July 28, 2014

My Paula’s Choice package arrived!

Lately I’ve been a bit into Paula Begoun. She’s the author of the beauty book I’m reading, which has been very enlightening so far. I also like listening to her podcasts. I don’t learn too much from those since it mostly reiterates her book, but more than anything, I like her approach. Hearing her talk encourages me to do my own independent research and thinking when it comes to skincare. (Before I'd be really lazy about ingredients and just try it instead.)

Another thing I like about Paula’s podcasts is that she and her entire team are always patient even with (what I think are) the most annoying, pushy, and ungrateful callers. Granted, I'm still listening to her 2010 podcasts, and they of course have to be nice, but still I admire how they always find ways to speak gently. I’m very sensitive about things like this. Many bloggers and Youtubers who debunk skincare myths often come across as blaming you for being so stupid to believe those things. But in the case of Paula’s team, their frustration is always clearly on the companies and magazines for projecting those claims. At least, that’s how I feel~ And again, I’m not a loyal fan nor do I think they’re perfect!

Anywho! My skin has been bad lately, so in addition to a strict diet (in terms of what I eat, not how much!), I thought I’d try some skincare products from Paula’s Choice. My package arrived today and apart from being mad at the mailman, I’m oh so very excited to try them tonight!

I bought two things: a higher concentration of salicylic acid to replace my current 0.2% one, and a retinol product. (Been learning about these in her beauty book!)

They included lots of paper extras in my package…There’s a Paula’s Choice product catalogue as well as a step-by-step guide on one of their lines, which I think is helpful!

For my samples, I chose to try the gel version of the salicylic acid (I had purchased the liquid version), and two samples of an antioxidant serum:

They also gave me a booklet called 20 Beauty Myths Busted! Sadly I recognize a lot of it from my beauty book, but there are some new things that I didn’t know as well. I'll be sure to post about it later!

And finally, my favorite: stickers to label your skincare regimen!

I have a thing for stickers. I probably won’t use these since I don’t need them, but the idea of using stickers to label things is so cute~! Can you imagine putting cute little sun and moon stickers onto your daytime and nighttime cream? Speaking of which, I'm going to try making my own jar labels soon, too. :D

That's it for that package! I know this wasn't your typical cutesy Korean product haul, but I think all flavors of packages are happifying! I've got my fingers crossed for these products and I'll be sure to report back. Wish me luck! (For I will be very sad if they don't work...)

July 27, 2014

Mini Review: Etude House Every Month Cleansing Foam #6: Trouble Care (Tea Tree)

Going back to Etude House’s Every Month cleansing foam line, this is the June version: trouble care!

Etude House
Every Month Cleansing Foam 6 Trouble Care (Tea Tree)

Price in Korea: 3,500KRW

Scent: It smells moderately of teatree oil. I only notice it when it’s on my face, not as soon as I squeeze it out.

Texture: I use a foaming net. It foams up quite average. That is, it’s very dependent on my foaming technique. ;) It can be thick or thin, but the texture is not creamy (as opposed to the Avocado version.)

Cleansing Ability: It cleanses fine. It’s capable of removing my sunscreen and sebum, at least! There’s no residue leftover for my toner to pick up. I haven’t tasked it to remove makeup, though. It rinses off easily without rubbing and doesn't leave my skin feeling dry. However, I want to note that I currently don’t have dry skin. (Yay for that!)

Trouble Care: Has it prevented acne or helped my current acne? Nope! If only it were that easy for me... TT

Overall Opinion: Overall, I think it’s a decent cleanser. It cleans and does its job. I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s cheap, too! :D

Have you tried any cleansers from this line?

July 25, 2014

Etude House Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara Review

Back when Etude came out with their Minnie Mouse line, they also “Minnie-fied” the packaging for one of their mascaras, the infamous Volumecara:

So aside from the revamped packaging (which I believe lasted only while the Minnie craze was on), this is quite an old product. I’m a major slowpoke, but here are my two cents anyways! (Long story short, it’s nice!)


Brand: Etude House
Name: Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara Review
Amount: 9.5g
Actual Weight: 33g
Price in Korea: 13,000KRW

water, acrylates copolymer, iron oxides (CI 77499), paraffin,kaolin, copernica cerifera (carnauba) wax, beeswax, stearic acid, behenyl alcohol, hydrogenated polyisobutene, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, tromethamine, milk protein extract, glycerin, acacia senegal gum, potassium cetyl phosphate,1,2-hexanediol, hydroxyethylcellulose, isostearic acid, dimethicone, silica, inositol, butylene glycol, glycine, serine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, leucine, alanine, lysine, arginine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, valine, threonine, proline, isoleucine, histidine, methionine, cysteine, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol

Here is the Minnie-fied box:

Closeups of the description, directions, and expiry:

*Notice the expiration; it lasts only 6 months?!

