[REVIEW] AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Toner: the Next Generation Toner

WOW MY FIRST AMOREPACIFIC REVIEW WOW!

I’ve sold their products for years, I’ve used their products for even longer. But I am just now writing about ‘mother’. Amore isn’t just a brand, they are a cosmetics conglomerate of over 30 brands. They make some of the world’s favorite brands and most people are unsuspecting of such. Brands like Laneige, Mamonde, IOPE, Hera, Sulwhasoo, and Happy Bath, the list goes on (in all price ranges).

AMOREPACIFIC is the cream of the crop. With products that have price points that compete with ultra luxe wastes of money like La Prairie and 111Skin. (Of course there are exceptions. However, no skincare product will compete with procedures, put your $600 towards microneedling or something other than a bottle of 50% water) They are to be considered the pinnacle of Amore’s R&D. Most products don’t wander into the $200< mark unless they are apart of the ‘Time Renewal’ collection. The super super super #1. Sh*ts like $450 for green tea and bamboo, man.

The Treatment Toner is part of the basics so while it does take a blow to your wallet, nothing like above. While in many Korean skincare brands we’d expect to see essences somewhere in the product lineup. However, unlike the rest of the AMORE group brands, there’s not a single essence to be found. (until like a month ago, no joke it’s the Vintage Single Extract Essence, and yes I need it, and no I can’t ever afford it and the part that kills me is it’s technically a First Treatment Essence based with 100-day fermented green tea…. NO YOU’RE CRYING.) But in a normal Amore routine, Treatment Toner is your essence. But it’s still also your toner. It’s both. Instead of being just pH restoring and balancing like toner, or just a hydration step like essence this product does the job of both. Pretty well too!

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In typical Amore fashion, water is not the first ingredient. Instead they use Ginseng extract as the base. Before you close this tab and run to your nearest Amore reseller.. Calling the first ingredient ginseng doesn’t mean this product is filled to the brim with it. It’s still a water. & the word ‘extract’ can be stretched. Like in cooking, we call it, lets say “whatever” extract, but with propylene glycol and water added. But it’s still 100% “whatever” extract. So in a product we could list that as “whatever extract”. But nonetheless, something you can count on in this ingredient is the quality.

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Other ingredients to should note: Hyaluronic Acid(hydrator), Korean Red Pine extract (antioxidant powerhouse), Green Tea (also antioxidants), Theanine (green tea component), Ginger, Bamboo sap(hydrator), Water Lily (astringent), and last but not least Licorice Root(anti-inflammatory).

It’s great at calming my irritated skin down after exfoliating, replenishing moisture and pH. I also know it’s giving me a solid foundation to a great routine.

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Where does this toner go wrong though? Fragrance and unnecessary pigment. Why does it have to be pink? ((Attract the ‘US market’ client)) Red 33 and CI 15985 are what give this product it’s pale pink tint, not ginseng unfortunately.. The fragrance is definitely artificial. It’s not the best scent, but definitely not bad! It is not a herbal/natural smelling wonderland like Sulwhasoo products, it’s just a ‘good scent’.((Attract the ‘US market’ client)) I can smell it for step or two afterwards even with those products on top, but then it seems to go away.

Where this toner goes right all the way, is it’s texture. It’s as light as water but feels as hydrating as an essence with absolutely no residue. I can’t imagine someone not caring for it.

Find this toner at your local AMOREPACIFIC store or retailer for $50USD

Seattle Asian Beauty Shopping (Locations & More!)

When I moved here from the Bay Area, I had no expectations for any asian beauty market. Once I got my feet in the water, I realized there wasn’t really much in the realm of AB. Because of this it’s a dream of mine to open a skincare store here in Seattle, that focuses on bringing curated japanese, korean, and indie/innovative brands. There are officially (as of me writing this, June 2017) ZERO standalone Asian Beauty stores in Seattle and the surrounding area.  Like seriously, if you know of an investor in the area ~~hit cha boy up~~. (Probably not the most effective phrase to hook an investor)

Luckily, there are a few places that carry Korean and Japanese cosmetics! But what you’ll find here is extremely limited to the assortment you can find south of Washington. Portland to San Diego is what I like to consider the “American Asian Beauty Belt” At least over here on the West Coast. I can’t really speak much to the east coast selection. Especially in Southern California, AB shopping can literally be easier and more convenient than going to a big cosmetics store. (& you can walk out with a bag of products rather than one mediocre overpriced moisturizer from Sephora)

Here in the Seattle area, since nothing is standalone (or not just a cosmetic store) you see a lot of the same products. Not to say this doesn’t happen else where with AB (because it happens everywhere!) But if you’re near one, you probably won’t need to go to TOO many more to feel all your options out. Also, you won’t see as big of a gap in price ranges too, which I actually appreciate.

