Your Complete Guide to HydraFacials: Steps, Cost, and Benefits

Nothing compares to the sheer joy one feels when it’s time to lay down under steam for a facial. Of course, that relaxation only takes place after long hours of researching and scrolling through the facial services menu to determine what treatment is worth the money and the hour-long block in your day. Allow me to help make your search easier: Get a HydraFacial. 

Apparently this magical 30- to 60-minute treatment tackles everything from dehydration to discoloration, aging to acne, and uneven skin texture. Ready to book? Honestly same. But here’s a brief explainer on everything to know before your first HydraFacial.

What is a HydraFacial?

According to board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Ariel Ostad, “The HydraFacial is the only hydra-dermabrasion procedure that uses patented technology to cleanse, extract, and hydrate.” And yes, HydraFacial is a branded experience. Spas have to be registered and licensed to market themselves as offering HydraFacials. 

The 60-minute treatment is divided into three key sections, the first being Cleanse + Peel. “HydraFacial uncovers a new layer of skin with gentle exfoliation and relaxing resurfacing. The Activ-4™ serum removes dead skin cells to reveal healthy skin and the GlySal™, a mixture of glycolic and salicylic acids, delivers the benefits of a peel without post-peel scaling,” he explains.

The second step is to Extract + Hydrate. The HydraFacial removes debris from pores with painless suction and nourishes with intense moisturizers that quench skin. “The patented, automated vortex suction painlessly cleans out pores with the exclusive Beta-HD™ serum and Antiox+™ serum nourishes and protects with antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid,” Ostad continues.

And finally, the third step is to Fuse + Protect. “A HydraFacial saturates the skin’s surface with antioxidants and peptides to maximize your glow. Targeted, proprietary skin solutions are delivered to address specific skin concerns. Patients maintain results at home with Daily Essentials™ featuring the same ingredients used in the treatments,” he adds. 

What do HydraFacials do for your face?

For those who wear makeup a lot or simply want a deeper clean than usual, HydraFacials are a great way to cleanse the skin. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anthony Rossi Jr., “facials such as HydraFacials are a way to remove the buildup of sebum and debris that cover the top of our skin. It helps to loosen and unclog pores, and combines an exfoliation process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells, the stratum corneum, with hydration and cleansing of water.”

HydraFacials help to brighten the skin. “After treatments like [HydraFacial] or any that help to exfoliate the top layer, skincare will penetrate better and makeup will be applied easier. The stratum corneum is the epidermis’ layer of protection and one of the main barriers to the penetration of topicals,” he adds. 

How does a HydraFacial differ from microdermabrasion or a traditional chemical facial peel?

There are a few key differences. For example, microdermabrasion treatments use manual extractions, while a HydraFacial uses a vacuum-like tip to cleanse deeper down than traditional extraction. Additionally, chemical peels use acids and are most effective on lighter skin tones, whereas HydraFacials can be used on all shades.

[The treatment] takes its name from the root word hydrate—this ability to moisturize the skin separates the HydraFacial™ from all other skin resurfacing procedures,” explains Boston-based, board-certified dermatopathologist Dr. Gretchen Frieling. “The treatment is soothing, refreshing, non-irritating, and immediately effective.” 

Do HydraFacials hurt?

HydraFacials shouldn’t be painful. Essentially, the machine’s handpiece holds spiralized treatment tips with vortex technology which, as acts like a mini vacuum on your skin. The most uncomfortable part of the treatment is definitely the exfoliation in section one. Camkiran likened the feeling to a “cat licking my face.” That’s a cute way of saying it was sandpapery, but not excruciating. 

Despite the official website’s claim that “patients compare the sensation to a light massage,” I would say it’s a bit more like a dental cleansing for your skin (and p.s. I love the dentist). Somewhere between not painful and not pleasant lies the HydraFacial. However, this is an active facial, meaning in the words of another prominent beauty editor, Deanna Pai: “The HydraFacial device is a huge machine with various attachments that whirr and suck and spin.” In summary, it’s noisy—and if you fall asleep during this treatment you are on a different level of zen that I definitely envy. 

Is it safe for all skin types? 

HydraFacials can be performed on most skin types, including very sensitive complexions. But, those with active rashes, sunburns, or rosacea should abstain from HydraFacials, which can cause further damage or flare ups. “You also should not do this if you have open wounds or excoriated areas. These areas are already prone to inflammation,” Dr. Rossi adds. Also, pregnant woman should always consult with their doctor first. “Some of the ingredients used during the HydraFacial, such as salicylic acid, haven’t been tested or proven safe during pregnancy,” adds Frieling. 

Can you customize your treatment?

The treatment is highly customizable,” explains Ostad. “Your skincare professional will work with you to understand your unique skin concerns and recommend a personalized treatment for you.” An aesthetician can use the exfoliator at varying intensities, and leave acids on the face for differing durations.

How many treatments do I need to see results?

Many patients report seeing visible skin refinement and an even, radiant skin tone after just one treatment,” explains Frieling. And yes, I co-sign this. My skin has receipts. 60-minutes and change later I emerged a glow-ier, dewier version of myself that lasted into the latter half of the week.

The good news? The smooth results and hydration may last five to seven days or even longer. The bad news? One treatment per month is recommended for improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, oily and congested skin…which ain’t cheap people! 

Are HydraFacials worth the money?

With a price tag ranging from $199-$300, it’s certainly an investment. It’s wise to book a treatment before a big event or quarterly to reset your skin after a seasonal change. But if you have the bread, ball out because your skin will look lovely.

ELLE

Shoppers Have Been Won Over by These $10 ‘Life-Changing’ Reusable Makeup Pads That Save Money in the Long Run

If grabbing a cotton pad to wipe off every bit of makeup is part of your nightly routine, we need to let you in on a secret. You could be saving money, reducing waste, and having an easier time of it too — with one simple product switch.

