Finally, an Exfoliating Face Mask That Makes My Sensitive Skin Look Smooth and Glowy

Updated 08/27/19
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After a good decade of obsessing over makeup and skincare, and over three years spent working as a beauty writer, I now officially consider myself to be a face mask connoisseur. I have nineteen in my bathroom cabinet right now (yes, I counted), and many of them are of the exfoliating variety. I don't know if it's the way exfoliating masks leave my skin feeling soft and smooth or the way they make my otherwise dull and unrested complexion look fresh and luminous, but exfoliating masks are my favorite kind to use (while sipping on a glass of wine as I watch Netflix, that is).

However, I have to be careful, because I have sensitive skin. It's the kind of sensitive skin that's plagued with rosacea—that stubborn, blotchy redness that spreads out from my t-zone and refuses to be disguised by anything less than a thick, full-coverage concealer. If I use an exfoliating mask that's too harsh, I'm left with red, dehydrated skin that feels hot to the touch. So, I'm cautious. I stick to a couple tried-and-true products that exfoliate my skin, making it feel smooth and look luminous, without any irritation (those being Peach & Lily's Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask and Odacité's Bioactive Rose Gommage Pineapple + Hyaluronic Acid Peel).

Recently, though, I was afforded the chance to try a new product from Ole Henriksen, at the skin expert's namesake spa in West Hollywood. The new product is called the PHAT Glow Facial, and it's a creamy, exfoliating mask that left my skin as calm, and bright, and glowy as I've ever seen it. In fact, after I use it, it looks like I'm wearing the softest, dewiest highlighter ever created, even though I'm not. Keep scrolling to see exactly what I mean.

Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial
Ole Henriksen Phat Glow Facial Mask $49
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Here's the product, itself. The round white pump bottle contains a rose-colored cream that feels thick and tacky to the touch. The texture was a conscious decision on Henriksen's part. He wanted the wearer to be able to multi-task—that is, apply the mask, go through a yoga flow, clean dishes, or do whatever else you feel like doing (for me it's the aforementioned wine and Netflix scenario) without any dripping, sliding, or fuss. In other words, it was made to be mess-free.

As for the actual formula, it includes Polyhydroxy Acids, which are otherwise known as PHAs. PHAs are a gentler alternative to AHAs (or alpha hydroxy acids). The ingredient sloughs away dead skin and pore-clogging debris without irritating sensitive skin like mine. There's also Nordic birch sap, which hydrates the skin, and pink bentonite clay, which clarifies the skin. All in all, it's formulated to work like a facial in a bottle to fight signs of aging, exfoliate, and illuminate the skin.

That last part is important. The word 'glow' isn't in the name for nothing. After my facial at the Ole Henriksen Spa, in which the esthetician used the new product, I couldn't believe how glowy my skin looked. I mean, it was so glowy it was almost reflective. It looked like something akin to the "glass skin" that's so trendy in K-beauty.

Still, I wasn't sold yet. After all, I've had a lot of facials in my lifetime, and rarely does my skin look the same post-facial as it does when I use the same products at-home. I wanted to see if the same results held up when I didn't have the magical helping hands of an esthetician at my disposal. So, I tried it again, at-home, later that same week.

Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial
 @kaitlyn_mclintock

After applying the mask, leaving it on for 15 minutes, and gently removing it with a washcloth, I was happy to see that my skin was just as taut and illuminated as it was when I left the spa earlier that week. In fact, when the light hit the high points of my face (my cheekbones, nose, and cupids bow), it looked like I was wearing a dreamy, dewy highlighter, even though it was just my bare skin.

I took this picture the next morning. In it, I'm wearing a little bit of concealer under my eyes and around my nose to cover up dark circles and redness, respectively. I applied a coupe coats of mascara, and a swipe of lip balm, and that's it. Even though the glow had slightly diminished from what it was the night before, my skin still looked infinitely better than it usually does in the morning. This was taken before coffee. That's how well this masks works at brighting, smoothing, and illuminating.

There's one more thing you should know. When you first apply the mask, it has a light rosy-pink color. To activate it, you need to gently massage it into your skin (I did so in circular motions). As you do this, you'll notice that it changes from pink to white. That's how you know it's working its magic. Personally, I think the pink-to-white color transformation brings a fun element to the masking experience.

This facial-in-a-bottle is available now. Long story short, I suggest you try it out for yourself, because I'm certainly loving my new glow.

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