[REVIEW] SWANICOCO Beer Bubble Pack

ANOTHER ONE.

Another Swanicoco product coming at ya. The Beer Bubble Pack. This oxygenating mask is designed to help restore circulation and help maintain pores.

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When I first read about this product, I honestly wasn’t super stoked. It doesn’t really sound like a fit for me. While it helps restore circulation, it’s main focus is pores. Circulation improvement comes from the oxygenating effect of the mask, but the key ingredients such as Fennel and Hops are antibacterial and more suited for pore problems. I got big ones, but you can’t change your genetics!

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Other ‘key’ ingredients include betaine, arginine, and allantoin. All 3 will help the skin maintain moisture.

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Application is… well… fun! You take a few pumps of the fragrance-free gel and smooth it over your face evenly. I was hoping for some sort of earthy/spicy scent, but all SWANICOCO products I’ve tried are free of any fragrance.

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In about 5-7 minutes of enduring tickling cheeks, you’re left with a mountain of foam ready to be washed off.

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Washing this mask off is tedious, as with any bubble pack. They’ll just keep bubbling, and bubbling… until finally, 3 days later it’s off.

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You’re then left with soft, circulated skin. I love doing this as a morning mask, either before a shower (for easy rinse off) or if I have a spare hour when I wake up. I’m always glowing and not stripped.

My only complaint about this mask is, the lack of benefit for it’s price. Just a dollar short from $20, I could load myself up with a few beneficial, more versatile sheet masks for the same price.

Overall I give this mask a 5/10.

Bubbles: super well!

Removability: poor

Scent: None

Benefit: soft, temporarily well circulated, glowing skin.

As a bubble mask I give it an 8/10.

[REVIEW] Skin79 Yum Yum Cleanser: Adlay

Yes that’s really the name of this cleanser.

Yum. Yum.

This cleanser is Skin79′s take on the ever popular Slowganic cleansers by RE:CIPE.

In the flavor Adlay. Or more commonly referred to as Job’s Tears, or simply Coix. Adlay has been used for centuries as a natural remedy all of the world. For anything from skin ailments, to menstrual cramps, to even cancer in the liver Job’s Tears has shown some signs of improvement in one study or another.

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But what does it do on the skin? Well, Albion answers that question better than I can, they formulate their Essential Skin Conditioner with adlay as well, but utilize it much more for it’s actual skin benefits.

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(source)

So we see it helps regulate our skin cell synthesis. Cool! It’s based with 66% Seed Water, specifically from the Bong-hwa area. The 6 types of plant extracts, and 15 types of plant oil really just give it a scent more than an actual effect on the skin. Because it’s just a cleanser, on to the more important things.

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The cleanser’s consistency is so unique. I’ve also never tried a unique cleanser consistency that i’ve really enjoyed more than regular liquid/cream to foam. It’s almost like a mousse; it has nice spreadability and it lathers beautifully, especially for a cleanser with a pH of only 5.

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Having such a low pH is great. It means we aren’t stripping our natural lipid barrier, and keeping our skin around it’s natural acidic state. But the reason we don’t see every cleanser with a pH of 5 like this, is because often times the cleanser won’t lather very well unless it was a bit more stripping. You can find this with soapless cleansers, or very acidic sulfate washes like Tosowoong’s Enzyme Wash (review)

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When washing the mousse, foam, whatever lathers up really well. You can feel a couple pieces of the crush adlay as well. They’re too far and few in between to provide any amount of exfoliation. When washed off, I can’t say my skin feels tight, because it doesn’t. But it also feels a bit drier than if I used my Skin Laundry Foaming Wash that’s a pH of 7. What gives?! Even though it’s less stripping, it can be cleansing better. There could be more cleansing agent. It also doesn’t have oodles of B-vitamins or other things to help the skin maintain moisture better. There are a lot of factors as to why. But it really doesn’t bother me, like it makes people toss this product. I feel like my skin is perfectly prepped for a long, nice skincare routine.

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The scent is really relaxing and it’s a way more fun cleansing experience than dabbing some gel into your hands. But with that being said, often times when I’m fidgeting with the jar trying to get it open I am wishing I was just globbing some gel into my palms.

