Archive for ‘Reviews’

April 13th, 2013

Lavender Grey Hair + Manic Panic Review (part 1)

I always wanted to play around with my hair color. Once you bleach it, you can get your hair to be any color of the rainbow.

It was soooo weird to see myself in the mirror with purple hair. I kept squealing and appalling at myself “Omg, I have purple hair! Gaaah!” It was my first time doing an ‘unnatural’ hair color. I know I’ve been blonde, but at least that is still a natural color (even if it’s not on me).

I was happier with the color after a few washes, as it was too purple on the first day.

I also had a really interesting time matching outfits and makeup with purple hair.

purple hair, lavender hair, silver hair, manic panic electric amethyst

I find safe and neutral colors like white, grey, and black will work well with any hair color, especially grey because there is a lot of silver-grey in my hair.

Also, a nice splash of bright color like my bright blue pants or multi-colored neon bracelet helps my hair stand out.

On the opposite end of the wheel chart, yellows, golds, and greens are supposed to go well with purple. I have a pair of bright yellow neon stud earrings (thank you unnie!) that didn’t go well with my blonde hair (yellow on yellow), but looks so awesome with my purple hair.

 

 

How to

I recently stumbled upon the brand, Manic Panic, a semi-permanent vegan hair dye. After a lot of careful consideration and picture searching, I chose Electric Amethyst. Lots of people mixed it with conditioner to get a lavender color.

I also knew the purple on top of dark blonde, especially once it washes out, will give a silver grey color. It was exactly what I wanted because I didn’t want completely purple hair. I wanted some sort of gradient between white, silver, grey, lavender, and purple.

I didn’t even do a streak test (no time!) and just went with it. I started with my hairline and the top of my hair, with 70% conditioner, 30% Electric Amethyst. As I got to the underlying and darker layers, it was about 50/50. Because my bleached hair is naturally uneven (darker roots and lighter ends), the grey and purple mix came out unevenly in a very nice way. Future video for this.

purple hair, lavender hair, silver hair, manic panic electric amethyst
Manic Panic, Electric Amethyst, 9,000 won ($8 USD), 11st.co.kr (smcglobal), Korean seller, 4 day shipping. Also available on Gmarket and Amazon.

Pros
– very well known and accessible product
– easy to use
– conditions hair and not damaging at all (especially if you mix it with conditioner, my bleached hair is SO soft now)
– can control the color outcome by mixing with conditioner or other Manic Panic colors
– strongly pigmented and results are true to the original color
– semi-permanent for people testing out colors
– no need to mix with or purchase a developer (damaging, costs money, knowledge of use required)
– apply straight from the jar without a mixing bowl (unless you are diluting or mixing colors)
– reasonably priced
– vegan product (no animal testing)

Cons
– almost completely washes out after 5 washes (and stains your hair a different color)
– requires bleaching beforehand for true color results
– small bottle, little product
– need to use a lot of conditioner to dilute the color
– does not recommend application to scalp (I did to some parts and it felt fine)
– doesn’t offer much variety in natural colors like blacks and browns

 

I mixed Electric Amethyst with a few different conditioners and a hair retaining mask product because I didn’t have enough of any one product. It was a terrible idea because my hair smelled so weird after. Also, I’m not sure which product caused it, but my hair started smoking up when I was drying it! I probably would’ve set my head on fire if I wasn’t watching carefully.

Once I started using just one conditioner, it’s been fine.

The parts of my hair I burned, though, turned pink, so it actually looked kind of nice. However, that eventually washed out as well.

purple hair, lavender hair, silver hair, manic panic electric amethyst

See the pink streaks from the burn?

 

 

Inspiration

This was the very first photo that set in my mind, I gotta have purple hair.

purple hair, lavender hair, silver hair, manic panic electric amethyst

 

I was literally looking at these photos again and again, working out in my mind how I would mix and apply it on my head. I would have been happy with any color similar to these, and I think it worked out pretty well?

purple hair, lavender hair, silver hair, manic panic electric amethyst
JunHyung from Beast

purple hair, lavender hair, silver hair, manic panic electric amethyst
N from VIXX
*insert absolute fangirl squeal even though I’m a Leo bias (the redhead in the back)* All my friends know I’m in love with their 다칠 준비가 돼 있어 vampire concept

In part two, I’ll show you guys how I touch up my hair after it washes out and some pictures from my upcoming hair styling video ^^

 

 

P.S. I actually already filmed a hair styling video, but I don’t have much time to edit it as I have to study for my TOPIK test next Sunday. Eeek! I’m trying to go for Level 5. Wish me luck~^^

February 13th, 2013

“Skinny Skin” Sticker Phone Covers

samsung galaxy note 2 cover, note 2 phone cover, galaxy note 2 cover, skinny skin, slim phone cover

My first smartphone ever!

Purchased as a result of the Korean drama 신사의 품격, A Gentleman’s Dignity, where I was wondering if the all the characters were not holding the biggest phone ever or what.

 

samsung galaxy note 2 cover, note 2 phone cover, galaxy note 2 cover, skinny skin, slim phone cover

Purchased from: 11st.co.kr. Includes: front sticker, back sticker with customized name, star, and crystal deco, 2 screen protector films (low quality), a clear film sticker applicator, instructions sheet, etc. Also available at: english.gmarket.co.kr (english + international shipping), search ‘skinny skin’ or skinnyskin.co.kr

I don’t usually believe in covering my electronics, especially if I own a $700 phone, I’m going to flash it around! Unfortunately, I have buttery fingers (or so my unnie called it) as my hobby seems to be dropping my phone on the ground everyday, so I had to get some sort of cover.

 

samsung galaxy note 2 cover, note 2 phone cover, galaxy note 2 cover, skinny skin, slim phone cover

To Match your Screen & Border: Before removing the sticker skin, take pictures of it on your phone in various sizes and closeness. Set as your home and lock screen. Crop and adjust to fit your phone border. Play around!

Skinny Skins are custom made by order for most popular phones. They are not a clip on cover, just two sheets of stickers, stamp cut to fit the shape of your phone.

 

samsung galaxy note 2 cover, note 2 phone cover, galaxy note 2 cover, skinny skin, slim phone cover

Customizable option available on 11st.co.kr only. Available in three options: 1) writing, 2) various decorations, and 3) crystal. Details and screenshot below.

My order was name + deco + crystal with the instructions “Please write ‘Sharon’ in silver with star deco” (은색으로 영문 “Sharon” 별데코 부탁 드려요).

The writing is glossed over and the crystal applied with glue and heat. After 2 months of heavy usage, it still looks the same (in fact, I took these pictures all just yesterday, and the cover still looks new!).

