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Tag Archives: korean skincare

I saved a lot of shopping for Q416 sales…

1. Atopalm

Atopalm is a Korean drugstore brand that was created by a doctor. Its star ingredient, MLE, is designed to repair the skin barrier and perfect for those with sensitive skin conditions or looking for clean moisture. I started using this line in December and I love the products I’ve tried — Moisturizing Skin Revitalizing Complex, Intense Moisturizing Cream, Moisturizing Eye Repair Serum, and Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream. I don’t wear these together but will apply a layer or two depending on the weather. It dries quickly, has a smooth texture, isn’t heavy or greasy, and layers beautifully under sunscreen.

  • Great for? Sensitive skin, skin barrier repair, and intense lightweight moisture with some anti-aging benefits.
  • How much? I got everything for 40% off in November. It was <$30 for most items, with the daytime cream being $12.
  • Where to buy? There are multiple outlets online (including Dermstore, Target, Peach & Lily), but I recommend purchasing from the Atopalm USA website, which has by far the best prices (30-40% off promotions).
  • Rebuy? Yes, and I like the complex and eye serum the most since it’s in a convenient airless pump container and they also contain anti-aging ingredients.

2. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Lippe, and Babyfacial

Drunk Elephant introduced a new airless pump for their Lala Retro cream in December which made this much more enticing. Otherwise, I have to pause my routine to wash my hands with soap and dry them to stick my fingers into the tub. I got a deluxe sample of it and it was indeed very lightweight and moisturizing. I use a number of actives at night and I like to top ’em off with a heavy dose of moisture in the form of cream and/or oil. This has both.

  • Great for? Dry skin and cold weather. It has oils in it so I find the moisture to be more intense than a single Atopalm product. If you’re sensitive to oils, best to spot test first. I also find that DE products play very nicely with each other — this is especially the case for the Lala and the marula oil.
  • How much? $60 for 1.69 oz. I got it from Dermstore with a 25% off coupon.
  • Where to buy? The normal DE stockists: Sephora, Lock & Mane (via Amazon), DermstoreDrunk Elephant (20% off for new customers, referral link). Given the recent packaging change, just make sure you’re getting the new airless packaging.
  • Rebuy? Yes, I really like airless packaging and the grease-less feel.

Lippe is a simple lip balm. I got it through a set. It’s quite small (0.13 oz) but packs a punch — multiple antioxidant oils (marula, avocado, mongogo, and cranberry), shea butter, and peptides, sea fern algae for moisture.

  • Great for? Dry lips and maintaining good lips
  • How much? $22 for 0.13 oz. I got it from Dermstore in a value set with a 30% off coupon.
  • Where to buy? The normal DE stockists: Sephora, Lock & Mane (via Amazon), DermstoreDrunk Elephant (20% off for new customers, referral link).
  • Rebuy? Maybe. It’s a solid lip balm, but I also have a huge stockpile of lip balms.

TLC Sukari Babyfacial is DE’s newest product. It’s exclusive to the US and as of writing, exclusive to Sephora but will also be sold at DE and Dermstore. It did well enough that it sold out at Sephora for a bit. It’s $80 and 1.69 oz so the biggest complaint you’ll hear about is the price. The Babyfacial is an at-home peel. I probably used more pumps than I cared to but it’s cheaper than going to a facialist for a peel. I don’t get facials regularly (less than annually), so that’s how I justify the money I spend on the numerous masks and skincare.

Despite having fairly resilient skin, I felt some tingling. I followed instructions and washed it off after 20 minutes and slathered marula oil on top. It also comes with a travel size marula oil. I experienced no redness. My skin was indeed baby soft. I will most likely use this once a week (on the weekend) for the first month or so. Since the product is so new, there are no reviews of long term use yet. If you try this, make sure your skin is dry (active ingredients penetrate wet skin much deeper and can cause harm) and space out any other AHA/retinol products so they are not back to back.

  • Great for? Skin that isn’t too sensitive. Futurederm has a great review and explains why the chickpea flour may not be the best for those with dry skin.
  • How much? $80 for 1.69 oz
  • Where to buy? For now, Sephora, Dermstore at a future date, and Drunk Elephant (20% off for new customers, referral link).
  • Rebuy? Most likely. I love baby soft skin and hope some sun spots will fade. However there are so many other darn tempting products out there and I have only one face.

3. Tatcha The Essence

The essence step comes after the cleansing and toner. I previously used the Cremorlab essence but kind of stopped this step. Aside from hydration, I didn’t see a difference. When Tatcha started to market its new product, I was intrigued but wasn’t planning to spend $95 on a bottle of essence. But then they released its Lucky Bag promo and I gave in. (For the record, you had to spend $100 to get a Lucky Bag worth over $100. I got a full sized bottle of the Deep Hydration serum and a travel sized exfoliant cleanser in my Lucky Bag, worth over $100 as advertised.)

