This is Sample Hime from over at www.samplehime.com. Today I'm doing a spooky blog swap with my good friend Ms. Moi Sanom in honor of Halloween. Moi and I have a knack for weird and creepy things so we thought this month would be the perfect time to highlight some of our favorite Korean skincare ingredients that aren't so common to westerners, and also dispel some of the hype surrounding some of these additives.
Moi and I picked 6 different creepy ingredients each to introduce--you can view her 6 over at my blog. Without further ado, let me tell you a little bit about each one!
1. Bird Poop
Yes, you read that right. People put bird shit on their faces...and I guess they like it. Supposedly geishas have been using nightingale poop as a way to treat hyperpigmentation, as well as to clear their face after heavy makeup wear. Although I haven't personally verified this myself with real bird poop, apparently nightingale (uguisu) poop contains both urea and guanine, basically because the bird excretes everything (#1 amd #2) out of the same hole. Um, ew...Urea is apparently a good skin softener and may help with lightening skin. If you care, Kerry from Skin and Tonics actually reviewed it on her blog a while back.
You can buy the original Uguisu Poo (Uguisu no Fun), which comes from Japan as a dried and UV-sterilized poop powder, or you can purchase a Korean version such as Tonymoly's Natural Bubble Bird's Dropping Foam Cleanser. Unfortunately, upon inspecting the English ingredients list at the store I found that the active ingredient (urea) is actually plant sourced, not poop sourced. For all you weirdos out there who were excited to try it, I'm sorry to say that Tonymoly totally tried to pull a fast one on us.
My Picks: Pass. Go buy something with urea in it instead.
This is one of the least understood ingredients in the "know" within the Korean skincare community. I constantly hear "yes, it's REAL SNAKE VENOM" on blog and forum posts. As lovely as it sounds to put a poison on your face, unfortunately it's not even remotely true. Syn-ake is a lab-synthesized compound that is intended to mimic some of the affects of the cutie Temple Viper's venom (there's a male and female in the picture above!). A quick Google search will yield the product information direct from the manufacturer, Pentapharm. For this reason, I think that it's necessary to take the information with a grain of salt.
According to the pdf, Syn-Ake is a synthetic peptide derivative that basically prevents your facial muscles from contracting as much, thereby reducing the amount of wear and tear on your skin. Repeated facial movements cause wrinkles. Supposedly this product does work (according to a one-month long study...HMMM), but it also states that the participants used 4% concentrations of the product. I don't honestly believe most affordable Korean skincare products have a high enough concentration, plus if you keep scrolling they mention that the product must be maintained at a certain pH as well as its relatively short shelf life.
It's just my opinion based on a couple creams I tried, but I doubt these honestly work as well as they're made out to. Perhaps a more direct preparation would convince me?
My Picks: Posh Spice tip: don't smile (and don't waste your money on Syn-Ake).
While you may think "eww that blue stuff on bread" when you hear the word "mold," you might forget that things like yeast and mushrooms are also considered molds/fungi (though those are actually two different but related things). One of my absolute favorite ingredients in Korean skincare is something called beta glucan. While it can be derived from cereal grains, it's also found in some bacteria, fungi, and mushrooms! Many of my favorite eye creams include beta glucan, and apparently the helping effects, can actually be attributed to science--not just speculation and hype! In a study from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, they delve into the anti-inflammatory, anti-carginogenic, and even anti-viral properties beta glucan can have on the body.
"Beta-glucans are naturally occurring polysaccharides. These glucose polymers are constituents of the cell wall of certain pathogenic bacteria and fungi. The healing and immunostimulating properties of mushrooms have been known for thousands of years in the Eastern countries. These mushrooms contain biologically active polysaccharides that mostly belong to group of beta-glucans. These substances increase host immune defense by activating complement system, enhancing macrophages and natural killer cell function."
To put it simply, beta glucans stimulate the immune system by activating your body's response system, in turn enhancing the cells that kill pathogens. For whatever reason, I've noticed that this immune system stimulation always helps me with my under eye lines, and theoretically this could also help with other skin issues such as acne!
