One of the very first skin formulations I created was a mask — I was dealing with skin irritated by drugstore medications for teenage acne. There was no internet in those days, and my reference was a book from the library on natural skin care. The mask involved avocado, oatmeal and raw honey. It was soothing and softening, and the whole process—making it, applying it, resting, and rinsing it off—was healing in its own way. I was doing something for my skin, taking a few minutes to rest and relax, and I felt good about using wholesome, natural ingredients.
The ultimate mask for me was the body mask! Also during my teenage years and as a young adult, I would go with my grandparents to the hot springs in Calistoga, California. After a swim in a pool of thermal geyser water, we would go into a spa for a mud bath. Up to my neck in mud—a mix of mineral-rich thermal geyser water and black volcanic ash! The smell of the mud was intense —profoundly earthy and sulfur-y—but it was, for me, fundamental to the experience, and it was such an incredible experience every time. I felt completely deep-cleansed, purified, rejuvenated.
I still love the routine of mask treatments. I knew I had to have one for the DU NORD SKIN CARE line. I wanted a mask with the benefits offered by a substantive clay content but that didn’t leave my skin feeling tight after rinse-off, which is more common with masks containing a high clay concentration. I aimed to create a mask that would leave the skin feeling clean, hydrated and soft.
ARCTIC Mask is formulated to provide deep cleansing and gentle exfoliation, hydration and softening and is made with Arctic mineral mud, glacial marine clay and extracts derived from trees and plants native to the Subarctic forest and tundra, including white spruce, rose, fireweed, heather, violet, juniper, Iceland moss, lingonberry, bearberry and chaga mushroom.
The smell of ARCTIC Mask is nothing like Calistoga mud, but it is earthy —a more lovely earthy—tundra-like— with its blend of essential oils derived from wild-harvested or organically grown white spruce, rose, juniper berry and violet leaf.
ARCTIC Mask is full of skin-beneficial plant and tree extracts, but perhaps the most exotic ingredient is Chaga mushroom, a fungus that grows on dead or wounded birch trees in cold, northern regions. It is a nutrient-dense food, with a high concentration of anti-oxidant polyphenols, vitamins (B-vitamins, vitamin D) and minerals (calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc). It has been used by Indigenous Peoples and Northern European cultures to treat gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, and cancer, including skin cancer. It is also considered an adaptogen because of its beneficial role in modulating immune system function.
Chaga mushroom contains beta glucans. In addition to having moisturizing and anti-irritant properties, beta glucans support wound healing (they can stimulate collagen synthesis) and may reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Chaga mushroom is a source of betulinic acid, which is derived from the betulin found in the birch bark. Betulinic acid has anti-inflammatory properties and activity against a DNA-modifiying molecule called topoisomerase, which has a role in cancer development. Chaga mushroom has been used for centuries as an anticancer agent and continues to be actively investigated for its anti-tumour activity.
I chose Chaga mushroom powder for both its potential skin benefits—namely its antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and soothing activity—and its powder form, which is useful for a mask. I also found it appealing because it is a northern botanical with a rich history of traditional medicinal use by Indigenous Peoples and Northern European cultures and a role in current medical research as a beneficial immune-system modulator and anti-tumour agent. The source of Chaga mushroom extract found in ARCTIC Mask comes from Finnish Lapland —wild harvested in a certified organic forest—and is processed especially for use in cosmetic formulations, without chemicals or preservatives.
Another of the key ingredients in ARCTIC Mask is lingonberry fruit powder with a standardized concentration of arbutin derived from bearberry leaf, which is a compound known for its skin-tone evening effects and for reducing the appearance of hyper pigmentation. The powder is rich in vitamins, including Vitamin C, which stimulates collagen synthesis, prevents DNA damage and UV-induced lipid peroxidation, and it may help to reduce formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Lingonberries are rich in proanthocyanidins, which have strong antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. The source of lingonberry-bearberry found in ARCTIC Mask also derives from Finnish Lapland and is wild-harvested in a certified organic forest, processed especially for use in cosmetic formulations, without chemicals or preservatives.
Boreal Forest Blend (Red Maple, Black Spruce, Jack Pine, Yellow Birch)
This unique blend of barks from four boreal tree species contains a synergistic mix of bioactive compounds and an in vitro study by BIO FOREXTRA Laboratories Inc. showed that the blend stimulates the expression of a gene (aquaporin-3) that regulates water transport in skin and plays a role in regulating skin dryness, elasticity and skin barrier function.
BIO FOREXTRA has also shown application of this blend on very dry human skin yielded a measurable, statistically significant and extended period of hydration (48 hours) after only one application.
This powerful boreal forest blend is found in PRAIRIE Serum, BOREAL Emulsion, TAIGA Cream and ARCTIC Mask. So, consistent use of the DU NORD SKIN CARE line of products may yield a noticeable improvement in skin hydration and appearance. I know it has been the case for me and for a number of my clients who have provided feedback.
Find out more about the other ingredients in ARCTIC Mask here.
ARCTIC Mask is easy to apply. It is a light and smooth cream; only a thin layer is required. Because it contains a wealth of ingredients in addition to the mud and clay, it does not need to be applied as a thick, opaque layer as is the case with typical clay-based masks one generally sees demonstrated in photos. It is potent product, so if you have sensitive skin, it is important to do a patch test on your forearm or discreet area on your neck. ARCTIC Mask can be left on for 5 - 20 minutes, depending on your skin — 5 - 20 minutes of rest and relaxation, which may be enhanced by the presence of another adaptogen, the "well-being botanical", Rhodiola rosea (Roseroot, or Golden root). Perhaps you will find the Subarctic tundra scent serves as a kind of aromatherapy.
I generally aim to do an ARCTIC Mask treatment once or twice a week. When I have even only a little time, I apply it, rest for about 5 - 10 minutes and rinse it off by gently massaging my face with my hands. Please note that it is important not to overscrub or scrub too hard when removing the mask. When I have more leisure, I begin with gentle cleansing and exfoliation using MARITIME Cleanser and follow this with a steam before applying ARCTIC Mask and relaxing for about 20 minutes.
Finishing with PRAIRIE Serum and one of the Emulsions (BOREAL or ALPINE) or TAIGA Cream and/or TUNDRA oil is pure luxury but also helps to maintain and protect your refreshed skin.
Most of all, a bit of time spent with ARCTIC Mask is about pleasure and relaxation and the delight in feeling that one's skin is deep-cleaned, soft and well hydrated.
As for all DU NORD SKIN CARE products, ARCTIC Mask is not just for women!
You can find out more and purchase ARCTIC Mask here.
A travel sample size is also available individually or as a component of the CELEBRATION Sample Collection.