Tag Archives: K Beauty

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)

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.

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

So, snail goo. Don’t go yuck! The snail mucin as a cosmetic ingredient is only going to grow from here. While there aren’t much research into the effectiveness of snail mucin as a cosmetics ingredient, my advice is to dive into it. There must be a reason why so many are vouching for its effectiveness.

The product claims to replenish nutrients to the skin to prevent and repair damages and fill the skin with elasticity for a healthier, younger looking skin. My filter sieved out most of it 6((((≧▽≦))))9 what went into my head is just: hydration, hydration, hydration.

Ingredients

I will direct you to CosDNA for the full ingredients list. It is very basic and efficient, with the main ingredient being snail secretion extract (it is supposed to be 96% snail mucin hence the name). No fragrance at all so yay.

How I incorporate this into my routine

Despite all the claims of promoting a glow and fading lines, I’d firmly call it a simple hydrating serum, like my favorite Chifure Essence. In my long-ass routine, it belongs here:

Exfoliating Toner > Fermented Essence > Eye Cream / Serum > Hydrating Serum / Sheet Mask > Moisturiser > Sleeping Pack

There is definitely a glow after you use this, but it is the type of glow that comes with good hydration. I mean, just try to wash your face with nothing but water, I swear your face will look better immediately with the introduction of water, as well as the cooling effect the water has on your skin. Zilch effect on lines and pigmentation, but don’t expect any and you will not be disappointed.

A quick comparison with Chifure Essence

Chifure Essence has been my go-to hydrating serum for years (actually, only 3. But thats like 10 in skincare years).

The difference is mainly in the texture, packaging as well as the key ingredients. Chifure has a runny texture which is just slightly more viscous than water. COSRX is slippery, goopy and stringy. It does absorb after a while (longer than Chifure) but make sure you spread them evenly because it will settle down into a shiny film where it hasn’t been spread out properly.

The Chifure Essence comes in a small and handy 45ml tube with a small dispenser. They also have 40ml refills so I’m still using the very first bottle that I bought in 2014. The COSRX Essence comes in a hardy 100ml pump bottle and no refills are available if you’re into the environment stuff, but the pump is very convenient.

The COSRX Essence relies on snail secretion filtrate, betaine and butylene glycol for to provide hydration. In comparison, Chifure Essence relies on butylene glycol, glycerin and 2 variants of hyaluronic acid in its formulation. I’d have to say both are equally effective in providing a shot of hydration.

Verdict

It is a good hydrating serum, and to be honest I don’t think there is much difference between all hydrators. Just go for your favorite one. For me, I still have stacks of Chifure re-fills to use up, so I will not be repurchasing the COSRX soon.

Where You Can Buy This

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!

K Beauty Haul!

k-beauty-haul-s

 

2016 has been a dry year in terms of skincare. I worked hard and spent most of the year using up my formidable stash which is mostly stored in my fridge. Now that my fridge is mostly cleared, 2017 is where I go crazy with the new-shiny-things.

Its only been 3 months and I already have 2 hauls heading my way. One is dirt cheap / affordable Korean skincare haul, and another wallet denting high end skincare haul (See it here SK-II Haul!). Here’s my first impressions.

mizon-and-cosrx-m

Mizon is a potential HG while the COSRX is…

Mizon AHA&BHA Daily Clean Toner 150ml

A bit of history about me and acids first: I have normal to dry skin, and I have been a regular AHA user for more than five years. I have never felt the need for BHAs as acne and clogs has never been my concern. My previous foray into BHAs with the DHC Salicylic Acid Toner was a terrible experience, which had me gifting my two bottles away immediately. After listening to a Snailcast episode about acids recently, my heart started itching again and I bought the Mizon on Qoo10. Its been 2 weeks of nightly use and I can say it is a good fit for me. Look at the dent that I’ve already made! LOOK!

(CosDNA)

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence 100ml

This is firmly in the same hydrating essence category as my favorite Chifure Essence and Unitec Advanced Hydrating Essence. I have given it a few days of tries, and so far it has performed well, but it is nothing to write about. Though seriously, can you ever do something different with hydrating essences?

(CosDNA)

COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask 50g

I bought this after the Japanology episode about how extracts from rice can help the skin’s ability to retain moisture. I already have a cream with rice extracts which I like, so its a sleep mask that I’m trying next.

