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Hello, 

welcome to SKINCARMA!

These are the musings of a skincare junkie + writer + brand guru with 25+ years of product wisdom put into action to demystify skin care. 


You can change your skin’s destiny.™

MXT. AI-POWERED CUSTOM SKIN CARE MADE TO ORDER
Me in the Motherland back in 2007. My name was on everything!

Me in the Motherland back in 2007. My name was on everything!

When I was growing up, I hated my name. That is, until my tenth-grade English teacher turned it all around. I hated it because it was weird and because it wasn’t pronounced as it should be — [kahr-mahyn] or “car-mine”. It was pronounced based on the neapolitan Italian immigrant dialect in which a final vowel was dropped. That’s why, if you listen closely, you can often hear a New Yorker pronounce mozzarella as "moot-suh-rel”! And why I hated my name growing up. Not only was it weird, but it was pronounced weird, too!

It was Jay Shea, that high school English teacher for whom I had profound respect, that made it all okay. Right out of no where one day, she declared to the whole class that my full name — Carmine Rosario Montalto — was “the most romantic name I’ve ever heard.” That one moment changed the entire course of my life. Not only did I suddenly love my name, but I was determined to follow in her footsteps and pursue a career in English. I did actually teach English for a couple of years, though I found my career as a copywriter more gratifying — and it paid more bills.

Fast forward a million years to today and my name is on my skin care. Okay, I didn’t come out with my own Skincarma Skin Care range. Not yet. Instead, I discovered a brand that’s defining how skincare products are made — through extreme personalization powered by artificial intelligence. This is stuff straight outta the future, right outta Star Trek.

Meet Mxt. — AI-powered custom made skin care.

My full Mxt. x Carmine skincare line-up!

My full Mxt. x Carmine skincare line-up!

The Mxt. skincare brand was founded by a team of creatives and beauty industry professionals who sought an answer to this one simple question:

“What if beauty products weren’t always in stock, but rather were custom made to consumers’ needs and specifications?”

They found their answer in an AI-powered skincare brand they created to personalize products on-demand. Mxt. harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to offer more than 40 million possible formulations in a broad range of product forms — including serums, moisturizers, scrubs, mists and masks, each infused with hundreds of proven, active ingredients like AHAs, antioxidant botanicals, vitamins, Retinol, peptides and even multiple forms of Hyaluronic Acid. With dozens of options for adding pro-skin health ingredients to nearly any formula, your skin gets exactly what it needs. And nothing it doesn’t. Of course, no one knows your skin better than you do — and that’s where the true customization comes into play.

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The Mxt. website walks you through the customization process.

The Mxt. website walks you through the customization process.

Mxt. offers two distinct ways to customize your treatments. The first is what they call “Mixed For You”. This option invites you to answer several targeted questions about your skin’s condition and needs. Then, Mxt.’s AI technology creates formulas and prescribes the treatments ideal for your skin right now — including a 3-piece custom-mixed regimen made for you.

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The second option is the most intriguing — and the one I imagine that Spock would find truly “fascinating” back on the Starship Enterprise! It’s called “Mixed by You” and empowers you to create your own skincare products using the brand’s existing formula bases. Starting from a well-formulated product format (e.g. moisturizer for oily skin, serum for redness) the Mxt. website invites you to select a few active ingredients from about 12 that are considered compatible with the formula. You wouldn’t want to put minced garlic in your chocolate cupcakes, right? The same goes for skincare formulations. That’s why your hunch is correct that fewer ingredients in a formula makes it more likely to be a better product. Just like baking a cake, the right mix of ingredients matters — a lot!

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Mxt. x Carmine Deep Hydration Fluid Treatment

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I created five Mxt. custom products in all — two in a first test-run, then an additional three. Quite intentionally, I was thinking about hot humid weather when I made my Mxt. x Carmine Deep Hydration Fluid Treatment. With the help of the Mxt. online questionnaire and a menu of active ingredient “add-ins,” I created a super light, milky emulsion that delivers protective antioxidants, soothing botanicals, replenishing plant oils, nourishing ferments and, of course, potent humectants that lock hydration in my skin. Plus, because the Mxt. base formulas are so well-formulated, my final product is devoid of fragrance, fragrant plant oils, alcohol, silicones, and any other potential irritants or toxins that I like to avoid in my skin care whenever possible. Honestly, my custom Deep Hydration Fluid Treatment is the perfect formula!

