REVIEW: NALC Moisturizer All-In-One Gel for Tone-up, Wrinkle and Acne Care

Hello everyone!

With more sectors of our economy allowed to resume operations progressively, it is only a matter of time before our borders reopen and we are able to jet off again (though probably not as extensively as before), or, at the very least go on a staycation; hence perhaps it’s about time we gear up with all the travel necessities so that we would be ever-ready for an impromptu getaway, especially once the restrictions are finally lifted.

Don't we all miss finding out our boarding time and gate in front of the FIDS? (Image by Jan Vašek)

Don’t we all miss finding out our boarding time and gate in front of the FIDS? (Image by Jan Vašek)

Much as my wanderlust itch is dying to be scratched, there is always this one small First World problem that makes travelling a little less enjoyable for me, and that is packing. As one who prioritises vanity, I mean, spares no effort on the upkeep of my appearance, my toiletries usually take up a lot of room inside my luggage, and this exacerbates if my destination is experiencing the height of winter, thereby leaving a limited amount of space for other essential items, and adding unnecessary weight to my precious load. For my trip to Japan last December, for instance, I had to pack my facial cleanser, toner, exfoliator, moisturisers (one for outdoor use) and acne treatment on top of my shower products (my sensitive skin doesn’t quite jive with some of the body wash provided by hotels so I tend to bring my own) into my luggage. And let’s not forget about the unpacking after everything is done and dusted. Oh, so lazy…

Thankfully, all this is about to change with the All-In-One Gel Moisturizer (also known as Three Protect Gel) by NALC, a Japanese unisex skincare brand that was previously featured here for their amazing waterproof sunscreen.

NALC All-In-One Gel Moisturizer (S$45)

NALC All-In-One Gel Moisturizer (S$45)

Touted as a handy all-in-one medicated gel that replaces your regular facial serum, moisturiser, cream and leave-on night mask altogether, it helps to tackle three major skin issues – wrinkles, acne and discolouration – with ingredients that lock moisture in the skin (i.e. ceramides and hyaluronic acids) and maintain its supple texture (i.e. collagens and amino acids). Dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, an active ingredient in the formula, prevents acne, heat rash, frostbite, chapping and cracked skin under extreme weather conditions while tranexamic acid suppresses the production of melanin to reduce the appearance of spots and freckles.

Protective seal

Protective seal

Ingredient list

Ingredient list (click here for complete list)

The tube

The tube

You might also be interested to know that this is actually a quasi-drug (approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan) which ultimately means that the ingredients are recognised as effective, or more so than cosmetic products.

Medicated, another way of saying quasi-drug

Medicated, another way of saying quasi-drug

The "医薬部外品" label is what you need to look out for on the packaging to check if the product is a quasi-drug

The “医薬部外品” label is what you need to look out for on the packaging to check if the product is a quasi-drug

Moreover, it contains several natural ingredients such as white fungus polysaccharide, artichoke extract, scutellaria root extract, soybean extract, almond extract and bilberry leaf extract to promote better skin health.

Clinically proven to be hypoallergenic, this gel moisturiser is formulated without ingredients that are known to aggravate the skin (i.e. alcohols, fragrance, mineral oils, petroleum-based surfactants, artificial colouring, and parabens), therefore making it suitable for sensitive skin. In fact, this product is so gentle on the skin, it can also be applied on children of at least 7 years of age, and the elderly!

[First try] Didn't read the directions before I applied it for the first time. You only need 1/5 of this amount!

[First try] Didn’t read the directions before I applied it for the first time. You only need 1/5 of this amount!

[First try] But since it's already on my hand, let's not waste it :) Look how clear it is once it's been spread out!

[First try] But since it’s already on my hand, let’s not waste it 🙂 Look how clear it is once it’s been spread out!

[First try] Ta-dah! Barely noticeable! You wouldn't know it's there until you touch the area where you applied the moisturiser!

[First try] Ta-dah! Barely noticeable! You wouldn’t know it’s there until you touch the area where you applied the moisturiser!

