iHerb goes K-Beauty: A mini haul

As if I don’t already shop enough on iHerb, I’m thrilled to share with you that this popular natural product focused site now carries a small selection of Korean beauty products. At first this seemed like an odd fit since these aren’t necessarily organic or fully natural brands that iHerb is known for stocking but on the flip side K-Beauty boast plenty of cosmeceutical items which I suppose makes them at least partly natural. Either way, I’ve been more than happy to sneak in a few beauty products with my regular grocery orders so here’s what I’ve been (secretly) hoarding from the last few packages.
  • LANEIGE | Water Sleeping Mask
    • I’ve loved the previous versions of this and it is the holy grail original sleeping mask for many beauty lovers. This here is the updated version and packaging.
  • HERA | UV Mist Cushion
    • Another original beauty item here, Hera and IOPE have gone head to head for years for the best highend cushion foundation when the category first came on the market.
  • CLIO | Kill Black Liquid Eyeliner
    • I’ve giving this one a try since I still haven’t digested the thought of paying ridiculous pricing for my fave Dollywink liner to be shipped overseas and CLIO’s version is a magazine award winnning favourite.
  • MISSHA | Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule
    • Always been curious of this one and I don’t think I’ve dabbled in Missha skincare.
  • TONY MOLY | Intense Care Dual Effect Sleeping Mask
    • Another repurchased item in a new updated formula, its similar to the Laneige sleeping mask but if I recall correctly this focuses more on healing rather than just hydration. I’m hoping it’s still amazing.
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Despite being a small category, there’s still plenty of popular items to choose from including the ever popular Elizavecca bubble mask and CosRX skincare but stock does go in and out quickly so be sure to check often or sign up for email notifications. From my last few check ins, it seems they are slowly adding more products here and there but its’ always in small quantities and there doesn’t seem to be any permanent brands which I presume is due to overseas import availability. Pricing is similar to that of eBay although some products are slightly higher. Any thoughts on this K-Beauty update? Or better yet, I’d love to know if you’ve already picked up a few things yourself!

Chat soon,

 * This post contains an iHerb affiliate code that earns me credits as part of their rewards program. If you use it, thank you.

Review: Etude | Colour In Liquid Lips Lipstick (Korean Makeup)

Jumping on the full impact liquid lipstick trend, popular Korean beauty brand Etude House caused a lot of excitement with the release of the Colour in Liquid Lips which is an exquisitely coloured range of fluid yet full impact lip lipsticks. This type of high intensity lip colour was seem as early as 2 years ago and you may be familar with popular western variants like Dior Fluid Sticks or the Rimmel Apocalips I had reviewed earlier. However Etude’s range of fun totally wearable colours and promise of a moist glossy finish definitely warranted an overseas order.
THE BASICS
Brand: Etude House
Product: Colour in Liquid Lips (Lipstick)
Colour range: 20 Shades
Size: 3.5ml
Price: $11-13 CAD (via eBay)
Availability: eBay, Cosmetic-Love (where I purchased mine) & other e-retailers
Would I repurchase: Undecided.
Website: http://www.etude.co.kr
Now I wasn’t kidding about the spectacular yet wearable colour choices now was I?

From just initially seeing the colour chart alone, I loved that all the options were different enough to be distinguishable yet I would not blink an eye at rocking any of them. Of course it features some of the popular Asian lip hues such as orange and fuchsia pink which have been trending for the last few years. No problems there Etude.

Opening up as a twist and pull plastic tube package, the familiar flocked applicator has a pointed tip for precise application around the corners of the lips and a small dip in the center to hold just the right amount of product. There is an every so slight sweet candy scent but it’s fairly subtle and I don’t smell it at all once I put it on. And speaking of application, Etude markets Liquid Lips as a super smooth and lightweight glide on product with vivid colour payoff.
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After much deliberation and then finding a few of my initial picks out of stock, I settled for OR201 which is certainly not what the promotional image shows and it’s also one temperamental colour to photograph correctly. Etude certainly delivered on the vivid aspect with OR201 best described as a neon sherbet, a mix of pink with a dash of orange and with one swipe (no second dips here), you have full smooth and glossy colour. 

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The texture is similar to that of double cream and feels very comfortable to put on however it does not make friends with dry lips so be sure to exfoliate extra well and prep with balm 10 minutes before putting this on. In fact, I would say the colour saturation and general feel of this product to be extremely similar to the Rimmel Apocalips but this smells better and lasts longer though it’s not transfer proof. Still, I consider this a step up in the right direction and would take this over Apocalips anyday.
To help avoid this high pigment lipstick from settling into fine lines (as most products of this nature tends to do) I recommend applying a few dots on to prepped lips first, smoothing it with your finger for even coverage while blending around the edges and then topping off with more product in the center. Forget the flawless photos in the promo, this lipstick does need some work to show it’s true potential but once you’ve got it on, I do think it has such a pretty finish and is very spring appropriate. Wear time is an average 2-3 hours maximum but doing the double layering method (like I suggested) does stretch this more towards the 3hr mark.

