Seattle Asian Beauty Shopping (Locations & More!)

When I moved here from the Bay Area, I had no expectations for any asian beauty market. Once I got my feet in the water, I realized there wasn’t really much in the realm of AB. Because of this it’s a dream of mine to open a skincare store here in Seattle, that focuses on bringing curated japanese, korean, and indie/innovative brands. There are officially (as of me writing this, June 2017) ZERO standalone Asian Beauty stores in Seattle and the surrounding area.  Like seriously, if you know of an investor in the area ~~hit cha boy up~~. (Probably not the most effective phrase to hook an investor)

Luckily, there are a few places that carry Korean and Japanese cosmetics! But what you’ll find here is extremely limited to the assortment you can find south of Washington. Portland to San Diego is what I like to consider the “American Asian Beauty Belt” At least over here on the West Coast. I can’t really speak much to the east coast selection. Especially in Southern California, AB shopping can literally be easier and more convenient than going to a big cosmetics store. (& you can walk out with a bag of products rather than one mediocre overpriced moisturizer from Sephora)

Here in the Seattle area, since nothing is standalone (or not just a cosmetic store) you see a lot of the same products. Not to say this doesn’t happen else where with AB (because it happens everywhere!) But if you’re near one, you probably won’t need to go to TOO many more to feel all your options out. Also, you won’t see as big of a gap in price ranges too, which I actually appreciate.

Uwajimaya (International District, Seattle, WA) 

This is definitely the most well known place to get your Asian Beauty fix. I live  walking distance from here too and do most of my grocery shopping here, so… Yeah I literally can’t grocery shop without being EXTREMELY TEMPTED.

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Here you’ll find debatably the largest selection of stuff. Doesn’t mean it’s the best price, doesn’t mean they have a good selection, it’s just a lot of stuff with not a ton of shelf organization in most places. They do have a larger hair and body product selection however, compared to some!

Brands worth mentioning: PureSmile(JP), LuLuLun(JP), My Beauty Diary(TW), Kikumasamune(JP), Loshi(JP), Naive(JP), Hada Labo(JP), Sana(JP) Kosé(JP), Bioré(JP), Shiseido(JP) [drug store & a counter w/ Cle De Peau]
‘Exclusives’: Well, I was able to find a LuLuLun gift set here that wasn’t available at any other store.
Overall: Not my favorite store to shop in, but their prices are spot on. They make a great place to start though, they have all the well known brands.

HMart (University District, Seattle, WA) NEW!

HOLY SH*T THIS PLACE IS INCREDIBLE!?

I took a trip here today actually to check it out. It’s been only open for a couple of weeks. When I walked up to the glistening white building on the Ave, I was shocked to see how tiny it was! But for the area, I’d say it’s probably the biggest it could be. BUT. They. Have. A. ROOM. of. SKINCARE. Not an Isle. Not a section. Like 25% of the store is dedicated to skincare. Also, there are a lot of featured brands unique to this location like Dr. Jart+, IPKN, and others. But I can definitely see why. This place is in University District. Where you have people my age (not at my skin education level, of course) coming in for a bottle of Soju, korean snacks, and some sheet masks for a kick ass friday night. At least that’s what I HOPE people are going for. (I mean the entire upstairs section is snacks/alcohol/skincare/household items…) Because if I actually had friends, you know that’d be my go-to night.

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With an entire section of Elizavecca! All at retail prices, note. Boxes (and boxes) of Jayjun, Oozoo, PapaRecipe, and MediHeal. Not your regular HMart selection, but a very wise selection. I couldn’t actually find the regular hoard of Biore, Hada, and Kose products most of the stores all carry.

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I didn’t get any photos of it.. but they have a nice selection of Korean household products too.

