[REVIEW] 9Wishes Rice Powder Polish

Polish, don’t Scrub!

There’s nothing I like more than the feeling of a polish exfoliator. Chemical exfoliants are great treatments and can be gentle ways to remove dead skin. But sometimes you want to remove a little more. You could amp your chemical exfoliation up but often times you run into a ‘plateau’ effect unless you use a stronger chemical exfoliator. Or the worst, a patch of dead skin. This why I keep a physical exfoliant on hand.

I’m lovin’ 9Wishes. The innovative Korean naturals brand has been pumping out some really fantastic and multifunctional products. Just a few weeks ago I posted my review of their Sun Moisturizer SPF50+/PA+++ which is a nifty high protection SPF that’s moisturizing and has a beautiful refining effect.

Today, 9Wishes brings us their Rice Powder Polish. It’s a thick, creamy textured scrub that has a very fine rice powder suspended in it. It melts onto skin to provide a moisturizing buff. It’s scrub mechanism is more like that of a microdermabrasion exfoliation rather than a regular scrub. I am ALL about this.

 

When it comes to microdermabrasion in general, things can be rough. Literally. On dry and damp skin, these really fine particles can be pretty irritating. I love the end results of it more than regular scrubs, but sometimes I feel like I pay a price for that baby smooth skin. But not with this goop. It’s waxy base turns nearly into a milk cleanser when you start massaging it into dry skin. You’re left with perfectly exfoliated skin without feeling dry, or even worse, irritated.

The Rice Powder polish smells faintly of rice with no fragrance added. This works great on dry patches on the body as well. I’ve even successfully added this to foaming cleansers to add a bit of a ‘kick’. Once water hits this polish, it starts to emulsify nearly into a milk cleanser! This isn’t only multifunctional (use before foaming cleanser as an oil cleanser/exfoliant) but is seriously moisturizing!

9Wishes Rice Powder Polish blew my expectations out of the water. You can pick the Polish up on sale right now at BBCosmetic for only $17USD! You can also use the code ‘facequench8’ to get an extra 8% discount!

[REVIEW] Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX

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It’s true, I’m addicted. I use too much. I justify it. I love it. This is one of Sulwhasoo’s finest.

I hate really dislike my new job. It has perks over my old one but I’ve been trying to get out of there almost since I started. I was moping around about having to work Saturday night (Not part of my regular schedule but I was doing it the entire month) After grocery shopping at HMart my partner and I went into AMOREPACIFIC because I actually wanted to get myself something. My partner was tired of it and asked what I was eyeing last time and that was Sulwhasoo’s First Care Activating Serum. I told him it was expensive and I don’t really need it, it’s ‘just another step’. He snatched a bottle up and put it on the counter before I could say anything else.

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Also included from the day’s shopping: Ryo Ginsengbo Conditioner for Normal/Dry Hair , Laneige Water Bank Soothing Gel Mask (5pc), Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, Happy Bath Peach & Orange Blossom Foaming Hand Soap (2) [gift w/ purchase!] , Sulwhasoo Basic Care Set 6pc [also gift!])

So to say the least, he did cheer me up. A L O T.

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Sulwhasoo products are really special to me. Once I moved away from such an intensive repairing regime I found myself bored and tired of my skincare routine. While results kept showing, my drive faded. Sulwhasoo brought a fresh take to my idea of skincare. Holistic skincare. Indulging all senses and not just applying product for results. Make your routine relaxing and beneficial inside and out. Textures irresistible to touch, scents that evoke emotion, and most importantly quality and well processed ingredients.

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What is First Care Activating Serum? It was the first product of it’s kind. First launched in 1997 it’s been a best seller in Korea, and now even the US. It’s described as a ‘booster’ or ‘activator’. You can find other products like it, though rare, from other brands such as Naruko 60 Actives Youth Activating Enhancer and Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule are some examples. What is a booster? Well, it’s a serum you apply before any treatment step, first essence (and sometimes toner) included. They all vary slightly on effects but the common theme is enhancing product absorption. First Care Serum promises to do this and more, such as provide a boost in firmness and hydration.

I started experimenting with where I wanted to use this product in my routine because in my routine, I apply actives before essences and above. I let them sit for 20 minutes before applying anything else. At night I use my Curology prescription. In the morning I use Dr. Dennis Gross’ C +Collagen serum. So i’ve applied this before actives and after my actives. I found over a month of testing this is how I like to apply it best:

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The last method with actives requires a bit of time, but it’s the only way I’m truly happy with how my products layer when I’m doing a full routine. Why I say a toner w/ denatured alcohol is because these make much better ‘prep’ toners. For you it may not be a toner with alcohol, Actually, the toner I use with alcohol is designed to increase treatment efficacy and product penetration! I feel like my regular alcohol free toners do not leave my skin feel freshly cleaned and First Care has a slower absorption rate. I use it before and after my actives, then use a refreshing treatment toner as my ‘toner’ step before First Treatment Essence. This is totally unnecessary and I skip it at times, but if you want the whole shebang.. there you go.

