holika1 Holika Holika Aqua Max Sebum Control Moisture Cream ReviewI developed an almost immediate addiction to Korean cosmetics during my first visit to South Korea back in 2012. I’m a sucker for pretty packaging and they have it nailed. There’s a dearth of the shops here in Canada though so I was pretty pumped to find out that Holika Holika had recently opened up on Queen Street West in Toronto. While it wasn’t a store I shopped at in Korea, I decided to check it out anyway.

They have cute packaging similar to an Etude House or a Tony Moly and a full range of creams, lotions, masks, make-up, and more. The personal service (and free samples!) was exactly as I’d come to expect from Korean cosmetic shops. K-pop was playing on the stereo, and for a minute I could almost imagine I was back in Gunsan.

I was on the hunt for a new daytime moisturizer since my Oil of Olay wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. I have combination skin, but I’m more concerned about my forehead, nose, and chin being oily than I am about my cheeks being dry, so the girl at Holika Holika recommended I try the Aqua Max Sebum Control Moisture Cream. Remember, just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you should skip the moisturizer! You just need to find the right one.

holika2 Holika Holika Aqua Max Sebum Control Moisture Cream Review

The packaging was cute and the price was right ($28 for 120ml) so I gave it a chance. I’m really happy I did. It has a gel-like consistency which is something I’m not used to. My moisturizers have always been white creams. Do North Americans not make gel moisturizers? I gotta say, I’m a fan of it for summer. It’s cool going on and absorbs really well. I think during heat waves I’ll keep it in the fridge for max coolness. On first application I thought it felt watery and couldn’t imagine that it would hydrate well, but it kept my skin moist without getting greasy.

The Aqua Max has a light clean smell but isn’t overpowering. Hard to describe but, to me, it’s just fresh. It contains oats, aloe, and Himalayan raspberry leaves which means a nice blend of oil zapping and skin hydrating goodness.

Apparently, this product used to be called Water March but now has slightly new packaging along with a new name. It comes in a cute clear glass jar with a faux-cork lid, but don’t be turned off by a tub – it’s also comes with a spatula. I’m totally using this jar for something else once I’ve finished off the cream. It’s hella cute.

Aqua Max Moisture Cream is available in three versions:

  • Sebum Control (green) for those with oily or combination skin
  • Nutri (pink) for those with seriously dry skin
  • Ultra (blue) for those with normal to dry skin

I took a chance on a new store and new product and it worked out great. The only question now is, can I get it shipped to Newfoundland?

Melissa Hogan may have a career in web design & development but she was bitten by the travel bug and has fallen completely under its spell while making St. John’s, NL Canada her homebase. She wants to inspire others to get out there and see the world, push their limits, and look good doing it. Melissa blogs atwww.suitcaseandheels.com, tweets as @avalonmel and does all things Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SuitcaseAndHeels



August Favorites

by Sheryll on September 8, 2014

augustfavorites1 August Favorites Hi everyone! I’m back with another monthly favorites post. I know it’s been a looong time, and posting has been so sporadic, but it’s for a good reason! My magazine, Glamtrotting, has officially LAUNCHED! I am just so overwhelmed with gratitude to my team, so happy and so proud. Make sure to head over to Glamtrotting.com to pick up your copy today!

And now on to the beauty bits I’ve been looooving recently:

I first heard about Etude House’s Dust Cut line from Picoprince.com, another Korean skincare blogger. I’m not the biggest fan of Etude skincare, but the dust cut line had me intrigued. It’s described as a skincare range to protect against dust, pollution, and other elements. Considering the pollution in HCMC is out of control, I just knew I had to get my hands on the mist. There’s also a face mask (which I bought), and a face wash, but the mist is the product that intrigued me the most. It creates a barrier on your skin to protect it from the dust and to stop all of the particles from sticking to your skin. So far, I’m OBSESSED. It really does work. I had noticed that my skin would always look dull by the end of the day, now, my makeup looks fresh and lasts much longer. Seems gimmicky, but I love it.

With every purchase of $100 dollars or more from w2beauty.com, Alice includes a free Sulwhasoo sample gift set. I have 2 sets now, and never really got around to using them until we went to Bangkok and I wanted to pack travel sized items. GIRL. Why did I not start using them sooner?! Sulwhasoo is the truth, the way, and the light. The products in the photo are the first care serum, the essential balancing emulsion, and the concentrated ginseng renewing cream. I use them at night, and when I wake up, my skin is positively radiant. I don’t know how they do it, but I’m happy they do. I wish I could afford an entire closet full of Sulwhasoo. I’d cry happy tears forever.

