A little visit to Aritaum – the KBeauty megabrand

Aritaum Haul
Aritaum Haul

  • ARITAUM | Cel Cushion Mask | Lifting
  • ARITAUM | Bio Cellulouse Mask | Brightening
  • ARITAUM | Sugarball Cushion Blusher | Posy Pink
  • ARITAUM | Glam Nails Polish | #250 Ginger Brown
  • ARITAUM | Glam Nails Polish | #231 Holographic Gold
  • ARITAUM | Mono Eye Shadow | #97 Modern Fatal
  • ARITAUM | Mono Eye Shadow | #100 Purple Jazz
  • LANEIGE | BB Cushion Puff
We’ve been talking about it for months and the excited that ensued when we finally stepped inside the front doors was exhilarating (evidence here). The arrival of Korean beauty giant Aritaum (who also happen to own IOPE, Laneige and Mammonde) made a lot of sense following the successful introduction of KBeauty here in North America but the shop opened rather quietly and one day it was just there. All decked out, sparkling and ready to go. After a quick look through the store, I ended up lingering at shelf with Aritaum’s own in house brand of makeup products. Much talked about for being both affordable and with good performance coupled with the BOGO deal and I took home quite a few things. While there’s not a very completely collection of Aritaum makeup compared the actual offering in Korea, the price point is very reasonable and on par with drugstore brands. The thrilling thing is finding the unique formulas that you can only otherwise see in high-end shops; cream blusher with a nothing at all texture and the shadows with a crystal like sprinkle – I’m ready for you.
Happy Sunday,

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    Review: SEKKISEI | Japanese Whitening Skincare

    Sekkisei Japanese Whitening Skincare
    Inspired by the beauty, brightness and purity of snow.

    Sekkisei’s arrival in Canada last year marked such an exciting turn in Asian skincare. For more than two decades, this Japanese line with its combination of herbal extracts has been a sought after name in brightening and whitening skincare. Inspired by the purity of snow, the range is created to impart an ethereal, radiant skin tone with beautiful translucence. From what I gathered, Sekkisei has divided the products into a regular line and an enhanced “Excellence” line which is more potent and hydrating.

    Believe me when I say that I squealed out loud when I saw this come through in the mail!

    Sekkisei Japanese Whitening Skincare
    SEKKISEI | White Powder Wash* | Full Size: 100g @ $45CAD

    As part of 3 different options for cleansing (there’s also a cleansing oil and cleansing liquid), I was really intrigued by the idea of a powdered face wash. A dash or two in the palm of my hand mixed with some water and this turns into a very creamy cleansing foam. It doesn’t foam up madly or create very dense bubbles but it’s very comfortable on the skin and there’s no dry after effects. It’s a great balancing one for combination skin especially and my face feels really supple post washing. I used this both morning and night although never as a makeup remover. This would be really excellent as a travel product since it doesn’t take up your carry-on liquids limitation and 100 grams actually lasts a surprisingly long time. It does contain a clean, light soapy-floral scent that runs through the entire range of products.

    INGREDIENTS: Talc, Sodium Myristate, Potassium Myristate, Sodium Laurate, Potassium Laurate, Sodium Palmitate, Potassium Palmitate, Lauric Acid, Water (Aqua), Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi (Job’s Tears) Seed Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Methyparaben, Fragrance (Parfum).

    SEKKISEI | Clear Whitening Mask* | Full Size: 80g @ $39CAD

    Now this whitening mask is hailed as one of the Sekkisei’s gold star products but my experience was unfortunately just mediocre. The product dispenses as a thick gel-like cream and is meant to be peeled off after drying as a film on the skin. From the looks of the ingredients there seems to be a good mix of brightening and calming additives but I didn’t find it any better than the average peel off mask. Not to mention with only 80grams in a tube, I was really aware of how much I was using per application in order to cover my face (spread it too thin and it won’t peel off properly). It performed well in removing some clogged pores but I didn’t notice any evident brightening plus I always felt this left my skin a little dry.

    INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Polyvinyl Alcohol, Alcohol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Bentonite, Ppg-10 Methyl Glucose Ether, Titanium/Titanium Dioxide, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chaenomeles Sinensis Fruit Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract, Melothria Heterophylla Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Dipropylene Glycol, Disodium Phosphate, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentaoleate, Silica, Sodium Hydroxide, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum)

    Sekkisei Japanese Whitening Skincare
    SEKKISEI | Lotion (Toner)* | Full Size: 200ml @ $57CAD

    Another one of the brand’s best selling products, this lotion (otherwise known as a toner in western skincare) helps to prep the skin to receive the nutrients from other treatments and moisturizers to come. Lotions in Asian skincare can usually be used in two ways; either patted onto the skin post cleansing or used as a lotion mask with thin cotton sheets like a compress. After trying it both ways, I definitely prefer this as a regular pat on toner. It’s certainly refreshing but I didn’t find it very hydrating and in fact it had too much alcohol for my liking.

    INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Glycerin, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi (Job’s Tears) Seed Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Melothria Heterophylla Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Citric Acid, Di-C12-15 Pareth-8 Phosphate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Citrate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate Triethylhexanoin, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum).

    SEKKISEI | Emulsion* | Full Size: 140ml @ $59CAD

    Use before your moisturizing cream (although sometimes I’ve used emulsions solo in the summer) this emulsion is a lightweight hydrating layer. It has a really beautiful milky consistency that’s smooth and refreshing and sinks into my skin with ease. The range of herbal botanicals in this mix combined with familiar moisturizers likes squalene makes this a pretty likeable option for combination to slightly oily skin but again it’s hard to miss the strong alcohol content.

    INGREDIENTS: Water, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Clycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate/Stearate/Rosinate, Squalane, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Coix Lacryma – Jobi (Job’s Tears) Seed Extract, Gentiana Lutea Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Inula Britannica Flower Extract, Melothria Heterophylla Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Polyphosphrylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, C13-16 Isoparaffin, Cellulose Gum, Citric Acid, Disodium Edta, Disodium Phosphate, Lecithin, Hydrogenated Rapeseed Oil Glyceride, Laureth-7, Peg-8, Polyacrylamide, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, Sor
    bitan Stearate, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance.

    Sekkisei Japanese Whitening Skincare

    SEKKISEI | Cream Excellent* | Full Size: 50ml @ $99 CAD

    Cream of the crop here is this Sekkisei Cream Excellent (from their more potent line) and it is some serious business. While being easy to spread, this is undoubtedly a thick and very emollient moisturizer which I’d only recommend to those with dry to very dry skin. Used in combination with the emulsion (which is the suggested layering method) I found it much too heavy even for the winter season so I definitely prefer using it solo. On days I plan on wearing foundation, I’d have to do a quick blot to remove excess shine prior to makeup but otherwise with regular use I found it kept my skin supple, firm and well replenished. Even better, I never needed to reapply once if I’ve put this on in the morning.

    INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Squalane, Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cholesteryl Hydroxystearate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Coix Lacrymajobi (Job’s Tears) Seed Extract, Cordyceps Sinensis Extract,Menthol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, Xanthan Gum, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum) Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Leaf Extract, Melothria Heterophylla Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Citiric Acid, Dimethicone, Disodium Phosphate, Hydrogenated Lecithin.

    SEKKISEI | Eye Cream* | Full Size: 20g @ $69 CAD

    Who puts 20 grams of product in a jar of eye cream? Apparently, Sekkisei does. Beyond being a little taken back by how large this jar is, the product itself was quite decent. It has a smooth gel like consistency and a tiny dot is needed to spread around the eye contour. This is really potent. In fact, I’d be weary that it might be too rich for most people and it could cause some clogged pores so do be weary. Additionally, the mineral oil content is a no-go in my skincare philosophy so I’ve used it the least out of the everything I have from the range.

    INGREDIENTS: Water (Aqua), Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Trimethylolpropane Tristearate, Petrolatum, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Alcohol, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla Cera) Wax (Candelilla Cera), Butylene Glycol, Ceramide Complex 2, Cetearyl Alcohol, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Citrus Junos (Yuzu Fruit Extract, Coix Lacryma Jobi Mayuen Seed Extract (Job’s Tears), Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract (Licorice), Melothria Heterophylla Root Extract, Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Root Extract, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, C13 14 Isoparaffin, Carbomer, Cholesterol, Hydrogenated Lysolecithin, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Laureth 7, Polyacrylamide, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Methyl Stearoyl Taurate, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum).

    Sekkisei Skincare before after


    After 2 months of continuous exclusive use, let’s check out the before and after results. I found that my skin had an overall smoother and firmer look but not necessarily any noticeable brightening effect. In the mirror, I would say it helped reduced some sallowness but the dark spots / areas on my face didn’t improve all that much and the products didn’t provide the type of translucency I was able to achieve from other brightening / whitening Asian skincare products. There is definitely an improvement in my skin texture so I can actually see this as a starter anti-aging line. But although I was actually complimented many times on my skin whilst I was using Sekkisei, it just wasn’t up to par of what I had thought the line would be. Too much hype? Perhaps.

    Now do note that most of the products I had were part of the regular line and not the higher Excellent line but after 2 whole months, I’m ready to move on from most of it.

