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!
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
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
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
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!
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
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
More peeling shots because I like them
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 – full profile
Real Carrot Serum (S$25.90)
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?!
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
Pump 1 to 2 times and gently spread across the face from the centre outwards
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!
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! 😊
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.
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.
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
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! 😊
It may have been more than a decade since K-beauty came on our radar but the trend is still going strong with a roll-out of a variety of innovative skincare products that tap into consumers’ growing demand for all-things natural and/or organic lately by industry leaders and startups, like Aperire.
A subsidiary of SOOA Natural founded in 2013 that specialises in cosmetics research and development, Aperire 아페리레(pronounced ah-peh-RI-reh, Latin for “uncover” or “open”) is a South Korean beauty brand comprising a range of skincare products for whitening (Vitality Shine) and elasticity (Super Origin) apart from makeup. Despite their brief history, Aperire has already built up quite a standing in the indie Korean beauty scene and generated a fair bit of coverage in the media. Following their recent expansion into Singapore, I was honoured to receive first dibs on the brand’s Vitality Shine and Super Origin series – all of which (with the exception of an ampoule) would be explored in this post.
Housed in deluxe see-through brown containers made of solid glass, the packaging feels nothing short of quality even before submerging my fingers into the product. To protect them from breakage, they are sold in sturdy boxes with clear English description at the front. However, what really impressed me was the level of comprehensiveness in explaining the functions (e.g. anti-aging, whitening) of the products on the packaging, as well as the appropriate time of the day to use them, which is extremely helpful to those who are new to the whole Korean beauty world.
What for / When / Who
Even so, you probably need tried-and-tested reviews of the products to decide if they are for you. Fret not – that’s what this post is for! And as an added bonus, there’s also a quick video of me demonstrating their uses at the end of this post, so be sure to check it out! ☺
*All prices stated do not include delivery charges and have been rounded up to the nearest dollar. Prices online may differ from physical store.
VITALITY SHINE (Whitening)
An untiring advocate of natural ingredients, Aperire believes that multivitamins are the best way to provide vitality and energy to the skin which is an essential step in improving skin radiance and combating aging. Therefore, they have included real multivitamins (such as A, B, C, E, H and K) in their Vitality Shine series to enhance the whitening and moisturising effects while boosting the vitality and elasticity of the skin. The skin also becomes brighter and lighter with extracts of lemon, grapefruit, rose hip, Kakadu plum (all of which are rich in Vitamin C) and white willow bark (which has exfoliating properties).
Aperire Vitality Shine series
Most importantly, as the key highlight of this series of 3 products (Water-Ful Vitamin Cream, Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask and Vitamin C-30 Real Ampoule – not covered here), it contains extracts of seaberry fruit (or sea buckthorn) which is a rich source of vitamins C, E and P as well as malic and citric acids to help keep skin smooth and healthy.
Aperire Vitality Shine Water-Ful Vitamin Cream (full ingredient list extracted from Qoo10 – very poorly constructed in my opinion, so let me help you pick out the important ones below)
Infused with notes of citrus, this lightweight vitamin cream instantly brings vitality to tired and dehydrated skin by supplying an abundance of moisture without the oily residue with seaberry fruit extract (that also accounts for 75% of the ingredients) along with the aid of Glycacid Eco (a biotechnologic derivate from vegetable matters, labelled Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans in the ingredients) which helps to improve intradermic penetration and water retention. This in turn ensures that the skin is kept moist for a longer period of time, thus lessening the necessity for frequent reapplication.
Ideal for sensitive skin, it also contains extracts of centella asiatica (for its skin rejuvenation properties), ganoderma lucidum (or lingzhi mushroom, which helps reduce skin inflammation, puffiness, wrinkles and free radical damage, while promoting cell regeneration) and acerola (for its wrinkle-fighting properties) on top of those mentioned above.
Suitable for use in the day and at night, the cream can be layered on top of the ampoule (not reviewed) in the same series to seal in all its goodness and maximise its absorption.
GOOD NIGHT Vitamin Whitening Mask
Aperire Vitality Shine Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask (90ml / 3.0 fl.oz / S$60)
Aperire Vitality Shine Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask
Aperire Vitality Shine Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask (core ingredients)
Aperire Vitality Shine Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask (full ingredient list extracted from Qoo10. Click to enlarge)
An all-in-one whitening and lifting gloss formula, the sleeping mask functions as an essence and night cream to help the skin receive its necessary nutrients as the mind falls into deep slumber, making certain that you wake up to glistening, well-rested skin in the morning. It has a slight zingy ginger scent which my boyfriend argued was more of a mix of lavender and vanilla.
Infused with seaberry fruit extract (70%) and 9 types of multivitamins (10% “Multi-Vita9” includes Vitamin A, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin F [linolenic acid], Vitamin K3, Vitamin E, Vitamin H [biotin]), the cream is composed of minuscule double-layer vitamin C capsules which dissolves into the skin when the product is being worked around. The primary coating helps the vitamin absorb and moisturise deeply while the secondary acts as a sealant to ensure the freshness of the vitamin within the capsule.
And that’s not all – slathering the mask on your face essentially also means reaping the benefits of ingredients – in addition to those listed above – such as adenosine (a soothing and skin-restoring agent), extracts of acerola and macadamia seed (a hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic type of carrier oil known for its moisturising, regenerating and softening properties), argan tree kernel (which has a rich blend of essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E) and avocado (for its hydrating and softening properties) oils.