As expected from Tatcha, the packaging is gorgeous. I splash some essence on my face after cleansing and gently patting my face dry. The essence looks, feels, and smells like water, however it has a trio of superfoods (green tea, rice, algae) that produces lactic acid through natural fermentation. If you read up on Tatcha’s site, they describe the essence as soaking through layers of your skin so your subsequent steps can penetrate deeper and perform more effectively. After using this for a few weeks, I can say that Essence works really well to boost my other products and feels like a skin softener. Since it is a booster, the overall effect on your skin is dependent on the other products you use. Similarly, your skin is only as good as the worst product that you use. In the morning, I apply my DE Vitamin C day serum on my wet, essence soaked skin. I don’t always have time to wait for it to dry and the day serum is harmless. In the evening, if I’m putting on actives, I have to make sure the essence layer is dried or else the active may penetrate too deeply and damage the skin.

  • Great for? People who aren’t too lazy to perform multiple steps in the skincare routine. Good for all skin types.
  • How much? $95 for 5.1 oz. Tatcha has occasional promotions.
  • Where to buy? Tatcha, Sephora, or QVC. Through Feb 8, use code DMLUCKY for a Lucky Bag valued $100+ (examples).
  • Rebuy? Most likely unless a cheaper alternative presents itself.

4. Fresh Sugar Face Polish and Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

I’m been using Fresh lip products for years but missed the boat on their facial products until I got my soy face cleanser/rose mask birthday gift from Sephora. (I didn’t love the cleanser but liked the rose mask.) Based on research, the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask and Sugar Face Polish kept on coming out as the top two products I had to try. The mask is cooling and soothing — perfect after a peel (like Babyfacial or Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask) and smells like melons. I don’t use physical exfoliants often but will make an exception for the Sugar Face Polish. It will help your pores disappear. I use it after the Tatcha cleansing oil.

  • Great for? Mask is good for all skin types. Polish – stay away if you have sensitive skin.
  • How much? Mask is $92 for 3.3 oz, polish is $62 for 4.4 oz. Ouch? Yes, back to my point earlier on not getting facials. I tried using a mask brush with the mask but still prefer using my fingers due to its pudding texture. I wonder how long the mask will last with 1-2x/week use.
  • Where to buy? Nordstrom, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, or Barneys. Fresh has promos but they aren’t that great. I bought these from Nordstrom since they had a good GWP for Fresh and two other beauty gifts.
  • Rebuy? Definitely!

5. Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask EX

I love the Overnight Vitalizing mask, which I often use as lotion in dry, cold weather. This Clarifying Mask is a gooey peel-off mask also full of Korean herbal ingredients. It is very gentle and somehow purifies without leaving your skin a dry mess. Sulwhasoo recently updated its masks to an EX version — I’m not sure how this compared to the non-EX version. I can’t tell the difference between Overnight Vitalizing EX and non-EX masks.

  • Great for? All skin types. Stay away if you hate herbal smells.
  • How much? $41 for 5 oz. Cheaper at duty-free in Asia.
  • Where to buy? Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus
  • Rebuy? Maybe. I have a lot of masks… variety is fun.

Images: Google

Peach and Lily slashed the prices on most of their Mizon products. The prices are amazing considering they are shipping from within the U.S., although I’m curious to see what the expiration dates are on these. For first time customers, get $10 off $50 with my referral link. For existing customers, try HAPPYSHOPPING for 15% off. The sale goes through next Friday, but I expect stuff to sell out at these prices. All sales are final. If you’ve seen their products at Target, Anthropologie, or Urban Outfitters, Peach and Lily is their distributor.

I had Peach & Lily credit from Rue La La and already had some Be the Skin items in my cart. I dumped a ton of snail items in to use up the rest of my credit. I love snail – it does great things for the skin and I’ll definitely be slathering some of this on the significant other’s dry skin. I also picked up some items I already have in a travel-friendly size.
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(1) I love bringing Suja Mighty Greens juice to work in a S’well bottle, since it stays chilled. The extra large bottle from Costco is reasonably cheap and it lasts us for a few days. We grab a few bottles every time we go to Costco. You can find the S’well bottles here and here. I have a 9 oz for juice and a 17 oz gold one for water, which always gets comments.


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(left) Hera UV Mist Cushion Ultra Moisture | (right) Hera UV Mist Cushion

I’ve had the original Hera UV Mist Cushion compact for a little less than a year. I picked Hera based on its finish and lesser coverage (for its N shades). I paid $45 at Peach and Lily for the compact and 2 cushions (1 comes installed with a seal). I don’t wear this cushion every day, so only recently had to switch to the replacement cushion. I’ve gotten a lot more obsessed with moisture since then and recently got the newer Ultra Moisture version.
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The majority of my winter skincare routine is Korean. Due to time constraints, I’m far from writing a thorough blog post of everything I love/hate but here are some recs and where you can find them right now. Thanks to Reddit, of course.