    Select Shoppers Drug Mart | BeautyBOUTIQUE Online

    Sekkisei Japanese Skincare

    Sekkisei Japanese Whitening Skincare


    Sekkiesei, Japan’s well respected skin brightening / whitening range works well to hydrate, smooth and improve skin texture while providing some firming action. With Vit-C in the form of ascorbyl glucoside as its main treatment ingredient, it also contains a great looking mix of herbal extracts and as a whole it kept my combination skin well hydrated throughout the coldest winter months. Yet while I’m usually not too concerned with alcohol in my skincare, even I was taken back by the appalling amount that is many of these products and it’s one of the reasons that really turned me off. The Sekkisei line is really a hit or miss game and unfortunately is more of the latter for my experience and especially in comparison to other brightening products I’ve used in the past. A fleeting thought did have me pondering if I would have liked the Excellent line of Sekkisei items better but for as it stands now, I’m ready to move on. If you’re keen to give it a go, I would recommend the Cream Excellent for dry / mature skin types and the White Powder Wash as a starter product for all skins both of which I’m going to keep in my personal rotation.

    Stay bright,

    Makeup Look | The Asian Makeup Face

    If you haven’t noticed, the blogging community really likes to celebrate occasions. With Lunar New Year festivities wrapping up, I thought I’d share a complete makeup look using only Asian beauty products. While I love dabbling in this category from time to time in my reviews, I know many of you are curious but cautious about what to try and how to mix these products into your own routine. The simple answer? This look.

    Asian Makeup Look
    • HADALABO | Shirojyun Whitening Toner
    • LANEIGE | White Plus Renew Original Essence
    • SEKISSEI | Moisturizing Cream*
    • FOR BELOVED ONE | MelaSleep BB Cream* (Ivory)
    • CANMAKE | Perfect Brown Eyes Shadow Palette
    • ETUDE HOUSE | Sweet Recipe Chocolate Shadow
    • KATE | Designing Eyebrow Palette #05
    • DOLLYWINK | Liquid Eyeliner
    • HEROINE | Liquid Eyeliner
    • SHU UEMURA | Eyelash Curler*
    • SHU UEMURA | Petal Lash Mascara*
    • DOLLYWINK | Natural Dolly False Lashes
    • CANMAKE | Stretch & Cover Concealer
    • JILL STUART | Blush Mix N* (Sunny Holiday)
    • CANMAKE | Melty Nude Lipstick (No.02)

      Asian Makeup Look

      I think overall, lip products and cheek items are the most accessible and fool proof but eye shadows and foundations (because of limited colour selection of the latter, like how this bb creams looks too light on me but the next shade is too dark) can be a real hit or miss. Currently on my radar (ahem, eBay basket) are a few items from VDL, and a summer foundation and some pretty cream blushers. Of course the endless amount of seasonal limited edition products are pretty enticing too. Do you use any Asian beauty products in your daily routine? Let me know your faves!

      Review: DHC Q10 Moisture Care Foundation

      As a well known name in the Japanese beauty market, you may know DHC (that’s the Daigaku Honyaku Center, in case you wondered) for it’s wide range of nourishing skincare but they’ve also taken that expertise over to makeup. The brand offers a small curated range of products for a natural makeup look that’s often a hit for those wanting something light for everyday. With North American headquarters located in California, they’re recently opening up to the Canadian market and so I thought we’d familiarize ourselves with a few of their best selling products!
      DHC Q10 Moisture Care Foundation Review

      Brand: DHC
      Product: Q10 Moisture Care Foundation*
      Colours: 4 shades; No. 01 Natural Ochre (shown)
      Size: 30ml
      Price: $28USD
      Availability: DHC (US Website), Select T&T Supermarket locations across Canada, DHC Amazon Website
      Would I (re)purchase: Probably not.
      Website: www.dhccare.com

      Housed in an easy to control plastic pump bottle, the Q10 Moisture Care foundation is targeted towards drier skin types with an extra kick of anti-aging benefits of coenzyme Q10 which is often found in skincare to help plump and firm up skin. A small clear window on the side of the packaging lets you see when you’re close to finishing the product, a minute but useful detail that I can really appreciate from many Japanese designed products. Let me say that this particular product is an overwhelmingly long time popular choice in many Japanese magazines.

       DHC Q10 Moisture Care Foundation Review

      The foundation itself is impressively high coverage; starting off as medium and quickly buildable to a near full immaculate finish with a velvety satin sheen. I was delighted at how beautifully smooth it was whilst still being very high coverage and easy to blend. The formulation is slightly thicker (almost a cream) and really cocoons the skin once applied. With a slightly powdery dry down however, it does accentuate dry patches if you use it with a buffing brush so fingers or a sponge (like a Beauty Blender) is my best recommendation. As well, prepping with a moisturizing/smoothing face primer also seems to help with persistent flaky areas such as my nose which (granted) never like to blend smoothly with anything. Pores and fine lines are easily smoothed over with this Q10 foundation and it should be very forgiving on problematic or more mature skin types. How beneficial the Q10 property is from a purely skincare perspective is open to debate but I doubt many of us will wear a single foundation every single day for long enough to see drastic long term benefits.

