[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.

[REVIEW] KIKU-MASAMUNE Sake Skin High Moist Lotion

So is it a facial toner? Sure! Body toner? Yeah dude. It can be what e v e r you want it to be. This lotion is to the western world, a toner (acidic pH included) for drier skin. The white version of this contains alcohol denat. for quick drying and astringent effects for more oily skin. Kiku Masamune is much more than a beauty brand, however. They are a sake brewery first!

Let’s backup and talk about why sake is so great for the skin first. Sake contains two great things for our skin, amino acids and kojic acid. These amino acids like Lysine, Proline, Leucine are building blocks of our actual skin. These help ‘feed’ our skin and skin’s processes such as collagen and elastin synthesis. So in short, amino acids are top notch. (Both externally but as well as internally!)

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Kikumasamune’s toner boasts the equivalent of 1 shou of sake (an old japanese measurement that equals ~1800mL) of amino acids in a 500mL bottle. You also find some super ingredients such as ceramide 3 and 6 for moisturizing and repairing the lipid barrier, arbutin a tried and true ingredient for brightening, and Glycyrrhizic acid a derivative of licorice root for soothing. The lotion does come with a cost though. PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil is added, it’s a silky cleansing agent but still not ideal but it’s cheap and it keeps this product at $13 USD from my local Uwajimaya or for about the same here from Amazon

It does have a ever so slight tacky feeling left behind on clean skin, however this works to our advantage when we apply a occlusive on top! I’ve been applying this head to toe out of the shower, I initially wasn’t applying lotion but I was feeling that slight tack so I decided to start applying my Happy Bath Shea 24H Moisture body lotion on top to help not only seal the lotion ingredients in, but to provide that nice silky smooth feeling.

I would recommend this toner for drier skin, anyone wanting to try a ferment based essence but don’t want to commit to a more luxe alternative until you’ve tried it, or for someone looking to amp their body care up. I will continue using this on my face for awhile longer, but I will most likely switch this product over to body only as when I purchased it, that was the deciding factor on this product over another.

All in all I gotta give this product a 7/10 I like it, I really like it for my body, ESPECIALLY under body lotion. But I think I’m going to stick with my regular first treatment essences for my face, just due less ingredients and cleaner product layering.

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)

Mystery Grocery Store Masking [PART 1/?] : LOSHI Horse Oil Sheet Mask

I’m starting a new segment dedicated to some of the lesser known gems I’ve been coming across actually from my local asian markets! Both stores Uwajimaya and HMart have plenty of masks to choose from however, Uwajimaya has quite a few I’ve never seen before currently. Last time I went looking for skin care there I left disappointed, however I think the surge in stock is because of the holidays. HMart carries more well known brands like Medi-Heal and Mediental but I’ll try to stay away from brands like this as much as I can to bring you some hidden gems to the surface. 

Today I am starting it off with Loshi Horse Oil Moisture Face Mask. 

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I bought these at Uwajimaya in Seattle $8 for 7. You can grab them here for $12 I actually didn’t think much of these when I picked them up. Other than the baby is really irrelevant (it’s for rough skin/texture but like, ??? sass baby instead)

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I was more stressed about the fact I stumbled upon the motherload of PureSmile masks for their appropriate price of $1.50 (they were $3+ in Portland!) These also don’t get any love or reviews so maybe they’ll be next. 

I love masks that come in resealable packs especially because they’re usually pretty affordable and they’ve never disappointed. One thing to note is masks in this style are usually referred to as ‘daily sheet masks’ because they aren’t DRENCHED in essence like single use masks commonly are, especially like My Scheming masks that give you enough for 17 sheet masks in one pack. (These get most of the hype from the grocery stores unfortunately) Loshi is a japanese brand and they are most famous for their Horse Oil cream. 

The ingredients really impressed me, the ingredients featured on the package are of course Horse Oil, it states that horse oil is similar to human fat and because of this it’ll be supremely moisturizing. Partially true, the lipids found in horse fat will definitely moisturize and protect, but there’s nothing ‘superior’ about using it over another lipid other than the fact the only real studies done show horse oil being only more similar when compared to other animal fats. So unless you’re currently rubbing pig fat on you, horse oil will reign in that category.  The information I’ve found on the subject is slim, just a few studies done in the 50′s speaking to the linoleic content and some other stuff that isn’t really interesting. If you care to read up more (please tell me what you learn!) you can read about it here, here and here

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But just one key ingredient wouldn’t get me writing a review, you also spot placenta (nutrition and moisture), royal jelly (moisture), vitamin C (antioxidant, brightening) Collagen (moisture), Glycosphingolipids (superior moisture/N.M.F Natural Moisturizing Factors ) and a few different forms of Hyaluronic acid (hydration) so we see a theme here. 

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me fully enjoying soaking in the horse fat and placenta protein. 

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(I took the time to type in all the ingredients into cosDNA for the world, you’re welcome internet) 

I really enjoyed this mask after just one use, I can’t wait to try it again tomorrow! There isn’t any scent and my skin feels perfect after application. It leaves you feeling moisturized but not tacky or slimy. My only complaint is the fit is a little off, it’s huge in the cheeks and very narrow everywhere else? Not a deal breaker especially since most sheet masks don’t fit my face well. I’ll definitely be picking another pack up to hold on to next time I’m over there.