Fall is coming and brands are starting to roll out the latest and greatest additions to their lines. Face masks, moisturizers, face oils, the works! One of the most recent additions to Ole Henriksen’s line is the PHAT Glow Facial Mask. Clever name, but instead of Pretty Hot and Tempting it actually stands for polyhydroxy acids. I was able to use this a couple of times and wanted to share my thoughts!
Polyhydroxy acids (also know as PHAs, and where the clever name for this mask came from) are chemical exfoliants similar to alpha-hydroxy acids. The most common PHAs are gluconolactone, galactose, and lactobionic acid. This mask, in particular, uses gluconolactone.
Polyhydroxy acids are AHAs with multiple hydroxyl groups. PHAs represent a new generation of HAs because they give similar results as AHAs, but without the irritation that usually comes hand-in-hand! PHAs like gluconolactone also provide a nice boost of hydration due to the additional hydroxyl groups, which can attract more water as humectants. Gluconolactone has also been shown to interact well with other proven ingredients and has actually been shown to be just as effective as benzoyl peroxide at reducing acne lesions, without the irritation! PHAs also help reverse and prevent damage due to glycation, a process that damages the collagen in your skin and is caused by increased sugar intake. It is also rich in antioxidants and stimulates epidermal growth and repair.
If your skin has not reacted well to glycolic or lactic acid in the past, but you still want to try chemical exfoliants, PHAs like gluconolactone are a great option. You get all the resurfacing benefits without the irritation.
Pink Bentonite Clay
Pink Bentonite Clay is a type of clay that is formed both in the ocean and in volcanoes (Skin Deep). It’s often used for its water absorbing qualities and can be used as a thickening agent (Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology). It’s also used to clarify water and juices, like a water softener, and sometimes as an absorbent clay (called Fuller’s Earth).
Pink Bentonite Clay has excellent absorptive qualities which make it a prime candidate for inclusion in face masks meant to reduce impurities such as the PHAT Glow Facial Mask. In a study on people with acne vulgaris, where subjects are found to have roughly three times more sebum produced than normal, researchers use bentonite clay to absorb the extra oil — demonstrating Bentonite’s ability to soak up excess oils (Dermatology). But these clays don’t just absorb oils; they also help to pull impurities out of the skin (Life Science Weekly). As aforementioned, the clay has been tested for its potential in treating chemical warfare, so it’s evident that their capacity for soaking up all toxic materials is quite large. In another study, a cream containing Quaternium-18-Bentonite was found to significantly reduce dermatitis of the hand in 37 subjects. It was also found to stop or reduce allergy to poison ivy in 211 subjects in another study (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology).
Pink Bentonite Clay is the real deal, and it makes this mask a great option for those with oily skin. If you have skin that is dry and irritated, this might not be the best option for you.
Chia Seed Oil
Chia seed is a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory fatty acids naturally found within the skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are documented to be substantially lower in those with dry/very dry skin types than those with normal to oily skin types, though omega-3 supplementation (whether oral or topical) can help this, returning skin to a more youthful, supple state. The topical application of chia seed oil has also been documented in the journal Annals of Dermatology to relieve severe symptoms of pruritus or itchy skin.
Overall, is chia seed oil going to remove your fine lines and wrinkles? Fix hyperpigmentation? Encourage collagen production? Answer: Probably not; no; almost certainly no. But, if you suffer from dry to very dry skin, chia seed oil is likely to temporarily plump up your skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines somewhat.
Personal Use and Opinion
Thanks to the Pink Bentonite Clay this mask comes out as a fun pink color at first. It feels a bit like whipped frosting you would buy from the grocery store. It turns into a white color as you begin rubbing it into the skin. The mask is comfortable to wear and I didn’t feel like it was stripping my skin or making it feel overly dry. The gentle exfoliation from the PHA didn’t feel like it was irritating my skin at all, which is a nice break from some of the more harsh exfoliants I have tried in the past.
This product has a strong lemon scent as you rub it into the skin. This is probably due to the fact that it contains lemon extract. This is also a major red flag for those of you with sensitive skin. You should probably skip this one as it does also contain added fragrances.
Bottom Line on the PHAT Glow Facial Mask
Overall, the Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial Mask was fun to use, and a nice mid-week pick-me-up. Is it a must-have item? No. Is it a nice-to-have kind of product? Absolutely. My skin definitely felt softer after using it but it won’t have the same effects in the long-term that consistent use of a leave-on product would. Use this when you are in need of a quick fix.