Enter Chloven’s 30-Pack Reusable Makeup Remover Pads, a game-changing purchase that will save you tons of money in the long run and reduce your environmental impact to boot — not to mention it’s on sale for just $10 at Amazon.

The sizable multi-pack isn’t just a one-type-fits-all. The set includes ten bamboo terry scrub pads, ten soft cotton pads, and ten bamboo charcoal pads. Each provides a unique texture and feel for different types of makeup removal and spot exfoliating. Like any cotton pad, you can lightly wet these to use them to remove makeup, or add some toner or cleanser to the surface for an added benefit.

Buy It! Chloven 30-Pack Reusable Makeup Remover Pads, $9.99 (orig. $17.99); amazon.com

The pads are made from eco-friendly bamboo and cotton, and rather than tossing them in the garbage as you would a traditional one, you can continually wash them in your normal laundry and use them again and again. In fact, one pad can be used 1,000 times or more, according to the brand. So not only will you be preventing a ton of waste, but you also save money on all those bags of disposable pads you’ll never need to buy again.

The set also comes with a small mesh bag, perfect for filling with dirty pads and then tossing in the wash when it’s full. They’re even dryer safe, and won’t shrink up if you dry them normally.

Amazon shoppers are fully on board with this budget-friendly, planet-friendly swap, with 4,300 leaving five-star ratings. One reviewer praised the product as “life-changing” and another remarked they’re “absolutely obsessed” with these pads.

Another reviewer highlighted the variety of styles, noting, “after using them, I realized the different textures were amazing. I use the black ones for makeup removal with micellar water. Then I use the other ones with my AHA/BHA toner for exfoliating.”

A third converted reviewer attested they’re “never going back to cotton pads.”

PEOPLE

The 8 Best Cleansing Balms That Melt Off Even Waterproof Makeup

Cleansing your skin is the most pivotal part of your skincare routine since it creates a clean slate for your serums and creams. However, removing your makeup is not exactly the most exciting part of your routine — especially if you’re wearing waterproof mascara or long wear lipstick. Rubbing and scrubbing your skin with a makeup wipe or washcloth eventually gets off every trace of product, but there are better options out there that don’t cause redness and irritation, and dare I say, make you look forward to washing your face at night.

Enter: Cleansing balms.

Made with high amounts of hydrating ingredients like butters and oils, these cleansers effectively and effortlessly break up and melt off makeup, dirt, and sunscreen while simultaneously moisturizing your skin. “They typically come in a tub and you only need a little bit,” says Shari Sperling M.D. a New Jersey-based board-certified dermatologist and founder of Sperling Dermatology. “A cleansing balm can be used in a double cleansing regimen with the balm being the first step to cleanse your skin from makeup or sunscreen.” After using a cleansing balm, it’s recommended to follow up with a water-based cleanser to further clean pores and ensure all of that makeup and gunk gets rinsed away. Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm topped our list thanks to its gentle yet effective formula.

Below, we’ve rounded up the best cleansing balms for every skin type and budget.

Best Overall: Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

What We Love: This three-in-one balm nourishes skin, removes makeup, and cleanses skin at the same time.

What We Don’t Love: The scent can be a bit strong for some.

With an extensive list of nutrient-rich oils (like elderberry, starflower, and lavender, to name a few), this cleansing balm offers skin-firming and collagen-boosting benefits on top of being really good at removing makeup. “I can confirm that the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm will get every speck of glitter and waterproof mascara off,” says Shannon M. Bauer, Senior Commerce Beauty Editor at InStyle. “Although most cleansing balms do this, there’s something special about the way it transforms from balm to oil to milky wash — it happens in distinct phases.

While you can use the Elemis cleanser daily as the first part of your double cleansing routine, it also makes for a great weekly hydrating mask. Thanks to padina pavonica, an algae native to the Mediterranean, the formula supports a hydrated skin barrier by drawing moisture into the skin and making sure it doesn’t escape again. Regardless of the way you use it, be sure to rinse it off when you’re finished to avoid potentially clogging your pores.

One thing to note: Bauer found the balm’s scent a little strong. But because it smells like eucalyptus, lavender and chamomile, she said she was able to look past it.

Ingredients: Starflower Oil, Elderberry Oil | Size: 0.51 oz. | Scent:Eucalyptus, Lavender, Chamomile

Best Value: Versed Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm

What We Love: The solid balmy cleanser melts into a luxurious oil to melt away makeup without stripping the skin of moisture.

What We Don’t Love: It can leave an oily residue on the skin post-cleanse.

The nourishing cocktail of vitamin E and jojoba, avocado, eucalyptus, and clove leaf oils deliver a heaping dose of hydration in this budget-friendly pick. Designed to glide onto skin and lift stubborn makeup — even longwearing, matte lipstick — with ease, this cleansing balm is the perfect alternative for someone who swears by single-use cleansing wipes. Whether for skincare or sustainability reasons, there’s no doubt this balm, which is housed in a 50% post-consumer recycled plastic tub, will replace your existing cleansing method.

Like other cleansing balms, it transitions from a balm to an oil when in contact with water, so don’t be surprised if your skin feels slightly oily after application. Just be sure to follow up with a foaming or gel cleanser afterwards to remove any remnants of the balm from your skin.

Ingredients: Vitamin E, Jojoba oil, Avocado oil, Eucalyptus oil | Size: 2.3 fl. oz. | Scent: Eucalyptus

Best for Waterproof Makeup: Farmacy Green Clean Meltaway Cleansing Balm

What We Love: This fan-favorite cleansing balm removes waterproof makeup gently and effectively with the help of botanical oils, turmeric and moringa extracts, and papaya enzymes.

