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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REVIEW: IRÉN Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash

Hello everyone!

You might have heard of the infamous multi-step skincare regimen popularised by South Korea but let’s be honest – who has the time for that? More often than not, I would find myself even dragging my feet to the washroom after a long day at work to shower because I am just that dead beat, let alone going through a thousand and one steps to prep my face for bedtime. Thankfully, a local beauty brand, IRÉN, heard my silent cries for help and decided once and for all to put a stop to these unnecessarily superfluous routines and created products which bring back the joy of skincare.

IRÉN… er, who?

Founded by local entrepreneur, Eric Tan (also the founder of Singapore’s first traditional Japanese onsen spa), IRÉN was conceived out of his love for his wife (hence the name IRÉN because that’s Irene – his wife’s name – in Hungarian – awww 😍) who had been struggling with breakouts and eczema. When the many non-comedogenic products she had tried proved to be futile in calming down her skin, the loving husband decided to delve into the arcane world of skincare in search of a solution which led to his partnership with a skincare researcher from A*STAR. Together with the researcher, he formulated a serum without harmful chemical, synthetic fragrances, and BPA for his wife. From there, they developed seven concoctions and started IRÉN with the aim of providing busy women like his wife a straightforward solution to common skin ailments, backed by scientific facts and research.

Launched in December 2017, the serums come in 7 formulations for wrinkles and deep lines, acne and oily skin, dehydrated skin, sensitivity, pigmentation and uneven skin tones, sagging skin, and clogged pores. Shown here are just 3 types of serum to be used with the Skin Vaporizer, a device that nano-sizes the serum to swiftly and efficiently feed the nutrient-deprived skin. If time permits, I will do a more in-dept review on this.

Launched in December 2017, the serums come in 7 formulations for wrinkles and deep lines, acne and oily skin, dehydrated skin, sensitivity, pigmentation and uneven skin tones, sagging skin, and clogged pores. Shown here are just 3 types of serum to be used with the Skin Vaporizer, a device that nano-sizes the serum to swiftly and efficiently feed the nutrient-deprived skin. If time permits, I will do a more in-dept review on this.

More than a year after their signature serums made public appearance, IRÉN comes up with yet another innovative product – a cleanser in the form of powder.

Introducing: Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash

IRÉN Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash (S$35 each)

IRÉN Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash (S$35 each)

Made in Japan, the Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash is a gentle daily powder wash with triple cleansing action to remove dirt, sebum and old keratin, and is suitable for all skin types. Vegan and cruelty-free, it contains Japanese Rice Bran, a natural ingredient with soothing enzymes and antioxidant properties which effectively resurface and gently exfoliate the skin to reveal a healthy glow and smoother complexion. On top of that, it also has Sorbitol and Hyaluronic Acid to help retain moisture whilst skin is thoroughly cleansed. This is in contrast to other brands of powder wash which tend to contain talc (which causes irritation and dryness to sensitive and inflamed skin), SLS/SLES (which gives cleansers the foamy, bubbly consistency but at the same time, removes the skin of its natural oils and trigger skin irritation), non-fatty alcohol (or drying alcohols which may harm the skin’s protective surface and worsen oily skin), and fragrance.

Truth be told, I had never heard of powder cleansers until the launch last month so naturally, I was very intrigued and bewildered by it, to say the least. Isn’t powder a lot harder to work with? Won’t powder scatter and cause a mess (and this is the main reason I avoid loose powder foundation like the plague)? Like, who actually asked for cleansers, in powder form? Is this another marketing gimmick? I was sceptical. That was, until I tried and tested the powder wash myself.

As it turned out, it was actually pretty easy to use!

WATCH: Live demonstration by a staff from IREN. Notice just how much powder is needed for the wash?

The bottle is also designed to dispense just the amount required (about 1 teaspoon) for each wash, hence minimising wastage (no more oh sh*t! moments). Once the powder is poured onto the palm (and the fine-grained texture feels sooooo soft like icing sugar 😍), slowly mix it with some water and lather into a creamy foam. Then, gently massage it onto the face for 15 seconds before rinsing it with warm water.

WATCH: If you’re terrible at remembering how much 1 teaspoon of powder is, fret not! Just dispense the powder from the bottle only once.

But how effective is this powder wash in removing makeup?

WATCH: Swiped Colourpop Lippie Stix (in Fab Five) once on my hand. Let’s see how much it is removed at the end of the wash!

The (disappointing, I must say) result after a pretty rigorous wash

The (disappointing, I must say) result after a pretty rigorous wash

My verdict?

From this little experiment, it is safe to say that the Super Gentle Daily Powder Wash is only great as an everyday cleanser that is best used on bare face so do remember to take your makeup off completely before arriving at this step!