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Brands worth mentioning: Jayjun(KR), Oozoo(KR), PapaRecipe(KR), MediHeal(KR), IPKN(KR), Dr. Jart+(KR), Dewpiel(KR), Saturday Skin(KR) Dong Sung Pharm.(KR) (most well known products are their a.c.care line with snail and bee venom), Charmzone(KR)
‘Exclusives’: Most of these brands are going to only be found here in the state (probably).
Overall: Well, let’s just say this section is under construction until I finish digging. My one trip, was a no-buy even though I wanted it to be a haul. There’s a great selection of masks, and a unique selection of other products. I do wish there were more Japanese sheet masks, and more products than mainly sheet masks.

HMart (Lynnwood, WA)

MY BABY, MY LOVE, GETS SECTIONS

Out in Lynnwood there’s a huge HMart! Get your big bags of rice, wholesale pickled daikon, and really high quality, affordable produce. But as far as cosmetics goes, it can get complicated. Inside of HMart itself, you can find a slim selection of products. Like one Elizavecca product, there was Happy Bath(KR) for a minute, Nightingale(JP), Scinic(KR), and Mediental(KR). A few other things not really worth mentioning. But! Fear not. If you’re looking to do some serious Korean skincare shopping you have the two big dogs here AMORE & LG Care, and nowhere else as standalones. They sit on the outside mini ‘strip mall’ like C around the inside of HMart itself. If you wanted your regular Asian Market Japanese products, they do have a separate section kinda in the middle of everything?

AMOREPACIFIC | ARITAUM Store

I come here to get all the Amore products I possibly can. Ironically, you can’t buy actual AMOREPACIFIC products. Just their brands: Sulwhasoo, Aritaum, Ryo(Hair), Mamonde, Laneige, Hera, and IOPE. I always get great recommendations when I go in, it’s how I found my favorite emulsion! Don’t expect any higher or lower prices. Everything is spot on to resale price.

Note* There is another Aritaum location at Pal-Do World Market in Lakewood, WA.

O HUI | The Who  

Can’t lie, I’ve never been in here. It’s incredibly cramped and there’s always customers inside. Not their fault, I’ve also really had no overwhelming desire to go through their products quite yet. But I can speak some to their selection since you can see most of it from outside the store! From the outside I’ve spotted The History of Whoo(KR), O Hui(KR), Missha(KR), Tony Moly(KR), Oozoo(KR), and a couple indiscernible hangbangy lookin brands I’ve never heard/seen of before.

Overall: This is my personal go-to! It’s stock may not be what everyone is looking for. But I love supporting local businesses whenever I can, I have a soft spot for AMORE, and who doesn’t love getting all the free samples you could dream of when you spend a little bit of money? Last time I got an incredible 6pc Sulwhasoo deluxe travel kit! (each time before that I got a 3pc!). I also like the LG Care store carries more than just LG, unlike AMORE staying exclusive.

Asian Food Center (Seattle, WA)

Oh you. You bother me so much. But also appreciate you a lot too. The cosmetics are just a section in the front of the store towards the checkout. But what you will find is all the Japanese skincare (and MBD masks) you can dream of. Not as much makeup as Uwajimaya, but they definitely make up for it in how extensive the body and haircare is!

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Why does it bother me though? Well, if they have someone actually at customer service (the only place to checkout with cosmetics) they’re watching you like a hawk (happens in some places, not nearly as frequently or bad). To the point where I felt uncomfortable the first time I went in to get a feel for what they had. Also their stock doesn’t refresh really ever. They’ve been out of stock of Daisan CottonLabo CS Being cotton pads since March (it’s June), and they’re my favorite below the Shiseido pads 🙁 I’ve seen a ton of holes too, I don’t think they’ve been getting stock or SOMETHING. This may change, but for now they haven’t been worth the trip. However if you’re nearby or in the market for just Japanese products, here is a great place to go.

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They also have sales on masks box sets it seems like at random, but appreciated nonetheless!

While you’re here, you should stop at the Kiki Bakery (yup, named after the animated cat)

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bc buns

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post buns selfie

Overall: Eh, check it out if you can.

**My NOT Recommended**

These are places I wouldn’t really bother with unless there’s something specific at one of these places you want to see. Also big note. I LOVE supporting mom and pop skincare shops. I go to them whenever I possibly can and it sucks there aren’t many here. But places like the shops in the Lynnwood HMart are still privately owned with amazing people inside that work hard and deserve your $$ more than Sephora does.

