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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 19 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).
I was afforded the chance to try PHAT Glow Facial from Ole Henriksen, at the skin expert's namesake spa in West Hollywood. It's a creamy exfoliating mask that leaves my skin as calm, 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.
Pros + Cons
- Easy to use
- Instant results
- Leaves skin feeling soft and smooth
- Visibly calms skin
- Strong scent
- Can be sticky
The Bottom Line: A definite glow up
The Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial is a glow up in a bottle. With its use of PHAs, a gentle, but incredibly effective chemical exfoliant, it delivers a noticeable glow immediately after using it.
Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial
Best for: Combination, oily, normal and dry skin types
Uses: Targets dullness, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and dryness
Star rating: 5/5
Potential allergens: Fragrance
Active ingredients: PHA (poly-hydroxy acid), Nordic birch sap
About the brand: Ole Henriksen's eponymous skincare brand was built on the three major tenets of skincare: exfoliate, treat, and soothe.
About My Skin: Sensitive and picky
I have to be careful with the products I use 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, $43, and Odacité's Bioactive Rose Gommage Pineapple + Hyaluronic Acid Peel, $62).
The Feel: Slightly sticky
The texture of this mask is slightly tacky, but spreads easily. 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 without any dripping, sliding, or fuss. In other words, it was made to be mess-free. 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.
The Ingredients: Gentle, yet effective
As for the actual formula, it includes Polyhydroxy Acids, which are otherwise known as PHAs, 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.
The Results: The glow was real
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.
I couldn't believe how glowy my skin looked. I mean, it was so glowy it was almost reflective.
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.
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 couple 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 mask works at brightening, smoothing, and illuminating.
The Value: Worth it
The Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial Mask costs $50, but considering you'd only need to use it at most, twice a week, means one 1.7 oz. bottle should last some time. It's totally worth to stash away some money to splurge on this mask, especially if you have a special occasion coming up, or you just want a dewy, glass skin look at the drop of a hat.
Similar Products: You have options
Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial AHA + BHA Mask: Yes, at $80 this product is more expensive than the PHAT Glow Facial, but for those with sensitivities to fragrance, this might be a better option for you, as it's 100 percent fragrance free.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution: This super affordable $7 mask provides powerful exfoliation with a blend of lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acid.
Our Verdict: We love it
PHAT Glow Facial's use of gentle PHAs creates a mask that is not only effective, but won't irritate the skin. And anything that gives me a glass skin glow is an absolute winner in my book. Long story short, I suggest you try it out for yourself, because I'm certainly loving my new glow.