I’ve sold their products for years, I’ve used their products for even longer. But I am just now writing about ‘mother’. Amore isn’t just a brand, they are a cosmetics conglomerate of over 30 brands. They make some of the world’s favorite brands and most people are unsuspecting of such. Brands like Laneige, Mamonde, IOPE, Hera, Sulwhasoo, and Happy Bath, the list goes on (in all price ranges).
AMOREPACIFIC is the cream of the crop. With products that have price points that compete with ultra luxe wastes of money like La Prairie and 111Skin. (Of course there are exceptions. However, no skincare product will compete with procedures, put your $600 towards microneedling or something other than a bottle of 50% water) They are to be considered the pinnacle of Amore’s R&D. Most products don’t wander into the $200< mark unless they are apart of the ‘Time Renewal’ collection. The super super super #1. Sh*ts like $450 for green tea and bamboo, man.
The Treatment Toner is part of the basics so while it does take a blow to your wallet, nothing like above. While in many Korean skincare brands we’d expect to see essences somewhere in the product lineup. However, unlike the rest of the AMORE group brands, there’s not a single essence to be found. (until like a month ago, no joke it’s the Vintage Single Extract Essence, and yes I need it, and no I can’t ever afford it and the part that kills me is it’s technically a First Treatment Essence based with 100-day fermented green tea…. NO YOU’RE CRYING.) But in a normal Amore routine, Treatment Toner is your essence. But it’s still also your toner. It’s both. Instead of being just pH restoring and balancing like toner, or just a hydration step like essence this product does the job of both. Pretty well too!
In typical Amore fashion, water is not the first ingredient. Instead they use Ginseng extract as the base. Before you close this tab and run to your nearest Amore reseller.. Calling the first ingredient ginseng doesn’t mean this product is filled to the brim with it. It’s still a water. & the word ‘extract’ can be stretched. Like in cooking, we call it, lets say “whatever” extract, but with propylene glycol and water added. But it’s still 100% “whatever” extract. So in a product we could list that as “whatever extract”. But nonetheless, something you can count on in this ingredient is the quality.
Other ingredients to should note: Hyaluronic Acid(hydrator), Korean Red Pine extract (antioxidant powerhouse), Green Tea (also antioxidants), Theanine (green tea component), Ginger, Bamboo sap(hydrator), Water Lily (astringent), and last but not least Licorice Root(anti-inflammatory).
It’s great at calming my irritated skin down after exfoliating, replenishing moisture and pH. I also know it’s giving me a solid foundation to a great routine.
Where does this toner go wrong though? Fragrance and unnecessary pigment. Why does it have to be pink? ((Attract the ‘US market’ client)) Red 33 and CI 15985 are what give this product it’s pale pink tint, not ginseng unfortunately.. The fragrance is definitely artificial. It’s not the best scent, but definitely not bad! It is not a herbal/natural smelling wonderland like Sulwhasoo products, it’s just a ‘good scent’.((Attract the ‘US market’ client)) I can smell it for step or two afterwards even with those products on top, but then it seems to go away.
Where this toner goes right all the way, is it’s texture. It’s as light as water but feels as hydrating as an essence with absolutely no residue. I can’t imagine someone not caring for it.
Find this toner at your local AMOREPACIFIC store or retailer for $50USD
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
*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
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
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.
(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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
I impatiently waited for these to ship from Korea and I’ve now FINALLY used them enough to make a decent review on them. If I had an expendable budget I would have gotten all of them, but today we have:
Pikachu Moisture Foaming Cleanser
What about it: This is a more simple foaming cleanser designed to try to maintain your skin’s natural moisture levels. The description on the back states:
“This moisture foam cleanser effectively removes impurities from skin with moisturizing foam containing olive leaf extract”
and that’s pretty much it! If you have very dry skin I would not recommend this cleanser. Unfortunately the pH of the cleanser is still relatively stripping. But in comparison to the Pore cleanser it leaves the skin soft and just lightly moisturized still. The scent is described as ‘vanilla’ and it 100% in all honesty doesn’t even slightly smell like vanilla. It doesn’t foam as well as some other cleansers actually and it doesn’t really foam much more when rubbing it either. I’ve used it a few times with my clarisonic and it does foam up much more!
Overall I give it a 6/10 and most of these points are for it being Pikachu.
