SEVEN DAYS OF SHEET MASKS

Every now and then I like to set myself little challenges or experiments just to see how I go.  For example, in the later part of last year, I attempted to streamline my regime and try domestic products in my skincare, instead of my intense Asian style daily regime. To be honest, that wasn't the most successful experiment - my skin saw zero benefits, I saw zero reason to review unimpressive products - hence I'm back here... 

Recently, while returning to my comfort zone, I set out to answer a question that has really been plaguing the ages...

Does using a sheet mask every night as part of your skincare regime really help in any way?

(Note this experiment was actually done late last month - I'm only taking the time to write about it now!)

Sheet masks usually sit in your night regime somewhere after your essences/serums/treatments and before moisturizing & eye creams.  I generally use them as a pick me up when I feel my skin is looking a bit dull, or I'm going out somewhere.  I decided to go ahead and use them the 'proper' way at night.

Below are the masks I tried, including some quick reviews on each!

ALL THE MASKS!

ALL THE MASKS!

Day 1 - Etude House Hyaluronic Acid

  • Korean
  • Just the right amount of essence with a light refreshing scent
  • Mask quality was good - thick, does not tear easily, however a bit of a loose fit for me
  • Instant cooling effect (which I can say for most masks)
  • Afterwards: skin looks plump and hydrated, feels soothed, and skin tone looks slightly more even
  • Rating:  7/10

Day 2 - DEWYTREE Ginseng Nutritious Black Sheet Mask

  • Korean
  • I have previously used and talked about this mask!
  • Very apparent charcoal scent.
  • Very generous amount of essence (I had enough left over to apply to my neck)
  • Good thick mask quality, better fit than EH however lacks proper coverage on my nose
  • Afterwards: Skin looks glowy, feels firmer, pores look slightly less obvious, skin tone looked a lot more refined
  • Rating: 8.5/10

Day 3 - Garnier Skin Active Hydra Bomb

  • Domestic!
  • Good amount of essence (enough) but had a baby powder like scent which kind of put me off
  • Came with a backing sheet, which isn't really necessary
  • Coverage was good, but fit was loose (similar to EH)
  • Mask quality was good, but more papery than the last two
  • Very soothing and comfortable to wear - left on for ages as it didn't dry out too fast
  • Afterwards: Skin felt moisturized but I didn't notice any improvement to it's appearance
  • Rating: 5/10

Day 4 - LuLuLun Rich Moisture

  • Japanese
  • I have previously tried the Pink (Regular/Balance Moisture) version
  • Comes in a pack of seven, hence less essence saturated - less packaging waste and ideal for travel!
  • Clean pleasant scent - a bit hard to describe
  • Mask is of a thinner material than the others, but I think they've improved durability since my last try.  They didn't appear easy to tear (or maybe I'm getting gentler in my old age)
  • This dried out within 10 minutes on my skin, but when I removed the mask I could still see essence on my skin
  • Afterwards: Skin felt refreshed, cool, looked re-energized and glowy
  • Rating: 8.5/10 (extra point for the value for money!)

Day 5 - It's Skin Blueberry Mask

  • Korean
  • Intense berry scent - like berry bubblegum
  • Good amount of essence - best fit and coverage so far!
  • Exceptionally soothing.  Took ages to dry out.
  • Afterwards: Skin very moisturized.  Loved how it seemed to brighten my skin tone up and my skin felt plumper afterward.
  • Rating: 9/10

Day 6 - Apieu Cocorico Silver Sheet Mask

  • Korean
  • Good amount of essence but has a definite floral scent
  • Um, the fit, geez - the mask is this hexagonal textured foil/silk weird hybrid - the coverage was good but getting it to mold to my face was work in itself.  Plus you may risk looking like the Man in the Iron Mask (Picture for reference)
  • Afterwards: Very toned, smooth complexion.  For some reason my face looked slimmer - I don't even know how.... Skin felt and looked refreshed.
  • Rating: 8/10  (Point off for the mask material being a bit of a bitch to use)
Seems legit.