When I went to the Saigon Flea Market a few weeks ago, there was a woman selling imported cosmetics from the US. When I saw the GIANT tube of Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers, I bought it immediately. People love the watermelon and strawberry Lip Smackers, but Dr. Pepper is where it’s at. I love that it leaves a tiny hint of color, plus the scent is amazing. It brings back so many childhood memories!

I’ve been dying over Benefit’s Gimme Brow for ages now. I first tried it in Korea, but I could never bring myself to pay over $30 for a tiny little tube of brow gel. But I finally went ahead and splurged in Bangkok and I AM SO HAPPY. Gimme Brow is a brow volumizing fiber gel that fills in your sparse areas, and tames your brows all at once. It’s amazing and instantly makes me look more polished. For someone that hates to spend a million years doing their makeup, it’s a godsend. Just swipe some on, and bam. Gorgeous brows. Love, love, love.

The next two items are from TheFaceShop, purchased here in Vietnam. Yes, I know I feature a new mascara every favorites post but I like to switch mine up. I’m prone to styes so I never like to use the same mascara for long. I do have to say that the Extreme Black Force mascara from TheFaceShop is definitely the best out of the ones I’ve previously mentioned. It has a rubber brush, which I’ve come to realize is my favorite kind of brush. It’s inky black, and makes your lashes look like falsies in the best way. People always ask me where I get my lash extensions, then are shocked when I tell them it’s just mascara. And that luxe looking gold bottle next to the mascara is The FACEit Collagen Liquid Eyeliner. My stash of Clio Kill Black Liner ran out, and I was desperate for another liner, when the lady at the store swatched this one on me. It was instant love. I haven’t used a liquid liner in AGES, so there was a big of a learning curve at first (and eyeliner all over my face), but after that, it was smooth sailing. It’s sweat proof, waterproof, and I got caught in a downpour on the back of a motorbike proof. The Clio pen is easier to use, but I like the look of the liquid better.

When I went to Bangkok, I stocked up on My Beauty Diary sheet masks. I’d always heard how great they are, so you know I had to put them to the test. Verdict? They’re FABULOUS! Sheet masks can be pretty hit or miss with me – sometimes I don’t see any results. But the My Beauty Diary masks pack a punch. Almost instantly, your skin is glowy, dewy, and brighter. It’s like a facial in a sheet mask. I bought a million different kinds, but I really like the caviar and red wine ones.

And last is a little buy I got from Boots in Bangkok. I’ve always loved Soap and Glory, but had only tried their products in the travel size. Since my feet are in sandals 98.9% of the time, I was in desperate need of a foot cream that wasn’t heavy or sticky. Heel Genius is soooooo good. It’s slightly thicker than your average body lotion, but it sinks into your feet almost immediately, and leaves your feet silky smooth. I use it on my feet before I go to bed and can’t stop rubbing my feet together as I fall asleep. It’s divine!

And that’s it for August. I’m currently testing a bunch of new things so my September favorites will hopefully be awesome! I’m so glad to finally get back on track with blogging. Don’t you ever worry, even with a job and Glamtrotting, I’ll always blog here! I love you all too much!!!!!


w2Beauty Haul #2

by Sheryll on August 27, 2014

w2beautyhaul w2Beauty Haul #2

I’m back with another w2beauty haul! My skin has *finally* cleared up after a disastrous few months with a jawline breakout, so I decided to treat myself to some goodies. I’m now stuck with some pretty awful scarring, but I’m hoping that eventually everything will return to normal. This haul features a lot of products I’ve already tried and loved, but there are some new finds as well. I’m trying to create a baseline skincare routine that I can stick to, and switch just one product out at a time, to keep my skin calm.

First, from the left, we have some Missha Blemish Clear Patches. I haven’t reviewed any blemish patches yet, but know that I am obsessed with them. I usually keep mine on at night, since I don’t like wearing them in the day when everyone can see them. If you have one of those big, nasty, ugly whiteheads, one of these blemish patches can help dramatically. I like to keep them on hand for that time of the month, when my skin tends to get a bit cray cray.

