Monday, August 31, 2015

Favorite DIY Green Tea Honey Mask

I know that DIY masks are all over the internet but just wanted to share my favorite DIY green tea honey mask.

I'm sure people are aware that green tea and honey separately have beauty benefits for your skin. Honey has naturally occurring anti-septic and healing properties and green tea has anti inflammatory properties that help reduce redness and inflammation. So the combination is a great natural alternative to helping soothe irritated skin.

Products needed:
1. Dish - personally I like using smaller dishes as it helps me to not waste product
2. Honey - I like using squeeze tubs as it's easier to manage
3. Green Tea powder - I use this one from O'Sulloc Original Green Tea Powder as it's much less effort than using green tea leaves or tea bags. I find the powder composition makes it a breeze to work with and the texture is quite lovely. I bought mine in Korea for like 5 or 6 dollars but I think it's more expensive online :( I know that it's a little harder to get a hold of in the states so any matcha powder should work.
4. Essence or water - I used Hera Cell Essence to give it a bit of extra moisture and oophm not to mention I like it since it's easier to get a few drops out whereas water I find it harder to get a few drops of.

Step 1. Pour some green tea into your dish. How much you put in depends on how thick you want it:

Step 2. Put some honey in it!

Step 3. Put a few drops of water or essence. Don't put more than a few drops because otherwise the mixture will become too runny and run down your face.

Step 4. Mix it together.

Step 5. Put it on your face. I always feel like Shrek.

Step 6. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes.

Step 7. Rinse off and continue with your normal moisturizer/creams. I personally love following up with my Laneige Sleeping Mask.

Obviously, you can substitute out accordingly and you will need to figure out which mixture ratio works best for you. I ended up adding more honey. This mask is very good for acne and soothing and healing irritated, broken skin.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Innisfree Green Tea Pure Cleansing Water Review

So the product I'm reviewing today is the Innisfree Green Tea Pure Cleansing Water with green tea and green complex.

"This dewy, easily washable cleansing water contained with Jeju eco-friendly green tea moisturizing, antioxidant ingredients and witch hazel water thoroughly removes not only sunscreen and BB cream but also light point makeup"

It contains 85% Natural Origin Ingredients. The 4 points that it claims is:

1. Perfectly cleanses light point makeup (suncream, bb cream is a given)
Uses pesticide free green tea from Jeju and pesticide free witch hazel.
Will completely remove daily face makeup and light point makeup

2. Easy Washable Water - Won't dry out your skin and leaves it moist
It doesn't stress your skin, after cleansing with this moist cleansing water, your skin won't dry out and if you feel your skin is dry, then just rinse with water for a refreshing easy washable type of cleansing

3. Easy Use Design - One pump use
Using 2 cotton pads, place on top of the pump to conveniently press to soak your cotton pads with a suitable amount. It's designed to decrease the discomfort of a long cleansing time.

4. Moisturizing Antioxidant Effect - due to the pesticide free Jeju Green Tea
The ingredient, grown from clear and purified, pesticide-free green tea will keep your skin clean and clear by protecting the moisture in your skin.

Innisfree is known for their natural ingredients and this product is a 4-Free System (No artificial coloring, no mineral oil, no imidazolidinyl urea (type of preservative), no animal raw material)

This product contains their specially formulated Jeju green complex (Jeju Green tea, tangerine, white lotus, camelia, orchid) to keep skin healthy.

Ingredients and Directions


Place your cotton pad on top of the pump

and press

Packaging: 5/5

I LOVEE love love this pump packaging. I know it's basically the same type of packaging as those makeup removers in Sephora but I think that's why it's so brilliant. It's made so that you can pump and soak your cotton pad easily without having to worry about spilling. I have tried other pump dispensers that I have not liked as much as this one. Easy and convenient!

some cc/bb cream/cushion swatches on my arm

With just one swipe, it came off easily. You can see the moisture from the water

Dirty cotton pad

After rinsing my arm

Product: 4/5

I think it works well at removing light makeup and dirt off my face. I feel like it does seem to leave a slight film behind perhaps due to all the added extracts but since I always double cleanse it doesn't bother me. It is quite gentle and doesn't leave that stripped dried out feeling that alkaline cleansers leave. However, I do think if you use heavy makeup, this will not be enough to remove everything nor does it claim to.