Although it is usually explicitly labeled as beta glucan on ingredient lists, you might also look for mushroom extracts such as chaga mushrooms, oats or barley extracts, and especially for sacharromyces (baker's yeast) products which have recently been trending. Nature Republic anyone?
Of all the ingredients on my list, I actually think this one creeps me out the most.
Pig collagen...you're basically slathering the corpse of a pig on your face. It's a little bit too much "Carrie" for me. Still, I've been there and done that via Elizavecca's Green Piggy Collagen Jella Pack, and I recently received the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Elastic Pore Cleansing Foam which also contains pig collagen. Basically in the Korean skincare world they're still trying to convince everyone that you can "absorb" collagen through your skin, when in fact the molecules are too large--and no they can't be "patted" in for absorption. Sorry to bust your bubble guys. The whole collagen thing is a sham. :(
One positive that people can attribute to pig collagen, is that it has humectant properties which in turn may keep you feeling a little bit more hydrated. Other than that, you're probably receiving benefits from the other ingredients in the product. Go eat some bone marrow soup if you really want the benefits of collagen.
My picks: If you are looking for a non-stripping, non-foaming cleanser, however, I do recommend the Elizavecca foam I linked above. It has charcoal in it, too, which can be helpful on acne skin.
5. Snail Mucin
Everyone has heard of snail cream by now. Okay, when I say everyone I mean pretty much everyone in the Asian beauty community. It seems like people don't really understand why snail works though, and for that I do bring some info for you!
Snail mucin is said to have healing and anti-inflammatory components.
Because snails don't have a complex immune system, they produce a naturally antibiotic secretion in their mucin to protect themselves from pathogens. It's interesting to note that snail mucin has been found to work against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. (Gram positive/negative refers to the gram stain we use to look at the bacteria under the microscope.) According to Dr. Macrene Aleiades-Armenakas:
"Snail mucin extract is a complex blend of proteins, glycolic acids and elastin. It has been recognized for many years-as far back as Ancient Greece-as an ingredient that reduces inflammation. The extract is renowned for its regenerative properties, and facilitates the restoration of damaged tissue and replenishes moisture in skin. It is also effective in treating acne and scarring."
Further research into the subject shows that snails secrete nutrients like hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein enzymes, antimicrobial and copper peptides, and proteoglycans to protect their "foot" while padding along rough terrain. Apparently in vitro studies (not on humans) have shown that:
"research suggests that snail slime will stimulate the production of elastin and collagen, increase fibronectin protein production, and stimulate increased proliferation of fibroblasts."
Recently probiotics have become a "thing" and people are finally starting to recognize that poor, misunderstood bacteria are not all bad! I've touched on this before on my blog, but it's worth talking about again. Your body is host to all sorts of bacteria, and every bacteria has a home. We get infections and illness when the bad bacteria move into the neighborhood and take over the good bacteria's space. This is where probiotics come in. Recently, researchers have been finding that bacteria play an integral part in the wellness of our bodies, both internally and externally. By now you have probably heard about internal probiotics, and the need to replace "good bacteria" particularly after taking antibiotics. The same may be true for our skin! Supposedly even things as simple as actual yogurt (kefir or greek yogurt) may improve our skin quality.
Dr. Whitney P. Bowe, MD, FAAD recently spoke about the different benefits of probiotics in skincare, most notably related to acne and rosacea. Detailed in a recent American Academy of Dermatology article, she notes that probiotics may be used as "bacterial interference" to prevent our skin from recognizing "bad" bacteria and creating an exaggerated immune response (inflammation, redness, pus, or in some cases rosacea). Good bacteria may also be used to fight bad bacteria, in that some bacteria secrete substances that are toxic to bad bacteria. In the same way lactobacillus produces lactic acid to maintain vaginal health, other bacteria may secret substances that will help maintain our skin.
As far as uses in Korea, bacterial ferments are all the rage this year. Pretty much every store came out with some form of fermented line this year, or multiple! Hopefully in the next year they will start introducing live culture probiotics as a form of skincare.
