Hanyul Seo Ri Tae Skin Refining Cream: The Award Winner

Ladies and gents, after a long break, here is another addition to my family of Hanyul product reviews!

The Hanyul Seo Ri Tae Skin Refining Cream (50g) is a fairly new addition to the Seo Ri Tae line. At least, it wasn’t introduced as part of the original lineup back in 2014. Somewhere in between, it replaced the Hanyul Seo Ri Tae Anti-Aging Cream as the only moisturiser in the Seo Ri Tae Line. It claims to revitalise and moisturise skin, and is targeted to a younger audience than the Baek Hwa Goh line.

The Skin Refining Cream won the Singles Magazine 2017 Best Ingredient Award, which does seem like a recent thing, as I did not see it when I purchased it back in March 2017.

The award seem to award specific ingredients out of the whole list, rather than the entire concoction. In the short article written about the award, Singles justified awarding the product based on 2 ingredients: soybean extract and madecassoside. The rest of the ingredients are not mentioned at all.

However, props are given to the packaging of the product, which reflects a “dawn frost”, and it is such a romantic way of describing a packaging. (It is really fun to read the Google Translate of the web page, I’m sure some of it is lost in translation but really… “dawn frost”? I love it! XD)

The (Not Very Exciting) Ingredients List

Purified water, Shea butter, Dimethicone, Propanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Caprylic / capric triglyceride, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Hydrogenated Poly (C6-14 Olefin), Glyceryl Stearate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Madecassoside, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Natto Gum, Dextrin, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Adenosine, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Palmitic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-100 Stearate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Flower Extract, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance

  1. Soybean Extract is an antioxidant and improves uneven skin tone. It is the feature ingredient in the Innisfree Soybean Energy line
  2. Madecassoside I’m more familiar with, it is a proven antioxidant in its own right, and works well when combined with vitamin C.

I use it primarily as a day cream under sunscreen and it works beautifully. In fact, I was really surprised at how much I liked this cream given the boring ingredients list above.

My favourite part has to be the fluffy texture. The cream is super lightweight and fluffy like marshmallows. It is easy to spread and pat in. While it is a cream, it contains just the right amount of emollients for day use. Unlike the Beauty of Joseon Cream (review) which I found a little lacking in moisture retention, this is just enough to provide moisture, but not too much that my face becomes an oil field.

With the right amount used under sunscreen, I was spared the afternoon dehydration lines and tightening of the skin in hot weather. There is no added glow or dewiness, but it does appear healthier and more hydrated.

One thing that I’m not really a fan of: it smells like a mimosa perfume mixed with wheatgrass and avocado smoothie. I like these smells separately but not mixed together.

Overall, it is not mind-blowing, but I can see it being one of those staples that I can go back to consistently.

Verdict: 4.5 / 5.0

More Chifure! Their Fantastic Ingredients Lists & Essence W

Fantastic discovery made today! I have had trouble finding the ingredients list for my new Chifure Essence W and Chifure Essence VC, lugged from Japan courtesy of friend on work trip.

As I explored the Chifure Official website, I realised even the official website does not have the full ingredients list in the traditional sense, with ingredients arranged in order of concentration. The folks arranged the ingredients in a neat table by function (e.g. active ingredient > humectant > pH adjusting > solvent etc), and they listed the exact percentage for most ingredients! That’s even better than a regularly arranged ingredients list!

Ingredients list for Chifure Essence W, I ran it through Google Translate quite well Source: http://www.chifure.co.jp/products/essence/2478.html

Chifure Essence VC (JPY 800 30g)

Active ingredients: Ascorbyl Glucoside (2%)

Hydrating ingredients: Glycerin (8%), Butylene glycol (2.72%), Trehalose solution (0.03%), Sodium hyaluronate (0.05%)

The first star ingredient is ascorbyl glucoside, an ester of ascorbic acid. This the the first time I’ve come across this ingredient since I’ve started properly researching ingredients. It is definitely one of those derivatives that are less well researched than the standard ascorbic acid, and I cannot find a resource which looks at the effective concentration as well as its penetrative ability relative to other vitamin C derivatives.

I have not yet started using this, because I was drawn by its more expensive sister below.

