Review: Grown Alchemist Intensive Body Cream

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The last decade has been so exciting with the amount of natural and organic brands that have arisen. In fact, there are so many that I can’t keep up with all of them anymore. I have tried many of the more well-known ones, like RMS Beauty and Tata Harper, so I decided to try a brand that I haven’t heard of it. It was only later on that I found out this brand is actually quite well-established.

Brand Background

The brand I am talking about is Grown Alchemist. I really wanted to get something from the Nordstrom Natural Beauty Pop-Up shop a few months ago, and picked up this Intensive Body Cream from the brand. I think I was mainly attracted to the “Aesop” feel of the packaging. Grown Alchemist originates from Australia and focuses on using organic ingredients. Using modern technology, they create products that work naturally with our bodies. Here is a link to their philosophy page if you are interested.

Packaging

Grown Alchemist’s packaging is made with high quality ingredients that help preserve the freshness of their formulations. This body cream is housed in a non-leeching aluminum tube that helps it from being contaminated from air, sunlight, or chemicals. Of course, aluminum is also highly recyclable, which is good for the environment.

The packaging is very minimal with a san-serif typeface on a solid background. It is very reminiscent of the Aesop brand packaging. All the ingredients and background information about the product are printed directly printed on the tube, which is great especially since I often lose the outer cardboard packaging.

So do I like the packaging? To be honest, I am on the fence about it. For a body cream, I like that you can easily dispense the product on your body by just squishing the tube. You don’t have to deal with contaminating the product as with other body creams in a tub. However, the formulation of this body cream is quite fluid and often too much comes out. As with all aluminum tubes, it is also hard to get the last bit out and the tube can get pretty deformed if you do not roll it up from the bottom (a.k.a., that would be me).

Ingredients

The main ingredients in the body cream are rosa damascena, açaí, and pomegranate. All these ingredients contain antioxidants that help to moisturize, firm, and smooth the skin’s appearance. They also help to repair the appearance of damaged skin.

Formula

For a body cream, the formula is quite lightweight, almost like a lotion. The scent is lovely. I am not sure how açaí smells like, but it has a rich berry scent mixed with the pomegranate. I don’t feel it has much of a rose scent though. I wouldn’t say the scent is too strong, and it really doesn’t linger too much.

Application

I really enjoy applying this body cream. It blends in almost instantly and doesn’t leave your skin greasy at all. I was quite surprised because intensive body creams usually take a while to sink in. However, perhaps because it absorbs so quickly, it doesn’t give the usual feeling of this protective layer on top of the skin from a really moisturizing body cream. Instead, after you apply it onto a particular dry area of skin, it still feels quite textured and dry. Whereas, with some other body creams, the area feels smoother and more hydrated.

Results

I like this body cream, but I wouldn’t consider it as an intensive body cream. It is one of those body creams you want to reach for and apply because it smells great and it is not sticky or greasy. Over the summer, I used it regularly and it left my skin moisturized. However, the patches around my ankles and elbows still were quite dry despite using this daily. For those areas, I had to resort to using other heavier body creams.

VERDICT: There is a lot to love about this body cream. It smells lovely, does not feel greasy, contains organic ingredients, and the packaging is made of an easily recyclable material. However, if you are looking for something that intensively hydrates those stubborn dry patches, this isn’t it.

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I Really Wanted to Love You: 3 Beauty Products That Didn’t Work For Me

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Whether a product is hyped up or had good reviews, there certain products that you really expected to work, but just didn’t. These are the type of products I am talking about it. These are not products I gave up on after one try. I gave them multiple attempts and still they just didn’t work for me. However, as always, everyone’s skin type is different, so they might still work for you.

Heimish All Clean Balm

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I was seeing this cleansing balm all over the internet, and everyone was raving about how it was even better than the Banila Co. one, which was already a cult favourite among Korean skincare fans. So I purchased it without any reservations because I thought it would finally be the product that would make cleansing oils work for me. You see, previously whenever I used cleansing oils, it would always dry out the sides of my nose and my cheek area. However, this balm claimed to keep your skin moisturized after cleansing so I thought it might work for me. I do feel that after cleansing, my skin didn’t feel tight, but it didn’t leave my skin moisturized and plump like other cream cleansers I have used before.

Heimish also claimed it would be great for sensitive skin.  However, it left my cheeks red and sensitive after using it a few days in a row. I decided to give it another try after some encouragement from Sylvia from Sylliepie. Sorry, Sylvia, the same thing happened! I am sad that it didn’t work for me, but it I know many people love it. It has a the cutest packaging and the spatula is conveniently tucked inside the lid. The ingredients are also so nourishing, including 10 natural oils plus shea butter and coconut oil. I think, for now, I am staying away from oil-type cleansers. I don’t seem to have any luck with them.

Innisfree Eye Primer

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I am a eye shadow primer junkie. Every time I hear about a new one, I want to pick it up.  As per the name of my blog, eye products just tend to slide off my oily eyelids, so eye shadow primers are a must! My next guinea pig in question is the Innisfree Eye Primer (At the time I write this review, I don’t see it on their main website anymore, so I wonder if it got discontinued.  I can understand why). I enjoy most Innisfree products, especially their skincare (I have repurchased their Soybean Essence many times). However, I hate to say this, but this is probably one of my least favourite primers ever.

This primer’s packaging is similar to the Nars primer with a doe-foot applicator. One difference is the doe-foot applicator comes to a slight point with flat sides. It is a light peach colour which blends clear.  The texture is on the light-side, like a light cream. One problem with this concealer is it can get a bit patchy, and it takes a bit of time to blend out.  It also has a slight fruity scent, which I am not too fond of.  I much prefer unscented primers.

It claims to enhance the vibrancy and wear time of your eye shadows while also preventing creasing.  I think it definitely does increase the vibrancy of shadows. However, the one big problem for me, is that it doesn’t control the oil production in my eye lids. Within a few hours, I see oil seeping though and the eye shadow breaking down on my eyelids. It also settles right into my crease. I much prefer my Nars and the Balm eye shadow primers, which are my two favourites.

Earth’s Nectar Jojoba & Tea Tree Scalp Oil

I picked up this scalp oil hoping it would be a contender to curing my itchy, sensitive scalp. I think this is a case where it wasn’t because the product didn’t work, but it was just notsuitable for my scalp. Earth Nectar is a haircare brand carried by Sephora. Their brand ethos is to produce natural and innovative products for curly hair. So I should have known from the start, the brand might not work for me because I have stick-straight hair. However, they claim that this scalp oil was ideal for curly or straight hair, so I decided to give it a try.

To apply, you spray the oil into your palm and massage it into your scalp. To increase blood circulation in your scalp, you should also massage your scalp 10 to 15 minutes every two weeks. It can also be used as a deep conditioning treatment by wrapping a hot towel around your head for 10 minutes. The jojoba and tea tree oil are supposed to help control oil production, combat dandruff, and help support hair growth. The tea tree oil scent is pretty strong during application, so if you don’t like tea tree oil, you might not enjoy this oil. Massaging the oil into the scalp feels nourishing and refreshing.

So did the tea tree oil help with the dandruff situation?  I think it definitely did a little, but my hair just got so oily after using it. Basically, I just felt like washing my hair right afterwards. I’m sure other hair textures would enjoy this product, but it was just not for me.

Thanks for reading! Do you have any products that others love, but just didn’t work for you?

Some Recent Beauty Bits

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Just a little blogpost about some beauty products that I have purchased the last month.  Most of them are replacements for items that I have run out of it.  I try, and I mean, I really try to have a "one in, one out policy" with my beauty products.  It usually works pretty well for me, except I always order my backups way too late (like when there are only a few drops left in the bottle).  I literally have to raid my sister's skincare samples sometimes.  So I am super proud of myself that I have actually received my backups before I have completely used up my current products.

ID.AZ Dermastic Essential Toner

If you love minimalist packaging, you will love this line.  The bottle looks like it might be made of plastic, but it is actually made of glass.  It feels super sturdy and I guess it must help to keep the product inside from the damaging effects of sunlight.  I bought the toner because I just loved their cleanser.  The line is made from a famous Korean skincare clinic for those with sensitive skin.  This toner is supposed to leave your skin pH balanced after cleansing.  It is also full of botanical ingredients that make your skin feel moisturized and dewy.

