Konjac Sponge

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This strange gelatinous sponge piqued my interest when I first heard about it on Reddit and I had to get my hands on it.  I bought a Missha Konjac Sponge from the eBay seller iamlove-shop for $5.12 (USD) with free shipping. There are many different brands that sell this sponge but the original comes from The Konjac Sponge Company.  I’m still trying to get my hands on one of the originals for a comparison but $15+ (CAN) is a bit steep for me at the moment.  If anyone finds one for less than this let me know! I might even have a little something for the person that can find me a decently priced original konjac sponge!

Anyways, back to the point! The most important thing to look for when shopping for one of these awesome exfoliating tools is for at least 90% konjac.  This one is 100% and personally I prefer it over my 90% Ecotools sponge. You can get different additives in the sponge but from my research I have found that the additives do nothing and you shouldn’t pay extra to get a sponge that has them.  This is just an opinion though, so if you like the additives, get them!

The Sponge:

The dry sponge:

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When dry, the sponge is pretty hard and is roughly half the size as it is when it is wet.

The wet sponge:

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When wet it feels heavy and soft, it’s got a weird jelly feeling. It’s just really cool!  You have to feel it for yourself!

How to Use:

To start, you soak the sponge.  It should feel squishy and, well, spongy!  Then, you rub it in small circles on your face to exfoliate.  You can use cleanser with it but you don’t have to.  This sponge is gentle enough to use around the eyes too!  After, you rinse it, squeeze out the extra water and let it dry.  It is important to remember not to twist it to wring out the water as this will tear it.  Just squeeze it like you’d squeeze your hand around a big wad of cash!

My Thoughts:

I love this thing! It leaves my face nice and smooth, it isn’t too rough and is easy to use, it’s easy to care for and pretty cost effective compared to some other exfoliating tools.  It is a nice addition to my beauty routine and I use it with my normal cleanser, right before I use my BHA exfoliant. If you’re considering buying one but have been waffling back and forth, go for it! If you’ve never heard of it, try it! I will definitely buy more of these as needed.

Where to buy:

eopenmarket.com: $3.00 USD, shipping is $3.80 USD (to Canada and the United States).

Innisfree sponge at Cosmetic-love.com: $6.94 USD, free shipping.  This sponge is 100% konjac as well.

The ebay page where I bought mine.

The Original Sponge

Retailers of the original sponge 

Edit: Thank you to user Sharkus_Reincarnus for these links to Amazon sponges for those of you that are in the United States.

Winstonia Facial Sponge for $1.95 (USD) + $2.99 shipping.  It comes in a 3 pack for $5.89 + $2.99 shipping!

Extra Info:

Konjac is alkaline and because of this it is supposed to help balance the pH of your skin while exfoliating and cleansing. If taken care of properly it should last 2-3 months before needing to be replaced, longer if you take really good care of it.  You can increase the lifespan of your sponge by pressing/squeezing the excess water out of it and not wringing it out, rinsing it well after use, and by allowing it to dry out between uses. Allowing it to dry can be difficult as I find that the side against the surface it’s resting against doesn’t dry.  I do hang mine and this helps though.  You can also disinfect the sponge by boiling it for a few minutes but this should be done only when needed, as it breaks down the fibers faster.

When it does start to break down it can be composted as it is completely natural! Some people even us it in the bottom of potted plants to help retain moisture!

 

(All reviews and statements are my honest opinions, and all products are purchased by me unless otherwise explicitly stated.)

Holika Holika Cera Cream

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Part of a good beauty routine is a good moisturizer.  Think of your skin as the canvas for the makeup, you want to prep the canvas properly or it doesn’t matter how much paint you slather on, it just won’t look as good as it would if you had stretched and mounted it, then properly primed it.  A good cleanser, exfoliant, and moisturizer are important to your beauty routine!

My skin is combination and acne prone.  My pores are naturally quite large and they block pretty easily so this makes finding a moisturizer that hydrates well but doesn’t cause problems difficult.  All my favourites for hydration have blocked my pores and have sadly been demoted to body lotions.  For this reason, I try to buy samples to try out before I buy a full size.  The sample for this weeks review is Holika Holika’s Cera cream.

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This cream is supposed to help protect and restore the skins natural barrier with the ceramide ingredients. Ceramides help the skin’s water-retention capacity and are necessary for cell regulation.  When added to products such as creams and lotions they help restore the skin’s natural barrier system, which helps it keep moisture in and regulate what enters through you epidermis.

