• Sephora Spring Series: Face Masks

    This is the last (and SUPER LATE) post of the series, but I am so happy to FINALLY conclude the Sephora skin series I started a few months ago… and yes, it was labeled “Spring” series and yes I do realize it is no longer spring… Sorry 😥! I’d like to close by saying whatever your skin concerns may be, I think masks are a great way to help target some of those trouble areas. Much like serums, masks help to treat current concerns and also prevent new or worsen existing conditions. Your skin is your largest organ and I think we each need to pay more attention to what our skin is telling us. Listen to your skin and forget about the “routine” and just tend to your skin’s current condition. The general rule of thumb I like to use is the example of how we dress. We choose our clothing based on the weather outside, mood, or how our body is feeling that day, be it hot or cold. Your skin behaves (or misbehaves) quite similarly; tend to your skin based on what it needs and learn what works and doesn’t work through experience. Sometimes there just isn’t a simple explanation as to why our skin is reacting a certain way and it could be caused from a plethora of reasons (hormones, weather, diet), but there are certainly things we can do to help. Continue reading to find out what masks I have loved, hated or felt indifferent!

    Disclaimer: As the intent of the series was initially to provide products that can be easily bought from one destination, Sephora. Most of my products mentioned below are limited to the face masks I have tried from Sephora exclusively. I did, however, mention two other face masks that I have recently been LOVING from Kiehl’s and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share some of my thoughts.

    Update: I also realize Sephora has started selling Kiehl’s products as well.. so it all works out in the end! 😚

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    Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Masks with Echinacea GreenEnvy – I LOVE this mask mainly for its unique texture as well as for it’s key ingredients including honey and propolis. When applied initially, it resembles the thick viscosity of honey so it’s important that you gently apply the mask in circular motions to prevent any pulling or tugging of the skin. Through applying the mask in gentle circular motions, the warmth from your fingers helps to break down the mask which then transforms into a rich cream-like texture. By this method of application, you will also notice that your skin will start to feel a little warm which I suspect is the combination of the anti-inflammatory properties of Echinaecea GreenEnvy™ honey as it is full of natural antioxidants. I leave this mask on for about 10-20 minutes and rinse gently with warm water; my skin feels so soft and supple every time! Although this mask has worked great for me over the last 2 years, I know of people who have reacted to face masks with honey as an ingredient so I’m not sure if this will work for everyone. I’d still say this is a luxurious mask that is definitely worth trying!

    Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – I’ve raved about this product for years and always recommend this within my network and quite frankly in all of my other posts. It helps with hydration, calming of the skin and is just an overall good staple to have as part of the beauty arsenal. Laneige offers this mask in two formulas, the original water sleeping mask and the firming sleeping mask, however I personally prefer the original formula as it just feels better on my skin. The firming variation resembles a jelly-like texture which I’m not too keen on. This has always been an all-star product for me (believe it or not, but since my teenage years) as it really works and is a great quick overnight treatment. Plus, I’m super lazy and if you’re telling me I can just slap something on my face, go to sleep and wake up with beautiful skin… why would I be against it?! The formula is light-weight, gel-like and only takes a few minutes to absorb. I also love how you can apply this on top of your other skin care to really lock in all of your skincare benefits without feeling like you’ve just layered on a bunch of stuff on your face. HIGHLY recommend!

    Shiseido Ibuki Beauty Sleeping Mask – As you may have discovered, I am deeply obsessed with sleeping masks so, yes, I am inclined to try all variations of sleeping masks! I am a firm believer that one can never have too many sleeping masks and so I decided to expand my collection with the popular Ibuki mask from Shiseido. This formula contains Vitamins E, C and phytoplankton extract. I was intrigued with the texture as it is gel-like with little white flecks (possibly plankton?) that quickly dissolve once applied. As you apply this mask the texture becomes even more watery which is great for quick absorption. I haven’t really had any issues with this mask but if you are sensitive to scents, this mask has quite a pronounced scent of alcohol and fragrance. Although I enjoy the experience from this mask, the Laneige sleeping mask is still irreplaceable on my vanity so if I had to choose one over the other, the Laneige mask would be my winner. I’m actually on my second container of the Shiseido Ibuki, but will most likely not be repurchasing this product for a while as there are other sleeping masks I feel more inclined to try.

    Before I continue, I went ahead and purchased a few different face masks from GLAMGLOW as I was always curious about their collection. I will reserve the below section for the GLAMGLOW products.

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    GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Activated Charcoal Treatment – Having never tried any of GLAMGLOWs raved about face masks, I decided to give their best-selling mask a try. Now, I’m not a huge fan of using masks that are primarily clay based as I find it can be a little drying for my skin. Even though I tend to lean towards the oily skin-type, I find that if I use products that dry out the skin it can actually leaves my skin in worse condition and just doesn’t feel very pleasant. However, this mask applies very easily as it is incredibly lightweight and has a very wet consistency. This is quite different than some of the other clay masks I have tried as they tend to be thicker and almost what I would describe as “chunkier,” which is certainly not the case with this mask. It also dries very quickly, within 10 minutes a full-face application should be fully dried unless you have applied thicker in other areas. When it has dried, you will definitely notice the clay/charcoal ingredient; it has that patchy, cement-like finish like most other clay masks. For this reason, I would recommend rinsing immediately after it has dried as the clay/charcoal can over dry your skin if left on too long. In comparison to other clay masks, this mask does leave your skin feeling very clean and clear without any residue or grime. I have found other masks are quite difficult to rinse and remove and feels like you have a layer/film left on the skin; this is not the case with this product. You can also use this mask as targeted treatment on the troubled areas where you have congestion and/or blackheads.  For me, I tend to use this on my nose and cheeks (or anywhere I need spot treatment), skip the forehead and use a moisturizing/brightening mask in that area instead. There are cheaper clay mask alternatives, but I can say that overall I prefer the feeling of this mask and experience; will definitely repurchase! 

    GLAMGLOW YOUTHMUD Tinglexfoliate Treatment – Let me start by saying if you have sensitive skin or dislike a tingling/burning sensation in your skincare, you may not want to try this product. Similar to other GLAMGLOW masks, this product is clay based, volcanic pumice and contains green tea which is supposed to help detoxify and exfoliate your skin. Once you’ve applied an even layer on your face, you will start to feel the tingle almost immediately. The burning sensation doesn’t last too long, I’d say maybe for the first minute so it’s not totally unbearable. Like most clay products, it dries fairly quickly and I think it’s for this reason that I’m not a huge fan of this face mask because it just makes my skin feel dry, and not particularly in a good way. It probably also means that it does an excellent job of detoxifying the skin, but I am looking for something that can make my skin feel balanced rather than stripped. Generally speaking, I like my masks to make my skin feel moist and plump and I find that my skin tends to react to most clay mask formulas very poorly. I can say my face feels invigorated after using this mask mainly for the tingling sensation, but apart from that it hasn’t really impressed me and the experience is one that I could go without. Now, before I say I would not recommend this product, keep reading through the other formulas I’ve tested and you can decide for yourself.

    GLAMGLOW THIRSTYMUD Hydrating Treatment – By far one of my favourite masks from the GLAMGLOW collection. It has a buttery texture that leaves your skin feeling supple and smooth. It contains hyaluronic acid and coconut which are both great ingredients for hydration. I love how my skin feels  incredibly soft and moist so I can see this working very well for folks that have dry skin or people that are looking for a hydrating mask. Even if you’re oily or combination skin (like myself), I think it is still key not to forget about moisture as lack of moisture exaggerates texture, fine lines and wrinkles. When I’m using the GLAMGLOW Supermud mask on my nose and cheeks, I like use this one on my forehead to keep it hydrated and supple! Now if you’re sensitive to moisturizing/thick masks, I’m not sure how this might react on your skin. My skin isn’t very sensitive to begin with so I haven’t had issues with thicker ingredients like coconut and avocado – just a word of caution!

