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 such good reviews but its so freaking difficult to find! It was out of stock (literally out of stock everywhere) when I ordered so 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 SWEEEETIEEES!!

** 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 sooooooo 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. I should probably be more concerned about the lack of preservatives but as I’m nearing the end of the bottle… naah.


Thankfully the ingredients list lends itself to a short review because the product was an utter disappointment.

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. I suppose I can be grateful that it didn’t cause breakouts, right?

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

Where to buy Sidmool products:
Sidmool products are rather difficult to acquire. (Y’know, should this glowing review have inspired a spending spree.) One option is to order through the website - which all in Hangul. (I somehow made it all the way to the order page but the card payment failed) 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* This post has been sitting in the drafts section since the beginning of the year and was supposed to be part of a combined review with the Miss Flower & Mr Honey hydrogel masks... but I haven't even opened the box yet .__.
I figured that after four months of nothing, now might be a good time to revive the blog, so I hope you find this useful in the meantime - a review of the hydrogels will follow (eventually...) >.<

Miss Flower & Mr Honey Cream
This is probably my most luxurious K-beauty purchase to date. Just look at it, ITS SHAPED LIKE A HONEYCOMB!! (Which clicks shut btw, so you don't risk twisting the lid too tightly and cracking the precious.)

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. Which means less key ingredients, more silicones and glycols for your money. Yaay... :(
Was that obvious to everyone but me? -__-

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 fortunately 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 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. (If you don't mind the feel of 'sleeping packs', you'll probably be fine with it!)

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. (As opposed to the usual two weeks+) I noticed the most improvement when I started mixing the cream with hyaluronic acid which made it thin enough to layer and absorb better.

TLDR Version
Good Aspects:
+ Love the packaging, adore the smell (I didn't mention that did I lol)
+ Saved my face from turning into parchment+ Is helping me get through a never-ending bottle of Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Lotion
+ I like the honey ingredients, but IMO these should form the bulk of the product (not crappy silicones and glycols).

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 (??!!)

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. And thats all the info written in English haha.

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.

It might be too early to say, but I think I've found my perfect fitting mask. It fits my face almost exactly, 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. Pure magick.

I never thought sheet masks could make such a difference but apparently I was wrong.

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 masks
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!