Makeup Artist's Choice (MUAC) 25% Mandelic Acid Peel

Makeup Artist's Choice (MUAC)  25% Mandelic Acid Peel


108 reviews

82% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$


Purified water, mandelic acid, SD alcohol, witch hazel distillate, propylene glycol, malic acid, butylene glycol, hydropropylcellulose, green tea extract, hops, horsetail plant, lemongrass, goldenseal. 8/16/11

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on 9/8/2016 7:28:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

Normal/dry skin, no acne, melasma, scarring or other issues. I've been using Tretinoin 0.1% and Lotion P50 for 2 years, and my skin is in great shape as a result, however at this point the Tretinoin has reached its peak regarding banishing existing sun damage/pigmentation. I'm now using it in 'maintenance mode' for prevention (of wrinkles/further aging). I still have some slight uneven tone on my cheeks, with some slight texture issues. Also a small patch of photoaged skin on my chest.

So I bought the 25% Mandelic peel to try and do away quickly with the last relics of my irresponsible tanning past. I wanted to start with a gentler peel as my skin is already very exfoliated. I also used the peel on my forearms, which have taken the brunt of my sun damage, (I don't use my Tret. or P50 on my arms).
As of writing this review, I've used the Mandelic peel for 4 sessions, and in each session layered it two-three times and I I left on for 10 minutes. In some cases I didn't rinse it of. (I am not recommending others to do it this way. Follow the instructions that came with the peel).

OVERALL OPINION of product: This is, for my skin, a very, very mild peel that won't *quickly* do away with my slight remaining sun damage. It's so mild, I almost don't feel the need to rinse it off. My skin only slightly flaked, I experienced just slight numbing, and I've not yet noticed any real improvement in my problem areas, arms or face. It did leave my skin very smooth to the touch, but because of the Tretinoin & P50, my skin is already so exfoliated and glowy, I can't really tell if the this peel is adding to my skin's overall appearance. I feel like with 25% Mandelic it would take months to get the result I'm looking for. Not saying it's a bad product, because for those with sensitive or acne prone skin, people looking for a maintenance acid, or first timers who've never used chemical exfoliants - this would be a good choice. It's gentle, absolutely no down time, and can be used weekly. I'm assuming it's great as a consistent maintenance product for long term use.
I want a fast acting and stronger peel with results after the first couple uses, and for me this was not that peel.
I'll use it up as a weekly maintenance item until it's gone. Couldn't hurt. Also will keep using it on my forearms. MUAC has great customer service, fast shipping and I'm totally pleased with my experience with them. Definitely recommend MUAC, just important to pick the peel that best suits your needs and skin type.

I also have the TCX Fusion peel, which is stronger. Moving on to that next.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

on 8/22/2016 10:59:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

Bottom line, this shizz really delivers results. I get kind of angry thinking about all of the super fancy and expensive chemical exfoliators out there, and half of them aren't even formulated at the correct pH to avoid irritation. You can have beautiful skin for not a lot of money, I promise. So, on to the peel, please follow the instructions exactly. I did make the mistake of exfoliating again about a day after I did this peel once, and I ended up dried out and over-exfoliated. Wasn't pretty! My fault, not the peel's. It doesn't sting or hurt too much at all, but don't let that fool ya, it is getting deep down in there. I usually wait two or three days before exfoliating with pads again after I use this. I do it about every week and a half. So this cheap little peel really gets down in there, and saves me money on my other products because I use them less. I haven't had a single new zit since I started using this peel. My other exfoliators work great, but they just weren't strong enough to head off all of my hormonal or *cough* lifestyle related acne. I don't even have to think about my skin since adding in this peel, and it greatly lightens PIH, which is wonderful. One caveat, RIGHT after I use this peel I usually think I look dehydrated and not so great, but moisturizer fixes that up, and the next day is when I am really glowing. So I would use this the day before an event, not day of. I would also get my skin used to daily chemical exfoliation before I added in an acid peel. But if you're on the fence, try it! I love this product! And remember, when it comes to strong actives, ALWAYS patch test first, and LESS is MORE. Patience.
*And if you have clogged skin, you might breakout, but it should also go away much quicker. And listen, that stuff has to come out at some point! It can just painlessly dissolve some clogs though, I've seen it!

