Beauty products that have gone viral on Instagram can often be difficult to trust. So was the case with me and Hanacure, a clinical-looking Korean brand of face mask that had been circulating around my timeline and was most famously endorsed by Drew Barrymore. It’s been bopping around because as the mask dries, it creates a wrinkled effect that makes you look like an old-lady or grandma version of yourself. Though the reviews coming from Barrymore and many other “influencers” had been overwhelmingly positive, the skeptic in me wasn’t so convinced. It wasn’t until my editor asked if I’d be willing to try the mask for myself that I thought, Sure, why not? And since I’m not Drew Barrymore and I’m not an influencer, you can trust me.
The Hanacure mask is $110 and is packaged satisfyingly with four peel-back pots, four vials of serum, and a brush (you can also dip your toes in with just one treatment for $29). The instructions tell you to fold back the lid on the pot, pour in the serum (not difficult to open, but also not easy if you’re doing this at 8 a.m. like I was), and shake the two together. You’re then supposed to paint the mask on your face evenly, before a waiting game of 30 minutes —not horribly long, but double what’s required for my daily sheet masks.
As the minutes tick by, not only does the mask become extremely, unusually tight but I can also actually feel the mask pulling my lip up and my eyelids down. This sensation, particularly around the eyes, is a kind of discomfort I am not used to — and you guys know I have worn a lot of masks. By minute 25, I’m starting to have a complete breakdown — I feel like my face is being constricted by an anaconda, and the tightening effect is pulling my eyelids down even more, making my eyes water. I have to turn on an episode of Insecure because that’s the only thing that might get me through the final five minutes.
I race to take the mask off at minute 30, on the dot. You can wash it off like any old mask, so I splash water on my face furiously. My face is bright red and rashy. I scream, but had I read the instructions properly, I would have been prepared for this — the pamphlet says that a redness afterward is totally normal and is a result of the improvement of blood circulation the mask induces. Ten minutes later, I actually look like I have been given new skin. Full disclosure, I had picked at the two blemishes I had on my forehead a few minutes before I put this mask on — one of the reasons I was so eager to see what wonders it could do. Not only was my skin glowing, practically poreless, and soft but the blemishes I had gone to town on were seriously decreased in redness and much less angry. I went to dinner with some friends after this, and two of them complimented how good my skin looked.
I’d like to reiterate here that this is the ugliest mask I have ever done, and I’ve done some hideous masks. It’s so ugly, when my editor asked if I could send him a photo of myself in it, I refused. “My stock would plummet,” I said. “The world can’t see me like that.”
But if you can spare the (admittedly hefty) price tag, it’s absolutely worth trying. I have since completed my four-mask kit, doing a mask every other day to see the full results. The hyperpigmentation treatment isn’t a miracle worker (a small sunspot I have is still there, even after the four uses), but the overall glow, textural change, and lifting it provides has been truly unmatchable.
Compared to other masks in my regimen that typically target one issue, this mask covers quite a few bases: It’s good for calming blemishes, providing a plumpness that fills fine lines, and brightening dull spots. After four uses, I noticed an elasticity in my skin that I hadn’t seen before, though the brightening effect subsided after 24 hours. If you suffer from acne, I wouldn’t recommend this as a preventative treatment, but it’s totally neutral for acne-prone skin (it won’t make it worse). After four tries, I’d say the long-term effects of this mask weren’t necessarily life-changing, but the immediate results are pretty stunning. I won’t be buying it regularly, but for that extra pick-me-up, I’d shell out $29. Once the redness subsided, the Hanacure was the perfect going-out or special-occasion mask, allowing my skin to reach its full potential as a perfect canvas for makeup.
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