Asian Beauty, Review

BeautyBoxKorea Haul and Review

Okay, first of all… I have been waiting so long to write this post (I’ll get back to this in a moment) because I have finally completed my set of Missha’s MISA Geumsul line (pictured above) and look forward to using all of the products together. Secondly, I have been looking at the luxury brand Sum:37 for quite some time now. I got to try a sample packet of the Secret Programming Essence (one of their best-sellers of all time) and I just wanted more! So now I have the miniature gift set to play with and get a feel for more of their Secret Repair products.

BeautyBoxKorea Review

Products Purchased:

1.) Su:m37 – Secret Repair Special Gift Set

  • Secret Repair Toner 20ml
  • Secret Repair Emulsion 20ml
  • Secret Repair Concentrated Cream 10ml
  • Secret Programming Essence 12ml
  • Secret Repair Concentrated Serum 8ml

2.) Missha – MISA Geumsul Special Set (II)

  • Geumsul Skin Toner 145ml
  • Geumsul Milky Emulsion 100ml
  • Geumsul Rejuvenating Cream 50ml
  • Geumsul Rejuvenating Essence 7ml (Miniature)
  • Geumsul Skin Toner 30ml (Miniature)
  • Geumsul Milky Emulsion 30ml (Miniature)
  • Geumsul Rejuvenating Cream 10ml (Miniature)

3.) Missha – MISA Geumsul Vitalizing Eye Cream ® 30ml

Thoughts on Pricing:

1.)  Su:m37 – Secret Repair Special Gift Set –  $23.65 USD

I bought this long before I decided to hop on Ebay and see how the prices might differ. Painfully gypped. I could have bought this same little set for a much lower price on Ebay.

2.)  Missha – MISA Geumsul Special Set (II)  – $59.53 USD

I personally think this was a great deal. It happened to be on sale during a 30% discount, but even without the discount it would have still been cheaper than buying straight off of MisshaUS for the pretty penny price of $110 USD.

3.)  Missha – MISA Geumsul Vitalizing Eye Cream ® 30ml – $31.14 USD

The original price for this on MisshaUS is $45 USD so while this was a decent price drop, it was still nothing compared to the discount I got on the MISA Geumsul Special Set (II).

Total amount USD 151.24 + Shipping USD 25.91 – Discount USD 44.92 = Order total USD 132.23

That shipping price… ouch 😦

Condition of Products Upon Arrival:

Everything was securely placed in an adequately sized box and wrapped with bubble wrap. No complaints here. There was a small dent in the small box of my Su:m37 Gift Set, but with the way the products were wrapped, I am led to believe it must have happened before it was even shipped. All of the products themselves were in mint condition upon arrival.

Arrival Time:

I made this order on June 20, 2017 and it arrived on July 27, 2017. It appeared to actually arrive in Canada a few days after it was shipped, but Canada Post sucks, so what can you do? My mom also ordered from BeautyBoxKorea and received it fairly quick (~two weeks) in the US.

Samples Received with Order:

I was disappointed by how few free samples (not pictured) I received with my order. Jolse tends to send more if you spend more, so imagine my shock when I only received a measly three samples from BeautyBoxKorea after having spent over a hundred dollars on their site!

Will I Purchase from BeautyBoxKorea Again?

I can easily imagine myself buying from BeautyBoxKorea again ONLY IF they have a product I am desperate for and cannot be found on any other site. But honestly? I do not plan on it.

Side note: Remember that I bought these products to have them sent to Canada, so shipping prices and arrival times may differ depending on where you live.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Mamonde – Rose Water Toner

: The product comes in a plastic pink bottle (250ml) with a white cap that comes up. While the cap itself is fine as it is, I prefer switching it out with a misting spray so I can easily mist it onto my face without using too much of the product.

Price: This will depend on what size you would like to get it in; the one pictured above (150ml) goes for about $15 USD on Jolse, whereas the bigger version (500ml) goes for about $25 USD on Jolse. Considering the availability of sizes you can buy, I would say that these prices are rather reasonable, especially since it can last a long time if you choose to switch the cap with a misting spray one instead. I have personally had mine since December 2016 (approx. seven months now) using it once or twice a day.

Consistency: It feels a lot like water as it can be really runny if you choose to apply this product with your hands rather than a cotton ball/pad or misting spray. It feels really refreshing on my skin.

Scent: As one might expect from the name of this product alone, it smells like straight up roses. If you are a fan of roses, you will be extremely pleased with the scent since it smells strongly of real roses instead of perfumed. It smells like absolute heaven. (Note that I did say “strong,” so people who dislike strong fragrances in their products should approach with caution.)