Chifure Essence W (JPY 1,100 30g)

The Science Part

Active ingredients: Arbutin (3%), Ascorbyl glucoside (2%)

Hydrating ingredients: Glycerin (8%), Butylene glycol (2.02%), Sodium hyaluronate (0.05%), Trehalose solution (0.03%)

Chifure Essence W is the most expensive of all Chifure Essence formulations, and the major differences arises from the addition of 3% arbutin, an effective and less toxic derivative of hydroquinone (Source). Arbutin is definitely more familiar to me and it is found in many Taiwanese and Japanese skincare products. Think the entire Naruko Apple Seed & Tranexamic Acid Black Spots Line, which is built around alpha arbutin, tranexamic acid, niacinimide and vitamin C derivatives.

The Chifure website did not state the type of arbutin (alpha / beta), but it does seem to be formulated with the effective concentration. In fact, “SCCS decided in 2016 that this ingredient is not safe to use in finished products at a use rate greater than 3%.” (Source) The 3.0% concentration above is spot on.

I haven’t found studies about the penetration of arbutin, but if it is a cousin of hydroquinone, it should have wayy better penetration ability than vitamin C derivatives, which is known to fare poorly in terms of penetration.

How it Fared

Did the Chifure Essence W do anything for my skin? Kick the sunspots in the butt? Nah… In the month that I’ve been using this, didn’t make my skin look great, but its not significantly worse than than the time when I was using Melano CC (read review), which I do consider my gold standard.

I can’t be certain because I did not take a scientific approach to my use of products. No objective, no control and hurhur squinting at my sun spots in the mirror daily is a poor way of determining if the product is working.

Another factor in my lack of proper conclusion or thoughts for this product, is that I got through the bottle shockingly quickly. I don’t even think 30ml lasts me 1.5 months. Its just a blink of the eye and I’m down to the last 1/3 of the bottle.

I can say though, that in terms of texture, it is slightly tackier than the original Chifure Essence. For the nighttime, there is absolutely no problem with layering. For day time I’d have to be more careful. There were one day i piled on a little too much in the morning, and my sunscreen (Biore UV Perfect Milk) pilled, though granted it happened for many other products, like the COSRX Snaily Serum (read review) as well.

Another complaint is how difficult it is to get hold of Chifure products in the international market / online. All of the Chifure items I own, I bought (or my lovely friends / colleagues did) at the physical MatsuKiyo stores in Japan. Amazon Jp does carry it but it is not on Prime or eligible for international shipping. When I realised how quickly I’m using the serum up, I tried really hard to find viable shopping / shipping options, but there’re none. Darn you Japanese drugstores!!

All in all, this product is worth a try. Or two or three tries. I have another friend heading to Japan for vacation in September this year, so I think I’ll be able to get a few more refills to do a proper review.

 

Decent but still lacking: Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream

Hello! First off, why are there zero posts in May? That’s because I went off to take an exam, which thank dear Lord is over ( -̩̩̩͡˛ -̩̩̩͡ )  Preparing for examinations while working is nasty, so nope, no Instagram, no WordPress, no Facebook ( ᵒ̴̶̷̥́ _ᵒ̴̶̷̣̥̀ )

Now onward to my first post in a while. I bought the Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream very early on during the #MyABRideorDie challenge on Instagram back in April. I’ve seen it before on social media, but when people are claiming this is their rideordie, I’ve got to try it.

Ingredients List

The ingredients list is promising, with a nice range of humectants like the standard glycerin, butylene glycol as well as sodium hyaluronate and honey. I highlighted some ingredients that I like, but I don’t normally judge a product based on the formula alone. Head over to CosDNA for the list of possible trigger ingredients.

Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, naicinamide, dipentaerythritol hexa C5-9 acid esters, sodium hyaluronate, xanthan gum, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, polyacrylate-13, polyisobutene, polysorbate 20, hydrogenated lecithin, C14-28 alkyl acid, stearyl alcohol, benenyl alcohol, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, dimethicone, adenosine, glyceryl stearate SE, cetearyl alcohol, polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, stearic acid, tocopheryl acetate, sodium polyacrylate, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, centella asiatica extract, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oil, human oligopeptide-1 (EGF), argania spinosa (argan) oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter extract, ceramide 3, trehalose, calendula officinaalis flower extract, caprylhydroxamic acid, 1,2-hexanediol, raphanus sativus (radish) leaf extract, oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, cucurbitaceae (gourd) extract, orchid extract, honey extract, panax ginseng root extract, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, shea butter, phytosphingosine, ceteareth-20, glyceryl citrate/lactate/linoleate/oleate, fragrance

