I adore chemical exfoliation. My first encounter with acid was First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, leading to my holy grail Sunday Riley Good Genes, have changed my life and the way I do my skincare routine. I don’t think I could ever live without it now.
Dabbling in acids hasn’t always been the easiest affair. It can get confusing at times. My personal rule has always been and will always be “do not over exfoliate”. With that in mind, I know that it’s best to keep it simple and tactical.
Speaking of simplicity, the products I’m about to review are the ones that give me exactly that. Straightforward and on pointe.
Bravura London Acid Peels
Before we start, I encourage you to read the descriptions and the how-to on the website. Amanda, Founder of Bravura, has written a very thorough, comprehensive explanation on each of the products. I won’t even attempt to recite them here because that would be too long and redundant. So kindly arm yourself first with her vast of knowledge :)
I decided to buy all three of the acid peels that Bravura offers, Lactic Acid 10%, Glycolic Acid 10% and Salicylic Acid 2%. I have used these particular types of acid in the past and they have benefited my skin one way or another. Sure, there’s that prerequisite that Salicylic Acid goes better for oily and acne-prone skin, or Lactic Acid for sensitive and drier skin. But I find these three types of acids can be incorporated into my routine according to my needs. The affordable price point on these Bravura acid peels makes it even harder to resist.
These acid peels can be used as a peel, obviously, but some people have used them as toner even serum. Detail Oriented Beauty and Hidden Harmony World are some of them who use these in different ways. I can see why they can be used as a serum simply because these products are uncomplicated with effortless formula and deliver results. The water, colorless liquid sinks into the skin in almost an instant.
That being said, up until this date, I still use them as marketed: a do-it-yourself peel at home. I use one for a spot treatment (will dwell on that later). The reason why is because they work so well for me and I still want to be able to use my other serums in conjunction of using these peels. The idea here, any other product I apply afterwards will sink it better and work deeper because the dead skin cells on the top layer has just been removed. Ergo, better results.
How I use them are just like directed: once every other night. I may use it once in every 3 nights or so, but I never use it every night. I might use the same product in a row or interchange these three around. This way, I can really tailor and adjust the usage of these acid peels to achieve what I want. Bravura recommends on using its Pre-Peel Toner beforehand to lower the skin’s pH. I don’t do this, instead I use a low pH cleanser (e.g. Antipodes Juliet Cleanser, Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip) to keep the pH on the lower side. It works great so far!
First time using this, I started with the Salicylic Acid for 10 minutes. There was a slight tingling sensation, more like something is trickling. But it was bearable. I built up my strength and now I usually left any of the peel for 1 hour before rinsing it off with water. Just regular tap water, no face cleanser needed.
I pour about 10 drops directly on the palm of my hands and apply these with the brush that I also purchased from the brand. I’m sure any synthetic brush would do, but I couldn’t bother when it’s that convenient. I do believe utilizing the brush maximizes the application because synthetic bristle won’t soak up the product. Even when we use our finger, the liquid will absorb into the skin. Using a cotton pad is pointless. We really want to let the product spread evenly and get into the nook and crannies of the skin to yield the best results in the long run.
Let’s start with the AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) first. AHA is wonderful and it’s an effective ingredient to get rid of dullness, lighten up hyperpigmentation, even out the skin tone, soften line lines and even dealing with whiteheads. It takes off dead skin cells and promotes cell turnover, revealing fresh new skin. Pesky post-acne spots can also fade with the help of AHA.
Bravura Lactic Acid 10% – Touted as the milder AHA, Lactic Acid is indeed suitable for drier or more dehydrated skin because of its humectant (retaining moisture) properties. I wanted this because of the results I get from Sunday Riley Good Genes which is laden with lactic acid (40% of that and unneutralized). Sure at 10%, it’s not the same as far as the speed on fixing things up. But the moisturizing qualities and the way it makes my skin supple and plump, that’s exactly what I want and I get it with this product.
It’s perfect to use especially when my skin is feeling a little bit dehydrated but I don’t think I can handle Glycolic Acid. Or simply because I wanted to have plumper skin the next day. Being milder, Lactic Acid doesn’t “scrape” the skin as much, meaning I can still use it if my skin is feeling a little sensitive.
