It may surprise you to learn that I’ve often not written about a product I love on the basis that it’s too expensive. I will have tested it, thought it very clever and highly effective, but also so unrealistically priced that a positive review would only cause frustration for most readers.
In fact, this is precisely what happened last year with Nannette de Gaspé dry sheet masks (from £60-£85, each). Gaspé, a Canadian businesswoman, had invested in a company that developed biomimetic technology: this allowed concentrated active skincare ingredients to be printed on to fabric masks, then activated by hooking over the face and briefly pressing the surface. Available only at Selfridges, they were, and are, wonderful, giving longer-lasting and much more noticeable results (at least to my eye) than traditional sheet and cream masks, which are generally made up of around 85% water.
I mention them now only because the patent-owning lab has just used the same dry-printing technology with a new peptide- and vitamin-rich formula to develop an exceptional mask for Charlotte Tilbury which, in terms of affordability, gets a lot closer to sanity. Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet obviates all the reasons traditional masks, while currently the biggest sellers in beauty, annoy me (I tend to use masks only when testing for a column, or when other testing has left my skin in need of the cavalry).
Instead of being sticky and messy, Tilbury’s mask is stored neatly and freshly in a foil pouch. It can be worn, drip-free, in front of the telly, or indeed any place where looking like Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn’t socially awkward (rather optimistically, Tilbury suggests wearing it in the car). You can even wear it over makeup without spoiling it, though I’d go for clean skin, before getting ready for a special occasion.
The ask focuses not on airy-fairy, chakra-balancing, ephemeral hint-of-wellness “pampering” (I promise never to use that word again), and delivers on noticeable smoothing, brightening, plumping and lifting in 15 minutes flat. I’m not suggesting that £18 for a single mask (£60 for four) is nothing; it isn’t. But, given that each can be used three times, stays fresh for many months and that any inferior wet sheet masks cost a good fiver a use, the value is comparatively pretty great.
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