Aperire Vitality Shine Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask (actual product)
Vitamin C capsules in Aperire Vitality Shine Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask
Aperire Vitality Shine Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask (application – notice how small the capsules have become!)
After using the Root Essence (discussed below), apply Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask to the forehead, cheek and chin and massage gently into the face and to allow better penetration of the capsules.
Unlike sheet masks which eat into 15 to 20 minutes of your bedtime (because it has to be removed by the stipulated time), the whitening mask requires just 10 seconds to apply and can be left on the face overnight. Since it penetrates into the skin well enough and does not have much of a sticky texture, it won’t transfer to your pillowcase when you sleep too!
Skin repair during sleep:
Super Origin Miracle Day Root Essence → Vitality Shine Water-full Vitamin Cream
SUPER ORIGIN (Elasticity)
Taking cue from the idea of getting to the root of problems with roots, the Super Origin series boasts the use of Root Complex (or Rootcureplex™, a term proudly coined by Aperire) – a combination of nutrients from five kinds of root extracts namely lotus root (to improve skin elasticity and brighten skin tone), yam root (which contains a large amount of phytomucin and amino acids to strengthen weakened skin barrier to retain moisture and promote skin elasticity), dandelion root (to suppress the production of melanin for a whiter skin and for invigorating purposes), saururus chinensis root (for a smoother and firmer skin) and taro root (a rich botanical mucin component that brightens, and strengthens skin elasticity) to combat aging and restore the skin’s elasticity from within.
Aperire Super Origin series
Roots are said to provide more concentrated nutrients than ingredients derived from the fruits of plants simply because they, being buried in the depths of the Earth, have better potential to attract and retain minerals that are unattainable by parts of the plant above the soil. And there’s no better way to experience the immense benefits of roots than to use the two (only!) products in this series – the Miracle Day Root Essence and Bouncing Root Cream!
MIRACLE DAY Root Essence
Aperire Super Origin Miracle Day Root Essence (130ml / 4.4 fl.oz / S$46)
Aperire Super Origin Miracle Day Root Essence (leak-preventing stopper)
Aperire Super Origin Miracle Day Root Essence (core ingredients)
Aperire Super Origin Miracle Day Root Essence (full ingredients extracted from Qoo10 – please click to view image on a separate window)
The most sought-after product from Aperire, the root essence effectively helps treat sagging and dull skin by restoring its natural elasticity, evenness and youthful appearance with Root Complex (which makes up a whopping 81% of the ingredients). Furthermore, it has sugar and fruit acids to enhance the moisturising effect of the product, giving the skin a smoother complexion.
Scentless, clear and lightweight like water, most of it absorb into the skin as soon as it is applied without leaving a sticky finish, thanks to the lactobacillus (to improve skin barrier) and fermented soybean extract (for its antioxidative and whitening activities) in the ingredients that are obtained from a rigorous fermentation process, giving rise to their diminutive texture and ability to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin.
Aperire Super Origin Miracle Day Root Essence (application)
Aperire Super Origin Miracle Day Root Essence (application)
Upon cleansing the face in the day or at night, soak a cotton pad with the root essence before wiping the skin with it. Towards the end of this step, press the pad lightly against the skin for it to absorb the remaining essence. Then, follow with the rest of your products in your beauty regimen.
Aperire Super Origin Bouncing Root Cream (core ingredients)
Aperire Super Origin Bouncing Root Cream (full ingredients extracted from Qoo10 – please click to view image on a separate window)
A triple-function root cream that whitens and boosts skin elasticity and moisture, it permeates the skin with 58% Root Complex to enhance the skin’s overall vitality while making up for any deficiency of ceramide. Enriched with strong moisturising power, the cream forms a protective barrier that plumps the skin and protect the skin from dryness for a long time, giving it a healthy, glass-like appearance. Imbued with a faint earthy smell, it has a slightly heavy consistency but does not leave an oily finish upon application.
Aperire Super Origin Bouncing Root Cream (application)
Aperire Super Origin Bouncing Root Cream (application)
The root cream is recommended for use after applying the root essence. Taking an appropriate amount of the product, massage it to the face and areas that feel dry to maximise its absorption rate.
Combined daily skincare routine:
Super Origin Miracle Day Root Essence → Vitality Shine Vitamin C-30 Real Ampoule → Vitality Shine Water-full Vitamin Cream → Super Origin Bouncing Root Cream → Vitality Shine Good Night Vitamin Whitening Mask
The products, although generally served me okay, had apparent packaging flaws. I, for one, do not like how overly condensed the ingredient list is crafted on the box (only showing the core ingredients) and the lack of effort in translating the information printed on other parts of the box and container to English. As a result, I had to keep Googling for them and make my own assumptions (which, if I had to state them here, would have been backed by scientific studies).
Moreover, despite the fact that most of the Aperire products are lightweight in texture, they may get uncomfortably heavy when they are piled atop one another on the skin. Hence, a suggestion would be to allow time for each product to settle completely into the skin for five minutes before layering it with the next.
