[REVIEW] Bioré UV Perfect Bright Face Milk SPF 50+ PA++++

Biore vs. the California Heat

If you follow my instagram (@facequench) you may have saw I was recently off back to California for a wedding! My outfit was a disaster but my skincare of course, was on point. My SPF choice was without a doubt the most important choice I had to make. I get little sunlight compared to when I lived in the Bay. When I found out I was going to be in an outside wedding, out in the ‘Wine Country’ area I panicked a little bit.

My skin has never done well with the sun. Some filter sunscreens can cause uncomfortable sensations in my skin, too much physical causes my skin to itch. This makes sunscreen shopping difficult at times, but my biggest issue is dehydrating skin, which also leads to burning quicker.

Since I discovered them, I’ve wanted to try a PA++++ sunscreen. They are not legally sold in the States since they contain active sunscreen filters that are not approved by the FDA. Before you get too disinterested, the filters aren’t approved but they also aren’t disapproved. THEY JUST HAVEN’T TESTED THEM.

These filters include Mexoryl SX, Mexoryl XL, 4-MBC, Uvinul A Plus, Uvinul T 150 and Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M. The craziest part is these filters often show less potential safety and irritation issues compared to other sunscreens. For more information on sunscreens, both physical and chemical, check out my sunscreen 201 post here. I’m pretty bitter about the FDA being slow approving these sunscreens but a lot of americans don’t really want or look for this type of high protection. Most of my clients are looking for an SPF 20 for everyday use. (Which if you’re reading this and scoff, calm down please and refer to the link post above.) So you can also see why it hasn’t necessarily been a priority. But for folks who burn just thinking about the sun, like me, may need to look to Japan for their everyday wants.

That’s where Biore comes in, one of the largest carriers of PA++++ sunscreens. I chose the Bright Milk to try as my first quad PA product since it has a slight pink tone to it, which I can always use with my sallow complexion.

It doubles as a makeup primer/base and it’s also now waterproof since 2015! I literally couldn’t find anything unappealing about it. Best part was I could order it from Amazon (ps. sometimes you can see PA++++’s sneak into prime options but they always disappear, you gotta wait for snail mail)

The packaging is well, drug store packaging. But it’s practical and honestly, less wasteful than some of the extra packages that I come across.

Application can be a little tricky with how fluid the product is but it lays really well making a great canvas for cushion, foundation, or really whatever I’m in the mood for.

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The ingredient list is pretty fine too. Generally speaking, since sunscreens adsorb instead of absorb they can have more acne triggers in them.

This is a similarly priced US ‘for babies’ sunscreen:

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(note: CosDNA shows filter strengths in both spectrums which is helpful to see what your SPF is protecting you against most)

Safety is something I wanted to touch on briefly too. Oxybenzone is a filter sunscreen I would recommend to stay far away from. Especially if you are a female. This is also one of the filters that irritates my skin. Filter sunscreens work by converting harmful UV rays into heat, often times that process can cause a slight sensation, however for some reason Oxybenzone is just not my jam, but I’m not really worried about it.

After spending the entire morning till mid afternoon outside, in California, in actual sun, I was pretty worried about being a little pink at the end of the day. But once I got home and cooled off, I took my foundation off to reveal my skin was still white as a ghost without a hint of flamingo anywhere except a tiny strip on my neck.

On a day to day basis I found that the Bright Face Milk was just a little too matte for my liking. But surprisingly comfortable on my dry skin as a matte finish. But for the less than ideal environment, it worked out perfectly. There are a number of finishes in the Biore sunscreen line including gel and essence. Next I’ll be trying the new Biore 2017 reformulation of the watery gel since it is the most ‘moist’ finish for a more everyday sunscreen. But Bright Milk, you delivered. Even with my lack of reapplication except some cushion blots on my cheeks before photos.

