Product Review: Tony Moly Egg Pore Tightening Cooling Pack

I got a nifty mask in my PinkSeoul box this month! I love Tony Moly products; they're good quality, not too spendy, and their packaging is ~*adorable*~.

This mask came at a good time for my skin. I've been using a cleansing regimen that I fully intend to review for you soon, and since it's made for acne-prone skin, it's been pulling up all those deep-set breakouts that were hiding under the surface and making them a lot more inflamed and visible as they clear up properly. When this mask came in, my face was in need of some extra soothing.

Like I said, the packaging on the cooling pack is super cute – it looks like an egg! This is appropriate, because the mask contains kaolin clay and powdered egg shell. Both have a drawing and tightening effect on the skin, and you'll find kaolin in other clay face masks on the market, mostly the ones designed to treat oily or acne-prone skin. When I first opened the package, I thought, 'Man, there's not much in here!' But it was kind of an optical illusion – the packaging has a decent bit of empty space in the top of the 'egg,' which makes it look a little empty even though the bottom half is full of product. I didn't need to use much more than what was stuck to the lid to cover my whole face, so I anticipate getting a good few uses out of this before it runs out.

To use the mask, I washed and dried my face and put on some essence to help the mask soak in. Then I just smeared it on with clean fingers! Definitely get your hair out of the way before you use this; the mask has a thick consistency (because clay), and it's a little tricky to get washed off if it gets in your hairline.

As you can see, there's no need to cake it on – a thin layer will do just fine. I paid extra attention to those really inflamed areas, making sure they got a good coating. The mask doesn't drip or run, so it was easy to finish getting ready for bed while it set for about fifteen minutes. True to the name, just after it goes on it feels cool! It's a refreshing feeling, especially in the heat of summer. After the fifteen minutes were up, I washed it off with warm water, which didn't take too much effort. I like it when clay masks are easy to remove; I don't want to scrub for another fifteen minutes just to take it off! You might want to use a washrag to get any bits that do wander into your hairline.

After rinsing, my skin felt fresh and clean! You can see the acne on my chin in the above photo – that's a breakout cluster that comes back over and over, and the cleanser I'm using right now is working overtime to get it healed up properly instead of just temporarily calming it down. I followed the mask with my eye cream and night moisturizer and hit the hay for the night.

The photo above is from the next morning. Look how much paler that chin breakout looks! It also felt flatter and less inflamed, and the pores on my nose were noticeably smaller. My skin didn't feel overly dry, which is always a worry with clay masks. My normal moisturizer was the perfect follow-up for this. If your skin is drier than mine, you might want to use a more nourishing sleep pack to keep from getting too dry after using this mask.

The Tony Moly Egg Pore Tightening Cooling Pack is a great product for oily skin, acne, or large/clogged pores. It smells pretty neutral, it has adorable packaging, and it left my skin feeling soothed and refreshed in the midst of a serious acne cleanse. If summer heat and oil has your skin in a tizz, give this mask a try to calm everything down.

Goo Hoarding and How to Stop

 

We’ve all been there, right? You open your bathroom cabinet or drawer, and you think to yourself, “How did I acquire this much goo???” Moisturizers, serums, hair product, perfumes, it all just piles up as you find a thing here or there and add it to the cabinet.

Since I’m getting ready to move, it’s time for me to look at the parts of my life that tend to get cluttered. For me, that’s clothing and skin care products. I’m doing well on the clothing at the moment, because I put a moratorium on buying new seasonal clothes since we’re moving somewhere with a different climate. The only things I’ve added to the closet are wardrobe basics, and when I add something new, I put something old in the donation pile.

But I hadn’t really looked at my skin care in a bit, so I figured it was a good time to address that. There’s no point in shipping things I don’t need, and risking them leaking or breaking in transit.

Here are my favorite tips for keeping your goo-cabinet from getting out of hand.

