Sunday, July 14, 2024

Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum Review With Photos

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Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum ReviewSofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum Review
PS Photography | Nikita Charuza
PS Photography | Nikita Charuza
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I’m quite proud that after years of testing out skin care, I understand what my skin can and can’t tolerate. I get the occasional breakout, but I try not to steer away from my tried-and-true regimen too often since I feel like my skin is finally in a great place. Plus, I’m hesitant to try new products since my skin is very sensitive. (I’m writing this intro with two new zits on my chin after using a new vitamin C serum that was apparently too harsh for me) The one thing I’ve constantly dealt with since the get-go is hyperpigmentation and dark spots that don’t seem to go away no matter how hard I try. So, I was intrigued when I heard about the Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum ($56), which has garnered a bit of a following for making those dark spots go poof.

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If you aren’t aware of who Sofie Pavitt is, allow me to fill you in. The Welsh-born NYC-based aesthetician has been dubbed “NYC’s Acne Whisperer” and has garnered more than a few famous clients like Lorde and Zendaya. She’s known for working her magic on clients who have acne and hyperpigmentation-prone skin for years before launching her brand in 2023.

“I worked in fashion as a handbag designer before working in beauty. I was designing for Michael Kors and traveling to Seoul every 12 weeks and fell in love with Korean skin care before anyone in NYC had even seen a sheet mask,” Pavitt tells PS about her career. “I went back to school and retrained on the weekends while still working there, built up my book, and then left to work full time in my studio and at a derm office (I still work there). My focus is problematic skin: I love transforming clients’ acne and other skin concerns like perioral dermatitis and rosacea with thoughtful treatments and specific homecare to get them the best skin of their life.”

After the studio closed in 2020 due to the pandemic, she started consulting people virtually about their routines and built out the Sofie Pavitt Face line over three years before bringing it to market.

She decided to start with the Mandelic Serum as the first product because of her love for the hero ingredient and the fact she couldn’t find any on the market that also helped with barrier support. “I think it’s such a universal product. You can use it with retinoids and acne ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide. You can use it if you have dry, oily, or even sensitive skin. Mandelic is also anti-bacterial and brightening, so she really does it all. We’ve won 15 awards for the line already.”

Ahead, read my review on the serum and learn why it deserves a spot in your skin-care routine.

About the Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum

  • It is a watery serum meant to exfoliate your skin slowly over time while being gentle enough for acne-prone and sensitive skin.
  • The main skin-care ingredient is mandelic acid, which is “a large molecule-sized AHA that dissolves the bonds between dead skin and healthy skin underneath,” Pavitt says. “This makes your skin luminous and smooth, it’s also very important to exfoliate the skin when dealing with acne to loosen dead cell buildup and keep the pores clear.”
  • It’s also created with panthenol and hyaluronic acid for hydration and barrier support.

My Dark Spots Before Using the Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum

Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum ReviewSofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum Review
PS Photography | Nikita Charuza

What I Like About the Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum

When I first got the serum, I slowly introduced it into my nightly skin-care routine. I used three pumps every other night until I felt my skin adjusted to the acid before using it daily. I was a bit surprised by how watery it was, as I expected it to be a thicker consistency, but I like serums that are almost like essences.

The scent isn’t overpowering like a lot of hyperpigmentation serums, but it does have a light medicinal smell, which isn’t bothersome at all. I didn’t notice any irritation or redness, which is a win since almost 90 percent of acids cause me to become as red as a tomato.

During the first week and a half of using it, I didn’t notice any differences in my dark spots, but that’s expected with most skin-care products; it takes time. Within the first two weeks, I started to see a change with my complexion looking brighter but I noticed the most drastic change with my dark spots once I hit week five. While my dark spots aren’t fully gone – Pavitt recommends sticking with it for 6-12 weeks to see a major difference – I am pleasantly surprised that my skin feels less clogged and my dark spots are lighter. During the testing period, I did break out on my chin (I am human, after all), which turned into new dark spots, but I already feel like they’re way lighter than they would usually be because I’ve been using the serum. I’m excited to see how my dark spots progress over the next five or so weeks, and I’m hopefully with the differences I’ve witnessed already.

How to Use the Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum

“I recommend warming up to using this every day by starting every other day after cleansing and before moisturizing,” Pavitt says. After getting my skin used to the serum for a week, I applied two to three pumps on clean, dry skin at night after washing my face with a gentle cleanser, like Tata Harper’s Nourishing Oil Cleaner ($88), and topped it off with a moisturizer, like Dieux’s Instant Angel Lipid-Rich Barrier Repair Cream ($45), which is my holy grail.

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What to Consider Before Trying the Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum?

You should make sure you are not using other acids when you first start to use the serum. “This should be the only acid in your routine when beginning. Otherwise, you could get irritated,” Pavitt says. If you decide to use the serum in the morning, you should follow up with sunscreen (which you should already be applying regardless). I’ve currently been swapping between Supergoop’s Glow Sunscreen ($38) and Saie Beauty’s Slip Tint ($36) when I don’t feel like wearing makeup but need a little coverage. Pavitt also recommends separating actives. For example, if you use retinol at night, introduce this serum during the day after your skin gets accustomed. Case in point? I paused using my Kora Organics Plant Stem Cell Retinol ($77) (which I highly recommend for anyone with sensitive skin) until a week into testing the mandelic serum before re-introducing it into my skin-care routine.

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My Dark Spots After Using the Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum For 5 Weeks

Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum ReviewSofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum Review
PS Photography | Nikita Charuza

Where Is Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum Available?

The Sofie Pavitt Face Mandelic Serum is available now on, Violet Grey, Goop, and Soko Glam.


Nikita Charuza is a freelance writer who has been covering beauty, style, and wellness for over a decade. She loves to interview industry experts and test out the latest beauty and fashion trends. She’s written for PS, Allure, Elle, InStyle, People, and more.

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