Friday, 12 June 2015

Shiseido Majolica Majorca Skin Lingerie Pore Cover

Review of a make up base which I received from Japanstore.

Product description: A makeup base that thoroughly covers pores for porcelain doll skin.

This make up base contains moisturising glycerin, skin smoothing silicones, silica to absorb sebum and combination of mica and tin oxide to lighten up the skin. The product also contain SPF - Octinoxate and Titanium Dioxide. You can find full loiste of the ingredients [HERE] and the ingredients analysis [HERE].

 The product is packed in soft, squezzy tube with capacity of 25g, so it's small and handy. It's unscented. After unpacking the product the first thing I liked about it was the pigment - I like coloured make up bases, they make my acne prone skin look much better. This one has a yellowish-beige colour, which helps to even out the skin tone and reduces redness. You can actually use this product on it's own to even out your skin - after application the skin looks bare, but smoother.

From the product's name and the description on the official website we can conclude, that the main role of this product is pore coverage and I must admit, that it's fulfilling this role very well. It creates the effect of perfect, smooth skin, it covers both enlarged pores and ice-pick type of scars. It creates fantastic duo with Lioele Dollish Veil Vita BB cream. The product is suitable for oily skin, even though the tin oxide is supposed to lighten up, I find it to be actually slightly mattifying. It does not control sebum production, but also doesn't make skin more oily.  As for the SPF ingredients - there are at the very end of the ingredients list and we also don't apply the base in amounts large enough to offer any real UV protection. To cover whole face I need to use about twice the amount of the picture, so sadly the small tube won't be very long lasting.

Skin Lingerie has one significant downside - it doesn't help out the make up as a whole. A lot of BB creams after some time seems to just disappear from the face and I usually make up base slows this down. In this case, Skin Lingerie maybe makes the BB cream to stay on a little bit longer, but at the same time it causes make up to be more cakey. During the first couple of hours the make up looks nice and smooth, then even the BB cream that itself was very good in staying put, suddenly starts to roll up in wrinkles. It created a very bad duo with my recent favourite, Innisfree Long Wear Cushion.

Price: around £12 on e-Bay, $18 in Japanstore.

+ covers up the pores nicely
+ thanks to the pigment evens out the skin tone
+ mattyfies
+ no perfume, no parabens

- doesn't help make up to last longer
- rolls up in wrinkles
- considering small capacity - a bit expensive


It's my first Japanese make up product, so I'm glad I had opportunity to try it out. It's a decent product, on a skin without wrinkles in which it could roll, it would be very good. It's definitely worth recommending  for people struggling with enlarged pores, as it really covers them up nicely. I will use up this tube till the end with pleasure, however I won't be re-purchasing - the search of perfect make up base continues :)

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The famous japanese camellia oil: Oshima Tsubaki Oil

Today I will review for you a very famous Japanese product that was kindly provided for me from Japanstore.

If you are interested in Japanese skin or hair care products you probably already heard the word Tsubaki which is camellia in Japanese. Rich in caring fatty acids and antioxidants, the cold pressed oil from camellia flowers is used in skin and haircare since ancient times.

Oshima Tsubaki Oil it's nothing more, nothing less than a 100% pure camellia oil.

The oil is in simply designed and quite heavy glass bottle with 60ml capacity. Luckily for me (I'm so clumsy =.=) the bottle has special dropper that protects oil from spilling out - even if we turn the bottle upside down it will only release one drop of oil at time.

The bottle is packed in cardboard box, wrapped in foil and sealed with special sticker:

There was leaflet with some free samples attached to the box:

Inside the box there was another leaflet:

The oil itself it clear (slightly yellow) liquid without any scent. Ratzilla says that only the freshest camellia oil will have slight floral scent to it, although that level of freshness is possible only if we would buy it straight from the manufacturer, so usually camellia oil would be just scentless. If it has unpleasant smell, it it would mean it's out and should not be used.

My hair enjoys hair oils, especially since I started to dye, so I tried the product on my hair first. The camellia oil is supposedly light and easily absorbing - and I must say that it indeed is, BUT we you need to be really careful with the amount you apply. Unfortunate I used way too much during my first application and my hair was weighted down and looking greasy. Now I use only 2-3 drops and only on my endings. The effect? My hair is softer and less frizzy, although I don't think it worked as well for my hair as almond oil, so I wasn't that much impressed. But something about this product got me thinking - after applying camellia oil to my hair, my hands weren't greasy, usually I have to wash my hands after applying hair oil, but with this one all I have to do is rub my palms together and the greasiness is gone. Discovering that I decided to take a risk and apply Tsubaki oil to my face.

I have oily skin so I was avoiding any face oils for a long time. Eventually I dared to try cleansing oils and I fell in love with them, because they take make up off so easily, without need to rub and they don't dry my skin out. After falling for cleansing oil one night I decided to give moisturising oil a go as well and applied The Body Shop Beautifying Oil on my face instead of moisturiser - it was one of my worst nights EVER, my face was so greasy and sticky, yuck. Ever since that night even though I have a few universal oil I use them on my hair only. The camellia oil was the first oil from a while that I dared to put on my face and I must say, that the results exceeded my expectations.