If you’re interested to watch the products in action, check out the video below! Please pardon my pimply face – that’s the result of snacking on too much Chinese New Year goodies 😣
What are your thoughts about Aperire products? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or simply take quick poll! 😊
Thanks for reading!
Aperire is now available on Qoo10 and I’M STARTICE. For more information, please visit Aperire website or like them on Facebook.
In this day and age where beauty companies are sprouting up left and right, there can never be enough skincare products to experiment with. Recognising that not everyone has the financial wherewithal and time to do a dummy run with new arrivals in the market, I have decided to take the liberty of slathering what have been sent to me on my acne-prone face to enable you to make more informed purchase decisions. So, allow me to shine the spotlight on another underrated South Korean brand, OMEDI, which had kindly provided me with five of their post-cleanse products.
Hailing from Seoul, OMEDI (subsidiary of Natural-Korea which has over 15 years of experience in cosmetics research and development) is best known for their pragmatic approach to skincare. Their philosophy – grounded in the belief that treatments should be customised to meet the needs of individual skin requirements – is reflected in the skincare systems they have developed to address the fundamental causes of skin concerns. In fact, OMEDI even has a self-assessment survey (in Korean only, unfortunately) in place on their website to help customers determine their skin type and needs before proceeding with any purchase.
Just a fraction of OMEDI products..
Additionally, OMEDI respects the physiological balance of the skin. Hence, products the brand offers tend to be more inclined towards decelerating the aging process rather than reversing its effects. With an aim to fortify and sustain the skin’s natural protective barriers against damaging environmental factors, the products in their systems – a complementary combination of cleansers, moisturisers, protectants and other treatments – work in synergy with one another to deliver visible results. Clinically tested and specially formulated without preservatives, mineral oil and synthetic additives, OMEDI strives to be the ultimate resource for achieving healthy and resilient skin.
For the first time in the history of fionaseah.com, this written review has a video accompaniment. Scroll down to the end to watch the products in action! 😁
*All prices stated do not include delivery charges.
In a bid to fulfill most Asian’s desire for fairer skin (which regrettably is still somewhat closely associated to beauty and superiority in today’s context), OMEDI has introduced their Secret White series that purportedly promotes skin lightening and minimises fine lines and wrinkles. There are quite a number of products under the same umbrella (as can be seen on their website) but the focus for this review will solely be on the four I received.
OMEDI Secret White series
Skin suitability scale – I may be wrong but based on what was communicated to me, if the blue bar is filled within the range of 0-4, then it is for oily/normal/elastic/pure (not sure what this means) skin, and vice versa. So in this instance, if the blue bar is within the 3-7 range like the topmost one, then this product is catered to normal skin.
Interestingly, an indication of suitability for use of the product (based on skin type) is specified on every packaging while certain ones like Intensive Emulsion and Phyto Serum are further segregated into four types – Extra Control (blue-coded – for oily skin), Sebum Balance (green-coded – for combination skin), Basic Moist (pink-coded – for normal skin) and Hyper Hydro (orange-coded – for dry skin)- to cater to different skin needs. OMEDI had mistakenly given me those in the Basic Moist subcategory which, for the record, may be a little too mild for my combination skin. As a result of this mix-up, I kinda lowered my expectations for the products to be fair. But let’s see…
OMEDI Secret White Phyto Serum (35ml / 1.18 fl.oz)
OMEDI Secret White Phyto Serum
OMEDI Secret White Phyto Serum (ingredients)
Formulated with botanical extracts (Calendula Officinalis, Camellia Sinensis leaf, Ginkgo Biloba leaf, etc.) and bio-humectants, Phyto Serum has a lightweight consistency which enables it to penetrate deep within the skin to improve moisture retention. Soft to the touch and slightly pellucid in appearance, it enhances the skin’s texture and alleviates dryness. Enlivened by subtle floral notes, it settles into the skin rather quickly without leaving a tacky or greasy finish, thereby forming a barely-there shield that I am comfortable to sleep in. Therefore, this has become my go-to serum whenever I am in the mood to pamper my skin.
OMEDI Secret White Phyto Serum (application)
OMEDI Secret White Phyto Serum (application)
For maximum results, apply a suitable amount of the serum after cleansing and toning to the whole face or blemished spots and neck twice daily. Then, follow with moisturiser with SPF in the day and a nourishing one before hitting the sack.
OMEDI Secret White Intensive Emulsion (120ml / 4.05 fl. oz)
Every OMEDI product comes with a safety seal like this
OMEDI Secret White Intensive Emulsion
OMEDI Secret White Intensive Emulsion (ingredients)
In general, emulsions are a more watered-down version of moisturisers that soften the skin and, depending on the brand, may be used to create a moisture barrier to lock in the products that were applied prior to that.
An inessential step that can be omitted from the daily skincare regimen if budget and time do not allow, the Intensive Emulsion contains emollients derived from botanical sources (such as Rosa Centifolia Flower Water, Calendula Officinalis extract, wheat germ extract, black bean extract, Allantoin and seaweed extract) and other organic bio-minerals to replenish moisture to the skin while promoting a soft and supple complexion. Lightweight in texture with a moderately greasy finish that dissipates over time, the product has the same scent as the serum and does not leave a white cast on the skin.