      DHC Q10 Moisture Care Foundation Review

      DHC Q10 Moisture Care Foundation Review

      See my colour match in other brands | Here.

      As you can see in my before and after photo (below) the colour match with Nature Orchre is next to perfect and here I am only wearing on layer all over the face with an extra bit under the eyes and around the chin. Note that the foundation looks darker when first pumped out, then slightly lighter when first applied but eventually settles just a tinge darker to a more natural finish. And speaking of natural, the first couple of hours wearing this was a complete pleasure compared to most traditional full coverage base products. Be forewarned that this isn’t the lightest feeling product on the skin and if you have oily skin or are used to super invisible products, this will not be for you.

      DHC Q10 Moisture Care Foundation Review
      DHC Q10 Moisture Care Foundation Review

      However the DHC Q10 foundation just doesn’t last on my combination skin. In a quick two hours I’d start to notice creasing around my mouth and smile lines. A little further on my pores and other skin textures will start to show through again as well. I did find this to be a very skin friendly product (with oat and olive as moisturizing ingredients) and actually seemed to preserve my skin condition when I remove it at the end of the day but it just didn’t look as great past the morning hours compared to the initial application. Wearing this with a primer did help the longevity slightly but transfer still remained an issue whenever I’d touch my face or even use my phone. For those who have very dry skin or plan on using this in the cold winter season, it may not be as much of a problem but this is certainly not humid weather friendly.

       DHC Q10 Moisture Care Foundation Review


      The DHC Q10 Moisture Care foundation has so many good things going for it including a beautifully smooth feel, a hydrating base as well as great high coverage in a user friendly formulation. Yet if it’s not going to stay on my face then it just falls short of being a functional product in my arsenal. If it had been more long lasting then this would easily be a highly recommended product for everyone but for now I’d limit this to dry/very dry skin or very sensitive skin types unless you don’t mind touching up every 3 hours. Close but not quite a winner, I’ve got my fingers crossed that DHC may reformulate this in the future.

      Keep in touch.

      water/aqua/eau, cyclopentasiloxane, zinc oxide, glycerin, diphenylsiloxy phenyl trimethicone, pentylene glycol, isotridecyl isononanoate, butylene glycol, diisostearyl malate, sorbitan sesquiisostearate, PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, PEG-10 dimethicone, sodium chloride, PEG-3 dimethicone, dimethicone, aluminum hydroxide, polypropylsilsesquioxane, phenoxyethanol, sodium citrate, magnesium aluminum silicate, sorbitan sesquioleate, methyl methacrylate crosspolymer, HDI/trimethylol hexyllactone crosspolymer, stearic acid, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, aluminum dimyristate, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, tocopherol, ubiquinone, arginine, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, serine, silica, olea europaea (olive) leaf extract, ethylhexylglycerin, behenyl alcohol, hydrolyzed elastin, polyglyceryl-10 pentastearate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ceramide 3, sodium hyaluronate, sodium acetylated hyaluronate, soluble collagen, titanium dioxide/ CI 77891, iron oxides/CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499, mica/CI 77019

      Skin Inc | Awesome 3-Step for Perfect Skin Set

      Skin Inc Skincare Review -pbuniep
      Modern, simple, treatment-targeted products is the updated way to look at your everyday skincare routine. As someone who writes about beauty products on the regular, I can try my best to recommend products for each skin type but the person who really understands your skin is well… you.

      Skin Inc. is the first brand I’ve seen in the western mass market to bring completely customizable treatment products that you can mix and match for your own current skincare needs, without ever setting foot in a dermatologists office (there’s a place and time for that!). If you’re a frequent Sephora stalker, I mean shopper, then you must have noticed the brightly coloured vials lined up on the skincare shelf.

      Skin Inc Skincare Review -pbuniep
      SKIN INC. | Awesome 3-Step Skincare Kit* | $65USD (Sephora Exclusive)

      I’ve spent about two weeks with Skin Inc.’s 3-Step starter kit which includes their prepping Pure Revival Peel, Custom Blended Anti-aging Serum and the Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask. Conceived in Singapore, made in Japan and available world wide, the sleek clean packaging reflects their brand aesthetic of providing simple, effective and easy to use products but there’s more than what meets the eye here.

      Skin Inc Skincare Review -pbuniep
      PURE REVIVAL PEEL | Full Size Price: $55USD

      A super gentle physical exfoliant might sound like an oxymoron but it can be done. This Pure Revival Peel is a great example of a gommage product which applies as a clear gel over dry skin and once massaged, the thickener in the formula balls up into small granules which along with a gentle massaging motion, helps to slough off dry skin. There’s no obvious scent of any kind, the reaction works easily so you’re not rubbing forever and it provides a great daily buff when you need a quick refresher to start your day. As far as exfoliants for sensitive skins go, this is the best type I’ve encountered and in this case the Skin Inc. version also packs an aloe, arbutin and sea kelp combo.