[REVIEW] Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion #11

I think this is my first makeup post on here! But it’s still skincare, you will see. Look at this cushion! It’s not a new one, it’s not a lesser known one. It’s Sulwhasoo’s best selling, super dewy finish cushion the Perfecting Cushion. When I first discovered this cushion they didn’t actually make it in a color that matched me. But since those days Sulwhasoo now sells their Perfecting Cushion in 6 shades: #11 Pale Pink, #13 Light Pink (what I normally match to in other cushion brands), #21 Medium Pink, #23 Medium Beige, #25 Deep Beige, #33 Dark Beige.

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I actually got this cushion to celebrate a new job! It’s unfortunately (but not that unfortunate) not in skincare, but I’m hoping it’ll give me more creative freedom with this blog! I got a lot of privileges products from my old job that I review on here, so there will be a shift more into solely products I pick out with my own wallet and money! Less branded, overhyped junk you can buy at a cosmetics store, more hidden gems.

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Sulwhasoo is one of the brands I’m the most interested in that I don’t get to experience as much as I would want to. Mainly because the products are expensive, and hard(er) to find. Since they’re under AMOREPACIFIC you can often times find teeny tiny boutiques that carry it inside of asian markets. If you don’t have any around you, some Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stores sell them as well. But it’s hard to find still, Seatte’s Nordstrom just started carrying Sulwhasoo a few months ago. I purchased this at the AMOREPACIFIC inside of the HMart shopping center in Lynnwood, WA because I love supporting local businesses, it’s the same price, and I got showered with love from the Ajummas who work there and samples from not only Sulwhasoo but from other AMORE brands like ARITAUM, IOPE, and Mamonde. Brands you won’t find anywhere other than a true K-beauty store.

If you know me, I want to be g l o w i n g 24/7. I’d like to think I do a pretty good job at this with just my skin routine, but during the day I like to amp it up some. I’ve gone back and forth between doing my whole face everyday to nothing to light makeup styles. Fine tuning my skin’s texture over time has had a lot to do with this. I could never settle on what I prefered the look of because my texture and tone were constantly changing. I’ve settled on cushions finally because I realize I will always want some tint and pore coverage on my nose and inner face. Those bad boys are at a genetic predisposition, thanks Dad.

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What is a cushion compact?

Magical skincare Photoshop sponges. Now you can get foundation, blush, highlighter, color corrector, pretty much anything in a cushion compact. But this is part of the OG first generation of AMOREPACIFIC cushion compacts. The idea of them is to be the next generation of on the go coverage and SPF in one. Brought to life by AMOREPACIFIC’s own R&D Team, the HERA UV Mist Cushion was the first launched in 2008! It was a long work in progress but it has already shaped the world’s cosmetic industry and will continue to do so.

Almost every brand has their own version of these compacts but AMOREPACIFIC has filed 114 patent applications and already registered 13 patents. The amount of time this company put into the product is staggering, but it’s definitely paying off for them. They state in 2014 alone, they sold a cushion every 1.2 seconds. This cushion albeit from their most luxe brand (if you don’t include amore themselves) cost me $65, $5 more than AMOREPAICIFC’s own Color Control Cushion Compact. I wanted to splurge for the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Intense Cushion but at $80 I couldn’t bring myself to pay $40 per sponge. Per sponge? Yup. They give you a refill cushion to use when you finish off the first one! It actually adds up to ~1oz of product which is smaller than a foundation but by less than half.

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The cushion has a unique film fixing polymer that gives it your skin an unrivaled dewy finish as well as a blurring effect. It also helps keep the product on and in place all day long. Sulwhasoo states that this should also insure long lasting coverage, up to 12 hours to be exact. That’s foundation strength wear! The color shown is #11 Pale Pink, comparing to other colors, I feel like it’s pretty dark for ‘11′. I feel like it’s just slightly lighter than Missha’s #21 in their Perfect Cover BB Cream.

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Pale pink isn’t quite pale enough for this pasty-paste.

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Blended in however you can see that gorgeous radiance and no orangey tone.

Part of Cushion benefits are SPF! Since these are hybrid on-the-go formulas they provide decent sun protection and make great SPF touch ups that doesn’t disturb other makeup. This compact sports an SPF 50+ and a PA+++, so maximum protection (in the US that is.) Lastly, I want to point out the quality. After owning a few other cushions I was really impressed with this one. I’ve never owned a legit Amore cushion, only cheap Missha ones. Those not only didn’t come with a refill, some things just feel off. The Sulwhasoo applicator sponge feels really high quality compared to them. I feel like I use a lot less product as well. It lays nicer, feels better. It’s just better.

