A few months ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when an image of 70-year-old Drew Barrymore popped into my feed. You are probably thinking, Drew Barrymore isn’t even close to being 70 years old, and you are correct, sir! After reading Drew’s caption, I learned she was actually wearing a face mask. “When you take it off you are 10 years younger,” she wrote. (10 years younger than your actual age or than your mid-face-mask age?, I wondered). The only price you must pay (besides the literal price of the mask) is your vanity. Because for a brief interlude, your face looks like a stale tangerine.
#beautyjunkieweek this is a @hanacureeffect mask @thehanacure nuts when you take it off you are 10 years younger. You paint it on with a brush. It starts to dry. It pulls. It gets so tight that it literally pulls your face. See above. But, It makes you look so fresh when you wash it off. And it's so effective. How fun is that in a package. #notttooenvasivebeauty #kbeauty thank you @crystalmeers for the info that's changed my life
But maybe that’s the whole attraction. 2017 is a strange time to be alive. It is a time in which new Oreo flavors trend on Facebook, a time in which “microblading” is not a surprising topic of conversation at brunch, a time in which Justin Bieber posts closeups of his pink eye on Instagram, a time in which January is balmy and May is freezing and a time in which what is essentially a Snapchat filter can become an IRL beauty mask sensation.
Because that’s exactly what happened. I started seeing this strange Benjamin Button mask everywhere. Officially dubbed The Hanacure All-In-One Facial, it purportedly, “tightens, brightens, contours, and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles” thanks to “patented CO2 OctoLift™” technology.” With repeated use, “your skin will continually improve, relegating age to truly becoming nothing but a number.” I copied and pasted these quotes directly from the Hanacure website, where you can purchase either the “Starter” (a single serving of The Hanacure All-In-One Facial) or the “Set” (four servings of The Hanacure All-In-One Facial).
To my delight, I discovered that in addition to its regular Instagram account, Hanacure has a whole other account devoted to before & after masking selfies. I could ogle the transformed pores of strangers for hours.
As of last week when I pitched this story, I was aware that The Hanacure All-In-One Facial had already been “trending” for a good chunk of time and, unsurprisingly, had been reviewed by multiple publications. But I was desperate for a #hanacureeffect before & after of my own — and that is a story in and of itself. The viral power of a product that successfully capitalizes on our collective penchant for selfies and social media is a force beyond my control. Like I said, 2017 is a strange time to be alive. I’m just along for the ride.
The day my Hanacure Set arrived at the office, I was so excited to get home and try it that I accidentally left my keys on my desk and had to double back. After finally making it to my apartment, I opened the box with trembling fingers (jk) and began my masking adventure.
Per the lengthy instructions, I popped the seal off a vial of “Lifting Serum” and poured it into a container of “Gelling Solution.” After resealing the container and shaking vigorously for 20 seconds, I opened it to discover a blob of what looked like apricot jelly. Using a special brush included in the box, I painted the jelly in a thick layer across my face. Then I waited.
The instructions said to leave the mask on for 30 minutes. By the time 25 of those minutes were up, the mask was hardening but still not completely dry, and I definitely didn’t have Drew Barrymore-level wrinkles yet. I decided it was time to proceed with the suggestion to “fan face to increase intensity.” I pointed a blow-dryer at my nose and let it rip. Instantly, I felt my face tighten. Every inch of my skin felt like a thick milkshake being sucked through a straw. It was an extremely weird and not altogether pleasant sensation. After about 60 seconds, I turned off the blow-dryer and looked in the mirror. My coveted wrinkles were finally out in full force, and the 30 minutes were up. As excited as I was to put the mask on, I was even more excited to wash it off. My skin felt tight to the point of discomfort. I practically galloped to my bathroom sink, but not without pausing to take approximately 1,000 selfies.
I was not prepared for what happened next. When I began scrubbing off the mask, I expected my face to look like my face, except with the pore-less complexion of an eight-year-old and the subtle glow of Maria Sharapova after a rally or two. Instead, my face looked like my face except red and angry — angrier than when it found out it had to go through puberty, and that was pretty angry. Apparently sensitive skin doesn’t give a fig about before & after photo ops.
I lathered on some Pai Instant Calm Redness Serum and a dollop of dependably soothing Embryolisse Lait‑Crème Concentré. Another 30 minutes later, my skin looked good as new. Better than before the mask? Well, that might be a stretch. It kind of just looked the same as it always does. But please don’t interpret this slightly underwhelming result as a negative review. I’ve never had as much fun trying a mask — or any beauty product, for that matter — as I did trying The Hanacure All-In-One Facial. Not only did I get to literally paint my face with cool goo, but I also now know exactly what I’m going to look like when I’m 70. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Photo by Edith Young; iPhone photos by Harling Ross.