 

samsung galaxy note 2 cover, note 2 phone cover, galaxy note 2 cover, skinny skin, slim phone cover

Pros

  • lightweight
  • unique artwork designs
  • matching screen and border picture
  • customizable name, design, color, and crystal decoration
  • high quality, durable, and stays in place
  • Cons

  • very difficult and time consuming self application
  • doesn’t provide fall protection
  • sticker allows only 1-3 times of reapplication
  • regular film protectors need to be cut to match the front screen
  • My first reaction when I received the skinny skin was, “Wadda heck, I gotta stick it on myself??” It took, no joke, 1.5 hours of intense concentration, removal, reapplication, and lots of hair pulling before I finally got both sides on and gave up on the screen protector film (which I tried and failed). You do get a few tries if you mess up, but in the reviews on their website, some people said they had to throw theirs away after too many failed attempts. I wish this were sold at an on-site store where I can buy the skin and ask them to put it on for me.

    Once it was on, I was in love. The moment I had seen the unearthly, evil-ish, vampire-y looking, slightly Victorian dressed little girl with the cold expression, fiery red hair, and a freaky bunny peaking from behind (a rabbit is on my pet wish list!), I knew the design was for me. Whenever I’m teaching, I always check out my student’s phones and covers, and they are all the same stuff you see on the streets. So far, I’ve not had any clashing.

    There are many designs, suit for the boys as well. Here are other ones I like:

    samsung galaxy note 2 cover, note 2 phone cover, galaxy note 2 cover, skinny skin, slim phone cover

     

     

    Q & A

    Last time I posted about Those Animal Pajamas all the Kpop Idols Wear, lots of people asked me these questions…

    1) How do I place the order? Does it ship overseas?

  • Screenshot + Instructions to Order from English Gmarket
  • Screenshot + Instructions to Order from 11st.co.kr.
  • If you live overseas, order it from Gmarket. To give you an idea of shipping costs, it’s $14 USD to ship to Canada. If you live in Korea or have a friend who can ship it to you, order it from 11st.co.kr.

    I ordered from 11st.co.kr. Skinny Skins are also available on english.gmarket.co.kr (no custom deco option). You can also buy from other shopping sites by searching ‘skinny skin’ or the original skinnyskin.co.kr.

    2) How do I make an account with Gmarket or 11st.co.kr?
    Gmarket has an English language option. You can make an account even as a foreigner living overseas and most of the registration is done in English.

    As for 11st.co.kr, I don’t think they ship overseas. If you are a registered foreigner living in Korea, but you have very little Korean language skills, I suggest asking a Korean friend to help you. Even if I translate the registration page for you, you need to type your information in Korean, and there are lots of picky glitches. Get a Korean to help you! Once you’ve made an account, ordering stuff by yourself is a lot easier.

    3) Can you buy it from a US dealer?
    I didn’t find any, but if you do, please share in the comments with us.

    Note: All products were purchased with my own money.

     

     

    PS. I keep apologizing for being so slow on updates. I’ve been working crazy overtime hours (to make up for this $700 phone I bought T_T), got the flu, had my parents over for a week, and studying Korean everyday like crazy to prepare for the TOPIK (I’m aim for level 5! >.<) in April. Thanks to my friend for finally one day calling me, investigating my schedule, asking me why I cannot both study Korean and blog as well, and demanding that I go make an update right away, that I am here... but really, these posts take a lot longer than you think! Anyways, I needed a break from studying.

    I made a huge haul for Christmas (old, I know!) that I've been meaning to post. I'll try my best to be back with that soon! <3

    December 3rd, 2012

    Still Alive

    Yes, I’m still alive (no BigBang pun intended!).

    The last few months has been the most stressful time for me. As you guys know, I was in Thailand doing my teacher training course (CELTA) in August, which was the most intensive and demanding thing I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ve ever worked that hard for a full month, but I was really happy and proud of my final score; I got a Pass B, top 20% of the class.

    I came back in September getting ready for a new semester at school, was sick with a constant cold on and off (which I’m still trying to fight off!), and did some job searching and application. In between meeting friends in Seoul, hosting my wonderful friend from Vancouver for her one week Korea visit, and all the daily household errands, I was just too exhausted to do any blogging. All I could do was lay in bed and read or watched TV.

    I’m starting to feel a little better and have settled down a bit. *waves* Some of my friends were saying “You know, Sharon, it’s been a really long time since you’ve updated your blog,” and I’m happy that they have not forgotten about my little home here.

     

    Here’s a preview of the upcoming look post. I had fun playing with my hair.

    korean fashion, idol fashion, kpop hair

    Coming soon!

    March 18th, 2012

    Eyebrow Bleaching

    Since I started bleaching my hair, I finally had to do something about my brows.

    I used to think that eyebrow bleaching can only be done at salons. How do you even bleach your own eyebrows? Can’t I just use hair dye (NO!! You’ll go blind!)? How do I get the color I want? But the only ‘hard’ part about it was actually just finding the product. Once you get your hands on something available locally or online, it’s actually real easy to do.

    Warning: If you have very sensitive skin that irritates, burns, and reddens easily, DO NOT use bleach on your skin. If you absolutely must do it, at least do a patch test on your inner arms first!

     

     

    Product

    The first place I looked was my local supermarket and drugstore (Superstore in Vancouver). I only found facial hair bleach, but no ‘eyebrow’ bleach. I wasn’t sure if they were the same thing, so I wrote down the names of all the facial bleaches available in-store, and did some research online.

    To my relief, one of the facial bleaches could be used as eyebrow bleach as well.

     

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrowseyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    JOLEN creme bleach, 1 OZ (28g), $10~ USD

    JOLEN creme bleach is a mild bleach which can be used to lighten eyebrows, upper lip, arm, or body hair. It comes in two sizes, 1 oz. for facial hair, or 4 oz for body hair. As you can see above, the product includes a jar of bleach creme, a tube of bleach powder, a plastic spatula and flat ‘tray’, and instructions.

    This product is sold at major drugstores and online.

     

     

    How to Bleach

    There are very clear instructions included, however here are some personal tips and photos.

     

    Before Bleaching Tips

    – DO NOT pluck your brows. Plucking can cause open pores or wounds. Pluck your brows a day before or after bleaching.
    – DO NOT trim or shape your brows. Bleached brows are significantly lighter in color and looks much softer, like you have less eyebrow hair. You may not need to trim it as much as you usually do. It is wiser to do the shaping once you see how much hair you have ‘lost’.
    – DO NOT wash your face or brows before bleaching. This is opposite of what the instructions tell you, but what I learned from bleaching my hair is that oil helps protect your skin from sensitivity and redness.
    DO NOT ever in your life use hair dye or bleach to lighten your brows. Hair dye and bleach are very strong and potent products. Even using it on my hair can irritate and burn my eyes. Using it on your brows will cause blindness!
    – DO NOT use a metal tray to mix the product. It will react with the bleach. Use a flat plastic tray or lid. The one they provide because it is tiny and will spill everywhere (but is good for travel).

