“Is all the stuff that rolls off with a peeling gel really my skin?“ This is a question I come across a lot! In case you’ve forgotten, a peeling gel is a popular type of cleanser in Asia. You start off with a watery gel like this, which you spread over your face (the one picture here is Laneige Strawberry …
Franki + Seoul is one of the newest online Korean beauty stores in Australia. It’s run by two identical twin sisters Jayme and Jenny who are massive beauty nerds – they spent a year in Seoul testing beauty products and working with skincare companies, then received a grant from the City of Seoul government to start Franki + Seoul. Franki …
I love peeling gels. These awesome physical exfoliants use soft fibres instead of hard scrubbing grains for thorough but gentle exfoliation, much like using a washcloth but with less potential for germs. It’s a common misconception that the bunched up fibres are skin coming off and that the peeling gel is acting as a rapid chemical exfoliant, but the vast majority of what comes off is from the ingredients in the peeling gel itself (a small amount is skin though, since they’re grabbing some dead skin cells in the process!). I’ve found these particularly helpful after a bout of cold/flu or hayfever, when my nose is flaky – peeling gels do a great job of gently buffing off any flakes of dead skin so you don’t look dessicated.
Here are 3 peeling gels I’ve tried recently:
It’s Skin Citron Peeling Gel
I bought It’s Skin Citron Peeling Gel and Nature Republic Cranberry Real Nature Peeling Gel in my last RoseRoseShop order when I ran out of The Face Shop White Jewel Peeling Gel, which has been my favourite for a while. I’ve since completely abandoned the Nature Republic one mostly because the cranberry scent smells like medicine, while the It’s Skin gel smells like refreshing citrus. The It’s Skin gel also works a bit better in the shower than the Nature Republic one, which is a bit too watery to bunch up properly so it feels like you’re just rubbing your face with your fingertips.
Today I’m reviewing the Hyaluronic Acid Moisturisingseriesfrom For Beloved One, a popular Taiwanese cosmeceutical skincare brand that’s just been launched at Sephora Australia. I haven’t had much experience with Taiwanese skincare (apart from My Beauty Diary, the brand that produces the super popular and affordable sheet masks), so I was excited to try these out!
For Beloved One’s skincare products contain a laundry list of patented ingredients that, while not all supported by independent peer-reviewed evidence (which, let’s face it, very little skincare is), have plausible mechanisms for what they do – in the case of the Hyaluronic Acid Moisturising range, hydrate the heck out of your skin.
Here are some of the featured ingredients in the range:
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant moisturiser that’s the absolute bee’s knees at hydrating your skin by grabbing onto water and keeping it from evaporating. In its usual form (as high molecular weight hyaluronic acid), it’s a long chain molecule made up of thousands of sugar units. This makes it too large to enter the skin, so it can only effectively hydrate the upper layers.
There’s also low molecular weight hyaluronic acid or hydrolysed hyaluronic acid, where the hyaluronic acid has been broken up into smaller fragments, which means it can penetrate and hydrate deeper in the skin. It also seems to have a signalling role, and can decrease wrinkle depth, I’m guessing through hydrating the skin. For Beloved One’s products use Hyalo-Oligo as their source of low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, which has an average weight of 7 kDa (7000 Da), along with high molecular weight hyaluronic acid.
GHK-Cu (Copper Tripeptide-1)
There are only a few peptides with multiple published studies to show that they will actually act on the skin, and GHK-Cu is one of them! This peptide is made up of 3 amino acids (glycine-histidine-lysine) and has a strong attraction for copper. When applied to skin, it increases the production of collagen, an important substance in the skin which gives it its plumpness (the skin’s collagen content decreases with age and with sun damage). It also promotes the production of other important skin components elastin, proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans, keeping the skin firm and plump.
GHK-Cu is thought to mostly work by carrying copper into cells (as a carrier peptide), as copper is an important part of the enzymes that make collagen and elastin. Some of the products also contain malachite extract, which has copper and zinc.
PatcH2O is an interesting mix of water-holding humectants – there are the long-chain humectants algin (from the cell walls of algae) and pullalan (from a fungus) as well as hyaluronic acid that can be thousands of atoms long, mixed with small humectants like urea, glycerin and serine. Together this makes a humectant film that slowly releases humectants to be absorbed deep into the skin (at least according to its manufacturer BASF), and claims to be able to sustain this hydration for 48 hours.
Here’s the full ingredients list for this ingredient: Water, Glycerin, Trehalose, Urea, Serine, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Algin, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pullulan, Disodium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate.
My skin gets dehydrated in winter despite my best efforts to gently cleanse and exfoliate it, so I’ve been using hydrating masks (both sheet and not) to try to boost the moisture levels. I came across this nifty silicone sheet mask tool at Daiso and knew I had to get one!
The Daiso Silicone Mask is essentially a silicone sheet mask with ear loops to hold it in place.
You can use it on top of a sheet mask, or on top of a regular mask or even by itself, according to the instructions on the back. I’ve also been using it over hydrating masks.