Firstly - the camellia oil is absorbing into skin very well. Not straight away, it may take 5-10 minutes, but it does get absorbed eventually (in opposite to my Body Shop Oil that would just sit on my face all nigh long...). It does leave a slight film on skin, but it's not sticky, so I can sleep without worrying that the pillow would stick to my face. Secondly - my skin was looking and feeling great the next day! Soft, moisturised, fresh, pores tighten. Thanks to high Omega-9 content the camellia oil has ability to penetrate deep into skin layers, so my skin was moisturised inside and out. Thanks to the great balance between moisture and oil my skin didn't have to produce it's own sebum and less sebum = tighter pores.

However using camellia oil on my face had one disadvantage: this couple of minutes between application and absorption. You know this feeling when you are trying to suck up a very thick drink through a slim straw? How annoying it could be? The oil creates a similar, slightly frustrating feeling when skin dried out after cleansing needs some moisture NOW and the oil takes it's time to get absorbed. For a moment after application I got an uneasy feeling of skin dry and greasy at the same time. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem: all you have to do is apply the oil to slightly damp skin, which helps the oil to absorb quicker. I like to experiment so I went a step further and applied my oil on the face straight after Hada Labo lotion. My skin seems to really enjoy this duo and I use it every other night.

Another thing that made me really appreciate the camellia oil, is it's skin softening ability. I could feel my face being a bit softer, although I exfoliate it regularly, so the oil didn't have a chance to show it's full potential there. As an experiment I applied camellia oil on the rough skin on my elbows and just after three applications (every night after shower) the magic has happened - rough skin became moisturised, much softer and smoother. Viva la camellia!

Price: from £10 on e-Bay.

+ a little goes a long way
+ in opposite to some oils I've tried before camellia absorbs quite well into skin, it leaves slight residue on skin, but it's not very oily nor sticky
+ moisturises skin
+ softens and smooths rough skin

- you need to be careful with the amount used, as more than just a few drops can easily weight down hair and make it look greasy
- no smell - some people may consider it as a pro, but I would prefer it to have some nice floral scent ;)

Summing up, I'm very pleased with this product and I will continue using it with pleasure. It's definitely worth trying.

As I mentioned before, there were some freebies attached to the product's box. 

It's a a twin sachet of hair cream, which can be used as leave-in hair mask or for styling. The one with green description is called Sara-Sara and it's a lightweight cream, suitable for thin and limp hair (won't weigh them down). The one with red description is a Moist version designated for frizzy and rough hair. In both products camellia oil is the key ingredient, second on the ingredients list, after the water. You can find full list of ingredients here. I only tried the Sara-Sara one so far and it made my hair really nice and smooth, tamed down fizzines after the hair dryer.

Shiseido Majolica Majorca Skin Lingerie Pore Cover

A review of make up base that I received for review purposes from Japanstore.

Product description: A makeup base that thoroughly covers pores for porcelain doll skin. SPF20 PA+.

Product contains moisturising glycerin, characteristic for make up bases skin smoothing silicons, sebum absorbing silica and duo of mica and tin oxide, that reflects the light thus adds dewy effect to skin. The UV filters contained in this product are Octinoxate (chemical filter) and Titanium Dioxide (physical filter). You can check of the full list of ingredients [HERE] and ingredients analysis [HERE].

Product is contained in soft squeezable tube with 25g capacity, it's small and handy. There is no smell to it. It has yellowish tint to it, which gave me a positive first impression - I like tinted make up bases as they help to even out my acne-marked complexion. In fact you could use this base as the only make up product, if you want to make your skin look a bit more flawless but need something very subtle. The tint is not visible on the skin after application, so skin seems bare, but better looking.

Judging by product's name and it's description on manufacturer's website the main purpose of this product is pore cover and I must it does this job very well :) It creates effect of flawless, smooth skin, covers both enlarged pores and ice-pick type of scars. It worked especially well with Lioele Dollish Veil Vita BB Cream. Unfortunately I need quite a bit to make it work - about twice the amount shown on the picture. The product is suitable for oily skin, even though the tin oxide is supposed to reflect the light and create dewy effect, I would actually say that it's a mattifying product. It does not control sebum production, but also doesn't make my skin more oily. As for the UV protection - don't fool yourselves, even though it contains sunscreen you don't apply enough of the product to your skin to achieve any actual protection ;)

In general product is rather pleasant to use, however it has one significant con - it does nothing to make your make up last longer. Many BB creams seem to just "disappear" from face after some time and usually makeup base helps to keep them in place for longer. In this case the base seem to have help with disappearing BB issue, but it seems to accelerate oxidation of make up and also any make up used with this base seems more likely to roll in wrinkles. So for the first couple of hours I can enjoy flawless makeup, but after few hours it starts to looks blotchy, oxidises and accumulates where skin is creasing. The worst part is that Skin Lingerie seems to have this effect even on BB's or foundations that normally are really good for staying put - it especially seemed to disagree with my recent favourite, Innisfree Long Wear Cushion.

Price: from £10 on e-Bay.