     

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    Product Instructions: With a spatula, measure about one quarter teaspoon powder and place on tray. Clean spatula. Measure about one half tea-spoon creme. Blend powder and creme well. Apply mixture with spatula covering hair completely. Keep mixture on for about ten minutes. Remove with spatula. If hair is not completely bleached, reapply the mixture for another five to ten minutes.

     

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

     

     

    Bleaching Tips

    Apply enough to cover all of the hair, so that there is nothing sticking out. Hairs that are sticking out will not be bleached. If you want to be cheap, do one eyebrow at a time. The bleach does not ‘work less’ the more you use it.

    Reapply and rework the mixture onto your brows every 5 minutes. The creme hardens very quickly and separates itself from your skin, so the inner hairs will not be bleached. Reapply in different directions to cover all hairs.

    Check the color after ten minutes. Continue to check every 5 minutes until you are happy with the color. It should not take any longer than 20 minutes, maximum.

    Remove the mixture with the spatula slowly, a little at a time to prevent dripping or dropping the product onto your eyes. Wipe off the leftover with a wet tissue. Wash your face with cleanser. DO NOT wash the mixture off your face in the shower — it will get into your eyes!

    DO NOT keep the bleach mixture for another day. Discard after use.

     

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    (I’m sorry you have to look at my messy brows, but like I said, I don’t trim it before bleaching.)

    It may not look much lighter, but it’s really blonde in real life.

    I usually re-bleach my brows once a week, every Sunday night. Do not bleach your brows right before you plan to go out. Your skin will be red and you don’t want to put makeup onto sensitive skin.

    The inner parts of my brow has more hair than the outter, so sometimes I will just ‘spot bleach’, bleaching only the inner part of my brow.

    Here’s my current brow and hair situation. I bleached my hair again since the Joker look. Since I took this pic, I bleached my brows again so it’s pretty blonde (eek!), but never shows up that way in photos.

     

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

     

     

    Product Review

    At $10~ for 1oz, the JOLEN bleach powder and creme will me at least a year for only eyebrow bleaching, which is reasonable. During bleaching, there is a tingly or itchy feeling, but no burning. Your skin will be slightly red after bleaching, but it goes away in an hour or so.

    The only downside of this bleach is that the color of your brows come out very brassy. Instead of a nice natural light yellow blonde color, you get a very shiny, metallic rusty orangey gold color (as you can see in the ‘2nd bleach’ picture above).

    When I run out of JOLEN, I will definitely be looking into other facial bleaches.

    You can read more personal reviews of this product on Makeup Alley.

     

     

    Other Solutions

    If you colored your hair, but can’t or don’t want to bleach your brows, it’s okay!

    You could just get a haircut with bangs that cover your brows.

    Another solution is trimming your eyebrow hair very thin, and then filling it in with a lighter brow color. Don’t confuse ‘trimming’ with ‘shaping’ though. I don’t mean pluck all of your eyebrow hair out! Just trim the hair with a brush and scissors.

     

     

    Hair + Brow Color Combo

    How light you bleach your brows really depends on your hair and skin color. Generally, you bleach it 3 shades darker than your hair color.

    Bleached hair and brows usually look better on those with whiter skin. Asians with darker skin tend to look better with darker hair.

    Finally, dying or bleaching your hair does not absolutely mean having to bleach your brows as well. Asians who bleach and dye their hair other exotic colors (red, blue, green, pink, etc) tend to leave their brows black, as no one will expect you to dye your brows the same color.

    Let’s look at some examples while we end off with some fan boy photos ^^

     

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    Key (Shinee) dark hair + light brows (looks like brow mascara)

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    blonde hair + slightly bleached (but overall black) brows

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    G-dragon (Big Bang) blonde hair + brown brows

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    same blonde hair + thick black brows (probably want to avoid this)

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    Zelo (B.A.P) blonde hair + thin black brows (very like G-dragon, except this works cuz his bangs hide a lot of his brows, and his brows are trimmed very thin)

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    Daesung (BigBang) blonde hair on darker skin (as I mentioned, not really a good combination; I never thought this look suit Daesung very well)

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    Junho (2pm) red hair + black brows

    eyebrow bleach, bleaching eyebrows, how to bleach your own eyebrows

    T.O.P (Big Bang) fluorescent blue hair + wide black brows

     

    There’s really no hard and fast rules, as you can see. In the end, just do what you think looks good on you, and what you feel comfortable with.

    February 27th, 2012

    Those Animal Pajamas all the Kpop Idols Wear

    So you know those crazy cute and ridiculous looking animal pajamas that all the Kpop idols are running around in? the ones that you always thought would be fun to have, but can’t find anywhere?

    I’m sure that if you are even faintly acquainted with Korean media, especially the Kpop idols, you will know what I mean by “animal pajamas”, but just in case…

     

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol
    Shinee members on Hello Baby

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol
    Song JoongKi at a grocery store

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol
    Z:ea members KwangHee and DongJun at a radio show
    Source & Photo: Star News via Nate

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol
    Infinite member Hoya on Sesame Player

     

     

    Online Sellers

    I’ve been wanting to buy one for myself since forever, but never saw them on the streets or stores of Korea. As I was doing some online shopping a while ago, I stumbled upon these and decided to buy one as a Christmas gift.

     

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol

     

    These animal pajamas sell for about 25,000 won ($23 USD) by Sweet Holic at Interpark. I’m sure Gmarket and other major online Korean shopping websites will carry them as well.

    Click on the specific animal pajama you want for more pictures and a sizing chart. I’m about 162 cm (5’4) and I just fit into a S (small). Medium will probably work for me but be a bit big. Expect these to be a little baggy, as they are PJs after all!

     

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol

     

    Be aware of buying something in the $10+ range, because those are very likely “fakes”. Although I don’t think there is a specific brand name for these pajamas, I would stick to the $20+ range for better quality.

    Sweet Holic claims that “fakes” are of lower quality, less durable, and forms fluffs/lint easily and can’t survive the washing machine. When I compare the photos of the cheaper and more expensive stuff, you can at least see that on the Sweet Holic pajamas, the eyes and facial features are actually sewn on, whereas the cheaper one looks glued on.

    Sweet Holic also boasts elastic strewn sleeves and ankle legging, a string/rope adjustable hoodie neckline, and pockets on all of their PJs.

     

     

    Quality + Review

    I bought the kangaroo one because the baby kangaroo in the big pocket is just too cute. I’ve seen a chicken one before (though not sold by Sweet Holic) with a little baby chicken in the breast pocket and thought it was absolutely adorable as well. The miniature matching babies are just too much fun!

