Browsing Category Korean Cosmetics

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Watery Gel Review

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Hey hey!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I wasn’t an avid sunscreen wearer until 2 years ago when I moved to Vietnam. When I was living in Korea, I’d use it sporadically, mostly because I couldn’t really find anything that wasn’t super thick, oily, was tinted, or left a gray/white cast. I used the su:m37 spf for a minute, and while it was great for Korean winters, it was horrible in Vietnam. My skin is just too oily.

One day, I happened upon a review for the Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence. It was one of the few brands I could actually get in Vietnam, so I was hype as shit. And as it turned out, it became my one true sunscreen love. Like… it is a unicorn in a meadow full of rainbows and kittens. It’s like the perfect corner piece of the most perfect brownie ever. It’s the physical embodiment of perfection. For real.

Then, I received a message on Instagram from one of my readers that the Biore Aqua Rich Watery Gel had made it into stores, and that I should try it. Well, I’m not one to waste any time, so I headed out that day to get it. And then, the watery gel became my new love. The texture is lighter, it applies smoother and easier. So, I decided to write a review on both of them, because honestly, I just can’t decide which one I love more. If you have oily skin, have darker skin, or are looking for the most perfect sunscreen in the land, then please, read on.

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su:m37 Secret Essence Review

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Let me tell you a story about how I finally got my precious bottle of the su:m37 Secret Essence.

I ordered it last year while I still lived in Vietnam. And by last year, I mean around April of last year. I knew the risks of getting shit shipped to Vietnam, but I’d had my eye on this essence for a million years and I wasn’t going to let something like a shady ass mail system stop me.

2 weeks passed. 3 weeks passed. A month gone away. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. No notice in the mail saying they tried to deliver it, but couldn’t. No notice that it was being held at some random post office. Just…gone. I chalked it up to the game and vowed to never again use regular mail to get things sent to me (I’d never had issues using EMS, FedEx, or DHL by the way).

Then maybe a month after that, after I’d completely forgotten about it, Alice from w2beauty e-mailed me to let me know that the packaged had been returned because it couldn’t be delivered. GOD BLESS. I was going home in a couple of months, so I asked if she could send it to my mom’s. And then FINALLY in October when I went back to the U.S. last year, I got my hands on my precious essence baby.

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The su:m37 Secret Essence Advanced Sync Program (or the product formally known as the Secret Programming Essence) is technically a first treatment essence, which means you should use it immediately after you wash your face. However, at night, I worship the many acids god, so I use it after my acids like a hydrating essence. I sometimes use it in the mornings too, and that’s when I’ll use it right after I wash my face. It comes packaged in a gorgeous, heavy, frosted glass bottle and contains 100mL of product.

It smells slightly citrus, but isn’t overwhelming in any way. By the time it dries down, the scent is gone.ย Texture wise, it’s runny like water, but has a little bit of heft to it. It’s not as light as the original Missha FTE, but not as thick as the Hada Labo Lotion. It hits that sweet spot right in the middle.

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Unfortunately, I can’t find an updated ingredients list for the new Secret Essence. The ingredient list for the original essence from cosdna is here, if you are interested. I’m assuming not too much has changed. I do know that it’s touted as having 80 different types of plant extracts, but in what order and quantity is unclear. You already know how me and my skin feel about all things fermented! To use, I just pour a few drops (maybe 3 or 4), into the palms of my hands, and gently press into my skin. I follow up by using my snail essence or a sheet mask, or sometimes I just move on to my moisturizer.

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Performance wise, it has its pros and cons. I think that as a hydrating, soothing essence, I’d give it an A++++++. Putting this on my skin after using my acids at night is like heaven. It feels super luxurious and makes my skin feel super soft and bouncy. Like, it FEELS like an expensive essence, if that makes sense. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave behind any greasy or sticky residue. It’s crazy hydrating too. There have been a few times I’ve put the essence on after my acids and got distracted for whatever reason and forgot to finish the rest of my skincare routine, and didn’t notice at all. I do find it slightly too heavy to use in the daytime, especially since I’ve spent my life in an eternal summer for the past 2 years, and I prefer much more lightweight essence options during the day. However, I don’t think I’ve had any visibleย skin changes like I did with the Missha FTE. With the Missha FTE, I had visible brightening, and I think it also helped with my acne scarring. But that doesn’t mean that the Secret Essence is a bad product.

All in all, it depends on what you want. If you’re looking for a brightening essence or something to help with the actual look of your skin, this might not be the option for you. If you’re looking for something that’s intensely hydrating and luxurious, then get your life!

This is not a cheap essence, ranging from $63.48 on Amazon to $74.50 on w2beauty.com (where I purchased). It’s definitely a treat yo’self/splurge item. I’ve been using it since October of last year and I still have a little over 1/3 of the bottle left, so a little goes a long way. Would I repurchase? Honestly, I don’t think so. I know of other hydrating essences and toners that are great and at a lower price point (the Whamisa toner/essence comes to mind). I’m glad I have it, and it didn’t disappoint me at all, but that price tag makes me weep a little, haha! If only it were like 20 dollars cheaper!

What is your favorite essence? Let me know in the comments!

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Gym Essentials – My Updated Skincare Routines

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OMG I can’t even believe that I’m writing a new post. It feels SO good to be back. WHEEEEEE!

I’ve made it to Phuket, and I’ve been here almost 3 weeks. Everything with the move was just as smooth as it could be. Our apartment is cute, our landlord is super sweet, and overall, everyone in Thailand has been super duper friendly! I think it helps that we live far away from all the tourist traps. Sophia is settling in nicely, I’ve found a nail salon (IMPORTANT, although I miss my girls in Vietnam), and I’ve started a crazy ass, ridiculous (but fun!) fitness camp at Unit 27 on “Fight Street” in Phuket. Fight street is about a mile long, and it’s just gyms, boxing gyms, MMA gyms, protein shakes, and healthy food. Basically, it kinda makes it impossible to not get fit since you have everything in one place. It’s been a godsend for me.

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How I Fell in Love With Sheet Masks

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I’m going to admit something that may be a bit of shock to those that love Korean/Asian beauty.

I used to not be a fan of sheet masks. Like, I’d use them sometimes but never really got into them the way some people did. I just didn’t get it. I’d buy them, and then never really use them. When I left Korea, I gave most of my sheet masks away. I didn’t see the need to bring them to Vietnam because I really just never used them. I KNOW, I KNOW, I CAN HEAR YOUR GASPS FROM HERE. Don’t hate me, for now I am a new woman. A woman who is utterly obsessed with sheet masks.

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