Welcome to in-depth reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the best products and brands in the beauty industry. Who What Wear employees you already know and trust will research, test and review the most sought after and trending products on the market to see which formulas (among the hundreds to consider) are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored reviews and no-BS recommendations that our hard-to-please testers wholeheartedly endorse.
The majority of our in-depth reviews will feature our editors’ honest, ultra-hot opinions on entire product categories or multiple products from a particular beauty brand, but occasionally we sprinkle in a special single-product format called Honestly, I Love It. As the name suggests, these reviews will focus on a standout beauty formula that our editors literally can’t shut up about. This time around, I’m highlighting the new Clarins Cryo-Flash Cream Mask ($80), an at-home facial that mimics the effects of a cryotherapy facial.
It’s a rare day when I would refuse a luxurious facial. Whether in the office with a trained esthetician or in the comfort of my own home, I will do (almost) any treatment that gives my skin the ultimate glazed donut look. Once, I even had the privilege of getting a facial from famed beautician Sarah Akram. At the time, I was dealing with aggressive skin barrier damage and stubborn acne along my jawline and cheeks. Honestly, I never thought my skin would ever heal, but Akram was quick to straighten me out. She decided to incorporate a treatment called cryotherapy into my facial, which I had never experienced or heard of at the time, but she broke it down for me. Cryotherapy involves blowing frozen, controlled air onto the face and helps with things like inflammation, lightening, tightening and lifting of the skin.
Naturally, when I heard that Clarins would be releasing a leave-in mask that mimics the effects of this therapy, I jumped at the chance to give it a shot. I admit I was mostly intrigued because you can make this mask from the comfort of your own home without coughing up the extra bucks to see a facialist for an expensive treatment. The ingredient list also looked promising. With a molecule called MGA (a derivative of cooling menthol) and anti-wrinkle evening primrose oil, the mask nourishes and refreshes the skin while giving it an instant lift.
Below, I’ll break down my experience with the mask, the results it offered, and more about Akram’s Cryotherapy itself. Keep reading – good things to come!
To tell you a little about my skin, it is sensitive and acne prone and can react badly to certain products if I am not careful. It also dehydrates easily these days, so maintaining optimal humidity levels is essential. Luckily, this mask doesn’t contain any acne-triggering ingredients and doesn’t feel too thick when you apply it. I put mine in the fridge before trying it so it would be very cold. I must warn you though – even without putting it in the fridge, the mask is Really cold when you apply it, so proceed with caution. I left the mask on for 10 minutes and rinsed it off. It’s a bit difficult to wash off and you might need a washcloth to fully understand it, but the cooling sensation lingers after a while and makes you feel like you’re in a spa.
You can’t see a huge difference in the photos above, but I can tell you there were differences in the way my skin looked felt. It felt tighter around my jawline and my skin felt more hydrated overall. In addition to lifting and firming the skin, the mask helps to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, which I absolutely need since I have been dealing with damage to the skin barrier for some time that is not easy to repair. I also noticed that it reduced the redness that accompanied said barrier damage. I think the more I use this mask, the better the results will be.
Clarins public relations manager Lucas Pétry told us about the inspiration behind this product. “When the visionary Jacques Courtin-Clarins created Clarins in 1954, he already recognized the major effectiveness of cold in preventing the signs of aging and recommended using it daily as a cold water spray on the face and body to help shape and firm the tissues,” he says.
Now let’s move on to the star ingredients of this formula. What makes this formula unique is the Cryo-Starter technology. It is an exclusive blend of the MGA molecule (a derivative of menthol) and organic evening primrose extract that significantly refreshes the skin and provides an instant and visible lifting effect in just 10 minutes. “This pure molecule acts as a thermal starter for the flash of calcium on the skin,” explains Pétry. “Its powerful cooling effect activates the penetration of calcium into the cells and helps prevent skin aging.” Fun fact: it took Clarins four years of testing 56 different cooling ingredients before the brand decided to go with this specific menthol derivative.
As Akram was the first to introduce me to cryotherapy, I asked him to give the curious a little more information on cryotherapy in general. I received one of the best facials I have ever had from Akram, and when she used this modality on my skin, it looked brighter, firmer, and glowed for at least a few days after the facial. “Cryotherapy (particularly used in a facial) is controlled, freezing the air that is blown on the face for less than two to three minutes, which causes vasoconstriction (a narrowing of blood vessels),” she shares. “This, in turn, stimulates collagen in the skin. The activation and production of collagen contributes to a more lifted, brighter and more toned appearance of the skin. Cryotherapy has become a powerful anti-aging tool in aesthetics for this reason.”
Akram likes to use a form of cryotherapy after a chemical peel or microdermabrasion treatment because it’s perfect for calming, firming, lifting, and brightening the skin. It’s also fairly well tolerated for most skin types, but Akram has a few notes. “Generally, most skin types can benefit from cryotherapy. That said, I’ve seen cases where extreme cold can trigger rosacea flare-ups. I always recommend that a client consult with their licensed skin professional before getting the service,” she says.
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