+ hides enlarged pores and ice-pick scars really well, making skin look smooth
+ tinted, evens out skin tone
+ mattifying
+ no fragrance, no parabens

- doesn't increase make up lasting power
- rolls up in wrinkles
- considering small capacity a bit pricey

It's my first Japanese make up product, so I'm glad for the opportunity to try it. It's a decent product, on skin without any wrinkles could be even very good. I would definitely recommend it to people dealing with enlarged pores, as it does a really good job on hiding them (and I have already tried a 'pore primer' that couldn't even do that...). I will continue using this product, but I don't think I would get another one - the search for the ideal primer continues!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Long lasting makeup for oily skin - Innisfree Long Wear Cushion

Recently I've tried my first BB cushion, Laneige Pore Control and even though the BB itself didn't work for me, I enjoyed the experience of using cushion. Handy compact and easy application - I was eager to try another product of this type. This time I reached for Innisfree, mostly because of the "long wear" name.

Product description: A long-wear cushion formulated to keep the skin smooth and bright for a long time. This foundation reduces the appearance of pores, discolourations, and imperfections and ensures a perfectly flawless complexion every time. SPF 50+ PA+++.

The foundation contains:
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) - offers multiple benefits for ageing skin- can improve skin's elasticity, enhance skin's barrier function, help erase discolourations, and revive skin's healthy tone and texture.
  • Citrus Unshiu (Satsuma Mandarin) Peel Extract - rich in carotenoids, coumarins, limonoids  and flavonoids, has anti-oxidant properties. Promotes proliferation of fibroblast cells ("colagen factories"), thus enhances skin's elasticity. Prevents dark spots and skin darkening by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase (enzyme responsible for hyperpigmentation).
  • Orchid Extract - has anti-oxidant, skin regenerating and brightening properties. Contains minerals such as calcium, copper and iron, that help to keep skin nourished.
  • Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract - it's a powerful antioxidant, protecting skin cells from the damage caused by free radicals. It is also known to reduce skin swelling and help soothe and condition sensitive skin. 
  • Camellia Japonica (the Japanese camellia, known as Tsubaki in Japanese) Leaf Extract - Camellia has been known for it's conditioning and anti-ageing properties since ancient times, mostly used as an oil extracted from flowers. Camellia is rich in fatty acids (Palmitic and Omega-6) and anti-oxidants. Thanks to Omega-9 has great penetration power, permeating deep into the skin and enhancing cell growth to give skin support and flexibility. Camellia is very effective in retention and enhancement of skin moisture.
  • Opuntia Coccinellifera (Prickly Pear Cactus) fruit extract - rich in vitamins (A, B, C) and antioxidants, has skin soothing and firming properties.
  • Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Extract - has antibacterial and sebum controlling properties. Promotes healing process and skin regeneration, also regulates melanin production. Great in treating acne and/or scarring.
  • Adenosine - helps prevent wrinkles, reduces UVB sun damage, increases the production of elastin and collagen reducing skin sagginess and improving tone.
  • Rice powder and corn starch - absorbing excess of sebum from skin.
  • Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit or Flower Extract - A fragrant floral extract excellent for use on sensitive, irritated skin. 
  • Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract - contains vitamins A, C and E, antioxidants and  essential phytonutrients - lycopene, beta-carotene and bioflavonoids. Has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Promotes skin regeneration, however should be used with caution on sensitive skin. 
  • Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Extract - has ability to improve circulation, which leads to more healthy and vibrant skin. Has sebum-controlling and moisturising properties. 
  • Volcanic Ash - rich in Sulphur, which has antibacterial properties. Sulphur is one of the main proteins needed for the structural integrity of the skin, supports synthesis of Collagen. Thanks to it's ability to protect against toxins Sulphur slows down ageing process. Volcanic ash contains minerals and has powerful purifying properties - being able to absorb up to 10 times it's own weight, it will soak up impurities, toxins and excessive sebum from skin. 
  • UV filters: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide (physical) and Octinoxate (chemical).
Ingredients: Water, Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Trisiloxane, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Hdi/trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Niacinamide, Lauryl PEG-8 Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polypropylsilsesquioxane, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Glycerin, Orchid Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium Edta, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Lecithin, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Mannitol, Mineral Salts, Opuntia Coccinellifera Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Extract, Boron Nitride, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Stearic Acid, Silica, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Powder, Adenosine, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Dimethicone Methacrylate Copolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Isostearic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Extract, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Propanediol, Volcanic Ash, Iron Oxides (ci 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Fragrance 
Ingredients analysis [HERE]

Innisfree cushion is simply designed, ivory compact with single refill already placed inside and ready to use. The refill contains 15g of foundation. Many cushions comes with additional refill, but not this one. The foundation is available in three colours: #13 Light Beige, #21 Natural Beige and #23 True Beige. I've got shade #13, which turned out to be very similar to my Laneige cushion:

The colour is the only similarity - Laneige's foundation is a bit thicker than Innsifree and against the manufacturer promises it's definitely NOT suitable for oily skin. Innisfree, on the other hand, turned out to be great for oily skin.

