[COMPARISON] HEIMISH All Clean Balm vs Banila Co. Clean It Zero! Classic Cleansing Balm

Two ‘cult favorites’. Banila Co.’s Clean It Zero! Cleansing Balm in Classic flavor is arguably the best selling cleaning balm there is. Amongst beauty accounts, it’s by far the one I see the most. Then Heimish’s All Clean Balm, while being slightly lesser known, has only brought good reviews to my eyes.

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Over the past year or so brands such as CosRx, Benton, NEOGEN, and Missha have all blown up into big boy brand status. When I was handing samples of Snail Bee Essence to clients and they had only a few retailers they could buy it from. Now I can send them to FOREVER 21 to pick a bottle up. Banila Co. Clean It Zero is a cleansing balm I’ve seen since I’ve first laid eyes on Asian Beauty products.

 

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(yeah this jar has seen hell)

Clean It Zero Classic features a very heavy fruity/generic fragrance. My jar came with a solid top and emollient bottom so I had to stir it together before using it. When stirred, it actually isn’t so much of a balm as it is a gel cream. Key ingredients include Vitamin C and Papaya however realistically they aren’t doing anything. Neither are the extracts listed lower down.

The first ingredient is Mineral Oil. Are you screaming in rage? If you are, well stop it. Mineral Oil often gets a bad wrap from greenwash blogs, it’s sad bc Mineral Oil doesn’t do nothin’ to nobody! Maybe not quite, like every ingredient your mileage may vary. But 9.5/10 times we steer away from it for no good reason other than we think it’s clogging our pores. Mineral Oil is an occlusive that helps prevent transepidermal water loss when applied and left on our skin. It’s comedogenicity rating is between a 1-3/5. It relies HEAVILY on the type of mineral oil too. The mineral oil viscosity of this CLEANSER will be much different than that of a well formulated MOISTURIZER that contains the same ingredient. I personally do not use moisturizers with mineral oil in them, It’s definitely not the most cosmetically elegant ingredient.

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In this case, mineral oil makes a kick ass deep oil cleanser. In general, it’s such a deep cleansing oil cleanser, it doesn’t come off with just water. LIKE IT’S REALLY HARD TO REMOVE THIS WITH JUST WATER. IT IS NOT A ONE STEP OPTIONAL CLEANSE. IM SERIOUS. The positives of this: Take the day OFFFF. Sunscreen, dirt, sebum, makeup, pollutants everything is getting trapped in this cleansing balm once it’s rubbed in. But you’re in a committed relationship once it hits skin. Make sure to get your foaming cleanser to remove the remnants. You don’t need anything strong or stripping. But you’ll want some sort of water based cleanser handy.

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Wiped clean and I still have some shine

What’s the deal? My best guess because I didn’t formulate this product is that there is SO MUCH Mineral oil and Cetyl Ethylhexanoate (a fatty alcohol mixture) and not enough of those PEG emulsifying agents. So this guy for me is not a favorite. Or a repurchase. I never need this much cleansing power. Realistically no one does unless you’re wearing a F U L L face of makeup everyday. Lashes and 24h foundation included. But then again most other oil balm cleansers can remove things just as well, residue or not.

Can I say it’s ‘bad’? No. Is it good? Eh. Is it practical? No.

Heimish All Clean Balm

imageHeimish All Clean Balm is fairly newer. It hasn’t been out since the dawn of the kbeauty invasion. I recently got this on a whim during a stylekorean.com sale. (A great place to do bulk or sale shopping!) Nothing was drawing me towards it other than it was $4.99 [Regular price: ~$18USD]
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All Clean Balm is free of parabens, fragrance, and pigment. They state it as ‘Hypoallergenic’ which nothing but a marketing term. It does not mean the product is less likely to cause irritation than the next. Why? The FDA doesn’t have a standard for it. So if you’re sensitive to any of the many essential oils that are listed in the product you should stay away.

I hate jar packaging so much. I could make an entire post on why I hate jar packaging because there’s different reasons for different products. Heimish has solved all my issues with cleansing balms being put into jars. (I mean what else can you put a balm into, it just suuuuucks)

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BEHOLD SPATULA HOLDER / AIR TIGHT LID

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As you melt the balm into your skin you immediately notice the aroma of essential oils. It’s actually quite a nice scent but is overwhelmingly ‘lavender-y’. It spreads easily and doesn’t need any time to warm up and melt.

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It emulsifies beautifully. I mean like, second to Tatcha One Step Camellia Oil Cleanser. Still not quite as milky. She’s still #1, but she’s also $48. Ingredients wise, there really aren’t any benefits. It’s based with Ethylhexyl Palmitate and Cetyl Ethylhexanoate instead of Banila’s Mineral Oil and Cetyl E. The PEG’s (what helps emulsify these balms) that are listed are also different. The combination of these two results in better emulsification and there’s nothing left behind. No dirt, no balm. Just clean skin. I’ve actually been liking this so much i’ve been using this as a morning cleanse alternative to a light pH balanced cleanser or miceller water when I have more time.