Now my favorite part, ingredients. Based with 5 ingredients that were hand picked out through a tedious process. First 3,000 Korean traditional medicinal herbs were studied, from this list 163 were selected. These 163 herbs went through intensive research and an even smaller list of 30 was created. Rigorous tests discover 5 ingredients poised to work harmoniously. These 5 ingredients makeup what is called the ‘JAUM’ balancing complex.

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Peony — Antioxidant powerhouse, anti-inflammatory, skin tone corrector

Sacred Lotus — Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory

Solomon’s Seal —Anti-inflammatory, UV damage repair/protection

White Lily — powerful anti-inflammatory

Rehmannia —Anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, rich in repairing amino acids

Essentially, these 5 work together to soothe, balance, and protect. Sulwhasoo couldn’t just stop at hours of research to find the 5 perfect herbs. They then tested traditional brewing methods. The poje honey method is used to marry these ingredients with honey in earthen jars. To ensure maximum efficacy the ingredients were checked every 10 minutes when researching. They found no more, and no less than 18 hours was the perfect brewing time. With that the JAUM complex was born.

To read more about these complexes you can find out more from AMOREPACIFIC’s R&D: Here, here, and here

The JAUM Complex is the star of First Care but there’s a few other ingredients I like to see. Licorice Root is the second ingredient, my favorite anti-inflammatory. Betaine, Hyaluronic acid, and Natto Gum are great humectants to include.

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(not an exact comparison due to lighting differences but still noticeable!)

First few applications of the product I didn’t notice any substantial differences. But over time I started to crave the cooling/soothing feeling it left. I would notice days that I had to skip it in my routine; my skin would extremely lackluster compared to what I was getting used to. Once I added it back, immediately that glow was back. I can say with confidence this product has improved my skin’s circulation with its gang of anti-inflammatories.

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First Care Activating Serum throws a huge wrench in the ‘thinnest to thickest’ method of application extensive routines have. Instead of being the thinnest product first it’s actually this guy. Not essence. Not even toner. Like straight after washing your face you take 2-3 pumps of the serum and apply onto dry skin. I was super weirded out by this, especially for my cleansers that have a pH that requires a toner afterwards. I like to keep the brands whole product line in the back of my head when analyzing products. Sulwhasoo doesn’t make pH unbalanced cleansers. Their ‘Waters’ or toners are a cross between toner and essence so a very watery pH balancing toner isn’t a step in a Sulwhasoo only routine.

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First Care’s scent is so lovely. It carries a similar scent the rest of the ‘Essential’ line has, but isn’t excessive and fades quickly. Citrusy with prominent woodsy-hanbang notes, Sulwhasoo scents are part of what make their products unique and a holistic experience.

Overall, I found a new staple. I look forward to it the most in my routine, I can even spend a solid 5 minutes just rubbing this product in. From it’s soothing sensation to the long term circulation benefits I’ve noticed, it’s a keeper.

[REVIEW] AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Toner: the Next Generation Toner

WOW MY FIRST AMOREPACIFIC REVIEW WOW!

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!

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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.

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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.

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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

[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] Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream

Move over Peter Thomas Roth, I got a new favorite retinol eye cream. You may remember my rave post about PTR’s 1% Retinol PM Fusion eye cream, I’ve since tried 2 more retinol eye creams and Kate’s has won my heart over.

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When ingredient hunting down the list, the first ingredient that caught my eye was Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, the second active ingredient in this product right behind Retinol itself. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate is like ‘Retinol 2.0′ is shows very similar results to Tretinoin (commonly referred to as ‘prescription’ retinol) with little to no irritation compared to retinol itself. Next is Bakuchiol, pronounced ba-koo-chee-all. (I love saying it to people and watching their face) It is considered to be an alternative to retinol as it shows similar reparative and acne fighting properties. Three great actives making one powerhouse of an eye cream. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin is also present to help water retention and give a ever so slight cooling effect.

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But why a retinol eye cream? If you’ve noticed you’re a little too late to the eye cream party, or have had bad luck with your under-eyes, Retinol can oftentimes be your savior in an antioxidant. Retinol is responsible for encouraging cell renewal. Because it helps our skin speed up how fast it is produced and disposed, it makes it a great treatment for just about any common major concern. Fine lines and wrinkles, retexturize(for eyes, reducing millia!) dark spots, and even loss of firmness. As a kid I never wore sunglasses or sunscreen and I spent a substantial amount of time outside, so when first starting retinol under my eyes I noticed great improvement all around.

