Review: Skinfood Avocado & Honey Lip Serum

Hi everyone!

Now that I have established a lip care routine of sorts, I am looking into exploring other options for the steps I have. One of these steps involves using a thin ‘lip serum’ type product in the morning. It has to be really quick and easy to use and play well with my lipsticks and lip liners without compromising them. So for this, tubs are a no and sticks are okay… But I really love tubes as there is no time taken to ‘melt’ any product onto the lips – lanolin products being a sort of exception.

 

By the way, lip balms were not part of my no-buy. Tinted ones… well, I didn’t realise this one was tinted… I certainly don’t wear it in lieu of a lipstick, so I wouldn’t count this particular one… I don’t normally buy/wear tinted ones at all…

 

The product I used for this step prior was Dr Organic’s Hemp Lip Serum. It’s an oily gel sort of texture, in a tube, and in a thin layer, works really well for what I need it for without being too runny. But lip ‘serums’ are a rare product category and I wanted to see what other options I had. Lip essences are interesting too and I think the two terms might be used interchangeably and of course, lip oils are not to be ignored although true oil consistencies are not what I’m looking for.

I bought this product for £3.97 for 10 ml from RoseRoseShop on ebay, a known reputable seller of Korean cosmetics and skincare. As usual, it took about two weeks to get to me here in the UK.

This appealed to me as a morning lip balm because it has a little sun protection at SPF8 and has a tube packaging. to be honest, as I pat off the lip balm later the SPF is not a deal breaker as it won’t stay on. The avocado and honey extracts are supposed to help keep the lips moist. It smells of a typical lip balm in a stick – I think it’s lypsyl that comes to mind or the classic Nivea lip balm scent. That means it also doesn’t taste very nice.

I was really surprised to see the product come out so dark – a very deep berry colour! However, once I spread it on the lips this colour all but dissipates into a not-even-noticeable tint. It doesn’t appear too glossy or too matte – just a creamy shine.

When I am only wearing this balm during the day at home, the product lasts two or three hours on the lips before I have to reapply it again. This is with drinking water and a bit of snacking in between. It won’t last a meal, but as the tint is so light you’re not going to notice, visually, that it’s gone. At the same time, the tint makes my lips look healthier and less washed out. If you have more pigmented lips, though you won’t notice a difference.

It plays well under lip products. I usually press my lips against the back of my hand to remove excess and leave a thin layer. It doesn’t cause my lipstick to go on patchy and I can use my lip products as usual.

I wasn’t sure about this lip serum at first. I’m not sure I would still call it the kind of serum I was expecting. It’s definitely more just a thin balm. However, it’s really grown on me and I do enjoy using it now, especially the healthy flush it gives to my lips even if I do pat it off later on. I don’t think I will repurchase this again, though.

