REVIEW: KISpeel Skincare – Clarifying Start Toner, Hydra Micro-Raphides & Nutritive Micro-Raphides [Serum & Cream], Marine Vital [Essence & Ampoule], Cica Repair Cream & Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

Hello everyone!

As Chinese New Year draws near, it is kinda imperative that we (especially the ladies) stay on top of our skincare game and ensure our skin leading up to the grand reunion looks healthy and radiant because as much as possible, we certainly do not wish to invite embarrassing questions about our skin from (untactful) relatives whom we’ve not met in a year. If your current skincare regimen hasn’t been of much help, it isn’t too late to start a new one – with KISpeel, that is!

KISpeel, a combination of the acronym for ‘Keep Ideal Skin’ and ‘Peel’ (as in facial peels, a form of exfoliation), is a Korean skincare company that specialises in post-cleanse skin maintenance. Their strong belief in providing long-term solutions to skin woes has led them to steer clear from silicones (e.g. Dimethicone, Methicone, etc.), artificial colourants and synthetic fragrances when formulating their products.

But that is not to say that they are free of preservatives. Although preservatives are  essential in preventing mold, bacteria, and microbial growth in skincare products, some do way more harm than good to our health. Therefore, KISpeel has always been upfront about only including preservatives made with 1, 2-hexanediol – a solvent rated ‘1’ (low hazard) by Environmental Working Group (EWG) and ‘safe’ by Cosmetic Ingredient Review (which I feel is a more reliable database as it offers a more in-depth assessment of ingredients) – in their products.

All KISpeel products

All KISpeel products

As a relatively young brand, KISpeel presently only carries 9 products (but yay to our wallets 😁) which they have kindly sent to me for review purposes. If you’re interested to find out more, read on!

*Prices stated do not include delivery charges

POST-CLEANSER

CLARIFYING START TONER

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$24.90)

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$24.90)

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

Ingredients in KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

Ingredients in KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

Our skin becomes more alkaline in response to being stripped of its acidic mantle after every cleanse and this makes it more susceptible to damage and inflammation. Toners fill the void by restoring the skin’s pH balance and providing a base layer of hydration so that it would be more amenable to the subsequent products layered on it. But with the Clarifying Start Toner, you get more than you bargain for because it comes with other benefits as well!

Suitable for sensitive skin types, this clear, non-sticky unscented toner effectively exfoliates, soothes and moisturises the skin with Centella Asiatica Water, Witch Hazel Extract, AHA (citric acid) and PHA (lactobionic acid). Moreover, it also contains Propolis and Vitis Vinifera (grape) Culture extracts for their anti-oxidation and anti-ageing properties. Since the product is dispensed from a pump bottle, you can easily gauge the amount you’ve collected on the cotton pad (2 to 3 pumps would be sufficient) and prevent unnecessary wastage. The toner, however, tends to separate if  left sitting for a while. When that happens, simply shake the solution to thoroughly mix it before use.

THE HYDRA SERIES

KISpeel Hydra Series

KISpeel Hydra Series

Specially curated for oily and dehydrated¹ skin (yes, it is possible to have both!), the Hydra series is mainly composed of ingredients such as Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Witch Hazel and Propolis extracts (which are also known for their soothing and pore-tightening properties), Shea butter (which aids in cell regeneration) and Macadamia Ternifolia seed oil to remove excess oil from skin and improve moisture retention. Fragrance-free and colour-free, the products are also suitable for sensitive skin.

¹Dehydration is a skin condition caused by a lack of water while dry skin is a skin type and caused by a lack of oil production.

It is common for oily skin to peel and feel dehydrated because of the harsh ingredients often found in skincare products that control oil.