Bulbasaur Pore Foaming Cleanser
What about it: Now this guy actually is using two key ingredients, Albumin and Purslane! Albumn is a protein from egg white and is said it helps tighten pores and condition skin while Purslane (portulaca oleracea) is very soothing and helps skin retain moisture. This cleanser scent is described as ‘green tea’ while I can kinda get a green tea scent from it, it smells like a new hotel lobby… Idk… like really specifically if you’ve ever been to an ‘Aloft’ hotel. That’s what it smells like. You’re welcome.
Overall it gets a 6/10 too, these cleansers are more alike than they are different. But you can definitely feel a difference which I appreciate. When it comes to some brand’s cleansers (shiseido is the first that comes to mind) their cleansers all feel exactly the same no matter what type of skin it’s for and ya know, that’s a little concerning.
Would I recommend them to a friend? I wouldn’t tell them to go out of their way for it, but if you have a itch for pokemon products, they are definitely not bad choices!
Vitamin B-3! Well specifically we’re talking about Niacinamide, like a lot of ‘actives’ in skincare are a form of a Vitamin (Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A, Vitamin C we all know and love). Vitamin B3 is found present in all cells, like we’re literally made up of this stuff. It helps specifically with the cell reproduction and has incredible anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it effective for acne and can even show signs of improvement in cases of rosacea, keratosis pilaris, and psoriasis. But Niacinamide doesn’t quit with just helping 4 common skin conditions it’s also a great anti-ager as well as hydrator. With the increased skin cell turnover helping reveal brighter, healthier skin Niacinamide also helps stimulate production of ceramides, a lipid our skin produces to protect against aggressors and maintain moisture. So this is why it’s been a major skin care ingredient in Asian beauty for so long. It’s results can be great and it’s suitable for sensitive skin so it’s kinda a no brainer ingredient.
Some bomb products I personally love that contain effective amounts of Niacinamide:
Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Pack
This lil’ fella smells very very similar to LUSH’s Twilight Bath Bomb if you’ve ever had a chance to smell it. It’s key ingredients are Niacinamide and White Mulberry to deliver a bright glowy complexion in the mornin’. It’s also packed with Trehalose, Hyaluronic and Glycerin; all three powerful humectants to keep your skin pulling in humidity for serious hydration.
(as you can see, I need to repurchase soon)
CosRx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence
While Galactomyces may be the power player in this product the assistance of Niacinamide really pushes this product into Holy Grail status. Read my full review of this here!
J.One Hana Cream
This cream does it all and it was designed to! J.One is founded by famous Korean actress Jiwon Ha is a capsulated cream packed with macademia nut oil, ceramides, and other powerful moisturizers and hydrators while it works to firm, lift, (Peptides) brighten & smooth (Niacinamide, Salicylic acid) and protect (Fullerene, Centella, B5)
I gotta say there’s a couple questions I get asked WAY more than a persons regular specific concern which is “How do I shrink my pores?!” People’s faces usually start to show disinterest as soon as I tell the basically “You can’t!” Now this isn’t 100% true every time and there’s different philosophies on how pores operate.
The ‘safe’ philosophy is to compare them to a trash bag. They start one size and they can hold xx amount of content. The pore can slightly stretch and snap back but can easily be stretched passed it’s original size and basically stay that size. This is why we see pores where we’ve picked get funky shapes often times looking like an oval or line. I have a few of these battle scars from when I was a teenager not having a drop of self restraint from picking at my sebaceous filaments. Sebaceous what? Sebaceous filaments are in my opinion one of the most annoying things but they’re so great. Basically these are like candle wicks that bring oil from inside the pore to the skin’s surface. However sometimes these ‘wicks’ need to be ‘trimmed’ yeah it’s a gross analogy but you’re picturing it correctly. They oxidize from their exposure to air and turn black, the same way a blackhead turns black, but these suckers are a skin function, not a temporary obstruction. So if you feel like you have recurring blackheads in the same spot they most likely are these guys instead. Blackheads generally are raised and much larger than the pore.
While detoxing we all know helps enlarged pores but there’s something that is actually MORE important! We need to make sure our skins properly hydrated (think water not oil) otherwise how can you expect your pores to be perky tight and firm?? Like a butt that hasn’t seen squats in a while our pores aren’t quite themselves when they’re dry. Most people see dramatic improvement with increased hydration over time.
So what do I recommend for congestion, sebaceous filaments, enlarged pores and everything in between? These are some of my favorites and some quick bits about them.
Salicylic Acid (and it’s various forms) – exfoliates also the inside of the pore (something manual exfoliation and AHAs do not do) think: dran-o for your skin.
