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.
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.
There are a lot of masks out there – which one should you use to boost your skincare routine into hyperdrive? Let me help!
What is a mask?
A mask is a treatment that you put on your face for an extended period of time (between 10 minutes and 10 hours). You’re not meant to be seen in public while it’s on. The effects of a good mask will last around 1-3 days.
There are a bunch of different types of masks, good for different purposes. There’s a bit of crossover, especially if you’re mixing the mask yourself, but these are the basic categories:
Clay masks have clay as their main ingredient, and are helpful for sucking oil out of your pores, along with any random gunk in the oil. There are a range of clays with slightly different textures, but since all sorts of ingredients (oils, humectants like honey, etc.) can be mixed into a clay mask, it’s hard to say what effect a particular clay mask will have without trying it (though we can safely say that none of them will detox your body).
Kaolin clays are less absorbent than bentonite, so kaolin-based masks (usually white or pink in colour) are generally better for dry and sensitive skin, while bentonite masks (usually green in colour) are recommended for oily skin (I’m using handwavy language on purpose, because there is a LOT of variation – look up reviews of that specific mask before you buy).
How to use: You can apply a clay mask with your fingers (my preferred method) or a brush (feels posher, but requires more clean-up). Wait 5-30 min depending on your skin’s tolerance, then wash off (you may need to use a cloth to soak it off – I find that sticking my face under the shower head for 5 seconds helps tremendously). You don’t need to wait for it to dry before removing, but letting it dry will result in more oil absorption (but also more irritation potential).
Hydrating masks are a pretty broad category – there are oil-based masks which soften your skin, there are humectant-based masks which help water bind and absorb. I’m lumping them together because most oil-based masks have some humectants in them. These masks aim to leave your skin smooth and plump.
I am a big fan of Asian beauty products, which I suppose isn’t that surprising given that I’m Asian. Asian beauty products tend to be cute, suited to my colouring and great value. Here are my all-time faves – I’m always on the lookout for more products to try, so if you have any recs please let me know! The …
I haven’t been painting my nails much lately, but here’s some nail art I recently did with my Pretty Serious collaboration shade, Undercover Mermaid. The base is Undercover Mermaid, the black shade is Skinfood Black Stone and the purple/green duochrome is Face of Australia Magneto from the new Dark Side collection. As you can probably tell, I’m really in love …
I’ve been skeptical of Asian cosmetics and skincare for a long time, mainly because I can’t read the ingredients labels. But I recently discovered CosDNA, a database which contains the ingredients listings for thousands of Korean products, and armed with that info, I went on a haul just before I left Australia. The main thing I like about Asian cosmetics …
I’ve been hauling a bit while overseas – I brought a lot of products to use, but failed miserably at estimating how much I needed, and the things I would miss the most. So while I’m still aiming to rack up the empties, I’m giving myself a lot of slack in the new buys department. It’s definitely made me think …