Peeling Kit

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Peeling Kit

This was new at Etude House, and I rather liked the suitcase design of the packet, not to mention the fact that a proper peeling is quite an expensive business and these kits were very good value.

The packet pulls apart into 3 handy sachets, and you start at the bottom with the peeling swab. This is like a giant wet cotton bud, which you wipe carefully over your face from centre to the sides, avoiding the mouth and eyes. It felt a little tingly, but not in a painful way.

Next the brightening peeling serum, which is a clear liquid, then finally a slightly gelatinous sheet mask to cool off and soothe the skin.

I enjoyed the 3 part process, but have to say I did not see any noticeable ‘peeling’ even though the ingredients list includes lactic, glycolic and salicylic acids. It is possible that the effect only becomes noticeable after a day or so, but even so, I suspect I will be sticking to the regular sheet masks instead.


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Kids Masks

When it comes to Korean skincare and cosmetics, their excellence is generally a given. It takes great packaging and/or how cute you look when you are using them to make one stand out from the rest.

And, Asian girls being what they are, for every sheet mask that is printed with an elegant design of lace or flowers, there are five or more adorned with animal faces or cartoon super villains.

Imagine, then, that you have children, who are fascinated to see Mum sporting the face of a grinning sheep or shark. Of course they are going to want to try them too. And why not? The earlier you instil a great skincare regime into your offspring, the better their complexions will be.

So here you have child sized versions of those massively popular sheet masks, either the same designs made smaller, or kid-friendly cartoon characters from their favourite movies. I only saw them in Shibuya, but I expect they will be everywhere before long.

I think this is a great idea, and it’s also catching potential new customers really young. If daughters #1 and #2 were still small rather than grown-ups now larger than me, I would have bought a bunch of them on the spot.


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Nail Guard

This could well be a dream product for anyone who struggles to paint their nails without leaving colourful smudges over their fingers, too.

Nail guard, from Korean firm Belinda, is a peel-off latex that you apply from the bottle with a little brush, just like regular nail polish. This one, however, you paint around the edges of your nails, so that it protects your skin from unsightly smears. When the polish is dry, you peel off the latex and admire your perfect manicure.

That’s the theory, anyway.

I found that, rather than getting nail polish on my fingers, I had a hard time keeping the latex off my nails, and had to push it back carefully before I could continue. As it dries very quickly, in a sticky sort of way, this was not especially easy.

When it came to applying the coloured polish, I deliberately splashed it around to see how this product worked. And (patience not being my strong point) I may have peeled it off a little too soon, as some polish came away as well.

On the whole, it was a better job than I managed with the masking tape in the bathroom, which brought away vast zigzags of fresh paint from the skirting board when I attempted to remove it, but clearly I need a lot of practise.

This is a really good trick to master, however, especially for that awkward ‘left’ hand. It’s too much of a liquid to mail anywhere, but I suspect the next daughter to visit may well claim it as her own.


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Collagen Blink

This 3 in 1 serum apparently contains collagen, snail extract and vitamin E, all in a handy pouch with a screw cap. There’s enough of the clear jelly inside to last at least a week, which will make it perfect for my next short trip.

I thought I’d better try it out first though, and was surprised to find it made my skin feel really tight and tingly. But I gather the point of serum is it helps what you put on next absorb into the skin more easily, providing you let it dry first. Once I’d applied my usual night cream, the problem disappeared, but I’m still not sure if I really like this one.

Since it is a) Korean and b) I found it in Bangkok, it is unlikely that I’ll have the opportunity to buy any more in the near future, so that’s alright…


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Air-Laynic Pore Mask

This is another of those seriously medical looking’ injection’ masks, which come with a syringe full of the product for you to add at the point of use, but this one is targeted strictly at the pores around your nose.

I loved the tagline on the packaging – ‘Where is strong butterfly? Pore be surprised’ – and also the promise that this would be ‘the best solution to help your skin problems without stimulus’.

This product is Korean, from a company I have not previously heard of, called 23 years old. Which is presumably why they specify that this mask should be left on for exactly 23 minutes… kind of cute.

Anyway, I dutifully squeezed half the gloopy, slightly creamy coloured contents of the syringe onto the stiffened sheet mask and applied it over my nose. This is when you are supposed to tap the mask to activate the carbon dioxide it contains, which makes for a hot and prickling sensation that is not particularly comfortable. I also found at this point that the size of the mask impeded my vision whilst also overlapping my mouth, which is strange because I don’t think my face is smaller than that of the average Korean girl.

Looking at the ingredient list, it appears that as well as the carbonated water and sodium bicarbonate that obviously account for the fizzing sensation, the mask also contains caffeine, liquorice root and ivy. There’s also a stern warning that you should not go on to apply anything containing aloe or alkali, which is slightly worrying.

