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Review: Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster

by Kristen
Review: Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster

DSC_1754Before I boarded the plane in Northern California, I was flipping through my Facebook when I was served an ad for a new Paula’s Choice product: the Azelaic Acid Booster. Of course, as an azelaic acid devotee, my interest was piqued. I flipped through the ingredients and quickly realized I had used this product before, shipped and sold to me from the EU in the silver packaging of the RESIST Skin Transforming Multi-Correction Treatment.

Up until recently, you could have this product shipped to you from the EU, but as a commenter on my blog noted, you can no longer have this product imported into the US. This was fairly upsetting, as the product works quite well (better than The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid suspension, in my experience) and combines AzA (10%), BHA (2%), and skin-brightening licorice root – a wonderful combination for fighting acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation at the same time.

I’ve already seen some people asking about this new product, so I figured I’d so a quick review on it in case you are considering taking the plunge!


Product Overview

First off, I wanted to show the ingredient list alongside the new ingredient list for the Azelaic Acid Booster, which is now being sold on the US Paula’s Choice website.

Azelaic Acid Booster Ingredients

Water (Aqua), Azelaic Acid (skin-soothing, antioxidant, exfoliant), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (emollient), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (skin-replenishing), Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate (emollient), Glycerin (skin-replenishing), Cetearyl Alcohol (texture enhancer), Glyceryl Stearate (texture enhancer), Dimethicone (hydration/texture enhancer), Salicylic Acid (exfoliant), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin-soothing), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (skin-soothing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Cyclopentasiloxane (texture enhancer), Xanthan Gum (stabilizer), Sclerotium Gum (stabilizer), Propanediol (hydration), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

RESIST Skin Transforming Multi-Correction Treatment Ingredients

Aqua, Azelaic Acid (skin brightener/antioxidant), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (texture-enhancing), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (hydration/skin replenishing), Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate (texture-enhancing), Glycerine (hydration/skin replenishing), Cetearyl Alcohol (texture-enhancing), Glyceryl Stearate (texture-enhancing), Dimethicone (hydration), Cyclopentasiloxane (hydration), Propanediol (hydration), Salicylic Acid (Beta Hydroxy Acid, exfoliant), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Sclerotium Gum (texture-enhancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Allantoin (skin-soothing), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin-soothing), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidant), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

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Ingredients as listed on the tube

The ingredients are exactly the same, just arranged differently. This is probably due to the FDA’s packaging requirements (specifically the Fair Packaging and Label Act of 1967), which requires that all ingredients in order of concentrations up to 1% be listed in order of concentration, rather than the actual formula. Admittedly, I have not purchased a tube of the Azelaic Acid Booster, so I can’t tell you for certain that it has the identical feel and results, but I do feel pretty confident in assuming that it is the same product formula for both.

 

 


Ingredient Breakdown

I’ve written an entire post on the benefits of Azelaic Acid (AzA), so please feel free to check it out if you want to know all the details, but in general, AzA is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial ingredient that is frequently used in acne and rosacea treatments, especially with sensitive skin types that are more prone to irritation from ingredients like benzoyl peroxide (BP) and tretinoin (Retin-A). In one study I cited, 20% AzA combined with glycolid acid (AHA) has been shown to be just as efficacious in treating mild-to-moderate acne as .025% tretinoin. In another study, it was shown to be as effective as 5% BP as well as 1% clindamycin.

It is also bacteriostatic, repressing the ability of bacteria to reproduce, which may be why it is anti-inflammatory. In addition to these characteristics, it is also a tyrosinase inhibitor, with a special affinity for abnormal melanocytes, making it ideal in treatment of melasma or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). In fact, it is much safer and typically more preferred to hydroquinone, which is a skin lightener that tends to target all skin cells and has created concerns due to potentially causing tumors in mice. In an open study comparing 20% AzA twice daily to 4% hydroquinone, it showed to be just as effective if not more effective than the hydroquinone in reducing mild melasma.