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Supporting ingredients are also pretty interesting. The first to note is Lime Pearl extract or Microcitrus Australasica. I have only seen this ingredient in one other product and that is Sunday Riley’s C.E.O vitamin C moisturizer. Lime Pearl isn’t a new thing but definitely isn’t commonly used. I found a great information sheet on it by one of the manufacturers. The main reason I found Lime Pearl so interesting is that it shows signs of moderate exfoliation without any irritation.

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Sporting a gorgeous gold flexible applicator, it stays cool to the touch to encourage depuffing. When I first saw that the applicator I was a little confused since I was assuming it was just for PM use. However that is not the case! Kate recommends AM and PM application. It absorbs quickly making it great under my concealer. The finishing touch is a light diffusing optic to help blur any imperfections, and to remind you, you can use this twice a day!

[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. 

Clarisonic vs Foreo: an Unbiased and Thorough Comparison

Lets just start with setting the background of my experiences of both:

I have owned a Clarisonic Mia 2 for over 5 years! I have owned a Foreo Luna Normal/Sensitive for a little over a year now.

I get asked at least on a weekly basis, which is ‘better’ Clarisonic or Foreo? Some people ask me coming from bad Clarisonic experiences if the Foreo is better. Some people ask me coming into the cleansing tool realm which one to get. Others just ask because they want to see if they should switch from one to the other.

But in reality, neither of them are better. Each of them have their own pros and cons when you’re comparing them. Since I have both, I use both! There’s obviously a lot they both do the same, but each has certain things it either does better, that are more customizable, or just slightly different from each other.

Let’s start with the Clarisonic. Now right off the bat there are some big(ger) differences between devices across the range. The retail range currently is: the Mia 1, 2, and Smart Profile and then also their new ‘Fit’ device.

Mia 1 has just a single ‘speed’ that is called ‘Universal’ it’s designed to work across most skin types.

Mia 2 also has the Universal speed, but also has a ‘Delicate’ speed which oscillates slower for a more gentle cleanse.

Smart Profile has a total of 4 speeds. The two from the Mia two as well as a ‘Makeup Removal’ speed that was also on the Mia 3 when it was sold, and a higher brush speed as well as a ‘TURBO’ button. The best way to describe that is it’s like the cold shot button on your blow dryer. There’s a few ‘smart’ features that allow the brush head to switch speeds when it comes time to delicate area cleansing. This is also the only clarisonic that can use the body and pedi brush heads as well.

Last, and newest is the Fit which offers two cleansing ‘settings’ and when I questioned a clarisonic representative on the difference I was told the settings are kind of a mesh in between the speeds so they are just called the ‘Delicate’ and ‘PowerCleanse’ settings.

I am comparing from a Mia 2, which I got back in 2012, that one my sister currently has but it’s still working! When I bought it, it was $129 they’ve since bumped the price (twice) to $169.

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One point I like to note about Clarisonic devices is their patents. There are a few patents that really set them apart. These brush heads are a lot different than the 360 rotating devices you see from other brands. Those are essentially destructive to skin. No matter how much your friend who gets $10 when they refer you to buy one tries to convince you they are not, they are. Even Clarisonics can be destructive if used improperly (i.e applying pressure when cleansing, using too harsh of a brush head) A big note Clarisonic wants you to know about their devices is they are not exfoliating. “They remove the daily buildup of excess skin cells” I mean it sounds legit but that also sounds kinda like exfoliating to me, boss. While I think it’s important to note that is may still be potentially exfoliating, if used properly it’s safe for 1-2x daily use. As there are many safe gentle daily exfoliators out there!

Brush heads also make a huge difference. I have had a few people tell me they’ve used a clarisonic in the past and still have it, but stopped using it because it’s exfoliating or because it got irritating after awhile but fall in love with it again because they switch to a brush head more suitable for their skin type. The brush heads listed from most gentle, to least: Cashmere (like obv not exfoliating), Radiance, Acne, Delicate, Sensitive, Alpha, Deep Pore. Most people with acne or oily skin immediately dive for the deep pore brush. I admit, guilty of this in 2012 and have either some short lived success, moderate success, or irritated skin. But the acne brush head is called that for a reason. It’s designed to not irritate inflamed breakouts as well as still provide slightly more resistance than the radiance brush head which is the most gentle regular bristled brush. Which on that note, go Clarisonic for now shipping devices with the radiance brush head as standard! I’ve always thought they should start people with a softer brush head than they were because the Normal, now known as Alpha, is pretty aggressive in my opinion.

