I’m a big fan of Ole Henriksen Lemon Peel, reviewed here. It is kind of intense but I can see an improvement in skin texture and the blemish drying up after one or two use, I also saw improvement on minor acne scarring after using it 1-2x per week for a month. The power peel includes the almond scrub before and chamomile mask after the peel. The scrub get rid of dead skin on the surface, allowing the lemon strip get deeper into the skin, which might be too intense and damaging, which is why you add the chamomile mask on top to calm and prevent the skin from dying when the peel is working. With the 3 products working in harmony, you get smooth and blemish free skin with almost instant results.
NOTE: This is a pretty intense peel, do NOT apply on irritated or sensitive skin! Or else it will make your skin more irritated, rough and raw. Use hydrating masks or sheet masks (reviews here, here, and here!) to make sure your skin is hydrated and healthy before using these kind of peels! Also, the back is flipped, so the instruction on the right is for step 1, middle for step 2 and left for step 3. Do not confuse!
But since my skin is rather temperamental, sometimes I just need a scrub to get rid of flakes, sometimes the peel to shrink blemishes, and sometimes calming mask for dry or irritated skin. That’s why I prefer to have the products separate. If I’ve already got plenty of scrubs and hydrating masks, then can I just buy the lemon peel and get the same result? Or dupe the whole system? A packet gave me just enough for 2 use and here I present some similar products to each of the steps…..
Ole Henriksen power peel
Step 1, almond scrub: it is a white creamy scrub with fine almond shell granule in it. The scrub smells like almond milk, and the grain is abrasive but fine enough to not irritate (unlike the much scratchier St. Ive Apricot). Dupe? Many people have wondered if it’s the same or can be substituted with the Ole Henriksen Walnut scrub (walnut on the left, almond on the right in the picture). The walnut scrub is same consistency with granule the same size, but in a gel base instead of cream base. It smells a bit sweet and milky. Almond scrub is probably milder due to the base. You can probably substitute with no problem, but if you’ve got sensitive skin then maybe try a gentler scrub for dupe, such as Clinique 7 day scrub cream or Laura Mercier Face Polish.
Step 2, Lemon Strip: This is also sold by itself, reviewed here, the only difference is the instruction. While the stand-alone product recommend smoothing it on with a brush then leave it for 10minutes, you are suppose to rub it in then wait only 2 minutes then apply chamomile mask on instead. Rubbing probably allow it to sink deeper into the skin, but since you used a physical exfoliator beforehand this might hurt or be more intense, which is why you only wait 2 minutes before applying the chamomile mask. Dupe? you don’t need a dupe since it’s sold by itself, but Philosophy enzyme peel is similar but gentler, otherwise I really like it better than other liquid/gel acid peels.
Step 3, Chamomile mask: This is a white creamy clay mask, and you smooth it over the lemon strip after 2 minutes, then leave it on for 15 minutes. The lemon strip gel kind of dried already after 2 minutes, if not then you applied too much. When I applied the chamomile mask over it, there is a tingling sensation. It is not painful and subsides after awhile. When I rinsed it off, my face was very red, like how it looks after I used ExfoliKate Gentle, but does not feel painful. Dupe? Since there is a significant sensation when I apply it over the lemon strop, there is definitely chemical reaction happening and it is better not to play pretend chemist here. While I would not recommend trying to find dupes to apply OVER the lemon strip, you can leave the lemon strip on for 5-10 minutes then rinse off, THEN apply a calming soothing mask. I recommend First Aid Beauty Oatmeal mask, since lots of other hydrating masks have some tiny amount of acid to help brightening and such, which you really don’t need after the intensive exfoliation the skin just went through. Lots of hydrating or calming masks have a tingling sensation, which may not feel so pleasant when your skin is tender and sensitive, but FAB oatmeal is a fluffy cream with no sensation whatsoever but hydrates and soothes well.
Conclusion: You can replicate the same system at home, start with cleansed face then use a gentle scrub for a few minutes. Apply Lemon Strip for 2-10 minutes depending on your skin’s tolerance, then rinse off and apply a calming mask like First Aid Beauty Oatmeal mask.