Mousse Mask Showdown

Hi beauty geeks, it’s been a LONG while since my last post. I’ve been struggling somewhat with a few things when it comes to blogging. One being that sometimes, products tend to behave more than the sum of their individual product. Skin care nowadays incorporates so many amazing products these days. But some products tend to work really well despite having fewer good ingredients. So I’m questioning whether or not breaking the products down and judging them this way was a fair way to gauge products. Does anyone else ever feel that way? Another issue is that WordPress appears to have a limit for the space they give you for pictures. Blogs aren’t all that interesting without a few pics. So I’ve been wondering how to overcome that limitation. If anyone has any suggestions, please drop me a buzz in the comments below.

Onto the review! This will be one between the Innisfree Super Volcanic Mousse Mask and the Too Cool For School Morocco Ghassoul Creamy Mousse.

First off, I LOVE mousse masks. If you’ve ever been frustrated at how difficult it is to get clay masks off your face, mousse masks are an awesome alternative. The whipped texture makes them so much lighter and so much easier to wash off afterwards!

Packaging & Price

I’ve had the immense pleasure of using both these products. They’re really similar where price and packaging are concerned. I personally like the look of Innisfree’s packaging more. Both are plastic, but the nozzle on the Too Cool for School mask offers better control when you dispense the product. Both their packaging are mostly plastic and hold up well everyday abuse.

Price-wise, Too Cool for School was slightly more expensive. I got the Innisfree mask for RM62/- and the Too Cool for School mask for RM65.90 on hermo.com. Both are for 100 ml or about 3.4 oz, so they’re both quite a good value. These products lasted about 2-3 months of use, but that was because both my sister and boyfriend were sharing these products with me. We do spread it on quite liberally as well during each use.

Scent and Feel

The Innisfree mask has a relatively fresh scent to it, slightly more so than its jarred counterpart. Whereas the Tool Cool for School has an earthy scent. Keep in mind that the Innisfree mask is a volcanic clay mask where as the Tool Cool for School mask is made of Ghassoul Clay. So understandably, there would be some differences. Both scents are quite mild, but if (even the slightest) fragrances bother you, then I would suggest opting for the Ghassoul mask.

As with the jarred Innisfree super volcanic mud mask, the Innisfree mousse mask does have some finely milled volcanic clusters mixed into its luxuriously thick and creamy body. It provides some exfoliation, but not so much that you would feel the grittiness on your skin. The mousse spreads out quite effortlessly and dries down to a papery consistency. You’ll notice some darkened spots where it’s pulled up sebum. (I find that bit very satisfying) As you wash it off, you’ll notice how finely milled the volcanic clay is. Bottom line: I friggin LOVE this mask!

The Too Cool for School mask has been reviewed as the Lamborghini of masks. It’s quite thick and creamy in consistency as well, but slightly less so than the Innisfree mousse. It’s also slightly more gritty in texture so if you’re looking for more exfoliation, this one is the better bet. This mask also dries down to a papery finish but there are no spots to indicate sebum expulsion.

Both masks leave my face feeling fresh and clean afterwards, but the Too Cool for school one is slightly more drying and much more mattifying than the Innisfree masks. That being said, my sister, who has dry, sensitive and acne prone skin uses the Too Cool for School mask twice a week with no issues of breakouts. Both worked really well with my combination skin. Neither breaks me out.

Another thing to note, is that neither of these masks make the skin tingle or burn.

Final Thoughts…

This was a less in depth comparison of two of my favorite clay masks. I have to say, the convenience of these products makes it very difficult for me to turn back to regular masks. Personally, I do prefer the Innisfree mask. I like that it’s thicker and finer and I love it’s mild, refreshing scent. It doesn’t irritate my skin and it gets the job done well without breaking the bank. In other words, it’s got all the right elements to make it a permanent staple in my weekly skin care routine.

What did you guys think about this review? Let me know in the comments section below.

