This Skin-Care Product Is So Great, I Wish I Hadn't Tried It

I have textbook combination skin. My T-zone is oily and my forehead is prone to breakouts, but my cheeks tend toward dryness and flushing. And even though I’ve found a few cleansers that I really love, as well as a couple of treatments to deal with acne, the perfect serum has always eluded me. I desperately wanted a single product to satisfy the parched zones of my face while helping with softness, elasticity, and tone. Then I visited The Erno Laszlo Institute for a facial this spring, and was sent home with a sample of Phormula 3-9 repair serum. (Cue sounds of angels singing.)

The consistency is light and it readily melts into my skin, like my favorite gel moisturizer. A pea-sized dollop is more than enough for my entire face — especially if I spread it around while my skin is still damp from cleansing.

Immediately after applying, color and texture results are fairly visible. My skin definitely glows — thanks to the gold pearlescence — and I’ve noticed a complexion evenness that absolutely wasn’t there before. In the three months I've been using it, my cheeks stopped flaking, and my forehead is significantly smoother since it isn’t over-producing oil.

Two last little things that sealed the deal: The fragrance and the iconic endorsements (and not by the Instagram set). As someone who’s suspicious of fragrant products — sometimes they’re drying, chemically damaging, or just plain overwhelming — I was happily surprised by the smell, which is so, so wonderful. Maybe I’m biased because my first exposure was while supine on a table being pampered, but it vaguely reminded me of sweet tea and roses, and immediately made me feel totally relaxed. Also, when I learned that Marilyn Monroe, Katharine Hepburn, and Grace Kelly were all Laszlo loyalists, I felt a tinge of that inimitable je ne sais quoi.

All that said, brace yourself for the price tag. It’s an extravagant splurge and I almost wish I had never experienced its excellence. But if you’re a beauty junkie looking for the perfect way to #treatyourself, this is it. Seriously.

Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9 Repair Serum, $275, available at Erno Laszlo.

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