     

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol

     

    As usual of Korean sellers, these arrived within a few days of payment. I was surprised how thick and heavy the material was, and had to scrap my original idea of sending it by post because of the size and weight. However, it is not that heavy that you would feel like it was dragging you down.

    The PJs are a one piece slip on to wear around the house, to sleep in, and keep warm (or wear out if you fancy!). If you are like the Kpop idols, you can wear the hoodie to hide your messy bed head =p

    The kangaroo has a pretty big tail, but I recommend you getting something without so you might actually be able to sleep in it. Lots of pajamas have something on the back (wings or tails) you should be aware of!

     

    Finally, instead of writing a normal letter, I wrote this instead for my friend =p

    animal pajama, animal pajamas, kpop idol

     

    If I ever get one for myself, I would get the black pig (top row, 4th in screenshot) because my nickname at home is ‘pig’ since I love sleeping and eating (and I’m pretty lazy too) XD

    Which one would you get for yourself?

     

     

    PS. I posted on Facebook recently my new hair color. I know it’s time for a look post, but I’m leaving Vancouver this Tuesday, so I’ll try to post it asap when I get back to Korea! I have a good few days to rest before I start work on Monday ^^ I’ll also post some pics of my trip back in Van. soon (it’ll mostly be a lot of food porn though, like last time XD).

    PPS. I wasn’t originally planning to make this animal pajama post, or else I would’ve screen capped all the many times I’ve seen idols in these PJs. However, I searched and searched for the episode and moment where they caught Hoya (from Infinite) sleeping in them in Sesame Player Episode 3 @ 34:50. It took forever cuz my player skips or rewinds in large chunks T_T, but I was soooo happy I could somehow find an excuse to include him in my blog post since he is my most recent bias =p Haha!!

    January 25th, 2012

    Cozy Indoors + Zombie Blue Matte Polish

    Throwing on a simple tee, long scarf, and Dr. Martens to make for cozy and comfortable indoor wear.

    Sometimes, there are some looks that don’t turn out to my satisfaction. I wasn’t intending to post this one, but decided to at least put it up on Lookbook because it feels like such a waste otherwise!

     

    Instead, I will share with you the nail polish I am wearing here, which is also one of my favorite go-to polishes. Whenever I’m bored and not sure what color to choose, I usually find myself pulling this one out.

    Missha matte blue nail polish, mblo1, lucid polish

    no flash

    Missha matte blue nail polish, mblo1, lucid polish
    with flash

    Missha Lucid Nail Polish (mblo1, matte), $2~ USD

    This polish reminds me of zombies and… well, death. Doesn’t the blue look like the way a zombie’s finger nails might look like after being buried for a long time?

    Okay, maybe not technically.

    It’s a very unique, opaque, matte blue. Coverage is very good, one coat being sufficient to finish. Wear is decent, chipping in 2~ days without a top coat (sometimes I’m lazy!).

    Once I was editing a student’s script in class, and he pointed out that my nail color was the exact same as the blue pen I was using. It’s true!

    Zombies or blue pens, you make your pick! Either way, this is a very unique color for a low price. Plus, I’m a total sucker for matte polishes.

     

    Yesterday was the first day of Chinese New Year. I wish everyone lots of luck and good fortune and hope you collected lots of red pockets! XD

    December 26th, 2011

    Season’s Greetings + Mini Christmas Haul

    I would like to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Holidays. May the year of 2012 be filled with whatever your heart may desire~ ^^

     

    I went on a quick day of shopping a few days before Christmas. It was literally a dash-and-run because I had only a day out in Seoul to 1) cut my hair, 2) shop and buy gifts, 3) meet people and friends.

    And yes, I cut my hair — REALLY SHORT!! Haha. Pics to come later ^^

    I think I’ll do a post on visiting the hair salon in Korea, because some people have asked me which salon I go to and how to say certain things in Korean…

     

     

    Accessory

    ssfw accessory

    Gold Studded Bangles: ssfw Accessories in Myungdong; 24,000 won ($22 USD)

    I have a thing for these kinda wrist strap bangles. You’ve seen 3 from ssfw Accessories before in the October Accessories Haul (part 1) and one used in my Dorky Rocker Chic look.

    The bangles are pricey, but ssfw has the best quality for the price.

    A friend pointed out that I like anything with studs. I guess it’s true. And, in gold? With a mini swinging hoop in the center?

    It was a sure buy.

    Merry Christmas to me! XDD

     

     

    Beauty Products

     

    Too Cool For School is a relatively new Korean makeup brand. They have a very urban city chic style to their packaging and store interior.

     

    Here’s a capture from their website:

    too cool for school

     

    I’ve always had my eyes on their makeup line, but was never impressed enough to buy anything, until I noticed their spoof of the Beauty Blender:

    beauty blender

    Beauty Blender: “the first ergonomically designed non-disposable sponge applicator that allows you to flawlessly apply your makeup”; $20 USD (official site; Sephora)

     

    I’ve always been curious about the Beauty Blender, but $20 was just too much for a ball of sponge.

    I was happy to find a $5 version at Too Cool For School!

     

    too cool for school, marshmallow puff

    Marshmallow Puff: Too Cool For School in Myungdong; 5,000 won ($5 USD)

     

    This $5 version of the Beauty Blender comes in two sizes and colors — small and large, pink and white. Their sample of the white puff looked dirty and gross, so I went for the pink.

    I used it once (in an upcoming lookbook shoot) and wasn’t extremely impressed.

    The sponge is very dense and not very flexible. It doesn’t bend to your facial curves so you are doing a lot of dabbing to blend out your foundation.

    It does offer a pointed tip for the smaller curves of your face (around your nose, etc), but I don’t find myself wanting to use all parts of the sponge to apply my foundation, cuz it soaks up and wastes my product.

    It’s also annoying to clean it every time after use. I obviously thought about this before purchase, but when you are looking at the pretty pink ball in the store, you think that you will be diligent with cleaning it. Then you get home and are just too lazy to.

    In conclusion, I think I prefer the softer, more bendable, disposable sponges.

     

     

    royal nail polish, missha matte top coat

    Royal Polishes in #122 Neon Pink (현광핑크) and #702 Bikini Pink (비키니 핑크): general makeup store in Myungdong, 700 won (70 cents each)
    Missha Matte Top Coat: $2~

     

    I bought a nude Royal polish before and it was terrible — runny, muddy colored, didn’t go on smooth.

    These neon polishes are the exact opposite — very pigmented, applies smoothly, dries quickly, true to color.

    It also doesn’t chip for a good 4~ days without a top coat, unlike most Etude, Face Shop, or Missha polishes.

    Cheap polishes tend to give better quality with darker colors. I’m so looking for more next time!

