Saturday, 4 April 2015

Palmer's Purifying Enzyme Mask Review

I (somewhat, impulsively) purchased this on a particularly gloomy, rainy evening. I needed a clay mask. Not really, but the weather was muggy all day and I had dragged my feet through dirty trams and trains. You know that feeling? Erghblegh..

It was around the time I stepped off the platform and into my car, that I decided I needed to detour into the nearest pharmacy.

Out of the many available masks, this seemed to be the only one with kaolin and bentonite clay high on the list. Well, there was another, well know brand, but it "could also be used as a scrub". I didn't feel like scraping small pieces of who knows what across my face that night.

  • Brightens, clears and clarifies skin
  • contains kaolin clay to clean congested skin and natural papaya fruit acids to tighten pores and remove dead skin cells
  • leaves skin smoothed and looking younger

  • skin feels less congested after use
  • easy to use, tube packaging with lid
  • did not irritate my skin
  • did not feel dry after use
  • includes plant extracts and moisturising ingredients

  • papaya fruit extract is lower on the list = lower quantity = is it effective?
  • there a few concerning ingredients that have been shown to irritate the skin, which might explain the directions of only applying a thin layer and for "up to 10 minutes"

Water (Aqua), Kaolin, Titanium Dioxide, Bentonite, Isopropyl Myristate, Glycereth-26, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Lactobacillus/Papaya Fruit Ferment Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Silica, Ceteareth-20, Disodium EDTA, Quaternium-15, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Magnesium Oxide, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance (Parfum), Benzyl Benzoate

Natural and/or beneficial

Kaolin & Bentonite: clays that draws out impurities
Lactobacillus/Papaya Fruit Ferment Extract: enzyme/ferment to help exfoliation
Cocoa Seed Butter & Shea Butter                                                         

Some might find irritating: 

Shea Butter: You've chosen the wrong brand if you're sensitive to this
Titanium Dioxide: common ingredient in sunscreens, used as a UV filter. It was also deemed to be "possibly carcinogenic to humans" when dust particles are airborne and inhaled, but then it is not actually absorbed through the skin*. Titanium dioxide is also used as a white pigment, even in food. I can only see this as the reason it's included in a face mask, as it is very white in colour, and perhaps to bulk up the product too.
PEG-100 Stearate: doesn't absorb into skin, but side effects are exasperated if applied onto broken skin.


Isopropyl Myristate: a synthetic oil that can absorb into the skin and used to make  products have a more slicker feel.
Quaternium-15: possible eye/skin irritant, expected to be toxic/harmful based on studies with moderate doses. Also, formaldehyde releasing. However, ingredient is lower on the list = minimal irritation
Methylisothiazolinone: Awarded Contact Allergen of the Year 2013 by American Contact Dermatitis Society!

Tested on animals:No

Overall, this mask worked well for my skin without irritation, despite the inclusion of weird, harsher chemicals. The clay mask left my skin feeling less oily, and did not result in overtly dried, red skin. There was one time where I accidentally fell asleep and woke up two hours later, to find slightly irritated, red skin, and small zits the next day, but I guess that's my own fault. (Or, is it?....).

This mask is really really white, but it doesn't leave you Casperfied.

It goes on smooth, and washes away easily with warm water.
Leaves skin feeling smooth and moisturised, I should probably thank Palmer's for actually including the non-weird ingredients they're known for.

If you're wondering, Palmer's is known for Cocoa Butter.

* Pflücker F., Wendel, V., Hohenberg, H., Gärtner, E., Will, T., Pfeiffer, S., Wepf, R. and Gers-Barlag, H. (2001). The Human Stratum corneum Layer: An Effective Barrier against Dermal Uptake of Different Forms of Topically Applied Micronised Titanium Dioxide. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol, 14(Suppl. 1), pp.92-97.

^Liu P, Cettina M, and Wong J. Effects of isopropanol-isopropyl myristate binary enhancers on in vitro transport of estradiol in human epidermis: a mechanistic evaluation. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2009;98(2):565- 572.


  1. Not for me, because I break out when using Shea Butter, but apart from that it sounds like a nice face mask.

    LindaLibraLoca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

    1. It's not that high on the list so it might be ok, but if you're sensitive, this probably isn't the mask for you! :)


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