This unscented gel moisturiser has a light and slightly milky consistency that spreads easily on the skin. A little goes a long way, so you would only need a small amount of it (less than 1 cm in diameter) to cover the whole face. Otherwise, you may run the risk of having to deal with the tackiness it leaves behind. However, you can dispense a larger amount (about 1.5 cm in diameter) if you intend to use it as an overnight mask (but do be prepared for any product to transfer onto your pillow).

Okay, now, trying it out on my face. This is how much you need. No kidding!

Okay, now, trying it out on my face. This is how much you need. No kidding!

Simply dot it on your forehead, cheeks, the tip of your nose and philtrum. There's seriously enough to go around!

Simply dot it on your forehead, cheeks, the tip of your nose and philtrum. There’s seriously enough to go around!

Then, spread it out! Be sure to spread it outwards, like how you should when you apply other products on your face, to prevent premature sagging and wrinkles ;)

Then, spread it out! Be sure to spread it outwards, like how you should when you apply other products on your face, to prevent premature sagging and wrinkles 😉

All done!

All done!

Having tried the moisturiser in the day and at night for a week already, the whitening effect seems to be the most noticeable on my skin because the hyperpigmentation left behind by maskne has lightened quite a bit. Granted, it did not really do much in preventing blemishes from me wearing my face mask for an extended amounts of time (this can’t be help, can it?), but it sure expedited their healing process. Within the third day, the zits had more or less flattened and the redness had also reduced drastically. While I can’t attest to its effectiveness in combating wrinkles (because I am lucky enough not to have any visible ones.. yet 🥺), I am confident that this moisturiser would do an equally great job at banishing those fine lines!

Most importantly, this, too, does not cause any irritation to my sensitive skin.

Before (taken on 30 June 2020) and after (taken on 7 July 2020) using NALC All-in-One Moisturizer!

Before (taken on 30 June 2020) and after (taken on 7 July 2020) using NALC All-in-One Moisturizer!

What are your thoughts on this all-in-one gel moisturiser? Let me know what you think in the comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

NALC All-In-One Gel Moisturizer is now available on SHOPEE. For more information on NALC, follow them on FACEBOOK or visit their official WEBSITE.
PRODUCTs WERE SUPPLIED BY NALC FOR MY EDITORIAL CONSIDERATION. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN.

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REVIEW: NALC Sunscreen Perfect Waterproof UV Protect SPF 50+/ PA++++

Hello everyone!

The closure of gyms nationwide has essentially brought my weekly workout routine to a standstill since the onset of the Circuit Breaker. Instead of allowing unwanted fats to accumulate in my body while waiting for the economy to fully reopen (which God knows when it will be), I have decided to take my runs outdoors just like every other affected gymgoer to remain active.

But there is one problem – the sun. One predominant factor that propelled me to get a gym membership was the fact that I could avoid being tanned (and not forgetting the adverse effects the sun causes). Now that hitting the treadmill is temporary out of the question, prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays would be inevitable for me when running at the park (no night-time runs because of my night blindness). As much as possible, I would try to minimise my time in the sun by heading out only in the late afternoon or early evening when the sun is half a fist from setting. Even so, having such a fixed schedule could prove to be a headache especially when an unexpected downpour occurs (or when the park gets too crowded), thwarting my plans entirely as a result. Therefore, if given a choice, the freedom to run at any time of the day would still be very much preferred.

credit: Luke Ow

credit: Luke Ow

The most straightforward solution to my love-hate relationship with the sun would be to use a sunscreen. However, prior experiences with sunscreens have left a bad taste in my mouth. Apart from breaking me out, those that I’ve used would also leave a noticeable white cast and an uncomfortably thick, greasy finish on my skin – and I’d be so tempted to rub it all off! Furthermore, sunscreens are traditionally not water-resistant and so won’t be able to stand up to sweat, which means I would have to constantly reapply it. Hence to save myself the hassle, it was either steer clear from the sun or simply brave the rays for me (and bear with the agony of sunburn thereafter).