What makes you really fall in love with the compact is the scent. It’s a signature Sulwhasoo Hanbang scent. Like a sexy ginseng root, this cushion gets a 10/10. I just might splurge (even though the $65 was a splurge) on the Intense Cushion next time, as it’s apart of their newest generation of cushions!

till next time!

[REVIEW] Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream

Move over Peter Thomas Roth, I got a new favorite retinol eye cream. You may remember my rave post about PTR’s 1% Retinol PM Fusion eye cream, I’ve since tried 2 more retinol eye creams and Kate’s has won my heart over.

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When ingredient hunting down the list, the first ingredient that caught my eye was Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, the second active ingredient in this product right behind Retinol itself. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate is like ‘Retinol 2.0′ is shows very similar results to Tretinoin (commonly referred to as ‘prescription’ retinol) with little to no irritation compared to retinol itself. Next is Bakuchiol, pronounced ba-koo-chee-all. (I love saying it to people and watching their face) It is considered to be an alternative to retinol as it shows similar reparative and acne fighting properties. Three great actives making one powerhouse of an eye cream. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin is also present to help water retention and give a ever so slight cooling effect.

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But why a retinol eye cream? If you’ve noticed you’re a little too late to the eye cream party, or have had bad luck with your under-eyes, Retinol can oftentimes be your savior in an antioxidant. Retinol is responsible for encouraging cell renewal. Because it helps our skin speed up how fast it is produced and disposed, it makes it a great treatment for just about any common major concern. Fine lines and wrinkles, retexturize(for eyes, reducing millia!) dark spots, and even loss of firmness. As a kid I never wore sunglasses or sunscreen and I spent a substantial amount of time outside, so when first starting retinol under my eyes I noticed great improvement all around.

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Supporting ingredients are also pretty interesting. The first to note is Lime Pearl extract or Microcitrus Australasica. I have only seen this ingredient in one other product and that is Sunday Riley’s C.E.O vitamin C moisturizer. Lime Pearl isn’t a new thing but definitely isn’t commonly used. I found a great information sheet on it by one of the manufacturers. The main reason I found Lime Pearl so interesting is that it shows signs of moderate exfoliation without any irritation.

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Sporting a gorgeous gold flexible applicator, it stays cool to the touch to encourage depuffing. When I first saw that the applicator I was a little confused since I was assuming it was just for PM use. However that is not the case! Kate recommends AM and PM application. It absorbs quickly making it great under my concealer. The finishing touch is a light diffusing optic to help blur any imperfections, and to remind you, you can use this twice a day!

[FIRST TAKE] Ole Henriksen Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator

Ole Henriksen is a staple skincare brand in the western market. Scandinavian Cosmetician and Product Formulator Ole has repackaged his line for the first time at least since launching with Sephora, their no. 1 reseller, in 2005. Along with the repackaging comes along a couple new products while most formulations are staying the same. 

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The Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator is one of the new products. It says it contains a Green Fusion Complex, neem seed oil, rosehip extract, and AHAs. I also love to see Ole shying away from jars as this new moisturizer comes in a pump bottle. His Vitamin Plus, now called Mattifying Moisture Creme was actually the first moisturizer I ever found to really agree with my skin as a young broken out teenager. This is a more ideal texture for morning time while the moisture creme would be more ideal at night. 

The Oil Control Hydrator has a ‘Green Fusion Complex’ which is most likely part of it’s strong eucalyptus/ peppermint smell. Neem seed oil is naturally rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin E making it a good hydrator and protector. Neem also carries an antibacterial compound making it ideal for acne prone/unbalanced skin. Rosehip has a high amount of minerals great for fighting acne like potassium and sulphur. But also carries vitamin A and C to help correct damage, brighten, and protect skin. If you’re looking for some help in the texture area, this sports Glycolic, Lactic, and Salicylic Acids to exfoliate gently.  

