[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 2/?]: Kikumasamune Sake Brewing Face Mask

Oh boy, I was excited for this segment when I first started it, now I’m not sure how I’m going to financially support this segment because I want to go to the grocery store every day to grab some more face masks LOL. 

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Today we have Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing Face Masks. They make this version and then also a ‘Moist’ version that contains placental protein, ceramide, and licorice root extract, I’m very intrigued but wanted to start with this simple and sexy ingredient list so I was more than happy bringing the white ones home instead of the adorable pinks ones that would match the new Moist lotion I got! (Review to come, actual products get way more testing time compared to sheet masks)

I couldn’t decide on Kose or Kiku, but i’m real tired of babies on the front of my packages Kose, talk to Loshi about it.

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Why did I pick these up? Kiku-Masamune’s lotions and emulsions are incredibly popular. The brand itself is very interesting, they are also a sake brewing company as well! Not in the same way SK-II was ‘discovered’ at a brewery, I mean they boast concentrating 1,800mL of sake ferment filtrate in every bottle from their OWN brewery that is still in business. Kikumasamune is a brewing company first, their skin care is just an extra blessing. 

This same sake ferment makes it way into these sheet masks as the 3rd ingredient without propylene glycol to be found and her less problematic brother butylene glycol is found very very low on the list and is actually the only /potential/ acne trigger. That’s almost unheard of. Especially in a world of sheet masks where the top 3 ingredients 9/10 times are water, butylene and propylene. 

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(this is NOT the moist version therefore the ingredients are incorrect, Oceana USA needs to get their shit together)

The fit of this mask is awful. Incredibly small all the way around, and since it’s a japanese daily mask style they’re drier than most sheet masks so they can ALSO have a hard time sticking. My daiso silicone mask is the only reason I can even try these masks to be frank. This size sheet mask is common in daily sheet masks, they aren’t really made for the mass market as some of the korean big names are. But if you have a silicone mask holder you shouldn’t run into issues with these (or really any other sheet mask)

(the uncut eye and nose holes are good signs of a cheap sheet mask that won’t fit well but of course YMMV)

Overall I was impressed with these, especially all the concentrated amino acids present (all those words ending in ‘sine’), something you normally see in a Peter Thomas Roth serum, not a $1 sheet mask. I can’t wait to try the moist version out, but I feel like my Horse Oil masks are too similar for me to go out of my way to purchase them right now.

They get a 8/10

No issues here except the fit.

(I may have thrown one off my face in rage because it wasn’t cooperating)

[REVIEW] Blithe Vital Treatment Essence – 5 Energy Roots

My ears perk when I hear ginseng mentioned. I love it internally and externally. So when I saw this Essence wasn’t ginseng reliant like many essences you can find but was still ~11% I was intrigued.

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I feel a lot of the times texture is something that improves with price. Have you ever felt AMOREPACIFIC moisturizers? They can make gels that feel like heaven and creams that melt like butter into your skin. You’ll find dimethicone on the ingredient list however, very low. You’ll also spot argan and olive oil to help provide some lipid nourishment and improve absorption. The 5 energy roots they’re talking about are Red Panax Ginseng, Grandiflorum Root Extract, Lanceolata Root Extract, Indian Lotus Leaf & Greater Burdock Root. These 5 work in perfect synergy to really make this essence stellar. 

Ginseng is top of the list and filled to the brim with all the good stuff vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. One unique thing about ginseng it it’s stimulating properties that give you a great instant glow. Also ginseng is what is known as an adaptogenic, in natural medicine these are substances that are known for having a normalization effect on the skin. Wether it be stress, fatigue, pollutants; ginseng is said to help exert the bad and normalize the good. 

Grandiflorum Root: Helps brighten and reduce skin sensitivity

Lanceolata Root also reduces skin sensitivity, and also said to help speed up wound healing and promote skin cell turnover. 

Indian Lotus Leaf is full of vitamins C and B6 as well as minerals copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Great for fighting acne, congestion, and texture. 

Greater Burdock Root is another great anti inflammatory and antioxidant .