First of all, this is my first Asian foundation that promises to be matte and really IS matte. Whatever the weather, I don't need mattifying powder any more. It's not 100%, dull matte, it looks natural, but it's matte enough to look good even on the tip of my oily nose. Secondly - the lasting power. As the
manufacturer description promises, this foundation really stays put for a long time. It doesn't oxidise, doesn't get patchy, doesn't change colour. It does disappear during the day a little bit, but just a little bit. After 12 hours it's still there (when blotted every couple of hours). The best part is that it's performing well with any type of background - both with primer or sunblock or on bare skin. It covers pores and evens out skin tone, tones down any redness.

Does it have any cons then? So far the only major con is efficiency. I use for about a month now, almost every day and while £5 tube of BB cream can last for good couple of months, in this case I already have to "look" for my foundation at the edges of refill, as the middle seems to be already drained out. Another con is lack of sebum control, even though product is clearly aimed for oily skin. It's actually pretty neutral towards sebum, it doesn't control it, but also doesn't increase oil production. Another con is lack of additional refill - you need to buy refill separately, what makes this cheap cushion a bit more expensive. For comparison, Laneige Pore Control costed £23 for compact with refill + another refill, so about £10 per refill, while Innisfree costs approx. £14 for compact with refill and extra refill costs approx. £10. Se even though we think that we are buying cheaper product, we don't really, Innisfree value is similar to Laneige. The significant difference is that Laneige is just prettier, more elegant. Innisfree's compact looks just cheaper than Laneige, even though it's not really...
On the other hand some may find lack of extra refill as a advantage, if you wouldn't like the foundation you wouldn't have to worry what to do with another refill.

Speaking of refills, I had to tell you that Innisfree startled me a little bit. From what I saw on "cushion blog" My Asian Skincare Story, most of the cushions has opening in compact bottom, through which we just push out the refill. That solution is used in my Laneige cushion, so I was expecting something similar from Innsifree, but surprise! The bottom of Innisfree pact is solid:

For a moment I thought that you simply cannot change the refill and you have to buy the whole thing over and over again. But no, I saw the refills on e-Bay. So maybe I got some tester version or something? Turns out that you have to lever the refill underneath the hinge of protective cover. It's a bit stubborn on the first time, but then it gets easier. Don't use your nails though, as you need to put a bit of force into it and I'm sure the nail would just brake. I used a screwdriver :P

Price:  approx. £14 on e-Bay.

+ finally foundation that promises to be matte and really is matte
+ long lasting wear, stays put even for 12 hours
+ nice colour
+ good, buildable coverage
+ high SPF

- the amount of foundation doesn't last for long, which makes it a bit expensive
- no extra refill included
- no sebum control (but it also doesn't increase sebum production)

At the moment it's my favourite foundation. Even though it runs out rather quickly, I still recommend it as worth trying, especially if you are looking for something matte.

What if you prefer dewy over the matte?
Innisfree created two cushions at the same time, which are opposite to each other. The opponent of matte and sebum-resistant Long Wear is Water Glow Cushion, which moisturises skin and leaves dewy effect.

Which one you would go for?

Monday, 6 April 2015

My first ever cushion! Laneige Pore Control BB Cushion Review

Some time ago the BB Creams market was hit by new type of product - BB cushion, a little sponge soaked in BB cream with specially designed applicator, hidden in handy compact. On the beginning I wasn't much interested in the idea, as I prefer to simply apply my make up with my fingers, also cushions are more expensive than the casual BB creams. Then I came across My Asian Skincare Story blog, also unofficially known as a "cushion blog" - thanks to reviews posted on this blog I finally decided to buy my first cushion.
I couldn't make my mind for a long time - there is so many cushions to choose from. My natural impulse would be to start off with something cheap, just to see if the whole "on the go" conception of the compact will suit me, but MASS blog was tempting me with middle range and higher end products. I was torn between three cushions: Iope Air Cushion - known as a "mother of BB cushions", so it just seems to be the right choice; VDL Beauty Metal Cushion - because MASS blog owner was recommending it as suitable for oily skin and Laneige Pore Control  - because if it there is "pore" in products name I automatically feel urge to have it ;) as you can see my "pore" obsession won and I bough Laneige cushion.

Product description: Matte version of Laneige BB cushion offering neat finish, without shine. Contains Pore Purifying Complex™, which purifies pores and helps to control secretion of sebum and Soft Focus Powder, which covers enlarged pores and uneven skin. Long-lasting make up without  turning dark or sticky feeling.

In the ingredients list we can find the Neem tree leaf extract, which has antibacterial properties, brightening arbutin and skin-normalising salicylic acid. The full list of ingredients you can find [here].

The cardboard box contains compact, leaflet and air tight packed additional refill for the compact. Single core of the cushion (refill) contains 15g of BB cream, so altogether we got 30g of foundation.
While unboxing my cushion I quickly understood what is that whole "cushion boom" about. The compact is just so damn pretty, so pretty I feel like buying another few and decor my house by just placing them here and there. Seriously, any room with this compact displayed gets +5 points to style.

In the compact I found the applicator sponge, all ready to use, settled on protective flap. Under the flap there is BB soaked-sponge, protected from drying out by special sticker.

The sponge seems very orange and rather dark, but the BB cream itself is very bright. There is four shades to choose from:  #13 True Beige, #14 Pink Beige, #21 Natural Beige, #23 Sand Beige. Usually I go for #21, but I've read that Laneige's cushions are quite dark, so I choose #13 in this case. It turned out that I made a good choice, it has nice light beige shade:

as you can see Laneige's #13 is darker than Missha's #13, but still brighter than Missha's #21. It also has different tone, not as grayish as Missha.

