Monthly Archives: April 2014

Quick Reviews: April 2014 (Mixed)

Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_EX (80ml)

Sleep mask is a fairly new addition to my skincare regime. I’ve only started using this last year and it’s the only gelish sleep mask I’ve owned. Normally at night I’d shower and finish my skincare routine, and get on with my work for another five, six hours before sleeping. By that time, my skin would already be dried out, tight and uncomfortable from the air-conditioning. The sleep mask comes in handy at those times, I’ll slather a layer on top of my routine and go off to bed. It helps with the tightness and occasionally peeling.

I’d want to try other sleep masks before repurchasing. I do enjoy this a lot.

Perfect Image Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel (30ml)

I still don’t dare to use this on my face. When I first got it I’ve tested it on my legs and arms, and they tingle a lot, veering on the edge of stinging. I tried it diluted on my neck, and argh, it feels like setting my skin aflame. I think peels and I don’t mix well. So far, the only one that I like and have seen results with are the Andalou masks. The rest I either cannot bear to apply on my face, or they give my acne.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Fluide Extreme (30ml)

As much as I like LRP, I must say I dislike this product. It leaves a white cast and does not absorb well. Will not repurchase. 

Cure Natural Aqua Gel (250ml)

This is a well-known product for a number of years now. Apply this on cleansed and dried skin, and rub gently, the dead skin will come off. It does help to rid of peeling skin on skin surface, so that your makeup can at least stick, and perhaps allow moisturizer to be more easily absorbed. Unlike chemical exfoliants, though, this is unlikely to do anything to help with wrinkles, moisture, acne, blackheads and whiteheads.

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Review: Weleda Cellulite Oil

An update from the last post about cellulite, I’ve lost quite a bit of fat along my body, but lost only 2kg, that means I must be gaining some muscle mass. Yay! Those cellulite remains when I squeeze the thighs, of course. Deviant, stubborn things.

Weleda Cellulite Oil 01

After my run and shower, I like to spend at least 15 mins on massaging my calves. I feel like it helps loosen the tightness the remains even after full rounds of stretching. This is where Weleda Cellulite Oil comes handy. You can see it comes in a greenish-tinged oil, a very fluid texture and quite easily absorbed on wet skin. It is also nice to massage using the oil as well. I enjoy the scent which I cannot place, probably citrus but a bit woody too. I will not go into its effects, because like all cellulite products I don’t expect them to work. It can probably replace a body moisturizer, but its slightly too greasy for my liking.

Weleda Cellulite Oil 03

Weleda Cellulite Oil 02

It’s  also quite expensive for a mixture of oils. With my budding interest in DIY, I tried mixing my own concoction after studying the ingredients list above. I used apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, rosemary and lavender essential oils, but the scent is just not the same, duh. I tried replacing birch with cedar, because I couldn’t find birch essential oil. It’s one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever had, shall not go into that.  

I expected my DIY to be cheaper, but it isn’t really–I don’t buy the carrier oils in bulk, I don’t own essential oil collections, so to whip something up I have to specially buy a bottle of essential oil. Not very smart of me, I guess I’ll have to continue experiment to finish what I have.

I will not repurchase this, maybe will go tinkering with my test tubes a little more.

Ingredients List: Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Fragrance (Parfum)*, Betula Alba (Birch) Leaf Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Root Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Limonene*, Linalool*, Geraniol*, Citral*.

Ginseng Mania: Sooryehan Red Ginseng Juice Cream

Sooryehan Red Ginseng Juice Cream

After much experimentation with brands under Amore Pacific, I finally got to try something from its rival, LG. I guess Sooryehan is a competitor of Hanyul, both being brands that are inspired by oriental medicine. Since I loved the Hanyul Rich Effect Creams so much, I thought the similar-sounding Sooryehan Red Ginseng Juice Cream is a good place to start. I got the following information from the LG website:

An oriental medicine-based enriched essence whose nourishing pure gold and royal jelly ingredients, along with seosiogyongdan and gukhwaeum borrowed from reigning beauties’ make-up regimens, interact for the balanced delivery of the efficacy of oriental medicine to the skin. It stimulates and firms the skin to restore a vitalized and healthy look.

Right. I have no idea what is seosiogyongdan or gukhwaeum, nor do I know if there is scientific research supporting their effectiveness in skincare, let’s just leave that part out. The cream is more of a cream-gel, with texture similar to the Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Gel (read review). It is quick to absorb and settle very nicely on the skin.

