Stretching out on my bed, I could hear my youngest daughter, Evangeline, six, explaining to her younger brothers, Dash, five, and Lester, three, how she had just found me when she’d burst in moments before.
‘You can’t go in there. I think Mum’s going to a dressing-up party. Her face is all shiny and black, like she’s dressed up in a mask.’
‘Like Batman?’ asked Dash excitedly.
‘Yes, exactly like that. She looks like you did when you had to dress up as a superhero at school.’
If my face hadn’t felt so tight and almost immobile, due to the effects of the very mask she described working on my knackered skin, I might even have got the giggles. As it was, I simply stretched out and enjoyed another five minutes’ peace. After all, how often can it be said that your beauty treatment looks so odd and extreme, it frightens your children?
The Celestial Black Diamond Lifting and Firming Mask by 111SKIN has proven popular with celebrities including Sienna Miller (pictured) and Kim Kardashian
The children had a point. I did look bizarre. And slightly sinister.
The Celestial Black Diamond Lifting and Firming Mask by 111SKIN is the newest and boldest mask to hit the ballooning market.
It was recently made famous by Sienna Miller, after her make-up artist posted a picture of her on Instagram. Teamed with a faded pink T-shirt and shades, Sienna managed to make the mask look ever so slightly sexy.
But this wasn’t the first time a celebrity has been snapped in a black diamond mask. Earlier this summer, Victoria Beckham posted a picture of herself, hair scraped back, in 111SKIN’s eye mask, ready to be made up.
The eye mask is slightly less dramatic than the all-over version, looking as it does like two massive, distorted, shiny black tears under her eyes.
A few days later, she appeared on the 111SKIN Instagram feed again, this time in the full-face black mask. Instagram addicts Kim Kardashian, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Margot Robbie are also fans.
The black diamond particles (yes, from real black diamonds) in the mask apparently help the active ingredients penetrate the skin faster and to a deeper level.
The formula contains a small amount of retinol (vitamin A), which helps to retexture the skin without irritating it, as well as other vitamins to improve discolouration, and a potent peptide complex to fight fine lines — the mask is particularly good for wrinkles around the eyes.
It was developed by Harley Street plastic surgeon Dr Yannis Alexandrides, but all his masks are clearly designed with the selfie generation in mind.
Celebrity mask selfies play into the current cult of self-love. If you can post a striking picture of yourself in a flash black face mask, yet dress it up with the hashtag #selfcarerevolution, while reminding your followers to #loveyourself, all the better.
It would be cynical to suggest the Celestial mask has been developed just to make a splash on social media, since the science behind it is not child’s play.
Clover Stroud (pictured) says her skin felt tighter after trying the £20 face mask
Dr Alexandrides claims all his 111SKIN masks use the most advanced technology, namely hydrogel, a thermosensitive material that enriches and conditions the skin.
The mask also incorporates bio-cellulose, an advanced Korean technology with moisturising properties, which allows the skin to breathe.
It contains air-blown microscopic cones of 95 per cent hyaluronic acid and 5 per cent vitamin C, too. These puncture the skin at 0.3mm to ensure complete absorption.
All this sounds very clever, but how did the mask measure up in real life? I tried it again, lying next to my husband in bed. He was so engrossed in Newsnight he didn’t even notice the scary, slightly sexy mask. When he turned to face me, he looked shocked, then excited. Clearly the night was about to get a lot more interesting.
However, he was disappointed: despite its rubbery consistency, it is designed purely as a beauty treatment, not a marital aid.
Achieving Sienna Miller’s Insta-perfect face was harder than it looked, as I didn’t have a personal make-up artist to hand. The first time I used it, I ended up with a face full of black jelly, with visible air bumps underneath. Next time, I was more adept, tipping my head back to slap it on.
The face mask costs £20, and another £20 for the neck and decolletage, so it’s not cheap, but it’s less pricey than a salon facial.
After I’d taken it off, my skin felt tighter. Having said that, I am a mother of five, so simply lying down for 20 minutes was, in itself, a relaxing and novel experience.
Whether it had any long-lasting effects is open to question. Like most face masks, it’s a fun and accessible luxury, but once my children started shrieking at me again, this extraordinary-looking product’s effects slipped away pretty quickly, sadly.
Black masks: 3 of the best High Street buys
Garnier Charcoal and Algae Hydrating Face Sheet Mask
This charcoal and algae sheet mask is both mattifying and hydrating, due to the enriching hyaluronic acid.
Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask
Seaweed, activated charcoal and volcanic ash remove dirt, impurities and excess oil.
Boscia Luminizing Black Mask
Apply a thick layer of this detoxifying charcoal mask, leave for 30 minutes and peel off to minimise the appearance of pores and reveal a glowing complexion.