It’s rare that a single product has the whole Glamour office buzzing, but once the team got our hands on the new U Beauty Barrier Bioactive Treatment, the DMs came flooding in. I first bonded over the treatment with our managing commerce editor, who, despite having the polar opposite skin type from me (I’m classic combo and as acne-prone as they come, she’s dry and suffers from eczema) was just as obsessed with the product. Shortly after, I was recommending it to any staffer that came to me with skin-care concerns, including inflamed pimples, curious flaky patches, and general winter dullness, and each person loved it as much as the last.
The Barrier Treatment is the latest in Tina Craig’s (you may know her as @bagsnob on Instagram) ultracurated high-tech line, U Beauty. As a teen in California, Craig was a self-described sun worshipper and spent plenty of time laying out, damaging her skin in the process. She didn’t realize the harm she was causing until she was visiting family in Asia, and her grandma took her to a traditional Chinese acupuncturist, who covered her face in slime from the immortal jellyfish, a creature known for its ability to transdifferentiate, meaning it can revert its adult cells back to stem cells at any time.
At first Craig thought it was weird, but she started getting compliments on her skin, and it fascinated her ever since. Flash forward to now, when she wanted to create something as transformative as that slime she tried all those year ago, and the U Beauty Barrier Bioactive Treatment was born after over four years in the lab.
Luckily there’s no jellyfish actually in the product; the creature is just the inspiration for the treatment. Instead the thick cream—meant to be used a few times a week as the very last step in your routine—uses a mix of bioactive marine ingredients and skin-care staples like hyaluronic acid and vitamin B6 to deeply and quickly repair the skin barrier. As we know, the skin barrier is deeply connected to pretty much every skin issue in the book, so in turn it addresses redness, dryness, dullness, signs of aging, elasticity, and general skin stress. The brand’s signature Siren Capsule technology delivers the active ingredients only where your skin is damaged, to completely maximize the results.
Sounds too good to be true? Take it from four Glamour staffers, who are total converts.
Bella Cacciatore, beauty writer
I have extremely difficult skin that has only gotten increasingly hard to take care of over the past few months. I’m highly acne prone but not oily, and my skin is easily irritated. My derm recently sent me home with a bag full of retinol samples (on top of my usual Epiduo and Spironalactone combo) that has left my skin in shambles. My acne is showing no signs of slowing down, but now I’ve added flaking, peeling, and redness into the mix. I was about to cast off this treatment as a risk to break me out further, but after listening to Tina speak about it at an event, I had to give it a try. That was about three weeks ago, and I’ve used it almost every day since. In two days, my flakes were completely gone, and they haven’t come back since I incorporated the treatment into my routine. I’ve also noticed that my skin is generally calmer: I’m still breaking out but they aren’t as inflamed, and my foundation applies better in the morning. It doesn’t just look better; the winter tightness is gone, and it feels like bouncy baby skin. I’m always hesitant to recommend anything over $90, but given how dramatically this changed my skin in two days, I think it’s well worth the splurge.
Shanna Shipin, managing commerce editor
It’s rare that an at-home product will actually deliver in-office results, but U Beauty’s newest drop is the real deal. Since I live in Los Angeles, hardly drink water, and have eczema, protecting my skin barrier is everything—but no product in my regimen ever been so restorative (and fast-acting) as this overnight mask. I saw results from this vitamin-packed, immortal-jellyfish-inspired formula after the very first night. It’s been three weeks of consistent use, and my skin has never looked better. The acne-pitted scars on my cheeks have drastically evened out, my overall leatherlike texture is smoothed, and my stubbornly dull skin actually appears luminous. It’s literal beauty sleep in a bottle.
Ariana Yaptangco, senior beauty editor
I just started a new prescription tretinoin for my acne, and while it’s helping eliminate breakouts, it’s also really drying me out. This cream is like a moist hug (sounds gross, but trust me) for my parched skin that instantly hydrates and calms my face. It’s not heavy or greasy and doesn’t sit on top of skin; instead it melts in, leaving you with a cushiony complexion. I really piled it on and was amazed at how quickly it absorbs. It has a clean-smelling scent that I don’t mind and comes in minimalist packaging that looks cute on my nightstand.
Perrie Samotin, digital director
I’m that person who is constantly griping about my physical appearance—my hair is too frizzy; my nose is too cartilage-y (yes, really); life would be better, I bet, if I were 5’8″ and not 5’3″—but my skin is one area that never gets a beating. In adulthood, it’s always been pretty consistently clear and even textured. That went out the window this winter, when I found myself faced with extreme dryness, pronounced signs of aging, under-the-skin breakouts, and generally a complexion I would categorize as “yikes.” When I saw the description of U Beauty’s The Barrier Treatment, I felt like it was talking directly to me. Made to “improve dull, dry, weathered-looking complexions while visibly fortifying the skin barrier for visibly smoother, healthier, revived skin in as little as one week” sounded remarkable, and I’m pleased to report that within just a few days, the overnight treatment has already targeted my extreme dryness. My skin looks noticeably hydrated and less sensitized, and the formula itself feels like a dream going on. Will continue!
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.