Bursting with goodness- Innisfree Jeju volcanic pore clay mask

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This is a clay mask, but no ordinary clay mask.  The clay comes from volcanoes in Jeju Island in Korea, which is a scenic place with funky looking stone people (Google it for yourself.  I visited the place almost 20 years ago and I still remember the live octopus that we ate… anyway.  Enough of this.), or so I’m told by the packaging of this mask.  The tub looks kind of little but actually holds 100mL of product. 

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Judging from the appearance, it’s quite similar to most of the clay masks I have tried- slightly greyish tone, in a paste, slightly watery looking but undoubtedly will dry to a cracking texture.  But alas, I was wrong.

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The first thing that struck me when I first put it on was how smooth it is.  You’d think that volcanic clay would be slightly gritty, but it isn’t.  It feels really smooth and pleasant on.  It also doesn’t dry into a cracking mess.  I have used it several times, sometimes in a thin layer and sometimes I just slather it on.  It does dry up slightly but won’t overly draw water from the face.  It’s also easy to wash off.  All you need is a wet washcloth to wipe your face, and it comes off easily.  Finish off with water, and it doesn’t leave your face tingling and dry.  It does, however, draw out minor impurities.  I feel that my blackheads come out more easily after using this mask.

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And here’s the Korean written on the tub, for those of you who can read Korean (I can’t)!  For the price I paid ($110 HKD, which is about $14 USD), I think the mask is good value for the money.  Although it is a bit hard to scoop it out from a tub, I don’t mind using a spatula (or fingers… hehe), and I’d purchase it again, in a heartbeat!

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So much time, so little done! Holika Holika Pig-nose Clear Black Head 3-Step Kit

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Today I’m going to review this blackhead 3-step kit from Holika Holika, which is one of the first products I tried from this Korean brand.  I got sucked into buying it because the saleslady told me this would clear blackheads much better than normal pore strips, so I figured, why not give it a try.  Did it live up to expectations?  Read on…

 

As the product name suggests, this is a 3-step system to clear blackheads off noses.  Each of the little nose masks stay on for 15 to 20 minutes a time, and you use them one after another, which means it takes a minimum of 45 minutes.  I’m not kidding you.  And that’s just the nose.  image

Step 1 is an essence-soaked mask sheet which smells a bit funny and tingles a little.  From what the saleslady today me, it is supposed to suck out the blackheads to make them easier to adhere to Step 2.  I have no way to verify what she says, as the packaging and every single word on the packet (except for the brand name) is in Korean, and I don’t read a word in the language.  So let’s pretend the beauty people know what they’re talking about.  This Step 1 took up 15 minutes of my time, but didn’t open up my pores or anything.  I can’t really tell what it did, to be honest.image

Now onto Step 2, which is basically a regular pore strip.  Nothing much to tell you, except that it doesn’t fit my nose that well.  It works like every other pore strip.  I don’t think it sucked out more blackheads than usual, even though I used Step 1 beforehand.image

The final Step 3 is a gel-like mask which is supposed to hydrate the pores and sooth (or something like that).  I can’t ascertain if it hydrated my nose, and to be honest, after 45 minutes, you just want to get the dang things off your nose.  You don’t really care anymore. 

I don’t have the end result here, but I can tell you I don’t look that much different than when I use a pore strip after washing my face.  But there’s a huge difference in the execution.  The cost of each Holika Holika pack (with 3 steps, single use) is the cost of one box of pore strips (that’s 10 uses).  In other words, for each use, you spend 10 times the money and at least 3 times the time.  I don’t mind spending that money if the result is amazing; however, the result is exactly the same.  So sadly, I don’t think I will be purchasing this product again.  The question now is what to do with the 9 remaining packs I bought…

Happy skin in girly hot pink- Skin 79 Super Plus Beblesh Balm (Triple Functions)

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BB cream has been one of the most hyped-up skincare/ makeup product in recent years, and now all the big brands (and little brands) have them.  However, if you have tried them you will know that even though they all look quite similar, their performance on your skin differs a lot.  And today I’d like to share with you my favourite BB cream so far: the Super Plus Beblesh Balm (Triple Functions) by the Korean brand Skin 79.  From what I see in the stores, the brand also makes a few different types of BB creams, but so far I have only tried this one.  And I’m already on my second bottle- this shows how much I love the product, as usually I prefer trying out new brands, no matter how much I love the previous product.  This BB cream claims to: whiten, provide UV protecture (SPF25, PA++), and prevent wrinkles.  So far I have not seen any whitening in my skin, but I suppose it looks more even when I have this on : ) 

I love the hygenic pump bottle, although it is a bit annoying since you cannot see how much product is left.  It claims to have 40g of product in the bottle but I guess there is no way to tell for sure.  A bottle lasts a super long time for me though.  I use it almost every day and it was months before I used up a bottle.  image

You can see the product on the back of my hand here.  It looks a bit grey when first pumped out, but when on the face it looks perfectly normal.  This BB cream only comes in one colour, so I suppose it is good to have a try before buying it, although I would say the colour will suit most skin tones.  The amount you see here is sufficient for the whole face.  The coverage is medium, although you can pat on a bit more for extra coverage.  For me, though, this does not eliminate the need for concealer but it provides enough coverage for me since I don’t usually wear foundation.  I also love how it isn’t oily but isn’t drying- I don’t know how they do it, the texture is somewhat perfect, and it feels very light on the skin.  However, you’d still have to moisturise before putting this on, otherwise it doesn’t settle as well on the face.image

Here is a look at the back of the bottle, for those of you who are interested.  It is honestly one of the best BB creams I have tried so far, and with it flattering shade and balanced texture, I don’t see how anybody can not like it.  Have you tried it and do you agree?