On top of that, the Hydra serum and cream – or as a matter of fact, the majority of KISpeel products – also contain Micro-Raphides. Measuring approximately half the size of a pore, these needle-shaped crystals, which are originally found in specialised plant cells (most commonly in leaves), have undergone purification to remove their toxicity so that they can safely and comfortably penetrate into the skin to stimulate blood circulation and boost cell turnover² while delivering the active ingredients. Therefore, it may produce a prickly sensation (somewhat like little jolts of static electricity) as the product is being applied onto the skin, thereby causing a momentary itch (for me at least, but it went away very quickly).

²Cell turnover is the process where the skin produces new skin cells, which travel from the lowest layer of the epidermis to the top layer, and then shed off the skin (exfoliation) to prevent dead cells from building up on the skin’s surface.

Be sure not to rub your eyes without first washing your hands after using products with Micro-Raphides as the stinging effect will transfer to whatever you come in contact with.

Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum is a water-based milk-type serum that features more concentrated ingredients to control sebum production and seal moisture into the skin. Sleek and simple, it comes in an opaque pump bottle and, if your budget allows, can be used day and night. Weightless and fast-absorbing, it also has a non-greasy finish and does not leave a sticky residue once it settles into the skin. The serum has an emollient but thicker consistency than regular moisturising cream and can be used as an alternative or in addition to creams or lotions to enhance your skincare regimen.

Using your fingertips, take a few pumps of the serum and evenly apply it to the whole face before patting it in. However, because the serum tends to penetrate too rapidly, it may cause slight irritation to sensitive skin. In such cases, it would be advisable to wait for a few minutes for the face to dry completely from cleansing or toning before proceeding with this step.

Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

The cream, on a other hand, is made up of larger molecules and hence works more on the surface. Used at the final step of your skincare regimen, it provides superficial hydration and increases the treatment potential of the serum by locking in its potent actives with a heavier and thicker formula on top.

Taking an appropriate amount of the cream from the tub, apply over the face with some pressure to allow for better infiltration efficiency.

Casual skincare routine for oily and dehydrated skin: Clarifying Start Toner → Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum → Cica Repair Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

For combination skin type, use both Hydra and Nutritive series

For excessive oiliness and dehydration or to be used during spring & summer: Clarifying Start Toner → Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum → Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)
Clear skin boot camp: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

THE NUTRITIVE SERIES

KISpeel Nutritive Series

KISpeel Nutritive Series

In contrast, the Nutritive series nourishes and moisturises dry and dehydrated skin with Panax Ginseng Root Extract (which regenerates skin cells and detoxifies the skin), Shea butter (to provide a heavy-duty dose of emollient benefits), Phellinus Linteus and Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil (for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties) to fight winter gloom. Similarly, Micro-Raphides form part of its key ingredients for exfoliation purposes and therefore give the same tingling effect as the Hydra series.

Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

The Nutritive serum is likewise a milk-type serum that combines a cascade of skin-replenishing ingredients to firm up the skin by restoring its natural elasticity. It has a creamier and more opaque consistency than the Hydra serum and takes a longer time for most of its greasiness to subside. When it does, it leaves a protective film on the surface of the skin for a dewy finish.

Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

The texture of the Nutritive cream is richer and thicker than that of the Hydra Cream which gives it a higher tendency to a leave a white cast on the skin. If that happens, lightly pat your palms against your face a couple of times until the product is assimilated. Another point to note about the Nutritive cream is that it has a faint yet discernible mildly pleasant chemical smell which your nose would be trained to ignore after awhile. To apply both the serum and cream, follow the steps indicated for the Hydra series.

Casual skincare routine for dry skin type: Clarifying Start Toner → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum → Cica Repair Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

For combination skin type, use both Hydra and Nutritive series

For excessive dryness or to be used during autumn and winter: Clarifying Start Toner → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)
Clear skin boot camp: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

THE MARINE VITAL SERIES

KISpeel Marine Vital Series

KISpeel Marine Vital Series

Particularly in the case of modern women, the fight against the signs of ageing starts from an early age and therefore, it is no wonder that essences, ampoules and serums have exploded in popularity in recent years. But instead of having to pile on tons of skincare products to achieve a youthful complexion (like, have you heard of the 10-step Korean skincare regimen?!), KISpeel has narrowed down to just two to rev up the results and keep you from going broke.