  1. Use bins. They’re a life-saver. Whether it’s shoe boxes, cute bins you bought, or the smaller boxes from a Lush shipment, use some sort of containers to compartmentalize your things and help keep you in check. If everything is supposed to be in a container, then you know it’s time to throw things out when it doesn’t all fit in said container. The other great thing about using these is that I know exactly where my products are. One box is only hair and bath stuff, one box is only skin care, one box is only essential oils, etc. When I need to go rummaging, I pull down the appropriate box, find what I need, then put it all back in the box and re-shelve it. Even if it’s just tossed in there with no order to it, my products *look* organized when I look at the shelf, because they’re contained in boxes. Personally, I like to reuse small boxes that I get packages mailed in, so that I’m staying organized and creating less waste.
  2. Go through your goo periodically. A quarterly goo-purging is probably all you need. Set a reminder on your phone, or put a sticky note on your bathroom cabinet with the date on it. When it’s time, pull ALL your stuff out onto the counter, take it all out of the boxes, and survey your collection. Do you love and use every single one of these products? Chuck anything that you were underwhelmed with, that’s mostly empty and you’re not using anymore, or that you bought on a whim because it looked cool but realized you’re never going to use it. If you bought a new toner that’s the best thing ever, you can get rid of your old, less-awesome toners. When are you going to use the mediocre ones in place of your new fave? Is anything in that box broken or leaking? Toss it; you don’t need puddles of dried stuff all over your cabinet. If you have a friend who’s into skin care, see if they want to give those ‘good but not for me’ products a test run instead of throwing them out. It can be your good deed for the day.
  3. Try to use up a product before replacing. This is hard to do, but it will save you money and space. If you’ve got a cleanser that works well for you, use it up completely before trying a new cleanser. Sometimes, I’ll get overwhelmed with products and I’ll have to stop buying things until I can use up some of what I have. I hate to waste product, especially if it works well, so to regain control of my cabinet, I take buying breaks where I just use what I have for as long as I can. Sometimes it’ll take me several months to use things up to the point of needing a replacement. That’s several months of not spending money on new products, and several months of slowly freeing up space in my bathroom. The products you’re already using must be working – if they made you break out, you wouldn’t be using them – so keep using them until you get the full value of what you bought. Don’t throw good money away if you don’t have to.
  4. Shop with space in mind. If you’re trying out a product for the first time, especially if it’s an expensive one, get a travel size or sample first. It will take up less room in your cabinet, and if you hate it, you can throw it away without feeling like you wasted a ton of money on a full-sized product that turned out to be a bad fit. Probably 90% of my Sephora purchases come from the little stands of travel products, because unless I know for a fact that a given product is going to work great on my skin, I don’t want to pay full price for it. That’s a big gamble; some oil cleansers can cost $50 or so. I don’t want to realize that was a mistake.
  5. Take advantage of return policies. One of the many good things about Sephora is their return policy. You can open up and use a product, and if it doesn’t work for you or makes you break out, you can return it. Their policy says products have to be ‘new or gently used.’ So don’t try to return something you used half of, but if you tried it once and hated it, and you still have your receipt, you can take it back and get a refund. Check the return policies of other places you shop as well; don’t keep products sitting around that you don’t like.
  6. Know your skin type. Buying products that are made for skin like yours will save you a ton of grief and money. If you don’t know your skin type, you’re basically just guessing every time you buy a new product, and hoping it will work. That’s got to get expensive after a while, not to mention leaving you with a cabinet full of failed goo purchases. I just learned a great way to find your skin type: get a piece of blotting paper, and pat your face with it in the middle of the day, well after you’ve washed your face. If the paper comes away soaked with oil and almost completely translucent, you have oily skin. If you have a few translucent spots but not enough to cover the blotting paper, your skin is combination. And if the paper comes away from your face like you hardly did anything to the paper at all, then your skin is dry. How easy is that? You can also ask your local skin care store rep to help you suss out your skin type before you start spending money; they know their stuff and are usually happy to help.

As Alton Brown says, organization will set you free. Nobody wants to open their cabinets in the morning and deal with a crapalanche of old products – we need our mornings to be easy, because sleep is good and digging through a packed cabinet just starts our day off on a frustrating note. When your products are easy to find, appropriate for your skin, and have intact packaging, your morning routine will be infinitely easier to pull off, so that you can leave the house looking and feeling fab.

Product Review: Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask

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Oh, Mizon. Your products never fail to be affordable and effective, which is why you remain one of my favorite K-Beauty brands. Since we talked about the glorious luxury skin care brand Tatcha last blog, I thought I would review a favorite of mine from one of the less pricey lines this time. There are definitely products that are worth dropping some cash on, but there are also some that work great and don’t cost as much. I recommend finding a good mix of both – spend money on the products that go above and beyond for your skin, and enjoy saving money when you find a great product that’s more affordable for you.

