January 2018 | Alexis Adrienne

23.1.18

DON'T BE GEL-OUS: Naruko Job's Tears Night Gelly Review

Hey, babes!

I have a product that I’m SUPER excited to talk to you about, which is the Naruko Job’s Tears Night Gelly. The Night Gelly was a range that I specifically wanted to try as I heard such great things about the different flavours as sleeping packs/final steps in PM routines.

I was torn between the Naruko Rose one and the Job’s Tears one, but the JT one won in the end. The packaging is simple - a plastic coloured jar that matches the rest of the line, with an inner lid to stop the product from drying out. The only thing that I wish was included with the packaging is a spatula - there’s nothing I hate more than dipping my fingers into a jar product! I just feel like I’m contaminating it and one day I’ll open it to find it’s gone rancid.

This stuff is just JAM PACKED with heaps of good shit for your skin. Let's take a look at the ingredients:

Purified Water (Aqua), Taiwan Jobs Tears (Coix Lacryma-Jobi) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Gluconolactone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/ VP Copolymer, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Sodium Polyacrylate Starch, Dimethicone, Tranexamic Acid, Niacinamide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Curcuma Kwangsiensis/Curcuma Wenyujin Rhizome, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Kalanchoe Spathulata Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tremella Fuciformis Sporocarp Extract, Saccharide lsomerate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Arbutin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Creatine, Salicyloyl Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Scutellaria Alpina Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Peucedanum Ostruthium Leaf Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Artemisia Umbelliformis Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Extract, Epilobium Fleischeri Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Faex Extract, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Aesculus Hippocastanum Extract, Phragmites Karka Extract, Fragrance (Based on Natural Origins), Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Zinc Gluconate, Caffeine, Biotin, Poria Cocos Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Seed Extract, Vibrio Alginolyticus Ferment Filtrate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract,  Polyoxyethylene-sorbitan-monooleate, Retinol Palmitate, lris Florentina Root Extract, Mulberry Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera Leaf Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lactobacillus/ Pear Juice Ferment Filtrate, O-CYMEN-5-OL, Salix Alba Bark Extract, Rehmannia Chinensis Root Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Glycine Soya Protein, Oleanolic Acid
Job’s Tears Extract comes from the Job’s Tears plant, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many years. It’s usually consumed as a porridge or tea with so many benefits for the body and skin. There’s a great breakdown of it on the Miiru Shop Blog.

Gluconolactone is a super gentle exfoliator that falls into the category of Polyhydroxy Acids, or PHAs. PHAs are preferable for most people as they are less irritating than AHAs such as Glycolic or Lactic Acid.

Tranexamic acid is an excellent brightener, which can act as effectively as hydroquinone.

At first, I was concerned when I realised that Retinol Palmitate (aka Retinyl Palmitate) appears on the ingredients list, but I knew that I had to do more research before coming to a conclusion about it. Despite falling into the retinoid family, which means that it makes your skin MORE sensitive to the sun leading to further sun damage, evidence has come forward that retinyl palmitate actually can have photo-protective properties. However, these negative or positive benefits are dependent completely on the product being formulated correctly and in the right packaging to deliver any kind of effect to the skin. Despite being an antioxidant, repeatedly exposing the product to light due to the jar packaging may result in retinyl palmitate having little to no effect at all. It’s also super low on the ingredients list, indicating that it might not even be at a high enough percentage to do much in the first place. Either way, I’m not super worried about it, but if you are - definitely wear SPF 50+ on your face every day! It’s something you really should be doing regardless.

There’s also my old favourite niacinamide (HOLLA), and I’m also excited to see two forms of vitamin c. Again, this type of packaging does reduce the efficacy of most vitamin c molecules so I wouldn’t rely on this for a vitamin c treatment - a dedicated, refrigerated is your best bet.

Another ingredient that I found super intriguing as it was so far up the list is the Curcuma Kwangsiensis/Curcuma Wenyujin Rhizome. These two plants are in the same family as common turmeric (Curcuma longa), which is well-known for its purported anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. However, it doesn’t appear that all Curcuma are made the same - this study found that both of these rhizomes had no effect on inflammation and swelling.

There are a lot of plant extracts in here that I definitely question the efficacy of, but then again I’m not a cosmetic chemist. I guess that’s the only thing I don’t like about this - the ingredients list is super long, and I think it’s hard to pinpoint what are the star ingredients in this gelly.

