June 2016 K-Beauty Haul from eBay’s iamlove-shop!

It’s been quite some time since I allowed myself a K-Beauty haul – blame Memebox for keeping me so well-stocked on most of my essentials. Really, I have so many masks, moisturizers, essences, toners, and blushes now that I should be good for a few more years!

But of course, sometimes things come along that are just so cute that you can’t help yourself. This haul was the result of several such items coming to my attention and, eventually, becoming too hard to resist.

Everything in this particular k-beauty haul came from the iamlove-shop (click here to visit them on eBay), and was shipping quickly and securely. I’ve purchased from them a few times before and always had good experiences, so this isn’t much of a surprise!

As you can see from the above image, this isn’t a mega haul. I just tried to pick a few items that were really, really calling my name!

If you’re on the main page, please click the read more now ?

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Holika Holika Real Skin Finish Review (Oily/Combination aka “Purple” Variety)

Today I’m going to finally post my Holika Holika Real Skin Finish review. This is a product that I’ve recommended to a few people across the internet, and it was the first Holika Holika product that I tried and loved – so you could say that this product is entirely responsible for starting my love affair with the Holika Holika brand!

I’ve seen a lot of confusion over just what, exactly, the Real Skin Finish is even meant to do for your skin. Well, it’s kind of a multi-purpose product. It functions as a makeup base, a CC cream, a brightening product, a sunscreen, and even manages to give you some hydration as well. There are two varieties available: the purple is meant for oily/combo skin types, and the pink is meant for people with dryer skin. I have the oily/combo skin variety, so that’s what I’ll be talking about today. If you’re interested in the pink version, Muse posted a good review here.

There is also a “premium” version of this product with higher SPF and some other ingredients, but I don’t have it so I can’t really give you any honest comparisons.

holika holika real skin finish

Let’s start with the fact that the container is soooo freaking cute! It’s a shiny lavender plastic tub (I know, not really hygienic, but as this stuff is pretty thick I kinda understand why, I guess) with possibly the prettiest Butterfly-emblazoned cap that you’ve ever seen. Witness:

butterfly cap

Cute, cute, cute. I will note that it appears my camera washed out the pale lavender a bit – it’s looking pretty pink in some of these photos. I expect it has to do with the shiny/reflective plastic that’s on the cap, making it a little hard to get a true color. It’s definitely a pastel lavender IRL, not light pink.

open cream

The cream itself is a very, very pale pinky-lavender, really almost white. However, don’t worry – it blends easily and won’t make you look like a mime or anything! Like so many Asian “whitening” products, this relies on the sunscreen ingredients to give you a slight white cast for the brightening effect. If you use too much and don’t blend it well, you’ll look a bit pasty, so you do need to take care and make sure that you don’t go overboard! It’s for this reason (and the sub-par SPF 25 rating) that I’d recommend you still use another, stronger sunscreen product if you plan on being in sunlight – depending on your skintone, you may not be able to use enough of the Real Skin Finish to get the full SPF 25, and even then, SPF 50 is really a better choice. However, on overcast days when I know I’ll not be going outside (or when I’m on a nocturnal schedule and I’ll be indoors), I do sometimes just leave my SPF at this product since it should be sufficient for days when my sun exposure is so limited.

Obviously, since this has sunscreens and those can be very clogging for most people, you’ll want to wash this off with a good makeup remover or oil cleanser at the end of the day. Even though it feels really hydrating, don’t be tempted to use it as a night cream!

Click the read more for swatches and a full review!

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Superbox #56 Yogurt Cosmetics Memebox Review & Unboxing

Let’s cut to the chase: yes, it’s another food-themed Memebox. I know, I have a problem!

But yogurt in cosmetics is really not unusual or new, it’s generally associated with being soothing and hydrating – which makes it a prime ingredient for winter skincare products. Many people, myself included, suffer from dryness and irritation due to winter weather, so I was able to justify buying the Superbox #56 Yogurt Cosmetics pretty easily.

first look

Here’s the official summary of this Memebox:

Yogurt is a yummy and wholesome snack, but when applied topically, you’ll see that this creamy wonder food  also has a multitude of beauty benefits!

Yogurt used as part of a beauty regimen dates back to ancient Egypt, when Cleopatra used it as a part of her daily beauty routine to maintain her youth. It contains lactic acid to dissolve dead skin cells that accumulate into the pores! Also, proteins, calcium, and vitamins prevent premature aging, brighten skin, and give the skin a naturally youthful glow!

Unlock this ancient beauty secret for your best self ever!

Whoever writes the sales copy for Memeboxes is damn good at their job, because I always end up thinking “well, that sounds like something that could definitely benefit my skin!” after almost every new box gets released. I mean, who doesn’t want youthful, glowing skin, right?

all out

So, just at a glance, we’ve got three different types of face mask, a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a lip balm set. I’m always happiest when my boxes are more skincare oriented – unless of course it’s a specifically makeup/haircare/whatever-themed box – so I’m pleased with this lineup.