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I found this cleanser at Marshalls for <$10! You can find it online for anywhere from $7-$23. It does come with an expiration date printed on the bottom of both the box and package so no need to worry about picking up an old one!

My 16-Step Night Time Routine & Why the Hell I Would do That to Myself

If I would have asked myself even 2 years ago if I would have a 16 step routine at night I would straight up laugh. But it also didn’t start that long. I remember when I thought doing 5 steps was lengthy and I was #skingod. Slowly but surely it’s grown into what it is now. A lot of clients ask me what my routine is and are shocked by how long it is. But I like to actually explain a lengthy routine like a car’s transmission.

In a standard car transmission there are a set number of gears. These gears are sized smallest 1st to largest. Many common older transmissions are 4-speeds while newer cars can come standard with 5,6,7,8 and even 9 speeds. Now if you want more control over the application of the car’s power to the wheels we would want a little bit more than just 4 speeds. To better explain this; my first car was a 97′ (it was pretty gnarly I loved it) it had a 4 speed automatic transmission. On the freeway if I needed to pass someone the car would need to downshift to 3rd gear in order to produce enough power to pass. But because there’s only 4 speeds. the difference between 4th and 3rd was the difference of my car puttering along on the freeway and screaming bloody murder trying to squeeze every ounce of the engine. But on my new car which is a ‘16 I it has 6 speeds (it’s a slightly older transmission for the year of the car, but it shifts faster than humanly possible with a manual so u know, car person reasons) so this means if I need to pass someone and I’m cruising on the freeway the jump in the 4 speed to 3rd would be similar to me shifting from 6th to 3rd my new car! But all I need is just a little bump in the 5th gear to successfully pass and my engine isn’t maxed out compensating. This is because each gear has more common ground with the next one. Like in my 97′ you can actually drive the car completely in 3rd gear.. BUT in comparison 1st gear will max out at about 21mph but in 2nd you can drive it as slow as 10mph but it’ll let me go all the way to say, 45mph. In 3rd In my new car the gears have more ‘middle ground’ or areas where you could be in a few different gears without them letting the engine bog down or over do it. That analogy probably won’t make sence but hey I tried. Let me try breaking it down more..

In a sense this applies to our skin. Me breaking my routine up into many steps provides more thoroughness and fine-tunability. Taking something like cleansing (since it’s the first step let’s say it’s first gear), and having it be 3 steps instead of 1 allows for a lot more fine tuning. For instance, I have a client who initially told me she wanted one cleanser that she could use daytime and night and it would remove her makeup, gives a deep clean, not be stripping, doesn’t clog pores. While this is asking for a lot, there are brands that claim their cleansers can do such, and some may do, to an extent. Now I could recommend a popular cleanser like Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser but I know in the back of my mind she could run into even more issues with things like her concern of blemishes, or giving a deep clean. But if she was willing to be able to split her cleansing routine into two steps instead of one, she could have a great oil cleanse that’s providing her that deep clean and makeup removal but then pair it with a gentle foaming cleanser she could use to tick off the non-stripping and clear pores points. The best thing about this is that she now has the versatility to use just her foaming cleanser in the morning but also maybe if she didn’t wear makeup that day, skip the oil cleanse if she so chose. So in my mind I see this as, the Soy Face cleanser is like the 4 speed transmission’s first gear. Or in my routine, my cleansing steps are actually my first 3 gears. 

It’s fun to think about our routines as a puzzle. Bigger puzzle pieces make the puzzle much easier but if a piece doesn’t perfectly fit, it can leave a bigger hole and leaving more work to be done. Another thing I hear a lot from people are these crazy horror stories of certain products they wanted to try that would cause super severe reactions like flakey dry skin, or acne. I’m not mentioning this to point them out as bogus or anything, believe me I see it. I’m mentioning it because when that happens to me it happens much less severely. Say my moisturizer may not be moisturizing enough, I just switched to a gel based one but not all of my lipids are from my one moisturizer, I am also getting them from things like my emulsion, possibly my serum, if I’m using an oil, etc. So my skin isn’t going from lipids to no lipids with a switch of a moisturizer like they would be if I only had one moisturizing step in my routine.

