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There are a million (probably) face mask options out there that promise to make your skin glow, sparkle or tighten. You apply, set a timer and wait. Then comes the mess and absolute destruction of washcloths, bathroom tiles and once-pristine sinks.
It makes sense that after my umpteenth mask haul, I wasn't just skeptical; I was straight-up jaded. So when I got my hands on the "Black Luster" magnetic mask from Memebox, I wasn't totally convinced.
The mask claims to have magnetic properties, allowing it to lift up and off your skin post-application — sans water. That's right: No more ruined towels or mud-covered faucets. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Before I even put the stuff anywhere near my face, I got in touch with Dr. Neal Schultz, founder of BeautyRx Skincare and host of DermTV.com. I explained the premise of the product and asked him: What's the deal?
"If you like an electric toothbrush and if you like an electric face brush, you'll love this," he offered.
And as for the Dead Sea minerals the product boasts? "Obviously, the reason it works is that they put some iron oxide in it. That's what jumps off and pulls the rest of the goop with it. But there's no evidence that it does anything different from any other mask."
Still, just like the rest of us weary-but-eager shoppers, he agreed: "It looks kind of cool." And he'd be happily proven wrong about those additional skin benefits, too: "I'd review it critically if any evidence ever came out that it was doing something special. In the meantime, if you have the money and you want to do it, your skin shouldn't be harmed. Go for it."
With that, I did indeed go for it.
After ordering the face mask from Memebox, I gave it the ol' once-over and decided that, based on packaging alone, this stuff was worth my time. (Yes, I'm a beauty packaging addict. It's fine.) And for the fairly expensive price (around $50), I was glad I didn't just get a jar wrapped in bubble wrap. Instead, it came housed in a sleek black box alongside a nifty plastic applicator and a small magnet with a handle.
Here's how it works: You apply a thin layer of the stuff to clean skin using the applicator. Then, you wait somewhere between three to five minutes. It's a mud mask (as opposed to a clay mask) so it doesn't harden quite as intensely. After five minutes, the fun begins: You slide a piece of plastic wrap or thin cloth over the included magnet to minimize messiness. Then, you simply bring the magnet close to your skin and watch as the mask, still in it's liquid-y form, lifts off of your skin and floats over to the magnet. COOL.
Oh, and then you rub in the leftover oil for one to two minutes and call it a day. Easy enough.
Did it work, you ask? Yes, yes, yes! And beautifully! As I swept the magnet over my skin, the mask lifted off like magic, leaving barely any residue. There were, admittedly, a few granules left over, but we're talking teeny-tiny bits here and there.
Word to the wise: That plastic wrap is an absolute necessity and needs to be replaced often. The magnet becomes less sensitive the more mask you grab simply because there's less surface area available. You can quickly pull off the plastic wrap, throw away the magnetized goop and apply new layers as you go so that your surface area is always maximized.
So, what's the conclusion?
I was left with a glowing complexion, a lot less redness and a sense that I'd just done something awesome. But I was also left with so much oil afterward that I had to wash my face before heading back to my desk. Yuck. So much for time saved.
Still, my mind was blown by how it works. And I got compliments about the "foundation" I wasn't wearing for the rest of the day. All in all, I'd call that a success.