[REVIEW] Benton Cacao Moist & Mild Cream

Oh have I been busy, my apologies for the sporadic posting. It should mellow out very soon..

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My night time moisture can be a hard thing to get right in the summer. Compared to my skin during the winter, it’s a lot less forgiving. It can feel suffocated if I use something too heavy. Benton was kind enough so send me their newest moisturizer Cacao based moisturizer designed for this exact problem (or at least that’s all I could think of when I read about it) free for my honest review. It took some warming up to but it’s a keeper for sure.

Benton has become a long time favorite of mine. They’ve inspired the creation of this blog even, some of my earliest (and most viewed) posts are Benton products. They’ve changed the beauty industry internationally by contributing to setting a new standard of skincare. Cleaner, safer, affordable, effective products. Benton however continues to amaze me with things like USDA Organic labels, Snail and bee products that are cruelty free certified. If they are as true as they appear, they’re one of the best (of the best).

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http://www.cosdna.com/eng/cosmetic_7f2b294618.html

Cacao Mild and Moist aims at providing the ideal balance of oil:water. It’s based with a whopping 63% Cacao Extract. Moisturizing, softening and an antioxidant powerhouse, Cacao Extract makes a fine first ingredient. Unlike the butter, the extract is a so To provide lipid based moisture you’ll find 10% Cacao Seed Butter, sorbitan olivate, and beta-glucans. To provide humectant based hydration, glycerin and hyaluronic acid are used. I also want to note two other ingredients I am all about. First is Polygutamic Acid, a polypeptide penetration enhancer derived from Natto! While being ‘officially’ labelled as a film forming agent it has a lot of great benefits! While being lightly exfoliating, PGA also helps your skin’s own natural moisture production. Madecassoside is the other, a derivative from Centella. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-acne ingredient, making this friendly for even those who suffer from breakouts. Actually, this whole ingredient list is pretty acne friendly. Cacao Seed Butter gets a bad wrap and rates a 4/5 on the comedogenicity scale. However at only 10% without major film formers I would still feel very safe recommending this to the old acne ridden me.

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Moist is a really accurate word to describe the finish of this moisturizer. If you like the feeling of gel moisturizer you’ll like this. Once you dispense it, the product immediately starts melting onto your skin. No matter how much you use, it feels like it all absorbs. But a little goes a long way. It’s strong humectant base and just ‘touch’ of lipid is really the perfect bet for summer.

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You also may be shocked (good or bad), when you find out this cream is unscented! No chocolate scent, but that’s quite alright. Benton is great at removing fragrance and keeping their products free of any added scent too.

Interested in trying it out? Find it on Amazon for $16USD.

[REVIEW] 9Wishes Sun Moisturizer SPF50+ PA+++

We’re facing summer head on now! I’ve never been so excited for summer! Not just the warm weather (that I’ve missed since moving from CA), but also the new fresh textured products that roll out.

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One thing that’s new to me is 9Wishes! They’re a contemporary Korean brand that ‘wishes’ to provide natural, gentle, and safe products. There are actually 9 individual things they stand for, that I haven’t had translated yet! But google translate tried for me:

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nice

It’s hard finding sunscreens that are high coverage but have a nice texture, and have more than just a couple humectants thrown in as far as ‘extras’. You may not think your sunscreen needs anything more than just the sunscreen and a delivery system, but it’s definitely ideal for them to have some other benefits. The sun dehydrates our skin, with or without sunscreen. Certain sunscreen filters produce free radicals as a byproduct of converting the harmful UV rays into heat. For many, the sun and/or the activity of the filters can be irritating. In short, the sun is the devil and we can use help especially during prolonged exposure (longer than 80 minutes) and we’d need reapplication.

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9Wishes takes all of this into consideration with their Sun Moisturizer SPF50+ PA+++. With a patented ‘SM Calming Newplex-8’ ingredient complex, moisturizing and hydrating ingredients and a reapplication friendly, non-sticky finish, I found a Captain in my ‘Sunscreen Army’. Let’s take a look at these ingredients:

  • Humectants: Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Sorbitan sesquioleate, Allantoin, Aloe
  • Lipids: Jojoba, Shea, Cetearyl Olivate, Olive
  • Antioxidants: Korean Red Pine, White Mulberry, Licorice Root, White Tea (sounds like a Sulwhasoo product) Niacinamide, Honeysuckle (and more)

What’s great about these antioxidants is they all will play a slightly different role in aiding you against the sun. For instance, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate is an incredible anti-inflammatory that reduces the Tyrosinase activity (forming of dark spots). White Mulberry also suppresses Tyrosinase activity. Niacinamide helps skin maintain a healthy lipid layer. I mean, this thing is really made to kick UV rays in the ass. This is important to not only start with, but keep using throughout the day. Why wouldn’t you want these great antioxidants and humectants with your reapplication? It’s definitely priced to do so, guilt free.