First Thoughts:

The cream is very thick but doesn’t feel heavy when applied.  It smooths into the skin really well and it was like my skin felt it and was like, “Yup! I want this!” and sucked it right in! It absorbed pretty fast and left my skin looking dewy and soft.

It has a light scent, almost like a pine forest although that doesn’t quite describe it.  It’s a light and fresh smell with a hint of spiciness.  I’m not very good at scent notes, can you tell? I am sensitive to scents but found this to be nice; it wasn’t too strong and it faded after application so I did not experience a headache or nausea like I usually do from scents.

After a week:

My samples lasted a week so I was able to get a pretty good idea of how this cream worked for me.  I really liked the way it felt and how my skin looked after applying it but unfortunately I found that it blocked my pores.  I was really sad to see those bumps appear on my cheeks as I really do like this product.

Final Thoughts:

I loved this product but I will not buy a full size as it did block my pores.  I was really disappointed since I really liked the texture and the scent.  It was nice and thick, didn’t feel too greasy, and applied easily.  My skin looked soft and glowy, and it worked really well under my makeup. Sometimes moisturizer balls up a bit when I apply a primer or BB cream and this didn’t. If it didn’t block my pores I would definitely buy it.  I would highly recommend getting a sample and trying it for yourself but I wouldn’t buy the full size before seeing how your skin reacts to it.

 

(All reviews and statements are my honest opinions, and all products are purchased by me unless otherwise explicitly stated.)

 

Cosmetic Love Sample Pack

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To help fuel my obsession with trying new products I ordered a couple sample packs from different websites and my second one came in the other day.  This one was ordered from cosmestic-love.com on the 17th of April.  It was shipped on the 21st of April and it arrived on the 12th of May.  For international shipping that’s not too bad but the box from eopenmarket did beat it by almost a week and they were ordered on the same day. The sample pack was $7.98 (USD) and shipping was free.

This pack does give an idea of what it contains before you buy it as it is described as a sample pack of 12 different kinds of BB and CC creams. I was hoping I wouldn’t get any doubles of products I already had and luckily, everything was different.  The downside to this sample pack is that besides the Missha Signature CC cream, I only received one of each sample and I find that this is only enough for a set of swatches and 2 days of wear, depending on the size of the sample.

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The sample pack arrived nicely packaged and was sent in a bubble envelope.

IMG_2738I did like that I received a couple of different products from a few notable brands so that I could try many different things from one company.  Missha, Etude House, Skin Food, TonyMoly, and Lioele are the different brands in my pack.

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IMG_2740The samples work out to be $0.67 each (USD) which is pretty good although the sample pack from eopenmarket breaks down to $0.27 a sample (including shipping).   All in all, this is a pretty good deal and a good option for anyone wanting to try a range of different BB and CC cream products.  I would recommend this to anyone just getting into asian beauty products and who are looking to find a good colour match.

Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming swatch fest from this box!

 

(All reviews and statements are my honest opinions, and all products are purchased by me unless otherwise explicitly stated.)

 

Etude House Lip Tints

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Next on the review list are the Etude House lip tints, which I received in both pink (shade PK001) and red (shade RD301).

IMG_2694So first thing I noticed is that the colours are very bright; the colour was almost impossible to capture in a way that does it justice.  The colours are very vibrant.  The second thing was the scent.  These tints are very strongly scented with a sugary sweet fake cherry scent.  If you are sensitive to scents then I would be very cautious with these as the scent made me feel slightly nauseous.

Swatches:

The swatches are done in natural light.  You can see better here how bright the colours are.

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The tints also stain very fast.  I had applied the tints, snapped the picture and wiped them off all in less than a minute and these are the resulting stains:IMG_2692

The stains in this image are harder to see but this picture was taken 6 hours later, after I worked a shift. Not impressed? I work at a pool and taught swimming lessons for 2 hours then showered.  Yeah, the stains survived all that!IMG_2733

Wear Tests:

These are my bare lips:

IMG_2797First tint up is the red! This is just after applying.  Since this stains so fast I found it easier to use a q-tip to apply as it allows for more precision as well as means that I don’t look like my fingers have been attacked by a paint pot.

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After about an hour:

IMG_27293 hours after application:photo 3-25 hours after application:

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Pink tint time! So the first image is immediately after application and you can see that it is pretty bright although the camera was unable to capture the depth of the colour.  This is very bright colour!

