Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – MISA Geum Sul Tension Pact SPF30/PA++ No.01 (Bright Light)

Packaging: This is the most beautiful BB cushion I think I’ve ever seen. When the image first appeared on Missha’s Instagram, I knew I had to have it. It features the signature flower as seen on all of the Misa Geum Sul products, and the packaging sparkles of small pink glitter particles when the sun hits it the right way. When the compact (17g) is clicked open, there is a mirror and an accompanying tray that holds the applicator puff. Because this is a “tension pact” and not your usual BB cushion, it features a flexible net (with the shape of a rose on it!) that you press with your puff to gather as much or little product as you like. The idea is that these tension nets can allow for a more even application as you never have to worry about the product seeping too far down like with usual BB cushions.

Price: I purchased this product for about $25 USD from Jolse. I think this price is neither too expensive nor too cheap as it can last you quite some time (because a little seems to go a long way).

Consistency: The first time I used this product, I applied way too much because I didn’t realize how little pressure I needed to apply my puff to the tension net. But when applied correctly, it goes on light and rather moist, making it an ideal product to those with dry skin. As you can see in the photos above, it also looks quite nice on oily-combo skin, too. (A word of warning: If you have oily skin, it will make your skin appear very shiny after some time – and not in a cute, dewy way. I mitigate this issue by using a translucent powder on top.) Its coverage is medium to high as it is very buildable, so it covers my acne very well. I chose to take a photo of my skin in its worst condition despite feeling very self-conscious sharing it here because I wanted to show just how much of a difference using this tension pact makes. And since my skin is more oily here, you can see how it has seeped into the fine lines of my eyes (which, honestly speaking, happens with all BB creams, cushions, etc.), but it seems very minimal in comparison to others that I’ve tried.

Scent: As predicted, it smells exactly the same as all other products from the Misa Geum Sul line, which is a rather strong herbal scent. In my opinion, the scent does linger for some time, so if you don’t like herbal scents, you may not enjoy using this product very much. I find that it’s grown on me though.

Ingredients: Truthfully speaking, I was unable to find a full ingredient list anywhere, but based on the information that I was able to gather about it, I can tell you that it features a number of plant extracts geared toward fighting aging issues (as it was designed for more mature-like skin types). In particular, it includes as much as 36% of wild ginseng water though it doesn’t specify the actual type of ginseng used. However, a study in 2013 did demonstrate that panax ginseng root extract

can induce the synthesis of type I collagen

which is great news considering that:

There are at least 16 types of collagen, but 80 – 90 percent of the collagen in the body consists of types I, II, and III.

(Source: Molecular Biology. 4th Edition.)

Collagen are fibrous proteins in the skin that are responsible for basically holding everything together. For instance, if you have a cut, collagen is what heals that wound. And because our ability to produce collagen slows down as we age, using an ingredient like ginseng would be to our advantage since it promotes collagen revival. So I would expect mature and acne-prone skin types alike would benefit from the use of this product due to its ginseng component. (The Geum Sul Tension Pact is also said to brighten and whiten the skin, which leads me to believe it may include the popular niacinamide ingredient as well. That being said, with normal usage I haven’t noticed any real changes in the darkness of my acne scars from this product.)

Overall Review: For me personally, it works well on my acne-prone skin because it doesn’t clog my pores or cause any additional acne despite its highly pigmented color. The color itself is a perfect match for my skin, too, as it contains a slightly pink undertone rather than yellow. It is moisturizing and I have no issues with shine because I always have my pressed powder on hand to combat this problem. I also love that it’s moisturizing because normally with higher coverage products I experience dry patches, but with this product, I don’t. Since this is my first tension pact, I currently have nothing else to compare it to, but it is definitely a lovely product that is worth trying out. 4/5.

Asian Beauty, Review

Review: Missha – MISA Geum Sul First Essence Booster

Packaging: It comes in a sturdy, pink glass bottle (100ml) with a cap that pulls off to reveal an airless pump to dispense the product. As with all of Missha’s MISA Geum Sul products, it features a pretty design on the cap that shimmers in the light. But the packaging for this product seems to differ depending on where you get it; on Missha’s official US website, the bottle is golden to clear at the bottom, whereas on Jolse, it is pink to clear and it also goes by the name “Gold Snow Giyun (Raise Luster) Essence.” I cross-checked ingredients just to be sure these products were the same thing (and they are).

