From Here on Out, I'll Never Travel Without This Holy-Grail Acne Blaster

Erin Jahns

How is it that the universe always knows (and preys upon) the most inopportune time to bestow an otherwise clear complexion with the most gargantuan zit you could possibly imagine? First dates, weddings, work presentations, job interviews… I mean, at least in my experience, the skincare gods have always failed to deliver when I need them the most. Case in point: a three-day Las Vegas beauty trade show I attended this past weekend for work. And of course, the morning of my flight, I woke up with a giant pulsing pimple right on the side of my nose. I would be meeting with the founders and representatives of essentially hundreds of the best beauty brands (from all over the world) in T-minus five hours. Thus, I'm sure you can only imagine my exuberant joy.

With no other alternative, I did my best to cover the blemish with makeup and tried (without much success) to not let my insecurity get the best of me during my day of meetings. Alas, later that night as I consulted the array of TSA-approved skincare, I felt I needed a plan of action—my eyes settling on Tula Dual-Phase Skin Reviving Treatment Pads ($59). I had never tried them before, but since I've been loving all things Tula lately, I threw them into the mix (during my last-minute 12 a.m. packing fervor) in lieu of my normal toner. Toners, in my opinion, are just a spill-prone recipe for disaster while traveling.

Tula Dual-Phase Skin Reviving Treatment Pads, 16 Pads $59

That being said, the pads are meant more for exfoliating than toning, but again, that wasn't something I was feeling nitpicky about circa midnight when I was packing. Instead, they're a whip-smart multitasking skincare savior sent from the acne-improving sector of those aforementioned skincare gods. They're suitable for all skin types—oily, combination, dry, mature, and sensitive—and feature two different sides. (The design is so cool, just like a mini mitten for your index and middle fingers.)

On the smooth side sits an activating skin serum with natural plant fibers (you simply rub it lightly all over until your complexion is well coated), and then you flip to the other side, which has mild texture to massage the serum into your skin for one or two minutes. After massaging it on and rinsing thoroughly, you're left with significantly smoother and brighter skin. And for me, roughly five hours of shut-eye later, a pimple-free nose. Is this for real? I asked myself roughly one inch from the mirror.

Erin Jahns

It's touted as "an instant facial" by the brand, which is pretty accurate considering the listed benefits include improved smoothness, calmness, brightness, and, according to other happy reviewers, instant gratification where oily, acne-prone skin is concerned. After perusing review after review, I quickly realized this wasn't a one-time fluke or just willful imagination on my part. These pads can indeed cure a breakout lightning-fast.

"I'm always wanting to try Tula products, and I've never met a product of theirs I didn't like!" explains one happy customer on the brand's website. "These pads are amazing. I had a red spot leftover from a pimple and after using these pads only twice the spot is GONE. Truly amazing. My skin gets better and better every time I use them."

"I've heard these were awesome and they have so many glowing reviews, so I had to try them," another reviewer explains. "They didn't disappoint! After just ONE use, I could see a difference in my skin. 100% worth a try! Do it!"

Truly, never have I ever had such immediate and significant results with a treatment—especially one that's not even specifically geared toward breakouts. I was thrilled, and I carried out the rest of my weekend in Vegas with perfectly clear skin—simultaneously garnering lots of complexion compliments. (Who would have thought just 24 hours prior?) In addition to the pads from Tula, I also credit the below three miracle workers for delivering a clear, virtually airbrushed-looking complexion.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation $44

The name of this cult-favorite foundation from Charlotte Tilbury doesn't lie. It creates a flawless canvas and won't budge in extreme heat or weather conditions. (Take it from someone who ran around like a mad person all weekend long in the 100-plus temperatures of Las Vegas.)

Tarte Sea Quench Hydrating Primer $32

Even though a primer described as "hydrating" might not seem like the best idea for acne-prone or oily skin, Tarte's new formula just might be the single best primer I've ever spread across my face. Trust me when I say it keeps everything in place—glowy and, yes, amply hydrated but never oily. It's magic. 

Becca Ultimate Coverage Longwear Concealer $29

Last but not least, I put Becca's new long-wearing concealer to the ultimate test. I mean, I was wearing it from 6 to 12 a.m. (eek, I know) and was still getting compliments on my skin by late evening—a true test if I've ever heard one.

Curious to know what other acne solutions our editors love for ASAP results? Keep scrolling for their trusted picks.

Faith Xue, Editorial Director
Differein Adapalene Gel 0.1% Prescription Strength Retinoid Acne Treatment $13
Hallie Gould, Senior Editor
Osmia Organics Spot Treatment $22
Maya Allen, Assistant Editor
Urban Skin RX Acne Control Spot Treatment $26

Next Up: 6 Unexpected Places You'll Break Out This Summer—and How to Cope

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