Bentonite – Detox without the dryness. Bentonite cannot physically absorb water but it can absorb oil and impurities that come along with it.
Sulfur – Detox the sh*t out of your skin, can be considered an active ingredient. Can be drying. But effect for a quick purge. I like it for spot treatments the most.
Charcoal – Moderate detox; this is in toooooooooons of products, including many you’re going to read about. Not all that drying however can be.
Hyaluronic Acid – A humectant that our skin has present naturally that pulls in humidity into our skin.
Snail Secretion – Multi-function ingredient that actually contains hyaluronic acid, as well was copper peptides to help repair skin and a slew of other compounds.
(Scroll down to find out more and what products have these ingredients!)
CosRx Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser – Make sure to use a toner with this one! More stripping pH of 9. But a deeply cleansing ‘micro foam’ penetrates Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree deep to help liquify sebum and lead you to clear skin. I love these photos of explanation from the brand, the brand is phenomenal inside and out.
Caolion Pore Blackhead O2 Sparkling Soap – I like spot cleansing my nose every morning with this charcoal and sebum balancing bar soap. Leaves the skin squeaky clean but not totally stripped, if you’re into that typa thang.
Foreo Luna Sonic Cleansing Brush – While our cleansers can do a lot how we put them to work can be a total game changer. I prefer the Foreo over the Clarisonic for many reasons. But that doesn’t mean I’d tell you to toss the Clarisonic, I would just stick to the radiance and cashmere brush heads. (I’ll do a post one day as to why)
Secret Key Lemon Sparkling Peeling Gel – IT SMELLS LIKE SPRITE. Peeling gels are great gentle exfoliators, something that can be used more frequently than a scrub or intensive acid peel. I personally use this guy on my nose everyday and my forehead almost every day. These types of exfoliators stick on to dead skin cells and balls them up off your face. Gentle and effective, just how I like it. That’s him down there!
Perricone PRE:EMPT Exfoliating Pore Refiner – If you don’t dig the idea of rolling your dead skin up but want an everyday exfoliator still I highly recommend this bad boy. Hailing from Perricone, a brand extremely concerned about inflammation and irritation. The second ingredient is Betaine Salicylate a gentle form of Salicylic acid that’s just as effective. I have a full review of this product planned!
(not pictured) PTR Pumpkin Enzyme Mask -TRIPLE ACTION EXFOLIATOR BURN THAT SH*T OFF Mask should actually be its name. But it’s still on this list because it works and it works well. Not for everyone but it uses aluminum oxide to give you a nice microdermabrasion scrub (fine granules to buff, great for texture), AHAs to lift and Enzymes to eat it away those dead skin cells. While I like this more for texture; it’s a phenomenal prep step into clay masks and really any exfoliator is but, I like this one for its thoroughness.
PTR Irish Moor Mud Purifying Mask – Purifying but not stripping. But WARNING do this mask in the shower it is crazy thick and it’s very invigorating w/ your pores open. Using charcoal and peat (irish moor mud just the not frilly ~magical~ name for it.) Peat is basically mud that’s had a lot of decay in it for a lot of years so it’s very very nutrient rich. To top it off it has some hijiki seaweed to add some nourishment. You never feel stripped however sometimes sensitive if you leave it on for awhile. Absolutely my favorite mud mask, thickness and all.
Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding – I consider this the Irish Moor Mud lite. Similar effect comes from both white and black charcoals. While the ‘white charcoal’ side offers some more nourishing ingredients and helps with pore refinement. It has no real tingle or warmth.
Kate Somerville EradiKate Oxygenating Mask – For those looking for a serious detox to bring them a serious glow without the stripping effects. This is your guy. Oxygenating to help bring flush tone and a glow while containing just a smidge of sulfur to really flush your pores. Can leave your skin a little stinky if you don’t get it all off (or out of your hairline which is very hard to do with this bugger)
Admittedly, I haven’t tried very many pore serums. I’ve always been skeptical and seen lack of results but this was an exception:
Skinmiso Pore Corset Serum – This guy has been impressing me lately but it’s still too soon to tell for sure. I’m about 3 weeks in but I’ve definitely noticed my nose pores looking less and less noticeable. Now this is what makes me start to believe the second pore philosophy of Pores are like rubber bands they and stretch and snap back to the size they were but you can’t make them smaller. I know a lot of my enlarged pores are from sun damage and acne damage, so in theory that means my pores should be able to tighten up maybe not all the way back to normal but some since it’s not all genetics. Wishtrend has a lot of pictures and info on the product, it is a more ‘secretive’ product in the ingredient area. It does mention something about 20 minutes of pore tightening therapy which sounds awesome and probably has something to do with the cooling effect it imparts.
