This Four-in-One Skin Savior Is Giving My Complexion New Life (and Derms Love It, Too)

I'm no thrill seeker, but there's something about multitasking that gives me an "I can do anything" rush—like responding to an email and blow drying my hair at the same time. There's nothing like it.

As I move further into my adulthood, I prefer most of my routines to have this more-bang-for-your-buck structure, especially my skin-care routine—and I recently learned that this approach is totally dermatologist approved.

"When it comes to skin care, more is not necessarily better," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "In fact, I find that a simple skin-care routine is easier to stick with and can be more effective than multi-step regimens." (See? I'm onto something here.)

To give my complexion a multitasking-induced boost, I abandoned my illusions of a cabinet stocked with essentials for a 10-step skin-care routine (I live in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn, anyway, so space is limited), and instead focused on just one product in addition to my cleanser and moisturizer: Chantecaille Purifying and Exfoliating Phytoactive Solution.

The botanical treatment clarifies, smooths, exfoliates, moisturizes, mattifies, and more, so I tried it for a few weeks to see if I'd found my new does-it-all skin-care product. Spoiler: I did.

Keep reading to find out how this four-in-one exfoliating solution works its multitasking magic.

Let's talk ingredients

As Dr. Zeichner said, simplifying your routine is a good idea, but that means getting smarter about the ingredients that make the cut. One of his must-haves for any streamlined routine is a nighttime collagen-stimulating product—like retinol, hydroxy acids, peptides, or other botanical ingredients.

"Skin cell turnover and collagen production is at its greatest while we sleep, so I recommend enhancing the activity that is naturally occurring with your evening skin-care product," he says. Good thing for me, the Chantecaille Solution contains 10 percent AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid), which help to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells.

In addition to AHAs, the exfoliating solution also contains PHAs and BHAs (other forms of hydroxy acids) from ingredients like black willow bark extract to take my complexion from meh to glowy. "Think of willow bark extract like nature’s beta hydroxy acid," Dr. Zeichner says. "It helps exfoliate dead cells to even skin tone. It helps remove excess oil from the pores to reduce shine, and may be useful for people with acne-prone skin." Those giant pores around my nose? Haven't seen them in weeks.

"Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) offer similar exfoliating and cell-renewing benefits as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, however it is much more gentle on the skin," Dr. Zeichner says. "Because of its large chemical structure, it does not penetrate into the skin the same way. As a result, it can be used across all skin types, including those with sensitive skin." (It me.)

So, on top of their glow-inducing properties, these gentle botanicals are the reason I've been able to exfoliate multiple (yes, multiple!) times per week and not come close to turning into a tomato, even in spite of my super-sensitive skin (more on this in a moment.)

My complexion approves

I won't lie to y'all, exfoliating—especially with AHAs and BHAs—made me nervous. After one too many bright-red-and-burning experiences with other products, I'd basically given up on toning and exfoliating altogether, leaving some gaping holes in my routine that my lackluster complexion was begging me to fill.

Thankfully, that was very much not the case with the Chantecaille Solution. The hydrating, soothing qualities of PHAs mixed with the powers of AHAs and BHAs allowed the product to sink into my skin super gently, without inducing any redness or sensitivity whatsoever.

After giving my face an all-over swipe, I found a lot of dirt, makeup, and oil on my cotton pad that I thought was washed away by my cleanser (I thought wrong), and the results of this deep-cleaning treatment were visible in my newly glowy-not-greasy complexion.

But there's more: After weeks of using the exfoliating solution, the pesky dry flakes that usually congregate around my nose and upper lip are totally MIA. And, I haven't needed to reapply my desk moisturizer halfway through the workday once since incorporating the product into my minimal lineup. Now, that's what I call a multitasking, thrill-inducing win.

Top photo: Chantecaille

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