What We Don’t Love: Some say their eyes burned a bit after using it.

If I had to pick my desert island product, it would be this cleansing balm. Between the gentle ingredients, sorbet-like texture and barely-there scent, I find myself re-purchasing this product every time I hit empty. Formulated with sunflower and ginger root oils, it breaks down makeup, sunscreen, and other pore-clogging gunk and grime that accumulates on my skin throughout the day without stripping my skin of moisture. After using it, my skin feels soft (not tight) and there’s never any makeup residue on the towel when I pat my skin dry. The texture itself is noteworthy; it doesn’t feel oily or thick, but rather lightweight and milky, which is perfect for someone that has oilier skin like me. And as for the fragrance, the balm smells subtly fruity, but nothing too overpowering.

Several shoppers shared that while the balm took their makeup off painlessly, they experienced a slight burning sensation in and around their eyes. According to Diane Hilal-Campo, M.D., a board-certified ophthalmologist based in New Jersey and founder of twenty/twenty beauty, this is common with cleansing balms. To avoid irritation in your delicate eye area, she recommends removing the makeup on your eyes separately. “Try saturating a cotton pad or microfiber cloth with an oil, such as poppy seed oil, or an eye-specific makeup remover,” she says. “Press it against your closed lid to help break down the makeup. Then, gently swipe it away and repeat until your lids and lashes are fully clean.”

Ingredients: Sunflower oil, Ginger root oil, Papaya enzymes, Moringa extract | Size: 3.4 oz. | Scent: Fresh

Best for Dry Skin: Holifrog Kissimmee Vitamin F Therapy Balmy Wash

What We Love: The squeezable tube keeps the balm from getting contaminated by dirty fingers.

What We Don’t Love: Formulated with thick oils, this balm might not be best for those with acne-prone skin.

In a perfect world, you would use a spatula to scoop out your cleansing balm from the jar. In reality, you’re probably using your grubby fingers. It might not seem like a big deal, but your face is vulnerable to bacteria buildup (read: acne and skin infections), so keeping contamination to a minimum is key. That’s where Holifrog’s balm comes in. The squeezable tube prevents the balm from getting tainted and makes it easier to distribute the exact amount of product you need for your cleansing session.

The non-foaming makeup remover is infused with a mix of nourishing antioxidant oils and fatty acids, making it a great choice for dry skin types. However, because thick oils can sometimes clog pores, those with acne-prone skin might want to skip it and opt for a more lightweight option instead.

Ingredients: Sunflower Seed Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Glycerin | Size: 3.4 fl. oz. | Scent: Unscented

Best for Oily Skin: Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm

What We Love: This balm contains enzymes to exfoliate as it removes makeup.

What We Don’t Love: Some shoppers found their skin was irritated after using the balm in conjunction with other exfoliating products.

Glow Recipe is known for their absolutely addicting yet incredibly effective skincare products — and this fruity cocktail of a cleansing balm does not disappoint. Like other similar products, it starts out as a balm and softens into a milky oil that dissolves makeup. And although balms are often synonymous with hydration, this one actually exfoliates, too. Thanks to the namesake papaya enzymes, the formula gently breaks down dead skin cells to help skin feel smoother and look more radiant.

It’s worth noting that since the balm contains a gentle exfoliant, it’s important to perform a patch test to avoid irritation. Corey L. Hartman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based in Birmingham, Alabama, previously told us that it’s best to apply a small amount of a new product to the underside of your wrist. “The skin is thin in that area and also sensitive, so it reacts similarly to skin on the face,” he says. If you have no reaction, the product should be fine to use on your face without issue. It’s also pertinent to know that you should be careful when using this product alongside other exfoliants like alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids to avoid over-exfoliating your face.

Ingredients: Papaya enzymes, Papaya extract, Blueberry extract | Size: 100 mL | Scent: Tropical fruit

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Youth to the People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm

What We Love: The lightweight ingredients clear away pore-clogging debris without irritating active breakouts.

What We Don’t Love: The formula can get clumpy towards the bottom of the jar.

Very aptly named, this superfood-infused balm from Youth to the People is a dream come true for those with acne-prone skin. The fast-melting cleansing balm works to dissolve every last trace of long-wearing makeup, water-resistant sunscreen, and excess oil before they get a chance to wreak havoc on your skin. Best of all, it rinses clean and leaves skin soft, hydrated and never coated in an extra layer of grease. With ingredients like hyaluronic acid and moringa seed oil, you can rest assured that using this balm won’t contribute to acne breakouts, but rather help prevent dirt and grime-induced ones from forming in the first place.

After getting to the bottom third of the jar, I noticed that the formula began to get clumpy. It’s nothing to worry about, since it still works just fine, but just know that you might need to smooth the product out a bit in your hands to eliminate the clumps before massaging it into your skin.

Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Jojoba seed oil, Moringa seed oil, Prickly pear | Size: 3.35 fl. oz. | Scent: Fruity

Best for Sensitive Skin: Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Cleansing Balm

What We Love: This velvety-smooth balm is chock full of simple, nourishing ingredients, including omegas 3, 6 and 9.

What We Don’t Love: We wish it came in a smaller size so it could be brought in a carry-on.

If you have super sensitive skin, chances are you’re afraid to put anything new on your skin. Trust us when we say that this fragrance-free formula — which contains a barrier-repairing complex of coconut-derived fatty acids —keeps calm and cleans skin. It contains omega-rich jojoba oil and meadowfoam seed oil to give the balm its soothing texture that cleanses without friction or tugging. It melts on contact with the skin and leaves your complexion skin feeling smooth, hydrated and fresh. Our one complaint is that it doesn’t come in a mini size that can be tossed in a carry-on and used on a plane.