This formula also contains 2% salicylic acid (BHA), a derivative of salicin. It is oil-soluable, making it more effective at penetrating to the areas most effected by acne. Like it’s cousin, AHA (frequently found in the forms of glycolic or lactic acid), it helps to break apart the corneocytes that do not shed properly, which ideally prevents breakouts from occurring. It is not as photo-sensitizing as an AHA and in many people it is not nearly as irritating, even being characterized as “soothing” or “anti-inflammatory” (perhaps due to the fact that it serves as an active metabolite of asprin). Unfortunately, according to the 2016 “Guidelines of Care for the Management of Acne Vulgaris” from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, “clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of salicylic acid in acne are limited.”

This product also contains licorice root extract, which I talked a bit about in my review of Kikumasamune Sake Skin Lotion:

Licorice root extract is similarly a tyrosinase inhibitor as well as an anti-irritant – with some studies signalling that it may be able to absorb UVA and UVB rays. It is more effective than kojic acid and some studies put it at 75x more effective than ascorbic acid (though Dr Dray raises some interesting points regarding the efficacy of L-AA). “The chief constituent of licorice root is glycyrrhizin, present in concentrations that range from 5 to 24 percent depending on the variety of licorice used.”²


DSC_1565My Experience

I went through about half of the tube of this product before shelving it, as I felt like it aggravated the erythema in my rosacea, as most BHA products do. I’ve always avoided the areas around my nose, where I get the most flushed, and with this product I did have to apply the product there to deliver the benefits of AzA to my rosacean-prone areas.

It does have the exact same side effects as Finacea, tingling and itching upon first use (this eventually goes away, but is much worse if you are new to AzA), but this felt very assuring to me that it contained the amount of AzA that it is advertising (10%).

It also feels quite similar to Finacea Gel, but feels perhaps a bit smoother and spreads a touch easier. It also has a very Finacea-esc scent that is difficult to describe if you’ve never used azelaic acid products before. It is not strong by any means, nor does it linger, but I am very attuned to the scent after years of using Finacea.

DSC_1568Unfortunately, I don’t have much acne these days to tell you whether or not it is ideal for acne, but I did feel like my pores looked a bit clearer and smoother while I was using it, though not markedly better than when I use 2% BHA Liquid. Nor do I have much scarring and hyperpigmentation to be able to say for sure whether this formula helped with lightening any dark spots.

Other than the erythema, my skin did not have any issues with the formulation, and felt no more hydrated or irritated than when I use my regular Finacea.

It did feel much more efficacious than the Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid 10%, which I used briefly a couple of months back. To compare, the Ordinary’s AzA is suspended in a very powdery, primer-like silicone formula, which I wasn’t the biggest fan of. I also didn’t feel like it really did much, and I didn’t feel any of the itchy tingle of the AzA on application.

All-in-all though, if you do well with BHA and are looking to add AzA to your routine, I think this is a wonderful product.

To Purchase in the US – $36 USD + Shipping for 1 fl. oz
To Purchase in the EU – € 36,00 ($41.97 USD) + Shipping for 1 fl. oz.

 

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Review: Kikumasamune Sake Skin Lotion High Moisture

Edits: I missed the inclusion of licorice root extract upon my first pass, so I’ve added a paragraph about that below. I also was given a couple studies about sake extract, so I’ve included that information here, but kept my original content about other fermentations in tact below in case anyone finds value in them.

One in vitro (meaning in a dish or tube) study showed that rice wine increased “the expression of procollagen and laminin-5,”⁴ which is one of the key components in the intercellular makeup of the layer that holds the epidermis to the dermis. Additionally, “laminin 5 also accelerates the assembly of basement membranes and may enhance the recovery of damaged skin.”⁵ In the same study, experiments were done on hairless mice (in vivo) and showed that topical application protected the mouse from photo-aging.

Another study showed that sake extract inhibited tyrosinase, both in vivo (in a living organism) and in vitro, though it is unclear how many subjects were involved based on the abstract alone.⁶

More notes: First study comes from Doosan Group R&D, which seems primarily interested in vehicles, construction, electrical, etc., while the second study was paid for by AMOREPACIFIC R&D.


If you spend time on Reddit, especially Asian Beauty subreddits, you know how beloved Kiku’s High Moist Sake Skin Lotion is.

First, it’s an enormous bottle — 500ml (roughly 16.9 fl. oz. or 0.125 of a gallon) — for only about $13 USD (with tax), which works out to roughly $0.77 per fluid ounce.

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Second, it’s loaded with ingredients that are discussed frequently, like arbutin and ceramides.