Sunday Riley Tidal Enzyme Cream – ugh, love you bae. I’m on my second jar of this and I don’t use it consistently. This lightweight gel cream has two forms of hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrated and stay that way all day long. To top it off there are enzymes like papain to smooth and brighten and brightening actives like the safer hydroquinone-derivative alpha-arbutin. A lot of makeup artists I know and work with swear by this for prep. But nonetheless a great hydrator to keep those pores lookin fuh-reshhhhh
Before I get into it can we just appreciate the english description “Real effect cleansing powder for keeping your healthy skin in the best condition” Like thanks for words that mean nothing. However the product speaks volumes about itself even if the english doesn’t. This is by far the best enzyme powder wash I’ve used. There’s some relatively similar to this one, from another very big Korean brand that you can get in the states for a cool $60 (Amore Pacific Enzyme Treatment Peel) or another version from a Japanese inspired American brand (Tatcha’s Rice Enzyme Powder) for $65 none of these really compare to my beloved Tosowoong.
What about it: Enzymatic exfoliators are awesome. They help shed dead skin by eating it away. How do enzymes ‘eat away dead skin’ though? A question I get about 9/10 times I talk about these with clients. “Enzymes are proteins folded into complex shapes that allow smaller molecules to fit into them. The place where these substrate molecules fit is called the active site.” -bbc.co.uk these smaller molecules being dead skin! If you’re looking to smooth out texture this is a great gentle way to do so omitting any harsh physical or chemical exfoliants.
What I don’t like about it: hard to rinse completely off without being in the shower (not a deal breaker for me) it is very concentrated so if you feel similar try using less! I’m still playing around with how much myself. Also takes some time to work into a lather. Comparing to above enzyme powders which later immediately, this takes some work to break down every last piece.
What I like about it: 5.5 pH balance, I’m not dry or stripped after cleansing. It helps exfoliate without totally skewing your skin’s natural synergy like a traditional peel might. (For people concerned about it containing SLS, the product is pH balanced still. Meaning there are hundreds of cleanser that are more aggressive that will advertise it’s gentle because it’s ‘sulfate-free’ when in reality the pH actually tells us how stripping this will be to our acid mantle and fortunately, it isn’t at all.) The smell, like old lady products but it doesn’t smell as strong in lather as it does inside the bottle. Lastly the price. Solid flakes of soap and enzymes shouldn’t ever cost $60 so that’s why Tosowoong, you earned another spot in my medicine cabinet.
From top to bottom we have Kenzoki, MISSHA, and BECCA.
Check them out moving in the light here!:
Lets start with the Kenzoki cream. As we can see it has a lot less visible sheen than the BB Boomer or Backlight Primer. This is partially due to it having to deliver a lot more than just some sheen and adhesion for makeup application like the other two (we’ll see they both do a lot more of course) But this moisturizer is loaded with white lotus flower to help sooth and reduce irritation and redness while pink peony flower will help with brightening and evening skin tone out naturally!
Next we have the MISSHA BB Boomer. If I had to pick a favorite, I think I’d pick this one. First off, it has a natural spf with it’s high Titanium Dioxide amount. While MISSHA doesn’t disclose this so it could also mean it’s SPF is >15. You can see it’s really intense pink pearl. This is going to be more suited for someone with a fairer complexion. Also keeping in mind this is a korean product which means it can possibly limit who can and cannot use this product due to it’s color. This ‘BB Cream Primer’ as it’s marketed as also has some great brightening ingredients like Allantoin!
Lastly, and definitely not least is BECCA’s Backlight Primer. White the other two were a little more heavy on the pink tones to the skin. Becca claims there are 3 pigments being used to help neutralize more undertones than just one! 1 point BECCA for being a little bit more universal (funny because I cannot match even slightly to any of their foundations) However this product has more of a warm undertone regardless. Making it more suitable than MISSHA’s primer for some. However I can wear this primer without looking “too warm” or anything like that. This product doesn’t have the same slew of benefits Kenzoki and MISSHA has but contains licorice root which is great to have in a primer to help prevent any potential breakouts or redness in the skin.