And here is the mascara tube:

This is the interesting part. The “3 step” part of this mascara refers to the 3 different settings in which you can twist the tube. Doing so adjusts the amount of mascara that gets loaded onto the brush, with Step 1 being the least and Step 3 being the most. Here’s a video demonstration:

(It’s about a minute long.)

The idea is that with each successive setting, you build up volume exponentially. As I mentioned, there isn't much difference between Step 1 and Step 2, but with Step 3 there is a lot of mascara on the brush:

In these pictures I’ve just followed instructions and applied Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 in order. But of course, you can switch things up by using only one setting, stopping after Step 2, etc!

In the first picture I’ve applied it modestly, brushing on only one layer of each Step. In the second photo I was very liberal and applied two to three layers of each Step.

Length: It darkens and defines my lashes, which makes them look longer (especially at the tips), but the actual length of my lashes didn’t change much.

Volume:Volume is definitely buildable! As you saw above, both a thin, defined look and a voluminous, clumpy look are possible.

Curl: I don’t have pictures, but it holds my curl fairly well. My lashes began to lose curl at Step 3 (which would be the third coat.) I find that if I prop my lashes up while it’s drying, my tips will stay upturned.

Waterproof: With water, it might clump a bit; but otherwise, it stays put. It doesn’t smudge or run…just don’t touch it. A gentle dab or two (to get rid of the water) won’t do much, but actual rubbing will make it come off:

The more I put, the more easily it smudges off if I touch it. On the plus side, that’s essentially how to remove the mascara: just use water! Most of it comes off easily with a water, though I must admit that the last remaining bits can take me several more tries to clean completely.

Lasting Power: If it’s dry, it doesn’t really rub off:

It lasts throughout the day and doesn’t flake off on me.

I like it! I must say, though, I think the whole “3 steps! Breakthrough packaging that allows you to choose between 3 different styles!” is a gross exaggeration (and wickedly successful marketing scheme) for what is essentially just applying 3 layers. One could argue that this wand versatility does make some difference, and I agree. It does! But comparing the small difference it makes to how fancy they make their twisty packaging seem, I still find the two disproportionate. If anything, twisting the packaging takes more time for me to apply (swipe, put back in, twist—oh wait, I twisted it the wrong way—twist back, take out, swipe, repeat process.) It’s a bit frustrating in that aspect.

That aside, I still think it’s a very nice mascara! As a mascara, it adds volume, stays put, and rinses off easily. It doesn’t really lengthen so much as it accentuates what I already have, but I have no complaints! I will happily use it until it’s empty and possibly buy another, this time with less expectations on the magical twist packaging. :)

July 24, 2014

Koreans have kanji, too!

Well, sort of. On a much lesser level.

Kanji, as I'm sure you all know, is when Chinese characters are used in Japanese. It's well-known that Japan uses Chinese characters, but what about Korea?

Koreans used Chinese characters back in the day as well, as I'm sure many people knew already! But that’s why you still see historical sites with Chinese signs. Then King Sejong the Great came along and invented Hangul, the Korean alphabet as we know it. Whenever I've come across this topic (both in blogs and in real life) people often talk about the invention of Hangul in a way that implies Chinese is now obsolete in Korea. But it's not! And that's what I found interesting: Even today, even with Hangul, Koreans still use Chinese characters in daily life!

Granted it’s not common, but you see it from time to time. In a way, it’s kind of like kanji: People who are well educated or have studied well know more Chinese characters (aka Hanja) than those who haven’t.

The first example would be names. Koreans learn how to write their name in Chinese and the respective meanings of each character. Korean children learn Hanja in school and gain a grasp of basic Chinese characters. That is, they learn Chinese characters and their corresponding Korean pronunciation. (This is different from actually learning Chinese Chinese, although many people do that as well!) And of course, some people don’t study well and/or forget. Bun Fun, for example, has general knowledge of basic Chinese characters. :)

Being a creeper here with the kid pictures, but they're so cute! Lol at the first kid!

Another example I encountered was at work. My boss had scribbled down a note for June, but instead of writing it in Korean like this: 6월, he wrote it in Chinese: 6月. This is the example that caught my eye. 6월 seems just as common and easy to write, yet he opted to write in Chinese instead.

If you remember my post from awhile back, I mentioned that Korean tally marks are often done with the Chinese character 正.

In more rural areas, it's not uncommon for signs (roads and buildings, from what I've seen) to be written in Chinese.

And last but not least, I’ve also heard that you see Chinese characters from time to time in formal writing, such as in newspapers. I can’t say I’ve seen that with my own eyes, though. Never really looked at those type of documents before.

But yeah~ I've nothing else to say! I just thought it was interesting. It reminded me a lot of kanji, except to a much lesser extent~ And of course, please remember these are just my observations. I'm not Korean nor can I speak for everyone, so don't take this as hard, solid fact. >.<

P.S. Did anyone notice the CUTE drawing at the bottom of the first picture? Omg, children books!! I'm totally going to use children's books when I get better at Japanese! (I'm learning Japanese instead of Korean now ^^)