Archive for the 'Asia exclusive' Category

Etude House O2 White Mask Pack Review

November 9, 2009

I’ve been feeling a little uninspired lately, so I figured it was time to get back to some fun, inexpensive Asian products for a nice change of pace.

Etude House’s O2 White Mask ($14.99) is a skin whitening and revitalizing wash-off mask that contains an oxygen complex meant to give your complexion a whitened, brightened appearance.

The O2 White Mask has a fresh fruity/floral scent and a fun jelly-like consistency that’s cooling to the skin upon initial application. I do experience some tingling when this touches my rather sensitive skin so I wouldn’t recommend this for those of you who are really sensitive and prone to irritation, but apply the mask, wait 2-3 minutes and rinse off (you’ll see a tiny bit of foaming as you wash this off) and you’ll immediately notice smoother, brighter, happier looking skin.

Etude House’s O2 White Mask makes a fabulous inexpensive midweek pick-me-up and is something I like to slather on as I’m sitting in front of the television (like tonight) not doing much of anything at all. It takes zero effort and provides immediate results – can’t really ask for much more than that!

This product was a gift from my aunt in Korea – the last time I visited her she saw that I was interested in Etude House and she actually remembered – very sweet of her! She’s also a typical Korean woman, meaning she’s on a neverending quest for that perfect milky white complexion, which explains her choice of product for me =P.

Skin Food Fermented Pomegranate Whitening Sleeping Mask Review & Swatches

October 5, 2009

Whoever said beauty had to be difficult obviously never tried SkinFood’s Fermented Pomegranate Whitening Sleeping Mask, a product that will beautify your complexion literally while you sleep. I picked up this product during my Korea trip this past May and I’ve been loving it ever since.

Find out why after the jump!

So I don’t know about any real lightening going on with my skin, but let me tell you why I personally adore this product: it’s so easy to use! Two ways I use this:

  1. On top of my serum on those days/nights my skin is in need of some brightening/softening and just a little extra TLC.
  2. On those nights that I’m feeling too lazy to wash off my makeup and there’s just no way I’ll be washing my face, I just slather this on top of everything that’s already on my face. Gross I know!

The mornings after I use this I awaken to a brightened, radiant complexion that feels comfortable hydrated and just really glows with happiness. There’s no tight feeling, no tingling discomfort, stickiness, or anything else associated with this product ~ it’s so comfortable that in the morning I often forget that I have this on until I step into the shower and feel this layer of something being washed off my face.

I know you’re all grossed out at the thought of my applying this over a made up face, but it seriously keeps my face from going crazy when I’m just too exhausted to wash it and post-shower in the morning my skin still looks great. I think I paid under $15 for this in Korea and it’s been worth its weight in gold. If you have access to it, I highly recommend checking it out!

VALUE: 5/5


Eye Cream Quest Part 2: Laneige Perfect Renew Dual Touch Eyes Review

July 20, 2009
Laneige Perfect Renew Dual Touch Eyes (approximately $50)
This eye protector provides innovative and dual eye care benefits that will protect your eyes all day long: one for day use and the other, for night. It stimulates blood circulation reducing dark-eye circles as well as revitalizes fatigue and dry eye areas with apparent reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. Dull looking eyes noticeably transform to vibrant-looking eyes.

The day eye Cream with SPF25/PA++ protects eye areas from UVA and UVB rays and also helps regain firmness, elasticity (with beta-glucan which stimulates collagen formation) and vitality. Gold Pearl powder brightens eye areas as it smoothens and softens.

Dual Touch Eyes night Gel though light, works overtime to provide hydration with anti-aging properties. An anti-wrinkle and anti-sagging protector, eye area is optimally moisturized, firmed (Chlorella eliminates excess water and waste to reduce puffiness) and looks youthful (thanks to toniskin, a yeast extract). Wake up to bright sparkling eyes.

The Packaging: Laneige’s Perfect Renew Dual Touch Eyes eye cream is yet another Korea-purchased eye product. I was essentially suckered in by the cute packaging on this one. The product consists of two compartments, one holding a day eye cream with SPF 25, the other a night eye cream. The clear plastic spatula in between is meant to be used to scoop the product out of each well.

The Age Range: When I was in Korea one of the shop girls recommended that I check out Laneige’s Perfect Renew Dual Touch Eyes eye cream as its target audience is young women in their late teens to late 20’s/early 30’s.