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I’ve always liked Ole’s exfoliating products as well, his invigorating night treatment was another one of my early favorites as a teenager. If you’re looking for a new lightweight daytime moisturizer and you have acne prone/oily/unbalanced skin this would be a great option. I would just recommend pairing at least one hydrator under this product as it is mainly lipid based moisture. Like this! or this

I’ve been liking the feeling of this. I’m also so happy to see some great new packaging on Ole’s products. They make the classic formulations look like they mean business. 

[REVIEW] Dr. Dennis Gross Firming Peptide Milk

The Dry Skin ‘Does it All’

Sometimes you want a product that’s corrective, but not drying. Moisturizing, but still a beneficial treatment. Dr. Dennis Gross’ Firming Peptide Milk is all that and a bag of chips.

This formula first starts off with my favorite Natural Moisturizing Factor; Squalene. NMFs are ingredients that are naturally occurring that can mimic our skin’s own moisturizing factor. Squalene specifically is also skin identical ingredient, meaning we can find it naturally occuring in our skin! It makes up ~12% of our skin’s sebum. But is considered to be superior for moisturizing not only just generally dry and very dry skin, but also for oily/unbalanced/acne prone skin. Next key ingredient down on the list is Tetrapeptide-21. Peptides are great repairing agents. Tetra 21 specifically is a state of the art peptide that can improve skin texture and the depth and size of wrinkles. Some believe it is actually the most effective peptide for anti-aging. Collagen Amino Acids, are present to help repair and moisturize.

 

One interesting ingredient note is Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate AND Retinol are both present. Retinol, a dermal exfoliator that helps correct signs of damage and aging by speeding up our skin cell regeneration. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate is what I owe all my dark spot correction and retexturization, it’s best described as ‘Retinol 2.0′. It’s a trans-ester retinoic acid that works similarly to Tretinoin. (generally referred to as prescription retinols. Retin-A, Curology formulates with it, etc) without any of the irritation that comes along with Tretinoin.

Besides squalene, sphingo and phoso lipids also help protect and moisturize. Saccharide Isomerate is another designer ingredient known by the name Pentavitin. It is a water binding agent to prevent water loss. This serum is unscented and leaves the skin feeling incredibly soft and just lightly moisturized.

Now if those ingredients weren’t enough to get you to Sephora ASAP to check it out… low on the list a fantastic penetration enhancer is found, Demethyl Isosorbide. For me, this ingredient is a sign of a great formulation. It’s generally found in prescription treatments to ensure well, absorption. But also to help prevent ingredients from crystallizing before absorbing.

Dr. Dennis Gross is a guilty pleasure. Their price point can be high (at times) ((like the peel pads, cmon)). Their packaging is pretty dull (BUT PACKAGED FOR EFFICACY!) But their formulations never cease to amaze me. 

 

Clarisonic vs Foreo: an Unbiased and Thorough Comparison

Lets just start with setting the background of my experiences of both:

I have owned a Clarisonic Mia 2 for over 5 years! I have owned a Foreo Luna Normal/Sensitive for a little over a year now.

I get asked at least on a weekly basis, which is ‘better’ Clarisonic or Foreo? Some people ask me coming from bad Clarisonic experiences if the Foreo is better. Some people ask me coming into the cleansing tool realm which one to get. Others just ask because they want to see if they should switch from one to the other.

But in reality, neither of them are better. Each of them have their own pros and cons when you’re comparing them. Since I have both, I use both! There’s obviously a lot they both do the same, but each has certain things it either does better, that are more customizable, or just slightly different from each other.

Let’s start with the Clarisonic. Now right off the bat there are some big(ger) differences between devices across the range. The retail range currently is: the Mia 1, 2, and Smart Profile and then also their new ‘Fit’ device.

Mia 1 has just a single ‘speed’ that is called ‘Universal’ it’s designed to work across most skin types.

Mia 2 also has the Universal speed, but also has a ‘Delicate’ speed which oscillates slower for a more gentle cleanse.

