[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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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] CosRx Overnight Nourishing Rice Mask

I hate waking up in the morning. Unless I get on some outstanding sleep the night before. But this sleep mask always got me feelin’ some type of way so I had to get up and write about it. 

image

Now the name is the key purpose of this mask, a sleeping mask; but you can also use it as a wash off mask but applying more, or as a cream by apply just a little less. For review purposes (but also personal purposes I guess) I’m using this solely as a sleeping mask. If you’ve never heard of a sleeping mask before I’ve made a post about them here

Okay but what did I wanna try THIS one?

Well I simply resonated with this part of the products advertisement so I thought it may be worth a go:

like seriously I DON’T need it anymore….

Let’s look at the ingredients: 

image

Oryza sativa (rice) extract (65%), butylene glycol, glycerin, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, betaine, niacinamide, dimethicone, 1,2-hexanediol, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, elaeis guineensis (palm) oil, guineensis (palm) kernel oil, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, cetearyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin, arginine, carbomer, allantoin, xanthan gum. 

Check out the CosDNA posting for more info on safety and acne triggers 

Also, if you wanna see the full obnoxious advertisement for this product from the brand, I posted it here!

nothing rates over a 2 which in my book is great. 

That’s a gorgeous amount of rice extract in here which is loaded with B vitamins to increase hydration and promote skin cell turn over but also other key components are skin loves like omega-6 (linolenic acid). But there’s not a ton of ingredients bolded because there aren’t a ton I’m head over heels about. But CosRx is very minimalist so there’s nothing in here that doesn’t need to be. 

However, I would like to see palm oil omitted because of it’s environmental impact. And those who worry about too much dimethicone, I haven’t ran into any issues with my problematic areas breaking out from this product. It most likely has a very small amount, especially due to rice extract being 65% before including butylene glycol and glycerin which also will take a decent amount of room up and it doesn’t really have any feeling reminiscent of it either. 

Most sleeping masks leave me feeling pretty ‘normal’ in the morning. Definitely not dry, but also not entirely moisturized either. Nothing out of the ordinary however this mask leaves you feeling just like how you did before you went to sleep. Dewy, hydrated and smooooooth. I’ve noticed with continued use of this mask I feel less and less inclined to wash my face in the morning. Usually it feels like a necessity. I need to get any dirt off and start rehydrating ASAP but with this guy, nope. I’ve just been running a quick miceller water over my face and feeling ready to go.

I haven’t noticed a lot of major results from this sleeping mask, however I don’t really expect to see a ton. I do love that I’ve been waking up still moisturized rather than feeling dry. And I love with a whopping 65% rice extract my skin’s clarity has really improved. 

I give this sleeping mask a 9.8/10 whaaaaaaaaat.

.2 marked off because I don’t think there’s a such thing as a perfect product. But if there was, this bad boy gets real close.

[REVIEW] Fresh Soy Face Cleansing Milk

The Cleanser Authority Returnsimage

Before I talk about this new cleansing milk I wanted to give the Seaberry Cleansing Oil a shoutout. MUAs already have their favorite cleansing oils, and let’s face it, this is a slightly expensive albeit, luxurious cleansing oil based with grape seed oil. It’s not very popular but it’s a goodie. I love natural oil based cleansing oils because they’re multitasking! Mineral Oil makes for a good cleansing oil when followed with a water based cleanser. But natural oils leave the skin soft and moisturized and in this case protected and nourished as well.

But onto the new goodness…

image

What it is: Versatile cleansing milk that can be used as a one step softening cleanse or as a makeup removing cleanse before a water based (Foaming) cleanser. Rich in soy amino acids to help support and protect collagen and elastin.

What I like about it: So, Fresh has a signature cucumber scent most people love. I do love it myself, every time I smell Soy Face Cleanser it brings a smile to my face. This cucumber scent is present, however it smells like the sunomono (japanese pickled cucumbers) my grandma would make for dinner with katsudon NGL. But I love it oddly enough. A nice change from the regular ‘cucumber’. I also love how ******* soft my skin is after cleansing with it. I’ve tried this in the morning with no double cleanse a few times now and I’m always so shocked with how soft my skin is left afterwards.

