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I haven’t been the kindest to my skin throughout the years. Sunscreen wasn’t in my vocabulary until I was almost 40 years old and growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, a face mask meant maybe slathering on some egg whites and avocado.
The last two decades have knocked some sense into my head — and some SPF onto my face — and now, at age 56, I’m more cautious and more conscious of my skin.
So, in addition to my face oil and moisturizer I apply diligently each day (and sunscreen whenever I’m outdoors), I was excited to try the miraculous Hanacure facial mask I had been hearing about. If anything as a hope for some respite — even temporarily — from my face resembling an old leather handbag.
Hanacure is the K-beauty “all in one” face mask from South Korea that has pulled in legions of celebrity fans over the last few years. Drew Barrymore has been vocal about her love of the product, at one point calling it "a professional-level treatment at home."
I wanted to see what the hype was about.
It's simple to put on
The packaging is the first intriguing part of the puzzle. It’s elegant, like that of an iPhone or other fancy gadget. I got the single starter set, but it does offer a pricier four set option. Once opened, I felt like a scientist as I mixed the tiny vial of serum with the gel pack. The kit also comes with a sleek brush with which to apply the gel. Once mixed, there was more than enough product for my face and neck, so I used the excess on the backs of my hands.
I knew my skin was very “thirsty” due to my age and going through menopause. According to anti-aging specialist Dr. Robert Keller, the mask's ingredients pull moisture into the skin.
“Basically the protective outer layer will absorb the moisture in the product, expanding like a dry sponge would, and making you look like you have more volume,” Keller explained.
This gave me hope.
With no make-up on my face, I had a clean (but divot-laden) canvas as I easily painted-on the clear Hanacure gel (making sure to avoid eyelids and lips, according to the directions).
It gets to work very quickly
Within 3 minutes, my skin started to itch. I kept my hands off my face as the sensation shifted to intense itching and pulling. However, it did not burn.
Around 7 minutes in, my face was practically frozen. I could hardly make an expression when I tried! Soon after that, the contortions began. The mask became so tight, it rearranged the structure of my face. By the time the full 20 minutes hit, my face was drawn in directions I didn’t know it could go.
Hanacure advises you to fan your face if you want more thorough drying. Instead of fanning, I spent the extra time hamming it up, sending scary looking selfies to my daughters. I looked like a sleepy, sad monster. It was borderline uncomfortable, but at least I got a laugh from it.
It left me glowing
I did not expect the mask to transform my skin. As Keller explained to us at Shop TODAY, any results I had would be temporary since "a face mask does not affect the dermis, the foundation of skin where collagen is produced." Anything that changes the dermal cell would have to be prescription-grade, he added.
But, I did go into it hoping for glowing skin — and I got just that. More than an hour later, my complexion retained that healthy looking hue, which was the main benefit for me. And the brightness and softness was still there when I went to bed, and lo and behold, lasted until the next morning.
Hanacure’s ingredient list states that “moisturizing biopolymers soothe & hydrate skin while reducing fine lines,” and although my skin did not feel moist (it's very thirsty), it definitely felt softer. The ingredients also include antioxidants, which Keller explained “neutralize free radicals" that are formed when the skin is stressed or going through hormonal changes.
"Some of the ingredients, such as beta-glucan and lotus leaf are powerful antioxidants. So in that manner, the mask does help in ways you may not be able to see," he said.
No, the one-time Hanacure mask didn’t cure my wrinkles, but it was a perfect pick me up before putting on actual clothes (instead of leggings and a tee-shirt) and heading out to a delicious dinner with my family.
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