Another point I like with this ideology is that you can essentially break your routine into categories and then add and subtract from there. Feeling congested? Amp up the cleansing steps, maybe add a clay mask in before moving on to your treatment category. Or maybe you’re feeling dehydrated? Add in a hydrating essence to provide a hydration boost until the concerns have subsided.

So now the part you’ve been waiting for, my routine. (I need fireworks going off) This is my routine as of the posting date but it’s very slowly, but constantly changing.

Oil Cleanse

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Currently I am using Sunday Riley Blue Moon Tranquility Cleansing Balm, I love this because it is mineral oil free, however it fully breaks up my sunscreen, bb cream or whatever I have on my face for the day. It’s also fairly moisturizing in this dry cold winter and you can leave it on for awhile as a moisturizing mask as well.

Foaming Cleanse

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My foaming cleanser rotates out between a few depending on how deep of a clean I need. Currently it’s been consistently Huangjisoo Pure Daily Foaming Cleanser since trehalose is the second ingredient and it’s pH balanced and formulated with only gentle ≤2 EWG rated ingredients.

Tone (Optional)

I put optional because if I am using a pH balanced cleanser, such as right now I do not need to rebalance my pH before using pH sensitive acids next.

BHA

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Currently I am in search of a new BHA exfoliator to use but in the meantime I’ve been using my trusty Perricone Exfoliating Pore Refiner with it’s gentle betaine salicylic acid. I will occasionally use this as a cotton pad spot sheet mask for a couple of minutes to give my pores a serious flushing (however not recommended) It has a great antioxidant complex containing some of my favorites such as turmeric and green tea.

AHA

PapaRecipe gives my wallet a break with their White Flower Clear Up 8% AHA Gel it uses Glycolic and Lactic acids to gently exfoliate while it can also be considered a treatment since it’s also loaded with niacinamide and fights breakouts with centella and chamomile. It smells funky and stings a bit but I love that this is meant to be followed with toner so there is no sticky residue left behind (like using a leave on glycolic serum can oftentimes be very tacky)

Tone

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Currently I’ve been using Perricone’s Facial Firming Toner or occasionally if I feel extra dry, I will use Benton Snail Bee Skin which is a soothing toner with snail secretion, B vitamins, and an array of premium botanicals. The Facial Firming Toner however is quite the opposite, it’s an astringent toner with alcohol and glycolic acid to prep the skin for treatment; but it’s also loaded with Perricone’s DMAE, a clinically proven firming ingredient.

Other Actives

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Currently I am on a Curology subscription so my current prescription is all anti-acne. You can read part 1 of my experience with it here

-20 Minutes-

When using highly active ingredients you want to make sure you give them ampoule time to absorb and/or ‘deactivate’ before moving on to the next step. We also want to reduce potential negative interactions with other ingredients as well.

First Treatment Essence

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As I am dwindling down on two essences, My CosRx Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence and Tony Moly 96.5% Galactomyces essence are about exhausted. I am excited to replace these soon with what I believe to be a superior option for my skin: Benton’s Fermentation Essence, it contains my beloved galactomyces ferment as well as Bifida Ferment (popular in Lancome’s Genifique, Estee Lauder’s ANR, and Dior’s Capture XP serums) with a few other supporting ingredients like Ceramide 3 to start lipid additions as we go deeper into the routine.

Essence(s)

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Currently I am using Benton’s Snail Bee Essence paired with Blithe’s 5 Energy Roots essence to seal in deep hydration. Since Blithe’s contains dimethicone I prefer to use it after the very light formulation of the snail-bee essence. (Even though it is a gel, and the Vital Treatment essence is actually less viscous.

Benton Snail Bee Essence Review

Blithe Vital Treatment Essence 5 Energy Roots Review

Serum/Ampoule

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Dr. Dennis Gross Firming Peptide Milk has been impressing me thoroughly. I chose it initially because it’s slightly moisturizing and L O A D E D with great ingredients such as hydroxypinacolone retinoate (a derivative of retinol that isn’t as irritating as standard retinol, and claims superior absorption. It’s found in PTR’s 3% retinoid and Philosophy’s HPR products and it’s definitely my favorite form of vitamin A i’ve used) and strings of peptides to help retexturize and firm. But the slightly moisturizing part is the great part for me. To be able to get treatment incorporating squalane, sphingolipids, phospholipids and collagen amino acids. Definitely worth the $65 price tag.