What It’s Good For: I can appreciate a good concept when I see one, and I must admit that the idea behind Laneige’s Perfect Renew Dual Touch Eyes isn’t bad at all. Two eye creams conveniently packaged together, one containing SPF to provide great daytime protection, the other containing some great anti-aging ingredients to help ward of those first wrinkles. Cute packaging aside, I do have a few additional grudging complements for this eye cream: it’s relatively non-irritating, nice and light so that you don’t dread putting it on on a hot summer’s day, and it’s one o the few eye creams out there that contains a decent dose of SPF. Unfortunately I just wasn’t a fan.

The Formula: The formula is where this eye cream goes wrong, because well, it just doesn’t do much of anything. Yes it’s seemingly chock full of great ingredients and feels great on the undereye area thanks to the light texture, but this did absolutely nothing for me. The day cream does contain some slight pearlescence so as to give my eyes a brightened appearance while also providing SPF protection, but I didn’t really notice much in the way of moisture. The night cream, which I’ll admit is fabulously light, is also fabulously devoid of any results. I used Perfect Renew religiously for weeks on end to no avail. I might as well not have bothered with eye cream at all.

The Verdict: While I give Laneige props for clever packaging, a cute design and for including SPF in the day cream, for me this was a massive waste of my hard-earned money. Definitely a disappointment!



  • For more eye cream goodness, see my review of Dior’s HydrAction Visible Defense Hydra-Protective Eye Creme SPF 20 HERE.

Mascara Series Part 27: Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus Review & Photos

July 14, 2009
Majolica Majorca Lash Expander Frame Plus ($15.20 on Sasa)

The Claim: Shiseido’s MAJOLICA MAJORCA Lash Expander Frame Plus wears firmly and evenly on lashes, creating separated lashes with a long-lasting finish. The secret behind these glamorous lashes is a revolutionary double-sided brush and lash-lengthening fibers: the comb brush helps lengthen lashes while the spiral brush works to enhance the volume of lashes for a surprising eye-liner look. (LOL please excuse the bad Engrish here–I fixed it up as best as I could without changing the meaning too much)

And on a side note while you may not think that this fits into today’s drugstore theme, it actually does since this is one of Shiseido’s drugstore lines in Japan! 🙂

The Packaging: I’ve decided to add a new ‘packaging’ subheading to my Mascara Series because some mascaras are just too beautiful for me to forgo mentioning their smile-inducing exteriors. Part of the reason that I love Asian cosmetics so much is that regardless of whether they’re cheap or mind-bogglingly expensive, they’re always beautifully packaged. The MM Lash Expander Frame Plus comes in a sleek black and gold plastic tube that’s easily one of the prettiest mascaras I won. I appreciate how easily differentiated this is from my millions of other black mascara tubes (when you own as many as I do it’s hard to tell them apart) thanks to the gold emblem on top of the cap which I just love to pieces.

Close-up of the top.

The Brush: A major part of what differentiates the original Lash Expander (my first ever mascara series review!!) from Lash Expander Frame Plus is the wand – Frame Plus basically implements the original Lash Expander brush design but with an additional side. Frame Plus’ double-ended comb-style applicator has spiraled side (the top portion in the photos below) for coating the lashes and depositing length & volume-building fibers, and a comb (the same comb the original Lash Expander has) for lengthening and defining each lash.

Majolica Majorca’s comb applicator is fabulous for depositing mascara and combing out any clumps you may get, but it’s a little messy. I always seem to manage to get mascara along my upper lash line/eyelid area, messing up my eyeshadow. I find that the best way to use the applicator is to glob on the fibers using the spiral end, then comb out using the comb end, then repeat until I get a look that I like.

Close-up of the applicator. If you click the photo to enlarge you’ll be able to get a better look at all the little fibers clinging to the wand.

The Formula: Frame Plus (unlike the original Lash Expander) is a fiber mascara, meaning the formula contains a multitude of tiny little fibery bits that, once deposited on your lashes, cling on for dear life creating the illusions of longer lashes. Frame Plus is absolutely amazing for holding a curl and the fibers create some nice (albeit rather sparse and spindly) length, but it’s severely lacking in the volume department so unless the look you’re going for is long, super wispy lashes you may be disappointed. The original Lash Expander had a thicker formula that sculpted your lashes to newfound heights in terms of length and volume, but Frame Plus lacks this key attribute.