My Skin Type and Concerns

Now before heading on to my thoughts about this product, bear in mind what I look out for may be totally different from you. If we’re skin sisters, GREAT! If we’re aren’t, you know to take things with a pinch of salt, right (○゜ε^○)

  • Normal skin type
  • Hardy for the most part, able to tolerate most ingredients such as a small quantity of alcohol in skincare
  • Hyper-pigmentation on spots where old blemishes healed
  • Dehydration lines on forehead and around nasolabial folds
  • Dark circles and visible veins in under-eye area
  • Occasional bouts of irritation, dryness and sensitivity

Now because of my normal skin type, theoretically I should be able to use creams and moisturisers of all textures with no problems, but over the years I have developed a liking to some textures over others. My favorite types of creams are stiff and buttery, sinks in quickly, and produces a satiny finish. (Like this and this)

The Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream is unlike anything that I’ve tried.

It is stringy, gooey, and if I didn’t know better I’d think that the main ingredient is 99% snail goo. The texture doesn’t really bother me but it takes some getting used to. Using a spatula to scoop out the cream is a MUST. Now despite the appearance, it spreads very easily and dries down quickly enough without a hint of heaviness afterwards. Because of its light texture, I experimented using it as a day cream under sunscreen and makeup as well as a night cream.

Annnd that’s when the problems come in. On the days that I wear the cream alone, the tightening feeling that accompanies dryness sets in within a few hours. The effect is not very pronounced in the daytime, but when used as a night cream, my skin literally shrivels up like a dehydrated peach the next morning, with none of the well resting morning glow that I look for.

It helps to apply this in two thick layers, which helps with the dehydration. Using a facial oil like HABA Squalane (read review) under the cream also does help. My favoured way of using it is as a sleeping pack, on top of my regular moisturiser. To put it simple, it’s not cutting it on its own.

I compared the ingredients list of a my current favourite cream with the Beauty of Joseon Cream, and that’s when I noticed a lot of difference.

Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Intensive Care Cream (CosDNA):

Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, hydrogenated olive oil lauryl esters, squalane, diamethicone, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, butyrospermum parkii butter, diisostearyl malate, jojoba esters, cetearyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, lentinus edodes extract, hydrolyzed ginseng saponins, panax ginseng root extract, aspergillus ferment, paeonia albiflora root extract, zingiber officinale root extract, cnidium officinale root extract, angelica acutiloba root extract, glyceryl stearate, cyclopentasiloxane, trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG-100 stearate, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl glucoside, hydroxyethyl acrylate/ sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, glyceryl caprylate, carbomer, tromethamine, ethylhexylglycerin, adenosine, theobroma cacao extract, dextrin, 1,2-hexanediol, hydrogenated lecithin, sodium polyaspartate, phytosphingosine, sodium methyl stearoyl taurate, disodium EDTA, fragrance

Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream (CosDNA):

Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, naicinamide, dipentaerythritol hexa C5-9 acid esters, sodium hyaluronate, xanthan gum, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, polyacrylate-13, polyisobutene, polysorbate 20, hydrogenated lecithin, C14-28 alkyl acid, stearyl alcohol, benenyl alcohol, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, dimethicone, adenosine, glyceryl stearate SE, cetearyl alcohol, polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 dimethicone, stearic acid, tocopheryl acetate, sodium polyacrylate, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, centella asiatica extract, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oil, human oligopeptide-1 (EGF), argania spinosa (argan) oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter extract, ceramide 3, trehalose, calendula officinaalis flower extract, caprylhydroxamic acid, 1,2-hexanediol, raphanus sativus (radish) leaf extract, oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, cucurbitaceae (gourd) extract, orchid extract, honey extract, panax ginseng root extract, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, shea butter, phytosphingosine, ceteareth-20, glyceryl citrate/lactate/linoleate/oleate, fragrance.

The bolded ingredients above are ingredients that act as emollients, which help to reduce rough and flaky skin. Many emollients also double as occlusive agents and help to retain moisture. In the Hanyul cream, there are a lot more emollient ingredients and they’re further up on the ingredients list, while in the Beauty of Joseon Cream, emollient ingredients are more dispersed throughout the list.

Now I’ve never really realised what is it that I like in a moisturiser, but now it is clear. Bring on the emollients and occlusives!

Verdict

The Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream is decent as a daytime moisturiser and a sleeping pack, but definitely lacking in emollient or oil properties to be a good nighttime moisturiser for my normal skin type.

