Glamglow Bubble Mask

This mask has had me scratching my head, and not just because I don’t understand the bubble mask trend. I am NOT an expert in this stuff, but it reminds of how hydrogen peroxide is used to clean cuts.

This:Hydrogen_peroxide.png is hydrogen peroxide. You probably have a bottle of it hanging around your first aid kit because it helps clean wounds and prevent them from getting infected, but not in the way most people think. You see, there’s nothing super magical about this liquid or its reaction with a cut; the bubbling is the only thing that cleans the wound out. That’s right, the bubbling acts to move dirt out like a team of ants (is that even a thing? It’s the best analogy I could come up with.)

It’s because of this that I think Glamglow is able to claim that this bubbling mask helps remove dirt from pores, but you have to remember that hydrogen peroxide is able to do this because it’s working in a relatively large area and with particles that are already loose. Cleaning out pores this way would be like trying to get that same team of ants to squeeze through a tiny tunnel all at the same time; it wouldn’t be very effective if it did work.

Let’s pretend for a moment that the bubbling is effectively cleaning out pores, though. So the bubbles are going to town getting stuff out of your nose and forehead and are super proud of themselves when they suddenly run into a wall (a.k.a. the actual paper mask). Does it not seem counterproductive to anyone else that the stuff would get trapped under the mask on your face? I am not an expert and I’m not claiming to be one, but this just seems a little silly to me. I mean, I could be very wrong and this mask could be a miracle worker so who really knows.

Now let’s break down the ingredients listed on Sephora’s website.

  • Water: used to dissolve other ingredients
  • Glycerin: hydrates skin, found naturally in your skin already
  • Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether: thins formula
  • Acrylates Copolymer: binds ingredients together in formula
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine: foam booster that has caused some irritation/reactions
  • Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate: another foaming agent
  • Lauryl Glucoside: cleanser
  • Retinyl Palmitate: skin conditioner, but has high risk and linked to reproduction problems and tumors in animals. In very small doses it’s probably nothing you need to worry about, but it’s good to be aware.
  • Allantoin: skin conditioning/protecter that may be sourced from cows
  • Arginine: an amino acid that naturally occurs in your body and can help with skin conditioning (*if you’d like an entire post on amino acids, let me know!*)
  • Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract: from green tea; not a lot of information, but may be used as a fragrance or to absorb UV light
  • Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil: can help with skin irritations and scarring
  • Ascorbyl Glucoside: vitamin C and glucose combined; breaks down in body to provide vitamin C to skin
  • Ethylhexylglycerin: preservative
  • Ceramide Np: long lipid/fat chain that occurs naturally and can help moisturize skin
  • Sodium Pca: occurs from another amino acid (Proline) found in the body that can provide skin conditioning
  • Sodium Chloride: salt; may help bind ingredients or exfoliate
  • Saccharide Isomerate: helps dry skin
  • Polyquaternium- 10: forms a film
  • Potassium Cocoyl Glycinate: cleaning skin
  • Potassium Cocoate: dissolve in oil and water, present in butter, mayo, ice cream, etc.; makes it possible for oil and water to combine
  • Hexylene Glycol: has been labeled an irritant in the EU; may provide fragrance or be used to dissolve other ingredients in that may not dissolve in water or oil
  • Butylene Glycol: alcohol used to dissolve other ingredients into
  • Citric Acid: found naturally in citrus fruits that can cause skin peeling/re-growth and add fragrance
  • Hydroxyethyl Urea: not naturally found in humans, may be collected from animals; moisturizer
  • Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil: fragrance
  • Limonene: fragrance from citrus fruit peels; when exposed to sunlight and air, it will break down into products that can cause skin irritation
  • Citral: fragrance that is not recommended to be used in cosmetics because it can cause irritation to skin, eyes, and lungs
  • Sodium Citrate: naturally found in citrus fruits, helps to adjust the pH or acidity of the product
  • Disodium Edta: reacts with metal ions to prevent them from reacting with other ingredients
  • Phenoxyethanol: fragrance and preservative that can cause irritation to eyes, skin, and lungs

I put a few ingredients in bold because I think their purpose and location on the ingredient list is important. What you’re really paying for seems to be a moisturizer made from glycerin, which already exists in your skin along with some ingredients that are added to create the bubbling effect. Although a lot of these ingredients may help moisturize your skin, you’re only leaving it on for a few minutes and thus doesn’t have enough time to really produce a lasting result.

Keep in mind that ingredients are listed so the most dominant ingredient is first and that percentages are not included. The FDA has a regulation that after everything >1% is listed in descending order, the ingredients that make up <1% can be listed in any order. Although I don’t think this is the case with this product, technically it could be made up of 99% water and then minuscule amounts of ingredients that would actually do something. A lot of these ingredients are used to add fragrance, but they aren’t the safest to use.

This mask claims to “oxygenate” and “deep clean with Green Tea Teaoxi that works to reveal glowing skin,” but the green tea really just functions as a fragrance. “Oxygenating” sounds like a marketing buzzword to me that implies the bubbles are adding oxygen into your skin; first of all, your skin gets enough oxygen as it is, so really you’re just adding some moisture that makes you think your skin was “reoxygenated.” Second of all, the mask may reveal glowing skin due to the exfoliants like sodium chloride, but they are low down on the list and you’re using this as a mask, not a face scrub. In my unofficial opinion, you’re better off investing in a good moisturizer and exfoliator; leave the bubbles for the bath.

References: Environmental Working GroupLab Muffin, The Beauty BrainsPaula’s Choice



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