Hit and Miss: Heroine Make Long & Curl Super Waterproof Mascara and Banila Co Eye Love Cushion 3D Brow

Saturday, April 30, 2016

I have a few makeup items to review for you today. They're both eye makeup items and there's one hit and one miss. The hit item is a cult favorite with rave reviews all over the web, and the miss is well... a miss so I'll spare you the details on it. So with that said, these reviews are going to be quite quick, let's just get right into it.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which are marked with an asterisk. Purchasing through an affiliate link returns a small commission to me and is one way to support this blog. If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

Korean K-beauty News & Forums, Recommendations, and Aritaum USA Launch

Thursday, April 28, 2016

With the advent of Google Translate, and resources like How to Learn to read Korean in 15 minutes, I decided to discontinue the Kinseng K-beauty news updates a few months ago. I said I would post all of the different sites that I know of on the Korean-Korean web that may be of interest to K-beauty addicts enthusiasts in the U.S. and internationally.

In today's post:

  • K-beauty news sources
  • Korean language beauty forums
  • Top K-beauty products as per Ceci Magazine (a leading women's magazine in Korea)
  • Great news for those in the U.S.: Aritaum USA's online product catalog & announcement of 60+ new stores opening this year

News Sites

For your new product launches and Korean beauty policy updates, refer to the following sites, of course with the help of the trusty Google Chrome browser and Google Translate app. Google Chrome automatically translates the content of these sites. The Englishified news should be intelligible and easy-to-understand for the most part.

Beauty KyeongJae (Beauty Business) 

Not Too Shabby: The Tosowoong The Special Edition Cocoon MONSTER Pack Review

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Months ago Cupidrop was kind enough to send me this Tosowoong The Special Edition Cocoon MONSTER Pack. It's been sitting in the review queue since Halloween. It's kind of a weird and wacky product that has a lot of mixed reviews on the web so I thought I'd pipe in with an opinion for those with dry, aging skin.

It's a wash-off mask that tightens and constricts pores as it dries down into a tight, spider cobwebby corset-like consistency around your face. It looks really creepy after it's dried down. Once washed off, it's supposed to reveal tighter pores, and smooth, exfoliated skin.

According to Cupidrop/Tosowoong it gives intense pore care in 15 minutes, and contains syn-ake peptides and EGF (Epidermal Growth Factors) to firm the skin, silkworm cocoon protein and galactomyces to hydrate and nourish, volcanic ash gently exfoliates while bifida enhances the skin [moisture] barrier. They say that you can get rid of blackheads and whiteheads, tighten enlarged pores, firm and lift sagging skin all at once with this multi-functional pack.

We'll check these claims out.

It comes packaged in a black and red plastic tube. There's a box too that has the ingredients (in Korean only) printed on it. There are instructions in Korean too. The tube is the kind that dispenses out of the base which just makes the mask so easy to use, it's just like those new and improved ketchup bottles from the grocery store, and not the annoying glass bottles you get at a diner. You get 100 ml (3.52 oz) of product and it expires in 12 months. The expiration date is stamped on the bottom of the box.

Not Too Shabby: The Tosowoong The Special Edition Monster Cocoon Pack Review

Disclosure: This post contains a press sample sent to me by Cupidrop.com for honest review. All opinions and experiences are my own.  If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

Monthly Favorites April 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

This is my first monthly favorites post in quite a while, so I'll try to be brief while covering a lot of products today. As this is a monthly faves post, you'll notice that many of these have made cameos on the blog before. Enjoy!

Disclosure: This post contains press samples sent to me for honest review. All thoughts are my own. Press samples are marked as such with two asterisks. This post also contains affiliate links which are marked with an asterisk. Purchasing through an affiliate link returns a small commission to me and is one way to support this blog. If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

Goodal Water Oil Firming Camellia Review

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Great skincare doesn't grow on trees, at least not all the time anyway!

This time it does as I have a camellia-based skincare product to share with you. And it's one I've enjoyed through winter and spring. Spoiler alert - I'm in deep like with it so I hope this post is coherent and I'm not too overly blubbery about it.

I've given a short review on the product on my Instagram a few months ago. How I didn't realize I'd still be using and enjoying it today after all this time. In the winter, I used it as a part of my nighttime skincare routine as a booster or in place of a serum/ampoule. It really made a difference in the moisture levels in my skin. In the spring, I've been using it more in the daytime and wanted to give an update on its performance during the rising temps and as an A.M. moisturizer.

