Tammy Fender Epi-Peel and Intensive Repair Balm Feed Both Body and Soul

Tammy Fender photo

Photo credit: Tammy Fender

As a recovering broke-ass grad student whose idea of luxury was splurging on Bath & Body Works rather than St. Ives, I'll be the first to admit that slapping down $130 for a skincare product is a little cray-cray. Then again, there's truth in the adage that you get what you pay for—that's what separates the Frédéric Fekkais from the, you know, Suaves of the world—and I know women who wouldn't think twice about hocking vital organs piecemeal to keep their faces slathered in Crème de la Mer. So your mileage, as they say, may vary. Aesthetician-to-the-stars Tammy Fender's eponymous holistic skincare collection—Alicia Silverstone and Lauren Bush are said to be fans—won't go easy on your pocketbook, and you have to wade through a bunch of spiritual-speak about cellular vibrations, divine consciousness, and your body's "chi."

But something in Fender's concoctions has to be working, even if they weren't, as I had hoped after checking the prices, hand-distilled by a nomadic tribe of soothsaying monks who wander into our plane of existence every 1,000 years.

The goods
The Epi-Peel ($80) pulls double duty as an exfoliant and a mask, with beads of kaolin clay that really dig into your pores, polishing and energizing your punim without irritation or dryness. It left my skin feeling amazingly supple.

The second act: Fender's Intensive Repair Balm, which glided on like liquid silk and sank into my epidermis, leaving it dewy, not greasy. Said to encourage cell turnover and heal scarring, the cream is loaded with seafaring extracts of algae, bladderwrack, and kelp, which studies have shown to be fairly promising in stimulating collagen production, increasing skin elasticity, and diminishing blemishes.

What's in them
Formulated from certified-organic herbal infusions, the Tammy Fender lineup is refreshingly uncomplicated, although there are a couple of additives that give me pause. The mask, for instance, contains PEG-8, a penetration enhancer that, although is derived from beeswax (petroleum is usually the norm), can contain toxic impurities like 1,4-dioxane.

Then there's colloidal silver, a liquid suspension of submicroscopic metallic silver particles used as a topical antibiotic. While it's generally regarded to be safe in minute quantities, caution should still be exercised because long-term use can lead to argyria, a condition resulting from an accumulation of silver salts that turns your skin a permanent blue-gray hue.

Seriously, where's a good mystical monk when you need one?

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