As is obvious in my previous post, I don't generally lean towards gentle things when it comes to cosmetics. That may or may not be a mistake on my part, and I definitely don't see this tendency of mine changing anytime soon, but after having used Freeman's Facial Enzyme Mask for three weeks now, I will perhaps be willing to justify the existence of milder things too.
For a while now I have completely done away with abrasive skincare for my face, except for Bioderma's Sebium Exfoliating Gel used with caution once a week, and have instead opted for chemical exfoliation. For a month now I have been sampling various products with alpha hydroxy acids, first alternating between Skinceuticals' Intense Line Defense and Skyn Iceland's Nordic Skin Peel (thank you Ladybird for the samples! :-), and now using the 8% AHA Gel from Paula's Choice. After a while I managed to ascertain that my skin appreciates AHAs of any kind much better than BHA (=salycilic acid), but there was still one option left undiscovered:
Enzymes such as bromelain found in the stems and juice of pineapples and papain found in unripe papayas are excellent if you want to exfoliate your skin. They break down the stuff that hold cells together (="extracellular matrix molecules", thanks Wikipedia!), thereby effectively ridding our face of skin-cells that have been dead for a while and only hanging on to us for dear life with their "pinkies". :-)
Some of you might argue that I could have chosen a much better, more effective, classier, fancier, pricier, whatever product than that of Freeman, but I was seriously lacking in alternatives. I didn't have the money for more expensive stuff at the time (come to think of it, I still don't...) and some I knew of were pretty difficult to come by even on EBay, whereas I just happened to stumble upon Freeman's face mask by pure luck in Tesco one day, and that was the end of the story. In my basket it went despite some shortcomings, and I haven't regretted it one bit.
It's the mask of my dreams: no clay, no peel-off craziness, no warming/cooling effect, no drying ingredients, no sachet to fumble with, no layers of tissue paper, nada, just a nice mask with a gel consistency and lots of chemical exfoliants. Just what my skin needs. :-)
The product comes in a 150 ml plastic tube with a flip-top cap and a big pineapple plastered over the front. The mask itself is a relatively thick, semi-transparent gel, easy to spread on my skin. What caught my attention was the horde of exfoliating ingredients listed on top of the INCI list: bromelain and papain (the two enzymes), pineapple extract, glycolic acid and lactic acid (two AHAs*), and yeah, my brain also faintly registered the presence of chamomile extract and aloe vera juice on the list but was probably too happy about the previous few to care.
* AHAs reach optimal potency in an environment with a PH under 4. The PH of this product is not stated anywhere on the label, thereby indicating that the previous information has probably not been taken into consideration when formulating the product. How effective the glycolic and lactic acids are in this mask is anyone's guess...
According to the instructions on the label you should leave the mask on for 10 minutes. Me being the little overachiever that I am couldn't be content with just 10 minutes (I mean what's 10 minutes enough for...?), so I left it on for 30. There's probably some deity up there watching over dumb people like me who like to experiment with their own skin, so luckily I didn't end up with a red, irritated visage, though I tried really hard. :) I even sprayed my face with mineral water every time I felt my face was getting dry as I felt it wouldn't be able to do a proper job if left to dry. Still nothing, just glowing skin when I washed it off approximately half an hour later. I suppose somebody up there regularly takes pity on idiots like me. ,-)
The funny bit about the gel is that it's got quite a bit of polyethylene particles in it that turn this mask into a multipurpose product. It easily doubles as a facial scrub for people with very sensitive skin, and the particles also serve to give an extra bit of exfoliation when you wash the mask off. You just have to refrain from splashing your face with water: instead wet your hands and massage your face a bit, then repeat the process as many times as needed for the by-then-dry mask to become gel-like again.
I like to commit repeated and totally senseless acts of stupidity and have been using this mask every morning and night for three weeks. Yup, still no adverse effects, just healthy, glowing skin and a far smaller smattering of blemishes than could have been my share this holiday season. (There's absolutely no way one could say no to Mum's 'bájgli".)
So I credit this mask for having survived the festive season without a horde of zits and for giving my skin a really nice glow by dissolving dead skin cells and sweeping them off of my face.
Verdict: get it if you can!
A word of warning:
When using chemical exfoliants for a prolonged period, please use an effective sunscreen of at least SPF30 and PPD of 20! (I'd go much higher though.)
Price: ~ 1500 HUF
Available: in Tesco stores
Rating: 5 out of 5
Ingredients: see above