[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

[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.

[REVIEW] Skin79 Yum Yum Cleanser: Adlay

Yes that’s really the name of this cleanser.

Yum. Yum.

This cleanser is Skin79′s take on the ever popular Slowganic cleansers by RE:CIPE.

In the flavor Adlay. Or more commonly referred to as Job’s Tears, or simply Coix. Adlay has been used for centuries as a natural remedy all of the world. For anything from skin ailments, to menstrual cramps, to even cancer in the liver Job’s Tears has shown some signs of improvement in one study or another.

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But what does it do on the skin? Well, Albion answers that question better than I can, they formulate their Essential Skin Conditioner with adlay as well, but utilize it much more for it’s actual skin benefits.

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(source)

So we see it helps regulate our skin cell synthesis. Cool! It’s based with 66% Seed Water, specifically from the Bong-hwa area. The 6 types of plant extracts, and 15 types of plant oil really just give it a scent more than an actual effect on the skin. Because it’s just a cleanser, on to the more important things.

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The cleanser’s consistency is so unique. I’ve also never tried a unique cleanser consistency that i’ve really enjoyed more than regular liquid/cream to foam. It’s almost like a mousse; it has nice spreadability and it lathers beautifully, especially for a cleanser with a pH of only 5.

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Having such a low pH is great. It means we aren’t stripping our natural lipid barrier, and keeping our skin around it’s natural acidic state. But the reason we don’t see every cleanser with a pH of 5 like this, is because often times the cleanser won’t lather very well unless it was a bit more stripping. You can find this with soapless cleansers, or very acidic sulfate washes like Tosowoong’s Enzyme Wash (review)

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When washing the mousse, foam, whatever lathers up really well. You can feel a couple pieces of the crush adlay as well. They’re too far and few in between to provide any amount of exfoliation. When washed off, I can’t say my skin feels tight, because it doesn’t. But it also feels a bit drier than if I used my Skin Laundry Foaming Wash that’s a pH of 7. What gives?! Even though it’s less stripping, it can be cleansing better. There could be more cleansing agent. It also doesn’t have oodles of B-vitamins or other things to help the skin maintain moisture better. There are a lot of factors as to why. But it really doesn’t bother me, like it makes people toss this product. I feel like my skin is perfectly prepped for a long, nice skincare routine.

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The scent is really relaxing and it’s a way more fun cleansing experience than dabbing some gel into your hands. But with that being said, often times when I’m fidgeting with the jar trying to get it open I am wishing I was just globbing some gel into my palms.

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I found this cleanser at Marshalls for <$10! You can find it online for anywhere from $7-$23. It does come with an expiration date printed on the bottom of both the box and package so no need to worry about picking up an old one!

[REVIEW] SWANICOCO PHA 10% COCO PEELING CREAM

With a name like Swanicoco I wanna tell everyone about it. Just because Swanicoco is extremely fun to say outloud. The name, like many kbeauty brands, is a blend-word. Swan = beautiful Coco = botanical. The brand recently has launched a 10% PHA cream alongside other innovative kbeauty brands following this trend. This is the first product of a few that I will be reviewing over the following weeks.

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What is PHA?

Other than a headache for beauty consultants to explain I can imagine, is an exfoliating acid, similar to AHAs (think Glycolic Acid) but have a larger structure therefore work slower / are less sensitizing. They aren’t anything new, but it’s something to buzz about in the beauty industry.

I like Swanicoco includes 10% PHA which seems to be an effective amount compared to CosRx’s 3%. Of course the percentage doesn’t matter as much as the Free Acid Value.. But I’ll leave that explanation up to another day. But comparing Swanicoco to the sample I had of the Moisture Renewal from CosRx, they’re definitely designed for slightly different purposes (But I felt SWANICOCO was the superior option all around) But the Coco Peeling Cream definitely exfoliated more.

