You know how in epic love stories, even after war, betrayal, or being strangely forbidden by someone's mustached father, the couple always finds their way back to each other? Well, no disrespect to Jane Austen or all the hopeless romantics out there, but I just never believed in that fairytale — until I fell head over heels with MD Complete's Acne Clarifying Gel Mask... again.
I was first introduced to the product four years ago, when I was testing hundreds of items for a magazine's beauty awards. It wasn't love at first sight — I had a bag of 30 skin, hair, and makeup products to get through, after all — but the moment it touched my skin (and then stayed on for a minute, per the directions) I was hooked. It ended up winning "best acne treatment," and for the rest of that year, I hoarded it any time I saw one in the beauty closet. Eventually though, and as most good things do, my stockpile ended. But it was recently brought to my attention yet again with a new name (it used to be called Pro Peel) — and I can't help but feel like it's fate.
Luckily, the clear, non-irritating formula is the same. It's still loaded with a potent blend of exfoliating AHAs like glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids, plus salicylic acid that works like CTRL + Z on my acne, yet remains surprisingly gentle. On the first day, you apply a dime-sized amount of product all over your face and leave it on for 60 seconds before rinsing. Every day thereafter, for up to five days, you leave it on for one minute longer. Et voila! Even this many years later, one week of using it left my skin clearer and more even-toned than it has been in months.
But of course, even the greatest loves have their flaws. For me, I feel personally conflicted about the tube's size. If I'm being conservative and guarding it like Gollum from my roommates, I’ll get 10 uses out of it — a number that hardly seems like enough. Then again, they do say nothing lasts forever...