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Fresh, no shine

I’m blown away by the Heimish balm. It’s a cost effective alternative to the cost annoying Tatcha Cleansing Oil. I can use it day or night, with or without a second cleanse. I like the options. For me, Clean It Zero doesn’t have a place in my stash but it could have a spot in yours.

Find them here:

Heimish All Clean Balm (Cleansing Balm 120ml) $17.50
Banila Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser $15.00

[Review] Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Fluid: Emulsion Elegance

As spring arrives and I’m daydreaming about summer, we often look to switch up parts of our routine needing less moisture, and/or more hydration. Emulsions have to face the tightrope of consistency. If they’re too thick, what’s the point of another moisturizer? If they’re too thin, what’s the point of your essence? Emulsions provide us a silky smooth transition from your treatment or hydration steps (I dunno your routine or how you want to categorize, boss.) into your moisturizing step(s). Necessary? No. Beneficial? Ya. How? Let’s find out!

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Sulwhasoo is like a 3 Michelin Star restaurant, a complete sensorial experience. Maybe in different ways, you’re not rubbing foie gras on your face. (I think foie gras would be too blasè for a 3 star restaurant tbh) But there’s a lot more to a product than good ingredients. First is the scent, with a sultry pine/ginseng hanbang-y smell it’s true Sulwhasoo. Second is texture. Sulwhasoo hits it on the head as far as consistency goes. Third is how they process their naturals using the Poje Method. There are 5 different treatments that can be done to the ingredients. Honey treatment (I am so excited to write more about this in another Sulwhasoo post 😉 ) Alcohol Treatment, Germinating Treatment, Steam Treatment, and Salt Treatment. Some of these treatments (like the Honey Treatment) are specific to certain key ingredients in other lines. In this emulsion we see the Salt Treatment used.

“The Salt Treatment involves baking ingredients in salt. Sulwhasoo Snowise line uses Salt Treatment. First, salt is dissolved in water. Then, logs of mulberry tree which is known as a strong whitening agent, is completely soaked in that water and baked. Salt not only clarifies the body and purifies the blood, but it also fortifies the Yin energy and detoxifies inflammation to clarify and brighten skin.

The Salt Treatment enhanced the skin detoxification efficacy of the mulberry tree and improved the power of the active ingredients.“

-eng.amorepacific.co.kr 

Snowise utilizes White Ginseng instead of Red Ginseng. Which isn’t a different root, it refers to the untreated ginseng root which is pale in color compared to the vibrant red steamed ginseng roots. Because of this Sulwhasoo saves time and money on NOT using their precious red ginseng extract that undergoes the Poje style Steam Treatment. But have no fear, you’re still getting the same top notch ginseng. It just may not have gone through the michelin star experience yet. It needs about another $100 tacked onto the price (see: Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum) if we were looking for that type of concentration in a product.

Wandering the ingredient list, I was stoked to see it wasn’t based with any silicones or cleansing agents. Even more stoked to see Squalane as the third ingredient. Squalane is a lovely skin replenishing ingredient that mimics our own lipid content. It sounds dramatic, but the proof in how much I love this brand is in the holes Sulwhasoo has made in my wallet. I purchase Sulwhasoo products over other maybe potentially more ‘active’ for the whole experience. The way this emulsion absorbs is like no other, but also when I put it on in, take a deep breath in and get a whiff.. It’s like a shot of relaxation. That to me is worth every cent of the price difference.

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Under the hood the Snowise Fluid has a killer brightening complex. I can’t describe it better than the people who made it:  “Snowise Tri-White Complex includes White Ginseng Saponin, which prevents melanin generation; White Cloud Grass™, a potent defense against light and heat; and White Ginseng Polysaccharides, which minimize sallowness in the skin—all of which help strengthen and protect the skin.”

Okay maybe I can describe it better in some ways than they did.. Starting with the White Ginseng Saponin, this is a component of ginseng. L O A D E D with antioxidants and provide soothing and protecting effects. White Cloud Grass unfortunately, I could not find what this name might relate to…. So that they can describe better than me I guess. Then White Ginseng Polysaccharides, another component of ginseng that is. Polysaccharides, being a NMF (natural moisturizing factor) and antioxidant carrier, and making up 10-20% of the root, makes it a no brainer for the formula.

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Some ingredients Sulwhasoo was too modest to brag about are: Two types of Licorice Root Extract, powerful soothing agents I love to see anywhere and everywhere. Ginkgo Biloba, an anti inflammatory ingredient that helps increase circulation.

