I somehow forget every year, that June 21st is the longest day of the year and officially marks the end of Spring and the start of Summer. So I probably should have done a Spring Empties post sometime last week, but you know, life happens. Anyway, with the new month and new season in full swing, I finally bring you my final thoughts on some products I finished in Spring/early Summer.
Grab your go-to drink and your pet for a cuddle, because I’m about to get chatty 🙃
Aprilskin – Real Carrot Acne Foam Cleanser
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the skincare line in which this foam cleanser is part of, it is a blemish-clearing and soothing skincare range best for sensitive and acne-prone skin types. The carrot extracts – or Beta carotene (Pro-vitamin A) to be exact – has been added to this cleanser to strengthen the skin barrier against free radial damage. Beta carotene’s antioxidants help to reduce the redness and inflammation of breakouts. It also contains Salicylic acid to thoroughly yet gently lift away impurities – an otherwise acne contributing factor.
I liked how this foam cleanser has that ‘melted marshmallow’ consistency which is easy to lather with minimal effort. When used with the Aprilskin cleansing brush which has soft bristles and is not battery operated, a pea-sized amount of this cleanser will make a good amount of foam. And for this reason the tube lasted me around 6 months. Although bearing in mind I do alternate cleansers often whilst I test out new products, so realistically a tube should last around 4 months on average.
The only downside is the price. Would you really pay $20 for a foam cleanser? There are plenty of more affordable choices of foam cleanser which you can purchase for a fraction of the price with the same performance or better.
Final rating: 6.5/10
Repurchase? No, unless it becomes cheaper.
Beauty of Joseon – Repair Serum (Ginseng + Snail Mucin)
The purpose of this serum is pretty obvious. It’s a repairing, and nourishing serum which combines the antioxidant power of 63.36% Ginseng extract and skin elasticity improving snail mucin (3.01%) to care for mature, weak and compromised skin types. Even though Beauty of Joseon as a brand have captured a global interest – and rightly so, their Hanbang-inspired skincare is fantastic – many international fans didn’t hear about the controversy surrounding this serum.
In short, Ginseng is categorised by grade. High grade Ginseng is considered to be the most effective, and therefore any skincare product that uses Ginseng to claim it to has restorative or skin health benefits therefore must contain premium Ginseng. High quality Ginseng is expensive whether used as a food source or in cosmetics. Depending on the retailer, this Ginseng containing serum costs around $14 on average. Therefore, it cannot possibly be formulated with genuine premium Ginseng which holds skin-health improving benefits. Governing organisations which have control over the Korean beauty industry released a statement showing their findings on the serum at hand.
The reports highlighted that the product doesn’t contain enough Ginseng, nor a high enough grade of Ginseng to meet the requirements needed to officially name and state that this serum is a skin ‘repair’ cosmetic. Due to this, Beauty of Joseon were issued a fine for misconduct. They were banned from producing the serum for a number of months, and we also ordered to not begin reselling the serum until it had been reformulated with the correct type or grade of Ginseng if they intended to continue to label the product in the same way.
What’s confusing is that despite the fine and ban on production, Beauty of Joseon never publicly admitted to their fault and didn’t remove the product from the market. Were they allowed to continue to sell it globally, but we’re bound to restrictions in Korea only? It seems so.
Regardless, this issue didn’t stop me from liking and enjoying the serum. I found that the other ingredients did most of the work anyway. Besides, even if it doesn’t have skin restorative benefits it still retains moisture within skin. This serum kept my skin supple, and I’m already on my second bottle of it.
Final rating: 8.5/10
Benton – PHA Peeling Toner
I was fortunate enough to receive this product either pre-release or around the time of it’s initial release last year. I was glad to see that this peeling toner is solely focused on PHA (Polyhydroxy Acids), because prior to receiving this I had only tried toners with PHA mixed with AHA/BHA. With PHA being one of the most mild yet effective among Hydroxy acids, I trust it to be safe for my sensitive skin.
After giving this product a good amount of time to prove effective, I soon realised it’s not for me. It makes skin smooth but it leaves a slightly tacky residue and made my skin look greasy. At least it provided a suitable amount of NMF, otherwise it would have been an entirely disappointing product.
Final rating: 5/10
Repurchase?: No. As much as I like Benton, I have to say this isn’t one of their best products.
Logically, Skin – Acne Cleanser
This is described as a foaming cleanser made with 0.5% Salicylic Acid to provide spot care for acne-prone skin types. It’s supposed to support breakout recovery and prevent spots and blemishes from appearing in the first instance. As Logically Skin advertise themselves as a simplistic skincare brand who only put the necessary inclusions into their products, I was happy to give this cleanser a try. I also have the matching spot treatment to this cleanser to use alongside it.