NALC Sunscreen Perfect Waterproof UV Protect SPF 50+/ PA++++ (S$34.90)

NALC Sunscreen Perfect Waterproof UV Protect SPF 50+/ PA++++ (S$34.90)

But since NALC Sunscreen came into my life, my perception of sunscreens has taken a 360-degree turn. There’s actually a sunscreen that doesn’t do any of the irritating things above? As incredulous as it may sound, a big, fat YES – and that’s not all!

NALC Sunscreen ingredient list (click to view image in full size)

NALC Sunscreen ingredient list (click to view image in full size)

Sealed!

Sealed!

Small enough to carry around!

Small enough to carry around!

More images of the packaging

More images of the packaging

Pin-sized opening to prevent wastage

Pin-sized opening to prevent wastage

Made in Japan (and you know the Japanese don’t play around when it comes to sunscreen), the NALC Sunscreen has an impressive SPF of 50+/ PA++++ (the recommended SPF for sunscreens is 30) to protect the skin from prolonged exposure to UV radiation, which is the leading cause of premature ageing. Alcohol-free to suit sensitive skin, it also consists of anti-inflammatory ingredients and a generous amount of hyaluronic acid to lock moisture in the skin.

NALC Sunscreen before spreading out

NALC Sunscreen before spreading out

Spread outwards once

Spread outwards once

Fully absorbed into the skin

Fully absorbed into the skin

The NALC sunscreen appears pale yellow right off the bat (kinda reminded me of pus… yup, too much Dr Pimple Popper once again) but becomes colourless (goodbye stains!) once spread out. This attribute, coupled with the fact that it has a light, non-sticky and non-oily texture, makes it a perfect base for makeup to adhere to. It also absorbs nicely into the skin within seconds of application and doesn’t led me to feel like I had slathered lard oil all over myself.

Face before NALC sunscreen application

Face before NALC sunscreen application

NALC Sunscreen application in progress

NALC Sunscreen application in progress

After application! No white cast!

After application! No white cast!

Most amazingly, it has extreme waterproof capabilities (thanks to the latest three-phase emulsification technology that was employed in its formulation) to ensure that your sunscreen stays intact for a much longer time – even when you are sweating buckets from performing vigorous-intensity physical activities! 🙌🏻 That said, the sunscreen is easily removable with just your regular soap or facial wash, so simply take a shower after your workout to discard your shield 😁

My face after my 5km run in the blazing afternoon sun

My face after my 5km run in the blazing afternoon sun

With these game-changing features, I guess it’s safe to say that the future of sunscreen is officially here! Seriously, though, this sunscreen deserves more recognition than it has received to date!

All in all, the NALC sunscreen stood true to its claims and has certainly served me very well (i.e. has done a great job in preventing unwanted tanning as evident from my skin colour). Now that I am no longer held hostage by the sun, nothing can stop me from going for my runs during off-peak hours when the rays are at their strongest! WOOO! 😜😜😜

What are your thoughts on this sunscreen? Let me know what you think in the comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

NALC Sunscreen Perfect Waterproof UV Protect is now available on SHOPEE. For more information on NALC, follow them on FACEBOOK or visit their official WEBSITE.
PRODUCTs WERE SUPPLIED BY NALC FOR MY EDITORIAL CONSIDERATION. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN.

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REVIEW: APRILSKIN Real Calendula Peel Off Pack & Real Carrot Serum

Hello everyone!

With most shutters down and the government urging us to stay home, my shopping orientation has changed drastically over the past few weeks. Online shopping apps are creeping up on my most frequently used list on my mobile phone, so instead of saving money, my bank account is actually taking a greater hit than usual from the Circuit Breaker 🥴 Shopee has got to be the biggest culprit of all because of their flash sales that happen every four hours and to be perfectly honest, most products sold there really are priced at a steal.