Let’s get down to the unboxing – click the read more to see the individual products and my thoughts on each!
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Holika Holika Rosy Peach Tea Cafe Mask Sheet Review

I seem to have a bad habit of buying and reviewing masks right as they’re discontinued, and this is no different – Holika Holika discontinued the Sweet Tea Cafe line of their sheet masks some time ago. However, since the masks are still relatively easy to get ahold of online since a lot of retailers stocked up, I figure a review could still be useful to some people, right?

holika holika rosy peach tea sheet mask

I bought the Rosy Peach “flavor” from the Sweet Tea Cafe line. I really wanted the Milk Tea variety, but that’s sold out everywhere as far as I can tell – most retailers seem to have all the other kinds for now, though.

“Rosy Peach” is meant to help clarify acne-prone skin while adding moisture and aiding circulation. You can see the details of each sheet mask variety in this graphic from Holika Holika’s official website:

TeaCafeMaskSheetDetails (1)

Read on to see how effective I found this particular sheet mask!
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Massive Rose Rose Shop & Tester Korea Asian Beauty Haul!

Last month, both Rose Rose Shop and Tester Korea had some decent sales – and TK in particular had the coveted SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick in stock for only $3 markup over retail – so I ended up splurging big time. The boxes arrived within two days of each other, so the end result was a gigantic Asian beauty haul! Between this and my upcoming Memeboxes, I’m pretty much set with buying new skincare stuff for awhile, I think. I also included a lot of sample packs in both orders so that I could try a bunch of new items without breaking the bank (or risking a bunch of dud products), so I’ll have a lot to review in the upcoming months even if I manage to stick to my skincare no-buy plans for the rest of the year!

megahaul

A few things are missing (like my OST Vitamin C serum, as I’d already opened it and forgot to pull it out of the fridge for pictures) or my Skinfood Trouble Clear Spot Patches as I’d already used up half the box by the time I decided to do this haul post. But you can still see that this was a big batch of beauty! I’m very excited as I managed to get some items that I’d really been ogling for months for really nice prices.

Let’s take a look at all the goodies after the cut!
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Holika Holika Petit BB Cream Review: Essential SPF 30/PA++

I’m still pretty new to Asian cosmetics, and BB creams are one of the products that I’m most unfamiliar with. I’ve usually just used light-coverage tinted moisturizer for most of my life, simply because anything heavier tended to look weird on me. It’s been changing in recent years as cosmetic companies expand their ranges to include a wider variety of skintones, but most companies tended to create light shades of foundations with pink-undertoned people in mind. I have a definite olive/green/yellow mix, as well as a definite cool tone overall, so I always had a lot of trouble finding a match. I found that at least with lighter coverage products, I could cheat a bit and use something that was slightly off (too pink, or olive but warm) and not look jarring or overly pale/dark – however, anything with higher converage made the difference really obvious. It just became an ingrained habit to always buy tinted moisturizers instead of actual foundation, even after companies began offering more shades.

Now that I’m trying Asian cosmetics, I’m finding that I usually match the #2 shade (the slightly darker, yellow-y undertoned shade) in many concealers/BB samples. For example, I can wear the Sunkiller tinted sunscreen and have people believe that I don’t have anything on whatsoever, same with the Etude BB samples that I’ve received and my Holika Holika Naked concealer. So I’ve decided to try and find an Asian BB cream that offers higher coverage than my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, because it seems that I fall into the ‘intended audience’ skintone for most Asian brands. I feel this gives me a good opportunity, since I believe that a lot of mid-range/drugstore Korean brands tend to deliver high quality for a fraction of the price that I’d have to pay for a similar product here in the States.

With all that in mind, I decided to try one of Holika Holika’s Petit BB Creams first. They’re small and cheap – around $5-6 per tube – which makes them a pretty good option for someone looking to try out multiple BBs. I selected the Essential version, because despite it not being explicity formulated for oily skin, I read reviews saying that it had yellow undertones, the best coverage of all the Petit BBs, and the highest SPF in the line as well. I figured I’d give it a shot, and if it clogged me I’d only be out a few bucks.

Holika Holika Petit BB Cream in Essential

Official description from Holika Holika’s Canadian website:

Essential – the perfect elasticity and nutrition care with Caviar proponents! A smart BB that provides whitening, facelift and sunblock makes your skin clear and tight through perfect covering.

Read on to see how these promises panned out for me!
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Sasa.com & eBay Haul: More Asian Beauty Products (Featuring Photos, Descriptions & Mini Reviews)!

Apparently the mail service tapped into the speed force this month, because most of my overseas purchases from the last week of July have somehow arrived already! Usually it takes about 3-4 weeks for me to receive packages from Asia. Well, I’m not complaining! It’s been great fun having so much mail these past few weeks between my Etsy buys and now these all these earlier-than-expected packages~

Sasa August 2014 Haul

So this haul is from various eBay sellers and SASA.com, a well known place to buy Asian products online. As you can see, I got a decent range of Asian beauty products this time around – sunscreen, sheet masks, lipsticks, BB cream, etc.