Until next time,

X

Review: Etude House Dr Mascara Fixer for Perfect Lash

Hi everyone!
For my birthday a few months back, I treated myself to some stuff from Jolse. Initially, the total was about £50 but I common-sensed it down to about £30. The power of rational thinking is my best weapon against impulse buying. The only thing it doesn’t work on is food… Anyway, I picked up another loose powder, repurchased my favourite Bbia gel liner in new shades and also this eyelash fixer.
I had heard some things about this eyelash primer/top coat product but it was Hoi Yin Li who finally convinced me to pop it onto my shopping list. She was totally right – this is am amazing product that really ups your lash game.
This product costs about $6.46 (£4.89) from the online store, Jolse. It takes two weeks for their orders to reach me in the UK from Korea, and it’s free shipping for all orders.
On the packaging, it states that Dr Mascara Fixer can be used underneath mascaras as a lash primer or over the lashes as a ‘top coat’. The fixer itself has a slightly milky silicone texture, which goes on smoothly and dries to hold the curl. It does stick a few lashes together sometimes so you may have to quickly brush out the lashes before the fixer sets for a fluffy look.
The greatest thing about it is that it really improved the performance of sub-par mascaras, particularly with improving curl-holding. I have an issue with volumising mascaras as my lashes cannot hold the curl with them, but this problem is pretty much eliminated with the addition of the Dr Mascara Fixer, for all the mascaras I have tried with it. I feel like it doesn’t make the mascara pop more in intensity, but it will improve longevity and reduce smudging a bit, used as a primer. After my ‘meh’ review of the Urban Decay Troublemaker mascara, I am now using it up but only with this primer!
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I’ve found that it can pick up a little too much product at times, so I try to scrape off a lot or just to work quickly. It also dries quite stiffly which makes my lashes feel quite different. It does work on the lower lashes as well. However, I didn’t like to use it on its own or as a top coat layer as it does not dry completely clear, with a bit of milky whiteness that tones down my lash colour or the black pigment of my mascara.
When I used this as a top coat and attempted another coat of mascara on top, it mostly caused my lashes to stick together to form the clumpy, spidery effect. So it really only works best with one layer underneath your preferred mascara.
I really love this and I’m sure I’ll buy backups for the future, which won’t be expensive either. Etude House has some real gems in their collection – last year I gifted a bunch of their Proof 10 eye primer out to my friends and it looks like this year I’ll be doing the same with this!
Have you tried any lash primers before?

Until next time,

X

A Peek at my Skincare Diary #1: Short and Sweet

Gasp! A Saturday post? Yeah, I forgot to schedule some new posts whilst I was panicking over an essay. I have some time to get some posts up and scheduled now, though, so you all have something to read while I am contemplating the inner workings of the mind for my degree!

I initially planned to start this series two months ago, around the time of year I share my skincare wardrobe. Instead of presenting it all as a giant wardrobe last year, I thought it would be interesting to keep a diary and record what I was using on a day-to-day basis. But then I suddenly stopped taking care of my skin, going nights without bothering with a moisturiser, although I could never forgo my thick layer of lip balm. But it meant I stopped keeping track of my skin using my diary, too.

So very slowly, I’ve been reintroducing my skincare routine based on what I am feeling. I’m not sure how long it will last seeing as my exams are really quite fast approaching and I habitually tend to wreck my sleeping and skincare around that time…

But anyway, here’s what I have been reaching for when I actually did bother with basic self-care.

Morning

Dr Organic Hemp Oil Lip Serum

After using this in the morning for at least a year now, I think I am finally using up the last of it! This has an oily but also gel-like texture that’s quite unusual, but I do like it as I want something thin that won’t interfere with my lipstick. It’s only £2.49 from Holland and Barratt, too. I wear it in the morning as soon as I have washed my face, and it stays on mostly until I get to the lipstick stage, when I press it off a bit with the back of my hand before applying lipstick. Of course, the smell will take some getting used to if you’ve never used hemp before – it can be a little unpleasant.

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Emulsion

I think this is actually the first emulsion type product I have tried, and I really like it. It’s most similar to the Western ‘lotion’ although not quite the same thing to me. It’s basically a light moisturiser and sinks in super well which is great in the mornings when I need to layer sunscreen and makeup on top without pilling but also don’t want my skin to be too dry.

I’ve been meaning to write a full review for ages but now I realise there’s not much to say! I’ve been using this for months and I’m only halfway through the bottle, but I will finish this up. I probably won’t repurchase it in favour of something with more ‘wow’ to it.

Kose Suncut Aqualy UV Protect Gel SPF50+ PA++++|Full Review Here

Something about this sunscreen texture is super pleasant so I never shy from reaching for this. It also works really nicely under makeup without pilling which I am very grateful for. However, if oil is a major problem for you then this might not be the best option at all. I really liked using this over the last winter (I just… accepted my oiliness haha) although admittedly I didn’t wear sunscreen every day… I’ll look at other options because I’m a blogger, after all, but this will definitely be repurchased in the future. It’s been over a year of sporadic use and I’m finally getting to the last quarter of the bottle.

