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Skin Care Products That Let You Know They’re Working

How many times have you been told that gentleness is key when applying skincare? Physical exfoliants have been properly shamed for their potentially skin-shredding capabilities and cleansers have all but gotten a complete overhaul now that the 90s are over and the people have been enlightened to the horrors of Sea Breeze and menthol-feeling super squeaky-clean skin.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t miss that feeling of “Ahh it’s really working!” Sure, we know the requisite 28-day turnover is the true test of a skincare experiment, but that’s a really boring four weeks to wait while your skin cells shimmy over. In the interim, here are a few skin care products eager to show you they’re working so you can get that instant gratification fix while still harnessing any overly zealous harshness.


Neogen Canadian Clay Pore Cleanser

Okay, this one is tricky because it’s essentially a clay mask that’s also a cleanser. Not that face cleanser/mask hybrids are completely unique, but this one flips the script with its fair share of bells and whistles. Its highly mineral-enriched clay formula has itty-bitty grit for a super fine scrub sensation. The kaolin and colloidal clay cocktail make it strong enough to suck up excess sebum and oil but gentle enough for sensitive skin with dry patches. You apply it to dry skin like a face mask, and then massage it “until carbo nate capsules burst” (which to me feel like seltzer bubbles, essentially).


With a splash of water, the mask will start to foam — a lot! I like to let the foam bubbles get really big, massage, and then let them grow again and massage, and repeat until there’s barely any left and rinse the whole thing off. Afterwards my face felt like it has undergone a microscopic facial of tiny bubbles basically clearing out my pores.




Dr. Brandt Oxygen Flash Recovery Mask

Dr. Brandt Oxygen Facial Flash Recovery Mask

The Oxygen Facial is one of the most popular treatments from Dr. Brandt’s practice, and now it’s available for you to take home for less than the cost of a treatment from said practice. This little blue pill-shaped bottle looks small, but the mask within has a lot of growth potential — apply it and see what I mean. It effervesces and foams as soon as it hits oxygen, creating a beard of bubbles on your mug that if you’re me, you have to brace yourself to tolerate the tickling sensation. The mask is meant to re-energize fatigued skin and contribute to luminizing, and over time diminish minor signs of aging. After enduring the three-minute mark and rinsing, all that tickling does pay off because my skin looked nicely energized, like I’d just gone on a light run. It feels even better if you rinse with cold water!



Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser

Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser

This sleek conceptual-looking gel cleanser has a trick up its pump. Not only does the black gel cleanser have charcoal, glycolic acid and vitamin C to clear your pores and brighten your skin tone, it has the added effect of warming when you rub it together to lather. It’s a surprising effect, to say the least. The heated chemical reaction is meant to help soften and open your pores to aid in clearing them, plus it feels pretty soothing too. The best part is that this cleanser feels gentle enough to use daily and it also helps remove makeup.


Renee Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel

As far as celebrity facialists go, Renee Rouleau has caressed the faces of so many A-listers, her hands probably deserve their own Page Six column. This particular mask in her line is touted as the best treatment for red carpet prep. It’s not cheap, but the small jar should last you a while, since it’s potent! A cocktail of berry-powered skincare, with bromelain (a pineapple enzyme) strawberry, blueberry and pomegranate extract, raspberry seed oil, and mandelic, lactic, salicylic, tartaric and malic acids, this resurfacing treatment feels like rubbing berry jam on your face (smells like it too!). You can even see little strawberry seeds in it. With just seven minutes on the clock, you’ll feel it tingling as it loosens dead skin, working towards smoothing and brightening your skin. After rinsing, my skin immediately felt super jazzed up and looked rosy-cheeked and freshly scrubbed. You’re only supposed to use this once a week, but it was hard to resist slathering it on at least one more time every week. This would definitely be a pre-going out treatment for a zap of skin care that makes your skin look that much more awake and revived.


Glamglow Gravitymud
Glam Glow Gravitymud Firming Treatment

Peel-off masks are a dime a dozen. Generally, you smear on some clear goo and walk around with a super tight-feeling face until you agonizingly peel it off, lamenting how you applied it way too close to your eye area and brows… again. This firming treatment from Glamglow is halfway similar — it will tighten your face, but that’s what it’s meant to do. This “firming” treatment is essentially a peel-off mask on another level. For starters, it comes with a brush. If you’ve ever applied a face mask with a brush you’re unlikely to go back. It helps so much to evenly distribute and get an even layer on your face (while avoiding all the sensitive parts). But here’s the fun part. This looks like a pearly-white goo in the jar, and applies like that, but as it dried it turns this incredible chrome color, so you know it’s done. You’ll also feel it firming and tightening, as peel-off masks are wont to do, but this one is mercifully more gentle to remove than most, alleviating my fears of peel-off masks to come. And yes, my pores did appear a bit more taut directly afterwards.

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