The Carotene Essentials line, which launched this spring, is based around beta-carotene, the orange pigment that gives many fruits and vegetables their color. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and a precursor of vitamin A. It offers antioxidant benefits, including the absorption and neutralization of free radicals, and converts to retinol, which in turn benefits the skin by moderating cell turnover and increasing collagen production, leading to a more even skin tone and improved elasticity.
The Carotene Essentials Gel Mask is described as a "deeply hydrating and nutritious pre-sun vitamin mask that promotes glowing, healthy skin." The mask contains sorb apple, cantaloupe, carrots, algae, and honey - ingredients rich not only in beta-carotene, but also vitamins A, B, C, E and K, bioflavenoids, tannins, polysaccharides, mineral salts, trace elements, and citric and malic acids.
The mask isn't what I'd consider a gel in the strictest sense. It has a piecey and honey-like consistency, making it seem like something that was mixed up in a kitchen, rather than manufactured in a lab. The mask isn't overly sticky, but it stays moist and feels very gentle on the skin. I leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing, per the instructions, and am left with plump and noticeably softer skin. What I love most is that - much like honey - the mask is hydrating and nourishing, but it never feels heavy. My skin is dry at times, but even so, I can't tolerate ultra-rich products in the heat of summer, so this mask has been a handy product to have around. It also gives an initial cooling sensation upon application, which feels great in the warmer weather and on skin that's gotten a little too much sun.
The Carotene Essentials mask works great on its own, but I especially love using it as a second mask, following a some kind of clay mask. The clay deals with dirt and impurities, and the Carotene Mask does a wonderful job infusing vitamins into the skin and boosting hydration. Really, the only thing I'm not crazy in love with is the scent, which is sweet and a little cloying. For me, the effects of the mask more than make up for how it smells, but it's something to keep in mind if you're ultra-sensitive to scents.
The Bottom Line
Ilike's Carotene Essentials Gel Mask is a gentle hydrating mask perfect for summer and suitable for all skin types. Made from whole plant ingredients rich in vitamins and beta-carotene, it's a great treatment both pre- and post-sun exposure and leaves skin feeling soothed, moisturized, and touchably soft. The sweet scent might bother extra sensitive noses, but I think most people would really enjoy this product!