Evening

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser| Review Here

A very gentle and pleasant cleanser! For days of light makeup only. It will also make a good attempt at non-waterproof mascaras without stinging the eyes at all which is a nice bonus, and the rose smell is lovely. I actually don’t have many rose-scented products – for some reason the M&S body product sets that haunted my childhood come to mind – but maybe that can change! My only gripe is the price for the amount but honestly, for this lovely of a cleanser, I would not mind repurchasing it anyway.

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream

Again, this eye cream actually isn’t anything special. But I’m twenty and only looking for a standard eye cream that isn’t too rich or too thin, and it doesn’t need to have anti-ageing ingredients at this stage. This is actually the perfect consistency – sort of buttery but not greasy at all – and the scent is actually quite minimal. All that means this is super pleasant to use for me and I’d happily buy it to use again. I’ve almost reached the bottom of my tub which means I need to stop buying new emulsions and essences and buy a new eye cream!! Any suggestions for products with a similar consistency?

COSRX AHA Whitehead Power Liquid

As I often lost track of my routine I have erred on the safe side and avoided my acids. I’m trying to reintroduce it starting weekly but even that is kind of a struggle at the moment! Besides the slightly funky smell which I am sort of used to now, there’s not much to say thus far.

Lanolips 101 Ointment|Review here

Dr Pawpaw Original Balm|Review here

One of my favourite combinations recently. I like to use a thin layer of Lanolips before applying a thick layer of Dr PawPaw, which makes my lips super soft in the morning and easy to exfoliate or even just wipe away the dead skin after morning cleansing. Both are slightly pricier options for lip balm and the PawPaw I feel could easily be replaced with Vaseline or Carmex. As you can see, I currently prefer products in tubes, even over stick-type products.

Overall, this routine takes less than ten minutes out of my morning and evening, and hopefully I can build it up a bit more over the next few months without going too heavy as the summer approaches.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of skincare and hopefully, as this project develops, we’ll be able to see how my skincare routine evolves and adapts to change to all the seasons!

Until next time,

X

#Playlist: Ghosts

Hi everyone!

I wasn’t sure whether to do this or not, but I’m worried that my content is suffering these days and I’m not putting out the quality I want. So I want to be sure I’m taking time to work on them properly and making sure I am including all the information I want to. I know I finally got some photos and all, but along with uni work I’m struggling to get my words up to the standard I want.

So you probably won’t see another post this week and might just see less posting from me for a while depending on how these next few weeks go. I have a few events lined up to fill the week before the term ends, so that’s also quite exciting. It’s wild that I’m over halfway through my first year at university.

Anyway, I’ve been feeling like my music needs a bit more shaking up again whilst I work on this assignment for university. Before you ask… Did I dive down into a pit of music recommendations from YouTube that I actually liked? Yes, the answer is yes.

It’s inspired this playlist of recent discoveries with a dash of songs I felt just fit right in here. It’s not too upbeat. As much as I love my pop music, I have a soft spot for music that’s kind of whimsical and dreamy but there are also some very specific things I like. Sort of deep and mildly depressing and perhaps a soundtrack for the non-existent aimless midnight wander.

Today’s playlist is a mix of English language and Korean language tracks.

Ashmute (Korean)Ghost, Scenery, Inferno – I really like the dreamy feel coming from this trio, and how they play around with the pace of their songs. My favourite of these is Ghost but Scenery has really grown on me. K-Indie tends to be kind of hit-and-miss for me as I focus on sound rather than lyrics and a lot of K-Indie can sound similar to me, but this is really nice.

Kailee MorgueGhost of Mine, Medusa – I initially got some Melanie Martinez vibes from Morgue’s vocals on Ghost of Mine. I really like this kind of music – the kind that’s just really strange and haunting but not too deep like Ruelle’s Madness – I like that sound too but not all the time.

Bipolar SunshineDaydreamer – Well… This playlist could do with some happy. I’m definitely up for listening to more Bipolar Sunshine now that I have discovered them, this is a jam.