      INGREDIENTS: Water, Glycerin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dicocodimonium Chloride, Steartrimonium Bromide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Arbutin, Fullerenes, Uncaria Tomentosa Extract, Maltodextrin, Butylene Glycol, PVP, Isopropyl Alcohol.

      Skin Inc Skincare Review -pbuniep
      Skin Inc Skincare Review -pbuniep

      Housed in a tiny vial with a dropper dispenser, this serum contains encapsulated ingredients that burst upon application to the skin to deliver a trio of Coenzyme Q10, collagen and (my skincare holy grail) hyaluronic acid to plump, smooth and moisturize the skin. What’s you’re seeing in this kit is a 10ml bottle which is the full size of one of their treatments. Skin Inc. recommends users choose 3 treatments, each highlighted by a different key ingredient and blend them into a customized serum. In this case mine was pre-blended with Q10, collagen and hylauronic acid and packaged into a 10ml whereas you’d regularly have 30ml if you blended the full sizes individually. There are 9 treatments altogether: ceramide, collagen, hylauronic acid, chlorella, licorice, Q10, Vit. A, French pine bark and Vit. C.

      With all the science out of the way, I must say that this is a really nice serum and along with the customizable ability it certainly falls within my top picks if you’re all about straight to the point products. Although the sample size only allowed for a short testing period, I immediately noticed a plumping and smoothing effect on my skin after a few days of consecutive use. The watery texture will be a pleasure to use especially for oily skins and contrary to my initial fears about gel-like serums, this one did not pill what so ever and makes for an excellent layering product with your other skincare products. I wouldn’t say this is a very effective hydrator if you have super desert dry skin this particular blend should be great for everyone else. The cherry on top? It does not seem to contain any silicones however do note that ubiquinone (a controversial ingredient in some countries) is midway in the list.

      INGREDIENTS: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Soluble Collagen, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Ubiquinone, Sodium PCA, Serine, Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Alanine, Arginine, Lysine, Threonine, Proline, Sorbitol, Betaine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Algin, Carbomer, Alcaligenes Polysaccharides, Phytosteryl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Polysorbate 80, Titanium Dioxide CI Pigment Green 50, Iron Oxides, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol.

      Skin Inc Skincare Review -pbuniep
      PURE DEEPSEA HYDRATING MASK | Full size price: $75USD

      Sealing everything together is the Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask, a thin gel-like 30min to overnight treatment mask that’s formulated to clarify, hydrate and brighten the skin. Highlighted ingredients here include deepsea water, soy bean extract and again hylauronic acid. The formulation is gentle and soothing on the skin while still being lightweight and very comfortable to sleep in overnight. Together with the serum my morning face looks clear and refreshed that I sometimes just skip washing with a cleanser in the morning because it looks great straight out of bed. Just a spl
      ash of water to remove the mask and pop on a fresh moisturizer. For my personal taste as a sleeping mask, it could have been a bit more hydrating/thicker but I can see the thinner formula as a welcoming change for those with normal to oilier skin or those who live in humid climates.

      INGREDIENTS: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Algae Extract, Natto Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA.

      Skin Inc Skincare Review -pbuniep

      Reaching the end of these bottles, I am definitely impressed by the beautiful textures of these products, a detail that I’d normally attribute to my Asian skincare items so it certainly shows that Skin Inc. made a good point to have these produced in Japan. The non-fussy list of ingredients are a nice change from the heavily loaded and complicated string of who-knows-what that’s in many modern day high end products.

      If you’ve been eyeing up this brand in your local Sephora, I’d recommend the Customized Serum to get you started as I think this is their most unique product. Personally, both the Revival Peel and the Hydrating Mask fell short of top tier in my own skincare regime as there are similar products I’ve used in the Asian market. Altogether, Skin Inc. has set a great first impression for me and I’d especially recommend you look into them if you’re on the oilier or sensitive side of skin types.

      Hide & Seek.

      Flash Reviews : These are my initial thoughts and/or first impressions on beauty samples that I have been trying out. I try to give you as much information as possible but this may not be as comprehensive as full fledged review. I hope these mini posts will give you some basic information and details on certain products you’re interested in even if I haven’t had the usual full experience with them yet.

      Review: Laneige BB Cushion Foundation SPF50/PA++

      You’ve heard about me talk about bb cushions for a while now and you may have even read my reviews for a few of them. Since then I’ve really grown to love them for easy on the go application and convenient touch ups, all without getting a single finger dirty. Today we’re delving into one of my favourite Korean brands, Laneige and their award winning BB Cushion.

