The Arctic Berry Radiance Peel promises brighter, tighter, refreshed skin

I'll start with some honesty: I've never had a facial. I've had a massage only a couple times. My hair salon-though I love it-is pretty no-nonsense and doesn't offer the kind of extras (i.e. hand massage and complimentary wine) that some larger establishments do. It goes without saying, then, that "being pampered"-especially on a Monday afternoon-is something to which I'm not quite accustomed.

So, walking into Charles Penzone's Dublin salon for my appointment last week, was, as you may assume, pretty darn exciting.

I was originally scheduled with the totally awesome Jaden for the Blueberry Detox Peel, one of three of the salon's new Eminence Organic Skin Care peels. But after chatting about my skin-care challenges-dry and sensitive with uneven tone-we determined the Arctic Berry Radiance Peel was a better fit for me. Then, Jaden gave me a few moments to get settled on the oh-so-comfortable (and warm) massage table; any apprehension I had about the procedure ("Will my face peel off?! Is this going to burn?!") faded.

Jaden began by cleansing my skin-my face, neck and shoulders-with the Eminence line's Stone Crop Gel Wash, which she recommended I use daily to lighten sun spots I have, infuriatingly, despite slathering my face in SPF 55 every morning. (The trials and tribulations of fair skin ...)

Next in the four-step treatment was the exfoliation; the peel combines three types of exfoliation intended to get you the most bang for your buck. The combination of wild cherry bark and papaya enzymes felt cooling and soothing as Jaden gently massaged it into my face. Next came the multi-acid Arctic Berry peel which felt, well, less than soothing. In fact, it stung. But with each application of the peel, I relaxed a little more, hoping the stinging sensation would mean tighter, brighter skin.

After a few minutes wearing the peel, Jaden cleaned off my skin and applied a mask intended to calm and brighten my skin. When I eventually got up to leave (the entire process took about 45 minutes), I was relaxed, refreshed and so pleasantly surprised with what I saw in the mirror. My pores were noticeably smaller, my skin felt smoother and I looked way more refreshed than I ever have on a Monday afternoon. And, sure enough, the brown spot on my forehead had lightened just a bit.

So, will you see me at work without makeup any time soon? No, probably not. But I am eager to try the Eminence products Jaden suggested (especially the Bright Skin Cleanser and Yam & Pumpkin Enzyme Peel). Next up: the Blueberry Detox Peel, which I was too nervous to try this time around. This super-stimulating peel uses pineapple enzymes, paprika and lactic acid to decongest dull skin. I'm thinking it'll be the perfect thing for my face come fall.

Interested in a facial instead of a peel? Check out Taylor's take. Appointments can be made online.