TREND

From celebrity-en­dorsed sheets to hi-tech gad­getry, so­cial me­dia has gone face-mask mad. But which ones re­ally work? Beatrice Aidin finds out

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - NEWS -

Be­hold the new In­sta-fa­cials – and their celeb fans

ime was when some steam, a spot of ex­trac­tion and a good mas­sage made for an ef­fec­tive fa­cial. But around two years ago some­thing hap­pened: face masks be­came a so­cial-me­dia phe­nom­e­non, with celebri­ties such as Lady Gaga gath­er­ing 179,000 likes for her sheet-mask selfie, and Mi­ley Cyrus at­tract­ing the ap­proval of

400,000 fol­low­ers when she masked up.

And last year, ac­cord­ing to Min­tel, the UK face-mask sec­tor was worth £34.6 mil­lion. This in turn upped the ante for in-sa­lon fa­cials, which are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly di­verse and bizarre. These are the In­stafa­cials – treat­ments that could have been de­signed for so­cial me­dia, us­ing all man­ner of con­trap­tions and bells and whis­tles of the 21st-cen­tury va­ri­ety.

Take Span­ish sk­in­care brand Natura Bissé. Its Mind­ful Touch fa­cial takes place in­side a vast white bub­ble con­tain­ing fil­tered, 99.95 per cent pure air, creat­ing a per­fectly clean en­vi­ron­ment. The treat­ment starts with an eight-minute vir­tual-re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ence: while wear­ing vast gog­gles – In­sta-mo­ment! – you see clouds, aquablue sea and a jun­gle, while a nice (pre­re­corded) lady talks to you through­out, us­ing re­lax­ing mind­ful­ness tech­niques.

As some­one who finds re­lax­ing prob­lem­atic to say the least, I was knocked out by the com­bi­na­tion, so the fol­low­ing part of the fa­cial was a bit of a blur; but

I do know I man­aged to ask the ther­a­pist

to take a photo of my face wrapped up like a mummy – again, all eyes on the so­cial.

I am con­vinced that the re­sults of the treat­ment were im­proved by Our Lady of VR, be­cause I wasn’t as tense as a shell­shocked crab and it showed on my face.

Fancy some­thing even more bizarre? The Face Place might have an in­nocu­ous name, but with ac­tive elec­trodes, me­tal probes and a leather mask à la Han­ni­bal Lecter, there’s noth­ing bland about it. Above all, the treat­ment is de­signed to be ef­fec­tive. ‘The elec­tric, or gal­vanic, cur­rent pro­vides the driv­ing force for the damp cot­ton cloth that’s been soaked in our ac­tive in­gre­di­ents – vi­ta­min C, zinc and mag­ne­sium – to be deeply pen­e­trated into the skin,’ ex­plains MD Eilidh Smith.

Fine, but why the S&M mask? ‘Due to the cur­rent, it gets hot un­der there. Leather lets the skin breathe, so it’s the per­fect ma­te­rial.’ Af­ter try­ing it, I no­ticed two re­sults: firstly, my skin looked fan­tas­tic – lifted, glowing and all the things you want from a fa­cial, plus a darned good ex­trac­tion. Sec­ondly, I had more likes on my In­sta­gram ac­count than ever be­fore, plus a lot of ques­tions about what the hell I’d been up to. Ergo, in­ter­est in the treat­ment. So does it lead to an up­surge in sa­lon book­ings when in­flu­encers post who have many more fol­low­ers than my desul­tory – and pri­vate – In­sta­gram ac­count?

‘ When we treated the su­per­model Ash­ley Gra­ham be­fore last year’s Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret show, she had 37,000 likes – but more sig­nif­i­cantly, there were 4.8 mil­lion views of the video she posted,’ says Gavin McLeodValen­tine of In­traceu­ti­cals, which also treats the likes of Susan Saran­don, Brooke Shields and Halle Berry. ‘ We saw a 20 per cent in­crease in sales of prod­ucts and treat­ments, which meant In­traceu­ti­cals had its strong­est Christ­mas sales to date.’ The treat­ment de­liv­ers oxy­gen and nutri­ents into the skin and vis­i­bly lifts it with a pen-like de­vice; the op­ti­mum use of so­cial me­dia is to treat half the face along­side the hash­tag #go­com­pare.

