Two Products for Fixing a Vacation-Burned Face

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Lots of people are returning from winter vacations in sunny locales, where improper usage of face sunscreens left them with hot, red complexions (but not in a good way like you've been having lots of sex to burn off those extra holiday calories). Depending on your skin type, you'll either immediately begin molting and flaking or, if you're lucky, turn from a brilliant shade of crimson to brown. With enough hydrating agents, the turn-to-tan types will not have to sacrifice too much skin, while the former type is left to scrubs and nightly Clarisonic sessions. Both types need to be dealt with delicately, so we put two products to the test: Clinique's Moisture Surge Overnight Mask and MAC's Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator.

"I'm peeling." - Maureen O'Connor, after one week in Costa Rica and rigorous sunscreen use except when stuck out on a surfboard.

 MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is tar black and shot through with shimmering bits — like something you’d use to fill cracks in a gravel sidewalk at Studio 54. The product feels like a fine-grained sand, heavy enough to slough off sunburned skin, but light enough that I didn’t worry about hurting my face. Afterwards, my skin felt pretty soft — but softer than it would after an old-fashioned towel-rub exfoliation? I’m undecided, mainly because while the lighter flakes on my forehead and brow are gone, the ones on my nose ones still linger. However, rubbing shimmery black volcano all over my face like a trench warfare soldier in a war of glitter was cool enough that I’ll keep using it.

"I might be peeling very soon." - Christina Han, after four days in Puerto Rico and one hour spent without sunscreen.

Clinique products are completely unscented, crucial for great overnight products because heavily fragranced things will give you nightmares or at least a perfume headache pre-slumber. After my usual cleansing regimen, I slathered on a thick layer of the brand's new Overnight Mask. Soft and silky to the touch, the hyaluronic-acid-based formula is cooling once applied to the skin. In the morning, a quick rinse with warm water left my skin plump and hydrated, but my hairline was a lost cause of flakiness, having resisted the product's moisture boost.