Ingredients: Jojoba oil, Meadowfoam seed oil, Olive oil | Size: 3.5 fl. oz. | Scent: Unscented


What to Keep in Mind 

Ingredients 

Most cleansing balms are oil-based, which binds to the makeup or junk on your face to lift it away. Oils listed high up on the ingredient list are at a higher percentage in the formula, and therefore more effective. While you’re looking, be sure the cleansing balm you pick is alcohol-free. According to Geeta Yadav, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, alcohol should be avoided. “The whole point of using a cleansing balm or oil is to keep your skin balanced and nourished,” she says. “Alcohol strips the skin and negates the hydrating effects.” In order to get the most bang for your buck, Dr. Yadav recommends seeking formulas that offer additional benefits. “Consider ingredients like oatmeal to soothe, fruit enzymes to gently exfoliate, or hyaluronic acid to pull extra hydration into the skin,” she explains.

Packaging 

It might not be top of mind at first, but the packaging that houses each cleansing balm matters. Most jarred cleansing balms come with mini spatulas, but, admittedly, it’s a lot easier to just stick your finger in and scoop some out. As you might expect, it’s not exactly the most hygienic, especially since it’s something you repeatedly do. If you don’t think you’ll use the spatula each time, consider a cleansing balm that comes in a tube. This way, you can squeeze out the perfect amount every time and never have to worry about contaminating the rest.

Skin Type 

As with all skincare, your skin type is important. The type of skin you have (and the concerns you want to address) determine which products and ingredients will work best. Dr. Yadav says that for those with acne-prone skin, non-comedogenic products are key. “There are plenty of balms out there that can effectively cleanse the skin without triggering breakouts or congesting pores,” she says. “I especially like products formulated with jojoba oil as it is very similar to your skin’s natural sebum; whereas coconut oil can be too heavy for those prone to breakouts.

INSTYLE

This J.Lo-Developed Resurfacing Serum Brightens and Smooths Skin So Well, It Has a 3,500-Person Waitlist

Considering the sheer amount of celebrity product lines in existence, it’s easy to be wary of believing any are worth the hype. After all, how involved can a superstar juggling myriad projects be? Especially someone as busy as Jennifer Lopez. Yet according to fans, her skincare line’s newest exfoliant is just as hard-working as the star herself.

The proof is in its popularity: The That Overnight Hustler AHA + BHA Resurfacer sold out after launching last month, the brand tells InStyle, and promptly racked up a 3,500-person waitlist on JLo Beauty’s website. While it’s still MIA there, Sephora has it in stock — and per people who’ve tried the overnight treatment, no product has made their skin look smoother, clearer, or more even.

As one person on the cusp of 50 said, it’s their favorite nighttime addition for addressing “fine lines, sagging skin, and uneven tone.” The combination of plumping hyaluronic acid and line-softening lactic and glycolic acid leaves wrinkles less visible after a couple applications, a different person agreed, writing that they’re “amazed at the difference” it made in just a few nights.

Shop now: $58; sephora.com

The formula gets a moisturizing bump from glycerin, jojoba, and grapeseed oil, and antioxidants enter the mix via blueberry, sugarcane, and orange extract. On top of those, willow bark extract clears pores, and bromelain adds a last exfoliating angle — so it’s no wonder Sephora reviewers see much smoother skin and a J.Lo-worthy glow. “This has absolutely changed my skin,” one user wrote of the “relaxed, fresh” skin they saw upon waking.

Those with chronically dull skin were also satisfied by the amped-up brightness it delivered, like one customer who noted that it softened their fine lines as a bonus. Dark spots lighten too, a logical consequence of the Resurfacer’s acid squad — but as multiple people addressed, the “liquid gold” somehow still feels gentle.

If you’d like to try the J.Lo-created exfoliant that leaves skin feeling “soft and new,” skip the waitlist and get the That Overnight Hustler AHA + BHA Resurfacer for $58 at Sephora.

INSTYLE

Rhode: Everything You Need to Know About Using Hailey Bieber’s Skincare Products

Our philosophy is making one of everything really good.” That’s what Hailey Bieber told PEOPLE about Rhode, the skincare brand she’s been teasing for months (and has been promoting very fashionably now that it’s available to buy). “What sets Rhode apart is we’re putting out a very curated, edited line of essentials.” 

Ahead of its June 15 launch, five PEOPLE writers tried out the model’s new line, incorporating its debut trio of products, which come bundled in The Rhode Kit, into their daily routines for an average of 10 days.

What to Know About Rhode

Buy It! The Rhode Kit, $95; rhodeskin.com

The Rhode lineup consists of three products: the Peptide Glazing Fluid, the Barrier Restore Cream, and the Peptide Lip Treatment. Key ingredients in the collection include peptides, which the brand says “visibly plump and reduce the look of fine lines“; niacinamide, which “nourishes, brightens, and improves skin’s overall texture“; and hyaluronic acid, which “locks in hydration.” You’ll also find moisturizing shea butter, softening marula oil, and supportive squalane.

The team definitely agreed on one thing: It looks very cool. “Clean and fresh, very Gen-Z in a cool way,” said Jenn Chan, commerce writer. “The packaging compels me to reach for it more than others because it does look so unique.” And speaking to Bieber’s intention to make her products “accessible and attainable for everyone,” commerce writer Claire Harmeyer noted, “The fonts are sophisticated and subtle and they don’t feel too fancy or inaccessible.”

Added Michelle Lee, style and beauty editorial assistant, “Aesthetically, I loved the matte gray packaging and the pastel colors when it came to differentiating the scented products. It felt very on brand for Hailey.

