Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Laneige – Skin Veil Base Cushion SPF22/PA++ No.60 (Light Green)

Packaging: This product comes in your basic BB cushion case (15g) with a mirror, puff, and tray to store the puff. This case is larger than the sleek ones we see more often now, but I see this as a good thing because it just means it holds more product! The accompanying puff is small but it does the job just fine. It also seems less stiff compared to other ones.

Price: I bought this for about $25 USD on Jolse which is amazing considering that it even comes with a refill (!). I was putting off on buying this product because there were no real reviews about it anywhere, but thankfully, I folded. My only regret was that I did not buy it sooner.

Consistency: Honestly, I was so impressed with how amazing this product felt that it made me look into buying another cushion from Laneige. It spreads and blends out nicely, and you can easily apply a lot without getting a cakey feel. And that pigment? Well, let’s just say this product works so well at covering redness that I would feel perfectly comfortable going without my BB cream/cushions. I focused a lot in the mid section of my face since the pores were noticeable and the redness was most prominent there. On the bottom right of every face photo, you can see the pimple on my chin that could have stood to have another layer on it. But as it is, the bottom half of my face was one layer while the top half had multiple layers.

Scent: My first thought upon smelling this product was that it reminded me of a soap bar. Like, maybe a Dove soap bar? Maybe Suave?.. Something of that nature. The scent is fairly strong and does tend to linger a little bit, but I really enjoy it.

Ingredients: According to a CosDNA analysis, the only things to look out for were dimethicone (emollient) and tocopherol (antioxidant). But the thing about dimethicone is that it is a silicon-based polymer, and while some people can tolerate this ingredient (such as yours truly), other people may not be so lucky. This is because silicons can clog pores and cause acne, or simply because a person might have a sensitivity/allergy to them. If you do not believe your skin can tolerate even this derivative, then I would suggest looking into another primer because dimethicone and its other forms show up many, many times in the ingredient list. But I do not want to cause any unnecessary panic in those who are not too sure about this ingredient because if you took a look at the ingredient lists of many of your lotions, creams, and makeup products, you would see that it is very commonly used. Its function as an emollient is to create a smooth texture and hold in your skin’s moisture, so this is a good thing because many primers are actually way too drying (particularly because they tend to market to those with oily skin), but this one is very moisturizing, creamy, and fresh. Despite having all kinds of dimethicones, it does not feels very silicon-like, which some may enjoy (I personally cannot stand the feeling of something silicon-like sitting on my face).

I find that its moisture is a double-edged sword, because while this does mean I can wear the product without worrying about dry patches being accentuated, it also means that its “oil function control” claim is just plain wrong, especially so for those with oily skin. (Although I could see somebody with dry skin getting away with it though.) I suspect it must be because there are no real “oil control” ingredients actually present in the product; I imagine the company’s theory was “if we provide the skin with an ample amount of moisture, then the pores will stop over-producing oil as result.” I am not saying this is wrong, but perhaps all the silicons prevent this from becoming a reality? Or maybe my skin is just fickle.

But you know what this product does have? Glycerin (solvent + moisturizer). And in a 2007 study, it was confirmed that

Glycerol-based emollients have a positive influence on the skin of patients with AD (atopic dermatitis).

and further,

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

So not only does this cushion act as a primer, but it also benefits your skin as you wear it! And we could all certainly use an extra boost of hydration in our lives.

Overall Review: This product effectively covers up redness and pores, and makes a wonderfully smooth makeup base. But it is so effective at what it does that one could easily wear this as a stand-alone product. It brightens up my skin without giving it a ghostly look. While it does not really control sebum, it does provide the skin with hydration and moisture, and even repairs the skin. I can easily see myself buying this again when I run out. 5/5.

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Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Clio – Virgin Kiss Tension Lip Oil Tint (#08 Just Coral)

Packaging: It comes in a sturdy plastic bottle (5.5ml) equipped with an equally sturdy wand that has a slight groove for ease of application. Much like a lip gloss, the wand doubles as a cap that spins off to open. It picks up a perfect amount of product to apply in one go.