Combination to oily skins can give it a try, but I doubt this will be enough for dry skins without pairing with facial oils or heavily layering with other skincare.

Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Intensive Care Cream

When I learnt that Hanyul line is being revamped and the Rich Effect Cream is no more, I felt bereft. I held on to the hope that the reformulations are not much different from the original. (In SK-II, the RNA Power was rebranded from the Stempower line with a bit of reformulation). But soon I realised that in Hanyul seemed to be a total overhaul. The Rich Effect line was repackaged to Seo Ri Tae line, but the Cream is gone*.ヾ(;゚Д゚;)シ

And with that realisation came the bitterness, loads and loads of bitterness which lead me to step away from the brand for a while. (Alright, I promise that this will be the last time that I willl harp about my old HG.) But now, I’ve come back because life has to move on. And because the Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Intensive Care Cream looks like a great treat to the skin.

The claim to fame

The Baek Hwa Goh Cream claims to restore the skin’s vitality and elasticity, what ever that means. The star ingredient is the baek hwa goh extract i.e. extract from shiitake mushrooms. Using mushrooms in skincare is not unique to Asian products nor is it very exotic. The Dr. Andrew Weil Mega-Mushroom line from Origins also relies on extracts from mushrooms.

I have used another cream with mushroom ingredients, the DHC Kakonjuka Cream, which I wrote about in my first ever post here on October 2013 (4 years ago OMG). I liked that cream but I didn’t repurchase because I didn’t have major skin concerns then. Its a whole different story now…

Ingredients

Head over to CosDNA for the full ingredients list. The key ingredient is the lentinus edodes extract: extract from shiitake mushrooms, which is shown to have both antioxidant and anti-irritant properties. Studies show shiitake mushrooms are rich in compounds that reduce redness and calm irritated skin with topical application: polysaccharides, triterpenes, proteins, lipids, phenols, and cerebrosides (Source) **.

Other ingredients include:

  • Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins are saponins derived from ginseng that are hydrolyzed by acid, enzyme or other method of hydrolysis
  • Panax Ginseng Root Extract – Which is the main ingredient in other star products like the Sulwhasoo Revitalizing Overnight
  • Aspergillus Ferment – Fermentation extract from a aspergillus, a type of mould.
  • Also high up on the ingredients list are glycerin and squalane, two well known humectants and antioxidants.

Not much help, but you can see the stiff texture of the cream here

How I incorporate this into my routine

I apply Baek Hwa Goh Intensive Care Cream as the last or second to last step in my skincare routine:

Toner > Fermented Essence > Serum > Hydrating Serum OR Sheet Mask > Moisturiser > Sleep Pack (Optional)

It is strictly for night time use only because I live in the tropics and it is humid all year round. If you live in a dryer climate, you can get away with using this in the day time.

I use a chickpea sized amount of the cream to cover my face. Most of it is absorbed immediately, but it leaves behind a thin, glossy sheen that is smooth but not sticky. From the first use, I can say it is very very similar to the Rich Effect Cream (NOT the Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream), and its got me almost shedding tears of joy. It has the exact same texture as the Rich Effect Cream, something like butter (don’t question me about my memory because I dream about my HG every night). It is thick and emollient, but absorbs splendidly, without the cloying feeling of dimethicones sitting on top of the skin.

Aside from the texture, I’m wild about the scent as well. I don’t catch any mushroom, but I can definitely place the ginseng. I love ginseng.

The next morning I wake up to really well rested skin, a little like the Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask (featured here). I have not had this kind of feeling from a cream for a very long time. The last one was actually SK-II Stempower, which cost me an arm and a leg (Hanyul cost me just an arm, thank you).

One last thing, please please bear in mind my skin type and my skin concerns when you read my review! What works for me may not work for you. You can head over to my Beauty Profile, but if you’re lazy to click, here you go:

  • Normal skin type
  • Hardy for the most part, able to tolerate most ingredients such as a small quantity of alcohol in skincare
  • Hyperpigmentation on spots where old blemishes healed
  • Dehydration lines on forehead and around nasolabial folds
  • Dark circles and visible veins in under-eye area
  • Occasional bouts of irritation, dryness and sensitivity

Verdict

This is a pure gushing post. I don’t see why this will not suit your skin, unless you don’t handle oils in your skincare well and you prefer a gel texture. Get it! Its is potential HG for me.

