I have very sensitive skin, which means I tend to steer clear of powerful exfoliants, like peels. But I may be changing my tune, thanks to Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. Allow me to explain. Because most peels leave me red-faced and prone to post-facial breakouts, I tend to steer clear of treatments with large amounts of leave-on exfoliants, like alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids, due partly to the fact that I'm scared of the splotchy aftermath. But Drunk Elephant, the nontoxic skin-care line made with minimal ingredients, has a new take on at-home peels, and it may just be the solution for sensitive-skin types, like myself.
Formulated with 25 percent AHAs (made up of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, and citric acids) and 2 percent BHAs (salicylic acid) to slough off dead skin cells and help refine the texture of your skin, Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial is also made with gentler, antioxidant-packed ingredients like soothing matcha tea, vitamin C–spiked apple, and redness-fighting niacinamide to brighten and help fight off free radicals. And if T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial sounds like an elevated version of your favorite Drunk Elephant nighttime treatment, you're kinda right. "The T.L.C. Glycolic Night Serum had become our number-one best-seller, and when you have a product that people love like that, it’s a logical next step to create a spin-off," Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson tells Allure. And its spin-off is so much more than its predecessor.
"It's more than just an acid treatment," Masterson says. "I wanted a mask that didn't irritate my skin or give me bumps. On the very few occasions that I have gone to get a facial at a spa, I left with a bright red, shiny face and ended up with breakouts four or five days later. I wanted to create something that delivered the glowy and bright part without the downside."
The result? A creamy formula (yes, creamy, not tacky like traditional masks) that is meant to be worn once a week, for 20 minutes at a time. "I see this as an innovative, next-generation formulation because it demonstrates that consumers don’t need to be scared of high levels of acids," Masterson explains. "Our skin can handle acids and most skin that is perceived 'sensitive' is actually 'sensitized' by ingredients found in almost everything we use on a daily basis. Once you remove the irritants and sensitizers from your routine and reset your skin to a healthy state, these high-powered actives can be accepted by the skin and put to work without any negative side effects."
Which is why I was able to successfully use the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial at home with little to no irritation. OK, so that's not entirely true. I was a little pink after the treatment, but that's to be expected. Here's how it went down: After applying the formula to freshly cleansed skin, I let it settle onto my face for the full recommended 20 minutes, even though, deep down, I knew I was asking for irritation. But after the full 20 minutes, I was surprised to find I wasn't a full-on lobster post-peel. Sure, my skin was fairly flushed, but let's give it a little credit — I just had a crazy amount of AHAs slathered all over it, so of course it was red. But what I didn't feel, which the packaging warned I might, was slight tingling while wearing the mask. For the next few days, my skin felt smooth to the touch.
Bottom line: For those with sensitive skin like mine, I suggest easing into the 20 minutes allotted for the treatment. You'll find, over time, a brighter complexion, diminished dark spots, and a subtle glow. They don't call it Babyfacial for nothing.