First Impressions:  It has a light floral scent that doesn't linger too much.  Patted into the skin, it leaves my face so dewy and plump.  Really enjoying it so far.

Aritaum Poyan Makeup Remover

For me, I base a good eye makeup remover on whether it can remove hardcore Japanese waterproof mascaras, like Majolica Majorica.  So does this one?  Yes, it does!  This was purely a purchase driven by Instagram.  It was the one most recommended in my comments.  It is also from Korean brand called Aritaum, which owns stores that also sells brands like Iope and Laniege.  It is a bi-phase eye makeup remover so you have to shake it up.  It is made of fermented beans along with other ingredients that will not only remove makeup, but keep you eye area moisturized.

First Impressions:  It removes everything, but it can be a little oily if you use too much.  My only gripe is that the smell is quite strong.

YSL Couture Eye Primer in 2 Medium

Basically I had finished my favourite the Balm Put A Lid on It Eyelid Primer and was on the hunt for a new eyeshadow primer.  Heading into Sephora, I was already set on getting the Smashbox 24 Hour Shadow Primer because I had heard many good things about it.  Don't know what happened, but I ended up getting this YSL one instead.  Unlike most eyeshadow primers, it actually comes in a tub.  This is usually a con for me since it seems less sanitary, but since was a "couture" eye primer, I guess I couldn't help myself!   It boasts 16 hours of wear, a waterproof and creaseless formula, and also can be used alone as a neutral luminous cream eyeshadow.  Furthermore, it also boosts the vibrancy of your eyeshadows.

First Impressions:  Right off the bat, I'm just going to say this isn't as good as the Balm or Nars one in terms of longevity.  However, it really evens out your eyelid and gives it a lovely glow.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner in Deep Rich

Have you ever purchased something and thought it was really good, but moved on to other things because who doesn't love the novelty of something new.  This is how I feel about this toner.  I really enjoyed this toner a few years back.  It is lightweight, but really moisturizing.  It is also natural and 97% organic and full of fermented natural ingredients. However, I didn't enjoy the smell.  Fast-forward to the present, and I see every Asian skincare junkie on Instagram talk the amazing properties of this toner, I just needed to get it again to see for myself.  Have you ever had a product get hyped after you've tried it?

First Impressions:  Still don't love the smell, but I find the texture quite similar to other toners I have really enjoyed lately.  I will have to try it longer to see how the longterm results are like.

Haul: Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

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As I was writing this haul post, I realized there was an overarching theme to all the items that I have purchased recently.  They were all types of items that I have never tried.  Items that take me out of my beauty comfort zone.  I also realized that I had a lot of misconceptions of these products that are totally unwarranted.  I hope you enjoy this haul.

Dolly Wink Eyebrow Coat

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I have never worn brow gel.  Mostly, because I had this preconception that brow gels made your brows stiff and unnatural.  However, lately, after hearing how great the Glossier Boy Brow (they don’t ship to Canada) is from all these beauty gurus on Youtube, my interest to tame those few unruly brow hairs grew.  Since I notice that many Japanese brands put out many brow mascaras, I thought that this Eyebrow Coat from Dolly Wink was worth a try. This is not like a typical brow gel. It comes in a tube with a flat brush that looks like it should be used to paint nail polish.  The formula is supposed to be waterproof and smudgeproof and has hyaluronic acid to moisturize the brows.  It also dries quickly and is not sticky once dried.

Initial Thoughts:  It smells really strongly of alcohol.  I am still getting used to the application, but it really does hold those brow hairs.  Almost feels like you put glue in brows.  Is that how brow gel is supposed to feel?

rms “un” cover-up

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Cream foundation?  Haven’t used it and haven’t really thought about trying it.  Would it feel heavy and cakey?  However, if you have been reading my blog for a while, other than Asian beauty, I am super into Green Beauty.  Currently, my favourite Green Beauty base products are the Laura Mercier Mineral Powder and from Japan, the naturaglacé Foundation Puree.  However, I have always wanted to branch out and try some other “green” foundations.  I heard the rms “un” cover-up is kind of a cult product in the Green Beauty world, but also kind of a Marmite product.  It claims to not cover up, but enhance the radiance of your own skin.  It is lightweight and melts into the skin while minimizing pores.

