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Shani Darden Triple Acid Signature Peeling
If you’re unfamiliar with Shani Darden’s skincare line, I promise you: you know her stuff. She’s the beautician behind the glowing complexions of Shay Mitchell, Kelly Rowland, Jessica Alba, I could go on. Her magical treatments were under lock and key for years, but around 2013 she decided to launch her namesake brand. Over time, she introduced cleansers, serums, and of course her favorite retinol, which in my opinion is the best retinol on the market. His latest and his best? The Triple Acid Signature Peel, which is literally the closest thing to a Hollywood facial in the comfort of your own home.
It’s obviously a little less active than a professional-grade treatment (safety first, folks), but the two-step resurfacing peel East the real deal. First, the physical peel is formulated with glycolic acid, lactic acid and mandelic acid. The sole purpose of the trio is to remove grime from your pores and brighten your complexion. The second step is the neutralizer, which comes with kaolin and bentonite clays. Shani warns that it may feel “pungent” upon application. But never fear: it’s just doing its job by destroying dead skin cells.
The small kit costs $125 and contains enough material for eight treatments. Do the math and you pay around $16 for each session. It’s stiffer than an exfoliating pad or serum that has enough product for months, but if it’s really capable of going one-on-one with in-office treatments, it’s a flight. As such, I tried it out so you don’t have to.
Why am I obsessed
I approach “in-home” services with a healthy dose of skepticism. If something was designed to be done by pros, I believe we should let them do their job. There’s no denying the power of a (mild) chemical peel – and I always I look forward to visiting my dermatologist when I need to. At home kits? Running for the hills – risky business that I won’t approach with a ten foot pole. Alas, I trust Shani Darden with my life. If she attaches her name to a chemical peel at home, I can breathe a little easier by putting intense actives on my face.
So here nothing goes. My original thoughts: the packaging is beautiful (chef’s kiss) and the instructions are crystal clear. No possible confusion. It’s dummy-proof, which is exactly how any kind of home process should be. The first step, aka the lactic, glycolic and mandelic mix, is labeled in a small pouch. I opened the lid, dipped the brush that came with it in the solution, and applied a thin layer to my clean face, without my eyes or lips. The smell wasn’t overly chemical and while I did feel a tingle (think little bumps) it wasn’t painful or unbearable. As soon as this was activated, I set my timer for a minute and started unboxing the neutralizing mask. (Note: the skin can be left in place for two minutes, but because I have very sensitive skin, I decided to start slowly. Always set a timer – you can overdo it, so be sure to stick to the schedule.)
The second step, which is formulated with bentonite and kaolin clay, is the neutralizer. It basically readjusts the pH of your skin (remember, you just put acid) and stops the skin from going too deep. I started by applying it to my skin with the brush and within seconds I understood Shani’s definition of “spicy” all too well. There is a strong tingling that hits the skin. Alas, I persisted. I coat my face and massage the white liquid further into the skin with my hands. According to the instructions, this concoction can be left for 10 minutes. I set my timer for five minutes (don’t forget! the! timer!), but there was a little too much tingling for my liking at the minute, so I washed it off early.
I’m not going to lie, my face was a little flushed. I have red undertones to start with and looked a bit like a cherry tomato, but it lasted 15 minutes. I put on a calming serum and soothing moisturizer and gave my skin a rhythm to breathe. Fast forward through a good night’s sleep and I woke up with an amazing post-facial glow, the kind where you can see your own reflection on your forehead. My skin felt baby soft, all irritation was gone and my face reflected the light in the best possible way. Historically, this is a result that I have only experienced through in-office treatments. Shani Darden: It may be the only home treatment I can get. Don’t twist it, I’ll always be neurotic about setting my alarm clock.