There’s a bunch of advantages to using this mask:
It keeps your face warm when masking in winter: When water evaporates, it takes a whole bunch of heat with it, which is why sweating cools you down so well and why hypothermia happens so much more easily when you’re wearing wet clothes. Some people use sheet mask warmers, but the mask only stays warm for a few minutes after application, and if it gets too hot, there’s the chance that sensitive ingredients could break down.
When water evaporates from the top of the sheet mask, it carries all the other ingredients with it. This means that as your mask evaporates, unless it stays absolutely soaked in essence, all the good ingredients will end up clustered on the side furthest away from your skin. The sheet mask slows down evaporation so the ingredients don’t migrate away.
Two-phase or biphasic removers are my favourite type of make-up remover. They’re the ones that look like they have a layer of oil floating on a layer of water (the two layers are often different colours so you can see them easily). You shake them up like salad dressing before putting them on a cotton pad and wiping off your make-up. They remove waterproof make-up easily, generally don’t sting your eyes and if you’re lucky, won’t leave a greasy residue either.
How do two-phase make-up removers work?
In chemistry, there’s a rule of thumb known as like dissolves like, meaning that substances that are alike in polarity will mix together. For example, sugar and water are both polar substances, so sugar dissolves easily in water. Oil is non-polar, so sugar doesn’t dissolve in it.
Two-phase removers contain a non-polar oily layer (usually consisting of lightweight silicones like cyclopentasiloxane or cyclomethicone) floating on a polar water-based layer. They don’t mix because of the difference in polarity. But when you shake the bottle before using it, it ensures that some of each layer makes it onto your cotton pad, which gives it the power to dissolve both polar and non-polar substances (i.e. pretty much all your makeup).
Make-up Remover Reviews
I recently ran out of my Face of Australia two-phase make-up remover (this stuff lasts me forever), so I decided to buy a bunch of Korean ones and try them out – they’re all under $5 on RoseRoseShop and available on Amazon (slightly pricier but faster shipping – still under $10 though!).
Here are my reviews:
Missha Green Tea Eye and Makeup Remover
Missha’s remover has a colourless oily layer on top of a green water-based layer containing green tea extract. It also contains benzophenone-4, a sunscreen ingredient, for some mysterious reason (maybe a cosmetic chemist knows? Edit: “This UV-filter protects the colorants in the formula from fading out. Especially with transparent packaging you need to protect the colorants from UV light. Normally only a small amount is needed and this will not add any sun protection to the skin.”Thanks Roland!). It comes in a cute heart-shaped bottle, which makes the twist-top lid very easy to grip even when your hands are wet.
A lot of these Korean removers do have this rather disconcerting name – I can assure you that my lips and eyes are intact! This comes in a round bottle with a smooth twist top that’s a little difficult to open if your hands are wet.
iHerb, every Aussie beauty lover’s favourite grocery-store-that-sells-Real-Techniques-for-cheap, now has a Korean Beauty (K-Beauty) section! The prices aren’t too bad compared to other K-Beauty outlets like RoseRoseShop, considering iHerb’s cheap and fast shipping.
The K-Beauty selection is currently quite small (45 items), but it does contain some much-loved classics. Here are my picks:
This is a classic cleansing balm, which is like a cleansing oil but easier to handle (read more about how cleansing balms work here). Rub it on your face to dissolve greasy sunscreen or makeup, then rinse it off with water – the surfactants in the formula help the oil wash off without extra help! If necessary, you can follow up with another cleanser. Used by itself, it leaves your skin softer than a regular cleanser, thanks to the oil-rich formula. Banila Clean-It Zero contains mineral oil as the main oil, which works well for most people. iHerb also sells the Resveratrol and Radiance versions.
This has a whopping 92% snail secretion filtrate, which is amazing at hydrating your skin, and potentially could act as an antioxidant as well (more on snail secretion science here). This cream is lightweight and absorbs quickly, with some great skin-plumping effects. I’ve only tried a small sample of it so far, but once I finish my current snail slime products I’ll be getting this one!
I have undyed East Asian hair, so it’s hard to find a good brow product in stores in Australia. Luckily the Asian beauty market has it covered with tons of grey-brown options! I couldn’t find many comparison swatches online so I ended up buying a whole stack of “Gray Brown” pencils from a range of Korean brands (The Face Shop, Missha, A’pieu, Skinfood, Tonymoly, Lioele) from RoseRoseShop, and swatched them to show the difference. I hope this helps someone with the same dilemma!
Since my hair is undyed, the roots of my hair and brows are naturally grey-tinged. Pretty much all of the affordable brown brow pencils designed for brunettes in Australia pull too red, while black pencils are too dark, so they both look pretty unnatural. There are a few OK products on the market, but they’re few and far between, so I’ve been using The Face Shop ME:EX Design My Eyebrow in Gray Brown as my everyday brow pencil, while my sister uses the same pencil in Dark Gray. The shades are very similar, though Gray Brown has a subtle brown tone.