TBT | Skin18 Major Haul, Review, Discount Code, & Sponsored Int'l Giveaway!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

There's a lot going on with today's post. I'm sorry if it's a bit overstuffed!

PART I Back in early December, I hauled hard at Hong Kong-based Skin18.com so I have some things to show you, some first impressions, and thoughts about shopping at Skin18.

PART II Also, spoiler alert: Out of everything I purchased, I fell in love with an essence from everyone's favorite brand, all the way from Jeju Island, South Korea... innisfree so I have a full review of that product.

PART III Next, Skin18 has decided to offer anyone who stumbles upon this blog a whopping 25% discount from now until February 20th.

PART IV And lastly, they've also decided to give away two Lomi Lomi 7 Skin Scheduler Mask Boxes which include 7 different masks in Aloe, Ginkgo, Grape, Cucumber, Acerola, Pomegranate, Jasmine. One to a follower in the U.S. and Canada, and one international follower.

Disclosure: This post contains a giveaway kindly sponsored by Skin18.com. No purchase is necessary to enter. This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through an affiliate link is one way you can choose to support this blog at no personal cost to you.  If you are curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.


DELIVERED 12/23 (?) give or take
  • 1 deluxe mini Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity Cleansing Bam, 1 deluxe mini Banila Co Clean It Zero (Original/Pink) Cleansing Balm
  • 1 Mediheal Dress Code Violet Mask <3, 2 miscellaneous 3D masks in Rice Wine and Snail, 1 Royal Skin Sheep Mask, 2 Miscellaneous Red Ginseng and Synake Sheet Masks, 1 Mediheal NMF Aquaring Mask <3

At a glance

I picked up 4 full size items, 4 sheet masks, and 1 sheet mask set.

Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream
Click the above link for a full review and why I think it's a 'skip'.
Banila Co White Wedding Dream Cream
It's deja vu: Click for a full review and why I think it's a 'skip'.
Oull Smart Sun Care Facial Red Ginseng Sun Mist (SPF 50+ PA+++)
This is a thin, milky essence that offers pretty high SPF50+ and PA+++ protection. It smells like milk, and is a lot gentler than any of the other sunscreens that I have on rotation. I don't know that I recommend it because of the spray format. Getting the proper 1/4 tsp amount dispensed becomes a chore because of it.
Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence (Regular not light) Amazon | InnisfreeWorld | Skin18
Full review below.

The mask spread, I'll be posting about the top masks I've tried over the past month for dry skin soon

The Face Shop Character Mask in Santa Claus
This mask was the main event. I had to have a Christmas-themed mask to do on Christmas! It's a pretty average mask, but the print makes it a year over year must-have. For me. And any kindred spirits out there. It smells like fruit cake.
2 BRTC Animal Masks in Shark
Skin18 had a whole section on masks with prints on them and I couldn't resist. I should have resisted. The mask is made out of itchy material. Mask print is at 100 though.
Beyond the God of Hydrogel Masks in Bear
I love effective, clinical, 'I'm super serious' masks like Mediheal and Leaders for their amazing results.... but this time, I went ham on the printed masks. They were toooooo cute to pass up. I lucked out with this one (as a hydrogel fan), because not only was it adorable, but it smelled like real honey, and lasted for 20-25 minutes and gave... a decent boost of moisture to the skin. I would repurchase, but on one of those 'eff it' 'treat yourself' days.
Lomi Lomi 7 Skin Scheduler Mask Box*
This was sent to me to try to see if I thought any of you might be interested in these masks. Luckily they're great, so see below for a chance to win them!

Highlights: a baby Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity Cleansing Balm! Santa Mask, Lomi Lomi Masks definitely merit a giveaway, and the Beyond bear hydrogel is kidulting at its best.

Skin18 has a nicely laid out site and the products shipped out 1-2 days after I received an order confirmation. But I would say what really sets them apart is...

  • They have a giant freebies section. You can use it two ways... 1st, you can pick up the deluxe samples featured in the first of 3 sections here for free and only pay shipping, which is a great way to try before you buy. 2nd, if you're planning to buy anyway... Spending $10 gets you your choice of a free sheet mask, spending $20 gets you your choice of Banila Co deluxe cleansing balm or sheet mask, and spending $40 gets you 8 free samples total! There are rules and such, but it's pretty straightforward and spelled out here.
  • I didn't forget about my order before it came. Raise your hand if this happens to you when buying from Asia-based retailers at times. Also, raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by Registered Air Snail Mail. My order came within 10 days, and I had my Santa mask in time for the holidays. Success! TBT to when K-beauty life was at an all-time high.
  • I'm not sure if you caught the photo of the box they sent the order in, it's in the upper right corner of the first two haul photos. It was faaaancy which to me = sturdy and purple.

PART II  innisfree Soybean Energy Essence Review
with 91% fermented bean extract from Jeju Island


Is there food on my face?

Lately, the answer to that question is always... because of this essence. It's the essence I've been reaching for most often these cold as hell days out here in the Illinois tundra.

