Category Archives: Ampoule

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Nov & Dec Empties

Happy 2017 everyone! These are my empties from November and December of 2016:

Benton Honest TT Mist
My 4th or 5th bottle? Honestly at this point I’ve lost track. Continue reading

mizon-hyaluronic-acid-ampoule-review

Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100 Ampoule Review

Mizon is one of the first brands that completely blew my mind when I first discovered the world of Korean Beauty. I remember coming back from a desert camping trip that was a lot of fun, but left my skin feeling and looking parched and worn out. I had a sample sachet of the Mizon all in one snail repair cream, slathered it on, and it completely revitalized my skin. Unfortunately, during that time I was too distracted by every new skincare product ever and kind of lost sight/interest of Mizon and haven’t really given many of their products a chance.

Fast forward a year and BumblingWombat on r/AB points out that Mizon’s peptide ampoule is a possible dupe for NIOD CAIS. I’ve never used NIOD CAIS but I am enamored with the idea of copper peptides and so was intrigued! Turns out, the hyaluronic acid ampoule also has copper peptides, in addition to beta glucan and ceramides. I grabbed it and have been obsessed with it ever since!

Product Name
Mizon Original Skin Energy Hyaluronic Acid 100 Ampoule Continue reading

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2Sol Elixir Propolis Serum Review

In the forth grade, my two best friends and I decided we were going to be witches. This mostly entailed shaving crayons into pixie dust and throwing them at our unsuspecting classmates to curse them (and occasionally at a guy to cast a love spell). This, I think, makes me somewhat of an authority on witches, and I’ve noticed that in a way, skincare is kind of like witchcraft. After all, witches are a little obsessed with youth, and how different really are anti-aging products from longevity potions?

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Witches and Asian Beauty enthusiasts. We’re all just after that chok chok skin!

Despite this, I still can’t help but roll my eyes a little at the naming of this “elixir” serum. It’s particularly funny, IMO, because in every other way 2Sol is such a no-nonsense, function-first brand. In any case, propolis with a dash of magic is a lot to live up to!

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AT A GLANCE

The Claim
프로폴리스추출물(10%), 베타글루칸, 마데카소사이드 등 피부 진정 성분들과 히알루론산 등 보습성분을 함유하여 윤기있고 촉촉한 피부로 만들어주는 세럼입니다.
Rough translation: Propolis Extract (10%), Beta-Glucan, and Madecassoside soothes sensitive skin and hyaluronic acid makes skin moist.

Where does it fit in your routine?
This should be used after the watery steps (essence, toner) in your routine and before creams.

Size and Price
This bottle contains 50ml of product. I purchased this using Koreanbuddy‘s forwarding service for something like $8.50 (plus commission and shipping). It is also available on Ebay for $16 or Testerkorea for ~$10.50.

Packaging
This comes in a plastic bottle with a pump dispenser. Packaging is straightforward and functional. No complaints here.

Fragrance
There’s definitely a medicinal scent here. If you’ve ever been into one of those Chinese dried herb pharmacies, that’s what this serum smells like. It’s not a strong scent, but I’m not a huge fan.

Color and texture
This serum has a gel-like texture and is a light yellow in color.

What’s in it?

  • 10% PROPOLIS EXTRACT
    Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources to be used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the beehive. In skincare, it is used to heal wounds and possesses anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the constituents of propolis is beeswax, a wax ester that can create a protective, non-allergenic layer over the skin.
  • MADECASSOSIDE 
    This is actually the ingredient I was most excited for! This is one of the four primary active compounds in centella asiatica. When taken orally, madecassoside has antioxidant properties and is effective in promoting the healing of wounds and collagen systhesis. When applied topically in conjunction with Vit C, it results in a significant improvement in skin firmness, elasticity and skin hydration. Essentially, madecassoside is to centella asiatica what vitamin C is to an orange. It’s the good stuff. This serum is serious about its active ingredients!
  • PALMITOYL TRIPEPTIDE-1, PALMITOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3 
    Peptides are strings of amino acids that function as cell-communicating agents. I assumed these were included as a buzz-ingredient, but it looks like there is actually some science behind it. In particular, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3 is a key ingredient in matrixyl 3000 and is believed to work by reducing molecules that would otherwise promote inflammation.
  • TREMELLA FUCIFORMIS EXTRACT, AVENA SATIVA KERNEL EXTRACT, CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT, BUDDLEJA DAVIDII EXTRACT, THYMUS VULGARIS EXTRACT
    The choice of extracts here all seem to be focused on antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin soothing properties.
  • BETA-GLUCAN
    This is a polysaccharide derived from cereal, yeast, bacteria, or fungus. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties as well.
  • SODIUM HYALURONATE
    The salt form of hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant that can hold 1000X its weight in water.

