This week, I'm in hiding.
Inspired by the recent Bond Street jewellery heist, I've decided that masks are the must have accessory du jour - the ones that make your skin look peachy perfect that is... not those that land you in jail. This weekend, I put the latest launches to the test:
£ - First up is MAC's super scary Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask (£13.50; pictured - pretty, huh?). My husband looks on in horror as I plaster on the viscous black cream. I look like a failed contestant on the Krypton Factor who fell face-first into a cowpat.
What they say: "Contains natural mineral-rich Volcanic Ash to help absorb excess oil from the skin's surface. A combination of natural oils (lavender, sunflower, safflower seed and evening primrose) help lubricate the skin leaving it feeling soft and moisturised."
The verdict: Messy! I try to wipe it off with cotton - but it smears like molasses and I start to panic. I jump in the shower. My fingers are black, the water's black, the shower door is black, the taps are black... I'm in a horror movie! Wait... things are looking up: as I begin to massage it off with the water, the mask's thermal self-heating action kicks in and warms up my skin. It's a weird sensation, but not unpleasant, and I can feel each pore unclogging. It all comes off easily and my skin feels detoxed and super clean - this is ideal for shine-prone types as it has a mattifying finish.
££ - Next is the way less traumatic, heaven-in-a-tube Darphin Youthful Radiance Camellia Mask (£40). It's pure white and smells of angels - and at that price I think it's probably made of angels. If I stepped onto the set of Twilight, Mr Pattinson would be mine.
What they say: "A skin-nourishing mask to help reduce fine lines so skin appears radiant, smooth, softened and revived, whilst also delivering an aromatic experience that helps restore one's sense of wellbeing."
The verdict: Blissful. It's gorgeous to apply (not too runny, not too stiff) and feels cool and fresh on my skin. This is old-school luxury pampering at its best, and what better way to accessorise my whitened visage than with a home manicure and fruit smoothie? The smell is incredibly relaxing - just what you need on the wedding morning. After 15 minutes, I wipe it off with a few damp cotton pads and my skin is soft, nourished, perky-pink and even-toned. We like!
£££ - The mother ship has landed. At £200, Guerlain's Orchidée Impériale Mask shouldn't just make my skin look 20 years younger; it should cook me dinner, mix me a cocktail, tuck me into bed and kiss me goodnight.
What they say: "This exceptional mask combines the complete age-defying action of the Imperial Orchid Molecular Extract with a wondrous concentration of energising and revitalising active ingredients."
The verdict: DIVINE. It smells of soft petals and feels like custard (it's so decadent I actually try tasting some on the tip of my tongue. What's wrong with me!? Anyway, not recommended). It comes with a dinky little brush for princess-style application, which is so much more civilised than slapping it on with one's fingers - especially as the glass jar weighs a ton - so it avoids any greasy-hand-juggling disasters. After 10 minutes, and a recommended circulation-boosting face massage, I tissue it off and my skin is reborn. It's baby soft, deeply hydrated, calm and refreshed, and way brighter than any Graff diamond. Note to future Bond Street jewel thieves: don't bother. Guerlain is a girl's best friend.