Initial Thoughts:  I am truly surprised at how lightweight this is considering it is a cream product. Like the brand claims, it basically melts into the skin.  My only concern is that the coverage is quite minimal, almost like a tinted moisturizer.  I will have to continue testing it out to see how it wears throughout the day.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Olive Leaf Mist

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This is my first face mist.  I can’t really explain why I never really got into using face mist, except for pure laziness.  Plus, it was almost extra money that I had to spend on another part of my skincare. So what changed me?  Well, I heard that this Whamisa face mist could be used as a toner after cleansing.  I got this idea initially from Anna from Style Under Pressure blogpost here, where she talked about using it this way.  She has also discussed that this is a quick way to keep your skin moisturized before the next step in your skincare routine.  An added bonus for me is this mist contains 92.5% organic ingredients and it is water-free so it is packed full of fermented ingredients that will keep your skin moisturized.

Initial Thoughts:  I love how refreshing and moisturizing this mist is.  I think I am still having trouble with the spraying technique though.  I feel like sometimes I am missing parts of my face.  If you have used a face mist before, just wondering how many sprays you use?  Plus, how saturated should your face be?

Heimish All Clean Balm

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I must admit I haven’t used an oil cleanser for maybe like ten years.  My only encounter with one was using the cult Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil many years ago.  I remember it left my dry cheeks dry and my nose area flaky after a while and since then I haven’t even attempted to go near the stuff again.  However, since joining Instagram, endless photos of the beautiful packaging of the Heimish All Clean Balm reeled me in.  I usually use micellar water and a separate eye makeup remover to remove my makeup, but a cleansing balm seemed like a quick way to remove everything at once. Other than the beautiful packaging, this cleansing balm is supposed to be great for sensitive skin (which appealed to me), and really effective at removing all remnants of makeup (I use quite a lot of waterproof eye makeup).

Initial Thoughts:  It must be the curse of the oil cleanser.  First of all, I don’t know if I love rubbing this into my eyes.  Even if I do it gently, I feel like it irritates my eyes a bit, and leaves my eyesight a little blurry.  Also, after removal, my skin doesn’t feel totally clean and like there is a film of residue left over.  Is this normal?  However, most importantly, it left my cheeks red and irritated again.  So I am putting it away for while, and hoping that it was the rose hip oil that I started using at the same time that caused my face sensitivities.

Any thoughts of your experience with these types of beauty products would be appreciated.

Korean Skincare Haul = What I’m Into Lately

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I think your hauls are often a reflection of what you are into lately.  I mean, I guess there really isn’t a reason for a haul sometimes.  Sometimes, you just need some retail therapy! Whatever the reason, here some of the items I hauled to replenish the empties in my skincare routine.

innisfree

So weird how I often run out of all my skincare at one time.  I basically almost had to replenish everything at the same time this month.  Over the years, I have tried a lot of skincare, but since hitting my 30s, I realized I have to really take care of myself (including eating healthier and exercising more) or things go downhill pretty fast.  I know, this makes me seem like an old lady. However, it is really reflected in my choice of skincare though.  I tend to go for more natural ingredients and spend more time on my skincare in general.  Combined with my love for Korean skincare lately, it was natural for me to haul more products from innisfree.

innisfree is a Korean brand that strives to use natural ingredients from Jeju Island in their products. I have repurchased many bottles of their Soy Bean Energy Essence, so I thought it was time to branch out and use some of their other products.

innisfree Eco Science Lotion

What appealed the most to me about this product was that it met ECOCERT standards.  It is made of 99.77% of natural ingredients with 10.45 % of organic ingredients.  The main ingredients include natural Jeju sea plants, which are known for their regenerative properties.  The vitamins and minerals from these plants are supposed to have anti-aging properties, which I totally need at my age.

Initial Thoughts: The texture is very fluid and absorbs very quickly into the skin.  My skin does feel moisturized and plump after use.  The smell is quite pungent, not sure how to describe, but it dissipates pretty quickly.

innisfree The Green Tea Seed Serum

I think this is one of innisfree’s most well-known products.  I decided it was time for me to give it try.  Unfortunately, I am not a green tea lover.  I don’t like green tea ice cream or anything green tea related.  I hope this is finally the one green tea item I will love!  Infused with 100% green tea leaves, this serum is supposed to hydrate your skin and prevent moisture-loss.  As my current serum runs out soon, I can’t wait to use this during the dry winter months.