Full Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol , Rice Ferment Filtrate (Sake), Glutamic Acid, Arginine, Leucine, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6, Placental Protein, Arbutin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root Extract), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Maltitol, Methyl Gluceth-10, Peg-6 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Fragrance.

I’ve highlighted the ingredients that are worth discussing a bit in detail.


Ingredient Breakdown

Sake is a fermented product made from rice, water, koji, and yeast. Ferments have been all the rage recently, with Saccharomyces cerevisiae (living yeast) extract and Saccharomyces ferment being the two I see the most. While I could not find any clinical dermatology studies done on sake as a ferment in skin, we may be able to glean some understanding into the benefits of sake by examining both ferments and koji (kojic acid) itself.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a species of yeast used for brewing beer. In one study, saccharomyces cerevisiae extract (SCE) was studied in several formulations. One contained SCE, and/or vitamins A, C, and E, and was patch-tested on the back of volunteers. The subjects were then tested for transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin moisture (SM), skin microrelief (SMR), and free radical protection in 3 hour, 15 days, and 30 day intervals.

“Our results suggest that vitamins and SCE showed effects in [skin moisture] SM and [skin microrelief] SMR. Only formulations containing SC had long term effects in the improvement of SMR. Thus, these kinds of evaluations are very important in cosmetics development to evaluate the best risk and benefit correlation.”¹

It’s sister, saccharomyces ferment, has similar benefits. It is obtained through the fermentation of saccharomyces – a genus of fungi that is known as the baker’s yeast – in the presence of metal ions. The yeast is credited with promoting good skin condition and is frequently found in products that reduce redness.

The other half of sake worth discussing, koji (kojic acid) is a skin-lightening agent and antioxidant. It is a tyrosinase (an enzyme that controls the production of melanin) inhibitor, but not as effective as other tyrosinase inhibitors like licorice extract. “In combination with allantoin and other proper ingredients in sunscreen preparations, the mixture can inhibit UV-caused erythema and accelerate wound healing.”² Unfortunately, it can also be sensitizing to some skin and create irritation.

From this break down, we can assume that sake contains some sort of very mild exfoliating, humectant, and whitening properties, though it is important to keep in mind that there are no studies that I could find into the benefits of sake when applied topically, so this is all assumptions based on the chemical makeup.

The next ingredients on the list are ceramides 3 and 6. If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that ceramides are naturally found in the skin and help maintain the skin barrier. In fact, our skin’s natural lipids are 35-40% ceramides. If you want to read a bit more on ceramides, please check out this post on moisturizers.

Slightly more exciting is placental protein. Derived from animal placenta (in this case, horse), it is considered to be a safe ingredient that does not deliver any metabolic or endocrine activity. Again though, there was not much precedent that I could find on the benefits of including this ingredient specifically, however egg whites have been used for centuries on skin to make skin temporarily feel tighter and appear smoother.

Fun fact: Umbilical extract has precedent for unrestricted use in Japan, except for certain products.³

Finally, we arrive at the stars of this product: arbutin and licorice root extract. Arbutin, an ingredient primarily used for it’s antioxidant properties as well as skin bleaching. It is a natural hydroquinone, derived synthetically or from bearberry plants. Once on the skin, it converts into hydroquinone and acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor. While not as effective as hydroquinone, it lacks the concerns of hydroquinone thus has become more popular in recent years.

Licorice root extract is similarly a tyrosinase inhibitor as well as an anti-irritant – with some studies signalling that it may be able to absorb UVA and UVB rays. It is more effective than kojic acid and some studies put it at 75x more effective than ascorbic acid (though Dr Dray raises some interesting points regarding the efficacy of L-AA). “The chief constituent of licorice root is glycyrrhizin, present in concentrations that range from 5 to 24 percent depending on the variety of licorice used.”²


My Experience

As you probably already noticed from the photo above, the pump on my bottle broke off rather spectacularly when my bottle took a tumble from my tiny bathroom counter top. I’m not sure why this product comes with a pump applicator in the first place, as it frequently would dispense more product than I needed, which I suppose is fine as I was able to spread it down my neck and chest, but it was still was a bit of a shock to get a whole handful of it on the first pump. This experience doesn’t seem limited to me, so I really recommend decanting this product into a better dispenser if you can, like a spritz top bottle.