Sheet Mask (Optional)

Depending on my mood and current skin state this is where I give myself some creative freedom. I am not the type of person who has a different routine everyday as I believe ingredients take time and repeated, consistent use.

Emulsion/Lotion

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This is where the lipids start to creep in heavier. I haven’t had the chance to use many products in this watery lotion/lotion category as it’s the newest major step I’ve added to my routine! I’ve been using this step since the beginning of summer and I’ve been amazed at how much it improves my transition from serum to moisturizer. Benton’s trusty Snail Bee line shows up again in it’s lotion form to provide snail secretion, niacinamide, glycerin and oligopeptides!

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Oil (Optional)

I love oils conditionally. Since my routine is what it is (extensive and thorough) I really don’t need an oil with the rest of my routine. But since moving to the cold my skin has been welcoming this step at night with RENs Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil. It’s a lighter weight oil with essential omega acids our skin loves. It contains rice oil, camelina oil, and soothing bisabolol.

Eye Cream

*to the tune of oh Christmas Tree* Oh millia, oh millia, why do I have to deal with you. Regularly I would just want an eye cream that fits the description of firming and extremely moisturizing but Peter Thomas Roth has me covered in the dermal exfoliation department. The Retinol PM Fusion Eye Cream is incredible in my book. Slowly but surely it always shows improvements in my under eyes. It has 1% microencapsulated retinol that is released over a period of 8 hours. To read more I have a full review here

Occlusive/Moisturizer

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This is generally where I get the majority of my lipids. Currently I am using two different moisturizers. However I am using Joseon Dynasty Cream which is slightly more on the hydrating side of the spectrum. But still contains oligopeptides as well as ceramide 3 and argan oil. (I also use Benton Steam Cream for my problematic areas) Full review here

Sleeping Mask

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Last but surely not least a product to seal all my hard work in. I’ve tried many and two stand out. But the one that’s been leaving me dewy in the morning is CosRx Nourishing Rice Sleeping Pack. It’s 65% rice extract with niacinamide and a moisturizing feeling left behind. This lil guy also has a review you can read. For many people who want to keep a simple routine but need a little ‘boost’ once in awhile generally enjoy sleeping masks as they provide this without being time consuming like a mask or sheet mask.

[REVIEW] NEOGEN Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine

My sweet, sweet Neogen…

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I actually have worked with and played with the Bio-Peel in Lemon and was really interested in it. But I am really not a big fan of lemon products. It’s kinda the smell, sometimes they sting more than others, it reminds me of DIY lemon skincare products people make.., it’s also kinda the smell…… 

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note: because physics are a thing, the essence will eventually pool at the bottom of the jar, give it a couple shakes up and down, and you’ll be good to go again.

Neogen offers 3 types in total. Lemon, Wine, and Green Tea. (Neogen, if you’re reading this I would die to try these okay, I cried when I couldn’t get the green tea version to me for less than $27 at the time.) Offering slightly different benefits from each other. Lemon, carrying natural vitamin C will help fight pollutants and pigmentation. You could call this the brightening version, I guess. Then WINE!!! Added for its resveratrol content, and if there’s anything Caudalie taught me, it’s all the amazing anti-aging and skin-densifying benefits of resveratrol on the skin. Then finally Green Tea, for enlarged pores and soothing.

Wine extract is pretty amazing. Already containing resveratrol before it hits the barrel (caudalie uses it extracted from the plant itself) it goes through a sometimes lengthy process of fermentation. Some of our skincare brands biggest secrets are fermented products. It’s a great way to take something natural and make it “more powerful”. Resveratrol itself however is apart of a few ingredients that claim to improve skin’s density which is something we often don’t think about when it comes to our skin concerns. Also still being a polyphenol, it’s a great anti-ager providing the skin oodles of antioxidants for those hungry, hungry free radicals. (Did I have some wine?)

Neogen solved a personal dilemma of mine, sometimes I want to physically exfoliate just a couple areas but the rest of my face would prefer just a chemical exfoliation. You get 30 of these neat looking pads that are half gauze, half plush cotton. Use just one side, use both there’s no bathroom police!!!

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iPhone 7 comin thru with that gauze detail

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plush side for my lil cheeks

Directions for use are a little different than most exfoliating pads i’ve tried in the past. Biggest reason being, you have to rinse these off!