And speaking of scents, “the Barrier Restore Cream and Peptide Glazing Fluid don’t have scents,” senior commerce writer and strategist Alex Warner confirmed. “The cream is a richer white color, and the glazing fluid is more of a translucent white color. Both turn completely transparent within seconds of smoothing onto your skin.”

The scented Peptide Lip Treatments, obviously, have a smell, but I liked them,” said commerce writer Madison Yauger. “I didn’t notice the scents when I was wearing the products. The lip treatment comes out like a clear gel, kind of thick, but is easily spreadable across the lips.”

As for the line’s user-friendliness, “the directions are very straightforward and make it easy to figure out how to add the products to your regular routine,” said Warner.

Keep reading for more details on each product, and stick around for their final thoughts on Rhode at the very end.

Rhode Peptide Glazing Fluid

Buy It! Rhode Peptide Glazing Fluid, $29; rhodeskin.com

Alex: The Peptide Glazing Fluid is lightweight and smooth. I expected the peptide product to be more of a liquid-y serum, not a cream. It feels slightly tacky after first patting into the skin, but that goes away once it’s all dried. It comes in a small container with a pump and pull-off cap. The cap is definitely secure and was sometimes hard to pull off, but that was good for traveling so that product didn’t accidentally leak out anywhere. I enjoy that it dispenses a pea-sized amount, controlling how much you’re using.

Madison: The peptide serum feels more like a liquid-based cream because it’s so thin and can easily be dispersed between two fingers. My skin took on an immediate dewy glow and stayed hydrated throughout the day.”

Michelle: This glided on nicely and was easy to layer with my other products (after an essence and before my sunscreen). It left my skin feeling smooth, and the lightweight formula was great for my oily skin — I tend to gravitate toward gel-like and lighter consistencies. My skin absorbed this one quicker. I didn’t have any problem applying my makeup on top of this either.

But I didn’t like how clunky the packaging was compared to the lightness of the product. While the pump dispersed the right amount of moisturizer, the cap was hard to twist on and off.”

Claire: I was hoping to visually see that ‘dewy glow’ Hailey always plugs, and I can confirm my skin does look dewier after less than two weeks of use! I really think this gives my skin a supple glow immediately. I notice extra dewiness and glow every morning after I use it the night before. I really enjoy lathering it onto my face after cleansing, because it makes my skin feel super hydrated and look dewy.

One note: The cap was not extremely easy to get off. The first time I removed it, some of the product spilled out and was lost. You have to pump pretty hard to get enough product out of the nozzle. However, I like the unique shape of the bottle and slanted top.”

Rhode Barrier Restore Cream

Buy It! Rhode Barrier Restore Cream, $29; rhodeskin.com

Madison: The Barrier Restore Cream feels like a thicker cream, but it’s still pretty light. It applies easily and dries fast. But when I used it with the Peptide Glazing Fluid, my oily/combination skin tended to have that oily shine toward the end of the day. Toward the end of the trial period, I started just doing the Glazing Fluid in the morning, and then both the fluid and the barrier cream at night.”

Alex: This has a thick texture, but it blends out smoothly when I massaged it into my skin. It comes in a squeeze tube that’s easy to open and close, but it can be tricky since you could dispense too much product. It can be wasteful this way.

But I’m definitely going to keep using it!  I’ve been looking for a good, thick moisturizing cream that I can use in my a.m. and p.m. routine, and this one has been great for hydration. I love that it doesn’t leave my face feeling sticky.”

Michelle: The cream is heavier than the Peptide Glazing Fluid, but still easy to blend into the skin. While both left my skin feeling smooth on initial application and I noticed a slight evening of skin tone and brightness after, over time, I developed irritation that made my skin texture uneven (i.e. I had some small small breakouts), and my skin felt slightly dehydrated and tight after using the Barrier Restore Cream overnight.

Claire: The cream isn’t as moisturizing as I had hoped — it absorbs very quickly and leaves me feeling like I need a bit more to really lock in moisture… I needed to use more than the ‘1/2 finger length’ suggested in order for my entire face to feel hydrated. But I like that it advises to layer with the Peptide Glazing Fluid because it feels like a nice combination.

I don’t notice as much of a visual effect from this product, but my skin does feel extremely soft after using this.

Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment

Buy It! Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment, $16; rhodeskin.com

Jenn: I think the standout here is the Peptide Lip Treatment. I loved the consistency, the scent — the shiny, dewy effect is so pretty and unlike any of my other lip balms or treatments. The watermelon one is my favorite.

Madison: The Peptide Lip Treatment felt like a much thinner version of Aquaphor. It comes out like a clear gel, kind of thick, but is easily spreadable across the lips. It created the same glossy barrier on my lips, but it looked like a lip gloss and kept my lips hydrated for several hours after application.”

Alex: The Peptide Lip Treatments come in long, little squeeze tubes with an edge that makes applying it on lips seamless. They apply like a gloss and feel slightly sticky, but not in an uncomfortable way. It made my lips feel very smooth when I rubbed them together. I absolutely love the taste and smell of the watermelon — it reminds me of lip balms I used as a kid. I plan to apply it over some other pigmented lip colors for a glossy, hydrating finish.”

Michelle: These had a heavy feel similar to a gloss that lasted after hours of application, which I didn’t mind because it felt more hydrating. After applying, my lips felt moisturized, and I didn’t feel the need to reapply numerous times. I’d say the best packaging goes to the Peptide Lip Treatments: I loved how compact they were (great for on the go), and the applicator allows the product to go on smoothly.

I loved that even the scented lip treatments didn’t have an artificial, overpowering fragrance.  As someone with sensitive skin, I always try to shop fragrance-free products, so that element was great for me. I would use the lip treatments again because I loved the application, scents, and shine, which I feel would make a great lip gloss alternative — glossy and moisturizing at the same time!.”