OMEDI Secret White Intensive Emulsion (application)
OMEDI Secret White Intensive Emulsion (application)
According to the instructions stated on the packaging, a pearl-sized amount (i.e. one pump) is sufficient for the entire face and neck and should be applied to freshly-cleansed skin in the day and at night. However, I chose to use the emulsion after the serum because the texture of the former felt discernibly thicker.
Oasis Aqua Crème
OMEDI Secret White Oasis Aqua Crème (200ml / 6.76 fl.oz)
OMEDI Secret White Oasis Aqua Crème
OMEDI Secret White Oasis Aqua Crème (ingredients)
Critically acclaimed for its soothing and revitalising benefits, this oil-free aqueous cream contains rich nutrients of Soybean Lecithin (which is high in vitamin E content), pure Aloe Vera gel and botanical oils to stimulate the appearance of collagen in the skin and prevent the damaging effects of free radicals, making it ideal as a daily moisturiser for chapped and sensitive skin.
OMEDI Secret White Oasis Aqua Crème (actual product)
OMEDI Secret White Oasis Aqua Crème (application)
OMEDI Secret White Oasis Aqua Crème (application)
Apply an adequate amount to the face using the spatula provided and spread it out into a thin layer with the tips of your finger during the day and at night The cool, lightweight citrus-scented gel melts immediately into the skin upon contact to provide a burst of freshness and hydration to replenish water loss, leaving the surface refreshed and rejuvenated with little to no oily residue. As a matter of fact, it literally feels like congealed water on my skin! It comes in a fairly large tub that will keep you hydrated all winter, or in the case of Singapore, for months of sweltering heat.
OMEDI Secret White Moist Capture Eye Creme (ingredients)
Easy to apply and convenient to carry around, the eye cream can be dispensed from the squeeze tube directly to the under-eye region through a pointed tip to minimise cross-contamination while also allowing for better control of the amount of product that comes out. It is laced with a floral scent similar to those of the emulsion and serum and has a thicker and more gluey consistency.
Suitable for sensitive skin, it contains physiologically-active ingredients such as botanical extracts and vitamins to enable deeper penetration to nourish the stressed and vulnerable area surrounding the eyes. At the same time, Sodium Hyaluronate and the biomaterials present in the ingredients secure moisture and create fullness, knocking a few years off the face to give a more youthful appearance.
OMEDI Secret White Moist Capture Eye Creme (application)
OMEDI Secret White Moist Capture Eye Creme (application)
As the final step to your nighttime routine, use your ring finger (which has muscles weak enough to give the optimal amount of pressure without tugging on the most delicate area of the face) to dab a pea-sized amount underneath each eye or onto the neck to smooth away fine lines. For maximum experience, store the eye cream in the refrigerator as cold temperatures will typically aid in reducing puffiness of tired eyes and relax your senses.
The Soonsoo (순수, meaning “clean” or “pure’ in Korean) series offers cleansing products, such as peeling cream and cleansing oil, essential for setting the stage for the subsequent steps in the skincare regimen. However, this review would only discuss on the efficacy of the cleansing balm.
OMEDI Soonsoo Cleansing Balm (200ml / 6.76 fl.oz)
OMEDI Soonsoo Cleansing Balm
OMEDI Soonsoo Cleansing Balm (ingredients)
A texture-transforming balm, this luxurious botanical cleansing balm provides a thorough cleansing experience that removes all traces of makeup – even the most stubborn of mascara – in just one application. The moment it is applied onto the skin, it metamorphoses from a solid to a molten liquid, releasing the oils contained inside the previously rigid structure of the balm to dissolve and melt away any impurities.
With antioxidants (such as Camellia Sinensis leaf extract) and moisturising ingredients (such as Shea butter) infused in this silky smooth formula, the balm is leaves the skin with a radiant finish upon rinsing with water. Gentle in nature, it is also ideal for faces that have undergone skin resurfacing procedures including microdermabrasion and light chemical peels.
OMEDI Soonsoo Cleansing Balm (actual product on the spatula provided)
To use, take a suitable amount on dry palms using the spatula provided and massage over makeup in circular motions until most of it has been dissolved. Then, emulsify the balm with wet hands and rinse off with lukewarm water. That’s it – no complicated steps involved and neither would you need pick up additional amounts of the balm to completely take off all the makeup! Who knew makeup removal could be so simple?
To demonstrate the effectiveness of the balm, I briefly tested it on my most smudge-resistant waterproof makeup (i.e. Benefit They’re Real! Push-Up Liner) and – voilà! – not a single trace of product left on my hand! But how does the balm perform on a fully made-up face? Check out the video below to find out!
The overall experience of using OMEDI was mind-blowing despite the fact that the some of the products weren’t supposedly catered to my skin type. My only gripe is that the packaging (and website, perhaps) could have included instructions in English as well for the benefit of their international customers. That said, this product trial has certainly made me a fan of OMEDI, and I urge everyone to give this brand a shot. But until OMEDI finds a way to be more user-friendly to people who can’t comprehend Korean, you may need to rely heavily upon Google Translate to retrieve the information you need.
What are your views about OMEDI products? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or simply take a quick poll!
Thanks for reading!