On the plus side, while I usually find fiber mascaras to be very irritating for my sensitive eyes (the fibers fall off, land on my contacts and drive me nuts), these fibers tend to stay put very – due in part to the fact that Majolica Majorca mascaras are next to impossible to remove. I’m still inclined to like Frame Plus for the slightly ethereal wispy-lashed look it gives me, but when I’m going for some serious drama this is definitely not what I reach for.

The Usual Eye Photos: I just wanted to explain (for those of you who’re newer to the mascara series) that I always take three eye shots of each mascara for the series – one straight on with eyes open, one with eyes shut, and one from underneath with eyes open so that you can get a better look at length/volume.

The Conclusion: If you have thick lashes and you’re just looking for some amazing curl (nothing holds a curl better than a Majolica Majorca mascara), beautiful wispy length and a stay-put-through-a-hurricane formula, Majolica Majorca’s Lash Expander Frame Plus would be great, but if you’re like me and really love the look of lush, thick lashes this is a little disappointing. And if you do decide to give this a shot, please please pick up a bottle of Clean & Clear’s Soothing Eye Makeup Remover (review HERE) or you’ll be wearing this mascara for the next week or so.

I just had to add that while it sounds like I’m being pretty tough on this mascara, I actually do like it quite a bit. I always get compliments on my eyes when wearing this as it really opens them up and it’s all around really nice, I just think it could be better :).

RATING: 3.75/5

Read Parts 1-26 of the Mascara Series here! I’ve also added a “Mascara Series” tab up top so you have easy access to it at all times!

Chanel White Essentiel Light Reflecting Whitening Compact Foundation Review

June 24, 2009

I know I’m a little late in adding the text for this post, but I’ve had the worst morning! My subway caught on fire halfway through my commute and idiot that I am I decided to stay in the station which was filling up with smoke to wait for my connecting train =X. Needless to say we were evacuated a few minutes into my wait and the station was floodeed with police and firemen. But onto our review!

I picked up Chanel’s White Essentiel Light Reflecting Whitening Compact SPF 25 in #30 Beige Cendre while I was in Korea (full haul photos HERE) for two reasons: (1) it’s not available here in the US, and (2) I loved the sleek white compact. It’s refreshing to have a non-black compact from Chanel, as fingerprints on a shiny black surface drive me a little nuts.

Like the Guerlain Parure Pearly White foundation I reviewed HERE, Chanel’s White Esesentiel Compact Foundation claims to be designed specifically for Asian skin, whatever that means. I’ve been using this on and off for over a month now, and as expected, I haven’t really noticed any whitening benefits, but then again I wasn’t expecting them. The foundation is enriched with a Vitamin C derivative which Chanel states is an active whitening ingredient, but really how well can a powder foundation whiten your complexion? Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say that I don’t really like this!

Chanel’s White Essentiel Compact doesn’t offer much at all in the way of coverage as I really have to pack it on to get anywhere close to medium coverage, but it does really brighten the look of your complexion while smoothing out the surface texture. The foundation contains light-reflecting pigments which help to capture and diffuse light, creating the illusion of smooth skin.

And my favorite thing about the White Essentiel compact? The way it leaves my face feeling silky smooth post-application. White Essentiel has a micronized airy texture that really leaves your skin looking and feeling exceptionally smooth and almost airbrushed.

Silica microbeads in the foundation help to absorb any shininess without leaving you looking too matte, making this a pretty fabulous touch-up powder. This powder foundation has become an indispensable part of my makeup arsenal, and I always carry it in my purse for touch-ups throughout the day–it eradicates shine while leaving your skin looking smooth and radiant, all without disturbing your underlying foundation.

Unfortunately the color I picked up, #30, is a little on the dark/yellowy side for me, but this powder is so sheer that it doesn’t really me much. If you’re in Asian and have access to this, definitely check it out and let me know what you think!

The White Essentiel line also had these fabulous color-correcting, radiance-boosting primers that I LOVED but that I couldn’t purchase due to customs issues, and I’m also dying to try the whitening foundation, but those will have to wait until another trip.

Etude House Peach Skin Pact Review & Swatches

June 2, 2009
Etude House Peach Skin Pact in #1 Peach Bloom

Baked compact supplies light skin coverage with minute, pearl powder particles for long lasting complexion flawlessness.

