If you read my other blogs, you may know that I’ve just come back from a three week holiday in California (hence the ducks in the photo above, which are from our hotel in San Francisco.), and you know what that means: SEPHORA.
I paid a few visits to Sephora while I was gone, but the very first thing I purchased there – and quite possibly the best, too – was this: Peter Thomas Roth’s Instant FirmX Temporary Face Tightener.
This is a product which had been on my wish list for a long time: I’d read numerous reviews of it, and most of them seemed to agree that it does what it says on the tube: tightens the skin on the face, instantly erasing fine lines, and even working on deeper creases, like the nasolabial folds (nose-to-mouth lines) or glabella lines (the “elevens”). Those are my main two problem areas, so I figured if this could make them look even a little bit better, it would be worth the $48.
Of course, what it also says on the tube is that this is a “temporary” fix. It’s basically a serum-like product which work almost like a glue: it will instantly tighten your skin, and it will instantly erase your fine lines, but as soon as you wash it off – or it wears off naturally – things will just as instantly go back to how they were. “Fair enough,” thought I, and off I went to try it out.
As you can see, the product comes in a 100ml squeezy tube. It’s an opaque, white-ish serum, not as thick as a cream, and not as runny as a liquid, and because it’s very pale, it was completely impossible to photograph against my equally pale skin, so here’s another shot of the tube instead:
I was desperate to try this, but was wearing makeup at the time I bought it, so I had to wait until the next morning, at which point I cleaned my face as normal and then, following the instructions, applied a thin film of the serum over my face, and tried to remain as expressionless as possible while it dried.
(Aside: I found this quite difficult. I figured they want you to remain expressionless so the product “freezes” your face as smoothly as possible, but it was almost irresistible to me not to pull some awful face and find out if it would stay like that. I AM only about five, though…)
It just takes a few minutes for this to kick in, and boy do you know about it! You can really feel the skin on your face tightening: it’s not painful or unpleasant, but it IS a little strange – I was almost afraid to look in the mirror, because it felt like my face was going to have dried into some frozen kind of mask.
I did look in the mirror, though. And…
No, really, it does. And I know what you’re thinking, because trust me, I didn’t really expect it to work either. But this product totally erased my lines, even the nose-to-mouth lines, and even the “elevens”. I was completely amazed. In fact, I was so amazed, I made my husband and my mother try it too, and guess what? It erased their lines, too. About five minutes after you apply it, they just GO.
Well, there had to be a “but”, didn’t there?
The product isn’t without its problems. Principle amongst these is that, as I said above, this is basically acting like a glue, which irons out the wrinkles and holds it there. If you’re not really, really careful, you will see this “glue” on your skin. Although it goes on transparent, it dries to a whitish film: on my pale face, it’s barely apparent, but on darker skin, like my mum’s, it looked much more obvious, and would require much more careful application. Even then, I suspect it may look a little odd unless you were putting makeup on over the top.
And about that… The first couple of times I used this, I put it on first, and then tried to apply my susnscreen over the top. (We were on holiday and out of doors all the time, so I was using a really thick, gloopy sunscreen.). This didn’t work out too well, because the sunscreen had to be rubbed in, and as soon as I started to do that, I found that I was rubbing the Instant FirmX OFF. I’d end up with a weirdly patchy face, with some areas showing this odd transparent “film” on the skin, and chalky white deposits around my nose and the corners of my mouth. Not a great look, and although the instructions tell you to simply pat water onto any areas where this happens, that didn’t seem to work with me, and I’d end up having to wash it all off and start again.
Eventually, I worked out that the FirmX was just as effective OVER my moisturiser/sunblock as it was underneath it. It still tightens the skin and gets rid of lines, but you don’t end up rubbing it off when you put moisturiser on, and if I’m very careful with the application of my foundation, it can be unnoticeable.
Note the word “can be” however. This does require VERY careful application. This morning, for instance, I tried to apply it in a hurry, without looking in the mirror, and ended up with those chalky patches all over my forehead: whoops.
In terms of how long it lasts, if I haven’t had to wash any of it off, most of the lines it removes will stay gone for the rest of the day. I do find, however, that the lines on the left-hand side of my mouth will start to reappear after a couple of hours, presumably because I’m using those muscles constantly (I have a weird habit of clenching my jaw on that side of my mouth, so the line there is deeper than on the other side). The line is much fainter than it is without FirmX, though, and every little helps.
So this is far from a perfect product, and it’s one that takes a LOT of getting used to: in fact, I’m far from used it myself, and I’ve used it a good few times now. I think it’s worth persevering with it, though – the skin tightening/wrinkle erasing effects are definitely impressive, and if the brand was able to tweak the formula a little to get rid of the whitish residue it leaves on the skin, I can see this selling by the shedload.