Directions from here

  • After cleansing, slip your fingers into the sleeve of the gauze peeling wine pad so that the criss-crossed gauze side is facing down.
  • Use gentle, circular motions all over a dry face and neck, working your way up to your forehead.
  • Rotate the pad so that the gauze side is facing up and the soft, quilted side is facing down.
  • Swipe the softer side across the face to pick up the remaining debris.
  • Throw away pad and rinse with lukewarm water
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little skin debris from the 4th step?

I’ve been really enjoying these pads. I feel like the chemical exfoliation is strong enough on it’s own for my sensitive areas but I love adding a little more ‘umph’ with the gauze side on my nose and around my mouth. I really don’t see the need to have any other exfoliators on hand other than this guy and my treatment strength AHAs and BHAs.

Overall I would round up and give it a 9/10! From the juicy grape scent to the bright complexion I have afterwards. I will definitely repurchase, perhaps in the green tea flavor if it isn’t crazy priced to get it here.

Have you tried these or other Neogen products? I’m curious to hear people’s opinions on them!

Find them for purchase here! Neogen Gauze Bio-Peel: Wine $17.50USD

Post featured here 7/10/2017: https://www.neogenlab.us/blogs/news/neo-view-br-wine-bio-peel-gauze-peeling-br-review-by-zac-thayer

[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! 

[REVIEW] SKIN FOOD Rice Wash Off Mask

Guys, this was a dud. Sorry. 

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(like I’m not even gonna take updated photos of it)

I’ve seen so many reviews raving about this mask. I see it in almost every asian beauty store I go to and it’s just like ??? why ??? to me now. The first time I tried it I thought I initially liked it. Over a few uses I grew really tired of it. I didn’t really notice anything except my face feeling pretty smooth afterwards. But then when I started ingredient digging I started to grow less and less fond of it. 

Let’s take a look:

WATER, CETYL ETHYLHEXANOATE, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, CETYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERIN, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, ORYZA SATIVA (RICE) BRAN WATER, STEARIC ACID, POLYSORBATE 80, HYDROGENATED JOJOBA OIL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, PEG-100 STEARATE, SORBITAN STEARATE, CARBOMER, DIMETHICONE, TRIETHANOLAMINE, SODIUM ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, SUCROSE COCOATE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, DISODIUM EDTA, METHYLPARABEN, IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, BUTYLPARABEN, FRAGRANCE

Just one measly quality ingredient callout. It’s really just the product is imbalanced. It’s not very exfoliating at all, i’m assuming it uses jojoba beads as hydrogenated jojoba oil is included but I don’t see any other potential exfoliant on the list. It has a few mild acne triggers as well as most of the “moisturized” feeling will be coming from the film forming ingredients like sucrose cocoate, and silicone ingredients like dimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane. 

After leaving this mask on for 10-15 minutes you rinse and carry on with your routine. However still feeling a light film, I go over my face with some toner on cotton pads to remove it. 

I really don’t have a lot more to say about it other than, I wouldn’t waste my money on it again. It just didn’t do anything well. Brightening? No more than washing my face. Exfoliating? Barely Moisturizing? Not in my book.

Rating 2/10 

*mouth fart* 

[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. 

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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: 

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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] Primary Raw DoYou Azulene Gel Cream vs Soy Milk Cream

Just a heads up this gon’ be a beautiful post. 

I decided I was done lusting after them I was going to more Primary Raw after falling in love with their 2 Step Facial Therapy sheet mask set. I started with the Soy Milk Cream since it’s only available online and if I hated it I could bring it back to my local Sephora and pick up the Azulene Gel Cream instead since it is sold currently in select locations.

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This cream has a ‘gummy’ consistency that really reminds me of Joseon Dynasty Cream. So much in fact I returned it based on the fact that they are more similar in functionality and even to some extent ingredient wise. I may return to it once I run out of that but until then I’m sticking with the hanbang cream.

I also had a love/hate relationship with how the cream performed under makeup application, which was not too well. The product doesn’t product ball up often, and it only has when trying to apply foundation on top. This could have something to do with the cream having a high content of dimethicone, and could be the trigger of my recent forehead blemishes (also something that occurred with the Dynasty Cream!)