To that end, I bring you Mizon’s Good Night White Sleeping Mask. As the name implies, it’s a sleep pack that you put on as the final step of your nighttime skin routine. Since my skin is on the oily side, I use this in place of my moisturizer, but if your skin tends to be dry, you could probably use your regular nighttime moisturizer and then the Good Night White mask.

This isn’t a ‘mask’ like you think of a sheet or mud mask. It soaks into your skin like a lotion, so you can sleep without getting your pillowcase goopy.

However.

You do need to make absolutely sure you’re washing your face the next morning if you put this on at night. It’s a very heavy moisturizer, and it’s very nourishing, so you don’t want to leave residue of it under your makeup or sunscreen all day. If you’re a lazy morning person, first off let’s be friends, and second off you might want to use this sleep pack on a Friday or Saturday night, so that you can take time and do your full skin routine the next morning and make sure you remove the sleep pack properly. As congested as my skin can get, it’s definitely a job for actual face wash and water, not a cleansing wipe.

So let’s talk about the ‘whitening’ label in K-Beauty. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s important to remember that when a K-Beauty product is labeled ‘whitening,’ they’re not talking about ‘skin bleach.’ Those Korean skin care models have fair skin because of genetics and staying out of the sun; they’re not buying chemicals to suck all the color out of their skin. So don’t worry about this being some kind of harsh skin treatment meant to ‘whiten’ you.

When K-Beauty products talk about ‘whitening’ properties, I think it translates better in English as ‘balancing.’ This product, and many others in the K-Beauty world, are designed to balance your skin tone, evening out dark or red spots and giving you a smooth, even complexion.

So, did it work for me? Well, yeah! There wasn’t some Disney-movie overnight transformation or anything, but I definitely noticed that the redness in my cheeks and my dark spots from acne were less noticeable, and that my skin looked smoother and brighter. Again, I didn’t look any paler or ‘whiter,’ because that’s not the point of these products, it just looked like the uneven coloring in my face had faded to a more even tone, which made me look pretty refreshed for someone who just woke up.

Personally, I don’t use this every single day. My redness and dark spots aren’t that bad, although both will flare up from time to time with hormone cycles or stress. During those times, I’ll go ahead and treat myself by using the Good Night White for a night or two, to get my skin to calm back down. For me it’s more like a treatment than a regular moisturizer. But hey, I could definitely see using it every night for a while if I had a lot of redness, or if my skin needed that kind of deep, nourishing moisture on a regular basis.

I came across this product in my PinkSeoul box, and while it’s not something I would have gone out of my way to buy, I’m glad I got my hands on it. It is a good moisturizer for evening out skin tone, and a nice, deep moisturizer for winter or for when stress or hormones make your skin freak out and need some extra soothing.

If you’re not overly prone to allergic reactions or breakouts, it’s nice to try new skin care products sometimes. You never know what will help your skin out, or what new brands might become your old favorites. For the price, Mizon’s Good Night White Sleeping Mask is definitely worth a try.

Product Review: Tatcha Dual-Cleanse System


If you’re just joining the blog, you’ll need to know that I have oily skin and really visible pores, especially on my nose. Most of my blogging about skin care involves my quest for something to effectively clean my skin and keep my shine to a minimum. You should also know that I’m pretty obsessed with the Tatcha skin care line. Vicki Tsai is an Asian-American businesswoman who makes absolutely amazing skin care products, and is also generally a wonderful person whom you should follow on Snapchat at ‘tatchabeauty.’

And yet, through my year+ of obsession with her products, and my previous reviews of them, I haven’t reviewed the foundation of her skin care line: the dual-cleanse system.

The first thing I noticed about this system compared to a Korean-style double-cleanse, is that Tatcha’s doesn’t require a toner afterward. The products are carefully pH-balanced, so that you can skip right to your essence and other treatments. These are expensive products, so the fact that you can literally remove a step in your skin routine helps offset that a little.

The first time I used the rice enzyme powder, I was in Hawaii last year, and I was immediately surprised by how great my nose pores looked after using it. Normally I have quite a lot of debris in my skin, no matter how religiously I wash and exfoliate, and since I just can’t stop picking at my skin (I’m trying, I’m trying), I’d end up trying to smoosh all the debris out of my pores semi-regularly, irritating my skin and sometimes causing a breakout in the process. Counterproductive, much?