    Also, everyone has been recommending me to buy a matte top coat to make a shiny colored polish become matte. I actually already own this exact top coat, and bought another one for my friend.

    In the picture above, the matte top coat is applied over the same neon pink on my middle finger.

    It works to make it matte, but not completely? It still has a bit of a lustre.

    I think original matte polishes are better, but it’s a good solution if you don’t wanna buy two sets of shiny and matte polishes!

     

     

    Etc.

    ssfw accessory

    Bought 2 pairs of black pantyhose — one thick for winter, one thin for summer and more Nexcare acne patches (my review here) for backup (I swear by this product now!!) because it’s cheaper at Olive Young in Myungdong than online.

     

    ssfw accessory

    Super Junior ‘Mr. Simple’ album LP version: Youngpoong Book Store in Myungdong; 19,000 won ($17 USD)

    Okay, this is not a beauty/fashion product, but freakin heck I am proud of this CD — Super Junior’s ‘Mr. Simple’ album — in the LP sized version OF HEECHUL!!

    Heechul is not really my absolute fav in Suju (I keep switching back and forth because there’s just too many of them T_T), but I saw his version of the album cover sitting in the bookstore when it first came out and I just wanted it.

    I go home to buy it online because its cheaper, to find out it’s only shipped out randomly — you don’t get to choose the member on the cover!! So freaking heck, I had to wait to go back to the bookstore, pay more for it, and hope that Mr. Heechul was still there.

    I practically ran for the bookstore the moment I stepped into Myungdong. I’m so glad he was still there *fangirl moment*.

     

     

    I also bought some gifts for friends that I so want to share with you guys, but in case they stop by my blog, I won’t be able to until I give it to them when I return to Vancouver in a few weeks! I’m also picking up a few duty free items when I go back, so I’ll share those with you guys later too ^^

     

    How was everyone’s Christmas shopping? What did you get? What did you buy for others? Did you spoil yourself a little this year?

    September 16th, 2011

    NexCare Acne Patch / Blemish Clear Cover

    Back to the promised reviews from my samples haul post!

    I got some ‘circle stickers’ from the Korean skin clinic which healed my wounds really well after my freckle / age spot / mole laser removal. After some research, I found out similar products existed on the market.

     

    NexCare, Blemish Clear Cover, 블레미쉬 클리어 커버

    1. NexCare Blemish Clear Cover (36: 12mm x12; 8mm x24); 6,500 won ($6 USD)
    2. Himom Band (36: 10mm x36); 7,000 won ($7 USD)

     

    Purchase: 1. Olive Young (general cosmetics store) in Myungdong 2. Pharmacy in Myungdong

    What it is: Basically, they are just small hydrocolloid patches. A larger version was used in hospitals to treat wounds and injury, absorbing pus and preventing infections. These patches were made after it was found out that nurses used small patches to treat their own acne.

    Usage: Place a patch over clean, dry skin. It works best to leave it on overnight, or longer. Remove it when the patch becomes white (this is the pus, oil, and secretion). Replace with a new one if necessary until the wound is closed.

    How it works: The patches are clear or skin-colored, water-based dressing that absorbs and sucks out the pus, oil, and secretion from your acne or wounds. It is a waterproof yet breathable cover that prevents inflammation, infections, and your touching the acne or wound. At the same time, it helps open wounds and flesh heal more quickly.

     

     

    Review

    I’ve been using these for the past month. It works for some types of acne but not others, but is definitely more effective for pimples with ‘heads’, extracted pimples, and laser spot removal wounds.

     

    Acne, Pimples, Breakouts

    -> may help slightly reduce the size, redness, and inflammation of growing pimples without heads
    -> may significantly absorb the pus in pimples with heads (white pus filled acne)
    -> may speed up the process of breakouts forming a head, calming down, and healing
    -> does NOT magically get ride of pimples in one night

    It really just has a 50/50 chance of working, depending on what stage and type of pimple you put it on, how long you leave it on, etc. It will either do little to absolutely nothing, or work absolute wonders.

    For headless pimples, I recommend putting a light layer of tea tree oil on the skin before applying the patch. Even though you are recommended to apply it onto dry skin so it sticks better, I find keeping tea tree oil on the skin locked under the patch will at least help reduce the size, even if it doesn’t pull out the non-existent or deeply buried pus in the pimple.

    For pus filled pimples, you can choose to put it on 1) after extracting the head, 2) after puncturing the headed skin with a sterile needle to create a hole for absorption, 3) as is.

    If you apply the patch after 1) extracting the head (apply light pressure on both sides of the head with two q-tips), the wound will heal much faster and better with the patch. The skin will not be dry, flaky, and scabby as it heals. The healing time is also shorter.

    If you apply the patch after 2) puncturing it or 3) as is, it will either do nothing but slightly reduce the size of the pimple, or it will absolutely suck out all the pus.

    For pimples, it is best to leave the patch on at least overnight. A few hours will do nothing. Leaving it on for more than 24 hours may cause the patch to puncture your skin as it absorbs the pus, leaving you with an open wound as if you popped your pimple (this happened to me T_T). Overnight on pimples is your best option.

     

    Acne and Spot Removal Wounds and Scars

    -> 100% aids open, bleeding, infected, secreting wounds to heal faster than normal without dryness and scabbing, leaving the skin heal in much better condition
    -> does NOT work on old acne scars — only fresh ones!

    I’ve already posted pics in my age spot / mole laser removal post to show how well it worked for me.

     

    Visibility
    -> clear or skin colored patch only noticeable up close
    -> consider wearing a hat/cap or a pair of glasses (the funkier in color/pattern, or bigger in size, the better) to hide or divert attention away from the patch

    Most people use the patches overnight and makeup on top of their acne during the day. I was not able to do that because I was instructed to keep it on for 5 days straight without taking it off after my laser removal.

    When I changed to a new patch on the first morning, I was upset the clear patch didn’t hide the red wound. However, a white layer formed over the wound after an hour, hiding the red.

    I wore a pair of big plastic rimmed glasses which slightly brought attention away from the patches near my eye area.

    Some people complain that it’s SO visible from a MILE away, but that’s really an exaggeration. It’s just because you are so conscious of it.

    It’s so common in Korea, no one even mentioned or asked about it. Thank goodness for me!

     

    Sizes
    -> comes in a variety of sizes: 12mm, 10mm, 8mm

    Unless you tend to get huge pimples, I recommend the 8mm in case you want something as discreet as possible to go out in public with.

    They are offered by a variety of brands. I kind of think Nexcare might be better, but there’s probably no big difference.

     

     

    Conclusion

    $6-7 is not a bad price to pay for anything that has a chance of helping my break outs process and heal faster.

    It’s a product I will keep buying and handy.