I will be the first to snag it up!
My Picks: Moi Sanom is actually covering the fermented aspect more in depth in her post on my blog so please go read more if you're looking for more info and recs!
As lengthy as that was, I hope you I hope you enjoyed reading about all these buzzworthy ingredients.
Have you tried any of these ingredients, and if so what did you think of them? I'd love to hear about your experiences and even some recommendations!
Have a safe. scary, and insanely fun Halloween everyone!
Oh Halloween I love you so!
Together with Carnival you are my favorite holiday.
Dressing up is something I enjoy so much I can’t even wait for one of these days to come around and do it whenever I feel like it.
Otherwise all my weird clothes would just lay in a corner and slowly rot until I actually have a fitting event to wear them to.
Besides dressing up in all kinds of ghoulish and weird outfits, I have a variety of other obsessions. Cosmetics is one of them.
I love putting many potions on my face and occasionally using tools to make myself look more or less like me.
Possibly like a dead me, or the kind of me who fell straight out of a silent film.
Edwardian Swimsuit while casually hiking on a mountain in the Provence
When Memebox announced the release of a Halloween box I literally stopped breathing, ordered the Box and promptly resumed breathing again when I realized that I would not survive if I wouldn't start before the Box arrives in October.
It is now October and I have to say breathing is going well and I did not have to fight with the post office to get this box as per usual.
When I was handed the box by my postman I was quite scared.
Not the good kind of scared like when you watch a horror film but the kind of scared you are when you think you might have thrown your money out the window.
The box was light, too light to have anything in there, really.
It arrived in the small Memeboxe
I opened it slowly, half in disappointment and half in hopes something would come jumping at me. Tiny bats anyone?
Unfortunately, nothing jumped at me, instead I was greeted by some very strange looking liptoos. Yeah, Tattoos for the lips!
Next up were some trashy looking fake tattoos.
The ones I got are practically only suitable for 5 year old fans of Ed Hardy.
I saw that there were different types of styles handed out though. Ladymoonlight got different kinds of crosses which I think I could have actually used.
The next thing I noticed was that I got a lot of products by the same brand, Revecen.
I don’t really know how I feel about this.
I think Memeboxes should offer a wider variety of brands to try unless you buy a specific brand box.
There was a pack of lashes in the box that look decent.
I haven’t used fake lashes for years and I don’t really know if they are any good but they come with glue and I definitely have use for them.
I was happy to see that they also included white face paint, just that same morning I searched for some in my local drugstore just to be appalled at the prices.
I am in need of white paint for this years Halloween costumes, so I proceeded to immediately try it out.
The white is very buildable, it can be applied sheer for a more pale and natural finish or used thickly for a very white face.
One layer to the left and three layers to the right
It didn’t break Johnny out even though he has somewhat sensitive skin.
It is not greasy but rather dry in texture and you definitely need to prep the skin really well before using it since it accentuates dry skin and flakes. I think this is a very decent multitasking face paint that is specially suited for those people who hate grease paint.
By the same brand there is also a black gel liner. It can be used as an eyeshadow when dry and a liner when wet.
The purple pot is another face paint which seems creamier than the white one and can be used in a lot of different ways as well.
It is a very pretty purple and I am already scheming on how to use it.
The best part of the box was definitely the lip tint!
This tint is described as looking like blood and that it does indeed.
It is a liquid lipstick similar to Chanels.
It is a deep dark brown red, very rich in color with a touch of coagulation!
I used it straight away and I have to say that it is very lovely! The shade is gorgeous and feels very nice on the lips.
All in all most of the products are useful to create Halloween looks.
Nothing too weird or fancy but more everyday style looks that lean to the darker side.
The reason I was disappointed was because I was hoping for products like the Elizavecca Spider Cleansing foam or even any of the Witch's pouch products.
I was sad that none of the items in this box had interesting or spooky packaging or even funny names. There is so many fun and creepy items on the Memebox site that I believe this box could have been filled with a better variety of products.
