By: Ben Mervis

The history of my real skin-care journey began when I was somewhere around 10 or 11, when my mother – whom I love so much – brought me to Tanya for my first facial. Upon entering from the street, we would immediately begin to climb a steep staircase, with a blinding light coming from Tanya’s “spa” on the second floor. Being a Jew “light at the end of the tunnel” means I get to be anxious about going to a place where it’s always so bright.

Tanya often worked the receptionist desk herself, greeting guests with a smile that hints she knows something you don’t. Tanya’s thick glasses meant that she’d be precise, and since I didn’t even know what a pore was yet, I had no reason to fear what precise squeezing would feel like. All I knew was that my mother – whom, again, I love so much – said this was going to be “a good experience.”


None of this helped the facade of a closeted gay boy. Really, it just added ammunition to my rebuttals for unwarranted “you’re so gay” comments from my less-evolved peers.

“There’s nothing gay about caring for your skin” I would respond, not realizing that the accompanying self-satisfied smile was about as gay as it gets. As if that wasn’t enough, I often followed up with a weightless threat; “I have so many girl friends (note the space) because I know what girls like.”

Admittedly, mom says the facials “weren’t necessary or necessarily appropriate” but again she thought it would be “a good experience.”

Experience it I did – Tanya’s steaming and poking and squeezing for about a full year. Like a dog being brought to the vet, I began to dread getting in the car for my appointments with Tanya, and it took every ounce of courage to climb up those stairs towards the bright light. I eventually told mom that my skin was reacting worse to Tanya’s forceful touch than it was to hormones and grease.


Throughout my childhood and to this day I enjoy a variety of sweets and am lucky that neither my skin nor my blood sugar has reacted poorly. With the exception of an occasional zit or blemish, I’ve been #blessed with pretty clear skin.

My real skin struggles have been a homage to my Eastern European ancestors – I’m what you call “sensitive.” The elements tend to leave my cheeks puffy and red, clogged by things like dander and whatever else is floating around out there. My time with Tanya taught me the basic concepts of cleaning my skin and spotting blemishes before they become a real issue.

Witch hazel became my best friend, and many years later I would begin buying that iconic yellow bottle of Clinique “dramatically different moisturizing lotion.”

In 2014 I moved to San Diego from Vermont and spent more time sunburned than not. I left the DRAMA behind and got into Kiehl’s – as was the trend. My face became a Kiehl’s face, and below the neck, I was a walking/talking aloe leaf.


In 2015 I moved to Los Angeles and began visiting a local beauty store – I enjoyed working with their sales reps more than I did at Kiehl’s, and still got free samples! It was around this time that I was introduced to hyaluronic acid moisturizers, and the effects were noticeable early on. I bought inexpensive face cleanser from the drug store, and settled into a routine I was finally comfortable with.

So now let’s flash forward to Spring 2018 – I’d known Kush Queen’s CEO Olivia Alexander for about a year and had been working with her for a couple of months. As we were wrapping up a meeting, Olivia hands me an unlabeled container and says I want you to try something we’ve been working on.

When someone hands you a mysterious liquid and says “I want you to use this as your moisturizer for the next week” – it’s normal to question them. But not when Olivia asks. It was then that this rosy-cheeked Bubbe’s boy began his love affair with what is now known as the Defynt Anti-Serum.

I regularly shower at the gym after my morning workouts; the water pressure is strong and the towels smell like eucalyptus. After a hot shower, my skin is perfectly primed for Defynt to simultaneously clean and shrink my pores in a way that Tanya only ever dreamed about.


After seeing your Defynt skin for the first time, you’ll have a new standard for yourself. Tighter, evenly-toned, DEWY even. As I said, I’ve never really had bad skin, but after using Defynt for less than a week, I received my first-ever skin compliment. Even my own mother noticed my skin improving, so I sent her a bottle of Defynt and told her I thought it would be “a good experience.”


We would love to hear how Defynt is helping you #skincarejourney! Don’t forget to follow and tag us @kushqueenshop & @kushqueenco in your intagram posts and stories.


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