BLOG

on

As a beauty editor, I get an obscene amount of DMs asking me about what products actually work and what’s worth the money. But if I had to narrow down one brand I’ve gotten more questions about in the past year, it’s Summer Fridays. The brand has all the makings of Instagram gold: a sleek metal tube that looks perfectly “lived-in” as you use it; a pastel color palette; and it’s backed by two influencers honestly deserving of the title, Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores Ireland.

This month, it released its second product: the Overtime Mask, a clarifying mask made with pumpkin and apricot seed powder. Where competitors (ahem, Glossier) are leaning in heavily on acids, Overtime uses gentle fruit enzymes and traditional good old scrubby bits to slough off dead skin. The way Hewitt does it? “I like to use it at night, right after I cleanse my skin,” she told me at the launch party for the mask. “I rub it in at the beginning to activate it on my skin. Then I’ll leave it on for 10 minutes, rinse, and follow it up with the Jet Lag Mask. That way the ingredients really get into your skin and do their magic.”

So, is it actually worth your hard-earned $44 for a tube? I asked five Glamour editors put it to the test. Here’s how it fared against over-exfoliated, acne-prone, and sensitive skin.

Maureen Choi, beauty contributor

I’ll admit it: I’m addicted to the good glow regular exfoliation brings. But over the years, I’ve self-inflicted enough rosacea-level redness on my sensitive skin to know that my sloughing sweet spot is once a week—and done with a chemical formula involving some sort of AHA like glycolic or lactic acid. For any scrub that comes across my desk, it’s a hard pass since they’re usually too gritty for my temperamental face.

But since I’m a sucker for scent and couldn’t resist the pumpkin pie vibes of the Overtime Mask, which utilizes apricot powder to unglue all the gunk, I took it home and gave it a whirl. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It decongested my poor little pores and made my skin brighter, smoother, and a whole lot happier after just one use. Apart from the fact that it smells amazing, it also delivered a lot of hydration, which isn’t something exfoliators normally do. One thing, though: The instructions say to rub the honeylicious goo in for a minute before letting it sit on your skin for 10 more. If you’re sensitive or dealing with current breakouts, do it ever-so-lightly for like five seconds and stop—because the shells can be a touch too rough. I don’t think it’s going to replace my go-to peel pads, but I like the idea of using it as a monthly skin reset.

Ana Colón, digital fashion editor

Truth be told, I’m not very consistent with my exfoliating routine. I do, however, wash my face every day with cleanser (Burt’s Bees Brightening Daily Facial Cleanser) and do a mask at least once a week (usually L’Oréal’s Pure Clay Mask.) So I was excited to try this product, since it combined one part of my skin care routine with another I should really, really be doing in the first place.

I washed my face with my regular old cleanser, then applied the Summer Fridays mask. First thought: This smells incredible—like fresh-baked pumpkin bread. (I even went up to my partner and was like, “SMELL MY FACE.”) It burned a little for those 10 minutes and doesn’t really harden, but by the time I washed it off, my skin felt really fresh. And that just-did-a-mask feeling, where your skin feels light (and almost tight?) lasted well into the next morning. This is definitely a product I could do once a week, though maybe not as regularly as recommended on the packaging, because the exfoliating is pretty…effective.

Rachel Nussbaum, beauty writer

I’ll always love my beta hydroxy acids, but when my derm told me a few months ago that I was over-exfoliating, I relinquished them with claw hands. Physical exfoliants can be more gentle, though, and I consider that a loophole. The texture was grittier than I was expecting, so I massaged about a dime-sized amount of the mask onto my forehead and T-zone, while avoiding the active pimples on my jawline. After 15 minutes, I washed it off. I can’t say I noticed a difference, but it did remind me how much I like the tingle of my other pumpkin fave, MyChelle Incredible Pumpkin Peel. I won’t use this again, but if your skin likes a gritty physical scrub, this is a seasonal way to get there—and make Spring Breakers voice Summer Fridays forever.

Azadeh Valanejad, video producer

The day I turned 28, my skin decided to revert back to my high school days, and I’ve been struggling with adult acne for the last year. My first step was to change my long overdue skin care routine and after reading about how tough face scrubs can be on your skin, I stopped completely. I tried a couple exfoliating acids, but they still weren’t helping, so I gave up altogether. My skin saw a lot of improvement with Summer Friday’s Jet Lag mask (which I use every day!), so when I heard the brand was releasing an exfoliator I knew I had to try it.

I was a little worried the Overtime mask would be rough, but the apricot bits are crushed finely. If you rub it gently, it’s an extremely mild scrub. I followed the instructions and rubbed it onto my face in circular motions for 60 seconds before letting it do it’s thing for 10 minutes. Once I washed it off, my skin was fresh. I think I’ll have to use it a couple more times before I see how glowy my skin will become, but it hasn’t make me breakout, so that’s already a great sign it’s working in my favor. Best part? It smells like a pumpkin spice latte.

Khaliha Hawkins, digital assistant

I already use and love Summer Friday’s Jet Lag mask, so I was pumped to try this—especially since the packaging is as glorious as the original. I was worried it would have heavy pumpkin smell, but it’s actually really light and pleasant, which to me is its best attribute. If I did have to give it a gripe, it’d be about the apricot seed powder—it’s really thick and gritty. When I first started rubbing it in, I was tempted to rinse it off immediately. It feels like something that’ll irritate your skin at first. But I didn’t seem to be having a reaction so I kept going—gently, which the instructions tell you to do. It’s a good thing I did because when I rinsed it off, it left me with an amazing glow. Plus, my face didn’t feel dry or tight afterward. I paired it with my Jet Lag mask as a moisturizer right after and my skin was noticeably softer the next morning. It’s getting permanent residence in my bathroom cabinet. I can’t wait to see what the longterm effect is on my skin.

Summer Fridays Overtime Mask, $44, sephora.com

Related Stories:

We Challenged Marianna Hewitt to Do Party Makeup in 2 Minutes

22 Face Masks That Will Actually Change Your Skin

The 10 Best Face Scrubs, According to Glamour.com Editors

Lana's Organic Day Spa

on

Although I’ve spent a better part of my career writing about my skin care, I first became obsessed when I started getting hormonal breakouts at 14. I’ve burned through tubes of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid gels—burning a few acne scars into my face in the process—and bottles of acne-relieving toners, all in an attempt to control the monthly cyst or two.

But because these products were so harsh on my sensitive skin—and did nothing for those under-the-skin monsters—I was forced to experiment. I spent more and more time scouring online for the best acne treatments out there. And that’s when I discovered acne patches late one night on an Amazon crawl, the medication-free pimple stickers that completely changed my complexion and perspective. Specifically, it was the reviewers who sold me on the NexCare Acne Absorbing Covers ($5, amazon.com), as they were heralded as particularly efficacious at treating cystic, hormonal acne that doesn’t normally respond to spot treatments—exactly the kind of zit that becomes my monthly nemesis and the kind that should never, ever be squeezed.

The instructions were simple: Clean the area, apply the patch, then wait. Once its color turns from clear to white, you take it off. NexCare recommends you leave the sticker on for several hours, but says they work best while you sleep. So I washed my face one night, slapped two on, and hit the sack. The next morning, the stickers were white, as promised. You could literally see that they had worked like sponges to suck out the oil and gunk, leaving both zits far less inflamed with one practically disappearing. It was like magic, but not.

When I asked Joshua Zeichner, M.D., the director of cosmetic and clinical dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, about acne patches, he explained that the majority of them (including my beloved NexCare patches) are made of hydrocolloid, and quite similar to topical wound treatments. “Hydrocolloid dressings are used in medicine for their ability to enhance wound healing—they can stick to the skin, form a protective seal over a wound, and absorb excess fluid,” he says. “These same properties make them useful for treating conditions like acne. Think of a pimple as a skin wound of sorts. Applying the hydrocolloid bandage over it can help protect and calm the inflamed skin, allowing it to heal.”

From then, I became an acne patch evangelist, preaching their incredible prowess to anyone who would listen. And although the NexCare stickers were my first love, I’ve since found a slew of different brands that have completely changed my skin care game. I don’t use lotions that are too drying anymore, and the patches literally work overnight on about half of my pimples, maybe a few days for the big mamas.

Ready to try them yourself? Regardless of how big or angry your zit is, these are the eight different acne patches I’ve personally tested and will sing the gospel of.

Lana's Organic Day Spa

on

Glossier is good at monetizing a dream, be it blush the texture of clouds or perfume that smells like, well, you. With the Glossier Zit Stick, which launches September 6, it feels as if the brand peered directly into my brain, sorted through the names of discontinued lipsticks and 1,300 minutely different password variations, and pulled out the skin care fantasy I wanted most. The Zit Stick is essentially a Tide To-Go pen for your face, which you dab on and watch as your zits vacate the premises. It’s fun as hell to play with, and as you’d expect from the brand behind quote-unquote effortless skin, it gets the job done.

The brand relied on tried and true zit-fighting ingredients for the pen, filling the pink and red tube with a combination of 5 percent benzoyl peroxide and capryloyl salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide might sound familiar from your high school medicine cabinet, but the formula gets an edge from the calming ingredients also included—among them glycerin, which pulls moisture to your pimple to avoid the dried-out ring that too often forms around spot-treated areas. Niacinamide, a brightener, is also in there, which gets to work to lighten the inflamed area.

