As soon as The Ordinary dropped its three new acids, I ordered them immediately from Victoria Health, and so began a 3-4 week waiting game as the products were drip-fed to me. This little baby, the AHA + BHA Peeling Solution, was the second to arrive. I’ve had it for about a month now, but I have only used it twice thus far – I’ve had several meetings with clients this month because I’ve taken on even more freelance work, so I haven’t wanted to risk using this in case it broke me out.
Anyway, enough of my wittering on. Let’s talk about this product. For the paltry sum of £6.30, you get 30ml of liquid which resembles a fine merlot in colour, which I’m going to assume is due to the inclusion of black carrot (who knew that was a thing?) in the ingredients. It comprises 30% AHAs (think wrinkle-busting, smoothing, acid exfoliating goodness – this blog says claims AHA is the most powerful dead-skin sloughing acid you can get, so there’s that) and 2% BHA. BHA, another acid exfoliant, supposedly helps you out if you are acne-prone or have crappy pores or, again, just plain dull skin.
I’m in my mid-20s, so I’m sure older, wiser people will tell me that I don’t need AHAs in my life and all I need to put on my skin is SPF and tinted moisturiser. The thing is, I’ve had acne since I was 14, I’ve smoked since I was 16, I rarely eat my 5-a-day, I drink more coffee and alcohol combined than I do water, and my only attempt at exercise/being outdoors is walking the dog every day, bar the 2 weeks in July wherein I manically going running every day before my summer holiday to try to look, you know, toned. Health-conscious millennial, I am not (is it because I live in the north?), so I think my skin needs all the help it can get. Give me all the acids, ASAP.
I’ve only ever used the Peeling Solution in the evenings after cleansing because, naturally, all that acid exfoliation leaves your face a little raw, despite the thoughtful folk at Deciem adding soothing hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 to the mix. The solution itself is very light and watery – please apply this over the sink, so you can easily wipe away the bloodbath-type situation that you end up being hovering over if you’re a bit heavy-handed.
So, yeah, this stuff will stain your towels, your carpets, everything. It will make your face look sunburnt, even after it’s sunk in (see pic above). The other bad bit? It stings. I don’t even have broken skin, unless un-popped spots count – and I ensured my skin was free of dry patches and flakiness before I put the Peeling Solution on – but, damn, it stings. The stinging sensation subsided after a couple of minutes, but the following 7-8 minutes were not particularly comfortable. This is not a luxe face mask to do with your friends, or to put on in the bath when you’re having a glass of vino; as The Ordinary advises, this stuff is ‘For Professional Use Only.’ I’m not profesh by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve used acids in the past and, hey, I survived! Come at me!
After 10 minutes, you just rinse off the solution and then admire your skin.
And this is where, suddenly, the 10 minutes of discomfort makes sense. You have soft skin! Like, baby soft! And you look a bit red but, underneath it all, you can see a lil glow. The following morning, my skin felt A+. It didn’t seem to do anything for my blemishes or clogged pores, though.
Overall, I’d recommend it, even though it’s a bit weird. I might give it a few more tries and then pass it on to my mum, as I only have a handful of tiny lines on my face at the moment, and I feel I’d rather use something else to fight my spottiness.
The best bits:
- It leaves your skin smooth and tight, but in a pleasant way rather than a strained way. You get me?
- It costs less than most of those awful charcoal peel-off masks (spoiler: they don’t work!!!!)
- It takes ten minutes
The worst bits
- It will stain everything if you give it the opportunity to
- It feels uncomfortable on the face
- It should be avoided if you have sensitive or broken skin, in which cases it’ll probably do more harm than good
- It didn’t help my acne/pore issues
Would I repurchase? No, not for me. But I would buy it for my mum or perhaps my boyfriend.