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Am I Exfoliating Correctly?

Why Slow and Low Sometimes Wins the Race

Enzyme Essence

When I was new to skin care, driven by impatience or perhaps just youthful ignorance, I was often easily enticed by the nuclear option—the most potent (but also harshest) ingredients and methods for exfoliation. A friend once called it “blasting away the barnacles,” which, oddly, sounded appealing to me back then.

I didn’t realize at the time that my skin was quite sensitive and ultimately rebelled, leaving me with a red, tight, irritated, parched complexion. Today, we call that a damaged barrier. But back then, I just knew that I had messed up my face. While I still love acids, lasers, and the occasional peel, I now also understand that they’re best used in moderation.

In recent years, the skin barrier has become a hot topic. In fact, “skin barrier” has 4.1 billion views on TikTok. That’s a lot of interest…from every age group. And for a good reason. The moisture barrier is the skin’s protective layer, the outermost layer also known as the stratum corneum. A damaged barrier can set off a cascade of issues—everything from rosacea and eczema to hyperpigmentation, dryness, acne, and even delayed wound healing and infections.

But exfoliation is still a fundamental part of a healthy skin care regimen. Sloughing off dead skin cells helps speed up cell turnover, making skin brighter, smoother and glowier. And that’s where slow and low can win over time.

So, I was very intrigued when I heard about RéVive’s new essence, which is so different from any other one I’ve ever tried. I’ve been a fan—and devoted user—of essence for many years, starting with the hydrating Korean and Japanese varieties where they’re know for the “7 skin” method of applying three to seven layers of a hydrating essence to hyper-hydrate and plump skin (I admit I was skeptical at first but it does work).

But RéVive’s Enzyme Essence is not just a hydrator. It’s also a gentle daily exfoliator and hydrator in one. It’s bi-phase, meaning it has two layers, which you can see when you hold it up to the light. The bottom layer is made up of pineapple, papaya, and cranberry enzymes plus peptides to gently exfoliate and renew skin. The top layer is a blend of squalane and light oils, including Camellia Japonica Seed and Jojoba Seed to hydrate and protect that precious skin barrier.
After cleansing, give the bottle a pretty vigorous shake (think: cocktail shaker) to emulsify those layers. Pour a few drops into your hand then press or smooth it onto your face and neck, then follow up with the rest of your skin care steps.

Dear friends, I’m happy to report: the essence is a game-changer. It’s gentle enough to use both morning and night. My skin absolutely drinks it up. And the scent…oh, the scent. (I keep telling my friends at RéVive that their products are the best smelling ones on the market, which adds to the whole gorgeous, elegant experience.) Within a few days, my face looked smoother and brighter and felt more hydrated.

It turns out that it’s wise to remember a lesson we learned as kids: be kind…to others and to your skin.

Michelle Lee is a beauty expert, an award-winning journalist, and the former Editor in Chief of Allure.

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