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Ingredient features were relatively hard to find since the product is almost entirely in korean so I looked to CosDNA hoping for an ingredient list. CosDNA ingredients thanks to Crazysnaillady

Blueberry extract is the first ingredient before Gluconolactone (one of the two PHAs featured), providing soothing benefits and protective antioxidants. Niacinamide is the next power ingredient on the list which is a powerful B vitamin that helps with everything from acne to rosacea to dehydrated skin. Centella, Camellia, and Witch Hazel are also found, great soothers, protectors and blemish fighters!

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Besides just being safe and clean of any real pore clogging ingredients, SWANICOCO leaves this product unfragranced to reduce irritants (and room for actual ingredients!)

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Silicone free, looks very glycerin heavy

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It’s texture feels silky initially but leaves a noticeable tack when layering products. It also can leave a glossy finish, on my skin it leaves a glass appearance if layered on top of a full night routine.

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((this is the first time I’ve ever been comfortable taking such a close up of the most damaged skin on my face!))

I was really impressed by this moisturizer. When I first tried it, I told myself I was only going to try it one night before I switched back to my current night time moisturizer, but I found myself reaching for it the next night like it was apart of my routine or something??? So I stuck with it and now I’m kinda addicted.

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I wanted to give SWANICOCO and May @ Swanicoco a shout out for providing this (and more to come) tailored specifically to my skin’s needs for review purposes. I’m seriously in love with this, especially that it feeds my skin moisture and antioxidants while lightly, but consistently exfoliating while I catch some zzz’s.

Last but not least, if you want an extra boost of hydration, or like waking up to extra soft bouncy skin, apply a sleeping pack over the top of this. I’ve tried both hydrating gel sleeping packs like Dior Hydra Life Sleeping Jelly Mask & more lipid-y cream sleeping packs like CosRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Mask (my review of it here!).

 

Find it on YesStyle, the official distributor of SWANICOCO globally. Make sure to check all their products out! They have some really neat stuff I’ve been eyeing for (very) future posts!

[REVIEW] Shiseido SUNMEDIC UV Medicated Day Protect Mild SPF 50+ PA++++

The review I’ve been waiting to write since I clicked the order button. If you read my last sunscreen post you would have read about my quest for the perfect daily sunscreen. To recap, biore watery gel was a bust. It’s a favorite for many, it sounded like the more ideal choice for me out of the two choices, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Partially because of it’s filter content.

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What exactly am I looking for in a sunscreen?

  • SPF 50+ PA++++, Prone to dark spots.
  • Bioaccumulative and estrogenic filter free/ Specifically Octinoxate free, this filter accumulates in your system and is widely used. Personal preference.
  • ‘Cosmetically elegant’, It needs to feel good
  • Somewhat durable throughout the day

SUNMEDIC UV’s Medicated Day Protect in Mild seemed to fit the bill. But it wasn’t easy to find. It was actually SO hard to find, I asked Ratzilla of http://www.ratzillacosme.com to help me out. She suggested a new Anessa SPF that was more for outdoorsy use and this one. Both made by Shiseido a leader in sunscreens, I felt pretty confident I would find something I like in either of them. But I leaned towards this because I was guessing it would feel a bit better throughout the day compared to the Anessa one.

Ingredients wise, this sunscreen fights with the big dogs. It definitely kicks every American sunscreen I’ve tried in the ass. Since it’s stated ‘medicated’ in japan, it’s what is known as a ‘Quasi Drug’. What’s a quasi drug you might ask? It’s a category of cosmetics that lighten and prevent hyperpigmentation. There are set active ingredients and amounts that can be used that make a product a functional whitening cosmetic. (Remember! Whitening just refers to the rapid brightening process, not necessarily skin bleaching) The active quasi drug ingredient is Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate. Paired with Xylitol, this dream team is irritated and sensitive skin’s best friend.  Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate is a salt derived from Licorice Root. It’s clinically proven to reduce redness and irritation, as well as atopic dermatitis (eczema). Xylitol is a Natural Moisturizing Factor so it helps our skin retain moisture and hyaluronic acid.

