Tag Archives: Vitamin C

More Chifure! Their Fantastic Ingredients Lists & Essence W

Fantastic discovery made today! I have had trouble finding the ingredients list for my new Chifure Essence W and Chifure Essence VC, lugged from Japan courtesy of friend on work trip.

As I explored the Chifure Official website, I realised even the official website does not have the full ingredients list in the traditional sense, with ingredients arranged in order of concentration. The folks arranged the ingredients in a neat table by function (e.g. active ingredient > humectant > pH adjusting > solvent etc), and they listed the exact percentage for most ingredients! That’s even better than a regularly arranged ingredients list!

Ingredients list for Chifure Essence W, I ran it through Google Translate quite well Source: http://www.chifure.co.jp/products/essence/2478.html

Chifure Essence VC (JPY 800 30g)

Active ingredients: Ascorbyl Glucoside (2%)

Hydrating ingredients: Glycerin (8%), Butylene glycol (2.72%), Trehalose solution (0.03%), Sodium hyaluronate (0.05%)

The first star ingredient is ascorbyl glucoside, an ester of ascorbic acid. This the the first time I’ve come across this ingredient since I’ve started properly researching ingredients. It is definitely one of those derivatives that are less well researched than the standard ascorbic acid, and I cannot find a resource which looks at the effective concentration as well as its penetrative ability relative to other vitamin C derivatives.

I have not yet started using this, because I was drawn by its more expensive sister below.

Chifure Essence W (JPY 1,100 30g)

The Science Part

Active ingredients: Arbutin (3%), Ascorbyl glucoside (2%)

Hydrating ingredients: Glycerin (8%), Butylene glycol (2.02%), Sodium hyaluronate (0.05%), Trehalose solution (0.03%)

Chifure Essence W is the most expensive of all Chifure Essence formulations, and the major differences arises from the addition of 3% arbutin, an effective and less toxic derivative of hydroquinone (Source). Arbutin is definitely more familiar to me and it is found in many Taiwanese and Japanese skincare products. Think the entire Naruko Apple Seed & Tranexamic Acid Black Spots Line, which is built around alpha arbutin, tranexamic acid, niacinimide and vitamin C derivatives.

The Chifure website did not state the type of arbutin (alpha / beta), but it does seem to be formulated with the effective concentration. In fact, “SCCS decided in 2016 that this ingredient is not safe to use in finished products at a use rate greater than 3%.” (Source) The 3.0% concentration above is spot on.

I haven’t found studies about the penetration of arbutin, but if it is a cousin of hydroquinone, it should have wayy better penetration ability than vitamin C derivatives, which is known to fare poorly in terms of penetration.

How it Fared

Did the Chifure Essence W do anything for my skin? Kick the sunspots in the butt? Nah… In the month that I’ve been using this, didn’t make my skin look great, but its not significantly worse than than the time when I was using Melano CC (read review), which I do consider my gold standard.

I can’t be certain because I did not take a scientific approach to my use of products. No objective, no control and hurhur squinting at my sun spots in the mirror daily is a poor way of determining if the product is working.

Another factor in my lack of proper conclusion or thoughts for this product, is that I got through the bottle shockingly quickly. I don’t even think 30ml lasts me 1.5 months. Its just a blink of the eye and I’m down to the last 1/3 of the bottle.

I can say though, that in terms of texture, it is slightly tackier than the original Chifure Essence. For the nighttime, there is absolutely no problem with layering. For day time I’d have to be more careful. There were one day i piled on a little too much in the morning, and my sunscreen (Biore UV Perfect Milk) pilled, though granted it happened for many other products, like the COSRX Snaily Serum (read review) as well.

Another complaint is how difficult it is to get hold of Chifure products in the international market / online. All of the Chifure items I own, I bought (or my lovely friends / colleagues did) at the physical MatsuKiyo stores in Japan. Amazon Jp does carry it but it is not on Prime or eligible for international shipping. When I realised how quickly I’m using the serum up, I tried really hard to find viable shopping / shipping options, but there’re none. Darn you Japanese drugstores!!

