Our Rating: 3 stars

SenZen is a new range of mostly botanical beauty products from the San Francisco based spa, Sen Spa.  I was recently sent some samples and so far have been trying out the cleanser, scrub and eye cream from this line that claims to “intelligently” combine natural elements with cosmeceutical grade technologies.  I need a few more weeks before I can report on the eye cream (although the early signs are promising), but after two weeks I am already loving the Slough It Off Facial Scrub ($42 in the TIA shop) and, although to a lesser extent, the Perfect Balance Cleanser.

SenZen’s claim to intelligence is based in part on its “SENZEN Energized Liposomal Blend”.  What this means is that liposomes are used to deliver the products’ vitamins and other nutrients. For those who want a quick liposome 101, they are artificially made – usually from phospholipids (part of cell membranes) – and are are used as carriers to efficiently deliver drugs or cosmetic ingredients. Interestingly, liposomes have a natural ability to target cancer cells. This liposome delivery system is built into all the products in the SenZen range.

The pleasant, grainy texture of the Slough It Off Facial Scrub is provided by the ground seed of ivory palm. The small, dense white nuts of the ivory palm resemble elephant ivory and are used to sustainably carve objects (so as you scrub, you can hope that fewer elephants are being poached for their tusks). Further exfoliation is provided by alpha hydroxy acids from sugar extracts.

The various oils, including olive and babassu, and mango butter ensure that this scrub is also hydrating. In addition to antioxidant acai and wound-healing passion flower, there is guarana. This is a kind of turbo-charged coffee bean that is made into a popular, energy giving drink in Brazil. It is an antioxidant and antibacterial.

An important – and unusual – ingredient that helps achieve cellular repairing is phytic acid. This is the way that plants store phosphorus, a component of DNA. Phytic acid is an antioxidant. Researchers now believe that phytic acid, found in the fiber of legumes and grains, is the major ingredient responsible for preventing colon cancer and other cancers.

Perfect Balance Cleanser has just as much going for it and I particularly like the various antioxidant tea extracts and Epilobium Angustifolium (rosebay willowherb), a good source of vitamin C and birch bark extract is a natural anti-bacterial.  I was also really interested to see that it has astragalus membranaceus, a member of the pea family that seems to have an extraordinary ability to boost the immune system.

The cleansing part is provided by various coconut derived surfactants such as the relatively common cocamidopropyl betaine and this cleanser will please people who like their cleansers to produce a decent foam. Despite its name, I haven’t found that this cleanser is perfectly balanced for my skin. Don't get me wrong, it is absolutely fine. But, unlike the scrub, it somehow doesn’t make me want to reach for it every morning. And, if I am allowed an entirely superficial quibble, I don’t like the pearlarised sheen that it has – I’m sorry, but it just reminds me of a cheap shampoo.

Perfect Balance:

Water (Aqua), Lauryl Glucoside, Coco Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sucrose Cocoate, Glycerin, Epilobium Angustifolium Extract, SENZEN Bio-Energized Liposomal Blend, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf White Tea) Extract, Aspalathus Linearis (Red Tea) Extract, Acanthopanax Senticosus (Eleuthero Ginseng ) Root Extract, Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, Forsythia Suspensa Fruit Extract, Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Stem Extract, Singiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Starch Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Glycol Distearate, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Citric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), FD&C Blue No. 1 (CI 42090), FD&C Yellow No. 6 (CI 15985)

Slough It Off Facial Scrub:

Water, Phytelephas Aequatorialis (Ivory Palm) Seed Powder, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond Oil), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Sucrose Cocate Glycerin, Propanediol, Coco Glucoside, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Presscake Powder, Paullinia Cupana (Guarana) Seed Powder, Passiflora Edulis, Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Jojoba Esters, Allantoin, Phytic Acid, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit/Leaf Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract, SENZEN Energized Liposomal Blend, Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens, (Geranium)Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Clycol Disterate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum)