BEAUTY LOOK | Romand Korean Trend Makeup

Feeling pretty hip at the moment as I’ve recently gotten my hands on some very trendy Korean makeup courtesy of W2Beauty. Romand is range of tightly curated products by popular blogger and makeup artist Min Saerom, who’s plain girl transformations attracted a strong fan base. The aim of her range is to be fool proof for the everyday user so they can achieve everything from office wear to date night makeup right at home. You’ll notice that both of Romand’s day and night palettes contain a interesting mix of colours in a variety of finishes that’s not quite your familiar natural brown palette!

PRODUCTS USED
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Ever changing curated selection of K-Beauty trend products, straight from Korea and with a focus on up and coming brands. Not every single product will be available from each brand but I feel like its thoughtfully chosen and frequently updated. I like that they carry niche brands that are more well known locally in Korea instead of the big drugstore options. Products came well packaged. Due to current crazy customs situation for Canada, I recommend EMS shipping option – although more expensive, it has tracking and will be much quicker. I’ve had a few things come from Asia via normal shipping and it has been ridiculous. The new beauty chat forum part of the website has just launched so I’m excited to sign up and check that out as well!
Chat soon,

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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Ordering from iHerb for the first time?
CLZ086” 
 Gives you $5OFF order* and iHerb donates $5 to charity.
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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: Tosowoong | Time Shift First Essence | Korean Skincare

If you haven’t heard already, essence waters are one of this year’s top words to add to your beauty vocabulary. Having made big waves in Asia over the past few years, they are a combination of toner and high nutrition essence to deliver a potent dose of concentrated skin care benefits in an single easy to use application. Today we’re talking about the Tosowoong First Essence, my first Asian essence water experience!

THE BASICS
Brand: Tosowoong
Product: Time Shift First Essence*
Collection: Time Shift Range (Toner, Serum, Emulsion, Essence, Cream)
Size: 150ml
Price: 38000WON (approximately $40CAD)
Availability: Tosowoong Website (Int. Shipping), Tosowoong eBay Shop
Would I (re)purchase: Undecided.
Website: www.tosowoong.com

As one of the most popular essence waters in the Korean beauty market right now, this Time Shift First Essence contains 80% black yeast filtrate as its main skincare ingredient. Combined with a handful of other plant extracts, it is supposed to provide moisture, reduce wrinkles and improve skin brightness. It’s made without mineral oil, artificial colour, artificial fragrance, GMO ingredients or parabens. The Time Shift range is marketed for both men and women, especially those with troubled or sensitive skin between the ages of 20- mid 50s.

The product itself comes packaged in a hefty and elegant glass bottle with a screw cap and single hole dispenser on top. It looks right at home next to some of the higher end products in my skincare collection and aesthetically it’s very well designed.

The bottom of the bottle is stamped with the manufacturing date (Korean products usually prefer a manufacturing date versus an expiry date but expiry is usually 3 years unopened or 1 year once opened). The box is printed with all the descriptive information and the ingredients list (I have the English ingredients at the end of this post).
Meant to be used as the middle step between your face wash and moisturizing cream, essence waters (as a whole) can be used in place of toner/serum or in addition to your toner/serum. To keep things simple, I’ve just been using the First Essence after cleansing my skin and right before my face cream, twice a day morning and night.

One thing to note about essence waters is that they are not meant to be used with a cotton wool. Traditional toners will advise you to saturate the cotton and sweep it all over the skin but essence waters are to be used by dispensing a few drops onto the palm of your hand (hence the small opening) and patted onto the skin for better absorption.

Unfragranced and with a water like consistency, this was gentle yet refreshing on my skin. If you’re prone to over washing your face with heavy foaming cleansers (or acne fighting cleansers for that matter), this puts immediate moisture back to your skin without a hint of stickiness. Each application only takes a few drops and even with more than a month of usage, I still have plenty left in the bottle. For days when my skin is feeling extra sensitive or stressed, this can also be used as a quick refresher to calm and sooth troubled skin.

