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Gentle, even on sensitive skin
Easy to use
A little goes a long way
Lack of clear usage directions
When it comes to BAZAAR's ultimate holy grail skincare brands, La Mer is one name that frequently tops the list. From its decadently rich and celebrity-loved Crème de La Mer and Moisturizing Soft Cream to the brand's best-selling Concentrate and Renewal Oil, La Mer's range of luxe products rarely disappoints—which is why we were excited to try The Micro Peel, one of its newest innovations.
Created as a reimagining of a traditional facial peel, The Micro Peel features a bi-phase formula that aims to gently resurface the complexion while refining it overtime. It uses a combination of ingredients, including a refining ferment to lower the skin's pH balance, marine enzymes to enhance its collagen production, and La Mer's signature Miracle Broth to nourish and restore its lipid barrier.
Here, four BAZAAR editors offer their thoughts on The Micro Peel after using it consistently for a week—some for even longer. Spoiler alert: We may have just found a new favorite exfoliator.
Genevieve Monsma, interim beauty director
How I Tested
I proceeded with caution—as directed, I applied the peel in the evening after cleansing, dispensing the solution into my palm, then pressing it into my skin. Then, I topped it with a moisturizer to minimize any risk of inflammation. The next morning my skin was smooth, clear, and not at all red—a good sign. I skipped the next night, applying on the third night and waking up to the same result: soft, comfortable skin.
Ease of Use
As the oldest member of the BAZAAR beauty team, I’ve tried more than a few exfoliating products and consider myself fairly skincare savvy. But I was confused by The Micro Peel. The directions simply say: Apply to clean skin in the evening. Does that mean every night? Or every two to three nights … upping the frequency as my tolerance increases? My skin can be sensitive, and this peel is packed with multiple hydroxy acids (alpha, beta, and poly)—a recipe, in my mind, for potential irritation.
A little solution goes a long way—a good thing given the $270 price.
I’ve now been using the peel for a few weeks, applying it every two to three nights and layering a moisturizer on top. My skin does look and feel smoother—and, as importantly, it’s not red or flaky. Thus, despite my somewhat uncertain start, I’m pleased with the results and would recommend the peel to anyone with aging skin (and a sizable beauty budget) seeking a gentle, effective exfoliator.
Lindy Segal, interim digital beauty director
How I Tested
I have fair, sensitive skin, and tend to be a little wary of peels. I’m also an under-exfoliator (in the eyes of some, anyway; in my mind, I carry out the step just enough). But I’m only human, and it’s hard to resist any new La Mer product, peel or not.
Ease of Use
My first mistake was throwing out the box; the instructions aren’t on the bottle itself, so I instantly forgot how often to use it, how much to use, and any other steps. A quick Google helped me out, but still, it was an extra step. I shook up the concoction to activate it, then used the dropper to dispense the product into my hand, then onto my face. (Note: Not to sound too much like The New York Times Cooking app, but work quickly here; the product re-separates pretty fast.)
The first time I applied it, I got a bit worried. My cheeks turned bright pink (think: vintage Santa Claus illustrations), although they soon calmed down. But when I tried the product again two days later (and for every subsequent use), no redness occurred. Instead, I would just wake up with soft, brighter-looking skin.
The price is an investment, to be sure, but if you're willing to shell out nearly $300 (once you factor in tax) for smooth skin, it's one worth making.
As promised, this product is gentle enough for sensitive skin. The redness I did have was short-lived, and there were no other unpleasant side effects—just a good-morning glow.
Jamie Wilson, beauty editor
How I Tested
Nightly for one week, I applied about one fourth of a dropper’s worth of The Micro Peel to my skin after cleansing. After shaking the bottle, I dispensed the product into the palm of my hands before gently patting it onto my face and neck, avoiding my eye area. I followed with a moisturizer.
Ease of Use
The texture is on the watery side, which is why I first put it on my hands instead of directly onto my face because it slides fast. Aside from the directions being a little vague, I didn’t find this product hard to use at all.
Of course, there are exfoliants that are less expensive than this one, but it’s La Mer. The luxury price tag was expected. However, there’s 30 milliliters of product here, which I think could last a decent amount of time.
I have easily congested, acne-prone skin that is on the oilier side. I liked that, at least for me, it was gentle enough for frequent use. I experienced no redness, burning, or other signs of irritation. In the mornings after use, I woke up with a somewhat matte skin finish (which I’m indifferent to), but the congestion that I’m accustomed to seeing around my nose seemed to improve with time. However, to see noticeable changes in my overall skin texture, I’d probably need more than a week of testing.
Tiffany Dodson, associate beauty commerce editor
How I Tested
I typically use a dermatologist-prescribed retinol on a nightly basis, so I was a little nervous about swapping my go-to tube with The Micro Peel, even with La Mer's reputation for elevated and effective products that are suitable for most skin types. Despite my hesitation, I used around one fourth of a dropper full—eventually laddering up to one half by the end of my trial—of the exfoliant each night for just over a week to test its results.
Though The Micro Peel's instructions note that a user may experience slight tingling upon application, the product was so gentle that I barely felt a thing. I did, however, notice that my face looked subtly brighter and more even each time I used the peel, which was immediately apparent.
Ease of Use
Using The Micro Peel was fairly foolproof given it includes a built-in dropper, but its minimal application directions left me wondering if I'd actually been using it correctly. Since its consistency is a bit on the runny side, I highly recommend adding it to a cupped palm, and then pressing it onto your face for maximum complexion impact.
Admittedly, $270 is probably more money then I'd typically spend on a single skincare item, but when it comes to La Mer, you definitely get what you pay for—in a good way. And since a little of this product goes a long way, you ultimately can get a nice bang for your buck if there's room in your budget to add it to your shopping cart.
The Micro Peel is worth adding to any regimen for a complexion refresh that isn't overly aggressive (which is always a plus). After using it on a nightly basis, I'm definitely interested in adding it to my lineup and seeing how smooth and even my skin can get with continued use.
Final rating: 4.0
According to BAZAAR editors, The Micro Peel is worth the buy, although it may be pricey for some beauty enthusiasts. Its mild yet effective formula seamlessly works on a number of skin types—from sensitive to oily and acne-prone—which makes it easy to add to just about any rotation without fear of irritation.
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