But what I loved about it are the ingredients. (Shocking) 

Ingredients:

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Water, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Niacinamide, Cetearyl Olivate, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tritcum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasloxane, Lactobacillus/Soymilk Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Snail Secretion Filtrate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Beta-Glucan, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Copper Tripeptide-1, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Algae Extract, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutia (Matricaria) Flower/Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Butyrospermum Parkii, Arginine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Troplone, Lactobacillus/Aspergillus/Prunus Mume Extract Ferment Filtrate, Lactobacillus/Portulaca Oleracea Ferment Extract, Natto Gum, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Phellinus Linteus Extract, Allantoin, Panthenol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra(Licorice) Extract, Mannan, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Meal Extract, Lysolecithin, Soy Isoflavone, Sodium Polyacrylate, Pyrus Cydonia (Quince) Seed Extract, Disodium EDTA, Ceramide 3, Ubiquinone, Caramel, Citrus Aurantium Bergarnia (Bergamot) Peel Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorate Flower Oil, Juniperus Oxycedrus Fruit Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil.

Repairing: Niacinamide, Snail, Beta-Glucan, Copper Tripeptide-1, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8

This is a pretty impressive list of repairing ingredients for a moisturizer all incredibly effective.

There are quite a bit of ingredients in here but I love that it’s formulated with Rice Water instead of just regular ol’ water. I would definitely recommend this cream to anyone who was on the fence about it, especially if purchasing from sephora with their great return policy. It shows promise for it’s claims of achieving ‘aqua filled skin’ the ultimate goal of Korean Beauty of bright, plump, dewy, radiant skin.

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DoYou Soy Milk Azulene Gel Cream found a spot in my morning routine however. Formulated with ZERO water. It uses super hydrating bamboo sap as the first ingredient. Following close behind it is Witch Hazel, great for hormonal breakouts and keeping skin clear and congestion free. Little vitamin capsules help deliver power ingredients like Niacinamide and Fermented Soy Milk to nourish and balance skin. Best part is the gel contains Azulene collected from steam distillation which is a superior anti inflammatory ingredient; to help back it up you also find Chamomile and Green Tea.

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There are two areas of listed ingredients, I am unsure if one is for the gel and the other is for the vitamin capsule, or they’re both just the whole thing but one side shows more ingredients than the other?

Anyways, there are a ton of anti inflammatories in here along side anti acne and other conditioning ingredients. I’ve fallen in love with the gel cream and it’s sitting comfortable as my new daytime moisturizer.

Soy Milk Cream Rating: 9/10

Azulene Gel Cream Rating: 9/10

yeah, either way you’re not going wrong.

Physical Location vs Online Asian Beauty Shopping

After heading into Portland for a day and checking out what they had to offer as far as Asian Beauty shopping goes, I feel like I have been to enough brick and mortar locations in enough areas that I can talk about the differences between the two. 

Physical Location shopping is my favorite and it always will be hands down. Like obv win: you get to see, touch, smell, try products and that’s beautiful. But it does come at a cost in america. Online businesses often times can cut their prices down much below retail price. But it must be said, Asian Beauty is a market so products fluctuate prices. I’ve also purchased products in store cheaper than online. I really think the best way to explain this more is to show some examples. Note: these are the prices when purchased, and could have been a while ago. 

It’s Skin Propolis Effector I purchased for $18 in SF, CA it retails online from Memeboxusa right now for $13. Why did I knowingly waste $5? Instant gratification. I got to ooh and aah at the packaging on the car ride home. I’ll sit there with Google Translate on my iPhone and translate what doesn’t have english (and even what does). Bottom line it’s a blast. I purchased SKINFOOD rice wash off mask in Portland, OR for $14 but it retails on Sokoglam for $10. But Sokoglam doesn’t have free shipping at $10, nor do I want to wait. I wanna get home and slather it on!

One trip back to SF I purchased May Island Mela-Tox masks for $2, when online the cheapest I could find individually was $3.20, score!

I think it all boils down to how much you want to spend. If you’re used to shopping at sephora, shopping in Asian Beauty stores will be like a candy store. They were for me at first until I QUICKLY grew accustomed to the generally cheaper prices. Then you kinda turn into a stingy old lady that complains about things being cheaper online (but you don’t actually say it b/c that’s rude!) So I’ve placed a lot of rules on my shopping that only I remember but they’re good tips if you find yourself inside an asian beauty store!

