Cutting-edge tech, or plastic gimmick? I tried Charlotte Tilbury’s new ice face mask and this is how I got on …
I tried a cryotherapy treatment in a South William Street spa once. You stand in a kind of shower of ice, behind a screen, while chatting awkwardly to a guy who stands there to make sure you don’t pass out from hypothermia. It was weird but I kind of liked it – it felt invigorating and high-tech, plus I felt buoyed by the idea that Andy Murray sits in an ice bath after playing a match. As an enthusiastic sea swimmer, I’m a firm believer in the positive effects of cold water.
Now beauty brand behemoth Charlotte Tilbury is tapping into ice-tech, or cryotherapy. The recently launched Cryo-Recovery Face Mask is a plastic mask that you freeze for a minimum of half an hour, then strap around your face using the velcro straps and leave on for ten minutes. Since we’re buying more beauty treatments to do at home, it’s good timing for this launch. Sienna Miller’s facialist is famed for her cryo balls. Irish facialist Corinna Tolan came up with something similar earlier during lockdown, Cryo Therapy Globes (imagine a pair of icy maracas). The idea of a fast, pain-free “face lift” while you watch TV sounds appealing.
So what’s the allure of strapping this plastic mask onto your face? The brand quotes 42 per cent of people saying their biggest health concern is lack of sleep, and says the mask aims to counteract the impact of poor sleep on your skin. Other purported benefits include instant firmness, smoothness and glow, reduction in blemishes and redness, smaller pores, etc, etc … The packaging is absolutely rammed with increasingly elaborate claims in effusive and loud capital letters: “SKIN FEELS LIFTED BY 253%” and “JAWLINE APPEARS LIFTED” (the key word being “appears”). It’s been tested on 30 people.
The packaging also plugs two other Tilbury products that you should use alongside the mask: the new Cryo-Recovery Eye Serum – a rather nice cooling eye gel with caffeine and algae that you keep in your fridge (pricey at €59 for a mere 15ml); and her Magic Serum (€72). This is an excellent bit of upselling but be warned: the full set of three products would set you back nearly €200.
So what’s it like to use? There are certainly drawbacks. Yes, you can wear the Face Mask while working from home, but I wouldn’t answer the door in it – it makes you look like you’ve undergone major surgery (an entire facelift at least). Plus, in my experience, it’s really not comfortable: I put it on and nearly had to remove it straight away as it gave me a searing ice-cream pain along my jaw. If you have any sensitivity at all in your teeth, it’s not a comfortable wear. I can happily jump into the Irish Sea in the depths of winter, but I’d hesitate to put this on again.
Saying that, the mask lost its freeze effect pretty quickly – so quickly that I questioned how much it would benefit me. Plus the gel patches only touch your forehead, cheekbones and under your chin, so the rest of your face isn’t really involved in the treatment. Nor does the mask fit very well, however tightly you velcro it on under your chin and on top of your head, so it won’t boost your eye area (that’s why you need the serum too).
I removed it, expecting to look at least 253% younger. Yes, the cold is going to bring blood to the surface – but apart from a bit of an icy flush in my cheeks, I didn’t notice any jaw-dropping lifting, tightening or depuffing or, indeed, any other benefits. It just left me with jaw ache for some time after. It did wake me up a bit, although I’d rather have an espresso.
Kate Moss has long been known for her trick of putting her face into a bowl of iced water to wake her skin up – probably learned from make-up artist Tilbury – and this is clearly a rather cheaper way of experimenting with chilliness. Equally, a blast of cold water at the end of your shower will have a similar effect. I’d use the Eye Serum again, as it is cooling and soothing around tired eyes, with its metal applicator. The trouble is, a face mask is usually associated with comfort and luxury, a bit of an indulgent treat for your skin, and this one just didn’t give me either the pleasure or the results I’d expect for the price. I’d rather spend the money on a good facial massage – or a new swimsuit …
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