(Brow Wiz in Taupe being removed by Seaberry Oil (left) and Soy Face Milk (right) 

What I don’t like about it: It’s makeup removing power isn’t quite as strong as I would hope for. This formula’s consistency really reminded me of the discontinued Soy Face Eye Makeup Remover (and I feel like this is SFEMR 2.0) but it didn’t seem to REALLY break down those heavy pigments quite as quickly. It still thoroughly removed but required more emulsifying than the oil did in comparison. But I feel like this is part of the trade off for having a milk vs oil. It’s easier to use but just ever so slightly less cleansing.

I give it a 7/10 my favorite cleansing milk to date, but I wish it broke down makeup with a little less work.

[REVIEW] Joseon Dynasty Cream

The Multi Functional Hanbang Cream

Here is a gummy cream moisturizer I’ve seen talked about for literally years but it wasn’t until the ‘discontinue’ scare that I finally tried it. From what I have gathered from many reddit posts and searching was that the cream was discontinued and memebox said they could not get the manufacturer to make anymore. But then, somehow magically they came back! Some people said this was just a last run, but then my like new favorite website find crystalcovebeauty.com stated in an instagram post they “have not heard that this is a last run production or that the cream has been discontinued.” So great news!

joseon dynasty cream

I love this packaging, unfortunately my box came damaged so I cannot share a great photo of it.

What it is: gel-cream-like Hanbang (korean natural medicine) multifunctional moisturizer. To help break down the benefits this cream delivers here are a few of them broken down:

Niacinamide(conditioning, balance oil:water, brightening), Hyaluronic Acid(humectant), Centella Asiatica Extract(soothing, good for acne, rosacea, eczema), Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil(Sea Buckthorn)(anti-aging/moisturizing antioxidant and omega rich), Human Oligopeptide-1(EpidermicGrowthFactor)(conditioning/restoring), Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil(Argan Oil), Ceramide 3(moisturizing, protective), Trehalose(Hydrating), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract(smoothing), Honey Extract(moisturizing, antibacterial), Panax Ginseng Root Extract(conditioning, hydrating, stimulating)

*bolded ingredients are some of my favorite key ingredients I find in products.

What I don’t like about it: There are a few acne triggers you can see in the CosDNA posting and I do believe it is the culprit for a few weeks of breakouts on my forehead which is very acne prone. However it was fine on the rest of my face, including other acne prone areas but my forehead has always proven to be the hardest to please. It is also ever so slightly tacky, In my routine this moisturizer isn’t the last step before SPF or BB Cream(day) or Sleeping Pack(night) so this feeling goes away for me.

What I like about it: For starters the packaging is pretty damn beautiful. The scent isn’t overpowering but it is a pleasant scent. I feel like my skin has been a little bit more luminous since starting this moisturizer and I get this nice temporary immediate glow too which I’m sure is from the higher Niacinamide content (it’s the 3rd ingredient after all).

UPDATE 1/27/17: I’ve now almost finished the entire jar. I’ve used the cream almost every day and every night. There’s something about the cream that keeps me coming back. Maybe it’s the gorgeous scent, or packaging. It could be how cool and refreshed my skin feels after. Or it may be I get thinking about all those great ingredients and feel like slathering it on. Anyways.

[REVIEW] TONY MOLY x POKEMON Foaming Cleansers

I impatiently waited for these to ship from Korea and I’ve now FINALLY used them enough to make a decent review on them. If I had an expendable budget I would have gotten all of them, but today we have:

Pikachu Moisture Foaming Cleanser

What about it: This is a more simple foaming cleanser designed to try to maintain your skin’s natural moisture levels. The description on the back states: 

“This moisture foam cleanser effectively removes impurities from skin with moisturizing foam containing olive leaf extract” 

and that’s pretty much it! If you have very dry skin I would not recommend this cleanser. Unfortunately the pH of the cleanser is still relatively stripping. But in comparison to the Pore cleanser it leaves the skin soft and just lightly moisturized still. The scent is described as ‘vanilla’ and it 100% in all honesty doesn’t even slightly smell like vanilla. It doesn’t foam as well as some other cleansers actually and it doesn’t really foam much more when rubbing it either. I’ve used it a few times with my clarisonic and it does foam up much more!

Overall I give it a 6/10 and most of these points are for it being Pikachu.

