Self-love, down there, but it's not what you think.
Girls, it's a mask for your vulva. "Do I really need a mask for my nether regions?", I can hear you asking. Yes, I asked myself that too. Well, Cynthia Chua, the beauty and lifestyle mastermind behind the Spa Esprit group and brands such as Strip, Browhaus, Tiong Bahru Bakery and Tippling Club, and the self-professed "Queen of Vulva", thinks so. The cleverly-named TWO L(I)PS is her latest brainchild, an attempt to shatter taboos about the vaginal area and "reclaim this intimate part of the female body as an asset that needs to be cared for and nourished with the same love and attention we give to the rest of our body." And so, ladies, she bestows upon us the TWO L(I)PS Blackout mask, the world’s first activated Charcoal mask for your vulva.
Let's talk about the vulva.
No need to be shy, okay? Here's a crash course, courtesy of TWO L(I)PS: The vulva is not merely a woman’s vagina. In Latin, the word means “wrapper” or “covering”. The vulva includes the vaginal lips, clitoris, urethral opening and the vaginal opening, basically, the external part of the female genitalia. It also comprises the inner thighs and mons pubis, which is the flesh over your pubic bone. The vagina, on the other hand, is the internal organ. The Blackout mask is meant to care for the delicate skin at the vulva and re-balance it, and at the same time, help you get in touch with your inner goddess.
So this is what the mask looks like. Pretty, right?
If you ask me, it looks like half a pair of sexy panties. Half a pair, 'cos there's no back, just the front. Like with a facial mask, you pull it out of the pack, and grapple with the wet and slimy thing for a few seconds while trying to open it and make sure it goes on the right way, without making a mess or dropping it. Although it looks idiot-proof, I struggle to apply it the right way. Yes, the top part goes over your pubic bones, while the bottom "lips" go over your vaginal lips, and the flaps are to be tucked into your inner thighs. In case you were wondering, the lace is an ornamental layer that is completely meant to prettify the whole process. A wet black sheet over your vajayjay just looks, well, non-sexy. Add a layer of lace, and voila! I feel 10 times more goddess-like, as I lie in bed with this doodad over my down-there.
So this is what a vulva facial feels like.
To be honest, it feels wet, cold and uncomfortable... at least for a while. Also, are you supposed to open or close your legs? I opt for a kind of in-between position. And since the organic plant serum-soaked mask isn't just an activated charcoal mask that acts like a magnet to draw out toxins, improve lymphatic drainage and sooth, brighten and nourish the skin, but also an exercise in getting in touch with your inner self, there's a whole ritual to go along with it. The media was gifted this box that opens up like a book to reveal...
The vulva care package...
First, you're encouraged to get some privacy, hence the "do not disturb" door hanger (top left). Light a scented candle, they suggest. Grab a book, they recommend. Perhaps also make yourself a cup of butterfly pea flower tea (bottom left). FYI, the flower's latin name is clitoria ternatea — yup, it's named that as it resembles the female genitals. (The beautiful coincidence blows my mind, too.) There's also a booklet to bust all your vulva misconceptions, as well as a mirror (top right) so you can see how gorgeous your own flower looks like after all the love, masking and pampering.
Get in da mood with a special playlist.
To show how serious they are about elevating your vulva facial into something that's not just skin-deep, but, like, totally spiritual and relaxing as well, there's a special TWO L(I)PS playlist, which you can download from http://bit.ly/TWOLIPS. So for 15 precious minutes, while I waited for the mask's precious serum to sink into the skin of my most precious part, I zoned out and chilled out. The coldness of the mask became comforting after a while, and took me to a place spa, spa away. After the ritual, I peeled off the mask, patted the remaining serum onto my, um, thighs (you know how you usually pat a facial mask's remains onto your neck?), and after the whole thing, found my lady bits to be softer, lovelier and fresher. Or maybe it was all in my mind. Not a bad thing, either way. You're supposed to use the mask five days in a row, and thereafter weekly for best results, and it's also good for soothing skin post-wax or post-IPL, although, no, you don't have to be hair-free, as the serum is able to penetrate into skin whether you're Brazilianed or bushy.
So there you go. Did I enjoy my at-home vulva spa? Yes. Do I need it? Still not that sure. But it's definitely nice to take care of your vajayjay and #LoveYourVulvaMore once in a while.
TWO L(I)PS Blackout Mask, $120 for box of five sheets; $28 for single mask, from Strip outlets and www.twolips.vip.