Sooryehan Red Ginseng Juice Cream 02

I haven’t observed any revitalizing effects from this cream. It is very good at supplying the skin with moisture and keeping it there after a night of air-conditioning. But the “morning glow” after waking up in the morning is notably absent, unlike the any of the Hanyul Rich Effect creams. I’d categorize this as a very basic hydration moisturizer, like the HydraQuench Cream-Gel. It works fine, but you can have better.

Another thing that really bugs me is the cloying fragrance in this product. While the initial ginseng scent is pleasant, it soon fades away, leaving an overpowering powdery scent that lasts for hours. I hate it when fragrance in cosmetics do that.

Repurchase? No, the fragrance really killed it for me.

A State of Emergency

For the past three weeks, my skin’s been wrecking havoc, as a result of my irregular hormonal cycle. I’m not always affected by skin problems during PMS, but the severe lack of sleep and stress must be getting to me. I was affected by these pesky problems:

  • Tiny blemishes on cheekbones and forehead
  • Dry and peeling skin on cheeks
  • Peeling fingertips
  • Severe dehydration lines on forehead

It is impossible to use my regular skincare products in this state. Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_EX, for example, sting really badly.  I went on to experiment with all of the products that I own, to identify those can be tolerated, and those that must be avoided. Below are my emergency skincare products:

Skincare emergency

  1. Cure Natural Aqua Gel—to get rid of the patches of peeling skin, I didn’t dare to apply a chemical exfoliant in case the blemishes are further aggregated. I opted for the Aqua Gel which is a physical exfoliant. Dead skin is removed through the gentle rubbing motion.
  2. IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning (read review)—it quite a surprise that there is no stinging or tingling when applied to skin. I did not really love this product when used on normal days. However, I’ve read how SK II helped people with acne prone skin so I’m giving it a shot, since it is a dupe of the SK II. It’s been working out great.
  3. L’Herboflore Masks (read review)—for added moisture to the peeling skin. All masks are essentially humectanta, so it doesn’t matter what “flavor” you choose. Even though these masks contain fragrance, they feel really comfortable, non-irritating and hydrating to the skin.
  4. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask—used as a moisturizer rather than a mask. Even without fragrance, there is a mild tingling sensation when applied, but much better than any other moisturizer.

I did not touch most of my other products, because anti-aging or whitening is not my priority, and fragrance and fragile skin doesn’t mix. I feel safer just sticking to the most basic items with simple ingredients. I have only used the four products above in the past three weeks, and my skin is on its way to recovery. I will not declare them miracle products, since I’m sure much of it is my body’s natural healing process, but they’ve worked out fine. I do wish I have La Roche-Posay Cicaplast on hand though, it sounds wonderful for damaged skin.

Aside from skincare products, there are also some natural remedies, both applied topically and taken orally:

  1. Manuka Honey—Apply a small dollop on a white head and covered the spot with a piece of cotton pad (or a band-aid), it will go down the following morning. Preferably higher UMF.
  2. Honey & Cinnamon Mask—Mix cinnamon powder with raw honey and apply to trouble spots, leave for 20 minutes. Both honey and cinnamon are anti-bacterial. Use a cheaper honey (manuka honey with lower UMF, raw honey, regular honey) for this as the mask t is going to be washed away soon.
  3. Evening Primrose Oil—Taken orally to help reduce PMS symptoms, promote and maintain hormonal balance.
  4. Flaxseed Oil—Caroline Hiron recommended taking fish oil or flaxseed oil for people with problem skin in her article here.
  5. Vitamins—I don’t think severe vitamin deficiency is the cause of peeling skin in my case, I’m not malnourished. But still, a little vitamin boost won’t hurt, especially since I’ve stopped taking them regularly in the past few months.

Of course, the best course of action is to eat well, sleep well and be stress-free. If you cannot do any of those (like me), then think of teddy bears and flowers, let thoughts of happier memories push you through the tough times! 🙂

Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream

Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream 01

I keep getting the idea that Sulwhasoo and Hanyul are the same products but with different price ranges. I mean, they both are oriental medicine-based skincare under the Amore Pacific group, and technology and research should flow within the group, right? When I placed my order for Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream, I figured if Hanyul is supposed to be a more affordable version of Sulwhasoo, I should like the latter just as much if not more. I couldn’t be more wrong.