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SORRY FOR THE BLACK BARS! :X

Packaging aside, the first time I used the High Moist lotion, I was pretty nervous. It’s a very runny product, sharing a consistency with water, and if you’ve read my blog at all you know that I am a fairly dry-skinned lady. To my surprise and delight though, it was uber moisturizing. I applied it fresh out of the shower, in place of my HadaLabo Premium, and instantly my skin just felt soft and supple. I imagine much of this is due to the placenta protein filling in the gaps of the skin cells and creating a “smooth” texture as well as the ceramides, which tend to plump up my skin and make it feel softer.

The fragrance was also so mild that frankly, the smell of sake overpowered it. Thankfully this smell seemed to dissipate after a few minutes of application, and my rosacea did not flare up from the inclusion of fragrance.

Over the next few days, I used the High Moist in place of my HadaLabo, and then began to combine it at night with the HadaLabo Premium on top. It worked well with oils and other moisturizing products on top – no pilling or strange film to report.

In two weeks, my skin looked brighter and felt smoother, though none of my dark spots had faded. Unfortunately, like most products with ferments, it began to break me out after this time. The good news though is that it doesn’t appear to break me out immediately, unlike every other ferment, and the smoothness lasted for a few days after I discontinued use, which means I may try to use it sparingly once my skin heals.


Sources

  1. Evaluation of dermatological effects of cosmetic formulations containing Saccharomyces cerevisiae extract and vitamins
  2. Milady Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary,  2014, M. Varinia Michalun
  3. Final report on the safety assessment of human placental protein, hydrolyzed human placental protein, human placental enzymes, human placental lipids, human umbilical extract, placental protein, hydrolyzed placental protein, placental enzymes, placental lipids, and umbilical extract.
  4. Anti-aging effect of rice wine in cultured human fibroblasts and keratinocytes.

  5. The importance of laminin 5 in the dermal-epidermal basement membrane

  6. Identification of sake extract as a new anti-melanogenic ingredient by in vitro and clinical trials

  7. Effects of a sake concentrate on the epidermis of aged mice …

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Review: The Ordinary Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil

by Kristen
Review: The Ordinary Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil

So awhile back, before things got… uhh… weird… with Deceim, I placed an order for a bottle of the Ordinary Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil.

It is $14.90 USD + Shipping for 30mL, which is roughly 1/3 the price of the brand from Amazon (Sibu — $15.95 per 10mL at the time of this writing) that I see most recommended on MakeupAlley boards.

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It comes in a glass, UV-protective bottle with a dropper, and like every product I’ve ever used from the Ordinary, feels sturdy. No weird screw-cap issues with this bottle!

I’ve outlined the benefits of Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil in one of my previous posts, but the too-long-didn’t-read of it is that there are studies that back-up claims of wound healing (to a degree) as well as some UV-protective qualities (though not enough to ditch your sunscreen!). Any other claims being made are bogus.

When I first tried this oil, I put it on with a 1:1 ratio with my jojoba oil. BIG MISTAKE. As you can see from the photo above, I am pretty fair, so the generous ratio of sea-buckthorn oil to jojoba turned my face orange. And not like the warm glow of a good fake tan, but the yellow of “holy hell this turmeric mask just turned me orange dear god what have I done.” After this first night, I began to dilute it in a 1:5 sea-buckthorn to jojoba ratio, but it was still quite noticeably yellow-orange.

Seabuckthornoil-110

That dropper isn’t yellow — that’s the oil!

My boyfriend swore he couldn’t see it in low lighting, but later brought in my white pillowcase to shame me and ask if I had been doing something less than appropriate with my pillowcase at night. Thankfully these stains washed out easily.

This strong red-orangey hue is due to the high contents of beta-carotene in the oil. It’s the same coloring that gives the famed Stratia Liquid Gold it’s color.

In the morning, my skin still appeared a bit yellow, and indeed, when I swiped a cotton across my face with some Hada Labo, the cotton square pulled back with a light yellow tint.

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Unfortunately, after a couple of days, the oil did begin to break me out. At first, it was just a small cyst on my forehead, which I discounted as being due to hair products and my new cut sitting on my skin a bit. However, as the days went on, one cropped up on my jawline during a normally clear timeframe of the month. This is when I realized it was probably due to the oil.