      Brand: Laneige
      Product: 6-in-1 BB Cushion* SPF50/PA++
      Colour: #13 True Beige (shown), 5 shades in total
      Size: 15g x 2 (per package)
      Price: $46-50 CAD via YesStyle
      Availability: Yes Style (online), Laneige stores worldwide
      Would I (re)purchase: Yes
      As you’re reading this right now, Laniege currently has a few different bb cushion types on the market. This exact one you’re seeing here is the latest updated version of the original bb cushion (other variants include the Pore Control and Anti-aging) which has taken Asia by whirlwind especially with their beautiful spokes model Song Hye Kyo.

      The full package of the Laneige bb cushion comes with a mirrored compact case, instruction pamphlet as well as two refill cushions (one of which is already installed in the compact) each at 15grams for a total of 30grams of product. The official Laneige website lists 5 shades which coverages light to medium-dark skin tones (around NC/NW45-50) although most stores tend to carry the 3 lightest shades.
      Of course, multi-functionality is the bb cushion’s claim to fame and Laneige markets this to be brightening, provide UV protection, increase moisture, provide natural coverage, provide skin soothing properties as well as be water resistant. The product itself is sealed inside a lidded compact which can be closed after use to prevent evaporation.
      A closer look at the cushion itself (below) shows a soft sponge which holds the foundation. Now having use a few cushions from various price points, I can say that the Laneige version feels sturdy yet soft to the touch while others feel rough in comparison. A simple pat with the enclosed sponge into the cushion picks up a small amount of product that you then blend over the skin in a patting motion. The foundation has the classic (heavy) Laneige fragrance that will linger around for a couple of hours after application and while I don’t mind it, I would have preferred they make it a little milder.
      Here I’m wearing the lightest shade No.13 Light Beige which is described by the brand as a beige shade with yellow tones that creates a bright and clear complexion. Do we agree? I certainly think so!

      Having had a little hiccup with the IOPE No.21 which had a pale cast, I was rather worried the Laneige version would be too light as well but it actually blended in very nicely with my (NC15-20) skin and helped to even the colour with my neck. In these photos I am wearing one layer of the foundation but it is certainly buildable. I’d rate the coverage at light to medium which will easily take care of some redness, light discolouration and minor blemishes. Dark circles and prominent spots will require additional concealer but I’ve rarely worn any when using the Laneige cushion as I find the coverage perfect for my daily use.

      What really impressed me, above all else, was how natural this looked while still giving me an illuminated lift to my complexion. My skin just looks smoother and clearer without a drastic coverup. The finish is a satiny glow that leaves skin looking soft and supple but not greasy. Minimal cling to dry patches and smoothes over pores decently though it I would still recommend a primer for pores to make things more impeccable.

      Doing a little finger swatching with the foundation reveals a creamy consistency which gives is great blendablity yet it feels thin, light and comfortable on my skin. I do notice that it never really sets completely (as most cream/compact products would) and remains somewhat pliable which does mean that if you wear glasses, those pesky bridge marks are inevitable.

      As far as all of its skincare functions go, the Laneige bb cushion did an excellent job of keeping my skin hydrated throughout the day and even helped to calm some facial redness. By the end of the day, after removing the makeup I still found my skin to be in pretty good condition instead of looking worn and tired. There were no notable improvements in skin tone or dark spots, so although I adore the Laneige White Renew Serum, this bb cushion alone isn’t going to take care of your skincare altogether. No other breakouts, negative reactions or skin issues to report which is great!

      My main (and only) disappointment with this bb cushion its lack of long lasting power. It doesn’t break down or melt off per say but that fact that it never trul
      y sets means that it rubs off everywhere with everything I touch. Plus this also means that it does crease a little into smile lines. In the fall to winter season, it lasts a good 5 hours on my combination skin an it is easily retouched if needed. I do tend to like it better when worn with the Laneige Water Base CC Cream which helps with smoother pore coverage and also seems to extend the wear slightly.


      You win some, you loose some but the Laneige BB Cushion is mostly a winner in my books! The texture and blendabilty really impresses me and the fact that it provides a natural satin glow yet keeps my skin moisturized all while feeling lightweight is exactly what I need this time of the year. If you are looking for quick everyday coverage (the type you can do while standing on the bus) that looks great in all lighting situations then you certainly need to give this a try. Best suited for dry to combination skin rather than oily skin. For the fact that this has great colour match and does not cling to my dry patches, the Laneige bb cushion edges out the IOPE slightly for me and I will most definitely be picking this up again either in this variation or trying out another from the range.


      Beauty News |Etude House now INTERNATIONAL!

      Rejoice my fellow beauty lovers! I’m so excited to recently find out that one of my favourite Korean brands Etude House has just opened up their website for international shipping. Of course this calls for a little further digging and I’ve got all the details for you below.

      THE WEBSITE: www.etudehouse.com
      Popping the dot com extension into your url bar and you’ll head straight over to Etude’s international global website. For those who have been familiar browsing the fun filled Korean site (.kr), you’ll notice that the layout is much more simplistic and easier to navigate. All text are in English and you can shop by category, new products and best sellers.

