Softest, Most Comforting Hydrating Mask: Dr. Grand+

Dr. Grand+ is considered a ‘derma-cosmetic’ brand creating skin care products that are clinical-grade with anti-aging and brightening solutions.  Sheet mask is always a great way to be introduced to a new brand.

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What intrigued me about these masks are two things:

(1) ‘4 Dimensional Facial Contouring’.  Based on my understanding, this is describing the 4D stretch design of the mask to perfectly cover the entire face with minimal creasing or gap, and thus seriously treat every aspect of the skin for a noticeably lifted look, along with firmer and smoother skin.  The mask has a stretchy texture when wet and literally touches every skin surface.

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(2) The unique mask material that makes this one of the softest, most highly absorbent, and most comforting sheet masks I’ve ever used!  Now that I’m trying to mask daily, I can really appreciate the differences in mask material and texture, and ultimately the way it feels and the result it has on my skin.  The characteristics of these mask are described to contain high quality cotton linter as material, using filaments mutual self-bonding features and non-woven.  This translates to masks that has high liquid absorption and retention compared to regular cotton.  The non-woven aspect allows the mask to be highly breathable.  When the mask is wet, it is a transparent sheet with the essence permeating the filament.  When mask is dry (picture below), the intricate filament is appreciated.  The mask is stretchy, and the high essence retention allows the mask to cling tightly to the face.

Here I put the Absolute Solution Masks to test: (1) Aloe and Madecassoside Soothing Mask, (2) VitaC and Glutathione brightening mask.

Aloe and Madecassoside Soothing Mask

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WHAT IT IS

  • A soothing and calming mask

WHAT IT DOES

  • Best for achieving hydrated, plump and translucent skin
  • Gives skin a boost of hydration
  • Skin soothing
  • Improve skin barrier
  • Wrinkle improvement

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS

  • Aloe – promote skin healing, an anti-inflammatory
  • Madecassoside – anti-oxidant
  • Adenosine – anti-aging
  • Trehalose – hydration
  • G4D Active – Patent complex of active ingredients for anti-aging
    • ceramide
    • arginine
    • lysine polypeptide
    • N-actyl glucosamine
    • Sodium hyaluronate
    • Biossacaride Gum-1

RESULTS

I’ve already professed my love for the mask quality.  It literally clings like a second skin, and completely soaked with watery essence that has a mild floral scent.  I did not mind that there wasn’t any essence left in the package because I believe all the essence are effectively absorbed into the mask and slowly delivered into my skin over the ensuing 40 minutes.  The mask is still damp after 40 minutes!  I love aloe for its soothing and repairing effects and this mask does exactly as it claims: effectively hydrate the skin after one use, restore and boost moisture retention for a healthy glow.

Absolute Solution Mask: VitaC and Glutathione

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WHAT IT IS

  • A brightening mask

WHAT IT DOES

  •  ‘Tone up’ – Improve dullness and uneven texture
  • Whitening – lightening of dark spot
  • Brightens skin

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS

  • Vitamin C – anti-oxidant, help lighten scar, spots; reduce blemishes
  • Glutathione – brighten skin tone
  • Niacinamide and Adenosine – reduce skin aging, boost healthy collagen synthesis

RESULTS

A powerful blend of antioxidants, glutathione, niacinamide visibly brighten skin to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentations.  My face soaked up all the goodness while resting under this superpower fabric of mask drenched in essence.  My skin instantly feel smoother, and looks hydrated, even toned and radiant.  I can judge that one application is enough to give me immediate brightening effect.  I definitely need to restock this one, as a few application may get the full benefit of the ingredients that help to minimize fine line and dark spots.

You can find these masks at http://www.drgrandplus.com.

 

My Exfoliating Toner Rage: Bravura Revitalizing Ginseng Toner with Glycolic Acid 5%

IMG_2198.PNGPRICE: £12.40 / 150mL at bravuralondon.com

WHAT IT IS

  • An alpha hydroxy acid toner for normal to dry and sensitive skin

WHAT IT DOES

  • Ideal to balance skin’s pH after cleansing
  • Prepare skin for treatment
  • Tone, firm, tighten the pores and refine skin
  • helps diminish superficial sun damage and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • pH 4.5, to allow moisturizers to work more efficiently on a pH balanced skin

INGREDIENTS

  • Ginseng: therapeutic and stimulating properties as it is a natural oxygen supplier to the skin
  • Glycolic acid 5% with Ammonium hydroxide: exfoliate by loosen excess accumulation of skin cells; boost collagen production, moisturize skin
  • Witch hazel: toning and astringent properties
  • Aloe vera – healing and soothing, increase skin water content through humectant mechanism

Purified Water, Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel, Horse Chestnut Extracts, Glycolic Acid and Ammonium Glycolate, Glycerin, Glucose, Fructose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate, Ginseng Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Biotin, Polysorbate 20, Fragrant Oil.

TEXTURE/FRAGRANCE/FEEL

  • Mild herbal smell; clear liquid toner, hydrating and soothing on the skin; no tingling or irritation

WHY I LOVE IT

The packaging is just divine in this sunshine frosted glass.  I’m all about no-nonsense skin care, meaning every product I use in my routine needs to have a function.  This one does a wondrous job sweeping away dead skin cells that settles on my skin and in my pores and leaving it clean, and glowing.  Aloe vera helps to attract and help the skin to retain moisture; Ginseng helps to tone the skin and speed up cellular turnover, while witch hazel deal with excess oil and breakouts.   It leaves my skin feeling so fresh, clean and moisturized, and is perfect to use before Bravura acid peels.  Gentle enough to use on a daily basis, this product gives some serious results without over-working the skin. Packed with ingredients that resemble many cult favorite like Pixi Glow Tonic, Biologique Recherché P50, this one is definitely the most sustainable purchase for the wallet.