XOXO,

Bernice

[Review] One Step Pimple Clear Pad by Cosrx

I’ve been debating for a while, which product I would write about next. My last two reviews had been written with mixed feelings about the products and I wanted to feature a product I truly believed to be a real gem. So here’s one I believe to be a real winner!

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Love the simple packaging for the Cosrx Pimple Clear Pad!

What it is:

First off, this product is not to be confused with the Cosrx Pimple Master patch. The one step pimple clear patch is actually a piece of cotton with BHA and AHAs. For those of you who aren’t already familiar with the term, BHA stands for “beta hydroxy acid“. Its an anti-inflammatory chemical exfoliant, which is why the product is marketed as an acne solution. AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) exfoliants exfoliate the surface of the skin while BHA tend to penetrate deeper into the pores.  Thus, this product gives a through cleaning of your skin.

There are many examples of AHAs, however, there is only one type of BHA: Salicylic acid. The star ingredient here is the active BHA in this product: Betaine Salicylate. If memory serves, the amount of BHA present in this product is the equivalent of 1% Salicylic Acid. I haven’t been able to find any sources to verify this. Sadly, the website which I bought mine from is no longer carrying it. The AHAs in this product are Lactic acid and Glycolic acid.

I’ve been breaking out over finals and I’ve noticed significant improvements overnight after using these pads.

Price:

I’d gotten mine on offer at the time, at about RM 79.00 for 70 pads. But since my retailer is no longer carrying it, here are some links to give you an idea of how much a tub of this costs.

Memebox currently sells it at USD 19

Cosrx.sg sells it at SGD 25

It’s not too pricey, considering how big these pads are. I normally snip them in half, so I get 140 applications out of one tub!

List of Ingredients:

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Propolis Extract, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Lactate, Lactic Acid, Water, Glycolic Acid, Betaine Salicylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Allantoin, Cassia Obtusifolia Seed Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethyl Hexanediol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil

Texture and Feel:

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Here’s a look at the actual product. What you get is basically a stack of really moist cotton pads. They’re made quite well and won’t tear during application. Each pad has two sides; one side has raised bumps for exfoliation and the other is smooth for gentle application. The product does sting a little upon application when my breakouts are particularly significant. Like all chemical exfoliants, I wouldn’t recommend using these in places where you have open wounds as this could retard healing.

I don’t think this product is particularly helpful in taking out more deeply rooted blackheads, however, it does a decent job in getting rid of dead skin, sebum and other contaminants. I use mine after cleansing and still notice a significant amount of grime collecting on them after each use.

Application of this product is also super simple! Just go over your face in gentle sweeping motions until the pad gets grimey and somewhat dry.

The scent:

The product smells acidic but not too strongly. In my opinion, it smells just like tea tree oil, which is not surprising as it is a component in the list of ingredients. I don’t usually like the smell of tea tree oil (most products containing this tends to irritate my skin) but the pad works so well, I’m willing to overlook that.

The packaging:

The packaging for this product is simple and functional. There is the totally adorbs illustration on the cover and the tub screws tightly shut. There’s no excess moisture within the tub so there is no worries about it leaking even if you do drop it or take it travelling with you. The tub does come with a seal, although mine was already loose when it arrived. It was a bummer but I didn’t find this to affect the product in any way. Everything was still clean on the inside (as far as the eye could tell).

The bottom line:

So there you have it. The Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pad is a great product to have in your skin care arsenal. It’s a no frills pad that just works! I use it up to four times a week with no issues. However, Cosrx recommends only using it twice a week if you have sensitive skin. I really do see why many beauty gurus are into using it. One thing to note though is that this product is heavily marketed as a BHA exfoliant, but it does contain more AHA than BHA. If pimples are an issue for you, I highly recommend trying this product out.

[Review] Cure’s – Natural Aqua Gel

With finals and semester-end festivities finally behind me, I’m so excited to be writing again! My skin care routine has been absolutely therapeutic throughout my hectic exam season and I’ve been testing out quite a handful of products (which you guys will be seeing on this site soon). So without further banter on my part, let’s get into today’s gem:

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Natural Aqua Gel by Cure

For those who aren’t familiar with this product, the Natural Aqua Gel is a peeling gel. Peeling gels are a quick way to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells and other manner of grime. The general understanding is that the product causes the grime to ball up on the surface of your skin and is meant to be rinsed off later.