Smart Profile has a total of 4 speeds. The two from the Mia two as well as a ‘Makeup Removal’ speed that was also on the Mia 3 when it was sold, and a higher brush speed as well as a ‘TURBO’ button. The best way to describe that is it’s like the cold shot button on your blow dryer. There’s a few ‘smart’ features that allow the brush head to switch speeds when it comes time to delicate area cleansing. This is also the only clarisonic that can use the body and pedi brush heads as well.

Last, and newest is the Fit which offers two cleansing ‘settings’ and when I questioned a clarisonic representative on the difference I was told the settings are kind of a mesh in between the speeds so they are just called the ‘Delicate’ and ‘PowerCleanse’ settings.

I am comparing from a Mia 2, which I got back in 2012, that one my sister currently has but it’s still working! When I bought it, it was $129 they’ve since bumped the price (twice) to $169.

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One point I like to note about Clarisonic devices is their patents. There are a few patents that really set them apart. These brush heads are a lot different than the 360 rotating devices you see from other brands. Those are essentially destructive to skin. No matter how much your friend who gets $10 when they refer you to buy one tries to convince you they are not, they are. Even Clarisonics can be destructive if used improperly (i.e applying pressure when cleansing, using too harsh of a brush head) A big note Clarisonic wants you to know about their devices is they are not exfoliating. “They remove the daily buildup of excess skin cells” I mean it sounds legit but that also sounds kinda like exfoliating to me, boss. While I think it’s important to note that is may still be potentially exfoliating, if used properly it’s safe for 1-2x daily use. As there are many safe gentle daily exfoliators out there!

Brush heads also make a huge difference. I have had a few people tell me they’ve used a clarisonic in the past and still have it, but stopped using it because it’s exfoliating or because it got irritating after awhile but fall in love with it again because they switch to a brush head more suitable for their skin type. The brush heads listed from most gentle, to least: Cashmere (like obv not exfoliating), Radiance, Acne, Delicate, Sensitive, Alpha, Deep Pore. Most people with acne or oily skin immediately dive for the deep pore brush. I admit, guilty of this in 2012 and have either some short lived success, moderate success, or irritated skin. But the acne brush head is called that for a reason. It’s designed to not irritate inflamed breakouts as well as still provide slightly more resistance than the radiance brush head which is the most gentle regular bristled brush. Which on that note, go Clarisonic for now shipping devices with the radiance brush head as standard! I’ve always thought they should start people with a softer brush head than they were because the Normal, now known as Alpha, is pretty aggressive in my opinion.

The brush heads are one major point I like (but also hate) about my clarisonic. I can change my brush head to my needs. I have a sensitive brush head and a radiance brush head, I use my radiance brush head for regular daily cleansing, but if I want to bump it up some I find the sensitive brush head to be perfect. However, Clarisonic recommends replacing your brush head every 3 months. They say this isn’t for sanitary purposes, that if you thoroughly clean your brush head properly that every 3 months the bristles will be worn down and need replacing. This is a lot more apparent in the softer bristled brushes. They can even form knots deeper in the brush head and cause the patented motion of the bristles; flexing of the pore/flushing with fluids to decrease in efficacy. So this means I gotta shell out either $27 for a single or $44 for a twin pack.

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radiance brush head

 

(Sensitive brush head, this actually has more uses on it than the radiance! But the stiffer bristles hold up better. ) Battery life isn’t great however. You get just over 20 minutes of sonic cleansing before your device will need a very long recharge. Also, it requires a specific break in charging period to make sure the battery will work/last. This really sucks.

Now let’s talk about the Foreo Luna. Coming from a swedish design this thing is spunky looking. Instead of having a brush head. Foreo uses what is known as silicone touch points. Depending on which device you buy, these touch points will have a different shape, size and thickness. Some have alternating bristle patterns as well. Mine is the Normal/Sensitive type.

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Since it has the silicone tips instead of bristles they virtually never have to be replaced, but this also restricts you to the one brush type. But for many people with clarisonic’s, they prefer only one brush type.