Here’s how the science behind Mxt. is most intriguing (Spock would love it!). The initial prescription for my custom Hydration Fluid included a particular form of Hyaluronic Acid that I’d never heard of before. All I knew prior to my Mxt. adventure was that there are multiple molecular weights of HA — the larger are often found in pulpier serums, the smaller in lighter, more watery serums. The Mxt. AI was formulating with an HA molecule called 130 kDa Hyaluronic Acid — proven to be the most skin-compatible and effective form of Hyaluronic Acid. But I had the option in the personalization step to add in an additional HA molecule: 50 kDa Hyaluronic Acid. With two molecular weight HAs, I can achieve a broader humectant benefit throughout my skin’s layers.

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I needed to know what all of this Hyaluronic mumbo jumbo really meant. So, of course, I googled it. I found an excellent article online titled Why Science Says Hyaluronic Acid Is the Holy Grail to Wrinkle-Free, Youthful Hydration.

This fascinating explanation caught my eye:

“The benefits of hyaluronic acid on the skin has to do with its molecular weight and concentration. In this case, size matters! The molecular weight refers to its mass, or how big the HA molecule is. This is measured in something called unified atomic mass units — daltons, or kDa for short.

HA between 50 to 1,000 kDa is the most beneficial for skin, with about 130 kDa being the best, according to the most recent human studies. Anything higher won't make too much of a difference. Anything lower might cause inflammation. How did we get this number? When you look at studies, you'll see a pattern, but one of the most thorough studies looked at HA with different molecular weights, including 50, 130, 300, 800, and 2,000 kDa.

After one month, they found that treatment with 130 kDa HA was the most effective, increasing skin elasticity by 20 percent. Both the 50 and 130 kDa groups had significant improvement in wrinkle-depth and skin roughness after 60 days. All the other molecular weights still improved elasticity and skin hydration, just less so. You can read more about this molecular weight analysis from the original breakdown here.”

How amazing is that? As amazing is the fact that not even a week after my initial online experience with the Mxt. AI technology, I received my custom treatments — the Deep Hydration Fluid Treatment and a mild, soothing, aloe-infused cleansing gel — Ultra-Quenching Non-Foaming Cleanser.

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Mxt. x Carmine Ultra-Quenching Non-Foaming Cleanser

I work out in the morning and am always dying to clean my face of sweat, grime and oil the second I get back to the apartment. My Mxt. x Carmine Ultra-Quenching Non-Foaming Cleanser is the perfect non-stripping cleanser for a light post-workout face wash, or the second step of a double cleanse. But it’s actually too good to just use as a quickie cleanser!

My Mxt. x Carmine Ultra-Quenching Non-Foaming Cleanser literally doesn’t foam!

My Mxt. x Carmine Ultra-Quenching Non-Foaming Cleanser literally doesn’t foam!

The Mxt. Ultra-Quenching Non-Foaming Cleanser is super gentle and rich in humectants and soothing botanical extracts. As the name makes clear, it doesn’t foam. Not even a little bit. Literally, there’s no foam. If you need a foaming action to feel like something is happening, then my custom cleanser isn’t for you. Personally, I prefer little to no foaming as I never want to over-strip my skin of the oils it needs to hold moisture in and stay healthy.

The Mxt. x Carmine Ultra-Quenching Non-Foaming Cleanser is so hydrating and soothing it could easily double as a rinse-off hydration mask. That’s why it’s too good to just rinse and go. I like to massage it onto dry skin, leave it for 15-20 minutes then rinse it off. It’s that mild and that pro-skin health. Why wash all that good stuff down the drain?

In the ingredient list, after water and penetration enhancer Propanediol, the third ingredient is Glycerin, a common humectant that gives the cleanser a heavier, more substantive feel on the skin and keeps it from being overly watery. There are a slew of Amino Acids as well as Sodium Hyaluronate and super-hydrating Coconut Water — all of which were part of the base formula. I added in Miru Algae Extract, a potent antioxidant that detoxifies and replenishes skin — and all the more reason to leave this on for a few extra minutes before rinsing it off.


**WATCH MY VIDEO REVIEW OF MXT.’S AI-POWERED CUSTOM SKIN CARE ON MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE.**


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Mxt. x Carmine Super Nourishing Vital Serum

Mxt. calls this an “age-defying luxe serum [that] delivers deep hydration for instant radiance, resulting in a brighter, more even skin tone.” That’s marketing speak for “this is just really good stuff that will absorb into your skin and infuse it with protective antioxidants, humectants, hydrators and a whole lot of other things that will help you maintain optimum skin health.”

But yeah, I made this.

And I made it just a bit more to my liking. I’m not big on the whole anti-aging angle. If you’re delivering your skin what it needs to stay healthy and practicing sound sun defense every day, you’re fighting skin aging. That’s all I expect my Mxt. x Carmine Super Nourishing Vital Serum to do.