Etude House’s Peach Skin Pact was released a few seasons back along with the Pore Erasing Peach Base (review HERE), and like the Peach Base, has that same heavenly peach scent that I utterly adore. Come to think of it, most of the Asian products that I own smell pretty amazing–case in point, Jill Stuart’s products. Yumminess in gorgeous packaging!

The powder itself applies like rather nicely–it’s smooth and silky and contains brightening pearl powders to give your complexion a nice brightened look. The trouble for me comes a few hours later. My oily complexion doesn’t take too well to this powder, and while I’m oily around mid-day like I usually am, the real issue is that it just doesn’t look so good once the oilies set in. My face ends up looking a little splotchy as this wears down unevenly and people ask me if I’ve been crying.

I know there are a lot of people who simply adore this powder, and if your skin tends to be on the less oily/dryer side, I can definitely see how it might be pretty amazing, but for me it’s just average.

Still it’s a really nice powder for a really low price. This was actually a gift from my cousin so I can’t remember the exact price, but I believe that it was around $15 or so, and while I’m not in love with it, I do quite enjoy owning it.

Photo of bare skin.

Photo of skin with Peach Pact.


Achieve Rosy Radiance With L’Oreal Paris White Perfect

May 31, 2009

This is another one of those times that I wish I was in Asia–we miss out on so much over here! Although I was pretty horrified by the L’Oreal prices in Korea–much more than we pay in the good ol’ US.

Etude House Fresh Cherry Tint Review & Swatches

May 27, 2009
Etude House Fresh Cherry Tints in #1 Red and #2 Pink
(6,000 won each = approximately $4.75)

Tint promotes moist & shiny cherry lips with a creamy, smooth texture.

[Directions] Use tip to father and apply tint. Apply extra layer for added coverage.

Etude House’s Fresh Cherry Lip Tints are easily my favorite purchase from Korea–and probably amongst my cheapest too! While I am enjoying playing around with the Asia-exclusive high end products that I picked up (check out my Korea haul HERE), there’s just something so satisfying about finding a cheap product that’s absolutely amazing and cute to boot.

Etude House has consistently impressed me with its low-priced, high-quality products; most recently I’ve been loving the Plumping Lip Tint (review HERE) and Speedy Total Mineral Base (which I picked up during my Korea trip as well–mini review HERE).

I tend to be very picky when it comes to lip tints/stains, and with good reason. I love a good, long-lasting lip stain in theory, but they never work out too well for me in practice. Maybe I don’t keep my lips as well moisturized as I should, maybe they’re just not as smooth as they should be, or maybe I just have weird lips–regardless, stains always give me a dark ring of color on the inner portion of my lower lips that’s far from attractive.

Close-up of Etude House Fresh Cherry Tint in #2 Pink on the applicator.
Milky creamy goodness!

My first shopping day in Korea I picked up a lip stain that ended up being a bit of a disaster, so of course I hesitated over these, but I just couldn’t resist the star-embellished plump little bottles.

What Makes These So Great? Well unlike most tints that I’ve seen, the Fresh Cherry Tints are very milky and creamy, rather than runny and watery, giving you a lot more control when it comes to application and making them a lot easier to work with. There’s no funky taste (just a very light, yummy cherry flavor from the sweet cherry fruit extract) and no Kool-Aid mouth – just beautifully stained lips that last and last. I didn’t expect great lasting power from this stain given its milky quality, but believe me once it’s on it isn’t going anywhere!

The #2 Pink is reminiscent of Benefit’s Posietint (but a million times cheaper), and while I tend to veer away from reds, the #1 Red is just perfect. The stains left behind are bright and clear, like the skin of a perfectly ripe cherry, and your lips are left looking lush and moist, a difficult feat for most stains which leave my lips looking rather dry.

Swatches of #2 Pink and #1 Red

Not So Much: Well, as is the case with all stains, if you use your fingers to apply this, things can get a wee bit messy. But on the bright side, it’s actually the easiest-to-use stain that I’ve tried, and therefore the least messy as well. And of course there’s the fact that it’s hard to find outside of Korea, at least for a decent price.

So in the swatch above you’ll see what I mean about staying power. The two ‘stains’ you see in the bottom half of the photo are the swatches from the photo above. I dabbed it on, quickly took a photo then went to blend, but the color had already absorbed into my skin, staining it, and pretty much refused to budge or blend and an inch. Above the colors you can see what the Tints look like when blended right away ~ a gorgeous sheer wash of color that looks amazing on both lips and cheeks.