Now for the cushion itself. I must admit that I haven't read the description on the Laneige website before I bought the cushion, but I assumed that product offering pore control will be suitable for oily skin, since most oily skins have problems with enlarged pores. After checking the description for this review it turned out that my assumption was correct - product is designed for porous AND oily skin. But only in theory - in my opinion this product description is completely inaccurate.

First of all, this BB cream definitely isn't matte. Not even a little bit! It offers typical for BB creams dewy effect. I must say I'm not that surprised really, I already came across a few BB creams that were supposed to be matte, but they weren't. Normally I just apply a little bit of mattifying powder and life goes on, however with this product it's not that simple - Laneige doesn't like to be mattified. Any attempt to apply even a little bit of powder on top of Laneige ends up in an immediate cakey effect. In general this BB likes to roll up in wrinkles a little bit, but after any attempt of mattifying it my face seem to be consist of pores and wrinkles only. Yuck.

The other issue I got with this product is lasting or I should say a complete lack of lasting. It starts to cake after about 5 hours, after 8 hours what I got on my face is much closer to rice pudding or semolina than to a foundation. Moreover, it tends to slip off some places on my face and build up in others, creating spots and patches. The spots are not such a big deal, all you have to do is rub them with your finger to spread the foundation back again, but at work I don't have time to check myself in the mirror every 15 minutes, so I don't know for how long I've been looking like spotty cow in front of my customers and that annoys me to bit. First thing I thought that the fault of this foundation wearing so badly was my sunscreen - I already got one BB cream (Holika Holika) that is alright applied on bare skin, but turns into disaster applied on the top of the sunscreen, so the second time I skipped my sunscreen before the cushion. Unfortunately result was exactly the same. "What a dumb bitch I am" - I thought to myself, since I haven't done my microdermabrasion treatment for a long time, so my face was a dead skin cell cemetery, no wonder then that the foundation looks cakey. I've done my microdermabrasion and the next day applied my cushion with expectations raised. No luck again - although I do think it caked a little bit less, still my makeup was in unacceptable state after 8 hours. Oh well, I thought, maybe it's one of those BB's that can't be without primer. So on the day four, I applied it on the top of Innisfree No Sebum Primer (review coming soon) - cake, again! I blamed the Innsifree this time, in general this primer is a little bit weird, so I thought that it was the primer that spoiled my makeup this time. On the day 5 I used Laneige Skin Veil base, now this time it has to work... Nope. Cake and spots were laughing at me in the mirror. On the day 6 I finally admitted that I won't make friends with this cushion, no matter how hard I try.

In my opinion, against the manufacturer statements, this cushion is definitely not suitable for oily skin and I got a feeling that on other skin type it could perform better. It looks nice for some time after application, the colour is just lovely. The coverage is just about right, evens out the skin tone and cover some imperfections and blackheads, but looks natural. It's buildable if we need more coverage and lightweight, you won't feel it on your face. The application itself is quick and easy, although some areas are tricky to reach, like the "corner" between your nose and cheek. It has high SPF 50 PA+++, but bear in mind that you don't apply enough of it to achieve true SPF50 protection, so separate sunscreen is advisable.

Price: £23-28 on e-Bay, I bought if for approx. £23 on Tester Korea.

+ nice shade
+ coverage is perfect, evens out skin tone, but doesn't create mask-like effect and looks natural
+ gorgeous, pretty, fabulous packaging
+ easy and quick application
+ high SPF50 PA+++
+ compact is suitable for other Amore Pacific cushion refills, like Iope or Hera

- rolls up in winkles
- doesn't last for long, gets cakey and patchy
- no promised by manufacturer sebum control
- against manufacturer description it's not matte
- any attempt to mattify it with powder makes it look very cakey and ugly

There is quite a lot of positive reviews about this product in the Internet and I don't think it's utterly useless, I think it's just nor for me. I regret buying it, mostly because it's not cheap, actually is the most expensive BB I've bought so far. Yes, it is pretty and handy, but I don't fancy paying double or triple the price of normal BB just for the pretty packaging. For comparison, one of my favourite BB - Tony Moly Dear Me Petite Cotton costs only £5 and lasts on my face for the whole day. I don't like wastage, so I'm not gonna throw the cushion away, I will use up the current refill for some quick go outs, when I will be able to get back home before it gets all cakey and patchy. But I won't attempt trying to use the second refill, so I have send it to someone else. We shall see how dry skinned person finds it :)

Sunday, 29 March 2015

A pleasant surprise: The Body Shop Facial Washes

I enjoy The Body Shop mostly thanks to the gorgeous smell of their products. I was mostly buying body lotions, as they smell awesome and there was no risk of doing any charm to my skin. I was sceptical about their facial skincare products and wasn't even tempted to try it out, until I have run out of face masks from Poland. In UK the choice of masks is very poor, most of the stuff available in pharmacies, supermarkets and Avon is clay-kind of masks, which I don't really like. I prefer "sink in" type of masks, the ones you apply like cream and leave to absorb, no need to wash off, I like to use them overnight. The only place where I managed to find this type of masks (in reasonable prices, as I wasn't even looking among posh brands) was The Body Shop. I have bought two and since there was "3 for 2" offer I grabbed vitamin E facial wash. My newest Korean face foam from Mizon turned out to be rubbish and postage from Korea takes up to two weeks, so I really needed something to wash my face with until another order from Asia arrives. I didn't really expect much of this product, I just hoped it won't dry me out as badly as Mizon. Surprisingly TBS face wash turned out to be so nice I didn't have to make another order from Korea...

