Asian Beauty, Review

Face Cleansers: The Best & The Worst

pH Levels and Why You Should Care

(Acidic) 0 ——————— (Neutral) 7 ——————— (Alkaline) 14

The higher the pH level, the more irritating and stipping a cleanser becomes. But if you have one with a much lower pH level, then your cleanser basically does nothing for you. Our faces rest comfortably at a 5.0, so the idea is to find a cleanser that best matches this slightly more acidic pH level.

The Worst

As much as I adore TheFaceShop’s Chia Seed line*, their Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Scrub Foam is one product I would never recommend to anybody. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. It has a high pH level – I believe somewhere around 8.0!
  2. It has alcohol in its ingredients, making it even more drying and stripping on your skin. (A face cleanser absolutely does not need alcohol to do its job!)
  3. It contains tiny beads (seen on the right in the photo above) which can actually cause microscopic tears on your skin, leading to greater issues in the long run, such as irritation and signs of premature aging. (Fun fact: St. Ives received a lawsuit for this very reason regarding their once-beloved Apricot Scrub product.) If you feel it’s absolutely necessary to exfoliate, trust me, there are better and safer ways to do this!* These microbeads found in many face cleansers are not only a potential harm to yourself, but they are also harmful to the environment as they contribute to the ever-growing plastic waste found in the ocean.
  4. It gives you that “squeaky clean” feeling. In hindsight, this may sound like a good thing, but that “squeaky clean” feeling is actually the result of harsh ingredients and a high pH level.
  5. Once more for good measure: It is extremely drying and stripping!

Another fun fact: If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you’ll remember that I ditched my Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Cream Wash for many of the reasons listed above – the most predominant reason being its too-high pH level. And now you know why!

The Best

You never know the beauty of having an amazing face cleanser until you make the switch. You were probably brought up to believe that the squeaky clean, tight and burning sensations were all “proof” that your face cleanser was working. Now, I hope I’ve shed enough light on this issue to show you that this is definitely not the case at all! All of those sensations you feel is your skin’s own way of telling you, “Stop! I don’t like this on my face!”

Now that I use CosRX’s Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, I no longer have to worry that I’m stripping my skin of its natural oils and causing premature aging. But there are many reasons why I adore this cleanser:

  1. It has a pH level of 5.5, perfect for your face’s naturally acidic pH level.
  2. It contains tea tree oil, which is an ingredient that has been shown to effectively treat acne. (Side note: Never use 100% pure tea tree oil on your face until it is properly and thoroughly diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, otherwise you risk burning your skin!)
  3. It also contains evening primrose flower extract, which is another ingredient beneficial for those of you with acne-related issues.
  4. It makes my skin feel clean, but not dried out or tight.
  5. It is very affordable! ($11 CAD from Chuusi, and $11 USD from Soko Glam.)

*Stay tuned for reviews on my favorite Chia Seed line by TheFaceShop!
*Learn about the different (and better) ways to exfoliate your skin in a future post.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: COSRX – Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

Packaging: This product comes in a frosted plastic bottle (100ml) with a clear cap that pulls right off. It features an airless pump, making the product less susceptible to bacteria contamination and spillage. This is the most ideal way to have your products packaged, so that’s a 5/5 in this regard.

Price: $21 CAD from Chuusi or $19 USD from Jolse and Solo Glam. I’ve been using this product since January, 2x a day, and I’m only just half way through this product. In my opinion, this is worth every dollar due to how long it lasts and because it’s so efficient at what it does.

Consistency: As you can see from the photos above, this product has a thick viscosity that spreads very easily. Immediately after applying, it will feel sticky but as it sinks in, its finish leaves your skin feeling amazingly smooth and well hydrated.

Scent: Absolutely no scent! Perfect for those who are intolerant to fragrances in skincare products.