Up at the top is a new toner – the Innisfree Rose Clear Skin toner. I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks, but I really like it. It smells great and it leaves my skin hydrated and smooth. Let me know if you’d like a full-on review!

Next to the toner are two of my long-time favorite Innisfree products – the Jejubija Anti-Trouble lotion and the spot essence R. The lotion is an amazing if you suffer from acne. It’s lightweight, non-greasy, and absorbs quickly. I’ve talked about the spot essence previously, and whenever you have a nasty little blemish, just sleep with this on and BAM. Your blemish is dramatically decreased by the next morning. Whenever people ask me about an affordable acne care line that works, I always point them in the direction of the Jejubija line. It’s great!

The Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence is another favorite of mine that I definitely had to repurchase. I literally used my last one until I had to use a q-tip to scrape the contents from the sides and bottom…yes it’s that serious. Whenever my breakout would flare up really bad, this was the first product I’d reach for. It really calms your skin and decreases the amount of angry, angry blemishes. I haven’t done a full review, but I am definitely planning one because everyone needs to buy this. It’s really that great.

Ohhhhh the Missha First Treatment Essence. Skincare is a passion, and I’ve tried so many different things, but once I got this back into my life, I just knew that it’s forever going to be a staple. The full review is here, and nothing has changed. Seriously, this stuff is a miracle worker. I used it the first night I got it, and the very next day it looked like I had a whole new face. I don’t understand it. It’s obviously made with fairy dust, and I’ll continue to repurchase forever and ever. I also bought the First Treatment Essence sheet mask because I obviously need to let the magical fermented amazing-ness sit on my face for 30 minutes. I haven’t tried it yet because I’m a sheet mask hoarder, but expect a full report soon.

I’ve heard so many good things about the Banila Co. Clean It Zero so I obviously had to get one. Kerry’s blog is the skincare Bible, so when she said she liked it, I just had to get it. Initial thoughts? I really love it! I haven’t had much luck with Banila Co., so my expectations weren’t that high, but it’s really great. I’ve been using my Sulwhasoo Gentle Oil Cleanser for like 6 months now (and it’s STILL not finished, omg), but I think I like the balm texture better. It leaves my skin smooth and clean, without any film or greasiness. I’ll definitely be doing a full review on this one.

This is now my 4th (!!!!) tube of Benton High Content Steam Cream. If that isn’t a testament to how much I love this stuff, I don’t know what is. It’s definitely my cream of choice (full review here), and Johnny is hooked too. I just have to keep a constant supply in stock because if I run out, it’s a skincare disaster for me.

I’ve never been a big shopper at The Face Shop, but one of my all-time favorite products are the Herb Day Cleansing Tissues. I’ve purchased a few packages over the years, and even though I try a lot of face wipes, I always come back to these. They are so unbelievably soft and smooth, and won’t irritate your skin like most face wipes do. They can remove all makeup, including waterproof mascara and eyeliner. I love them because they’re just so convenient to toss in your gym bag, or in your carry-on for travel days.

All items were purchased at w2beauty.com. If you like anything you see, head over to w2beauty and make sure to use my sponsor code 05632401 to get $5 off your first order!


time energy serum Su:m 37 Time Energy Skin Resetting Repairing Serum Review

I haven’t done a Korean beauty review in about 2434 years, mostly because my skin is a hot ass mess and I’ve been sticking to my basic skincare routine to try and get it together. Well, I’m not breaking out all over, it’s just around my jawline on the right side. It’s the weirdest fucking breakout ever. I’ve been a bit hesitant about introducing new products into my routine because this breakout is never-ending. It’ll clear up for a few days, then BAM, it’s crazy again. I got a facial a few days ago and it’s actually the best my skin has looked in a month, so maybe that’s the key? The pollution here is nuts and I *think* that could be the issue, but I don’t know. Sigh. Some people think I’m overreacting but after having near perfect skin in Korea, this random breakout is pissing me off.

But the one new product that I have been using a lot of (and LOVING) is the su:m 37 Time Energy Skin Resetting Repairing Serum. I used the deluxe sample size before I moved to Vietnam and fell in love, so I ordered it from w2beauty.com. I use it at night only, mostly because I use my AC Care serum in the AM. I don’t think it’s heavy or greasy at all, so if you want to use it both day and night, then that’s totally fine.