The Essential Firming Cream is from Sulwhasoo’s basic skin care range. It claims to:

Restore elasticity and tone… blended with potent Korean medicinal herbs to instantly firm slackened skin while stimulating collagen for long-term lift. Detoxifying adlay millet promotes elasticity while contouring. Pomegranate, green tea, and gingko fight free radicals to maintain youthful tone and increase radiance.

Right there you can see how wrong it is to compare the Essential Firming Cream with my favorites. The Rich Effect Cream is from the “Go-Gyeol-Jinaek” line in purple packaging, which is for mature skin. If I were to be totally fair, I should compare the Essential Firming Cream with a moisturizer from the Hanyul equivalent of basic skincare line, which will be the products in blue or green packaging.

Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream 02

The packaging is of course beautiful, the smooth and rounded frosted glass jar feels hefty in my hands. I expected a ginseng, or at least herbal scent, not really. It’s instead very spicy, for the lack of a better word. The texture is thicker than regular creams but absorbs easily without forming a film.

And here come the part I dislike—leave the product on for two or three hours and you’ll know why it claims to be firming. I don’t know if it is the dryness of the air, but my face feels uncomfortably taut after a while, and like the Revitalizing Cream, I must also rely on a sleep mask for extra moisture when I go to bed.

Moreover, as a moisturizer, it is honestly plain basic. It is alright at providing moisture, but it isn’t all that great at keeping the moisture there. Moreover, I do not observe much improvements after using this for months. But then again, I was indeed getting a lot more sleep when I was trying out Hanyul products. If I had lower expectations I wouldn’t be as disappointed.

Still, I will be moving on after I’m done with this, not repurchasing!

The Hanyul Review Series III: Rich Effect Whitening Powder Serum

Hanyul Rich Effect Whitening Powder Serum

When I first heard of the Hanyul Rich Effect Whitening Powder Serum I was puzzled. How can a serum be in powder form? Turns out it isn’t. The name came about due to the the serum having separated the serum part and powder part.

Hanyul Rich Effect Whitening Powder Serum 02

The product comes in a bottle with a screw-on cap, and a separate pump feature. The bottle contains the serum, while the screw-on cap contains the powder. To release the powder, you press down the nozzle and the compartment sealing off the powder will be punctured. Then, just shake to mix well, and you’re done! Just replace the inefficient cap with a pump and the serum is ready to be finished within the next 3 months.

This is not the first time that I have encountered such an interesting serum. The steps are exactly like the Biotherm Skin.ergenic Serum, even the effective period of 3 months is the same. So, a coincidence or a case of copycats? Either way, both sound innovative and really fun to use.

Hanyul Rich Effect Whitening Powder Serum 03.jpg

The serum is watery, light, easily absorbed and for once it seems like a Hanyul product is heavily fragranced. There is the herbs there, yes, but something about it just smells artificial. I don’t mind it though, it is quite pleasant. A few spots popped up along the way, especially in the first 2 weeks, but they always recovered fast enough, before I had to use any benzyl peroxide on them.

I really don’t have much to say about it’s effects. Whitening. Do you really expect anything to? The hyper-pigmentation spots from my last round of using Guerlain Melanine Diet Treatment (read review) is still there. No brightening observed too, but that may be due to my severe lack of sleep.

The Hanyul Review Series III: Rich Effect Overnight Mask

Hanyul Rich Effect Overnight Mask 01

I bought this hoping that it will be a nice replacement for Laneige Water Sleeping Pack. I expected it to be of a gelish, watery texture, and supply much needed hydration when my moisturizer is not enough. Turns out, this is honestly like the other rich moisturizer in the Hanyul Rich Effect range, except that it is more uncomfortable.

Hanyul Rich Effect Overnight Mask 02

The mask is a light grayish-brown cream which settles into a brown, transparent layer after an hour. It forms a waxy layer on my skin afterwards. I’d say the only difference between the mask and the Rich Effect Creams is that it is impossible to wear the mask as a moisturizer due to the brown patches it forms on the skin.  In addition, the moisturizer is a lot more comfortable as there is no additional heavy barrier.

Will not repurchase. I’m currently using the cream around my mouth and on my forehead where all the wrinkles will appear.