Hydrolyzed Collagen, Caviar and Plankton extracts, and Thala Complex are the key ingredients in this anti-wrinkle and brightening series due to their ability to plump and tighten the skin while improving its elasticity and moisture content. The Thala Complex – a combination of clear seawater, Hydrolyzed Algin and Marine Polysaccharides (Exopolysaccharides) obtained from the coast of Brittany, France – represents a good resources of nutrients that helps promote skin regeneration and health. However, unlike the KISpeel products featured earlier, the Marine Vital series does not contain Micro-Raphides.

Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence application

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence application

Stored in a pump container for easy dispensing, one pump is all it takes to give your skin its needed vitality boost. The Marine Vital Essence works similarly to a serum as it targets specifically wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tones but it is less concentrated and has no viscosity. Gentler on the skin, it is intended for use before ampoule or serum due to its lightweight nature and more watery consistency. Formulated without fragrance, it instantly adds another layer of hydration while fortifying the natural resilience of the skin without leaving a greasy sensation or causing irritation. Simply apply an appropriate amount of the essence evenly to the skin and lightly tap on it to help it absorb better.

Marine Vital Ampoule

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$29.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$29.90)

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

Toner, serum, essence… As if there isn’t already a maze of beauty terminology to brood over, there’s now ampoule?! Understandably, those who are new to the whole Korean skincare approach may not be familiar with these cosmetic jargon but ampoules are merely supercharged versions of serums with higher concentrations of active ingredients which can help avert a specific skin crisis in relatively less time.

The Marine Vital Ampoule in this instance helps reduce facial lines and revitalise the look of lacklustre skin. However, since it renders a stronger effect than serum, it should be used only when necessary because the potency factor may heighten skin sensitivity. It is ideal, say, on occasions when the skin requires intensive treatment (perhaps a few days before your wedding) and yet, time does not seem to be on your side. Due to its thicker and more luscious texture (but won’t leave a sticky film on the skin), this unscented ampoule is more suitable for night use and should be applied after essence.

For an extra boost: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Cica Repair Cream

COMPLEMENTS

Apart from developing a range of products to cater to different skin types, KISpeel is also dedicated in providing solutions for other cosmetic concerns such as redness, hyperpigmentation and zits, as evident by the addition of the Cica Repair Cream and Micro-Raphides Spot Cream. These products can be used in conjunction with those mentioned earlier as part of your daily skincare routine.

Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$19.90)

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$19.90)

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

Slick and soft in texture, this moisturising cream boasts a therapeutic blend of Centella Asiatica leaf water and Centella Asiatica Extract, along with other soothing ingredients known for their healing and anti-inflammatory properties, to calm irritated and sensitive skin without leaving an icky feeling. It contains Allantoin and Aloe Vera leaf juice to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue and aid the skin repair process while keeping the skin hydrated. Multi-functional, it can also be applied on any other parts of the body (e.g. neck, that require a little tender loving care. To use, evenly massage a suitable amount of product into the skin and gently pat until absorbed.

Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream // 10ml / 0.3 fl.oz (S$21.90)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream // 10ml / 0.3 fl.oz (S$21.90)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator

Ingredients in KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator (click to enlarge)

Ingredients in KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator (click to enlarge)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

Formulated with almost the same set of ingredients as the Cico Repair Cream, the Micro-Raphides Spot Cream offers targeted treatment for hyperpigmentation and pimples by soothing inflamed skin and diminishing their appearance with Centella Asiatica and Aloe Vera extracts. That said, this would only be effective with surface blemishes and not so much with more severe skin conditions such as cystic acne.

