Wrinkle Serum Pads

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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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Chin and Forehead Patches

This is a brainwave from Biore, who make a great range of those sticky strips for removing blackheads from your nose.

You can now buy a special pack which contains not just the regular strips but also smaller triangles of the same material designed to attack those stubborn areas on your chin and between your eyebrows.

Yes, you could have simply cut up and repurposed the normal strips – if you’d thought of it – but this makes life so much easier. Each pack contains 5 nose strips and 5 sets of 2 triangles, so you can have 3 strips working on your face at once.

The instructions remain the same… wet the area, apply the strip, wait until it dries, peel it off, then examine the sticky part with interest to see what it has removed. With the forehead strip, there is the potential bonus of discovering it has also caught those fine little eyebrow hairs which escaped your tweezers.

Obviously this is more of a thing for teenage skin, but I am still very impressed.


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Batik Nose Strips

These are just nose strips (wet, stick, wait and peel to remove blackheads) but I bought them in Bali because they are decorated with 2 different Indonesian batik patterns. I love this – no-one looks their best whilst wandering around the house wearing one of these, so why not jazz them up with some regionally appropriate design?

No-one said souvenirs from Bali have to be touristy knickknacks…

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Himalayan Toner

This is from Biotique, which uses 5,000 year old Ayurvedic recipes combined with Swiss biotechnology to produce a range of organic skincare products to ‘support healthy well-being and spiritual bliss in your life’. Which, when I saw it in a Mumbai pharmacy, sounded irresistible!

The pore tightening toner is based on cucumber and pure Himalayan water, blended with coriander, berberry and nut extracts. It also contains peppermint oil, which gives it a bit of a sting, and is apparently formulated to bring perfect ph balance to the skin, keeping it in its ‘purest state’.

I liked the idea and also the fresh smell, but confess I found it was a bit harsh and drying. However, it is probably very good indeed for oilier, teenage, skin, or very sweaty moments, so I will be hanging on to it for now.

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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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Hot Facial Compress

I’ve had the full body version of this several times in Indonesia, and found it marvellously relaxing, to say nothing of deeply soothing for aching muscles. So when I saw a smaller, facial, version in Bangkok I snapped it up immediately.

The hard-packed cloth ball contains a mixture of herbs and spices including tamarind, turmeric and camphor, together with mineral mud, and is supposed to ‘invigorate your essence, relieve tension and renew skin’. Apparently the tamarind refreshes, the turmeric detoxifies and the camphor relaxes, whilst of course the heat opens up the pores to allow these ingredients to work their magic.

You have to sprinkle water over the ball of the compress then heat it up – 2 to 3 minutes in the microwave is more than enough to make it steam. Taking care not to burn your skin (test the temperature carefully first!) you then roll the ball firmly over your face until it has cooled down. You can repeat this several times if you like, reheating as necessary to maintain the temperature.

The compress is reusable, although you should wait at least 15 minutes before rinsing it clean then leaving it to dry out for next time. Depending on how often you use it, it should last a couple of months… It’s a great way to prepare your skin for a deep cleaning or hydrating mask, or simply a lovely way to relax before bedtime. I love this!

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Vivi Ball

This was something of a tricky product to work out how to use, and I am still not sure I am doing it right… The pictures on the packaging suggest that rolling this little ball over your face will lift out dirt and generally make your face smooth and shiny. Helpful graphics show you which direction to roll the ball over the different areas of your face – up and down on the forehead, circles on cheeks and neck, upward sweeps beside the mouth and so on.

I could not find any instructions in English, but can see from the Japanese that you are supposed to use this every day for 5 to 10 minutes.

The ball itself comes wrapped in shiny silver paper, with a further layer of tissue underneath. Inside all that it is pale and slightly powdery, and leaves a residue on the skin which left me wondering if I had got it all wrong and this was just a novel way to apply a dry foundation.

But I persevered and was interested to note that although the seemed to be nothing stuck to the ball, once I’d washed the powder off my face my skin did look clearer and smoother. I shall probably keep on trying.

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Abracadabra Eye Mask

Abracadabra Eye Mask

This is from the Glam Rock range by Korean firm Too Cool For School. As with most Korean skincare and cosmetic products, how it looks is just as important as how it performs, so this eye mask is not only shaped like something you’d see on Zorro, it also has a pretty lace pattern.

This type of mask tends to be made of hydrogel and slippery wet with product. Unless you have a silicone over-mask to hold it in place, you absolutely need to lie down somewhere until your 10 to 20 minutes are up, otherwise this will be in your lap and soaking your clothes in no time.

But they do work really well, especially if they have been in the fridge for a while first. I use them a lot, and – having tried this one – I am sorry that Too Cool For School has closed in Singapore. It may be some time before I am back in Seoul.

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Facial Massage Cream

Facial massage is something most Western women only experience as a small part of a regular facial, tucked in between the cleansing, the treatment and the moisturising at the end. In India, however, it is a mainstay of the typical beauty regime, and usually involves natural plant-based products rather than high-tech chemical formulas.

I found this facial massage cream in Mumbai, ready prepared in a handy tube, and thought it well worth taking home to try. From Jovees Herbal Care, it contains lemon, orange, papaya enzymes, wheatgerm, sugar cane, avocado, pineapple extract and vitamin E, each ‘carefully chosen to help skin regenerate its natural defence’.

According to the packaging, the fruit enzymes help soften and heal the skin, the vitamins restore smooth radiance and collagen elasticity, and the whole product encourages lifting of dead skin cells to leave the complexion glowing.

Keen to give it all a go, I was stopped short by the instruction to use the cream with raw milk and massage for 20 minutes. Apparently plain water is an acceptable alternative, but still – 20 minutes is rather a long time… I did manage a few minutes though, and found the suggested circular movements very therapeutic and relaxing.

I was expecting this product to be rich and hydrating, but adding water actually turned it from cream into milk, and rather than being absorbed into the skin it needed wiping away with wet cotton pads. Washing your face at the end is recommended, which means you then have to apply yet more cream to moisturise your skin.

Never mind, I liked this quite a lot and will be using it again.