     

     

    If you are still not convinced, I’ll let Taekyeon win you over.

    NexCare, Blemish Clear Cover, Taekyeon, 2pm

    NexCare, Blemish Clear Cover, Taekyeon, 2pm

    I wonder if he got freckle removal as well? It’s in like the exact same spot as mine was!

    August 20th, 2011

    My Freckle / Age Spot Laser Removal Experience

    *Warning*: pictures of a little blood and open wound if you are the queasy type.

    I also don’t need to hear stuff about “you are fine the way you are” and “it’s unnecessary” because it is my choice to do what I want with myself!

     

     

    About a month ago, a friend of mine told me he was going to get laser spot removal on his hands and face. He said he had already done it before and was going back to get a few more done.

    I had never been bothered much about my freckles/age spots until recently, as I seem to be getting more with age and sun exposure T_T I normally would not do something this ‘major’ without some research beforehand, but since he said he was a returning customer, and since I tend to recklessly trust word of mouth from friends, I decided to just jump into it and tag along.

     

    Foreword

    Before I start, let me clarify that 1) I am not a professional in this area. I am only sharing my experience and researched information. 2) I did it in Korea, and your own country may have slightly different procedures.

     

    My Freckle / Age Spot Laser Removal Experience

    The moment my friend pointed out the clinic, I breathed a small sigh of relief — it was a very nice and prestigious looking clinic I had seen before. I was afraid he’d bring me to some small, dingy 피부과 (dermatologist clinic).

    The clinic I went to is called Dr. Skin. It’s located in 원주 (Wonju) which is about 1.5 hours away from Seoul and where I am currently employed and living. Here is the clinic website and a map. However, if you do some research or check out a decent looking 피부과 in Korea, I’m sure the procedure will not differ drastically (but prestigious areas in Seoul may charge more). In Korean, spot/freckle removal is called 점빼기.

    The girls at the counter took our names and had us wait about 10 minutes. They spoke absolutely no English at all, or made no attempt to.

    I noticed as I was waiting that they did a bunch of other cosmetic procedures and surgeries — removing eye fat (does this make sense? It’s quite commonly mentioned in Korea!), heightening the nose, reshaping the jaws, etc.

    We were called into the doctor’s office one at a time. I insisted my friend sit in on my consultation because I wanted to make sure I get the same prices and procedure as him. The doctor spoke quite decent English (you will find the younger generations of doctors in Korea tend to).

    I asked the doctor what the spots on my face were — freckles or age spots (I was obviously hoping I would not be associated with the word ‘age’). He said freckles are numerous concentrated spots on the face, and since mine are less and more spread out, they are just age spots T_T He told me age spots are caused by the sun, genetics, and age.

    I often heard that after removal, age spots will come back either in the same spot or elsewhere. He said this is not true. The removal is permanent and will not come back.

    Research online tells me that this is generally true, and people who claim they come back either 1) had a light / gentle removal (low laser settings requiring 3-4 removal sessions) that did not entirely remove the pigmentation or 2) had age spots return because of sun exposure or natural skin process (as in, new age spots would’ve continued to develop regardless of whether they had removal before or not).

    He said after removal, the spot will look red for about a week, then brown for 2 (ish?) more weeks. The scar will not completely heal until 3-6 months later. I didn’t know at the time, but basically, just think of how a popped pimple will healbleeds at first, is red for a few days, forms a brown scab, then leaves a scar for 1-3 months (and yes, I’m sure everyone has popped a pimple before!)

    He told me each spot removal would cost 10,000 won (about $9 USD). This is quite cheap compared to what I’d probably have to pay in North America. I decided to have two on the right side of my face below my eyes, removed. If it turned out well, I’d go back for more.

    Mind you, all of the information he ‘told’ me were actually brief answers to my questions. If I had not asked him anything, he probably would’ve went right ahead after I pointed the spots out.

    Korean doctors tend not to be very ceremonious or explanatory. Don’t expect them to tell you any of the risks, side effects, how the procedure works, how to treat the wound, etc. Make sure you ask about every single detail before you leave that office.

    When it was my turn, I laid down on a reclining chair (like at the dentist). He confirmed the two spots by touching them on my face. I said they were the right ones. He cleaned the spots with alcohol and shot two local anesthetic shots on the two spots. It was a bit scary having needles injected into my face, but it was fast and not that painful (I have pretty high pain tolerance though).

    I closed my eyes as he did the removal. He ‘shot’ each spot with laser (it could’ve been ‘light’ from IPL, I’m not sure) 4-5 times. I could not feel anything, but I could smell burning as I heard crackling and popping noises.

    When he was done, the assistant girls put a small circle sticker on each of the spots and I left.

    The whole process took about 5 minutes.

    I paid 20,000won ($18 USD). As my friend was paying, I realized he had no stickers on his hand, while I did on my face. He thought maybe the stickers on the face were for cosmetic reasons to cover the red wounds. I was actually a bit horrified to see the wounds on his hands, because they were pretty much slightly bleeding red craters.

    I was worried because he told me I’d still be able to go into work like normal the next day. I asked the receptionist girls when I can take my sticker off (hoping they would say immediately when I get home so I can go into work normally) but they said to keep it on for a week!

    They gave me more of the circle stickers to change onto the wounds. I found it incredulous I can let such bleeding facial wounds heel with mere stickers, and insisted there must be something I can put on it to treat it. They said any ‘healing’ cream would do, and I insisted again they recommend one to me to purchase at the pharmacy downstairs. They wrote me the name of a cream and we left.

    I bought the cream at the pharmacy for $2.5 USD. (It’s in Korea, so no pictures!)

     

    Pictures and Results

    age spot laser removal experience in Korea, 점빼기

    I hadn’t been planning to blog about this until after the removal, so this is the only HD camera closeup pictures of my skin before the procedure.

    I know it doesn’t look like much but I’m actually wearing foundation in this picture already. You can still see the two spots because I didn’t realize just how HD the camera really is!

    This also goes to show that the spots are a real pain to cover up, because I have to dot concealer with a tiny brush on it every single morning to completely hide them.

    The lighter one near my eye is probably an age spot, but the slightly bumpy one beside my nose is more of a tiny mole and has been there, I think, since I was young.

     

    age spot laser removal experience in Korea, 점빼기

    I didn’t take the stickers off on Day 1 as I was instructed not to.

    After I took the stickers off on Day 2, there was slight bleeding, which I cleaned up with a q-tip and applied the healing cream. I had the stickers on my face all the time, even when I was in bed or at work. I was instructed to use it for a week, but I stopped using it on Day 5 as I wanted to save the stickers. However, I continued applying the healing cream on it until it was no longer red.

