To get down to it, achieving a dewy, transparent glow on your face is really about clean/ ready skin + moisturising properly.
If your skin isn’t prepped for moisture and hydration, then there’s really no point, because your products are just going to sit on top of your dead skin, leaving you with a dull, flaky complexion.
ENTER ACIDS. They chemically exfoliate your skin. When formulated well, they’re incredibly gentle but effective, eliminating your dead skin, surface flakes, and revealing luminous, clear, glowing skin underneath.
Generally, ‘die hard’ Asian beauty fanatics are all about the chemical exfoliation, as opposed to mechanical exfoliation (aka, scrubs) that might be too abrasive for sensitive skin. For instance, certain irregularly-shaped scrubs can actually create micro-tears in your skin, inviting bacteria and infection in, and resulting in irritation and pimples.
So, what are acids?
There are different kinds of acids for exfoliation. First up, let’s talk about AHA, short for Alpha Hydroxy Acid. AHAs are ‘surface’ acids — meaning that they are the ones responsible for removing your surface dead cells and preventing the usual signs of ageing in your skin. AHAs appear on your ingredients lists as lactic acid, gycolic acid, mandelic acid, etc, and are derived from natural substances such as milk, grapes, and more.
Next up — BHA, which is short for Beta Hydroxy Acid. BHAs penetrate deep into your skin, and work for deeper exfoliation — meaning they remove pesky blackheads, whiteheads, and have also been known to get rid of dark spots and improve the texture of skin. BHAs are also naturally-derived, and appears most commonly as Salicyclic Acid, a popular ingredient in the treatment of acne.
Now, enter PHA (Poly Hydroxy Acid). PHA is a gentler alternative to AHAs, with very similar benefits. PHAs are recommended for more sensitive skin types, as they are more moisturising — which means they exfoliate while they moisturise. Simply mind blowing.
PHAs also contain high levels of antioxidants, protecting skin from harmful UV exposure, and also going a long way in the eternal fight against visible ageing. Most importantly for sensitive skin, PHAs increase the skin barrier function, keeping irritating chemicals and pollutants away, and reducing inflammation of the skin (rosacea, eczema, etc).
GO4GLOW REVIEW: CNP Laboratory Invisible Peeling Booster
Description: This hypoallergenic exfoliating booster offers daily exfoliating benefits with no need for further rinsing, leaving your skin feeling soft, dewy, and transparently radiant.
Glow report: OK, I gotta admit. I had no intention of trying this out. I have an entire arsenal of acid exfoliators at home, and I thought this product looked kind of boring and unsexy. I only got it because a friend of mine couldn’t stop raving about it. Even then, I was really sceptical.
Then I used it for a week, and suddenly I was like WHOA. My skin was baby soft every single morning when I woke up. And when I say baby soft, I mean my skin has never been this soft in my life, maybe even when I was a baby.
Not only was my skin soft, but the CNP Invisible Peeling Booster (or as I like to think of it, Unicorn tears) gives skin an incredible, long-lasting, consistent translucent glow that just looks healthy and natural.
I actually thought to myself that day that it would be a waste to put on makeup, because it would cover up some of that natural glow. This thought has never before occured to me.
And now when I put on my bb cushion, there are no flakes on my skin where I used to have dry, dull flakes. Just really smooth, clear skin.
Not only does my skin glow, but even though PHA is supposed to be a ‘surface’ acid, it’s also keeping my blackheads at bay. I don’t think they will magically work to dissolve blackheads, but since I started using my CNP Invisible Peeling Booster, my blackheads have hit the road and haven’t come back since.
Ingredients: Full of lovely acids and moisturising ingredients. Also very safe in terms of potential acne triggers and irritants. Find the full ingredient list on cosDNA. Alcohol and paraben-free.
How to use: OK, this is important. After cleansing, spread 1-2 pumps of this all over your clean skin before toner. You want this product as near to your bare skin as possible for it to work its magic, so think of it as the absolute first step of skincare.
If you have a first care essence (eg Sulwhasoo first care activating serum or Missha first treatment essence), use this before any of those. So, it should be CNP booster – first care essence – toner – rest of skincare.
Do not use this if you’re embarking on another acid/ exfoliating treatment that day.
The product states that it can be used twice daily, but I only apply this at night if I’m not doing any other exfoliation.
Fragrance: Very light fresh scent that goes away instantly.
Suitable for: Sensitive skin; acne-prone skin; dull skin.
Glow tip: If you’ve never exfoliated a day in your life, I suggest you use a stronger AHA/BHA or scrub to get the bulk of your dead skin off first. The CNP booster is more of a maintenance product to keep your skin continually glowing after exfoliation.
GO4GLOW rating: 4.5/5
1/5: No no no; this product needs to be recalled as it can’t even fulfil its primary claim.
2/5: Caused problems; I wouldn’t even give this away so as not to inflict the pain on someone else.
3/5: OK but nothing amazing; I might give this away to see if it works better for someone else.
4/5: Pretty good! I will continue to repurchase if I don’t find anything better.
5/5: YOU GLOW GIRL! HG status; I will not give this up unless it’s discontinued.
Thanks for reading! If you’re interested in finding out more about ingredients in your skincare, and more about acids, check out the new Glossary section.