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Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil (mini size)




I've been slowly reviewing various Josie Maran products ever since I was gifted a collection of her mini-sized skincare products (like the "infinity cream" and her famous pure argan oil).  Unfortunately, I haven't loved any of what I've tried because of bad smell, texture and/or price for performance.  I've given away many items in the kit (a lip product, sunscreen & hand lotion) and have zero plans to review them because I couldn't make myself continue using them beyond once or twice.  The last item I plan to review, her Argan Cleansing Oil, falls into that same "Fail" category for me.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: Etude House Sunprise Must Daily SPF 50+/PA+++





Until I became an acne-prone adult I never consistently used sun protection.  In my childhood photos my skin always appears toasty tan. =)  However, once I started developing breakouts and inevitable hyperpigmentation I discovered the importance of UV-blockage and its role in decreasing melanin production. I still rely on actives to whiten my scars, but a daily sunscreen is now an important part of my skincare routine because every little bit helps when you've got stubborn breakouts/pigmentation.  (The anti-aging aspect is also a plus but since I'm not too wrinkly yet I'm presently more focused on the skin lightening benefits. =)

My requirements for a sun product include decent SPF, minimal pale/white cast, easy application & absorption plus compatibility with other products that layer before & after it.  I purchased Etude House's Sunprise Must Daily SPF 50+/PA+++ without trying out samples because it was cheap, had a decent ingredient list and positive online reviews.  However, I'm glad I took a chance on this "gel type sun lotion" because it has definitely delivered on all of my criteria!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Review: Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive



After trying out snail filtrate & bee venom in my skincare routine I had no reservations about giving fermented products a go.  It was hardly intimidating given the weird things I've slapped onto my face in hopes of achieving healthier skin.  I used up several foil packet samples of Missha's Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence without any bad reactions and probably would've bought this original formulation had RoseRoseShop not had a sale on the newer version, The First Treatment Essence Intensive.  (So this review isn't a comparison between the two versions [sorry!] but only my impressions of the newer formula.)

Missha is a very popular Korean company for both skincare and cosmetics.  The first Asian beauty product I ever tried out, a BB cream, was created by Missha and to this day I still use their makeup faithfully.  Before joining the fermented club I'd never tried their skincare items beyond samples but I did regularly see many positive reviews online.  Since I didn't want to drop big $$ on the most well-known yeast product (SK-II Facial Treatment Essence), I opted for Missha's more affordable dupe.  The Time Revolution line also has serums, ampoules, toners, etc but I was only interested in the popular essence.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review: Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner

 

After cleansing my face I usually reach for my BHA/AHA products, but lately I've been wondering whether applying a toner first would increase their efficiency.  I've tried pretty decent ones before but have slacked lately because I'm lazy to apply in the morning when I'm rushing to get out of the house.  Good toners remove residue, bring down skin pH (especially important if using alkaline cleansers) and prep it for the next product to better absorb.  I personally don't worry much about leftover make-up or dirt after cleansing because I double cleanse really well and my BHA/AHA products are already pH-appropriate (I have my own pH strips for testing).  However, I'm always looking for an edge over my hormonal adult acne and figured why not give it a shot?

Silk Naturals 8% AHA Toner has some pretty ecstatic positive reviews out there and since it's AHA ingredient is lactic acid (a "gentler" one) I figured it may be a good addition to my skincare lineup.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Review: BEAUSKIN Shea Butter Hand Cream - Jasmine



My interest in hand creams first came about a few years ago because my work involves a whole lot of hand-washing and, therefore, moisturizing.  At present, though, I think I'm just a hand cream addict =P  It's so easy for me to justify spending a few extra dollars on nice lotions/creams because they're fun items I can easily tote around.  They boost my mood with their delicious scents and envelop me in their fragrance, all while functioning as a protective emollient for my chapped hands.  I can easily share them with my friends and start conversations about skincare & interesting ingredients.  There's a never-ending assortment to try out and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Whenever I create online hauls of new skincare or beauty items I frequently add in a new hand cream I haven't tried.  Thankfully, I'm always able to find them on sale or at least at very low cost through the dependable RoseRoseShop.  My latest product for dry hands I've been using is BEAUSKIN Jasmine Shea Butter Hand Cream, also available in Rosemary flavor.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: Secret Key Berry Milk Hand Cream



Earlier this year I had an easy time finding excuses to slather my hands in Secret Key's Milk Whipping Hand Cream (reviewed here).  I shared my fun experience in an earlier blog post and it's clear other folks secretly enjoy donkey milk lotion, too, because it's now one of my most viewed posts! =P

I recently bought a different version, Secret Key's Berry Milk Hand Cream, which is pretty much identical in volume, ingredients, texture & performance.  The only difference is the flavor from 3 different berries and the red tube design instead of the baby blue.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Mizon Acence AC Care Solution Mark-X Blemish After Cream



Another Mizon product I got in a recent RoseRoseShop haul included this little item: the Acence AC Care Solution Mark-X Blemish After Cream.  The Acence line addresses acne concerns (I'm guessing "AC" = Acne Control") and this cream is designed to be used after a spot has erupted to promote healing.

I like how the product has its main ingredient, 12% propolis, very clearly labelled because so many brands list their ingredients but not the actual concentration.  Propolis is a bee-produced resin that's been used historically for its anti-bacterial/viral/fungal/inflammatory properties.  I personally take propolis supplements every day to keep my immune system running and hay fever at bay.  This is the first skincare product I've ever used with propolis as the main active ingredient and I'm pretty impressed.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum




Even after my disappointing experience with Paula's Choice AHA lotion (reviewed here), I still wanted to add an AHA product to my skincare routine to help even out hyperpigmentation and eliminate my whiteheads.  After reading some online reviews I opted to try a Korean brand that's slowly becoming a dependable staple of my skincare collection.  I first encountered Mizon for its eye creams (reviewed here and here) but have happily had a chance to try many more of their products since.  Roseroseshop is becoming my go-to retailer for its huge online inventory as well as current free shipping for all Mizon products (see image above).

My previous experience with the 5% AHA proved my skin isn't particular sensitive so I didn't feel shy about ordering a higher percent (8%).  The dropper included with Mizon's AHA 8% Peeling Serum sealed the deal because my biggest complaint about the Paula's Choice lotion was its thick texture & slow absorption.  My dry skin loves liquids/serums and soaks them up quickly, perfect for minimizing the time I spend on my lengthy and multi-layered skincare routine.  Seeing the serum would really be a fluid was the main reason I chose this AHA product.


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Review: Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream



After using up my Mizon Multi Function Formula Snail Repair Eye Cream (reviewed here), and finding it to be an average eye cream, I decided to give its cousin, the Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream, a shake.  The product claims to moisturize while helping firm skin, lift wrinkles and increase elasticity.  There's no mention of help for dark circles but I've been sleeping well these last few months (no attacks of insomnia or late night bedtimes) so don't really need something for those at this time.

The ingredients list has collagen as its star ingredient as opposed to the Snail Repair eye cream that used snail filtrate.  There are 2 ingredients (butylene glycol & dimethicone) rating 1 out of 5 as possible acne triggers and its Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil has a 2, but I don't break out around my eyes and I'm good at monitoring for milia so I didn't feel afraid to give this eye cream a shot.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream


 BENTON - Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream

The last product in my Benton haul also rounds up my nighttime skincare routine: Benton's Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream, a heavier cream moisturizer that contains the company's usual star ingredients of snail filtrate and bee venom.  The "steam" method of producing this product means the ingredients are subjected to high temperatures that fuse everything together and support a creamier texture.  I've never tried other steam creams but if they're all like this one then they're definitely worth trying out.  This face cream is now a solid star in my collection of moisturizers and I definitely plan to repurchase.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review: Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence





After trying out Benton's Aloe Propolis Line without any negative reactions I added their Snail Bee High Content Essence into my skincare routine (both day and night).  My dry skin has inched closer and closer to being "normal" during these past few years and I wanted to try an "essence" product to to see if this would give me that additional boost of moisture I was lacking as well as control my acne-prone skin.