  • Global Interpark is having a free international shipping promotion on many products and there is also a 10% off PayPal promotion. I’m not sure how long the sale will last, but some stuff has already sold out and I’m pretty sure it’s a Lunar New Year sale. Korean prices and free shipping! (If you are paying with a Visa or MC, you may have to worry about dynamic currency conversion…) You have to checkout per item due to the free shipping promotion – no filling up the cart.
    • After much inner debate, I got the Hera UV Mist Cushion Ultra Moisture in 21. I already have and like the Hera UV Mist Cushion in N21 and am currently on a moisture binge. The reviews I read online are convincing, so my fingers are crossed that this one works out.
    • There are also great prices on Laneige, Sulwhasoo, and cushion compacts in general. They have a Banila Clean It Zero. I didn’t feel compelled to buy any skincare, but was considering the Sulwhasoo overnight vitalizing mask had it not sold out. I got a deluxe sample of this in a Memebox and wore it as a daytime lotion when I was in chilly San Francisco.
  • Memebox has a Memepoints promotion going on. Any purchase you make over $25 in increments of $25 will get you extra points for future orders. This stacks on top of codes. You can get 20% off with my link above. I like them because they’re in the US (relatively fast shipping), good deals, and a continuous flow of product. I have some recommendations here and also recommend the Dynasty cream, which I’ve been using with two drops of LJH propolis ampoule.

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It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, which means a long weekend (for me) and more sales on top of end-of-the-season sales.

  • Amazon Prime (look for banner on top of page) is discounted from $99 to $73 for new subscribers through Sunday night in celebration of their awards at the recent 73rd Golden Globes Awards. I use Amazon Prime quite often for expedited shipping, Amazon Prime Music (download music offline and organize into playlists), Amazon Prime Video (download offline for the plane or I watch it like Netflix), Kindle lending library, etc. I also share free shipping with my mom and she loves the free shipping. Some existing subscribers have had success getting the discount through online chat with CS.
  • Uniqlo has been having sales for a while (when do they not have a sale?). They are clearancing out their Carine collection and the Ines de la Fressange collection is mostly gone. Inventory fluctuates constantly. IDLF is mostly sold out but Carine still has a ton of stuff left – their blazers and coats (which I like the most out of the collection since I’m not a ruler) are a STEAL at ~$40 (75%+ off) each. And you can always return it if it doesn’t work out. The collection runs TTS to small.
  • Anthropologie additional 40% off sale with code XTRA40.
  • Clare V up to 30% off seasonal styles.
  • Repetto (refer to my recent post)

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Quick reviews and current sales:

  • Anthropologie cardholders: Check your e-mail. 20% off this weekend! And if you’re not a cardholder, what are you waiting for? It’s free and you can still signup for the discount.
  • Madewell. 20% to 30% off almost everything through Monday.
    • Wraparound hinge bracelet vs. catch hinge bracelet (pictured above). Both are solid, well made, and have a classy shimmery sheen. I do not have a super small wrist, but it is on the smaller spectrum and the bracelets fit perfectly. I prefer the look of the wraparound bracelet.
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Facial sunscreens (l to r, clockwise):

  • Mizon Ultra Wonder Power Jelly Sun SPF 35 PA++. 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) tube. Purchased from the Peach and Lily sample sale. The sale was chaotic and skincare sold out really fast. I managed to find 3 tubes of these after walking around and looking for cast-offs. After finding out that it was $10/per tube at the cashier, I left with 2 of the 3 since I was buying sight unseen with no reviews. Overall, I like it. It has a light gel consistency, is moisturizing (hyaluronic acid and trehalose), but you have to be careful not to use too much or it leaves your face super shiney and is harder to absorb fully. Despite it being a physical sunscreen (titanium dioxide), there is no white cast. I also use it on my neck, hands, and arms. The PA rating system is from Japan and addresses UVA only. The PA++ rating indicates that this has moderate UVA protection. I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to find this, but it’s a nice size/consistency for $10. Read More

Image source: Soko Glam

I eagerly await Lucky Magazine’s Lucky Breaks every day, and yes, I must say… the newly launched Lucky Shops is very pretty and I get less errors than I used to. Today’s is not bad — Soko Glam is offering 50% off these select items with code luckydaily4. I couldn’t help myself and got the Banila cleanser (sensitive skin edition), the CLIO eyeliner, and the MISSHA First Treatment Essence Mist (which, based on the very little internet intel, is a diluted version of the popular essence, in case you couldn’t guess). Can’t. Get. Enough. Hydration. Free shipping for orders $50+ (and I’m not sure if that’s for pre-code).