Claire: These bottles are a nice size for keeping in your purse or on a bedside table. The squeezing applicator makes these lip balms easy to apply without getting your fingers messy.

This doesn’t feel too sticky on my lips, but instead is lightly moisturizing and feels high-end. It absorbs pretty slowly, which is nice because I don’t feel the need to reapply shortly after. My lips definitely look softer and juicier after using this! The lip treatments are nice overnight, because they do feel a tad bit sticky for about 20 minutes after applying.”

Their Final Thoughts on Rhode

This is a line for someone on the go who doesn’t have a ton of time to fuss with a super fancy regimen,” Chan deduced. “​​Really nice formulas, not too thick or gloppy. They apply easily and absorb right into the skin effortlessly.  The products feel simple and straightforward.” She also noted that her skin felt “noticeably fresh and radiant — I did a double take one morning.”

My skin has a slightly more radiant glow a few hours after applying, but isn’t overly dewy or greasy-looking, which is ideal, in my opinion,” added Warner. “I can definitely tell my skin feels smoother after applying immediately, but I haven’t noticed any really big improvements to my skin’s overall hydration after just two weeks.

Overall, I really liked these products,” said Yauger. “Even after a week, my skin feels smoother and generally more hydrated, which is promising (especially during summer!). I plan to continue using them to see what results look like in a month, and I’m excited to see what else Rhode releases in the future.

PEOPLE

The 5 Key Dos And Don’ts Of Wearing SPF

While wearing sunscreen is an essential all year round, it is now – as the days get lighter and brighter and we spend more time outside – that many of us begin to rethink what we’re using on our skin, SPF included. When it comes to sun protection, there is often confusion over things like the best formula to use, or how much you should be applying. British Vogue asked dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting for the five key dos and don’ts of SPF – so you can absorb that much-needed vitamin D with confidence. 

Do: Choose a broad spectrum SPF

To protect skin against both UVA and UVB light – both of which cause damage to the skin – broad spectrum SPF is a must. “What’s really crucial when we’re talking about a good skincare routine is blocking the daily UVA rays which are present all year round,” explains Dr Bunting. “They can come through glass and actually form the bulk (95 per cent) of UV light that reaches the earth.”

While UVB is the UV light responsible for the (more visible) burn – and tends to be the one we focus on more because the damage is seen quickly – it’s really important to ensure your SPF protects against UVA too. UVA damage leads to fine lines, pigmentation, uneven skin texture, big pores, coarsening of the skin and loss of collagen – all the bad stuff. “Beach holidays aren’t so much the problem. It’s the everyday, half an hour out walking at lunchtime that builds up over the years.” A broad spectrum SPF offers a significant level of protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and should be worn by all skin tones.

Do: Pick the right type of sunscreen for your skin

Sunscreens fall into two categories: chemical, which are formulas that contain ingredients like octinoxate and oxybenzone that act as sun filters, absorbing UV light to prevent skin damage; and physical, which are mineral-based and commonly contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to physically protect the skin and reflect light away, as well as absorbing it.

The best protection you can get? Dr Bunting says a hybrid of both physical and chemical gives “very good broad spectrum cover from both UVA and UVB rays”, but unfortunately some skin types react to chemical formulations, which are often the preferred formulas because they don’t impart the dreaded white cast over skin. (It’s worth noting that physical ones now do this less, as there has been huge innovation in this sector.)

If you are sensitive or prone to redness, have rosacea or any kind of facial eczema, generally a mineral sunscreen (which is in my Gossamer sunscreen), will offer a more gentle experience,” she says. “That’s also the type we tend to use after procedures like lasers or peels, or whenever the skin barrier is affected. You can get good UVA and UVB protection from both.”

Don’t: Scrimp on how much you apply

We’ve become so pedantic about spelling out how high the SPF is, but it’s rare that brands express how important it is to apply the formula generously to the skin,” says Dr Bunting. “The word ‘liberally’ means 10 different things to 10 different people.” To ensure you’re putting enough of the good stuff on your skin, she advises a quarter of a teaspoon (or 1.25ml) as a good measure for both face and neck. You “need to paint your face like you’re painting a wall”, she says, emphasising the importance of an even coating to get the protection you need. 

A foolproof method is her “13 dot technique” which is as simple as it sounds, and involves applying 13 different dots of SPF around the face and rubbing them in together: “It allows you to divide the SPF evenly without missing bits. If you start these simple rituals now, you will age beautifully into your 40s and beyond. I am evangelical about it.

Don’t: Rely on your make-up for SPF protection

It is a very common misconception that the SPF in your daily foundation will suffice. Dr Bunting says it is likely it won’t. “You need to use a dedicated sunscreen. SPF15 in your tinted moisturiser probably isn’t going to cut it, because that really only means it will give you a little bit of UVB protection.” Add to that the fact it is unlikely you’ll apply enough tinted moisturiser to every area of your skin to offer protection, and the importance of a dedicated SPF becomes even more clear.

Don’t: Wear a low SPF

The age old question: SPF 30 or 50? “I am profoundly for SPF50. UV light is a known entity that not only causes premature ageing but also cancer, and they are both proven without a shadow of a doubt. Both of those things are highly preventable,” Dr Bunting says. Not only does SPF50 offer 95 per cent protection from UV as opposed to SPF30’s 93 per cent (a two per cent difference which, over time, stacks up), Dr Bunting also points out that we are not perfect – meaning many of us under-apply our SPF. “I’d much rather people were under-applying an SPF50 than a 30.”

READ ON FOR 20 Of The Best Face SPFs For Every Skin Type

VOGUE

This Amal Clooney-Approved Cream Is the “Holy Grail of Moisturizers”

It’s packed with powerful anti-aging ingredients.

Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream isn’t new to the beauty space, but it does continue to wow celebrities and shoppers with its star lineup of ingredients that produce visible results. It’s no surprise that celebrities like Amal Clooney, Kate Moss, and Khloé Kardashian praise the Magic Cream’s anti-aging benefits and hydrating qualities.

Much like celebrities, dermatologists also are impressed with the cream’s formula. Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, tells InStyle that Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream Moisturizer is packaged with outstanding ingredients. “A good moisturizer contains humectants to hydrate, emollients to support the skin barrier, and occlusives to lock in the moisture — and this product contains all three: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, shea butter. The hyaluronic acid not only locks in moisture but acts as an anti-aging agent.

Shop now: $64–$100; sephora.com

According to Dr. King, hyaluronic acid “is found naturally in our skin, where it holds water and helps to keep the skin hydrated, dewy, and plump.” It’s also a potent humectant that can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, which helps keep the collagen in the skin healthy. “The collagen in our dermis forms the structure of the skin. Natural hyaluronic acid binds to collagen and links to water molecules, giving skin its plumpness,” Dr. King explains.

There are other notable anti-aging ingredients in the Magic Cream like peptides (short chains of amino acids held together by peptide bonds). According to Dr. King peptides “stimulate collagen production in skin and act as growth factors, stimulating skin cells to turn over more quickly.”

Shoppers are shocked by the efficiency of the cream, too. According to one shopper, the Magic Cream Moisturizer is…magic. “So, I’ve been dealing with dry and rough skin around my mouth and on my chin this past week. I didn’t know what to do because I’ve never had problems with my skin before. Thankfully I received the Magic Cream complimentary from Influenster. My skin started to feel better within two uses of the cream. It really is magic.”

Another Sephora shopper says that the moisturizer “has everything that I am looking for in a moisturizer,” including “hyaluronic acid, which helps plump up the skin with collagen. And [it] also has rosehip and camellia oils, which help hydrate dry skin. This is my first time using any of Charlotte Tilbury’s products, and for sure won’t be my last.

Per a final review, the results speak for themselves. “A few uses and my skin feels amazing. I have a few different moisturizers that I use daily. However, this one jar does everything that all three of mine do. It glides on the skin like butter and has a very light, fresh scent. The rosehip in the moisturizer is so hydrating but not oily. I used it at night when I first got it, when I woke up the next morning, my skin looked plump and hydrated.” For plump and hydrated skin, snag the Magic Cream now at Sephora.

INSTYLE

Idris and Sabrina Elba: Beauty’s Newest Skin-Care Founders 

Idris and Sabrina Elba have it going on — in more ways than one. The partners in life and business are hosting a podcast, Coupledom, and now, launching a skin-care brand, S’Able Labs. (That’s Elba’s spelled backwards!) 

We’re a partnership, and skin care is something we can share. We are both on the same page about feeling good externally and it helps us approach our day,” Idris Elba tells Allure. There’s no “his” or “her’s” here. Instead, S’Able Labs is all about “us-care,” the idea of looking after yourself, so you can look after others — and intentionally sharing moments with the people around you.  “We all have skin we want to nourish and protect and hydrate,” says Sabrina Elba, and, she adds, “when you feel good, you do good.

Together, the duo has created a line of three products — cleanser, toner, moisturizer —  to help with the “feel good” part of that equation. It’s a simple lineup, but each product is formulated with hard-working ingredients, several of which have been thoughtfully sourced from Africa. “There are powerful ingredients on that continent,” says Sabrina Elba. “Some of my fondest memories are of sitting underneath the massive baobab trees in East Africa,” she says. 

The superfood baobab, packed with anti-inflammatory properties, is the star ingredient in the aptly named S’Able Labs Baobab Moisturiser, a lightweight formula that goes heavy on hydration with the help of shea butter and squalane. 

Each of the products are infused with The Elba’s experiences. “Somali women have been using qasil, [a powder made from the leaves from the gob tree], for centuries,” says Sabrina Elba. “I’ve watched my mom put this green stuff on her face forever. It’s a great natural soap full of antioxidants,” she tells Allure. Cosmetic chemist Ginger King confirms this ingredient is both an effective cleanser and exfoliator. 

The S’Able Labs Qasil Cleanser combines the Somalian plant with shea butter and purifying kaolin clay. “We both loved the way the cleanser felt on our skin. It provided immediate smoothness and softness — but unlike some exfoliating cleansers, it wasn’t the least bit irritating,” says Allure associate features director Dianna Mazzone, after testing it with her fiancé Herman. 

For editorial assistant Talia Gutierrez and her partner Austin, the S’Able Labs Black Seed Toner added some fun to their multi-step routine. “We enjoyed spritzing each other’s faces — a couple’s thing,” she says. “And we both appreciated the ultra-fine mist that left our skin dewy while feeling clean and hydrated, too.” They both sealed in the hydration with a penny-sized scoop of the S’Able Labs Baobab Moisturiser. “A little goes a long way,” says Austin.

Well, Allure sat down with Idris and Sabrina in a cozy, colorful room at The Whitby Hotel in New York City to chat about their exciting new brand S’Able Labs, how they like to use the products, and their favorite ways to practice “us-care.” 

IDRIS: Self-care quickly became “us-care” when we were in lockdown [during the pandemic]. We realized that only when you’re really good with yourself, are you good with someone else. 

SABRINA: It’s become such an educational process for me to talk about skin care with my partner who, you know, only used Vaseline until very recently [laughs].

When we created the S’able Labs, we wanted it to be something we could use together.

IDRIS: It’s not man or woman. It’s just human. We are both humans.

SABRINA: Idris will use the [S’able Labs Black Seed] toner as aftershave and I use it to set my makeup. It doesn’t need to be so specific.

