Shani Darden's New Triple Acid Peel Gave Me a Red Carpet Glow

I'd expect nothing less from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's esthetician.

Izzy after using the Shani Darden Triple Acid Peel

Isabella Sarlija

Honestly, there’s nothing quite like the glow that comes from a good facial. Few products can come can close to making your skin reflective, but without freshly-mixed concoctions (estheticians mix their skincare actives right before applying them to your skin for maximum efficacy), intense lymphatic drainage massage techniques, and exorbitantly-priced “professional-use only” tools, it can be difficult to recreate the exfoliating and glow-inducing effects that a proper in-office facial can provide—until now.

Shani Darden just released her Triple Acid Signature Peel ($125), a peel kit designed to provide an esthetician-approved professional-level peel at home.

the signature peel

Shani Darden

The Inspiration

As with many of the newest launches, Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden—whose clients include Shay Mitchell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley—created the Triple Acid Signature Peel as a result of the pandemic. “Whenever my clients need an instant skin pick-me-up, they come into the studio for a professional-grade peel. It works in real-time to exfoliate, deep clean, and refine pores—leaving skin baby soft and glowing,” says Darden. “When I couldn’t see my clients during the pandemic, I realized I needed to develop a peel that could keep their skin exfoliated and glowing from home.”

The Formula

Darden created a two-step treatment, starting with an exfoliating gel which uses a blend of acids including lactic, glycolic, and mandelic to dissolve away dead skin cells. The second step is a soothing kaolin and bentonite clay mask to neutralize the peel while helping to deep-clean the pores of dirt, excess sebum, and debris. This two-step treatment was designed to leave the skin radiant, resurfaced, and renewed in the same way that Darden’s signature in-office peel leaves her clients glowing for days.

So, why these exact ingredients? Darden explains, “Lactic acid is one of my absolute favorite ingredients—especially for a peel—because it helps to gently exfoliate, but it’s also lightly hydrating as well. I chose to pair it with glycolic acid because it exfoliates the deeper layers of the skin to refine pores and stimulate natural cell turnover, which helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles.”

Model using Shani Darden Peel

Shani Darden Skincare

The mask also contains mandelic acid, which Darden says is molecularly larger than both lactic acid and glycolic acid, meaning that it gently polishes the surface of the skin without causing much irritation. ‘This triple-acid combo exfoliates on a deeper level to reveal super soft, ultra-smooth glowing skin while also clearing pores,” says Darden.

Although step two is a clay mask, its formulation leaves the skin clear and refreshed, not stripped and tight. “Kaolin clay and bentonite clay work together to calm skin and deep clean and refine pores by removing dirt and oil without over-drying your skin,” Darden reveals. ​“Sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, and wheat amino acids all work together to restore and retain skin’s moisture to increase skin’s firmness.”

As with any new skincare product or treatment, you’ll want to do a patch test first to see if this formula works well with your skin. Darden advises that although the Triple Acid Signature Peel is great for most skin types, people with sensitive, rosacea- or eczema-prone skin should refrain from using this product.

My Review

Lately, it seems like every brand out there set forth with an exfoliating product for the new year. I've tried a few of them already, but, honestly, nothing beats the Shani Darden Triple Acid Signature Peel.

Like any good chemical exfoliant-rich treatment, this two-step mask stings in the best way possible. Upon applying the first exfoliating layer to my face and neck (avoiding the eye and lip area, of course), I felt a slight tingle that reminded me of the Ordinary AHA/BHA Peeling Solution (IYKYK). After leaving the mask on for a minute, I then applied the clay mask step overtop. The Shani Darden website says that the clay mask is meant to activate the exfoliators and that applying the mask will result in a "spicy tingle." Well, when I put the clay mask on, I let out an audible “ooh!”—oddly enough, it felt less like a tingle and more like a zap to my skin, but it immediately subsided as I worked the mask in with my fingers.

Izzy after using the Shani Darden Triple Acid Peel

Isabella Sarlija

After 10 minutes, I used lukewarm water to wash the mask off, and was left with a glow that I seriously, seriously, didn't think was achievable with an at-home exfoliating product. The immediate effects were a fine line-blurring glow that mimics the shine people get from Botox, and a near obliteration of the appearance of my pores and blackheads. What's more, after a few days, I noticed that my skin didn't feel rough as it usually does but rather still felt like a baby's bum. Overall, the effects lasted me about a full week, which is way longer than any exfoliating product I've tried.

Sure, this product has a whopping $125 price tag—but it comes with eight treatments that'll last about two to three months with weekly or bi-weekly use, and it's still cheaper than a visit to Darden's studio. Trust me when I say this: if you think your skin can handle this treatment, you won't regret investing in Shani Darden's Triple Acid Signature Peel for skin that's smooth, glowing, and radiant.

the triple acid signature peel
Shani Darden Triple Acid Signature Peel $125.00
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