chili tlc herbal face food

ACCORDING TO J. MICHAEL ZENN, Herbal Face Food’s CEO and Founder, you can’t achieve anti-aging without antioxidants. But what does that actually mean? With so many vitamin C, E, A—you name it—serums on the market, how are any of us meant to know what works and what doesn’t?

Michael Zenn, who started the brand in the hopes of naturally healing his chronic skin issues, is going where no other brand has dared to go before… and that’s onto the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale. By consistently leveraging science and data to measure the antioxidant levels in a variety of foods, herbs, and botanicals, Herbal Face Food is producing the most antioxidant-laden skincare out there, and it’s all sustainable, wild-crafted, ethically-sourced, and completely edible (which explains why celebrities like TLC’s Chilli and model Gisele Bündchen’s obsession with it).

“We say, ‘Don’t do any harm. Don’t put anything in your skin that would harm your skin or body.’ But why not take that opportunity to give your largest organ—which is also your biggest mouth that you’re feeding all day long—something that is massively nutrient-dense, and restorative? Put something in your skin that it’s going to eat all day long, making your body younger from the outside in.”

We asked Michael Zenn how to keep our skin resilient against external stressors, inflammaging, and Father Time, and we’re still reeling (but also healing) from everything he had to say.

herbal face food serum I

The Truth About Antioxidants In Your Skincare With Herbal Face Food’s J. Michael Zenn

WHAT CAUSES AGING OF THE SKIN? Oxidation. Plain and simply, oxidation is synonymous with aging while antioxidants are synonymous with anti-aging. Oxidation is responsible for—I’d say—95% of all aging. The easiest way to understand oxidation is to imagine a molecule with too few electrons in its outer shell, so it’s forced to borrow or steal from another molecule, which prompts a domino effect: each molecule keeps stealing another molecule from each other. This is called “rusting” or aging, which is not dissimilar to when a banana or apple turns brown after it’s cut. It’s just cellular degradation.

Antioxidants stop that stealing process because they have more electrons in their outer shell than they need, so they come in and give their electrons to the molecules missing one and stabilize these molecules in the process. The stronger the antioxidant is, the more electrons it has to give.

WHAT ARE DIFFERENT WAYS TO SUPPORT THE SKIN BARRIER? AND WHY DOES IT MATTER SO MUCH? A lot of people have penetrated and damaged their skin barrier through over-exfoliation and chemicals. Botanicals don’t do that. Herbal Face Food is a super nutrient-dense superfood salad for the skin. We don’t treat the skin, we heal it.

It’s the same thing if you look at the pharmaceutical industry vs. holistic practitioners. Holistic practitioners are trying to get your body into an optimal state so it can heal itself. Pharma is trying to treat the body to get an effect. For example, if you have indigestion, a Western doctor would give you a chemical-based solution to calm the indigestion rather than help the body to heal the problem. It’s all very allopathic (aka symptom-led).

Look at melasma. The usual solution is to use harsh lasers or bleaching / whitening agents. Herbal Face Food looks to help skin cells heal themselves. When you restore that cell to its original state, that pigment goes away. We’re feeding your body from the outside in. If you’re also supporting your body from the inside out—well—then you’ve perfected both worlds.

THERE ARE SO MANY PRODUCTS OUT THERE CLAIMING TO BE “THE REAL DEAL.” how can people tell what works vs. what’s hype? All you have to do is Google the plant and the ORAC scale. Most of them have been tested. If they don’t have an ORAC rating or haven’t been tested, then they likely don’t have much antioxidant value at all. So often, I’ll look at plants or botanicals in other products to really see if they’re effective. Nine times out of 10, they’re totally impotent.

Look at skincare labels the same way you would read a nutrition label at the grocery store. Look for botanicals and see what the first ingredients are. What are the first 10? If the most potent aren’t even until the end, you’re likely not getting an effective product.

the eye cream herbal face food

WHAT ARE MOST PEOPLE GETTING WRONG ABOUT TREATING + HEALING THEIR SKIN? The quick-fix, “pill” concept. They have pills now that will cause you to lose weight or not absorb the food you’re eating, and people will run to a quick fix. They also tend to think that what a doctor cooks up in a lab is better than what nature has provided.

