I’ve always had dry skin, but for several years now, that annoying parchedness has given way to flaky, pink patches on both of my cheeks that a dermatologist dubbed mild rosacea. I’m half Irish, and so developing the skin condition sometimes referred to as “the curse of the Celts” isn’t all that surprising. But damn, is it annoying. Most mornings, it looks like I used a Brillo pad for a pillow.
Like anyone with fussy skin, I tried a long list of creams and gels to calm down those angry pink spots, including Mirvaso (which fixed the discoloration temporarily but did nothing to heal the dryness), and a sulfur treatment that caused my entire face to break out in tiny bumps. (Turns out, I’m allergic. Fun!) I’d finally resigned myself to Aveeno’s Ultracalming Moisturizer — which worked okay, but didn’t give me the smoothness I’d hoped for — when Corey at a Sephora on the Upper West Side changed my face life.
I explained to Corey, who had the kind of dreamy skin and eyelashes a girl can only dream of, that I needed a creamy foundation that would cover any red spots on my wedding day. He shook his head. “You need something that is going to sooth your skin, and then we can talk foundation.” He left me by a row of lipsticks and returned with a jar of Peter Thomas Roth’s Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask. “I use this all the time,” he told me. “Put it on for ten minutes after you take a shower, wash it off, and then slather your face with moisturizer.”
I was in no position to argue with this perfect-skinned man. I bought the gel, and a jar of Drunk Elephant’s Lala Whipped Cream moisturizer, and went home expecting … well, not much. But then, as instructed, I cleansed my face with semi-cold water, dried it off, and applied a thin layer of the pink gel mask — which is cool to the touch and has the slightest rose scent. And holy hell. After one application, my skin already felt smoother.
I’ve been using the gel several times a week for a month now, and my skin is no longer flaking. There’s some pinkness, but less — and my face is visibly less dry. I can’t say I buy into the fact that plant stem cells are working magic on me (doubts have been raised about such claims), but the gel does live up to its promise of hydrating skin and combating dullness — which could be thanks to a combination of natural oils and the fact that the mask itself feels as cool and redness-taming as an aloe gel. Sure, I’m not quite Corey level yet, but my face has a noticeable glow to it that it hasn’t had in years. What’s more, the mask is free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, and it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin.
If you really want the ultimate cooling effect, you can stick the jar of gel in the fridge and leave it on overnight. (The gel dries in less than a minute, so you won’t be sleeping in goo.) I’m not that hard core, and grabbing it right out of my medicine cabinet after showering has been working fine for me. On my wedding day, the makeup artist even commented on how soft my skin was, and my foundation laid on just right. I told her about the gel and what my face was like before. “Sounds like a miracle worker,” she said. Amen.
Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask $52, Sephora
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