However I do want to note you can ‘overdue’ this essence too. When I layer two essences under this one they are a 96.5% Galactomyces FTE that’s water consistency, then Benton Snail Bee essence that absorbs completely, THEN this beaut. No other order would has worked better so far. I’ve also had CosRx Whitening Power Essence not play entirely well with it. I suspect this to do with it being slightly thicker and tackier compared to others. 

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dewyyy

Overall, I am loving this Essence. After sampling it for a few weeks I knew I had to try a bottle out for myself. It’s consistency is key. In this case the consistency of the essence itself. By itself or layered with two other essences I always feel my face can absorb/dry really well and I always feel refreshed without a doubt after using this essence. 

I give it 8/10 I wish it was just a tad bit thinner at times, and I really wish it didn’t have as many emulsifiers added (this kinda runs back to the thinner part but y’know). But I would DEF repurchase this, if I got it for the price I did again! 

What’s found in fortified bread, but also in skincare?

Vitamin B-3! Well specifically we’re talking about Niacinamide, like a lot of ‘actives’ in skincare are a form of a Vitamin (Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, Vitamin C we all know and love). Vitamin B3 is found present in all cells, like we’re literally made up of this stuff. It helps specifically with the cell reproduction and has incredible anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it effective for acne and can even show signs of improvement in cases of rosacea, keratosis pilaris, and psoriasis. But Niacinamide doesn’t quit with just helping 4 common skin conditions it’s also a great anti-ager as well as hydrator. With the increased skin cell turnover helping reveal brighter, healthier skin Niacinamide also helps stimulate production of ceramides, a lipid our skin produces to protect against aggressors and maintain moisture. So this is why it’s been a major skin care ingredient in Asian beauty for so long. It’s results can be great and it’s suitable for sensitive skin so it’s kinda a no brainer ingredient.

Some bomb products I personally love that contain effective amounts of Niacinamide:

Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Pack

This lil’ fella smells very very similar to LUSH’s Twilight Bath Bomb if you’ve ever had a chance to smell it. It’s key ingredients are Niacinamide and White Mulberry to deliver a bright glowy complexion in the mornin’. It’s also packed with Trehalose, Hyaluronic and Glycerin; all three powerful humectants to keep your skin pulling in humidity for serious hydration. 

(as you can see, I need to repurchase soon)

CosRx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence

While Galactomyces may be the power player in this product the assistance of Niacinamide really pushes this product into Holy Grail status. Read my full review of this here! 

J.One Hana Cream

This cream does it all and it was designed to! J.One is founded by famous Korean actress Jiwon Ha is a capsulated cream packed with macademia nut oil, ceramides, and other powerful moisturizers and hydrators while it works to firm, lift, (Peptides) brighten & smooth (Niacinamide, Salicylic acid) and protect (Fullerene, Centella, B5)

REVIEW: Benton Bestsellers MEMEBOX Set

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Price: $15!! (Due to the market this price fluxuates, I had a client try to purchase the set while being sold out it also said the price was now $17, still not bad at all)  Benton has now had a price increase on the Snail Bee products in most online resellers incl their online store launching w/ retail prices. So these products of this update (Oct 14 2016) are listed w/ the products title below. CrystalCoveBeauty.com is a reseller however who has it listed closer to the old pricing at $13.50 

Everything is full size, and everything is great.

Snail Bee High Content Essence ($20)

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This is my bby Snail Bee High Content Essence, I’ve used this product for about 6 months now and I can’t get enough. My skincare routine isn’t complete without it. It leaves an incredibly fresh sensation which I love. 

Ingredients wise, It’s jam packed full of ingredients while literally every single one is fantastic in its own way, but the two key ingredients are Snail Secretion and Bee Venom. The purpose of this line is to help heal any texture, underlying damage, hydrate, fight acne, then to top it off help brighten. 

Now the ingredients backing up those claims:

Texture/Damage: Snail Secretion, Oligopeptides, Willow Bark (natural form of BHA [Drano for your pores]) Bacillus Ferment (enzymatic exfoliation)

Acne: Snail Secretion, Bee Venom!, Willow Bark

Hydration: Snail Secretion, Oligopeptides, Aloe, Glycerin 

Brightening: Adenosine, Panthenol, Arbutin, Bacillus Ferment

From someone who’s as picky about skincare as I am, the person who rarely repurchases products, I will always always always have this in my cabinet.