From first use it was apparent that this is not a traditional foam cleanser in the sense that the texture is marshmallow-like when dispensed from the pump bottle. It is just a gel cleanser that makes a good amount of bubbles. I wouldn’t say this is a let down, but I do prefer foam cleansers. Then again, I can understand why this is a gel-to-foam (or should I say gel-to-bubble) cleanser needs to be gel-like as you can use it on your body as well as your face. Therefore a more watery consistency is required to thoroughly cover a larger surface area.
This cleanser removes impurities well, but left my skin feeling dehydrated and itchy. I really wish brands would stop putting lavender extracts – in this case lavender oil – in products intended for use on sensitive skin types.
Final rating: 5.5/10
Repurchase?: No, although I’m not going to allow this one bad experience stop me from trying their other products.
Dr. Jart+ – Vital Hydra Solution Biome Essence
If you’re looking for an essence or any sort of skin-thirst quenching product, this essence could be the answer. As you’d expect from a product that aims to conserve natural skin flora, this essence provides intensive hydration which doesn’t take to long to rehydrate the surface of skin and within. If your skin looks tired and lacks a youthful glow this essence will give you that ‘glass skin’ look.
You don’t need much, but 50ml worth of product for approximately $15 on average is ridiculous in my opinion. Other sizes are available, although expect to pay $40 and upwards for the 125ml and 245ml sized bottles. Another factor which began to sway my opinion of this product more towards the negative side is the scent. It doesn’t smell artificial and as far as I’m aware it doesn’t contain fragrance. It just smells bad.
Final rating: 6.5/10
Repurchase?: No. It’s highly effective, but too pricey. There are plenty of other essences out their that provide similar effects for a fraction of the price. For example, the Make P:rem Intensive Water Essence for Skin Conditioning.
Dr. Ceuracle – Pro Balance Biotics Moisturiser
This is the moisturiser which will make combination-oily skin types full in love with lotions! Typically those with oily skin types tend to shy away from emulsion/emollient rich creams in the fear that it will make their skin oiler. In some cases this is true, however this moisturiser truly does wonders for balancing such skin types.
The texture thrives on the warmth of skin – becoming easily spreadable and leaves just the right amount of moisture on the surface of skin once left to do what it does best. What does it do best? – It strengthens the skin barrier! Not only does it help oily skin to secrete less sebum with it’s water restoring ingredients, it contains probiotics including PhytoG. Fer-kefir to allow skin to function naturally, stabilizing how much natural moisturising factors skin produces itself. For this reason it is a very helpful product for dry skin types too, which also need to be rebalanced.
This product completely flipped my negative perception of facial creams, so much so that I was disappointed when I finished the tube.
Final rating: 9.5/10
Repurchase?: Of course! You can find it at Kōsame, who ship with the UK and Europe. Use this link to get 10% off your first order*.
Benton – Let’s Carrot Multi Oil
It’s a funny (or odd) name from a product, don’t you think so? Well, it’s name and the sunset orange coloured bottle certainly caught my attention and lead me to trying this multi-purpose oil. This oil contains Beta-carotene and botanical oils to nourish skin, nails and hair. I only use oils on my skin a few times per week (if I remember to) so I ended up mainly using this on the ends of my hair to make sure it finished the contents of the glass bottle before it expired.
It’s not the greasiest of oils I’ve used, but it isn’t the lightest of oils either. It takes quite some time to absorb into skin, so you may want to only use a few drops at a time when using it as a facial oil. Because it isn’t sticky it really works well as a haircare product either on dry or damp hair. Using this product didn’t present any issues. It even smells better than some other carrot skincare products I’ve used before. Although overall this oil didn’t stand out as anything particularly special.
Final rating: 7/10
Repurchase?: Maybe. I mean I wouldn’t mind it.
Vegreen Fragrance-Free Nature Mucin Serum
To recap, this is advertised as a non-animal derived mucin serum which uses wild yam extracts as a Vegan alterative to snail mucin. It’s intention is to improve skin elasticity similarly to how popular snail-mucin products can firm skin, and provide long-lasting deep moisture which is essential for more youthful looking skin. To make it as natural as possible and inclusive of all skin types this serum doesn’t contain fragrance and is naturally scentless.
When I was first introduced to this serum and Vegreen, I was excited to find out that a new brand was creating products that mimick the functions of snail secretion filtrate with plant-based extracts. It’s a one-of-a-kind product, and no one else appears to be using yam in skincare in this way. Initially I was enjoying the serum. It’s viscous, but soaks into skin in just a few minutes. It does improve skin’s elasticity with the replenishment of moisture. Regardless of this positive outcome, I have to say I was disappointed that this serum doesn’t have the same stickiness as snail mucin.
