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Glow On, Girl! These M-61 Skincare Products Will Leave Your Skin Radiant



Usually, if a publicist were to describes one of the brands he or she represented as “life-changing,” I’d take it with a grain of salt — or, rather, a boulder of salt. So, when M-61 was described in just such a hyperbolic manner, I figured I’d give the products a whirl before succumbing to the hype. As it turns out, my publicist friend was not exaggerating in the least bit: every single product I tried in this line delivered incredible results in record time.

Created by BlueMercury.com co-founder Marla Malcolm Beck, M-61 is a line of skincare products that combines powerful natural ingredients with the years of technical skin science for a best-of-both-worlds approach to beauty. All products are not only free of harmful parabens, but they also don’t incorporate any artificial fragrances that might prove inflammatory or lead to allergic reactions.

I began my exploratory journey of M-61 with the Brilliant Cleanse Skin-Smoothing Alpha Beta Hydroxy Cream Face Cleanser ($32 at BlueMercury.com), a creamy cleanser with a lovely citrus scent. Now, creamy cleansers are often recommended for women with dry and/or sensitive skin (both of which I have) but, in my experience, most creamy cleansers leave a bit of a filmy residue that not only feels uncomfortable and balmy but can also trigger breakouts. Because of this, I’ve typically gravitated towards more lightweight, gel-like face washes. That said, I do appreciate the initial feel of a cream cleanser, the milky decadency of the texture; it’s just the usual, post-rinsing aftermath that I dread! With the M-61 Brilliant Cleanse, you get to enjoy the milky, velvety smoothness of the formula, how it lathers ever so lightly when massaged on damp skin, and yet once you rinse the cleanser off, your face feels squeaky clean. The cleanser doesn’t dry out skin, so you won’t be sprinting to apply your moisturizer, bit there’s also no icky greasy residue left behind. Instead, your face feels refreshed and comfortable — just the way it should.

In terms of the cleanser’s formula, it works to gently clarify skin via a combination of glycolic, salicylic, lactic, and malic acids that gently exfoliate the skin, removing dead surface skin cells and unclogging pores. Now, it’s easy for a cleanser with salicylic acid to be overly drying for women who don’t have combination or oily skin — if the salicylic acid content is too high, it can dry the skin so severely that dermal cells overcompensate by producing an excessive amount of oil, hence triggering breakouts (ironic, I know). The key, then, is including just enough salicylic acid to make the exfoliation process effective yet gentle. Lactic acid, meanwhile, is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that stimulates exfoliation but what I love about it is its ability to brighten the skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to the aforementioned AHAs, the Brilliant Cleanse face washed features grapefruit extract, which is rich in flavonoids — specifically, quercetin, which protects the skin against the oxidative damage caused by UVA rays and which, moreover, facilitates collagen production and extends the survival of skin cells. Vitamin C-rich mandarin orange peel extract, meanwhile, boosts radiance, giving the complexion a healthy glow.

I’m completely obsessed with the M-61 Brilliant Cleanse — so much so that I squeezed every last drop out of the bottle and am about to order a new one. If you have dry skin, this might just be the cleanser of your dreams since it does it all: it nourishes, brightens, exfoliates, moisturizes, soothes, clarifies, softens, and protects.

 If there’s any other product in the M-61 line (out of those I’ve tried so far, anyway!) that I love even more that the cleanser, it’s the Vitablast C Vitamin C & E Serum ($92 at BlueMercury.com), an über concentrated treatment that will make skin glow beautifully. The main ingredient in the serum is L-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C that effectively facilitates the biosynthesis of collagen, thereby promoting skin elasticity; protects the skin from free radical damage; and brightens the skin, making it look radiant and tackling any existent hyperpigmentation. Most skincare experts extol the virtues of vitamin C in terms of its skin brightening and anti-aging properties, but they also confess that finding a way to stabilize vitamin C can prove mind-boggling.

Vitamin C (even in its L-ascorbic acid form) oxidizes rather quickly when exposed to air, becoming ineffective and even potentially harmful. Now, SkinCeuticals scientists found that, by adding vitamin E and ferulic acid to an aqueous solution containing vitamin C, it stabilized the latter. Similarly, M-61 discovered that the combination of vitamin E and gallic acid was equally effective in stabilizing vitamin C and preventing its oxidation, and that’s the science behind this serum. What is gallic acid? It’s a type of phenolic acid found in sumac, witch hazel, tea leaves, oak bark, and other plant life. A powerful antioxidant, gallic acid protects the skin from free radical damage and also naturally brightens the skin, thereby working in tandem with vitamin C to deliver the radiant skin tone you cherish. The vitamin E in the formula, meanwhile, also protects the skin while also soothing and moisturizing it.

To apply the serum, you need to use the built-in dropper and dispense 5 to 7 drops onto your palm, massaging the liquid between your hands and then smoothing it onto clean, dry skin. Within seconds, the serum will be fully absorbed by your skin, at which point you can complete your skincare ritual by applying your moisturizer of choice. The serum is lightweight and smells nice and citric, so it’s quite a delight to apply it.

What’s remarkable about this serum is just how quickly it delivers results. Within a week and a half, I noticed a marked improvement in my skin’s luminosity. Pesky dark spots had been essentially obliterated and there was a healthy glow to my skin that I hadn’t witnessed in a while. Usually, brightening serums take about six to eight weeks to deliver any results but this one really shocked me in terms of how quickly it worked its magic.

Just one tiny warning: be careful when applying the serum since it can stain clothes and linens. I was applying it while sitting on my bed one night and a few droplets slipped onto the sheets. A few hours later, I noticed a discolored spot precisely where the serum had fallen. A similar incident transpired a few nights later (clearly the applying-in-bed idea was ill-conceived!), proving that the serum had, in fact, been the culprit of my spotty sheets. In other words, apply this product while at your vanity table or in the bathroom, but try keeping it away from linens and cherished dresses.

To complete the glow-boosting routine, I’ve been using the M-61 Power Glow Peel ($28 for 10 treatments at BlueMercury.com) two to three times a week. If you love facial peels and masks but hate having to wear 10, 15, or even 30 minutes to remove the mixture applied to your face, then you will adore this fast-acting treatment. Each “peel” comes in a tiny sachet akin to the packets used to enclose the pre-moistened towelettes handed out at fast food eateries. When you open the sachet, you’ll find a moist cloth that’s infused with the exfoliating treatment so that, all you need to do is smooth that towelette over your face, avoiding the eye area, making sure to cover the whole face and neck. The process takes all of one minute and requires no rinsing of any kind. All you need to do once finished is toss the pre-soaked towelette in the trash!

What’s in each pre-soaked cloth, you ask? A  clever combination of: glycolic and salicylic acid,meant to promote exfoliation, prevent and battle acne, and minimize the appearance of pore; vitamin K, which soothes dry patches, treats rosacea, and reduces the appearance of spider veins; bilberry extract, rich in antioxidants that help even skin tone; and chamomile and lavender to soothe and calm the skin.

Initially, you want to start out by implementing these treatments no more than three times a week and, over time, work your way up to daily sessions. Given that the process only takes one minute, it’s an easy addition to any skincare routine and the results are truly remarkable.

Take it from me: these M-61 products really ARE life-changing!

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