Why potential HG? Hurhurhur as I’m writing this, two more Hanyuls: Seo Ri Tae Skin Refining Cream and Seo Ri Tae Firming Sleeping Pack are making its way to me from Korea. I have high hopes for the Seo Ri Tae Skin Refining Cream, so I shan’t count my chickens for now~

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* The Hanyul Seo Ri Tae Anti-Aging Cream is not the old Hanyul Rich Effect Cream. Seriously, the texture is very different. Look at beautifulbun’s review and pics of it here.

** Studies on the benefits of mushroom derivatives on skin: Mushroom Cosmetics: The Present and Future (Link)

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules

This serum claims to enhance the skins’ barrier repair function, increasing moisture and minimise the appearance of aging signs. Sounds exciting? Wait till you hear the name:

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum (ノ-_-)ノ~ ┻━┻

What a mouthful. Lets just call them Ceramide Capsules shall we. I’ve gone through 3 months worth of these capsules so it is time for a review.

The tiny transparent ones are for the eyes which I’m not reviewing because I’m lazy 🙂

The Fuss About Ceramides

The key ingredient is ceramide. The cosmetic scientists over at The Beauty Brains have a super informative episode on ceramides which everyone should go listen to, but if you’re short of time, here’s what the fuss is about:

  • Ceramides are fats which that are major components of skin’s outer layers, and acts as a moisture barrier.
  • Ceramide are shown to be able to penetrate the skin layers.
  • Ceramides do penetrate the skin, but it needs to be combined with other ingredients in a specific ratio for optimal effect: around 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 15% free fatty acids
  • The mechanism of ceramide as an ingredient is not really well understood, but based on available evidence, they help to repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture

So, after understanding the mechanics of ceramides, things start to get less certain. The specific ratio of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids are the most daunting. In addition, it is impossible to identify the ratio of ingredients based on the ingredient list alone. Therefore, honestly, even if a product ticked all the right boxes, you have to put faith in them that they are in the right ratios.

Ingredients

I will direct you to the trusty CosDNA for the full list, but here are the star ingredients:

  • Ceramides: Ceramide 1, Ceramide 6 II, Phytosphingosine
  • Fatty acids: Isostearic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, oleic acid
  • Squalene is the less saturated sister of squalane, and chemically less stable. But the capsule packaging should allow the contents to remain fresh for each use.
  • Retinyl linoleate and retinyl palmitate are both very far down in the ingredients list, which means that they are present in trace amounts and not likely to be in high enough concentrations to do much for your skin, which is a bummer. A combination of linoleic acid and palmitic acid with vitamin A sounds really promising. I’m very surprised that both score a high 9 on safety (i.e. hazardous in the CosDNA rating system). Both ingredients have been linked to cancer and tumour growth by a study some years ago. But do read up more on this study and decide for yourself if it is worth the risk. I’ll link you up to Paula’s cosmetics directory here where you can read more.

It ticked all the boxes except for cholesterol, meaning that the ingredients will not be found in the golden ratio of 50:25:15. Does this mean it is not formulated for optimal skin absorption? Yeah, probably. Does this mean this product is totally ineffective? Nah. Just because something isn’t formulated in the optimal ratio does not mean that it is totally ineffective, but definitely it does plant a seed of doubt whether it is worth splurging on.

How i incorporate this in my routine

Exfoliating toner > Fermented Essence > Serum 1 > Serum 2 > Moisturiser

This is a little different from the regular routine steps which generally follows a serum with a hydration serum or sheet mask. Because it is an oil based product, I like to layer it behind another serum and follow up with moisturiser immediately. No hydration step involved.

The serum goes on with the texture of a thin face oil, but absorbs quickly without a hint of greasiness. Within minutes you see an improvement in dehydration lines and rough patches. A huge contributor of that smooth feel is the diamethicone, which is the base for the products i.e. The first ingredient. After a while you can recognize the silicone feel, and the feeling isn’t that great.

Chemistry isn’t my suit here, but I wonder if it is even necessary for the serum to be packaged in individual capsules. Is there any ingredient that easily degrades, oxidises or breaks down?

Verdict

I am less likely to recommend high-end products because I feel the pain when I buy something expensive and it doesn’t work. Testing out an affordable product is simple enough. If I hate a Mizon products, it is just $10 flushed down the drain. I cannot say the same for a $100 product though. Think about how many Mizons and COSRX I can buy with that money.

I’m hoping for more genuine reviews for high end beauty products. You know, just honest and objective thoughts about products, (as long as it is not paraphrased from the brand’s media kit).

