Ginseng Skin Tonic

Ginseng Skin Tonic

Just a few kilometres away from the DMZ is the North Korean town of Kaesong, which is famous not only for being the sole place that switched from South to North Korea after the armistice was signed, but also for its ginseng. Something about the soil and the water supply there means that it produces a high quality crop which is much sought after.

You can buy this special ginseng and the various products made from it in other places, notably Pyongyang, but Kaesong itself is the best place to go shopping.

Face packs, candy and natural roots aside, the item which particularly caught my eye was this skin tonic, mostly because it comes with an actual ginseng root suspended in the bottle. (Spoiler alert for family members: I brought several of these home to stash away as quirky Christmas presents…)

The Koreans call ginseng the ‘elixir of life’ and make many claims as to its properties if you eat it. I can’t say I agree with any of them, as eating ginseng tends to make my nose bleed, but this skin tonic was irresistible.

Not only does it claim to maintain the moisture balance of your skin, keeping it smooth and elastic, it also apparently improves the colour and prevents your skin from aging. The product is unisex, and the instructions say to massage it into your skin with your fingers after washing or shaving.

I actually found it quite drying, although it would probably work very well for oily skin. The jury is still out on the anti-aging, so one can but hope.

At the moment, the only way of getting more seems to be to go back to North Korea. Unless of course there is a breakthrough at the summit in Singapore next week….


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.


Facial Wipes

wipes-1 wipes-2

When you travel light, it helps to avoid taking containers of liquid in your hand carry bag. I know that technically you are allowed a small zip lock bag of 100ml bottles on board a plane, but the fewer you actually have, the better.

It is possible to track down non liquid versions of all sorts of ‘essentials’, from deodorants and toothpaste to foundations and eye colours. Wipes of different sorts are also really useful, especially makeup and nail polish removers, so I was very interested to see these.

I bought them in Mumbai, with the idea of taking them on a trekking holiday, but in the end decided they were actually too bulky for my pack. Having rediscovered them, they are now in my gym bag…

From Kara, these wipes are designed to cleanse, hydrate, nourish and deodorise, whilst promising to be 100% natural and alcohol free. The toning version contains rose and thyme, and works very nicely. There is none of the harsh ‘chemical’ feel you find with some wipes, and the scent is pleasant but unobtrusive.

The moisturising pack interested me the most, as I have not seen this before, and honey plus almond seemed like a good combination. I wasn’t so sure when I removed the first wipe from the packet, as I had been expecting to find it thick with cream, but it did not feel any different from a cleansing wipe. However, it did leave my skin feeling fresh and moisturised, with a matte finish. I was sure I would end up applying my usual moisturiser as well before too long, but this proved not to be the case.

There are only 10 wipes in each packet but I expect I will use them all.


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