Bulbasaur Pore Foaming Cleanser

What about it: Now this guy actually is using two key ingredients, Albumin and Purslane! Albumn is a protein from egg white and is said it helps tighten pores and condition skin while Purslane (portulaca oleracea) is very soothing and helps skin retain moisture. This cleanser scent is described as ‘green tea’ while I can kinda get a green tea scent from it, it smells like a new hotel lobby… Idk… like really specifically if you’ve ever been to an ‘Aloft’ hotel. That’s what it smells like. You’re welcome. 

Overall it gets a 6/10 too, these cleansers are more alike than they are different. But you can definitely feel a difference which I appreciate. When it comes to some brand’s cleansers (shiseido is the first that comes to mind) their cleansers all feel exactly the same no matter what type of skin it’s for and ya know, that’s a little concerning. 

Would I recommend them to a friend? I wouldn’t tell them to go out of their way for it, but if you have a itch for pokemon products, they are definitely not bad choices!

Sunscreen 201

Yeah it’s sunscreen 201 not 101 because I’m givin’ you to some higher sunscreen knowledge.

First let’s talk about the types of damage our skin faces from the sun. They say that sun damage is the #1 cause of age on the skin. Even ahead of free-radical (pollution) damage. UV rays are the culprits for this, there are 3 different types of UV rays:

UV(A)ging

UV(B)urning

UV©rispy [I made that one up but you’ll see why]

image

(credit: coola.com) (they make some bomb sunscreens too btw)

As we can see UVA rays penetrate the deepest, because of this these rays are the ones responsible for what is known as photo-damage. Photo-damage can come in the form of: dark spots, uneven skin tone, dehydrated skin; and worst of all, accelerated aging. These are actually the most prominent rays making up 95% of radiation from the sun that penetrates the OZone layer. These are also emitted from traditional indoor lighting sources too. (Yeah your lamp might be aging you I’m not even shitting you) LED lighting is said to produce no harmful amount of these rays. (HOWEVER ENOUGH TO ATTRACT MOTHS TO THE LIGHT STILL THANKS GUYS)

image

(This is Bill McElligot, a truck driver for over 30 yrs showing increased UVA damage, car windows block 100% UVB rays but don’t do much when it comes to the sleeper UV rays)

UVB rays don’t always reach the epidermis, and frankly we don’t want them reaching us at all. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, pink arms, and all the unpleasant sensations that come along with “too much sun”

Then we have UVC rays, which I will explain even though it’s irrelevant to most of the world. These are the strongest, most intense rays from the sun, and they actually cannot penetrate the OZone layer. However, since we’ve caused a couple holes in the southern hemisphere there are areas which you can be exposed to these rays. But hypothetically speaking, any prolonged exposure to UVC rays will cause much more damage than the other two. 

Now we know what sun damage is and what causes it, lets talk about SPF. Spf stand for Sun Protection Factor and this is the measuring system used to tell us how well the sunscreen can protect against UVB rays. Specifically speaking, SPF will tell you how much longer before you would start to burn. SPF 20 is 20 times longer. 35 is 35 times longer. But this is frankly a useless way to look at SPF in my opinion since reapplication, formula, percentage, quality, etc are all factors. SPF can range from 10 all the way to ‘50+’. SPF is also not a linear rating system so SPF 20 isn’t double the protection of SPF 10. Here’s a chart of protection: 

SPF 0: 0%     SPF 10: 90%

SPF 15: 93% SPF 30: 97%

SPF 50+: 99%

No there’s nothing higher than SPF 50 no matter what neutrogena tries to tell you! There’s no 100% protection from the sun unless you’re just not being exposed to it. Most brands now, and any brand with integrity simply state ‘SPF 50+’ as an indicator there may be a temporary effect of a ‘higher spf’. Everyday use is recommend of course but a minimum of 15 should be worn everyday, while an SPF 30-50 is more suitable for going to the beach, etc. Some sunscreens can have a less pleasant texture when delivering more protection.

Now there’s also another rating system we see sometimes on sunscreens called PA. This stands for “Protection of uvA” The PA rating can This is actually a conversion from how the rest of the world rates sunscreen for UVA (remember aging!) Ratings range from PA+ to PA++++ of course the more pluses the more protection. 

Sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB are called ‘broad spectrum’. I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase at least once in your life.

