After a few too many glasses of vino last night my skin was looking as rough as I felt this morning. I had that grey, drained look which a hangover brings, dark circles under my eyes, and also a couple of spots trying to rear their ugly heads on my cheeks – which only happens to me after drinking too much alcohol and not enough water. (I think it’s my liver’s way of punishing me. How mean.)
So I thought this would be the perfect day for a face mask. I have a pretty low maintenance beauty regime most of the time and don’t do treatments or masks nearly often enough. (Another great reason to start a blog: an excuse to indulge more often in beauty treatments!) So I roped in my younger sister, who was also feeling a bit worse for wear and I set up a makeshift beauty salon in the garden.
The mask I had on hand to try is called ‘Perfectly Taut Facial Masque’ by Taut by Leonard Engelman. It’s an American brand based in California which I got through Beth Gagnon (maker of the Gel – see my previous post); she uses it in her facial treatments and sells it by mail order (020 7224 2332). I’m not sure if you can buy it anywhere else in the UK (a quick Google just now didn’t look promising though).
Now the key feature of this mask is that it is tightening, which isn’t necessarily key for me (aged 25) or my 22 year-old sister, as our skin is thankfully still blessed with youthful elasticity (well I would hope so). However the tightening action is not only great for improving tautness and softening fine lines and wrinkles (not so important for us) but it also improves skin tone, increases blood circulation and reduces puffiness, as well as helping with acne and problem skin, which is just what morning-after-the-night-before skin needs.
The Taut website explains: Perfectly Taut Facial Masque is an immediate face lift. Unlike most masques, this is a tightening masque. This combination of collagen, bentonite, and montmorillonite minerals creates a masque that isometrically tightens and tones the skin, invigorating surface circulation, and minimizing excess fluids that can cause puffiness.
First I mixed up the mask. For two people I used 1 ¼ teaspoons of powder mixed with 1 tbls of boiling water, blended with a hand-held blender until custard consistency.
Then we applied the Gel liberally to our clean, make-up free faces and necks, including over the eye area. Working fairly quickly so as not to let the Gel dry we then applied the freshly made Taut masque over the top of the Gel (avoiding the eye area). This is a bit of a messy process and it’s hard to get it even. But that’s not really important. The thicker it is the better though so it’s worth doing it properly.
Then we sat back and relaxed for 30 minutes while waiting for it to dry. (You could use a hairdryer if in a rush which will cut down drying time considerably.) As the masque dries you can feel it becoming tighter and tighter on the face to the point which we couldn’t talk much and were trying really hard not to laugh and crack the mask.
It’s a slightly odd feeling – you’ll notice a warming and gently pulsating sensation as the blood flow is being stimulated under the skin. As it gets very dry some people might find the tightness a little uncomfortable, although not to the point of discomfort. You could relieve this by adding a little oil (such as castor oil) as well as the Gel underneath the mask to make the tightening a little less intense.
After about half an hour we soaked a hand towel in warm water and applied to our faces to soften the mixture, then gently removed it.
It’s hard to tell from photos (the lighting outside was pretty variable) but we both thought our skin looked smoother and more vibrant afterwards and felt lovely and soft. I followed with some more of the Gel and emu oil (another natural beauty gem which I’ll review in due course).
I’m definitely going to try and use this once a week from now on. The directions recommend 2-3 times a week but there’s no way I’ll get around to that.
The mask is available in powder form (the one we used) as well as a pre-mixed variety. I recommend the powder however as you can mix it up when you need it so it’ll always be fresh. The best way to do this is to do a big batch (half or even the whole tub), then pour individual portions into sealed plastic containers or an ice-cube tray, and freeze. Then just defrost 2 icecubes/one container a few hours before you wish to give yourself a treatment.