DJ SnakeMiddle (ft. Bipolar Sunshine) – It’s funny, I do love the odd DJ Snake track I come across but I always forget to dive into their discography. This is the most upbeat track on the playlist.

MothicaOut of It – In doing a little bit of research on Mothica I saw the words ‘gloom pop’. At last, a word for the genre of music I like. I’ll go searching later for songs under this umbrella, haha.

Sojung of Ladies’ Code (Korean)Crystal Clear – Sojung has one of the most distinctive voices in the mainstream K-Pop scene and I really miss Ladies’ Code and love their newer songs so it is lovely to hear her singing again. I want to hear her in a long with Lee Hi one day. I think their voices would resonate well together.

Heize (Korean) – Jenga – There’s something odd about the end of the hook that I really like. What is it, dissonance? It was odd but now I really like it. I first watched Heize on Unpretty Rapstar 2 for a bit and really liked her as well as Kitti B and Yubin.

Heyne (Korean) – Insomnia (Unofficial, included to omit the snoring in the official MV)|Official MV – Heyne’s unusual voice is what stopped this from being too boring for me. That and perhaps the fact that she’s actually 26-ish and looks (and sounds) younger than me!

Tei ShiNevermind The End (unofficial)|Official MV, Say You Do (unofficial)| Official MV – I’ve been listening a lot to these two tracks recently. They’re just really nice to loop.

FazerdazeLucky Girl – I’m hoping this is a nice choice to tie off the playlist as well as leading back to the beginning when I feel like it.

I hope you’ve discovered something that you like today. I’ll get back to writing my uni assignment now!

Until next time,

X

My Experience at G-Dragon’s ‘Act III: MOTTE’ Tour in Birmingham

I may have recounted this story a number of times, but I got into K-pop because a family friend spent her gap year in Korea and came back with a K-pop mix on a CD, full of Bigbang and SHINee’s old hits and Lee Hyori’s U Go Girl. We played it when her mom picked us up from school all the time, and Haru Haru was my favourite song for an age and a half.
That was like, ten years ago. I listen to K-pop like I listen to just about everything else – casually and not as obsessively as I used to, but if you strike a K-pop conversation with me I’m not going to stop talking. Where do I even get all these trivia from? I don’t even know. I joined the K-Soc at my uni so hopefully, I will make friends who I can be just as chatty with.
Anyway. G-Dragon held a concert in Birmingham recently, and I knew whatever it cost, I would end up going. It was very pricey for a concert so I settled for a seat that was still £120+. GD was my first love of K-pop but I don’t love him as much now to pay £200+ for the VIP Silver Soundcheck package like a certain relative of mine… (You don’t even get to meet him for that money…)
It was my first concert at Genting so I was quite excited! I ended up there many hours early since I was tagging along with VIPers but that meant I could grab food and still be in my seat an hour and a half before the show started. It also meant the wait for the show to start was pretty much unbearable.
The Genting Arena doesn’t allow fancy cameras like my DSLR (darn it!!) so I am still stuck with the phone camera I used last year, sadly, which is why my photos are less than impressive. I spent the rest of my time jamming along to everything he performed.
The show was all bright lights and dark visuals. MOTTE, for G-Dragon himself, is a show exploring himself- his identity as GD and as Kwon Ji Yong, and it did feel quite personal, also including video interviews with his friends and family. The setlist started from his old hits and ended with almost all the songs from his most recent EP, Kwon Ji Yong. It was separated into three acts this way.
I noticed people were more hyped towards the second act when he performed more recent and well-known songs (and especially CROOKED in the encore because we UK fans have a soft spot for it – he filmed the video in London). It was a shame people weren’t as excited for A-YO and Obsession as I was, though! They are two of my favourite songs by GD.
I met some wonderful fellow concert-goers whilst there. From the pair of girls waiting for food to the girl I sat next to as we both went to the concert alone, to the girls who helped me charge my phone and find my relative after the battery died, and also got me the poster that is now on my wall. I’ve met so many wonderful people through my casual listening of K-pop and this night was no different.
I am so happy that there have been more K-pop concerts in the UK recently (Crush, ZICO, Dean, GD and KARD all in the last year and Hyukoh next month) so I get to indulge in live music I love. I am putting my bets on BTS being the next big act to hit the UK, seeing as they are doing fabulously internationally.
Who are you waiting on to hold a concert?
Until next time,
X