Daiso (Seattle, WA) 

Most are familiar with Daiso, the well known “Japanese $1.50 store” as my family refers to it . This is the worst Daiso ever honestly. It’s very small, there’s no parking put reserved parking spots smack in front of the store, with very little. I only come here if I KNOW they’ll have it and I don’t want to drive to the the one North. I don’t think I’ve wanted to get anything here skincare related though except a horse fat hand cream.

Overall: No

Daiso (Roosevelt District,Seattle, WA)

Now this is a Daiso! Reminds me a lot of the ones I have back in the Bay Area. Spacious, empty travel bottles and cotton rounds galore! You can also find their infamous peel off mask here too. They have their own selection of cosmetics however fair warning, it’s all $1.50 for a reason. Check the cancer labels floating around the stores.. Yikes! However, I really enjoy their sheet mask packs and they don’t have anything in them I haven’t seen before, especially the CoQ10 ones!

Overall: If $1.50 is your thing! But i’d be wary and very selective.

Sephora

I recommend you DON’T do any KBeauty shopping here except squeeze them dry for samples if you need to. Dr. Jart+ is much cheaper at the new HMart, with a bigger selection! J.One products are $45-$50 instead of <$30 online. Beauty Water is $30 instead of $22. Belif is more LG Care, but IMO not worth the it’s US prices. If you need to, Bellevue will have the best selection, don’t bother in Seattle. Why spend more for no reason other than lining their pockets?

Urban Outfitters (Westlake , Seattle, WA)

Yeah they have overpriced Tony Moly and possibly some more overpriced Mizon or CosRx that’s been sitting for a year. Please don’t buy here like ever.

Ulta (Northgate Mall, Seattle, WA)

Well Ulta, I do have to say stepped their skincare game up with the leverage of affordable, effective KBeauty. Sort of. You can find brands like Goodall or Dr. G! If you’re in a KBeauty drought area, you may find something to quench your thirst here.

I hope this guide helps you navigate what Seattle has to offer for Asian Beauty. If I’m missing anything feel free to put it in the comments so I can add it! I hope one day I can bring a real Asian Beauty store to Seattle. But until then we can live with what’s around, right?

This is a post in progress for awhile! But I wanted to share the first version early! More pictures will hopefully come!

[REVIEW] Shiseido SUNMEDIC UV Medicated Day Protect Mild SPF 50+ PA++++

The review I’ve been waiting to write since I clicked the order button. If you read my last sunscreen post you would have read about my quest for the perfect daily sunscreen. To recap, biore watery gel was a bust. It’s a favorite for many, it sounded like the more ideal choice for me out of the two choices, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Partially because of it’s filter content.

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What exactly am I looking for in a sunscreen?

  • SPF 50+ PA++++, Prone to dark spots.
  • Bioaccumulative and estrogenic filter free/ Specifically Octinoxate free, this filter accumulates in your system and is widely used. Personal preference.
  • ‘Cosmetically elegant’, It needs to feel good
  • Somewhat durable throughout the day

SUNMEDIC UV’s Medicated Day Protect in Mild seemed to fit the bill. But it wasn’t easy to find. It was actually SO hard to find, I asked Ratzilla of http://www.ratzillacosme.com to help me out. She suggested a new Anessa SPF that was more for outdoorsy use and this one. Both made by Shiseido a leader in sunscreens, I felt pretty confident I would find something I like in either of them. But I leaned towards this because I was guessing it would feel a bit better throughout the day compared to the Anessa one.

Ingredients wise, this sunscreen fights with the big dogs. It definitely kicks every American sunscreen I’ve tried in the ass. Since it’s stated ‘medicated’ in japan, it’s what is known as a ‘Quasi Drug’. What’s a quasi drug you might ask? It’s a category of cosmetics that lighten and prevent hyperpigmentation. There are set active ingredients and amounts that can be used that make a product a functional whitening cosmetic. (Remember! Whitening just refers to the rapid brightening process, not necessarily skin bleaching) The active quasi drug ingredient is Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate. Paired with Xylitol, this dream team is irritated and sensitive skin’s best friend.  Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate is a salt derived from Licorice Root. It’s clinically proven to reduce redness and irritation, as well as atopic dermatitis (eczema). Xylitol is a Natural Moisturizing Factor so it helps our skin retain moisture and hyaluronic acid.