Skin Tightening Skincare

I think wrinkles are always the first signs of aging we recognize.  However, I have begun to realize that sagging and losing elasticity from skin is just as relevant.  If you have been following Glow Recipe, an online site that specializes in natural Korean skincare, they have been raving about the Yuri Piru Artichoke Power Essence

Yuri Piru Artichoke Power Essence

Not a big fan of green tea, but I do like artichokes.  And no, this is not the sole reason I wanted to try this essence.  I think the name “advanced skin tightening complex” was the big selling-point for me.  When you are in your 30s, advance skin care sounds great!  This essence promises to improve elasticity and minimize pores.  Housed in a dropper, you would think it would be quite liquidly, but instead it comes out as a lotion (it is supposed to be waterless).

Initial Thoughts:  I love applying this onto my skin!  It leaves your skin feeling glowy and moisturized, but the most amazing thing is that after using it for a week, I already feel my pores are minimized.  Can’t wait to see what the long-term benefits are!

Propolis

I really enjoyed the LJH Propolis Ampoule and decided to give their cream a try.  As indicated on the Glow Recipe website, propolis is rich in antioxidants and provides an instant dewy glow.  It is supposed to hydrate, brighten, and neutralize free radicals.  Can’t wait to try it and report back!

Thanks for reading!  Just finally got my Sephora sale haul today.  I will have share what I got in another blogpost.

Normal to Dry Combination Skin: “Nothing Too Bad Will Happen” Cleansers

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Believe it or not, trying out a new cleanser can be an anxiety-ridden task for me.  I’ll often ask myself:  Will it dry out my skin?  Will it break me out?  How long will it take to repair the damage if things don’t work out?  Luckily, having used skincare for many years now, there are a few cleansers that I can always depend on.

Just a little background on my skin type first.  I used to have more dry/oily combination skin, but as I have gotten older my skin has become more normal/dry combination.  My t-zone area has become less oily, and my cheeks have remained pretty dry.  I mainly look for cleansers that are effective, but don’t dry out my skin.

As you’ll see in my list, I tend to favour cream cleansers because I think they are more moisturizing. Moreover, since having some bad experiences with oil cleansers drying out my skin, I have tended to avoid them.  If anyone has any recommendations, I am open to trying out some balm cleansers.

fresh Soy Face Cleanser

This is a very well-loved cleanser and rightly so.  It is just so dependable!  Not only does it do a good job of cleansing your skin, but it is also so gentle.  My skin always feels soft and smooth after using it.  Its highlight ingredients includes soy, of course, which helps maintain elasticity.  Other ingredients include rose water and cucumber extract which help to sooth and nourish the skin. Application-wise, it comes out as a fluid gel texture, and feels a bit slimy when you apply it (not in a bad way).  I don’t think I have another cleanser with this texture because it really doesn’t foam up that much.  It totally works though.

Narüko Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Foaming Wash EX

I don’t know how many times I have repurchased this cleanser even though it is not easily accessible to me.  First of all, it has the most amazing rose scent.  If you love rose-scented beauty products, you will love this!  This brand originates from Taiwan, and was created by a local beauty expert.  This is a thick cream cleanser.  You squeeze out about 1 cm and then foam it up with water before putting it on your face.  It produces more foam than the fresh cleanser mentioned above, but it is not super foamy.  After cleaning, it leaves my skin clean, balanced, and not tight at all. Definitely one of my all-time faves.

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash

This cleanser is very similar to the Narüko one, except maybe, it foams a little more.  Personally, I find the claims of this face wash a little “too good to be true.”  Origin claims this face wash “balances faces with dry and oily places.”  It discourages oil in the oily areas and protects dry areas. Does it actually work though?  I think, in general, it really does work.  My face does feel balanced and not tight.  Your skin after cleansing might not feel as plump and moisturized as the other cleansers I have mentioned before, but it doesn’t make dry areas worse, which is my usual problem.