OMEDI is now available at I’M STARTICE (BIG BOX). For more information, please visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
Sheet masks may have long been a staple in Asian skin care, but they have only recently gained traction in the Western world. Prior to the surge in popularity of sheet masks, traditional wash-off masks was the go-to treatment for brightening and softening complexion but not only is the application and removal process more time-consuming (and a waste of water), they also tend to strip away oil and moisture from the skin which often results in the tight feeling after use.
Sheet masks, on the other hand, are a convenient game changer in giving the skin that extra boost of moisture (primarily so, with added benefits). Formulated with almost the same active ingredients as serums, the single-use sheet acts as a physical barrier that prevents the essence from evaporating, thus enabling it to absorb into the skin more effectively while also ensuring its equal distribution over the target area. Since my first foray into the world of facials nearly a decade ago, sheet masks have evolved past the humble cotton material for the face to include more luxurious ones with better skin adherence for other parts of the body as aptly manifested in IYOU‘s product line-up.
Founded in 2016, IYOU is a budding South Korean beauty brand committed to providing high-quality sheet masks for head-to-toe pampering at an affordable price. Despite being an emerging business, IYOU has already made their presence felt on a global scale by partaking in beauty expos around the world and stocking up on Amazon, Etsy, Qoo10 and at Little Tokyo Market Place (a Japanese-Korean supermarket in Los Angeles), thereby building a cult following for their diverse selection (10!) of sheet masks which I’m about to take you through in this review*!
*Do note that due to time constraints, I was only able to try out certain products as depicted in my pictures. Also, Prices reflected do not include delivery costs.
The mother of all sheet masks, face masks are the easiest way to get anyone started in the quest for perfect skin. With two kinds of texture – original and jelly – in their face mask series to choose from, IYOU has just about everything you need to achieve your desired glow but a more pocket-friendly option would be the apple or avocado face masks in their normal range.
To ensure that the skin receives the full benefits of ingredients infused in the face mask, it should only be applied on freshly cleansed and properly toned complexion once weekly to once daily, depending on the state of the skin. The occlusive nature of sheet masks may aggravate existing inflammatory skin conditions but those blessed with golden genes would notice significant improvement (such as increased hydration and radiance) in their skin with more frequent usage. If you are, like me, a lazy busy person with acne-prone skin, a twice-weekly ritual of face masking would be adequate to your needs.
IYOU Apple Face Mask (10 × 25ml / 0.85 fl.oz / S$15.90)
IYOU Apple Face Mask
IYOU Apple Face Mask ingredients
A nutrient-rich treatment for restoring moisture to the face, the Apple face mask is mainly composed of vitamin C (from apple fruit extract) for its skin whitening and antioxidant properties that prevent the damaging effects of free radicals while boosting skin elasticity and regeneration. Other ingredients in the mask include Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera) and Centella Asiatica Extract for their anti-inflammation abilities, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract for a skin-nourishing experience, and Melissa Officinalis Leaf (Lemon Balm), likewise, for its antioxidant function.
Made of TENCEL®, a natural cellulosic fibre derived from wood that is 100% biodegradable, this eco-friendly mask offers transparency on the skin (as seen in the pictures), has a finer and more supple texture than cotton (but with the strength of polyester) and promotes better moisture absorption thanks to its unique nano-fibril structure. Soft and smooth to the touch, its high heat capacity and slow cooling rate provide for thermoregulatory stability as it helps to smooth out the temperature fluctuations in our skin, preventing any chances of sensitisation.
IYOU Apple Face Mask (application)
IYOU Apple Face Mask (after)
To use (and this applies to all the masks mentioned in this post), open the packet and slather the excess essence in the packet (not soaked into the mask) onto the face, neck and everywhere else before applying the mask to make the most of it.
However, care must be taken when unfolding the masks as all of them do not come with a plastic backing. Once that is done, match the cutouts of the mask to the eyes, nose and mouth and gently massage it into the face’s contours to ensure maximum absorption. Remove the mask after 10 to 20 minutes (ideally) and gently pat the essence into skin with fingers until thoroughly absorbed.
Made of cotton, the Avocado face mask delivers essential nutrients to supply moisture (from Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract) and reduce both radiation-induced cellular damage and skin inflammation (with the help of Centella Asiatica Extract) without harming the environment. Apart from being highly absorbent, this hypo-allergenic fibre also has great stretching power to ensure that every inch of the face is accounted for.
In order to promote overall skin health, Oenothera Biennis Flower (Evening Primrose) and Ginkgo Biloba Leaf extracts are also added for their anti-aging and antioxidant virtues. But in my opinion, the benefits of these Avocado masks aren’t much different from those of Apple and considering that the material used here is of a less superior quality, I recommend spending your limited budget on the Apple masks instead. #moneysaved
JELLY FACE MASK
A new concept by IYOU to allow deeper penetration of ingredients, the masks in this premium range contain jelly-like essence with a weaker fluidity and stronger viscosity that acts as a moisture barrier.
With the exception of Black Pearl, all of the masks are made of Cupro, a cellulosic non-woven fibre derived from cotton linter developed by Asahi Kasei Bemliese (a Japanese textile manufacturer), for its high absorbency and retention of liquid. Soft and silky in texture, the lint-free biodegradable fabric also provides for excellent adhesion as it conforms closely to the curves of the face like a second skin. Above all else, it becomes transparent once liquid is absorbed, providing an unobtrusive appearance when the face mask is worn 😮 Now, who says you have to always look like Jason Voorhees when rocking a sheet mask?!
