[Review] Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Brightening Fluid: Emulsion Elegance

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

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

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

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

-eng.amorepacific.co.kr 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

[REVIEW] Dr. Dennis Gross Firming Peptide Milk

The Dry Skin ‘Does it All’

Sometimes you want a product that’s corrective, but not drying. Moisturizing, but still a beneficial treatment. Dr. Dennis Gross’ Firming Peptide Milk is all that and a bag of chips.

This formula first starts off with my favorite Natural Moisturizing Factor; Squalene. NMFs are ingredients that are naturally occurring that can mimic our skin’s own moisturizing factor. Squalene specifically is also skin identical ingredient, meaning we can find it naturally occuring in our skin! It makes up ~12% of our skin’s sebum. But is considered to be superior for moisturizing not only just generally dry and very dry skin, but also for oily/unbalanced/acne prone skin. Next key ingredient down on the list is Tetrapeptide-21. Peptides are great repairing agents. Tetra 21 specifically is a state of the art peptide that can improve skin texture and the depth and size of wrinkles. Some believe it is actually the most effective peptide for anti-aging. Collagen Amino Acids, are present to help repair and moisturize.

 

One interesting ingredient note is Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate AND Retinol are both present. Retinol, a dermal exfoliator that helps correct signs of damage and aging by speeding up our skin cell regeneration. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate is what I owe all my dark spot correction and retexturization, it’s best described as ‘Retinol 2.0′. It’s a trans-ester retinoic acid that works similarly to Tretinoin. (generally referred to as prescription retinols. Retin-A, Curology formulates with it, etc) without any of the irritation that comes along with Tretinoin.

Besides squalene, sphingo and phoso lipids also help protect and moisturize. Saccharide Isomerate is another designer ingredient known by the name Pentavitin. It is a water binding agent to prevent water loss. This serum is unscented and leaves the skin feeling incredibly soft and just lightly moisturized.

Now if those ingredients weren’t enough to get you to Sephora ASAP to check it out… low on the list a fantastic penetration enhancer is found, Demethyl Isosorbide. For me, this ingredient is a sign of a great formulation. It’s generally found in prescription treatments to ensure well, absorption. But also to help prevent ingredients from crystallizing before absorbing.

Dr. Dennis Gross is a guilty pleasure. Their price point can be high (at times) ((like the peel pads, cmon)). Their packaging is pretty dull (BUT PACKAGED FOR EFFICACY!) But their formulations never cease to amaze me. 

 

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.