Seems legit.

Day 7 - La Glace Wrinkle Care

  • Hong Kong (I mean it says France, but it's from a company based in Hong Kong. Confusing AF)
  • Good amount of essence with a slight fragrance - not at all unpleasant
  • Mask quality is good - nice thick cotton.  The fit was a little tight around my eye area but otherwise OK
  • Afterwards: Not ground breaking - skin felt slightly firmer and was more moisturized.  I felt like this is a mask that would be beneficial to use on a regular basis though.
  • Rating: 7/10

So what does this all mean...?

OK, so I'm going to come out and straight up say it - I found my skin loved the extra pampering over this experiment.  I'm of the opinion that this extra step really gave my other products the little boost to perform a bit better and overall my skin really started looking more refreshed and glowy.  That said, there is the price point to take into account here.  If I could afford it, I'd be doing sheet masks every other day - IMAGINE THE COST!

Thankfully, there are a few options out there that can bring this cost down.   Companies like LuLuLun and Missha already do bulk packs of masks that will last a month for reasonable prices and keeping packaging waste down!

There's also compressed sheet masks available readily online to DIY your own with your favorite toners or essences - or even your essence leftovers from other masks.  (I'll be testing this out soon).

So yes, if you can afford it, why not add a sheet mask to your daily skin care?  Personally I'm going to try to do it around three times a week.  Here's hoping I continue to see results!

[Some love from Jolse Bae] Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream: YES YES YES!

Disclaimer: I received this product from Jolse after applying to review it for them.  All experiences and views expressed in this review are hella fo real :)

Before I get into this review, I thought I'd share a little bit of back story on my building obsession which all started back in 2016 when I stumbled across a blog post at Snow White & The Asian Pear about this mythical unicorn of a cream.  Now of course, being me, I immediately decided to seek out this wondrous cream to judge for myself.  Alas, I was on the slow bus, the hype was real, and I could find it nowhere I was happy shopping from, nor at a price I was realistically going to pay for a product I had no idea whether it worked for my skin.  So I put it on the back burner.... on a real steady simmer.  Finally, after over a year of not really finding my groove moisturizer wise, I was trawling Jolse when the clouds rolled away and angelic choirs sang on high...

Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream was back in stock - I wanted, no I lie - I NEEDED - this cream in my life now.  And lo and behold they were asking for applications to review it.  So I applied.  Then I ordered one anyway.  Funny story, not only did I have my own lovingly purchased jar of this little gem, but two days later I received one complimentary from Jolse for review purposes.  I THINK I DIED AND WENT TO HEAVEN.

Any excuse for a Lucifer gif, amirite?

Any excuse for a Lucifer gif, amirite?

First up: Quick note on my skin condition leading into this review!  As it is Summer here in Perth my skin is doing it's best to be as combination as annoyingly possible.  My skin texture is somewhat dull due to excessive sunblock usage and slacking off in my double cleansing routine.  I have had a few minor breakouts. FYI I have tested this product for three weeks now...

OK, enough ranting ... let's talk about this product and why it's so lusted after.

A massive reason contributing to this products cult following is the formulations basis in ķ•œė°© (hanbang) ingredients, that is to say traditional Korean medicine and beauty ingredients.  There are some pretty killer ingredients here ranging from centella asiatica, ginseng, honey and radish leaf extract through to some stellar oils - shea butter, safflower, sea buckthorn and sunflower.  Also niacinamide.  Did I mention niacinamide? No? NIACINAMIDE!  What I would be hoping for is it to deliver on three main things: 

  1.  Be moisturizing but not greasy.
  2. Perhaps fade some of my recent acne pigmentation scars.
  3. If lucky, help improve the appearance of my incoming forehead wrinkles (yay aging).

First Impressions

In all it's glory....

In all it's glory....

The packaging is seriously gorgeous.  It's understated luxe in such a way that I seriously need to hide all other products in fruit shaped bottles from it's range.  Seriously, super grown up guys.