What sets this spot cream apart from the repair cream is the added Micro-Raphides which helps revitalise the skin and exfoliate dead skin cells. Likewise, the thin crystalline needles may cause a tingling sensation as it penetrates deep into the skin. But fret not, the (bearable) sting typically does not last beyond a few seconds and it will be gone before you know it.

To minimise contamination and preserve the purity of the product, the spot cream is dispensed through a convex applicator (when pressed down) which can be directly applied to the affected areas in circular motions twice to thrice a day. Unless you choose to apply the cream with your fingers, be sure to disinfect the applicator with soap or anti-bacterial wipes and then dry it after every use to keep it sterile.

Finished face!

Finished face!

All in all, apart from the tingling sensation given rise by the Micro-Raphides which I’m still trying to get accustomed to, I like that the ingredients are gentle enough on my sensitive skin. Furthermore, I really appreciate the no-nonsense approach KISpeel has to skincare as they do not allude to the need of having a myriad of products, but just the essentials! In terms of price, KISpeel is pretty much on par with or lower than most mid-tier Korean beauty brands which, of course, have a much wider distribution since KISpeel is only available online and at I’M STARTICE.

What are your thoughts about KISpeel? Would you be willing to give this brand a shot? Let me know your views in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading!

KISpeel is available on Qoo10 Singapore and I’M STARTICE. For more information, visit KISpeel website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
This post is brought to you by KISpeel.

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[SHOUT-OUT] Shopee × Seoul Shop Pop-Up Store @ Suntec City

Hello everyone!

The Prudential Marina Bay Carnival opens tomorrow and those who’ve planned to go there might be wondering what to do before the doors open at 4 pm. Well, perhaps you could consider adding Suntec City to your afternoon itinerary since it’s just one stop away from Bayfront MRT and has a free shuttle service to the carnival. Most importantly, if you’re into all things Korean, there’s something new there to keep you occupied for at least an hour!

From now till 17 December 2017 (that’s two days from now), get your Korean fix without leaving Singapore! In partnership with Shopee, Seoul Shop (the same management behind I’M STARTICE) has set up a pop-up store at Suntec City (West-North Link) that provides a unique (believe me on this) and fuss-free shopping experience!

Expect an array of products ranging from beauty, accessories to household essentials flown in from South Korea at the store which will make great Christmas gifts! For the neat freaks, I spotted some nice 2018 planners on the shelves too 😆

The aisle

The aisle

Cutesy stationery found here!

Cutesy stationery found here!

If you're a fan of LINE Friends, this is why you should go to the pop-up store!

If you’re a fan of LINE Friends, this is why you should go to the pop-up store!

Handheld LINE Friends fans (if you didn't manage to score one from McDonald's)

Handheld LINE Friends fans (if you didn’t manage to score one from McDonald’s)

Isn't this the cutest tea infuser you've ever seen?!

Isn’t this the cutest tea infuser you’ve ever seen?!

Iceberg-inspired cup cover and infuser! Gwiyo

Iceberg-inspired cup cover and infuser! Gwiyo 😍

Writing pads!

Writing pads!

A durian-looking humidifier? Not expensive at all - only S$13.41 (before discount)!

A durian-looking humidifier? Not expensive at all – only S$13.41 (before discount)!

Wigs! Quite a number of styles available!

Wigs! Quite a number of styles available!

Vanity mirror for you to see if the wig looks nice on you!

Vanity mirror for you to see if the wig looks nice on you!

I guess.. these are hair dyes? Buy one get one free!

I guess.. these are hair dyes? Buy one get one free!

Eye shadow palettes

Eye shadow palettes

Lipsticks! Don't expect insane pigmentation though because Koreans like barely-there makeup looks!

Lipsticks! Don’t expect insane pigmentation though because Koreans like barely-there makeup looks!