THREE Balancing Foam

This is a cream cleanser I tried recently, and I thought I would love it because it was really similar to the others I have mentioned in this list.  This is a Japanese brand that prides itself in using mostly quality natural ingredients in their products.  So did I enjoy it?  I would say yes.  The texture and application are similar to the other cream cleansers I have mentioned.  The only con for me is the smell.  I guess, they use a lot of natural oils in their products, but I was not too fond of the “gingery” smell.  And yes, like the name implies, it does leave your skin “balanced.”

I just also wanted to mention that one of my all-time favourites lately is the Penelopi Moon Junga Facial Soap, which is surprising since it is not a cream cleanser.  I have done a review here if you are interested.  If you love lots of foam and have more sensitive skin, you will love this!

Thanks for reading and if anyone has some great balm cleansers for dry skin, I would love some recommendations!  🙂

My Surprising Love of Facial Soap: Penelopi Moon Junga Facial Soap Review

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I love trying out new skincare, but over the years, I kind of know what works best for me.  Rarely am I brave enough to switch out everything in my skincare routine at once.  There are always a few standbys in my routine to prevent complete skin disaster.  In my case, disaster would mean either really dry and flaky skin around my nose or tons of small bumps appearing on my forehead.   For me, this facial soap has definitely been a staple the last year, almost like a security blanket.  Mostly, I know that nothing can go terribly wrong when I use this soap.

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This savoir is the Penelopi Moon Junga Facial Soap.  I never thought I would love facial soap.  Bar soap just seems like only something you used in the shower.  However, I have now been completely converted to using bar soap on my face after trying this soap.  I had randomly picked this up in my local Asian grocery store on a whim.  I had also wanted to try a soap for some time because it usually doesn’t contain heavy duty preservatives, like some liquid cleansers do.

The soap comes in three colours: Junga (red), Marsha (orange), and Tarisa (green).  Since the site is in Japanese, I have had trouble figuring out the difference.  The red one seems to be for more problematic skin and sensitive skin.  They don’t use synthetic fragrances, artificial colouring, mineral oil, and preservatives in these soaps.  You can get an idea of their their full ingredient list on their website (You will have to translate it into English).   Just a note that this is not a totally “clean” product, but they do use a lot of natural ingredients.

Claims

From the website (after using a lot of Google translate), they claim that this soap can gently repair problematic skin to bring back its original glow.  Using the power of nature, the soap is a unique formula made from 14 different plant extracts.  Some highlight ingredients include astaxanthin which is a type of antioxidant and peach leaf essence which helps maintain the elasticity and glow of your skin.  Lastly, the crescent moon is supposed to be full of amino acids which moisturize the skin.

How to Use

I usually just buy by the travel kit from my local grocery store because it comes with the foaming net already.  It also comes with a instruction sheet which is super handy.  Basically, you rub the soap on the net and then it will foam up.  Then, you pull the foam to the end of the net into your hands and apply on your face.  It is actually pretty fun because it is amazing how much foam you get!  Then, gently later over face and rinse.

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Results

This is actually the third repurchase of this travel size set.  I actually prefer the travel set because it comes with the foaming mesh even though it is not the full size product.  I really enjoy the application.  The only con is that you do have to find somewhere to hang the mesh to dry, which might be a hindrance to some people.

After cleansing with this soap, I am always amazing at how balanced my skin is.  Presently, I have normal skin in the t-zone area and dry skin on the cheeks, but I never feel like my whole face feels tight after cleansing.  My skin feels cleansed, but not overly dry.  I feel like the finest of the foam really cleans the skin throughly, but also gently.

VERDICT:  It is not a surprise that I wholeheartedly recommend this product since I have repurchased it so many times.  It is a great first time buy for a facial soap newbie.

 

Raiding My Sister’s Korean Skincare Collection

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I love skincare and makeup. However, if I had to really pick, I am totally a makeup kind of girl.  However, my sister is completely the opposite of me.  She is really passionate about skincare judged by the number of pink Memeboxes she once had piled in her room.  So I thought it would be fun to see what her skincare favourites are lately.  Specifically, skincare that she would repurchase since she is always trying out new items.   Like many in the beauty world, she is really into Korean skincare lately.

