This Skin-Brightening Exfoliator Is Just As Magical As It Looks

I don’t know the difference between an acid a base because I didn’t pay attention in my 8th-grade chemistry lab and I couldn’t explain the point of the pH scale to a five-year-old, but I am sure that the word “acid” has always given me pause.

Maybe it’s the fact that they call the liquid in a car battery “battery acid,” or that ” acid ” on its own is synonymous with LSD. Either way, just thinking of the word gives me that sour, puckered-up feeling you get when you suck on a lemon, and I don’t really want it anywhere near my sensitive skin.

That said, since I’ve learned more about skin care and good-for-you ingredients, I’ve come to understand that some acids — glycolic, salicylic, and lactic — are actually godsends for brightening my skin tone and complexion, if I use about half a drop. Too often, if I’m adding an acid into my routine for light exfoliation, it leaves my skin thirsty and on the brink of a breakout. But recently, I’ve found this magical formula that’s both exfoliating and hydrating, at the same time, and my skin is in love.

Herbivore Botanicals, the brand whose all-natural millennial-pink bath salts and rose water-infused moisturizer are all over Madewell and our Instagram feeds, just dropped the Prism Glow potion, and it’s just as cult-y and magical as the name suggests.

The sorcery of the essence-serum hybrid comes in the form of an all-natural blend of fruit acids — malic from apples, glycolic derived from willow bark, and glow-boosting vitamin C courtesy of a kakadu plum. As is to be expected, the fruity cocktail is a little bit sticky upon initial application (you can slather up to five drops on your face), but it sinks into the skin moments after, while rose and aloe water work to replenish any moisture lost through the super gentle exfoliation process.

I use the stuff every night, and by morning, my pores are unclogged and my face is fresh, and dare I say it, dewy. The specifics of pH level still make no sense to me, but I can safely say that my skin has finally found the acid that makes it feel soft and happy instead of puckered-up sour. Take that, chemistry class.

Herbivore Botanicals Prism Exfoliating Glow Potion, $62, available at Sephora.

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