Asian skincare collections regularly include products that are unfamiliar to Westerners.  When I first started exploring different types of skincare routines I had serious trouble differentiating what an essence, serum, ampoule, etc accomplished and was clueless about the order in which to use these products.  Thankfully the blogging community came to my rescue and I found ample information on where to start.  Even though I'm a latecomer to skincare as a hobby/lifestyle, I don't mind benefiting from others' expertise and experience in helping me figure things out. =D

The gist is the thinnest layers (toner, serum, etc) should be applied first, followed by successively heavier products (essence ---> gel/lotion ---> cream moisturizer).  It's not necessary to use everything as I modify based on day vs night or according to the weather.  Certain products are never skipped (toner, BHA, light moisturizer) but others can be optional for me (acne treatments, serums or heavier moisturizer) depending on my needs.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Review: Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel





In addition to their Aloe BHA Toner (reviewed here), my recent Benton haul included the Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel, a gel moisturizer designed to be used after essence and before cream moisturizer in a skincare routine.  I included it in my shopping cart for several reasons:

a) Instead of another cream, I wanted to try a gel moisturizer that could be used alone during daytime or layered under a thicker moisturizer at night.

b) Finding compatible serums, essences, moisturizers, etc. can be tough if the textures don't like to mix (for example, argan oil + everything) so products from the same line should play well together as I proceed with each layer/step of a lengthy skincare routine.

c) The short ingredient list has zero acne/irritant flags!

d) I got a discount :)


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: Benton Aloe BHA Toner




Benton Cosmetics is a Korean skincare company started in 2011 that prides itself on using natural and high-quality ingredients in their products but at an affordable price.  I read many favorable online reviews of their products before deciding to introduce Benton's Aloe BHA Skin Toner into my daily routine.

Without "parabens, mineral oil, alcohol, benzophenone, synthetic preservatives, steroids, artificial flavors [and] artificial colors" this toner is chock full of actives (aloe leaf water/juice instead of plain water, 0.5% BHA, hyaluronic acid, snail secretion filtrate) and amazingly no real flags on CosDNA.

Given my recent success with BHA, I was happy to see the exfoliating ingredient included in this product.  I had tried another hydrating toner (Michael Todd True Organics Blue Green Algae Toner reviewed here) but wanted to explore more hydrating options and this product pinged my curiosity.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion




Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion is one of the most well-known pink spot treatments for acne that consists of a sediment + liquid combo you pick up with a Q-tip and apply onto blemishes overnight.  Given it's long history of positive reviews and my never-ending willingness to try new acne treatments I decided not to let this stone stay unturned.  I bought it in a kit with a few other Mario Badescu products last year (I reviewed the buffering lotion here) and after using the majority of a bottle I've decided it delivers somewhat for my troubled skin but falls short of my expectations so I don't plan to repurchase.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion

 

In my late teens & early 20s my skin took a nosedive from stress, poor sleep and inconsistent diet.  My blemishes were mainly small bumps and the type with whiteheads that resolved relatively fast with OTC treatments or by (I know, I know...) being popped & drained.  Occasionally I'd get cystic acne on my lower cheeks, the deep and painful type that lingered for weeks because they had no whiteheads that could be popped.  They stayed around for ages and couldn't really be hidden with make-up, either, because of their large, elevated appearance.  These cystic bumps were awful but so infrequent I didn't bother searching for targeted treatments, just better make-up techniques.

In my late 20s I finally got most of the smaller bumps and whitehead blemishes under control through BHA serums, cutting dairy out of my diet and a healthier lifestyle.  However, the cystic bumps remained and after trading school stress for work stress, I found they even periodically dominated the lower half of my face in really disruptive breakouts.  It seemed like a crap deal to me that graduating school didn't relieve my skincare problems so I finally motivated myself to investigate what products could actually help cystic acne.