It felt a little one sided and unimaginative to me.
At least I can use most of these items and even needed one of them.
I will soon review some of the products and I uploaded a tutorial using the face paint this week.
I present to you Johnny the Somnambulist!
If you are still in the Holiday mood, ( I certainly am!) Memebox still has some Pumpkin pie boxes in stock.
I like pumpkin in skin care a lot and I am very curious to what goodies they included this time.
Coupon codes: Get 5$ off with code 5YI8 AFFILIATE-3072-Z2LSR-ABPC $5 off on orders above $100 AFFILIATE-0243-5D7MP-OLHQ $10 off on orders above $150 $5 off on entire order when purchasing over 3 Memeboxes: MEMEBUNDLE3 $8 off on entire order when purchasing over 4 Memeboxes: MEMEBUNDLE4 Free shipping on orders above $70 from Memeshop: FREESHIPPING
I had the idea of making a Cabinet of Dr. Caligari inspired photo shoot for a while.
I absolutely love the film and it has been a great source of inspiration for years now.
You can really tell that this is also the case for many other artists such as Tim Burton.
It is a cinematic master piece which should be watched by everyone.
Since I wanted to make a simple tutorial for Halloween this year, I thought Cesare would be suitable since it doesn’t require too many items and is also a look that shouldn’t be perfect.
That is an important factor if you attempt creating a look on Johnny Clyde, the wobbliest person on earth.
Since he is so wobbly, there is no way I can draw a straight line on him or make anything even at all. There were even some steps I had to skip since he thought they were unbearable. One of them was to draw on the waterline since he couldn't take the feeling of his eyeball being drawn on (not that I was drawing on his eyeball, but no use convincing him of that fact).
Scheming applicational disruptions!
First up, prep your skin as well as possible!
I skipped this step (don’t ask me why!) and the make up didn’t apply as evenly as I’d liked.
Exfoliation, a good moisturizer and possible a primer should definitely be used depending on the white paint you choose.
I used the face paint that came in my Halloween Memebox (unboxing coming soon), and since I wanted to test it out I didn’t use a primer.
I applied the paint to the entire face using a little egg shaped sponge dabbing the product on in thin layers until it built up to a more opaque shade of white.
If you are a man, this can be done on a 3 day beard, but it is hard to get the color through the hairs, so a shaved face might be easier to work with. Next, I contoured the cheeks a bit to make the face look more gaunt.
You can either do that or contour around your lips for the signature Cesare look.
I did not do this since Johnny has facial hair and it would just look like a goatee.
I recommend powdering the whole face with translucent powder since it makes the next steps easier.
I didn't (for testing purposes) and it made it more difficult for the color to be added evenly without smudging.
The contouring looks a little uneven since his cheeks are unpowdered
Afterwards I added a thin black line above the upper lash line to give the eyes some definition.
I drew it further out to the side in a little tail.
I then marked the middle of the eye with a dot to be able to add lines on each side to create a triangle underneath the eye.
I used a regular black eye pencil for this.
I recommend using a waterproof one that doesn’t smudge too much.
Mine was pretty crappy so it started creasing and moving around pretty fast.
I then painted a little half moon on the inner corner of the eye to create a hollow look.
I smudged it a little for it to blend in better.
First add bigger dots and then make a line following the little dots
The eyebrows were filled with the same dark pencil with squared off corners which were then brushed with a spooly to look a little less like fake pieces of fur and more like eyebrows.
You can see my crappy pencil smudged after 5 minutes of application already
The lips were completely covered with foundation as well.
Cesares lips a relatively thin so I had to hide Johnnys thicker lips to create that look.
I then filled in the lips in the same shape only thinner, making them look a little wider than they originally were without looking too artificial.
You can see his lips end just underneath the moustache
I decided to adapt Cesares look to Johnnys face instead of doing it just as it was on screen.
I feel like makeup can either work with someones face or try to change the face and I always belonged to the work with the facial features type of person.
I tried to convince Johnny to go scare some people on the street but that seems to be on schedule for next week instead.