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After about an hour:

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This colour wore out a lot faster than the red tint did. This is 3 hours after application:

photo 1-3And finally after 5 hours of application:

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The Nitty Gritty:

As you can see, since it is a stain and not a lipstick or gloss there is no redistribution of colour when you smush your lips (you know, that thing you do after you put on lipstick?) and so it wears unevenly.   This made it look like I was wearing lipliner but had forgotten to fill in the rest of the lip. I also found the tints to be very drying and had to use lip balm throughout the day (more than I normally do) in order to hydrate the desert that had moved onto my lips.

As I mentioned earlier, these tints are very strongly scented and anyone sensitive to strong scents should tread lightly with these products.  They were not flavoured and in this case that is a good thing as that would encourage licking of the lips, which would cause more wear.  As they already wear unevenly this would make that worse.

All in all, these weren’t my favourite.  The colours were a bit too bright for my taste but they would be good for someone who likes strong, vibrant colours.  The way they wore throughout the day makes reapplication a requirement and I found them to be very drying.  The scent and the messy application sealed the deal for me on these and this is not a product that I would buy in the full size.

 

(All reviews and statements are my honest opinions, and all products are purchased by me unless otherwise explicitly stated.)

 

 

BB Creams!

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So I have delved into my Lucky Box from eopenmarket!  One of the main reasons I even ordered the sample box is my quest to find my perfect foundation/BB cream.  As you will see below in the the images, I’m pretty pale.  I am about a NC10 although I haven’t been officially matched by MAC as the MAC in my area didn’t have any stock lower than a NC20.  According to the Sephora skin matching system I am a 3Y01 meaning that I am the lightest shade of pale that their system recognizes and have a yellow undertone.  I am inclined to believe this match even though I know that some people have been miss matched with this system.  I was matched twice by different people at different locations and both times I had this result.  The foundations that matched also looked pretty good both in store and out of store.  My problem is that I don’t really want to pay $70+ (CAN$) on a foundation.  Thus my journey into asian products, specifically BB creams!

To start, for those of you who do not know as much about asian BB creams compared to north american BB creams, the main difference is the formula and coverage.  Simply put, north american BB creams are pretty much tinted moisturizer where as  asian BB creams have better coverage and some extra good stuff in their formulas that skin loves.  On many asian BB creams you may see the term ‘whitening’, this does not mean it bleaches your skin! So don’t worry about that; I know I had a mini freakout when I read that and had to look into what it meant.  If you are worried there are some options that do not have the brightening effect so just read the information on a product carefully before you buy.

Alright! Product time! The products that came with the box were Etude House Precious Mineral Bright Fit BB cream in shade N02, Skin79 BB cream in Purple and Green, and Etude House CC cream in Silky.  From previous purchases I have samples of Missha’s Perfect Cover BB cream in shade #13 and Etude House Precious Mineral Cotton Fit BB cream in W13 (Natural Beige).

Swatches:

Natural Lighting

Direct Natural Light (Fig. 1) and Indirect Natural Light (Fig. 2 & 3)

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Top to bottom: Etude House CC cream, Skin79 in Purple, Skin79 in Green, Etude House Cotton Fit in W13 (Natural Beige), Etude House Bright Fit in N02, Missha Perfect Cover #13.

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IMG_2684Left to right: Skin79 in Green, Etude House Cotton Fit in W13 (Natural Beige), Etude House Bright Fit in N02, Missha Perfect Cover #13.

IMG_2686Left to right: Etude House CC cream, Skin79 in Purple, Skin79 in Green.

Artificial Lighting.  Your typical bathroom lighting!

IMG_2687Top to bottom: Etude House CC cream, Skin79 in Purple, Skin79 in Green, Etude House Cotton Fit in W13 (Natural Beige), Etude House Bright Fit in N02, Missha Perfect Cover #13.

IMG_2688Top to bottom: Etude House CC cream, Skin79 in Purple, Skin79 in Green, Etude House Cotton Fit in W13 (Natural Beige), Etude House Bright Fit in N02, Missha Perfect Cover #13.

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Top to Bottom: Etude House Cotton Fit in W13 (Natural Beige), Etude House Bright Fit in N02, Missha Perfect Cover #13.

IMG_2690Top to bottom: Etude House CC cream, Skin79 in Purple, Skin79 in Green.

Review:

Missha’s Perfect Cover #13 BB: This one is currently my favourite.  I have been able to use it for a couple days and I really like it.  The formula just seems to melt into your skin but it provides good coverage.  It is build-able for those who want a little extra coverage in some areas and it blends really well.  The colour is a perfect match for me and the formula is really smooth.  I only need a little bit for my whole face.  It looks more pink when it comes out of the tube but it oxidizes a little more orange/yellow.