Price: Its retail price is $50 USD from Missha US and $50 CAD from Missha CA, but I got it for the cheaper price of ~$35 USD from Jolse. Looking at the photo of the bottle turned upside down, you can see that one month’s usage hasn’t gotten me very far through the product, so I expect that it must last about three months’ worth. It is a lovely product, but it would hurt my wallet too much to buy it at retail price. Still, as a product that was heavily inspired by the expensive Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX, perhaps $50 isn’t so bad.

Consistency: It feels like a watery serum that spreads and absorbs easily; a little goes a long way. It feels very hydrating and moist upon application. I use three pumps for my entire face, but could easily use less if I wanted (I just love loading this stuff on my face!).

Scent: It smells similarly to Missha’s MISA Geum Sul Vitalizing Finisher – medicinal/herbal, but this product seems to have an additional “earthy” scent that I just can’t seem to pinpoint. The scent is somewhat strong upon application, but it does dissipate soon after it has absorbed.

Ingredients: Analyzing the ingredients on CosDNA and even Skincarisma didn’t seem to reflect the actual order of ingredients, so here is the full thing here:

Saccharomyces/Panax Ginseng Root Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Betaine, Panax Ginseng Root Water, Arginine, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Glycereth-26, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Chlorphenesin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-2M, Caprylyl Glycol, Alcohol, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Bacillus/Apricot Seed/Artemisia Annua Extract/Phaseolus Angularis Seed/Soybean Seed/Wheat Bran/Xanthium Strumarium Fruit Extract Ferment Extract, Sucrose Distearate, Benzophenone-5, Cellulose Gum, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Polyglutamic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Fruit Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Gold, Ganoderma Lucidum (Mushroom) Extract, Velvet Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Mineral Salts, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Cinnamomum Camphora (Camphor) Leaf Extract, Atractyloides Lancea Root Extract, Saposhnikovia Divaricata Root Extract, Pueraria Thunbergiana Root Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract, Angelica Dahurica Root Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Actaea Heracleifolia Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Flour Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Honey Extract, Acanthopanax Sessiliflorum Bark Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-yuen Seed Extract, Ardisia Crispa Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Callus Culture Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Prunus Mume Flower Extract, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Atractyloides Japonica Rhizome Extract, Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Seed Extract, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Cyclopentasiloxane, C30-45 Alkyldimethylsilyl Polypropylsilsesquioxane

Source: Missha US

This product has a number of interesting and novel ingredients, such as:

  • Fermented Ginseng Water – Strengthens skin’s barrier
  • “Chenjijeongwoldan” Extract – Vitalizes
  • “Cheonjong” Wild Ginseng Extract – Firms
  • Reishi Mushroom fermented with Gold Extract – Nourishes
  • Pure Gold 5,000㎍ – Purifies
  • “Yuyak Boham” Liquid – Smooths
  • “Cheongemcho” Extract – Vitalizes
  • Spiceberry Extract – Protects

A 2014 study revealed that

recent findings suggest that ginseng and its constituents might be potential candidates for novel skin whitening agents.

This is of particular interest to those of who suffer from hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the skin, especially when we consider that ginseng shows up as many as four times in this product, with the first three being at the very top of the ingredient list. It also functions as a potent anti-inflammatory component, which is beneficial to those of us who deal with acne (!) by reducing redness and severity.

Yet another study in 2016 revealed that

the anti-inflammatory property of G. lucidum [reishi mushroom]… may be a potential treatment option for the management of skin diseases with cutaneous sarcoidosis and inflammation in the future.

As for the interesting “pure gold” ingredient (which can be seen in many of my photos above), I could only find one study in 2015 that suggested it may address skin aging. Whether it actually does something or not in this product is debatable, but it does make the product look very elegant – that much is true.