And it’s doing that pretty well. Unlike the milky emulsion I made in the first batch, this one is more of a conventional serum — with a light, slightly pulpy, translucent texture. It’s so light, it’s instantly absorbed. Like by the time I put the cap back on the bottle and put it back into the Skincarma Vault, aka the floor-to-ceiling medicine cabinet behind me.

The Vital Serum base formula came powered by Edelweiss Flower Stem Cells, Resveratrol and peptides — as well as the ultra-low molecular weight 50 kDa Hyaluronic Acid. I need more Resveratrol in my skincare life. If you arent aware of it, Resveratrol is the powerful polyphenol antioxidant derived from red grapes. It’s the reason that a glass of red wine a day is actually good for you! My 98-year-old maternal grandfather drank a glass of wine twice a day — one with lunch, one with dinner. In fact, he died sitting at the kitchen table eating his lunch.

Mxt. x Carmine Super Nourishing Vital Serum is loaded with pro-skin health actives.

Mxt. x Carmine Super Nourishing Vital Serum is loaded with pro-skin health actives.

My skincare muse, Paula Begoun describes the benefits of Resveratrol this way:

“Applied topically, resveratrol helps protect skin’s surface and helps rebuff negative environmental influences. It also has significant skin-calming properties that may help minimize the look of redness.”

Again, the Super Vital Serum was already a damn good formula, but I wanted more! So, I added in the best Hyaluronic Acid molecule available in skincare — the 130 kDa Hyaluronic Acid and an Essential Mineral Ferment. Mineral-rich fermented extracts are so good for your skin! They’re easily absorbed and minerals help to regulate the flow of water in your skin’s layers to keep the hydration in your skin balanced and even.

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Mxt. x Carmine Luminous Clay Mask

There’s nothing I love more on self-care Sunday than a thick, nourishing, deep-cleansing, skin-resurfacing clay mask. Actually, there’s something I love just a bit more — a thick, nourishing, deep-cleansing, skin-resurfacing clay mask that I made myself!

My Mxt. x Carmine Luminous Clay Mask!

My Mxt. x Carmine Luminous Clay Mask!

Yes, the Mxt. Luminous Clay Mask was already a really well-formulated treatment before I got my hands on it and added more ingredients to it. Powered by a terrific range of AHAs, including Glycolic Acid, Citric Acid, Malic Acid and Mandelic Acid, the formula contains the two conventional clays Bentonite and Kaolin as well as humectant Glycerin — all at very high levels. It’s also rich in replenishing non-fragrant plants oils like Apricot Kernel Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil, again at high enough levels to effectively moisturize and replenish skin.

As with my Super Vital Serum, I added in a whole cocktail of fermented mineral actives as well as Bromelain, an enzymatic extract derived from pineapples. Now my self-care Sunday has a little tropical feel to it!

The Mxt. x Carmine Luminous Clay Mask is powered by 5 AHAs as well as Salicylic Acid and Bromain.

The Mxt. x Carmine Luminous Clay Mask is powered by 5 AHAs as well as Salicylic Acid and Bromain.

The Mxt. x Carmine Luminous Clay Mask has a super thick texture that glides on well and, thanks to the high level of Glycerin, never dries down. Masks that dry down excessively tend to also dry out the skin surface which is never a good thing. The Corn Starch in the formula helps to absorb surface excess oil. Speaking of feeling like something is working, the AHA complex, combined with Salicylic Acid and the Bromelain enzyme, sure tingles the skin. Twenty minutes later, you’re fresh and, well, luminous — like an afternoon on Maui.

Mxt. x Carmine Ultra-Quenching Water

The last Mxt. x Carmine product I made was a toning mist. As with my earlier invention of the Deep Hydration Fluid, I had hot, humid days on my mind. So I opted for a toner that would be super soothing, hydrating and refreshing. It’s all of that and more!

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The Mxt. x Carmine Ultra-Quenching Water is loaded with pro-skin health actives and a terrific formula for hydrating and refreshing the skin. There are humectants Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate as well as Sodium PCA — a classic skincare ingredient that takes me back to my days at Kiehl’s. We had this iconic product called Sodium PCA Oil-Free Moisturizer that was really quite ahead of its time — and just delicious on skin. (Alas, it’s since been discontinued.) Because Sodium PCA is a natural component of skin, it’s super skin-compatible and delivers great hydration and replenishment. I get all choked up thinking about using it in the good ole days!

