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The Essence of Radiance — Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence


Just when I thought my skincare regiment couldn’t be more intricate or laborious, I encountered a new product so effective that it made me add yet another step to the process: the Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence ($45 at Kiehls.com). The product belongs to the skincare industry’s growing “essence” category, which encompasses fluid treatments with extremely lightweight and aqueous textures that are designed to be used after cleansing but prior to any serums or moisturizers so as to add another layer of hydration and prepare skin for the more concentrated products you’ll likely apply thereafter. The Kiel’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence, then, helps to boost skin’s radiance by nourishing, hydrating and gently exfoliating the skin.

Meant to correct the dulling of the skin that accompanies aging — which results from decreasing hydration levels, slower cellular turnover rates, and the degradation of the dermal matrix — the Iris Extract Activating Essence features three vital ingredients: Lipo Hydroxy Acid (LHA), which activates the skin’s natural exfoliation process, helping to slough off dead skin cells and stimulate the cellular renewal process (all without those harsh skin-polishing particles found in many facial scrubs); Sodium Hyaluronate (otherwise known as hyaluronic acid), which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, absorbing moisture from the environment and then infusing it into the skin for immediate but long-lasting hydration; and Iris Florentina Root Extract, the breakthrough ingredient in this particular formula.

So what makes the Iris Florentina Root Extract such a novel ingredient? Well, aside from it smelling delicious, this botanical extract boasts a high concentration of flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that has been shown to help decelerate the emergence of visible aging sign. Moreover, when applied to the skin, the extract helps to stimulate the performance of  the proteins Laminin 1 and 5, both of which play an integral role in supporting the dermal matrix, maintaining skin’s density and tautness. The extract has also been shown to protect the proteins within the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis, helping it better absorb water and sustain ideal hydration levels.

When paired with LHA, which removes the dullness-causing dead skin cells on the outer layer, and with moisture-loaded Sodium Hyaluronate, then, the Iris Extract Activating Essence can work wonders to give tired and lifeless skin some major CPR. I call it the Lazarus effect.

Ideally, after cleansing your face in the morning and evening, you want to dispense a few drops (four or five should suffice) onto the palms of your hands, then rub your hands together and gently pat the essence onto the skin — not rub, not massage, but pat firmly and steadily. Because the consistency is so lightweight, the skin will readily absorb the product without any need for a theatrical application.

When you first start using the essence, you’ll notice your face feels a bit sticky for those initial 15 to 30 seconds after application, but do not panic. That sensation will fade just as quickly and, within 1-2 minutes, you won’t feel anything at all atop your face. You will, however, notice your skin doesn’t feel as tight or as parched. Within a month’s time, you should start seeing a vast improvement in terms of the radiance of your skin. This skincare essence, then, will enable you to show the world your own incandescent and glorious essence.



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