Price:

RM 125.00 (from Sasa when I purchased it last Christmas) for 250g

This roughly translates to about USD31 for 8.81 oz of product. It’s a little pricey, but as you can probably tell from the picture, I’m only about half way through with my bottle. I share the bottle with my sister and we use it about once a week on average. I’ve personally been quite generous with my application so yes, it does last quite a while. To me, the price is well worth the volume you get.

On a side note, am I the only one who gets annoyed when companies use mass as an indicator for liquid products? There are websites which claim that you get 250ml of this product, but it’s obvious that the gel is a lot denser than water. Therefore, there’s no way you’d get 250ml from 250g of this product B(

Ingredients:

Water (activated hydrogen water, non-acidic and purified), glycerin, acrylates/C10-30, alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, dicocodimonium, chloride, steartrimonium bromide, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, gingko biloba extract, rosmarinus officinalis/rosemary leaf extract, butylene glycol.

This Source: Randy Schueller saved me the trouble of translating the list from Japanese ^.^

My Thoughts on the Product:

This is, admittedly, one of the few products I’ve purchased on a whim. I recall the lady who introduced this product to me saying that the product was so good, customers don’t bother testing it in the shop. (No worries, I did insist on testing it on the back of my hand before I bought it.)

As far as peeling gels go, it works really well! That is, my skin does feel really clean after application and it makes a tremendous difference if I use it before using a nose strip. Now, using chemical exfoliants (especially in succession with harsher cleansers and exfoliants) isn’t something I would recommend just anyone to do. I used to have acne prone skin, but my skin has gotten a lot less sensitive with age. I lean towards combination skin but my T-zone doesn’t severely greasy and my breakouts are usually hormonal or stress related. So if you have sensitive skin, I would recommend spot testing the product before diving in.

The Texture and Feel:

Compared to many of the peeling gel on the market, I find this product a lot more lightweight in feel. The viscosity is very much like a runny emulsion and feels very comfortable on the skin.

The Scent:

As far as first impressions went, my major complaint would be the smell that this product gives off. The product claims to be free of alcohol and fragrance. But it smells like paint thinner or nail polish remover! Looking at the ingredients list, I can’t really tell which is the culprit. The scent is quite strong; not quite enough to be a deal breaker for me, but it is a big turn-off.

The packaging:

This peeling gel comes in a tall pump bottle. It’s hygienic and comes with a convenient stopper to prevent leaks. It’s way too big a volume to bring travelling with you, but one can easily dispense some into a more travel friendly container for that purpose. I love that the bottle is clear as this allows me to constantly check the amount I have left as well as whether or not the product has turned in any way.

There really isn’t much to say in this area, save that it’s a simple packaging that works. Very Japanese. If there really was any complaint, it would only be this: that everything on the bottle except the name of the product is written in Japanese. But the link above in the ingredients section provides a translation for all you need from the bottle, so I don’t think it’s that much of an issue.

The Catch:

In the midst of writing this review, I found this link, in which a cosmetic scientist says that the effectiveness of a peeling gel cannot be told from how much “balling” you get on your skin after application.

Like many newbies to the wonderful world of cosmetics, I’ve thought for the longest time that the little white balls that form on my skin when I rub a peeling gel onto it was caused by the balling up of dead skin and grime. i.e. The more balls I get from the product application, the more grime has been removed. The article linked states this to be false and that the balls are actually formed from the polymers that are already present in the product. What’s worse is that the list of ingredients given in the article exactly the same as the one for this product, suggesting that the Nature Aqua Gel by Cure was the target of that discussion.

I have noticed that this gel does tend to ball up less when I use certain cleansers or exfoliants prior to using it, but after reading the linked article, I can’t say for sure if that’s because the cleansers and exfoliants were effective in removing grime prior to the gel or if it’s because something in those products prevented the polymer balls in this gel from forming properly.

The Bottom Line:

Before I sat down to write this review, I had honestly believed this product to be a true gem. Despite the few complaints I had, it appeared to do a very good job at exfoliating my face and softening my whiteheads. Few other products have made my skin feel so smooth after cleansing and I really felt that the product was worth the hype.

However, the article that I linked in the catch section of this review does raise some questions about the true effectiveness of this product. For an undergrad with no proper income, this really is an expensive product. So I don’t know if I’ll be purchasing this product again. Moreover, I do have my doubts about the claims for this product. It was sold to me as a product that had fruit enzymes as its active ingredients. Last I checked, Aloe Vera, Gingko and Rosemary aren’t fruits. It’s supposed to be a fragrance free formula, but it carries such a strong smell that one wonders if some ingredients have been conveniently omitted from the ingredients list. The main purpose of this product is the exfoliation of dead skin. But it’s been confirmed (by what I feel to be a credible source) that the product contains no exfoliating ingredients.

So, as much I did enjoy the apparent effectiveness of this product, I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to decide if Japan’s top selling peeling gel truly is a worthy product for your arsenal.

[REVIEW] A’pieu Good Night Sleeping Mask vs Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

A'pieu and Laneige Sleeping Masks

First post! Yay! This comparison between one cult favorite and a lesser known (from what I can tell) is really what sparked the creation of this blog. Being relatively new to the beauty scene, I was obsessed with trying to build my very first K-skincare routine. Now, I know that sleeping masks aren’t really an essential part of a basic routine, but I was also keen on trying out whatever I could get my hands on (c’mon, you know the feels). Long story short, I take sourcing for product reviews VERY seriously and it was frustrating to not be able to find a good one (at least in English) about the A’pieu Good Night Water Sleeping Mask.

So I took a plunge and bought a tub in order to see for myself just how well it stacked up against the one from Laneige.

**Needless to say, this isn’t a sponsored post and the views are solely my own.**

Here they are:

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Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
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A’pieu Good Night Water Sleeping Mask (Crayon Shin Chan Edition)

Price: (Off Hermo.com at time of writing)

A’pieu: RM28.00 for 110ml
Laneige: RM22.00 for 15ml, RM79.00 for 70ml

The price of these products was one of the biggest difference between the two masks. This roughly translates to USD$ 1.68/oz or RM0.25/ml of product for the A’pieu mask and USD$ 8.28/oz or RM1.13/ml of product for the Laneige mask. It’s a huge difference, which really just made me want to try the A’pieu mask even more.

Ingredients:

A’pieu:

Water, Betula Alba Juice (Birch Extract), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG/PPG-17/6 copolymer, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract (Camomile), Alcohol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Betaine, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Acrylates/ C10-3- akly acrylate crosspolymer, Thomethamine, Ammonium Acryloydimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Benzophenone-5, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Cholorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyglycerin, CI 42090, Fragrance

(Cosdna.com provides a nice table of what each of these ingredients do as well as links to further information on each ingredient)

Laneige:

Water, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Trehalose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Root Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Beta-Glucan, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Chloride, Potassium Alginate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Propanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Stearyl Behenate, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, HYDROXYPROPYL BISPALMITAMIDE MEA, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Alcohol, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, CI 42090

(From Laneige.com)

Thrown in for those who are really into the nitty gritty of what goes into their products. Side by side, there certainly are differences in the ingredients they use. Different extracts and such with the Laneige mask sporting a heftier number of ingredients. Do note that both products contain alcohol and fragrance. So if you’re sensitive to either ingredients, these aren’t for you. However, neither products felt drying in any way and neither products broke me out.

First Impressions:

I had my first experience with the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask back in December 2015, when I was given a couple of sample sachets when buying a Laneige BB Cushion. I remember thinking it was a lot heavier than I’d liked. I live in the tropical country of Malaysia whether the weather is unbearably hot and humid most of the year. Even though I spent a lot of time in an air-conditioned room, I felt the product was much more suited to use in cold weather or for those with drier skin (I have relatively oily combination skin).

