How to Get Rid of Blackheads with Murad Pore Reform

I’ve been hearing such good reviews on Murad’s Pore Reform line including two friends who swear by it. One started off with buying just the moisturizer and saw such big results that she went back to Sephora for the whole line. They say that their pores have never been clearer and their stubborn blackheads which were once resistent to any sort of treatment were totally gone. After receiving the products from Murad to try, I decided the best thing to do (since my skin is clear right now and being pregnant I can’t do retinol which is in the T-zone Serum) was to hand it over to another friend whose skin is a total roller coaster ride in terms of breakouts and blackheads.

Now all three of them are in love.

They all agree that the cleanser is a good formula, but the foamer reduces its richness and they’d like to see sturdier suds in their cleansing routines. They also loved the T-Zone pore Refining Serum that you use after cleansing day and night to dig out the trapped dirt and keep pores clear. They said that it leaves skin really soft and zaps shine for those who were a bit on the oily side, yet isn’t too drying. But the real heros are the Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo, a twice weekly treatment starting with the cream that you leave on for 10 minutes before washing it off and applying a lotion to seal the skin to prevent any additional blackheads from forming. I’m sad I gave this one away because they all swear by it and say that it gives their skin an instant fresh looking glow like no other. It’s like an extraction for the skin minus the painful poking and prodding.

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What’s a Konjac Sponge?

I’d never heard of a konjac sponge until I saw this one from Boscia with tons of great reviews on how it drastically changed people’s skin. One reviewer wrote something along the lines of how it’s more expensive than another konjac she had. A quick Amazon.com search yielded several brands and types of sponges and I ended up buying this well reviewed one for just $10.

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Boscia Konjac Cleansing Sponge

I don’t know what the actual difference is, but Boscia’s is labled 100% konjac root (made using the Japanese vegetable) while the one I bought reads 100% konjac fibers so it may not be the same thing but I really like it. It’s so soft, softer than a washcloth and it makes a tiny dab of cleanser go a long way. It doesn’t feel like anything that would be exfoliating since it doesn’t have a grainy feel to it, but the root is said to be infused with vitamins and is naturally alkaline so it balances the skin’s pH levels which also helps with breakouts and skin clarity.

I’ve only had it for a week so I’m holding off on calling it a miracle but I do really like it so far- it’s a nice departure from my Clarisonic and harsh scrubs that I use way too often. Next time I’ll probably check out Boscia’s sponge at Sephora just to  see if the quality is any different and worth paying almost double. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a cheap, easy, and natural exfoliant, check out konjac sponges and see if one might work for you.

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All Natural Fiber Konjac Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge

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A closer look at the one I bought.

Stuff I Buy: Botanique by Himalaya Cleanser

These Botanique by Himalaya cleansers are what I buy when I’m out of a cleanser or not loving anything else I have on hand. Last time I bought the Neem and Turmeric one for comboo skin, this time I’m glad I got the Invigorating wash for all skin types. It has honey, lemon, and cinnamon in it along with a bunch of other natural ingredients that look to be mostly edible. I love it because of the refreshing feeling it gives my face, almost minty (must be the cinnamon) like after brushing your teeth- only for your face. It’s a thick gel that foams up and cuts through makeup just as well as any other cleanser I’ve used and the formulas are all gluten free if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s awesome and only $8.

I found it at Vitamin Cottage, but I’ve also noticed it at Sprouts and some Whole Foods. Grab one if you’re needing a straightforward, natural cleanser at a really great price.

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Murad’s Renewing Cleansing Oil

If you would’ve told me years ago that I’d be pre-cleansing my face nightly with an oil I would have thought you were crazy. Although my skin isn’t oily anymore, I think I’ll always have that mind set that it is- sort of like when you loose weight but still see yourself as heavy. I can’t tell you how many 40-something year old clients I meet with clear (and usually dry) skin who still use Proactiv as a sort of crutch, never evolving their routine with age and skin changes. I’m glad I got brave enough a few years ago to try cleansing oils, they’re the easiest way to reamove makeup while adding some light hydration. Murad’s Renewing Cleansing Oil $32 does this particularly well leaving just a soft slick of moisture behind so your skin doesn’t feel tight or dry after washing. It’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog pores (most oils don’t, it’s creams that you need to watch out for actually) so all skin types can benefit.

Protecting your skin from harsh stripping is important. Dry skin equals old looking skin, just look at the way women age when they live near water versus a drier climate. Trading out a drying cleanser for a cleansing oil could make a big difference in the overall look and health of your skin.

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Enessa Natural and Organic Skincare

I love learning about lines that aren’t mainstream that I haven’t tried before. After hearing glowing reviews from my very particular and beyond informed facialist friend Tjaden about Enessa, I knew I had to give the line a look. After my EvanHealy disaster during my last pregnancy, I’ve been scared to try lines that use essential oils and clean ingredients for fear it isn’t enough to keep breakouts, wrinkles, and discolorations away. Tjaden assured me that Enessa’s ingredients were not only clean, but also mindful of the skin and what ingredients work synergistically to create results in a natural way. She was impressed, and after giving them a try so am I.