Lip Swatch of Fresh Cherry Tint in #1 Red

Have I mentioned that I love these tints? Sooooo so so so so so so much! To the point where I’m feeling the need to ferret away random tubes of Fresh Cherry Lip Tint in every available nook and cranny of my room on the off-chance that I might lose one of my two precious tubes. I say we petition Etude House and demand that they open a US location for the sake of my sanity :).


Etude House Plumping Lip Tint Review & Swatches

May 26, 2009
Etude House Plumping Lip Tint in #1 Red
(6,500 won = approximately $5.25)

Colorful lip plumping tint supplies smooth moisture.

Directions: Twist to dispense. Use silicone tip to apply to lips. Apply extra layer for added volume.

I almost didn’t purchase Etude House’s Plumping Lip Tint while I was in Korea, but like so many times in life, managed to be talked into by the perky and oh-so-helpful salesgirl (she was really sweet! she followed me around the store fanning me because I was overheated) and it would’ve been a serious tragedy if I hadn’t, as it’s quickly become my favorite everyday gloss!

The main reason that I purchased this was for the packaging–the fat, stout tube of gloss just seemed so fun and different, and I adored the silicone-tipped applicator. Unlike other silicone/spatula-type applicators that I’ve tried, this one has the perfect amount of flexibility and give, making for perfect gloss application every time.

Top view of silicone spatula applicator.

The Applicator: I’ve raved about the benefits of a silicone-spatula applicator on the blog before, but I’m again to start again! A spatula applicator allows you to have much more control over the amount of gloss you pick up and apply initially to your slips, makes for smoother application as you just slick it on and there’s no fuzziness to absorb the gloss (meaning the gloss actually ends up on your lips), makes for even application, and ensures that you don’t end up with waaay too much gloss on your mouth making for unattractive goopiness.

Side view of the silicone applicator.

The Gloss: The gloss itself is also pretty rave-worthy in my opinion. It’s a light, not-too-thin yet not-too-sticky gel type gloss that has a pleasant bubblegum minty hybrid scent and flavor and imparts a refreshing cooling sensation to the lips when applied (with no stinging I promise!). I usually hate reds, but the shade is bright, clear, and simply beautiful–it makes my lips look lightly tinted (like I’m wearing a great lip stain with some clear gloss on top), and while there isn’t any major plumping action, my lips do look a bit fuller and poutier post-application.

Lip Swatches:

My sole regret is that I only purchased one of these fabulous little glosses, which are a serious bargain at $5 and change. If I were back in Korea, I think I’d stockpile at least 5 of these in both shades (I think it also comes in pink), as I know this gloss would keep my lips pouty, moisturized, refreshingly cool and beautifully tinted throughout the sweltering summer months.


Elisha Coy Always Nuddy BB 24 Blemish Balm Review & Swatches

May 14, 2009
Elisha Coy Always Nuddy BB 24 Soothing & Moisturizing Anti-Irritant Blemish Balm ($10.20 for the mini 15 ml size)

Elishacoy’s BB cream (Blemish Balm) is meant for sensitive skin as it contains (purportedly) non-irritating fine particle ingredients including sanghwang mushroom extracts, chamomile, portulas oleracea extracts, sodium hyaluronic acid, and peach extracts.

I know I promised to review this months but I actually forgot all about it for several reasons, the larges one being that I plain disliked it. I have this bad habit of shoving products I dislike to one side and forgetting to review them for you all. I promise to be better about that!

Well I guess first I should discuss what’s right with this BB cream so as not to sound too negative! It’s got better coverage than most BB creams which is a huge plus, it’s a nice non-super-beige or yellowy shade, and it mattifies the complexion quite well.

Now what’s not so right: well my biggest issue with this BB cream is that every time I wear it, I find these big, painful cystic breakouts forming all over my face. Definitely not pretty! Since that totally defeats the purpose of using a BB cream, of course this is a no-go for me. The Elisha Coy BB Cream also makes me skin feel slightly tight and itchy throughout the day, and all in all it just doesn’t work for me.

I’m glad I decided to try the mini version of this before going for the full-sized as it obviously didn’t work for me. I ordered this at the time time that I ordered my Innisfree BB Mousse, and that one’s been working wonderfully well for me–I love it! If you’re looking for a nice, super-light BB cream with great SPF protection, check that one out, I’ve got a review of it lying around somehwere.