IngredientsCosDNA shows that its ingredient list is, simply put, quite lovely. The only trigger for acne is butylene glycol (solvent + moisturizer) while the only possible irritant is carbomer (viscosity control), both of which scored a 1 and are commonly used in skincare products.

The beauty of this product is that it contains a whopping 90.89% of damask rose (also known as R. damascena) water straight from Bulgaria. To those who love the scent of roses, you may be surprised to know that it does a lot in terms of its neuropharmacology effects. In fact, a 2011 study revealed that:

The effects of this plant on CNS (Central Nervous System) are extensive… R. damascena has been shown to possess a potent depressant activity on CNS in mice. Some of these effects evaluated are hypnotic, anticonvulsant, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, analgesic effects, and nerve growth.

These are some significant effects! So much so, I felt the need to devolve exactly what this study meant by including more detailed quotes involving sleep, pain, brain function, seizures, the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and so forth. Feel free to skip this section and go straight to the topical effects of rose water.


Clinically Significant Effects of R. Damascena Not Involved in Topical Application:

The ethanolic and aqueous extracts [from R. damascena] in doses of 500 and 1000 mg/kg significantly increased the pentobarbital induced sleeping time in mice which was comparable to diazepam [a type of benzodiazepine which treats anxiety and is used short term for insomnia].

Hydroalcoholic extract [from R. damascena] has a potent analgesic effect in acetic acid and formalin tests.

R. damascena has beneficial effects on the brain function such as treatment of dementia. Awale et al (2009)… found that the chloroformic extract of the R. damascena significantly induced the neurite outgrowth activity and inhibited the amyloid β (Aβ). Aβ is thought to be a major pathological cause of Alzheimer.

The essential oil of R. damascena… delays the start of epileptic seizuresand decrease the duration of tonic-clonic seizures (stage 4) […]  The effects of the essential oil of R. damascena as an adjunct in treatment of children with refractory seizures were also studied and showed a significant reduction in the mean frequency of seizures in patients using essential oil of the plant. Therefore, the essential oil of R. damascena has beneficial antiepileptic effect in children with refractory seizures.

[R]esults showed a potent relaxant effect of extract and essential oil that was comparable to that of theophylline [which treats asthma and bronchospasm].

It has been shown that R. damascena has wide spectrum antimicrobial activities.

The R. damascena similar to many aromatic and medicinal plants exhibits antioxidant properties. Sources of natural antioxidant are primarily phenolics compound that are found in all parts of plants such as the fruits, vegetables, seeds, leaves, roots and barks… The results showed a potent antioxidant and lipid peroxidation inhibitory effects comparable to -tocopherol and suggest that the plant can be considered as a medical source for the treatment and prevention of many free radical diseases.

Side note: This is not an exhaustive list of the full beneficial effects of R. damascena. I highly recommend reading the full study if you are curious to know what else it does.

Clinically Significant Effects of R. Damascena in Topical Application:

If the overwhelming amount of effects that R. damascena did not already convince you of its many benefits, it turns out that:

R. damascena contains vitamin C which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

This is important to note because as we discussed in an earlier post, vitamin C is a well known ingredient in skincare that fades post-acne scars, controls sebum (oil) production, smooths the skin, reduces the redness and severity of acne, and fades fine lines. Due to its antioxidant effects, it also helps with oxidative damage from the sun, such as sunspots. But we must remember that since vitamin C is also a mild exfoliant, you must still wear sunscreen during the day!

On the subject of it being a mild exfoliant, by the way, do not be mislead into believing that this toner will necessarily moisturize or hydrate the skin, as the Jolse site seems to imply; when I first bought this product, I spent one day spritzing it all over my face like I would with my holy grail Chia Seed Soothing Mist Toner by TheFaceShop and it turned my face into an oily and tight-feeling mess at the same time. When you over-exfoliate the skin, you strip it from its natural oils, causing the skin to feel tight and produce an excess amount of oil to account for the lack of natural oils.

Overall Review: If used correctly, one will find that this toner is a very mild astringent and exfoliating toner that does not lead to any skin irritation, only the benefits: it makes your skin feel smooth, helps fade sunspots and acne, and dissolves the gunk in your pores. And of course, it smells amazing. It is ideal for daily usage just after washing one’s face (before any hydrating toners, serums, etc.) provided that the user remembers to wear sunscreen. And since it is so mild, it can be the perfect product to use for those who are sensitive to other daily formulations with lower percentage AHA/BHA toners. The scent is on the stronger side, but I love it. 5/5.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – The Style Fitting Wear Sebum-Cut Pressed Powder No.1 (Clear Mint)

Packaging: This product is very similar to the packaging of a BB cushion. As such, it is housed in a compact case (11g) with a clear, plastic tray that holds the accompanying puff.