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One thing that I’m less than thrilled about it how many types of sunscreen go in here. While I do like the inclusion of Tinosorb S and Uvinul t 150, if they used higher amounts of these and zinc, they wouldn’t need the other 3 estrogenic filters included. But overall, this is a small complaint and doesn’t outweigh the risk of damage from unprotected sun exposure.

The finish is really soft, almost like a pore perfecting primer, without the silicone slip feeling. It doesn’t have a cast on my fair skin, but a nice iridescence. (however deeper skin tones this may show up as slight white cast).

The fragrance is nice, it isn’t really strong and definitely cuts out the smell of the lengthy list of filters. After a while you don’t really smell it anymore either.

*Big thanks to BBCosmetic and 9Wishes for providing these products in exchange for my honest review. If you haven’t checked our BBCosmetic they’re a great place to get your KBeauty fix. Great prices and best yet, free shipping to the US! Also if you wanna try this sunscreen out (or somethin’ else) you can use this promo code: “facequench8″ for 8% off your order! You can catch the 9Wishes Sun Moisturizer on sale for $13.00 for a limited time!

[FIRST TAKE] Ole Henriksen Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator

Ole Henriksen is a staple skincare brand in the western market. Scandinavian Cosmetician and Product Formulator Ole has repackaged his line for the first time at least since launching with Sephora, their no. 1 reseller, in 2005. Along with the repackaging comes along a couple new products while most formulations are staying the same. 

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The Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator is one of the new products. It says it contains a Green Fusion Complex, neem seed oil, rosehip extract, and AHAs. I also love to see Ole shying away from jars as this new moisturizer comes in a pump bottle. His Vitamin Plus, now called Mattifying Moisture Creme was actually the first moisturizer I ever found to really agree with my skin as a young broken out teenager. This is a more ideal texture for morning time while the moisture creme would be more ideal at night. 

The Oil Control Hydrator has a ‘Green Fusion Complex’ which is most likely part of it’s strong eucalyptus/ peppermint smell. Neem seed oil is naturally rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin E making it a good hydrator and protector. Neem also carries an antibacterial compound making it ideal for acne prone/unbalanced skin. Rosehip has a high amount of minerals great for fighting acne like potassium and sulphur. But also carries vitamin A and C to help correct damage, brighten, and protect skin. If you’re looking for some help in the texture area, this sports Glycolic, Lactic, and Salicylic Acids to exfoliate gently.  

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I’ve always liked Ole’s exfoliating products as well, his invigorating night treatment was another one of my early favorites as a teenager. If you’re looking for a new lightweight daytime moisturizer and you have acne prone/oily/unbalanced skin this would be a great option. I would just recommend pairing at least one hydrator under this product as it is mainly lipid based moisture. Like this! or this

I’ve been liking the feeling of this. I’m also so happy to see some great new packaging on Ole’s products. They make the classic formulations look like they mean business. 

[REVIEW] Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

I have a bad habit of moving directly on to another moisturizer after finishing (or growing tired) of my current one. But Sunday Riley has made the FIRST moisturizer I had to come back for more of. 

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Tidal claims to be hydrating and brightening. It hydrating with 2 forms of Hyaluronic Acid, a low molecular weight HA to penetrate deeply and hydrate over time, as well as your regular HMW-HA to give surface hydration. You find Jojoba Esters as the seconds ingredient providing moisture very similar to human sebum without feeling like an oil or heavy butter. So we know with this moisturizer we are getting both some hydration and also some moisture (without the weight!) 

Tidal’s brightening effects I feel like are actually a bit understated. Papain, or papaya enzymes help lightly exfoliate, which in my use have helped cut down how frequently I exfoliate noticeably. 1% Alpha-Arbutin is the power ingredient however, which is up to 20x more effective than Beta-Arbutin or commonly known as just ‘Arbutin’. While Arbutin is a natural ingredient (you can find it in Bearberry extract) Alpha-Arbutin is a biosynthetic powder that is manufactured and MUCH more expensive than it’s Beta brother. What is arbutin? It is a brightening ingredient that is related to hydroquinone but is much less harsh and doesn’t have nearly as many safety risks included. Another point to note is the cool use of papaya enzymes, generally we see them in powder washes like Tosowoong’s (Review here!) or AMOREPACIFIC’s enzyme peel. Some have concerns of these washes not actually exfoliating much, if at all because the enzymes are not left on long enough/ are not strong enough. Since the enzymes are being left on they have a chance to exfoliate to visibly smooth and retexturize over the course of a few uses. 