Vitamin E Gentle Facial Wash

Product description: A gentle facial wash that lathers on the skin to leave it feeling clean, soft and refreshed.
INCI: Aqua, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Coco-Glucoside, Triticum Vulgare Germ Oil/Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance, Benzyl Benzoat, Hydroxycitronellal, Disodium EDTA, Limonene, Geraniol, Tocopherol, Linalool, Citronellol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, CI 17200/Red 33, CI 14700/Red 4

In the ingredients list we will find soybean oil, rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and K and Omega-6 fatty acids. Soybean has antioxidant and moisturising properties. There is also wheat germ oil, another source of vitamin E and antioxidants.

The facial wash has pale pink colour, creamy texture and Nivea creme-like scent. The tube is made of soft plastic and contains 100ml of product. It doesn't really leather much, but is a bit slippery, so it's easy to spread on face. It is indeed very mild, doesn't leave skin feeling dry and tight. In comparison to Korean face washes it's not very efficient, the tube lasted only for a bit over month.

But it's not only the mildness that got me into this foam. Primarily thanks to this product I discovered that my skin doesn't like alkaline products. On Snow White and Asian Pear blog I've read negative review of Mizon's foam, that was referring to it's high alkaline pH. Out of curiosity I've bought on e-Bay pH tester strips, which arrived after I've bought TBS wash... So when I was buying TBS wash I didn't know what pH level it has. When I tested both foams it turned out that my Vitamin E wash has slightly acidic pH 6. The immediate effects of using non-alkaline foam was lack of skin dryness and tightness and the long term use effects exceed my expectations - for the whole month during using TBS facial wash I didn't experience a single break out, only during my period one single spot has arrived. One! That's amazing! It's because our skin has naturally acidic pH, which helps to create protective barrier against harmful bacteria. If you use alkaline products, you lower your skin's pH level, weakening it's natural protection system. Thanks to acidic face wash your skin has better ability to protect itself from acne causing germs. I really wish I would have known about it before, it would save my skin so many breakouts...

Price: £8,50 in The Body Shop store.

+ creamy texture
+ mildness
+ healthy for skin, slightly acidic pH
+ doesn't dry out skin

- doesn't last very long, what makes it a bit expensive
- doesn't leather much

Pomegranate Softening Facial Wash

Product description: The Pomegranate range addresses the signs of ageing. This cleanser softly cleanses and refreshes skin.
INCI: Aqua, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Stearic Acid, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates Copolymer, Coconut Acid, Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Isethionate, Zea Mays Starch, Parfum, Bisabolol, Creatine, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, p-Anisic Acid, Punica Granatum Extract, Punica Granatum Seed Oil, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Pyrus Malus Fruit Extract, Limonene, Geraniol, Ursolic Acid, CI 77891

This face wash contains moisturising Brazil nut oil, which thanks to high selenium content has anti-oxidant properties. There is of course pomegranate - both fruit extract and seed oil. Pomegranate is a powerful antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory and skin brightening properties. Wash contains also apple fruit extract, which is natural preservative and is rich in skin brightening vitamin C. SLS has been replaced with milder detergent - Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate.

The soft plastic tube has 100ml capacity. Wash has pearly colour and creamy consistency, although not as creamy as Vitamin E wash. It's not very clear on the picture but it leathers much better than Vitamin E wash and it's also more efficient. It has fruity smell, but not sweet and temping smell you would expect from Body Shop - it's smell of over ripe fruit, weird, but bearable. Pomegranate face wash is very mild, doesn't sting my eyes, there is no skin dryness and no tight feeling after use. Similarly to it's Vitamin E cousin it has good for skin, slightly acidic pH 6, thanks to which I haven't experienced any major break out. In general I don't believe in anti-ageing properties of product like face wash, because you wash them off and they have only short contact with the skin, although I have impression that my skin is firmer since I use this wash. But it may as well be some placebo effect ;)

Price: £11 - more expensive than Vitamin E wash, but lasts for longer, so the value would be similar.