Bravura is topping my list this year as a favorite skincare brand.  Share some of your favorites!  You can find this at bravuralondon.com.

My Exfoliating Toner Rage: 11 Huesday Deeply Control Balancing Toner

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I stand by that toners are an ‘essential’ step in a skincare regime.  Two functions I’m looking for in a toner are: exfoliation and hydration.   11 Huesday Deeply Control Balancing Toner does a superb job in both categories!  Alpha and beta hydroxy acid gently sweeps away dull, tired skin, while niacinamide helps to protect against moisture loss.  This combination helps to strengthen skin’s resistance to breakouts and fine lines, and maintain the balance between preventing a build up of dead cells and encouraging cell renewal.  It has quickly become a toner I cannot live without.

About Eleven Huesday

Eleven Huesday is a Korean skin care brand formulated by TMC Korea, which is a trading, marketing and consulting company for the medical aesthetics industry.   The company’s goal is designed to bring professional skin treatment results to the comfort of your homes. Their philosophy is in using natural oriental ingredients combined with innovative proven formulation to help skin to recover, regenerate and be re-born.  They believe that three key steps are the pillars of optimizing good skin: (1) Hydration, (2) Balancing (pH, oil/water, nutrient), and (3) Keratin care with protection of skin barrier.  Their entire product line are designed with these three-steps in mind, including toner, serums, moisturizers and sunscreen.  Today I’m reviewing their Balancing Toner.

Eleven Huesday Deeply Control Balancing Toner

WHAT IT IS

  • An exfoliating and balancing facial toner

WHAT IT DOES

  • Daily sebum controlling and moisturizing toner
  • Sweep away dead cells that exacerbate fine lines, dry skin and blocked pores, leaving skin brighter and smoother
  • Balance sebum production and pH balance
  • Improvement of absorption capability for the next step
  • Swipes away residual dirt or makeup missed by cleanser

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS

  • Salicylic acid (BHA): Exfoliates keratin gently, Dissolves sebum and dirt in pores
  • AHA: Malic acid, lactic acid and citric acid. Balances pH value, Removes dead skin cells and maintains water retention in the skin.
  • Papain: Adsorb excessive sebum in pores and removes keratin and dirt.
  • Niacinamide: Enhances skin barrier, brightening effect.
  • Witch hazel : Increases the skin’s resistance, gentle astringent and soothing effects

TEXTURE/FEEL/FRAGRANCE

  • Gentle hydrating formula; no tingling or irritation; mild floral scent

WHY I LOVE IT

It’s cliche, but I literally fell in love with this toner at its first use.  The texture of this product is incredibly soft and comforting on the skin, and I did not expect an ‘exfoliating’ toner to have such a hydrating effect.  I place the toner on a cotton pad and swept over my face after cleansing.  The toner has a perfect consistency: just thick enough so it’s doesn’t run, yet fluid enough so it spreads quickly and easily.   Having the exfoliating ingredient in such a light formula allows for layering and helps the product to be immediately absorbed.  I feel that chemical exfoliation is far superior to physical exfoliation like scrubs and cleansing brushes.  It does not cause any tingling or irritation, in fact, it’s the complete opposite:  It just quenches my skin’s thirst.  The result however assures me that it is enough of a treatment in itself.  Immediate after each use, my skin feels smoother, more plump and looks dewy.   With daily use for weeks, my skin is clearer and overall brightened, and pores are tightened.  It is simply a delight to use this daily!  I will definitely restock this once its finished.  I feel it’s one of those toner staples that any skin type can really benefit from the gentle exfoliation, balancing and hydrating effects to protect the skin barrier.

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Lapothicell – Keep Your Youth

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I’ve professed my love for this brand before.  Their sensitive skin care range is just perfect for my skin.  All of their products are hypoallergenic, mild and refreshing and literally have been transforming my skin.  Lapothicell was developed through all of technology and know-how accumulated by Kukje pharmaceutical researchers under the concept of “Real Derma-Cosmetic” over the past 57 years. Their products have been accomplishing remarkable achievements based on its quality and results in Korea and is expanding into the rest of Asia and now international.  They carry all the basic skin care products everyone should own, from cleansing water, to peeling booster to sun protector.  I’m so excited to incorporate some of their Keep Your Youth products, consists of gels, serums and creams which promise to give you tangible anti-aging results and to bring back the clarity of your skin.

Keep Your Youth Eye Contour Gel 

WHAT IT IS
  • Light-weight & refreshing gel eye gel
WHAT IT DOES
  • A solution for fine lines and wrinkles around the eye
KEY INGREDIENTS
  • Adenosine
    – Increase cell regeneration
  • Centella Asiatica
    – anti-inflammatory and calming effect. Brightens overall skin tone and age spots
  • Patented ingredient, ‘Syn®-Coll
    Syn®-Coll is a mixture of synthetic peptides designed to stimulate the skin’s natural mechanism to produce collagen
    – boost collagen synthesis to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Houttuynia Cordata Extract
    – helps brighten skin and sebum control.
WHAT IT SMELLS/LOOKS/FEELS
  • Clear lightly viscous gel; glides smoothly and easily patted in and absorbed
WHY I LIKE IT
This is my first eye product in a gel form.  The advantage of a gel product is that it is thinner, and as a result, the active ingredients can penetrate deeper.  My eye is always an area of concern for fine lines, so please penetrate away!  It contains the above ingredients as well as trusted hyaluronic acid for added firmness and rich peptide to help firm skin over time as well as instantly.  The product spreads out evenly and is fast absorbing, leaves no residue yet really lock in the moisture.  I actually leave this in the fridge and the coolness of the gel offers an immediate cooling boost to awaken and refresh and reduce under-eye puffiness.  This is great for those who want a fast absorbing product instead of heavy eye cream, and is perfect for day time use and summer time.

