Besides the fact that you can't "detoxify" skin, Sonia Kashuk's Detox Purifying Black Mask isn't recommended due to its irritating mix of ingredients that have the potential to incite pro-aging inflammation. Case in point: That cool, tingly feeling you get after applying this mask… that's your skin's way of telling you it's being irritated from the potent combo of peppermint and eucalyptus oils + other irritants. Eek!
Another red flag? As you uncap the squeeze tube of Detox Purifying Black Mask, its wafting minty smell is an indicator that it contains irritants that could potentially damage healthy collagen production, impair your skin's ability to heal, and cause a myriad of other problems (see More Info for a detailed explanation of irritation's repercussions on skin). What's even more ironic is that for a mask claiming to "absorb oil and impurities from skin," the type inflammation that this formula can trigger makes oily skin and breakouts worse (see More Info to learn why).
And don't even get us started on the detox claim… Even if toxins were to blame for your skin problems (they're not), toxins cannot leave your body through the through your skin—instead they're filtered, broken down, and removed by the kidneys and liver.
Without the irritating ingredients, this clay-based formula would have some purpose as an absorbent mask for oily skin (other skin types would find it too drying). The formula also contains some good exfoliating acids (salicylic, lactic, glycolic and mandelic), but unfortunately the pH isn't quite within the appropriate range for them to function properly.
Otherwise, Sonia Kashuk's Detox Purifying Black Mask contains a few beneficial ingredients including some antioxidant-rich plant extracts, but considering they're outnumbered by the irritants in the mix, this is an option best left on the store shelf. See our list of Best Facial Masks for superior ways to pamper your skin.
Inclusion of Known Irritants: Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003)
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
Irritation's Connection to Oily Skin & Breakouts: Inflammation in skin is usually related to external factors such as irritation that damages the skin's barrier in numerous ways, whether you can see the reaction or not. When irritation on the surface of skin happens it activates specific chemicals called neuropeptides in the brain (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2007). Those substances are specifically the kind that regulates the hormonal system of the body.
When this happens, it leads to the formation of inflammatory chemicals directly in the oil gland. These inflammatory chemicals trigger an increase in oil production, which can increase the size of the pore, and the likelihood of acne—the more inflammation that occurs, the worse the risk (European Journal of Dermatology, 2002 & Dermatology, 2003).
Bottom line: Inflammation and its resulting irritation, whether internal or external (for this discussion externally it would be due to the use of irritating ingredients, hot water, overusing scrubs, etc.), is practically a guarantee you will see excess production of oil, larger pores and more acne breakouts (Experimental Dermatology, 2009 & Dermato-Endocrinology, 2011).
That's reason enough to avoid products with irritating ingredients, which often come in the form of fragrance including the misnamed "essential" oils.
Sonia Kashuk At-A-Glance
Strengths: Affordable and widely available (though exclusive to Target stores); good makeup remover; the makeup is still the star attraction, with impressive options for foundation, powder, blush, lip color, eyeliner and especially makeup brushes.
Weaknesses: The concealers, eye pencil, and brow shapers are a letdown; the makeup palettes may seem convenient, but several of the included products perform poorly.
Perhaps best known for her years of work with supermodel Cindy Crawford, makeup artist Sonia Kashuk's well-chosen selection of makeup has been available exclusively at Target stores since the mid-1990s.
Kashuk's brushes have been a strong point, and now that they've been redone they're better than ever, and still affordable. This is definitely a makeup collection worth visiting, and you'll find some premium options among Kashuk's powder foundation, regular powders, and blush. Several other products, from foundation to lipsticks, are also worthy of attention, though this is not a line that caters to darker skin tones. Ironically, it's the latest cosmetic products that met with the most critical reviews, largely due to poor execution or their gimmicky nature.
Note: Sonia Kashuk products are also available at select Bloomingdales locations in New York and California. The company also maintains freestanding stores in New York and New Jersey.
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