During the course of the 23 minute wait, I discovered that tapping the mask again at intervals reactivates the carbon dioxide and the hot, prickling feeling starts again. It was strong enough to make me expect that my skin would look red and irritated afterwards, but it seemed fine, at least until I tried to scrub away dead skin cells as suggested. Then I came over all pink.

As half the product in the syringe remained, and it came with a cap to keep it fresh, I assume this means the mask can be reused. The trouble is, after I had washed this clean, it had clearly lost its original components of citric acid, xanthan gum and lactose, and was now soft and floppy. Whether this makes any difference to the efficacy of the mask the second time round remains to be seen.


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Wrinkle Serum Pads

Cooling cucumber eye pad versions of these have been around for ages, but this was the first time I had seen something targeted at wrinkles. The bright pink colour and printed berry decoration also drew my eye.

To be honest, these are really just a smaller and more portable version of sheet masks, although there was a lot less product in these pads which made them easier to work with – I was able to stick them on and then carry on with other things rather than having to lie down during the 15 minutes recommended wearing time.

These are Korean, obviously, and apparently contain 12 natural ingredients including the cold pressed extracts of organic strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. There are 6 pads in a re-sealable packet, which means they are good for 3 treatments, and they really do smell fruity so are very pleasant to use.

I did find, though, that they were just a bit big to fit comfortably over my laughter lines without encroaching over my eyes. But my skin really did feel tighter and look smoother afterwards, and there was enough product left on the pads for me to wipe them over my neck afterwards, hoping for a similar effect.

I liked these very much and if I see them on sale here in Singapore, will definitely buy them again.

 


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Mohito Toothpaste

Yes, you read that right, although I have to stress that this toothpaste does not contain alcohol, just the lime and mint combination which might make you feel that it does.

And a very strange combination it is in connection with cleaning your teeth. It gave me that slightly guilty feeling that comes from doing something like eating a muffin for ‘breakfast’ when you know that really, it’s dessert.

The strange opaque ‘colour’ of the toothpaste and the somewhat unsettling smell do not help either, although I am sure it does a great job in actually cleaning your teeth.

Daughter #2 tried it and said: “It’s not actually that bad but I think I need to clean my teeth again properly, now.”

This, needless to say, was another little something strange I picked up in Korea…


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Pre-Makeup Mask

This seemed like a novel idea – a 1 minute mask designed for just before you start applying your makeup. Obviously it is Korean, from cosmetics firm Innisfree, and contains organic green tea water from Jeju Island.

The 3 small patches in the packet are for your forehead and cheeks, and are supposed to optimise and moisturise skin to create an ‘ideal skin condition’ for your makeup. As with all sheet type masks, you cleanse and tone first, relax whilst it is on, then pat any remaining product into your skin after removing the patches.

Daughter #2 tried this out for me before a party, and her main comment was that it added about 20 minutes to her routine without making any noticeable difference. As she is always running late (sorry, sweetie…) this was not a good thing. Maybe we will try again on another day when there is more time to appreciate it.


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Mr Smile

I am not sure what Tony Moly were thinking when they came up with this one. Korean skincare products are all about looking cute but I’m not sure how many teenage girls would want to be seen (or take a selfie) wearing a thick black hydrogel moustache. Unless they had massive self-confidence and a great sense of humour…

The idea behind this sort of patch is good, though, and they really do firm and hydrate the skin. But you need to lie down and be still whilst you are wearing them, because they slide off very easily. These particular models also turned out to be so fragile that they split apart as I was trying to move them back into position. Not a huge success.


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Cactus Chocolate

Here’s another slightly bonkers souvenir from Korea, which is full of fascinatingly ‘different’ things just begging to be sampled.

The cactus in this chocolate is from Jeju Island, which with its volcanic scenery and reputation for pure, organic produce, is a major tourist destination. Here, the cactus fruit is apparently freeze dried and powdered to retain all its natural goodness before being made into the filling for individually wrapped chocolate pieces.

As a single cactus fruit is supposed to contain almost a quarter of your daily vitamin C requirement, this could be the healthiest chocolate treat I have eaten, although as the packet of 5 pieces weighs in at 232 calories, it is not what you’d call a diet aid.

I admit, I was originally attracted as much by the packaging as the ingredients, because the bright purple of the cactus fruit in the illustration really caught my eye. As it turned out, the colour of the filling was more pink than purple, and the whole thing had a very odd and slightly fibrous texture. The flavour was hard to distinguish, and did not really remind me of the cactus fruit I have eaten fresh.

Daughter #2 thought they were weird but not unpleasant, which summed it up fairly well. She added: “I thought they might taste like tequila, but apparently not…”

These do not appear to be available in Singapore, but even if they were, I think trying them once was enough.


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