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As soon as I stopped using the oil every night and went back to my typical routine, the spots began to subside.

This is not entirely surprising for me. I had a hunch that macadamia nut oil wasn’t a good fit for me years prior, and sea-buckthorn oil is pretty similar to it, as I mentioned in my previous post. I also just don’t seem to do well with high oleic oils in general, as I’ve had breakouts from argan oil in the past.

I’d recommend it for night use only, especially fair skins. If you do well with macadamia nut oil, argan, tamanu, olive, hazelnut, sweet almond, apricot, or even coconut, you may do well with sea-buckthorn oil.

Tracking it down in health food stores is difficult. I found mine online from The Ordinary, though there are growing concerns over the stability and behavior of the CEO. If you have this concern, I’d recommend the Sibu brand from Amazon.com, which seems to be favored among many on the MakeupAlley boards.

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Review: Laneige Water and Lip Sleeping Mask

by Kristen
Review: Laneige Water and Lip Sleeping Mask

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My relationship with Asian Beauty has been a mixed bag. I’ve had great results with some products, like the My Beauty Diary Black Pearl sheet masks, but I’ve also had tragic results with others, such as the Scinic Honey AIO.

When I first bought the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, I had just gotten back from Christmas in Buffalo, New York, where wind chill was -19’F (-28’C) and lake effect was in full swing. My lips were practically falling off of my face in bloody, peeling sheets, despite my constant application of lip balms and creams and ointments — literally anything that resembled relief. It was that type of chapped where your lips burn, even when perfectly exfoliated, because the air hurts your face.

Likewise, when I bought the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, I was deep in dry skin territory. I needed something — anything  to soothe away the dry skin around my nose and boost the moisture in my skin.

I purchased both of these masks at Sephora and they came neatly packaged with spatulas that I promptly misplaced.  C’est la vie.

Both products are advertised to boost the hydration levels of your skin while you sleep and supposedly hold the power to do so without making every piece of fur, hair, or pillowcase in the area stick to you like Vaseline does.

As a frequent Vaseline user, this was incredibly appealing. As much as I love Vaseline for my skin, that initial sticking that happens when you lay down at night is… well, it’s just uncomfortable.

So let’s get into it, starting with the Lip Sleeping Mask!


First Impressions: Lip Sleeping Mask

Review: Laneige Water and Lip Sleeping MaskReview: Laneige Water and Lip Sleeping Mask

 

Ingredients: Diisostearyl Malate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Phytosteryl / Isostearyl / Cetyl / Stearyl / Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Polybutene, Microcrystalline Wax / Cera Microcristallina / Cire Microcristalline, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Synthetic Wax, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax / Candelilla Cera / Cire de Candelilla, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Butylene / Ethylene / Styrene Copolymer, Ethylene / Propylene / Styrene Copolymer, Mica (CI 77019), Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Dimethicone, Fragrance / Parfum, Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Methicone, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax / Cera Carnauba / Cire de Carnauba, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, Yellow 6 Lake (CI 15985), Red 6 (CI 15850), Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Water, Potassium Alginate, Propanediol, Glycerin, Alcohol, Lycium Chinense Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Fragaria Chiloensis (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Sapindus Mukorossi Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry) Fruit Extract, Rubus Chamaemorus Seed Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta-Glucan, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ascorbyl Glucoside.

The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask smells like strawberries. Or maybe it’s strawberries and pears? In any case, it smells sweet and almost candy-like. It is neither unappealing nor extremely artificial smelling, but it is also not completely natural either.

When I was looking at other reviews on the Lip Mask, I had always heard that it didn’t take much, and man were those reviews right. My initial serving of the Lip Mask was far too much — an ample, pea-sized amount that I ended up massaging into the back of my hand after coating my lips.

The Lip Mask has a creamy but waxy texture that spreads easily. It is an opaque baby pink in the jar, but goes on clear.

It has a slight taste to it which I can only describe as “as it smells.” It isn’t at all unpleasant, and it is very faint but present.

It does not dry down, remaining waxy and emollient once applied. I didn’t find this to be a problem, especially since I apply it only before bed and sleep on my side, but I can see it being less than pleasant for people who sleep on their stomach.

In the morning, there was a slight, waxy residue left over on my lips, but they felt very soft and the dead skin removed easily with a warm washcloth.