All in all, this product is worth a try. Or two or three tries. I have another friend heading to Japan for vacation in September this year, so I think I’ll be able to get a few more refills to do a proper review.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

The Minimalist Pair from HABA

I’m alright a long ingredients list in my skincare, because my skin can handle a pounding: parabens, mineral oils, acids, all of these never really wrecked up my skin. (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑

Occasionally though, I do get curious about the less-is-more philosophy, which Japanese companies like HABA do really well. HABA hails from Hokkaido and they claim that all their products are free of parabens, mineral oils, colorants, fragrances and petrochemicals.  (Totally unrelated, but next on my try-list is another Japanese brand FANCL, which claims all their products are 100% preservative free).

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HABA White Lady (¥3,888 for 30ml)

Ingredients List: Water, sasa kurilensis water, glycerin, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, pentylene glycol, polyquaternium-51, sodium hyaluronate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, citric acid

HABA White Lady contains sasa kurilensis water, a bamboo extract which stands-in for traditional preservatives, and vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the most well known and extensively researched topical antioxidants. Continuous use has been shown to improve signs of aging and brighten skin tone.

The form of vitamin C used in White Lady is sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), which is less common (and less extensively researched) than the standard ascorbic acid, but is stable and water-soluble nonetheless. Like the magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), it is gentler and milder than ascorbic acid, and concentrations of 1% to 5% is shown to be effective. In comparison, vitamin C serums that uses the ascorbic acid variety generally contains 15% to 20% (examples being OST Original Pure Vitamin C20 Serum and Paula’s Choice RESIST C15 Super Booster).

Prior to HABA White Lady, I have only used one other vitamin C serum–OST C20 Serum. From the very first use I can confidently say that White Lady is my preferred serum for everyday use. White Lady is unbelievably gentle. I give amount 4 pumps of White Lady and pat only my skin every night. It goes on the face with a texture of toner, and sinks into the skin very quickly. C20 Serum on the other hand stings upon first application, and has the very distinct scent of citrus fruits. It absorbs slowly and settles into a film on the skin. I do not dislike the C20 serum nor find the scent offensive, but it does makes my face look and feel sticky and look greasy.

This is where I find HABA a better fit in my skincare routine–it layers so well with all of the other skincare items and I can use it in the daytime under moisturiser and sunblock.

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HABA Squalane (¥2,700 for 30ml)

Squalane is a botanical lipid which is naturally occurring on the human skin. However, production of squalane slows as we age. HABA Squalane is 99.99% pure and aims to replenish the naturally occurring compound. I cannot find an ingredient’s list, so I cannot comment on what is the remaining 0.01%.

How to use: The official instructions by HABA is to apply 1 to 2 drops of squalane using moist hands on moist skin, after cleanser and toner, to create a well-balanced film over the skin.

In practice, I use it several ways:

  1. Mix it with with toner on the palm before applying to the skin, really go ALL OUT on the “moist hands and moist skin” by actually mixing squalane with a toner. The HABA G Lotion is an excellent companion.
  2. After moisturiser as an additional layer to seal in the moisture, particularly around the eye and lip area where the skin is most prone with wrinkles.
  3. BEFORE a sheet mask. It does not make sense to apply an oil before a sheet mask–wouldn’t the oil prevent penetration of any hydrating benefits of the sheet mask? But IT REALLY WORKS FOR ME! I don’t know it is weird.

As far as face oils go, the slight drawback is that Squalane absorb much quicker than most the other facial oils that i have used before. It takes some getting used to, as I usually do a quick massage on my face when I apply face oils, but Squalane doesn’t provide as much slip because it sinks so quickly.

Overall, the HABA line is excellent. No overnight magic here. The key is “gentle, nourishing and stable”. These are products that slowly inch their way into a place on your dressing table, and before you know it you’re repurchasing again.