The Brand
Goodal, from the Goodal Korea website (I sourced this particular product from Club Clio Korea's website)
"It's got to last a long time to really be considered moisture, Fermented oil water, Goodal"
"Real-live seeds give long-lasting moisture"
"720 hours of rich fermentation gives many times more absorbency" <- yuh, I was surprised too, a whole month of fermentation!
"Red yeast rice ferment's anti-aging effects stop stressing the skin"

Goodal is a mass-market naturalist brand that features fermented ingredients. They are a part of the Club Clio house of brands (Goodal, Club Clio, Peripera) and are the only skincare brand among the three. Goodal's values can be surmised from their own words; they care about creating products that penetrate deeply into the skin to give lasting effects: moisture, stress-relief, and anti-aging benefits.

The Korean Skincare Trend 
Oil be darned if I haven't enjoyed this recent K-beauty trend- there's a new class of products called essence oils, or serum oils which are liquid skincare products that contain various types of oils in them. The consistencies of the products can be different from one another, there's no standard definition of how much of each type of ingredient needs to be in the products. In fact, you can make your own bootleg with whatever you have at home. Goodal calls their version a 'water oil'.

The Goodal Water Oil Firming Camellia is one of three types of "water oils" that they carry. They have a Waterest Water Oil, a Camellia, and a Lotus. Texture-wise, the camellia water oil has a lovely plush gel consistency with an oily finish, something Club Clio calls a "bubble oil" texture. It's clear and has a scent that is not too strong, a floral which is most probably a camellia scent. I'd assume that the camellia and lotus have similar textures as well.

2Sol x2: Green Tea Enzyme Powder Cleanser Review

Friday, April 22, 2016

Back in October of last year, at the height of the Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash's popularity, I was looking for something similar, but papain-free, as my skin is a bit sensitive to papaya extract. (As a general rule of thumb I avoid papain, alcohol and other astringent ingredients when they are too prevalent in a skincare product's ingredients list).

With the help of a very useful app called HwaHae, I found this 2Sol Green Tea Enzyme Cleansing Powder. I just reviewed another product, their 8% glycolic acid serum, from 2Sol earlier this week. However, I saved the best for last as this cleansing powder is just tops!

This is a gentle "second cleanser", which, in the context of a Korean beauty skincare routine means that it goes on after an oil cleanser or cleansing water, to remove the last traces of oil, makeup, dirt, and sebum that may have been left behind from the "first cleanse".

Cleansing powders, gels, and milks are excellent for dry skin types as well as those with sensitive skin (if they don't include any ingredients to which one is sensitive). 

One quick sidenote about the 2Sol brand - they're an affordable, natural, cosmeceutical brand that incorporates their active ingredients in effective concentrations. I also enjoyed the company's mission statement. From a letter to the public written by the President of 2Sol, he states that the company exists to create products that customers need, and that they do not try to sell products just for the sake of making money. They work with the customers to fulfill their needs through various means.

A Quick Acid Run 2Seoul & Back: Alpha Hydroxy Acid Overview & 2Sol Duna Smooth AHA Serum 8% Glycolic

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

As a skincare addict I'm ashamed to announce that this is my first full-size AHA product! I've used aqua-peels and sheet masks that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in the past, but this 2Sol Duna Smooth AHA Serum with 8% glycolic acid is my first. I picked it up using a Korean shopping concierge KoreanBuddy months ago and am only just now getting around to reviewing it. FYI - the shopping service is excellent and the founders behind the service are friendly, responsive, and responsible as they strive to find even hipster hard-to-find brands or help figure out the cheapest shipping options for their customers.

So read on to find out if this glycolic acid serum is my OTP (one true pairing), or if I discover that it's not meant to be and I needs be moved onto something a little gentler, or quite possibly something more highly concentrated.

But before getting into the review, here's a quick overview (or review) of AHA's in general:

The effectiveness of an acidic cleanser, toner, or serum etc. is not guaranteed. AHA's need to be formulated correctly to even begin to exfoliate the skin - the pH must be between a 3 and a 4 as effectiveness quickly drops off above a 4. (A quick refresher about pH values - pH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline a solution is: anything above a 7 is alkaline/basic, and can disrupt ones' naturally protective acid mantle. Anything below a 7 is acidic. The skin's natural pH sits at about a 4 to 5.5). The serum must be composed of at least 4% of the active AHA ingredient.

Just a quick note to add: AHA's are more effective against closed comedones than blackheads and clogged pores. Apparently, AHA's are hydrophilic (water-loving) while beta hydroxy acids (BHA's) are oil-soluble - aka they are attracted to oils and are thusly more able to penetrate into sebum-filled pores.

Disclosure:  If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

Review: Holy Snails's Perseids Oil

Monday, April 18, 2016

Today I'm reviewing a special product that is a concoction developed by an esteemed blogger and acquaintance Chel from Holy Snails. Chel is not only a blogger, but also has a chemistry degree and is now the brains behind a whole line of small-batch skincare products. She is a k-beauty and Asian beauty enthusiast turned Asian-American beauty manufacturer/marketer/saleswoman and distributor all-in-one!