+ leathers up better than vitamin E
+ a little goes a long way, I use it twice a day from over two months and still got 1/5 of the tube
+ mild for skin and doesn't sting my eyes
+ doesn't dry out skin
+ slightly acidic pH 6


- weird smell of over ripe fruit

I am pleased with both products and I'm sure I will re-purchasing them. I did enjoy my foamy Korean washes, but now since I know that my skin doesn't like high pH, I won't buy them without checking pH level first. Cat Catus from Snow White and Asian Pear blog together with other blogers has created on-line index of facial cleansers pH, which is very handy and worth having look at. Not everyone is sensitive to pH level, but I would recommend trying out products with different pH - it may turn out that one simple change in your skin care routine may make huge difference in your skin condition.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Non invasive filling of the tear trough - natural filling substances

Today I've got for you post that took me over six months to complete.
Since always I had problems with me eyes' area - dark circles, under eye bags, wrinkles. Dark circles don't bother me anymore, coz they are nothing else but blood vessels being close to the skin surface and giving it purplish cast. Wrinkles - just getting older I suppose. The biggest problem are my under eye bags, which during past year got much worse. Colleagues at work kept asking me if I feel alright, I was looking very tired and down even when I slept 10 hours and felt great. Becoming fed up with my tired face I tried different tricks - some moves from Tanaka face massage, massaging face with ice cubes, face yoga exercises. Unfortunately none of this methods were working, I kept looking like an underdog. Eventually, completely frustrated I stood in front of the mirror for good half an hours, touching and examining skin around my eyes and I came to sudden realisation why none of the under eye bags tricks worked - it wasn't the bags that were my problem, it was so called tear through (also known as tear valley).

What is tear through?
Tear through is a lack of adipose tissue under the skin, running obliquely from inner corner of the eye toward the cheek, along the eye socket edge. It may be caused by sudden weight loss or ageing - as we age the tissue and skin loosens and slides down toward the cheek, leaving "valley" behind.

Under eye bags or tear through?
Bags under the eyes are opposite of the tear through - it's puffiness under the eyes caused by accumulation of lymph and/or adipose tissue, which may be reduced by lymphatic drainage or injection lipolysis. But even though this two problems are completely different they are easy to mix up - the tear through creates optical illusion of under eye bag, the subsidence on the eye socket edge makes skin between lash line and eye socket look puffy. The easiest way to determine if you deal with bags or tear through is to examine your eye area with your fingers. Do you feel tissue under the skin, is the eye socket edge easy to feel? This is how I recognised my tear through - skin under my eyes was very thin, the eye socket so easy to feel that I was afraid to put any pressure when touching my eye area, scared that I would bruise myself.

Filling the tear through
The most popular way of tear through rejuvenation is filling with hyaluronic acid injections. Unfortunately the treatment is quite expensive (the cheapest I managed to find was £250 for single course, but sometimes you need more than one) and it doesn't last - have to be repeated every 12-18 months.
What you can do then if you are afraid of needles or can't afford spending couple of hundreds every year?
Thanks to one Polish beauty bloger I found out about lipophilic substances, natural filling ingredients for topical use. In June 2014 I bought my first topical filler - Sidmool Pueararia Anemarrhena Elastic Essence. Essence contains extract of Pueraria Mirificia and Anemarrhena Asphodeloides. Pueraria contains isoflavones and fitoestrogen and causes the filling effect by accumulating water and fat in the application spot. Asphodeloides is plant growth factor, which stimulates production of adipose tissue, also causing the filling effect. It's a great duo for tissue loss - one substance produces fat tissue, the other one "feeds" it.

Essence is a runny liquid, which makes application a pain. The pump applicator sucked, shooting liquid in uncontrollable way, so I changed it for pipette that I had after using up some other product. On the beginning I was pouring a little bit of liquid out on my palm and gently patted into eye area, but it took ages to get absorbed, so I gave up this method. Instead I started to make compress out of it - I cut cotton pad into strips which I soaked in liquid and kept on my tear troughs until dry (about 30-40 minutes).

Unfortunately I lost my first bottle of the essence in delegation just after a month of use, so I quickly had to buy another one. Turned out I did it just in time, as in Autumn Sidmool stopped production of this essence and brought instead essence containing 70% of Anemarrhena Asphodeloides.

Old formula INCI: Pueraria Mirifica Root Extract, Water, Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Root Extract, Sodium Hyauronate, Glycerin, Fructan, Althea Rosea Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Xanthan Gum

New formula INCI:  Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Root Extract, Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Fructan, Althaea Rosea Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Xanthan Gum

I haven't use the new product yet, but there is not much change - they gave up on Pueararia extract and instead put more Anemarrhena in it.
You can buy Sidmool Anemarrhena Elasticity Essence on Tester Korea for 15300 KRW which equals about £9. I have paid for my essences about
£30 each, as I didn't know Tester Korea back then and I bought it from bloger thanks to who I heard about them.

My next non invasive filling product was Aida Wonder Eye Volume Filler. I came across it accidentally, browsing sale section on Memebox website. Product was featured in one of the boxes, but I don't know which one as I wasn't much of a Memebox fan. I can't remember exactly how much I have paid for it, but I think it was around £15-17.

Wonder Eye is a product designed to achieve "ulzzang eyes" - a little fold underneath lower lash line that is considered cute in Asia. Product contains 10% Volufiline, French patent filling substance. I thought that Volufiline is some kind of synthetic ingredient, but it turns out that it's already mentioned Anemarrhena Asphodeloides with addition of Hydrogenated Polyisobutene. 