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Is she brighter than me? Well she’s covered in silver highlighter head-to-toe…

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Does it brighten? Well.. if you’re speaking about dark spot suppression, not as much. There are specialized dark spot correcting products within the Snowise line. However, the fluid I believe is designed to be more of a multifunctional emulsion / soothing, tone restoring, antioxidant hug.

Why didn’t I go with the popular Essential Balancing Emulsion, when I said I loved it in an IG post? After a short conversation with my Sulwhasoo savvy Ajumma in the Amore boutique, she mentioned the Snowise fluid is more moisturizing. But when I applied them both on the back of my hand I felt like the Snowise absorbed much quicker. I also liked the products high Squalane content, something the Balancing Emulsion lacked.

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One perk of emulsions are finely tuning the amount of lipids, or moisture your skin gets. I would never be able to wear just a gel moisturizer, unless I was in the TROPICS. Unfortunately, Seattle is not the tropics last time I checked. My skin wants at least a little bit of lipids. With it being spring time, my skins doing great with emulsion and gel moisturizer in the morning, and sticking to emulsion, cream, and sleeping pack at night. No face oils have been necessary, luckily.

Overall, Sulwhasoo did it again. I feel like I could pick anything up from them and probably find something to love about it. But this emulsion made me fall in love with it inside and out.

 

 

[REVIEW] Naruko 60 Actives Youth Activating Enhancer

Enhancers and Activators are quite an interesting skincare
category. I’m not even entirely convinced it’s a worthwhile product to use. By
complete unofficial definition, activators are products used before ANYTHING. I
mean like if you use a First Treatment Essence this would go even before
that!!! WOW! (See my skepticism of their worthwhileness?) They are supposed to help penetration and absorption
while providing some other mild benefits. However, this is formulated, feels, and even looks like a hydrating toner and can be used as such.

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Naruko’s 60 Actives Youth Activating whatever is one of two I’ve
thought to be worthy of testing. It being the cheaper of the two (Sulwhasoo’s
First Care Activating Serum was the ladder) I decided to give it a go after finding
little info except a rather helpful review from fiddysnails and this cosdna posting of the full ingredients.

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Naruko (this is pulled from their Malaysian website) touts 4 key factors of this enhancer. Hyaluronic Acid, vitamin C (in Ascorbyl Glucoside flavor), their ‘60 actives’ botanical blend, and Dimethyl Isosorbide. I don’t think the botanical blend has anything worth mentioning since the list is so lengthy it most likely does little to nothing. More on the nothing side.

Why do I get excited about Dimethyl Isosorbide? It’s because this and two other products (Dr. Dennis Gross Firming Peptide Milk & PTR 3% Retinoid) that use this ingredient absorb REALLY WELL! That’s really the purpose of this ingredient. It prevents ingredients from oxidizing, making that overwhelming list of extracts, and vitamin C safe for a while longer. It is listed higher than most of the ‘actives’ in this product and you can definitely tell by the slight oily texture.

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Its scent is also pretty nice. To me it’s ‘soapy rose’ but i’m sure that smell is more ideal than all of those extracts havin’ their own party.

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I rarely use this product at night as I have other actives I am using and waiting on, but I use this almost every morning. As a carrier of Ascorbyl Glucoside, I pair this with my vitamin C serum in the morning as my ‘actives’. The fresh cool feeling of hyaluronic acid and glycerin are usually welcomed as well as the relatively quick absorption without any type of residue. Just perfectly prepped. But is it prepped? Or is your youth activated? That’s none of my business.

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However, if you care about my business. I give this ‘enhancer’ a 6/10. It was also next to impossible to ship to america, I found it on ebay for an alright price but it’s nowhere to be found now.. It wasn’t my hopes and dreams of a product that’d make my face act like a literal sponge. But did it help product absorption? I think it did in the beginning steps, but over the course of the routine I can’t say I could feel a major difference.

Texture: 7/10 — a tad oily? but hydrating. Difficult is a good word.

Packaging: 5/10 — kinda weird, product builds up really easily in the cap and can get gross.

Scent: 8/10 — soapy rose… I think I love it ? But sometimes I’m not in the mood.

Performance: 6/10

Overall: 7/10

Mystery Grocery Store Masking [PART 3/?] : KAO Megurhythm Steam Hot Eye Mask

Warming eye masks have been a big buzz in ABeauty for a few months now. I feel bad that I’m just now writing a review on them because I’ve been FULLY enjoying them myself for about the same amount of time.

Warming eye masks are a bit of a different ‘skincare’ product, if you can even really classify them as a skincare product. There are no ingredients as they’re a dry eye mask that activates when you rip the package open and expose it to air. They were designed for pure relaxation while they do offer the benefit of depuffing and soothing irritation.