Etude House Precious Mineral Bright Fit BB cream in N02: This one surprised me with how dark it was.  It has a nice smooth formula and blends nicely.

Etude House Precious Mineral Cotton Fit BB cream in W13 (Natural Beige): The colour is quite orange but the tint blends out a fair bit.  The formula is smooth and feels nice on the skin, and it blends nicely to provide an even texture. I did find that I needed more of the Etude House BB cream to get the same coverage as the Missha provided so that is something to keep in mind.

Skin79 BB cream in Green: This is a nice light colour with more of a yellow undertone.  This is very thick in my opinion and I needed to use more to cover my whole face but it feels really nice on.  It doesn’t feel mask like and it does almost melt into the skin.  It has a nice creamy texture and provides really good coverage. It does oxidize a little bit darker on my skin so for you pale folks looking for the perfect light colour, keep that in mind.

Skin79 BB cream in Purple: This was the darkest shade out of the bunch.  Like the Skin79 Green BB cream, it is very thick but feels nice on the skin; no masky feel.  It provides nice coverage and has a creamy texture but you need to use a bit more to cover the whole face area.

Etude House CC cream in Silky: This cream comes out white with little specks in it and changes colour as you rub it onto the skin.  For me the colour is a bit too orange but it feels like nothing on your skin! It just melts away while still providing coverage and is super blend able.  If this comes in my colour I will definitely be trying it out!

Final Thoughts:

  • So my favourite overall is the Missha Perfect Cover but this is influenced by the fact that it really matches my skin tone.
  • I really like the feel of the Etude House CC cream and am hoping to find it in a shade that matches my skin tone.
  • My least favourite were the Etude House Precious Mineral BB creams.  Although they have a really nice for texture and blend well, I felt I had to use more than with the other creams to reach the same coverage.

Please keep in mind that I have combination skin and remember that products work differently for everyone.  While I hope these swatches and reviews help you find your perfect match, I can not guarantee what works for me will work for you.  Have fun trying things though and let me know anything else you may discover so that I can try it too!

 

(All reviews and statements are my honest opinions, and all products are purchased by me unless otherwise explicitly stated.)

 

eopenmarket.com

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I’m kicking off my blog posts with the first order I had come in the mail today from eopenmarket.com!  The owner of this store owns  a popular account on Ebay and branched out into a full online store featuring asian beauty products.  I heard about this site through a popular online community, Reddit (shout out to the ladies at /r/asianbeauty!).  The site can be a little hard to navigate but in my opinion it is worth it as the products are genuine, which can be tricky as some counterfeits are really well done, and they offer reasonable shipping and prices.

As I am just starting my journey into indie makeup and asian products, I decided to order their sample pack the ‘Lucky Box’ which came to $6.80 USD.  I am in Canada so I was pleasantly surprised when shipping was only $3.80 USD.  I believe it goes up for full sized products but that is still ridiculously reasonable compared to some other sites I have been to.  I ordered on the 17th of April and it arrived on the 6th of May so not too bad for shipping time especially since it travelled quite a distance.

I was expecting maybe 1 or 2 samples of 5-6 products and was tickled when the little box arrived in the mail.  Here’s the deal, it never seemed to end! It was like Mary Poppins purse in this box.  This tiny little box was jammed packed full of samples. In all there were samples for 18 different products, most with multiples!  Including shipping costs, the cost breakdown ends up being $0.27 (USD) a sample, which is awesome! Usually samples cost about $5 for 3 samples, $1.67 (USD) a sample so this is an awesome deal.

When I saw the Wonder Pore at the top of the box I did a little happy dance as I have been eyeing this set of products for the last couple days and wanted to try them without buying full sizes.

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Look at all those goodies!

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photo 2-3 photo 1-3 photo 3-2I’m really looking forward to trying the different BB creams and comparing them as there are so many on the market (so look for that upcoming review!)

In summary I would recommend this Lucky Pack from eopenmarket.com for anyone who is new to asian beauty products and wants to try some different things but doesn’t know where to start.  In my opinion it was really good bang for my buck, the shipping was reasonable and it came relatively fast. Definitely will buy from this shop again and will probably order another sample pack in the future!

(All reviews and statements are my honest opinions, and all products are purchased by me unless otherwise explicitly stated.)