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The Balm: REN No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm

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Chemistry 101 dictates that “like dissolves like.” When it comes to cleansing the face, oil is better at binding to oil and dissolving it, which is why it is so often the basis of makeup removers.

Ren’s No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm uses plant-based oils to cleanse the skin. It is extremely gentle on the skin, but powerful enough to remove oil, oxidized sebum (blackheads), daily dirt, and even waterproof mascara. Infused with chamomile oil and pink violet leaf, it calms the skin and soothes redness, while rose oil relieves stress, leaving skin purified and clear.

A totally unique way to cleanse your skin, the creamy clear balm transforms into a rich milk on contact with water. As you rub the product into the skin, the emollient process begins. This gives you ample time to work on a deep-facial massage – a facialist secret and crucial component to great skin. The balm is nourishing and hydrating and leaves the skin feeling clean and supple. It comes with a muslin cloth, which works wonders to remove all traces of makeup, grease and dirt while gently exfoliating the skin at the same time.

Avoiding overly-cleansed skin is key to healthy skin – especially those with acne-prone skin. Dryness sends a signal to your skin to produce more sebum (oil), which can make skin and acne worse. The oils in REN’s No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm bind to the oil in your pores, and whisk away grime without stripping your skin.  If your cleanser leaves your face feeling tight and dry, you’ve likely been stripped!

Holy Grail: Make Up For Ever Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream

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Make Up For Ever Full Cover Extreme Camouflage Cream is my go-to, holy grail concealer. The opaque cream covers everything from acne to tattoos while still feeling lightweight and looking natural.

I initially bought this concealer years ago for the main issue of a bruise on my leg. I asked a Sephora representative what would be the best product and she immediately grabbed for Make Up For Ever. It worked amazingly, camouflaging the bruise and stayed-put all day. Assuming the product was too “hardcore” for the face it wasn’t until later I attempted to use on the face, primarily for redness around the nose and pigmentation issues. It concealed like a dream and did not feel heavy or look cakey on the skin. I now use Full Cover for everything from under-eye concealer to spot treatments. The versatile product can also be mixed with your favorite face moisturizer or sheer foundation when you do not want to wear a lot of makeup but need a bit more coverage.

What sets this product a part from the millions on the market is it’s waterproof properties. It is not going to budge once it sets and can be worn to the gym/beach/pool without it sliding off your face. Keep in mind that because of the waterproof capability, you will have to work the product fast – before it sets.

The 0.05 oz tube packs a highly pigmented punch. A little goes a long way as far as coverage and pigmentation.  Full Cover is silicone-based, and formulated without any oils, so it is great for all skin types. Since silicone molecules are larger than pores, they will not settle or cake. That’s means the product is non-comedogenic, and perfect for acne-prone skin. The silicone also creates a sort of webbing, like a primer, that will not accentuate flakey patches or dry skin.

Retinol Rival: Algenist Concentrated Reconstructing Serum

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Solazyme is a biotechnology laboratory in San Francisco where scientists study renewable energy solutions for cars, military ships, and airplanes. During their research, the company unexpectedly stumbled onto alguronic acid, a regenerative and protective skin care compound which launched the skin care line called Algenist.

Available only in Algenist products, this bioactive compound joins other powerful antiaging active ingredients to create a powerful serum that rebuilds skin firmness while restoring elasticity.

When scientifically tested (commissioned by Algenist): Alguronic Acid demonstrated significant anti-aging properties, increasing elastin synthesis by up to 32% and cellular regeneration by up to 55%. In head to head studies, alguronic acid outperformed retinol, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C in it’s anti-aging capabilities.

I have used the Concentrated Reconstructing Serum for over one month now, and have noticed a change in my skin. Skin tone is much brighter, skin feels extremely hydrated and my sometimes acne-prone skin has disappeared. I have not noticed a significant change in fine lines and age spots, but will continue to use. The serum feels wonderful on the skin and produces no irritation, redness, or flaking, which are common side effects produced by more traditional ingredients like retinol and vitamin C.

Scientific ‘mumbo-jumbo’ set aside, based on usage – this is a fantastic serum that keeps my skin clear, hydrated and glowing.

Simple Sponge: Konjac Sponge

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Konjac Sponge

Konjac is a natural food source that has been used in Japanese cuisine for over 1500 years. Ninety seven percent of Konjac is water and three percent is a dietary fiber. Rich in vitamins and minerals, the Japanese have been using Konjac sponges as beauty treatments for centuries.

The unique net like structure of the Konjac sponge, gently massages and stimulates blood flow and new growth of skin cells.  A naturally moisture-rich plant fibre in the sponge balances the acidity of the skin and leaves it extremely clean and refreshed with no need for additional cleansers or soap.

Available in diferent ranges, according to skin type, the Konjac sponge can be infused with clays and charcoal for added benefits. Pink clay has been used for tired, devitalized skin, green clay for normal to oily skin and red clay for dry and sensitive skin. Also, available in bamboo charcoal for very oily or acne-prone skin.

To use, gently massage sponge over the face and body in a circular motion. A cleansing solution can be added, but is not necessary. If added, the smallest amount is needed as the sponge will create an immense lather. Splash with warm water to reveal squeaky clean and refreshed skin.

Each sponge lasts for around one to three months and can be found at any health-food stores. Can be used on the most delicate, sensitive skin and is even recommended for newborn babies. The Konjac sponge is simple yet effective and works on every skintype.

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