Mistakes Made Buying Under the Influence of K-Pop and K-drama

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Is Mercury in retrograde or something? Because I didn't want to start the New Year off talking about products that were misses, but it's happening.

I picked up the Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream and the Banila Co White Wedding Dream Cream at Skin18.com because they were on sale back in December and also, well, look at them!

And now look at them! *points down below*

A photo posted by BamBam(แบมแบม) (@bambam1a) on

I'm not usually one to be swayed by celebrity endorsements. In fact, my skincare tastes can be described as 'monastic'. My self-imposed austerity dictates I live, die, and buy by the ingredients list. *shrug* In general, sticking to this guideline has served me well in buying any type of skincare, western or Asian.

But there are a million roads to K-beauty, one of which is seeing your favorite K-pop or K-drama star endorse their 'favorite' product while looking like an angel or a unicorn that you simultaneously want to pet and hump. *Who said that?* And sometimes you just want to think that maybe they wouldn't endorse anything epicly bad.

Anyways, all I'm trying to say is...

*sob* Next time you see your favorite poreless wonder endorsing a product, remember they might be getting paid to say that, there's a team of professionals behind their fleekiness, and it's the entertainment industry...

We keep getting older, and they stay the same age; our skincare needs may be way different.

These reviews will be short and sweet.

Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream
A cream that can be used both day and night, as the last step in your skincare routine.
CLAIM TO FAME It's Girl's Generation (K-pop group) Tiffany, Taeyeon, Hyoyeon and actress Ha Ji Won's jam.
STAR INGREDIENTS 6 year old Korean red ginseng extract, 95% gold (12mg), royal jelly, and silk amino acids for whitening and wrinkle improvement.
SKIP READING IF you dislike heavily perfumed products, paying a premium for classic gimmicky gold powder, or have extremely oily, extremely dry, or sensitive skin.

Nature Republic is what Koreans call a 'road shop' brand, roughly meaning it's an affordable brand, with prices on par with drugstore brands here in the states. Most of their creams are within the $10-$20 range.

But the Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream is about $55 for 60 ml of product. So this product for them is pretty special, as you might imagine. They've put a lot of thought into the packaging - it comes in a heavy glass tub with a a turn-lock top that actually clicks into place when completely sealed. The boxes that come with the tub are lookers too. While the boxes are probably made out of ordinary cardboard, they've made it look as though they're made out of woven materials. For scale, the box is about 5x5 in. (12.5x12.5cm.)

The cream comes with a primo spatula too. Instead of just a straight stick this one is curved like a spoon.

INGREDIENTS Water, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Royal Jelly Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract, Sodium Chloride, Trehalose, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-7 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Adenosine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Arginine, Ethyl Hexanediol, Sodium Citrate, Silk Amino Acids, Atractyloides Chinensis Rhizome Extract, Acorus Calamus Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Yellow 5, Gold [ANALYSIS]

The cream is heavy on silicones which are highlighted in blue above.
It contains hydrating humectants like the glycerin, royal jelly extract, and trehalose. There are some emollients in the pentylene glycol, butylene glycol, and the silicones in blue. Any whitening or brightening delivered is due to the niacinamide, chrysanthellum indicum extract (golden chamomile, which you can read about at AsianSkincareBlog), and the dipotassium glycyrrhizate (licorice root extract, a very common melanin disruptor used in Asian skincare). For wrinkle care, or just plain anti-aging, this cream has many antioxidants including niacinamide (vitamin B3), the most potent form of panax ginseng root extract: the 6 year red ginseng, silk amino acids, chrysanthellum indicum, The zizyphus jujuba fruit extract has anti-acne properties, and there almost all of the botanical extracts have anti-inflammatory effects.

No, the gold doesn't really do anything for the skin, and might even sensitize it..
Yes, it makes it a real looker.