Keep Your Youth Daily Essence

WHAT IT IS

  • Anti-aging and balancing essence

WHAT IT DOES

  • To improve elasticity of skin and thus help minimize fine lines
  • To hydrate, repair and strengthen skin’s natural barrier.

KEY INGREDIENTS

  • Adenosine- Increase cell regeneration
  • Chia seed – A source of omega-3 fatty acid, which makes it an effective skin moisturizer and helps to hold onto hydration; Helps with hyperpigmentations, and act against inflammation
  • Centella Asiatica- anti-inflammatory and calming effect. Brightens overall skin tone and age spots.
  • Patented ingredient, ‘Syn®-Coll (Palmitoyl tripeptide-3)
    – boost stimulation collagen synthesis to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Houttuynia Cordata Extract- helps brighten and clear skin and sebum control.

WHAT IT SMELLS/LOOKS/FEELS

  • Clear water based essence, with concentrated oil capsules; visible oil bubbles that burst when massaged into face; no detectable scent; Glides smooth and absorbs fast

WHY I LIKE IT

This Lapothicell essence has earned a permanent place in my beauty arsenal.  Oil and water co-exist in harmony in the skin to help maintain its equilibrium of hydration and natural oil production, help to mimic and rebuild damaged skin hydrolipidic film.  It really contains the best of both world as an oil-in-water essence.  It’s non-greasy and lightweight as a water-based essence, yet formulated to travel deepest into the skin with the oil micro-capsules to deliver the finest cocktail of hydrating botanical oils and peptides.  The consistency is slightly thicker than most essence but still ultra-light and instantly glides onto the skin to provide a burst of powerful moisture that leaves my skin fresh, soft and supple, and moisture retained for the whole day.

Tone Up Serum

WHAT IT IS

  • A brightening serum

WHAT IT DOES

  • Highly moisturizing serum that penetrates deep inside giving silky finish.
  • It also brightens and restores your skin to healthier and natural glow looking.

KEY INGREDIENTS

  • Pearl Extract – Increase skin hydration to improve skin elasticity
  • TRANEXAMIC ACID – Prevent skin Melanin production
  • Adenosine – Increase cell regeneration
  • Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 – Boost Collage and increase skin elasticity
  • Niacinamide – Korea FDA approved ingredient for brighten skin tone

WHAT IT SMELLS/LOOKS/FEELS

  • A milky light serum, feels refreshing on the skin, and has no discernible scent.

WHY I LIKE IT

I’m always on a quest for brightening serums, and it’s especially amazing when a product uses skin-safe ingredients to brighten complexion, as well as improve hyperpigmentation, dark spots and uneven skin tone; which are ALL of my concerns.  The serum is super light weight, yet so hydrating and simply feels decadent on the skin.  It boasts so many beneficial ingredients.  This has been in my daily routine for a while now and my skin is brighter, and acne scar is starting to lighten.  While it doesn’t aggressively reduce the appearance of dark spots, it does leave my skin looking brighter and more even.  I haven’t experienced any irritation and I haven’t felt the need to use any heavy coverage for scars.  I feel a good serum should be multi-functional and certainly this one not only brightens but it’s also enriched with niacinamide and adenosine that have skin firming benefits, and gives another layer of hydration to help plump and give a bouncy and elastic feel to the skin.  The price is reasonable for a multi-faceted product that provides anti-aging, skin brightening, spot correcting and moisturizing in one.

Keep Your Youth Daily Gel

WHAT IT IS

  • A lightweight daily moisturizing gel with anti-aging and skin brightening benefits

WHAT IT DOES

  • Improve dull skin, uneven skin tone
  • Softening fine lines
  • Protect and balance skin sebum

KEY INGREDIENTS

  • Pearl Extract- Increase skin hydration to improve skin elasticity
  • PhytoG-Honey Extract (from Jeju Island) – Implement skin hydration & keeps the moisture in.
  • Adenosine- Increase cell regeneration
  • Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4- Boost Collage and increase skin elasticity
  • Niacinamide-FDA approved ingredient to helps even skin tone and hydrate skin

WHAT IT SMELLS/LOOKS/FEELS

Extremely lightweight and airy; feels like a thicker version of a serum, absorbs easy and no tacky feel

 

WHY I LIKE IT

It’s the summer, so for my combination skin, I seriously feel that a good gel moisturizer is the best way to get hydrated without overwhelming my pores.  My skin is the classic combination type, some areas are parched and flaky and t-zone completely opposite. This product does a superb job of balancing skin moisture without leaving my face feeling greasy.  The Daily Gel has a cooling effect when applied, and glides evenly and smoothly.   It literally feels like I am wearing nothing since it gets absorbed into the skin immediately but my skin feels sooo hydrated, firm and elastic.  Thanks to its nourishing ingredients (including niacinamide, honey, and pearl), it recharges and quenches my skin, even on the driest of complexion days.  I find it can be a great multi-tasker as well, especially if I leave it in the fridge and can easily use it as a cool de-puffing mask, or a soothing gel for sun burns.  Additionally it leaves my face with a dewy fresh-faced glow, easy for those no-makeup or lazy days.  A little bit goes a long way, and its convenient tube form is easy for travelling and hygiene.  I feel that this may be a product that can be used on my skin year-round.