    GLAMGLOW FLASHMUD Brightening Treatment – Similar to the hydrating mask above, this mask doesn’t dry hard like the SUPERMUD or YOUTHMUD formulas. The brightening treatment mask contains a blend of salicylic acid and lactic acid as well as Vitamin C which are powerful ingredients that help to brighten the skin. It also has a light pleasant citrus-berry smell and has a creamy texture in comparison to the other mud masks. You will also notice little flecks of what appears to be white birch leaves. With the creamier formulas, the time it takes to dry is slightly longer than the dry clay masks so we’re talking about 15-20 minutes versus 10 minutes. I enjoy the experience and the instant effects from this mask, but will most likely be open to trying more masks before deciding to repurchase this one once I am finished. Between this mask and the Kiehl’s Turmeric mask (mentioned below), I think I prefer the Kiehl’s product over this one. 

    Closing remarks – If you’re curious about GLAMGLOW face masks, the two that I would recommend would be the THIRSTYMUD and SUPERMUD masks, both for completely different reasons. The SUPERMUD is great for detoxing and as maintenance for clear pores where as the THIRSTYMUD is an excellent moisturizing treatment for smooth supple skin.

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    Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque – I am not new to Kiehl’s skincare products, but I am certainly new to their face mask products and I can tell you that I am very pleased. Turmeric is famous for it’s brightening/glowing properties plus it is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. It’s a creamy yet thick texture and applies very easily. It has flecks of Cranberry and once the mask is dried it almost serves as a gentle exfoliant as well. I recommend wetting the face slightly before you start to wash off in circular motions just to avoid tugging and damaging the skin. It leaves my skin feeling soft, radiant and invigorated – HIGHLY recommend! Not much more for me to say. 😊

    Kiehl’s Calendula and Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque – Again, LOVE this mask! The aloe and calendula have excellent soothing and cooling properties which makes it great to use in the warmer weather and just if you ever need to calm your skin. Confession, I use this mask if my skin starts to get sensitive or if I’m recovering from a breakout, this mask really helps soothe my skin and hydrate at the same time. Personally, I find that when my skin starts to have a temper tantrum, if my skin is lacking moisture it really doesn’t help with the appearance of redness or troubled areas. So even if you’re experiencing a breakout, please don’t forget to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated! Calendula is also great for folks with oily and sensitive skin. I think you may be able find other mask alternatives that use aloe as a key ingredient and this mask in particular has been a first aloe mask for me so I am open to trying out others. Overall (and totally unbiased), I would recommend trying this mask as it has worked for me and I really can’t see anything wrong with it!

    It took a while, but I am glad I was able to conclude the series. I will continue to post my honest thoughts and review of products as I come across; I would love to hear your experiences and stories. I wish you all a wonderful skin journey and hope you’ve enjoyed this series!

     

  • Review: YSL Tatouage Couture Liquid Matte Lip Stain

    Before I begin, can we just pause for a moment and appreciate the packaging and design? I have only a few YSL products as part of my collection, but I can say that they are always timeless, simple yet elegant and super classy (plus they look beautiful on my vanity)! When I first stumbled upon this product, I couldn’t help myself from trying out a few shades. I have a serious obsession for lip products, especially lip stains simply for it’s longevity and super pigmentation. I’ve tried several different tint formulas ranging from water-based, oil-based, glossy stains, velvet stains and… you get the gist of it, I wouldn’t admit my obsession if it weren’t true. Truthfully, apart from the classic YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick I wasn’t totally impressed with the raved about oil-tints and balms. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of glossy tints so I was more intrigued to find out if these matte lip stains really were worth the hype. Keep reading!

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bif9qGsgios/?taken-by=kerriful

    I purchased these matte stains in four shades – #1 Rouge Tatouage, #11 Rose Illicite, #16 Nude Emblem and lastly #23 Singular Taupe. The applicator is really quite interesting, it resembles a chiseled angled tip which makes it great for precise application especially in the corners of your lips. The formula appears glossy on initial application but very quickly dries to a matte finish. All of the four colours I purchased are actually quite pigmented, including the lighter pink, #11. Some reviewers have mentioned incredible staying power, but I can say that I’ve had longer wear from other tints. Perhaps it’s just the way I eat my food and, if anyone knows me, I am literally eating ALL DAY which may contribute to lesser longevity as compared with other folks. Honestly, the longest wearing tint I’ve tried is from W.Lab One Day Coating Tint, which literally lasts all day… makes you wonder what harmful chemicals are in this though… 🙈

    Left to right : 1 Rouge Tatouage / 11 Rose Illicite / 16 Nude Emblem / 23 Singular Taupe

    • 1 Rouge Tatouage – A vibrant, pink red that is SUPER pigmented even with one thin layer. Personally, when it comes to bold lips I prefer to apply to the center of the lip and blend it outwards for a softer look. If you’re into the gradient lip, you can also opt to use this colour in the center of the lip on top of a lighter colour. Even on it’s own when you’ve blended this out, the colour is less bold and can actually have just the right pop of colour.
    • 11 Rose Illicite – I purchased this colour online as the description read “nude rose,” but personally I think this colour is rather bright to be considered nude. It isn’t a neon or bold lip per se, but is surely isn’t something I would classify as a nude lip. I was very surprised with the colour payoff as lighter colours on my lips tend to show through. With one layer, it’s still pretty pigmented, but I found that two layers gives complete full coverage. I’m not a huge fan of this particular colour on my skintone as it tends to lean on the cooler colour spectrum and I tend to find warmer colours much more flattering. As with other light matte lip colours, I also find that this colour shows the cracks on lips more easily as the colour sets and wears throughout the day.
    • 16 Nude Emblem – My ABSOLUTE favourite of the four colours! I can understand why this colour has been sold out online and in stores, it’s such a beautiful rose colour that can turn into a super natural “My lips but better” (MLBB) type of look or a stronger nude with full application. When I’m shopping around for a nude lip colour, I personally need to look for a colour that has the right balance of rose and isn’t too nude otherwise I can end up looking ill. I don’t have this problem with this particular shade. This is my current everyday lip 😘.
    • 23 Singular Taupe – Very similar to #16, only this one is more neutral, less red and more of a brown nude. It feels like it’s slightly darker on the lips, thought  you can’t really tell from the swatches. I think it just might be attributed to the fact that it isn’t as vibrant which makes it appear darker.

    Overall, I think the formula and application is great. Very easy to use and has excellent colour payoff. If you’re looking for the magical matte lip stain that doesn’t show cracks as it wears throughout the day, then this isn’t really the product for you, at least in my humble opinion. It retails for $43 at Sephora which can lean towards the pricier end of things, but honestly (yes, this is coming from a girl with a lip obsession) one tube should last for a decent amount of time even with daily wear. I’ve yet to finish a lipstick, stain or any of my lip products for that matter before I have to throw it out because it’s expired or it’s just gotten gross… *Inserts internal  monologue* or… it could just mean that I’ve just got way too many lip products that I am just not able to finish any one… Anyways, would love to read your thoughts if you’ve tried this product whether you loved it or hated it. Hope you found this useful or at the very least, entertaining 😏.

  • Sephora Spring Series: Eyes, Lips and Sun Care

    This is probably my most favourite topic only because I know for a fact that it wasn’t something top of mind or on my radar when I was just getting into my own beauty routine. Even with my friends and family, I feel like this is the area that is most forgotten or should I say, neglected. Now, I cannot make a generalization for everyone, but I can make a fair observation based on the conversations I have had within my personal network. That is, it’s much easier to focus on the skin on our face and body and pay close attention to how we apply/remove makeup on our face, we are not the same with how we treat our lips. I have been totally guilty of this, especially when I’ve got a stubborn lip tint or stain that just DOES NOT budge. Our lips are just as important as the rest of our face and, yes it is still considered skin! Bringing it back to the overall topic of eyes, lips and sun care I think this is a great topic to open for discussion because it’s one of those things that are so important and often forgotten. The skin in those areas tend to be thinner and more fragile. Hopefully some of the topics and care tips I share below will prove to be helpful with your own routine!

     

    AMOREPACIFIC (AP) MOISTURE BOUND Lip Treatment – This luxurious lip balm/treatment comes at a pretty price of $42 for 10g which, in comparison, to some other cheaper lip balm alternatives is significantly higher. I’m talking about Burt’s Bees, Blistex, Vaseline, etc. Now, the differentiating factor between the other popular options is of course the formula. This lip treatment includes a variety of botanical ingredients such as Apricot Seed Oil and Peach Kernel Oil. The texture is slightly sticky and, in my opinion, almost feels like a lip gloss as it leaves a shine when applied on bare lips. The applicator is a silicone tip which is nice to massage your lips when you have applied a thin even layer. Other than that, I’m not so sure I’ve seen drastic results or feel that it is worth the price SO I will most likely be looking into other effective and affordable alternatives. In my humble opinion, I think lip care comes with taking care of it through gentle application/removal, regular moisturizing and exfoliating as needed.

    Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask – I have raved about this product in my earlier posts and have shared this with ALL my friends and family and I have consistently received positive feedback. This product is a must when it comes to my personal lip care routine simply because it just pulls everything together! We both use this every night before bed and we wake up the next morning with baby soft lips. This product contains a berry mix complex (literally all the “-berries”) and has a unique butter-like, glossy texture. A little goes a long way, just make sure you have an even layer on the lips. The sleeping mask seems to form a moisture layer on your lips so I highly recommend completing your regular lip care before applying this mask. Personally, I will exfoliate and follow up with my regular lip balm in advance of applying this mask. Once the balm has been absorbed on my lips, I will go in with the sleeping mask and jump right into bed. On the days that I have traveled or forgot to use the sleeping mask, there is a clear difference in how my lips feel the next morning. HIGHLY recommend!

    AMOREPACIFIC (AP) Intensive Vitalizing Eye Essence – Yes, it is for your eyes and is not a needle or some sort of writing instrument! Can we just pause and talk about the packaging first? It looks like a pen and pretty much functions like a pen in a sense that you need to press down on the end to dispense product from the roller ball. First you need to twist to unlock before you will be able to press down on the trigger. Aside from the fun and interesting package, this product offers quite a unique experience for your eyecare routine. Similar to any metal roller ball applicator, it feels slightly cold to touch which makes for a soothing feeling when applied to the eye area. It only comes with 15 mL of product, but you only need maybe ½-1 full pump for both eyes so it lasted 3 months for me with regular nightly use. This is an essence for the eyes which means it should be applied before your eye cream. It was a little pricey for me in my opinion especially when you factor in eye cream which pretty much doubles the cost just for your eyecare. Don’t misunderstand, I think it’s certainly important to invest in a good routine for the eye area because it’s so delicate but I am interested in trying other similar products. Before this product, I had never tried an eye essence however I really enjoy how it compliments the eye cream. I will certainly be in the market for a similar product!

     

    Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Concentrate – Fresh products have always had a special place in my vanity simply because when I was first getting into skincare, I used a lot of their products. My personal long-time favourite was the Rose Floral Toner. I have since branched off into other brands and other product types over the years, but was always curious about this particular eye cream. When I was first getting into eyecare, this product seemed quite pricey but now as the products I have tested are on such a wide spectrum in terms of the price range, I decided to give this one a shot. It is a denser cream formula so if you prefer gel-like consistency, this may not be the product for you. As I prefer to use heavier products in my nighttime routine, I tend to use this product at night. It feels quite luxurious in a sense that although it is a little dense, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily or greasy. It absorbs fairly quickly if you pat gently around the area once you have applied a thin, even layer.

     

    Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask – If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll notice I referenced this product in my Seoul Haul Part II: Skincare and if not then you should definitely check it out! I’ll prevent myself from sounding like a broken record here and just say that this is a nice addition to my eyecare regime. If you’ve tried the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, then I’m sure you can agree that it gives your skin a nice boost in the morning. Very similar effect with this product in terms of the light and watery texture. It applies very wet but luckily it dries fairly quickly. More importantly, I am EXCITED to say that this product now retails in Sephora stores in Canada so you don’t have to be stingy with this product if you’ve stocked up from overseas!

     

    Lancôme BIENFAIT UV SPF 50+ Super Fluid Facial Sunscreen – So we all know that protection against the sun is super important for the overall wellbeing of your skin, but also to prevent sun damage which can cause premature skin aging. I think we can all agree that there are some sunscreens out there that are just super tacky/sticky and just outright uncomfortable. It’s not really encouraging when you’re trying to protect your skin against the sun with greasy sunscreen. If you can relate then I am happy to share my experience with this product. It’s lightweight, dries quickly and doesn’t leave your skin feeling like there’s a thick layer of cream on your face. What I love about this formula is that there is high SPF coverage, it’s oil-free and it REALLY is super fluid! HIGHLY recommend and I will definitely be repurchasing!

     

    Last post on Masking, coming up!

     

     

     

     

    One of six in the Sephora Spring Series, check out my honest thoughts on products ranging from cleansing & toning, moisturizing, exfoliants, treatment & toners, eye and sun care, and face masks!  Read the original post HERE and follow me on the rest of this series!

  • Sephora Spring Series: Treatments & Serums

    It’s always good to have some products that are targeted for certain areas of concerns as part of your skincare regime. BUT, personally I think having a solid foundation of basic skincare is far more important than any treatment or serum. If you’re reading this for the first time or are just getting into skincare, I highly recommend you check out my earlier posts as it talks about some basic products/routine that you should consider when you’re just getting started. Without the basics, your treatments and serums (which also tend to be pricier) wouldn’t be as effective. Over the years, I’ve tried several different serums and I can say I’ve only really been pleased with a few. Below are a few products I have recently tried and have either loved, hated or felt indifferent – keep reading!

     

    photo from caudalie.com

    CAUDALIE Vinoperfect Concentrate Brightening Essence – This product claims to even the skin tone and brighten the overall complexion. It has a nice, lightweight texture that makes it easy to absorb. If there’s one thing I absolutely hate in any serum it’s having a sticky/tacky feeling after application. Not only because it takes much longer to absorb (if at all), but it sometimes affects the skin’s ability to absorb subsequent products. I bought this serum months before my wedding; I wanted to make sure my skin was glowing naturally. I certainly think it helped maintain my skin, but I didn’t see any drastic results in terms of texture and overall complexion. There could have been several different contributing factors as to why that was the case, like lack of sleep and ridiculous amounts of stress, but I just didn’t feel like it was an all-star product for me.

     

    photo from caudalie.com

    CAUDALIE Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum – Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of this product as I finished it before deciding to write this post. To add to my earlier point, the months leading up to my wedding I went on an insane beauty haul/hunt looking for the best products to improve my skin. Naturally, I tried several different products including this one. Similar to the Vinoperfect Concentrate Brightening Essence, this product is incredibly lightweight and has almost a milky texture – which I LOVE! I was recommended this product by one of the Sephora associates and I was very pleased. The product claims to help with dehydration and irritation, all of which I can confidently say it succeeded. When I was using this serum, it really did help with my skin’s moisture retention and it almost felt like it had a plumping effect because the skin was so moist. Now, at the time my main goal was not hydration but brightening and evening of the skin tone so I didn’t use this as long or as religiously as I probably should have to reap complete benefits. Having said this, I would most definitely recommend this to family and friends and plan to be repurchasing this product once I finish with my current serums.

    Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum – You’ll start to notice a trend in the serums I decide to try and just my general skin concerns. This serum is supposed to help with retexturizing and, yes you guessed it, BRIGHTENING the skin tone *celebratory bells chime in the background*. Honestly, I only decided to try this product as it was recommended by the associate, but also because I am loyal to this brand and have generally been pleased with their products in the past. As much as I love Laneige products, this product was a bit of a disappointment as it didn’t really shine for me. The formula is also fairly lightweight, but if I were to compare the texture of this serum to the Caudalie alternatives, both products from Caudalie absorb much better on my skin. As I mentioned above, there are serums that feel sticky after application and this one happens to be tackier than the other Caudalie serums. Not to say that it is the stickiest serum, but it does lean on the tackier side as compared to more water-based products. SO, the verdict is I will not be repurchasing this product as it just didn’t do very much for me. If anyone else has the chance to try this out, please do share your thoughts and results!