That said, apart from the skin benefits of this powder wash, it has other major advantages too which jet setters can relate to – you won’t have to check in your cleanser (yay to washing up on long-haul flights!) and you won’t feel like you’re piggybacking Snorlax with something so lightweight in your hand-carry baggage. Be careful not to repackage it in a way that would raise suspicions, though. You definitely don’t want to be wrongfully detained like this lady here.

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

Thanks for reading!

IRÉN Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder is now available at Face Shower Bar by IRÉN, on IRÉN SKIN and SHOPEE.
PRODUCTS WERE SUPPLIED BY IRÉN FOR MY EDITORIAL CONSIDERATION. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN.

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REVIEW: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask + Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment

Hello skincare fanatics!

Unless you have gone on a social media diet, you would definitely have been at the mercy of Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm and seen numerous videos of people prancing around with a pink (or blue) jar or letting out an orgasmic sigh as they slid some pink mousse-like paste down their cheeks. Well, if you didn’t manage to sit through the advertisements to find out what the rage was all about, wonder no more as this review will take you through the exact same products that had sent so many people into a state of euphoria.

*squeals* I'M SO EXCITED!

*squeals* I’M SO EXCITED!

Ohh hey there!

Ohh hey there!

It's the Sand&Sky Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment and Porefining Face Mask!

It’s the Sand&Sky Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment and Porefining Face Mask!

Founded by Australian twin sisters and supermoms Emily and Sarah Hamilton – who were also the creators of beauty box subscription company, Bellabox – in April 2017, Sand&Sky was born out of the realisation that there was a gap in the market for luxurious yet affordable and effective face masks, as well as their desire to showcase the efficacy of the botanical ingredients (ethically) obtained from their motherland in skincare.

So, gathering their market intelligence on consumer behaviour and experience in collating beauty products for Bellabox members, the Hamilton sisters formulated a millennial pink (😱) clay mask that contains 50% Kaolin clay (Kaolin tops the ingredient list as shown here and it is a considerable amount as compared to the 10-15% in many clay products) sourced from remote pockets of Southern and Western Australia to remove toxins and impurities from the skin, and organic liquorice to diminish the appearance of skin discolouration. Apart from organic aloe and pomegranate to tighten pores, soothe, and stimulate collagen production, this much-revered formula also includes a combination of kakadu plum and mangosteen to create a defence shield that would leave skin clear and glowing.

Porefining Face Mask

Mini brush

Mini brush

Enclosed in the box together with the pink jar (note that it’s no longer blue) of clay mask is a handy flat brush (high quality with soft bristles 😍) which I feel is a really thoughtful gesture on Sand&Sky’s part to maintain the sterility of the product during application. On top of that, it also helps ensure even coverage fast and prevents wastage while keeping our hands clean.

Everything inside the box

Everything inside the box

Protective seal

Protective seal

Protective cover

Protective cover

The product

The product

Cool when first applied, the mask – which had a subtle musty and earthy smell – became warmer as it settled on my towel-dried skin. There was some tingling sensation (but no discomfort or itchiness whatsoever) and gradually, areas where pores were most visible turned red slightly beneath the mask. Perhaps because the fan was blowing in my direction, it kinda expedited the drying time so the mask took less than 5 minutes to solidify completely.

[BEFORE] Cleansed face

[BEFORE] Cleansed face

Gonna pick up some product with the cute brush!

Gonna pick up some product with the cute brush!

How the product looks like when applied! P/S: I filmed the application process on the left side of my face - check out my Instagram for the video!

How the product looks like when applied! P/S: I filmed the application process on the left side of my face – scroll all the way to the end for the video!

When it's still moist, and before I transformed into a Chinese Opera performer

When it’s still moist, and before I transformed into a Chinese Opera performer

TAKE NOTE 📌
Clay masks are known to dry out when exposed to humidity or a drastic change in temperature. Therefore, refrain from storing the clay mask in the bathroom as this will cause it to dry faster. Instead, keep it at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. Should your clay mask harden prematurely in the jar, add a few drops of serum or water (about half of the amount of clay left in the jar) to rehydrate it.
Almost there..

Almost there..

100% dried up!

100% dried up!

Ahhhh so smooth

Ahhhh so smooth

Still, it was left on for the suggested 10 minutes before I removed it with a damp cloth in an upward motion. Just to sidetrack a bit, I cringe every time I see reviewers drag their skin down with their cloth as if having a droopy and saggy face is a worthy trade-off for a brighter complexion. As far as possible, we want our skin to be both firm and youthful, so never do that! Alternatively, if you have no cloth available at your disposal (and don’t worry, it doesn’t stain), you can easily wash it off – again, in upward motion – with warm water, which was what I eventually did when I realised that the wiped-off product on my cloth kept transferring back onto my face (the product liquifies instantly when comes in contact with water), repeatedly forming white casts with every wipe 😑

Try'na remove the mask with a damp cloth..

Try’na remove the mask with a damp cloth..

