The New Exfoliating Serum That’s the Closest Thing We’ve Found to an In-Office Laser Sesh

Photo: W+G Creative
In the skin-care world, 28 is the magic number. That's the number of days in a skin cycle, and exactly the amount of time dermatologists say that it takes to figure out if a product is actually working. So when Ambari Beauty founder Nisha Grewal told me that I could expect to see results from the brand's resurfacing night serum in 24 hours, the skin-care skeptic in me assumed it was an empty promise. Nevertheless, per Grewal's directions I applied it in lieu of all of my other products before bed, and the first thing I did when I woke up the next morning—after I stopped admiring my skin in the bathroom mirror—was e-mail her that she was right.

Experts In This Article
  • Michelle Henry, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Skin & Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan

The line, which launched today, includes a single, do-it-all resurfacing serum (the one that changed my skin overnight) and a weekly resurfacing mask. "The reason why I started this is because I didn’t have time to do 30 steps on my skin and then wait another 30 days to see results—I needed a one-stop-shop that would let me see something instantly, and this one serum will do it," says Grewal. With a mix of clinical-grade ingredients, the products are the closest thing you can get to an in-office laser treatment, without having to leave your bathroom.

While there's no such thing as a miracle anything (despite what decades' worth of marketing materials might want you to believe), there is science, which Ambari offers in spades. It's made with a blend of AHAs and PHAs, and has a strong acidic pH of 3.0, which makes it stand out from other resurfacing products on the market. "When you increase the pH [i.e. make it more alkaline], the acids in a formula start to neutralize, and there are a lot of products on the market with a high percentage of glycolic acid but they're formulated at a high pH, so they're not really giving you the best results," says Grewal. "Actives resurface and exfoliate best when they're formulated at a low pH—in a derm's office, peels are formulated at a pH between 0.8 to 1, but you can only use those with a professional present. We've formulated at a level that you can use at home." In addition to the night serum, Ambari's also got a mask, which has pH of 2.5 and a higher concentration of actives and is designed to be used once a week.

Ambari Beauty PM Active12™ Serum, $98

Shop now: Ambari Beauty PM Active12™ Serum, $98

The brand's formulations are based on three pillars of what Grewal calls, "the modern blend": adaptogens, actives, and CBD. "The adaptogens go in, remove all of the environmental stressors from your skin, and bring your pH to a nice, healthy level," she says. This process helps to prep the skin for the active AHAs and PHAs, so that they can resurface your complexion at their maximum capacity. "We also needed an ingredient that would really soothe the skin, which is why we added high-quality, broad-spectrum CBD to the formula. It really allows the consumer to have a pleasant journey with these hardcore acids because it reduces the redness and inflammation." The formula's also got bakuchiol, a natural version of retinol that stimulates cellular turnover, and hydrators like hyaluronic acid and Neptune kelp, so it really is the "one-stop shop" that Grewal set out to create.

This ingredient blend makes the products both simple to use and safe for all skin types. Grewal recommends using a gentle cleanser and the serum (plus a moisturizer, though you may not need it because the serum is so hydrating on its own) up to six nights a week—though you may need to start small and build up to using it daily since it's packed with so many actives. Then, on the seventh night, treat your skin to a 10-minute session with the mask. You can also choose to alternate the serum with your retinol, but be sure not to use them together in order to avoid irritation. I've shared the products with my friends and my mom, and all of them woke up with the same reaction that I did after a single use.

Ambari Beauty Gold Profection22™ Mask, $92


Shop now: Ambari Beauty Gold Profection22™ Mask, $92

Ambari's initial product offerings represent the intersection of two of 2021's biggest skin-care trends: simplified routines and a desire for clean, clinical ingredients that people can use at home. As customers continue to get savvier about what their skin needs, we expect to see them buy fewer products that they know to be effective.“Patients are asking really smart questions and are a lot smarter about ingredients and what to use…I think it’s definitely changed the landscape quite a bit,” Michelle Henry, MD, a New York City dermatologist, told us back in November. Ambari is bringing clinical-grade ingredients into our homes, and making them safe and effective for daily use—all in a single step.

As the pandemic has made it harder to access the usual in-office treatments that we turn to for instant gratification, like lasers and chemical peels, these products and the innovation that's included in every bottle are the closest we can get to achieving the same results at home.

Confused about exfoliation? Check out the video below:

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