Bravura Glycolic Acid 10% – this one feels “crisper” on my skin. It’s noticeably stronger with a higher level of tingling sensation, sometimes uncomfortable on certain occasions (itchy on certain spots). I’m actually a wee bit scared using this too often because I feel this could strip my skin easily, so I am being careful with it (as I do with any chemical exfoliation). I usually take turns with Lactic Acid. This works great as a precaution to prevent new blemishes and eradicating whiteheads. I do find this is more drying than Lactic Acid, so a higher level of hydration afterwards is needed.
Despite all of that, the results! Oy. Glow guaranteed! This clearly banishes dullness after several uses. That smoother, sheen-glowy skin, is totally achievable with this product. I do also notice it gradually helps to fade my older post-acne spots.
When I use Bravura Lactic Acid or Glycolic Acid as a peel, I don’t use another acid toner or exfoliating toner afterwards, because that would be just an overkill. I go straight to my hydrating toner. I always rinse them off first because they leave a slight sticky residue on the skin and I like to remove that because I feel it might hinder with the absorption of the products I put on top next.
Some of my favorite serums to use on top after using Bravura AHA peels are KYPRIS Antioxidant Dew, Aurelia Revitalize & Glow Serum, Antipodes Apostle Serum, Kahina Brightening Serum. I also like to top it off with Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+.
Now, the belle of the ball, Bravura Salicylic Acid 2%.
This was first on my list because I don’t have anything like it in my arsenal. I lack BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) y’all. I knew this was going to be a key element in my routine. It goes straight into the pores, clearing out blockages, congestion, dirt and excess sebum. Over time, it makes my pores look smoother and appear smaller. No, it doesn’t make the pores actually smaller, but with cleaner and less-inflamed pores, they can look more closed. Hence, the smaller and tighter appearance.
I use Salicylic Acid more often than the other Bravura AHA peels. Ever since I incorporate it regularly, the blackheads have reduced quite significantly and my skin experiences less blemishes and acne, even during PMS. Hooray for that! I’ve always felt there’s some congestion happening underneath my chin, so when I started to use this, a lot of the gunk started to come out. Gross, but it’s a good thing. If I do have acne, using this will help to clear it out relatively quicker. Another yay!
To add to that, I’ve used it on my SO a few times (read here) and he has said few of his acne subsided and his blackheads were easier to be squeezed out. I’m planning to get him a full size of this with the brush. Make things easier for him, you know.
The product makes my skin distinctly drier, which is expected because it is more purifying. After rinsing, I like to apply Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask afterwards to rehydrate the skin, usually for 30 mins – 1 hour. I also love to use it as a spot treatment after I’m done with my skincare routine. When I do this, the blemished area can get a little flaky, but applying TATCHA Soothing Triple Recovery Cream on top can remedied that easily.
Salicylic Acid is oil soluble, means it makes its way through our natural oil and penetrates deeper into the skin. So I always use it first if I was going to use AHA afterwards. It can be in a form of an exfoliating toner, serum or another peel (I opt for Lactic Acid because it’s milder). I’m not too bothered or scared I might overdo it, because AHA and BHA tackle different things and work on a different level. If any, they complement each other beautifully.
Some of my favorite combos are using KYPRIS Clearing Serum and Leah Lani Champagne Serum together (great for clearing up the skin), Sunday Riley Good Genes, Drunk Elephant Framboos Serum, Antipodes Apostle Serum, Aurelia Revitalize & Glow Serum, pretty much most of my serums.
One (BHA) for the dirty job and one (AHA) to prettify the surface.
This is exactly why I said in the beginning that I can benefit from all three of the Bravura acid peels. They perform just as I expected. The focus is there and they handle it accordingly. I could probably leave out one of the AHA peels, but hey, I love diversities. These Bravura acid peels make a good base to achieve clearer, radiant skin. They easily make a firm foundation and a vital addition to my skincare routine.
I absolutely can’t live without the Salicylic Acid one now (on the verge of being obsessed) and that will be first on my repurchase list.
P.S. Bravura London is a UK-based brand and the products can only be purchased through their website. I got mine through a friend who’s traveling to the UK. For us local Indonesian, you can order them through the brand’s authorized reseller @poppa.id and benscrub.com