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One cool thing about the Foreo devices is how many uses you can get out of a single charge. Over 450 cleansing and anti aging routines on a single charge is incredible. Also no break in period for your device. win/win

Foreo’s cleansing results are a bit different than the clarisonic’s in my opinion. While Foreo Luna’s have an ‘anti-aging’ mode that utilizes the back’s design to act as a firming facial massage. The same effect is supposedly the same when cleansing with a clarisonic brush. You hold the Luna device on areas of concern such as elevens and crows feet until the timer tells you to move on with a few pulses. It’s actual cleansing speeds are broken up into 8 speeds! Not saying these speeds are anymore gentle or more aggressive than the clarisonic’s 4. It’s nice to have a smoother grade right?

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One interesting note is, Foreo, whose device is definitely easier on the skin comparing to the Clarisonic with really any brush head except the most gentle few, states their device is exfoliating! Probably because they remove dead skin cells with the silicone tips/therefore exfoliating! Yes, it’s very very gentle exfoliating, some wouldn’t consider such as exfoliating just by feel, but it is!

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The tips of the foreo are relatively short (they have made them 20% longer in the Luna 2!) so they don’t provide as much movement as the bristles do. Nor are they oscillating rapidly like the Clarisonic brush head. Getting soaps to lather effectively can be slightly more difficult, but also you aren’t replacing that head in 3 months. (But you also lose the option of customized cleansing)

Lastly, let’s talk about cleansing of the two. For comparison purposes I’ll be using the same two cleansers on each. One will be an easy foaming cleanser. The other will be sulfate free/pH balanced/ difficult to get a nice lather going.

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We are starting with Tony Moly x Pokemon Pikachu Moisture Foaming Cleanser. This is a high foaming wash. You want to dispense a pea size amount of cleanser onto the foreo or by doting across the face. The Clarisonic brush has a convenient reservoir for you to dollop the cleanser into.

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Great lather from the Luna.

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Oodles of it from the Mia 2.

Then we have Skin Laundry Gentle Foaming Wash for our second test cleanser. This is a sulfate free, pH balanced gentle cleanser so we can expect lather to be more difficult to produce.

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*Mouthfart* the Luna’s bristles don’t do a great job at lathering this up. The Luna 2 in my expierence does do better, the tips are 20% longer, but still nothing like a brush. As we can see with how well the Mia 2 did with lathering up:

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I think by now I may have gotten the point across there is no one superior device. But some things people may prefer in one over the other. So ultimately, I prefer the value of the Luna but overall prefer ease of the cleanse and brush head customization from the Mia 2.

[REVIEW] Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

I have a bad habit of moving directly on to another moisturizer after finishing (or growing tired) of my current one. But Sunday Riley has made the FIRST moisturizer I had to come back for more of. 

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Tidal claims to be hydrating and brightening. It hydrating with 2 forms of Hyaluronic Acid, a low molecular weight HA to penetrate deeply and hydrate over time, as well as your regular HMW-HA to give surface hydration. You find Jojoba Esters as the seconds ingredient providing moisture very similar to human sebum without feeling like an oil or heavy butter. So we know with this moisturizer we are getting both some hydration and also some moisture (without the weight!) 

Tidal’s brightening effects I feel like are actually a bit understated. Papain, or papaya enzymes help lightly exfoliate, which in my use have helped cut down how frequently I exfoliate noticeably. 1% Alpha-Arbutin is the power ingredient however, which is up to 20x more effective than Beta-Arbutin or commonly known as just ‘Arbutin’. While Arbutin is a natural ingredient (you can find it in Bearberry extract) Alpha-Arbutin is a biosynthetic powder that is manufactured and MUCH more expensive than it’s Beta brother. What is arbutin? It is a brightening ingredient that is related to hydroquinone but is much less harsh and doesn’t have nearly as many safety risks included. Another point to note is the cool use of papaya enzymes, generally we see them in powder washes like Tosowoong’s (Review here!) or AMOREPACIFIC’s enzyme peel. Some have concerns of these washes not actually exfoliating much, if at all because the enzymes are not left on long enough/ are not strong enough. Since the enzymes are being left on they have a chance to exfoliate to visibly smooth and retexturize over the course of a few uses. 