All things considered, I can say the Ceramide Capsules is decent for normal to dry skin types. The possible drawbacks, aside from the prohibitive price, are:

  • Diamethicones as the first ingredient
  • Lack of cholesterol in formula

Where to Buy

You can find this in your local mall, but hey, I don’t buy stuff at my local mall because they’re so expensive. T.T I bought mine off strawberrynet when it was on sale, with 60 Face Capsule + 60 Eye Capsules coming to a total of US$58), which is not too bad. I would repurchase, but only with discounts.

Dud Alert: Hanyul Optimizing Mask

The first few weeks of February has been a crazy period for me. While I should be getting used to the peak season by now, it still shocks me when sometimes I get as little sleep as this:

I swear I age by 2 years every time I go through this ordeal. No amount of skincare products can reverse the damage caused by a serious lack of sleep. But if you have to push through a tough period like I have to, sleeping packs are here to help.

The Hanyul Optimizing Mask is an overnight cream mask which is to be used as the last step of your skincare routine, and claims that with just one night’s use, the skin will be visibly smooth and radiant. It is a sister product to the older and more well-loved Hanyul Optimizing Serum (my 2013 review).

Ingredients List

I will direct you to the trusty CosDNA for the full list of ingredients and the list of possible triggers (there’s quit a few). Some key ingredients of note:

  • The star ingredients niacinamide and squalane
  • Pinus Sylvestris Leaf Extract: Extract from the leaves of Scotch Pine
  • Morus Alba Leaf Extract: A skin conditioning agent extracted from the leaves of white mulberries
  • Tricholoma Matsutake Extract: A skin conditioning agent extracted from mushrooms
  • Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Extract: A skin conditioning agent extracted from kernels of apricots

The main selling point of this product is in its fermented brown pine needle extract which is supposed to soften and restore the skin. BUT to my horror, Pinus Sylvestris Leaf Extract is listed in the CosIng database as a “tonic”, which is defined as an ingredient that “produces a feeling of well-being on skin and hair”. Wait… it means there is no established research into the efficacy of the star ingredient? ლ(ಠ_ಠ ლ)

I mean, fine, a lack of research doesn’t bother me so much, because it doesn’t mean a product is not effective. In particular, I did see results with the Optimizing Serum and like it so much that I used up 2 bottles. So theoretically, I should like the mask as well.

hanyul-optimizing-mask-02

How it fared

The Optimizing Mask is stickier than any other sleeping packs that I have used before. Even my heavy duty favorite Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Pack (featured in my repurchases) eventually absorbs and settles into the skin, but the Hanyul forms a layer of slightly sticky film. So side-sleepers beware, you’ll need to take extra care of your pillowcases when you apply the Optimizing Mask. Even as a rather light sleeper I sometimes wake up with hair plastered all over one side of my face. Definitely not sexy.

A key feature in sleeping packs that I look out for is the “morning after glow”. I want plump, soft and moisturised skin, like you actually got eight hours of sleep. I got it in the Sulwhasoo, and in the old Hanyul Rich Effect Overnight Mask (my 2014 review), but sad to say, not in this. I really don’t see it. It’s not BAD per se, but it hasn’t done anything. 😦

Hanyul is my skincare bias, and I really really want to like it, but nope.

hanyul-optimizing-mask-03

A quick comparison with Sulwhasoo

I’d say the Sulwhasoo trumps the Hanyul in all areas that I can think of:

  • Texture: Sulwhasoo wins. Hanyul is lightly more tacky and forms a protective layer on top of the skin, while Sulwhasoo sinks in and is more like a thick moisturiser than a mask.
  • Packaging: The Sulwhasoo tube is definitely more hygienic and convenient, but I do like the luxurious packaging of Hanyul.
  • Scent: I imagine some will like the milder scent of Hanyul as compared to the ginger and ginseng scent of Sulwhasoo. For myself, I LOVE GINGER 😉

Verdict

Nope. Sorry Hanyul. 😦

Where I bought it

I bought it on my local Qoo10. You can find it at Qoo10 Global here.

The Mega Skincare Empties Post

In the dusty corners of this blog, I found old posts which I drafted 2 years back which I did not post, because I was into the whole neglecting-my-blog thing. ๑•́ㅿ•̀๑) ᔆᵒʳʳᵞ

Most of the draft posts I’ll trash, because I forgot I’ve used those products (e.g. The History of Whoo Myeong-Ui-Hyang Secret Court Cream). But certain posts I think are worth sharing–2 empties posts from back in 2015, which featured an interesting range of products. Some are defunct / discontinued, but there are many that I am still repurchasing now.

