The smartphone-controlled face mask
In this line of work, there are many days where I gawp at the latest concept in sheer disbelief. Make-up that changes its colour as it settles onto your face. Skincare that costs £1,000 a jar. And now, a face mask activated by your phone. Yes really. Once I'd got over the why-on-earth-whatever-next reaction, I had to try it out.
What does it do?
The mask is made of solid, floppy gel - a silicone hydrogel - and when you connect it - via various electrodes, sticky pads and headphone-style connectors - to your phone and link it up to the relevant app and press Play, it sends almost imperceptible microcurrents of electricity into your skin.
Why would you want to do this?
Because microcurrents stimulate the skin to... produce more collagen and elastin (always good) and tighten it up a bit. Also, there's some moisturising hyaluronic acid on the inside surface of the mask, and the microcurrents drive this into the skin - trials show the skin moisture levels rise by 190% after use.
What does it feel like?
This plug-and-play mask feels a bit sticky - or more tacky than sticky, so it adheres well onto the skin. I liked to think I could feel a very low-level sort of zinging from the microcurrents, but that may well have been my imagination.
What's it like to use?
All a bit fiddly. Once I'd downloaded the app I had to read the instructions several times to make sure I was getting all the right bits in the right places. I've done a short video on this on YouTube, or there's an abbreviated clip here.
Not that I could notice, not on first use. With salon microcurrent treatments like Caci, or home use microcurrent devices like NuFace, (a) the current is much stronger and (b) it needs to be used on specific muscles to get a lifting effect and I'm not convinced that these gentle microcurrents are able to make much difference.
What does it cost?
You get five of these single-use masks and connectors in the pack, which is said to cost £89.99 from www.playskin.it but on that website, it's priced in euros, as 69.90 Euros. I'll update if that changes. You also get a tube of face cream containing glycolic acid which they recommend you use once or twice a day. I'd recommend using that with caution unless your skin is used to glycolics - ie, patch test it first, then try it every other night, then every night. Glycolic products are great for giving skin a gentle exfoliation and improving hydration levels and this one didn't feel aggressive. But always wear sunscreen during the day if you use this (which I am sure you are doing anyway, eh?).
Did you know I've also got a YouTube channel where I talk about #whatreallyworks in terms of products and treatments (and some that don't). Pop over there and take a look