The gel itself is a light, tan milky gel. It’s satisfyingly jiggly in the jar and a little bit sticky at first when applied, but it eventually settles down into the skin.

So despite being described as a ‘night’ gelly, I saw a few suggestions on Reddit and Instagram to use this as a day moisturiser and it’s probably been one of the best decisions I ever made about my skin. It’s the perfect lightweight moisturiser for my oily skin - I’m always trying to find something that is hydrating enough during the day, without leaving me greasy. This gelly perfectly seals in my hydrating layers without adding too much extra moisture to my skin. It also makes my face SO FREAKING SOFT AND SMOOTH. Yes, that deserved all caps because my skin has literally never been this soft and smooth before in my life. I’m pretty sure my makeup is sitting on my face a LOT better because of this too, so ya know. You can’t say that skincare isn’t more important than makeup when it literally lays the base for how your makeup is going to look. My skin has also had the quickest change I think I've ever seen from a topical product - this little moisturiser definitely has a strong brightening and skin-tone evening effect.

My only caveat is that this will pill if you work and rub it too much, so when I get my little dollop out of the jar using a spatula, I try to get it everywhere I need it to go in one swipe so all I have to do is pat it in to absorb. It will also pill if I rub my face after applying sunscreen - it’s probably from the dimethicone in the formula.

I paid TWD 369 for this from Watson's, which is a non-promotional price, but a pricepoint that I'm happy to pay for this product.

In general, I'm EXTREMELY happy with this product - I'm fairly sure that I've found my new holy grail daytime moisturiser. I'm willing to look past literally every drawback (personally) because of how well it works for me and how amazing my skin looks afterwards. 5/5 from me!

Have you ever come across something that worked so amazingly well for you, that you overlooked something that otherwise would really annoy you about it?

A xx




rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

where to buy naruko
Amazon* | eBay*  
purchased / contains affiliate links*

18.1.18

OH, SHEET: Annie's Way Peptide and Rose Rejuvenating Sheet Mask Review

Hey, babes!

Today, I have my very first Annie’s Way product to review for you! Annie’s Way is a Taiwanese brand and I was super excited to actually be able to go to the Annie’s Way Office in Kaohsiung and get to know more about them. You might know them from their famous gelly masks! I picked up a few of those too so I’ll have a review on them soon.

In Taiwan, Annie’s Way is currently only available directly from them, however later this year they may enter retail stores again (Watson’s) so they will be easier to buy if you are a tourist visiting Taiwan!

The mask I have today is a from their revamped line. It is the Rose and Peptide mask - I literally can’t resist anything with rose so I HAD to try this one.

The mask material was super thin, and it’s the kind of mask that you are supposed to apply with the liner still on, then peel the liner off when it’s on the face. I had some trouble with this, but maybe it’s because I’m not used to such thin masks. I ended up taking the mask off the liner, then applying it to my face. This mask was easily the thinnest mask I’ve ever tried - it was basically invisible on! The eye and mouth holes were a good size, the only thing I didn't like was the nose flap. I know it's just a sheet mask but this was probably the most unflattering nose flap I've ever had on my face, all it did was enhance how round and bulbous my nose is so I don't think I'll be posting that photo to Instagram 😂  Adherence was great too - once it was on, it wasn’t moving anywhere. Taking a look at the ingredients list, there are other great ingredients other than the prominently featured rose and peptide:

Water, Butylene Glycol, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Carbomer, Squalane, Panthenol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Glycerin, Potassium Hydroxide, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Pentasodium Pentetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Beta-glucan, Opuntia Streptacantha Stem Extract, Fragrance, Morus Alba Root Extract, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Phytic Acid, Silver Oxide, Phosphoric Acid
Squalane and Panthenol are both fantastic fantastic ingredients for hydrating skin and improving skin condition. Beta-glucan and Sodium Hyaluronate (AKA Hyaluronic Acid) are also fantastic for hydrating skin. A new ingredient to me is Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, which is actually technically a peptide - I wouldn't have known this from just the ingredient name, so I’m happy to see a peptide at the top of the ingredients list. It’s also known as Antarcticine and provides benefits such as retaining moisture and boosting collagen production. Another new plant extract is Boerhavia Diffusa root extract, an antioxidant-rich flowering plant. Sources only report on the antioxidant present in the leaves, so I can’t confirm that antioxidants are present in the root extract used here.

