[First Impressions] BRTC Jasmine Waterful Sleeping Pack

Can you own too many sleeping masks? If you said yes, YOU’RE WRONG. I have I think 5 currently, and one disposable… When Cupidrop announced this product to review I was stoked! How did they know I needed another hydrating sleeping mask?

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They didn’t. I got lucky.

BRTC is a clinical oriented KBeauty brand that stands for Bio Remedies Therapeutic Cosmetics. Their goal is to provide effective formulas based in nature. (Like a lot of brands!) They do however have two of their own patented ingredient complexes in this single product: Purple Vigor, and Blue Phyto Complex.

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http://www.cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_c655293254.html

(I made a CosDNA account finally to track things that I input, not search!)

Humectants: Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Betaine, Xylitol

Notable Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane*, Niacinamide, Adenosine, Allantoin, Chamomile, Jasmine Water

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The Jasmine Waterful sleeping mask is described as dual function to assist with not only whitening (reducing dark spots), but anti-wrinkle as well. It has an extremely light Jasmine scent that I honestly, can’t really pick up unless my products have no scent whatsoever. Some people are more sensitive to it than others, but I really have to strain to pick up any jasmine scent. I do wish it was in a tube or a pump to prevent ingredient degradation and maintain sanitation.

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The texture is great. It’s described as ‘bursts with moist when rubbed in’ and it…. well… really does! Just like if you’ve tried Dr. Jart Water Drop moisturizer or similar, this will form lil’ water beads when you start to rub it in! Pretty novel, but it shows the formula is literally ‘bursting’ with hydration. Pretty cool stuff! It absorbs well and makes a fine last step at night (or even as a lightweight hydrating/priming moisturizer in the morning!)

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[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.

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.

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)

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] 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.

F*** ENLARGED PORES AMIRITE???

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.

INGREDIENTS

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!) 

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CLEANSERS:

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. 

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(Credit: Wishtrend.com)

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)

EXFOLIATORS:

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! 

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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.

MASKS:

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)

SERUMS:

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. 

HYDRATORS:

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

Mizon Intensive Snail Repair AmpouleRead in depth about it here!

CosRx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence Read in depth about it here!

(other notable and strong recommendation that I haven’t though have had a chance to try is the Mizon 100 Hyaluronic Ampoule for obvious reasons.)

Sleeping ______

Have you ever heard of a sleeping mask? Like every other product in skincare these fellas are also very ambiguous going by names like sleeping cap, sleeping pack, sleep-in facial, etc. The list goes on. Here I’m gonna talk about 3 of them. 

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First, what is a sleeping mask?

Generally, these masks are loaded with specialized ingredients and have a ‘sealant’ like effect to help increase absorption of the mask (and everything we’ve applied underneath) Great for overnight while we aren’t doing anything. There are also different consistencies too. Gel like ones may be more suited for normal to oily skin, while they have more nutritional/lipid based ones as well for normal to drier skin.

MIZON Special Solutions Good Night White Sleeping Pack has to be one of my favorites. Niacinamide is the name of the game with this mask. One of my favorite ingredients for brightening. Niacinamide unlike some brightening ingredients is a B-vitamin that’s great at suppressing the excess melanin (the pigment of our skin, the deeper the color the more melanin is present.) but is especially good for those who may not apply sunscreen regularly or at all. Some people may know this all over brightening effect marketed as ‘radiance’.  Contains Natto Gum (fermented soy protein) and Placenta (yes!!!) to help ‘feed’ the skin nutrients and protect against oxidative damage. Doesn’t require to be washed off in the morning as well, however I will always recommend to do so and follow with a morning routine. If you’re in a pinch you won’t have to worry about this causing any little white heads from leaving it on!

Dr. Jart+ Water-Max Sleeping Mask is another goodie. (Also an oldie to my routine; it was the first sleeping mask I ever tried and fell in love.) This is one that mentions in the directions to wash it off in the morning. Containing Hyaluronic Acid Macromolecule a super tiny (or should I say ‘macro’) size of this amazing ingredient that acts like a water reservoir for our skin. Skin can have a hard time absorbing things depending on the size of the molecule it’s trying to absorb. The smaller the molecule the better. Many brands have been starting to use Micromolecules of this ingredient but Dr. Jart+ steps it up by adding it one step smaller. You can also find Olive Leaf for increasing skin barrier and a surprisingly small ingredient list filled with other supporting protecting ingredients. They have also added some relaxing botanicals like lavender to help relax and lull you to sleep. 

Fresh’s Black Tea Overnight Firming Mask may be my least favorite out of the bunch that I’ve tried. It may be the best smelling with a scent signature to Fresh’s Back Tea line. But it’s very thick, tacky, and initially uncomfortable. It absorbs fully overnight leaving you in awe with how soft your skin is in the morning, but I recommend getting a sample of this one from Nieman or Sephora before taking home the $94.00 mask over the others. But comfortability aside, this mask is still loaded with some great ingredients. Contains Hyaluronic like the Dr. Jart one however just regular ol’ hyalo. Some peptides are added to the mix for firming, lifting, toning, contouring, all that jazz. Belle De Nuit extract is a power player for this mask, great at soothing and softening, but also gives this mask a great relaxing twist on the already great Black Tea fragrance. This flower in french literally means “Flower of the night” as it only blooms at night! It’s said this flower is a very potent aphrodisiac as well. 

Whatever sleeping mask you end up with, whether it be one of these or another, remember to find one you’re comfortable with. I have many clients who want to like the Fresh one but can’t stand the feeling of it. Check out the consistencies of these below. Mizon’s actually start to absorb and dry in the the time it took me to take the photo.

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