Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sulwasoo Essential Rejuvenating Eye Cream EX

2017 to me is the time was the height of KBeauty hype and I have gotten quite a few  items "for science". Many of the brands I used were budget lines that's designed for late teens so it's time to review something for the grown-ups.

Around spring of 2017, an Aritaum store opened at the corner of Elizabeth and Mott Street, right around the corner from my favorite Chinatown grocer. Inside the store there was a very good selection of Amour Pacific brands such as Mamonde, Laneige, Aritaum, Iope and the high end Sulwasoo. I made frequent stops and have gotten several little things such as eyeshadow, cleansing oil and lip color. On one of my quick and impulsive shopping trips, I received several pouches of eye cream. 
Clearly, I loved the sample of Sulwasoo Essential Rejuvenating Eye Cream so much that I later dropped big buck on a full sized bottle (coming from a person who never bought separate eye cream, it meant a lot).

 In my defense, beside the bottle of eye cream, the sales girl also gave me deluxe sample sets from Iope (never touched even two years later), Laneige (doesn't do much), Sulwasoo, an thick canvas tote (so I can be their walking advertisement) plus many pouches of the same eye cream. In fact the freebie were so generous that I didn't start using the full sized eye cream until a year later. 
So what's special about the eye cream? Sulwasoo Rejuvenating eye cream is a light weight and hydrating eye cream that's exceptionally effective against dry lines (the kind of fine lines that pop up during colder and dryer days but are gone when it's humid). 

When I use it, it smooths and plumps away such lines, without being oily, sticky or causing milia. The herbal formula and ginseng scent is invigorating that it instantly makes my eyes refreshed and awake. The effect was immediate (which means it's just a good moisturizer) but is able to last a whole day. While moisturizing seems to be its only function, I noticed my lashes getting stronger and healthier while using it. 
It's such a basic and well formulated formula that at the time I hadn't tried anything quite like it, not even the similarly priced La Mer eye consecrate. It's pretty much a rainy day in a bottle: Nice and cool, makes my dry skin comfortable without stickiness or residue.
This is how it looks after applying it in the morning. Skin no longer taunt, flakes around eye all gone and there is a slight cooling sensation that's never irritating. Anyway, the travel sized bottle lasted me a long time because this is more of a dry climate staple and the last two years had been particularly humid (so I didn't need any kind of moisturizer for many months of the year). 

When I started to use the full sized bottle, it's everything I had experienced but  weakened, like I am using the same but slightly diluted version of the eye cream. It's still nice and refreshing and all but it just seemed less impressive. Maybe my skin got used to it or maybe the sample packs more goodie ingredients to lure people into getting it. It's not special enough to guarantee a repurchase consider the high price. 
This is one of the facial cream I get from the travel set, it's nice-smelling but wasn't as special as the eye cream (sample).
That first activating essence (clear brown watery gel) is really pleasant though. It makes my skin feel moisturized, plump and lively. I might get a full size when I get a chance. Overall out of all KBeauty brands I have tried, I have the most positive opinion regarding Sulwasoo and will most definitely try more.
Sadly the Aritaum store closed and relocated inside Everyday Beauty (two block further East). I was sad that I missed out all the sale items and that particular associate who gave me lots and  lots of samples. (Unlike those ones in Tokyo who gave me a pouch of primer as if doing me a big favor...I only "pshhh" lound in my head).

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Hadalabo Gokujyun Alpha Essence

 Sometime around early last year, I was restocking food at New Kam Man (of course I always browse their second floor), I saw this Hadalabo serum and liked how it felt on my hand. For 25 dollars, it wasn't too expensive either so I got it to try out. 

The Gokujyun Alpha line is supposed to be targeting aging skins but unlike its western counterpart, it's lacks any specific strong actives. Instead, it's has a slightly richer formula that's suitable for very thirsty skin, something associated with aging. For months after my purchase, I was not able to use it as it was too icky for summer (it has been humid for a great part of large year). When winter hit, it became a staple.

Ingredients : Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Squalane, Triethylhexanoin, Dimethicone, Beta Carotene, BHT, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Glyceryl Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Methylparaben, PEG-20 Sorbitan Isostearate, PPG-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Propylparaben, Pullulan, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Stearyl Alcohol, Thioctic Acid, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethanolamine, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil

This serum is rich and a little tacky it reminds me of snail mucus (and it doesn't leave white drool trail...for those of you who played with snails). On days that's dry and below freezing, I use two pumps allover my face and sometime follow with cream (that's not needed).  Even as my sole moisturizer, it keeps my skin supple and quenched and stops it from getting tight and flakey. On cold but not icepocalypse (right around freezing) days I just use tiny drops around my eyes, it's perfect at getting rid of dry lines. The small bottle is running out quickly but it's still a reasonable buy since I can ditch face cream or oil while using it.