     

    Dr. JART+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Re.Pair Serum – Do you have dry skin, extreme dry patches/redness AND sensitive skin? Then apparently this product may work for you. It is a highly concentrated serum that really does the job when it comes to moisturizing and helping with some of those trouble areas.  Lately, I’ve been experiencing random patches of dryness on my body and also a very small part on my face. I’ve used this product on those areas and I can say with utmost confidence that it really improved the dryness, but not so sure about the redness although sometimes redness is a result of dryness. Generally speaking, I don’t have much redness on my face aside from areas of broken capillaries (especially around the nose area; blackheads are so hard to resist!). Now, the reason I may be a little hesitant with recommending this product is because the product is supposed to work for sensitive skin. I don’t think I have sensitive skin, but even I experienced a slight reaction. For a period of time during the winter, I used this product daily and it improved the dryness, but then I started noticing I developed tiny bumps in the areas I applied the serum, like on my forehead. They weren’t pimples or an allergic reaction. I simply ignored it and thought it could be due to my poor eating habits (during the holidays, of course) or just poor skin care. But I later discovered that it was a result of “congestion” on my skin. What does this mean? One of the associates explained to me that certain products have larger molecules/particles that are difficult for the skin to absorb or penetrate, thus causing congestion. The product is very rich so I guess it couldn’t break down or fully absorb into my skin  and basically sat on the surface, causing tiny bumps. Anyways, I’m not a dermatologist or a skin expert. but the logic makes sense and once I stopped using the product or alternated between applications the tiny bumps have disappeared. Overall, I think it’s a great product for what it claims, but just pay close attention to how your skin may react if you decide to give this a try.

     

    AMOREPACIFIC FUTURE RESPONSE Age Defense Serum – Okay, so this product is what I would consider a bit of a splurge product in comparison to some of the other serums I have listed above. This serum retails for $176 for 30 mL; which is on the pricier end in my opinion. I was drawn to this serum mainly because it had interesting ingredients, including green tea and Rare Pine Mushroom which have great anti-oxidant and anti-aging properties. It also has an amazing smell that is EXACTLY like matcha powder. When it comes to the higher end products, I am a little hesitant to use them daily only because I know how much it costs and I want to prolong it’s use as long as humanely possible. Having said that, that is probably one of the primary reasons I am not able to reap the full benefits of the product or experience it’s full potential… something I definitely need to overcome. I don’t know if it’s the right product for me at this point in my life considering my current skin’s condition and quite frankly, age. I would recommend this to individuals that have more mature skin, have skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles or just have a bigger budget on skincare, but I think I am open to trying other products over this one in particular in the near future.

     

    BIOSSANCE Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil – Face oils are a great addition to your regime especially dry skin types, but combination and oily skin types can also benefit from face oils. What’s great about this face oil in particular is that it contains Vitamin C and rose extract which have brightening and moisturizing benefits. Believe it or not but face oils vary in terms of density – there are some really heavy duty face oils and lightweight oils. In this spectrum, I consider this face oil to be somewhere in the  middle. It’s not as heavy or as light as other oils I have tried. The selling point for this is that it has other useful ingredients that are great for the skin in terms of moisture and overall skin’s condition. I like to use this on days that I just need an extra boost in moisture especially during the colder or windier months. When I use this product, it is the last step of my nighttime skincare regime simply because water-based products, which tend to be moisturizers, won’t be able to penetrate through the layer of oil.

     

    Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution – Okay, so this isn’t technically a product currently sold in Sephora but I thought it would be worth mentioning anyways as it is one of the serums I am currently testing. This is an interesting serum as it’s not the typical milky/viscous texture. It’s clear and more fluid as compared to my recent serums. I was drawn to this serum firstly, because I am a fan of some other Kiehl’s products and, secondly, it contains ingredients that are great for brightening. It contains white birch, peony extract and activated C, all of which help with discoloration and clarity. I’ve been quite happy with this product since I started using this over the last few months. When first applied, it can feel a little sticky however if you lightly tap/massage your skin, it can absorb fairly quickly. Will I be repurchasing? Maybe at some point, but I really enjoy changing up my products every so often and trying different brands/formulas.

    Overall, I think serums are great for targeted and concentrated treatment but I cannot emphasize how important it is to get comfortable with the basics first. This post ended up being a little longer than I anticipated, but hopefully you were able to draw some key takeaways. We’ve got two more posts left in this series; up next, Eye & Sun Care!

     

     

     

     

    One of six in the Sephora Spring Series, check out my honest thoughts on products ranging from cleansing & toning, moisturizing, exfoliants, treatment & toners, eye and sun care, and face masks!  Read the original post HERE and follow me on the rest of this series!

     

  • Sephora Spring Series: Exfoliants

    Exfoliating your skin is like helping your skin renew itself through removing dead skin cell buildup, allowing for your skin to better absorb products and treatments and improve the overall health of your skin. Another reason to exfoliate is that sometimes dead skin buildup can result in clogged pores with dirt and debris often leading to dullness, dry patches and sometimes even acne/breakouts. I think of it as an extra unnecessary layer between your products/treatment and your actual skin. When I first started getting into my own self-skincare routine, I did not really understand the difference between exfoliating products but I think over time I have found formulas that work for my skin. Hopefully, I can share some of my thoughts and recent experiences… read on!

    music credits : LAKEY INSPIRED

     

    • Laneige Multiberry Yogurt Peeling Gel – A bit of background and history on this product. When I was first introduced to Korean skincare, the first brand I tried was Laneige including this product. I used this religiously for years until I began experimenting with other products/exfoliants – including chemical types and physical scrubs. Since coming back to this product, I think the ingredients may have changed slightly or at least the way in which they market their product because it feels slightly different for me… that, or my skin has changed/matured over the years and reacts differently. I like how this product doesn’t leave tons of gross “white clumps/flakes” as other exfoliators. The clumps you sometimes see with exfoliators are not always all of your “dead” skin. Often, it’s just the way the product works into your skin so I’m not a huge fan of products that have this type of formula. In any case, I can’t really say it’s the most effective exfoliant as compared to some other products I’ve tried, but it is definitely less harsh to the skin. So, the important question: “Why use this product if it’s not the most effective exfoliant?” Simple. Over time I have begun to care less about instant results and am more concerned with how the product may affect my skin in the long-term. I would prefer to use products that may take more time to see results, but are much more gentle on the skin. What I also love about this product is that after use your skin doesn’t feel parched or overly dry. I think it might be attributed to the yogurt ingredient, but overall I prefer how it feels after it has been washed off in comparison to other physical exfoliants.

     

    music credits : LAKEY INSPIRED

     

    • Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel – Firstly, I finished this tube so in the clip I barely managed to squeeze out what was left. Similar to the Laneige Multiberry Yogurt Peeling Gel, this product is a gel-type exfoliator. Now, the key difference here is how my face feels after using it. I think this product certainly works and you will visibly see the “clumps” of skin once you’ve worked the product into your face. Some people like this type of formula; personally, I really don’t like the way it visibly rolls off what appears to be “dead skin”. I’ll admit, at first it was pretty cool but when I compare my skin after, I much prefer how it feels after I use the Laneige peeling gel. With the Peter Thomas Roth Peeling Gel, you will literally see clumps of white balls which appears to be all dead skin, when I know for myself hat it’s just how the product is formulated and applies. I’ve tried several other exfoliators and I can say that just because it looks like it’s removing tons of “dead skin,” it might just be the formula itself. Having said this, take what I say with a grain of salt simply because this is my own personal experience. I may try this product again in the future if I change my skincare routine and switch up my products, but I won’t be repurchasing this product anytime soon mainly because I’ve tried other exfoliants that seem to work without causing dryness to my skin. 

    music credits : LAKEY INSPIRED

     

    • AMOREPACIFIC (AP) Treatment Enzyme Peel – This is a unique product as it is a powder exfoliant/peel versus the typical scrub or gel type. It’s very gentle since it doesn’t have any particles, instead it turns light foam with just a little bit of water. I don’t think this is a product that will give instant dramatic results, but I certainly think it’s been a great addition to my skincare regime. With regular use, I think it has maintained my skin’s condition through gentle exfoliation. I use this maybe 2 times a week in between my Laneige Multiberry Yogurt Peeling Gel. Another similar product would be the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder, only the AMOREPACIFIC version feels gentler although I didn’t use the Tatcha product for very long. I thought I’d give it another try so I reordered the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder during this Spring’s Sephora sale – stay tuned for an update! OK back to the main topic, would I recommend this product? Yes, it’s different than most physical exfoliants and feels gentle on the skin… worth a try!

    photo from tatcha.com

    • Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder – Continuing from the post above, I think the Tatcha and AMOREPACIFIC enzyme powder exfoliants are similar, yet different at the same time – strange, right? They both come in powder form and require a few drops of water applied to a damp face I feel like you need to work the product in a little more than the AMOREPACIFIC product otherwise you can still feel some grains. I think the main difference between the two is that Tatcha’s main ingredient is rice whereas AMOREPACIFIC is a blend of papaya, green tea and other extracts. At the time, I only had a small size to try so I recently purchased the full size of this product as I’m curious to see how this product compares. Will report back soon!