This is my second jar now of this gel-cream. It has a subtle floral/earthy scent with zero added fragrance and a beautiful light teal color with a subtle iridescence. Tidal isn’t you’re average hydrating moisturizer, it’s actually a very active treatment as well. I recommend this for clients who often times want an all-in-one moisturizer, but they actually want it to show results. 

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I don’t pick favorites, but if I were to this may be it. No complaints here, man. 

Winter Dryness

Since moving to Seattle from California my skin has been non stop dry. I can’t really tell where my skin has done better yet? It’s pretty terrible everyplace. One thing I can tell you about my skin since moving to Seattle is, it’s DRY in the cold weather.

So far I’ve kept a nice dew to my skin through the cold so far, but it hasn’t been easy! These are just a few of my tips for fighting the cold.

Sheet mask more

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Sheet masks offer a variety of skincare benefits, but at the end of the day they usually have two or three humectants in them like Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, Glycerin. Depending on the mask then you can also find even more moisturizing or hydrating ingredients. Three of my favorites:

Medi-Heal E.G.T TIMETOX Ampoule Mask is a superpowered repairing mask. Containing ingredients that can whip skin out of both dryness and dehydration. It contains Astaxanthin(super-antioxidant), Acetyl Hexapeptide-8(Peptide that reduces appearance of wrinkles), RH-Oilgopeptide-1(Epidermic Growth Factor)

The Face Shop The Solution Nourishing Face Mask is the soothing propolis flavor is a great option if you want some well rounded nutrition. What is propolis you may ask? It’s this honey like substance bees collect that they use as a disinfectant, and a glue! It’s antioxidant rich and can be used topically as a antiviral and antimicrobial. Super great for those who are acne prone or just want a super great nourishing mask. 

Bonvivant Botanical Mask Pack is another favorite, I was able to snag 40 masks from them @ $.50 a piece. They have a few different ones that would be great for dryness but I really love this Adenosine + Acai mask because it’s a sheet mask loaded with milk essence! So it’s a little bit more moisturizing than your regular runny clear essence sheet mask. 

Lipids, fat, and cholesterol, give me it all.

Hydrating is still very important in the winter time however I recommend to most of my clients to start incorporating at least one type of lipid based product into their routine at least once a day. Hydrating gets our skin pulling in humidity but doesn’t necessarily help it stay in there. In fact they do nothing for our epidermal lipids; Which keep all the good inside, and all the bad, out. With colder weather present is should be a no brainer as to why we want to keep this lipids in tact and replenished. Facial oils and occlusive moisturizers(we’ll see this later) are great ways to add these to your routine. 

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Korres Wild Rose Brightening Oil is a beast in beautiful package. (With real rose petals at the bottom!) It contains demethyl isosorbide, an ingredient that enhances penetration so for people who don’t really like the feeling of oil on their skin, this can be a great place to start. Not to mention it’s loaded with a SUPER stable form of vitamin C called SUPER C (or Ascorbyl Tretraisopamitate) which is supposed to be a highly stabilized vitamin C that is 10x better at absorbing as well. Bisabolol and ginger root are also found in this oil to help calm inflammation and irritation. 

For a customized approach. Tosowoong’s 100% Fermented Camellia Oil is a favorite. You can mix this into moisturizers, foundations, bb creams, or layer it before or even after moisturizer to add extra moisture and protection. This product being 100% such a heavy oil, is really best for spot application. It’s also very hard to spread, therefore taking some in your palms isn’t really easy either. 

Last but not least, Boscia’s Tsubaki Oil. Also loaded with camellia oil (that’s what tsubaki is) but features a few different types of oil to make the consistency much much more appealing. This is better for someone who may want all over application, or just something more viscous but still incredibly moisturizing. 

Baby your under-eyes

Your eyes suck. They may be pretty or w/e but they suck at producing moisture for themselves. So that leaves our eye area needing some extra attention. MIZON has made my only go-to option now to help fight the cold and dry. 