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Shiseido gives a lot of things, a lot of names and a lot of patents. Take that however you want. One things they patented is their ‘Light Stamina’ Technology. Which is said to release UV rays into heat offering a more stable protection. Wait… isn’t that EXACTLY how chemical filter sunscreens work??? So to tell you the truth, even after extensive googling I found nothing about light stamina and why it’s patented and if it’s different that the regular filters that are converting rays into heat as it is..

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SUNMEDIC promises this sunscreen is free of any potential irritants. It’s 1. paraben free (wasn’t specifically looking for this but less is less!) 2. alcohol free (nice! a lot of ABeauty sunscreens I’ve found contain alcohol to help dry. I just find sometimes it messes with layering products) 3. Mineral oil free, I don’t need this but mineral oil is cheap and doesn’t feel super cosmetically elegant. 4. Colorant free, some colorants are SUPER pore clogging so, cool! 5. Lastly Fragrance free, unpopular opinion I love smelling smells. Most shiseido products are LOADED with perfume but SUNMEDIC is not the brand for smelly smells.

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I don’t feel it on my face. But when I put it on my face feel a nice cool feeling, not the same cool feeling Biore Watery Gel gives from it’s high alcohol content. It’s that fresh feeling you get after patting the excess essence in from the sheet mask you just pulled off. My guess is it’s either the Licorice derivative or the xylitol is really workin’.

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UPDATE: I had to translate an ingredient list from japanese.. But I got all the ingredients to match actual ingredients so I think I got it.

It leaves me feeling radiant without any noticeable white cast. I think Shiseido needs to get this sunscreen formula into a broader range of products because it’s really somethin’!

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Look at that radiance.

Holding up through the day, you’ll want to reapply before going out again. It isn’t water/sweat resistant. For everyday use water/sweat resistant sunscreens aren’t really necessary and can make the product feel more like glue less like a nice moisturizer. But even through a day of work I can still notice that ‘radiance’ I pictured above so there’s still sunscreen on my face. But those invisible filters are the ones more likely to have worn off, and those are our super defence against UV(Aging) rays.

I purchased this product through Buyee.jp  on Amazon.jp. Buyee will purchase your favorite japanese items and then ship them anywhere in the world! Amazon is affiliated with them and while yes, you can purchase items directly through Amazon with AmazonGlobal, as a big boss company they won’t ship it since it is a prohibited item in the US. Those sunscreen filters (the super safe non-estrogenic ones, not Oxctinoxate the estrogenic one allowed in the US) make this product a no-go. Rakuten Global also does not ship this item. But when you’re browsing Amazon.co.jp you’ll want to either ‘search in english’ or search it’s japanese name. There’s way too many sunmedic sunscreens and it wasn’t coming up SO I had to find it’s name that was copy/pastable (no thanks to Ratzilla’s website 😐 )  ‘サンメディックUV 薬用デイプロテクト マイルド クリーム 顔・首用 25g SPF50+ PA++++ [医薬部外品]’ [Direct Link] (you’re welcome) But Buyee as of right now offers a solution around this. All for ~800JPY or ~7USD they will purchase it, ship it to themselves, inspect the package!!, repackage it up, and ship it off to your grabby hands. I highly recommend the service, it went so smoothly, I’ll definitely be using it next time to purchase more. But the more you spend, the more cost effective the service fees get, so gets some sheet masks too! I recommend these ones (if you’re feelin’ lux) or these by LuLuLun if you’re wanting to try daily masking or just more frequent masking if you can’t get them near you at an asian market. (They’re a lot cheaper than if you buy them in an asian market here too!!)

SO?