Price: I bought this from MisshaCA for about $20 CAD, and for a long while it was also available on MisshaUS for about $15 USD, but it appears to have been taken down, unfortunately.

Consistency: This product feels very light and almost silky-smooth when pressed onto your skin with the accompanying puff. It never feels heavy nor does it make my makeup cake up at all, even after multiple applications. As you can see from the photos above, it effectively makes my skin appear matte and removes any shine I may have. I chose #1 (clear mint) because I wanted to worry a little less about my redness peeking through my BB cream, and thankfully it does this quite well, although in person it looks more white than it does “mint.” And when applied, it does not appear to accentuate dry skin patches very much (unless severe, I imagine). Last but not least, there is no ugly flashback when worn during flash photography!

Scent: Absolutely no scent!

Ingredients: According to CosDNA, there are only three ingredients that may be acne-triggering (which all scored a 1): talc, dimethicone (emollient), and squalane (moisturizer + antioxidant + emollient). The ingredients that stand out the most to me are:

  • Squalane, which helps seal in moisture and provides a barrier between your skin and environmental detriments like pollution.
  • Honey Extract, which heals the skin and provides anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (which makes this product great for those with acne issues).
  • Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, which heals and brightens the skin, but also keeps your makeup from becoming dark/oxidizing.

Now, I know what you must be thinking: “Isn’t coconut notorious for clogging pores?!” I am thankful to report that it has never, ever clogged my pores, nor has it caused any breakouts even though my skin is rather oily most of the time and acne-prone. I think the very small amount of coconut extract that is present would not be enough to actually contribute to clogged pores, especially since this product does so well at absorbing the sebum on the skin. Of course, if you have a sensitivity or allergy to coconut or coconut-derived extracts, you may want to practice caution and avoid this product.

Squalane, on the other hand, is well-tolerated by most and I do not think it should be any cause for concern unless, again, if you have a sensitivity or allergy to it. Something important to note is that this ingredient is “squalane,” not to be confused with squalene, which is different. According to The Dermatology Review:

[Squalane] oil, which occurs naturally in the body, is also found in olive oil and in the livers of certain sharks. Squalane is not to be confused with squalene, which is the non-hydrogenated form of shark liver oil and which tends to quickly oxidize when exposed to the air.

Thankfully, Missha is a brand known for being against the testing of products on animals. The squalane present in this product comes from olive oil! And furthermore, The Dermatology Review also mentions that:

Many skin care experts and other medical professionals assert that squalane has a number of positive effects on uneven skin pigmentation, scars, and age spots. Much like retinol, this oil is believed to fight free radicals in the skin that are caused by the sun’s UV rays. This is an important consideration, because dark spots on face and hands are often caused by the skin’s reaction to long-term exposure to the sun, which creates more melanin in those areas to protect it.

Overall Review: I do not think this product receives as much love as it should. In the Asian beauty world, people are quick to point us shiny-faced sufferers to the Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Pact, but when I used that powder, it personally did not seem to last quite as long as this one does. In actuality, this product also seemed a lot more smooth and less grainy than the Innisfree one. And oddly enough, I seem to breakout a lot less when I wear this product daily, probably due to its amazing ingredients and ability to absorb excess oil. It is, without a doubt, one of my holy grail items that I hope will never become discontinued. 5/5.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – Super Aqua Ultra Waterful Active Toner

Packaging: The product comes in a sturdy, glass bottle (150ml) with a plastic twist-off cap. The deep blue color reminds me of the ocean.

Price: It goes for $20 USD on MisshaUS, but I got it for sale off of Jolse for $18 USD. This thing will last you many months. I have had mine for about two months now, and as you can see, I am only about a quarter through. In my opinion, it is a bit expensive for what it is, but I will get back to this point in a moment.

Consistency: It resembles a watery essence or serum in that it is too thick to be described as water-like, but too runny to be called anything else. It kind of reminds me of the viscosity of my Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion (Clear) that I reviewed in an earlier post. Upon application this product gives your skin a cooling sensation which I believe would make it a great product for the summer. It spreads easily and after it has absorbed, its finish is smooth and, thankfully, not at all tacky.

Scent: Because the bottle description adds that it has Australia Blue Mountain cave water in it, the scent immediately reminds me of mountains in the way that it seems so nice and fresh. It does not come off as strong to me like the majority of Missha products seem to, and it also does not linger at all.

