Monthly Archives: August 2017

Brightening Skincare: SK-II Genoptics Spot Essence

Hey lovely friends, I have a very important review for you today.

I have always wished that there are more genuine reviews of high-end skincare products out there. If we are parting with a significant chunk of our money, we should be armed with better information than we have.

Many brands collaborate with bloggers for product launches or social media advertorials and endorsements, which can present as a conflict of interest. Many of these relationships are not clearly disclosed and we (consumers) may believe these blog posts, tweets, Instas to be independent statements without the necessary information. In many cases, it is abundantly clear that someone received a free sample for review or is paid to write about it (seriously, you know what I mean). But there are also those sneaky ones that eventually lead to court cases for misrepresentation.

Anyhow, I find myself very cynical when I see the same words on blogs that are straight out from the media kits. I gave up on searching for reviews on this batch of SK-II products before I bought them. If I want genuine reviews, I will do it myself. Here it is! 😉

Ingredients List

Water, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (i.e. Pitera), Butylene Glycole, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Triethylhexanoin, Glycerin,Pentylene Glycol, Nylon-12, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Inositol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Boron Nitride, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, PEG-20, Sorbitane Cocoate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimenthicone Crosspolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-11 Methyl Ether Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Laureth-7, Benzyl Alcohol, Aminomethyl Propanol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Hexyldecanol, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Tocopherol, Zea Mays Oil/Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Methicone, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 75130 (Beta-Carotene).

To assess the ingredients list, I looked at the first 15 ingredients as well as their function. Why the first 15? Well, ingredients are listed in descending order, starting with the largest amount in the product. If I look at more than 15, I’d have lost you, my readers and probably myself too.

Water

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate – The star ingredient in all SK-II skincare. There is some research demonstrating that galactomyces ferment filtrate has a protective effect on the skin barrier, and helps to prevent damage to the integrity of the skin barrier.

Butylene Glycol – Commonly-used ingredient that has multiple functions in cosmetics, including as a texture enhancer. It’s similar to propylene glycol, but has a lighter texture.

Cyclopentasiloxane – Silicone based skin-conditioning agent

Niacinamide – Aka vitamin B3, helps to even skin tone, reduce fine lines and dullness. It is very high up in the list, which I am happy about.

Triethylhexanoin – Skin conditioning

Pentylene Glycol – Solvent and skin-replenishing agent, much like butylene glycol (above) and propylene glycol

Nylon-12 – absorbent, texture enhancer and mattifyer

Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate – Skin conditioning, occlusive

Inositol – A sugar (which are generally humectants)

Polymethylsilsesquioxane – I’ve no idea what this does.

Boron Nitride – Skin conditioning, oil absorbant

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – Skin-Conditioning Agent, occlusive

Panthenol – Alcohol form of the B vitamin pantothenic acid. Panthenol is used in skincare products as a humectant because of its ability to attract and hold moisture.

PEG-20 – Humectan, solvent

Of the first 15 ingredients, I only find pitera and niacinamide interesting. While I understand that a good formulation is more than just a smattering of actives, if I’m paying $200 for this 50 ml of essence, I want more bang for the buck.

Packaging and Texture

The Spot Essence comes in an elegant bottle. It is so beautiful that I put in more than the normal effort to give it a photoshoot to do it justice. The dropper is initially delightful as it dispenses the right amount for the whole face, but is absolute shit after a while. When I am halfway through the bottle, the dropper refused to pick up anything and I resorted to pouring out from the bottle or allow the Serum to drip down my palms from the sides of the dropper. It gets frustrating!

The serum itself is runny and milky. When applied, it leaves a matt finish (the mattifying effect of nylon-12 in action here). It works well under moisturisers and sunscreens, with no pilling observed for all combination of products.

DIS DROPPER DOESNT WORK

How I Use It

Toner > Fermented Essence > Serum > Oil > Moisturiser

I use it both day and night, as niacinamide, which appears to be the only active ingredient for brightening, is stable in heat and UV. I have not observed intense brightening that I have with the Rohto Melano CC Serum (review), but I did wake up to nicely moisturised and well-rested skin. This is especially on the days where I brought out the big guns and used the Spot Essence in conjunction with HABA Squalane (review), Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Cream (review) and Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalising Mask (review).

However, it is not as ground breaking as the first time that I’ve used Estee Lauder ANR (review).

After the initial period of testing, I am now using it solely in the mornings (and saving the Melano CC aka ascorbic acid for night time).

Who It Is For

Not me. One purchase for trying is great, but I don’t have that much money to burn regularly on pitera and niacinamide.

If you have the budget, by all means get it. It is a decent splurge and it looks gorgeous on your vanity. 😉

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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