I was most disappointed by the scent. This cream is very heavily fragranced and the scent doesn't go away for over 15 minutes. This isn't normally an issue for me - I like fresh scents that go with the theme of a product, but this smells like straight perfume.

When it comes to the texture: although this is called a watery cream, it feels bulkier going on - like a gel cream. It feels a bit heavy and silicone-y (a weird feeling, a combination of slip, matteness, and occlusivity like a face primer) which is why I'm not sure it would be the ideal "face feel" for those with extra oily skin.

As someone on the other side of the spectrum, with really dry skin, I found that it still wasn't enough for my extra dry areas and I woke up with my face looking tighter and more pinched than usual.

Thinking that my face missed fatty alcohols and the presence of oils, I'd been adding oil to the cream at night, but to no avail. I have on my hands a $55 foot cream. *brushes shoulders off* *you want this life*

I definitely won't be repurchasing this cream even if it goes on sale again. I could however see this working for someone who is not fragrance-sensitive, that has slightly oily to slightly dry skin, and LBH, a lot of disposable income.

FIND IT AT Amazon $39 shipped free | $50.98 at Jolse$53.72 at KoreaDepart | $58 at Skin18

Banila Co White Wedding Dream Cream

A cream that can be used both day and night, as the last step in your skincare routine.
CLAIM TO FAME GOT7 (another K-pop group pictured in the introwas modeling these creams on instagram.
STAR INGREDIENTS A flower complex with jasmine and lavender, and rose. Also vitamins like vitamin B3 and C.
SKIP READING IF you dislike creams that dry your skin out, and lift your skin tone artificially using Titanium Dioxide <- yup, they put some white cast into the formula. This is also heavily fragranced, although the scent is lighter than that of the Nature Republic cream above and more in-theme as it smells flowery.

This cream demotivates me.

The packaging is sturdy like glass, and the white flower motif on the silver cap is a nice touch.

The jar contains 50ml of drying white cast.

INGREDIENTS Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dimethicone, Niacinamide, Cyclopentasiloxane, Mica, Panthenol, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract, Lavandula Augustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Pantothenic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Niacin, Riboflavin, Canitine HCI, Biotin, Folic Acid, Thiamine HCI, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ceramide 3, Titanium Dioxide, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Sodium Polyacrylate, Isohexadecane, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Polysorbate 80, Dimethiconol, Betaine, Trideceth-6, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance. [ANALYSIS]

I bought this on a whim because it was on sale. I didn't know what to expect of it, but I was excited by the vitamins Banila Co promised me. See the list of vitamins here, they'll be labeled as antioxidants. 

A few weeks later, it arrived at the door and I found a tub of pearly cream highlighter. The mica in the cream gives it a pearly glow. So much to the point where it looks almost like molten plastic.

The fragrance is medium-strength and is floral.

If you can get over how the cream looks, it feels quite traditional. It's a bit rich, but considering the way it dries down matte, it may not be too heavy for those with oily skin. In real life, the skin feels matte but the mica lends a bit of sheen.

It does whiten instantly. The pictures above were taken in the same spot, within a minute of one another. And the cream theoretically has brightening ingredients in it. I can't speak to the long-term whitening claims because I stopped using it after 2 days.

My skin can't handle cream that dries down matte. I could see this being useful as a face primer, but there's no way I want to put in all of the hard work - patting in each toner, essence, serum, sheet mask, ampoule, lotion/emulsion... only to dry my skin out at the very end.

This one I couldn't salvage, even as a body cream, but I could see this working for someone who wants to lighten their skin tone as quickly as possible, and has skin on the oiler side.

FIND IT AT Amazon $29.99 shipped free | $20.47 at KoreaDepart | $28.50 at Skin18

Have you used either of these products?
How did they work for you?
If not, have you ever bought something under the influence of a celebrity endorsement?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. You can help support this blog by purchasing through an affiliate link, which returns a small sum to me at no cost to you as the consumer. If you are curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

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