Not so with this cleanser! It’s a powder that you add water to and work it into a foam. When you wash with it, those super-fine particles get right up in those nasty pores and clear them out. It also removes a very small layer of dead skin, without irritating the new skin underneath. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. My skin feels soft and renewed, and my pores have never looked cleaner.

You can use any oil cleanser you want with the rice powder cleanser, but if you use two products that are designed to work with each other, you’re likely to get better results, and that goes for any skin care line. Enter the Camellia Cleansing Oil. I only use oil cleanser at night, because of my skin type, but some people may want to use it in the mornings as well. It’s totally up to you. This cleanser is absolutely fantastic at removing makeup. It just melts it all off – waterproof, setting spray, sunscreen, all of it just dissolves when it meets this oil cleanser. Then, by virtue of some kind of magic Tatcha uses, the oil completely emulsifies in water and rinses off your skin. No residue, no heavy feeling, nothing – it’s just gone! That almost never happens with me and oil cleansers, so I was duly impressed. Following up with the rice enzyme powder leaves my skin feeling completely clean and smooth, and completely balanced, without any lingering oil or dry tightness hanging about.

To recap, this system works the same way as your K-beauty dual cleanse, with slight modifications:

  • Dry hands/Dry face, massage the oil cleanser on
  • Rinse
  • Wet hands/Wet face, work rice enzyme powder into a foam, massage onto skin
  • Rinse again, pat dry
  • No toner needed, skip straight to your essence, treatment, and moisturizer steps

I’ve seen such good results with this line, you guys. It’s worth every penny.

Speaking of pennies, if you’ve clicked my links you’ll have already found out that Tatcha products are definitely more expensive than a lot of what I review on here. Much as I’d like to disagree with the price, I really can’t argue too strenuously, for a couple of reasons: 1) It works SO WELL, and 2) You get a LOT of product in one order. I got my current round of Tatcha double-cleanse about a month ago, and I’ve hardly made a dent in it. I’m still trying to finish up an in-use bottle of oil cleanser I got months ago – I thought I was running out, but it just keeps going. The thing about the high-quality products is that you use less of it, which means the same amount tends to last longer.

Now, don’t think I’m trying to say that all expensive products are better than all cheap ones – you KNOW my favorite eye cream costs $20. I’ve also tried samples of high-end products, only to get so-so results. It depends on the product and how it interacts with your skin. But as far as ‘expensive but worth it’ products go, this double-cleanse is absolutely worth the dollars. I’d say the full-sized versions could last me a good 4-ish months, not even lying, especially since I only use the oil cleanser at night.

If you’re still a little spooked by the cost, I get it – it is a lot of money up front. The way I got into it was by getting a travel-sized rice cleanser and taking it on a trial run (yep, Sephora carries it too). Hell, even that travel size lasted me two or three months. It’s legit.

I know it sounds like I’m getting paid by Vicki to hawk her wares, but I assure you that if I were getting paid to promote Tatcha, I’d just be moving to California to work with her directly, and my blog would probably look a lot less like a free WordPress account. This isn’t an ad, it’s literally just my favorite skin care line and the best cleanser I’ve ever used. I hope you try it out and are as amazed as I am.

BirdFashion Road Trip Essentials


I don’t know about your part of the world, but it certainly feels like summer here in Texas. What better time than now for a good old-fashioned road trip? It’s a summer staple in America; we have books and movies and songs about the event, and to my mind, it’s an excellent chance to experience something new without ever having to get in a TSA line.

I just got through with a wonderful road trip with my parents and sister. We drove from Texas to Massachusetts, and it was incredible. On this trip, I not only saw some gorgeous sights, ate amazing food, and talked to friendly people, but I was inspired to blog about what I wore and took with me that made my road trip even better. If you’re hitting the road this summer, here are some suggestions on what you can bring along to enjoy the journey just a little bit more.