People whose skin is sensitive to alcohol may not react well to this product, unfortunately. Alcohol shows up twice, with the first type (denat. – one of the harsher kinds) is the fourth ingredient. While this does make the product absorb better, no doubt, I personally wish there was less of it.

Other notable ingredients include:

  • Niacinamide – Brightening
  • Adenosine – Anti-aging
  • Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract – Brightening
  • Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract – Anti-inflammatory

Overall Review: Despite my wanting to steer clear of products with higher alcohol contents, I can’t help but love this product. Looking at my face photos above, it is clear that even within a short span of time, it has done my skin nothing but good. (Side note: That breakout in the first photo was caused by having McDonald’s – WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?! Ah well, at least I can be assured my products are actually working…) On a day where my skin is drier, I simply mitigate the alcohol-drying issue by using more of my hydrating toners. I have used this product for a month as of now and I can only see the quality of my skin improving more and more with each use. 5/5.

Asian Beauty, First Impressions

First Impressions: Missha – MISA Geum Sul Vitalizing Finisher

MISA Geum Sul Vitalizing Finisher 3 COPY cw

Packaging: It comes in a sturdy, pink glass bottle (60ml) with a cap that pulls off to reveal an easy-to-use nozzle. It pumps out an even amount of product (I use three full pumps for my entire face). And as with all MISA Geum Sul products, you see that gorgeous flower design on the top of the cap that shimmers in the light. This is one of those products you just have to flaunt.

Price: $40 USD from Missha’s US site, though I imagine you could get this for a cheaper price on other websites (or if you’re a VIP member on the Missha website like my mother and I am, muwahaha).

Consistency: It has a semi-thick consistency that I find fairly easy to spread. It’s very interesting, because this product is a “finisher,” which is exactly what the name implies: you use this at the very end of your skincare routine to seal everything in. But in addition to being the finishing touch to your skincare routine, it also works as a primer before starting your makeup routine. For this reason, it is advertised as a product you can use in both the AM and PM (which I definitely do). I find that the consistency falls perfectly in between a cream and a primer, so it is not very thick like most creams are, but it is also not as silicone-like as most primers are. And because this perfectly suits those who dislike using thick creams and silicone-heavy primers, it works best for people whose skin is normal/combo/oily, but not dry, because it would most likely not be enough. The finish, as you can see from the photos of my hand above, is dewy with a very, very slight shine. I say “slight,” because I find that when I use it on my face and I let it dry/sink in completely, my skin actually resembles somebody with a normal skin type. I am under the strong impression that this product adequately provides me with the perfect oil-water (moisture-hydration) content due to its ingredient list. In fact, this finisher doesn’t cause my skin to become oily after time has passed like most lotions or creams do! A rare incident, indeed!

Scent: My very first thought when I used this was that it smelled old lady-ish (lol), but it is best described as herbal/medicinal. While I am not personally big on this scent, it dissipates quickly. The only other product I have tried from this line (the MISA Geum Sul Vitalizing Tension Pact SPF30, PA++) smells exactly the same, so I would expect all of the MISA Geum Sul products to smell similarly.

Ingredients: According to CosDNA, this product contains multiple acne triggers and irritants. As someone with combo, acne-prone skin, I am usually very cautious about using products with both acne triggers and irritants, but Missha has yet to disappoint me with its ingredients. This product did not break me out, clog my pores, or what have you, but if my skin is over-exfoliated, then the alcohol can be slightly irritating – nothing absolutely terrible, but I imagine this product would not suit those with very sensitive skin. But all in all, the ingredients do not worry me because most acne triggers and irritants are lower down on the list. Had the alcohol (in particular) been higher up on the list, I might have been more hesitant to try out this product.

First Impressions/Overall Review: I really enjoy using this product because something about “sealing everything in” just makes me giddy. I can easily see myself purchasing this item again because it feels so nice on my skin, but chances are it would not fare well with my skin during the cold, dry winters of Canada. If I do get my hands on this product again, it will most likely be during the spring, summer, and possibly even autumn. (And again, I would like to emphasize how amazing it is in that it didn’t cause my skin to become oily after time had passed, which is a truly rare sight.) 4/5.