 

[REVIEW] LUSH Cosmetics Aromaco Deodorant

Wow, I never in a million years I’d be writing a review on a LUSH product. Facial products wise you won’t EVER see a review on here. But I recently waltzed myself into my local lush to pick some deodorant up! I’ve recently made the decision to ditch the antiperspirant since it’s ineffective. I sweat a lot. It sucks. Any amount of stress can set my pits off. Aluminum based antiperspirants make a temporary ‘plug’ in your sweat gland ducts when mixed with sweat to help prevent them from secreeting. 

The world of deodorants and antiperspirants is really grey. It’s a type of product I’ve never really been trained on or researched a lot. But… Ya boy’s very first job was two years with LUSH. If you know their products, you know they don’t change very often, so I actually used to sell this. Back when I didn’t know what the hell I was even selling. (They still don’t know what they’re selling) Like almost all other solid LUSH products, this is sold by weight. Online of course there’s only select sizes, but in store you can ask for as much or as little as you want to try it out. I started with a $10 piece which I expect to last me about 3 months. Pretty affordable stuff, too. 

This is like, kinda off topic but it’s my blog and I do what I want. My complaint about LUSH shopping in store is they don’t know when to leave you alone. (This is coming from a tenured ex employee.) Well, actually MANY of them do. Many of them can register that look of fear/anxiety as they approach you and WANT to back off, but they know their job depends on borderline harassing you. It’s instilled in the brand ambassadors from day one that they need to not only be asking open ended questions, but finding weird ways to try to force you into conversation. Those open ended questions are usually prying, unintentionally condescending (What?? You’ve NEVER tried that product you had in your hand for 0.025 seconds just to smell??? It’s the best thing in the world obviously how did you not know??????)  To avoid this, you just gotta put your big boy pants on and say “bruh, I know what I’m doing I will let you know if I have any questions.” And from that moment on they should leave you be. It sucks that you have to do that in a store, when in any other store employees can use their intuition and noninvasive questioning to see if the customer needs help or not. 

ANYWAYS

AROMACO

BooM. The only picture you get. Mine is ugly and used! You really ought to check it out in person and give it a whiff!

Unless you wanna check my armpits out.

Ingredients are:

Witch Hazel Infusion (Hamamelis virginiana),Propylene Glycol, Sodium Stearate, Chamomile Vinegar (Matricaria Chamomilla), Sodium Bicarbonate, Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin)

that’s it.

What i like about it being based with Witch Hazel is that it allows our body to create a nice healthy bacteria flora under our arms. It kills the bad, and allows healthy bacteria to mingle and do bacteria things. With that being sad, I also dropped washing my underarms as well. They just get rinsed off in the shower, and just with that they’re left odorless. Using any type of soap will strip that flora my body is trying to create and it’ll be like starting over. The only other ingredients that are doing anything other than being the base of the deoderant are ‘Chamomile Vinegar’ I’m assuming has the pore conditioning effects of vinegar paired with the soothing effects of chamomile. Vinegar is also a very old fashioned remedy for stinky pits since it shifts our pH to kill the bacteria wanting to thrive on our nutrient-rich sweat.

What I don’t like about this deodorant is a minor detail compared to how much better it’s made my day-to-day recently. Being based with propylene glycol and sodium stearate is it makes the product feel… can you guess what I’m going to say? Not so ‘cosmetically elegant’. If you have armpit hair, or apply to much, you can get a less than cool residue that forms. Nothing like what some regular deodorants and antiperspirants do. But it can leave what literally looks like (and is minus the cleansing part) bar soap chunks or flecks. 

It took me a few days it seemed to stop sweating as excessively. Applying antiperspirant will literally make me sweat double what I would sweat without it. Now I actually notice when I’m sweating out of stress or heat. Before my arms felt damp 24/7. I also don’t really get too much smell. Of course, I can get stinky. After a stressful day out in the field I’ll usually come home smellin’ a bit ripe. But I’ve never had enough stench to be noticeable or offend. Hugs included! 