The scent is slightly floral, but not overpowering.  Although I do find it lingers for a while after application unless I am applying other products.

The cream itself is less a "cream" and more watery/gel like in consistency.  I find it similar in consistency to a cream I used to love, Etude's House Moistful Collagen one.  A little goes a long way with this though.  It spreads pretty easily but I find does leave a slightly tacky finish.  Which I found is incredible under makeup.  Just saying.

SO THE REAL THOUGHTS?

It's been three weeks.  Do I like this cream?  Will I buy again?  Could this be a staple in my beauty stash?  In case you didn't notice the blog title - YES, YES and YES.

I am a little under halfway through my review jar with daily morning and night use, and the occasional slather on my hands for fun thing, but boy my skin is loving this stuff... seriously, like Harley loves the Joker obsessional stuff.  My first real noticeable change came about three days in when I realized a minor breakout I had experienced was like nearly completely healed.  I never heal that fast.  I'm talking, you could not even tell I had had one.  That good!  About a week in people started commenting on how glowy I looked.  (I actually got asked if I was pregnant - haha - no jokes).  Then about two weeks in even I have started to notice my forehead lines actually look less prominent.  I'm not kidding.  This cream is turning back time for me, and I could not be happier.

Would I recommend it? Yes!  But as always YMMV - if you're fighting aging concerns yet have normal to combination skin I think this cream would be a star in your beauty regime.  I can't talk for dry skin gals, I'm under the impression it might not be intense enough, but who knows? 

It's hard to find a product that you love and can rely on.  For my grandmother it was Oil of Ulan (before the name change) and I recall her using this nightly with the lovely jar sitting on her dresser.  I do hope that the Beauty of Joseon Cream will be around for a while yet, as I can picture myself using it for years to come.  PS This is not the end!  I will definitely do a bottom of the bottle review on this one - I at least have three weeks left (plus a second jar!) and want to see if it will assist in fading my hyper pigmentation from my adult acne fiasco.  Stay tuned!

Thanks to Jolse for the opportunity to review - and dare I say find a HG product to add to my collection.

Cos why not haha...

Cos why not haha...

2017 A Year in Review according to my Spotify account: The Rad, Rocking, Retro, and the Ridiculous amount of KPop

Well friends, it's been a while, and as always I have come down with festival season depression syndrome and am wondering to myself - What the hell did I achieve in 2017?

But for real - I've traveled a bit more, stepped out of my comfort zone a couple of times to jump into new career roles, I've met new people, I've started realizing the type of person I want to be (it's never too late) and I can say without a doubt that I am going into 2018 ready to make some big changes, while having a shit ton of fun in the process.

Back to the matter at hand though.  This morning my FSD kicked in, I fired up Spotify ready to thrash some Dropkick Murphys and crack open a cold one (YES, DO NOT JUDGE ME) when I saw Your Top Songs 2017...  so get ready to reminisce my top picks of 2017 with me.  

The Rad.

Quite a few contenders here: Charli XCX, Marina & The Diamonds, Macklemore, M.I.A, G-Eazy, The Neighbourhood, and Twenty One Pilots.  Without a doubt there is one song that was played waaaaay too much for it to be overlooked though ... Bring Me The Horizon's Follow You.  It probably helped that the MV was full apocalyptic glory.

The Rock.

I listen to alot of music from a variety of genres that I lump into my definition of "Rock" type music.  Don't bitch when one of the following artists is technically defined as post-punk neo-romanticism or something.  IDC.  IDC!!!  

The usual suspects are here:  The Bravery, Pearl Jam, Black Veil Brides, Andy Black, The Tea Party, Interpol, My Chemical Romance and Muse.  But who cares about those suckers?!?!  This actually surprised me, but topping out my played Rock songs for 2017 is AFI's No Resurrection.  (I'm starting to see a pattern of older songs here guys).

The Retro.

Nuff said.