Mario Badescu's Buffering Lotion came up frequently in my search and had fairly good reviews so I decided to give it a shot.  My conclusion after a year of use is that it helps a significant amount but isn't quite holy grail status for my particular skin.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Review: The Face Shop Aqua Drop Pack (Baby Face Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Drop Pack)


I finished two tubes of Lioele's Waterdrop Sleeping Pack (reviewed here) before I decided to try a similar product by another popular Korean brand, The Face Shop.  Since internet vendors are more accessible than physical stores (especially for international brands) I always shop for Asian skincare products online.  With so many different websites to choose from I can also quickly price compare and be sure I'm getting good deals.  Depending on the internet's whims, pricing varies a huge amount for the same item and I often end up paying different amounts for the same product each time I re-order.  As a result, if I feel like the current price is too much compared to a previous purchase, I am more likely to try something new.  Hence, my resulting review of The Face Shop's Aqua Drop Pack (aka Babyface Hyaluronic Acid Aqua Drop Pack).

The Face Shop website features the second longer name but the shorter one is on the front of the package (longer one is on the back).  "Babyface" is the product line because there are 3 more similarly designed packs available.  I found this version of a sleeping pack just as good as Lioele's version and maybe a tiny bit more preferable because of the citrus scent, my favorite!

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Review: Paula's Choice RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA

 

The next Paula's Choice product I tried out, the RESIST Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA, seemed like a logical next step after such a great result from her 2% BHA (reviewed here).  Even though there was a stronger 10% AHA available I decided to buy the lower concentration and ease myself into using this second type of exfoliating product.  BHA is supposed to help with acne but AHA can target wrinkles and hyperpigmentation more effectively so having a two-step acid treatment in my skincare routine seemed like a good plan.  I didn't want to overdo it and cause my skin to peel off so went for a daily AHA treatment rather than the stronger, once-a-week 10% AHA.  There are different types of AHAs available out there but I picked a glycolic acid because of its smaller molecular size and superior penetration compared to the other popular lactic acid.

Once again, like with Paula's other RESIST acne treatment (BHA 9), I skipped the trial size and went straight to the full-sized version, something I regret doing because of the mixed results I had.


Review: Paula's Choice RESIST BHA 9 Treatment


After my resounding success with Paula's 2% BHA Liquid (reviewed here), I was certain her RESIST BHA 9 Treatment would be a sure bet.  I waited for a sale and eagerly bought this acne spot treatment since I was going through a particularly rough time with breakouts on my lower cheeks and chin.  In addition to tackling breakouts, this product claims to deal with "anti-aging, blackheads, enlarged pores, keratosis pilaris & wrinkles."  I'm not worried about aging yet (thank goodness!) but certainly have blackheads and pores galore.  Paula also claims her RESIST BHA 9 can "calm redness and fades marks from past breakouts," major skin problems I regularly deal with.

The blogsphere looked favorably upon this product and even though it was pricier than I liked, I willingly bought the full-sized version (0.3 oz, which really isn't that much) without trying a sample first.  Unfortunately, this was a mistake on my part because the results have been disappointingly blah and I've learned a pricey lesson in the importance of using trial sizes to determine whether a product is right for me. =(

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Review: Lioele Waterdrop Sleeping Pack


 

I associate "sleeping packs" with Asian skincare because I've never heard that phrase used to describe any Western products.  The rough equivalent would probably be face masks, but those are usually heavier, more opaque things that make me think of Kabuki masks O_O.  Having tried a few sleeping packs I tend to consider them more like gel moisturizers that are marketed as overnight treatments but can actually be used during daytime, too.

Lioele's Waterdrop Sleeping Pack is a popular version I ran across on PrettyandCute a few years ago.  I was taken in by the interesting water droplet texture the gel was supposed to dissolve into upon application and since the ingredient list was surprisingly free of any acne flags I decided to give it a shot.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: Mizon Multi Function Formula Snail Repair Eye Cream

 

I don't usually get too invested in researching and trying out eye creams because my eyes are not a particularly troubled area on my face.  Sure, I get fine lines, dark circles and puffiness but it's really my breakouts and hyperpigmentation that drive my skincare adventures.  It's only lately I've noticed increased eye wrinkles (boo hoo) and so finally feel the need to pay them more attention.

Snail products are pretty popular now (especially in Asia) and the positive online reviews for this seemingly weird ingredient spurred me on to give Mizon's Snail Repair Eye Cream a chance.  The 80% snail infiltrate assured me I was getting a lot of the active ingredient and the product claim that its EGF (epidermal growth factor) would also brighten skin & reduce wrinkles seemed like nice bonuses.