IDRIS: I know how our [S’able Labs Baobab] moisturizer feels on my skin, Sabrina knows how it feels on her skin, and we both know that actually makes us feel good.

SABRINA: So much of my beauty routine is [about] being prepared for the day, so I don’t have to spend time in the bathroom, like having lash extensions, or my brows laminated. Even though I never look like I’m wearing heavy makeup, I’m always trying new things. If I’m going to try a color, it’s probably on my lips. And I’ve been trying colorful eyeliner recently, which is so fun. But Idris loves the no-makeup look [on me]. He says, “Oh, you look so great in the morning when you just wake up.”

IDRIS: I just sit in the makeup chair and get whatever done to me if I’m in a film. [And] I do make it a point to brush my teeth, but I’m not a flosser. Sabrina is a flosser.

SABRINA: How do you get away with so many things? I get jealous of how little you have to do [before] you walk out the door.

IDRIS: I will shave! I’m the guy who gets new growth by five o’clock in the afternoon, so I keep on top of it. And I shower every day, sometimes twice a day. I just got a fresh haircut and, honestly, my energy levels feel different. My clothes feel different. 

A haircut does that for me. I’ve gotta make sure the hair looks right. Buying new sneakers definitely makes me feel good. There’s something about stepping in fresh shoes. And I started swimming early in the morning. It feels so alien to jump into cold water, but it’s invigorating.

SABRINA: So much of the dream treatment for me is about where I am and who I am with. We went to Iceland recently and we were in the Blue Lagoon getting a massage.

IDRIS: That was incredible.

SABRINA: Yeah, it made it so much more impactful. If I’m in a beautiful setting, it doesn’t matter if it’s a bad massage.

IDRIS: Also, hot yoga in a hot climate is different. It’s not hot yoga, it’s just yoga. Something about the elements being natural rather than having a heater… Everyone’s sweating. But it’s the fact you’re warm and supple, and the environment is great.

SABRINA: Music is [another] form of self-care for us. We sit together, listen to an album… We fell in love listening to an album on a couch. It was A Tribe Called Quest…

IDRIS: The newest one. And Sampha.

SABRINA: We were just listening to music and that was so therapeutic for us and allowed us to bond. And also, if Idris serenades anyone, I’m pretty sure they fall in love pretty quickly.

IDRIS: Don’t put that out there [laughs]. They’ll be like, “You’re good at this! Sing!

SABRINA: Idris is so passionate about music. And it’s that [same] passion that’s bled into our relationship and anything we approach together.

ALLURE

This Resurfacing Serum Leaves Wrinkles “Practically Gone,” According to Fans

The serum doesn’t beat around the bush with its name, and calls in double-fermented Uji green tea, Akita rice, and Okinawa algae to provide high levels of exfoliating lactic acid. Together, the brand says those three ingredients comprise 73 percent of the serum, so the periwinkle bottle is a potent resurfacer. Combined with moisture-drawing hyaluronic acid, plumping sugarcane-derived squalane, and hydrolyzed collagen and elastin, the effects have earned the serum over 1,200 five-star ratings on the brand’s site.

My skin looked luminous and dewy, and fine lines around my mouth, eyes, and forehead seemed to disappear,” wrote a fan of the “definite” plumping action they saw within weeks. A 52-year-old reviewer confirmed the “unbelievable” difference in their wrinkles and newly even skin tone, and a third person said their skin is the most hydrated it’s been in 15 years.

Shop now: $88; tatcha.com and sephora.com

Those profound changes are right in line with what editors and shoppers have come to expect from the luxury brand. Its mineral sunscreen has garnered nonstop laurels since launching in March; Jennifer Aniston uses its lip mask; and its concealer-eye cream hybrid is a “miracle product,” according to well-versed editors. The Dewy Serum plays up that same multitasking facet, toeing the balance between an exfoliant, moisturizer, and anti-ager that leaves wrinkles “practically gone.”

My skin looks so new and young, I was asked for my ID the other day,” wrote one user, and another person said their formerly “very visible” pores were distinctly reduced by the fragrance-free formula. Others wrote that their redness is now less pronounced, as are their under-eye circles, and a self-described “very picky” esthetician dubbed it a plumping “drink of hydration” when swiped across their lips.

Between the gorgeous bottle, smart ingredients, and fast results, the Dewy Serum’s hold on Tatcha’s best-seller list is easy to understand (per the brand’s website, it even outranks the beloved lip mask and Meghan Markle-approved Rice Polish). If you’d like to try the exfoliating and moisturizing wrinkle-reducer, the Dewy Serum is $88 at Tatcha’s website and Sephora.

INSTYLE

Tower 28 Made Its Fan-Favorite Facial Mist Into a Serum

Inspired by the brand’s best-selling, cult-favorite SOS Rescue Spray, the serum soothes irritated skin and visibly reduces redness for a clearer and calmer complexion. Like the spray, the hero ingredient is hypochlorous acid, an acid that’s naturally produced by the body’s immune system to fight off bad bacteria and calm redness. It also contains a non-drying solution of water and sodium chloride to act as a delivery system for the hypocholorous acid since it’s found naturally in white blood cells.

Dr. Kelly Killeen, a double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon in L.A., previously broke down the science lesson on the spray for InStyle. “Hypochlorous acid is a spectacular ingredient as it does several things,” she said. “This multitasking ingredient allows the SOS Spray to be gentle with only one other ingredient, saline or salt water. Hypochlorous acid not only kills bacteria and viruses [but] also improves blood flow and reduces inflammation. These two additional things help your skin heal faster.”

Also, similar to the spray, this formula has also earned the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, deeming it safe for all skin types, including those with inflammatory conditions such as eczema and rosacea.

SHOP IT $34

INSTYLE