[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.


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.


Banilla co. Clean It Zeroimage

(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.


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.


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]

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)




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.


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.


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!


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.“


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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] 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.  


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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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!


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.


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.


Great lather from the Luna.


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.


*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:


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.

If you found this post helpful in your cleansing tool search, consider purchasing your device through one of my affiliate links!

Clarisonic Mia 1

Clarisonic Mia 2 

Clarisonic Fit

Foreo Luna

Foreo Luna 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. 


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)


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.


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.