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THE FINAL VERDICT:
This Colour in Liquid Lips Lipstick from Etude House delievers on colour, smoothness and a covetable rainbow of shades. The formula is indeed lightweight and is neither greasy nor uncomfortable to wear however coaxing it to it’s full potential takes some time, prep and effort so it’s not the easiest of formulas to use. I would not recommend this for anyone with very mature skin or if you find lip colours often settle into your lip lines. A very similar product with a slightly different texture but with great shine and much easier to wear, go for NYX’s Xtreme Shine Lip Cream. For those who are fans of products like the Rimmel Apocalips and you love big colour then it may be worth while snagging a few of these Etude lippies. In that case may I recommend PK009 and OR205 for your wearing pleasure.

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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.

THE BASICS
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
Websitewww.laneige.com.kr
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.

THE FINAL VERDICT

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.

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Review: ChokChok Shining CC Cushion | Makeon – Tosowoong

Another cushion product means another Korean makeup review and today we’re talking about the brand MAKEON which is the colour cosmetic branch of Korean beauty brand Tosowoong. Though newer on the market, Tosowoong currently has a small selection of well curated and innovative sounding products. But of course, being the foundation hoarder that I am would it have been any question that the first thing I tried was a makeup compact?
THE BASICS
Brand: MAKEON / Tosowoong
Product: Chok Chok Shining CC Cushion* SPF50/PA+++
Colours: #21 Moist Glow Vanilla (shown), #23 Moist Glow Natural
Size: 13g
Price: 15 900WON (approx $17 CAD)
Availability: Tosowoong Website (Int. Shipping), Tosowoong eBay Shop
Would I (re)purchase: Yes
Website: www.tosowoong.com

The ChokChok Shining CC Cushion boasts a 5-in-1 function (essence, pore primer, foundation, moisture pact, sun cream) in an easy to use and portable cushion plus puff dispensing system which is created to give provide whitening, anti-wrinkle and SPF50 protection. I do not have the full English ingredients but it’s advertised to include jasmine, mulberry, mungbean, calendula and ginseng extracts among many other plant additives.


PACKAGING
Opening the packaging, each box contains a mirrored compact case with the (refillable) foundation portion already installed as well as a specially designed puff applicator. Compared to other similar bb/cc cushions I’ve encountered this is definitely smaller and more lightweight which makes it easy to carry though slightly less luxurious in aesthetics. The puff has a fine micro-pore texture but doesn’t feel quite as soft as I’d prefer for an applicator. None the less it does do an excellent job of applying the product evenly and seems to absorb less foundation altogether.

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Pop open the lid of the cushion compact (which is there to prevent it from drying out) and you’ll need to push on the cushion a few times to make sure the product saturates the sponge completely. To my  nose, there is a faint slightly floral fragrance but it doesn’t usual linger. 
HOW IT LOOKS
In the before/after photos (above) I am wearing one layer of colour #21 all over my face with an extra layer in certain problem spots such as the red speckles on my cheeks and a little extra under the eyes. It does an excellent job of evening out my skin tone and minimizing any minor blemishes not to mention I was ecstatic to find that with 3 layers it can almost completely cover those perpetual red spots on my nose. I would rank this as a light/medium coverage foundation that can be built up to medium/near full coverage if desired. To be frank, on the days I wore this, I didn’t even bother with concealer or any other corrector.
What you’ll probably notice however is that #21 is slightly pale in photos for my NC15-20 skin tone (check My Stats for more of my colour matches). I’m going to attribute that to the high SPF50 factor because in person, it’s actually not very noticeable and it’s definitely a better skin match for me than the IOPE in #21 (see my review for swatches). In fact when I have blush and other makeup on, it’s nearly negligible so I don’t do anything special to correct the colour for everyday wear.
If you’re using the cushion for the first time or simply just swatching it on the back of your hand don’t be intimidated by the almost oily-creamy texture. Once blended onto the skin and left to set for a few seconds the super emollient foundation actually semi-sets into a velvety finish yet still maintaining a soft glow. Notice how it picks up light up the high points of my face like my cheeks, nose and chin.
 WEAR & LONGEVITY
The effect with this ChokChok Cushion is similar to that of a cream foundation but much more suitable for a wider range of skin types. While I wouldn’t say this is ideal for super oily skin, anyone from dry skin to combination skin should find this very likable.

For a product this creamy there is minimal settling into fine lines (that’s marionette lines for me) and I can easily achieve a 4 hour wear without even needing to check up on my face. Any for those living in a drier country or are experiencing the winter blues I think this would be an worthy makeup bag companion.