Review: The Creme Shop Sheet Masks

Since hearing that TK Maxx in the UK had begun to sell K-beauty items, I have made a point of dropping by more often to scour their messy shelves full of open products. You do find gems there occasionally. They’re also fantastic for the odd bit of gorgeous stationary in the notebooks section!

Most recently, I bought two packs of sheet masks from The Creme Shop Fusion Mask line. The Creme Shop are actually a US brand (based in LA) but the masks are made in Korea, which they mention proudly along with the fact that their products are cruelty-free.

The mask multipacks cost £4.99 for a pack of five individual sheet masks, which means each mask is about £1. This is a decent price in my opinion, and its US source is probably the reason why seeing as actual Korean-branded masks are usually sold for £2-3 individually at the same store! Price markups are scary.

Now, here’s a little pointer I have to mention. I noticed soon after purchasing my masks that they had an expiry date in 2016. We are well into the second quarter of 2017 now so that is a little concerning (Although not as bad as some 4-year old mask horror stories I’ve read!) I did patch test the essence just to make sure it wouldn’t immediately burn my face, and during my first use I kept the mask on for less time than I normally would have (twenty minutes as opposed to my usual hour or two) just in case.

I decided to make an exception and not return these masks seeing as sheet masks are individually sealed and my skin is generally unreactive. However, in future, I will definitely be checking for expiry dates and erring on the side of caution as to not buy them.

I don’t think in the UK we have expiry dates on cosmetics, just shelf life recommendations, so I don’t think there are any laws concerning any expiry dates on cosmetics anyway. With the rise of global products in cosmetics and especially the popularity of sheet masks recently, I hope regulations on cosmetics expiry dates and retail are considered soon in the future.

EDIT: From the cardboard packaging I had assumed these were expired, but on the individual mask packets the expiry date is listed as 2019. EH. It really shouldn’t be this misleading.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the Fusion Masks! I bought two varieties – the Green Tea and Latte, and the Honey and Lavender.

(Displayed on packaging for both masks)

Fusion Masks – The benefits of 2 masks in 1

The Creme Shop’s fusion sheet mask is designed to deliver the benefits of two masks with just one application.

Directions:

  1. Cleanse and dry skin.
  2. Pull out sheet mask from package and place mask on face. Use the excess essence in packet on neck and parts of face not covered by mask.
  3. Leave mask on for 20-30 min or until dry.
  4. Remove mask. Do not wash off or pat dry. Allow skin to absorb remaining nutrients.
  5. Proceed with routine skin regimen.

For a cooling effect, store your mask in the refrigerator.

Not only is each mask infused with two nutritious ingredients, it is also rich in the ultimate moisturiser: hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid’s superpower: Retains moisture. One gram can hold up to six liters of water. When skin lacks moisture, it can become cracked, aged and dull. Hyaluronic acid keeps skin young and perfectly dewy.

One of the first things I noticed was that The Creme Shop really play up the Korean inspiration of their masks. Since sheet masks became the next new thing, we have seen brands from Superdrug and Garnier to Estee Lauder and Charlotte Tilbury bringing out their own variations. I am aware that some brands do manufacture theirs in Korea as well. The Creme Shop is the first brand I have seen put Korean text on their packaging. Honestly, at a glance, I thought it was a proper Korea-based brand and that is what made me check out the products in the first place. Interesting move.

Green Tea and Milk 

Green Tea’s Super Power: Combats age. Antioxidants in green tea create a barrier to protect skin from free radicals while preventing deep, fine wrinkles.