    I was able to start using makeup to cover the scar on after Day 7. I broke out with a pimple near the area, but it was at ‘the time of the month’ where I broke out the most, so I don’t think it was because of the removal.

    age spot laser removal experience in Korea, 점빼기

    These were the ‘circle sticker’ I had left over. They didn’t actually give me very many. They worked absolute wonders to heal the scar, and I found out they do the same for acne wounds. I bought similar patches in my recent samples haul and will review them soon.

    age spot laser removal experience in Korea

    I took this picture just yesterday. I didn’t bother pointing out where the scars are, because if I didn’t, would you really even notice?

    The age spot under my eye healed pretty much perfectly. I can’t even tell where it is in the picture.

    The tiny mole (?) beside my nose is still healing with a scar. I expected this though because the wound to remove the mole was much bigger than the age spot, so it will probably take longer to heal. I expect it will probably be unnoticeable by the 3rd month.

     

    Types of Skin Pigmentation Removal

    There are many different kinds of skin pigmentation removal — at home skin whitening products, liquid nitrogen, laser (ex: KTP), IPL (Intense Pulsed Light, a.k.a Photofacial). I’m not going to go into the scientific and details because I don’t know enough about it, but most of the age spot removal treatments work fundamentally the same, they are removing or damaging the top layer of skin to get to the fresh skin underneath.

    Different procedures have different cost range, effects, healing time, effectiveness, etc. Nowadays, IPL seems to be the most popular as it is more gentle on the skin, has shorter healing time, and also rejuvenating effects.

    It was actually really hard to find unbiased information and personal experiences because the search results were dominated mostly by advertisements. Realself.com was a good cosmetic treatment customer review site.

    I found a lot of treatment types, but none that matched my own experience exactly, and even until now, I’m not 100% sure which procedure I had done (because my doctor did not speak great English and it didn’t occur to me to ask at the time). I urge you to do your own research and consult a few doctors before you consider any of these procedures yourself.

     

    Conclusion and Personal Thoughts

    After doing some reading and online research, my guess is that I got a concentrated and high level form of IPL.

    IPL is often done all over the face, over 3-4 sessions, for those with number and/or large freckles, age spots and pigmentation on their face, neck, or hands. The entire area will be red, with certain spots especially wounded and bleeding more than others. I suspect the red areas are for rejuvenating purposes (collagen stimulation) and small bleeding wounds are for removing darker age spots where the light was shot at a higher frequency (hence deeper wound to remove spots). I suspect I received the latter procedure as the only other personal experience I read that had local spot removal (instead of all over the face) AND burning smell was an IPL procedure (read here). Also, my removal was done over one session only.

    I am happy with the results and am planning to go back for removal of spots on the side of my face again. However, I cannot be sure that the spots won’t ‘return’ or ‘grow in another spot’. I already said that research online told me this does not happen with effective and sufficiently ‘deep’ removal, but I was only able to find most of my information off of advertisement/promotion websites.

    I heard it comes back from so many friends that I will allow myself to remain somewhat skeptical about the long-term results. However, for less than $10 per spot, I’m happy if they stay away for even 1-2 years.

    When I do go back or if the spots do return, I will write again on my blog!

     

     

    Is anyone else considering this procedure, or know anyone that has done it already? Please share — I really want to hear more personal experiences to compare with my own, especially prices!

    August 17th, 2011

    Facial Sunscreen vs SPF Moisturizer

    I used to think that as long as I was not going to be in the sun all day, I didn’t need to wear sunscreen. A few years ago, I was talking to a fellow teacher about this, and she said ‘What? I wear sunscreen even if I’m just teaching in class all day. Sun comes in through the windows!”

    Since then, my rule of thumb for myself is even if I’m mostly going to be indoors, I still use something with at least SPF 15 all over my face.

    However, recently, I started to feel like the sun + age is getting to my skin and I’m developing freckles/age spots/pigmentation faster than I used to. This is also the reason why I recently got freckle/spots laser removal (which I still have to blog about!).

    Nowadays, if I’m going to be out in the sun for more than 15 minutes, I wear at least 30+ SPF.

    These are my own preferences. You can find out the recommended times and more information about sun protection here.

     

     

    SPF Moisturizer vs Sunscreen

    1. Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15 FPS
    2. Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection SPF 40 UVA-UVB/PA+++/Oil-free/Anti-pollution Day Screen High Proection (regular & tinted; I am reviewing the tinted one).

    Please remember that one is a moisturizer with SPF and the other an actual sunscreen. While I will be reviewing them side-by-side, that does not mean they are the same kind of product.

    SPF Moisturizer
    Pros
    – moisturizing function
    – additional SPF function to avoid an extra step (sunscreen) in your skincare
    Cons
    – requires more product usage to moisturize entire face (compared to how much sunscreen you have to use for full protection)
    – SPF function is often weak or not up to par with actual sunscreen protection

    Sunscreen
    Pros
    – full sunscreen protection (often with extra functions: waterproof, UVA, etc)
    – requires very little product for full protection
    – can sometimes be used as a makeup base (as is the Clarins tinted sunscreen I am reviewing)
    Cons
    – no moisturizing function
    – often oily, sticky, and/or leaves a white tint
    – adds an extra step in your skincare (may be a problem for those with sensitive or acne prone skin, or just plain troublesome for the lazy)

     

     

    Oil Test

    For more detailed test results on how regular paper and oil blotting paper absorbs water and oil, see my Foundation + BB Cream Collection & Review post.

     

    Let’s see how much oil the two products contain.

    facial sunscreen review, Clarins UV plus SPF 40, Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15 FPS

    Results:
    Most Oil: Clarins Day Screen
    No Oil: Neutrogena SPF Day Moisturizer

    Personal Thoughts:
    I was really surprised the SPF moisturizer had absolutely no oil in it at all. It’s really difficult to find a skin product that is truly oil-free, and this makes Neutrogena a keeper for me.

    Clarins Day Screen claims to be oil-free, but the obvious amount of oil on both the oil blotting paper and regular paper shows that it is not.

     

     

    Stickiness Test

    I cut out 30 pieces of small thin square kleenex paper, press them firmly onto the back of my hand with the same amount of product I would put on my face, then gently turn my hand over. The more that sticks to my hand, the stickier the product. I do this at least 2-3 times and record the results most reflective of the overall average (ex: if out of three tries, there are 2, 7, and 4 pieces left, I will record the result with 4 pieces).

     

    facial sunscreen review, Clarins UV plus SPF 40, Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15 FPS

    Results:
    Most Sticky: Neutrogena SPF Moisturizer
    Least Sticky: Clarins Day Screen

    Personal Thoughts:
    At first, I was disappointed at how sticky the moisturizer was, especially after it fared so well in the oil test. However, I realized afterwards that because this is an actual moisturizer, I shouldn’t be too surprised that it is more sticky than the sunscreen. Personally, I would rather use something that is more sticky with less oil.