The Ridiculous Amount of Kpop

Not gonna even try to lie.  Pretty much 75% of my Top 2017 Songs are definitely the Asian Pop variety, the majority of which fall under the Kpop umbrella.  My shame. Ha ha.  Who am I kidding?  Who can resist those sick beats and dance moves???

This year I've pretty much stuck to my usual biases; EXO, Big Bang, 2NE1, but I've also thrown in a couple of crazy - Orange Caramel's Catallena for instance.  This year though, after the realization that 2NE1 weren't coming back any time soon (so betrayed) I moved on to BLACKPINK.  Their song, BOOMBAYAH satisfied my needs for sick choreography, great beats, gratuitous use of CAPS LOCK, and the opportunity to yell MR WORLDWIDE at inappropriate moments.  (You'll get it if you've seen it).

Bonus:  You will never be able to unsee/unhear after this...

So You've Decided to Become A Vinyl Loving Hipster

A while back I fell down one of those rabbit holes life puts in your path that you manage to fall down when you are vaguely disinterested in your everyday life.  I developed a "hobby".  Well maybe not so much a hobby, but a very focused interest in collecting actual physical copies of music albums again.  And of course, being the generational war zone that I am, I settled on reliving my childhood through record ownership.

I tell myself this every day.

I tell myself this every day.

To be honest, I didn't really give it much thought - I just went into JB Hifi (gasp) one day and picked up a cheap entry level turntable (double gasp) and a couple of albums and started playing.  

Welcome to the douche snobbery club...

Now let's be honest about turntables should we?  Despite several comments either side of the fence when it comes to what constitutes an entry level turntable, I did start out with what I would term a "toy" type player.  I actually liked the look of the thing in its little suitcase being all retro, but it was basically an Australian branded Crosley player.  Not the best quality but, heck I thought it did the job.

Well I was so fucking wrong.  It took my third record to figure that out... quickly.  Because Queens of the Stoneage (those sonafabitches) released Like Clockwork as 45 rpm.  Damn that cheap cute player really could not handle that, and the distortion was just terrible.  So when I went back to play the other two records I owned at the time, I could not help but notice just how bad they sounded now to my polluted ears.

This image sums up nicely how QOTSA managed to mangle my perception of hearing.

This image sums up nicely how QOTSA managed to mangle my perception of hearing.

So I was kind of put off after that, because no matter where I went online there were a number of audiophiles obviously bashing the likes of Crosley, but also citing "If you're serious about vinyl you at least need ..." and the dollars kept piling up.  I didn't want to spend so much on a system I couldn't afford the albums themselves.  I hunted for the holy grail - a second hand setup from the 70s-80s, but believe it or not, the ones I found were priced higher than some higher spec new ones.  

I took a breath, and stepped back from my affair with vinyl for a number of months and searched for a solution.  The closest I could come to an "affordable" turntable with good reviews was one from Pro-Ject, and luckily a local hifi shop had several of their models in stock for me to compare.  I ended up with the Pro-Ject Essential II for just under $400 AUD on a Christmas promo, and while I still don't have epic speakers, I can already hear the difference in quality.  It's comforting to know that I haven't spent too much, even though it's way more than a toy player.

Collect all the things!

Safe to say, once the cost of your initial setup is out of the way, vinyl collecting can either be an expensive obsession or a relaxing lifestyle hobby.  At first, I was obsessed with trawling through the vinyl sections at music stores, but after a couple of months and a few hundred dollars I became more focused and select about my purchases.  It sounds like epic douche-baggery to say, but I started to curate a collection for myself based on memories, experiences, and people I have in my life.  

It's true you know.

It's true you know.

Nearly every album I have acquired in the last 5 months has a story as to why it's in my collection.  Of course I don't go around telling these stories - I'd sound like a hipster nut job, but I can kind of get why the guy from High Fidelity looked at sorting his collection autobiographically.

At the time of writing this, my collection is very small, only 31 albums.  Still that hasn't stopped me from downloading the Discogs app and keeping track of what I have for on the go wishlist making.  

I don't own Blonde on Blonde...

I don't own Blonde on Blonde...