(CosDNA)

Hanyul Baek Hwa Goh Silky Skin Cream

I haven’t been able to find a cream that I love following the discontinuation of the Hanyul Rich Effect line. The closest that I have gotten was SK II Stempower Cream, but even that has been discontinued. So I find myself getting both the SK II RNA Power Cream and falling back into the Hanyul trap. Baek Hwa Goh literally translates to the “White Flower Mushroom” i.e. Shiitake mushroom, and is also said to include hydrolyzed ginseng saponins, ginseng root extract and angelica root extract.

(CosDNA)

Hanyul Optimizing Mask

I have loved the Hanyul Optimizing Serum (review) and Hanyul Rich Effect Overnight Mask (review), so I’m guessing I should be at least okay with a marriage between the two.

(CosDNA)

Where I bought them: COSRX, Mizon on Qoo10 Global, Hanyul on Qoo10 Global

Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence

_MG_5482E copy

The another dupe product, but unlike the IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning (read review), Secret Key is very obvious about being a copycat. The old red and white box packaging is the same as SK II, and I’ve read somewhere that SK II was originally supposed to stand for Secret Key. The font and packaging is really similar as well.

The product claims to be better than the famous SK II Facial Treatment Essence, as it is sans paraben while SK II does. I have not tried SK II before, so I can only compare it to the Bio Essence. I am more extravagant while using the Secret Key, since it is so cheap, and literally soaked each sheet of cotton pad, while I’m more careful with the Bio Essence.

The scent is really strong. It honestly gave me a shock when I first used it since the Bio Essence is scentless. The color and texture is also like water, so no difference there. The only problem with this product is when I stop using it for two week. My skin turns nasty. There’s no pimples or blemishes, but there is extreme dullness that made me look a few years older. I did not observe such a dramatic effect when I stopped using Bio Essence.

This is totally not what I’m looking for in skincare products at all. It reminds me of alcohol or drug addiction—you feel great for a while, but once you stop you lose the high and have to go crawling back. I dislike such heavy reliance. It’s not like we must be monogamous when it comes to skincare.

Repurchase? No.

Hanyul vs. Sooryehan: The Rival Balms

The Rival Balms 01

Sometimes I can’t help but feel as though BB creams and tinted moisturizers are not really make up. It is for young people to dabble and experiment with before graduating to primers and foundations. Well, I’ve recently purchased my first foundation (my interest in make up came far too late), but BB creams are still very satisfying and convenient to use. It is only my second one aside from the Lancôme UV Expert GN-Shield BB Base & Make Up Base (read review), so I do not know BB creams well enough to do quality reviews and make comparisons.

Hanyul Rich Effect BB Cream SPF50+/PA+++

First off, the color is a great match for my skin. However, there is only two choices of color, in the lighter 21 or darker 23. It is likely not going to be suitable for people with pink skin undertone. It has really good coverage, and sometimes using this on my under-eye area is sufficient.

The texture mousse-like, and not as runny and easy to spread like the Lancôme. I ended up spending a lot of time dabbing and blending the Hanyul BB cream until I got used to it. Lately, I’ve enjoyed blending it out using the Ecotools Bamboo Foundation Brush and the Real Techniques Stippling Brush, just to reduce the additional hassle of washing my hands after spending so much time blending. 

Once the BB cream settles into the skin, it doesn’t budge. Even when I dab my sweaty self with tissue paper, very little color came off. I was used to seeing streaks of color browning stains while using Lancome, and assumed it is the same for all BB creams, so this is a lovely surprise.

R: Hanyul L: Sooryehan

R: Hanyul L: Sooryehan

Sooryehan Hyo Fermented BB Cream SPF30/PA++

This has a much more neutral color, which I was originally quite happy about—until I wore it out. When applied to skin, the BB cream is almost grey-looking. Even though my skin is fair and I normally go for the lightest shade when trying on make up, there is something about this BB cream that just makes me took a little more dead and unnatural, like I’ve gone overboard with sunblock and failed to blend it out properly. I don’t find this as good as the Hanyul BB cream for coverage, but it is equally good in terms of texture and lasting power.

I find that in this BB cream the thing I dislike about BB creams in general is demonstrated—the lack of a good color match. Sooryehan Hyo BB Cream comes only in one color, and to say it would transform its color to fit everyone’s skin color is too much of a stretch. It likes the Hanyul BB cream seem almost lovely in comparison.

The title refers to AmorePacific (which owns Hanyul) and LG (which owns Sooryehan). The two big corporations constantly fighting for market share at different cosmetic segments (or maybe not, but that is the impression I get). I am more familiar with brands under AmorePacific thought it is time to branch out a little. Unfortunately, both my experiences with Sooryehan has not been all that great. Great, time to try out other LG brands then.