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Holy Ole! — Ole Henriksen Feel the Difference Perfecting Mask With African Red Tea


Prior to trying this product, I’d never heard of African Red Tea. Come to think of it, I’d never even heard of red tea! Green tea? Yes. Black tea? Sure. White tea? Absolutely. Herbal tea? Most definitely. But red tea? Nope. So what exactly is red tea? Well, a simple Google search (what did we ever do without Google, right?) indicates that it’s a beverage made with the dried leaves of the Aspalathis linearis plant (also known as Rooibos), which is colloquially dubbed “red bush” and is indigenous to South Africa. Red tea is said to be loaded with antioxidants (particularly polyphenols), which protect the skin from free radical damage (and hence ward off visible signs of aging). Hmmm, could this be the next “it” ingredient, following on the heels of the acai and goji berries? Could be, my friends.

Ole Henriksen’s Feel the Difference Perfecting Mask With African Red Tea is delectable on so many different levels. Let’s start with the fact that it has a gel-like consistency and is both lightweight and clear — yes, ladies, clear. If you’re big on facial masks, then you know finding a good one that isn’t a revolting avocado green, muddy gray or brown-black color is a formidable feat. Seriously, the first time my toddler saw me wearing one of those Swamp Thing-esque masks, he burst into tears like I was the Boogie Woman and, as he sobbed miserably, I had to sprint to the bathroom to rinse the darned mask off, then rush to his side so he could see it really was mommy all along. But, with this mask, I can even answer the doorbell, greet the mailman or the pizza delivery guy, and not feel the least bit embarrassed. That’s one point scored off the bat.

Now, let’s talk about the experience itself. When you first apply the mask onto slightly damp skin, you’ll notice a cooling sensation and a slight tingle — especially around those areas of your face where skin is tender and where aging signs tend to pop up (around the eyes, on the forehead, at the corners of the mouth, etc.). The cooling sensation is intense enough for you to perceive it and enjoy its soothing effect, yet subtle enough so as not to feel jarring (after all, you don’t want to feel like you’ve stuck your head inside the freezer!). Within ten minutes, the mask should be dry and ready to be rinsed off. And here’s the excellent twist: when you rinse the mask off, you’ll actually feel another burst of coolness on your skin (the result of the increased oxygen flow to your skin’s capillaries). When you pat your face dry, you’ll notice your complexion will look brighter, smoother, and more taut.

The Feel the Difference mask contains: soothing chamomile extract; caffeine to boost circulation and hence reduce puffiness; algae extract and wheat protein to firm the skin; grapefruit and orange extracts to promote cell renewal and infuse the skin with brightening vitamin C; sweet almond oil and shea butter to hydrate; and pomegranate extract and African red tea, which have high levels of antioxidants and can promote cell renewal and protect the skin from free radicals.

Another plus: the mask has this sweet, slightly citrus-y smell that’s invigorating and refreshing so that, as you wait for it to work its magic, your body and spirit feel energized too.

What can I say? I felt the difference (yes, that’s a pun based on the name — I couldn’t resist!).

Ole Henriksen Feel the Difference Perfecting Mask With African Red Tea, $35. Visit Sephora.com

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