Despite my mental picture of using the Zit Stick to viciously rub zits out of existence (à la my Tide To-Go technique), that’s not how the pen works. You twist the red screw at the bottom, and after a few clicks (the first time takes about 20 though, FYI), the formula blooms up from around the applicator’s metal ball tip, which you then use to distribute the goo wherever you want it. It goes on clear, and while your mileage may vary, three clicks was enough to cover my four smallish zits.

I’ve been staring these pimples down for the last week, and here’s my only sticking point: While the Zit Stick comes with its alias, the “breakout eraser,” printed on the tube, it did not erase my breakout. My stubborn pimples could be an anomaly, but more likely, they’re just not the kind of acne that responds to benzoyl peroxide (typically, its best for red, inflamed spots caused by bacteria). The brand says that after three hours, 83 percent of subjects found their pimple reduced in size; after six hours, 80 percent of them said redness and swelling were reduced, and that their pimples were less painful. After 24 hours, 80 percent also said that their swelling was gone and their pimples healed faster than normal, and more than half of their pimples were erased.

So is it a life changer? Not for me, but our senior beauty editor, Lindsay, also gave it a test run on a few hormonal spots, and said about the same as the brand’s test subjects. It didn’t totally knock her zits out overnight, but they were noticeably smaller and didn’t dry out like harsher spot treatments often do to her skin.

I wouldn’t say it reinvented the wheel, but it did make the wheel look cute, fun, and undeniably Instagrammable. And you can bet people are going to shoot this and slap it all over their feeds. One small step for acne treatments, two small steps for talking about our zits.

Glossier Zit Stick, $14, glossier.com

Related Stories:

This Face Wash Is the Only Thing That Helped My Acne

This Gentle Serum Is Perfect for People Afraid of Retinol

The Best-Reviewed Vitamin C Serums on Amazon That Actually Deliver

Lana's Organic Day Spa

on

There’s something about back-to-school time that calls for a refresh. That’s why this week, we’re throwing it back to the basics: putting “easy” makeup hacks to the test and a spotlight on the simple products that’ll make a big difference. Class is now in session.

Salicylic acid, retinol, charcoal—people who have acne like myself can rattle off a laundry list of ingredients that are formulated to prevent and treat pimples. I’ve not only memorized them, I’ve tried them all. And after almost a decade of testing, I like to think my anti-blemish regimen is a finely tuned machine.

One of the cornerstones of this routine is not a sci-fi gadget or a cream made from the tears of endangered catfish, but rather a humble face wash. That would be the Silver Clarifying Wash from Beverly Hills’ celebrity facialist Sonya Dakar—it blows all other cleansers out of the water.

At this point I’m guessing your marketing B.S. barometer is through the roof. Bougie products with “precious metals” are just another way for brands to charge more money for something that would be pretty basic otherwise, no? You are absolutely right to be wary, especially when a face wash comes with a price tag over $50. I’ve fallen victim to the “magical anti-aging gold flakes” spiel before. But put that healthy skepticism on pause for a moment while I walk you through this one.

The Silver Clarifying Wash checks all of the acne-fighting ingredient boxes: It’s got a salicylic acid complex to clear pores and a probiotics blend to balance out good and bad bacteria on your skin. There’s also some rosemary and sage in there to calm redness. But what makes it truly special is the inclusion of its namesake ingredient. The silver ions found in this wash have some serious antiseptic powers.

Where an antibacterial product kills off acne-causing bacteria, an antiseptic will prohibit the growth of that bacteria in the first place. So cleansing with the Silver Clarifying Wash means I’m not only erasing away the day’s dirt, oils, and dead-skin buildup, but also setting my skin up for fewer breakouts in the future.

I find the mistake that a lot of people with acne make is trying to use a cleanser that’s too harsh for your skin. I get it: You want to physically feel like everything gross on your face is being blasted into oblivion, where it can’t hurt your skin. The problem with that is while the bad stuff goes, so does the good, leaving you with stripped-dry, irritated skin that’s now even more susceptible to pimples.

This cleanser relies on those silver ions, a gentle acid complex, and probiotics to dissolve all of the gunk and grime without disrupting your skin’s delicate oil balance. You feel clean, but there won’t be that dry, tight, itchy feeling. I also love how this wash fits into my usual breakout-busting routine as it doesn’t disrupt or react with any of the more potent treatments I use.

So while it may seem like a gimmick, take it from one cynic to another: This stuff works like a charm.

Sonya Dakar Silver Clarifying Wash, $59, amazon.com

Related Stories:

Why You’re Still Breaking Out in Your 20s and 30s

7 Skin Care Ingredients You’re Not Using But Should

This Gentle Serum Is Perfect for People Too Scared to Try Retinol

Lana's Organic Day Spa