"Ain't nobody got time for that." That's the basic premise behind Foreo's latest futuristic-looking skincare proposition, the UFO (which may look like something aliens would ride around in, but in fact stands for Ur Future Obssession).
Face masks were a big skincare trend in 2017 – they accounted for 40 per cent of online sales for beauty companies worldwide, according to Foreo, which itself stands for "for everyone". But there are inherent issues with the current batch of face masks on the market – notably, limited penetration, poor facial coverage and the amount of time they take to work their magic, according to the Swedish brand. Clay masks are messy and get stuck in your hair, while paper sheets are apparently ineffective as that they leave up to 20 per cent of your face uncovered.
“Face masks are the guilty pleasure of millions, but is lying under cold, wet sheets of paper the best we can do for 2018?” asks Paul Peros, Foreo’s CEO. “After four years in development, Foreo’s designers and technicians have proved there is a better way. We’re taking the latest professional beauty technologies available – treatments that can cost thousands of dollars – and incorporating them into one UFO device to unleash the full potential of our face masks.”
Only half-jokingly, Foreo is calling the UFO “the cure to the sheet-mask epidemic” and promising to “rescue” women from all those wasted hours sitting under ineffectice masks (apparently up to five days per year in Asian countries, where the highest number of recorded users is to be found). The UFO was unveiled during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, and is being positioned as “the world’s first smart-mask treatment to offer spa-level facial treatments in just 90 seconds”.
To do that, it combines cooling and warming elements with T-sonic pulsations and red, blue and green LED light therapy, across preset programmes. Thermo-therapy warms up the skin, softening it and opening up pores, to ensure that the mask's ingredients fully infiltrate the skin. The cooling function lifts and firms the skin, reducing the appearance of pores and the risk of inflammation; and T-sonic pulsations, a trademarked technology developed by Foreo, heightens absorption while delivering a relaxing massage. The LED therapy, meanwhile, uses three types of light: red to erase signs of ageing and boost collagen production; green to brighten and even the skin tone; and blue to kill bacteria and stimulate blood circulation. The device works with two specially formulated smart masks that are made from soft, microfibre-infused plant and fruit extracts, concentrated botanical oils and natural flower water. The Make My Day mask features hyaluronic acid and red algae for deep hydration; Call it a Night features ginseng and olive oil to nourish and revitalise. The UFO can be paired with a Foreo app on your phone to get the most out of the device.
Foreo has teamed up with crowdfunding site Kickstarter to bring this latest innovation to the market. The device has obviously struck a chord – the Kickstarter campaign had aimed to raise $20,000 (Dh73,450); but has accumulated well over $1.3 million (Dh4.7m). It will be available to order by the end of February and will retail at Dh1,024, while a smaller "entry-level" option will sell for Dh657.