Lipstick applied easily and my lips remained soft throughout the day in a way that Aquaphor doesn’t quite create. It was like the Sleeping Mask was lotion for my lips, as weird as that may seem.


First Impressions: Water Sleeping Mask

Review: Laneige Water and Lip Sleeping MaskReview: Laneige Water and Lip Sleeping Mask

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Root Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Beta-Glucan, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Chloride, Potassium Alginate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate / VP Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone / Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Propanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Stearyl Behenate, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Hydroxypropyl Bispalmitamide MEA, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Blue 1 (Ci 42090).

The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask smells like a salt water-scented candle. It is a bit beachy and herbal — very refreshing.

The texture of the Water Sleeping Mask is like a light, gel-cream. Like with the Lip Sleeping Mask, a little goes a long way.

Once applied, it takes a couple minutes to dry down to a slight tacky feel. By morning though, I felt like I had rubbed most of it off of my face.

My skin felt soft, but not particularly more moisturized than when I slept with Vaseline on it.


Consensus

I really enjoy using the Lip Sleeping Mask, and while the pot may seem small, I can imagine it will last me for several months or even a couple years. It made my lips extremely soft and made my lips a fantastic canvas for makeup the following day.

I am a bit torn on the Water Sleeping Mask. While it is inoffensive and doesn’t break my skin out, it doesn’t seem to do much for me, either, which is a shame for $25.00 USD. I brought it with me on the flight to New York City (5.5 hours) and felt like it was helpful, but not so imperative that I would be crushed if I forgot it on my next trip.

 

 

 

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Review: Ialuset Hyaluronic Acid Cream

by Kristen
Review: Ialuset Hyaluronic Acid Cream

When I was in New York City, I purchased a lot of things: Marvis toothpaste, blue foundation (for uh, STAR WARS cosplay), a tube of Embryolisse, sheet masks, and some French skincare favorites. More specifically, Hexomedine, a topical acne medication, and Ialuset, a hyaluronic acid cream.

My skin loves hyaluronic acid. I’ve gone through numerous bottles of Hada Labo Lotion, which despite it’s name, is a watery hyaluronic acid-based serum. Despite this, I’m always looking to try new things, especially things that have cult followings.

First Impressions

I purchased Ialuset in store at New London Pharmacy for $34.00 USD. The ingredients were not listed on the box in English, so I went off of some cursory Googling on efficacy to make my decision. Here is the ingredient list I have found online:

Sodium hyaluronate, surfactant, oleic acid decyl ester, emulsifying wax, humectant, glycerol, methylparaben, propylparaben, dehydroacetate, acidifier, fragrance, water.

It comes in two forms: Cream in a metal tube and pressurized bottle. I purchased the cream version.

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My tube of Ialuset

Ialuset is an opaque, white cream that has a very slight fragrance that I can’t quite put my finger on. In fact, when I first used it, I thought it had no fragrance because it just smells like a non-fragranced cream.

Iasulet-079

Excuse my dry hands

It feels extremely emollient when applied. It spreads easily, but needs worked into the skin a little before it settles in completely. This texture makes it feel fairly luxurious and moisturizing right off of the bat.

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Iasulet half-way massaged into the skin

Once worked in, it dries down to a kind of dry, waxy feeling. Skin feels plumper and moisturized immediately.

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Ialuset completely massaged into the skin

The first time I used Ialuset, I didn’t give it a fair chance. My skin was a bit irritated from breaking out, travel, and some aggressive BHA and Finacea usage. Upon application over my topical actives, my skin lit up, turning red, hot, and uncomfortable.

I immediately suspected the fragrance listed in the ingredients and felt discouraged that I had found yet another product that my skin didn’t get along with. Instead of washing it off of my face, I applied some ice and waited to see how my skin felt in the morning (anything for science, right?).

Surprisingly though, it looked and felt plump and happy in the morning, despite the previous evening’s snafu. So I decided to try again once my skin was less irritated.

Days later, I applied the Ialuset once more, fresh out of the shower, while my skin was still damp.

And I waited… and waited…

My skin looked and felt great. It was not irritated at all, nor was it red. My rosacea didn’t flare or get bumpy. Everything was just fine.