The main event, the reason why I purchased this particular essence, (essence: a thin, hydrating product ideal to use immediately after cleansing and toning to add water back to the skin, ancillary effects can be skin brightening, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation lightening, acne-fighting, irritation calming, the [ingredients-dependent] list goes on), is the fermented soybean extract.

There's natto lot of drawbacks to incorporating fermented soy in your skincare regimen. Soy in and of itself is a potent source of (polyphenolic) antioxidants called isoflavones, which means it can help fight damage that the sun and environmental aggressors have been inflicting on your poor skin. That's right you can learn some to-fu and fight back against the skin Death Star that is the sun. These isoflavones are also anti-inflammatories, and can help settle sensitive skin issues like inflammation and redness. An aside: you may see some literature out there about isoflavones being phytoestrogens and potentially messing with hormones when taken orally, but experts seem to think you're playing it pretty safe if rubbing them on your skin, the only honker that would remain on your face is the one you breathe with.

Don't forget not only is the soy there, it's fermented (your skin loves rotten food as much as your gut does), and it's from the center of the Korean cosmetic universe, Jeju Island.

Other things that got me amped about this essence was the promise of other worldly brightening, if the arbutin and lactic acid bring the noise. The adenosine, though not missed if not present, always reassures me that it's got the power to put up a force field around my skin to stave off aging. Par for the course are the soothing oat kernel extract, the hydrating prunus mume fruit (plum) extract, water, glycerin, aka ingredients that are less le sex, and more le mild agitation.

HOW TO USE After cleansing and toning, you can (1) dispense onto a cotton pad and lightly swipe onto the face without dragging or tugging or (2) yours truly's favorite method, just pooooour some 'soy essence' on meeeee in the name of love. You can dispense it into your hand and pat the essence into the skin with the fingers.

If your skincare routine contains prescription or what we consider 'active' ingredients (vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, acne prescriptions, retinoic acid, etc. et. al.) , you can choose to use this essence before OR after the aforementioned products, depending on the viscosity. Whichever is thinnest will most likely be best received by the skin first.

WHO IT'S FOR I honestly think people with normal to dry skin would best enjoy this essence. Also any one looking to mildly brighten dull skin. While nothing stands out to me as an irritant or acne trigger, it is beneficial to patch test the product, especially if you have sensitive skin. According to other K-beauty aficionados, fermented ingredients have been known to break some people out.

PACKAGING 150 ml of essence come in a tall, plastic cylindrical column. It's very sturdy and light. The cap is designed to be spill-proof. When new, it'll come with an inner foil seal.

PRODUCT  The thing about essences I've found is that there's no rule on what the texture of an essence should be. Some essences feel light and refreshing like water, others are syrupy and substantial like this one. According to Korean cultural expert Quagmire, there are definitely 'summer essences' and 'winter essences' and the ever so rare, 'winter summer' essence. This one would fall into the winter essence category.
You'll see in the video below that it's a thick, clear essence that gets stringy and gloopy like snail mucin or the little soybean strings when you pull apart natto. It's not too sticky, though it takes a little bit of time to absorb into the skin. To those with dry skin, this will be a major plus. The scent of the product is a very nice and medium-bodied floral.

 The reason why I love this essence so much is because it's perfectly suited for winter and dry skin, and I notice mild brightening results with it. If I layer this essence underneath a sheet mask, my skin will look substantially brighter. YMMV, a lot of people have tried and have feelings about this particular product, and they seem to be split 50/50. Half the people I've spoken to have seen brightening, half haven't.

I also know that if I use this essence on only one side of my face, when I wake up the next day, the other side of my face feels much drier and flakier than the one that received the soy love.

I highly recommend this to those looking for a hefty, nourishing essence to fight off dryness, soften the skin, and potentially brighten it.

Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence (Regular not Light) Amazon | InnisfreeWorld | Skin18

PART III  SAVE 25% at SKIN18 until Feb 20, 2016

Use code SPECIAL25OFFJOAN to get 25% off anything at Skin18.com until 2/20/2016. You can use this code more than once. *poof* enabled. :-)


There is a giveaway going on on my instagram here for a set of 7 LOMI LOMI 7 Day Scheduler Sheet Masks. These are soft cotton sheet masks that last over 45 minutes *hnng*. There are 7 flavors in all: aloe, gingko, grape, cucumber, acerola, pomegranate, and jasmine. I try a lot of different sheet masks, and these are up there, in repurchase territory. If you love delicious smelling things and juicy masks, come check it out!

Must be 18 and over to participate.
Must be following @kinsengnsq and @skin18com.
Must tag 3 friends, and state the country you're currently in.
2 Winners will be selected randomly on Sunday 1/24/2016 at 12am Eastern Standard Time. One winner will be from the US/Canada and one will be international.
Prize will be sent by Skin18.

As always, thank you for reading.

Please do share any experiences you have with Skin18, Innisfree, soy in skincare, etc. I love hearing from you. Happy almost Friday!

Disclosure: This post contains a giveaway kindly sponsored by Skin18.com. No purchase is necessary to enter. This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through an affiliate link is one way you can choose to support this blog at no personal cost to you.  If you are curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

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