This is my second jar now of this gel-cream. It has a subtle floral/earthy scent with zero added fragrance and a beautiful light teal color with a subtle iridescence. Tidal isn’t you’re average hydrating moisturizer, it’s actually a very active treatment as well. I recommend this for clients who often times want an all-in-one moisturizer, but they actually want it to show results. 

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I don’t pick favorites, but if I were to this may be it. No complaints here, man. 

[REVIEW] Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen serum

Vitamin C & Niacinamide: a Potential Love Story

There’s always a new fancy type of vitamin C that’ll gain buzz for a few months. Sunday Riley is currently touting THD or Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate in their C.E.O line, Korres has ‘Super C’ or Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, some brands prefer the tried and true L-Ascorbic or pure form of vitamin C. But Dr. Dennis Gross has recently launched his newest vitamin C serum focused on brightening skin tone and supporting collagen production sporting 3-0-C, or Ethyl Ascorbic Acid.

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Vitamin C is a great ingredient. Arguably one of the most anti-aging non invasive ingredients you can slather on. But being an active ingredient it does have a vitamin it doesn’t like to mingle with. Niacinamide! (or vitamin B3) All forms of vitamin C eventually metabolize into L-Ascorbic Acid, the raw form of vitamin C. Some take longer, but it’s generally deemed safe to use Niacinamide and other forms other than L-AA together. When Niacinamide and L-AA mix they can potentially form what is known as a ‘1:1 complex’ and render each other useless. No vitamin C, no Niacinamide. This is still a grey area for cosmetics and cosmetic formulators. Some believe you should have the two used at separate times (such as morning and night). When mixed they produce a substance called nicotonic acid which can cause skin flushing, and irritation. However it’s said it could be as, or more effective than Niacinamide on it’s own. This usually is not the case again, with forms of vitamin C other than L-AA. Some brands, like Dr. Dennis Gross are using them side by side. If you’re interested in all of the interactions with vitamin c and niacinamide I would recommend checking out this post by KindOfStephen it’s super informative, and he goes over the in’s and out’s of it and what nicotinic acid is.

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3-0-C has a small list of benefits it touts over other forms of vitamin C. The biggest one is that it is both oil and water soluble, allowing for maximum absorption. It shows great improvement in hyperpigmentation/dark spots by inhibiting Tyrosinase activity therefore slowing down Melanin synthesis. It’s also a great antioxidant and is shown to be very stable in formulations. To read more aout 3-0-C this is a relatively easy to understand study on it check it out here.

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One of my biggest complaints about vitamin C serums is the consistency. SO MANY are tacky, or leave a less than desirable feeling. While I unfortunately can’t tell you this could be an exception, it still feels a little like a sticky vitamin C serum. It isn’t nearly as tacky as say, OST 20, but not great. No weird smells, or gimmicks just a quick absorbing well formulated vitamin C.

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To make sure you’re getting more than just your anti-aging/brightening effects with the Niacinamide and vitamin C team, you can also find Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) a lesser known Skin Identical ingredient (something found naturally occurring in our skin) that inhibits oxidation. Hexylresorcinol, a UV protectant and potentially a skin brightening ingredient. Lastly to note, Collagen amino acids, a favorite of mine to provide moisture and building blocks for collagen production.

 

[REVIEW] Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream

After much anticipation and great experiences with his VIZ-1000 serum (now known as the Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum) Peter Thomas Roth launches his first hydration line, following with many other brands preparing for summer/ Sephora’s hydration skin care animation.

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If you aren’t familiar with Peter Thomas Roth, their products are no-nonsense and straightforward. The Water Drench Cloud Cream follows this theme. It is fragrance and oil free and relies on skin identical ingredients (or ingredients that are found naturally present in our skin/replenish those substances)

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Our skin relies on both water and lipids. So PTR sneaks around the more-often-than-not-uneducated scare of products containing oil by using Ceramides EOP, EOS, AP, NS, Cholesterol, and Capooryl Sphingosine to deliver these lipids without using a potentially pore clogging oil or substance. We produce ceramides natural and we find them lubricating our skin cells. Cholesterol is used as a water binding ingredient as well as Capoorly Sphingosine or known by the brand name “Sphingokine NP” by the brand Evonik. Evonik has a publication posted about it’s use with the listed ceramides and cholesterol showing improvements in Transepidermal Water Loss.