I really like this ingredient list because it is focused. Instead of throwing in every ingredient and extract to plump its ingredient list, 2Sol seems to have carefully chosen every component of this serum specifically to have anti-inflammatory or skin-soothing effects.

Acne Triggers & Irritants
Cosdna identifies Butylene Glycol (1) as an acne trigger and carbomer (1) as a potential irritant.

Full Ingredients
Water, Propolis Extract(10%),  Glycerin,   1,2-Hexanediol , Madecassoside, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7,  Tremella Fuciformis (Mushroom) Extract , Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract,  Centella Asiatica Extract, Buddleja Davidii Extract,  Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract,  Beta-Glucan,  Allantoin , Sodium Hyaluronate,  Hydroxyethylcellulose, Genistein,  Arginine, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20 , Carbomer 

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PERFORMANCE

This product is meant to soothe, and soothe it does. I do not notice an immediate anti-reddening effect, but I do notice that with regular use, my skin seems to be less easily irritated. Of the propolis serum-type products I’ve used, this is the most soothing on my skin.

Most of the time, I use this as a serum, after all of my toners and before I use an emulsion and cream. Sometimes, when my skin needs some extra babying, I also like to slather this serum on and slap a sheet mask over it. I’ve also noticed that if I mix half a pump of this serum into my foundation, I get an insane glow that lasts for a few hours.

That said, I’m not in love with this product. Angela from Beautyandthecat frequently refers to the “joy factor” in her review of products and Graceful face stresses the importance of finding pleasure in applying products, and the more skincare products I try the more I tend to agree with these two ladies. This is one of four 2Sol products I purchased through Koreanbuddy because I was so convinced that I would love 2Sol. Turns out, while I do not dislike 2Sol, but I don’t exactly find myself excited to use these products, ever. While I generally appreciate a function-first mentality with skincare products, a little cosmetic elegance –having a silky finish or an intoxicating scent– is often the determining factor in how often I actually use a product. I don’t take issue with this serum as much as I do with some of 2Sol’s other things (ahem deep silky moisture, but that’s a review for another day), but the user experience leaves something to be desired.

In a nutshell, I don’t like the stickiness of this serum and I don’t like the way it smells. Scinic Honey AIO is stickier (the main reason I’ve never repurchased it) but it also provides hydration (this 2Sol serum is not hydrating) and smells better. Let’s Cure Honeybunny Ampoule has a stronger smell, but one I personally find more tolerable, plus it is significantly less sticky and provides a good dose of hydration.

If this serum were the first propolis product I used and not the third, I think I would be a lot more impressed, but as it currently stands it meets but does not exceed my higher expectations.

THE TAKEAWAY

This serum has a killer ingredient list and nice skin-soothing properties. However, it won’t do much for hydration and smells a bit medicinal.

CosRX snail essence (1)


Disclaimer: This product was purchased by me. This post contains an affiliate links. Purchasing an item through an affiliate link does not add any cost to the customer but does help support this site’s upkeep.

let's cure honeybunny 40 propolis ampoule

Let’s Cure Honeybunny Propolis 40 Ampoule Review

Update: Please note the Honeybunny Propolis 40 Ampoule has been reformulated. The new formula has a sweeter scent and lighter color, and YMMV but I do not find it as effective or hydrating as the version reviewed below.

It is kind of surprising how diligently I’ve been able to stick with a multi-step skincare routine because in most aspects of my life I am lazy as shit. I literally have not prepared a single meal for myself, excepting the occasional breakfast smoothie, in months because I do not want to deal with dishes. I think this is a huge part of the appeal of Asian Beauty. If I can do a full-fledged routine every morning and night, then maybe I am a better adult than I give myself credit for.

There are times though, where I just cannot be bothered to do much more than wash my face. This happens mostly on nights where I’m overworked, over-drunked, sleep deprived, and / or have stayed out too late. It’s rare, but it’s happened a few times this summer. The last couple of times its happened, I noticed the next morning that my skin looked surprisingly good. Somehow, instead of looking tired or dull, my skin was glowing. I racked my brain for reasons as to how this might be, did some experimentation, and ultimately landed on the fact that this one, amazing product, is responsible. Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce you to Let’s Cure Honeybunny Propolis 40 Ampoule.

let's cure honeybunny 40 propolis ampoule

WHERE I BOUGHT IT

I purchased this from Memebox via Avecko. At the time, it was not available from any vendors that sell directly to US customers. As of this week, it’s available on Testerkorea, along with a lot of other products from the Let’s Cure brand, including the pH adjusting AHA/BHA toner that I reviewed here (and am also a big fan of).