But it keeps coming back >_>

But it keeps coming back >_>

So I washed it off!

So I washed it off!

For best results..
♥ Oily skin to combination skin, use 2 to 3 times a week;
♥ Dry or sensitive skin, use up to 2 times per week

My verdict? The Porefining Face Mask delivered what it promised – a tightened, rejuvenated and shine-free complexion without harmful chemicals and the unnecessarily excessive use of preservatives, which ultimately make it suitable for sensitive skin like mine (even so, doing a patch test on your inner elbow is advisable), and safe to use in pregnancy. The results were even more prominent on my 60-year-old mother (unfortunately, no pictorial evidence as I had experimented on her out of boredom and didn’t expect it to work so well) who was absolutely amazed to see her fine lines smoothed out, wrinkles softened and an overall improvement in her complexion after use. Her skin felt silky to the touch too so for the first few minutes she couldn’t keep her hands off her face!

R E F R E S H E D

R E F R E S H E D

Smoother complexion

Smoother complexion

Pores tightened

Pores tightened

I must, however, add that this is not a cure for acne (but can be used alongside your regular skincare products). In fact, in the process of detoxification and purging, little poppable bumps – like in my case – may surface on congested areas a few days later. But they never grew beyond their initial minuscule size and they disappeared entirely once gratifyingly popped 😂

Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment

Exfoliating scrub

Exfoliating scrub

Since the tremendous success of the face mask, Sand&Sky has followed up with a second product that would complement the erratic schedule of career-oriented women: an exfoliating scrub that doubles as a flash mask which can be applied in-shower. It is also more nourishing than the original mask, making it an ideal option for those with extremely dry skin.

Likewise, the Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment also contains Australian Pink Clay to draw toxins, pollution and impurities from deep within the skin. But because it has more water content, it appears translucent to reveal the physical exfoliating particles when spread out on the skin. Apart from that, it has, among many other ingredients, low amount (less than 10%) of AHAs from Australian finger lime to promote cell turnover, collagen production and the absorption of moisture into the skin, bamboo stem extract to restore elasticity and suppleness to the skin, as well as rosehip seed oil for face rejuvenation and its anti-aging benefits. For the complete list of ingredients, click here.

The back of the tube

The back of the tube

Protective seal

Protective seal

The product

The product

To use, gently massage the exfoliating scrub into cleansed, moist skin (avoid eye area) in circular motion for about 30 seconds to allow the granules to remove dead skin cells. Then, leave it on for 5 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. And there you have it – radiant, sensationally soft and smooth skin in just half the time needed earlier! Plus, it also allows for better and more effective absorption of any serums and moisturisers that come after.

Scrub-a-bab-ba-bab for 30 seconds

Scrub-a-bab-ba-bab for 30 seconds

As the product loses its moisture, it also loses its opacity

As the product loses its moisture, it also loses its opacity

Only the physical particles are visible now!

Only the physical particles are visible now!

Rinse away after 5 minutes!

Rinse away after 5 minutes!

However, it wasn’t until I looked in the mirror the next morning that I saw the full extent of the effect. My face seemed like it was given a new lease of life as it appeared to be more refreshed and clear, and the newly smooth canvas made it really easy to apply my foundation. Moreover, the experience provided by the scrub was quite different from that of the clay mask. Besides the coarse texture and the fact that I had to get my hands “dirty”, the warm and tingling sensation felt when using the mask was noticeably absent this time.

Smoother complexion

Smoother complexion

Pores exfoliated

Pores exfoliated

Smooooooth

Smooooooth

For best results..
♥ Oily skin to combination skin, use 1 to 3 times a week;
♥ Dry or sensitive skin, use up to 3 times per week

With the key ingredient Australian Pink Clay present in the clay mask and exfoliating scrub, one may ask if it is necessary to purchase both. In all honesty, it depends on the intent for using the products. I would say the primary function of the clay mask is to purify and tighten enlarged pores and reverse dull skin while the scrub is mainly to exfoliate and eliminate those nasties responsible for clogged pores. Personally, I would pick the scrub over the mask out of convenience, and also because I don’t like to be rushed into finishing the clay mask before it dries out. But both products work best together so ideally, you should get the Perfect Skin Bundle (save 15%!). Bear in mind, though, that they should not be used on the same day because too much good stuff may irritate the already-delicate skin 😝

Furthermore, getting the honourable nod from PETA also meant that Sand&Sky does not test on animals, nor does it contain any animal components or by-product. Thus, if you’re a firm believer that no animals should suffer for our vanity, this reason should propel you to support this brand!

What do you think about this brand? Have you tried any of them? If not, do you intend to? Let me know what you think in the comments below or simply take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading and stay gorgeous! 😘

Sand & Sky is now available on their website (with free delivery on all orders), ZALORA and Beauty Bay.
Products were supplied by Sand & Sky in exchange for this review but all opinions expressed are my own.

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