    So, my advice to anyone who is in the market for an exfoliant is to find a product that works well with your skin. I WOULD NOT recommend scrubs to anyone simply because I think it’s more damaging to the skin. Try to look for a product that is more gentle to the skin because the last thing you want is to suffer long-term skin damage. I like to match my masking schedule with exfoliating, I typically use a form of hydrating mask on the days I exfoliate just to replenish the skin. Let me know if you end up trying any of these products!

    Moving on to Treatments & Serums!

     

     

     

     

    One of six in the Sephora Spring Series, check out my honest thoughts on products ranging from cleansing & toning, moisturizing, exfoliants, treatment & toners, eye and sun care, and face masks!  Read the original post here and follow me on the rest of this series!

  • Sephora Spring Series: Mosturizing

     

    Choosing a good moisturizer can be tricky, especially if you’ve got different skin concerns. Just to name a few, you can choose amongst cream, gel or lotion type – again, depending on your preference. I like to think of moisturizing as the final step to your skincare regime with the purpose of locking in all those good products you’ve applied to your face! I choose a different moisturizer for daytime versus nighttime and then in between if I’m having troubled skin concerns from time to time. Generally speaking, I think if you’ve got the right products to target your specific skin concerns, you just need a good moisturizer that holds it altogether.

    photo from amorepacific.com

    • AMOREPACIFIC (AP) The Essential Creme Fluid – I LOVE how lightweight this cream/moisturizer (or whatever you want to call this) feels on the skin. Sometimes I find that if the cream is too thick or heavy, applying an even layer can be a little annoying. This product is exactly the name, “cream fluid,” it has an almost-liquid texture though not too watery so it’s quite nice to apply on the skin. The product claims to have the benefits of a rich cream in a fluid-like texture, allowing for quick absorption. I use this before my moisturizer on days that I need an extra boost and I am currently using this almost every night before my cream as it is the winter season. I am a little extra when it comes to moisturizing so I tend to layer multiple products during my nighttime routine, but again this is personal preference. Either way, I think this is quite a nice product, a little on the pricier side of things but I think this should last quite a while.

    • Youth to the People Superfood Moisture Cream – It’s incredibly lightweight and full of superfood ingredients. I’ve labeled this my go-to day cream as it provides moisture without leaving my skin feeling tacky or sticky. This is great especially since my mornings are pretty rushed during the week so I really appreciate that the formula allows my skin to absorb this cream fairly quickly. I don’t have to wait long before I can follow up with sunscreen and everything else. I really dislike heavy moisturizers during the day as it just sits on the surface of my skin and clumps up any makeup I decide to wear for the day. However, if you have dry skin I would recommend using an emulsion/serum before this moisturizer or switching to a heavier moisturizer altogether. If you’re looking for an extra boost or moisture, you can mix a face oil with your moisturizer or after.
    • Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Mineral Enriched Renewal Cream – First off, this cream has a very distinct smell that I know can be sensitive to some folks, including myself. This cream has an interesting texture that appears very thick initially, but once applied to the skin evenly it starts to have an almost gel/oil-like finish, if that makes sense which is great if you like to massage your face as part of your regime. With this cream, you can easily massage your face as it feels almost like you’ve applied oil to the skin so it’s easy to glide. Because the finish feels quite oily, if you dislike heavy creams I wouldn’t recommend this product. Generally speaking, I like my night-care to be a little on the heavier side as I want my skin to absorb the products while I’m sleeping, but even for myself this cream seems a bit too oily for me. I think I will switch this one out with something else.

    Up next… EXFOLIANTS!

     

     

     

     

    One of six in the Sephora Spring Series, check out my honest thoughts on products ranging from cleansing & toning, moisturizing, exfoliants, treatment & toners, eye and sun care, and face masks!  Read the original post here and follow me on the rest of this series!

  • Sephora Spring Series: Cleansing & Toning

    If you ask any skincare enthusiast, I can bet you that they would say cleansing is probably one of the MOST important steps in your skincare regime. Why you ask? Well, if you don’t have a clean canvas to work with, it makes it more difficult to achieve your desired results. In skincare terms, it means that the products you subsequently use after may be less effective if you’ve still got residue and gunk left on your face. I think what’s important is developing a cleansing routine that works for you which means the double, triple, quadruple-whatever cleanse may not work for you. Toners are also important because they help to rebalance your skin after you’ve cleansed which can sometimes leave your face feeling stripped of it’s natural moisture… which, of course, is not ideal. Anyhow, in this series I will go over some new products I got in my most recent Sephora haul(s) as well as some old favourites … read on!

    music credits : LAKEY INSPIRED

    • Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil – Coming from the famous Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil which I religiously used for years, I have been pleasantly surprised with this product. Shu carries quite a few variations of the oil cleanser with my first experience using the Original formula (now claimed for sensitive skin, I think), second was the Anti-Oxidant formula, and lastly the Ultime8 formula. All three formulas seemed to work with my skin, but I don’t believe it was this product per se that made the difference to my skincare routine. Rather, the introduction of oil cleansing itself really enhanced my routine. To be honest, in the beginning the thought of oil cleansing didn’t sit well with me considering I have combination/oily skin. However, once I tried oil cleansing I felt the cleanser dissolved the makeup, sunscreen and everything else much better. I use this product as part of my double-cleansing method and my face feels squeaky clean! I’m on my second bottle of the cleansing oil and I can say I’m quite pleased. The real reason I decided to switch from Shu was primarily due to the fact that Tatcha’s ingredients list seemed less complex and more simple. Over the years I’ve become a little more conscious of product ingredients, though still have much to learn before I can confidently say I know what is “good” vs “bad,” instead, I am more aware of how my skin reacts to certain ingredients. In comparison to the Shu cleansers, this oil feels a little thicker. It doesn’t contain mineral oil so it emulsifies when rinsed with water and surprisingly leaves no oily residue. Overall, I think this is a great oil cleanser and I will continue to buy it. If you’ve already used oil cleansers and are thinking of switching things up, I’d give this one a try. I have also heard feedback from some folks that this cleanser can be too thick for the skin so if you’re new to oil cleansing perhaps you can try a lighter oil cleanser first.

    music credits : LAKEY INSPIRED

    • Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – I’ve used this cleanser for at least 4 years and although I like to change my products, I still find myself coming back to this one. Honestly, I don’t think it’s anything special, but it is a safe choice for me. Personally, what I’m looking for in a cleanser is not to brighten,moisturize or treat any major skin concerns; I think that’s the purpose of serums and creams. Instead, I think a good cleanser is one that can clean my skin without stripping my face completely. This happens to be one of those products that just work well as a cleanser without all other bells and whistles. Depending on your skin concern(s), there are some products that can feel harsh, abrasive or make your skin feel tight (not in a good way) and overly dry. This is usually the case for me with products that have salicylic acid or anything that is supposed to treat acne. If you ask me, I prefer to stay away from cleansers that treat concerns and instead use spot treatment for those targeted areas. This product also claims to balance both dry and oily skin, but reading through some comments folks with dry skin sometimes find this cleanser drying. Again, you won’t know until you try so I would close off by saying if you’re looking for a cleanser that functions well as just a cleanser then I would suggest giving this one a try.

    photo from Origins.com

    • Origins United State Balancing Tonic – I realize I totally forgot to take a video of this product, but I’ve pretty much finished the toner so there wouldn’t be much left to show in videos or pictures. Moving on… I used this toner a few years ago as part of my daytime routine along with the Origins A perfect World Age-Defense Treatment Lotion with White Tea for the nightly routine. I recall it worked really well for me back then, but coming back to it now I didn’t feel like it was truly special. I have a special place in my vanity for Origins products simply because their formulas claim to be free of plenty of different types of ingredients. However, to my earlier point I don’t know how beneficial it is to have these ingredients removed so, just by observation, this toner is free from parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs and Triclosan… to me that means it should be great for sensitive skin? Similar to the cleanser above, this toner is supposed to help rebalance moisture levels without stripping or stinging. Does it work in this regard? Absolutely. But if your primary concerns is brightening and evening the skintone, then perhaps this isn’t the toner for you. I felt that this product worked really well when my skin was oilier a few years back, however as the years have gone by my skin has changed which naturally means my preference have too. This product isn’t specifically for oily/combination skin but personally I feel that it is most suited for those skin types. Overall, Origins products are pretty affordable and work pretty well so I would absolutely recommend their products to friends and family!

