Love face masks? You’re not alone: They were the top-Googled beauty trend of the year. Hate how much time they take? Again, you’re in good company. The one downfall to wonderful, luxurious face masks is that they take forever to use. Typically reserved for bubble baths and weekends at home, masking requires you sit around for a half hour to reap the benefits: Until now.
FOREO’s UFO ($279) is a “smart masking” device that cuts masking time from 20 minutes to 90 seconds. The device promises to be “Ur Future Obsession,” and can be controlled via app or manually. What makes it so special? It features cryo-therapy, thermo-therapy, LED light therapy, and T-Sonic pulsations. This is fancy-speak for “it warms, cools, and vibrates to penetrate the skin.”
What sets it apart
The invention essentially turns the concept of sheet masking on its head. Instead of draping the cloth over your face, you cover the device with a small swatch of mask and glide it over your skin. Press a button and the tool heats to open pores, cools to firm and tighten, and pulsates to massage and heighten product absorption. LED light therapy in red, blue, and green each stimulate collagen, refine complexion, and kill bacteria.
Theoretically, the device offers a salon-level facial at home in under two minutes. In reality, it’s got a few issues. First, it is too large to give you a full-coverage facial. Its surface area is way too big and awkward, so it’s only useful on wide, flat parts of your face like your cheeks.
Since the mask doesn’t extend to the edges of the device, tight corners and narrow patches of your face get neglected. Frustratingly, I couldn’t tend to my forehead without getting product in my eyes and brows, and I couldn’t get it into the contours of my nose, only the bridge and tip.
Additionally, the mask itself is way over-saturated with product, which makes the device messy to use and hard to hold since its super-smooth silicone gets very slippery when wet. The UFO quickly slipped from my hands like a wet bar of soap after I secured the mask. The formula could definitely stand to be drier.
How it works
While the user experience is pretty lackluster, the mask itself instantly left my face feeling wonderful. Initially, I tried the UFO on the back of one hand. I had my coworkers feel the difference a few hours later: It was stark and noticeable. My face felt smooth and hydrated after just one use—even in the Las Vegas desert after a long flight and jet lag.
The UFO is compatible with two masks, one each for day and night. “Make My Day” features hyaluronic acid and red algae for deep hydration and pollution protection. “Call It a Night” features ginseng and olive oil to nourish, revitalize, and replenish skin overnight—it was perfect for my dehydrated skin. A pack of 7 masks will go for $10, according to a FOREO rep.
While both mask routines are pre-programmed into the device, the UFO can be paired with an iOS and Android-compatible app to customize pulsations, light intensity, and heating/cooling. The device is completely waterproof and charges via USB.
Should you buy it?
If the face of the device were half the size, I’d heartily recommend it. But at $279, I’m not sure the UFO is worth it. Yes, the mask has a great formula, but what’s the use of a wonderful product if you can only use it on half of your face? If you want to try it for yourself, it’s available on Kickstarter for 50% off, and will be available for purchase in-store in April 2018.