Uwajimaya (International District, Seattle, WA) 

This is definitely the most well known place to get your Asian Beauty fix. I live  walking distance from here too and do most of my grocery shopping here, so… Yeah I literally can’t grocery shop without being EXTREMELY TEMPTED.

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Here you’ll find debatably the largest selection of stuff. Doesn’t mean it’s the best price, doesn’t mean they have a good selection, it’s just a lot of stuff with not a ton of shelf organization in most places. They do have a larger hair and body product selection however, compared to some!

Brands worth mentioning: PureSmile(JP), LuLuLun(JP), My Beauty Diary(TW), Kikumasamune(JP), Loshi(JP), Naive(JP), Hada Labo(JP), Sana(JP) Kosé(JP), Bioré(JP), Shiseido(JP) [drug store & a counter w/ Cle De Peau]
‘Exclusives’: Well, I was able to find a LuLuLun gift set here that wasn’t available at any other store.
Overall: Not my favorite store to shop in, but their prices are spot on. They make a great place to start though, they have all the well known brands.

HMart (University District, Seattle, WA) NEW!

HOLY SH*T THIS PLACE IS INCREDIBLE!?

I took a trip here today actually to check it out. It’s been only open for a couple of weeks. When I walked up to the glistening white building on the Ave, I was shocked to see how tiny it was! But for the area, I’d say it’s probably the biggest it could be. BUT. They. Have. A. ROOM. of. SKINCARE. Not an Isle. Not a section. Like 25% of the store is dedicated to skincare. Also, there are a lot of featured brands unique to this location like Dr. Jart+, IPKN, and others. But I can definitely see why. This place is in University District. Where you have people my age (not at my skin education level, of course) coming in for a bottle of Soju, korean snacks, and some sheet masks for a kick ass friday night. At least that’s what I HOPE people are going for. (I mean the entire upstairs section is snacks/alcohol/skincare/household items…) Because if I actually had friends, you know that’d be my go-to night.

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With an entire section of Elizavecca! All at retail prices, note. Boxes (and boxes) of Jayjun, Oozoo, PapaRecipe, and MediHeal. Not your regular HMart selection, but a very wise selection. I couldn’t actually find the regular hoard of Biore, Hada, and Kose products most of the stores all carry.

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I didn’t get any photos of it.. but they have a nice selection of Korean household products too.

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Brands worth mentioning: Jayjun(KR), Oozoo(KR), PapaRecipe(KR), MediHeal(KR), IPKN(KR), Dr. Jart+(KR), Dewpiel(KR), Saturday Skin(KR) Dong Sung Pharm.(KR) (most well known products are their a.c.care line with snail and bee venom), Charmzone(KR)
‘Exclusives’: Most of these brands are going to only be found here in the state (probably).
Overall: Well, let’s just say this section is under construction until I finish digging. My one trip, was a no-buy even though I wanted it to be a haul. There’s a great selection of masks, and a unique selection of other products. I do wish there were more Japanese sheet masks, and more products than mainly sheet masks.

HMart (Lynnwood, WA)

MY BABY, MY LOVE, GETS SECTIONS

Out in Lynnwood there’s a huge HMart! Get your big bags of rice, wholesale pickled daikon, and really high quality, affordable produce. But as far as cosmetics goes, it can get complicated. Inside of HMart itself, you can find a slim selection of products. Like one Elizavecca product, there was Happy Bath(KR) for a minute, Nightingale(JP), Scinic(KR), and Mediental(KR). A few other things not really worth mentioning. But! Fear not. If you’re looking to do some serious Korean skincare shopping you have the two big dogs here AMORE & LG Care, and nowhere else as standalones. They sit on the outside mini ‘strip mall’ like C around the inside of HMart itself. If you wanted your regular Asian Market Japanese products, they do have a separate section kinda in the middle of everything?

AMOREPACIFIC | ARITAUM Store

I come here to get all the Amore products I possibly can. Ironically, you can’t buy actual AMOREPACIFIC products. Just their brands: Sulwhasoo, Aritaum, Ryo(Hair), Mamonde, Laneige, Hera, and IOPE. I always get great recommendations when I go in, it’s how I found my favorite emulsion! Don’t expect any higher or lower prices. Everything is spot on to resale price.

Note* There is another Aritaum location at Pal-Do World Market in Lakewood, WA.