But how is this little retail space different from the surfeit of pop-up stores out there? For one, a customer service counter takes the place of the cashier because the shop adopts a contactless payment system whereby only credit cards are accepted through the Shopee app. In other words, all purchases at the pop-up store are made through @hiseoul.sg on the Shopee app so you don’t have to tote around your bulky wallet! Hence, don’t be deceived by the lack of customers waiting in line at the counter (as given the Singaporean mentality, when a shop has short or no queue, it is presumably not good, right?) because checkout queues are practically nonexistent at the pop-up shop!

That said, do arm yourselves with the app already downloaded on your phone to speed up the transaction process (and save your mobile data). Once you have the app installed, register for an account with your mobile number, add a credit card via Account Settings and you are good to go! In the meantime, you can browse the catalogue to get a better sense of what may be available at the pop-up shop. Due to space constraints, only a small selection of items (from the catalogue) is sold at the pop-up shop so it is advisable that you drop by before you make any order on the app.

To add new credit card, go to settings (gear icon on top left) on your profile page

To add new credit card, go to settings (gear icon on top left) on your profile page

Tap on 'Bank Accounts/Cards'

Tap on ‘Bank Accounts/Cards’

Then, tap on 'Add New Credit Card/Debit Card'

Then, tap on ‘Add New Credit Card/Debit Card’

What’s more, buying through the app entitles you to a 15% off your total bill with the code “HISESEOUL“! If your Korean sheet mask supplies are running low, I suggest you take this opportunity to stock them up! Don’t say I bo jio worz 🤭 Prices reflected on the shelves are before the discount is applied!

When it comes to mask packaging, Korea wins hands-down!

When it comes to mask packaging, Korea wins hands-down!

I spy the Americano and Latte Mask on the bottom right. Like, what?!

I spy the Americano and Latte Mask on the bottom right. Like, what?!

More masks! The ones on the bottom row are mask for your feet! Bought one box and it friggin' works!

More masks! The ones on the bottom row are mask for your feet! Bought one box and it friggin’ works!

Buy this Peel Off mask and film down your reaction XD #waystogoviral

Buy this Peel Off mask and film down your reaction XD #waystogoviral

There will be a live makeup demonstration by native Korean makeup artist Jinnie Lee on Saturday and Sunday (16/12, 17/12) at 1-2 pm and 6-7 pm so be sure to stick around if you’re heading to the pop-up store this weekend! Psst.. I heard there will also flash deals up for grabs over the weekend! You won’t wanna miss them 🤤

Can’t make it for the event or want something on mobile but is not available at the store? If you don’t mind the wait, go ahead and place your order with ease because Shopee is currently offering FREE local shipping on top of the 15% discount that is extended to orders made through the app! Simply apply the same code “HISESEOUL” at checkout to enjoy the offer! But remember, all good things must come to an end – this irresistible promotion sadly runs right up until this Sunday, 17 December 2017. The good news, though, is that you get to keep the Shopee coins (100 Shopee Coins = $1 discount) you earned from your Seoul Store order for three months!

Some products available on the app

Some products available on the app

That’s not all! Shopping at the pop-up store comes with an extra treat – a goodie bag! But do act fast because the goodie bags are available while stock lasts on a first-come-first-serve basis and are limited to one redemption per person. Psst.. get another friend to make the payment of half your order to fully utilise this offer 😜

Mmm, what else? Oh yes, a grand draw! Who can say no to contests? Stand a chance to win a pair of tickets to Seoul by following @hiseoul.sg on Shopee. And as an added bonus for your support, you get to double your chances of winning with any purchase on @hiseoul.sg from 11 to 17 December too! Easy, right?

Look for 'Seoul Shop' in the search bar

Look for ‘Seoul Shop’ in the search bar

Hit the 'Follow' button!

Hit the ‘Follow’ button!

So, wait no further and start Shopee-ing now! 😁 Who knows? You could be the lucky one jetting off to Seoul next year!