My Ultra-Quenching Water is loaded up with brightening and decongesting Niacinamide and refreshing Coconut Water and Coconut Fruit Juice. I super-boosted the formula with water-binding Amino Acids and fermented Tremella Mushroom Extract that helps detox skin and apparently stimulates cell regeneration. There’s so much goodness in my Ultra-Quenching Water that I can’t help thinking that every time I spritz it on, I’m boosting my skin health.

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I hope you’ll give Mxt. a look! They’re doing something truly innovative by elevating the level of product customization beyond what we’ve had before. The fact that the products all start out so well-formulated is a real plus, but the extra personal touch from you and me is the real icing on this cake.

🖤 SKINCARMA


**WATCH MY VIDEO REVIEW OF MXT.’S AI-POWERED CUSTOM SKIN CARE ON MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE.**



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The Ingredient List of the Mxt. x Carmine Custom Mixed
Ultra-Quenching Non-Foaming Cleanser:

Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Liquid Endosperm, Sodium PCA (and) Sodium Lactate (and) Arginine (and) Aspartic Acid (and) PCA (and) Glycine (and) Alanine (and) Serine (and) Valine (and) Proline (and) Threonine (and) Isoleucine (and) Histidine (and) Phenylalanine, Glycerin (and) Aqua (and) Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Codium Fragile Extract (and) Aqua, CI 75120 Annatto (and) Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (and) Ascorbyl Palmitate (and) Tocopherol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Glyceryl Undecylenate, EthylhexylGlycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate.

The Ingredient List of the Mxt. x Carmine Deep Hydration Fluid Treatment:

Water, Squalane, Propanediol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Aqua (and) Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Hyaluronic Acid, Beta-Carotene, Glyceryl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Hyaluronate, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, EthylhexylGlycerin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Sodium Hydroxide.

The Ingredient List of the Mxt. x Carmine Super Nourishing Vital Serum:

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propanediol, Glycerin, Dimethiconol, Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate/Caprate,, Glycerin (and) Leontopodium Alpinum Callus Culture Extract (and) Xanthan Gum, Resveratrol, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 (and) Panthenol (and) Sodium Hyaluronate (and) Dunaliella Salina Extract (and) Phenoxyethanol (and) Citric Acid (and) Sodium Benzoate (and) Ethylhexylglycerin (and) Potassium Sorbate (and) Pantolactone, Hyaluronic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aqua (and) Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Sorbitol, Sodium PCA, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, EthylhexylGlycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide.

The Ingredient List of the Mxt. x Carmine Luminous Clay Mask:

Water, Bentonite, Kaolin, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Propanediol, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot Kernel) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate,, Aqua (and) Lactic Acid (and) Glycolic Acid (and) Citric Acid (and) Malic Acid (and) Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mandelic Acid, Salicylic Acid (and) Polyquaternium-67 (and) Glyceryl Stearate (and) Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine (and) Zea Mays (Corn) Starch (and) Hydrolyzed Corn Starch (and) Hydrolyzed Corn Starch Octenylsuccinate, Bromelain, Aqua (and) Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment (and) Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Cocoglycerides, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, EthyhexylGlycerin, 1,2,Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Titanium Dioxide, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid

The Ingredient List of the Mxt. x Carmine Ultra-Quenching Water:

Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Sodium PCA,, Water (and) Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer (and) Zinc Sulfate (and) Xanthan Gum (and) Phenoxyethanol (and) Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Water, Sodium PCA, Urea, Trehalose, Triacetin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polyquaternium-51, Niacinamide, Glycerin (and) Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract (and) Ferric Hexapeptide-35, Sodium PCA (and) Sodium Lactate (and) Arginine (and) Aspartic Acid (and) PCA (and) Glycine (and) Alanine (and) Serine (and) Valine (and) Proline (and) Threonine (and) Isoleucine (and) Histidine (and) Phenylalanine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hammamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Juice, Sodium Hyaluronate, Leuconostoc/ Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Benzoic Acid

If you can see the sun, the sun can see you! Orpheus says, “wear sunscreen every day!”

If you can see the sun, the sun can see you! Orpheus says, “wear sunscreen every day!”

BRANDS I LOVE : MD SOLAR SCIENCES DOCTOR-DEVELOPED FACIAL SUNSCREEN PRODUCTS

BRANDS I LOVE : MD SOLAR SCIENCES DOCTOR-DEVELOPED FACIAL SUNSCREEN PRODUCTS

SKINCARMA APPROVED : THE BEST FACIAL SUNSCREEN PRODUCTS

SKINCARMA APPROVED : THE BEST FACIAL SUNSCREEN PRODUCTS