The Movie Theater Facial


A couple of years ago I had one of those particularly over-booked Saturdays—the kind with a million errands to run, tired eyes to soothe, a full body to exfoliate pre-spray tan, and a flight the next day for which I was certainly not packed. All that, and I promised I'd meet a friend at the Angelika for a screening of Trapped. I was going to be late, but I was definitely going to go-there's nothing like a two hour movie to distract you from all the real stuff you've got going on. So while I was standing in line at Sephora 30 minutes before the movie, holding two handfuls of travel sized accoutrements, I had a lightbulb moment: Why not do a DIY facial at the movie theatre? I needed to do it anyway…and I was already in Sephora. Right then and there, my Movie Theater Spa was born.

Think about it: Where else do we get to relax for 90 minutes without moving or speaking while still awake? Besides, did you know that more than half those masks we pay all that money for do not actually fulfill their absolute potential unless our physical bodies are in a state of relaxation? It's true! Check the instructions on the back of your next sheet mask: "1. Wash face and pat dry 2. Remove the film from the mask and gently apply to face 3. Relax for 30 minutes before removing the mask." When was the last time you masked while not multitasking? Hmmm?

So I started experimenting with the Movie Theater Spa that Saturday. And after a few full-length feature attempts, I found that there are actually several cinematically appropriate products on the market that are simple to apply, mess-free, require no bathroom or mirror, and allow you to enjoy an unencumbered viewing experience. The only challenge is getting over the reaction people have when they see you in full spa-mode at Regal Cinemas. That's on them. I've broken it down product by product, so you can choose if you want to keep it simple, or go for the full trilogy.

Let me begin with my absolute favorite product on the planet—Klorane Smoothing And Relaxing Eye Contour Patches. These leading ladies are made with cornflower, which has been used to soothe sensitive skin for centuries. It's perfect for any scenario even remotely public, because there's no slime, no goo, and no residue. They lay flat under your eyes without affecting your view, and provide a consistent cooling and calming sensation. The best part is, you can pretty much leave them on for as long as you like. I once left the same pair on for all 152 minutes of Blade Runner and left without needing shades. Feel me?

Next I'll add the Dr. Jart + Laugh Line Lift. The consistency of this portioned sheet mask is similar to the Klorane patches in that there's no sloppy wet mess. It's a hydrogel patch that's engineered with small dots on the back that naturally add pressure to the smile-zone, and essentially enhances the rate at which your skin will absorb the effects of the mask. It's packed with collagen and volufiline, which both immediately plump, firm, and moisturize your face. You will literally leave the theater wrinkle-free.

Once those are on, I'll slip into the Karuna Hydrating Hand Masks. These are essentially wonder gloves—they use an oil-based moisturizer to coat the inside of the mitt, which feels either lovely and luxurious or gross and visceral, depending on your perspective. Either way, they are fool-proof at the movies because of the sticker wrap at the base, which ensures the moisture stays inside of the mitt and doesn't drip down your wrist. Note: The order of application is paramount here. Always put the hand mask on last. Once, during Phantom Thread, I accidentally put my hand masks on first and ended up with two sets of Klorane eye patches stuck to my gloves and none on my face. But don't worry, the gloves allow for full range of phalangeal motion for any and all of your concession snacking needs.

It's important to note that your hunger level plays the lead role here. If you've come with that cardboard tray of popcorn, nachos, a blue Slurpee, peanut M&M's, Sour Patch Kids, and a Toblerone ('cause you're classy), please call me to hang out with you next weekend, but don't use the Dr. Jart+ Laugh Line Lift. Chewing, sucking, and sipping will break down the adhesive backing and have your masks slithering down your cheeks. Instead, an ideal substitute is the Dr. Jart+ Neck & Chin Lift. Its physical formulation is similar to the line lift, but the focus is on "heart zone" of your chin, neck, and jawline—tightening and smoothing in 30 minutes. And because the mask wraps comfortably around your ears, it's not going anywhere no matter how much popcorn you consume. Have it all, all at the same time.

—Bramble Trionfo