I’ve always loved a nice, long soak in the bath, but I’ve never been more excited for one than after I meet Mathieu Antos, the founder of Bioxidea, a line of scientifically charged masks that’s recently been stocked on shelves at Joyce Beauty. I’m gushing – as one is wont to do after trying one of these miracle sheet masks – over the change it’s able to effect in just 15 minutes, taking skin from parched to perfect, when he asks me if I put the remnants in the tub.
Of course, I did not. I’m certainly not in the habit of taking my trash with me into the bath. But it turns out, I should have – while most users think it’s mainly the serum that’s important in a mask, Bioxidea’s Mirage48 line uses a hydrogel sheet whose properties extend beyond being a conduit for product. “Once you’ve applied it on the face for up to 30 minutes, you melt the mask into the bathtub, and then you take a bath with bits of diamond and gold. Luxurious stuff,” says Antos. “And you know, the best way to do it is actually with a glass of good wine – red, I prefer, fruity and very strong – and to take a good book, and to lose yourself in the book. And maybe take a good selfie. And post it on Instagram, hashtagging Bioxidea.” He laughs.
Both the hydrogel sheet used in Mirage48 masks and the bio-cellulose sheet used in the original signature Miracle24 masks are over-performers, with the latter proven to hold up to 10 times more active ingredients than any other sheet mask on the market. That’s an important distinction, given the proliferation of this type of product – particularly in the Asian market, with some drugstore varieties costing as low as a few dollars a pop.
Antos didn’t start his career in the beauty industry – a scientist by training, he was unfulfilled by the lab environment and soon segued into marketing, and then the world of fashion. “I saw a lot. I drank a lot. I ate a lot. And I also learned a lot about beauty through different cultures, and it was a golden opportunity for me. This was the birth of Bioxidea.”
His travels to Asia introduced him to the plethora of sheet masks available, and his observation that Europe lacked such innovations pushed him to explore that product area specifically. The first of the collection was the Miracle24, which uses a three-dimensional bio-cellulose structure to push a concentrated amount of active peptides into the complexion to “promote and treat fine lines and wrinkles, with an amino acid complex to increase firmness and elasticity”.
It’s not unusual for Western beauty brands to borrow ideas from the East, but Bioxidea has managed to innovate further, into a category that might surprise even the savviest Asian consumer, familiar as we are with sophisticated Japanese formulations, ancient Chinese medicinal wisdom and Korean technological innovations. Besides face masks, the Bioxidea labs have created products that target other regions of the body, whether its oft-exposed areas such as the hands or feet, or hidden and perhaps neglected parts such as the breasts or even intimate zones.
“Why can’t these parts of the body benefit from the rejuvenating properties of our treatments?” asks Antos. “The breast mask gives a plumping effect, a tightening effect. It’s not plastic surgery; it’s more about empowering women. The breast mask contains rich omega oils to nourish, and the latest generation of hexapeptides to promote firmness.
“The intimate mask was created in Paris – it contains powerful hyaluronic acid, which hydrates skin and promotes moisture inside deep layers of skin, so the appearance is younger looking and smooth, toned. It’s a huge bestseller in Europe, and hopefully in Asia soon, too.”
If that region is a concern for women in Asia, it’s not one that’s oft discussed. But Antos points out that whether or not they vocalise it, the mask is “not really for [a certain] type of women. It can be used for intensive treatment, or just a little pampering, to make yourself feel better. To [help women] be a better version of themselves, you know? To make women beautiful. It’s not about anti-ageing, it’s more about embracing age, embracing life.”
As a decidedly young brand, Bioxidea already produces quite a comprehensive suite of products – should a customer wish to use all of them concurrently, there would be hardly a body part exposed. So where do they go from here?
“We still work to maximise the effects [of the various masks],” Antos says. “[And] to develop masks for different parts of the body. But my lips are sealed.”
“Elbows and knees?” I suggest, naming the only remaining parts of the body I can think of that might be in need of moisture and youthfulness.
He smiles. “Oh, are you a kind of psychic or something?”
I may not be, but he, perhaps, is some kind of beauty oracle. Whether the next product does or doesn’t tend to the rough patches on our arms and legs, it will almost certainly be some innovation that we didn’t know we needed – and one we then won’t be able to live without.