Before Ella Chen, mom and cofounder of exquisite earth elements (e3), settled in Beijing, she went to university in Canada at Lambton College. While there she met a woman from the Homalco tribe who told Ella about the powerful properties of Canadian glacial oceanic clay. The ancestors of the Homalco and other Canadian tribes had been using the clay as medicine for a plethora of ailments. “At that time, I didn’t think about making it into a skincare product,” Chen says. But the clay and its properties stuck in the back of her mind. She later transferred to Central Michigan, where she would give birth to her son and became friends with her future US partners.
One day, as a mutual airline attendant friend of theirs started to complain about how greasy her skin got after wearing makeup for hours for her job, Ella was struck with the idea of turning the mud into a skincare product. “I said, ‘I know something that can help!’ and that’s basically how we came up with this idea.”
Their main headquarters is in Atlanta, likely due to the ease of setting up there, but Chen and her husband head up the company here in Beijing. Currently the mask is sold only in the US and in China, but the product remains the same regardless of which country the mask is purchased in, unlike other luxury masks which have been rumored to include paraben in their non-US products.
What makes the e3 mineral mask so special is the glacial oceanic clay, which is considered a Canadian treasure and the extraction of which has strict Canadian government regulations. Researchers at the University of British Columbia, including professor-emeritus Julian Davies, found in a bona fide study that this clay’s microbial properties even combated dangerous superbugs (known as ESKAPE pathogens). The study was published in the science journal American Society for Microbiology, and Radio Canada International interviewed Professor Davies about the clay.*
There are 50 finely ground minerals in the clay in its natural state, and e3 adds pomegranate and willow bark extract, and cedar wood, rosemary, and bergamot oil for additional skin-promoting benefits. There are no artificial perfumes or colors, and no parabens or binding agents in this mask. The clay acts in an ionic way to pull out impurities and oil in skin.
At RMB 399, we admit that the whole mask is pricey, but one day’s mask takes just a small bit of clay from the 80-gram jar, which is glam and paired with a quality brush applicator. We also tried out a free sample of the mask and noticed it dries quickly, the smell is pleasant, not strong, and it washes off easily.
This article originally appeared on p. 16-17 of beijingkids March Issue. Download a copy here.