In my book, The Self-Health Revolution, I talk about mother’s milk—how in the 50s, 60s, and even 60s, doctors were able to convince women that what a man created in a lab was better than mother’s milk, which was preposterous. A mother’s milk is the most nutrient-dense source in the universe that keeps adapting to evolve with the baby’s needs as they grow. Advertising took women off of it to move them towards formula.

The same thinking is going on today because people believe things made in a lab are technologically more advanced, which could be true. The green, clean products today are totally impotent. A lot of people try to go toward clean skincare and don’t see results, so they resort back to chemical-based skincare. However, no one is jacking up the potency like we are. We’re taking highly-potent botanicals and then creating a concentrated formulation that is thousands and thousands of times more powerful than anything else on the market.

The challenge in—what I callThe Great Skin Dilemma is that potency and organics are an oxymoron as it relates to most skincare. If you opt for clean and green skincare, you’re getting non-toxic formulas that won’t do much more than moisturize the skin. Because of this, even the Whole Foods, nutrition label-reading customers who want organic skincare, end up running toward chemical-based products that yield short-term results—even if that means diminishing results and toxicity over time. herbal face food antioxidants

HOW DOES HERBAL FACE FOOD LEVERAGE ANTIOXIDANTS: Herbal Face Food’s formulation is based entirely around antioxidants. What we’ve found is that all antioxidants are not created equally. If you go to any major beauty retailer, 95% of the antioxidants you’re going to hear about are vitamin C and vitamin E. But interestingly, vitamin C is actually pretty low on the ORAC scale, making it a pretty weak, antiquated antioxidant.

We’re the only company in the world that found the scientific scale (ORAC) that is the great equalizer and can tell us how powerful something can be as an antioxidant. With all of this information in mind, we have gone around the world to find the most potent antioxidants and formulate all of our products around that as our organizing principle. This approach has given us massive results against the 10 most visible signs of aging.

Take The Cure X, for example: You not only get all of the anti-aging benefits, but you also get a corrective serum that tackles acne, psoriasis, eczema, scarring, rosacea, melasma—you name it. That’s all from the power of these plants. Yes, we’re accounting for the ORAC rating, but we’re also adding in regenerative plants that have profound cellular properties beyond the ORAC scale. We’re always looking for more. I just came back from Asia, and discovered 30 new plants that I’m excited to incorporate into our formulas.

The Cure X and serum X herbal face food

THOUGHTS ON SUN EXPOSURE? I think, by and large, the sun is our friend. I think the sun can be incredibly healthy in the right amounts—also if you’re using the right kind of restorative products. I actually think most sunscreen today is pretty toxic, and the ones that aren’t are just not pragmatic, leaving most of us with chalky faces out in public.

Our products are so high in antioxidants, they provide natural SPF protection. Just The Eye Cream alone offers almost 50+ SPF protection while the serums have a 20+ SPF. The cool thing about Herbal Face Food is that it actually heals the damage of the sun in real time if you’re actively wearing it. You don’t need to wait to be burned to repair the skin. You can just wear it proactively in the sun.

Our products are fully edible (you might not enjoy them), but that’s how natural they are.


I would typically tell people to start with Serum I, and if you could afford it, go for The Cure. If you’re working on something specific—like breakouts or melasma, or something more chronic—start with The Cure. If you’re looking for general daily anti-aging, use Serum I, and then build up to II and III over time.

Each bottle of Herbal Face Food takes 1,000 hours from harvest to finished product. We fly in ingredients from all over the world. A lot of our stuff comes wild-harvested and wild-crafted by endemic tribes (like in the Amazon, for example). The sourcing is incredible, and everything is poured and mixed by hand in small batches. If you go and buy our product from our site, it’s less than 30—or even seven—days old. Most of the products that you buy in in-store at major retailers are a year-to-a-few years old, just sitting on the shelf because they’re loaded with preservatives that allow them to remain shelf-stable.

I know the price point can seem somewhat overwhelming, but I would say that our products have been designed to be economical because you don’t need a lot to see results. The Eye Cream is our most expensive product, but it’s also our most economical. For a lot of people, it lasts six months, so when you crunch the numbers and amortize it on a monthly basis, it’s not really that much outside of what you’re probably already spending.

We also have a no-questions-asked, money back-guarantee. Go ahead and try the largest sizes (50ml), and if you don’t like them or see any results, there’s absolutely no risk. You can also save 30% on any subscription.

Absorb a whole new level of anti-aging skincare with 30% off any Herbal Face Food purchase. Use code TCM30 at checkout.

*The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.

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