Now that you know the Sun is the devil, we’ll move on to the different types of sunscreen. Physical vs. Chemical.

 Physical sunscreens are minerals that block and reflect harmful UV rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are currently The only two physical sunscreens. Both happen to be broad-spectrum sunscreens, meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Because of how these sunscreens work they can often times leave a sick and uncomfortable feelings.Physical sunscreens interact less with the skin compared to chemical sunscreens, making them more ideal for sensitive skin. These minerals are naturally white, therefore they can meet a white cast for streaking if not tinted. Considered to be the safest sunscreen option by most however there’s a lot of controversy over their saftey and the possibility of nano sized particles of these known carcinogens absorbing through our skin into our blood stream. I’m not frankly worried about it and don’t think you should be either. But hey, that’s just me. 

image

Drunk Elephant Umbra Defense (Left) VS Tony Moly Mild Mango Block (Right)

The drunk elephant sunscreen is 20% zinc oxide, no fragrance so it smells like… mineral sunscreen.. or aka pennies. But this is to show the ‘white cast’ effect. Which in this physical sunscreen it’s minimized since there’s color correcting pigment added.

image

Chemical sunscreens are also known as organic sunscreens. Reason being they are generally derived from carbon. Chemical sunscreens generally work by causing a chemical reaction that converts the harmful UV rays into heat which then leaves our skin. These can cause irritation to some sensitive skin. Benefit over physical sunscreens is the increased UVA protection.These do take up to 20 minutes to activate. Some chemical filters can generate free radicals so we see many of them packed with an antioxidant boost to cancel out that effect. Some filters like avobenzone are very unstable, however it is one of the filters that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Filter sunscreens have a tendency to be light weight compared to physical sunscreens, they also do not produce a white cast making them in a great choice for any skin tone.

image

(credit: futurederm.com)

While there are a slew of different chemical sunscreens and they all have their own pros and cons. Many sunscreens actually aren’t sold in the US but can be purchased overseas in countries more conscious about their skin darkening. The US FDA is very slow at approving things (but also very slow and banning things it doesn’t make sense)

 I hope this helps you navigate your next sunscreen purchase!

美容护肤

[REVIEW] MIZON Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule

Ampoule Up Your Skincare

So these aren’t things found in most routines. In fact, most American/European brands do not sell them! It’s something much more popular in Asian Beauty. Now, what is an Ampoule? An Ampoule is part of your ‘treatment’ steps. The consistency is usually very thick. Think of it as a super powered serum, containing more actives than a serum. MIZON, a fantastic South Korean brand surprisingly sold in Urban Outfitters, and the “net-a-porter” of Asian Beauty, Peach & Lily; has a popular Ampoule ‘Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule’. This product contains 80% snail secretion filtrate! It’s exactly what you think it is. But remember the key word filtrate as this product doesn’t have a smell or color. But why would we want to put snail secretion on our faces anyways, right? Snails are magic little creatures, they’ve been around they say for over 500 million years and are able to regenerate with ease!

Lets look into what snail secretion carries that’s beneficial to the skin:

  • Hyaluronic Acid – this is something we produce naturally! We use it to maintain a ‘water reservoir’ in our skin. It gives our skin that “plump” feeling we all love.
  • Proteoglycans – Also helps hold moisture in the skin
  • Copper Peptides – A favorite ingredient of mine! These guys actually help repair skin’s structure. In one way, it has been noted it can break down cross-linked collagen (scarring tissue)
  • Antimicrobial properties – All my acneic friends rejoice as this product will help with that stubborn congestion and/or bacterial breakouts.

I’ve noticed some significant improvements in my skin in a very short amount of time with this ampoule. My skin’s hydration has gone through the roof! I was using Fresh’s Black Tea Overnight Firming Mask about every other night and I’d wake up in the morning feeling normal instead of dry. After a couple nights with this Ampoule I noticed I had to blot my nose about mid-afternoon at work. Something I haven’t done since summer! The product absorbs crazy fast. leaving it ready for the next step of your routine whether it be the beginning of your treatment steps or the last step before moisturizer.

So with all that goodness how could I not resist? It’s price from American retailers like UO is $38.00 but you can easily find this product for under $15.00. I found mine on Amazon for $12.99, it came sealed and all MIZON products should come with an expiration date.

image