Want specifics and some serious TL;DR about my product choices? Like you had to ask! Just click the read more~
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Holika Holika & Etude House Korean Cosmetics Haul – July 2014 Edition!

In my last Korean beauty haul post, I mentioned that what I had there was only a small part of my big June Korean beauty splurge – but since I bought from like 5-6 different eBayers, the items are turning up in chunks.

This week I received two more boxes from my June spending spree, and I thought I’d share my selections with you guys again!

Another "mini" Korean cosmetics haul!

As you can see, this time around it’s a Holika Holika & Etude House centered Korean cosmetics haul. I have to admit to really loving Holika Holika’s whole aesthetic, the cute/witchy thing is just maximum adorable to me! Etude House also has a great theme, and both brands tend to usually satisfy/impress me with their products. I need to expand into other brands, I know, but I’m already developing some serious loyalty to these two companies!

Haul Unboxed!

Here’s everything unboxed so you can get a better look at the actual product packaging.

Read on to see more pics & the specific items that I bought this time around!
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Sample Stash Quickie: Holika Holika Aqua Fantasy Whitening Cream Review

I have a growing stockpile of samples, so I thought I’d start trying them out and giving my initial impressions. I’m going to call these ‘Sample Stash Quickies’ because these aren’t full reviews by any means – in most cases I’ve only had the chance to try the product once or twice. This category will house just basic first impressions in the hopes that my thoughts are helpful to people looking into the items that I’ve gotten to sample!

First up is Holika Holika’s Aqua Fantasy Whitening Cream.

AquaFantasyWhiteningCream

This cream promises smooth moisture and brightening/whitening properties. With Glacier Water as its main selling point and ice-white packaging and color, it leads the consumer to expect a refreshing experience.

Image courtesy of Holika Holika's Canadian website.

Images courtesy of Holika Holika’s Canadian website.

I’ve added the ingredients to CosDNA, you can now find the product page here.

The only two flags that came up were Cetearyl Alcohol (2 for acne, 2 for irritation) and PEG-100 Stearate (1 for acne). Cetearyl Alcohol usually doesn’t bother my skin, personally, but I know it’s an issue for others.

The texture of the cream is nice; it’s a white, gel-ish cream that doesn’t feel too heavy. It applies relatively easily and smoothly, gliding over the face with little effort.

However, for me it seemed to have a weird, slightly-sticky finish. It almost felt as if it had a layer of primer that hadn’t settled correctly – if you’ve ever had a bad primer, you know what I mean. You can feel a kind of tacky coating on your face. I’m personally not a fan of this feeling, I like my moisturizers to absorb within a few minutes and leave my skin feeling silky and hydrated, not sticky or like I have a weird sheen on my face. Even the primer that I use doesn’t leave such a residue!

While I didn’t notice any ‘whitening’ effects myself – maybe it’s an effect that only happens after continued use? – I did end up with some clogged pores over the two days that I use this. I suspect whatever ingredient gave the product that sticky coating feeling was responsible. The clogs were on my upper cheeks, which isn’t a normal trouble zone for me at all – basically, if I break out there, it means a product clogged me.

I generally adore Holika Holika products, but this one is unfortunately a miss for me. I didn’t notice any amazing brightening or whitening effects, and while the hydrating was acceptable, there are plenty of other creams that give me adequate moisture without leaving a weird, tacky residue – and most importantly, without clogging my pores.

Unfortunately, my Holika Holika Aqua Fantasy Whitening Cream review is that this product is a no-go for me. I guess it’s just not my skin’s fantasy (sooorrry sorry I couldn’t resist ahaha)!

If you want to try this product, there are a number of sources:
$22.02 at W2 Beauty
$20.30 at SASA.com
$10-30 at Amazon
$32 at Pretty & Cute

Affiliate links are present in this post; THANK YOU if you use any of them! See the site disclaimer for more info if you’re curious about what this means.

    Small Korean Beauty Haul (Featuring Holika Holika, Etude House and Tony Moly)

    I’ve alluded to it before, but last month I went a little nuts and bought a TON of Korean cosmetics/skincare. A few of those products turned up today, so I decided to see how my Kindle Fire’s camera handled taking some haul photos. The verdict? Um… passable, I guess, but it was a pain and I definitely need more practice with setting up shots so I can avoid that obnoxious glare! I think that’s my biggest hurdle when taking these photos. Well, that and the fact that the Kindle doesn’t have any sort of preview display that I can see when I’m taking photos of anything other than myself, haha.

    Small Haul - Wide Shot

    I used the June GLOSSYBOX‘s packaging as a backdrop – just to be patriotic since it’s July, and also because that box was so pretty! I’m not sure if the colors/pattern helped or hindered my glare issues, though…

    Anyhow, on to the goodies! Click the read more to expand and see my mini Korean beauty haul, crappy photos and all~
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