And that is it little Batlings!
I hope you liked the tutorial.
Is there any looks that you always wanted to recreate?
P.s: We actually live right next to where The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was filmed. There is a little plaque and everything!
Ladykin Vanpir Dark Repair Cream (50ml) Fast-absorbing face cream boosts the natural
metabolic process, promoting cellular turnover to lighten dark spots,
smooth out lines and wrinkles and create a brighter, fairer complexion.
The star ingredient of Dragon Blood Resin extract restores elasticity
level while repairing skin damage. After cleansing and toning, spread an
ample amount of cream all over face and neck lightly tapping into skin
to hasten absorption.
It has been a long journey until I finally reached this point, but the wait was so worth it!
For you to fully understand how I got here and why I am so happy about it you need to know a few background facts.
As you may already have read (like on every post I write) my skin is dry.
Very very dry.
So dry I ran out of metaphors to describe it.
I have been trying to find a moisturizer that suits my skin.
That soothes and hydrates it without being too thick or breaking me out.
One that hydrates and moisturizer at the same time.
One that works as a stand alone product and not only because I slathered a gazillion types of items on before or after.
My skin is also sort of sensitive with tiny pores.
The problem with tiny pores is that nothing can come through them.
Which means that if I use a product that clogs my pores I get a bunch of tiny bumps.
Sometimes skin colored, sometimes red, and they stay forever!
There is no way for me to get rid of them other than to wait, since touching them means really red spots that are more noticeable than the bumps since my skin is also very reactive.
So I have been searching for THE perfect product that fulfills all my wishes without any side effects and a reasonable price for years now.
Working as a skincare consultant made me able to try a lot of products, even very high end ones.
I found some wonderful ones, mostly way out of my price range of course, but it was never the perfect moisturizer.
I knew it was going to be Asian skin care though!
I have had such amazing success with it and the fail rates are just so much lower than other skincare I have tried.
I just didn’t expect it to come inside a mysterious black jar with adorable little fangs!
I tried one Ladykin product before which left me very unimpressed, I read reviews on a few of their items which were not only rare but also a little bland.
I still decided to purchase this cream since I was in need of a moisturizer and simply could not resist the packaging.
It came sealed and with a very sturdy spatula
I mean look at it!
Seldom have I seen such a simple design that has so successfully incorporated dark themes in a sophisticated way without being plain black.
When it arrived I was soo ecstatic!
I already planned in testing time for this product and was able to use it immediately.
I apologize for my inability of photographing this very reflective box
My first impression was overjoyed by the very beautiful and expensive looking packaging and thrown aback by the smell of the cream.
I am very sensitive to smells, and prefer my skincare to be scentless.
I don’t use perfumes at all since they usually give me a headache.
This cream smells just like Juicy Couture.
I was confused and a little worried if the scent was going to give me a headache.
Thank all the followers of Lilith that it didn’t!
The scent is not as strong when applied as it is in the jar, and it fades very fast after being applied.
It is not even as scented as perfumed body lotions and a lot less scented than the Face shop Mango seed butter ( I seem to be one of the very few people who even got bothered by the strong scent anyway).
So unless you are very scentsitive (hehe) you have nothing to worry about!
Looks like Buttercream
The texture is delightful.
It is very luxurious and buttery, not in a thick and heavy way, though.
Despite its texture it sinks in fast and is quite lightweight.
Of course you can not expect this to be as thin as a watery gel or cream, but it is as light as a cream gets.
Partially rubbed in to show the buttery texture
I am seriously impressed by the quality/price ratio of this product.
The Vanpir cream is very expensive looking.
The jar is heavy and made out of thick black glass with embossed writing.
The quality of the cream is also excellent and it rivals some high end products I have used.
I would love to know how Ladykin managed to make such a fantastic product for this price without skimping on the packaging!
I know this post has gotten really long but what can I say, after all, this is my first Holy Grail cream.
I am so ecstatic about this find!
It does everything I wished for and more!