Over the next couple of days, I used it in place of my Hada Labo Lotion, skipping the days when I was using topical actives like my Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid or my Finacea.

Consensus

Ialuset has great reviews on Avibon’s site, and I understand why. It is considered one of the few pure hyaluronic acid products on the market, and it delivers in making skin feel and look more hydrated than it would with a moisturizer alone.

It is not a replacement for your moisturizer, and I would not recommend treating it as such. Based on my experience, I’d also be cautious about using it with your actives (AHAs, BHAs, topical prescriptions) or when your skin is irritated.

Will it replace my Hada Labo Lotion though? Probably not. It feels luxurious and emollient for sure, but my Hada Labo is a tried-and-true, inexpensive addition to my routine that just works.

You can purchase Ialuset for $34.00 USD on New London Pharmacy’s website.

Note: Ialuset is available on Amazon.com as well, but I did not recommend it here because I have received fake products from Amazon, such as fake Embryolisse that smelled very strongly of perfume. If you decide to purchase from Amazon, proceed with caution and only purchase from sellers you know and trust.

 

 

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Review: Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

by Kristen
Review: Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

Last month, I spent a week in New York City. While there, I visited the beautiful showroom for Glossier.

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Every product is laid out neatly for visitors to test, organized roughly by function. Moisturizers, primers, serums, and balms at one; powder, foundation, and concealer at another; and lip, cheek, and eye products at another.

At the back of the showroom, there is a washbasin, surrounded by their skincare products. One such product is the infamous Milky Jelly Cleanser.

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Of course, by the time I got a chance to test out the cleanser, I had quite a collection of swatches on my hand.

First Impressions

First, the ingredients:

Water/Aqua/Eau, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Propanediol, Isohexadecane, Poloxamer 184, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Xylitylglucoside, Betaine, Allantoin, Glycerin, Panthenol, Symphytum Officinale Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Anhydroxylitol, Polysorbate 80, Xylitol, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Isopropyl Myristate, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that there is no fragrance added. It does smell faintly of roses due to the inclusion of the rose water (Rosa Damascena Flower Water), so be aware of that if you are very sensitive to fragrance or just really dislike the scent of roses.

The cleansing aspect of it is performed by the addition of a polymer (Poloxamer 184), which helps water to mix with oils and other products on the skin, letting them be rinsed away.

The product feels… well… very jelly-like. It’s a really unique-feeling cleanser in that way. I can’t think of any other cleanser that has its texture. It is more viscous that typical cleansers, which are more runny, but spreads easily and feels very “clean.” In that way, it’s more like a silicone makeup primer, but without the powderiness that usually accompanies primers due to the addition of silica (for oil-absorption).

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The consistency of the Milky Jelly Cleanser. From Glossier’s Instagram.

I used it for about a week in place of my normal makeup remover, and I must say — it lives up to the claim of being a pretty effective remover. It spread easily and worked just like all of the videos that Glossier has posted on their social media, removing my concealer, eye makeup, lipstick, and most of my mascara with ease. I did not try it with more waterproof formulas, like MAC Face & Body or a waterproof mascara.

A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on

 

After use, it left my skin smooth, soft, and clean-feeling. It did not feel stripped, even after multiple days of usage. It also did not bother my rosacea or make me pinker than usual.

Consensus

 

The Milky Jelly Cleanser has been a bit of a cult favorite for awhile now, and with good reason. It removes makeup pretty well (though I’d still use a makeup remover for any makeup beyond the light, concealer/mascara/lipstick days), cleanses great, and doesn’t leave skin stripped. Bonus: it lacks fragrance and typical surfactants that can leave skin stripped and tight.

Unfortunately, it broke my skin out after a couple of days usage, but I am also incredibly acne-prone. After just a couple days, my skin had closed comedones all over. Paula’s Choice 2% BHA cleared this up within just 2-3 days of nightly usage.

This doesn’t make me less likely to recommend it however, as it is a great, no frills cleanser and I imagine that a bottle would last about 2-3 months of daily usage.

You can purchase Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser on their website for $18 USD + tax and shipping.

Note on Glossier’s returns: Glossier’s customer service is amazing. After I contacted them to let them know that I purchased this product in store, but was back home in LA without a way to return it, they responded with a friendly note to let me know that they had passed my feedback along and issued me a full refund, no returning of the product needed. 

 

 

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