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The first album I bought with my own money was Madonna’s Like a Virgin. I’ve dressed up as that woman on more Halloweens than I can count, and I almost exclusively sing her songs at karaoke. Skincare is also my drug of choice, and the singer just dropped quite the collection here in the US. Perfect synergy for all of my relevant interests.
Madonna’s MDNA SKIN line has been available in Asia since 2014, but as of yesterday, you can buy it here in the States exclusively at Barneys. There are six main products along with a few accessories. Prices range from $50 to $600, so we’re firmly in “Material Girl” territory here. The star ingredients come from the spa town of Montecatini, Italy — the line utilizes the thermal mineral water, volcanic clay, and olive oil from the region. It’s manufactured by the Japanese company MTG. It will soon launch in China and Europe, but no word yet on whether it will expand to other retailers here in the US.
Madonna had a little meet-and-greet for beauty-industry types in New York City yesterday to introduce the line, where she spoke for a good 20 minutes dressed in an amazing leather pussy bow dress with an attached apron.
“I don’t want to mislead people into thinking that suddenly I’ve jumped from caring about the world to caring about something superficial. However, I believe that everybody wants, and has the right, to look as good as they possibly can,” she said. “Having good skin and taking care of my skin has always been important to me... This isn’t a vanity project, even though it’s connected to vanity.”
The brand gave us the entire collection to try at home, which I did in earnest last night and this morning. Obviously I can’t speak to the long-term effects, but here is my snap judgment on each product, rated on the only system that makes sense here: Madonna songs. (Please note that my knowledge of her discography extends only to 2000’s Music.)
The Face Wash ($50): This is a hard-working, elegant, and timeless product that I’m predicting will be a crowdpleaser, much like “Express Yourself.” (The wet, dripping men in the video are a perfect visual representation for a cleanser.) This is an oil-based cleanser that also has some alpha and beta hydroxy acids in it. It’s not heavy and oily feeling, but it removed my eye makeup without water. It also rinsed really cleanly when I slathered it all over my face in the shower, and I didn’t need to use a step two foaming cleanser. Don’t go for second best, baby, put this cleanser to the test. (Sorry.)
The Serum: ($240): Serums have to grow on you, kind of like “Ray of Light” (both the song and the album). This serum contains hyaluronic acid, the fancy thermal water, peptides, and antioxidants in a base that feels like a light lotion; it has a fresh and not-overpowering scent, and it absorbs easily. It felt great on my skin, but will it be the game-changer that does to my skin what this album did for Madonna’s career and image? (It was right after she had Lourdes and was seen as a more serious direction for her.) TBD.
The Rose Mist ($120): Madonna said that this was her desert island product and that she carries it everywhere. This is a lot of cash for a product that you can find at many different price points, and while it was nice, I might not be as excited about it as she is. To me, it’s “Lucky Star,” a song that I think is fine, even though it’s arguably the one that launched her whole career. (A note about roses: Madonna loves them, and while I was getting my picture taken with her [!!], she told me that rose-flavored gummy bears, which were scattered in bowls throughout the room, were one of her favorite treats.)
The Eye Serum ($180): I remember seeing/hearing “Vogue” and being totally wowed by it all. Same reaction here. The clear serum comes in a dropper bottle and is pretty luxurious. It feels like an oil but then absorbs pretty instantly, and I could visibly see my eyes perking up and my fine lines receding a tiny bit (hyaluronic acid again). I put it under a heavier, non-Madonna cream at night and used it alone the next morning.
The Eye Mask ($50/four sets): These under-eye sheet masks are saturated with a juicy concoction of something called “lotus clear” and the now-familiar hyaluronic acid and thermal water. They’re not an everyday product, but something that you use when you need a little pick-me-up, sort of like “True Blue,” a song that I put on whenever I feel sad or nostalgic.
The Chrome Clay Mask ($120/$220): This mask, which is the cornerstone of the collection, contains iron pigments, and you remove it with a magnet. Madonna told the crowd, much to everyone’s amusement, that she uses it on her butt and that we should “ask our significant other to remove it” for us. We’ve discussed this semi-gimmicky concept at length here, so I’ll just say I’m skeptical that a magnet offers much benefit.
The mask itself felt great — creamy with a slight bit of grit to it— and it didn’t dry in that tightening way that some clay masks do. It requires accessories, though. The Magnetic Flow wand ($180) removes the mask when you wave it over your face, and you need covers ($15) for the wand, otherwise it’s hard to clean the residue off. (Saran Wrap would work, though.)
The mask left an oily, serum-like coating on my face, which I wiped off but then read I was supposed to massage into my skin. Oops. The wand uses a battery and supposedly functions to help the juice absorb better when you rub it on your face after you take the mask off. The whole process left me feeling a little bit confused and uncomfortable, much like “Justify My Love” does to this day.
Skin Rejuvenator Set ($600): While you can buy all the pieces of the chrome clay mask separately, this is the whole set, along with a special stand to nestle your Magnetic Flow wand in. This is the equivalent of Madonna’s Sex book, which caused quite a commotion in its day, not to mention it had a metal cover covered in plastic, so, similar theme. This slightly sadomasochistic product will likely offend some people, similar to the softcore BDSM porn within Sex did.
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