An ingredient that I’ve seen in a few products but didn’t realise what it was is Paeonia Albaflora Root Extract, also known as peony root extract. I’ve heard amazing things about peony for soothing irritated, eczematous skin, so I’m glad to see it in this mask formula. The two last botanical extracts, Morus Alba (Mulberry) and Opuntia Streptacantha (Prickly Pear Cactus) also provide great hydration benefits to the skin. All around, there are some really great ingredients in this mask!

This formula doesn’t contain traditional preservatives such as parabens, but opts to use Silver Oxide instead - one of the significant changes the Annie’s Way team made to this product for the relaunch.
I found that because the mask was so thin, it began to dry out pretty quickly. It began to dry and harden on my nose first after 20 minutes, and I removed it then because I was worried about the dry mask actually drying my skin and causing adverse effects - the mask actually dried and hardened on the tip of my nose.

My skin was very smooth and bright after taking the mask off. However, it wasn’t as hydrated as it is from other masks. I would say this is a really great daytime mask, especially in preparation for wearing makeup. The remaining essence was not sticky to pat in at all and absorbed quickly.

I think this is a really good mask  - it gets 4/5 from me. My ONLY issue is that this wasn’t hydrating enough for me for an evening mask (which is when I tend to sheet mask) but I did enjoy the other skin brightening benefits.

Have you heard of this cult favourite Taiwanese beauty brand before?

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

12.1.18

JUST SHEET IT: Dr. Jou Face Mask For Smooth Skin Review

Hey, babes!

Today I have a mask from a brand called Dr. Jou. A small side note, Dr. Jou and Dr. Morita seem to be related brands, as far as I can tell. I’m not sure in what capacity they actually become separate brands though, as there are distinctions between the sheet masks, but my Dr. Morita face wash has Dr. Jou on the back of it. The Dr. Morita Brand is named after Morita Department Store, which opened in Taiwan in 1935. The Dr. Jou brand appears to be named after Dr. Jou, the founder and head skincare developer at Dr. Morita Brand.

The particular mask I’ll be reviewing today is the Dr. Jou Smooth Skin mask. It comes in boxes of five with other variations in this particular line. I can’t seem to find images of them online, but I remember seeing them in store (as I was debating with myself which one I should try!).

The mask is completely soaked in essence - if I wanted to, I probably could have put a dry mask into the remaining essence and done a second sheet masking session with it. It contains a whopping 32mls of essence. It was more than enough for my arms and neck! It had a mild smell that faded quickly. I couldn’t really put my finger on what it smelled like… Just skincare? I don’t think it was an added smell.

It didn’t fit very well around my nose, but what’s new. The mask material was thicker than the Dr Morita sheet mask and slightly larger in size. I didn’t find this fit me as well as the Dr Morita, and you’ll see that in the photo. I also found that the eye holes were a bit small for my face.
The first time I used this mask, the essence pilled around my neck. I didn’t have this experience the second time I used it, so I’m not really sure what to attribute this to. I wore this for about 30 minutes, but I definitely could have worn it for longer if I wanted - it had only slightly dried around my forehead by this time.

Water/Aqua, Polyglycerin-3, Dipropylene Glycol, Diglycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, PPG-28-Buteth-35, Pentylene Glycol, Glycosyl Trehalose, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Leaf Extract, Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract, Spirulina Maxima Extract, Himanthalia Elongata Extract, Hedera Helix Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Gigartina Stellata Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Niacinamide, Allantoin, Methylparaben, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol, Sodium Carbonner, Acrylates/Vinyl Isodecanoate Crosspolymer, Squalane, Propylene Glycol, Fragrance, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Aspartic Acid, Pca, Glycine, Alanine, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Serine, Valine, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Cellulose Gum, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Sodium Bicarbonate, Atelocollagen, Disodium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Platinum, Silver

When I run the ingredients list through COSDNA, it’s basically chock-full of moisturisers and a slew of botanical extracts, such as Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail), Porphyra Umbilicalis (Algae/seaweed), Spirulina, and Chamomile to name a few. I like the addition of the algae extract, as this is supposedly one of the key ingredients that make the famous Creme De La Mer so amazing and effective.