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Now I think it’s important to note that the First Essence is meant to be used in conjunction with the rest of the (extensive) Time Shift range for maximum cohesive results. However I have noticed more suppleness, smoothness and a temporary reduction in visible pore size when using this regularly. The fragrance free formula and lightweight consistency were also a welcomed change when my skin was irritated and I loved being able to put this right on top of my regular skincare when I need a quick pick me up. The hydration is immediate yet potent enough for mild to slightly dry weather and made my combination skin balanced, elastic and quite happy.
For those looking for intensive anti-aging benefits or brightening results, you may want to look elsewhere for something more potent or think about adding the serum and cream in addition to the First Essence for enhanced results. On it’s own, I didn’t see any major results in either category.
Compared to the Biotherm Life Plankton Essence Water (reviewed), this has a better texture and will be more suitable for a wider range of skin types and is more comfortable to use but the Biotherm seems to exhibit more immediate repairing properties.
THE FINAL VERDICT
I love how gentle the Tosowoong First Essence is and its been a great product to hydrate, soften and help minimize pore size. However I’m not fully convinced that it’s quite as miraculous as its advertised to be in all its skincare aspects especially for brightening and anti-wrinkle. This would make a great enhanced toner product for those looking to simplify their skincare routine and are looking to upgrade their basic skincare to something with more nutritional benefits while not quite ready to delve into serious anti-aging products. Great for sensitive skin, oily to slightly dry skin types and in my opinion a perfect men’s product as well.

 

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INGREDIENTS: Aureobasidium Pullulans Ferment, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Water, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sucrose Palmitate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Asparagus Lucidus Root Extract, Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Flower/Leaf Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Pinus sylvestris bud Extract, Pinellia Ternata Root Extract, Plantago asiatica seed extract, Portulaca Grandiflora Extract, Robinia Pseudacacia Flower Extract, Psidium Guajava Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Abronia Villosa Leaf Extract, Cinchona Succirubra Bark Extract, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Badger Oil, Adenosine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium EDTA, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin.

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: 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.

THE BASICS
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 FINAL VERDICT

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.

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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.

SKIN NOTE GEL MASK

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.

DUST CUT FINISH CREAM
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.
SUPER COLLAGEN CC CREAM
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.
PRECIOUS MINERAL BLOOMING FIT BB CREAM
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.
(Swatches)
SKIN FIT FOUNDATION
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.

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PLAY PENCILS
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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Review: Tiare Moisture & Relax Cream | The Saem

The slightly warmer climate and longer days of sun finally means that the winter weather is loosening it’s grip on my skin and it’s time to have a bit more fun with my body products. Out of all the years I have been dabbling in Korean skincare this is surprisingly my first ever body care product.
THE BASICS
Brand: The Saem
Product: Tiare Moisture and Relax Cream*
Size: 300ml
Variation: Soothing version, Relax version, Aloe version.
Price: $13.50USD
Availability: W2Beauty (online)
Would I (re)purchase: Possibly
Website: www.thesaemcosmetic.com

The Saem is a Korean brand which is still rather new to me although they have been quite a hit in recent years. This Moisture and Relax Cream comes in a hefty screw top container and is delicately scented with the perfume of Gardenias (the more popular known name for Tiare Flower).

Now when it comes to fragranced body products, I think everyone has their own taste and tolerance but in this case I feel the mild floral scent indeed helps with the overall relaxing feeling when using this cream. It’s just enough to add to the experience but neither lingers long on the skin nor interferes with my perfume.

The texture of this is a pudding like gel cream which has a refreshing and slightly cooling sensation on the skin. Using it mainly on my arms and legs, I liked how easily this spread and the near immediate absorption. No sticky residue or greasiness. If you liked the feel of the Garnier Intensive 7 Day Soothing Gel Cream, this is very similar but with a much more forgiving scent and doesn’t pill up with all the silicones.
On the moisturization scale though this is on the lighter end of the spectrum, it will soothe any surface dryness with regular use but won’t offer any intensive skin repairing properties and is certainly not a winter sufficient cream. On the other hand if you live in a warmer, more tropical or humid place, this could be just the lightweight everyday moisturizer you are looking for so it certainly depends on your individual skin needs.

THE FINAL VERDICT

The Saem Tiare Moisture and Relax Cream is something I can see myself keeping around during the warmer months where the thick cream textures that I loved during the winter can all of a sudden feel heavy and burdensome on my skin which sometimes makes me skip moisturizing altogether. The soft gardenia scent is definitely a hit with me as I love white florals and this leave my skin soft and comfortable. While this wouldn’t be replacing any of my body moisturizers permanently, it would also be a nice one to pack into your beach bag or on a warm weathered vacation for a little pick me up any time of the day.

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