So what is this serum supposed to do? What does all of this time resetting repairing blahblahblah mean? According to the website, it “provides energy to your skin and improves your skin condition with its refined, natural fermented ingredients and plant extracts.” Basically, this serum is supposed to repair damaged skin, help with skin problems like acne, and balance oily skin. The entire Time Energy line is designed for those with oily/combination skin, and for those with sensitive skin (I also have the emulsion and I LOVE it too). Like all su:m37 products, this serum is made from natural fermented ingredients, and contains no artificial ingredients, colors, dyes, or perfumes.

The serum comes packaged in a small, iridescent, glass bottle, and contains 60ml of product. It also has a sturdy pump top. It has a pretty watery texture; it’s not creamy and it’s not really gel-like either. Despite the thin, watery texture, it’s incredibly hydrating and soothing. It has a really pleasant, slightly orange scent, but it fades away pretty quickly. It also absorbs really fast, and doesn’t leave your skin oily or greasy.

Every night after my essence step, I apply about 2 pumps of the serum all over my face, patting it in with my palms. I then follow up with the emulsion from the same su:m 37 line (I’ll be reviewing it soon!). In the morning, my skin is smooth and bright, and the breakout around my jaw is usually much better. It really does help balance oil, and I find that my skin in the morning looks really healthy and hydrated. If it weren’t for my jaw breakout, I’d say that my skin would be 100% perfect! Out of all of the serums I’ve tried, I’d definitely say that this one is my favorite. It feels so nice on the skin, absorbs easily, hydrates the skin, and leaves it looking and feeling really smooth. I’m already halfway through my bottle and desperately trying to figure out how I can order more since I definitely don’t trust getting it shipped here. If anyone in Vietnam knows where I can buy su:m37, please let me know! (Or maybe I’ll just have to take a trip to Singapore…oooooh!)

Now…there is one bad about it…it’s a bit expensive. I ordered mine from w2beauty.com for $63.16. I can’t remember how much it would be in Korea, but if you’re there, head to any major department store and they should have it.

If you buy it from w2beauty.com, make sure to enter my sponsor code 05632401 for %$5 off of your first order! 



Belif First Aid Aqua Rush Mask Review

by Sheryll on June 16, 2014

belifmask Belif First Aid Aqua Rush Mask Review

I have been planning on writing a review on the Belif First Aid Aqua Rush mask for ages, but I sort of stopped using it when I moved to Vietnam. No reason in particular, it just got lost in the shuffle while I was unpacking. I purchased it during one of my “I’m leaving Korea and need to buy everything” shopping sprees. Can you believe I’m still shuffling through products from those last weeks? I may have gone a tad bit overboard.

I brought this baby out again a few days ago when I suddenly caught an awful cold, which I’m sure was definitely brought on by teaching the babies (aka little germ factories). Despite being extra vigilant about washing my hands at every opportunity and not even touching the kids, I’m still sick. I don’t know what it is about 3 year olds, but they have super germs. I’m rarely sick, but man, when I get sick it takes me out. I’m writing this from a daze of dayquil and other cold medicines so you’ll have to excuse any mistakes haha!

The Belif First Aid Aqua mask is a wash off mask that instantly hydrates the skin, making it the perfect quick fix when you don’t have time for/ to sick to do a full 345934 step routine. If you’ve had an all-nighter and you look a hot mess in the morning, use this mask. You’re skin will thank you. If you’re sick like me and your skin looks like a dried up prune (true story, my skin gets SO dehydrated when I’m sick), then use this. Not only does it hydrate the skin, but it helps with dull and sallow skin as well, another reason it’s a great mask to use when you’re sick.

It’s a gel/cream hybrid texture that’s easy to spread, and the scent is pretty minimal. Belif is another all-natural brand in Korea, so all of their products are free of mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, preservatives, dyes, and animal by-products. I know there’s a Belif store in Singapore, but if you’re outside of Korea or Singapore, you may have to do some digging to purchase online.

To use, apply it to your skin after you cleanse and use your toner, wait about 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse off. My skin always instantly looks healthier and more plump. Since I’ve been sick, I’ve been using it every morning and even though I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, my skin doesn’t look like it. YAY!

So if you’re a partier, or studying for exams, or you have super dry skin and are looking for a pick me up mask, I think the Belif First Aid Aqua Rush mask is a good choice. It won’t get rid of any acne or trouble spots or anything like that, but if you’re looking for a great hydrating mask, this one is perfect!

What’s your favorite product to use when you need a little pick me up? Let me know in the comments!