So to give the old posts a new life, here I will combined 3 empties posts into 1:

  • March 2017
  • May & August 2015: Kept exactly how it is written 2 years ago, with any updates to my thoughts in italics.

Current Empties: March 2017

Melano CC Whitening Lotion (150g) is the companion to my favourite Melano CC Essence. I’ve enjoyed using this toner, but I’m not impressed by the dish soap scent. The Lotion relies on 2 derivatives of vitamin C, 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid (EAC) as well as the standard ascorbic acid. But who knows how stable the ingredients are in such a standard toner packaging. Not likely to repurchase.

Hada Labo Super Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (150g) I have no idea how many bottles of this I have gone through over my skincare life. It is a good product to have in anyone’s repertoire, but I think users need to be realistic about expectations. This is a hydrator which provides a boost of hydration. It doesn’t deliver antioxidant or vitamins and other goodness that you skin can benefit from. I will still repurchase (on and off) as a supplement to my standard hydration serum.

Dove Nutrium Moisture Face Foam Cleanser Sensitive (130g) is a decent foam cleanser which I’ve enjoyed using. My only anxiety comes from the fact that its pH level might be too high. I won’t know because I haven’t gotten myself pH test strips and stuff, because I’ve been busy! because I’ve been LAZY HAHAHA

HABA White Lady (30ml / Reviewis a SAP serum which is great to layer under daytime skincare. It doesn’t do much for spots but it is good for boosting overall clarity. I will not repurchase at this point, because I have 3 other brightening serums to try (Muahahaha Shiseido Haku Melanofocus, SK-II Aura and SK-II Spot)!

Melano CC Melanin Whitening Anti-Spot Essence (20g / ReviewIs much more effective than HABA White Lady in terms of spot reduction. If you’re into OST C20 (you’ll see four empties below from back in 2015), you should try this.

Flow Fushi Matsuge Biyou-eki (15g) is an eye gel and lash serum. After abusing my lashes I have stopped wearing mascara and eye liners to work, and applied this daily. No effect for now, but I’m giving it chance by using a second tube.

Shiseido Bio Performance Advanced Super Restoring Cream (50g) A HUGE NO IN CAPS. I hate the feel of diamethicones in this, and the cream is so difficult to spread and tap in.

Emptied the #shiseido Bio-Performance Advanced Super Restoring Cream yesterday! Took me close to 2 years 😒 not wild about this, so writing a quick review about my thoughts . My skin type is normal, so generally I can use gels and creams of all textures with no problems. This one, though, should be reserved for super-ultra desert dry skin only 🌵 🌵 🌵 The cream is a lot richer, thicker and more emollient than most other creams, and it can be difficult to spread, and impossible to massage. To apply this, you need to lightly tap and dab it into the skin until absorbed. . Following the application, my skin feels soft and smooth, but don’t be fooled, dimethicone is the 5th ingredient on the list 😱 Despite the texture of the cream which is more suited to dry skin (or someone who likes to spread heavy stuff on the face), it should still give you anti-aging benefits. There is a tiny tiny bit of “morning after glow”, but it is not enough for me to justify the price 💸 . So sorry, Restoring Cream, you ain’t for me. #donotbuy . #japaneseskincare #asianbeauty #rasianbeauty #skincare #skincareroutine #skincarejunkie #skincarediary

A post shared by A Banquet of Roses (@theskinchronicles) on Mar 21, 2017 at 8:59am PDT

Old Empties Post: August 7, 2015

May - June Empties (m)

Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence (155ml / ReviewIn my previous review I said I would not repurchase this essence, but I did. And I’ve used 3 whole bottles (hides).

Hanyul Optimizing Serum (120ml / Review) has survived the Hanyul revamp, but it now comes in a different packaging. I still like it for its calming effects on the skin, but age has necessitated that I need to amp up my dose of antioxidants, vitamins and skin-repairing ingredients. While I may still repurchase it, the days of using only the Korean brown bottle is over.