O HUI | The Who  

Can’t lie, I’ve never been in here. It’s incredibly cramped and there’s always customers inside. Not their fault, I’ve also really had no overwhelming desire to go through their products quite yet. But I can speak some to their selection since you can see most of it from outside the store! From the outside I’ve spotted The History of Whoo(KR), O Hui(KR), Missha(KR), Tony Moly(KR), Oozoo(KR), and a couple indiscernible hangbangy lookin brands I’ve never heard/seen of before.

Overall: This is my personal go-to! It’s stock may not be what everyone is looking for. But I love supporting local businesses whenever I can, I have a soft spot for AMORE, and who doesn’t love getting all the free samples you could dream of when you spend a little bit of money? Last time I got an incredible 6pc Sulwhasoo deluxe travel kit! (each time before that I got a 3pc!). I also like the LG Care store carries more than just LG, unlike AMORE staying exclusive.

Asian Food Center (Seattle, WA)

Oh you. You bother me so much. But also appreciate you a lot too. The cosmetics are just a section in the front of the store towards the checkout. But what you will find is all the Japanese skincare (and MBD masks) you can dream of. Not as much makeup as Uwajimaya, but they definitely make up for it in how extensive the body and haircare is!

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Why does it bother me though? Well, if they have someone actually at customer service (the only place to checkout with cosmetics) they’re watching you like a hawk (happens in some places, not nearly as frequently or bad). To the point where I felt uncomfortable the first time I went in to get a feel for what they had. Also their stock doesn’t refresh really ever. They’ve been out of stock of Daisan CottonLabo CS Being cotton pads since March (it’s June), and they’re my favorite below the Shiseido pads 🙁 I’ve seen a ton of holes too, I don’t think they’ve been getting stock or SOMETHING. This may change, but for now they haven’t been worth the trip. However if you’re nearby or in the market for just Japanese products, here is a great place to go.

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They also have sales on masks box sets it seems like at random, but appreciated nonetheless!

While you’re here, you should stop at the Kiki Bakery (yup, named after the animated cat)

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bc buns

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post buns selfie

Overall: Eh, check it out if you can.

**My NOT Recommended**

These are places I wouldn’t really bother with unless there’s something specific at one of these places you want to see. Also big note. I LOVE supporting mom and pop skincare shops. I go to them whenever I possibly can and it sucks there aren’t many here. But places like the shops in the Lynnwood HMart are still privately owned with amazing people inside that work hard and deserve your $$ more than Sephora does.

Daiso (Seattle, WA) 

Most are familiar with Daiso, the well known “Japanese $1.50 store” as my family refers to it . This is the worst Daiso ever honestly. It’s very small, there’s no parking put reserved parking spots smack in front of the store, with very little. I only come here if I KNOW they’ll have it and I don’t want to drive to the the one North. I don’t think I’ve wanted to get anything here skincare related though except a horse fat hand cream.

Overall: No

Daiso (Roosevelt District,Seattle, WA)

Now this is a Daiso! Reminds me a lot of the ones I have back in the Bay Area. Spacious, empty travel bottles and cotton rounds galore! You can also find their infamous peel off mask here too. They have their own selection of cosmetics however fair warning, it’s all $1.50 for a reason. Check the cancer labels floating around the stores.. Yikes! However, I really enjoy their sheet mask packs and they don’t have anything in them I haven’t seen before, especially the CoQ10 ones!

Overall: If $1.50 is your thing! But i’d be wary and very selective.

Sephora

I recommend you DON’T do any KBeauty shopping here except squeeze them dry for samples if you need to. Dr. Jart+ is much cheaper at the new HMart, with a bigger selection! J.One products are $45-$50 instead of <$30 online. Beauty Water is $30 instead of $22. Belif is more LG Care, but IMO not worth the it’s US prices. If you need to, Bellevue will have the best selection, don’t bother in Seattle. Why spend more for no reason other than lining their pockets?

Urban Outfitters (Westlake , Seattle, WA)

Yeah they have overpriced Tony Moly and possibly some more overpriced Mizon or CosRx that’s been sitting for a year. Please don’t buy here like ever.

Ulta (Northgate Mall, Seattle, WA)

Well Ulta, I do have to say stepped their skincare game up with the leverage of affordable, effective KBeauty. Sort of. You can find brands like Goodall or Dr. G! If you’re in a KBeauty drought area, you may find something to quench your thirst here.

I hope this guide helps you navigate what Seattle has to offer for Asian Beauty. If I’m missing anything feel free to put it in the comments so I can add it! I hope one day I can bring a real Asian Beauty store to Seattle. But until then we can live with what’s around, right?

This is a post in progress for awhile! But I wanted to share the first version early! More pictures will hopefully come!

[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!

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)