As far as serums, I have the FaceGym Hydrobound Daily Serum ($68) in heavy rotation and use it down to the very last drop nearly every month. It certainly does the job of keeping my complexion plump and dewy, but when a few recent eczema flare-ups left my skin itching underneath my favorite skin tint, I knew I needed something more. So I started hunting for a product that could increase my hydration levels even further while calming and strengthening my skin barrier to create a smooth canvas for makeup.
I landed on the new Westman Atelier Skin Activator ($150), which took five years to make and was developed in partnership with a leading skin-care scientist in Korea. If there’s anything we know about K-Beauty, it’s that everything is meant to deliver the smoothest, most makeup-prep-friendly skin possible, so I had a great feeling when this bottle made its way into my bathroom.
Westman Atelier touts the skin activator as a ‘hyper-potent serum that ‘floods skin’ with 12 actives that work together to soften fine lines, boost firmness, and deeply hydrate. The formula’s stacked with some seriously buzzy ingredients, many of which I already knew my skin loved. Namely, four different types of hyaluronic acid (to hydrate the skin at different layers), niacinamide (for redness reduction), peptides (which stimulate collagen and firm the skin), and ceramides (which strengthen the skin barrier). Beyond these skin-loving basics, though, there are also a few lesser-known ingredients that I hadn’t tried and was excited to experience.
First up is noni fruit, which comes from a tree in the coffee family and ups your body’s natural production of collagen and elastin. It energizes the skin, smoothing fine lines and evening discoloration within five minutes of application. It works so effectively, I’ve started to think of it as a Magic Eraser for the under-eye bags and skin creases that show up on my face after sleeping too hard overnight.
The other ingredient that caught my eye was l-glutamine, which I was familiar with from the supplement world (my doctor has me take one daily to help my metabolism) but had never seen in skin care. It turns out, this is another active meant to reverse premature signs of aging almost instantly. It restores skin tone and smooths uneven texture, two things I witnessed firsthand after using the serum for a few days. My nose and chin area, which are typically quite congested, became increasingly clearer the more I used the Skin Activator, and those pesky sebaceous filaments (aka oil plugs) slipped out like nothing.
Each morning, I watch tiny creases under my eyes and around my mouth disappear. The result is consistent each time: My skin looks ‘awake,’ feels firmer, and everything is smooth with lifted cheeks and eyes. As for my eczema, I no longer feel like I have a film over my skin that I can’t quite remove as the day goes on. The itchiness has subsided, and the red patches were soothed courtesy of the ceramides packed into the formula. It changes my skin within minutes, and has become just as much a part of my morning routine as my daily cup of coffee.