    Before I continue, I’d like to give a little background on Amore Pacific and my experience. I’ve been loyal to Laneige, Sulwahsoo and Iope which are brands under the same company as Amore Pacific. Coming from these three brands I was a little skeptical about how I would feel about Amore Pacific. But, I can come back and say I have tried a few of their products and I am quite happy with all of them. How does this compare with Laneige, Sulwahsoo and Iope? Well, what I can say is that the formula in Amore Pacific products feel luxurious and rich. Not to say that the other three brands aren’t luxurious, but I can most definitely feel a difference. Of course, I’m also a sucker for packaging… and can we not all agree that Amore Pacific product packaging is so clean and beautiful?! Anyway, I digress… moving on… Now, I’m not knowledgeable when it comes to knowing what ingredients are better than others, however, I have consistently had a great experience with their products in terms of maintaining my skin and keeping the texture soft. There are products out there that sometimes feel great to touch and apply, but are actually loaded with fillers and ingredients that don’t provide any real benefit for your skin.

    music credits : LAKEY INSPIRED

    • Amore Pacific (AP) Treatment Toner – This toner in particular contains Red ginseng root extract and other botanicals which leaves a soft, pleasant smell unlike some other toners that have a strong alcohol or perfume scent. The product claims to have a soothing effect on the skin… and it really does! I use this straight after cleansing and it keeps my skin feeling incredibly soft. I use this product as part of my day and night routine. Until I find another contender, I will continue to use this toner or I might choose to experiment between the other brands. Highly recommend this product!

    music credits : LAKEY INSPIRED

    • Amore Pacific (AP) Vintage Single Extract Essence – Okay, so this is definitely a product I would consider a “splurge.” It retails for $200 CAD for 120 mL, which over nightly use has lasted me 5 months and will probably survive another month. From a price standpoint that’s like more than $1 per mL! I can’t say I’ve seen significant improvement in my skin since I started using it so I’m not sure if I will repurchase as it’s quite a pricey product. I decided to try this product after I finished the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (see below for my thoughts/review), both of which I cannot say I’ve seen drastic improvement. I think this product has helped me maintain my skin which is great, but for $200 I think you might be able to find a more affordable substitute. The product itself claims to help with clarity, tone and texture – all of which I can say I’m happy with my skin’s current condition. Could I attribute it entirely to this product? It’s hard to say since I use a variety of products day-to-day; perhaps with continued use I might see more obvious results. If you’ve got disposable income or are willing to splurge on skincare products, you could give this a try but it wouldn’t be something I would strongly recommend.

    photo from SK-II .com

    • SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – So, I actually tried the SK-II essence before I tried the AMOREPACIFIC one and I can’t say I’m disappointed with either but I also can’t say I’ve found my holy grail. The major ingredient in the SK-II product is Pitera which is “a clear liquid rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids” that is derived from a strictly controlled natural fermentation process, ultimately these ingredients work together to help with skin cell renewal. The product itself is raved about among beauty gurus especially in the Asian markets which was primarily my motivation to give this product a try. I bought the largest size bottle (330 mL) which lasted me approximately 7 months with daily and generous usage. After cleansing and toning, I would pump 1-2 drops of the product onto my palms and press/pat it onto my face. I think the product helped my skin create a barrier or coating on my skin that made it easier to absorb the subsequent products such as serums and moisturizers. Honestly, I think the hype and rave had set my expectations much higher and as a result it left more room for disappointment as I hadn’t seen any drastic results. Perhaps the combination of products I was using at the time wasn’t a great compliment to this product or vice versa. Overall, I think the product is good, but considering the price tag I can’t confidently say I saw any major changes to the tone and clarity of my skin. I think I may consider trying this product again in the future but at the moment I will be looking for a different alternative.

    TLDR version: Out of these four products, I would highly recommend the Amore Pacific Treatment Toner and the Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash. These are both my safe choices and don’t break the bank. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products!

    Stay tuned for the rest of this series 🙂

     

     

     

     

    One of six in the Sephora Spring Series, check out my honest thoughts on products ranging from cleansing & toning, moisturizing, exfoliants, treatment & toners, eye and sun care, and face masks!  Read the original post here and follow me on the rest of this series!

  • Sephora Spring Series

    It’s that time again…. who’s ready for the Sephora Spring Sale? With the Sephora VIB discount event approaching, I thought it’d be fitting to share some thoughts on products I snagged in my more recent Sephora hauls. Over the next two weeks, I will be posting content as part of my first mini beauty series, “Sephora Spring Series,” where I will feature products I have loved, felt indifferent or will not be repurchasing. I will be sharing thoughts on six different product categories:

    If there’s something you’ve been wanting to try, hopefully you will find the series useful! Store-wide Sephora sales really only happen twice a year – April and November – so it’s good to make use of the sales when you can even if you don’t have an immediate need.

    Alright, let’s get those shopping carts ready!

  • Seoul Haul Part II: Skincare

    And… we’re back! Welcome to Part II of my Korea Haul, skincare edition! If you haven’t already, check out Part I of the haul here! As a continuation of my giant beauty haul from Korea, I bring to you my skincare collection.

    Conscious Part I of my haul was quite lengthy so I’ve made an effort to make this one much more concise, SO I will only sharing a few points per product and calling out the all-star products!

    Let’s start!

    1. COSRX One Step Original Clear Pads – To be honest, I don’t really feel like there is any major difference. I don’t feel like it does anything for my skin; however I consciously opt to use this product on the days that I feel like my skin is giving me trouble purely because the product is “supposed” to help clear out your pores and skin. Maybe my pores are just stubborn, but I haven’t seen any visible difference.

    2. COSRX One Step Moisture Up Pad – Similarly, I don’t feel like this product has had any impact. Sure, it feels like it moisturizes my skin but it doesn’t give me a glow or make my skin softer/more supple. I know other beauty bloggers have had some other thoughts about the COSRX cosmetic pads, but both products just didn’t really have an effect on my skin.

    3. Iope Derm Repair Cica Cream – I bought this product simply because it claimed to reduce redness and help repair sensitive/irritated skin. On a normal basis, I don’t have significant redness, but there are some areas of my face that I’d like to brighten/even the skin tone. I’ve only recently started using the cream so I will have to continue to use it before I can confirm if it really does satisfy its claim! When it comes to caring for your skin, I really think it’s good to have products that target certain areas of concern, therefore having different products for different areas.

    4. Aritaum Ginger Sugar Lip Scrub – It does the trick! I got this for less than 6,000 KRW and at the time it was a 1+1 promotion. It’s a gentle lip scrub in a sense where you don’t really feel the sugar particles against your lips. I think this is mainly due to the fact that the base is very thick/balm-like (similar to Vaseline) so the coating feels fairly greasy. If you don’t like the feeling of a thick base on your lips, then I wouldn’t recommend this product to you. I can confirm that it does make your lips feel quite moisturized, but you could probably accomplish similar results from other alternatives. Honestly, I’d say a home-made lip scrub is probably better. Add a spoonful of white sugar + olive oil (or Vaseline if you prefer), mix it together and rub it gently on your lips. Follow this with a lip treatment, or my favourite, lip mask!

    5. Banobagi Vita Genic Jelly masks in Relaxing/Hydrating/Whitening – Ever since I upgraded my sheet masks, I have to say that I can really tell the difference between other brands. I wouldn’t even say that these masks are expensive, but they are definitely pricier than some other sheets on the market. I’d say these are maybe lower/mid-range; there are definitely pricier options out there! Without going into ingredients, these masks feel higher quality – from the essence to the actual thickness of the sheet itself. Personally, I find that sheet masks tend to fit awkwardly on my face – either the eye holes are too small or the mask itself is too short/wide – but this mask fits very well on my face! Other sheet masks that I’ve tried have a very strong, almost perfume smell to it which really  irritated my nose. However, the essence on these masks is actually thick and jelly-like! If you’re into sheet masks, I’d definitely give this brand a try. Not to mention, before my wedding I didn’t receive any professional spa treatment but I instead exfoliated, moisturized really well and used the Whitening mask as an at-home treatment… and my skin looked great!

