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.
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.