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MIZON Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream is packed with ~42% marine collagen, this puppy is mooooooisturizing. It’s ‘firming’ title comes from it’s nice array of great supporting ingredients. Main one being Copper Tripeptide-1, a power ingredient responsible for firming and lifting. Also is said to reduce damage and crosslinked collagen (scarring tissue). To top it off you’ll also find, adenosine, argan oil, and hyaluronic acid. 

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y’all… look how thick it is.

Yes, you do want moisturizer twice a day. 

So many people I know only moisturize once a day. That can be totally fine sometimes, especially during the summer. But winter is one of those times again, where I try to encourage people to step their skin routine up. At least by swapping some of their lighter products out, or adding a hydrating step or two. Here are some moisturizers that I recommend and prefer for the colder times. They can be considered occlusive moisturizers because they help trap in our own natural production of moisture and protect it.

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Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream knocked my socks off. Containing no dimethicone, or heavy butters. This moisturizer is a phenomenal option for those who are oily to combo. Based with 64% snail secretion goodness, this will give your skin a boost of hydration as well as help aid in repair processing. Benton, being great and being benton, also loaded this with EGF, Hyaluronic Acid, Squalene and Niacinamide. 4 of my favorite things I’m not joking. 

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Yay for REN! This cream is a backbone in the brand and once you try it, you can see why. This superior protecting cream features a ‘Global Protection Complex’ that helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays, pollution and more. It’s repairing with triglycerides from calendula oil that repair the skin’s hydrolipidic film. Amazing for those with super dry and/or irritated skin because it contains chamomile and bisabolol (the component in chamomile that makes it anti-irritation anti-inflammatory, and anti-redness)

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Then we have this master line from Dr. Jart+. Who almost never does wrong in my book, here are two products from their (No, it’s not a ‘he!’ There’s a Dr. J but no “Dr. Jart”) Ceramidin line. Which is heavy on….. Ceramides! and also other supporting ingredients. Ceramides are the ‘building blocks of our moisture’. If you think of your skin cells as bricks, ceramides would be the mortar in between. Neat, huh? My favorite recommendation is the Ceramidin Liquid and Ceramidin Cream layered for the driest, saddest skin.  

Sleeping Packs are the cherry on top.

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If you wanna insure all that hard work you put into your routine absorbs, I recommend a Sleeping Pack/Mask These pictured are 3 more nourishing or occlusive type sleeping masks. 

Fresh’s Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask is a super rich mask that sports hyaluronic acid, peptides, and of course nutrient rich black tea ferment. A great one-and-done option for those with less steps in their routine, as it can be too thick for most with a long routine. 

CosRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask: oh my god my partner sent me this I believe over a year ago of an advertisement for this mask so I’m actually not gonna say sh** about it and let this masterpiece do the talking.  

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Amazing..

I just wanna say after that… The last has sum banana in it and smells good. 

[REVIEW] Tony Moly Mango Mild Sun Block SPF50+ PA+++

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(It’s wearin sunglasses bc it knows it’s cool AF) 

After a trip back home to the Bay Area I may have spent substantially more money than anticipated on skin care in Japantown. But this was my favorite purchase so it gets reviewed first! However, I purchased it for WAY more than I needed to! At the time of this post, Amazon is selling it for ~$10, I purchased it from an official Tony Moly reseller called K-Beauty for ~$21 (the same on Tony Moly USA’s website).

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My partner is pretty finicky about what he puts on his face. Not quite in the same way I am though, I can live with a product I don’t like the feeling/smell of as long as it’s a good product. He however…. is more concerned about feeling and smell. We’ve had a couple everyday sunscreens he’s tried: Drunk Elephant’s Umbra Defense (20% Zinc Oxide mineral based sunscreen) and Supergoop!’s City Serum Sunscreen (lightweight chemical filter sunscreen) and while the Supergoop wasn’t a total bust the ‘sunscreen’ smell lost him. It’s safe to say he is in love with this as much as I am. 

What about it: This magical mango sunscreen is over 60% a hydrating base which leaves an incredible supple feeling without feeling too greasy or matting down too much. It uses chemical filter sunscreens that instead of bouncing harmful UV(B)urn and UV(A)ging rays it filters these rays out and actually causes a chemical reaction that changes them into heat which is then released from the skin. There are a ton of different chemical sunscreens and they all work differently from each other, some instead of absorbing the rays will actually scatter the light. For more information on the differences of sunscreens I highly recommend this chart by skinacea It’s designed to be a super universal non-oily/fluid lightweight sunscreen, using chemical filter sunscreens means this product won’t give you a white cast, or a ‘penny smell’ like some physical sunscreens. It can be worn alone or under makeup without disturbing application.