Apart from its high commodity value, gold is also known for its benefits in skin care as demonstrated by Cleopatra who was said to use a gold mask every night to enhance her complexion and maintain her youthfulness. “So what?” your broke ass may ask. Well, if you ever wanted to feel like a million dollars without breaking the bank, the time has finally come!
IYOU Gold Jelly Face Mask (application)
Adding a touch of luxury to the beauty ritual, the 20 ppm of gold particles in the Gold jelly face mask helps, in some extent, reduce the appearance of fine lines and blemishes while slowing down collagen depletion. But the primary advantages are, of course, only possible with the aid of other ingredients such as Bambusa Vulgaris leaf (or simply bamboo, which protects the skin against bacteria and fungus) and Chamomilla Flower Extract (or Chamomile, which soothes dry skin and promotes healing of skin irritation) that are present in the mask. And did I mention that a box of 10 Gold jelly masks only costs S$20.90?
IYOU Red Ginseng Jelly Face Mask (10 × 33ml / 1.11 fl.oz / S$20.90)
IYOU Red Ginseng Jelly Face Mask
IYOU Red Ginseng Jelly Face Mask ingredients
Ginseng is pretty much synonymous with the Asian culture as it is the most widely sold tonic made into a variety of health foods and drinks to improve physical fitness and overall wellness. Growing up, I was brainwashed by my mother into thinking ginseng was the one-size-fits-all solution to any sorts of health issues (because every illness must stem from having too much “heat” in the body). Come to think of it, she is not entirely wrong since it is slowly making its way into cosmeceuticals too 😂
IYOU Red Ginseng Jelly Face Mask (application) – look how transparent TENCEL is!
The Korean equivalent of the ginseng I had in my childhood is the red ginseng which, according to Google, is typically steamed after drying. As the main ingredient in the face mask (on top of Chamomilla Flower and Centella Asiatica extracts), its purpose is to revitalise and increase the immunity of the skin while preventing aging and increasing the production of collagen. The mild bitterness and earthy sweetness unique to ginseng roots are translated into a more pleasant scent for the Red Ginseng mask. That said, it could still be a turn-off to the untrained nose at the onset. But once you’ve grown accustomed to the smell, you won’t want to go back!
A red or brown resinous substance collected by honeybees from tree buds, bee propolis (or bee glue) is commonly used for its healing, antiseptic and restorative capabilities, making it an ideal ingredient for sensitive and redness-prone skin. When combined with other anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents such as Elderflower and Eucalyptus extracts, the composite boosts the skin’s natural immunity and protects it from environmental stressors and harmful bacteria, all of which is basically what the Propolis jelly mask is all about!
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask (10 × 35ml / 1.18 fl.oz / S$20.90)
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask ingredients
Enriched with the active ingredient of the highly coveted black pearls such as amino acids, the Black Pearl face mask seeks to improve dull skin caused by stress and prolonged exposure to the sun by promoting a brighter and cleaner complexion. In addition, it also contains conchiolin protein which has been scientifically proven to reduce the skin’s pigmentation. The face is kept slightly acidic (at about 5.5 on the pH scale) with each application to ensure the skin’s barrier – which helps to repel pathogens (i.e. microorganisms that can cause diseases) – is not compromised.
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask essence
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask (application)
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask (application)
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask (application)
IYOU Black Pearl Jelly Face Mask (after)
Black rayon sheet is used in this instance to coordinate with the colour of black pearls. A fairly adhesive fibre resistant to tearing, black rayon holds moisture better than cotton and is very comfortable and soft on the skin. It is also worth noting that, unlike the rest of the sheet masks, Black Pearl amazingly does not leave much of a tacky sensation after removal. The essence seemed to settle into my skin completely with continuous patting.
C’mon, it’s about time you show your hair some love. After all, true beauty extends beyond the face! Likely the first of its kind, this disposable steam hair cap enables you to bring your salon experience home, minus the tedious setting up process and the hefty electricity bills that follow, of course! Mainly composed of PRODEW® 500, an amino acid blend developed to moisturise, strengthen the structure, protect the colour and repair any surface damage of the hair, the steam hair cap is ideal for those who frequently dye their hair with synthetic colours. More importantly, it smells heavenly!
IYOU Steam Hair Cap
IYOU Steam Hair Cap (actual product)
IYOU Steam Hair Cap essence
To use, remove some water from the hair after shampooing and cover the scalp with the hair cap while ensuring that all stray hair is tucked beneath it – which will take practice to get right especially if you have long, thick locks. Adjust and tighten the cap with the plastic flap attached to it to minimise its movement and prevent the essence from evaporating. Massage the head gently with both hands (or risk having it slide off) to increase the absorption of the nourishing ingredients into the scalp. Then, remove the cap after 15 to 20 minutes, rinse off leftover essence with lukewarm water and embrace your now soft and supple hair. Oh, and also be prepared for a slimy floor 🤦♀️
IYOU Steam Hair Cap (application)
If all else fails, simply scoop the essence from the cap and massage it directly into the hair (which defeats the purpose of the cap, I know) for the stipulated duration before washing it off. You may skip on conditioner since the hair cap functions the same way. Once-daily usage is recommended for a shinier and healthier appearance of your tresses but if budget or time doesn’t allow it, once-weekly should do too.