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I've been using this peel about every 4 days to a week for several months now. This is the first all-over peel I've used from MUAC. For over a year now, I've used their 15% salicylic peel on only the clog prone areas of my face which basically obliterates any clogged pores that I may have. I had previously only used a 10% glycolic product several times a week but had discontinued use of acids for a while, and although my skin is in pretty good condition due to daily Asian SS, vitamin C serum, and a couple other antioxidant serums I thought my skin needed something extra. This is a pretty gentle peel, when I first started using it after not having used glycolic acid for several months it was rather "burny" at first. However after the first peel my skin glowed, and any minor clogging I had that wasn't taken care of by the 15% salicylic went away after a few peels. After a few peels I didn't experience the burning sensation at all anymore, now it's just more of a slight warmth. My skin looks glowing and basically flawless every time after I do this peel so I really look forward to it. The only thing I don't like about this peel is the packaging, you have to be extremely careful to only dispense a little bit because it's a very runny liquid and the first time I used it I almost dumped half of it out. I just gently tip it into a cupped palm and use the fingers on my other hand to spread it across my face. I find using a cotton pad or ball just absorbs too much of the product. I definitely plan on trying the 40% mandelic peel next, this one makes my skin so pretty I'm sure that one will make it look almost like glass!

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I like this peel although it's not love. I have had a bottle for about six months and, frankly, only use it about once a week as opposed to the increased schedule of every 4 days with continuous use.

Anyways, what I like about it: it's non-irritating & any next-day flaking is not severe (any flakes easily roll off with a light Turkish toweling in my experience). The worst immediate effect is it makes my skin a bit pink for maybe a few hours (which i consider a win). It has helped control my hormonal/jawline acne, my pores are less noticeable to a degree, and my fine lines a bit softer.

It's not a miracle, no, but it is a good option for sensitive skin (I am combo-dry and have eczema). I think after I finish it I will start searching for a retinol, as I would like more noticeable results on my couple of fine lines.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 11/3/2015 11:53:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Medium Brown, Warm

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I used both this and mandelic acid serum for over 6 months to try and deal with patches of hyperpigmentation and breakouts.

This is a gentle peel and I have to say, I never experienced any side effects but was diligent about keep an eye on the time.

The price is very competitive if you're based in the US, however combined with customs and shipping to the UK, it tips it into a mid range pricing.

MUAC customer service are good and respond with a couple of days with queries

However, after 6 months regular use, this made little impact on lifting the hyperpigmentation, so stopped using and started using retin a and an acid toner, which I saw noticeable results in 2 months

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

on 10/19/2015 10:14:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I never write reviews but wanted to WARN everybody about this product. I've had good experience with other MUAC peels - TCA (12, 18, 21), Radiance, Enzyme, Phytx, Fade peel. I have achieved really good results with the TCA and regular Radiance + Enzyme and truly enjoying my skin. I have really bad acne scars and PHP so it took a long time (1.5 years) to feel good about my face.
Then came this mandelic peel.
My face is now a mess.
Red, splotches, itchy spots.
My scars which have appeared faded before, now are really pronounced and really appear dark and gouged.
Rough texture, peeling (4 days ago I applied the peel) has not completely finished.
If I had known, I would not have tried this. It ruined all the work I've achieved.
I hope I will save somebody from making the same mistake. Now I have to start all over again.

8 of 14 people found this helpful.

on 10/13/2015 1:00:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

Well I've been using this for a few weeks, I've done four peels so far and I'm breaking out. I've got cysts and of course inflamed blackheads/whiteheads. My pores haven't shrunk, my hyper-pigmentation hasn't faded at all. My skin just feels tight and of course it flakes a little after a few days. And now I'm breaking out awfully. It's really frustrating. I know that for some people it can cause a purging effect. I'm really hoping that's what this is. Although, I know that the breakout I'm having now will leave nasty scars and marks that will remain for a long time.. I don't know what to do...

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

on 9/15/2015 12:23:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I've had great results in the past with the MUAC Mandelic Toner and am currently loving the 40% Lactic Acid Peel but unfortunately this peel doesn't work for me. I have sensitive, combination skin which is prone to breakouts and scarring.

I've been alternating it with the Lactic Acid Peel for the past 6 weeks and each time it has broken me out terribly for at least 5 days. I do my peels once a week. The first week I tried the Mandelic peel and initially had baby smooth and glowing skin. 2 days later I started breaking out in rash like pimples all over my face. I assumed I was purging but it stressed me out so I tried fixing this with other products for the next couple of days which only made it worse. (my mistake) On day 6 I resumed my normal routine of cleansing morning and night, an SPF moisturiser for the morning and moisturising lotion at night. I used the Lactic Peel on week 2 and my skin started to clear up and smooth out right away.

Week 3 I again did the Mandelic but this time I started breaking out the next day. I left it alone and continued with my normal routine but the pimples lasted almost a week. They finally subsided when I used the Lactic Acid in week 4. This peel took away all remaining spots and my skin was glowing, smooth and finally pimple free.

Not wanting to risk getting another breakout I used the Lactic Acid again in week 5 and my skin continued to look amazing and was getting better each day.

Week 6 I decided to give it another chance and used the Mandelic Peel again because I really wanted this to work for me. I even left it on for a shorter amount of time but low and behold, breakouts popped up everywhere the following morning. It has now been 5 days since that peel and the breakout is only just starting to calm down. I can't wait to use the Lactic Acid on Friday.

