Hot on the trail of the Oscars, you may still be reeling from the endless celebs who hit the red carpet with picture-perfect beauty looks. Their glam teams are responsible for their trendy hair and makeup looks, but their go-to estheticians are often forgotten for their work providing facials for red carpet-ready skin. One major facialist that stars like Lorde, Zendaya, and Paloma Elsesser have on speed dial is Sofie Pavitt, who found herself in the skincare world after working in the fashion industry for 15 years. She's since built a reputation as the acne whisperer for celebs, editors, and cool-girls across New York City, and her signature facial always has a months-long waitlist.
Pavitt is based in NYC, but you won’t have to book a ticket to the Big Apple to get a true Sofie Pavitt-glow—on March 14, the esthetician launches her namesake studio-grade skincare line, Sofie Pavitt Face, kicking off with the Mandelic Acid Serum ($54).
If you’re ever looking to see which skin concerns are trending, estheticians are arguably the best people to turn to since they're dealing with skin hands-on every day. Much like many other estheticians-turned-skincare founders, Pavitt reveals that her inspiration for launching a leave-on exfoliator came from her countless clients looking for a solution to their worn-down skin.
“After treating so many clients at my studio with stressed, stripped skin, I wanted to formulate an exfoliator that could be easily incorporated into daily skincare routines, gently removing dead cell build up without irritation while also hydrating and soothing,” says Pavitt. The entire line is designed for those with various skin concerns and aims to eliminate excess in skincare routines and on the market. Sofie Pavitt Face’s first product is centered around mandelic acid, one of Pavitt’s favorite AHAs for exfoliation.
Seeing as Pavitt's speciality is acne-prone skin, it makes perfect sense that her inaugural product would be an exfoliator. Pavitt is a big proponent of exfoliating every day, which is why she turned to mandelic acid to be the star of the show—it has a much larger molecule size than other AHAs, making it gentle enough to use multiple times a week, even for sensitive skin. In addition to whisking away dullness, mandelic acid also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which help keep skin clear.
That being said, Pavitt wanted the serum to speak to multiple skin types, which is why it also contains hyaluronic acid to boost moisture in the skin and panthenol (or vitamin B5), which can help the skin retain moisture as well as calm the surface. Though you might want to slather this on all day to get a glowing complexion that becomes smoother over time, the brand suggests using this product once daily after cleansing and toning (or 3-4 times a week for dry/sensitive skin) and following it with a moisturizer and sunscreen.
"I just finished up a second round of Accutane and that pretty much knocked out my cystic acne, but I've still been left with some clogged pores (presumably from the heavier moisturizers I've been using to offset Accutane dryness) and generally blah winter skin. I used and loved a mandelic acid serum years ago, but haven't been able to find the ingredient in popular products in recent years. So when I heard one of my favorite estheticians was releasing a serum I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.
"I've been playing with this serum for a few weeks and I'm pretty impressed with the results. It's lightweight and non-sticky, with a more watery texture than a thick gel. I've been using it at night and haven't noticed any irritation in the slightest, even on sensitized skin. I've already seen less clogs, a lightening of my (many) acne scars, and an overall boost in glow." —Bella Cacciatore, news editor