This Face Mask Keeps Selling Out — But Does It Work?

The Women's March drove home the message that we are not going to sit back quietly while being treated as inferiors. Pay us 21 cents less, threaten our reproductive rights, call us 'sweetheart' in the company meeting — and you're in for a fight. We are women, hear us roar. But there is one exception. Beauty brands, we're giving you full permission to treat us like babies. A serum packaged in a binky bottle? Adorable. Wanna rub breast milk on our face? Why the hell not! But the secret sauce for a runaway success seems to be putting baby right there in the name. Case in point: Babyfoot — and now Babyfacial. Before this month, Drunk Elephant was a relatively under-the-radar brand; now it's a breakout star, thanks to Babyfacial. The face mask, a super-strength formulation with 25% AHA that functions like an in-office peel, sold out within the first week. It was quickly restocked, then it sold out again this weekend. Then it was restocked again, and... well, you know what we're going to say. So, yeah, this time, we're not exaggerating when we say the internet is freaking out. The hype is over the fact that the AHA/BHA concentration in the mask is so much higher than most on the market.There is no FDA limit on the amount of glycolic and lactic acid that can be in a product's formula, but the Consumer Ingredient Review has determined that an AHA concentration of 10% or less and a final pH of 3.5 or higher falls within the safe range for consumer use. So how is Drunk Elephant getting away with 25%? Because Babyfacial falls within the ideal pH range and the brand has eliminated the traditional irritators (high amounts of alcohol, fragrance) and replaced them with potent skin soothers. Still, it's intense — and if you have sensitive, reactive skin, it's kind of like signing up for American Ninja Warrior before you've mastered the monkey bars. So, to make your purchase decision a little easier, we had four editors with different skin types — none of whom were using retinol, which can cause an adverse reaction in combination with the product — put it to the test and report back with the results. "I have sensitive combination skin, and even the mildest peels leave me red and blotchy. This one, however, was in a league of its own: It started to really tingle the minute I slathered it on — as in, it felt like there were dozens of tiny ants biting my cheeks — and when I looked in the mirror, I could see a rash forming on the right side of my cheek. I immediately washed it off (and ran to the kitchen for a few ice cubes), but the redness lingered well into the next morning." —Kelsey Castañon, beauty news editor "I'm completely in love with Drunk Elephant for my combination skin. After 20 minutes, my face was noticeably brighter and softer and I noticed some dead skin rolling off my nose as I touched it (sounds gross; was actually really satisfying). It didn't tingle or hurt my skin at all, either. Still, the difference wasn't night-and-day, which I think is because I've been using the brand's exfoliating serum for so long." — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer "Although the Babyfacial list was free of known irritators, the AHA level ended up being way too high for my sensitive, dry complexion. At first, my skin did feel refreshed and clean after. But a few hours later, I broke out in hives. This sounds scary, but it's pretty common for me, so I knew some soothing cream and a 24-hour skin-care cleanse would fix the damage." — Sam Sasso, beauty assistant As for me, I knew I wouldn't have a bad reaction to the mask — my skin, which is normal bordering on dry, can take a lot. I used it after getting home from a sleepless, alcohol-fueled trip to D.C. (meaning my skin was dry, dull, and had patches of redness) and while I looked better after, it wasn't, like, write-home-about-it magical. Until it was. When I woke up the next morning, all redness was gone and my face looked the way it does after a pricey Skinceuticals or SkinMedica peel, which is to say, like the entire top layer had been shed off snake-style to reveal precious, delicate, bright skin. And, impossibly, there was no dryness or flakiness — even on my nose, which always takes a hit. I wouldn't say I look like a newborn, but maybe a middle schooler?

Drunk Elephant
T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, $80, available at Sephora.

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