Still gave 2 stars for the following reasons
-some spots faded with the Mandelic
-customer service is amazing and products are very affordable

My skin obviously doesn't react well with this so I'll be putting it in the back of my cabinet and continue to use just the Lactic Acid. I'm not giving up on Mandelic Acid yet though, I've just reordered the toner since I've had success with this and I've ordered the serum as well to try out. My skin seems to love the toner so I've put it that perhaps the Mandelic Peel is just too harsh or high in percentage for me. Too bad, I really wanted to love this!

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

on 9/8/2015 11:44:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool

Hair: Other, Other, Fine

Eyes: Brown

Just ordered a full sized bottle of this. One month after starting to use the peel, I have the most clear skin of my adult life. On top of that, which is great enough, I can now wear moisturizers and sunscreen without an infestation of greasy zits. Hallelujah.
This chemical doesn't seem to be as reddening to my face as glycolic acid, which I use as well.

Fair, ruddy, freckled, sun damaged, acne no more, combination (dry flaky layer under with oily layer on top) 44 yo skin

If you have my type of combo skin, try a tester of the matte paste from their site. It's a product they sell, not make, but it's still very good. I now use it instead of powder, more days than not.

3 of 4 people found this helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

This peel is magic!

Okay, where I'm coming from: I love skincare, but have only really gotten into it (consistent routine, understanding what products do, etc.) in the past year or so. My routine has incorporated AHAs and BHAs right from the start, and even though I have dry skin that can be sensitive if I'm not careful, I built up my tolerance so that I can use several AHA and BHA products daily (for example, I usually use salicylic acid 1-2 times a day and glycolic acid once a day). Because of this, I felt it would be safe to do the mandelic acid peel, but I would recommend building AHAs/BHAs into your routine before you try this.

The only peel I had done before this was a Suki brand 20-minute salicylic acid peel. I liked this well enough, but I didn't feel it was giving me the deep chemical exfoliation I was looking for in a peel. I had heard so many good things about the mandelic acid peel that I decided to give it a try.

I ordered the full size of this on the MUAC website for $17.95 + $5.95 shipping - a 15ish% discount that was being offered when I made the purchase for a total of $20. I ordered this one evening and was shocked to see that it arrived the next day -- then again, I live in D.C. and MUAC is based in Maryland, so it makes sense, but it was still a wonderful surprise to receive it so quickly. It also came with a small sample of the green tea cleanser, which was a nice bonus.

I waited a few weeks to use this product and very carefully followed the instructions. I stopped all AHAs and BHAs (and all other actives, like vitamin C) 24 hours before and after the peel. I cleansed my face and patted it dry and applied the product. I was skeptical about using a q-tip to apply the peel, but it actually went much more quickly than I thought it would. The peel is in a small white plastic bottle with a black flip-top cap, but I found the cap inconvenient and just screwed off the top and dipped the q-tip in, using a new q-tip when I needed more to avoid double-dipping. I started the 5-minute timer after I was done applying and waited. (The product instructions tell you to leave it on for 3-5 minutes, and I probably would have done less time if I was not accustomed to AHAs.) It felt a tiny bit tingly and dry, but not at all painful or uncomfortable. After 5 minutes, I first rinsed my face with water, then washed with a gentle unscented cleanser, then patted dry with a microfiber cloth and followed my normal nighttime moisturizing routine (Simple Rich Moisturizer with a layer of Aquaphor on top).

Immediately, I noticed how glowy my skin was. I did not notice any actual peeling (meaning, skin was not flaking off my face or anything) but the chemical exfoliation definitely did its job, leaving my skin smooth and dewy. It also lessened the appearance of the teeny fine lines on my forehead. When I woke up the next day, it was still glowy and lovely. I experienced a small purge -- basically, I broke out in the areas of my face that I could already feel were starting to break out. I haven't purged every time I've used this, so I think whether or not I do is dependent on whether or not I was going to already. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you know you're about to break out and want to get it over with, this can speed up the process, but if you have a big event and you want to keep your skin clear, it might be best to skip it until after. But this is all very dependent on your skin!

In addition to wanting a generally smoother skin texture, I also picked up this product to help with some very old acne scarring (mainly, a flat, greyish scar on my jawline). I have noticed a definite improvement/lightening, and I'm hoping that it continues to improve.

I sometimes (read: ideally) use this product weekly, but in reality, I use it every two weeks or so. I think my skin could tolerate weekly or twice-weekly peels, as the mandelic acid really is very gentle, as far as peels go. I also love that you can do the peel in less than 10 minutes, including the cleansing, application, the actual peel, and post-peel moisturizing. Makes it very easy to fit in to a skincare routine!

SUMMARY: Effective, gentle peel that's good for a first-time peel-er who uses AHAs/BHAs without a problem. Improves skin texture and fades scars. Would highly recommend!

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

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