The first time I heard about the Sephora’s PERK facial, a store associate described it as dead skin in a cup. Ewww, right? That’s what I thought too. She was (graphically) explaining to me what you see when the facial is over—all the dead skin and bad stuff they removed from your skin, all gathered in a small plastic cup for you to see. If you’re anything like me then this both grossed you out and intrigued you all the same. I knew once my interest was piqued, I’d have to try it. But I’m leery of what goes on my face. After a year on the market, and no Black girl approved reviews, I decided I needed to brave this one for my sisters.

So, I headed out to the brand new Sephora in Times Square (because the PERK facial service is not offered in all Sephora locations) to get my skin PERK-y. See what I did there? I was met by Kenya Wilson, Senior Skincare Advisor for Sephora, whose dewy and flawless caramel skin made me even more excited. With the appointment first thing in the morning I arrived bare faced and ready to go. My skin needed practically no prep, but Kenya let me know that it is a service that you can run in and get in the middle of the work day even if you’re already glammed up.

Eager and bare-faced before my PERK facial

Before we started with any equipment or products Kenya and I just chatted about my current skincare regimen, what products I use, and how I prefer my skin to look. My response: dewy and glowing. Then she proceeded to grab a multitude of skincare products from around the store, including covetables such as GLAMGLOW’s SuperSerum and Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Glow. I would advise be cautious with oils as our skin tends to produce natural oils on its own—use any face oil with discretion, they’re not one size fits all. My face gets dry when I’m not drinking enough water so face oil can be beneficial for me specifically.

My facial consisted of top notch skincare products to give me that glow

I love the calming feeling of a facial and PERK was no exception. The machine looks like a kiosk you would see at the airport, with a small suction apparatus attached to it, but it feels soothing. It moves over the skin lightly, gently drawing impurities from the top layer of the skin. After the short time with the machine, Kenya proceeded to use the products, finishing, of course with sunscreen. My face felt refreshed and awake, quite the change from how tight and tired it was when I first arrived. She also showed me the cup filled with the cloudy toxins that were drawn from my skin.

“When I started at Sephora as a makeup artist six years ago, the mentality was different. People would come in and for any skin concern they had, they came to makeup and asked for coverage,” said David Razzano, Sephora Beauty Director, who joined us at the procedure. “In the culture we live in today people are much smarter and understand that if you take good care of your skin you’ll need less makeup. Makeup can then be more fun rather than corrective.”

My “skin in a cup”

My face immediately had a glow because of all the products on it. So I was still unsure of what difference the PERK had made. Days later, I can feel a noticeable difference in how soft it feels. The facial had clearly added necessary hydration to my skin, which drank in a decent amount of wine in the days following the procedure. I’ve continued to use some of the products that Kenya included in my PERK facial to keep that feeling going.

I’m expecting to see lightening results of my hyperpigmentation from the vitamin C and turmeric face oil over the next few weeks (I’ll keep you posted). Overall, I would certainly do it again. The PERK facial is available in select Sephora stores when you spend $75 or more in store on skincare. It’s about the same price of a spa facial but you leave with goodies. That’s a plus for me. The facial is done in store during open hours so it might not be for those who don’t emerge in public bare faced. But keep in mind you’re in the middle of a Sephora, so if you want to, you can get a full beat directly following the facial.

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