I Tried Hanacure and Transformed Into The Stuff of Nightmares...Was It Worth It?
If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media recently (and of course you have because everybody poops), chances are you’ve already heard of the Korean skincare phenomenon known as Hanacure. It first came up on my radar when a girlfriend mentioned having seen a rousing endorsement by Drew Barrymore, and then suddenly it was EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t read a blog post or scroll through facebook or instagram without being served up articles, ads, videos, and before & after photos of the product accompanied by wildly glowing reviews. By all accounts this stuff was lightning in a bottle, with people swearing it takes years off your appearance and works wonders on a whole host of skin woes. Intrigued, I watched a video of a middle-aged Asian man who subjected himself to the process and it was magical…he went in looking like aged leather and came out looking like a summer peach.
Needless to say, the prospect was enticing. My skin has gone into rapid decline in the last year or two as I’ve had to reckon with the fact that, not only did I not take as good care of it as I should have during the years it really counted, but since I had children my attention to self-care is pretty much non-existent. As a result I've developed a lot of freckles and dark spots - especially on my left side from driving - as well as uneven tone, enlarged pores, and an overall air of having given the eff up. My face is basically this emoji 🤷🏻♀️.
So I bit the bullet and spent the $110 for a one-month supply. The parcel arrived a few days later and I opened it eagerly, promising myself that this was the beginning of a new era, the era of Taking Care of Business, and I was going to emerge post-Hanacure like a beautiful butterfly from my haggard chrysalis. I raised my fist to the heavens and declared that I was going to exfoliate and hydrate and tone my way to baby bum-level dermal perfection. So long, blotchiness and sun spots! Not today, dark shitty pores!
And then the package was promptly relegated to my “out of sight out of mind” shelf in the bathroom for the better part of 2 months. I gave zero thought to it until three days ago, when I FaceTimed with my mom and she delicately told me my face looked like a beat-up old boot. “Hey,” she said, “You need to do something about your skin NOW. If you wait any longer those dark patches will make roots and it will be TOO LATE.” Her eyes widened as she let the impact of her words hang ominously over us.
My mom’s unsuccessful grasp of the biology of dark patches aside, she had a point…my skin isn’t getting any better, and unfortunately I wasn’t blessed with her supernaturally good fortune in that arena. She just turned 80 and literally has the skin of a woman half her age. Nearly no wrinkles, no blemishes, no sagging, and nary a dark spot to be found, which is maddening because she abused her skin mercilessly almost her entire life. I remember in the 80’s when it was de rigueur to be the color of a Slim Jim, she would sit on a lawn chair next to our pool and slather herself in baby oil before laying in the sun for hours. HOURS. WITH BABY OIL. The woman literally basted herself like a Christmas turkey every summer for years and came out completely unscathed. I, on the other hand, have my dad’s delicate Mediterranean skin. If I even attempted something akin to what my mom did I'd be scorched and withered within minutes.
To recap: my mom tans herself into oblivion and merely achieves the perfect cocoa-butter brown, I spend an hour at the beach and turn into a sun-dried tomato. I can’t deny it any longer, I don't have the good genes (or youth) necessary to coast on my laurels. I need to do something about my skin and do it post haste.
So yesterday, I put Gioia down for her nap and finally unboxed my Hanacure set. Here is my humble account of the events that followed.
The packaging is clean and refreshingly free of bells and whistles. It contains 4 vials of Lifting Serum, 4 packets of Gelling Solution, a brush for application, and a one-use sample of Nano Emulsion. To start, you add one vial of the Lifting Serum to a packet of Gelling Solution and shake for a few seconds, until you’re left with a substance that looks exactly like apple jelly. Using the brush, you apply the gel to your face and neck and wait 30 minutes for the mask to take effect. I begin.
The gel is cool and soothing going on, and the brush is incredibly soft, making this part of the process feel like a pleasant spa experience.
Don't get comfortable, though, because it's about to go south real quick.
2 minutes - I can already feel the mask drying. The sensation isn’t unlike a regular clay mask as it starts to evaporate. No biggie.
5 minutes - my face is starting to feel taut, and the mask is tugging on my upper lip and nostrils as it continues to dry. Every time I breathe in I can feel the gel around my nose tightening, producing the sensation that unseen fingers are giving me piggy nose without my consent.
7 minutes - it’s getting difficult to keep my upper lip down and my front teeth are drying out. I wonder if I resemble the “follow the white rabbit” lady from The Matrix (see photo) whose upper lip is so drawn back she has to concentrate really hard on making "M" sounds. I glance in the mirror and confirm that I look exactly like her if she was deranged and made of butterscotch pudding.
10 minutes - there’s a sudden, marked increase in the pulling sensation. Shit’s getting real now.
15 minutes - it’s impossible to keep my mouth closed; my lips are being yanked out and around like they’re trying to meet in back of my neck. The Hanacure instructions state that some tightening will occur, but this feels less like "tightening" and more like my face is being pulled into another dimension.
* that look of concern is 100% sincere
20 minutes - second surge of intense drying/stretching sensation happens out of nowhere. My face is pulsating like a mud bubble in a bog. I can feel my heartbeat in my lips.
25 minutes - my mouth is now gaping open like a grouper and the ol' peepers are beyond misshapen. The right one is considerably bigger than the left and it gives the impression that I’ve got one eye on yesterday and the other on tomorrow. My neck has turned into beef jerky and my face is a deformed flan. I try to unlock my iPhone to take a selfie and the face recognition is like “nope.”
30 minutes - I'm feeling little fissures along my jawline as the last molecules of moisture disappear and my transformation into a snapping turtle is complete. And yet I’m going to wait a few extra minutes because my cheeks are still dampish.
33 minutes - took a suggestion from the instructions and tried fanning my face to “intensify results.” The mask became angry and launched a full frontal assault. Hell is empty because all the devils are here playing Blanket Run with my left eyelid.
40 minutes - time to remove. Before doing so I succumb to the irresistible urge to grimace & crack my face like a crème brûlée.
I feel intense relief as I wash with warm water and a washcloth, and feel my face returning to its proper position on my skull. Upon contact with the water the mask turns into gel again, except this time instead of delightful apple jelly, it’s the same clumpy consistency as the absorbent crystals inside of diapers once they become soiled. Spoiler alert: it’s not pleasant. The stuff is stubborn and clings to my skin even with mildly vigorous rubbing with the aforementioned washcloth.
After finally rinsing off the last of the goo, I apply moisturizer and peer expectantly into the mirror. My skin feels hot and slightly tingly, and it's very splotchy, especially on my neck where the skin is thinner. The instructions warn that redness can last up to 90 minutes so I don’t sweat it. I eat lunch and check again about half an hour later.
The verdict: my face definitely looks brighter, more even & firm, and my pores are less visible. I was hoping for more significant lightening of the dark spots, but as this is only the first of 4 weekly treatments I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will continue to fade. Overall I’m happy with the results and feel it was worth looking like the mummified remains of Sloth from The Goonies. I'm looking forward to seeing how my skin looks at the end of the month. Stay tuned for updates...
Here are the before (left) and after (right) photos from my Hanacure experience.
Comment below and let me know - do you see a difference or am I just desperate to believe?