I like it a lot and will probably get another bottle (to use as eye gel) when it's restocked in store. 

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Kora Noni Glow Face Oil

Kora is an organic skincare brand created by Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr (I suppose Kora is supposed to sounds like Kerrrrr in Australian accent or something?). 

Most of the products are overpriced that I only tried it as a part of Sephora set (which itself is unreasonably priced as well and Sephora didn't publish my negative review) from last year. 
The Noni Glow Face Oil comes in a light golden color and a thin, runny texture that spreads quickly and leaves a slightly sticky residue. The smell is a little sweet and kind of almond-like. It's dampens and moisturizes skin a little but it's not that different from the almond or catser oil you see at the drugstore. 

You know in many drugstore they have a little "Mexican corner"  where they sell some oil, rose water with glycerin, some really basic skincare (some from south of border, some made domestically)  items that work quite well for their price (a few bucks)? The Noni Glow oil reminds me of the almond oil I got there. 
Rosa Canina Fruit Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Tocopherol, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Morinda Citrifolia (Noni) Fruit Extract*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/leaf Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil*, Punica Granatum Seed Oil*, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Oil*, Geraniol**, Citronellol**, Farnesol** Citral**.

Actually I am kind of impressed how they mixed all these oils and extra and ended up with something that feels like it's from De la Cruz.
(I had fun taking pictures though)
Overall, the Noni Glow Face Oil is a perfect example of celebrity money grab with undeserving quality. It's $68 dollars for 30ml/1oz while better formulated oils such as Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil is $50 (oh yikes their site changed it to $69) for 2oz. Anyway, most oils from Wholefoods are more effective at moisturizing and brightening.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Sweets Sweets Premium Gateau Shadow in Casis Brown

When I saw the promo image for Sweets Sweets fall 2018 collection, I knew I was interested in the new eyeshadow quint 07 Casis Brown. In the sea of drugstore palettes, you don't see many deep, rich hues that resemble a box of chocolate. When I visited Tokyo late fall, I grabbed it without hesitation (deep down I know shades like this are too deep for me, but I trusted Japanese brands ability to make things wearable). 
Delectable isn't it? While the shadow pan come with the intricate details, the compact is kept simple with light weight but rather durable plastic. The gold lining inside just reminds me of those wrapping of expensive chocolates (I am talking with my butt/ imagination as I haven't eaten Chocolate that's expensive). 
The upper left is a golden caramel that (According to the instruction on the back of palette) is meant for allover lid wash. I personally find it way too deep and yellow even as a blending shade. 

Upper right is a reddish copper that's meant for the eye hole (I don't have a pokable eye socket I assume it's the area slightly above eyelid fold). 

Bottom right is a rich pomegranate red with a bit of warm brown base. Blended out it's not too different from the reddish copper above and I don't get a gradation when I layer the two (I  got mud instead). The purple liner is a gorgeous eggplant that leans somewhat ruby and the top wash is a cute warm pink-white.
The coating on the back can sort of work as mirror and the sponge has decent quality (not as good as Majolica Majorca's white sponge but serviceable).
Oh I love looking at the compact!
While the two lightest shades have the same smooth glossy texture, the three deeper shades have the same satiny finish. When used together, it creates one of the biggest mess I have seen.  I mentioned that the caramel base was too deep allover that I can only use it as a base. Layered with the three (otherwise very similar, both tonally and texturally ) lid and liners shade just results a big glob of warm muddy red patch. 

I tried it five times since last Thursday and I had to wipe it off before heading outdoor. I realized the best way to wear the palette is just wear the coppery brown shade by itself. Even so it wasn't redeeming for the 1600 yens price tag. 
Mixing the three biggest pans... My skin was really thin and dry but at least I got sunlight when I came home from work.

Overall, I was actually kind of surprised by it. Because this might be the first poorly designed and utterly unwearable palette I have gotten (that's not some Glitter Bomb from Wet n Wild). I thought things like this doesn't exist in their highly competitive and over saturated market. 
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