Fashion & Beauty

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

So while I’m (still) on the subject of vanity, I thought I’d share one of my absolute favorite products with you. It’s a multi-use miracle serum, and I can’t stress enough how sweet it is.

Is it weird that I get a lot of my beauty recs from a friend’s boyfriend? He works for Kiehl’s and has supplied me with countless life-altering products. So thanks, Drew, for being a mensch. (Could you throw a couple of potential suitors– with beauty hookups– in with my next care package? Also, more Avocado Eye Cream?)

So let’s fast forward to the details on this stuff. It’s basically a blend of pure botanical oils including Evening Primrose, Lavender, Rosemary leaf, Sunflower seed, and Coriander seed (to name a few that I can pronounce). As the name would suggest, Midnight Recovery Concentrate should be applied in the evening before bed. It works in concert with “the skin’s natural nocturnal activity” to restore your complexion to its original splendor (after having been subjected to all the stressors of this cruel world during the day). I don’t know exactly what kind of “nocturnal activity” my skin is usually up to, but I feel confident now that it’s being kept in check.

What are the benefits? Midnight Recovery Concentrate is marketed as an anti-aging product, as it helps smooth fine lines. Within the past six months that I’ve been using it, though, I’ve seen huge improvements in the overall texture and clarity of my skin. It might seem counterintuitive to slather oil on your face if your skin is already oily or acne-prone, but I’ve actually used it to treat and prevent breakouts. It helps heal blemishes faster, and fades the dark spots and scarring that I already have. I know this seems too good to be true… But real talk. I won’t lie to you.

MRC (as I’ve so affectionately deemed it since I got sick of typing) has been especially effective during these miserable winter months at preventing the dryness that I attribute to the damn windburn and central heating. You can really use it anywhere on your body; my friend Rachel moisturizes dry areas like elbows and knees with it, and I’ve actually used it on the ends of my hair as well. Is your face chafed from rubbing against [some dude]’s beard stubble? This is your antidote. Do you need a potion that will allow you to breathe underwater for an hour like Harry Potter in book 5? Done. It’s kind of like Sriracha– you can put it on anything and everything, and it will make it instantly fabulous.

One disclaimer: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate will make you smell like a Wiccan or a hippie, both of which can be total man repellers. But whatever. You have other charms. Use them.

Fashion & Beauty

Product Review: Konjac Sponge

I am vain. This is not a secret. Not self-absorbed or narcissistic… Just slightly obsessive. After all, my life’s greatest passions revolve around aesthetics, and that sensibility extends itself to the manipulation of my appearance as a vehicle for self-expression.

JK, obviously. I know there’s no way to rationalize this. I just like pretty things in shiny packages that promise to effectively transform me into a Disney princess, or a unicorn, or something more awesome than myself. I’m so easily tempted by these delusions, it’s kind of embarrassing. Like, if you were to tell me that a magical Japanese sponge could slough years of stress and hardship from my weathered 25-year-old face… Um, hey, go get my purse? Take my credit card, it’s in my wallet. Just take it, seriously.

In short, the internet told me to buy this, so I did:


Though it looks vaguely edible, it’s actually a beauty product. It’s called a Konjac sponge, and it is all the rage right now. I mean, in some circles. Whatever, just trust me, people out there are talking about this thing, so I bought it, used it, and am preparing to share the results with you. You’re welcome.

Let’s talk about what it is, and what it does. The sponge is made from the Konjac root, a vegetable grown in Korea and Japan. Apparently, the Japanese have used it as a detoxifying dietary supplement for hundreds of years, as well as an exfoliator for sensitive, delicate skin. Because it’s like, an organic object, it’s fortified with all kinds of vitamins and minerals, and happens to be sulfate and paraben-free. It’s also purported to help balance your skin’s pH, which is something I’d never thought to worry about about until three minutes ago when I re-read the description of this thing.

Ok, so, science. Boring. I wanted to see this sponge in action (ie. I wanted to see if I could halt the aging process before I turn 26 in four months). I used it twice a day for five days in place of my trusty Clarisonic. I have to say, cheating on my Mia was the most painful part of this process– but I couldn’t use both. That’s just way too much exfoliation, and my skin is sensitive. In fact, I was hoping I had found a much cheaper dupe for the Clarisonic– or at least something smaller and easier to travel with.

To use the Konjac sponge, you submerge it in water and allow it to soften. It feels like a very squishy, porous pencil eraser. You use it with a non-exfoliating cleanser, or on clean, wet skin, moving it around your face in circular motions for about a minute. Then you rinse it and place it somewhere clean and dry, where it will harden into a weird mummified version of itself.

Did it live up to my dreams and expectations? Well, I am still aging, last I checked. This is  a place for Real Talk, so I’m going to be honest. Even though the Konjac sponge is natural and filled with all the vitamins and minerals absent from my swirling plastic skin brush, I really can’t say that I was swayed. Maybe I’m just biased because I’ve adhered to the same routine for so long, but honestly, my face isn’t as smooth and clean-feeling as I’d hoped. The sponge is super soft, so it’s a very gentle sort of exfoliation. I’ll qualify this judgment, though, with the suggestion that it would probably be a great option for people with very sensitive, acne-prone skin, or conditions like Rosacea, which can be exacerbated by too much contact.

Well, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time describing my feelings about a sponge. It was emotional. Thanks for slogging through it. Happy Tuesday!