    However, for those who are more concerned that their face remain unsticky, Clarins may be a good option for you. Of the few facial sunscreens I’ve tried, Clarins is still the least sticky and heavy.

     

     

    Individual Reviews

    I have combination skin (dry cheeks and oily T-zone) and reside in Korea, with hot and humid summers and cold snowy winters. Please remember that products may not necessarily work in the same way for me as they do you.

     

    SPF moisturizer review, Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15 FPS

    1. Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15 FPS, $11-12 USD, 60mL, Made in U.S.A, purchased at a local drugstore

    SPF moisturizer review, Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15 FPS

    SPF moisturizer review, Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15 FPS

    Stickiness Test: high
    Oil Test: no oil
    Fragrance: very faint (0.5/5)
    Pros:
    – low price
    – absolutely no oil
    – 4+ hr lasting moisture
    – fragrance free
    – SPF 15 protection
    Cons:
    – a bit heavy for hot and humid summer weathers
    – SPF too low for extended outdoor protection

    Package Label & Instructions:
    Neutrogena Intensified Day Moisture SPF 15 is clinically proven to combine long-lasting moisturization for dry skin with effective sun protection for softer, smoother, younger-looking skin. Directions: Apply all over face and neck before exposure to sun. Use daily, alone, or under makeup.

    Personal Thoughts:
    Neutrogena generally claims that their products are dermatologist-tested. Their packaging, products, and my personal experiences makes me feel they are more of a practical and down-to-earth rather than a prestigious and trendy kind of brand, which gives me confidence in the effectiveness and quality of their products.

    I rated this product’s fragrance as ‘very faint’ because there is a slight smell to it, but it’s not fragrance. I recognize the smell as more like what prescription creams smell like — so it’s probably the chemicals/drugs in the product, and not added fragrance. This is a definite plus because I personally dislike fragranced products because I think the less funky stuff on my face, the better.

    It is moisturizing enough for my dry cheeks, but not too heavy or sticky on my oily T-zone. For those with combination skin like me, you can apply it first on your cheeks and spread it out to your T-zone. It feels a bit heavy sometimes in the summer for my combination skin in the hot Korean weather, but works for me as a great fall/winter moisturizer.

    After applying this moisturizer, even after one hour, when I press the palm of my hands to my cheeks, it still feels plump and hydrated. However, this doesn’t last for more than 4+ hours. It claims to be for dry skin, but sometimes in the winter or when my skin is particularly dry, I sometimes feel like it’s not enough. Those with extremely dry skin may not find they need something more hydrating.

    This product has not broken me out for the 3-4 years I’ve been using it. It does not promote extra oil, but you can see the area with the product on the back of my hand is shinier than where there is no product. However, this is very minimal and barely noticeable on my face. It is not a mattifying product and does not provide oil control.

    Overall, I like this product and will likely continue using it (or bumming off my mom’s stock). It is also very reasonably priced, for just $12 USD a jar.

     

     

    sunscreen review, Clarins UV plus SPF 40sunscreen review, Clarins UV plus SPF 40
    left: old formula; right: new formula (regular & tinted)
    SPF moisturizer review, Clarins UV plus SPF 40

    2. Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection SPF 40 UVA-UVB/PA+++/Oil-free/Anti-pollution Day Screen High Proection (regular & tinted); $38 USD 50mL/1.7 oz; Made in France

    Note: I am reviewing a sample size of the newest and tinted formula. The old formula comes in a different packaging and does not have the boasted cantaloupe melon extract. The new formula comes in a regular white, and a pink tinted color (which seems to be harder to find). It also comes in two sizes, 30mL/1oz and 50mL/1.7 oz.

     

    sunscreen review, Clarins UV plus SPF 40

    sunscreen review, Clarins UV plus SPF 40

    Stickiness Test: low
    Oil Test: oily
    Fragrance: light (2/5)
    Pros:
    – high SPF facial coverage
    – does not feel heavy or sticky on face
    – does not promote too much extra oil or shine
    – long lasting waterproof sun protection
    – blends easily in liquid form
    – pink tinted version can serve as a makeup base instead of a primer
    Cons:
    – contains oil (though it claims to be oil free)
    – pricey

    Product Functions
    Triple protection against sun, pollution and daily stresses, so you can face the day without a care.
    – Triple Protection against UVA/UVB Rays, Pollution & Free Radicals
    – SPF 40, Non-Chemical, 100% mineral filters day screen
    – Ultra lightweight, oil-free formula that easily blends into the skin
    – Key Ingredients: Cantaloupe Melon Extract – contains an exceptional concentration of super oxide dismutase, an antioxidative enzyme that neutralizes the harmful effects of free radicals on skin.
    – 100% Mineral UVA/UVB Filters – Guarantees high protection while respecting the skin
    Plant Polymers – create an invisible “veil” on the skin, letting it breathe without leaving white traces

    Personal Thoughts:
    I was actually ready to purchase the full size of this product. I was looking for a summer facial sunscreen that 1) did not feel heavy on my face, 2) did not promote excess oil or shine, 3) did not leave a white cast, 4) offered a high enough SPF for outdoor summer protection.

    This sunscreen did all of the above and more — it had a pink tint and blended out very smoothly to function as a makeup base. It also claimed to be oil-free and anti-pollution with UVA protection on the product label.

    The new formula of this product contains a cantaloupe extract with anti-aging effects and a 100% mineral screen for UVA/UVB. It does not leave the skin feeling sticky.

    I also found out after coming out of the shower, the shine of this product remained on my left hand (I obviously don’t wash the back of my hand with soap in the shower T_T) whereas the shine from the Neutrogena SPF moisturizer was totally gone from my right hand. This indicates that it may actually be waterproof (although it doesn’t claim it). Great!

    However, after finding out that it does in fact contain oil, and the high price, I am unlikely to purchase the full sized product.

     

    In conclusion, I’m probably going to keep using my Neutrogena SPF Moisturizer for indoor days, finish my Clarins Sunscreen sample, then look for something else (or live off of another sunscreen sample that’s likely to come my way next summer =p).

    Actually, a friend of mine recommended Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50. She always has really good product recommendations and said her mom is a sunscreen mania and has tried practically all sunscreens from high to low end and recommends this one for those 4 criterias I was looking for. The only reason I haven’t bought it is because it’s very pricey ($34 USD for 30mL/1oz).

    sunscreen review

     

    What sunscreen or SPF moisturizer do you use, and what do you find worthy of repurchase?

     

     

    (Finished! I intended a short review but they always end up so long! T_T Do you guys prefer shorter reviews or like these detailed ones? I got a lot of positive feedback for the Foundation + BB Cream Collection & Review, so I thought I’d do this one in a similar style.)