A decade ago I embarked on a career in writing with high hopes. I imagined myself the next big thing (who doesn’t?) penning novels from the deck of my yacht in Reunion, a sea breeze cooling the sweat in my navel. In my fantasy I’m wearing a bikini top and shorts (the short short kind) and I even have the body for it – my fantasy, if I want to airbrush myself into it, that’s my business.
The reality is a little different. I’ve never had the kind of body fashion magazines place in the vicinity of a bikini, the garment or the adjective. I bulge in places that beauty editors think should be flat, and in those meant to be round, I’m at the undesirable roundest end of the round scale. My finances aren’t quite Ahoy There! either. Put another way, if I didn’t buy wine for a month (as if) I could probably stretch my grocery budget to a ticket to Seal Island on a catamaran with fifty tourists. But tenacity is an absolute necessity if you’re a writer so, in spite of a decade of fiscal instability, I am still not quite ready to let go of that yacht in Renunion.
Which is why I thought what the heck when Dr Kim Prescott, owner of Anuyu Body and Skin, offered to use me as a spa treatment guinea pig in exchange for me blogging my experiences. I write and they preserve the last islands of wrinkle free skin on this landmass I call home. Perhaps even long enough to realise my yacht fantasy. What’s not to like?
Still, the word experimental makes me think of Dr Frankenstein and I arrived at Anuyu for my first treatment, Hyalual’s WOW Mask, a little nervous. I love Anuyu Body and Skin. It’s the antithesis of that dungeon of distress I blogged about in 2012 when I took my mother for a birthday treatment no amount of Jik will ever scrub from our memories. Anuyu is clean, the towels are fluffy, the therapists are friendly, smiling and gorgeous – as people who dedicate their working hours to the beauty industry should be. They serve tea in porcelain cups, and everything, from the space-age fat-melting machines to the vials of dermal filler lined up in the fridge sparkle with glossy promise.
My anxiety rose a notch when I saw that treatment beds had been set up in the reception area. Being a guinea pig is a public affair, it would seem. I joined the four other guinea pigs on the sofa, and was offered champagne. We clutched the stems of our flutes, our trepidation hidden behind inscrutable expressions. Soon though, the combination of bubbles and Dr Kim’s easy manner made us feel relaxed. After a short presentation, masks were applied.
Hyalual’s WOW Mask is a strange and slippery creature. It’s slides from it’s foil wrapping, dripping with sci-fi gloop, to wrap your face in a cool second skin. Alien and high-tech, the outside of the mask feels like paper when first applied but, as your skin absorbs the ingredients, it becomes gauzy. Put another way, you start out looking slick and plasticky like Data from Star Trek and end up looking like an egyptian mummy. Until you peel the gauze off.
Drum roll please.
After 45 minutes, where the most uncomfortable sensation is a little itch around the edges as the mask dries, your skin is left plump and glowing. My skin is sensitive and tends towards redness, but the ingredients in WOW triggered none of the usual reactions in my allergy prone cells. My skin was Pharrell Williams Happy.
So what’s the catch? There’s always a catch. The WOW wears off after four or five days. Which means the WOW won’t preserve my youth until I can afford the yacht, but it will amp up the fabulous for special occasions. The WOW effect peaks ten hours after the mask comes off: think weddings, book launches and, at the very reasonable price tag, even date nights.