  • Clothing that isn’t restrictive – It wouldn’t be a road trip without hours spent in the car, so your clothing choice is going to determine a lot of your comfort on this trip. Structured waistbands are probably not your friend here; opt for sundresses, maxi skirts, or leggings and tunic tops. Nobody looks good after ten hours in a packed car, so embrace it and get comfy! For undergarments, bust out your comfiest sports bra or t-shirt bra. You don’t need underwires trying to shank you while you’re napping against the car window. When you consider shoes, consider the weather, but have one pair of slides or flip-flops that you can wear while you’re actually in the car. Sitting for a long time makes your feet swell, so you need something you can kick off. You can pack your comfy or cute shoes in the trunk for sightseeing once you stop for the day.
  • Some way to be alone – This sounds counter-intuitive, since you’re going on a road trip to go somewhere *with people* right? But let’s be realistic here: after a couple days on the road, you’re gonna run out of things to talk about, or people’s normal habits are going to get annoying. You can create some privacy for yourself even when you’re crammed into a vehicle together, but it takes some preparation. If you like to read (and can do so without getting carsick), pack a novel or two to get lost in, or bring your Kindle. Does music soothe your soul? Bring an external charger for your phone and some comfortable earbuds so you can get your groove on without a dead phone ruining your day. Coloring books (like my personal favorite) or small craft projects are good options too, as long as you have plenty of sealable storage options for your supplies. Losing a 64-pack of colored pencils under the seats wouldn’t go over well with the driver.
  • A way to record the journey – You’re going to want to celebrate and remember this epic trip you’re taking, so bring along a way to memorialize it! Ditch the phone-camera and bring a legit video camera along if you have (or can borrow) one. Or if you want to travel light and aren’t going for an HD movie experience, keep your phone and post some good moments to Facebook Live or Snapchat so your friends can follow along. Of course, if you’re feeling lo-fi and a little artsy, you can always go for a journal or a sketchbook. Bonus with those last two: you never need to charge them.
  • Car-appropriate skin care – Long car rides to places with different elevations, weather, and allergens can do a number on your precious skin, and leave you looking like the road you came in on when you disembark. In addition to your regular morning and nighttime skin routines when you get to your AirBnB, consider an in-car skincare pack. You can use this for skin emergencies, or boredom emergencies (car spa party for the passengers?). Pack a small bag with moisturizing face mist, sheet masks, cleansing wipes, body lotion, and a travel-friendly refreshing eye cream. Depending on what your skin does in the car, you’ll have a chance to address it on the go without making a mess. Don’t forget to put that sunscreen on everyday!
  • A sense of adventure! – There is no such thing as a perfect road trip. You might get lost, have a flat, get into an argument with your car-mates, or find out when you get there that the art gallery you really wanted to see is closed for renovation. It’s disappointing, and it’s *completely* okay to feel bad when things go wrong. But road trips are about having an adventure, and those disappointments can either be just disappointing, or they can be part of the adventure. Getting lost may take you through countryside you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. That argument could end in one of those deep, soul-searching conversations you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Your favorite gallery might have been closed, but what else is in that town that might similarly blow your mind? I can’t guarantee you road-trip success, Fledglings, but I can say with some certainty that if you practice optimism and gratitude the whole way, it will be much easier to roll with any surprises that come your way, pleasant or not-so-much.

Safe travels! Comment with some photos or stories about your own road trips and what products you can’t leave home without.

Product Review: Burt’s Bees Cleansing Cloths

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Yeah yeah, this one’s not strictly K-Beauty, but sometimes you need to get more face wash and your PinkSeoul box is on its way, so you don’t feel like paying $20 for cleanser that you might already be getting, so you go to the drug store. It happens.

I also needed something travel-friendly, since I’m taking a family vacation in a couple weeks, and I’ve used face cleansing wipes for as long as I’ve been adventuring around this world – they’re the most handy things ever. You can put them in your checked luggage in a zip-top bag with zero issues, they don’t count toward your liquid carry-on if you want them on the plane, and you can freshen up in the smallest or grossest bathrooms your travels may take you to – they work on most non-face body parts as well, just saying.

I hadn’t used any Burt’s Bees products in years and years, but I remember being a huge fan of them in college. There was this adorable hippie nature shop near the UNT campus, and it sold Amy’s frozen vegetarian meals and essential oils and Burt’s Bees products. The Burt’s Bees brand has since been picked up by one of the larger conglomerate companies that actually controls everything we buy, but from what I can tell their packaging, branding, and formulations haven’t really changed. I’ve seen that with craft beers as well; when Coors or Anheiser-Busch buys a local brewing company, they don’t change how their beer tastes, they just help distribute it more widely and take a cut of the (presumably much larger) profits. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up for you to decide, but there it is.