Before Holy Snails was a legit skincare line, Chel started off creating DIY skincare, and was kind enough to share the recipes with the internets on her blog.

If you haven't read-up on her blog and are interested in learning more about skincare ingredients and formulations as well as her K-beauty picks, definitely check her site out. She has posts on comparisons between the Scinic and Shara Shara AIO ampoules, a DIY vitamin C E Ferulic acid serum, Mishibox unboxings, and much more. You can also follow her journey from blogger to skincare company ownership as well.

You might think that I'm affiliated with her given how much I'm talking her and her products up, but I can assure you that I'm impartial as I am merely her acquaintance, and just impressed with her knowledge.

"Sciiiiiigns" of Spring: Scinic Iceland Water All in One Ampoule Review

Friday, April 15, 2016

Many people make the switch to lighter layers of skincare in the spring, even us dry-skinned folks at times.. Today I'm introducing the Scinic Iceland AIO ampoule which is something that might be up your alley, if you like to switch skincare products seasonally, dear readers.

Scinic, pronounced "SSign-ik" is a brand that is famous for doing low-end dupes of popular K-beauty products. The product I'm reviewing for you today is the Scinic Iceland All In One Ampoule which is a 3-in-1 product that is supposed to replace your essence, serum, and ampoule steps in your Korean beauty routine. Scinic does three other kinds of AIO's a Honey, a Snail, and an Aqua.

Scinic's claims are that the ampoule makes your skin moist and soft with Iceland glacier water (15% is included). They also claim that the product has whitening and wrinkle care properties.

"Sciiiiiigns" of Spring: Scinic Iceland Water All in One Ampoule Review

ACWell Mask Packs: Clear Heated Massage Pack, Soft Soothing Mask Pack, Small Pore and Face Pack

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Memebox sent me these ACWell Monday through Sunday mask packs. They range from sleeping packs to heat-up packs to wash-off packs. There are 7 packs available on Memebox.com* (sold out at the moment). I'm happy to be able to review 3 of the 7 packs. These are from the Memebox Brand Ambassador program that I used to be a part of, FYI.

ACWell is the brand famous for having a bubble-free gel cleanser and that licorice pH 5.5 toner... Let's see if the rest of the line measures up.

ACWell Clear Heat Massage Pack 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which are marked with an asterisk. Purchasing through an affiliate link returns a small commission to me and is one way to support this blog. If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

Lirikos Marine Triple Treatment Essence Review: 2 Week Trial & Verdict

Monday, April 11, 2016

The r/asianbeauty community is full of some extremely passionate and generous individuals. Today's post was enabled by /u/ChanYong who sent over this deluxe sample of one of her favorite essences. Check out her epic post about 7 different essences at reddit here.

After having used it for awhile, I wanted to share my take on it... (spoiler alert: /u/ChanYong and I both have an affinity for it).

Lirikos as a brand is owned by Amore Pacific and is one of their premier brands based around oceanic/marine plant life.

Disclosure: If you're curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

Brush Pen Eyeliner Showdown: Creer Beaute vs. Clio Kill Brown

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

There's just something about eyeliners I really like, like the fact that they give the eyes depth and definition with just a flick of the wrist. These days I'm all about the ease of using brush / pen tip eyeliners. They're high quality, high performance, and there's no real learning curve like there is with traditional liquid liners.

CLIO Kill Brown Waterproof Brush Eyeliner

Peripera Peri's Ink Drop BB in 2 Review

Monday, April 4, 2016

Serum or water type foundations were en vogue towards the end of last year, wanting to try one for myself I picked up the Peripera Peri's Ink Drop BB. A lot a bit due to the sales they had going on around New Year's... ngl... But also in part due to the fact that the ingredients list appealed to me, plus that packaging...

P.M. Skincare for Dry Skin, Spring 2016 ft. Whamisa, Goodal

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spring is here, which sometimes means naught in Chicago unfortunately. As the weather ping pongs around from warm with a perfect light breeze, to torrential rain, to right now as snow falls steadily outside my window...

As you already know, for most people, spring is a time when it's not as necessary to use heavier duty skincare products unless you're like me and trying to use up your winter product stash.

The Korean skincare routine usually includes two cleansers - an oil cleanser and a water-based cleanser to get rid of the residue if you're prone to breakouts but I have dry skin that rarely breaks out so I omit that step. Also, the last step of this routine is a bit much and not as appropriate as we approach the warmer weather but the rest of the routine works for me in the Chicago temperate clime.