Every now and then, I stumble upon something so magical that it forces me to question how I possibly managed to make it through a quarter of a century without it. My recent list of mind-bending discoveries include: the artist 6LACK and his catalogue of certified bangers, tongue cleaners (trust me), Lonely’s delicate/beautiful range of lingerie for girls with unmanageably big boobs, and dipping croissants into Himalayan salt flakes as opposed to, say, a more conventional spread of jam/butter. Perhaps the most propulsive discovery I’ve made of late, though, is the concept of the at-home power peel. A truly ~life-altering~ experience.
Owing to a combination of lifestyle decisions — a nightly vino (yes), the recommended five servings of vegetables daily (no), watching Netflix of a night until my eyeballs feel like they may bleed (yes), getting 8 hours of sleep in every night (no) — my skin felt a little worse-for-wear in the rainy month of March. Patches of skin with a consistency somewhere close to your average sheet of Bunnings-purchased sandpaper were rounded out by very tired looking eye bags. Foundation took to my face like chalk to cheese. In hindsight, I feel like my skin was one injustice away from calling 000. So, when this story idea came up in our editorial meeting, I put my exasperated hand up to trial all the most in-demand peels on the market. Read on for my (at times over-contextualised) reviews of all da best peels out there, and thank me later.
Erno Laszlo Luminous Dual Phase Vitamin C Peel
I’m going to start with Erno, not only because a) I trialled it first, but also because b) it’s the hands-down winner in this line-up of power peels. For my particular skin type, anyway, which FYI is: sensitive, prone to dullness, and endlessly dry.
My friends and I decided to treat ourselves to a sassy night out recently. For us, this meant throwing on our finest ~going-out tops~ and picking heels over sneakers for the first time in, quite literally, years. It was also characterised by: drinking slightly fancier drinks than we’re accustomed to, which led to us feeling slightly fancier than usual, eschewing hanging out with the lads over #qual girl time, and taking hours to get ready over a few glasses of wine and the sweet sound of every Destiny’s Child song in existence. The latter of which presented the perf opportunity to give Erno Laszlo’s Luminous Dual Phase Vitamin C Peel a whirl. My forehead skin is always the most dry part of my face and, until this guy came along, there wasn’t much I could do to truly treat it (outside of a Dermalogica facial).
Four minutes with the Laszlo power peel and my forehead was smoother than D’Angelo’s bedroom sensation, Brown Sugar. It was as if John Saffron wrote his hit novel, Everything Is Illuminated about my own previously dull af face. Basically, my skin had never looked this good in its entire adult life (!!!!!) The clarifying two-step peel is powered by vitamin C, protective antioxidants, and collagen-boosters, and outside of those ingredz coming to together to make my face glow, it was srs the cleanest my skin has ever felt. Ever. Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you, boo.
Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel
Ooft. You know stuff works when it smells like it’s come fresh from the lab, which Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel def does. The pads are recommended for those with sensitive skin, and for use between three and five times a week. Given that I have highly-sensitised skin, I limited usage to three days. Just to be safe. The pads left my skin with a tingling sensation— akin to what I felt after stealing my brother’s cost-effective mint body wash back in the day — which lasted for over 5-minutes after wiping them on my face. Although, heck, I can deal with a bit of a prolonged tingle if it means my skin is gon’ shine bright like a diamond. Which, for the record, it did.
I’m partial to a daily strong flatty, and while it’s a delicious and proven way to get me out of bed in the morning, I can feel it drying my skin out with every sip. A week of using Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel and I could have tricked every man and his dog into thinking that I’d given up the black bean way back in 2013. And anything that allows me to freely indulge in my biggest vice while looking #fresh gets a big old “yas” from me.
First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Intensive Peel
The name says it all. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before (lol), but my skin is fairly bloody sensitive, and so I’d normally keep an ocean between me and any product with the word ‘intensive’ in the title. But trialling these products is my civil duty (/job), and who am I to deny the people a review, even if it makes me quiver in fear?
My skin was definitely superior after using FAB’s Facial Radiance Intensive Peel — there’s no doubt about that — but on the road to greatness, my psycho skin experienced such side effects as: slight stinging and redness. I’d never want my insane skin to speak for the masses, though, so I put the peel to the test on three of my friend’s faces for a more accurate review…
My first guinea pig was Emma, who has the kind of skin that inspires awe and unhinged jealousy in equal measures. It’s soft – supple, even – and oscillates between being creamy in the winter and ever-so-slightly golden in the warmer months. After using the FAB Facial Radiance Intensive Peel she had the same ~life altering~ revelation I did when using Erno Laszlo’s peel. She was positively beaming (I’m quite certain I saw her float out of the bathroom under a golden halo, #humblebragging that her already infallible skin hadn’t felt like this since she was sixteen). So, if your skin is “normal” and not prone to dryness or irritation, then go and GET IT, GURL. The second lab rat was my housemate Gemma, who has also been #blessed with smoov, “normal”, and porcelain skin. Again, she was pretty chuffed with how even her skin texture was, and how clean her skin felt after using this peel. Another win.
And finally, I ushered Sorrel — my fellow sensitive-skinned pal — into the bathroom and pointed to the jar. She obliged, and like me, experienced a bit of ensuing redness/irritation. If you are also susceptible to irritation, I’d def recommend giving this a try, but I’d suggest that you follow it up with organic products that don’t contain parabens or sulphate.
Ole Henriksen Power Peel
“Fuck yes!” is the first thought I had after using the Ole Henriksen Power Peel, which IMO is a pretty satisfying thought to have after trialling any product. The peel feels ultra #profesh, and my skin looked like it’d just come off the back of a 3-day spa retreat in Byron Bay when I was finished with it.
I experienced mild tingling with the lemon peel, but outside of that, found it to be very gentle on my skin. The scent of the scrub is what I imagine heaven smells like, my skin felt significantly more hydrated, and after using it, I didn’t want to put a single dab of makeup on for fear that it would cover up my radiant glow. If that doesn’t speak volumes about how great this product is, then I am at a true loss for words. 10/10 would buy again.
Words, Madeleine Woon. Photography, Sarah Adamson.