Tuesday 23 August 2016

Mini-Review of Lovemore sheet masks + Beautius Shop

Beautius is a newish shop based in Hong Kong selling (mainly) Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese sheet masks. I like the option to buy them individually instead of boxes because some brands have so many varieties to try!
The prices seem reasonable and shipping is free on orders over $45

Here are a few of the Lovemore masks I ordered. (These are all of the types available on Beautius, except Aloe & Loofah because wtf is a sponge doing in skincare??)

The Rhodiola and Red Barley masks were actually freebies. Rhodiola has the best reviews among Lovemore varieties but is always out of stock (literally everywhere). After placing an order, I e-mailed on the off-chance that Beautius would be re-stocking soon. Turns out theres a supply problem (possibly a case of being discontinued) but there happened to be one leftover which Tracey included in my order. So sweet! TT.TT

And here is a pic of the free masks received so far :3

I was accidentally sent the five My Scheming black pearl masks instead of five Lovemore black pearl masks. Rather than have me send them back or offer them at a discounted price, Tracey simply told me to keep them as a gift and sent a replacement the next day!

Oh and also: orders come with handwritten thank-you notes and sweets!

** Mini-Review **
I’ve tried the Cubilose, Black Pearl, Snow Lotus, Pearl Barley & Milk, Wine Yeast and Rhodiola mask so far.
I don’t think theres much difference between them TBH because they all leave my skin feeling really soft and hydrated. If I had to pick a fave it’d probably be Pearl Barley & Milk because it feels more hydrating and smells so yummy.

Fit: the masks are a bit too big for me but stay in place when folded. The material is thin and comfortable.

One thing I have noticed is that the masks are really drippy out the packet but start to dry out after around 20 minutes. (You’re supposed to keep them on for 10-15 but I don’t follow instructions meh) It’s always the nose bit and under-eyes that dry first while the rest of the sheet is ok, so I just peel those bits off, pat in the leftover essence and keep it on for another 20 minutes.

Friday 5 August 2016

Review: Sidmool Madagascar Centella Asiatica Skin (마다가스카르 병풀 스킨)

This turned out to be one of my most disappointing purchases to date - though admittedly, I probably had my hopes pinned a little high so take this review as 50% disappointment in Sidmool and 50% disappointment that Centella asiatica does f**k all.

What is it?
This product is a “skin” aka lotion, which is applied as the first step in a skincare routine. It has the viscosity of water, absorbs quickly and has no detectable smell.

It’s packaged in a clear plastic pump bottle. I appreciated the hygienic and convenient design at first, but it turned out to be a pain in the ass because the remaining product is difficult to dispense.

Centella Asiatica Extract (97%) - anti-inflammatory, increases production of collagen
Butylene Glycol - humectant
Asiatic Acid
Madecassic Acid
Madecassoside - these four ingredients make “Centella asiatica extract powder”, the highly enriched active ingredient in this product. Riiiight.
Allantoin - anti-irritant
Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (liquorice root extract) - anti-inflammatory, brightening
Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract (Peony root extract)
Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract - according to the product info page, these last two ingredients are added to stabilise the product. 

Where are the preservatives!?


I first started using this in March and took pictures of my face every week to document my progress. It literally did nothing: didn’t reduce or calm breakouts, didn’t improve my skintone. At least it didn't make my skin worse!

Price: W14,800 (150ml)
Bottle lasts around 5 months

Where to buy Sidmool products:
Sidmool products are rather difficult to acquire. (Should this rave review here inspire a spending spree.) One option is to order through the website. It's all in Hangul yet somehow I made it to the order page, only to have the card payment fail).
Another - and much easier - option is to order from Sidmool’s official G-market mini-shop and ship it over (using a service like Avecko, which is what I did).

I’d love to know if anyone has had any success with Centella Asiatica!

Monday 9 May 2016

Review : Banila Co. Miss Flower & Mr Honey Cream

Hi everyone! *sweeps tumbleweeds away*

Miss Flower & Mr Honey Cream
This is probably my most luxurious K-beauty purchase to date. I mean look at it! ITS SHAPED LIKE A HONEYCOMB!!