 

There you go, it’s really quite obvious I am a big fan of Lapothicell products.  I have managed to create a skin-care regime using many of their products that simply produce the results I’m looking for: improve dullness, hydrate but non-clogging, improve skin complexion and texture, with added bonus of anti-aging effects.  I love experimenting but sometimes using skin care products from one brand can work synergistically together to get the outcome I want.  More importantly, find products that work and perform well for your skin.  Do you have a brand that you love?

You can find these products on Amazon or http://www.lapothicell.com

Face Wash For Acne

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After I hit my 30s, I started to battle some breakouts that I had in my early teenage years; all at the same time trying to stave off some fine lines that comes with age.  For cleansers, I’m looking for ones that can help clear up the annoying zits, as well as to fight dull, aging skin.  The trick is identifying a cleanser that offers a deep clean without over-drying the skin, as our skin naturally produces less oil with age.  Adult acne is different from teen acne.  It’s not usually in the usual t-zone area, and more so are hormonal related.  Hormone related breakouts are primarily on the lower face, specifically with cyst along the jawline and even down the neck.

Below are two cleansers I’m currently loving, with completely different ingredients and approach to cleansing.  Find out how they help to keep my skin youthful and successfully fend off breakouts.

Bravura London Purifying Gel Cleanser

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PRICE

WHAT IT IS

  • A deep cleansing oil-free formula

WHAT IT DOES

  • Dissolves dirt, surface impurities and most makeup without stripping skin
  • Contains alpha and beta-hydroxy acids and natural enzymes that helps to exfoliate the skin
  • For normal to oily skin types

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS

  • Glycolic and lactic acid help skin to exfoliate, to unclog pores, while salicylic acid works deep in the pores to help reduce size of pores and clear black heads.
  • Yeast extract: natural vitamin B complex helps to regulate oil gland secretion
  • Natural botanicals: watercress extract rich in vitamin C help with clearing complexion, lavender extract has healing and anti-inflammatory benefits; papain is a botanical exfoliant

Aloe Vera Gel, Decyl Polyglucose, Glycolic Acid (7%), Salicylic Acid , Cocomidopropyl Betaine, Dimethicone, Yeast Extract (Vitamin B), Sodium PCA, Glycerin, SD Alcohol 40, Lactic Acid, Watercress Extract, Papain, Bromelain, Lavender Extract, Soap Wort Extract, Camphor, Sodium Hydroxide, Guar Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate.

TEXTURE/FEEL/FRAGRANCE

  • A unique gel formula that activates into refreshing foam, mild medicinal scent

WHY IT WORKS FOR ME

As its name suggest it, this is a a serious purifying cleanser that comes out as foam, making it one of the most creamy whipped frothy washing experiences.  It’s formulated with Bravura specialties of acids: salicylic, lactic, glycolic to target and prevent breakouts, while aloe, lavender and watercress soothes red and irritated skin.  I love using this first thing in the morning, as it makes my skin feel so squeaky clean, invigorated and balanced.   My skin feels like it just received a deep cleanse.  The cleanser also help to reduce shine by absorbing sebum, while tighten the appearance of pores, literally ‘purify’ my skin leaving it baby soft and smooth, yet still hydrated. I feel that this face wash is a great way to get these fabulous acid into my daily beauty routine to yield reliable consistent results – I wash my face every day, after all.  Additional benefit is that I don’t experience any major side effects of a potent combination of acids as the cleanser does not stay on my face for long periods of time.  The benefits are noticeable: less breakouts, less oily t-zone, and improved skin tone and texture.  Bravura has rocked my skin again with this fabulous product.

Dr. Wu Deep Cleansing Gel With Niacinamide

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PRICE

WHAT IT IS

  • Effective and gentle cleanser for oily and acne prone skin

WHAT IT DOES

  • Cleanse away acne-causing bacteria, excess oil and impurities without over-drying or irritating skin
  • Also help to keep skin looking young by retaining moisture and providing anti-aging benefits
  • Prevent acne problems in all stages and visibly reduce marks left behind by blemishes
  • Control sebum

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS

  • Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate – derived from coconut oil; used as a gentle surfactant that help water mix with oil and dirt so it can be easily rinsed away
  • Niacinamide – Powerful ingredient for anti-inflammation making it an effective treatment for acne, psoriasis and rosacea; reduces sebum production; antiaging benefits by stimulate dermis to produce more collagen; prevent moisture loss
  • Chamomilla recutita extract – calm sensitive skin, condition the skin to optimal balance
  • Aloe barbadensis gel – hydrate and repair the skin’s natural barrier; healing and soothing for the skin, anti-inflammatory

TEXTURE/FRAGRANCE/FEEL

  • Light gel cleanser; mild floral scent

WHY I LIKE IT

This cleanser made me realize that just because I have acne prone skin, it doesn’t mean that I need a harsh cleanser.  How does this treat acne without ingredients like benzoyl peroxide?  It’s all in the formulation combining an effective and gentle surfactant from coconut oil, as well as nourishing skin ingredients that help to deeply cleanse and refine the pores, balance sebum, restore moisture and thus leaving skin fresh, hydrated and healthy to minimize breakouts.  The gel develops into a non-drying oil to protect the skin’s natural moisture levels and hydrate dry areas at the same time.  It then changes into a light milk formula for easy rinsing.    It cleanses so thoroughly.  My skin is left residue-free, and totally refreshed, and conditioned to its optimal balance.  What’s more, it is enriched with aloe vera to really lock in the moisture and offer a fuss-free approach to truly tailored skin care.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Two cleansers, two completely different ingredient lists. Both are great gentle cleanser that are designed to fight pimples while also keeping my skin looking young by retaining moisture and providing anti-aging benefits.

