I went to Seoul and all I bought was skincare

(surprise surprise)

There wasn’t really much time to shop in Seoul, which made me a bit sad given how well I did about three years ago shopping in Seoul. Doesn’t matter, I plan to go back. Anyway it’s my Year of Poverty so I shouldn’t be overspending anyway.

But there WAS a Duty Free near our hotel and a friend had asked me to get her some skincare. And Korean skincare shopping is FUN. I really wasn’t planning to go that crazy with it but when everything’s in US dollars ($10 for a pack of masks??), the numbers just seem so small!


I wanted to be practical and just buy what I needed – basically a face scrub and a BB cream. Instead, I ended up with a new scrub, new cleanser, new toner, new BB cream, a BB compact (?) and also a random eye liner. Not to mention the bajillion SAMPLES I picked up a long the way. Seriously, why haven’t other brands outside of Seoul jumped on this “give free stuff to gain customer loyalty” train? 62-6_DSkin Food is always a reliable cheap option for products. Sometimes I find them a little drying but generally they seem to work, smell nice and have pretty packaging. I’ve generally enjoyed their products (a sticky peppermint mask and egg white pore pack come to mind). So far, my new Brown Sugar face scrub and foam cleanser are both working out nicely. The scrub feels a little harsh but I do sometimes think my skin needs a harder cleanse, especailly in smoggy Shanghai. def_image_400_1410_1242013203102Haven’t tried this Royal Honey Toner yet but they recommended it for my dry skin. It awaits me in Shanghai.

Hanskin is my favourite BB cream brand but they don’t sell my simple, lowest of the range anymore. So I had to upgrade to this premium thing. Gotta keep reminding myself to use it sparingly because otherwise you end up looking like a geisha. And it can feel a little thick. It has SPF 30 tho which is definitely a plus and I think once I get used to it it should be fine.


I also went a little upscale for a friend and bought a bunch of things from Sulwhasoo. This premium Korean brand based on the benefits of Korean ginseng is super nice. I’ve tried their samples before, and their facials, and they’re great – though you have to like the medicinal scent that comes with it. My friend who uses it has ridiculously nice skin, so she’s basically a walking ad for the brand.

amoresulwhasoobasickitThe salesgirl made a mistake the first time I went to make the purchase so when I went to exchange it, as an apology they gave me even MORE samples. I’ll be excited to try these out. Though given this is my Year of Poverty maybe I should consider selling them…any takers? No nevermind. They’re mine.


Tried this: [comfort zone] renight vitamin integrator

[comfort zone] is an Italian skincare brand, quite popular with spas in China and in Hong Kong. I haven’t seen it yet in Singapore. One of my favourite spas in Hong Kong, Bodywize, uses it a lot and I remember having a really awesome facial using these products the first time I ever visited them.

This vitamin regenerator night oil comes from their renight (everything is in lower case, this is not bad grammar on my part) line which also includes a wrinkle filler and cream. I’ve played around with the wrinkle filler before but probably didn’t use it enough to see results.


The renight oil contains Goji berry which is packed full of vitamins and antioxidant properties, there’s also vitamin E, lycopene, rice and jojoba oils for hydration and restoration. I use it every night in Shanghai where the air is quite dry (and where as we know, the water contains all sorts of pig properties…). I’m used to heavier oils, and my dehydrated skin probably needs that more, but at least with this one I can use it in all three countries I tend to find myself in and I can mix it up with serums and what not. I’ve been using it in Singapore (yes, hot, humid Singapore where face oil probably isn’t that popular) and I haven’t found it too oily.


Tried this: SCO’s conditioning face cream

So when I was in Singapore back in October, I did a story for AsiaSpa Magazine for their Singapore/Malaysia supplement on skincare in Singapore. I still think this is a super interesting topic and there are quite a few cool brands in the Lion City.


That’s not Russian, the label’s just rubbed off

This one to be fair, didn’t start out in Singapore. SCO is originally from New York but from what I understand was bought over by Cynthia Chua of Spa Esprit/Strip fame and is currently sold at Beauty Emporium at Dempsey. Starting with a base, a range of different botanicals/ingredients can be infused into the cream depending on your skin type.

Of course this also means that the cream is organic and doesn’t last long. A little sticker tels you when the cream was made, and when it’s best used by. Even though the Best By date is listed on mine as 12/27/2013, I was anxious to get at it since I have a tendency to hoard things and just…leave them in my magic skincare drawer.


Made just for me

My custom SCO cream contains green tea (rich in antioxidants, prevents moisture loss and reduces cellulite, tho I think the day I have cellulite in my face is the day I become a crazy stay-at-home-spinster), growth factor (sounds scary but is supposed to improve hydration) and soy (rich in proteins and amino acids). I’ve been using it this past month in Shanghai and I love the smell and texture. It could probably be a bit heavier for winter…but actually when I went back to Shanghai¬† in March I didn’t realise it would still BE winter. So that’s not the cream’s fault. It was great in Singapore though and is still great in Hong Kong. I think Shanghai just has to warm up a little and then we’ll all be happy.

Beauty Emporium is at House at Dempsey http://www.dempseyhouse.com

Tried this: MTM’s Aqua BB Cream

A good BB cream is hard to come by. Too light and you get no coverage, too heavy and you end up looking like a geisha and not in a good way. My favourite used to be Hanskin’s simplest formula which had SPF 35. But I can’t find it anymore. Since then I’ve been using Jane Iredale’s tinted moisturizer but that only has an SPF of 15 and it’s pretty expensive (not to mention it doesn’t seem to have much coverage…also what’s the point of SPF 15??).

When I got a tube of MTM’s Aqua BB Cream, I was pretty excited and with good reason. I started using it while in Singapore, (which thanks to the humidity, is the LAST place you’d want to wear heavy makeup ). I realised that just one quick application of the cream made my skin look great. While I was running around doing my journalism-thing, it was the only makeup I wore to look presentable. And maybe it was just the sun, but I really think my skin looked good.

I’ve brought it with me to Shanghai and am already worried it’s going to run out. I wear it every day with a bit of concealer and powder and then whatever makeup I have time to slap on before I’m late for class. It goes on nice and light but clearly with some substance and I like the effect it gives. Let’s hope that it lasts as long as my Shanghai adventure otherwise I’m actually going to have to *gasp* pay for a new tube,



Tried this: Organic Pharmacy’s Carrot Butter Cleanser

I’ve been using this cleanser for awhile and it’s been…interesting. The Organic Pharmacy started selling their all-organic wares here in Hong Kong beginning of this year thereabouts and I’ve always been keen to try them out. The problem is, I’ve never understood those cleansers where you wipe it off with a muslin cloth and this is one such product. Basically you put it on, allow it to dissolve the dirt and makeup on your face, then use a hot muslin cloth and wipe off the access. It’s not really designed for women who wake up late for work on a daily basis. Which would be me.

Instructions say to use a penny-sized amount and I would do that sparingly, because otherwise it goes on really thick (and doesn’t feel like it comes off!). The smell is amazing and instantly relaxing, which is a good exchange for all the work you need to go through to use the cleanser. I know that this product is probably ideal for me and my dry skin, and it does feel smooth once most of it is off, but I do find the whole process kind of tedious.¬† Call me lazy.