Ingredients: What makes this product so special is its main ingredient, snail mucin, at a whopping 96%. It has the highest concentration of snail mucin on the market right now, so you’d be hard pressed to find a better snail product than this one. Snail mucin is not only full of nutrients, but it also protects the skin against aging, it hydrates, heals, and most notably soothes the skin from sunburns and irritations. Looking at the photo above of my face, you can see that after only an hour and a half, my inflamed acne* already looks less red and angry. According to CosDNA, the only acne trigger is butylene glycol (solvent + moisturizer) while the only irritant is carbomer (viscosity control), both ingredients being very common in skincare products, so it is highly unlikely that you would have any issues with this product (unless, of course, you fall under the unlucky category of people who cannot tolerate snail mucin). Because of its simple ingredient list, I can (and often do) smear this product all over my face in multiple thick layers, and I don’t even have to worry about it clogging my pores or contributing to more acne!

Overall Review: My first interaction with this product is actually something right out of a love story. One day, my skin was angry at me because I had over-exfoliated it, which caused it to feel tight, become oily and overly dry with patches at the same time, and everything I normally used on my skin actually burned. Out of desperation, I found myself rummaging through a bunch of skincare samples I had received from my latest Jolse order, and I came across this product. I had remembered reading reviews about it and how it helped with all of these issues, so I decided to take the plunge and just smother it all over my face. I did not regret it. The very next day, every issue I had seemed to have dissipated like magic. I was instantly smitten and had to go and buy myself a full bottle of it (and of course we lived happily ever after).

But really, if you have normal skin with very little issues (esp. acne), this product may actually seem very underwhelming in your skincare routine, but I believe this product is a must-have for everybody. Sunburn? Snail mucin. Acne? Snail mucin. Random cut on your arm/leg/etc.? Snail. Worried about premature aging and wrinkles? Snail, snail, snail. With a product like this on hand, there is really very little for you to have to worry about. Move over, aloe vera, because snail mucin is making its way into all of our cabinets. 5/5.

* Spoiler alert! The breakout you see on my chin was due to something I ate. Read about the difference between a food-related acne trigger vs. a normal, hormonal breakout here.

Asian Beauty, First Impressions

First Impressions: SCINIC – Honey All In One Ampoule

Packaging: It comes in a sturdy, fairly large amber jar (250ml) with a cap that twists off. It really reminds me of an actual honey jar with the way the cap is designed. It comes with a large white spatula for ease of use.

Price: $20 USD from Jolse. The price for this product is very bang for your buck because this will last you forever. I’ve had this product since late 2016 and as you can see, I’ve hardly made a dent in it.

Consistency: Considering the very first ingredient is honey extract (90%), are we even surprised that it has a sticky consistency? For some, this may be very off-putting, but I find that this can easily be managed by minimizing usage and topping it off with a misting toner or even a cream. For the purposes of this review, I used a lot of product in the photos above (featuring my husband’s hand!), but generally I don’t even “scoop” anything out. I get the best amount I need by simply sticking the tip of the spatula into it. Some people love it so much that they use it during their morning routines. Personally, I find that it can be a bit heavy under makeup. I believe this product works best for a night routine as you can allow it to soak into your skin all night long as you sleep. When I wake up, there is a visible difference in my skin; it’s hydrated, my active acne is less inflammed, and any old acne scars appear more healed up.

Scent: I can’t get enough of this scent – it smells like very sweet honey – and no, it’s not edible!

Ingredients: This product is packed with some amazing stuff. At the very top of the ingredient list, you find honey extract (healing + soothing), niacinamide (brightening), and propolis extract (anti-bacterial + anti-fungal) just to name a few. According to CosDNA, there is really very little to worry about unless your skin is sensitive to honey. The only acne trigger is triethanolamine (pH adjuster) while the only irritant is carbomer (viscosity control), and both of these ingredients are quite far down on the list. I imagine this product would even be ideal to those with sensitive skin.

First Impressions/Overall Review: This product has amazing reviews everywhere you look for a reason – it’s well-tolerated for most people, smells great, and is multi-functional: it hydrates, soothes, heals, and brightens your skin. What more could you ask for from an all-in-one product? 5/5.