C20 Vitamin C Serum (15ml) is a necessity as I am recovering from holiday sun burns. is a much more affordable dupe for the La Roche-Posay Redermic C (featured here) series and its effect is very immediate and observable. [Update March 28, 2017: I prefer Melano CC now~ seriously, try it! ] 

Hanyul Finish Essence (50ml) I have never heard of this product, nor could I find it on the official website. It is supposed to be an all-in-one serum, moisturiser and primer used as a last step of skin care. I was not expecting much, because while Hanyul has its fair share of winners and HGs, but it also produced some fails like the Eungyeol Light Eye Cream (Review). Turns out this does exactly what it says and more. As a moisturiser, provides just the right amount of moisture and protection; as a primer, my make up stays put even hours after application. It’s a bit of a stretch to call it a serum, but for S$10 this is a bargain beauty purchase. [Update March 28, 2017: Didn’t manage to find this on Gmarket again, so I couldn’t repurchase.] 

I used to use Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil  to massage my calves after jogging. After an ankle injury last year, I’ve had problems jogging, so any exercise that is intensive on the ankle is out of the question for now. Nevertheless, I finished it with determination since oils will run rancid after a while. Not going to repurchase.

The Asahi Suhada Pack Gel is supposed to be a lotion, emulsion, serum, cream and mask in one. I suppose it is for busy (or lazy) people who have no time for the full set of skincare routine before sleep. The gel melts into the skin and becomes almost the consistency of water as I pat it in. It doesn’t do much except provide hydration through hyaluronic acid, so I found it quite boring after a while. Not going to repurchase.

And here comes the product I was most disappointed by. I was initially drawn by the advert of Mamonde Age Control Power Serum (40g) which is so darn pretty (see above). The product’s performance however is lackluster. It did not break me out, but the only thing memorable was the fragrance, which is what you look for in a perfume, not a serum. I guess the disappointment came because of the unreasonably high expectations from such a pretty poster AHAHA. Eventually I finished the bottle by mixing the serum in my body lotion.

Old Empties Post: May 17, 2015

Project Empties

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Cleansing Rich Oil (150ml) is just a bad cleansing oil, period. The whole point of using a cleansing oil is to be able to spend time to give the face a good massage (using the Caroline Hirons method) with the oil/balm as a lubricant. This oil emulsifies so so quickly that there isn’t time to work the product in at all. It came in a set of 3 when I bought it on Gmarket AmorePacific Store, so I still have 2 more bottles to work through though. I’ve learnt my lesson now! T.T [Update March 28, 2017: Finished up the remaining 2 bottles as sunscreen removers for body, still not impressed, I have not bought anything from the Face Shop since] 

Rosette Scrub (120g) us a dupe for Cure Natural Aqua Gel, and this is not up to the standard, but it is 20% of the price of Cure so I suppose it’s alright. [Update March 28, 2017: I am still using and repurchasing this!]

Kikumasamune Sake Lotion 菊正宗 日本酒の化粧水 (500ml) was lugged all the way from Japan in June this year. It is a really good toner, lasted me a good 6 months, so I should probably have bought a few more. Naris Up Skin Conditioner Pomegranate (500ml) is not used as a toner, but rather a DIY mask in the Chizu Saeki method. Soak 2 pieces of cotton pad with the conditioner and spread it on face like I would a mask. It doesn’t do much except provide a hydration boost, so I will not be purchasing again. [Update March 28, 2017: I am currently using my 3rd bottle of Kikumasamune Sake Lotion!] 

La Roche Posay Redermic R (40g) – is my second retinol product and a great introduction to the ingredient. It is only 5%, and therefore comes with none of the drawbacks of retinol such as skin irritation and flaking. I wish I could repurchase this, but sadly it is so expensive everywhere except Citi Pharma in Saint Germain. [Update March 28, 2017: I lost the photos for the LRP empties, but you can see some photos featured in my super old routine here]

La Roche Posay Redermic C (40g) Nah. Go for cheaper alternatives like OST C20. [Update March 28, 2017: Nah go for Melano CC! ] 

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (30ml / Review) I still don’t know how I feel about this facial oil. The first few months really gives amazing results, the effect declined after a while, but even after a second bottle, I can’t decide if it is worth the money. [Update March 28, 2017: The uncertainty remains! In 2016 I used the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate as well, I still can’t decide for sure it I will repurchase either.]

There’s nothing to be said about Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask (118ml / Review), except it is one product that does not deserve the many rave reviews floating out there in internet.

 

There you have it, my cheat 3 in 1 empties post! As I get older i go through skincare a lot more quickly than I used to (I really don’t wanna see myself aging) so I’d expect to write a lot more empties posts this year~