    6. Laneige Water Pocket Sheet Mask in Time Freeze –  The mask has a weird texture that almost resembles a net. I only picked up a box of these sheet masks while in Seoul; I CANNOT BELIEVE that it retails almost 4 times more if you were to purchase this from Western retailers like Sephora! I’m not overly impressed with this particular version of the mask, but there are a ton of other ones from this line. The main retailer, Aritaum, has a ton of other interesting masks such as the Bio Cellulose Mask series that I would say are worth trying.

    7. Wonder Bath Super Vegitoks Cleanser (above) – Okay, so I bought this cleanser mainly because I saw the advertisement while I was in the Chosungah22 store. It’s main purpose is supposed to be a frothy/foamy cleanser but you can also use it as a mask. I kid you not, the ad had someone put this mask on their nose and literally within a few minutes it bubbled up, they wiped it off and you could see the pores/blackheads cleared out! I was amazed and I admit I was suckered into the 1+1 promotion … so, naturally I walked out with this product. I can’t say it works the same way as I had imagined it would in the ad, but I’d say this is a great mask for a quick treatment, literally only a few minutes. It’s also really fun to use – it starts off as a gel-like texture and very quickly transforms into bubbles!

    8. Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask – One of my favourites! It’s a unique product that I personally haven’t seen anywhere else (If you have, please share!). I am obsessed with sleeping masks simply because they work WHILE YOU SLEEP… how awesome is that? So, when I stumbled across the eye mask version, I had to try this out! I don’t use this religiously (mainly because I can’t buy this anywhere else in Canada… as of now) but when I use this on days that I don’t get much sleep it feels like it keeps my eyes hydrated. In general, I don’t get much sleep and my sleeping habits could really improve so it might actually work better on someone who actually sleeps!

    9. Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (above) – I don’t really have to say much more about this product. I’ve been loyal to this sleeping mask FOR YEARS. Literally, for the past 5-7 years! It was probably one of the first Korean skincare products I was introduced to when Aritaum was branded as The Amore. I think this is a great treatment and really does feel like it replenishes your skin overnight. BUT, as with many other products, this isn’t a miracle worker so you shouldn’t expect magic if you don’t care for your skin to begin with. It is a great add-on to your skincare regime; I like to use this specifically on days that I exfoliate and want to lock in the moisture for my new fresh skin. Every person that I have recommended this product has loved it as well as the idea of sleeping masks! HIGHLY recommend this to people who are just getting into skincare and even people who are already gurus!

    10. Hanyul Snow Pine Leaves Sleeping Mask (above) – I’m not really sure if this is the smell of just fragrance, but the smell is really pleasant. It has a very herbal smell, mixed with the smell of nature or wood… if that makes sense 😉. In general, I have a bit of an obsession with sleeping masks so I’ve got quite a collection of these types of products. This one feels quite luxurious and creamy without feeling greasy. Do I feel a real difference when I use the product? Not really, but this tends to be the same result I get with many other products. For me, I can accept products that help me maintain the condition of my skin or even better, improve my skin. I think the real deal breaker is if the product makes my skin worse and this one passes the test. I think it does it’s job as a sleeping mask.

    11. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask – Okay, stop reading this right now and GO BUY this product.. NOW! I’ll even help you – click here! What’s so great about this? It claims to melt/dissolve your dead skin on your lips while you sleep and you wake up to baby soft lips in the morning. If you exfoliate your lips and moisturize them regularly AND you use this product, guaranteed you can literally kiss your lip problems goodbye. It doesn’t feel greasy like Vaseline, but it feels a little sticky. If you want to use this during the day as part of your regular lip care, I would say wipe it off before you apply any other lip products (ie: lip stick, tints, etc). Otherwise, you can use this alone and it will make your lips look naturally glossy!

    12. Aritaum Baby Face Mist in Collagen and Hyaluronic – I think face mists are a great way to refresh your skin/makeup throughout the day. Let’s think about it… most of us maybe moisturize/apply skincare only twice a day – once in the morning and then again at night. Yet, we are more likely to apply hand cream multiple times during the day. Sure, we don’t wash our face as often as we wash our hands, but our skin is still exposed to weather, sun, wind and more while we are out and about! Especially on days that I’m wearing makeup, it’s not easy to apply skincare right on top of it… for hygienic reasons and really, who has the time anyway. That’s where face mists come in handy! You can literally whip this out of your bag, quickly spritz your face and you’ll feel instantly refreshed. There are a ton of different face mists out there so before I recommend this particular product to anyone, I think it’s important to find out what your concerns are because different mists have different ingredients/benefits. I got these for roughly 10,000 KRW each so it was pretty inexpensive compared to other alternatives like the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Mist – here (still want to try this 😣). I would recommend the idea of face mists/sprays, just find one that works for you!

    13. 3M Nexcare Blemish Clear Cover – Now, I don’t easily award the title of MIRACLE WORKER to many products… but this is hands down amazing. Got an annoying pimple? Afraid to poke it because it can result in scarring? This product, my friends, will become your lifesaver. You take the patch and apply it to your troubled spot(s) and within a few hours it literally sucks out the juices (gross) from your pimple. For those nasty whiteheads, you may find that you need to use the patch more than once to fully rid it. Similarly, for stubborn blackheads, you may need to use some treatment to bring it to the surface or open your pores with a steam mask/facial. I actually don’t know what the patch is made of, but I know this product is HUGELY used in Korea and Asia in general. To my Canadian friends, I stumbled across this link on Amazon and I think you can actually buy these from Canada now – check out the link here. TRY IT OUT!

    14. Etude House Cat Headband – I have 3 words: cute, convenient and comfortable – need I say more? If you’ve ever tried a headband or hair turban, I’m sure you’ve encountered at least one that is super tight and uncomfortable that it feels like something is literally sucking your brain. The headband from Etude House is not only cute, but it is super comfortable. The elastic isn’t tight and you look great – WIN WIN!

    1. Stay tuned… there will be a Part III – Cosmetic Lenses!
  • Seoul Haul Part I: Makeup

    This is my long overdue post with my haul from South Korea! Last October, I spent just over 12 days in Korea which included some time in Jeju Island and Seoul. This was my second time in Korea so I came prepared to shop. I wasn’t prepared the first time I traveled to Seoul; I packed much more than I needed which gave me less room for shopping – total rookie mistake! This time around, I brought two luggages – 1 large size (empty) and 1 medium size. I bought quite a bit on the trip so I will save this post just for some of the makeup items I purchased. I actually stocked up on each product, but I’ve only shown one of each below.

    If you have ever traveled or know of anyone who has been to Seoul, you will know that it is a globally recognized beauty and fashion district. What I love about Seoul is that you can find great quality products that are affordable and there are just so many options! My only qualm would be that if you are specifically looking for base/face makeup, you may find that you are just limited to 2 or 3 shade options which tend to err on the lighter side. I would categorize myself as a rather fair person and even for me some of the shades were a bit too light or had a pink/grey undertone. Aside from that, the quality is unbeatable. The products I purchased were mostly “road-shop” or drugstore brands but they are comparable to higher-end brands in Canada.