Milk’s Super Power: Smooths out skin for a soft, silky complexion. Proteins and lactic acid in milk nourish the skin and gradually repair skin discolouration.

Ingredients:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Xanthan Gum, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tricadeth-10, Betaine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta-Glucan, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Milk Protein Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Allantoin, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance

Compared to the Honey and Lavender, I found this mask to be more pleasant to use. Largely because the smell is less strong and more tolerable, and doesn’t induce the visual of putting straight-up bar soap on my face. Otherwise, the fit was alright. There is a bit of awkward nose shaping but that’s not really new.

There is quite a bit of essence dripping from the mask so I did end up with extra to rub down my neck and arms.

Honey and Lavender

Honey’s Super Power: Filthy rich. Honey is rich in natural sugars and minersla, providing skin with essential nutrients. As a humectant, it traps in moisture to create silky, hydrated skin.

Lavender’s super power: Kills softly. Lavender is known for its therapeutic purposes, but is also effective in combating acne. They key to unblemished skin.

Ingredients:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Xanthan Gum, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tricadeth-10, Betaine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta-Glucan, Lavender Extract, Honey Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Lavender Oil, Allantoin, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA

Okay, when I opened this particular mask, I noticed the bubbles. When I took the mask out, I also noticed the bubble on the eye holes. This being a lavender mask, it totally smelt of lavender soap.

I found it was dripping in essence, and if I had not been erring on the cautious side, I would have used it all. The essence is clear and runny.

The mask fit was decent. As usual, there’s a lot of excess around my chin but the rest of my face fits alright. I should also note that the cotton is standard – thicker than My Beauty Diary, about the same as Etude House. If you’ve tried any sheet mask chances are you’ll be familiar with this type of sheet.

Overall, a decent experience with these masks but I’m not sure I will go out of my way to buy either of these in future!

What have been your beauty finds at TK Maxx recently?

Until next time,

X

Newton’s Apple – Album by Nell (Packaging and Lots of Fangirling)

I mentioned that I got a really exciting delivery in the post yesterday. I also took photos right away because I was so excited.

It’s a physical copy of Nell’s album, Newton’s Apple! I came across someone on Facebook who was destashing her collection at really good prices. I had my eye on some other albums but they were popular and were gone long before I looked at the post. I am still very happy to have been able to buy this, though. I find that foreign albums can be quite pricey at times especially including shipping, so I’ve never bought one myself. I also own One of a Kind by G-Dragon and that was a gift.

Anyway, back to this gorgeous album. I guess you could say this is my introduction to Nell even though they’ve been around quite a while. White Night (CD2, Track 2) was the first song I ever heard from them, and I have never looked back.

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The album was packaged so nicely! This is what it looked like after I got rid of all the bubble wrap and outer wrapping. I will be keeping that Thank You card and putting it on my wall.

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The lovely lady I bought this from also included an extra little gift in the form of an Etude House Olive Sheet Mask! I look forward to using it, and will probably be saving it for a rainy day, since I still have a bunch of Malie Green Tea Masks to go through.

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As you can see, the packaging is stunning. As well as the lyric booklet which you can see on the right, above the CDs, there was a black envelope included with contained stunning artworks for certain tracks on the album. They capture the essence of the music perfectly. The actual album is quite big as well – bigger than my face. Just means more to love.

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My favourite tracks from this album? You really want to make me answer such a hard question?? Sunshine (CD1) and Haven (CD2) are very chill tracks that will always find a way onto a themed playlist. Sunshine, in particular, is hopeful, but just gets sadder as the lyrics are told from the perspective of the person who wants you to be ‘brighter than sunshine.’ The change in tone turns the atmosphere from supportive to sacrificial, and it gives me such emotion every time.

But seriously, Newton’s apple is one of those few albums in which I think every single track is a stand-out track and you can tell there has been so much thought and love put into every note. I am so happy to own this album and I seriously recommend that you have a listen too.

X