As we get caught up in work, there is bound to be at least one part of our body that we are guilty of neglecting in our daily beauty routine. For me, it has always been my neck – which happens to be one of the areas that reveal a person’s age first – somewhat because of my aversion to the icky sensation products would leave behind, and as ludicrous as it sounds, my neck and collarbone are also some of my many ticklish zones. So can you imagine my agony of having to suppress my laughter whenever my masseuse or facial therapist brushed their hands against that delicate area?!? 😖 But with IYOU’s sheet mask for the neck and collarbone, I feel that I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
Made of cotton, the mask is loaded with ingredients known for their antioxidant properties that protect against the effects of aging and promote elasticity and tightening to ensure a younger and firmer skin around the neck and collarbone. These include Aronia Melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry) Fruit Extract for eliminating or improving the appearance of skin discolouration, and Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), an enzyme produced naturally in the body responsible for cell growth and maintenance in the body, to neutralise free radicals.
IYOU Neck & Collarbone Sheet (application)
As always, the neck and collarbone area has to be washed and dried thoroughly before using the mask to ensure optimal absorption of the essence. Leave the mask on for 10 to 20 minutes (the narrower portion to be wrapped around the neck) while occasionally applying light pressure to it. Just a word of caution, though – use the mask lying down because it may get a little messy. After taking it off, gently massage any remaining product into the skin until thoroughly absorbed.
Being afflicted with some sort of Dermatillomania (an excoriation disorder that causes obsessive picking of skin) on top of mild eczema meant that my fingers would periodically be marred with involuntary nicks and scabs (which get worse in times of boredom) developed from dry peeling skin. But because my hands are always on the move, creams have never been considered as an option for me to alleviate the problem. However, this could all change with IYOU’s hand gloves!
IYOU Hand Gloves (1 pair of gloves per packet)
Tear along the perforated lines to separate the gloves (the essence is sealed inside the gloves)
Suitable for sensitive skin prone to atopy, inflammation and irritation, the plastic gloves are formulated with Camellia Sinensis (green tea) leaf and Portulaca Oleracea extracts (among many other ingredients) to provide a calming and moisturising effect while stimulating metabolism and cell regeneration. That said, the gloves should not be used on open sores, wounds and weeping eczema or dermatitis.
IYOU Hand Gloves (application)
IYOU Hand Gloves – tighten it with the plastic flap (or “sticker”, as IYOU calls it)
You’re still able to use your phone!
Like the steam hair cap, the inside of the gloves are filled with the essence whereas the exterior is typically clean (if not, just wipe any product off with a towel), making it possible to work with both hands as the treatment is underway. Rinse and dry the hands thoroughly before putting the gloves on (keeping them in place with the plastic flap) and remove them after 10 to 15 minutes. Then, gently rub both bare hands to evenly distribute the excess essence.
Heel fissures are a common foot problem, and this is even more so for jobs like mine that involve standing for prolonged periods of time. Although admittedly, I find joy in picking at the dead skin every so often, the cracks can hurt when they get too deep, not forgetting they are also awful to look at and rough to the touch (which has always been the triggering factor for my disgusting habit). But as busy professionals, a routine as simple as applying moisturiser to our feet before heading to bed can be weary and bothersome after a tiring day. Furthermore, with our feet being a hotspot for germs and bacteria, we tend to avoid touching them unnecessarily. So, how now brown cow? Well, having already had masks catered for most vital parts of the body, there’s obviously one for the feet for the same purpose as well!
Tear along the perforated lines to separate the socks
The size of 1 side of the socks (1 pair of socks per packet)
The foot socks soothe and restore moisture to dry and cracked skin with Hamamelis Virginiana (American witch hazel) as well as Camellia Sinensis (green tea) leaf, Aloe Barbadensis leaf and Potulaca Oleracea extracts, resulting in softer and healthier-looking feet. Similarly, the ingredients used in this instance are perfectly safe for irritated or inflamed skin. However, you are not advised to use them should you notice any signs of bleeding or infection.
IYOU Foot Socks (application)
IYOU Foot Socks (application) – tighten the socks with the plastic flap!
After washing the feet and sopping up the dampness. wear the socks and adjust them to fit you properly with the aid of the plastic flap. Upon removing them 10 to 15 minutes later, massage or rub the feet against each other to allow better absorption of the essence. Convenient for use even at the office, the foot socks can be worn as you rush out reports at your desk – just be sure to bring along a pair of sandals to walk around in while waiting for the feet to fully absorb the essence.
Put on the foot socks BEFORE wearing the gloves!
With the market already saturated with face masks of every kind imaginable, the alternative offerings by IYOU are, simply put, a breath of fresh air and a solution to lazy days (though some will require a few uses to master the technique of keeping them in place). If you’re not ready to commit to a full box just yet, you may want to consider getting the trial pack (S$22.90) which contains both regular face masks and masks for the hair, hand and feet on Qoo10!
What are your thoughts about IYOU masks? Are they something you see yourself using on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments below or take a quick poll 🙂
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
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!
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Ingredients in KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator (click to enlarge)
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.