Inge Theron, founder of Face Gym, has also seen the the im­pact of the In­sta-fa­cial. Ac­cord­ing to Min­tel, the beau­ty­de­vices sec­tor was es­ti­mated to be worth a whop­ping £317 mil­lion last year, yet 61 per cent of Bri­tish women be­lieve some sk­in­care pro­ce­dures are too danger­ous to do at home. Here are some not to be fear­ful of… ‘ We get so many for­eign cus­tomers who can hardly speak English show­ing up point­ing at a blog post and say­ing, “I want that, please.” Our new Five Minute Frozen Fa­cial, which jets out frozen oxy­gen and vi­ta­mins from what looks like a hand gun, was pre­viewed by health and beauty blog­ger Natalie Basma and we sold thou­sands of pounds’ worth of the ser­vice within a week.’

But five min­utes? In­sta­grammable, yes, but can any treat­ment re­ally have a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on your skin in so short a time? ‘I refuse to buy into dis­pos­able beauty rou­tines and I’m al­ways on the search for new­ness,’ in­sists Theron. ‘But then I put ev­ery­thing through vig­or­ous test­ing – on my­self, my teams and our fam­i­lies.’

In con­trast to smok­ing oxy­gen guns and other such de­vices, the Voya Deluxe Fa­cial Ex­pe­ri­ence starts with a mas­sage – so far, so nor­mal – pro­gress­ing on to sea­weed ap­plied di­rectly to the skin. Why? ‘An abun­dance of nutri­ents in sea­weed help to bal­ance the skin’s pH,’ says spokesper­son Emma Roberts. ‘ Warm sea­weed leaves are placed on your skin through which nat­u­ral oils, sources of min­er­als, vi­ta­mins and an­tiox­i­dants trans­fer into the der­mal layer, pro­mot­ing healthy and hy­drated skin.’

Per­son­ally, though, I am par­tial to fa­cial­ist Ni­chola Joss putting her hand in my mouth, a move she’s been do­ing for years, and with good rea­son. ‘ You can’t ac­cess fa­cial mus­cles in the mouth ex­ter­nally,’ she says. ‘They hold deep ten­sion from anx­i­ety and stress but, once re­leased, the face looks lifted, cheek­bones sharper and com­plex­ion ra­di­ant as it’s flooded with oxy­genated blood.’

De­spite the won­der­ful photo op­por­tu­nity, Joss is not crazy about the prac­tice of In­sta-fa­cialling. ‘As women we scru­ti­nise our­selves, but I think we’ve be­come more vain and yet un­con­fi­dent at the same time,’ she says. I’m with her. Surely it negates the ex­pe­ri­ence of a bril­liant treat­ment to wield a smart­phone in front of your face, wor­ry­ing more about ac­cru­ing ‘likes’ than en­joy­ing and get­ting the most out of the ex­pe­ri­ence it­self? #some­thingsare­sa­cred.

@la­dy­gaga

@mi­l­ey­cyrus

@beat­riceaidin

@trin­ny­woodall

Der­maFlash: as close to DIY Der­mablad­ing as you can get, this Amer­i­can gad­get re­moves dead cells, fluff, peach fuzz and – old wives’ tale alert – no, it won’t make hair grow back faster (£147 plus tax, der­maflash.com).

Beat ‘tech face’ with the new Play Skin sheet-mask – it plugs into your smart­phone and, via the app, cre­ates mi­crocur­rents. Af­ter 10 min­utes it should have a lift­ing ef­fect (£99 for one month of treat­ments; playskin.it/en).

The new Il­lu­mi­nage Youth Ac­ti­va­tor is the first at-home de­vice to com­bine LED light and ra­dio fre­quency; the dy­namic duo ac­ti­vate new col­la­gen and elastin to re­duce wrin­kles and lift the skin (£239, cur­rent­body.com).

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