SKIN TEST
More good news is that after few weeks of usage, this proved to be pretty skin friendly for me, meaning no breakouts, sensitivity or any adverse reactions. I also found this to be rather calming on my skin and once removed at the end of the day, my skin doesn’t look dehydrated nor worn out and tired as it sometimes can when I wear a heavy base product for a
long period of time. As for the skincare functions? It did prevent my skin from drying out and seems to help maintain a smooth and soft complexion but I wouldn’t say it had any major healing effects.
A FEW THINGS TO NOTE
In performance this hits most of the sweet spots but I will say that it does feel a heavier on my skin versus the IOPE. Noting terrible but definitely noticeable. If you are very acne prone, I’d proceed cautiously with the ChokChok cushion mainly because while I don’t know each ingredient in here,  from the way it feels I am rather certain there are oil extracts in this emollient formulation. I’m not particularly breakout prone with oils (except for mineral oil) but this doesn’t seem like an oil-free foundation. In addition, I would have liked to see a more developed colour selection (this is more of a peachy beige) plus this compact actually needs to be bigger because I was having quite a fickle time trying to get my fingers through the tiny loop on the applicator and then only being able to press two fingers into the cushion making it hard to cover a large area in one go. And trust me, I don’t even have big hands. Altogether the foundation does an excellent job but small details like packaging and design does fall behind a little.

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THE FINAL VERDICT
A little elusive to find but overall an excellent product for its quick application, great coverage and a nice balance between longevity/glowiness. The MAKEON ChokChok Shining CC Cushion is what I would call a reliable everyday product. One of those base products that you can put on in 30 seconds and actually look rather put together. I really love how buildable it is and I can forgo all other products (concealer, powder) while still getting a nice finish that lasts most of the day. If you happen to come across this product and can find a suitable colour match, it’s absolutely a must try.

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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 SELECTION
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.

THE PRICES
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?

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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.

THE BASICS
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. 

 

THE VIDEO REVIEW

THE FINER DETAILS
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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THE FINAL VERDICT
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.

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Review | A’PIEU | Aurora Luminous CC Cream

If at once you don’t succeed, try try again.

A’Pieu is a Korean beauty brand that has been on my beauty radar for quite a while since hearing about them through popular Korean beauty shows yet my first trial with their bb cream left much to be desired (read it here). Not one to call it quits so fast, I decided to try out their Aurora Luminous CC Cream that was featured in the hit show Get It Beauty by a Korean makeup artist demonstrating a 10 minute multi-tasking makeup look.

THE BASICS
Brand: A’PIEU
Product: Aurora Luminous CC Cream* in CB01
Colour: 2 Shades Available
Size: 2.9g (Concealer), 30ml (CC Cream)
Price: $24.74USD (via W2Beauty)
Availability: W2Beauty (online), A’PIEU (Korea)
Would I (re)purchase: No
Website: www.shop.beautynet.kr/apieu
A’Pieu’s CC Cream comes packaged in a dual dispensing system identical to that of the (discontinued) Laneige Snow Crystal Foundation. In fact, the design of the product is what caught my attention straight away as its both hygienic and easy to control exact amount you need per application. The cap portion opens up to reveal a creamy concealer, mirrored under the lid for easy touch ups. A quick push on the top of the bottle dispenses the cc cream itself which is white, sweetly scented and littered with tiny colour bursting beads that adjusts as you “burst” them when rubbing into your skin.

The colour adjusting process takes quite some vigorous blending to achieve and the beads feel slightly gritty at first but nothing that takes away from the final look. Due to the thicker consistency, I found that blending in directional strokes with a sponge worked out much easier than using bare hands. Apply less than you think you need and work in one small section of the face at a time.

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Even though most cc creams focus on tone correcting, I was pleasantly surprised to find this A’Pieu version offered medium coverage. Paired with the medium to buildable concealer, which had a slightly peach tone perfect for under eye darkness, I ended up with quite an amount of coverage overall. The final look was a satin glowy finish and my skin tone was more uniform with small blemishes perfectly concealed.

Infused with extracts of borage seed oil, argan oil, aloe vera and marine collagen, the Aurora Luminous CC Cream was very moisturizing…too moisturizing in fact for my combination skin and this is exactly where it all went wrong. While it did keep my skin plump and hydrated, I found this to have little staying power. Even minutes after application, you see the cc cream sinking into my marionette lines around my mouth (evidence below) and within 2-3 hours the product was merely just floating on top of my skin ready to be rubbed off onto any object that came into contact with my face.

Sadly, after just a few days of wear my skin called it quits and showed it’s annoyance with a few spots and clogged pores which sealed the fate for this product.

THE  FINAL VERDICT
Loved the concept, loved the coverage and the 2-in-1 product packaged into one easy bottle but the A’Pieu Aurora Luminous CC Cream just did not get along with my skin. While I don’t have the full ingredients list in English to see what went wrong, I suspect the heavier consistency was too much for my easily clogged skin. The concealer itself was especially lovable for its creamy smooth feel and medium to full coverage. Altogether, I’d only recommend this for very dry skin or those living in dry cold climates.
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