    Despite my efforts of trying to keep this post reasonably short, I recognize it’s quite a lengthy post. I will save the in-depth reviews for my all-star products! For convenience, the full haul is listed below:

    1. The Saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer
    2. 3CE Style Nanda Waterful Concealer
    3. Too Cool for School Artclass Contouring by Rodin
    4. Iope Air Cushion (Air Prism Water – Natural)
    5. Innisfree Water Fit Cushion
    6. EGLIPS blush
    7. Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher
    8. Jung Saem Mool Essential Cheek Blush
    9. W.Lab One Day Coating Tints
    10. Chosungah22 Juicy Punk Cotton Lip
    11. Jung Saem Mool High Tinted Lip Lacquer
    12. Jung Saem Mool High Color Lipstick
    13. Heroin Make Volume & Curl Mascara (Waterproof)
    14. Aritaum Idol Brow Mascara
    15. BBIA Last Auto Gel Eyeliner
    16. BBIA Last Eyebrow Pencil
    17. Etude House eyeshadows: Satin Fit Eyes and Look at My Eyes shadows
    18. 3 Concept Eyes mirrors
    19. Jung Saem Mool Lip Brush
    20. Jung Saem Mool Contour Brush

     

    Let’s start with face makeup…

    Face

    • The Saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer in shade 1.5 – I have to say this is a high quality concealer and for just over 5,500 KRW it was a complete steal! The concealer is creamy but not too heavy and blends very easily. I often find that some of my higher-end concealers are too thick whereas this one is just the right amount of coverage and has a great consistency.
    • 3CE Style Nanda Waterful Concealer in #001 – I was curious to try this out as I have seen this used by many other beauty gurus. Honestly, I’ve only just started using this so I can’t give a good review but my experience so far has been that this is incredibly light and feels nonexistent. I will need to continue using this to test coverage and longevity.
    • Too Cool for School Artclass Contouring by Rodin – Similarly, I have seen this product many times with other gurus that I just had to pick this up. I’ve actually almost hit pan on my first compact and I can say it’s a nice blend of colors that doesn’t give you a “muddy” look but rather a healthy shade. I can’t say that this is my holy grail but I can say it’s certainly is a nice product for about $15. It’s comparable to my other shading product, Benefit Hoola Bronzer, only much cheaper!
    • Iope Air Cushion (Air Prism Water – Natural) in #21 – In Korea, there are actually different versions of the air cushion. I opted for the natural version as I only wanted the cushion to help even my skin tone, I don’t really have blemishes to cover. I recall the cushion was around 42,000 KRW which comes with a compact, cushion and a refill so that’s really like 2 for 1. It’s substantially cheaper than what you would pay if you were to purchase a cushion pact from, let’s say, Sephora so I bought another box as backup. The picture below makes it look a lot darker but it applies much lighter. I will save a dedicated post for this air cushion as it is AMAZING – stay tuned!

    • Innisfree Water Fit Cushion in N21 – Before visiting Korea, I knew I would be stocking up on cushion pacts so I did some research on the most popular cushions. This happened to show up in my search results, though I haven’t had the chance to try this out yet as I’m still religiously using my Iope. What’s cool about this product is you can assemble/build-your-own. You essentially choose your case and choose the cushion refill based on the type skin finish. I prefer the moist/dewy look so I opted for the moisture version. Excited to try this out!
    • EGLIPS blush in #4 – It was only 4,000 KRW; I had to try it out! The color is a beautiful muted peachy-pink color with slight gold flecks. So far, I am really impressed at the quality for the price, but I don’t really have much to say otherwise. Definitely a brand worth checking out if you’re ever in Seoul. The only issue is this brand is rather hard to find, I think LOHBS is the only retailer in the city.
    • Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher in #11 Peach Choux Wafers – I swear I didn’t buy this JUST for the packaging! Sadly, I dropped the makeup puff and had to throw it out 😩. On top of the cute packaging, the blush is actually VERY pigmented and comes in quite a few different colors. It’s very compact which makes it great for traveling and bringing it with you on the go.
    • Jung Saem Mool Essential Cheek Blush in #Indi Pink – This is a gorgeous muted rose color. Most of my blushes have a tinge of shimmer/glimmer as I find I sometimes struggle with applying matte blushes since the color payoff tends to be stronger. However, this color is great because it’s a soft pink that you can easily build without it looking too strong.

     

    Lips

    Disclaimer: I have a lip and blush addiction. My collection of lip products has grown over the years and ironic enough they consist of very similar color palettes – peach, coral and red colours. But above all else, I have a soft spot for lip tints; especially tints from Korean cosmetic brands! They are so pigmented and have fantastic staying-power. I exercised self-control and only purchased TWO lip tints as I physically don’t have room for more.

    • W.Lab One Day Coating Tint in #02 (reddish) and #04 (orange). These tints have INCREDIBLE color payoff. Depending on the look you’re going for you can adjust the color by dabbing a tissue on your lips after application or by using your finger/Q-tip to smudge it out – this gives it a softer look.
    • Chosungah22 Juicy Punk Cotton Lip in “Powder Rose” – This is a beautiful soft dusty rose color lip pencil and it’s great because you can cover more area with the chubby pencil! It’s a twist-up meaning that you don’t need to fuss over a sharpener to get more product. I hadn’t tried any of Chosungah22’s products before so I was keen on trying this one and I am content. The only issue, as with many lip pencils, is that the cap is starting to crack, but maybe that’s just user-error (thinking emoji)…
    • The other two lip products I purchased were from Jungsaemool (JSM). Unfortunately I threw out the packaging while I was traveling; guess I was too eager to try out her products! The colours are really beautiful and I feel compliment fair skin. I struggle with nude colored lip products as they tend to wash out my complexion, but with both of these products I can say it still brings out my skin tone without  making me look like I’ve come back from the dead. It’s just the right tone to give you color and can pass off as My Lips But Better (MLBB).

    Above are two swatches (L-R), the first two are swatches of the JSM High Tinted Lip Lacquer in “Feminine Rose” blended versus straight application. The third swatch is the JSM High Color Lipstick in “Ginger Brown.” Between the two, Ginger Brown is my favourite as it’s such a unique color. It’s not totally brown and it is soft yet pigmented. I like to pair this with a hint of a darker lipstick dotted in the center of my bottom lip to give dimension.

     

    Eyes

    • Heroin Make Volume & Curl Mascara (Waterproof) in Brown – Much like the brush pen eyeliner, Heroin Make makes great waterproof products. It has serious staying power so naturally it can prove to be incredibly difficult to remove/wash off without the right product. What I REALLY like about this product is the color; it’s a soft brown that actually serves its purpose of a brown mascara. At least for me, if I’m opting for brown mascara it’s because I want it to look naturally soft whereas other brown mascara are borderline black… why not just use black then?!
    • Aritaum Idol Brow Mascara in #5 – It is a nice brow mascara and it was less than 6,000 KRW so can’t really go wrong!
    • BBIA Last Auto Gel Eyeliner in B5 Soul Brown/Bohemian Bronze, B4 Morocco, B2 Bohemian Bronze – Again, such a steal. I recall these were less than 6,000 KRW. The color selection is hands down amazing for this price and I can tell you the quality is pretty incredible. Before coming to Korea I knew I had to pick up this product from BBIA, mainly the Soul Brown color. It’s literally the perfect soft brown color. I’ve been on the hunt for years to find the right shade of brown that looks natural and not harsh… let me tell you, THIS IS IT!
    • BBIA Last Eyebrow Pencil – Like the eyeliners, the quality of this pencil reminded me of my beloved Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brow Pencil in Seal Brown. I decided to just give this product a try and I am so happy I did! I sharpened the pencil to resemble the Shu and it helps a lot with precise application. Total steal, it was less than 5,000 KRW! I’ve stocked up on quite a few of these so hopefully it will last me until my next trip to Korea.
    • Etude House eyeshadows in Satin Fit Eyes (#OR201)/Look at My Eyes (PK004 & PK002)  – I only picked up three shadows, but they have such a wide selection of colors to choose from, you can easily find yourself overwhelmed or buying a lot more than you needed. Much like the other products, colour payoff and application is amazing. Above all else, these shadows are usually less than 5,000 KRW and if you’re lucky, you might snag a 2+1 deal. I only picked up 3 as I’m less adventurous when it comes to eye makeup and I’ve got a ton of other palettes/shadows that are sitting around at home.

    Tools & Accessories

     

    • I stocked up on some mirrors from 3 Concept Eyes (3CE), they were so cute I couldn’t resist. I picked up a few as gifts too.
    • I also purchased two brushes from Jung Saem Mool – the Lip Brush and the Contour Brush. The bristles are soft and high quality but what I like about her brushes are the design. Much like all of her products, they offer unique versatility that you won’t really find anywhere else. The ends of these two brushes resemble a spatula as its purpose is to help you be creative with how you use your products. For example, you can use the spatula end to gather and mix your lipsticks to create your own shade. The lip brush actually comes with a cap which makes it great for bringing it with you in your makeup pouch or just for travel.

    Whew! If you’re reading this far… You made it! The haul continues; stay tuned for part II and Part III skin care and cosmetic lenses.