Category Archives: Favorites

Holy Grail Skincare

I plan for this page to be constantly updated with a compilation of skincare products that I consider to be holy grails. I have to confess that I do have high standards !(*´∀`*)尸” and there are very few products that I consider to be HG worthy.

So ladies, let me present the super short list of my skincare HGs! ゝ(▽`*ゝ)

I. The Already HGs

i.e. True loves, not actively searching for anything in the same category

Chifure Essence (review)

  • Added: June 2015
  • My go-to hydration serum for daily use, even when I’m battling bouts of dryness, sensitivity or the rare acne
  • Very very affordable boost of instant hydration

II. The Potential HGs

i.e. Love them, but the love needs to withstand the test of time

Rohto Melano CC Medicated Intensive Spot Correcting Serum (review)

  • Added: December 2016
  • Current on tube number 2, best AA serum used thusfar
  • Stable formula, excellent packaging, can be layered under other skincare products
  • Crazy affordable for a vitamin C serum

Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner

  • Added: February 2017
  • Beautiful beautiful exfoliating slash pH adjusting toner

Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Intensive Care Cream

  • Added: February 2017
  • Rich, emollient, luxurious texture
  • I wake up to well-rested and glowing skin

III. The ex-HGs

i.e. Loved them madly, but they’ve passed on

Hanyul Rich Effect Cream (review)

  • Added: March 2014
  • Killed as part of Hanyul revamp here. Note: The Hanyul Seo Ri Tae Anti Ageing Cream is NOT the Rich Effect Cream! The texture is completely different!

New on the Hit List: Rohto Melano CC

Warning! This is a new entry to my potential HG list: Rohto Melano CC Medicated Intensive Spot Correcting Serum (¥1,058 for 20ml). Potential HG is when I love the product like a litter of newborn kittens, but as a rational woman I have to exercise restraint and see if this love can withstand the test of time.

And can you believe it, my Holy Grails tag currently features 1 product which has been discontinued, which is why potential HGs are so exciting.

rhoto-melano-cc-01

HAHA FOR A VITAMIN C SERUM OF COURSE I HAD TO USE A LEMON AS A PROP

The product claims to suppress melanin production and prevent spots, freckles, acne and breakouts, which topical application of vitamin C is proven to do. The vitamin C variety in this serum is ascorbic acid, which generally has the drawback of stinging upon application and a sometimes nasty citrus scent. Back in 2015 I had a stint with the OST C20 Serum, which features ascorbic acid as well. That baby stung (burnt) and made my skin look extremely greasy.

I can safely say that there is no stinging observed with Melano CC, but it does have the standard citrus scent. Like my dish soap. ARGH. Housework is not sexy.

The first time I used it, I applied it all over my face and man it got tingly and warm. Also, it has a rather oily texture so application to the whole face isn’t particularly appealing. BUT give it 5 mins and all the serum will be absorbed, and you can proceed to layer the rest of your skincare. I generally use it on my cheeks where I have some discolorations and freckles.

rhoto-melano-cc-03

THE TINIEST NOZZLE THAT YOU’LL SEE IN A SKINCARE PRODUCT

It comes in a silver tube with a tiny nozzle that dispenses the product in teeny drops. This is a great design for dispensing unstable compounds like ascorbic acid. Its been 3 months, and the serum still comes out clear, while OST C20 turned an ugly orange within a month of opening. While I had to keep the OST C20 in the fridge immediately after opening, I find that I don’t really have to do that with the Melano CC, though it is a good habit to practice for all vitamin C serums.

I’ve been using the serum consistently since last December and I’m almost done with the tube!

A quick comparison with other vitamin C serums

I have only used one other type of vitamin C derivative: the sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) aka HABA White Lady (review), but the Melano CC is a very good re-introduction to ascorbic acid. It trumps the OST C20 Serum in every single way. The packaging allows for more stability, it doesn’t sting and it doesn’t leave a sticky finish. Most important of all, I don’t need to have this mad scramble to finish the product before it oxidizes. Oh and the price is comparable to OST C20!

On a side note, I really want to try magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), which is supposed to be more effective than SAP.

Where to buy

I bought my 2 tubes on my trips to Japan, but you can also find it here on Qoo10 Global and Rakuten Global.

Other reviews

The fantastic Ratzillacosme wrote a glowing review of this serum.