Snail Bee High Content Lotion ($20) 

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The Snail Bee High Content Lotion is a new product for me. I actually really haven’t decided where/if I want it in my routine. The size of this is staggering, if you’re used to overpriced $100 1.7oz moisturizers. This is a whopping FIVE (5) F-I-V-E OZ. 

Now the ingredient content has quite a few repeat ingredients. If you read my essence masterpost we know this product being called ‘lotion’ is about as helpful as when clients tell me they’re looking for a “good cream” without providing ANY other details. This lotion is very close to an Emulsion. Shiseido is a brand we see a LOT of these. Essentially a very liquidy but still moisturizing product. A few ingredients to note that are different in here are: Hyaluronic Acid (while Snail Secretion naturally contains this) and Niacinamide (effective B-Vitamin that’s anti-wrinkle and brightening.) In the Benton line this is to be used under their Steam Cream which is a thicker cream. I too like to use it this way, either with Steam Cream (I LOVE it) or with another moisturizer, it is an extra step for most but in a lengthy routine (skip steps you don’t follow) this would be used as following

Cleanser(s) – Toner – Actives – First Treatment Essence – Essence – Serum – Lotion/Emulsion – Moisturizer – Sunscreen/Sleep Mask

Honest TT Mist ($11)

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It’s a tube spray! Very eco friendly I love it. Very simple product, a light spray you can use anytime, anywhere to help kill bacteria and hydrate, it can help reset makeup or is a great refresher if you’re feelin’ a little dry or tired. Key ingredients are tea tree and hyaluronic acid.  

[REVIEW] CosRx Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence: Skin Perfected Under $20

Okay this is KEY. This product has been my most effective treatment I’ve used to date. Also what’s neat about it is, it’s also one of the cheapest products I’ve ever purchased coming in just under $19 USD.

However the first ingredient is 95% of the product (it’s not a typo and it’s not water!) And it’s the saaaaame prized ingredient SK-II has dubbed ‘Pitera’. It’s known as Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate and it is a yeast ferment generally occurring in the sake making process. But instead of paying $205 USD for it from SK-II at 90% with 10% preservative why not try it for $19 at a 5% higher concentration and the added brightening effect and antioxidant boost of Niacinamide? This is the Cosrx Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence (it used to be called White Power Essence before LMAO oops)

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Here’s the OVERWHELMINGLY LONG AND SCARY INGREDIENT LIST:

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Niacinamide,Sodium Hyaluronate, Betaine, Panthenol, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Allantoin, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol, Adenosine

Yeah dude, that’s it. These are also EXTREMELY safe and ‘clean’ ingredients as well. Cosrx is a near perfect brand and that is a title I thought would virtually never exist. But if we look at the sub ingredients they’re things we’ve seeing carry great benefit before like Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid) are humectants to help absorption and hydration. Adenosine and Allantoin are conditioning as well.

The reason people love first treatment essences (what’s that? read my blog post about the different types here) formulated with Galactomyces is the increased skin cell turnover. We see all around improvement not just individualized results for just one concern like wrinkles or dark spots. We are essentially dealing with all types of damage our skin deals with from existing damage to preemptive protection! This ferment is naturally loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and NMF (natural moisture factors) all that work synergistically to improve skin as a whole.

A study was done by SK-II (read about it here) on 100 women over 10 years with ‘Pitera’ aka THE SAME INGREDIENT! and all the women showed improvement in their skin in one way or another and increased hydration across the board.

This essence is a little different than your regular FTE because of it’s consistency. Most, including SK-IIs are very watery, however this is just slightly more viscous but I prefer this as it helps application and speed of absorption. The results are incredible, especially paired with a powerful serum (remember increased cell turnover means more room for increased results!) and seriously would recommend it to everyone and anyone. Especially for it’s price point E V E R Y O N E can benefit from this essence.