There’s a iron and moisture mixture inside of a patch inside of the eye mask that when exposed to air it produces steam. KAO claims the eye masks will produce heat for “10mins at 40º C”

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In real world usage, I get about 25-35 minutes of relaxing warmth on my eyes. But fair warning YMMV, I’ve had them last for a really really long time and I’ve also had them last about 10 minutes. But the general amount of time I’d say is riiiiight around a half hour of pure bliss.

I can’t really ‘prove’ a whole lot with these masks as there aren’t a ton of features. They are a product you should really just experience. But luckily, you can find packs of 5 or 14 in most asian markets that carry skincare. If not, amazon has them readily available some with prime shipping.

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They come in unscented, and 4 other scents. I’ve only tried the scented versions since they are for relaxation and I am a big believer that relaxation comes from the care of ALL senses.. But the smells may understandably be off putting for some. I’ve tried the lavender/sage and yuzu scented ones and really enjoyed the scent of both. But my favorite is Lavender. I think up next will be the rose but I definitely am going to try all of them. They’ve somehow found a way into my life (I think permanently…)

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I love whipping these out after a long day of work, if I have a headache, on a flight home, or even when I wake up! (Not every morning, but days off ya’know. I’m not that accomplished.) It is recommended to apply your eye products before using one as well as the steam will help with penetration/absorption!

You see why these are the buzz now, grab yourself a pack of 5 (shouldn’t cost more than $10, they were I believe $7.99 in store). take your relaxation game up a level.

LEADERS: My Hydrogel Fantasies

You’ve probably heard of them if you fancy Korean sheet masks. They are one of the leaders…………….(i’m sorry)  in my ABSOLUTE favorite style of sheet mask. The hydrogel.

If you have not heard of Leaders, they are a clinical level skincare brand founded by South Korea’s #1 university, Seoul National University. Damn. They started with clinics for facials and such, but moved into the skincare market when clients were asking for at home versions of their treatments. They are now also the #1 mask seller in the world.

But hey guess who hasn’t tried anything from them, ever. This guy! Until now!

I started with their 7 Wonders Caribbean Coconut Calming Mask Because their hydrogel is made of 100% fermented (yeah, you read that right) coconut water. So without any essence this mask is going to deliver amino acids, or skin building blocks. +1

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But the ingredient list is just as heavenly as the name.  Every key ingredient is promoting calmness. Including Witch Hazel, and Portulaca Oleracea. Witch Hazel is also great at decongesting as well without being an acne or ‘purge’ trigger. Another ingredient note is ‘Hottuynia Cordata’ or more commonly referred to as ‘Dokudami’ commercially. This ingredient is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. It has a long history of many uses. But topically, we also see it’s also antibacterial. You see Ceramide 3 for moisture, Licorice Root for soothing, and vitamins A C and E for conditioning.

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The fit is great. No issues sticking to my face or my stubtle! Hydrogel masks are designed to give a second skin level adhesion, this has no issues delivering. I’ve done other hydrogel masks that are just really slippery. The mask is sandwiched in between two protective sheets (I’ve had sheet masks made out of the material they protect the gels with…) I literally just spent $6 at my local Asian market for another hydrogel masks that was super thick and didn’t stick as all. I also didn’t feel like my skin could ‘breathe’ as it can with this one.

While you relax you can take in the very subtle scent and cooling sensation. I rarely want to keep a mask on as long as they last, but I let this mask dry completely out on my face before removing it.

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(seriously…. second skin)

Once removed, I wasn’t left with any residue or extreme tack. I felt ready to move on to the next steps in my routine without worrying about absorption.

After having such a good experience with these I’m reassured I can get them readily available as Ulta sells them in store and online! The hydrogel masks are a steal too at only $6, other bio-cellulose coconut gel masks I’ve used have ran upward of $8-$25!!!

Overall I give their hydrogels a 10/10, for their value, effect, and cosmetically pleasing formulas I never have to pay more than $10 for in a hydrogel. LEADERS, thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me share these with my readers; my unsatisfied craving for a good hydrogel has temporarily stopped.

But their sheet mask game doesn’t stop there. If you were looking for more practical/frequent sheet masks their Daily Wonders line offers some effective solutions in cotton sheet masks.

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I got to try Too Much Fun in the Sun, which I was super excited about. My skin dehydrates pretty rapidly out in the sun. This premium cotton mask is soaked with soothers such as Chamomile and Portulaca Oleracea. Hydrating with Hyaluronic and Glycerin. While slightly underwhelming when compared to the 7 Wonders sheet masks I got to experience they definitely make more practical options for everyday use but still ensuring effective LEADERS solutions.

The cotton sticks well and this mask also has a slight relaxing fragrance to it. There’s definitely a lot more essence but that also gives you more time with the mask. I got about 20 minutes with the hydrogel while I got over 30 minutes with this Daily Wonders masks. I give this cotton mask an 8/10 considering price and value.

LEADERS made me a believer in LEADERS

until next time!

[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.