Update: This ampoule is now available at The Wild Jasmine, which is a new US based store that also stocks the toner from the same brand and Evercos masks, and Memebox US. (Btw, you can get 8% cash back on all Memebox orders from topcashback.com)

APPEARANCE

let's cure honeybunny 40 propolis ampoule

This ampoule comes in a white, airless pump. The packaging is nothing special, but it’s highly practical and I actually love it! No dipping of fingers, washing of spatulas, or even unscrewing of lids required. Seriously, this is the fastest and easiest product in my arsenal to use. I am considering buying a bunch of airless pumps to decant all of my products into, except I would probably receive the containers but never get around to decanting anything, because laziness.

The ampoule is brown / amber in color. It smells faintly like cough-syrup, but the fragrance is not overpowering and does fade significantly upon application. The texture is thin and watery. It has a lot of slip, making it extremely easy to apply quickly, and adsorbs like a dream!

PERFORMANCE

Ok, I started this review with spoilers so let’s backtrack a bit. I use this ampoule every day in the PM after any essences I may be using. The packaging for this product speaks to its abilities to defend skin against UV rays, so I suspect it is intended to use as an AM product. I try to keep my AM routine as uncluttered as possible, because I usually have less time in the mornings than at night, so instead use this at night.

Upon application, my skin feels immediately better. Sometimes after cleansing, my skin will feel tight and extra-dehydrated. When that is the case, this ampoule eliminates that tightness almost immediately. Also, after application, my skin feels smoother and (for lack of better word) bouncier.

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Going back to the story I started in the intro, what really distinguishes this product is its self-sufficiency. To test my hypothesis that this product by itself can make my skin look great, I chose a few different nights where I ditched my usual PM routine and only double cleansed + applied this ampoule at night. The result? My skin looked great! Not only did my skin look bright and healthy, it also looked and felt adequately hydrated. So many of the products I use in my routine are designed to add hydration or maintain hydration. It was crazy that one product could do so much on its own.

That said, I have no plans to ditch my PM routine permanently. I think that this ampoule is effective enough to maintain the health and hydration of my skin for one night, maybe even two, but over time it would ultimately be no match against my skin’s chronic dryness. I also think that the summer climate has been kinder to the hydration levels of my skin. During winter months, I suspect the effects of this ampoule may be less impressive (I’ll update this when / if I test this in winter!).

Here is the translated ingredient list (originally posted here), with cosdna irritants and acne triggers indicated.

Purified Water, Propolis Extract (15%), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium hyaluronate, Ethanol, 1.2-Hexanediol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Green Tea Extract, Honey, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Pomegranate Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Codonopsis Extract, Polyquaternium-51, Sciadopitys Verticillata Root Extract, Ubiquinone, Althaea Rosea Root Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Spices, Human Oligopeptide-1, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol Acetate, Adenosine, Hydrolyzed collagen

let's cure honeybunny 40 propolis ampoule

The star ingredient here is propolis. I had heard of propolis mentioned in various places in terms of skincare, but had actually incorrectly assumed it was a honey product. Turns out, propolis is actually a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. 

In skincare, propolis is used to heal wounds and possesses anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the constituents of propolis is beeswax, a wax ester that can create a protective, non-allergenic layer over the skin.

COMPARISON WITH SCINIC AIO HONEY AMPOULE

In some ways, this product is similar to the Scinic AIO Honey Ampoule, so I thought it might be helpful to compare the two but also point out the differences.

Let’s start with the ingredients! The first five ingredients of AIO are Honey Extract, Glycerin, Water, Niacinamide, and Royal Jelly Extract. Compare that to the first five ingredients of Honeybunny, which are Water, Propolis, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, and Sodium Hyaluronate.

Given these ingredients, both these products seem targeted towards hydration. From my experience, I find Honeybunny to be more moisturizing. I think the reason why Honeybunny has an upper hand is because I can apply a lot more, probably twice, of it than AIO. The reason for this? AIO is sticky, which is not a problem if I use sparingly, but becomes an issue if I use too much. Honeybunny does not have issues with stickiness.

In terms of texture and fragrance, I prefer the scent of the AIO Honey Ampoule, which smells honey-like and sweet, to that of the Honeybunny ampoule, which smells vaguely like cough syrup. I also prefer the texture of the AIO over Honeybunny because it has a little more structure, which I like. That said, Honeybunny absorbs faster, even though I apply a lot more.

Overall, I prefer Let’s Cure Honeybunny Propolis 40 Ampoule over Scinic’s AIO Honey Ampoule. I find it more convenient to use and more effective for my skin’s needs. That said, both are excellent products and you really can’t go wrong with either (or both, like I am currently doing)!

The TL;DR

I LOVE this product! It’s dispenses in a jiffy, easy to apply, quick to absorb, and impressively hydrating, even when used without other supporting products! I highly recommend this to anyone looking for extra hydration! It’s lightweight yet effective!

Pros: Quick to apply, able to both hydrate and sustain hydration.