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Shiseido gives a lot of things, a lot of names and a lot of patents. Take that however you want. One things they patented is their ‘Light Stamina’ Technology. Which is said to release UV rays into heat offering a more stable protection. Wait… isn’t that EXACTLY how chemical filter sunscreens work??? So to tell you the truth, even after extensive googling I found nothing about light stamina and why it’s patented and if it’s different that the regular filters that are converting rays into heat as it is..

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SUNMEDIC promises this sunscreen is free of any potential irritants. It’s 1. paraben free (wasn’t specifically looking for this but less is less!) 2. alcohol free (nice! a lot of ABeauty sunscreens I’ve found contain alcohol to help dry. I just find sometimes it messes with layering products) 3. Mineral oil free, I don’t need this but mineral oil is cheap and doesn’t feel super cosmetically elegant. 4. Colorant free, some colorants are SUPER pore clogging so, cool! 5. Lastly Fragrance free, unpopular opinion I love smelling smells. Most shiseido products are LOADED with perfume but SUNMEDIC is not the brand for smelly smells.

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I don’t feel it on my face. But when I put it on my face feel a nice cool feeling, not the same cool feeling Biore Watery Gel gives from it’s high alcohol content. It’s that fresh feeling you get after patting the excess essence in from the sheet mask you just pulled off. My guess is it’s either the Licorice derivative or the xylitol is really workin’.

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UPDATE: I had to translate an ingredient list from japanese.. But I got all the ingredients to match actual ingredients so I think I got it.

It leaves me feeling radiant without any noticeable white cast. I think Shiseido needs to get this sunscreen formula into a broader range of products because it’s really somethin’!

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Look at that radiance.

Holding up through the day, you’ll want to reapply before going out again. It isn’t water/sweat resistant. For everyday use water/sweat resistant sunscreens aren’t really necessary and can make the product feel more like glue less like a nice moisturizer. But even through a day of work I can still notice that ‘radiance’ I pictured above so there’s still sunscreen on my face. But those invisible filters are the ones more likely to have worn off, and those are our super defence against UV(Aging) rays.

I purchased this product through Buyee.jp  on Amazon.jp. Buyee will purchase your favorite japanese items and then ship them anywhere in the world! Amazon is affiliated with them and while yes, you can purchase items directly through Amazon with AmazonGlobal, as a big boss company they won’t ship it since it is a prohibited item in the US. Those sunscreen filters (the super safe non-estrogenic ones, not Oxctinoxate the estrogenic one allowed in the US) make this product a no-go. Rakuten Global also does not ship this item. But when you’re browsing Amazon.co.jp you’ll want to either ‘search in english’ or search it’s japanese name. There’s way too many sunmedic sunscreens and it wasn’t coming up SO I had to find it’s name that was copy/pastable (no thanks to Ratzilla’s website 😐 )  ‘サンメディックUV 薬用デイプロテクト マイルド クリーム 顔・首用 25g SPF50+ PA++++ [医薬部外品]’ [Direct Link] (you’re welcome) But Buyee as of right now offers a solution around this. All for ~800JPY or ~7USD they will purchase it, ship it to themselves, inspect the package!!, repackage it up, and ship it off to your grabby hands. I highly recommend the service, it went so smoothly, I’ll definitely be using it next time to purchase more. But the more you spend, the more cost effective the service fees get, so gets some sheet masks too! I recommend these ones (if you’re feelin’ lux) or these by LuLuLun if you’re wanting to try daily masking or just more frequent masking if you can’t get them near you at an asian market. (They’re a lot cheaper than if you buy them in an asian market here too!!)

SO?

