration about the beneficial effects of ingredients that are often present only in the tiniest amounts, without even a mention of the standard or potentially irritating ingredients that are also present. Dr. Murad’s skin-care philosophy, stated on his Web site, includes the following statement: "Take all the necessary steps to achieve healthy skin—including the right products, the proper nutrients (from both food and supplements) and positive lifestyle choices." That's an excellent piece of advice; the problem is that it is contradicted by Murad’s own products, most of which are far from the "right" options for all skin types.
For more information about Murad, now owned by Unilever, call (888) 996-8723 or visit www.murad.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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