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While I am obviously very interested in the moisture content of this moisturizer it’s key ingredients are actually it’s 3 weights of hyaluronic acid to provide instant surface hydration (large), and medium and low weight hyaluronics to provide deep, long lasting hydration. There are also 5 types of saccharomyces ferment derived from minerals! But I would like to point out that the 30% Hyaluronic Acid complex is most likely not 30% Hyaluronic Acid. I can’t tell you how many store employees I’ve heard say this. Adding that word ‘complex’ means you can include it’s water content because hey, Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant that draws water in. Therefore sure, it’s a part of the complex. We see an obvious example in the Water Drench Serum, if it has 75% HA Complex why is water the first ingredient? That shouldn’t be possible if the product is a whopping 75% HA. (Also that much would have a thick jelly consistency)

The consistency is light but leaves your skin feeling cool and primed. There’s no fragrance which makes this great for sensitive noses and easily irritated skin. This combination of ceramides and hyaluronic acid is the perfect team to battling oil imbalances. I give this product a 9/10 my only complaint is I wish the ingredients rated lower on safety scales, but there’s nothing too scary listed.

Happy Bath Body Wash Showdown: Lessons in pH

Happy Bath is a brand under the king AmorePacific umbrella of brands. It’s their take of a simplistic and fun bath and body brand. Over the past 6 months I’ve been using exclusively Happy Bath soaps. You may have read my post of their beer soap which is still one of my favorites but today I’m here to talk about two of their core products!

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They may look similar but they are C O M P L E T E L Y different washes!

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Have you ever used a foaming cleanser that when mixed with water it gives you a lather that just. wont. quit? (Some examples I’ve used are: any Shiseido foaming cleanser, Nature Republic Fresh Herb foaming cleansers, CosRx Salicylic Exfoliating Cleanser.) Happy Bath’s Perfect Soap is essentially this style face wash for your body. This style of body wash is known by a few different names: whip soap, perfect whip, marshmallow soap, marshmallow whip, the list goes on. But the texture is like a marshmallow, soft and creamy. Also like a marshmallow though, these soaps aren’t the best idea for frequent use (or consumption)

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The pH of these have a tendency to be on higher side, if the pH was lower we probably wouldn’t get all this cool looking whip. This is the key difference of this cleanser. It’s cleansing power! pH is a key note because it’s higher pH it’s going to be tougher on grease buildup and oils. Our skin generally sits at about 5.5 This cleanser is relatively (but not chronically!) alkaline at a pH of ~8.

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But this means we are also stripping more of our natural moisture. I actually conditionally love this part about it, I ‘whip’ this soap out when I’m feeling extra grimy. (sorry) But truly, I love this stuff. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but if you need that deeper clean or just like that ‘clean’ feeling. Extracts to note are Soapwort. It gives it a great clean/fresh laundry scent and is actually one of the original plants saponins were extracted from! It’s pretty cool, you can take soapwort leaves, stems and roots and let them soak in water and you whala! you have a mild household cleanser. Lather and everything. Side note: it really does pair well with the 24H Shea Moisture body lotion.

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Then we got this dude. Happy Bath Relaxing Lavender Body Wash. This is a different vibe than the perfect soap. This body wash uses a combo of Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALS) along with Cocamidopropyl Betaine. These ingredients shed light on Happy Bath still being a lower priced brand. While being much more gentle than Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate these aren’t the most ideal ingredients. I am not an anti SLS person, I am an anti-high-pH person.

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Meaning I care more about the stripping power of the cleanser, not the deemed safe ingredients. Which is why the Perfect Soap leaves my skin feeling drier and stripped compared to this lil guy. Infused with lavender and rose it leaves you and your bathroom smelling like lavender fields for hours.

Perfect Soap – High Foam – High pH ~8 

Body Wash – Low Bubble – Low(er) pH 6

(neutral pH is 7, skin is 4.5~5.5)