Cons: Somewhat difficult to source. May enable more late, drunken nights that lead me to neglect my skincare routine.

let's cure honeybunny 40 propolis ampoule

scinic all in one honey ampoule review

Scinic All-In-One Honey Ampoule Review

Hey guys! Happy (belated / early) National Honeybee Day! Three’s some debate about whether Honeybee Day is Aug 15th or 22nd but regardless, to celebrate and express my gratitude for bees, I’m posting reviews of of the honey / propolis items I’ve been using. First up is the Scinic All in One Honey Ampoule!

WHERE I BOUGHT IT

Avecko! You can read about my haul here. This humongous tub cost a cool $12.40. It is also available on TesterKorea for about $13, amazon for $20, or jolse for $18.

APPEARANCE

scinic all in one honey ampoule review
The ampoule comes in a 250ml container that resembles a honey jar. It is made out of sturdy plastic. It’s been mentioned before but 250 ml is an insane amount of product! I honestly do not know when / how I am ever supposed to finish this thing up.

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This ampoule has a faint, honey like scent that I quite like! It’s sweet but not cloyingly so.

The jar comes with a long plastic spatula. Tbh, I lost the spatula almost immediately and instead have decanted some of the ampoule into a squeezable Daiso container, which is much easier to use.

PERFORMANCE

This ampoule has a light, gel-like texture that is very easy to spread and apply. I find there to be a small amount of stickiness after application that does go away, but not immediately. For this reason, I either layer this very sparingly during my PM routine or, if I have a bit more time on my hands, apply this more heavily then slap a sheet mask over it to let the ampoule sink in. Stickiness notwithstanding, the texture is one of my favorite things about this product! It’s been a godsend during this summer when my skin has been on a full-fledged rebellion against anything creamy.

The ampoule also has a very impressive ingredient list with cosdna only identifying one irritant and one acne trigger:

Honey extract, glycerin, water, niacinamide, royal jelly extract, propolis extract, centella asiatica extract, polygonum cuspidatum root extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, camelia sinensis leaf extract, licorice root extract, matricaria flower extract, rosemary leaf extract, hydrolyzed silk, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, lactobacillus/soybean ferment extract, salix alba bark extract, cinnamomum cassia bark extract, origanum vulgare leaf extract, charmaecyparis obtusa leaf extract, portulaca oleracea extract, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, hydroxyethylcellulose, carbomer, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, triethanol amine, caramel, adenosine, xanthan gum, disodium EDTA, 1,2-hexanediol, caprylyl glycol, anise fruit extract, fragrance, phenoxyethanol

scinic all in one honey ampoule review and ingredients

The star ingredient is honey, which makes up 90% of this ampoule! Honey is quite the multitasking ingredient! It’s a good humectant with anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, it has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with ezcema and psoriasis when mixed with olive oil and beeswax. Also, although there is a lack of research on how honey interacts specifically with P. acnes, honey does have proven antibacterial properties on account of the low levels of hydrogen peroxide contained within it.

In addition to honey, this also contains glycerin, a great emollient, niacinamide, a powerhouse hydrator and brightening ingredient, and a huge list of extracts including ones associated with brightening and calming troubled skin, such as propolis, licorice root, willow bark, and centella asiatica.

From my personal experience, I do find this ampoule to be quite moisturizing despite its thin texture. Unfortunately, I have not noticed any anti-inflammatory of brightening effects, although that may be due to the fact my routine is already pretty heavy in anti-inflammatory and brightening ingredients that the effects of this product aren’t as noticeable as they would be on someone with a less complicated routine. IMO, this is not a criticism against this ampoule so much as validation of the effectiveness of having a multi-step routine. Actually, if you’re someone who is looking for a simpler routine, this could be a great all-in-one, as its called, product to use. Others have had really good success with it!

The TL;DR

Pros: Ridiculously good value, good ingredient list, light texture

Cons: Stickiness, results not obvious on my skin

This is a well-formulated product that is very enjoyable to use, but even though I like this product a lot but believe the effects are being overshadowed by other products in my routine. This may be better for those looking for a simpler routine. 

scinic Caio review vanityrex

avecko haul whamisa scinic

Avecko Haul: Whamisa & Scinic!

I actually received this at the end of June (June 27th!) but my day job has been a bit crazy as of late and is interfering with my ability to enjoy my new goodies. This is the last one I’m going to be getting for awhile because I’m running out of storage space for everything I’m getting!

What is Avecko?

Avecko is a magical service that allows you to buy things not normally available to people outside Korea. You submit links of items, beauty or otherwise, to Avecko who orders and receives the items, then boxes everything up and ships it to you, wherever you are in the world. This is my third order with Avecko. You can read about my earlier haul here.

What I Ordered and How Much I Paid

avecko haul whamisa scinic

Continue reading