Price: I bought this product for sale on Jolse for just $13.16 USD. Lip tints tend to go for cheaper prices, but since this brand, Clio, is known for its high coverage products, I decided the price was right; this is a brand that does not sacrifice its amazing color payoff for a smoother application. It manages to provide

Consistency: It has a very nice creamy consistency that spreads easily. I personally like to apply the product with a light hand for a lighter, more natural look, but layering the product for a more vivid look is also possible (take a look at panel 2 before the product has been spread in the last photo to see what I mean). Because this product is not your average lip tint, but rather, is a lip oil tint, the creamy consistency does not feel thick. Instead, it feels just slightly thicker than an oil treatment lip product – like the perfect combination of a creamy lip gloss and an oil treatment product. As the product sets there is a moderate amount of transfer, but if allowed ample time to dry and stain the lips, I find that there is little to no transfer. The staying power is also moderate. While I personally do not feel the need to reapply throughout the day, people looking for a more vivid look may need to.

Scent: I find it a bit difficult to describe the scent of this product. It definitely has a fresh component to it, but is not strong in the way you might expect a skin product to be. I think what might be more important to note than the scent would be the taste, which is akin to accidentally licking your lips after applying foundation that managed to get on your lips in its application. It tastes like makeup; not terrible nor particularly strong, but you would definitely not want to try and lick your lips after applying it.

Ingredients: When it comes to lip products, I am never too concerned with the ingredient list because there is nothing I am allergic to, but I do like to know how the product intends to keep my lips feeling “moisturized” while still providing color. It is unfortunate that I could not find a full ingredient list anywhere at this time for those who are concerned about possible allergic reactions with certain ingredients… So if you have any sensitivities or allergies to be concerned about, I might avoid this one for a while until an ingredient list shows up.

In the first panel of my last photo I present my lips just as they always are naturally, which is generally very dry (and often cracked) as I do not drink as much water as I probably should, nor do I exfoliate my lips, use lip masks, etc. This makes it difficult for me to find lip products that provide enough moisture to accommodate my issues without requiring me to sacrifice color payoff. So when I found this product, which is just what I had been looking for, you can only imagine how excited I was. The selling point for me was when I read that it would treat dry and cracked lips. Well, I would not say it is a lip treatment by any means, but it does not contribute to even drier lips, which generally causes clumps and clinging. In the third panel of my last photo, you can see that it does not accentuate any dry bits or cracks and there is very, very minimal clinging. In person, the clinging is not even visible unless one were to get right up in your face to look at your lips. And the reason for this amazing formula? I may not have been able to find a complete ingredient list, but I did, however, find out that this product contains a “7 red oil complex” which is made up of the following:

  • Rosa Canina (Rose Hip Seed) Oil
  • Camellia (Tea Seed) Oil
  • Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil
  • Geranium Maculatum (Spotted Cranesbill) Oil
  • Safflower Seed Oil
  • Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil
  • Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oil

These oils contain vitamins that not only moisturize, but also mildly exfoliate the dead skin on your lips. And because they are oils, they also help create a protective seal/barrier on your lips that promotes healing. These are exactly the kinds of ingredients you should be looking for in lip products if you want to see amazing results.

Overall Review: In case it was not already very obvious with my glowing review, I am in love with this product. It gives me the moisture my lips crave and need while still providing an amazing color payoff. I no longer have to worry about my dry patches and cracked lips compromising such a beautifully colored lip product since it does not accentuate these flaws, but instead corrects them. Finally, I can enjoy a color other than my usual natural, muted pink. I cannot recommend this product enough. 5/5.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Kikumasamune – High Moist Lotion

Packaging: The product comes in a large pink bottle (500ml) with a pump. This pump is notorious for its ability to shoot the product across the goddamned room. SO. I find it easiest to cup my hand and pump the product directly into it, but others have gone so far as to use different bottles altogether (but I like to live on the wild side, so it is still in its original bottle for me).

Price: I personally bought this in Canada for a hefty price of $30 CAD, but looking online on Amazon, it goes for $15 USD which is a great deal considering how much product you get out of it and how long it lasts (I have had mine for about five months now and as you can see from the photos above, it is nowhere near being finished).

Consistency: It is slightly more viscous than water, but is still very watery in general. When applied, it feels immediately hydrating upon the skin and is only slightly tacky. This product is perfect for when you want multiple light layers of hydration as it plays nicely with everything you put on top of it. (And remember, since this is a Japanese product, the word “lotion” actually means “toner” in this context, so be sure to use it before any serums, ampoules, etc.)