Honey Extract, Aureobasidium Pullulans Ferment, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, PCA Dimethicone, Niacinamide, Glycereth-26, Petrolatum, Trisiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Chrysanthellum Indicum (Golden Chamomile) Extract, Plukenetia Volubilis (Sacha Inchi) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Royal Jelly Extract, Calendula Officinalis (Pot Marigold) Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Seed Oil, Propolis Extract, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Limnathes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Dimethiconol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG-150 Distearate, Water, Raffinose, Caprylyl Glycol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root Extract), Adenosine, Arginine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octyldodecanol, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Sodium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Maltodextrin, Calcium Pantothenate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pyridoxine HCI, Silica, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, CI 19140

Key Ingredients
The cream boasts three types of honey compounds: honey, royal jelly and propolis extract. Based on their place in the ingredients list, the percentage of royal jelly and propolis extract is likely to be small so bleh. I did a derp when I first looked at the ingredients. I thought the cream contained 42% honey extract AND black yeast (aureobasidium pullulans ferment). It actually contains 42% ‘concentrated aureobasidium pullulans ferment honey water’, which I understand is a combination of those two ingredients.

Honey has softening and moisturising properties and black yeast is a source of beta-glucans, which help the skin retain moisture and plump out fine lines. 

There are a few brightening ingredients such as niacinamide and liquorice root extract. Given their place in the ingredients list I didn't expect them to have any real effect and lets be real - I bought it for the benefits of hydrating honey/intoxictaing smell. 

Other ingredients to watch out for are acne triggers and sensitivities. The cream contains two of my acne triggers - shea butter and olive oil but I haven’t had any break outs.

The rest of the formula doesn’t interest me much because the bulk of it seems to me made up of glycols and silicones.

How to Use
Apply generously over your entire face after toner/moisturiser. Use Honey Cream as a base substitution in the morning to achieve a long lasting sleek and dewy complexion for all day. Apply generously multiple layers and use it as a sleeping pack at night. 

I personally found it too thick and slippery for daytime use. With suncream and cushion foundation applied on top and it turns into a gloopy mess and the finish takes you well beyond the boundaries of ‘dewy complexion' into oil slick territory. It feels a little heavy on the skin so I mix in a few drops of hyaluronic acid lotion or serum to thin it out.

I use the cream at night once or twice a week and it leaves my skin feeling so plump and soft the next morning - like a really good sheet mask with an extended aftereffect. I'd describe my skin as 'normal', prone to dryness and gets really dry when I lay on the Benzoyl Peroxide. A few months back BP left my skin in such a bad state that I considered taking a week’s holiday to avoid showing my face. (I also cried. Yep.) The cream didn’t work a miracle overnight but it did help get my skin back to normal in 4-5 days. I noticed the most improvement when I started mixing the cream with hyaluronic acid which made it thin enough to layer and absorb better.

Good Aspects:
+ The packaging, the smell
+ Saved my face from turning into parchment 
+ Helping me get through a never-ending bottle of Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Lotion
+ Good ingredients obv!

Not-so-good Aspects:
- Works best when mixed with hyaluronic acid (IMO) - I shouldn’t have to add stuff to make something better
- Feels heavy on the skin (without HA)
- Not ideal for daytime use -> skincare routine becomes more expensive

Repurchase? Although I'm satisfied overall with this cream, I can do without it so I won't be repurchasing. It was brilliant for treating my extremely dry/flaky skin but I don't experience that frequently so it doesn't really add anything to my routine.

Price & Where to Buy
Hyundai Department Store: $28.27 (W32,640) + free international shipping!
Jolse: Currently $39.08 I bought it for $38.00
*The prices on Jolse fluctuate a lot. It's usually around $40
G-Market mini-shop: Usually W48,000, currently W40,320 
TesterKorea: W48,000 (but often sold with 20% discount for W38,400)
Koreadepart: $49.92
Official Website: 48,000 Won. Or $57.50 on the official English language website (??!!)

p.s. A review of the Hydrogel masks is coming next/soon! 

Saturday 9 January 2016

Review : Leaders Mediu Amino Clearing Mask

This is the first brand of 'anti-acne' masks I used in my 25 Sheet Masks Challenge: Leaders MEDIU AMINO Clearing Masks (아미노클리어링마스크). They're formulated with an amino acid complex, cysteine, lotus extract and Vitamin C to help clear the skin and are suitable for all skin types.

Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Lysine, Histidine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Threonine, Serine, Glutamic Acid, Proline, Glycine, Alanine, Valine, Methionine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Tyrosine, Phenylaline, Cysteine, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Gentiana Lutea Root Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Artemisa Absinthium Extract, Betaine, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acrylodimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ledum Palustre Extract, Ecklonia Cava Extract, Artemisa Capillaris Flower Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Saururus Chinensis Extract, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethanolamine, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance.

The fit is almost perfect, with only a bit of overlap into my hair and under my chin. (Compared to most masks which have enough excess for a scarf and headband). The eye cutouts follow the curve of my eyes like it was tailor made. The mask doesn't fit so well on my nose bridge but thats nothing that a pair of scissors doesn't fix.

The masks are 25ml and very saturated (like MBD). I feel sad wasting leftover essence so I use it to saturate a couple of Muji pads and do a 10-15 minute mask the next day.

The smell is slightly floral and quite strong on opening but dissipates quickly.

The mask feels like a translucent mesh. It feels like silk but it's probably cotton.

Initial Thoughts:
The instructions say to leave it on for 15-20 minutes. I used it for around 45 and could have left it for longer but I wanted to sleep
My skin looked brighter and the areas where I had spots appeared less red. The mask left a sticky residue (even after patting it in) so this isn't one to use in the morning before heading out! The next morning, my skin looked clearer and less red and felt so soft and smooth even after washing my face. My whole face felt 'flat' - no spots brewing, none of those annoying bumps that I don't have a name for - just smooth skin.

Overall Impression:
I jotted down my thoughts after every use, and my thoughts were the same every time. Skin looks fresh, radiant and noticeably less inflamed and red. And I wouldn't even say I have redness, it just looks so much clearer! They even reduced a bunch of angry pus-y spots to almost flat red bumps. Magick.

The verdict: amazing. These masks defy logic with a rating of 11/10

Where to Buy:
Rose Rose Shop: $6.79 for a box of 10
Testerkorea: KRW12,000 (~$10) for a box of 10
Lotte: These are currently sold at KRW20,000 (~$17) for 10 but frequently pop up in Lotte's Free EMS shipping events for $20 for 20 masks. I'm keeping my eye out for the next offer!

Wednesday 25 November 2015

#25 Day Sheet Mask Challenge

I had high hopes of joining the daily sheet mask club, doing the #30daysheetmaskchallenge with a different mask each day but I realised that (a) I’m five short and (b) ain’t nobody got time for that.
Just three more and I could do a February #28daysheetmaskchallenge..! Screw it, 2016 is a leap year.

Truth be told, I’m not very fond of sheet masks. I hate that feeling of cold wet seaweed slapped on my face and I just can’t seem to make time for them! I also question how much one can benefit from a bog-standard formula of butylene glycol, aloe, fragrance, preservatives and 1% Albanian Rose extract (patent pending). 

So partly for science but really to whittle down my skincare hoard I set myself the target of using three masks per week. The aim: to determine whether sheet masks should become a staple or whether I’m better off investing in something super fancy like that $200 Ginseng cream from Sulwhasoo.

Unlike the blogging ‘schedule’, I’ve actually managed to keep this up for three weeks, alternating between two brands of “anti-acne” masks: the Leaders Mediu Amino Clearing Masks and LJH Tea Tree masks. (I’ll have a first impressions post up soon, once I finish translating the ingredients.) I’ve been using three of the same mask each week and will keep doing that where possible since almost all of my masks come in packs of 5-10. I’m also trying to keep things consistent by sticking to a “theme” each month. So once I’ve used the anti-acne masks for a month, I’ll move on to the bee masks, then brightening masks, hydrating masks, etc.

Stay Tuned! :)

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Review : I'm From Vitamin Tree Mask

I bought the I'm From Vitamin Tree Mask from Wishtrend a few months back. The ingredients seemed interesting, and I'm a sucker for TRYINGALLTHETHINGS.

What is it? 
A wash off mask packed with the farm fresh nutritions of fresh vitamin leaves that promises a vitamin-detox for your skin to leave it looking bright and radiant.

