There isn't anything I don't envy about Rihanna. Since "Pon De Replay" graced my middle school ears back in 2005, I have drooled over the legendary pop star's talent, style, unfettered confidence, and overall badass-ery. At the top of my Rihanna-inspired wish list, though, is her luminescent, lit-from-within skin. And now, I can achieve that same type of Ri-level radiance on my own complexion with Fenty Beauty Pre-Show Glow 10% AHA Treatment ($40).
The chemically exfoliating treatment is basically a red-carpet facial in a bottle. It's packed with a blend of skin-loving alpha-hydroxy acids (or "AHAs"), which melt away dead skin cells to leave your complexion looking brighter, smoother, and more even.
"Alpha hydroxy acids work by exfoliating or removing the top layers of the epidermis, known as the stratum corneum," says Tracy Evans, MD, MPH, board-certified dermatologist and medical director of Pacific Skin and Cosmetic Dermatology. The formula features a blend of three heavy-hitting AHAs—glycolic, citric, and lactic—at a 10 percent concentration, which Dr. Evans says makes it a gentle-yet-effective exfoliant.
In addition to AHAs, the treatment also includes a potent cocktail of glow-inducing ingredients, including fruit-derived vitamin C, Barbados cherry (a nod to RiRi's roots), and rooibos, which Dr. Evans says is great for reducing inflammation on stressed skin.
Each bottle of Pre-Show Glow comes with a reusable exfoliating pad, which slips over your fingers for simple scrubbing. To use it, start by splashing your face with warm water and wetting the applicator, then pour a few drops of the treatment directly onto the pad. (Pro tip: you don't need a lot—this stuff suds up quickly). Then, scrub the applicator around your face for 30-60 seconds, rinse, and pat dry.
Because the AHAs in the formula are so strong, Dr. Evans recommends following it up with a good moisturizer and applying SPF 30 or higher before going into the sun. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to use the product sparingly, and test it on your inner arm for three days or more before using it on your face or neck (the same goes for anyone with fruit allergies, as it's heavy on the fruit-derived actives).
Though the formula is powerful, it may take a few treatments before you see any drastic results. After my first go-round, my skin felt softer and smoother, sure, but I didn't notice any major changes in its brightness. It wasn't until my third or fourth facial that I really noticed a difference, but now every time I use it (which is about twice a week), my complexion looks instantly more radiant. At this point, I feel like I deserve an album deal of my own.
While few of us will ever be able to emulate Rihanna's amazing voice, cool-girl style, or overall vibe, her next-level glow is now (finally!) within reach.
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