As part of an e-commerce company, we’re constantly testing and trying new products and comparing notes on our favorites. Think of our Letter of Recommendation series as a way of passing those notes along to you.
“It smells amazing, like a dessert,” I told the women seated around the coffee table. “But I’m warning you, it’s pretty intense. Worth it, but intense.” Seven of us had gathered to celebrate a friend’s bachelorette weekend in Beacon, New York, and after a day of hiking, great meals, and the aggressive acquisition of snacks and booze, we’d retired to our rented house to entertain ourselves for the evening. My contribution: six five-ounce jars of Peter Thomas Roth masks. Asked which one was my favorite, I held up the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. “You can definitely feel it working,” I said.
You wouldn’t know it by my tendency to transport entire sets of full-size products upstate for a one-night stay or, say, the entire rolling utility cart I’ve dedicated to storing masks, serums, cleansers, and exfoliants, but I’m fairly new to this whole skincare thing. After a lifetime of simply washing my face in the shower and hastily moisturizing, I decided to get a 30-minute facial on a whim about a year ago. On my way out, relaxed and keen on bringing a bit of that serenity home with me, I decided to snag two of the products my esthetician had suggested for me: a hydrating B5 gel and an oil-free moisturizer.
I found the twice daily routine of applying them calming, and my skin felt nice, even if I wasn’t really sure it was making a difference yet. Then, a few weeks into my fledgling obsession, a friend accompanied me to Whole Foods, where she grabbed a clay mask mixture and a bottle of apple cider vinegar. Back at my apartment, she stirred them together in a bowl and slid it over to me. I smeared it on my face hesitantly, cringing at the cool, wet feeling on my skin.
It took about five minutes to make a convert out of me. I felt a tightening of the skin paired with a pulsating sensation as the clay hardened. Serums and creams were nice, but this—this was palpable. By the time I rinsed my face, it felt as if a new layer of skin was looking back at me. I knew better than to overdo it with harsh treatments, of course, but I’d found my niche. I sought out a variety of peel-off masks to play with and new clay masks promising an array of results—firming, lifting, brightening. I began doing peels and microdermabrasion, with my facialist’s blessing.
I figured I’d seen it all by the time I came across Peter Thomas Roth’s Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. I mean, sure, “enzymatic dermal resurfacer” is a hell of a subtitle, but as a copywriter, I’ve learned that sometimes a great title is just that and nothing more. I was wrong. It takes a minute, but it catches up to the title—with a vengeance.
A simultaneously invigorating and low-level burning sensation starts to set in as you spread the gritty, truly-great smelling mask onto your face. Don’t be alarmed. Trust the process. Now, wet your fingers and start massaging your skin with the mask still on. It will tingle, to say the least. Last step: leave it on for three to seven minutes. You can do this. There’s three levels of exfoliation working their magic: pumpkin enzymes, alpha hydroxy acid, and aluminum oxide crystals. For me, the sensation usually subsides around minute three or four. How are you holding up?
Whether you do the full seven minutes or rinse sooner, the good news is that once it’s off, your skin is going to be smooth. So smooth, you might just keep touching your own face to revel in its baby softness. I’m speaking from experience—the first time I tried it out, I immediately checked the instructions to see how soon I could recreate the experience. (No more than twice a week.) As for my weekend companions, they squirmed at first, but in the end, they raved about the results. It may have taken me a while to get on board with skincare, but from here on out, I’m paying it forward.
If you’re searching for a face mask to fall in love with, check out AHAlife’s full selection of face masks from independent beauty brands.