산자나무추출물 (50.46%) - Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckhorn) Extract
글리세린 - Glycerin
Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Leaf Extract (11.5%)
카프릴릭/카프릭트리글리세라이드 - Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
세틸알코올 - Cetyl Alcohol
글리세릴스테아레이트 - Glyceryl Stearate
피이지-100스테아레이트 - PEG-100 Stearate
글리세릴스테아레이트에스이 - Glyceryl Stearate SE
비즈왁스 - Beeswax
소듐폴리아크릴로일디메칠타우레이트 - Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate
폴리소르베이트 - Polysorbate 60
Sorbitan Sesquioleate
스테아릴알코올 - Stearyl Alcohol
눈 연꽃추출물 - Saussurea Involucrata (Snow Lotus) Extract
Selaginella Lepidophylla (Rose of Jericho) Extract
Rubus Chamaemorus (Cloudberry) Fruit Extract
Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Extract
소듐하이알루로네이트 - Sodium Hyaluronate
호호바씨오일 - Jojoba Seed Oil
마그네슘알루미늄실리케이트 - Magnesium Aluminium Silicate
잔탄검 - Xanthan Gum
미리스틸알코올 - Myristyl Alcohol
알란토인 - Allantoin
토코페릴아세테이트 - Tocopheryl Acetate
부틸렌글라이콜 - Butylene Glycol
1,2-헥산디올 - 1,2-Hexanediol
카프릴릴글라이콜 - Caprylyl Glycol
Caprylhydroxamic Acid
인도 유향수지 추출물 - Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract (Indian Frankincense)
디포타슘글리시리제이트 - Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root Extract)
디소듐이디티에이 - Disodium EDTA
판테놀 - Panthenol
에칠헥실글리세린 - Ethylhexylglycerin
에칠아스코빌에텔 - Ethyl Ascorbyl Ether

I did my best to type and translate the ingredients from Hangul printed on the packaging and I'm pretty sure it corresponds to the list published on Wishtrend.

Key Ingredients: 
The main ingredient is Vitamin Tree, the Tree of Miracles otherwise known as the Mana Tree sea buckthorn. It makes up over 60% of the product, with 50.46% sea buckthorn extract ("Vitamin Leaf Tea"), 11.5% sea buckthorn leaf extract ("Fresh Vitamin Leaves") & sea buckthorn fruit extract thrown in for good measure.

Sea buckthorn is anti-inflammatory, has an anti-oxidant benefit and is high in Vitamin C.

I'm not terribly interested in the ingredients listed after sea buckthorn leaf extract, which make up less than 11.5% of the product. There are 31 of them and are probably in too small amounts to be of benefit. The ad focuses on snow lotus, cloudberry and jericho rose but I couldn't find much on their benefits! Theres also licorice root extract, a brightening ingredient, but at the bottom of the list it's nothing to get excited over.

Ingredients Analysis: 
The product page on Wishtrend includes an evaluation of the safety level of the ingredients based on the EWG database, proudly stating "no hazardous ingredients" - apparently missing the three flagged as moderate hazard (troll lol lol).

Heres one based on cosdna comedogenicity/irritancy values, which seems to be more popular. 
Edit: the ingredients like glycerin with blank values score 0/0 values.  

Translating the ingredients exhausted most of the effort I'm willing to put into blog posts, so this will have to do! -.- (did I mention that I don't read or write Hangul?) There are a few ingredients flagged as acne triggers and irritants - PEGs, fatty alcohol, stearates and butylene glycol.
The jar is packaged in a heavy, expensive-feeling glass jar and comes with a spatula.

Texture and Smell
SWEET MAKGEOLLI AND JOJOBA. THE SMELL. OHMYGAWD. Some reviewers describe the smell as 'organic' or herby. They lie. It looks and smells like a freshly laid shit.

The texture is soft and squashy like a turd on the sole of your shoe.

I first used the mask when my skin was in a rough state - sensitive, irritated, spots abrewing.. (Sigh) I left it on for about 20 minutes, letting it dry while I cleaned the bathroom (bless you, stash of industrial grade cleaners and your overpowering smells) and then hopped into the shower to rinse it off. (I recommend the shower unless you want your sink stained by what looks like spots of explosive diarrhoea.) My skin felt so soft afterwards, refreshed and much calmer.

So happy as I am with the results, this mask isn't something I'd repurchase because of the disgusting smell. Definitely not something I'd recommend, unless you're really, really adventurous...?

Where to buy
$35.00 on Wishtrend
35,000 on imfrom.co.kr

Next up for review: Laneige Multiberry Yoghurt Sleeping Pack. I hope it smells nice...