Asian Beauty, First Impressions

First Impressions: OST – C20 Original Pure Vitamin C Serum

You may have noticed something different about these photos. It’s evident that I took them in a poorly lit, sunlight-free room, but why? This is because vitamin C, the main ingredient in this product, is rather unstable. It is highly recommended that you keep this product away from light, heat, and oxygen. So, where do I keep mine? In the refrigerator, of course! That takes care of the sunlight and heat issue, but what of the air one? The trick is to expose it to as least air as possible. You will know when your vitamin C serum goes bad, because the color will go from the clear/champagne-like color that you see in the above photos to a dark, orange color. The more it oxidizes, the least effective it becomes. Many reviews on this product in particular claim that it lasts about three or more months, depending on how you store it. I am about two weeks in and it is still holding strong.

Packaging: It comes in an amber glass bottle (30ml) equipped with a glass dropper for a cap. (Note: Before first opening the fresh packaging, the dropper will come in a sealed plastic bag and the bottle will have a twistable cap; this is to keep the product from melting through the rubber part of the dropper. Vitamin C is a mild exfoliant!) The dropper makes it easy to control the amount of product that you use. I personally use four drops for my entire face, but some people may find that it works better with more, or even less, product. This will all depend on your skin’s needs!

Price: ~$17 USD from Jolse. This is pretty cheap considering the percentage of vitamin C in this product (20% – the ideal percentage to actually have any effect on the skin). The vitamin C is also the second item listed in the ingredient list.

Consistency: A thick water-like viscosity, this product is easy to spread on the face, though this is probably due in part to the third ingredient on the list – ethanol (a type of alcohol). As it takes time to absorb (you should allow for at least 20-30 minutes to pass before continuing your skincare routine), it feels very sticky on the skin. The first time I tried it, I thought I was going to hate it. Thankfully, the finish is rather matte with no residue left behind or any subsequent shine.

Scent: Slightly citrus and the alcohol scent is rather apparent to me, but the scent is not overwhelming and it fades quickly.

Ingredients: I must note that having alcohol in a product isn’t always a bad thing; the reason we find many products with alcohol near the tops of ingredient lists is because it helps boost absorption of the product and it results in a more matte finish. This is definitely the case with this product, which I do wish was at least lower down on the ingredient list, but at the same time, I decided to deal with it because the claims of vitamin C serums sound promising for someone like me – someone with acne scars and an uneven skin tone. Another ingredient that surprised me was the zinc PCA, which can be found right around the center of the list. All forms of zinc can be beneficial to those suffering with acne (particularly zinc oxide) due to its ability to reduce sebum (oil), but this form of zinc is a humectant. In other words, it helps retain moisture, and for this reason, that also makes zinc PCA an effective skin conditioner. This is especially useful to have in a product such as this because since vitamin C is a mild exfoliant and there is alcohol present at a high amount, you’re going to want to hold onto as much moisture as possible to avoid drying out.

First Impressions/Overall Review: Vitamin C in general is said to have an array of positive effects on the skin when applied topically. It can even skin tone, fade scars, smooth out bumpy or rough skin texture, and reduce sebum (the waxy oil that comes out of your pores). I have experienced some slight peeling around my nose and on my chin, but nothing drastic. I use this product every other night to counter its drying effects. In the short amount that I’ve been able to use this product (almost two weeks), I have already noticed an improvement in my skin – most notably, in my skin’s texture and its clarity. After more time has passed, I will have progress pictures to show for its ability to fade my acne scars. So far, I am really liking this product and can easily see myself repurchasing it in the future. 4/5.

Asian Beauty
In the first photo, from left to right: M Magic Cushion SPF50+ PA+++,
Signature Essence Cushion SPF50+ PA+++, MISA Geum Sul Vitalizing
Finisher*, MISA Cho Gong Jin miniature set, Time Revolution Night
Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule, Signature Dewy Rouge, &
Time Revolution Immortal Youth miniature set.

Ahh, just look at these beautiful products! When my parents came up to Canada to pay me a visit, my mother brought me all of these things. I’m so spoiled >;] and I love her.

We share a mutual love (and subsequent brand bias) for Missha’s products. Her current obsession is Cho Gong Jin* (red) from the MISA line, and mine, also from the MISA line, is Geum Sul (pink). And the one product that we’re obsessed with is Missha’s Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule*.

* Read my review of Missha’s MISA Geum Sul Vitalizing Finisher here!
* Read my review of Missha’s MISA Cho Gong Jin miniature set here!
* Read my review of Missha’s Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule here!