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 🙂
Temperatures are soaring globally and this spells trouble for those with acne-prone skin. Heat and humidity intensify oil production in our skin which in turn gives rise to (more frequent) breakouts. Hence, while blessed souls with amazing complexion just need to slap on some toner to prevent summer zits from sprouting, the not-so-lucky ones like us would have to take significantly more precautions to stop new ones from popping up on our already-blemished face. What is your beauty regime for the hot weather like?
Apart from the usual acne cleansers and medicated cream we sufferers are all too familiar with, the trend these days seems to be toward using at-home LED devices to treat pesky pimples. LED light therapy for acne is not certainly not new as it has been used by dermatologists for years. But receiving the therapy in a clinic could set you back a few hundred dollars per session, or thousands to complete the entire treatment (and it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never get another pimple again). Handheld light therapy devices, on the other hand, are typically more affordable in the long run (a one-time payment of less than S$400) and are a more practical option because they can be used any time you want to avert an acne crisis.
Personally, I own a blue light device – a Foreo ESPADA Acne-Clearing Blue Light Pen gifted by my boyfriend for my birthday last year. It is quite a new product (less than a year in the market?) and was retailing for S$209 on Sephora. Now that the price online has been reduced by 30%, some of you may be tempted to give it a go but discouraged by the lack of reviews. Well, lucky you, you’ve come to the right place 😁 Read on to find out how I feel about the device!
Foreo ESPADA Packaging
Foreo ESPADA Packaging
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As a quick introduction (with most information obtained from here and here), the ESPADA (‘sword’ in Spanish, but Foreo is a Swedish brand) is a slim handheld acne-fighting device which combines Blue Light Pulse Technology and T-Sonic™ pulsations. Operating it is easy as it has only one on/off button on the front. Once switched on, it activates a red laser-like beam for more precise targeting of blemish. This is extremely useful as without this function, it would be quite difficult to tell beneath the flat surface of the head if you’ve accurately aimed the blue light at your desired spot.
Targeted light precision
See the red laser-like beam on my forehead?
Next, rest the device on the targeted area and it will let out 415 nm of blue light (LED) which penetrates deep below skin’s surface to kill acne-causing bacteria at the source, while the T-Sonic pulsations help the light diffuse into pores for maximum efficacy. This treatment is only initiated on contact with the skin to ensure safety for skin and eyes and conserve battery. The whole process does not involve any pain or discomfort with the only rumbling sensation you experience coming from the pulsations. Repeat the process twice for mild acne, or three to four times for moderate acne. I’m a kiasu (overly cautious) person so I tend to zap every zit, regardless of their severity, minimally three times.
Be prepared for tired hands..
The ESPADA has a built-in timer that enables the device to vibrate every 30 seconds with longer pulses to indicate the end of each acne-treating routine. It is also USB-chargeable and one charge can provide up to 240 treatments. Mine, in most cases, needs to be charged once every week if used daily (about 30 treatments each day) and it takes about 3-4 hours to be fully charged. The red light at the foot of the device starts flashing once it reaches a critically low battery level and the treatment stops abruptly the moment the device deems itself to have insufficient power to complete the routine. But sometimes, there would still be a teeny weeny bit of power left to keep it running for a couple more seconds, so if you’re thrifty like me, just keep hitting the button until it can’t be switched on anymore 😁
Blue light technology in action!
Designed with hygiene as a priority, the head of the device is coated in a special bacteria-resistant silicone that prohibits the spread of acne-causing bacteria. The waterproof body is quick-drying, easy to clean and nonporous to prevent bacteria buildup. This device is said to be most effective on clean skin so I usually use it after cleansing my face and would only wipe the head with a damp cloth (or rinse under running tap every other week) thereafter. It is very portable and comes with a grey pouch for easy storage.
Comes with a grey pouch that is big enough to fit the device and the complimentary USB cable
Now, moving on to the efficacy of this product, the ESPADA clears up pesky pimples to a satisfactory extent but unfortunately, does not work on severe cases of acne like my big cystic ones which did not only go away, their size remained unchanged and were still as painful as ever. This device is only effective against occasional or smaller pimples – such as those with poppable heads – as it is able to dry them up faster and reduce the inflammation. Moreover, contrary to what it also promises, it does not (at least for me) prevent further pimples from forming.
Price-wise, I thought the ESPADA is pretty affordable (although I received mine as a gift) especially with the discount at Sephora now. It is a lot cheaper than another similar product by Tria (not available in Singapore) due to the fact that this does not require additional or changeable cartridges which will collectively cost more than the device itself in the long run. There are a handful of other products in the Singapore market that use similar technology (such as SKIN INC’s Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light and Clariancy’s Tanda Clear) but cost at least a hundred dollars more.
In conclusion, is Foreo ESPADA a worthy buy? If you’re a student dealing with teen acne, then for the love of your wallet, yes. Otherwise, this still makes a decent combat tool against the little bumps on your face.
Thanks for reading!
Disclaimer: modelled pictures were taken 1.5 months ago when I had massive breakout of cystic acne. pictures posted in the recent reviews show my visibly clearer skin after seeking professional help from a skin clinic. I will share that wonderful experience soon on this space.
keep your eyes peeled! 😉
The Foreo ESPADA Acne-Clearing Blue Light Pen is available in three colours (cobalt blue, magenta & pink) on foreo.com and at Sephora Singapore for S$206.