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.

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.

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.

Product Review: Studio 35 Beauty Deep Cleansing Mask


This review is a little different from my usual ones, because this isn’t a K-Beauty find – I got this mask at a drug store in town. I was hanging with my bestie, and we wanted to get our spa on, so we picked up a bunch of masks on their BOGO sale.

This review is also a little different…because I didn’t like this product. I’ll get into that; let’s get started with the review.

The Deep Cleansing Mask is aimed at purifying your skin and helping draw impurities out of your pores. I really needed this the other day, because I’m doing this stupid super awesome and healthy fitness challenge this month, and my skin is Freaking. Out. All the sweating I’m doing is giving me horrible, red breakouts all over the place. They’re not cystic acne breakouts, they’re just really red and obvious and need to go away, like now.

The main ingredient in this mask is kaolin clay, which I’ve heard is the new hotness for purifying skin – I even saw a commercial for some clay-based shampoo for managing oily roots, and I’m kinda tempted to give it a try after my I Love Juicy runs out. So I was pumped to try this mask, and I was really hoping to see some results in the form of less acne on my poor, sweaty face.

This mask is bright, robin’s-egg blue when you squeeze it out of the packet. I applied it evenly all over my face, and it felt a lot like other clay masks I’ve worn before, in that I could feel it drying and kind of tightening my skin as it sat. It rinsed off really easily, which is a great quality in a face mask for me. I used a washrag with warm water on it to loosen it up, then I used my hands to rinse the rest off.

Now, I said I didn’t like it, and this isn’t because it didn’t work well or was difficult to use – it really did soothe my breakouts.

No, this stuff smells TERRIBLE.

Oh man, it smelled so bad. Like bathroom cleaner. It literally smelled like tub and tile cleaner. I’m pretty stalwart in the face of bad smells (thanks, former health care job!), so I powered through it for the fifteen minutes of recommended set time, but MAAAAANNNNN. It was a chore. My skin even smelled a little bit after I’d rinsed it off and finished my nighttime skin routine. After my morning routine, the smell was completely gone, so it won’t make you smell forever, but during the time it smells, you will definitely notice it.

Would I use this product again? Yanno…probably not. I know for a fact there are other masks out there that soothe my breakouts and don’t smell awful. It was effective, and it’s a cheap mask (especially if you’re getting that BOGO deal), but it was just not worth smelling all night.

Moral of the story: drug store skincare can absolutely be great! But sometimes you get a miss, and for me, this was a miss. It did help my skin, and it was affordable, but it just didn’t smell good. I may try some of their other masks later and see how they work/smell, for the sake of comparison. Never let it be said that skincare is not an adventure.

Product Review: Skinfood Royal Honey Emulsion


As you can see from the photo, this emulsion came to me in the form of a sample I got in my latest PinkSeoul box. I’ve changed my order from ‘pore care’ to ‘having fun with K-beauty products,’ because I’m awash with gorgeous pore care products and would like to change it up a little. Hopefully they’ll keep sending me great stuff to review for you guys!

This emulsion from Skinfood is excellent. I use it as a serum, and since there’s so little of it, I mainly put it on my chin and neck, with a little to spare for the rest of my T-zone. It doesn’t smell very strong at all, and it soaks in well, so no extra oil (always a bonus for me).

The first time I used the emulsion, I got a big surprise the next morning: the zits I’d gone to bed with had literally transformed overnight from ‘under the skin and inflamed’ to ‘open and healing!’ Wow! It’s like this serum hit fast-forward on my hormonal breakout. I kept using it with my regular skin routine, and it’s done a great job getting any new acne to open up and clear away. I think it’s the honey component that’s so great, as honey has been used for centuries to treat infections and soothe skin due to it having some antibacterial properties. There are even recipes out there for at-home face masks that include honey.

The package says to use the emulsion during the moisturizing step of your routine, which, by all means do that thing if it works better for you. I’m still using my May Coop Raw Moisturizer, though it’s almost time to switch to a lighter one for spring and summer. For me, the Royal Honey emulsion works great as a serum.

I’d probably buy this again, given the chance. I’m definitely happy with how it helped my acne, and with how it’s tightened up my face. If you’re looking to soothe and heal your skin from a nasty breakout, this is well worth looking into.

Product Review: Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash


Okay, so this one could alternatively be titled, ‘How the Fashion Bird Doesn’t Follow Instructions.’ But I got there eventually, and that’s what counts, right? Join me on this journey.

If you’ve followed the blog for a bit, you’ll know that my skin is oily, acne-prone, and in need of just all the exfoliation. So when I found out about enzyme powder and rice powder cleaners, I thought ‘Great! I can exfoliate SO MUCH now.’

I got the Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash in my previous PinkSeoul box, and I was super pumped. Not only is this some extra exfoliation, but it’s also a much-cheaper enzyme powder cleanser than the Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder that I absolutely love, and absolutely can’t afford right now. Vickie, if you’re listening, you know I’d buy only your products on the regular if I could, but as it stands, I buy what I can and shill for you on all my social media accounts instead. You seem really nice on Snapchat, so I think you’re okay with this.

I do have to thank Vickie, though, for showing me how to properly use the Tosowoong powder, after weeks of getting it wrong. I’d been using it as a scrub, just putting the powder on my wet face and rubbing until it lathered up, and I was really only getting mediocre results that way (probably because I was scratching the crap out of my face twice a day). Then I watched Tatcha’s Snapchat story one day, where Vickie explained that no, Bird, enzyme powders are not supposed to be a scrub. You’re supposed to pour a little powder into your hands, put some water on the powder, then rub it between your hands to dissolve the powder into a foam. Only then do you put it on your face and start washing.

‘Well,’ I thought. ‘That explains the middling results of this scrub.’ I started using my cleanser like Vickie recommended for hers, and lo and behold! This stuff is amazing, when you use it properly. My skin feels so soft right now, and just smooth and luminous all around. My nose-blackheads are almost invisible, which is just huge for me, and some of the acne cysts I’ve been battling along my jawline are finally starting to clear up properly.

Weird how things work better when you use them as intended.

Now that I’ve used the Tosowoong powder properly for a bit, I can safely say that this is a great product, especially if you have oily, rough, or congested skin. The enzyme action helps clear away all those extra skin cells that keep hanging around, and the foaming action feels really pleasant. It rinses off very cleanly, so there’s no residue or anything left behind, even if you’re double-cleansing or washing off makeup. There’s also not a strong smell to it, so I’d definitely recommend this to any Fledglings who are sensitive to the more perfumey skin products. At $11 on Peach and Lily, I doubt you’ll find a better deal on a cleanser – I’ve been using mine for almost two months now and haven’t used it up.

Of course, as an avid traveler, one of my favorite parts about this powder is how well it travels. No melting, no leaking, no separating – it’s POWDER. I could put this in my checked bag on a plane flight and save some room in my carry-on, as long as I taped the flip-top lid closed or put it in a baggie.

I’m going to get some more product reviews to you in the coming weeks, so keep watching the blog, and feel free to send me suggestions for new products to review on Twitter!