Monthly Archives: April 2017

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.

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~

.

* 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)

Advertisements

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.