A solution to every skin problem- Leaders Insolution masks

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Another day, another Korean skincare product I love.  If I have to pick my favourite mid-priced paper masks, this brand would be it.  When I first tried out Leaders Insolution masks two or three years back, they were about US $2 apiece.  For some bizarre reason they are now up to about US $3.  Still not very expensive, but the price hike means I usually wait till there is a sale to get them.  I got this bunch recently in a Groupon deal, so I got 2 dozens in a row!  They come in 4 varieties (although the brand makes about 8 types of paper masks I think), although so far I have only tried the yellow (collagen), lime (teatree) and green (aloe) ones.  The pink one is a vitamin mask.  My favourite so far is the teatree one, as it is soothing enough to be used for blemished skin, but not drying at all.  I think of it as a moisturising mask for blemished or sensitive skin.  The aloe and collagen ones are good for everyday moisturisation.  If purchasing them separately I would get the collagen (yellow) one since I feel it’s slightly more hydrating without feeling sticky at all.  The masks all have a bit of scent but it isn’t too strong or very artificial, and it doesn’t bother me at all.  In fact, I kind of enjoy it.  It makes the experience more spa-like.  image

What I love most about this mask is how well it adheres to the face.  Let me show you my forehead here with the mask.  It goes with my face shape really well, which means my skin gets to absorb all the goodness in the mask sheet, and will not waste valuable serum.  Unlike some other paper masks, this one is relatively hassle-free, meaning very few places to fold or overlap, which also means less drips (important if you’re doing other things while doing the mask).  If you have the time, I recommend you to leave it on for at least 20 minutes.  30 to 45 minutes is even better (the mask is so saturated with serum that it will not dry up), and when you get tired of it, just squeeze the remaining juice into your palms and massage on your face, then rinse with water.  This is one of the few masks which I am able to just finish off with water (as opposed to a very mild cleanser) as it doesn’t leave any oily film on my face. 

Generally, a nice, all-rounded mask which I like to have a few pieces at home for my every skin need.

The step zero of skin care- Banila Co Clean It Zero

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If you have seen my other post, you will know that it is only recently that I have discovered the Korean brand Banila Co, but apparently this cleanser have been around for 2 years already, and is a top seller of the brand according to the saleslady who sold me this.  It is a 100g tub of cream-like, oil-based makeup remover/ cleanser which smells like strawberries.  Cute.image

Using the cleanser is quite simple- you simply use the spatula provided to scoop a little bit into dry palms (I use approximately the size of a large marble), then massage the balm all over your face (must be also dry).   Afterwards, you rinse your face with water (which emulsifies the balm, taking off your makeup at the same time) and you’re done.  If you have used any type of cleansing oil before, this cleanses in the same way, only less messily (at least the balm won’t drip off your hands even before you clean your face).  From what the saleslady said, you can stop after using this cleanser, but I follow up with my usual routine (which is some sort of liquid cleanser on a Clarisonic), and that works well.image

To be honest, I’ve only used it for several days, but so far it hasn’t made me break out or dry out my skin.  One thing to note, though, is that just like cleansing oils, your eyes will get all cloudy if you use this stuff around the eyes.  But this is to be expected for every kind of oil-based makeup remover uner the sun.  I don’t think there will be any non-cloud type of cleanser any time soon (for that would defy science, right?), but a simple way to make it more bearable for the eyes is to rinse it lots of water afterwards.

What about you?  Have you tried balmy oil-based cleansers and do you prefer this or the liquid type?

Kissy kissy- Banila Co The Kissest Plumping Tinted Stick

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I recently come across this Korean brand Banila Co, which has both cosmetic and skincare products that look alarming similar to Benefit products.  This lipstick- The Kissest Plumping Tinted Stick- is among my first purchase.  The colour I have is “Passion”.   
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As you can see, the tube is made of plastic, with a colour similar to the lipstick shade as the case and a silver metal as the inner twist-up tube.  The tube is of medium thickness, which I think is great for application.    The lippy itself is sheer but buildable, not creamy and only very slightly sticky.  It feels more like a balm than a lipstick, but doesn’t provide very much moisture.  I use it on or under balm.       image

As you can see in this photo, I have 1, 2 and 3 layers on the back of my hand respectively.  The colour builds up very nicely.  One layer gives you a sheer wash of colour, and more layers give you a more solid look.  I originally thought “Passion” will build up to be quite red, but actually it gives a bright pink stain:  image

That’s about 2 layers on my lips.  Oh by the way, the “plumping” bit.  My lips are quite full to begin with, so I don’t actually need any plumping, but I don’t believe this lipstick plumps.  At least it doesn’t feel like it does.  It feels ever so slightly minty when first put on, but nothing compared to the tingly feeling of Lip Venom.  My lips certainly don’t look any fuller, just more pigmented.  However, judging by its stain-like texture on the lips, it is no surprise to me that it doesn’t deliver much in the plumping department, so no disappointments there!

On a final note, this lippy has SPF13 as well, which is a rather nice touch for a lip stain.  Of course, you will need to apply at least 1 full layer for the SPF to have any effect on your skin, but it is always good to have some skin protection in cosmetics, right?  This is one of the reasons why I love Korean makeup!