With quick swipe of my chunk, I’m ready for the day, or ready to hit the hay. I’m also left with a subtle Patchouli scent. No more ruining shirts with antiperspirant. While I may not support LUSH facial care, their body care still has unparalleled products. 8/10

[COMPARISON] HEIMISH All Clean Balm vs Banila Co. Clean It Zero! Classic Cleansing Balm

Two ‘cult favorites’. Banila Co.’s Clean It Zero! Cleansing Balm in Classic flavor is arguably the best selling cleaning balm there is. Amongst beauty accounts, it’s by far the one I see the most. Then Heimish’s All Clean Balm, while being slightly lesser known, has only brought good reviews to my eyes.

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Over the past year or so brands such as CosRx, Benton, NEOGEN, and Missha have all blown up into big boy brand status. When I was handing samples of Snail Bee Essence to clients and they had only a few retailers they could buy it from. Now I can send them to FOREVER 21 to pick a bottle up. Banila Co. Clean It Zero is a cleansing balm I’ve seen since I’ve first laid eyes on Asian Beauty products.

 

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(yeah this jar has seen hell)

Clean It Zero Classic features a very heavy fruity/generic fragrance. My jar came with a solid top and emollient bottom so I had to stir it together before using it. When stirred, it actually isn’t so much of a balm as it is a gel cream. Key ingredients include Vitamin C and Papaya however realistically they aren’t doing anything. Neither are the extracts listed lower down.

The first ingredient is Mineral Oil. Are you screaming in rage? If you are, well stop it. Mineral Oil often gets a bad wrap from greenwash blogs, it’s sad bc Mineral Oil doesn’t do nothin’ to nobody! Maybe not quite, like every ingredient your mileage may vary. But 9.5/10 times we steer away from it for no good reason other than we think it’s clogging our pores. Mineral Oil is an occlusive that helps prevent transepidermal water loss when applied and left on our skin. It’s comedogenicity rating is between a 1-3/5. It relies HEAVILY on the type of mineral oil too. The mineral oil viscosity of this CLEANSER will be much different than that of a well formulated MOISTURIZER that contains the same ingredient. I personally do not use moisturizers with mineral oil in them, It’s definitely not the most cosmetically elegant ingredient.

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In this case, mineral oil makes a kick ass deep oil cleanser. In general, it’s such a deep cleansing oil cleanser, it doesn’t come off with just water. LIKE IT’S REALLY HARD TO REMOVE THIS WITH JUST WATER. IT IS NOT A ONE STEP OPTIONAL CLEANSE. IM SERIOUS. The positives of this: Take the day OFFFF. Sunscreen, dirt, sebum, makeup, pollutants everything is getting trapped in this cleansing balm once it’s rubbed in. But you’re in a committed relationship once it hits skin. Make sure to get your foaming cleanser to remove the remnants. You don’t need anything strong or stripping. But you’ll want some sort of water based cleanser handy.

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Wiped clean and I still have some shine

What’s the deal? My best guess because I didn’t formulate this product is that there is SO MUCH Mineral oil and Cetyl Ethylhexanoate (a fatty alcohol mixture) and not enough of those PEG emulsifying agents. So this guy for me is not a favorite. Or a repurchase. I never need this much cleansing power. Realistically no one does unless you’re wearing a F U L L face of makeup everyday. Lashes and 24h foundation included. But then again most other oil balm cleansers can remove things just as well, residue or not.

Can I say it’s ‘bad’? No. Is it good? Eh. Is it practical? No.

Heimish All Clean Balm

imageHeimish All Clean Balm is fairly newer. It hasn’t been out since the dawn of the kbeauty invasion. I recently got this on a whim during a stylekorean.com sale. (A great place to do bulk or sale shopping!) Nothing was drawing me towards it other than it was $4.99 [Regular price: ~$18USD]
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All Clean Balm is free of parabens, fragrance, and pigment. They state it as ‘Hypoallergenic’ which nothing but a marketing term. It does not mean the product is less likely to cause irritation than the next. Why? The FDA doesn’t have a standard for it. So if you’re sensitive to any of the many essential oils that are listed in the product you should stay away.