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Innisfree Orchid Enriched Cream

Just a little background on Innisfree first.  It is a Korean natural brand that uses ingredients from Jeju Island.  They also use eco-friendly packaging.  However, if you are a devoted ingredient checker on EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, I wouldn’t say their ingredients are all in the “low hazard” category.  The Jeju orchids in the product are high in antioxidants.  On the Innisfree website, it says that this cream is great for tightening skin, reducing wrinkles, and brightening your skin tone.

Sister’s Verdict:  She likes that this brand because it is more natural.  This cream smells lovely and is not greasy when applied to the skin.  In the dry  months in the winter, she feels that this cream keeps her skin moisturized all day.  However, she did say if you layered everything in the orchid line, it does get a bit greasy.  So not as recommended for the summertime.  With regards to the anti-aging claims of this product, she can’t tell for sure, because she uses other anti-aging products along with it.

Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Cream

As you can see, my sister has been on a total Innisfree kick lately.  It probably doesn’t need mention that the Green Tea line is already super popular already.  My sister totally agrees with the hype. This cream’s main claim in moisturization.  It harnesses the benefits of green to deeply hydrate and create a barrier on your skin so that it retains the moisture in your skin longer.

Sister’s Verdict:  She says this is another great product from Innisfree for moisturization.  She prefers to use this one during the summer months because it is not as heavy.  Overall, she feels Innisfree products are very economical for the quality it offers in the products.

Now, onto some of the masks that my sister loves.  I must make a confession.  I really dislike sheet masks.  To me, it is just too much of a shock to my body to put a cold mask onto my face. Whenever I do it, I have to literally to take a big breath.  My sister, on the other hand, enjoys doing a few a week to my horror.  She has tried many sheet masks, but the ones below are some of her favourites.

L’Herboflore Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Energy Biocellulose Mask

As you can see my sister is really into moisture locking products as she has more of a combo/dry skin type.  These mask are from a Taiwanese brand and they are great for moisturizing your skin since they contain hyaluronic acid.  Unlike cloth masks, these are made with this biocellulose material and might feel really different because they are not dripping with serum.

Sister’s Verdict: She says she actually prefers these biocellulose mask because they are a bit more moisturizing than the cloth ones.

She also recommends the klairs Rich Moist Soothing Sheet Mask and too cool for school Egg Cream Mask for hydration and radiance.  If you wanted to save money, the klairs mask is are quite a bit cheaper.  They also use difference ingredients for hydration as the klair’s website states that they use half a bottle of serum in their mask, while too cool for school uses egg white and egg yolk. However, the amount of serum and fit are good for both masks.

Till We Meet Again: Skincare Empties

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I am always a bit terrified writing about skincare because I am not an expert on ingredients like other bloggers.  Plus, I layer quite a few products when I do my skincare routine so sometimes I am not sure which products are actually making the biggest difference.  With these points in mind, I thought it might be nice just tell you my general thoughts about these empties.  Hopefully, it might provide you with a little insight into whether you should purchase them or not.

Lately, I have been quite into Korean skincare, especially from an online shop called Glow Recipe. Their premise is to curate a selection of natural Korean skincare that has been tested and tried by their staff.  So far, I have really enjoyed everything I have purchased.  I have also included an empty from Tony Moly as well.

On another note, isn’t strange how often you run out of a few of your skincare products at the same time?  Like previous posts, I will grade the products and talk about whether I would repurchase them or not.

Grade: A (beauty products I would repurchase)

Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner

This is a lovely toner made with organic flowers as its main ingredient and 97.5% of the ingredients are organic.  It does have a floral scent (chrysanthemum).  However, the scent is not too “florally” as it is mixed in with the pungency from the fermentation process they use to make this product.  I am sensitive to scent, so I had to get used to it a bit in the beginning, but the scent doesn’t linger that long.  You just need a few drops in the palm of your hand and it suggests that you pat it in with your hand.  It is not the quickest absorbing toner, so I will usually do a quick face massage while it is sinking into the skin.  This toner is really moisturizing and is a great toner to use after cleansing to leave your skin moist and bouncy.

shara shara Honey Bomb All In One Ampoule

If you feel like having a lazy skincare day, this would be the perfect product for you.  It is touted as a 3 in 1 product: toner, serum, and moisturizer.  I feel like it could suffice for all three, but in the winter time, I still feel like I need a few more products.  It totally smells like honey and feels like honey.  Sometimes, I almost want to take a lick.  It does remain a bit tacky after you apply it, I presume because of the honey.  It does settle down a bit after a while.  Lastly, you don’t need that much each time so it lasts a really long time even if you use it for both your morning and nighttime routine.