If you are sensitive to fragrances, I don't know that I would recommend this product as it is scented. If you have tried other products from the Innisfree Green Tea line, it's basically the same kind of scent. I personally don't mind it and it fades quickly if you double cleanse.

Price: 5/5
It retails for 300ml for 12,000won (~3.3oz for ~$12) in Korea

Which I think is a great value. I've been using it basically everyday for a couple months now, using about 3~4 pumps and I've only used a little more than 1/3 of it. I do use a separate eye makeup remover for heavy makeup removal so if this is going to be your only makeup removal you might go through it faster. However, compared to other cleansing waters I've used [Bioderma ~$15 for 100ml and the YSL cleansing water (which I think is discontinued) ~$50+ for 200ml] it does happen to be much cheaper. Personally I didn't like Bioderma that much for its price but I do think it left less of a film. 

Overall: 3.5/5
I won't repurchase anytime soon since I have a backlog of other cleansing products I want to try (Banila Co Clean it Purity, cleansing oils, etc) It does manage to fulfill its claims and is a great basic cleansing water. If I don't find anything better, I would repurchase.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sum37 White Award Bubble De-Mask

So I actually bought this sample as a whim because I just wanted to try something from Sum37 given how much love it seems to get but I have commitment issues...especially to full sizes of new products out of fear it will aggravate my overly sensitive skin. So yay for samples! I love that it lets me commit to a few tries without the high cost.

Front of the packet

Back of the Packet (translated by me below)
White Award Bubble-De Mask
[Brightening + Pore Deep Cleansing 3-in-1 effect]
Fermented Ingredient NAPS (N-Acetylphytosphingosine) and Acai Berry ingredient are combined to give skin clarity and to comfortably calm skin. After spreading, the tiny bubbles deep cleanse wastes from pores through this wash off type brightening mask.

Directions/How to use:
After cleansing, pump from the container, avoiding the eye area, spread the pack about 2mm thick all over your face. After 5~7 minutes, wash it off completely with warm water.
*Recommended Use 1~2 times a week. *Don't store at high temperatures.

Freshly squeezed out the sample packet, it looks like a cleansing gel. I spread it (rather thinly instead of the recommended 2mm)

I feel like that looks more like 1mm thick rather than 2mm..hmm what do you think?

Starting to bubble up....

As you can see, it starts pulling away from the skin, hopefully grabbing onto the dirt and grime that's inside my pores xD

After about 7 minutes, all the bubbles disappear~~ and you wash it off~

All clean~!

One thing I want to note is that you do need to work fast when spreading. I did find it easier to apply on a wet face than on a dry one although I would still recommend spreading on one side of your face first rather than all over because the bubbles rise up fairly quickly and if you disturb what you've applied, the bubbles will come out uneven.

Product: 4/5
Thankfully no bad reaction. It was a lot of fun to use and just for that reason I recommend people try it. After all, who doesn't like bubbles?! I think the product itself works fairly well as I did feel like there was a temporary brightening effect and left my skin a bit more transparent. The bubbles do make sounds, almost like soft popping/crackling sounds when it grows/shrinks. And it's a really interesting feeling that I have a hard time describing with my limited vocabulary. xD Time to go study a dictionary...

Value: 3/5
At ~$50 (50,000won) for 100ml (full size), it's definitely on the pricey side. You can find it online for a little cheaper.

I bought the sample packet for about 80 cents from Style Korea from my previous haul and the sample packet contains around 4~4.5ml which doing the math, makes buying the sample packets cheaper than the full size by...a lot. I got about 3-4 uses out of one packet but I guess depending on the size of your face/amount you use how much usage you can get will vary.