 

[Review] Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Fluid: Emulsion Elegance

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

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

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

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

-eng.amorepacific.co.kr 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

[REVIEW] Naruko 60 Actives Youth Activating Enhancer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Performance: 6/10

Overall: 7/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[REVIEW] Bioré UV Perfect Bright Face Milk SPF 50+ PA++++

Biore vs. the California Heat

If you follow my instagram (@facequench) you may have saw I was recently off back to California for a wedding! My outfit was a disaster but my skincare of course, was on point. My SPF choice was without a doubt the most important choice I had to make. I get little sunlight compared to when I lived in the Bay. When I found out I was going to be in an outside wedding, out in the ‘Wine Country’ area I panicked a little bit.

My skin has never done well with the sun. Some filter sunscreens can cause uncomfortable sensations in my skin, too much physical causes my skin to itch. This makes sunscreen shopping difficult at times, but my biggest issue is dehydrating skin, which also leads to burning quicker.

Since I discovered them, I’ve wanted to try a PA++++ sunscreen. They are not legally sold in the States since they contain active sunscreen filters that are not approved by the FDA. Before you get too disinterested, the filters aren’t approved but they also aren’t disapproved. THEY JUST HAVEN’T TESTED THEM.

These filters include Mexoryl SX, Mexoryl XL, 4-MBC, Uvinul A Plus, Uvinul T 150 and Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M. The craziest part is these filters often show less potential safety and irritation issues compared to other sunscreens. For more information on sunscreens, both physical and chemical, check out my sunscreen 201 post here. I’m pretty bitter about the FDA being slow approving these sunscreens but a lot of americans don’t really want or look for this type of high protection. Most of my clients are looking for an SPF 20 for everyday use. (Which if you’re reading this and scoff, calm down please and refer to the link post above.) So you can also see why it hasn’t necessarily been a priority. But for folks who burn just thinking about the sun, like me, may need to look to Japan for their everyday wants.

That’s where Biore comes in, one of the largest carriers of PA++++ sunscreens. I chose the Bright Milk to try as my first quad PA product since it has a slight pink tone to it, which I can always use with my sallow complexion.

It doubles as a makeup primer/base and it’s also now waterproof since 2015! I literally couldn’t find anything unappealing about it. Best part was I could order it from Amazon (ps. sometimes you can see PA++++’s sneak into prime options but they always disappear, you gotta wait for snail mail)

The packaging is well, drug store packaging. But it’s practical and honestly, less wasteful than some of the extra packages that I come across.

Application can be a little tricky with how fluid the product is but it lays really well making a great canvas for cushion, foundation, or really whatever I’m in the mood for.

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The ingredient list is pretty fine too. Generally speaking, since sunscreens adsorb instead of absorb they can have more acne triggers in them.

This is a similarly priced US ‘for babies’ sunscreen:

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(note: CosDNA shows filter strengths in both spectrums which is helpful to see what your SPF is protecting you against most)

Safety is something I wanted to touch on briefly too. Oxybenzone is a filter sunscreen I would recommend to stay far away from. Especially if you are a female. This is also one of the filters that irritates my skin. Filter sunscreens work by converting harmful UV rays into heat, often times that process can cause a slight sensation, however for some reason Oxybenzone is just not my jam, but I’m not really worried about it.

After spending the entire morning till mid afternoon outside, in California, in actual sun, I was pretty worried about being a little pink at the end of the day. But once I got home and cooled off, I took my foundation off to reveal my skin was still white as a ghost without a hint of flamingo anywhere except a tiny strip on my neck.

On a day to day basis I found that the Bright Face Milk was just a little too matte for my liking. But surprisingly comfortable on my dry skin as a matte finish. But for the less than ideal environment, it worked out perfectly. There are a number of finishes in the Biore sunscreen line including gel and essence. Next I’ll be trying the new Biore 2017 reformulation of the watery gel since it is the most ‘moist’ finish for a more everyday sunscreen. But Bright Milk, you delivered. Even with my lack of reapplication except some cushion blots on my cheeks before photos.

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)