Cuteness overload: L’Herboflore Sheet Masks

L'Herboflore Sheet Masks 01

Sorry, before everything else, I have to share these lovelies. These are my favorite sheet masks ever! I was reluctant to blog about them because it was impossible to purchase internationally, only in brick and mortar stores in Taiwan. Well, there’s no point dangling a carrot when nobody can get their hands on it, right? Not any more! The Womany Store now carries the (incomplete) line and do ship to a number of countries internationally!

I have not tried purchasing from the Womany Store yet. I still have a stash purchased from Taipei. When the masks run out, I will definitely buy again, despite the mark up on the e-store. The masks are fantastic fantastic stuff.

“L’Herboflore’s mission is to offer consumers high quality skincare at affordable prices.  Every detail of our products, including packaging, mask material, ingredients and fragrance, are designed meticulously to beof the highest quality.” Be surprised, it is not just marketing talk, it really does deliver every single promise that it makes.

  • They are affordable. The least expensive option start from NT$50 per piece, around USD$1.66. Not comparable to some of the Korean options, but these are a lot better.
  • The masks fit excellent. There are no pockets of air when you wear them, they’re like moulds to your skin.
  • The masks are lightly scented, but the fragrance does not sting. They can be used even on sun damaged or post glycolic peel skin.
  • They are excellent at providing moisture.
  • Each mask contains 30ml of essence. Comapred to Innisfree It’s Real (20ml), Aritaum Fresh Essence (20ml) and Missha Pure Source (21ml), they dry out a lot slower, and there’s plenty of essence to use further on your neck, décolletage or anywhere else.
  • Most importantly (to me at least), the packaging is designed by well-known illustrators in Taiwan, and they are darn cute.

L'Herboflore Sheet Masks 02

I have the Aegean SeaGarden of Venus and Party Sweetheart Collections. My favorites of those are (from TR) Rose Water Refining HydromaskDeep Sea Balancing MaskGrape Anti-Aging Hydromask and Sweety Black Tea Balancing Mask. If you have time, go have a look at their official website, browse the pretty packaging, I dare you to say you’re not enticed.

The almost HG: Hanyul Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream

Hanyul Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream 01

The Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream is another Hanyul product that I got the same time as the Optimizing Serum (read review). It claims to help to strengthen self-generating skin power, with emphasis on improving skin texture, elasticity and dryness. I’ll say it first, if I were to have a “Skincare Hall of Fame” this would be right at the top with Estée Lauder ANR. If you have been other entries in this blog you’ll know that I don’t gush about products or declare holy grails, but darn, this is getting close to gushing.

Like the Optimizing Serum, information about this product in English is elusive. There are English translations of the ingredients list on Koreadepart, but I will not post them here because I’m not sure if it is complete. Partial ingredients list includes:

  • Niacinamide & adenosine: well researched skincare ingredients
  • Angelica root extract: traditionally used in China, Japan and Korea as a whitening agent, with research support. I’ve actually heard of people who purchases this in powder form and mix their own whitening masks
  • Black bean extract: no research support
  • Coix extract: seems to be a fancy name for wheat germ oil
  • Apricot seed extract: aka apricot kernel oil
  • The list goes on. There is a combination of well-researched and what-is-that ingredients, but of course the ingredients list is really not important if the product works.

Hanyul Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream 02.1Hanyul Rich Effect Revitalizing Cream 02.2

The cream has a strong ginseng scent upon application but will dissipate within five minutes. The texture is very creamy and absorbs very nicely. It does not form a film on my skin as I had anticipated with the heavier creams. Like the ANR, I wake up in the morning with very well-rested skin. The effect is visibly better than the DHC Kakonjuka Cream (read review). While it is supposed to have anti-aging effects, I have not observe any long-term effects on the fine lines on my forehead and laugh lines (so far). That being said, it is an excellent all-rounded cream which improve the overall condition of the skin.

The only downside is that it is not as hydrating as I’d like it to be. After I shower and finish my skincare routine at night, I still have five hours of work to complete before I go to bed. By bedtime, there is an uncomfortable tightness on my forehead while wearing this. The problem is easily solved by slathering a sleep mask on the dryness prone areas before heading to bed.

I must say my interest in Korean skincare products piqued after using this, and I especially went on hunting for products containing ginseng or traditional skincare ingredients. I like this a lot, but I will not be purchasing this again anytime soon, as I am keen to try out moisturizers from Sulwhasoo, belif and Whoo.

EDIT: The sister product Hanyul Rich Effect Cream has become my HG. Read about it here.