Overall: 4/5
I would and have repurchased them again in sample sizes. If I was rich I would shell out for the full size but at my current stage in life, it's a luxury I can only afford in small packets, pun intended ;D

Sunday, June 21, 2015

First Empties Post

Personally, I love reading empties post. Until the past couple of years, I was never able to really finish a product. I usually had moved on to something newer before I could use something up. But as I came to realize my beauty stash had grown to ridiculous new heights, I resolved to try to finish up products before purchasing new things. Although this hasn't completely happened to the extent I want it to and probably never will, I did find it easier to finish up skincare products, specifically face creams (as you can see in the photo). There is a certain sense of achievement that comes with finishing full sized products, moreso especially if you didn't love the product. Honestly, most of these products will probably warrant their own individual posts soon but a quick summary of thoughts for now.

IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning:
So this was a highly hyped IOPE product and one of the first SK-II dupes that was created before all the brands released their own version. I actually bought this in Korea due to the crazy hype it received. I thought it was ok the first few weeks I used it. It did feel a little like it conditioned my skin, but overall I felt like it wasn't worth the money and felt like I was putting on water towards the end of the bottle.

Verdict - will not repurchase as I find I prefer the Hera Cell Essence version over the IOPE one

Belif The True Cream - Aqua Bomb
I LOVE this cream. To be honest, I have yet to try something from Belif that I didn't like. Between this and the true cream - moisturizing bomb, I prefer the aqua bomb because it's a gel type cream which I find my skin likes better as lotion-y creams tend to be heavier and more suitable for drier skin types which I most definitely am not. I like the smell and it's citrus-y and fresh but if you don't like fragranced products, it might not work for you.

Verdict - already finished 4+ jars...taking a break to explore cheaper options as I tend to go through face creams in about 3 months

Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream
So this is my other back-up cream that's on rotation. I don't like this one as much as I like the Belif one but it's also much more affordable. The Belif cream is $38 on Sephora where I can buy this cream at a Nature Republic store (in my Korean market) for about $15. These come in 3 different versions - a pink one for dry skin, the green one for combo skin, and a blue one for oily skin. However, the reviews for the blue and pink one don't seem to be as good as for the green one which is a Get It Beauty Korea winner. This is also fragranced like most Korean skincare products. It's a thicker gel than the Belif cream and smells more cologne-y. It's a great basic moisturizing cream that does its job.

Verdict - already finished 3+ jars

YSL Toning & Cleansing Miscellar Water Nude Make-up
So I'm taking a break from cleansing oils for cleansing waters and I had a deluxe sample size of this from a previous Sephora purchase. It did a great job removing my makeup and it did not irritate my skin despite being heavily fragranced. I know it seems kind of weird but it did seem a little bit like luxury water, possibly due to the smell. I want to say it has a rose-perfume-ish smell. It says not to rinse off afterward, but since I believe in double cleansing, I'm not sure how it will work if you don't rinse it off.

Verdict - would repurchase if I won the lottery

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Haul~~

Ahhh~ I can't believe it's summer already. I've been meaning to post more regularly but laziness won out. However, I plan to do my due diligence and post more regularly now! Aiming for once a week! If not, once every two weeks >_< *fingers crossed*

Soo about a month back I ordered my Hanyul Optimizing Serum (review here) from Amazon through a seller called honestskin as they carried it the cheapest. Sadly, after I received my order, I realized their website stocked it much cheaper (I'm guessing since they didn't have to pay Amazon commission) T_T although it has since sold out -_-"

And I believe earlier this month, Honestskin came back revamped as Style Korean. For some reason, I find it a lot harder to remember Style Korean than honestskin although luckily the latter still has a web forwarding address. Anyway, without further ado, some haul pictures!

It came in a rather huge box xD

There was a TON of bubble wrap in this box.

Freebie Samples! The Laneige kit was a special for puchases over $50+

My purchases carefully mummified in bubble wrap!

Laid out without bubble wrap!