What I like about it: It f*cking smells like MANGO. Like I mean to each their own but if I catch a whiff of mango while walkin to the store on a sunday in sweatpants I’m not complaining. The smell is pretty prevalent however it does dissipate especially with makeup application. I also love the protection without sacrificing comfortability SPF 50+ (This is rating protection against UVB rays, remember B for burn, these are the ones that leave us pink and sore after a day at the beach) and PA+++ (Rating UVA protection, out of a possible quadruple plus ratting, however most sunscreens today offer 1-3 pluses. These rays are responsible for (UV)Aging our skin.) Holy parenthesis batman. It leaves me feeling fresh all day, something sunscreens have a problem with delivering and I can put on a full face, light bb cream or just some concealer and not run into any problems. 

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(leaves a slight dewy finish as you can see immediately after application)

Overall take: Lightweight, smells great, full sun protection I can’t ask for much more. However I would love to see more good for you ingredients but reiterating the price point of under $10 I’m not going to say it’s a deal breaker whatsoever. 

What’s found in fortified bread, but also in skincare?

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)

REVIEW: Benton Bestsellers MEMEBOX Set

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Price: $15!! (Due to the market this price fluxuates, I had a client try to purchase the set while being sold out it also said the price was now $17, still not bad at all)  Benton has now had a price increase on the Snail Bee products in most online resellers incl their online store launching w/ retail prices. So these products of this update (Oct 14 2016) are listed w/ the products title below. CrystalCoveBeauty.com is a reseller however who has it listed closer to the old pricing at $13.50 

Everything is full size, and everything is great.

Snail Bee High Content Essence ($20)

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This is my bby Snail Bee High Content Essence, I’ve used this product for about 6 months now and I can’t get enough. My skincare routine isn’t complete without it. It leaves an incredibly fresh sensation which I love. 

Ingredients wise, It’s jam packed full of ingredients while literally every single one is fantastic in its own way, but the two key ingredients are Snail Secretion and Bee Venom. The purpose of this line is to help heal any texture, underlying damage, hydrate, fight acne, then to top it off help brighten. 

Now the ingredients backing up those claims:

Texture/Damage: Snail Secretion, Oligopeptides, Willow Bark (natural form of BHA [Drano for your pores]) Bacillus Ferment (enzymatic exfoliation)

Acne: Snail Secretion, Bee Venom!, Willow Bark

Hydration: Snail Secretion, Oligopeptides, Aloe, Glycerin 

Brightening: Adenosine, Panthenol, Arbutin, Bacillus Ferment

From someone who’s as picky about skincare as I am, the person who rarely repurchases products, I will always always always have this in my cabinet.

Snail Bee High Content Lotion ($20) 

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The Snail Bee High Content Lotion is a new product for me. I actually really haven’t decided where/if I want it in my routine. The size of this is staggering, if you’re used to overpriced $100 1.7oz moisturizers. This is a whopping FIVE (5) F-I-V-E OZ. 

Now the ingredient content has quite a few repeat ingredients. If you read my essence masterpost we know this product being called ‘lotion’ is about as helpful as when clients tell me they’re looking for a “good cream” without providing ANY other details. This lotion is very close to an Emulsion. Shiseido is a brand we see a LOT of these. Essentially a very liquidy but still moisturizing product. A few ingredients to note that are different in here are: Hyaluronic Acid (while Snail Secretion naturally contains this) and Niacinamide (effective B-Vitamin that’s anti-wrinkle and brightening.) In the Benton line this is to be used under their Steam Cream which is a thicker cream. I too like to use it this way, either with Steam Cream (I LOVE it) or with another moisturizer, it is an extra step for most but in a lengthy routine (skip steps you don’t follow) this would be used as following

Cleanser(s) – Toner – Actives – First Treatment Essence – Essence – Serum – Lotion/Emulsion – Moisturizer – Sunscreen/Sleep Mask

Honest TT Mist ($11)

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It’s a tube spray! Very eco friendly I love it. Very simple product, a light spray you can use anytime, anywhere to help kill bacteria and hydrate, it can help reset makeup or is a great refresher if you’re feelin’ a little dry or tired. Key ingredients are tea tree and hyaluronic acid.