Exfoliating serums are having a moment: All it takes is a scroll through TikTok — where the hashtag #exfoliatingserum has over 1.2 million views — to prove it. But as exfoliants rise in popularity, it becomes increasingly important to mitigate the effects of over-exfoliation. Coinciding with that is data from trend-aggregation platform Spate, which has found searches for skin barrier protection have increased by 67.9% in the past year alone, as consumers are realizing they’ve been too harsh on their complexions. Fortunately for everyone’s faces, Glow Recipe, the buzzy K-beauty-inspired brand behind all your fruit-forward (and especially Instagrammable) skin care faves, has managed to tackle both concerns via their latest launch: the exfoliating (yet moisturizing!) Strawberry Smooth BHA + AHA Salicylic Serum.
This new product — which retails for $40 — is essentially the best of all skin care worlds, providing hydration, barrier-protection, and cellular turnover thanks to a carefully curated selection of actives. Strawberry (of course) is the star ingredient: The serum contains water, enzymes, and leaf extract from the fruit, which is a natural source of beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), antioxidants, malic acid, and brightening vitamin C. There’s also Glow Recipe’s clarity acid complex, a blend of 2% encapsulated salicylic acid (BHA), mandelic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid), and azelaic acid liposome — the last of which boosts helps smooth skin texture, treats and prevents breakouts, and refines pores. The serum also features hyaluronic acid, allantoin, and bisabolol (aka vitamin B), a trio that soothes, moisturizes, and protects the skin, rebuffing any unwanted side effects from exfoliation. Translation? This baby works overtime to clear your complexion without any irritation or dryness.
Intrigued, I knew I had to try it myself: I struggle with acne-prone yet highly sensitive skin, and so this gentle exfoliant sounded like my personal serum dream come true. But, aside from orange in vitamin-C infused products, I’d never used fruit-forward topicals before, and to be honest, I didn’t really get the appeal.
Now that I’ve consistently used the serum for a week, however, I’m a strawberry skin care enthusiast. The Glow Recipe serum has a gorgeous but not over-the-top fresh-fruit aroma, while its light, gel-like texture absorbs flawlessly into the skin without leaving a film or prompting excess oil. It’s a delightfully delicious and soothing experience, despite its potent and rather intimidating formula — which, by the way, hasn’t caused any irritation or redness on my ultra-sensitive skin. In fact, my complexion looks more radiant, even, and clear than it did last week: This serum cleared up every blemish I had at the start of my trial period (after a brief skin purge, which is normal and means it works!) without making my face feel dry. My pores are noticeably smaller, too. TBH, I’d prefer for all of my skin care products to smell (and feel) this yummy moving forward.
Want to try Glow Recipe’s Strawberry Smooth BHA + AHA Salicylic Serum yourself? As of today, you can snag your very own at both Sephora and Glow Recipe.
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