The Shortcut Overnight Facial Peel
The Shortcut Overnight Facial Peel from Versed is not a bad product per se, it’s just that it simply cannot perform quite as claimed, landing it firmly at an “average” rating.
First, the good: this comes in an opaque squeeze tube that will keep its beneficial ingredients shielded from exposure to light and air. The peel’s moisturizing lotion texture works well for normal to dry skin, absorbing quickly without a sticky feel. Instead, skin instantly feels softer and smoother, thanks in part to moisturizing ingredients glycerin, shea butter, and rose hip oil. This peel also includes antioxidant vitamin A, two forms of vitamin E, and skin-soothing allantoin, which serve to strengthen skin’s surface and give it a healthier look and feel.
The exfoliation claims are where things get murky. This does contain tried-and-true alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) lactic and glycolic acids, but Versed doesn’t indicate the percentage of AHAs you’re getting. In fact, when asked on social media, they said they “don’t want people to get hung up on percentages” and promise to “only call out ingredients that are used at levels shown to do something for your skin and never sprinkle in any ingredient just to say it’s in there”. Their placement in the ingredient list is lower than many other AHA exfoliants, but it’s likely to be enough to see some improvement in signs of aging like fine lines and sun damage, except...
Unfortunately, this peel cannot really peel (read: exfoliate) because it’s formulated at a pH of 6.78. That’s well outside the range of between 3 and 4 that is considered optimal for these acids to act as exfoliants. You’ll still get some hydrating benefits out of them, but don’t count on this for “breaking down dead skin cells”. It’s especially disappointing because Versed makes a point of saying this is pH balanced, but ironically, it isn’t even close to the average pH of human skin, which hovers between 4.5 and 5.
As a hydrating lotion with anti-aging properties, this makes the grade. However, if you’re looking for a true peel experience to reap the many benefits of exfoliation, you’ll be better off with the options you’ll find on our list of best AHA exfoliants .
- Lotion texture absorbs quickly without leaving a residue.
- Includes antioxidant and skin-soothing ingredients.
- Contains AHAs lactic and glycolic acids.
- Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- Fragrance free.
- pH is far above what’s considered optimal for glycolic acid to act as an exfoliant.
- The pH-balanced claim doesn’t make sense since this is above the pH of skin.
This is the shortcut to glowier skin. In one step, this peel works overnight while you’re far away in dreamland to resurface and renew your complexion. The blend of lactic and glycolic acid (which work together to break down dead skin cells) and vitamin A (one of the most powerful and proven anti-aging ingredients available) exfoliates, brightens, and hydrates while skin-conditioning allantoin, rosehip, and vitamin E keep skin calm. It’s pH-balanced, non-drying, and non-irritating—basically it’s a non-scary peel that won’t leave you red or flaky (just bright and refreshed).
Versed Skincare is the creation of Katherine Power, former West Coast fashion editor of Elle magazine and co-founder of the LA-based fashion company Clique Brands. Versed is positioned as the sister brand of the company’s Who What Wear clothing line sold at Target, and so Versed is sold there as well as other retailers.
Versed’s philosophy is straightforward: offer affordable, effective skin care products that are both vegan and, in the brand’s words, clean. “Clean” is an ambiguous phrase in the beauty industry that lacks a standard, regulated definition (it varies from company to company), but in this instance it means that there are no so-called “toxic” and “questionable” ingredients in Versed’s products.
While some of these ingredients – such as formaldehyde and artificial fragrance – are certainly best avoided, others are labeled as bad based on outdated research, poorly designed or inconclusive studies, or simply anecdotal evidence, and not on the conditions (or concentrations) in which these ingredients are actually used in real-world skin care applications.
That aside, Versed has an attractive aesthetic that goes along with this clean philosophy: pastel-colored packaging with plain type that explains what each product’s purpose is and calls out key ingredients in each. For the most part, Versed products are packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients; however, there are a few instances of clear and jar packaging, which compromise the benefits of some ingredients, particularly antioxidants.
The formulas from Versed are a mixed bag. Some contain a host of beneficial ingredients while totally avoiding irritants, others are good but basic, and some others include fragrant plant extracts and oils that pose a risk of sensitizing skin (and we should be clear – fragrance, both synthetic and natural, can irritate skin). It really is a situation where the products are best judged on a case-by-case basis, as the hit-or-miss nature of the line requires more scrutiny than simply choosing based on product claims and skin type.
Despite the extra effort needed, Versed does have some good products to offer, and the convenience of being available both online and in a major retailer like Target, will have a lot of appeal to a good number of people. You can learn more about Versed at https://versedskin.com/.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.