Scent: If you have ever gotten drunk off of sake, then this may be exactly what you smell when you put it on. Some people cannot stand this scent because it can be strange applying something that once made you sick when ingested (ha), but for those of us who have not had such an experience, the scent seems to vary between bubble gum to bananas (or in my case, a little of both). At any rate, you can expect the scent to be very different than your average toner. I happen to love it, but my husband says it smells like farty putty to him, so every opportunity I get, I chase him down with it all over my hands. 🙂

Ingredients: When this product first blew up all over the internet, people were in love. It is easily one of the best hydrating toners I have ever used; it is damn effective and amazingly priced. But once people started looking into its ingredients, it became highly controversial. But why? Take a look at the ingredient list:

Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, rice ferment filtrate (sake), glutamate, arginine, leucine, ceramide 3ceramide 6 IIplacenta extractarbutinglycyrrhizic acid, soy protein, maltitol, methyl gluceth-10, peg-60 hydrogenated castor oil, hydroxyethyl cellulose, alkyl styrene/acrylic acid copolymer, citric acid, sodium citrate, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, fragrance

(CosDNA Analysis)

If the bolded words were obvious enough, you should have come across the ingredient listed as “placenta extract.” Not only did this irk the vegans of the skincare world, but it also bothered everybody else, as you can probably imagine. Placenta? How in the hell was that sourced? Was it cruelty-free? Is it really even necessary? I bought this product before being aware of this ingredient because my eyes zoned in on the ceramides so high up on the list… and my point is, I am guilty for not taking a closer look at the ingredient list.

After doing some research, it turns out that the placenta extract is, in fact, a matter of ethical debate because it is derived from horses. In Japan, horse racing is big, hence the reason they have a high market for horse breeding which even cosmetic industries such as Kikumasamune partake in. One of the companies that sources the placenta extract adds that the expected functions of horse placenta may be one or more of the following:

– Internal use: strength liver & body, anti-fatigue, adjusting autonomic nerves, adjusting endocrine, and immunopotentiative action.
– External use: whitening effect, activating skin metabolism and etc.

(Source)

A redditor that took part in the discussion of Kikumasamune’s placenta ingredient was able to shed more light on the situation by mentioning:

Regardless, the thing is: we eat horse meat here. It’s not a staple meat, but you can find raw horse meat sushi in some restaurants and other horse meat products as delicacies. It sounds weird, but many Japanese feel the same about Americans eating deer, elk, bison, even goat and lamb meat. So these products could be byproducts of the horse meat industry, and the animals aren’t being slaughtered solely for the sake of their placentas!

(Full reddit post here, for those of you who are interested.)

Despite its controversial nature, I do wish to include the other beneficial ingredients of this product because had that one ingredient not been involved, I would easily call this a holy grail product due to how effective it is. I mentioned earlier that the product was the most hydrating toner I had ever used, but it also noticeably brightens the skin and fades any post-acne scars. Rice ferment filtrate (sake) contains kojic acid which is responsible for skin-lightening and is also a great source of antioxidants. Arbutin and glycyrrhizic acid (a derivative of licorice root) are another set of powerful skin-lightening agents. Arginine has healing and anti-aging effects, and the ceramides are responsible for repairing the moisture barrier and enhancing the overall health of your skin.

In my opinion, if you find a product with ceramides, especially if they are higher up on the ingredient list, it is definitely worth trying. When I get out of the shower, at times the skin on my face begins to flake because I basically boiled myself in there (I love hot showers, okay?), and once I use this product, all of the flakes seem to disappear and my skin no longer feels tight. That is the power of ceramides.

Overall Review: Sooo… truthfully speaking, I do intend to finish the product I bought, but still feel somewhat uncomfortable with the placenta ingredient. I looked for similar products (but without the horse placenta extract, obviously) and was able to find an almost-dupe that looks as though it should perform just as well as the Kikumasamune one: Cezanne – Ceramide Skin Conditioner High Moist (ingredient analysis here). However, I must say that Kikumasamune’s High Moist Lotion is a great product in itself. It lightens post-acne scars, deeply moisturizes and hydrates the skin, and in as little as a week, the quality of my skin never looked better. Ignoring the placenta ingredient, this is, without a doubt, a 5/5.

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.
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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


Packaging
: 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.

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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.
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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.