WHAT IS IT?
A friend, when told I was testing out this new product, had this priceless bon mot to offer: "Glamoxy? Sounds like a drag queen performer's stage name." Yes, catty commentators abound in my social circle, and yes, I do agree that the name of this particular Rodial range is a tad tacky, but hear me out.
Brand me biased from the get-go, but Rodial's founder Maria Hatzistefanis is a woman after my own heart: She was, after all, an ex beauty writer and editor, so I'd like to think she knows what she's doing.
Having said that, the only reason I'm doing this review is the flattering feedback I've received after incorporating these exfoliating pads into the rarefied ranks of my vanity cabinet.
Acquaintances left and right have pressed me for the doctor responsible for my "suddenly" brighter skin, and I usually demur, saying I've been staying out of the sun.
Well, the secret's out. It's Rodial.
While the Glamoxy 15% Fruit Acid Exfoliating Pads don't contain the scary-sounding Syn-ake "face-freezing" neuropeptide (modelled after viper venom, no less!) found in the rest of the Glamoxy range, Rodial says this twice-daily facial peel is saturated with Gatuline RC, a complex chockfull of alpha hydroxy acids gleaned from the fruit of the Wu Zhu Yu shrub, an ancient Chinese medicinal herb evocatively dubbed the "everlasting youth tree".
Mix in moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid and what Rodial calls "oxygen boosting technology" which, as far as I can tell, uses mild oxidising agents to deliver anti-inflammatory oxygen deep into your pores, and you've got yourself a concentrated cocktail that will seriously slough off dead cells – much like the skin-shedding of the snake that the Glamoxy range is inspired by.
WHAT WE THINK ABOUT ...
Surprisingly elegant for a brand that has gained a rep among beauty insiders for being gimmicky and Hollywood-driven. (Jennifer Lopez, Anne Hathaway and Sienna Miller are among some of the celeb clients prominently displayed on Rodial's website.)
Thankfully, there are no stars or snakes splashed across the packaging. Instead, you get a palm-sized, matte gunmetal tub with the product name in gleaming silver relief. I do wish Rodial had included mini pliers of some sort, though – one of my biggest beauty pet peeves is having to pry apart pads with my fingers: So unwieldy and unhygienic! I circumvent this by stashing the tub next to a container in which I keep an eyebrow tweezer.
The pads themselves are a pleasure to use. Pliable, pillowy and composed of tightly woven cotton, each generously sized 67mm piece is plenty for your entire face, neck and décolleté; there's enough essence left over for me to swipe the used pad over my elbows and knees.
Rodial's instructions are to use the pads on clean dry skin, morning and evening, but my advice is to take baby steps: Start by trying it once at night, after removing all of the day's gunk. It seems counter-intuitive to be exfoliating in the morning, the same way I only ever pluck my brows the evening before: You don't want to be leaving the house with angry, inflamed skin.
Here's how yours truly does it: After cleansing and softening (or "toning", if you're a stickler for traditional labels), I take one pad and press it against my cheeks, drawing concentric circles as if buffing in blush. Next, I use the reverse side and pull the pad upwards from the centre of my chin to the temples in a swift U-shaped motion, ending with my forehead and neck. Easy.
A minor quibble: There's a mild metallic whiff to the product that comes off as saké-steeped fruit to my overactive nose (and imagination) – but if we girls can get past the vinegary scent of another brand's celebrated yeast-based essence, we can definitely deal with this.
The first few times I used this, I was aghast at the muck stuck to the pads – was there really so much dead skin my weekly scrub wasn't dealing with? Personal indignity aside, I was very pleased with how kind the pads were to my thin skin: Most AHA formulas I've tried take no prisoners in their abrasiveness, paradoxically roiling up my skin and causing acne flare-ups. This product hits a sweet spot between efficacy and equability: It didn't sting, didn't cause me to break out and, as demonstrated by the dirt left behind on the cotton, really did its job in clearing out clutter.
Speaking of clutter, I must say that Rodial's Glamoxy pads have helped purge my skin of those baby bumps that no amount of manual extraction could get at. To be sure, this was a gradual process, but the incrementally cleaner pads – by the second week, only a faint smudge could be seen on the cotton – was very gratifying visual proof of the product at work. (Tip: If you're frugal and want to stretch your dollar, consider cutting the discs into quarter moons for targeted use on areas of concern, like your nose or forehead.)
As my closest friends will know, I have a near-compulsive quirk of scrutinising every square inch of my face before bedtime, so I can report that besides dislodging dead skin and banishing blackheads, this product has also lightened several stubborn sun spots on my cheeks. The final, most ego-boosting evidence of its effectiveness? A fellow beauty scribe asked if I had switched my foundation base – "You're a shade fairer, you know!"
Total score: 23/25
Rodial Glamoxy 15% Fruit Acid Exfoliating Pads, $89 for 50 pads, are available at selected Guardian Health & Beauty stores and at Sccube The Apothecary, #05-25A/B Takashimaya Shopping Centre. For more information, visit www.rodial.com.sg and follow the brand on Facebook and YouTube.