Even if it provides the same effects as snail mucin, I’m not sure if marketing it as a ‘replacement to snail mucin skincare’ was the way to go. A lot of people actually really like the gloopy texture of snail mucin products – using them like sleeping masks during an evening skincare routine to wake up with luminous, dewy skin. This serum doesn’t entirely help to create this desired appearance. I’d say the serum behaves more similarly to Hyaluronic Acid more than snail mucin.
Final rating: 7.5/10.
Repurchase?: Yes, because the pros outweigh the cons.
Anua – Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner
Anua have many products, but they are most well-known for this skin-soothing toner for sensitive, dehydrated skin. Infact as of July 2021, it is currently ranked as the 14th most popular and most sold product at OliveYoung in Korea. 14th place may not sound like much of a achievement, but let me tell you, OliveYoung stock SO MANY products and brands! 14th place is a great achievement considering Anua only started to gain attention last year, and it’s competing against non-skincare related items too; i.e. health products as OliveYoung is essentially a drugstore and not just for cosmetics. In Spring it took 7th place, and takes 1st place within the ‘skin’ (toner) subcategory.
It’s refreshing, instantly calms redness and irritation caused by cleansing, and contributes to maintaining skin’s moisture barrier with Panthenol. If you have sensitive skin and can get your hands on a bottle of this, don’t miss the chance!
2NDESIGN – First Toner Essence
In my original review of this toner-essence combo, I mentioned how it’s best to still use the matching toner in addition to this product, rather than relying on the toner-essence alone. I still stand by that statement, yet I do prefer the toner-essence over the toner. Of course an essence-toner provides more nourishment qualities than straight-up toner, somewhat similarly to a a watery serum. Whereas a toner focuses on deep hydration and prepping skin for the delivery of ingredients in your serums, moisturiser and so on. So for this reason, I’d say unless it’s Winter you don’t necessarily have to use 2NDESIGN’s toner and toner-essence as a pair.
I can conclude that this essence is good for normal-oily skin. If your skin is on the dry side and has flaky/rough patches, you’d be better of using something with fermented extracts or ceramide NP to condition your skin as required. This toner-essence will only get you so far if you have a weakened skin barrier.
Final rating: 6/10
Repurchase?: Yes, if it can be found for under $15. I don’t think it’s worth paying more than that.
Sandawha – Camellia Brightening Oil Mist
For someone who finds mists to be the least interesting skincare category, I sure am getting though quite a few different mists this year (hmmm…). And this one from Sandawha is more than decent. There’s no doubt that it provides sufficient moisture for skin, with it’s good balance of oil to the amount of water-based solution. This isn’t one of those oil mists that contains way too much oil to the point where it starts to cause issues for oiler skin types.
It’s not a bi-phase mist where you have to shake the bottle vigorously to fuse the oil component with the water-based component, yet you do still have to shake the bottle at each and every use to ensure that it sprays finely and evenly. With long term use camellia can help improve hyperpigmentation and dark spots. I don’t think 80g of product lasted long enough to prove these claims, however it does give skin a healthy glow and dewiness which can benefit dull skin types just as much.
Final rating: 7/10
Repurchase?: Sure, why not.
Sioris – Cleanse Me Softly Milk Cleanser
Ahhhh… the gentle milk cleanser that made my fall in love with milk/cream types cleanser, and Sioris. I’ve spoken so highly of this cleanser that I don’t know what else to say. It’s just perfect! From what I’ve seen online, the majority of people with my skin type (oily skin) generally assume that milk cleansers are for dry skin. Yes, there are some emollient cleansers out there that leave too much residue behind which doesn’t seep into oily skin well, or is a hindrance when typing to achieve balanced skin. BUT, this is not one of those products. You could easily use this cleanser day or night, all year round, rain or shine regardless of your skin type.
Do you want baby soft skin? Then this cleanser will help to achieve that. It works just as well on it’s own, or a part of a double cleansing routine. And you can absolutely still use an oil cleanser before it even it you have oily skin. I honestly haven’t tried a more impressive milk cleanser to this. I’ll keep hyping up this vegan and clean-beauty brand for as long as I can, so stay tuned! In the meantime, I invite you to read my blog article all about Sioris over on Kosame’s website.
Final rating: Can I give it a 11/10? It deserves it.
Repurchase?: Duh, yes. Obviously.
A question for you: Do you find yourself constantly opening new products without finishing old ones first, or are patient and manage to empty your opened skincare products without difficulty?
Disclaimer: Some of the products featured in this blog post were gifted in exchange for honest reviews. Although all opinions expressed are honest and my own, and have therefore not been influenced by the brand or any company in association. Some of the links throughout this post are affiliated. Affilated links are marked with an asterisk (*).