Shopee × Seoul Shop Pop-Up Store · 11 – 17 December 2017 · Suntec City West-North Link 1-2 (Outside Cotton On) · 3E Temasek Boulevard Singapore 038984 · Operating hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm · Nearest MRT stations: Esplanade (CC3) / Promenade (CC4/DT15) / City Hall (NS25/EW13) · More information here
This post is brought to you by Seoul Shop.

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REVIEW: HERA Sensual Rouge Lipsticks – #132 Rustic Garden, #200 Morning Fever & #451 I’m Not A Mama

Hello everyone!

While we are on the subject of Korean beauty products, there are still a couple of other noteworthy brands that I would like to put the spotlight on, one of which is HERA. Now, most of you Hallyu enthusiasts would have already heard of this brand by now – even though it is not available in Singapore – through their ambassador Jun Ji Hyun as she had famously worn two lipsticks from HERA in her latest hit drama Legend of the Blue Sea. But I know not everyone is into the Korean Wave, so read on for a quick introduction on the brand.

Founded in 1995 by AmorePacific (the same company behind Laneige, Sulwhasoo, Innisfree, Etude House and IOPE), HERA is currently touted as one of the leading Korean beauty brands in the world for both men and women despite only having physical presence in their home country and recently, China. Even before I set foot in Seoul last year, I had heard plenty of talk about the brand. But as mentioned previously, I am not one who would buy into the hype of Korean make-up brands (especially since new ones seem to be popping up every moment – ain’t nobody got money for dat!) so my decision to slap new make-up on my face typically boils down to the visual presentation of the products themselves. It’s sad but true – first impression counts, so only brands that invest in their packaging deserve my money.

And HERA is certainly one I would splurge my money on despite their products being as expensive as some high-end brands around.

HERA Sensual Rouge

HERA Sensual Rouge

Unlike typical one-tone lipsticks, the Sensual Rouge series are said to deliver an exquisite blend of two colors and a moist finish. Available in 8 shades, they come in slim and long rectangular glossy plastic (yet rather sturdy) tubes that are perfect for on-the-go use. A sleek and clean appearance with touch of elegance and trendiness, it goes without saying that HERA had gotten me hooked to their packaging the very moment I spotted them at Lotte Department Store! Go ahead and pack along multiple shades of these Sensual Rouge lipsticks on your next trip if you feel like wearing a different lipstick shade for everyday of your vacation – these lipsticks do not take up much space in your make-up bag even when boxed up.

Furthermore, you don’t have to keep track of the shelf life of these lipsticks because the expiration dates are stated on the bottom label. But then again, the clear-cut expiration dates may not necessarily be a good thing for makeup hoarders who are unwilling to toss their past-it lipsticks *guilty*

A different take on bar codes? HERA showcases their creativity by incorporating iconic Seoul landmarks into boring ol' bar codes :) Who needs blatant, in-your-face "Product of South Korea" on the packaging when you can have artistic and subtle messages like this? :)

A different take on bar codes? HERA showcases their creativity by incorporating iconic Seoul landmarks into boring ol’ bar codes 🙂 Who needs blatant, in-your-face “Product of South Korea” on the packaging when you can have artistic and subtle messages like this? 🙂

Not only is the packaging en pointe, a lot of thought had been put into naming the shades as well. All these just make me wonder why HERA isn’t expanding as much outside South Korea as their sister brand Laneige. They are clearly ready to take over the international beauty scene! Oh, you selfish Koreans.. Only want the best for yourselves, eh? 😏

#132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden (35,000 KRW)

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden (35,000 KRW)

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

HERA Sensual Rouge in #132 Rustic Garden

To be fair to lipstick brands I am trying for the first time, I would usually pick out hues on both ends of the darkness spectrum for a more balanced review. Based on the shade number, Rustic Garden is the lightest shade in the Sensual Rouge line and it is mainly an amalgam of muted rosy-pink in the middle and a darker warm-toned pink (as opposed to the colours depicted on the box which look cooler and browner than warm to me) on each side of the bullet.