What are your favorite cleansers?

 

Taiwanese Mask Obsession: My Beauty Diary

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Spa treatments are so indulging.  But when I can’t find the best of times or even an hour to visit a spa to enjoy some much deserved pampering, sheet masks at home gives me a little ‘me’ time while having a good skin treatment.  Taiwanese sheet masks always have a soft spot in my heart, with My Beauty Diary easily fulfilling my vanities.

My Beauty Diary is a well recognized face mask brand in Taiwan and they now have a sales branch in the US, making purchasing so convenient and reliable.  You can find these products at My Beauty Diary US: ibeautydiary.com/

My Beauty Diary Masks are unique in several points:

(1) They literally have a mask for every skin needs, special occasions or emergencies: brightening, firming, calming…  You name it, you can find it with MBD.

(2) They carry mask with ingredients that are tried-and-true: hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, q10, AND some very exotic ingredients such as sake, rice wine, natto; depending on your level of adventure with skin care ingredients.

(3) Their masks are: No Paraben preservatives, No alcohol, No fluorescent whitening agents and Safe for sensitive and fragile skin

(4) What I like best about them is that they are consistently high quality, yet budget friendly.  What do I mean by high quality?

Packaging: Their packaging are the smallest among all sheet masks I’ve tried, which makes them very efficient and convenient.  Each mask come with English instructions.  On the front of the package are the key ingredients and the mask function, i.e. hydrating, soothing.. and on the back of the mask contain detailed ingredient list, notable ingredients and reason for their use, as well as designated skin types and directions.  No guessing games here!

Texture/Feel: Their masks are made of tencel fibre cloth, which means microfibres are inter-weaved to allow for efficient water-bearing structure of the essence.  The tencel is ultra-thin, soft and stretchy, but so absorbable.  When the mask is wet, it is nearly translucent on the skin.  This translates to the best fitted sheet mask I’ve ever used because it literally clings to every singe surface area of my face.  I’ve left these masks up to 40 minutes at a time, and it still remains well moisturized when removed.  Each mask always comes with a white plastic backing, making it easy to disassemble and apply.

Essence: Each package contains abundant essence that are not only soaked into the mask but enough left over to treat my neck, chest, arms, legs, body et al.

Fit: I am biased on this, because I have a small-ish face.  I feel that these newest addition of MBD masks are literally designed for my face.  Every opening in the mask for the eyes, nose and mouth are in the right place, and are neither too big or small.  I love when the gentle skin around my eyes can be treated.

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Black Pearl Brightening Mask

DESIGNED FOR: Normal skin types, especially recommended for skin lacking firmness, dull or tired skin

WHAT IT DOES: Optimal whitening, brightening and moisturizing

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS: Supreme black pearl essence from Tahiti is rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids that rapidly rejuvenate tired and dull skin.  Also formualated with hydrolyzed yeast protein, skin-brightening lemon extract to effective lighten and even skin tone.  The hydrating formulation contains deep sea Red algae and Malvasylvestris exract provides immediate relief to dry skin and improves’s skin’s ability to adjust tot he environment.  Sugar maple also helps to deliver intense hydration.

MY REVIEW: I can easily see why this is one of MBD most popular masks.  The ingredient formulation is stellar, and the brightening result is certainly immediately visible.  It makes my skin more even skin tone, and really helps to bring out a translucent clarity effect, along with diminishing pores and supply of ample hydration.  I love using this mask for lazy no-make up days because it instant wakes up my skin.

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Aloe Vera Soothing Mask

DESIGNED FOR: Normal skin types, especially recommended for dry skin and skin needing relief and repair

MASK FUNCTION: Optimal hydration, calming and soothing

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS: Aloe vera contains nourishing mucopolyaccharides that are combined with the double-acting moisturizing ingredients Cosphingo x Aquaroad to formulate a remarkable skin nourishing mask.  The mask also contains kiwi, lemon, gingko and various extract to soften dead skin.  Mulberry tree bark and bearberry leaf extract provides dual-action to soothe dry and irritated skin, while control and maintain balanced sebum secretion and clarify skin.

MY REVIEW: This mask is especially great after leaving it in the fridge, as the aloe provides an extra cooling, refreshing and hydrating experience on my skin.  I love using this mask on days when my skin feels sensitive.  It quenches the thirst of my skin, while the rich blend of nutrients and plant extract help to sooth any flushing or irritation.   The moisturizing and calming effect is really outstanding, and the finish is clean and non-sticky, making this a great morning mask when I’m in a rush to get out the door.

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Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Mask

DESIGNED FOR: Normal skin types; especially recommended for dry skin or skin in need of immediate hydration

WHAT IT DOES: Continuous hydration, Brightening and Firming

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS: Classic and popular moisturizing ingredient, hyaluronic acid, is treated to a hi-techhydrolysis process to further reduce the size of their elements, which allows for improved penetration and humectant effect.  Additional hydrating ingredients includes aloe vera and algae.  It also contains a blend of Arnica montana and Ruscus aculeatus for skin brightening and firming by improving skin elasticity and firmness, and enhances the complexion.

