Alba Botanica Pore Purifying Mini Peel Review

I can't begin to remember all the masks I've tried in my years of chasing the shimmering champagne dragon (what I call being addicted to beauty products). I did kaolin facials, chamomile steams and the honey mask thing back when I was thirteen and read about it in thrifted herbals. I tried Biore strips on my blackheads. More recent trials have included Cup O'Coffee and Mask of Magnaminty from Lush and Origins Charcoal Mask. But the one I kept reaching for each week has been the random under-$10 item I picked up last summer at Marshalls: Alba Botanica Good & Clean Pore Purifying Mini Peel.


Product Overview

"When toxin-retention prevents your skin from truly coming clean, it's time to peel away the problem.  Powered by 6% alpha hydroxy acids, the unique fruit acid detox fusion helps this fast-acting gel quickly eliminate dull surface cells, dissolve stubborn pollutants and release imbedded toxins.  In just minutes, pores seem to disappear and skin looks bright, smooth and completely revitalized. No animal testing, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate or sodium myreth sulfate."


Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, glycerin, Propanediol, Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice, Xanthan gum, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Fruit Oil (Bergamot), Saccharum Officinarum Extract (Sugar Cane), Acer Saccharum Extract (Sugar Maple), algae extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract (Orange), Citrus Limon Fruit Extract (Lemon), Fragaria Vesca Fruit Extract (Strawberry), Lactobacillus, Arundinaria Gigantea Ferment Filtrate, Leuconostoc, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Olea Europaea Leaf Extract (Olive), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Pyrus Malus Fruit Extract (Apple), Rubus Fruticosus Fruit Extract (Blackberry), Vitis Vinifera Fruit Extract (Grape), Citric Acid, LActic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Sea Silt, Tocopheryl Acetate, Citrus Aurantifolia Oil (Lime), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil (Orange), Citrus Grandis Peel Oil (Grapefruit), Citrus Limon Peel Oil (Lemon), Citrus Nobilis Peel Oil (Mandarin Orange), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Sweet Almond), benzyl alcohol, PHenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Citral, limonene

How It Rates

U.S. Made and Cruelty-Free, which are pluses. The mask rates a 4 (medium) on the EWG scale, mainly due to the potentially irritating effects of ingredients like alcohols and citrus essential oils.


The Details

SCENT: Thanks to the high amount of alcohol and FIVE kinds of citrus oils in this stuff, it smells like a lemon-drop cocktail. I actually like the smell. However, the high content of these substances (especially bergamot & limonene) makes the product very potentially irritating to the skin or lungs. I haven't had a problem, but can definitely recommend caution for sensitive skin.

APPLICATION: "cooling" (thanks to the alcohol), smooth gel consistency. Spread on thickly enough, the mask does not get tight and dry. Leave on 1-5 minutes. Washes off pretty easily. The term "peel" in the product name doesn't mean this is a peel-off mask. It's referring to the exfoliating effects of the alpha-hydroxy acids.

SENSATION: The fruit alpha-hydroxy acids combined with a high alcohol content creates a very strong tingling sensation, especially the first time this mask is used. The directions recommend starting with a one minute application and building up from there. I completely agree.

mask review

Final Thoughts

I still intend to finish this bottle (it's big), but I can't recommend it for everyone. I use it on my oil/blackhead-prone t-zone once a week, a few days after exfoliating. Since using it, I see a decrease in pore size and increase in skin clarity and softness that I just can't attribute to anything else. BUT I would NOT recommend this mask for sensitive, acne-prone or dry skin. 

I was disappointed to find the EWG rating wasn't better, which is why I probably won't repurchase this mask. But, I understand the risks of including alcohol or citrus extracts in skincare products. I think my overactive t-zone can handle the strong ingredients for a few minutes per week, until I find something better. It's not utterly magical, but it is a pretty hearty clarifying face mask. Use With Caution.

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