Finally, a Chemical Exfoliant That Won't Dry Out Your Skin

You're going to fall in love with MARA's Flower Acid Algae Serum.

CLEAN SLATE: MARA Flower Acid Algae Serum Launch

Courtesy of MARA

After decades of scrubbing our faces down with sandpaper-like cleansers, it's easy to see why chemical exfoliants have become the product of choice for anyone looking for a more even, refreshed skin tone. There's only one problem: a chemical exfoliant for face use can sometimes prove to be very drying, and in the worst case scenario, can even cause irritation and redness as your skin becomes acclimated.

Thankfully, celeb-loved beauty brand MARA has a solution: the Flower Acid Algae Serum.

MARA's latest launch uses of a blend of vegan acids to gently resurface the skin, along with proprietary algae, microalgae, and aqueous herbs to help tighten and retain moisture.

"We use three types of acids, all of which were chosen to exfoliate without drying out the skin — specifically, PHA (gluconolactone), which is a type of acid that is also a humectant. It pulls moisture out of the air and absorbs it into the skin to help hydrate," MARA founder Allison McNamara shares exclusively with InStyle. "Lactic acid is the primary acid in the formula and was chosen for its unique hybrid of exfoliation, skin clarifying, and hydration effects on the skin — it’s effective without being too harsh. We also use flower acids which have pyruvic acid (alpha-ketoacids) and provide a stimulating effect on collagen production and improved hydration."

On top of that, the brand added French sea water to the mix, which helps with keeping skin hydrated, moisturized, and soothed as well.

CLEAN SLATE: MARA Flower Acid Algae Serum Launch

Courtesy of MARA

To shop: $74;

Despite the gentle, yet effective formula, anyone with sensitive or reactive skin probably cringes at the word "exfoliant," but trust us on this one — more likely than not, MARA's Flower Acid Algae Serum will work for you. However, it's always a good idea to check in with your dermatologist before adding a new product to your routine.

"The thing with using actives is it’s all about balance," explains McNamara. "Each MARA formula is created to hydrate and support the skin barrier while delivering a strong dose of effective actives. In this case acids, to transform skin. We select actives that are known to be less aggressive — in this case using lactic acid over glycolic — and pair them in an expertly formulated blend that targets all skin concerns, and supported with hydrating, nutrient-rich ingredients. Because of this, sensitive skin types can use our products."

When using, remember it's best to start off slow. So try applying one to two pumps every other night to clean skin. Follow up with the brand's Universal Face Oil or any moisturizer of your choice.

Expect to wake up the next day with seriously glowy skin.

From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space. Find out what's really in your products — and what's being left out.

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