I got two different packages of the face wipes, since the drug store had a BOGO sale, but the one I’m using currently has white tea extract in it. For me, this is a perfect face cleanser for my morning routine. It freshens up my face just enough for me to get my toner, eye cream, and sunscreen on. Bonus: it’s quicker to use than cleanser and water! For someone who’s just perpetually late for work because why does it have to start so early, anything convenient is a winner for me.

When I used these face wipes at night, they didn’t really do as well for me – my face was a little greasy the following morning, making the morning use of the wipes less effective. So now I use my Mizon face cleanser at night, and the wipes in the morning. It’s making my regular cleanser last longer, and I still get the benefits of convenience and effectiveness from using the wipes in the morning. I’m guessing the reason these wipes weren’t doing the job for evening cleansing is because they weren’t dissolving my sunscreen well enough to take it off – sunscreen is oily, and it takes some work to remove it properly. Word to the wise: you can take shortcuts with your skincare in the mornings (as long as you’re applying sunscreen), but at night, you should go all-out on it. Sleep is when your skin repairs itself, so it’s worth investing an extra five minutes in doing your full routine properly.

I did not try these for makeup removal, but since they didn’t do so great removing just my sunscreen, I certainly wouldn’t recommend them as a solo act for taking your makeup off. One of the labels does claim that the wipes remove makeup, but I’d probably use them to loosen up my makeup, then follow up with oil- and water-based cleanser to really get it all gone. I find that wipes often work better for getting eyeliner or mascara off, because I have a little more control over the remover and I’m less likely to get oil in my eyes.

These wipes have a mild smell, definitely not perfumey, so it’s in keeping with what I remember of Burt’s Bees products. None of their products tend to be heavily-scented, and they’re generally really mild, so they’re great for sensitive skin. The packaging is good too; a lot of face wipes just have a sticker to keep them closed, and that sticker fails after about a week. The Burt’s Bees wipes have a little plastic lid that snaps closed, which keeps them from drying out. You can always stick them in a zip-top bag as well, to keep the moisture in longer. Or add a splash of water to one before you use it – you’ve got options, is what I’m saying.

All in all, I’ve used some other face wipes before, including some K-Beauty ones, and these are among my top picks for cleansing cloths. They’re great for general freshening up, for morning cleansing, and for travel. The packaging is solid, they don’t smell too strong, and they’re really affordable (I think I got both packages for $8, and that equals like two months’ worth of wipes if you use them once a day).

If you need an affordable-yet-effective cleansing wipe to add to your summer skin arsenal, Burt’s Bees cleansing wipes are a good option.

What I’ve Re-Bought: K-Beauty Favorites

I’ve seen some of my favorite YouTubers and beauty bloggers doing ‘Empties’ posts, showing what they’ve used up in the previous month and reviewing them. I like this format; if you liked a product enough to use up the whole package, I would like to know more. I might start making a monthly ‘Empties’ post on here, but for right now, I was inspired by these other beauty mavens to post about the products I’ve bought at least a second time. These are my top four go-to Asian beauty products; as I get new products in, these are some that I just keep coming back to.

