Beauty product of the week: Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial
Image: Instagram user olehenriksen
Does Ole Henriksen's PHAT Glow Facial live up to the hype? We road-tested it to see.
Ole Henriksen's PHAT Glow Facial was one of the most hyped skincare launches this year for a few reasons. First of all, it's a new product from Ole Henriksen and this brand can seemingly do no wrong. But the other key reason is that it's an entirely new product that many of us had never seen in the skincare industry before.
So what's it like? And does it work?
The quick verdict
Why is it good? It plumps and resurfaces your skin with no downtime.
How much is it? $68 for 50mL
Where to buy it? Sephora
Ole Henriksen's PHAT Glow Facial is an odd product. It's a mask with the consistency of a clay mask but the stickiness of a jelly moisture mask. But it's not really a mask. It's a resurfacing style exfoliant that uses PHAs.
At this point, most of us have at least heard of alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs). But PHAs??? Polyhydroxy acids are from the same family as their exfoliating and resurfacing AHA and BHA counterparts. But according to Ole Henriksen, "they're fat, literally". Jokes aside, what the brand means is that the molecules are bigger than other hydroxy acids. Since they're bigger, they don't go as deep into your skin. BHAs will deep dive into the lower layers, AHAs penetrate the first few layers but PHAs sit on the top of your skin, exfoliating and clearing the surface only.
You might be thinking, wait, isn't deep exfoliation a good thing? Isn't that the whole reason so many of us switch to hydroxy acids over face scrubs? Well, yes and no.
If you're looking for some serious anti-ageing benefits or have very congested skin, AHAs and BHAs are your best friend. But what if you have sensitive skin that can't handle the intensity of most hydroxy acids? Or what if you're looking for a quick skin fix before applying your makeup? Or what if you want to glow for an event tomorrow but regular acids make your skin red? This is where PHAT Glow comes in. It promises facial level results with no downtime.
I've used the product a few times now and this is exactly what it delivers. Smooth, glowing, plumped up skin but with zero irritation or redness. I only ever use hydroxy acid products before bed (as opposed to the morning) as this gives them some time to work, but also because you're not really supposed to slap makeup over skin fresh from an exfoliating alpha hydroxy treatment. On the other hand, this is exactly what PHAT Glow has been designed for. Use it before bed sure, but you can also use it in the morning to create a smooth canvas for your makeup.
This "mask" also does a fantastic job of plumping up your skin. According to Ole Henriksen, this is due to the Nordic birch sap which deeply hydrates, nourishes and helps "create that the #oddlysatisfying texture". I found my skin was smooth, bouncy, full and with minimised pores. There is actually some pink clay in the mix too (which can be quite drying) which I was very surprised about considering just how hydrating this "mask" was. You can see the pink clay colour in the pictures.
It comes in a pump bottle, a big tick from me. Pump bottles are so much more hygienic than tubs, it also helps you use the right amount. I use 2-3 pumps to cover my whole face. You need to massage it into your face a little until it turns white, then leave it on for 15 minutes. Remember that, although it's fairly gentle, this product still contains acids, so don't exceed the recommended application time. Despite its stickiness, it's easy to remove with a washcloth or Face Halo. Voila. Bright, smooth, exfoliated and very happy skin.
If you've had trouble with acids in the past, you're over using face scrubs or you want a product that can give you a fast refresh even when you're about to head out, I highly recommend you try this. I love it, and you will too.
Ole Henriksen's PHAT Glow Facial is $68 for 50mL. No, it's not cheap. But it's worth it if you use it.