MY REVIEW: This mask is superbly hydrating without being too intense or heavy, perfect for the summer time.  I can never have too much hyaluronic acid products in my skin care, as hydration is the key to skin health.  I love using this mask after being in the sun too long, to help reduce pigmentations, and when I want to brighten my skin for a big event.  This mask also contains ingredients to firm the skin, including a whole host of antioxidants and vitamins to nourish the skin and perfect as part of an anti-ageing skin routine.

What are your favorite MBD masks?  Most of these masks are $1-2, or can be purchased in boxes of 5-10, on http://www.ibeautydiary.com.

 

 

Benton Papaya-S Sun Cream SPF50+ / PA ++++

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Sunscreen helps lower skin cancer risks, and prevents dark sun spots and other UV-related skin damages, so YES PLEASE Benton, I will add another sunscreen to my collection.  Thank you for this opportunity to provide an honest review!

WHAT IT IS

  • A water-sweat resistant physical and chemical sunscreen

WHAT IT DOES

  • Offers the highest sun protection factor in Korea SPF50+/PA++++ against both UVA and UVB
  • Offers skin care benefits including sebum and pore control, hydration, and brightening

NOTABLE INGREDIENTS

  • Physical Protectors: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide
  • Chemical Protectors: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine
  • Skin Nourishing Ingredients:
    • Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Water(43%) / Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract –  Rich in vitamins and contains polyphenols, minerals, and papain, all important in keeping skin healthy and beautiful.
    • Carica Papaya Seed Oil – Extracted from the seed of the papaya, Papaya Seed Oil helps to make skin supple and smooth. Also, the oil helps skin to retain moisture
    • Papain – Papain is a protease obtained from the papaya. It is effective in pore care, controlling sebum and dead skin cells.
  • Skin Brightening Ingredients: 
    • Niacinamide and adenosine

HOW IT SMELLS/FEEL/LOOK

  • Lightweight, ivory milky cream texture
  • Water-in-oil emulsion, allowing easy spread
  • Has a small amount of temporary white cast which goes away when product is tapped or messaged; Hydrating and dewy finish
  • Scent of geranium (an essential oil)

REVIEW

The consistency resembles a light cream but not runny, so it did not run into my eyes (I can be a klutz at times).  Upon initial application, the product appears pasty and creamy but once I massage and tap gently a few times, the product gets completely absorbed into my skin quickly.  I do have fairer skin on my face, and the finish is neither thick nor sticky, neither shiny nor matte.  The papain ingredient is suppose to help in controlling and balancing oil as well as prevent pore clogging.  Overall it gave my face a bit of a brighter and dewy not greasy appearance.  However by midday, some of my natural oil is starting to seep through, and my t-zones needed a little bit of dabbing.  I do feel that this product has a better grip on my skin than my daily sunscreen.  Even when I’m in the water, I feel that the product has great staying power, which is fabulous.  It is a little bit heavier than what I would like to use as a daily sunscreen, however I will not hesitate to grab this on the weekend or days when I’m going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, be it in the water or exercising, as this product can last me longer through the sweat and the heat.

Benton has provided the product for review purpose.  All opinions are my own.

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Bravura London At Home Chemical Peels

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About The Brand: Bravura London

I’m so excited to share my experiences with Bravura.  Their products have rocked my skin world this past few weeks.  Behind the brand is Amanda Elias, who developed passion for skincare at an young age, and wanted to create products that are effective and luxury minus the price.  The entire product line is developed using acids, including glycolic, lactic and salicylic.  I have had experiences with chemical peels, and I found that some peels are too harsh.  What attracted me to Bravura London’s chemical peel is the lower concentrations, and therefore am hoping for results minus irritation or peeling.
Bravura product philosophy promotes slow gradual changes rather than overnight miracles.  Additionally, they believe in creating beauty routines that leads to real beauty results.  Amanda’s blog is a wealthy of information, and she really do want to help people to improve their skin health through education and finding the right products.  There is also a free, no obligation skin consultation online, and include recommendations for different skin types, skin concerns and even pregnancy skin care.  The website also contains detailed instructions and so much information about everything  you need to know about AHA and BHA products.  Your orders will also come with a detailed instructions on how to safely do a chemical peel at home.
On top of that, how gorgeous are their packaging?  At such affordable prices, I may have to get all of their products so I can line them up for a beautiful photo-op.  Today I’ll review their two of their three at-home chemical peels: 10% lactic and glycolic acid.

10% Lactic Acid Peel (Infused with Rose)

Price: £9.59 / 30mL

WHAT IT IS

An alcohol free lactic acid peel; pH 3.75

WHAT IT DOES

Infused with rose water, lactic acid peel is a perfect treatment for dry or dehydrated skin suffering from hyperpigmentation, acne, dry/dull skin, aging skin

INGREDIENTS

Purified Water, Rose Floral Water, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Sodium Hydroxide and Sodium Citrate.

Lactic acid is a gentler form of AHA peels, and this means that it has a lower side effect profile such as dryness, irritation, skin peeling and hypersensitivity.  This means that it is a great option for people who are prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentations as well as have sensitive skin types.  Lactic acid is also a humectant which helps skin to retain moisture, thus is a great peel option for those with dry or dehydrated skin.  Additional benefits including anti-aging by increasing cell turnover, and stimulate collagen production, as well as lightening of pigments and scars.