  1. Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream – Guys. This eye cream is the BEST. I didn’t even think I needed eye cream, but as I was getting into K-beauty and reading up on their obsession with moisture I thought, ‘Why not? Couldn’t hurt.’ No, no it couldn’t. This eye cream was unexpectedly excellent for me, so much so that I think I’ve replaced it three or four times now. Not only is it affordable, but it lasts a long time – at least two months for me, probably longer, but I haven’t been keeping track. I use it morning and night, and while I don’t have crow’s feet to contend with right now (and hopefully won’t for a while now that I moisturize), the big and noticeable improvement I got from this eye cream was that my dark under-eye circles practically vanished. For someone who’s always had at least a little bit of a shadow under there, that’s huge. It’s honestly the most visible difference for me, between now and my pre-K-beauty days. My eyes look brighter and healthier, I look less tired, and on the rare occasions I wear contacts, I don’t feel the need to put concealer on if I don’t feel like it. I also suffer from allergies on and off throughout the year, and this cream is very soothing to my eye area on days when my face is puffy and irritated from seasonal allergies. It’s been a true game-changer for me.
  2. Shiseido WetForce Sunscreen – One of the biggest lessons Asian beauty has taught me is the importance of sunscreen. I’ll be honest, I was not up on my sunscreen game before this, mainly because I’m already so oily and acne-prone that putting something oily on my face every day wasn’t exactly in my plans. Also, I’m prone to tanning as opposed to burning (thanks, Native fam), so I just didn’t see the need. But then, as I’ve told you before, my dad got diagnosed with skin cancer and had to have some parts of his skin removed (gyaaaaahhhhhh). I decided it was time to stop  playing fast and loose with those UV rays, acne be damned. Thankfully, Asian sunscreen is a whole other beast compared to the American brands. Since Asian people wear it every single day, no matter what, they’ve developed sunscreens that are good to your skin, not just an oily mess that you need when you’re at the beach. American brands are catching up, but for my money, the Shiseido WetForce is absolutely my jam. It’s SPF 50, so no burning here, and it claims to work better when it’s exposed to sunlight, which is an awesome claim, if one I haven’t researched. I’ve used it on the beach in Hawaii, walking around street fairs for hours on sunny days, and at cookoffs and barbecues in the summer, with nary a pink hue to be found on my face or neck. This stuff is legit. Also, it doesn’t leave me looking shiny and it doesn’t make me break out! That’s like the Holy Grail of sunscreen, right there. It may be a little spendy, but the travel-sized bottle I got the first time ended up lasting me SIX MONTHS. I bought a full-sized bottle after that, and it’s nowhere near being used up. A pea-sized amount covers my whole face and neck, so not only is this sunscreen hella effective and nice to your skin, but it’s a great value as well, since you only have to buy it maaaaaaybe twice a year.
  3. May Coop Raw SauceMy travel bestie. You know I love me some products that do double-duty when I’m traveling, and Raw Sauce delivers in a big way. It’s a combination toner and essence, so I can pack one bottle instead of two, and it’s so, so soothing on travel-parched skin. It has maple extract in it, which makes me think of maple syrup, but I’m assuming they’re not the same thing. Probably. Either way, the Raw Sauce does smell sweet, and it leaves my skin feeling so soft and refreshed. When I used up my travel-sized bottle, I immediately went and bought a full-sized one. I decanted some of the big bottle into my airline-approved one, so now I’m all set! Once I grind through the essence I’m using up right now, I’ll likely switch to using Raw Sauce for my daily routine as well as for travel. Considering it’s two products in one, it’s a great value in addition to it being so effective. It’s just a good product all around.
  4. These Hella-Cheap Sheet Masks – The sunscreen and toner/essence combo above are both higher-priced, but worth it. The eye cream is mid-range, but again a really good value, as all three products last for months before needing to be replaced. But Dermal Korea sheet masks come for less than a dollar. If you sheet-mask regularly like I do, this needs to be in your arsenal like right now. I stock up on these the minute I run out, because I’m never too strapped for cash to afford them – they’re 6 for $5 at the Asian market in my town, and they’re about the same unit price or cheaper everywhere else I’ve seen. Hell, you can even buy them in bulk on Amazon, because why not. The masks fit well, the essence gives deep moisture without making me break out, and they’re just solid players in my skincare game. It’s not often that a product so cheap does such good work, but here it is, in all its glory. I do have to use a lighter nighttime moisturizer on my sheet-mask nights, because like I said, my skin tends toward being oily, but I’ve also found that any of the masks with citrus, herbs, or green tea tend to be moisturizing in a good way for my skin. Some of the richer ones I save for winter, or for if I did spend a lot of time outdoors in the wind or dust or pool. Sometimes you need to make it up to your skin, and this is an inexpensive and wildly effective way to do it. Yes, there are other masks out there that are more ~*fancy*~ and are priced to reflect that, and they’re great for trying out on occasion. But for a weekly sheet mask, go with these guys. They work great, and you can save your money for other products.

Sorry for the break in posting the last few weeks; the rest of my life got in the way and I’m just now getting back on track. I am working on some other projects, though, so hopefully they’ll be a good addition to my blogging efforts! Until then, I’m going to try and get back to my every-other-week posting schedule here, bringing you more of the product reviews you crave. Have a good week!