Mainly sheet mask purchasing:

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you can easily try many types of sheet masks often at deals like buy 7 for 5. You don’t have to worry about box buying to make your $ count.

The more ridiculous the packaging is the more overpriced the item will most likely be: 

Things like Tony Moly Prestige Jeju Snail Cream I have seen priced $100+ in store but only $48 on koreadepart. An obvious purchase to do online if I chose.

Japanese and Taiwanese masks are generally the most cost efficient, especially for frequent masking:

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(My Beauty Diary 8pc Brightening (left) & My Scheming 10pc 7-in-one (right) )

I used to use pretty much only Korean sheet masks until I started physical asian beauty shopping which in some places only have japanese/taiwanese sheet masks for sale (most asian markets). PureSmile, My Beauty Diary, and My Scheming are brands you’ll often see in asian markets. My favorite are PureSmile they even have lil eye flaps. 

Check prices of products online before deciding if you want to purchase in store or wait until you get home:

Simple as that. Too much of a markup? Save it! Only a couple bucks different? Why not!

This is what an online haul looks for me for comparison to the above from in store purchases: 

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No masks!!! (well some forehead patches I can’t find in store around me) I got some nifty products you can’t get in stores like 60pc of Sulwhasoo brightening cleanser sample packets to try, or Mizon’s coveted 8% AHA serum. (Actually now that it’s back in stock I did spot it in SF for some ridiculous price like $40).

Stores have worse return policies than websites:

I’m not even joking. I haven’t been to a single AB location that has accepted returns, opened or not. But I’m sure this has to do with many of the location running razor thin margins. If you buy from a reputable online website you’ll generally find some sort of return policy. I love sephora for their return policy, I also love memebox for theirs (it can’t compete with sephora’s but not many can). 

So have fun with your Asian Beauty adventures but be wise with your purchases. Pesky sales people can sometimes get in the way but if you take your time and play it’s really a great adventure. I know I can’t leave those places without at least a couple of sheet masks, minimum. But don’t be afraid to go home and order a few products so you can try more out for dollar.  

[REVIEW] Manyo Factory Galactomyces Clearskin AHA/BHA Toner

I have been so excited to share this toner but I wanted to give it a decent amount of time under testing. But from my first impression I’ve liked this product and my love for it just keeps growing every day I use it.

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Galactomy Clearnskin Toner is a pH balancing toner that is hydrating, mildly exfoliating, and infused with the muti-functional powerhouse Galactomyces ferment filtrate. (what? find out here

Manyo Factory is a lesser known but still relatively popular Korean brand that delivers high quality, simple, effective, concentrated, natural products. They don’t formulate with a lot of common irritants and always load up on key ingredients. 

I love this stuff because well… It’s so gentle! So gentle I can remove heavy duty chemical exfoliators with it and it’s still incredibly soothing. My favorite part has to be the consistency. Many hydrating toners I’ve tried leave my skin sticky don’t leave it feeling entirely clean. This is based with Mineral water and Galacta so it’s perfect. It feels just like water. I also like that it’s in a spray, I can either spritz onto cotton pads or all over then wipe. Whichever way, the spray bottle works the best.

Here’s a breakdown of the great ingredient list:  

Mineral Water, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract(Smoothing, softening), Chamaecyparis Obtusa(Hinoki cypress)(moisturizing) Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract(hydrating), Centella Asiatica Extract(soothing), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract(BHA/exfoliating), Lactic Acid(AHA/exfoliating), Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit(Japanese Pepper) Extract(antioxidant/protection), Pulsatilla Koreana Extract , Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water(Soothing), Sea Water, Potassium Hydroxide(conditioning), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract (BHA,exfoliating) Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract(antioxidant/protection), Rosa Damascena Flower Oil(moisturizing,scent) , Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract(enzyme/exfoliating)

*bolded are ingredients I like to see, as you can tell, Manyo put a lot of love into this.

What I don’t like about it: it has rose oil in it. It’s a small complaint but some people complain more about it. *shrug* NBD

10/10 Holy Grail status.