Their basic packaging and dated website don’t speak for the quality of the line and the brilliance of the products whatsoever. I saw results in my skin upon the first use, especially with my new obsession, the Seaweed Bio-Exfoliant. It’s a sage colored paste that smells like earthy lavender that exfoliates and purifies the skin. I leave it on for a few minutes to get a mask effect and I also use it as a spot treatment for any breakouts. It’s so ridiculously softening for the skin that I resist the urge to use it every day and night. It’s just amazing.

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Their aloe-based Monoi Soothing Cleanser has really solidified what I always preach about cleansers. I tend to gravitate toward cleansers that have some sort of glycolic or lactic or something in them because I want that added benefit, but after using this cleanser I can see that I was needlessly drying my skin out and that tight feeling after cleansing that I’m so addicted to isn’t a good thing. It makes my skin really comfortable and soft and clean without stripping or drying.

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I’m also in love with their PlantCel Lifting Serum which is rich in plant-based actives that are meant to repair the skin at a cellular level. It’s basically an antioxidant, exfoliant, radiance-enhancing super serum that uses plant technology instead of chemicals to get the skin glowing. I’ve found that when I wear it I don’t need to wear as much foundation because my skin looks great. I’m hoping it helps to keep my melasma in check during this pregnancy as well as give some great long-term benefits as well.

Enessa PlantCell Lifting Serum

Worth mentioning that I didn’t get to try: Clove Acne Control, a clove and jojoba oil spot treatment to zap zits without any drying or irritation, and also their Diminish-Scar Treatment to minimize the look of scars.

MyChelle

I was able to try some products from MyChelle a while back after I got my face scanned. After learning that I basically have the face of a 90 year old, I took home a bunch of their products so I could return for an ‘after’ scan which unfortunately didn’t happen before I had some laser treatments so we wouldn’t have an accurate look at the changes their products alone made. Sigh. But what did happen (even pre-laser) is that I finally found a natural skincare line that actually works! I love MyChelle; from the packaging, to the product variety, to the way it makes my skin look and feel. Here’s a rundown of what I used, what I liked, and what unfortunately missed the mark.

Cleanser: Apple Brightening

I really liked this cleanser, light and slightly foamy but not overly so. The apple scent was a nice and I used it faithfully until it was totally gone which is really saying something. It also left my skin feeling soft and looking bright without stripping or drying. Biggest downside would be the size- 2.1oz for $13 which seems a little skimpy to me.

Apple Brightening Cleanser

Apple Brightening Cleanser

Mist: Apple Brightening

Ever since I can remember I’ve used a toner. From Sea Breeze to Clinique, I’ve used them all in the name of squeaky clean skin. Though I’m still addicted to that (not really important) step after cleansing, it’s good to give my skin a break and to stop stripping away the moisture it needs. In the morning after cleansing when I know there isn’t any makeup left behind on my already clean skin, I’ll spritz a few sprays of this mist instead of my usual toner on a cotton pad routine. It feels refreshing and adds an extra dose of brightening power in a way that’s as light as water.

Apple Brightening Mist

Apple Brightening Mist

Serums:

Apple Brightening

Hydroquinone is not for me. Too harsh and too many risks involved so it isn’t worth it to use even though uneven skintone drives me crazy. I’ve used this serum on and off for years and I’ve found that it does work. It’s so easy on the skin without the use of harsh chemicals to fade dark spots in a natural way. Compared to hydroquinone, it will take more time so be patient and stick with it, you will see a difference.

Apply Brightening Serum

Apply Brightening Serum

Perfect C Serum 17%:

If you’re using a Vitamin C (and everyone should be in my opinion) look for it in the form of L-Ascorbic, the most effective with the best absorption. Anything else might just be orange scented liquid that smells great but does nothing for the skin. This L-Ascorbic serum doesn’t aggravate or leave skin red so sensitive skin can enjoy using it too.

Perfect C Serum 17%

Perfect C Serum 17%

Moisturizers:

Daily Defense Cream SPF 17

I love a zinc-based sunscreen, but this was my least favorite product of the bunch. It was hydrating and the texture was good, but it left a bit of a sticky after feel that I couldn’t get used to. Nothing too terrible, and the feeling did go away eventually but it just wasn’t for me.

Daily Defense Cream SPF 17

Daily Defense Cream SPF 17

Supreme Polypeptide Cream with Matrixyl® Synthe’6

A friend with similar skin to mine raves about this cream, she said not to let the rich feel steer me from trying it. It’s by far the thickest cream I’ve ever used but also one of the best. It dissolves into the skin and leaves it really soft. Long term its benefits are great; wrinkle relaxing, tightening, and clarifying so that skin looks brighter and younger. At $54 it’s pricier than most of their line, but it’s a price I’d happily pay.

Supreme Polypeptide Cream with Matrixyl® Synthe’6

Supreme Polypeptide Cream with Matrixyl® Synthe’6

Because MyChelle isn’t 100% organic, they can balance some more advanced ingredients with natural ones which makes the line more effective in making changes in the skin. Fewer essential oils also mean fewer irritations for sensitive and acne-prone skin so trust in their speciality lines and give them a shot. You can Skype a skin specialist of theirs, or better yet see if they have a Visia scanner at a store near you so you can get a (free!) before and after of your skin and some product recommendations made just for your specific needs.