Ingredients: A CosDNA analysis revealed that the only possible acne-triggering ingredients are the usual suspects: dimethicone (emollient) and butylene glycol (solvent + moisturizer), which are around the middle of the list. I know some people may want to avoid this product anyway because dimethicone is related to silicone, an ingredient known to cause clogged pores and acne in people with silicone-sensitive skin. Another possible culprit is mineral oil, which is the sixth ingredient on the list. As for me personally, this product has not broken me out at all.

Some ingredients stuck out to me when I first considered buying this product as they were high up on the list:

– Glycerin (second ingredient)
– Niacinamide (third ingredient)
– Seawater (seventh ingredient)

Glycerin, a glycerol-based emollient, attracts moisture from the air (i.e., a humectant), makes your skin feel smoother, and even promotes faster healing. Another interesting fact is that it makes other ingredients absorb more effectively than what you see with plain water or alcohol. A 2008 study mentioned that glycerol

is known to increase stratum corneum (SC) hydration, improve epidermal barrier function and decrease clinical signs of inflammation.

And as we already know, niacinamide promotes whiter, brighter-looking skin and helps fade post-acne scars.

Seawater, on the other hand, is something I have not seen before in any of my products. When I looked this up, there were numerous articles describing how seawater was beneficial in skin care, that it provided the skin with essential vitamins and minerals. It makes sense, I thought to myself, as to why this might be a rather good ingredient to include. But as I continued to research and look for actual studies involving topical usage of seawater, I found one study that took place in 2007 which painted a much different picture:

SW [seawater] immersion can cause time-dependent apoptosis [death of cells] and proliferation in the epidermis [skin], and the overall effect of SW immersion is injury to the epidermis.

I felt disheartened at first, but then I found a more recent study from 2013 that seemed conflicting when placed against the first study I mentioned:

Marine algae have gained much importance in cosmeceutical product development due to their rich bioactive compounds. […] The marine environment is enriched with a variety of organisms that harbor a wide range of biologically important compounds that are useful for the cosmeceutical benefit of humans.

From what I currently understand, algae is present in seawater; most of which come from seaweeds. So, this more recent study seems to trump the older one, in my opinion, only because the information provided as a whole was a lot more telling than the other, which involved hairless mice immersed in seawater for ridiculous amounts of time (3 hours, 6 hours, and 12 hours) – in other words, did not seem like the most reliable source to turn to in understanding how seawater might work in skin care products. The seawater is likely much less concentrated than pure seawater, and, being “immersed” for hours in it is a lot different than applying a small amount to the skin that absorbs in under a minute.

Overall Review: Despite the promising ingredients it contains, I found that the actual outcome of using this product for about two months was rather disappointing. As a hydrating toner, it only felt hydrating on my skin as I applied it, but would not have any long-lasting effects or make any crazy changes to the quality of my skin like other hydrating toners I have tried. But still, this toner is a simple one that would likely work well for all skin types and be a great starting point for those who are new to using hydrating toners. I find it basic in that it does help following products absorb better (like most toners are expected to do) and maintains the quality of my skin. 3.5/5.

Asian Beauty, Review

Empties & Mini Reviews [Oct. 2016 – June 2017]