SCENT/TEXTURE/FEEL

Water, colorless liquid; One full dropper measures about 5ml, just perfect for one application; scent is similar to other lactic acid peels, like a sour yogurt scent as it is derived from milk

WHY I LIKE IT

Lactic acid is not as easy to find as an ingredient as other acids (glycolic or salicylic).   I was first introduced to its amazing benefit on my skin by using the Sunday Riley Lactic Acid serum.  Additionally lactic acid products almost always comes at a higher price point.  The fact that Bravura offers a lactic acid peel at such an affordable price point is simply fabulous.  Even at 10%, I did feel a mild tingling upon application, which resolves within a few minutes.  As instructed, I started out my first peel at 5 minutes and gradually added an extra minute with each use.  Following instructions for these chemical peels are SOO important.  The most immediate and visible effect for me is cleaner and smaller pores.  I feel the result of this peel is most noticeable about three to four days after the peel when my skin seems smoother and has more radiance.  It makes it really easy to create a dewy look when your skin is glowing from within.

Glycolic Acid Peels (Infused with Lavender)

PRICE: £9.59 / 30mL

WHAT IT IS

An alcohol free glycolic acid peel; pH 3

WHAT IT DOES

Infused with lavender, designed to help fade pigmentation from sun or acne, reduce appearance of fine lines, exfoliate without being abrasive and reduces acne breakouts

INGREDIENTS

Distilled Water, Lavender Water, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose.

Glycolic acid is an all around great skin rejuvenation peel sourced from sugar cane and combat skin issues such as acne, clogged pores and blackhead, as well as dull or uneven complexion.  It is the most effective anti-aging chemical peel as it penetrate the skin the deepest of all AHA chemical peels, and thus can promote improved cellular turnover, stimulate collagen, and all to reduce visibility of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve overall skin tone and texture.   The lower concentration makes this adaptable to use even 3-4 x weekly as per website, with very little downtime.

SCENT/TEXTURE/FEEL

Citrusy scent; clear watery texture; easiest to apply with brush

 

WHY I LIKE IT

I did not experience acne until my thirties, and it definitely seem to be hormone related.  I would get painful cystic acne along my chin, and despite tendency to pick at it, it often leaves me with unsightly scars that is red and then turns brown.  Since starting to use these two chemical peels alternating at a weekly basis, my chin acne has minimized and the brown patches are finally starting to show improvement.  Don’t be fooled by the 10% glycolic.  I know this is lower than most at-home peel products offered by other brands, the results takes patience and it will come.  The best thing for me is that this is the first glycolic acid product I’ve used (peel or cream) where I did not experience any redness, irritation or skin flaking.  I do use their pre-peel Ginseng toner before hand and will review this separately.

Upon initial application, there is definitely tingling, more pronounced with the glycolic peel than lactic acid.  It subsides within minutes.  There is a slight redness with the glycolic peel immediately after, which is resolved by morning.  I usually like to do these peels at night, followed by sheet masking.  I also use light hydrating gel products (such as Lapothicell Daily Gel Moisturizer) that cools and soothe the skin, yet gentle and not comedogenic.  Keeping your skin hydrated but not suffocating it has made a world of difference in terms of how I heal and respond to a peel.  My skin never feels stripped or irritated, and the results is the best on days when my skin feels overly-congested.

 

I love that these two at-home peel can leave my skin soft, fresh and more youthful looking with no noticeable side effect.  It is one of my favorite ways to exfoliate now, as it’s gentle, has no downtime, irritation or flaking.  For me, they have been so effective at helping to maintain a clear complexion, free of hormonal breakouts, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to start doing peels.  Overall it has revitalized my skin and helping to bring the glow back, and are totally worth the ingredient, performance, and the price.   I am planning to increase the use to every 3 nights or so, and am excited to follow the progress.

Of course don’t forget to stay out of the sun when you can and use spf when doing these peels at home.

You can find these beautiful Bravura products at https://www.bravuralondon.com/

 

Glow Giver: Lapothicell Tone Up and Cover Cushion

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WHAT IT IS

  • Light-medium coverage and long wearing B.B. cream in a portable compact

WHAT IT DOES

  • Skin brightening, Solution for wrinkles/fine lines, Sunscreen product (SPF50+ PA++++_

KEY INGREDIENTS

Sun Protection

  • Physical: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide
  • Chemical: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate

Skin Care

  • Niacinamide – a derivative of Vitamin B3, strengthen skin barrier to protect from external damages, hydrate skin and minimize pigment formation to encourage even skin tone; balance sebum production
  • Adenosine – boost collagen and elastin to help with skin firming; potent anti-inflammatory to help with managing red, irritated and sensitive skin
  • Bisabolol –  a derivative of chamomile, with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial properties
  • 5 White Flower Complex – deeply hydrates and nourishes, brightens and evens skin

SCENT/TEXTURE/FRAGRANCE

  • Creamy yet breathable, perfect for summer time
  • Light to Medium coverage
  • Natural finish

WHY I LIKE IT

It’s hot where I am every day.  I don’t remember the last time I wore foundation because I just can’t stand the heaviness of foundation.  Cushions are the way to go.  As one of my favorite cushion (Troiareuke Seoul Aesthetic Cushion) comes to a halting finish, I’m desperately trying to find its replacement.  The Lapothicell cushion provides a slightly lighter coverage but it is one of the most natural coverages I’ve ever seen.

The texture is creamy and the coverage is just heavy enough to hide my imperfections (scars, brown spots, redness) and light enough to feel weightless on the skin, giving it a bright, fresh looking skin.  I feel that this cushion provides a lot more brightening effect compared to others, and the finish is semi-matte with a glow-from-within finish rather than super dewy.  It’s not ashy or pale, just very complementing to my skin tone.   I find some makeup tend to fill in pores or settle into lines and dry spot, this one seems to provide a primer effect where the pores are smoothed and blended seamlessly; and provide moisture to dry patches so it doesn’t appear cakey.  The wear is fabulous on this cushion.  It lasts on me for at least 6-8 hours, and does not smudge.  Also there is definitely sebum control power here, as I don’t feel much oilness of my skin creeping up even towards the end of the day.