INCI: Purified Water, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Jimo Extract, Butylene Glycol, PEG-32, Glycerin, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Niacinamide, Macadamia Seed Oil, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer,C12-14 Pareth-12, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-5 Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-8 Stearate, PEG-20 Stearate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Carbomer, Arginine, Xanthan gum, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Pomegranate extract, Ascrobic Acid

Thanks to pointy applicator product is easy to use and precise. It works like pen, by pressing button on one end it will pop out a bit of cream on the other end. The effects were noticeable quickly, much quicker than with Sidmool essence. I'm not sure if it's combination of this two (when I started Wonder Eye I still had some Sidmool, so I used one in the morning and the other at night) or just Wonder Eye, but my tear through has finally began to get shallower. 

Unfortunately is seems like my fillers are jinxed - I found this product only on Gmarket, but from quite along time now it's out of stock. I am not sure if it still even manufactured. As an act of despair you can try Avecko, website that offers "buying service" - you need to tell them what Korean product you are looking for, if they find it, they will buy it, add some commission and send it to you.

So far I didn't have to turn to Avecko, because I found a Polish website offering cosmetic ingredients to make your own formula and they have a product called Voluplus. This one, for a change, doesn't contain Pueraria nor Anemarrhena, but Macelignan, a substance obtained from nutmeg, that expands adipose tissue and stimulates production of new fat cells. The products comes in a plastic bottle with dropper like nose or eye drops.

INCI: Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil 95-96 %, Macelignan 3-5 %, Tocopherol 0,2-0,3%

Macadamia seed oil in this formulation is a carrier/solvent for Macelignan, it also offer moisturisation and softening effects.
Voluplus is designed to be used with other products, recommended concentration is 2-5%. Macelignan, as a lipophilic substance, likes oils so it's recommended to be added to some facial oil. I can tolearte oils on my face only in cleansing version, so I decided to go for a cream. I bought regenerating and nutritious
Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Day Cream, which contains various oils: argan oil, cannabis oil, clove oil, cinnamon oil, rosewood oil etc. I mixed 50ml of cream with 5ml of Voluplus, achieving 10% concentration.

mixing cream with Voluplus
Voluplus didn't change cream's texture or smell. Cream itself has quite strong smell, which makes undereye application slightly unpleasant, but well, that's what happens when you buy cream without checking first... Cream is slightly greasy, so I use it only at night time - after cleansing my face I apply it on my tear throughs and nasalobial folds, give it some time to absorb and top up with my usual eye cream and night cream. Voluplus maintained great results that I achieved with Wonder Eye, currently I look better tired than what I looked like 6 month ago after 10 hours sleep :)

The results
The part that everyone have been looking forward to ;) here are the results after 7 months with natural fillers:

The difference is not smashing, but there is visible improvement, the tear through is more shallow and shorter. The biggest difference is the skin structure, when I touch my skin under the eyes it's no longer thin like a paper, I can feel tissue between skin and eye socket edge. I can now easily put creams under my eyes and apply some massage without worrying that I will bruise myself.

The difference is more noticable when you add some effects to photos:

Increased saturation - you can admire gorgous purplishness around my eyes :P
Black and white, no other effects
Negative - here the difference is the most obivious
So as you can see the natural filling substances work, but if you want to give them a try you need to be patient. I noticed that effects are better when you apply along the whole bottom line of eyesocket, from inner corner of the eye in semi-circle across the cheek, not only on the tear through.

Where to apply
The costs
Sidmool Pueararia Anemarrhena Elastic Essence x2 = £60
Wonder Eye - approx. £17
Voluplus - 20PLN, approx £4
Dr Organic Argan Oil Day Cream (to mix with Voluplus) - £7 (regular price is £9, but I bought it on offer)
Together approx. £88, but it didn't feel as so much, as it wasn't one off spending. My treatment isn't over yet, I still got over half a jar of cream with Voluplus, which should last good couple of months, so this £88 may be treated as a cost of year long therapy. Much cheaper then hyaluronic acid injections, but takes much longer to see the results.

I would recommend natural filling methods for peoplo who:
+ are patient and systematic
+ want to fight first signs of ageing
+ are afraid of needles and injections
+ can't afford hyaluronic acid injections
+ enjoy experiments :)

Natural fillers are NOT for people who:
- need results quickly
- have very deep tear through - the results may be unsatisfactory
- are impatient and unsystematic

Other filling products
Extracts of Pueraria or Anemarrhena can be found in many various creams designed to enlarge and firm bust. Just put "volufiline" into e-Bay search engine and many results would pop out, however if you want to use them on your face you sholud be cautious.

When it comes to filling products from trusted companies you can buy Sidmool Volufiline Ampoule on Gmarket, sometimes it shows up on e-Bay as well. Product is worth consideration because of it's very pure ingredients:
INCI: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Root Extract
it's 100% volufiline!

Also well known to fans of Korean beauty products Missha has it's own firming cream with Pueararia extract, designed to be used on bust and neck. It's available on Missha's official websites (unfortunately there is no UK website) and e-Bay, for approx. £15.

Just to clarify:
Pueraria Mirificia = Kwao Krua Kao
Anemarrhena Asphodeloides = Jimo = Zhi Mu
Volufiline = Hydrogenated Polyisobutene + Anemarrhena Asphodeloide

If you struggle with tear throughs, nasalobial folds or loss of firmness I would like to encourage you to look for your own fillers. If you now any other products containing filling ingredients, please let me know! :)


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