I hate jar packaging so much. I could make an entire post on why I hate jar packaging because there’s different reasons for different products. Heimish has solved all my issues with cleansing balms being put into jars. (I mean what else can you put a balm into, it just suuuuucks)

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BEHOLD SPATULA HOLDER / AIR TIGHT LID

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As you melt the balm into your skin you immediately notice the aroma of essential oils. It’s actually quite a nice scent but is overwhelmingly ‘lavender-y’. It spreads easily and doesn’t need any time to warm up and melt.

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It emulsifies beautifully. I mean like, second to Tatcha One Step Camellia Oil Cleanser. Still not quite as milky. She’s still #1, but she’s also $48. Ingredients wise, there really aren’t any benefits. It’s based with Ethylhexyl Palmitate and Cetyl Ethylhexanoate instead of Banila’s Mineral Oil and Cetyl E. The PEG’s (what helps emulsify these balms) that are listed are also different. The combination of these two results in better emulsification and there’s nothing left behind. No dirt, no balm. Just clean skin. I’ve actually been liking this so much i’ve been using this as a morning cleanse alternative to a light pH balanced cleanser or miceller water when I have more time.

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Fresh, no shine

I’m blown away by the Heimish balm. It’s a cost effective alternative to the cost annoying Tatcha Cleansing Oil. I can use it day or night, with or without a second cleanse. I like the options. For me, Clean It Zero doesn’t have a place in my stash but it could have a spot in yours.

Find them here:

Heimish All Clean Balm (Cleansing Balm 120ml) $17.50
Banila Clean It Zero Sherbet Cleanser $15.00

[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] Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel (FEB 2017 REFORMULATION)

Comfortable and water resistant are like polar opposites. The more water resistant something is, generally the more it feels like you superglued a sheet mask to your face.

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Biore has reformulated their two best sellers this February and I’m here to tell you about the Watery Gel refomulation! Now it’s water/sweat resistant!

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After trying the Biore UV Bright Milk I knew I wanted that same coverage that saved me from the brutal California sun. However, the way it matte downs is just a little too much for my dry skin so the search was on for something with the same ultimate sun coverage but maybe sat a little nicer for everyday.

The two suspects I wanted to pull in for questioning were Biores own “watery Gel” and Shiseido’s Senka Aging Care UV. Shiseido was just as easy to get here and half the price, but it’s a much older formula. It’s very easy to find the previous version of the Watery Gel for about the same price of the Shiseido SPF.  I appreciate brands that have best sellers that they want to improve on! So unfortunately if you were looking for a comparison vs the old. I sadly cannot help you there. However ingredients wise, it’s nearly identical.

While it’s main purpose is to protect, it contains Hyaluronic Acid, Xylitol, and Royal Jelly to Hydrate and moisturize. Alcohol is the second ingredient to help absorption and you can faintly smell it. I’ve noticed some warmer days it leaves me reaching for my Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Set & Refresh Mist for some moisture. It’s strange because you can tell the product is /trying/ to hydrate. But the uniqueness of the 2017 formula is that it is now sweat resistant it contains a few high performance polymers. The application doesn’t feel heavy, but you can feel it slightly for a few minutes. After the product has dried and flexed around some it’s texture is smooth and not matte or dewy. Just kinda the same!

One deal breaker for many, (but not ya boy who matches to like… NC.0000002) is the cast of this product. On Rakuten it’s states as a ‘optical correction powder’ but I got my money on it’s just the Titanium Dioxide. This makes me wonder how many names brands have marketed it as some sort of ‘glow’ or ‘correcting’ powder. One thing I’ve noticed with how the sunscreen applies, it really doesn’t like to go on top of gel moisturizers. I got a ever so slightly streaky application after waiting 10minutes before applying it on top of Primary Raw Azulene Gel and then on a separate occasion also with Erborian Bamboo Creme Frappe. This sucks because my morning routines have been very low maintenance for the sake of compatibility with high(er) performance sunscreens.  It seems to do better with something slightly creamier but not too rich. Think, Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet.