The brush heads are one major point I like (but also hate) about my clarisonic. I can change my brush head to my needs. I have a sensitive brush head and a radiance brush head, I use my radiance brush head for regular daily cleansing, but if I want to bump it up some I find the sensitive brush head to be perfect. However, Clarisonic recommends replacing your brush head every 3 months. They say this isn’t for sanitary purposes, that if you thoroughly clean your brush head properly that every 3 months the bristles will be worn down and need replacing. This is a lot more apparent in the softer bristled brushes. They can even form knots deeper in the brush head and cause the patented motion of the bristles; flexing of the pore/flushing with fluids to decrease in efficacy. So this means I gotta shell out either $27 for a single or $44 for a twin pack.

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radiance brush head

 

(Sensitive brush head, this actually has more uses on it than the radiance! But the stiffer bristles hold up better. ) Battery life isn’t great however. You get just over 20 minutes of sonic cleansing before your device will need a very long recharge. Also, it requires a specific break in charging period to make sure the battery will work/last. This really sucks.

Now let’s talk about the Foreo Luna. Coming from a swedish design this thing is spunky looking. Instead of having a brush head. Foreo uses what is known as silicone touch points. Depending on which device you buy, these touch points will have a different shape, size and thickness. Some have alternating bristle patterns as well. Mine is the Normal/Sensitive type.

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Since it has the silicone tips instead of bristles they virtually never have to be replaced, but this also restricts you to the one brush type. But for many people with clarisonic’s, they prefer only one brush type.

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One cool thing about the Foreo devices is how many uses you can get out of a single charge. Over 450 cleansing and anti aging routines on a single charge is incredible. Also no break in period for your device. win/win

Foreo’s cleansing results are a bit different than the clarisonic’s in my opinion. While Foreo Luna’s have an ‘anti-aging’ mode that utilizes the back’s design to act as a firming facial massage. The same effect is supposedly the same when cleansing with a clarisonic brush. You hold the Luna device on areas of concern such as elevens and crows feet until the timer tells you to move on with a few pulses. It’s actual cleansing speeds are broken up into 8 speeds! Not saying these speeds are anymore gentle or more aggressive than the clarisonic’s 4. It’s nice to have a smoother grade right?

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One interesting note is, Foreo, whose device is definitely easier on the skin comparing to the Clarisonic with really any brush head except the most gentle few, states their device is exfoliating! Probably because they remove dead skin cells with the silicone tips/therefore exfoliating! Yes, it’s very very gentle exfoliating, some wouldn’t consider such as exfoliating just by feel, but it is!

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The tips of the foreo are relatively short (they have made them 20% longer in the Luna 2!) so they don’t provide as much movement as the bristles do. Nor are they oscillating rapidly like the Clarisonic brush head. Getting soaps to lather effectively can be slightly more difficult, but also you aren’t replacing that head in 3 months. (But you also lose the option of customized cleansing)

Lastly, let’s talk about cleansing of the two. For comparison purposes I’ll be using the same two cleansers on each. One will be an easy foaming cleanser. The other will be sulfate free/pH balanced/ difficult to get a nice lather going.

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We are starting with Tony Moly x Pokemon Pikachu Moisture Foaming Cleanser. This is a high foaming wash. You want to dispense a pea size amount of cleanser onto the foreo or by doting across the face. The Clarisonic brush has a convenient reservoir for you to dollop the cleanser into.

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Great lather from the Luna.

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Oodles of it from the Mia 2.

Then we have Skin Laundry Gentle Foaming Wash for our second test cleanser. This is a sulfate free, pH balanced gentle cleanser so we can expect lather to be more difficult to produce.

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*Mouthfart* the Luna’s bristles don’t do a great job at lathering this up. The Luna 2 in my expierence does do better, the tips are 20% longer, but still nothing like a brush. As we can see with how well the Mia 2 did with lathering up:

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I think by now I may have gotten the point across there is no one superior device. But some things people may prefer in one over the other. So ultimately, I prefer the value of the Luna but overall prefer ease of the cleanse and brush head customization from the Mia 2.

[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. 

[REVIEW] Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream

After much anticipation and great experiences with his VIZ-1000 serum (now known as the Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum) Peter Thomas Roth launches his first hydration line, following with many other brands preparing for summer/ Sephora’s hydration skin care animation.