Brands Included: Missha | TheFaceShop

1. Missha Products

  • Missha – Time Revolution Clear Toner
    • A very mild AHA and BHA formulation with fermented ingredients. It has never caused any irritation and it helps with my acne a lot. My skin is also noticeably smoother after using this product. Will repurchase. 5/5.
  • Missha – Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence (Moist)
    • Features fermented ingredients, but despite its claim of being moist and hydrating, this product simply felt like an expensive water I was putting on my face with absolutely no change in the quality of my skin. Will not repurchase. 1.5/5.
  • Missha – Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule
    • One of my holy grail products. It effectively makes my acne marks fade quicker and is even hydrating. Will repurchase. 5/5.
  • Missha – Time Revolution Night Repair Vital Intensive Lotion
    • I love this product for nighttime usage because it is effective, but I dislike the shine that comes along with this product. As with all of the “Night Repair” products in this line, it features a small amount of retinol which I rather prefer since it does not dry out my skin as harshly as higher concentrated retinol products do. That being said, I did have a mishap with this product when I didn’t have an effective hydrating routine. I mistakenly used it day and night. But still, changing up my skincare routine, I found that it fades my acne scars promptly and gives me a smooth complexion. Will likely repurchase if it becomes available again. 4/5.
  • Missha – M B.B Boomer
    • My first real primer, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I enjoy the baby powder-like scent and how moisturizing it feels when I put it on my face. I had a backup for when this ran out (or expired, in my case), but I don’t use it as much these days since many of my creams double up as a primer. Will likely not repurchase for the time being. 3/5.
  • Missha – Signature Essence Cushion SPF50+/PA+++ (No.21)
    • For quite some time, this was one of my favorite cushions. I love how it improves the quality of my skin in that it becomes brighter and seems to glow from within if used daily. To this day, this is still one of the only BB cushions I know of that can go over dry patches and not accentuate them. That being said, it doesn’t have the greatest coverage. Perfect for the natural, “no makeup” look, however. My only qualm with it right now is that its currently lightest shade (no.21) doesn’t seem to match my skintone anymore. Not sure if it oxidized or my skin just became more pale. Will likely not repurchase unless my skin tans up a bit or if they come out with a lighter shade. 4/5.
  • Missha – Signature Essence Cushion Intensive Cover SPF50+/PA+++ (No.21)
    • After trying the cushion described above, I had high hopes for this product because it was supposed to have the same formulation but provide more coverage. It sounded perfect for my acne situation. However, like all “high coverage” products, this turned out to not feel hydrating at all. In fact, it only make my skin appear shiny and feel greasy. Coverage was great, but it accentuated my flaky patches like nobody’s business. Will not repurchase. 1/5.
  • Missha – The Style Fitting Wear Sebum-Cut Pressed Powder (No.1 Clear Mint)
    • One of the best pressed powders I’ve ever used. Its very miniscule mint color gets rid of redness (albeit not in severe cases), and mattifies my skin very well when it becomes oily and shiny. Even on dry patches, it doesn’t seem to accentuate them very much as one might expect. I just hate how often I have to wash the puff that comes with it. Will repurchase. 5/5.

2. TheFaceShop Products

  • TheFaceShop – Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil
    • Hated this product due to its drying nature and strong perfume scent. Has a high pH and many possible acne-triggering ingredients. Will not repurchase. 1/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Deep Firming Cleansing Oil
    • One of my favorites. Non-drying and has a light scent. Gets rid of grits and flaking. Will repurchase. 5/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Chia Seed Fresh Cleansing Water
    • Not one of the best cleansing waters out there, but works decently. Has a light scent that I’m in love with. Even with its huge amount of product, I don’t think it’s worth the price. Will not repurchase. 3.5/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Chia Seed No Shine Hydrating Water
    • First off, I didn’t know what “hydrating water” even was, like was it supposed to be a variation of the Fresh Cleansing Water? Was it a toner? Secondly, contrary to belief, this is not hydrating. Smells wonderful but didn’t make any difference to the quality of my skin. Better off using this as a toner. I liked the big size though. Will not repurchase. 3.5/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Blemish Zero Clarifying Toner
    • An effective, somewhat mild AHA/BHA toner. I didn’t like how strong the scent was, even though I do like lemon among other fruity scents.  Will not repurchase. 3/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Chia Seed Soothing Mist Toner
    • One of my holy grails. Scent is light and fresh. Gets rid of redness, inflammation, and irritation of the skin in cases of acne breakouts or drying, stripped skin. I just wish it came in a bigger bottle. Will repurchase. 5/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Chia Seed Moisture-Holding Seed Essence
    • Features little “beads” that explode with moisture as you rub it into your skin. I didn’t care for this product as it did not change the quality of my skin. It also tended to make my face look shiny and feel greasy, which I personally can’t stand. Smelled great, though.  Will not repurchase. 1/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Calming Seed SOS Care Essence
    • Although this product didn’t hydrate nor moisturize my skin very much, it was effective in that it could be used when my skin was stripped, irritated, or red and inflamed. It is appropriately named. Will not repurchase (because there are better, more effective products out there). 3.5/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Chia Seed Moisturizing Cream
    • Another one of my holy grails. This product manages to moisturize and hydrate my skin. Rids me of skin woes like redness, irritation, and inflammation. Smells light and fresh and does not feel heavy on the skin, nor does it make my face shiny. Doubles up as an amazing primer before makeup application, too. Will repurchase. 5/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Chia Seed No Shine Intense Hydrating Cream
    • I had high hopes for this product because it’s a newer variation of my holy grail, the Chia Seed Moisturizing Cream. Contrary to my high expectations, I found that this product didn’t soak in and just kind of sat on top of my skin. It also smelled more perfume-like than the original variant. Oh, and the best part? Despite its claim of “no shine,” it did make my face shiny and it felt greasy. Will not repurchase. 1/5.
  • TheFaceShop – Arsainte Eco-Therapy Aqua Radiance Cream
    • Had an amazing scent that I can’t begin to describe, and even though I wanted to love it so badly, it also seemed a lot like the product described above. Will not repurchase. 1.5/5.