      The global site carries all categories of Etude products including cosmetics, skincare, haircare and accessories however it only stocks a limited selection of the total varieties of product available in each category. Granted what they do offer are the popular products and I expect the offering to increase in the upcoming months as they build more traffic and experience.

      As an avid eBay hunter, I’d say the prices are quite decent with a few items even being lower than what you would find on eBay. As a whole I do find eBay prices to be more competitive as many sellers are all vying for your attention (and money) so they are more keen on pushing down prices for that reason.
      But of course getting these lovely items to your door also needs shipping and Etude global site has listed shipping (below) by weight and destination. If you live in Canada or the USA, prices start at $8.47 and go up to $22 are are calculated in USD as are all pricing on the site. Factor this into your shopping and realistically you’re probably going to pay the same if not slightly more than shopping on eBay for an average order of 3-4 items.
      While I am thoroughly thrilled with the prospect of Korean beauty brands finally opening up to the international market (instead of through third party shops), I’m not yet convinced the pricing and variety is enough to win me to shop direct. However for those who aren’t comfortable diving into the crazy world of eBay, this is a great chance to start exploring. I’ll definitely keep an eye on this to see how things progress in the next year or so! How are you all feeling about this?


      Review: IOPE | Air Cushion Sunblock SPF50 + Video

      With string of prestigious awards to its name, it’s no wonder that the IOPE Air Cushion Sunblock (foundation) is one of the most well known and the new darling in the foundation world. It has won the 2013 product award from SURE Magazine, Cosmo Korea as well as Allure Korea. When I had my eyes on trying the cushion trend for myself, it was an easy choice to start with IOPE.

      Brand: IOPE
      Product: Air Cushion Sunblock XP SPF50/PA+++ / Natural
      Shades: S22, N21, N23, C21, C23
      Price: $43-50CAD (via ebay)
      Availability: AMORE Pacific Shops, eBay, select Asian retails online.
      Details: Each boxed set comes with 2 x 15g of product, refills may be purchased separately, refill sponges are also available. 
      Would I repurchase: Undecided.
      Website: www.iope.co.kr

      This product boasts a few functions, from moisturization and sunblock to skin whitening and wrinkle control. It’s advertised to contain 35% “Moisture Bright Essence” for skincare and is also said to be long lasting up to 12hrs in addition to being sweatproof. The cushion aspect is also supposed to be somewhat innovative but if you recall, Almay once put out a Nearly Naked Touch Pad Liquid Makeup that is exactly the same concept in a screw top lid without the mirrored case and sponge. In short, this sounds like a compact version of a multi-functional bb cream. 



      Below you can see the different elements of the compact, colour swatches of shade N21, close ups of the sponge as well as before and after photographs on my own skin. Note that this is the full boxed set and I have already put one of the included cartridges into the case. Sellers/shops may choose to sell the product without the extra include refill so do check the listing carefully if you are shopping online.






      Tipping aside the cushion, you can see the creamy product that’s soaked into the sponge. Remember that there is 15g of product per cartridge and you get two of them per boxed set which does work out to be a pretty standard 30g of foundation.
      Now of course, the linger questions is… can you refill this product?
      IOPE does not sell liquid refills, only filled cartridges however I have seen a few brands who make empty cases that you can fill with your foundation product. The concept would work similarly though not all foundations are fit for this method of application due to things like consistency, the way it sets/or doesn’t set and a few other finer details.


      See how this product adds instant brightness and a luminous sheen to my skin? It’s certainly a “wake me up” type of quick makeup that you can put on even with just 30seconds in the car or bus. Optically, it really seems to blur imperfections and smooth out my skin.



      Notice how the product settles into the lines around the mouth. Immediately swatched on my face, the foundation seems like a decent match (below) but once blended out the white cast is quite obvious and again this isn’t something I would wear solo without adding a darker powder or just other makeup to balance out the mismatch.


      Colour issues aside, the IOPE Air Cushion Sunblock XP is a must try for those with dry to combination skin who desire a quick everyday skin friendly product that’s gentle and covers well. The soft texture makes it comfortable on easily dehydrated skin yet feels lightweight for its opacity and I do love the healthy glowy finish it gives to my skin without the use of shimmer or glitter particles. However pass on this if you live in a humid climate, have oily skin, mature skin needing wrinkle coverage or require your makeup to stay on for long periods of time. And let’s make it clear that I do not see this as heavy duty sweatproof. It’s not quite a perfect item and I’m still going to try a few more cushion products to see the variety out there but I like it enough that I will finish using this for the winter and possibly try N23 as well.



      Review: Pore Energy Essence | Tony Moly

      Pores are the bane of my existence.

