Cleansing Powder

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Cleansing Powder

Always a fan of skin care products that can be transported easily in hand baggage, I was intrigued by these tiny cones of cleansing scrub. No liquids here to consider as you decant items into small containers for a holiday.

From Korean company Skylake, this is a weekly scrub rather than a daily cleanser, but is still a space saving and disposable item which is easy to take along on a trip. Each little cone is barely 4cm long and contains just 1.5 grams of powder. And with a box of 30 costing exactly S$30, that means just one dollar each, which isn’t bad.

It works very nicely, too. You empty the powder into your hand, mix it with a little water, and massage onto your face for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing away. It not only exfoliates but apparently polishes away dead skin and impurities too, to ‘refine pores, lighten freckles and pigmentations, promoting a fresh, radiant and glowing complexion’.

The powder is supposed to contain oriental herbs, and some translation of the ingredients list revealed these to be skullcap, marsh parsley, azuki and mung beans. The only problem is, the combined scent of these, together with the various added cleansing agents, reminded me strongly of curry powder. Which is, let’s be honest, not exactly what you want to be smelling of when you’ve washed your face.

My skin did feel smoother, though, and applying regular face creams afterwards seemed to mask the curry smell very efficiently. All in all, I think I shall continue to use these.


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Placenta Beauty?

This is a tricky one… depending how you look at it, using beauty products which contain placenta could even fill you with horror and disgust. And that is without considering if the placenta involved comes from humans, sheep or pigs.

There’s also the worry that scientific studies on the use of placenta have so far been very limited, and there is no clear evidence to support the theory that the hormones it contains can do you any good. It might even be bad for you, although since it has presumably been through a series of industrial processes before it winds up in your product, it could be safe to assume it isn’t anywhere near as potent as it was to start with.

The big beauty companies don’t seem to be using it, which should probably make you wonder a bit, but here in Asia it does crop up fairly regularly in face creams, sheet masks and supplements.

When I saw pouches of hydrogen jelly with placenta in my local convenience store, apparently designed as a tasty snack with the added bonus of being a beauty aid, I decided it was time to try it.

This peach flavoured ‘drink’ is from Kiyorabi in Japan, and the placenta it contains is from pigs.

There’s a double whammy here, as the hydrogen part of the product is also a feature – apparently adding extra hydrogen to the drink enables these molecules to capture and eliminate excess oxygen which could be damaging your body.

It comes in an aluminium pouch, which apparently does not allow the hydrogen to escape in the same way as a glass or plastic bottle would, and there’s a handy screw topped tube which you drink through and can reseal if you want to save some for later.

I made the mistake of pouring some of this into a small bowl first, to see what it looked like, and found the jelly blobs in the liquid to be very off-putting. Actually then swallowing them from the pouch was not a pleasant experience. The peach flavour was strong, but there was also a slightly salty aftertaste. It is safe to say I did not like this at all.

The placenta sheet mask I tried shortly afterwards was a different story.  Of the two I had stashed away, I tried the Revital (in the brown packet). This was essentially a sheet mask like any other, with the added promise that the hydrolysed placenta it contained would give my skin elasticity and nutrition, helping rough areas become shinier and healthier.

Even though the directions suggested that I use this mask 2 to 3 times a week for 4 weeks, for a concentrated skincare programme, I swear my skin felt smoother and tighter after just one mask. But having now read far more than I wanted on the pros and cons of using placenta for beauty treatments, whether or not I try this particular mask again, or the alternative one I still have, remains to be seen.


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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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Man ‘Blotters’

Facial ‘blotting paper’, carefully packed into decorated folders about the size of a business card, can be found in the handbags of many Japanese women.

They provide a sort of halfway stage of freshening up before you need to actually get out your makeup and make repairs. That is, if you start to feel slightly shiny, a few dabs with one of these will usually do the trick.

What I have not seen before, however, is the male version, and I only really noticed it on the shelf because I was wondering why this particular packet held twice the number of sheets but was cheaper. Not only that, further inspection revealed the blotters are specially embossed, to absorb more and stickier sweat, all without it leaking through the paper onto your hands.

Although it is designed for men, this product is also perfectly suitable for ‘active women of metabolism’, apparently. Which is a nice way of suggesting that you might be sweating more than the delicate ladies version can cope with.

As this was packed into a small square booklet with a gold cover, and was actually called ‘Gold man’, I was a little disappointed that the pages inside were just a slightly shiny caramel colour instead of something more sparkling.

Also, my husband professed himself baffled at the suggestion that he might find them useful – he had never heard of these and saw no reason why he might ever use them.

Oh well… I suppose it’s the thought that counts.

I


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Blackhead Pen

The illustration on the packet misled me slightly, here. I thought I was buying some sort of silicone ended tool which would ease out blackheads by gentle friction.

What this actually involves is a black plastic stick with a hole at each end, the edges of which you run round the offending area. It seems to do more damage than simply squeezing with your fingers, and the picture that confused me turns out to show the inner piece which pushes out to help you clean the tool afterwards.

I won’t be passing this on to either daughter.


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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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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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Facial Mask Powder

I rather liked the idea of a DIY face mask that you mix up from the powder in the sachet. The claim that this contains pearl and gold, and the shimmer of both powder and mask, was a bonus, although the ingredient list revealed a distinct lack of actual gold. The pearl was there, though, which for the price was more than I was expecting.

The mask is supposed to provide gentle cleansing to reveal a ‘beautiful and radiant’ skin, and the main component is diatomaceous earth, a natural silica mineral which is supposed to have endless benefits for the skin including helping to promote collagen production. This had to be worth trying.

Of course, mixing up your own mask can be pretty messy. Here, the powder was so fine it settled in a fine dusting over everything in blast range as I tried to pour it out of the sachet, yet perversely refused to mix properly with the water, so it still had small lumps despite my best efforts to make it smooth. If I had another one, I would try adding far less water than the amount suggested on the packet.

Contrary to expectations, though, it did stay on my face for the recommended 15 minutes and was even easy to peel off in a thin, shiny film. I was half hoping I could use the left over mix another time, but this too set solid in the bottom of the bowl.

My skin felt very smooth afterwards and my pores appeared smaller, but there were some red patches on my nose and round my hairline, where the mask had been spread very thinly and so dried into a pale clay-like coating rather than the plasticky film elsewhere. If I manage to find another of these (it came from Bangkok) then I will have a far better idea of how to use it.


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