My skin looked good, but not amazing right after removing the mask. It definitely soothed redness and hydrated my skin, but didn’t really give me any extraordinary results… At least not yet. I found that this mask had more of a delayed-release effect, if you will. It looked alright immediately after using the mask, but it looked AMAZING the morning after. My skin looked so bright and nourished - I had been suffering from some dry patches due to drying, foaming cleansers and those were completely gone. I know that skin always looks better in the morning, but this was next level!

Overall, I would give this mask a 3.5/5. I took points off for the fit. While this mask did give me really good results, I wouldn’t repurchase. I never feel as if I’m getting the best value when I get less than 8 masks in a box. I think it IS worth trying if you can pick it up for the right price, I feel like this would probably be a great mask to use the day before an important event.

Do you have a ‘special occasion’ product that you like to use in preparation for an event?

A xx

rating scale
1 - Terrible: Negative effects on skin.
2 - Mediocre: No change in skin/claims not met.
3 - Average: Performs as expected.
4 - Good: Would repurchase unless I try something better.
5 - Amazing: Meets trifecta of perfect packaging, formula, & cost.

2.1.18

THE FIRST FIVE: First Impressions feat. Naturie, Naruko, Senka, Missha, & Dr. Morita

Hey, babes!

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday season. What did you guys get up to? Let me know in the comments :)

I’m going kick off my first post of the year by introducing a mini-series of first impressions and calling it The First Five. My five today are the Naturie Hatumogi Skin Conditioner, Senka Speedy Perfect Whip Cleanser, Naruko Taiwan Magnolia Brightening and Firming Cream Wash Cleanser, Dr. Morita Milk Cleanser, and the Missha Lip Oils.
The Skin Conditioner is something that kept popping up on Instagram and /r/asianbeauty, and when I saw that it was fairly affordable here (TWD 249 for a huge 500ml bottle!) I decided to pick it up from Cosmed. What I really like is that this is a multi-purpose product, and can be used in multiple ways, including cleansing toner, FTE, DIY sheet mask essence, refreshing spritz, hydrating toner… the list is only limited by your imagination! I also love that it has a short, to the point ingredients list. Job’s Tears is an ingredient that I’m seeing a lot now that I’m in Taiwan, and it has so many great benefits that I’m not surprised it’s in so many products. I’m quite happy using this as a toner after cleansing, but I’ll definitely try different ways of using it before I write my full review.
I purchased Senka Speedy Whip Cleanser as a replacement for my Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser - bit of a mistake, that. The foam is thick and luxurious, but ultimately way too drying for my skin. It left my skin feeling tight and dry, and it began to peel a few days after using this. It’s since been demoted to body wash, which it’s great for and I might actually purchase the proper body wash size of this stuff when I finish it.
I picked up this Naruko cleanser as a replacement for the Senka as I thought cream = non-foaming. WROOONG. I was super disappointed when this also began to foam, and therefore also dry and strip my skin. My skin was also left peeling and dry after this, much to my disappointment. It’s also been demoted to body wash (which it’s also good at).

The combined use of these ones after another has left me with the biggest pimple I’ve had for SO LONG. It’s just on my left cheekbone and is really only just now coming down. That’ll teach me for not packing a second bottle of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser!
It took me forever to decide on what to actually buy instead of Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser (which costs a cool TWD 750 here btw, or NZD 35 on a good Forex day) and I finally picked up this Dr. Morita Milk Cleanser. It’s a pretty basic milk cleanser which doesn’t strip and dry my skin when I use it. It says makeup remover on the bottle so realistically I’m probably not even using it the right way, but it’s not breaking me out and my skin isn’t dry and stripped. The only thing I don’t like is it’s definitely scented and tastes TERRIBLE if you accidentally get it in your mouth… So don’t do that.
Even though I’ve got two colours pictured, I’m counting the lip oils as one product because they’re pretty interchangeable with each other. You may have seen these pop up a few times on my Instagram and that is because I am OBSESSED with these little lip oils/glosses. They are a bit sticky (so don’t wear them on a windy day) but they add the most amazing glossiness to your lips. They’re also super comfortable - if I’m going out without makeup, I love popping on a thin layer of these over some lip balm for some extra lip shininess and hydration. I know that Papaw can basically do that, but I find Papaw doesn’t look as tidy as gloss, as it can melt and slide outside liplines. These oils are thick enough to stay put in a specific spot and look great too.

I hope you liked these quick first impressions! Have you tried any of these?

A xx

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