If you want that natural ‘no-makeup’ makeup LOOK and FEEL, I highly recommend this cushion.  It comes in two shades, 21 and 23, and I picked 21, which is an excellent match for my NC 15 skin tone.  The quality of the product is beyond my expectations:  Light weight formulation, comfortable on the skin, light to medium coverage, long wearability, and added skin care benefits.

You can find this on Amazon or http://www.lapothicell.com for $32.

Beautigenix – Stem Cell Facial Sheet Mask

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ABOUT BEAUTIGENIX

Beautigenix specializes in face masks formulated with an exclusive Human Stem Cell Culture™serum and  a special blend of all natural botanical ingredients with the power to brighten, hydrate, lift and soothe.  Beautigenix stem cells are harvested at the Seoul Stem Medical Center in South Korea.  Their masks are currently found in many professional spa and cosmetic clinics throughout the US.  They carry four varieties of the Stem Cell Sheet Masks for brightening, hydrating, soothing and toning/firming.  You can find these masks by visiting their website and locating a spa near you.

STEM CELL FACIALS

Now, have you heard of stem cell facials?  It sounds intriguing and so enticing and unfortunately oh-so-expensive as well.  When I heard about Beautigenix sheetmasks and their main ingredient is stem cells, I have to give it a try and create my own experience with a stem cell facial at home.  What is the hype about stem cells and skin care?

Stem cells are incredibly unique as they have the potential to transform into any cell types by stimulating growth of new cells and encourage production of fundamental building blocks of skin such as collagen and elastin, as well as repair of damaged cell.  Stem cells have been the heat of research for scientists and in medicine for these regenerative and reparative properties.   The philosophy behind stem cell facial is regeneration of skin cells.  Aging causes loss of collagen and elastin; sun and environment causes damages to cells result in laxity in skin, wrinkles, loss of radiance and formation of pigments, spots, scars and uneven skin tone.  It is hoped that with properly formulated stem cells, they can get incorporated into your skin, revitalize the skin’s building blocks, and help to stimulate epidermal stem cells to thicken the skin, which leads to tightening, firming and prevent wrinkle formation.

BEAUTIGENIX BRIGHTENING MASK

WHAT IT IS

  • A brightening, pigment reducing sheet mask

WHAT IT DOES

  • With state-of-the-art breakthrough stem cell technology, stem cells are blended with botanical extracts to help counteract visible signs of aging, including the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, dehydration, dullness, and sagging.

KEY INGREDIENTS

  • Stem cells reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Niacinamide has multiple skin benefits including reducing appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness, and a weakened skin surface
  • Sodium hyaluronate smoothes and plumps the skin.
  • Trehalose hydrates the skin and gives your skin a youthful, supple glow.
  • Witch Hazel reduces swelling and blemish
  • Botanical extracts for skin brightening

Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin,Glycereth-26, Adult Human Stem Cell Culture Media (330,000 ng), Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Fructan, Betaine, Trehalose, Hamamelis Virginiana, (Witch Hazel) Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Phenoxyethanol, Propanediol, Arginine, Carbomer, Portulaca Oleeracea Extract, Allantoin, Zizania Aquatica Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Chondrus Crisps (Carrageenan), Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol Acetate, Diptassium Glycyrrhizate, Niacinamide, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Rubus Coreanus Fruit Extract, Nelumbo Mucifera Flower Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Bisabolol, Fragrance.

TEXTURE/FRAGRANCE/FIT

  • Soft and breathable mask, saturated with the stem cell rejuvenating serum
  • No detectable scent
  • Adheres to the face very well and thus making it easy for me to multitask; comfortable on the skin
  • Small-medium fit

WHY I LIKE IT

Beautigenix recommend that these sheet masks be used regularly two to three times weekly to get the most benefits.  I have been using these mask right after I do an at-home chemical peel, and these are the perfect skin soother to help heal and repair after the treatment.  These masks feel heavy because the material is simply supercharged with the serum, slowly delivered into the skin over the course of 20-30 minutes.  I feel that masks that are highly absorptive often contours to the face better, and really enhances moisture retention.

My favourite part of this sheet mask is massaging the serum onto my face after the mask is removed.  The serum is like a lightweight oil blending serum (perhaps due to castor oil) that really contribute to a luxury experience.  I can just see and feel that the serum has penetrated the skin, and provides instant replenishing the skin with essential moisture and create a moisture barrier for skin brightening.  It feels so light on the skin, and absorbs quickly without leaving sticky or greasy feel, which makes it a perfect mask treatment for daytime look – even under makeup or sunscreen.

I do feel that this mask produces results above and beyond what I usually expect of a facial mask.  It is of professional quality, after all!   It is unbelievably good at boosting the moisture levels in my skin, and the result is the longest lasting effect of all the masks I’ve used, while maintaining a stable skincare routine.  I feel like I just had a proper facial, with skin feeling consistently soft, plump, and looking more radiant for days.  The mask packs hydrating, plumping, and brightening punch that I feel is above its price tag with its hero ingredient: stem cell.  I can definitely see myself using this mask on a regular basis.

You can find this on Amazon ($28/single, or $220/tens) or by locating a spa near you at http://www.beautigenix.com.