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There are a few things I enjoy about the sunscreen. Consistency is fluid (contrary to the speckled look) but not too liquidy application. It took some trial and error but I found I get the best application to take a small amount in my palms and apply it quickly swiping.

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That second ingredient, alcohol, comes through with a subtle cooling effect when applying. Most people scoff at this ingredient, especially being so high. But alcohol, has a great roll here. It helps dry the sunscreen to helps the filters absorb, polymers, acylates and friends to adsorb. Better than any other ingredient. But isn’t it bad for you? Well… Through my teachings and own research on the subject alcohol is really only ‘bad’ undiluted direct to skin, or in high concentrations applied to dry skin. (You use this sunscreen directly after washing your face with dish soap) For more info futurederm has some great credible information on SD Alcohol (cosmetic great denatured alcohol, that’s in here, I don’t think I mentioned that part)

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Does my hand look ‘Optically Corrected’? It does look dewy!

Did I find a new everyday sunscreen? Unfortunately, no. While it may work for many as such, and I’m fine using it as such, I have my issues with it. Hit or miss application aside, something that bothers me about many of these super sunscreens are the high(er) octinoxate amounts. I was unaware of the exact percentages of really anything before I purchased it. I don’t want to scare people out of the ingredient like most blogs try to do. I’m not chucking this sunscreen out the window and chanting cleansing rituals to rid myself of the potential cancer. But I did order a very awesome sounding sunscreen from Amazon.jp -> Buyee.jp -> me that does NOT contain Octinoxate but still provides SPF50+ PA++++. I actually had to ask the help of RatZilla of Ratzillacosme.com for help finding this sunscreen, the Queen of Sunscreens.

If you’re scratching your head to why I’m concerned about an extra + sign, PA rating is a easy to understand way to rate a sunscreen’s UVA(ging) protection. Still scratching? Start with my SPF 201 post to quickly learn the basics of sun protection. Well since the only thing available in the US markets are PA+++ I want that FULL UVA protection. While a very very few sunscreens in the US market exist that will actually rate a PA++++ when tested but stated as PA+++ to calm the FDA down, they are very few and not the best formulas regardless. In markets where PA++++ exists, they almost all contain Octinoxate. It’s documented as safe, it’s cheap, and it works well. OKAY BUT WHY DON’T I WANT IT? Octinoxate is a known endocrine disruptor and while isn’t proven to be unsafe long term. It has not been proven to be safe long term. One unique thing about this filter is that it accumulates in our system. That is the reason I personally want to be staying away from octinoxate on a daily basis. I will have ZERO issues slathering Watery Gel all over my body every 90 minutes (WOW, I also didn’t mention this bad boy is sized for face & body) while I’m at the beach! But do I feel good applying it everyday with what I know about it? Not so much. There are some brands that advertise full protection with just mineral SPF. But in order for mineral sunscreen to reach past the minimum rating it needs to be L O A D E D with mineral.

Take a look at this sunscreen simulator, I found you needed roughly (extremely) 40% mineral SPF when using the maximum amount of Zinc Oxide (25%) to achieve a high enough PPD rating it would produce a Japanese PA++++ rating based on the 2.0mg/cm application amount which is standard.

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That’s a lot of mineral on your face! Part of my goal in this quest for finding my perfect everyday sunscreen is to find one I feel is genuinely comfortable. My experiences with high mineral content has never been a ‘cosmetically elegant’ one.

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Back to Biore though, I do like this sunscreen. Maybe not as much as I hoped but instead of finding a spot in my everyday routine I think it may have found a place in my backpack for hiking.