A few weeks ago I watched a shockingly lengthy Lisa Eldrige video tutorial on her beauty regimen on long flights. I watched it mostly out of curiosity, and was not surprised at all to find that she uses more beauty products on a plane ride than I use on a normal day. Out of all the things she used (and there were many), I was quite intrigued by the transparent moisturizing mask she used.

The masks I’m used to are thick, clay-based things that make you look like a martian while you wear them. Lisa’s, on the other hand, was perfectly transparent. Sort of like spreading hair gel on your face (from the video, at least). She spoke reams of praises about the benefits of the mask, so I decided I should try my own. First off: check the ingredients of the original: Dermalogica’s Skin Hydrating Masque.

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Dimethicone, Leuconostoc/ Sorbus Aucuparia Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Codium Tomentosum Extract, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Tocopherol, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Beta-Carotene, Salicornia Herbacea Extract Triethylhexanoin, Carrageenan, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate, Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trideceth-10, Behenyl Alcohol, Cocamide MIPA, Glyceryl Oleate, Calcium Citrate, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sea Salt, Sodium Carbomer, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.

Oh my. Well, let’s see what’s recognizable/attainable out of that list. Water, glycerin, conditioning organic alcohol, compound similar to the skin’s original oils, silicone byproduct, something to do with mountain ash, something to do with fireweed, no idea, seaweed something, tomato seed oil, cucumber extract, soybean oil, Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada), carrot extract, vitamin A, something to do with glasswort, a thickener, sweetener, sweetener, sweetener, conditioner, scent masking agent, conditioner, humectant, conditioner, conditioner, emulsifier/stabilizer, solvent/conditioner, emulsifying agent, emuslifier/conditioner, emulsifier/viscosity controller, emollient/fragrance, pH controller, fragrance/solvent, skin conditioner, salt, stabilizer/gel maker, lye (!?), preservative, and another preservative.

Ok. That’s quite the list. I obviously have water and vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada). I think I’ll use some bioplex instead of butylene glycol. For squalene, I have jojoba oil (USA / Canada), which is said to be very similar in composition. Ignore silicone byproduct. I’ve got seaweed, and I’ll use some mango extract and witch hazel to attempt to duplicate cucumbers astringent/vitamin-y attributes. I’d rather use something other than soybean oil… perhaps argan or just more jojoba. I’ve got Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada) and vitamin C, so I suppose that will do for the vitamins and various fruit & vegetable seed extracts. I’ll use bioplex and phytokeratin for the lengthy list of chemical conditioners/emollients/humectants. I’m also going to add some bee propolis for it’s natural healing/antibacterial properties, silk peptide for its moisture management benefits, and essentials oils of tea tree and lavender for their antibacterial and pretty-smellingness. After that, I can only think of adding some xantham gum for thickening as everything else appears to be pH or texture adjusters. Phew. That’s a lot of ingredients, eh?

Now, since I’m not making this in a lab, this isn’t going to be perfectly clear in the bottle. Because I’m using both water and oil based ingredients, this is going to have to emulsify somehow. I have solubilizer, so that will do. And even though the mixture will be a bit milky in the bottle, it will be perfectly transparent on the face.

The end result is a thick, mostly water-based solution similar to hair gel in texture, though far less sticky. It’s packed with all kinds of good things, and it feels wonderfully refreshing on the face and sinks in quickly. It does leave you a bit shinier than usual and a wee bit tacky, but you are supposed to rinse it off, so I can live with that.

Intense Vitamin Mask

3 tbsp aloe vera juice (or distilled water)
2 tsp vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
40 drops bee propolis tincture
2 tsp witch hazel
1/8 tsp bioplex (optional)
1/8 tsp phytokeratin (optional)

1/16 tsp vitamin C (or a crushed vitamin C tablet)
¼ tsp powdered honey, or ½ tsp honey
¼ tsp mango extract (optional)
¼ tsp silk peptide (optional)
1/8 tsp seaweed powder

¾ tsp solubilizer
¼ tsp Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
½ tsp jojoba oil (USA / Canada)
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil

¼ tsp xantham gum

Whisk together the aloe vera juice, vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada), propolis, witch hazel, bioplex, and phytokeratin on a bowl. Then whisk in the vitamin C, honey, mango extract, silk peptide, and seaweed powder.

In a small bowl, mix together the solubilizer, Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada), jojoba oil (USA / Canada), and essential oils. Once they’re thoroughly combined, whisk the oils into everything else.

Slowly whisk in the xantham gum, keeping in mind that it works somewhat slowly, so the mixture may look a bit thin at first, but when you come back after five or ten minutes, it will have thickened nicely. You won’t want to add more (like I did…) or you’ll end up with something that’s a bit thicker/goopier than you’ll want. Decant into a small bottle.

To use, start with about half a teaspoon of the solution in your palm. Rub your palms together and spread across your face. Let sit for as long as you like, though I would definitely recommend wiping your face down before applying make-up or argan oil (USA / Canada).