Tony Moly Ferment Snail Essence

As you can see, I am really into fermented skincare.  I know this product sounds super luxe because the snails are fed gold green tea.  However, the price is not in the hundreds.  This is actually a repurchase.  Considering it contains 80% snail filtrate, it really isn’t sticky or gooey.  The texture is almost like a gel.  Plus, an added bonus for me is that it really doesn’t have much of a scent.  Most importantly, it does everything it says.  It is super moisturizing (great for winter) and improves elasticity.  One thing to note is that it remains a tiny bit tacky after application if you touch your face.  I guess that is protective layer they allude to which acts as a moisture barrier.

Just as an aside, all these three products I have not had problems applying under makeup.  Have you tried any of these products?  I would love to know what you think of them.

Sunscreen: Coola vs. Suntegrity

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I flipped the Coola sunscreen over because the lettering was rubbing off.

Since sunscreen is the best defense against aging, I try to be pretty religious about applying it daily on my face.  I am a big lover of Japanese sunscreens, which are super lightweight and great under makeup.  However, lately, I have trying out some less “chemically” sunscreens I discovered from the Detox Market website.  Just a little background from their website, it is a store that sells “pure products” with “safe, glowing ingredients.”

Today, I am going to compare the Coola Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish (not sure if this is discontinued because it is not on the Coola website anymore, they have a similar product called the Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint) and the Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer.

Ingredients

Both of these products have organic ingredients, but Coola states that all their products are at least 70% organic.  Suntegrity emphasizes that their sunscreen is not toxic and “UV Chemical Free”, whereas Coola uses the word “natural” more as their main selling point.  Both are also mineral sunscreens (Coola 3.2% titanium oxide and 1.8% zinc oxide and Suntegrity 20% zinc oxide).

Both also emphasize their skin care benefits in their products as both contain antioxidants and skin beneficial ingredients such as rosehip oil (Coola) and aloe vera (Suntegrity).

Price

They both contain exactly the same amount of product (1.7 oz/50 mL).  The Coola sunscreen ($36 USD) is a bit cheaper than the Suntegrity one ($45 USD).

Application

This is the category where these products are so different!  The Coola sunscreen almost has a light, airy, and almost whipped texture.  It blends into the skin pretty quickly and doesn’t leave any hint of a white cast.  It leaves the skin matte, obviously hence the name, and also pretty dry to the touch.  The only drawbacks are that it will ball up upon application over certain skincare and you have to shake it up quite a bit or else it will separate when dispensed.

Actually, the reason I decided to switch sunscreens was that the Coola sunscreen starting balling up into little bits when applied over my skincare (shara shara Honey Bomb All In One Ampoule). The application of the Suntegrity sunscreen is completely opposite to the Coola one.  It is a thick cream (maybe due to the higher amount of active ingredients in it) that it takes quite a while to blend in and definitely leaves a bit more of a white cast when applied.  It is also more tacky and doesn’t really completely dry down throughout the day.

Scent

One other huge difference is that the Suntegrity sunscreen has a pretty strong scent and the scent lingers for a few hours or more.  I feel it smells like creamsicles.  I am pretty sensitive to scent, and it took a while to get used the scent.  It still bothers me a little till this day.  On the other hand, the Coola has the “unscented” scent (haha) with a hint of cucumber maybe.  It definitely doesn’t linger.

Longevity

Both of these last quite a long time on the skin.  I would say the Suntegrity sunscreen lasts a bit longer since it is also touted as a primer.  Even though the Coola websites says that this sunscreen will give a “line-blurring finish,” I feel like Suntegrity will even blur out your pores more maybe due to the thicker formula.  Also, because of the thicker formula, I feel it is a bit more moisturizing.

VERDICT:  I think both of these sunscreens are quite good.   Both have their pros and cons.  If I had to pick, I would probably choose the Suntegrity one, but I really had to get used to the scent.