As beauty editors, we get bombarded with a ton of new products every day (we know—tough life.) Reviewed is a series where we report on some of the best products we've tried. Whether it's a drugstore lipstick that lasted all day or a hand cream that saved us this winter, you'll find all of our favorites in this column. Enjoy!
Here's the thing. My skin is finicky—and by finicky I mean it abruptly rejects anything it doesn't like with red, angry vengeance—a reaction I liken to the Wicked Witch of the West's iconic red puff of smoke. So like Dorothy, I try to be on my best behavior—tiptoeing nervously around products with the potential to elicit an incendiary outburst. Peels, no matter the brand, formulation, or "gentleness," have proven to be one such instigator, and after plenty of stinging, inflamed, and, yes, borderline smoking reactions, you could say I've learned my lesson: Steer clear.
However, roughly two weeks ago, I met the Tammy Fender Epi-Peel ($86), an at-home formula that my skin not only tolerated but lapped up like an attention-starved puppy. And, as with any perfect love story, our meeting was a mix of chance, dumb luck, and maybe even a touch of fate: I had just taken a cycle class, and as I stumbled into The Detox Market next door (apparently perusing all-natural makeup is great way to regain composure post-workout), I was offered a facial using Tammy Fender's line of holistic skincare. Red-faced and still sweating, I gratefully obliged.
Slowly, my skin began to relax as it was introduced to luscious botanical elixirs like the Cleansing Milk ($55), Bulgarian Rosewater ($65), and other dreamy concoctions (all handcrafted and jarred in small batches, by the way). I was instantly taken aback by how light, refreshing, and gorgeously scented the products were—a far cry from so many of the intensely heavy and even oily natural fare I'd previously tried. I was pleased.
And then, just when I thought my skin couldn't feel happier, I was introduced to the Epi-Peel. Infused with all the all-natural (albeit powerful) detoxifiers and antibacterial agents like great burdock, kaolin clay, rosemary, spearmint, and watercress, I feared even a short, five to ten-minute stint on my face would result in a painful rest of my Saturday.
However, since I have the willpower of a guppy, two minutes later I found myself with the opaquely white peel plastered to my T-zone. A risk, it turned out, that was well worth taking. After a 10 minute wait time, the peel completely dried, and the esthetician slowly began using her fingers to work the product "up" my face. (Sorry, that's really the only way I can think to describe it.)
Once it dries, the formula is somewhat set into the skin, so by working and rolling it up and off, you essentially take all of the built-up dead skin (again, so sorry) with it. Suffice to say, two minutes and a lot of skin later, my whiteheads, milia, and all-around dullness had vanished. Left in in its wake: a smooth, incandescent-baby's-bum radiance I hardly recognized as my own skin. Oh, and there wasn't a bump, splotch, or Oz-like side effect to speak of.
It's been two weeks now, and I'm happy to report that my Tammy Fender Epi-Peel and I are still going strong (I used it twice on my own with the same, obsession-worthy results.) My only fear: My precious sample is almost gone.