AB SKINCARE 201: Essences

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What is an Essence? Essence is an ambiguous word. Like most names for things in skincare. A good example of this is how many products are called a ‘lotion’ we know (some of us may not and it’s very okay) that a lotion basically means any sort of topical product with a low viscosity. Ask Wikipedia she knows. But if we look at some different products that say lotion they can be complete opposites. Like SK-II’s Clear lotion is similar to a cleansing toner with a watery texture. Clinique’s oh-so famous Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion is a lightweight moisturizer. So before someone gets their panties in a bunch saying I am talking about some different types of products in this, well I am! But also take a step back from thinking there one way to do things and it has to be perfect. It’s a mindset I sometimes start to develop when researching products.

We’ll start with the DEFINITIVE points of an essence. Essence is usually your first step of treatment. (What about toner) Yes! Nowadays toner is usually a treatment step and could be considered an essence. It will provide a pre-moisturizing effect on the skin and help product absorption of whatever we are applying on top! Thats about as concrete Essences get.

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First Treatment Essence (or FTE) is usually a yeast dominate product. Some containing as much as 97% yeast ferment. These are also usually watery essences feeling a lot like toner. They usually have some sort of humectant ingredient as well to help the product actually adhere and soak in (remember our skin is naturally hydrophobic!). Why yeast? Yeast ferment is loaded with b-vitamins and as they are amazing with supporting cell function inside of the body they are also pretty fantastic at it on the skin as well! We see a promotion of skin cell turnover with yeast ferments so it can help in correcting many issues. This is a reason why they’re so popular in the skincare world. Kinda like how retinol can help with sun damage, acne scarring, acne, wrinkles, etc by helping our skin turn skin cells over faster.

My favorite has to be SK-II’s First Treatment Essence. It’s the first of the first. Containing 90% yeast ferment, this ferment was discovered by accident in a Sake brewery quite some time ago! It’s also what Cate Blanchett says she owes her skin’s perfect aging too! It’s been heard she’s scared flight attendance wearing SK-II’s Facial Treatment masks (containing a concentrated version of their FTE) on flights. (Which is a totally awesome idea if I wouldn’t get questioned and looked at funny on a regular flight). Even though other FTE have been shown to do similar if not the same because they come from similar yeast ferments like SK-IIs Pitera. That’s the name of the yeast ferment if you were wondering. But I do also enjoy MISSHA’s FTE as well! Containing 80% yeast 10% skin friendly ingredients like niacinamide for brightening, licorice root for soothing. You can find the whole list of them on MISSHA’s website. Most opt for something like MISSHA’s because it has other ingredients that are super helpful as well as it not costing $99 for 2.5oz up to $290 for their jumbo 11ozer. (The bottles above are the regular MISSHA size of FTE and SK-II’s 2.5oz, I also paid 36 dollars for MISSHA’s on sale and I wouldn’t own SK-II’s period if it wasn’t a gift.)

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Essence(?)

Majority of essences that do not fall under the FTE category have a gel consistency and all have different key ingredients for different concerns. My personal favorite is Maycoop’s Raw Sauce. With a high content of maple water and a nice watery gel consistency you’re skin feels super dewy and hydrated with this guy alone. Some will use it as a light moisturizer because of it’s amazing hydrating properties.

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Treatment Toner/Lotion

Most of these will fall somewhere in-between the feeling of what would be just called a plain old ‘essence’ and FTE. This name definitely has more consistencies than others because it’s a more common american name, and americans do whatever the hell they want. Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Infusion Treatment Toner is actually loaded with a yeast ferment as well as some other goodies like Polysaccharides to help with smoothing the skin and Hyaluronic acid to help soak and seal the product in. Kenzoki’s Melt-In Moisturizing Lotion is technically a gel moisturizer with very little hydration but I love it as a essence since its glycerin heavy, a humectant like hylauronic to help it soak in (and whatever we put on top!) 

Some things to remember when looking at purchasing an essence:

  • Don’t look at the type of product it describes it as, it can make it more confusing. Look for something that sounds like it would benefit your concerns and needs in your skincare!
  • No it’s not necessary! But can give you that boost you’ve been looking for!
  • Pat/lightly slap/press/knead into the skin. Products with a lighter consistency can need a little extra help getting into the skin. Clarins’ website is actually loaded with how to’s on applying products and they’re very accurate and similar to what I do at home! http://int.clarins.com/en/why-clarins-expertise-advice/application-methods.html