Here's the breakdown of products ordered:
Ryeo Habitmo Damage Care Shampoo & Conditioner
Sum37 Secret Programming Essence Samples (1ml x 10)
Sum37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
Belif First Aid Overnight Brightening Mask
Nature Republic Super Aqua Max Moisture Cream - Combination
Sum37 White award Bubble De Mask Sample
Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity for Sensitive Skin
Etude House Beauty Shot Face Blur SPF 15/PA+
Etude House Cherry Lip Gel Patch (I wanted to try the Tony Moly one but it was sold out)
Skin79 Hot Pink BB Cream sample (1ml x 30)
Skinfood Black Sugar Mask

1 - I feel that their prices are very fair and definitely on the low end. Among the lowest of the online retailers I have found and often below Korean retail prices.

2 - Their response time was great. So the reason I placed this order was because I had wanted the Ryeo Shampoo & Conditioner but when I checked the previous night, the conditioner was Out of Stock so I figured I would just get the shampoo. And my cart somehow mutated and then I placed my order on Thursday at 10:39am PST which is 2:30am Korean Standard Time. And of course, right after I placed my order, I decided to check for the conditioner again and it was in stock this time! I was so mad. I feel like this happens to me all the time. I was so upset and I wanted to cancel my order so I sent an email/chat message (I love places that offer chat functionality...although I'm always on at the randomest hours so it usually isn't usable). I got a prompt email at 5:30pm PST (~9:30am Korean Standard Time - They are open from 9am-6pm KST) letting me know that they cancelled my order. And then I promptly repurchased with my conditioner! :D

3 - SUPER fast shipping time! I did pay for DHL 3-5 day shipping as it was cheaper than EMS and same time and the total weight of my order was too heavy (due to the shampoo/conditioner) for the regular airmail. I ordered Thursday night 8pm PST (which is Friday 12pm KST) and received my items Monday! So about 4 days! Which is faster than I get some of my domestically shipped items!

4 - Wrapped super carefully. I do think they could have used less bubble wrap -_-

5 - Good Manufacturing Dates. All of the items that I checked were manufactured within this year.

1 - They didn't let me know that my order shipped and I was never sent a tracking number although I do believe this was because it was the weekend as the item was received at 6:30pm KST which is after their office is closed and I believe they close for the weekend. When I checked today, the shipping information was updated although by this time I had already received my items.

2 -  Many things on their site do go out out of stock quite frequently

3 - Website could use some proofreading overall. It doesn't bother me but I know this bothers some people.

4 - Shipping costs. I think the shipping is fair if you are buying a lot of items but ebay will probably be a better route if you are getting one or two items.

Overall: (tl;dr)
I was very pleased with my experience (especially with the shipping time) and definitely plan to order from them again! Time to go play with my goodies~~ and eventually put up some reviews ;D

They are having a grand reopening sale til June 21st~ so definitely check it out

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sephora Favorites Summer Obsessions Set

Well I saw on Nouveau Cheap that Sephora inside JC Penney had an exclusive beauty makeup set called Summer Obsessions Beauty Kit for $39, I knew I had to get it. Especially since it coincided nicely with the Sephora BI/VIB sale. BTW, there's still one day left for VIB/Rouge members. Unfortunately for BI members it was only til 4/20 :'( I was a little sad that the sale this year was only 10% compared to the 15% it used to be in the past :/
Regardless, I was determined to pick it up this weekend as I assumed the sale was only for the weekend and went to the mall on Saturday to find it was sold out. The SA mentioned that it sold out the same day it was released. I wasn't willing to drive to another mall since I commute that way and refuse to drive to that area when I'm not working so I forgot about it until today when I got another email from Sephora saying that the sale was until today! I figured I would call the Sephora inside JC Penney near my work and surely enough it was sold out there too. Then I remembered that I pass by another mall on my commute home (mostly cuz this mall is the worst of the three in my area and I forget it exists even though I pass by it everyday on my commute) that has a Sephora inside JC Penney and gave that place a call and sure enough (since I swear nobody really shops there) they had one left! So I asked the SA to put it on hold and I picked it up on my way home! Score! So I would definitely recommend calling before going since it doesn't seem to be a highly stocked item. I did ask the SA and the SA mentioned that she thought it would be restocked since it is a summer kit so fingers crossed for those of you who weren't able to get ahold of one.
I found it a great value since it includes the following items:

1. Full Sized Beauty Blender Pro. Retails for $19.99.
2. Full Sized Nars Lip Gloss in Turkish Delight. (0.18 oz) Retails for $26.00.
3. Travel Sized Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. (1 oz) Retails for $14
4. Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof mascara. 0.13 oz - Deluxe Sample (Mini size 0.13 oz for $10)
5. Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer. 0.14 oz - Deluxe Sample (Full size 0.35 oz for $30)
6. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush in fearless. 0.05 oz - Deluxe Sample (Full size 0.2oz for $26)
7. Benefit Watt’s Up. 0.08 oz - Deluxe Sample (Full size 0.33 oz for $30)
So as you can tell, it's a great value. Personally I just bought it for the Lipgloss and Beauty Blender Pro alone. Just remember, this set is exclusive to Sephora inside of JCPenny.
Did you pick up anything during the sale?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hanyul Optimizing Serum

Bringing back an old post from my old blog ^^;; My first actual review! Impressive right? ^^~ I actually tried a sample of this first and loved how it felt and decided to take the plunge for the full sized version. It's recently been repackaged but this review is for the older version. They've actually repackaged it again. Although I swear, the packaging is getting uglier and uglier -_-
Originally when it launched, Jun Ji Hyun was the spokesperson...which helped me bite the bullet

It says that the Optimizing Serum is 83% oriental medicine concentrate for clearer, healthier skin. It:
  • Repairs skin that has been thrown off balance 
  • Strengthens regenerative ability through the extract of the brown pine needle
  • To give boosting effects to help regain skin's circulation rhythm
The 1-10s of Hanyul Serum:
  1. Your Skin's #1 Hanbang (Oriental Medicine) Boosting Serum
  2. 2 sectioned brown pine needle
  3. 3 weeks later toward healthy skin
  4. 4 times the active ingredients of green pine needles
  5. 55% Increase in skin luster
  6. 6 types of raw oriental medicine material prescribed
  7. 7 types of skin improvement effects
  8. 83% hanbang concentrate
  9. 9 hours of fumigation
  10. brown pine needles harvested in Oct (10)

 Front of the Box

Back of the Box

I like the elegance of the packaging.

The leaflet also gives you tips on how to best apply

You're supposed to use about 2~3 pumps right after you wash your face. It's supposed to be the first serum/essence you use, even before toner. It's supposed to help other serums absorb and strengthen the effects of other serums/essences. I can't really speak for the anti-aging/anti-wrinkle benefits yet.

This is one pump of the serum.

I love the faint smell of hanbang (oriental medicine). The serum is a light brown like the bottle and it's not super liquidy but it's not super thick. It absorbs fairly quickly which is good for layering.

you can see the texture as it gets spread
before absorption

after it dries

Here's a link to the ingredients on CosDNA

Packaging: 5/5 
The pump works well enough and I find the design simplistic and elegant.

Product: 5/5
I actually love the smell of this serum and I love how it makes my skin feel. My skin was fairly rough and felt extremely imbalanced overall but I feel like it did a good job in soothing and calming my skin and helping my other products work better. Although if you are sensitive to alcohol, please keep in mind that it does seem to have a high alcohol content.

Value: 4/5
At ~$65 for 70ml, it's not cheap but considering it has similar function to Sulhwasoo's First Care Serum which retails for 85,000 for 60ml.

Overall: 5/5
I have repurchased this and consider this HG status. I feel like it does improve my skin texture (roughness) and clarity (although not permanently) and doesn't cause my sensitive skin to breakout. In addition, I can tell that my skin condition isn't as great when I don't use this product and will continue to buy this product as long as they continue to make it.