I've been around the block with many "at-home facials," and can confirm: A lot of them are just glorified moisturisers. Countless times I've plastered my face before bed with layers of goop promising a renewed, youthful complexion by morning, only to wake up to little more than a greasy pillowcase. Other times, I've been tingled and burned by pore-stripping formulas that leave my face in worse shape than it was to begin with.
It's been a long road, but Ole Henriksen's PHAT Glow Facial has renewed my faith in the at-home treatment category. The latest from the brand has been a game-changer in my routine for more reason than its kitschy name (that, yes, my formerly pink sweatsuit-owning self still gets a kick out of) — it actually works.
The "PHA-t" play on words is rooted in the formula, which is packed with polyhydroxy acids (or PHAs). Unlike better-known acids like AHAs (think glycolic and lactic), PHAs are chemical exfoliants with chunkier molecules, so they resurface your skin without going too deep. They're less potent than the others, and that's a good thing, especially for sensitive skin — it significantly lessens the risk of peeling, burning, and irritation. (Hear that? That's the sound of your easily-irritated face doing a zero-downtime dance.)
In addition to that gently-exfoliating PHA, this mask contains nordic birch sap, pink bentonite clay, and chia seed to hydrate, detoxify, and condition skin. Two full pumps of the airtight bottle releases enough of the pink gel — which turns white as you massage it in — to cover my entire face and neck, where I leave it for up to 15 minutes. If I wake up in the morning and my face is particularly lacklustre, I massage this on while I sip my coffee and watch the news. A few minutes later, my skin is brighter, plumper, and softer than it's been since probably the day I was born... and I'm not even late for work.