Take, for example, the APRILSKIN skincare products of which advertisements have been bombarding my social media feed lately (even though said products were launched in 2018?). What could have essentially cost me almost $50 if I had gone the traditional route (i.e. buying from Guardian) was only slightly more than half that amount during the flash sale I so happened to be camping for.

My APRILSKIN haul!

My APRILSKIN haul!

Established in 2014, APRILSKIN is a South Korean beauty brand that prides themselves on using naturally-derived ingredients in their products to prevent skin irritation. Apart from skincare products, APRILSKIN also boasts a complete range of makeup tools and cosmetics from which many devotees might have first learnt about the brand (not gonna lie – their cushion foundation looked incredible).

Based on the availability, or lack thereof, of their products on their international website, it’s safe to say that APRILSKIN is sought-after not only in Singapore and their home country, but also in other parts of the world as well. Hence, I’m very excited to see what the hype is all about! Are their products really that effective, or is APRILSKIN just a master of social media marketing? Let’s find out 😉

Here's my bare face before using both APRILSKIN products - right profile

Here’s my bare face before using both APRILSKIN products – right profile

Left profile

Left profile

In case it wasn’t explicit earlier, all products reviewed on this post were paid for with my own money and Shopee had not approached me to do a collaboration.

Real Calendula Peel Off Pack (S$23)

APRILSKIN Real Calendula Peel-Off Pack

APRILSKIN Real Calendula Peel-Off Pack

APRILSKIN Real Calendula Peel-Off Pack

APRILSKIN Real Calendula Peel-Off Pack

APRILSKIN Real Calendula Peel-Off Pack

APRILSKIN Real Calendula Peel-Off Pack

This product in particular piqued my interest because of how gentle it seemed in exfoliating the outermost layer of the skin, unlike those that cling to the skin and make ripping them off a nightmare. There’s also something oddly satisfying about peeling stuff off the skin while being able to see dead skin cells getting removed in the process (nothing quite unusual for someone who enjoys morbid videos of pimple popping, earwax extraction and ingrown hair removal 😜) so I wanted to experience it for myself!

Calen.. what? If you have been out of the skincare loop like me, calendula, or pot marigold, is traditionally used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. It has antiseptic properties which helps in treating wounds and preventing acne, and promotes skin tightening among many other benefits. ‘Pretty much explains how calendula lent itself to be the star ingredient in this peel-off mask!

What the gel looks like

What the gel looks like

The product had a scent to it that smelled somewhat like yuzu to me (it might well be the smell of calendula but I’m not familiar with this plant) although some users have also commented that it reeked of artificial fragrance. It contains visible particles which, according to APRILSKIN, are parts of the calendulas (petals, pistil, stamen, calyx, etc.) and are distributed evenly throughout the clear, gel-like sticky substance.

My Sand & Sky brush finally came in handy!

My Sand & Sky brush finally came in handy!

Application is ideally done with the brand’s Real Jelly Brush for a more even coating but since it was not included in the bundle, I used the brush that came with my Sand & Sky mask just because I am a cheapskate (it worked perfectly well, though!). Having tried several different ways of application, I found dispensing the product onto the bristles before spreading it all over the face, section by section in an upward motion, worked better. The brand also recommends applying a thin layer (twice a week), but I piled it up a little more to prevent it from ripping apart during removal. At the rate I’m going, one tube would probably last me for about two months.

After mask application

After mask application

After mask application

After mask application

When mask had dried down. I didn't want to smile and risk having wrinkles, y'know!

When mask had dried down. I didn’t want to smile and risk having wrinkles, y’know!

The product tightened over time and finally, with my desk fan pointing towards me on full blast, dried down completely after 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes as stated on the box. The peeling process went pretty smoothly and painlessly (although it wasn’t as clean as this) but not without having to lightly scratch or pinch along my jawline to locate the edge of the mask (‘reckon I lost a few strands of facial hair doing so).

Peel mask off starting from the bottom, going along with the direction of the face muscles (and against gravity) to prevent skin sagging

Peel mask off starting from the bottom, going along with the direction of the face muscles (and against gravity) to prevent skin sagging

More peeling shots because I like them

More peeling shots because I like them

Mainly my skin's natural texture and dead skin..