      While you can cover everything from discolouration to dark under eye circles, skin texture (and pesky pores included) is the hardest to conceal. Though there isn’t a permanent way to shrink pores via topical treatments, I could use all the help I can get in with a little extra skincare. Korean brand Tony Moly would be a familiar name if you’ve dabbled in Asian beauty products or have seen a few of my other TM skincare reviews. Their ever popular Floria line (based on plant and flower ingredients) has expanded into various sub-categories to cater more specific skin needs.

      Brand: Tony Moly
      Product: Floria Pore Energy Essence*
      Size: 50ml
      Price: $30 (?) via YesStyle
      Availabilty: YesStyle online
      Would I (re)purchase: No
      Website: http://www.etonymoly.com

      As part of their pore treatment range, the Pore Energy Essence is the second step in the Floria pore care series following the corresponding toner. Packaged in a cool icy teal bottle, the plastic packaging is sturdy and is topped with a precision pump for controlled dispensing.

      The essence itself has a slightly cooling sensation when applied to the skin and is subtly fragranced with a fresh aquatic scent which is actually very pleasant, especially during the warmer weather. Lightweight in feel and texture, this spreads like a mix between a lotion and a whipped balm with a smooth silicone finish and a satin-matte look. As most products of this consistency goes, it glides easily over pores as well as skin texture and with a few days of consistent use I could visibly see a reduction in the appearance of my pores.

      Now if you’ve a long time reader of my blog, you’ll know exactly what I’m about to say here…this product broke me out. Plain and simple, once again my skin has chosen to express its great unhappiness with silicone heavy products by showering me first with a few red dots then with some large and loud painful spots. I’ve tried this on two accounts and ended with the same distressing result so unfortunately this is a miss for my skin type. However, I do know that not everyone has silicone intolerance so do consider your own skin type and history.

      Last thing to note is that while this essence does provide light dose of moisture and does not dry out my skin, it doesn’t seem efficient for dry skin, those with easily dehydrated skin or the upcoming winter weather.


      The Tony Moly Floria Pore Energy Essence falls into one of those niche categories of “great product, just not for me” and for this I’m no longer using it as part of my personal skincare routine. If silicone heavy products aren’t an issue for you, then consider this a very lightweight skin smoothing, pore minimizing essence that does deliver noticeable results. Unlike many alcohol heavy, astringent products this does not dry out my skin during the process but is much better suited to those with combination or oily skin. The consistency and immediate satisfaction means you can also use this as a light primer for your foundation and the unobtrusive fresh scent easily makes this an unisex product.


      Korean Beauty | Etude House New Beauty Releases

      With the weekend just within reach, I think it’s safe to send this post your way, full of brand new releases from one of my favourite Korean brands Etude House. Not only is their brand concept fun and playful bu0 their constantly developing range of product always keep me coming back. Here’s a look at a few items that caught my eye and for all you online beauty shoppers out overseas, you can find everything through eBay, online boutiques like W2Beauty, Gmarket or Korean Depart.


      With sheet masks being the staple in many people’s skincare routines for their ease of use and fast working effects, Etude’s new generation of masks now come in a gel sheet. Infused with skincare ingredients ranging from deep moisture to pore tightening, they come in a boxed set of 5pc and because there are no liquids to worry about dripping down your chin, you are free to get back to business without missing a beat. These will also make excellent airplane treats during long flights when you really prefer not to make a big fuss while wearing a mask.

      A new wave of primers seem to have hit the market, this time with a focus on anti-pollution properties and urban stressors. The Dust Cut line (which also includes a face spray) is formulated to act as a protective barrier against dust and other potentially harmful particles floating in the air. The key is to prevent them from adhering to the skin in the first face so they can also be rinsed off easily during cleansing.
      Etude’s Collagen Moistful line is one of their top selling series of products featuring super powered collagen to plump and hydrate the skin. With that, they’ve recently added a CC Cream containing 30% of this much loved ingredient which has a sheer to light coverage and will help extend the hydrating effect of your moisturizer.
      Perhaps it’s the pretty pink packaging or maybe it’s the wearable coverage but Etude’s Precious Mineral BB series has truly taken the beauty market by storm ever since it’s launch. It’s gone through at least 4 re-releases and it’s latest reincarnation is called Blooming Fit which boasts oil balancing effects while still providing a glowy look with pearl extracts.
      Thin in texture with good coverage and a lightweight feeling, this new Skin Fit foundation seems like a great summer option especially for those living in very hot climates. From swatches I have seen online, the texture is quite thin and it has a slightly powdery dry down similar to that of Benefit’s Oxygen Wow Foundation.




      Must. Try. These. Pencils. While the idea of lip pencils and eye pencils are nothing new, I am all ears on this collection of 50 shades of multi-use coloured pencil products. Even better, they have hired super blogger and makeup artist PONY to help create various fun looks using only these pencils for colour. Slim and easy to travel with, finishes range from sparkle to creamy shades and it seems that many colours can be used for multiple areas of the face. (Swatches

      Now that I’ve got your attention, which product would you try?


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