When sheet masks first slid themselves all over Instagram two years ago, they quickly became the gold standard of luxury beauty – and for good reason. You need time – and at least one nanny – to be able to lie back and keep two slimy sections of lubricated plastic-paper adhered to your face for 30 minutes. Plus, they erred on the expensive side, you know, $200, $300 a pop. It was a luxury experience after all. Hence why so many celebrities included them in their “candid” getting ready posts for big award shows.
Well, the good news for the time-poor and monetary-challenged, is that the sheet mask is quietly sliding off our collective beauty radars, replaced by what else? A funky South Korean gel mask that makes you look about 100 years old, before you wash it off and look 15.
It’s called Hanacure and it bills itself as an “all-in-one facial”. But what is beauty these days without a gimmick? Glad you asked. As the mask dries, it literally pulls your skin with it, so that by the time it’s done, you look like a creepy 100-year-old soothsayer. It’s like it was invented just to be shown on Instagram.
Which is exactly how it came to be so popular. In February this year, Drew Barrymore posted a pic of herself wearing the mask on Instagram. Cue: viral mask craze. Sure, the product is odd and the description sounds like it should be accompanied by wind chimes – “Inspired by the lotus flower, blossoming anew each dawn, skin is reborn with Hanacure.”
But! 1000 five-star product reviews, a cult following on Instagram, and Barrymore herself, can’t be wrong. The company now has an Instagram account dedicated solely to before and after shots of the mask. Go to @hanacureeffect to see for yourself. It does cost $US29 for a mask, or you can buy a set of four for $US100 if you’re feeling fancy. So, it’s not cheap. But what price magic?
Hanacure consists of a lifting serum, and a gel that you combine yourself and then paint onto your face using a beautiful tiny brush. Once painted, you have to wait 30 minutes and try not to move your face in this time or the mask will crack and you won’t get the best results, which look, frankly, like someone used a filter. A glance at the “science” section of their website would appear to back this up, with plenty of photographic evidence of pore minimisation, acne reduction, smoothed wrinkles and a general glow on every face.
But if refraining from movement for 30 minutes is not possible, you might want to try another mask closer to home. The Sand and Sky Pink Clay Mask retails for $69 for a jar, and only takes 10 minutes to dry. Developed by Aussie twins Sarah and Emily Hamilton, using all Australian ingredients, it too has become an internet sensation.
The Sand and Sky mask has also gone viral on Instagram.
“Our head of product, Sam, went on a bush medicine course in Alice Springs,” is how Sarah describes their search for ingredients.
“She explained the power of Kakadu Plum, Old Man’s Weed and Sea Kelp alongside the purity of the Australian environment that produces results beyond typical clay masks.”
If you, like me, have only a limited understanding of what those extremely outback sounding ingredients do, please be assured: the mask works. It claims to “tighten and brighten” and it left my skin soft and glowy. I’m not alone – when the mask was first launched earlier this year it sold out within 12 weeks. It’s since been re-stocked and sells 2000 units a day internationally. It also comes with its own cute little brush, what more could you want?
OK. If you hate brushes, and you have pimples, I have one final suggestion for you. This mask has become another viral sensation, highly recommended by Drew Barrymore, who I guess is some kind of beauty guinea pig these days and I’m down with that. It’s called the Glam Glow Youth Mud Tingle Exfoliate Treatment and yes, Youth Mud sounds extremely suspicious, like it’s code for the boy’s toilets. It claims to exfoliate and clarify your skin in 10 minutes. The reviews are almost unanimously great but the mask does cost $98, so … you be the judge.
Forget the name, think about the results.