Mainly my skin’s natural texture and dead skin..

All in all, I didn’t think it was entirely effective in removing my blackheads (on my nose especially), but it certainly lifted tons of dead skin (mostly from my healing zits) from atop my cheeks. Although the drier parts of my face looked negligibly flaky thereafter (it definitely did not give me the glass skin depicted on their marketing collaterals after use), it appeared brighter overall and the redness of my acne blemishes had also been visibly reduced. Most importantly, it did not irritate my sensitive skin!

After removal of mask - side profile

After removal of mask – side profile

After removal of mask - side profile

After removal of mask – side profile

After removal of mask - full profile

After removal of mask – full profile

Real Carrot Serum (S$25.90)

APRILSKIN Real Carrot Serum

APRILSKIN Real Carrot Serum

APRILSKIN Real Carrot Serum

APRILSKIN Real Carrot Serum

APRILSKIN Real Carrot Serum

APRILSKIN Real Carrot Serum

By the way, this is how you can verify the authenticity of your APRILSKIN products! How cool is this?!

By the way, this is how you can verify the authenticity of your APRILSKIN products! How cool is this?!

This was included in the set, so it wasn’t like I had a choice. That said, it came timely because I was already on the lookout for a replacement for my nighttime serum when my current one runs out. However, much as I was happy to welcome this to my rotation, I was also curious – why is carrot chosen over the likes cucumber, aloe vera and tomato which are so commonly found in skincare products? Google revealed a plethora of benefits of carrots but the one that struck with me was its ability to overcome acne. Wow, today I learnt! Where have carrot-based skincare products been all my life, especially when I was battling a serious case of acne?

According to APRILSKIN, this daytime and nighttime serum has been clinically tested to be non-comedogenic. It harnesses ingredients derived from certified organic carrots (carrot water, carrot seed oil and carrot proteins) to combat blemishes such as acne and whiteheads (those pesky little bumps beneath the surface of the skin which I have plenty of!) and also niacinamide (a water-soluble vitamin) to brighten the skin tone and lighten hyperpigmentation. Of course, the ingredient list doesn’t stop here but I shan’t bore you with the details.

Appearance of serum

Appearance of serum

Pump 1 to 2 times and gently spread across the face from the centre outwards

Pump 1 to 2 times and gently spread across the face from the centre outwards

After applying the serum

After applying the serum

The smell of this white, lightweight, mildly viscous cream reminded me of lemon grass – it kind of evoked a sense of tranquillity in me. But not to worry if you aren’t a fan of aromatherapy because the scent is fleeting and you won’t be able to smell a thing once it’s on your face. In terms of its efficacy, perhaps because I used it after applying the peel-off mask, I noticed that the skin absorbed it a lot better than other serums. It also didn’t leave a sticky texture behind after application, which is a rarity for Korean skincare products (for me)! There wasn’t much difference to the appearance of my skin until the next morning because I woke up to shrunken bumps and glowing skin! The results were quite unexpected, I must say 🙊

I woke up like that!

I woke up like that!

TL;DR: Before and after (click to view image in full size) - colour-corrected (I tried) for accuracy

TL;DR: Before and after (click to view image in full size) – colour-corrected (I tried) for accuracy

In general, even though the mask didn’t perform as well as I hoped at the first try (I expected more gunk), I enjoyed the experience of peeling it off and will most likely repurchase due to this reason (it’s a good compelling reason for me to use it as I have the tendency of not using up my face mask before they pass their shelf lives 🙊 #lazy). The effects of the carrot serum were what really took me by surprise so I guess this pretty much settles it for me. Hello, new serum in my skincare regime!

What are your thoughts on these products? Let me know what you think in the comments below or take a quick poll! 😊

Thanks for reading!

APRILSKIN Real Calendula Peel Off Pack & Real Carrot Serum are now available on Shopee and GUARDIAN SINGAPORE.

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