I happened to be in the beauty department of our local Saks Fifth Avenue on a recent Thursday afternoon with my shopping date, Jill, when we heard an announcement about an aesthetician offering a no-downtime facial peel. I’m not all that keen on skin care procedures performed in a bustling, potentially unhygienic department store. However, after hearing the Bobbi Brown associates detail how this glycolic peel wouldn’t leave our faces red or irritated, we decided to give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen? Other than our skin melting like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark?
What I found was The Peel Bar by BeautyRx, a pop-up offering glycolic peels ($50) that promise to even skin tone, smooth texture, treat blemishes, prevent future breakouts, unclog pores, and generally leave skin glowing — the perfect canvas for makeup. So, the worst possible outcome would be that none of these happened … and our faces fell off. Jill was less skeptical and more eager to experiment, so I blessed her and she went first.
First, as the aesthetician cleaned Jill’s skin, I learned that the idea behind The Peel Bar is a simple one: Dr. Neal Schultz, developer of the skin care products, wanted to offer his expertise and treatments to anyone, even those unable to make an appointment in his Manhattan dermatology office. Our aesthetician, Kevin, who had been trained by Dr. Schultz, followed the cleansing with toner and much talk of Schultz’s understanding that women (and men) do not have time for downtime after a peel, and likewise do not want to be out in public with skin that looks like the surface of Mars.
I anxiously watched for signs of redness as the 30 percent glycolic peel went onto Jill’s face. Then I watched for any redness that might develop during the two minutes the peel worked its purported magic.
The only downside I found to the peel was the amount of time I spent in front of the mirror admiring the results. On the other hand, it’s hardly fair to blame Dr. Schultz for one’s own little streak of narcissism.
No redness or anything suggesting irritation. The peel was neutralized and rinsed with water and then finished with an application of sunscreen. It took less than 15 minutes and Jill’s skin was brighter, smoother, and plumper than before. She looked … damn! Radiant.
Still not entirely convinced my skin wouldn’t resemble a pulped tomato afterward (but really hoping for similar results to Jill’s), I jumped in with both ears. During the glycolic acid application, my skin got hot and tingly, but not uncomfortably so. If my skin were to turn angry, this is the moment it would occur. But it didn’t. Not even a little bit.
And there is genuinely no downtime: Like Jill’s, my skin looked great immediately and for three days after the peel, I had the best skin I’ve had since birth. My skin was soft, luminous, and smooth. Superficial moonlike pores were suddenly nonexistent. I applied makeup and the result was flawless. The only downside I found to the peel was the amount of time I spent in front of the mirror admiring the results. On the other hand, it’s hardly fair to blame Dr. Schultz for one’s own little streak of narcissism.
For me, The Peel Bar has proven to be a gateway to BeautyRx’s entire range of products. I’m particularly fond of the Advanced 10% Exfoliating Pads ($70), intended for use two or three nights a week. They tingle, comparable to the peel application, and produce similar, if not quite equal, results. Anyone new to the exfoliating game should start with the Essential Exfoliating 8% Serum ($65). It’s gentle and you’ll notice results over time. The Solar Defense Sheer Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($42) also provides physical and chemical protection and doesn’t make my skin greasy or disturb my makeup. It has quickly become my favorite SPF for the face.
The Peel Bar pops up on Thursdays at Saks Fifth Avenue at The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert. Still nervous? Take a shopping date and make her go first. It worked for me.