Ladies, I have reached that age. THAT age. Of fine lines, dreaded hamster cheeks and eyebags that resemble suitcases which no amount of facials can cure. When the chance to try out the new Slendertone Face machine came, I jumped for it! After all, if Amy Willerton, Miss Universe Great Britain 2013, is using this, I could be onto a good thing. In my mind, I’m envisaging a month of facial stimulation that will leave my face looking supermodel-like thin and waifish, in time for the festive season.
Slendertone Face relies on electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), the same technology in a TENS machine for muscle relaxation and pain relief, to produce an electrical current to stimulate the facial muscles in a variety of ways to relax, enervate and re-energise. The machine arrives in a lovely swanky white box, more akin to Apple products and comprises of a headset that rests on the cheeks plugging into a small device, half the size of a mobile. The device uses gel pads to cover the EMS points and come as a pack of 12 pairs, each pair lasting roughly a week, and there are enough for 3 months use. Three settings ensure you can jazz up your beauty routine no end, the full 20 minute intense programme, 15 minute relaxation, and a 10 minute gentle massage, with programme intensity ranging from 0-99.
After duly reading the instructions, which are simple enough, I give it a whirl. For the first week I opt for the full 20 minute programme every day, bar weekends. The first time I use the machine, my kid takes one look at me and falls over with laughter. I get it. I look ridiculous. When I start the programme, some perverse instinct seems to think I have a high pain threshold and I kick the setting up to 35. You are supposed to set it as high as you can take it, until you feel muscles twitching, then drop it down a notch to feel a buzz. Hot prickles run through my veins and my upper lip is curling all on its own. My son looks at me in alarm, and I rush to the mirror to see what’s happening. My eyelids are twitching and my mouth is moving with a life of its own. It’s disconcerting. I look like a squashed hamster in its death throes. The sensations are not really that pleasant or comfortable. I take it down to a more bearable 29 setting and decide it’s a look best left to when the kid is asleep, your significant other is away and you’re all alone.
After a few days, I get used to the feeling and the discomfort subsides. The buzz is pleasant and tingly. It’s a relaxing way of getting through my emails. For the following few weeks, I try each setting for a week in turn. My favourite is the 15 minute one. This feels the most comfortable to me. After 2 weeks I can definitely feel my face is firmer. After 4, my skin is clearer and I have worked up to level 35. I am using the Slendertone Face as part of my daily beauty care, before putting on my nightly creams and potions. It’s just a guess, but I reckon the extra stimulation brings more blood flowing through to the surface, helping my skin absorb the products better. A few weeks later at lunch, a friend comments that I’m looking very refreshed. I coyly say nothing, but secretly I’m overjoyed.
The only downside to this gadget is the lack of portability. A belt clip on the device would seem elementary. Having a clip would mean I could move around and get on with things around the house. All in all though, I’m impressed with this little gadget. It’s a tough start, but hang in there, the rewards are fantastic and it’s cheaper than surgery. What better Christmas present to treat yourself to?
The battery is charged via USB and lasts for about a week before it needs recharging. Replacement gel pads are available from Joyce Beauty (Hysan Place) and Joyce
Grooming (Landmark), Fitboxx shops (and online), as well as Cosmoboxx – a beauty line of Fitboxx within certain Fortress Electronic shops. The pads are HK$268 for 12 pairs.