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If you aren’t familiar with Peter Thomas Roth, their products are no-nonsense and straightforward. The Water Drench Cloud Cream follows this theme. It is fragrance and oil free and relies on skin identical ingredients (or ingredients that are found naturally present in our skin/replenish those substances)

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Our skin relies on both water and lipids. So PTR sneaks around the more-often-than-not-uneducated scare of products containing oil by using Ceramides EOP, EOS, AP, NS, Cholesterol, and Capooryl Sphingosine to deliver these lipids without using a potentially pore clogging oil or substance. We produce ceramides natural and we find them lubricating our skin cells. Cholesterol is used as a water binding ingredient as well as Capoorly Sphingosine or known by the brand name “Sphingokine NP” by the brand Evonik. Evonik has a publication posted about it’s use with the listed ceramides and cholesterol showing improvements in Transepidermal Water Loss.

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While I am obviously very interested in the moisture content of this moisturizer it’s key ingredients are actually it’s 3 weights of hyaluronic acid to provide instant surface hydration (large), and medium and low weight hyaluronics to provide deep, long lasting hydration. There are also 5 types of saccharomyces ferment derived from minerals! But I would like to point out that the 30% Hyaluronic Acid complex is most likely not 30% Hyaluronic Acid. I can’t tell you how many store employees I’ve heard say this. Adding that word ‘complex’ means you can include it’s water content because hey, Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant that draws water in. Therefore sure, it’s a part of the complex. We see an obvious example in the Water Drench Serum, if it has 75% HA Complex why is water the first ingredient? That shouldn’t be possible if the product is a whopping 75% HA. (Also that much would have a thick jelly consistency)

The consistency is light but leaves your skin feeling cool and primed. There’s no fragrance which makes this great for sensitive noses and easily irritated skin. This combination of ceramides and hyaluronic acid is the perfect team to battling oil imbalances. I give this product a 9/10 my only complaint is I wish the ingredients rated lower on safety scales, but there’s nothing too scary listed.

Happy Bath Body Wash Showdown: Lessons in pH

Happy Bath is a brand under the king AmorePacific umbrella of brands. It’s their take of a simplistic and fun bath and body brand. Over the past 6 months I’ve been using exclusively Happy Bath soaps. You may have read my post of their beer soap which is still one of my favorites but today I’m here to talk about two of their core products!

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They may look similar but they are C O M P L E T E L Y different washes!

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Have you ever used a foaming cleanser that when mixed with water it gives you a lather that just. wont. quit? (Some examples I’ve used are: any Shiseido foaming cleanser, Nature Republic Fresh Herb foaming cleansers, CosRx Salicylic Exfoliating Cleanser.) Happy Bath’s Perfect Soap is essentially this style face wash for your body. This style of body wash is known by a few different names: whip soap, perfect whip, marshmallow soap, marshmallow whip, the list goes on. But the texture is like a marshmallow, soft and creamy. Also like a marshmallow though, these soaps aren’t the best idea for frequent use (or consumption)

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The pH of these have a tendency to be on higher side, if the pH was lower we probably wouldn’t get all this cool looking whip. This is the key difference of this cleanser. It’s cleansing power! pH is a key note because it’s higher pH it’s going to be tougher on grease buildup and oils. Our skin generally sits at about 5.5 This cleanser is relatively (but not chronically!) alkaline at a pH of ~8.

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But this means we are also stripping more of our natural moisture. I actually conditionally love this part about it, I ‘whip’ this soap out when I’m feeling extra grimy. (sorry) But truly, I love this stuff. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but if you need that deeper clean or just like that ‘clean’ feeling. Extracts to note are Soapwort. It gives it a great clean/fresh laundry scent and is actually one of the original plants saponins were extracted from! It’s pretty cool, you can take soapwort leaves, stems and roots and let them soak in water and you whala! you have a mild household cleanser. Lather and everything. Side note: it really does pair well with the 24H Shea Moisture body lotion.

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Then we got this dude. Happy Bath Relaxing Lavender Body Wash. This is a different vibe than the perfect soap. This body wash uses a combo of Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALS) along with Cocamidopropyl Betaine. These ingredients shed light on Happy Bath still being a lower priced brand. While being much more gentle than Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate these aren’t the most ideal ingredients. I am not an anti SLS person, I am an anti-high-pH person.

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Meaning I care more about the stripping power of the cleanser, not the deemed safe ingredients. Which is why the Perfect Soap leaves my skin feeling drier and stripped compared to this lil guy. Infused with lavender and rose it leaves you and your bathroom smelling like lavender fields for hours.

Perfect Soap – High Foam – High pH ~8 

Body Wash – Low Bubble – Low(er) pH 6

(neutral pH is 7, skin is 4.5~5.5)