Being the chic animals we are, our skin sheds annually as we emerge into the light. But 2020 was no ordinary year. Some people were fortunate enough to resume careers at home via Zoom, while others reinvented themselves entirely while working or bracing for layoffs. So, either for vanity or necessity, we have to look our best, damn it. Buckle up.
I love facial rejuvenation/peel kits because they cover every step of the reinvention process, purposefully and safely. It’s important to know that exfoliation and peels pave the way for future product regimens to work deeper and faster toward your expected results.
Note: I personally tested the peels below and experienced minimal flaking, kind of a bubbled-off “wrinkle melting” good experience with a refreshed, tight face. And I could show my face the next day with its desired rubbery glow. If you need clarification, assess your skin’s sensitivity and call the given brand’s customer service number. Sunscreen is a must.
Here are a few resurfacers that won’t break the bank or leave your skin looking red hot.
Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Emer is a living billboard for flawless skin, having procured serious synergistic ingredients. Aerify’s two-week kit delivers medical-grade actives. The heavy lifting happens the very first night by layering and sleeping in Aerify’s Illuminating Mask, while the other five products reveal a tighter, plumped, noticeably glowing you for the balance of the regimen. ($250, EmerAgeCosmetics.com)
Wait, there’s more. Dr. Tina Alster is the powerhouse behind the A Method’s Amazing Peel Kit, offering control with a onetime roll-on that self-neutralizes and a stellar product kit for renewing spotted and textured surfaces, producing immediate lucidity. ($59, TheAMethodSkinCare.com)
Respected as an original purveyor of DIY home peel treatments, Dr. Dennis Gross has perfected his Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel. It’s a potent (but not caustic) two-step regimen involving one to three applications a week, depending on your depth of crevices, unevenness of skin tone, and tolerance. You can easily net a dozen applications if the product’s not wasted on cotton pads. I wipe with a single cotton swab. ($95, DrDennisGross.com)
More on the “bio-level,” meaning a no-flake restoration, is Protocol Lab’s Complete Renewing Line, using a powerful, four-piece regimen featuring its flagship hero Oxidated Retinol Serum, providing a paced but visible result in place of (or just after) a peel. ($260, Protocol-Lab.com)
Now that we’ve tightened things up, don’t keep your big reveal in a hold pattern. It takes constant effort to rewind time on our pretty faces. I found that all of these one-bottle wonders (with or without a peel) make a noticeable transformation if you’re more the grab-and-go type.
La Prairie just launched its Platinum Rare Haute-Rejuvenation protocol, considered a milestone innovator and industry disruptor. Designed as a one-month, four-times-a-year super-reset treatment, the Swiss vials are infused with an on-demand activator system. Especially great at keeping mature skin churning, this wonder product addresses skin volume, density loss, elasticity, glow and more. (Prices and products vary, LaPrairie.com)
Need to jump on a FaceTime call or jet out the door looking good right now? I ordered two bottles of N1 O1 Nitric Oxide Activating Anti-Aging Serum when my forehead lifted and smoothed out with the sample. Dual-chamber pumps provide full-faced firmness in a hurry, every time. ($180, n1o1.com)
Whether you cherry-pick product or compile a new routine from Vivant Skincare, you get knowledgeable customer service along with super-potent remedies from beauty professionals. I was guided to renew my skin cycle with Derm-A-Renew serum ($110) before graduating to True Tone bleaching cream ($70) with True Tone Forté serum and a sunscreen ($75). (VivantSkincare.com)
Playful, highly effective, and very “right now” is Herbivore Botanicals, which caught my eye with its weekly Prism Exfoliating Glow Facial ($60), matching Glow Serum ($55), Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum ($55), and Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil ($50) with hempseed and adaptogens. Vegan, naturally-derived products from a huge LGBTQ+ supporter. What’s not to love? (HerbivoreBotanicals.com)
Thalgo is a top-shelf, luxe wellness spa favorite. As it’s a calming brand, I was fascinated with its more assertive Resurfacing Cream ($50), a dense, fine-grained treatment scrub that acts as a little-less-every-day line smoother and skin tone polisher when coupled with Intensive Resurfacing Night Serum ($90). You’ll see results with the first application. Spiruline Boost ($200) is its newest line, and Energizing Booster Concentrate ($40) ampules are a perfectly plump add-on. (All prices have been converted to American dollars, Thalgo.co.uk)
Post soothers: Now that we’ve embraced 2021 fresh-faced, let’s keep our skin calm and carry on.
It must be said that post-treatment nourishment has transformative effects. Sisley’s Hydra-Flash Mask ($215) with essential oils instantly soothes and rebuilds. Velvet Sleeping Mask ($145) with saffron flowers, thyme honey, and shea butter provides rapid SOS after any peel or as a regenerative overnighter. (Sisley-Paris.com)
Suki Skincare was at the forefront of the naturals and organics craze when I tested its Resurfacing Enzyme Peel in 2014. It’s still a weekly frown wrinkle favorite! But its Hyaluronic Acid Milk Serum ($65), plows over most as a calming, super-plumping forehead and face-lift in a bottle. (SukiSkincare.com)
New and hyper-targeted is Acaderma, presenting “Matrix-style” healing with Equilibria Stabilizing Toner ($30), Invisible Shield Defense Serum ($80), and The Oasis Barrier Booster ($70) as a curing trifecta. (Acaderma.com)
OK, I love all my LED red light therapy devices for removing scars and awakening collagen. But I’m totally enslaved to Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro because you can multitask while you plump and lift the entire eye socket and brow area, including Botox’s favorite area, the lines between your brows. It may seem like a bit of work, but what could be more important than presenting the very best you during these uncertain times? Yeah, it matters. ($435, DrDennisGross.com)