Finally a cream that moisturizes and hydrates equally well that makes my skin feel like it is in skincare heaven!
My face has never been this happy.
This cream works fantastically with a very long routine or a very short one.
I haven't had pain from too dry skin since I started using it and my face has been super smooth and glowy as well!
I want to try every product of this line and never be without this miracle cream again!
My happy face one hour after my morning routine without any makeup products
Rating: 1.Blegh 2. Pff 3. Meh 4. Oohh 5. Awwyeah6. Wooha
Suitable for combo, normal to very dry skin types. Especially suited for wintertime. Very moisturizing yet not too thick of a cream with some serious magic powers!
Essence Vampire's Love Lipstain (8,5ml) Blutrote Lippen – Bis zum Ende der Nacht! Der neue lipstain hüllt die
Lippen in wunderschöne Rot- und Rosétöne und ist dabei besonders
langanhaltend. Er ist absolut wischfest und lässt das Make-up allzeit
perfekt aussehen – für die ultimative Vampir-Verführung!
Before there was lip tints I was completely obsessed with finding a purple lipstick.
At the time, I was working as a skincare consultant and makeup artist and the only "purple" lipstick we had was from Shiseido. A lovely one at that, but sadly quite pink.
I even made it a sport to sell this outrageous looking shade to older ladies and people who don’t dare use bright colors on their faces with great success.
Then, lip tints came out and unfortunately the early versions were pretty sad performance wise.
They were either super sheer and natural like Benetint or pigmented and very hard to apply and blotchy with bad staying time.
I gave up on tints and thought I was never going to find a pigmented product I could apply to my lips that lasts and doesn’t make my hair stick to it. In comes Korean lip tints and my view on them has changed completely!
I am not saying all Korean tints are great, because they aren’t. I have used a few that just didn’t cut it quality wise, but the vast majority is about a trillion light years ahead of the early western counterparts. After finding the perfect red and burgundy tints, I knew it was time for me to find a purple one.
The good news is that Lavender is a very popular color at the moment so I quickly snatched a few Lavender tints up.
The bad news is that they are quite pink and no where as purple as I would like.
A few weeks ago I started doing research for this creepily themed blogging month in search for some weird skincare and makeup when I discovered Essences Vampire Liptint. I scoured the internet to buy this lip tint immediately.
The online swatches promised this tint to be purpleish and I thought I would risk it possibly being crap since the color and the packaging seemed perfect.
Also it was cheap!
It looks more purple in real life
When I received this tint I put it on so fast after I noticed that the wand was completely purple!
Oh my, oh my, this is it! This is THE purple tint I was looking for! The first layer applies as a very purpley purple.
It is dark and sheer which translates into a vampy but not overpowering look.
The tint is very layerable.
You can go from sheer stain to full on super duper dark burgundy purple. The more you layer it the less purple it becomes since it gets so dark but it is still a visible purple color.
I have a wound and a scar on my lips. The wound soaks up more pigment and the scar less. They are next to each other and make some colors look uneven.
The application is just like any other watery tint. You just need to be careful were you put it since it stains a lot! The tint lasts forever!
It really does, when you apply it at night and don't remove it there will be some stain left on your lips the next day.
I put some on my hand and left it on for 24 hours.
Several hand washes and application of hand cream later, it looked like this:
If you let the tint dry without blotting the color it is even stronger
The best part is that you can apply lip balm on this tint without smudging it.
It fades evenly, unless you have a wound (which I currently have), and doesn’t dry the lips out.
It smells quite lovely but I really can not describe what it smells like, it disappears as soon as it is on the lips though.
The packaging is very practical and yet not ugly at all. I love love love this tint.
I wish they would have made more shades.
I am very impressed by Essence and if they release any more tints I will definitely pick them up.
Etude House Mint and Peach cushion, Dior Eyeshadow, Sleek Contour, Essence Lip tint
Rating: 1.Blegh 2. Pff 3. Meh 4. Oohh 5. Awwyeah6. Wooha
This is such a gorgeous purple shade that is very wearable, and I like the cheeky name as well.