I did think the name “Water sleeping mask” was a little misleading at the time. Especially when my sister and I were using a Bioessence sleeping mask (a drug store gel sleeping mask) which would turn into a lovely watery consistency when worked onto the skin. Four months later, I repurchased a sample sized (15ml) tub of the Laneige mask when I bought a full sized tub (110ml) A’pieu mask so that I could have a more concrete feel of their differences.

The main reason I decided to try these masks was that I have been spending even more time in air-conditioned environments lately and do feel that my skin is quite a bit dryer than before. Both masks have served well in bringing moisture back to my skin.

The Texture:

Both masks are of a thick gel-like, almost cream-like consistency. When both products first arrived, I found the Laneige mask to be more translucent and liquid than the A’pieu mask. The latter seemed more like a like a light pudding compared with the Laneige mask. After a while, the Laneige mask does thicken a little and become a bit more opaque.

The Scent:

Both products do contain fragrance, but they have a very mild, fresh scent. I enjoyed both and did not find them offensive in the least. As they do contain different extracts, they do smell slightly different, so whichever one you prefer is really a matter of personal preference. I like them both.

The Feel:

Despite the slight difference in texture, both masks feel almost the same when applied on the skin. I did not find one to be heavier than the other. Both were just as heavy as creams. I tried them both on my face and on either side of my hands. I couldn’t tell any difference in the time it took for each of them to be absorb into the skin. Neither products were sticky, but provided a slick, satisfyingly smooth layer of hydration when applied on the face.

On the back of the hand, neither of the products reduced any of the fine lines (as some good hydrating products would). If I really had to nitpick, I’d say that the Laneige mask does have a slightly more luxurious feel to it. But on the whole, both products gave me the same “I’m-having-an-unusually-good-skin-day” type of look and feel throughout the day after application. In both cases, a little goes a long way.

The packaging:

I have never owned a full-sized tub of Laneige Water Sleeping Mask tub. But in stores, the Laneige mask’s packaging looks well-made and elegant. It definitely looks like it could take a bit of abuse. But past that, I’m afraid I can’t say much more. The sample sized packaging is made of thin plastic and from the fact that the mask did become thicker after a week or two of opening, it doesn’t do much in keeping the product from being exposed to air. However, I do feel it’s unfair to compare this to the full-sized A’pieu mask’s packaging.

By comparison, the A’pieu mask’s tub looks fun and (even though I’m not a fan of Crayon Shin Chan) absolutely adorable! It’s made of thick, sturdy plastic. The plastic cover under the lid does look more heavy duty than the ones that come with many products packaged this way. Put simply, it doesn’t look cheap. If I did have one complaint, it would be that I wished A’pieu would provide a spatula as I do find it quite unhygienic having to dip my fingers into the product at every use.

To be fair, I prefer pump bottles for skincare products. Especially ones that come with heaps of product which you won’t be using every day. I just find that products tend to become contaminated and/or oxidized more easily in jars or tubs.

The Bottom Line

So onto the big question: Is the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is worth the hype? Honestly, no. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a very decent product, and it performs as advertised. You’ll have indescribably plump, deeply hydrated skin after using it.

However, I got pretty much the same effect from the much cheaper A’pieu Good Night Water Sleeping Mask. In fact, there are a number of moisturizing products with smaller price tags that would make you feel just as hydrated and moisturize your skin just as effectively. A few of these are mild enough that they can be used every day rather than just one or twice a week. But that’s a topic for another day.

The bottom line here is: I wouldn’t say that the A’pieu mask is a perfect dupe for the Laneige Water Sleeping mask (There are some very slight differences). But it works just as well and you get a much better bang for your buck.

So if you’re looking for a good, hydrating sleeping mask, and you aren’t bothered by the presence of fragrance and alcohol in the product, I’d highly recommend the A’pieu Good Night Water Sleeping Mask.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this review helpful.