Masterminded by a top aesthetic doctor, the Dr Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask promises to relax wrinkles and frown lines, calm the mind and induce sleep in just 15 minutes. We put it to the test.
Needle-free wrinkle-busting while you take a power nap? It sounds like the stuff of beauty dreams. But these are the promises being made by the patented Dr Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask , £89.99, that has the backing of broadcaster Lisa Snowdon , 49, Harley Street's Dr Ayah Siddiqi and founder of The Tweakments Guide Alice Hart-Davis. Mega claims they may be, but the science does seem to hold up.
In a double-blind, randomised and controlled trial on 30 participants, the non-invasive mask was found to reduce lines in the brow area by an impressive 64 per cent while promoting relaxation by up to 67 per cent. Dr Steven Harris, who specialises in wrinkle-relaxing injectables and facial rejuvenation at the Harris Clinic in London's Crouch End , initially created the mask to tackle lines around the eyes but when trialling it he stumbled upon another side effect – its calming and snooze-inducing powers. "After the trials, wearers reported this profound relaxation effect that caused them to keep nodding off," explains Dr Harris, a former GP who has worked as a leading aesthetic doctor for over 17 years.
Is it any wonder the GTG team wanted to put the power mask through its paces? Here's our verdict.
How does Dr Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask work?
It may look like an ordinary silk sleep mask but flip the Dr Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask over and you'll notice a series of raised silicone dots, specifically placed to stimulate mechanoreceptors (tiny nerve endings) on the face.
"We have two types of these touch receptors – those that are rapid-acting and those that are slow-acting. The mask presses on the latter which activates your autonomic nervous system – your rest-and digest system. This, in turn, relaxes the body, in particular muscle tone," explains Dr Harris whose work with wrinkle-relaxing injections has given him an innate understanding of how the muscles behave. Think the same soothing sensation of someone stroking your face or a baby's forehead.
While the mask can't banish static wrinkles (the permanent kind), it gets to work on dynamic wrinkles. This is the kind formed from movements such as smiling and frowning – in the case of the mask, specifically those vertical creases between the brows, known as glabellar lines or 'elevens.' Just 15 minutes of wear-time promises visible results on this area, lasting up to five hours.
"The dots have a gripping effect on the skin. If you try to frown or scrunch your eyes with the mask on, you'll get tired so it almost forces you to relax," adds Dr Harris whose 'lightbulb' moment came six years ago during a long-haul flight from London to Toronto. Feeling particularly stressed, he noticed himself frowning underneath his eye mask. Inspired by seeing the silicone grips on someone's in-flight socks, he began imagining a mask that could stop him frowning with gentle pressure and actively relax his face and mind simultaneously for a visible wrinkle-reducing effect. Soon after his flight, Dr Harris began working on the prototypes.
Who are fans of Dr Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask?
Having been impressed by the mask's clinical results, first published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2016, esteemed journalist and aesthetic expert Alice Hart-Davis is now its official ambassador.
While she hasn't seen a change in her own lines and wrinkles – putting that down to the fact hers are the static horizontal type across her forehead – Alice did notice sleep benefits.
"I find it has such a soporific effect, I particularly like it for getting back to sleep in the middle of the night, which is when I struggle," Alice comments.
What does a doctor think? Award-winning aesthetic practitioner Dr Ayah Siddiqi agrees. "I've noticed an impact across sleep, relaxation and wrinkles – both personally and in the small group of patients who have tried the mask for me. Sleep quality really improved and I found it did relax the whole autonomic nervous system. I often experience migraines and I noticed the mask helped with the intensity of these too, which I think must be down to the pressure on the touch receptors.
"The mask wouldn't replace my patients' need for botulinum toxin treatments. However they did tell me they saw an instant effect on the depth of their wrinkles. When their face was at rest, it looked a little bit tighter which slightly elongated the time they left between their appointments," says Dr Ayah who has clinics in Harley Street and Halifax, West Yorkshire.
Lisa Snowdon, broadcaster and host of the Get Lifted podcast series, has been using the mask for the past month. "I like the wrinkle-softening element of it – who doesn't?! But I also liked reading all the genuine reviews and studies behind the product," Lisa tells us.
"It is amazing. I've always been obsessed with sleep having worked on a breakfast show, but last year the stress of the pandemic – combined with hormones – had a hideous impact on my sleep. Using the mask, alongside my nightly rituals such as having a bath and putting away my phone, really does help," she comments. Lisa told us she likes using it for a 'disco nap' – a ten minute snooze before a night out.
Hollywood actress Kaley Cuoco , 35, used the mask as part of her red-carpet prep for the Emmy Awards this year.
How do you use Dr Harris Anti-Wrinkle Sleep Mask?
Like any other sleep mask, you line the elastic up with the top of your ears, then press one finger firmly over the relaxation point between your eyebrows, holding for five seconds. Release it and sit back, allowing the mask to work for at least 15 minutes, or overnight.
It's safe to use if you've already had any anti-wrinkle treatments and on top of your usual skincare, providing you allow it to fully absorb so the silicone dots are able to grip the skin.
The Get The Gloss verdict
"I love wearing the mask at night, it fits snugly and doesn’t move around. Normally my eye mask ends up on the floor. Dr Harris told me it’s quite hard to frown when you’ve got it on; I tried it and it’s true; the silicone dots provide just that bit of resistance. Not frowning does make you feel less crumpled and cross (in the same way that faking laughter can induce the real thing). This mood bonus has also been reported from anti-wrinkle injections. Is it as good as the needle? No, of course not. I have quite deep frown lines that need the big guns, but every little helps. I did sleep very well wearing it and have used it for a deeper yoga relaxation too. Both my teens love it. My lash technician will tell me off, though, as eye masks without those special hollows can shorten the life of your extensions. An investment, sure, but what price is sleep?" - Victoria Woodhall, GTG editorial director
"Nodding off at night has luckily never been a problem for me, but a daytime power nap is always a no-go due to any source of bright lighting. Unfortunately, sleep masks have never been a friend in my time of need because I'm a huge fidgeter and they either slide off during the night or are far too tight. However, to my surprise, this was a match. It feels like a weighted blanket for your eyes, the relaxing pressure pods are heavy in just the right places and have a slight grip, so it stays put without feeling too restrictive. It’s really calming, not just for the mind but for your skin and muscles, too. If like me you tend to clench your jaw or are prone to tension headaches, popping this on for 15 minutes is great as it helps to de-stress. I don’t have any wrinkles yet, but perhaps I won’t thanks to this!" – Jemma Thompson, GTG design and social media manager