The oily formula enables it to glide smoothly on the lips but some product can be seen settling into my lip lines.  Barely noticeable on the first application because it is so close to my natural lip colour, I have to run this lipstick over my lips several times before I can finally see some contrast. It is emollient, hydrating and feels lightweight and the glossy sheen gives the soft colours an extra pop!

#200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever (35,000 KRW)

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever (35,000 KRW)

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

HERA Sensual Rouge in #200 Morning Fever

In view of my impending entrance into the workforce then, I had been keeping a lookout for multi-tone lipsticks with shades that are unusual yet not over the top and are suitable for everyday wear. Ticking all the right boxes is Morning Fever – one with muted red as its primary colour and pale orange as the accent colour.

It goes on buttery and sheer on first application but builds to a semi-opaque finish. It has more slip than Rustic Garden and feels lightweight and supple on the lips, but leaves an oily film which lends that natural sheen. I would prefer the orange to be slightly more prominent because currently, the blend is so seamless than unless you see it under proper lighting the contrast is hardly visible at all. Nonetheless, it is a very flattering shade which gives the lips a healthy glow.

HERA #132 Rustic Garden and #200 Morning Fever swatch comparison with other similar multi-tone shades

HERA #132 Rustic Garden and #200 Morning Fever swatch comparison with other similar multi-tone shades

#451 I’m Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I'm Not A Mama (35,000 KRW)

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I’m Not A Mama (35,000 KRW)

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I'm Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I’m Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I'm Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I’m Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I'm Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I’m Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I'm Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I’m Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I'm Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I’m Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I'm Not A Mama

HERA Sensual Rouge in #451 I’m Not A Mama

Last but not least is I’m Not A Mama, the darkest and perhaps most pigmented of the octet and also one that is more in line with what I would normally wear. But lo and behold, probably because I’m more of a seasoned dark lipstick fiend, I find myself having more negative things to talk about for this shade.

Featuring a reassuring blend of cool copper and a deepened claret (in between brown and purple – a combination I knew would complement each other perfectly) on the bullet, this lipstick disappointingly applies as a muted burnt orange altogether on my lips and thereby blurring the contrast of the colours (which defeats the purpose of the multi-tone function since any regular lipsticks can do the job). In fact, if you were to look very closely, the deeper hue appears a lot lighter than the primary colour when applied on the lips 🤔 Although the most opaque among the three reviewed here, it is still mostly sheer by normal standards and has to be layered to decent opacity – a characteristic quite typical of Korean makeup products as the Koreans tend to place more emphasis on achieving a more youthful, natural and dewy look.

Application-wise, it is equally greasy and has more slip than the other two but feels tackier. On top of that, it has a runny and weightless texture that glides on easily, leaving the lips feeling moisturised and refreshed. All in all, it is a pleasant shade and I would have rated it better if not for the barely visible colour contrast. Pity!

HERA #451 I'm Not A Mama swatch comparison with regular lipsticks

HERA #451 I’m Not A Mama swatch comparison with regular lipsticks

On the whole, I would say that the Sensual Rouge line is alright in quality but nothing to write home about. For sure, much still needs to be done to the accuracy of the information on the packaging because I find the shades depicted on it very deceiving and absolutely inaccurate as you can see. Do swatch (if possible) before buying or you will be in for a surprise.

So should you get these? Depending on your preference, you may enjoy them if you don’t mind opting for a softer look. But if you are all for a more defined and mature make-up look, this (or K-beauty in general) is certainly not for you.

What are your thoughts on these multi-tone lipsticks? Are they effective in creating ombré lip looks or are they just plain marketing gimmicks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

While HERA Sensual Rouge is only available in South Korea and china (not at duty-free counters), you might able to find other products by the same brand on Qoo10 and Lazada.

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