• Korea Travel Vlog : Seoul and Jeju Island

    Greetings!

    Returning from a bit of  hiatus from the blog, I’m happy to say that I have edited all of the bazillion video clips into a series of 3 travel vlogs. This would be my second time in South Korea in the last 3 years and I had a fantastic experience on both occasions. I appreciate the food, culture, shopping and fashion in South Korea, Seoul and most recently, Jeju Island. As a disclaimer, I am not totally new to the Korean culture as I enjoy K-POP, K-Dramas fashion and beauty.

    I thought about writing a post about my experience, but I think I could go on forever! In any case, pictures and videos are worth a thousand words. Hope you enjoy watching the videos as much as I enjoyed making them!

     

     

     

     

     

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    TRAVEL VLOG: Korea Part I – Seoul | Making Kimchi | Myeongdong

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    TRAVEL VLOG: Korea Part II – Jeju Island | Beach | Lava Tubes | Innisfree Jeju House | Sunrise Peak

    ・・・・☆・・・・☆ ・・・・ ・・・・☆・・・・☆ ・・・・

    TRAVEL VLOG: Korea Part III – Seoul | Food | Shopping in Hongdae | Dog Cafe

  • 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.