Category Archives: ginseng

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Swanicoco Fermentation Care Collection Review

In 2016, one of my favorite product discoveries was the Swanicoco Fermentation Snail Care Emulsion. I was blown away with not only its killer ingredient list but also its luxurious, silky texture. That’s why when Swanicoco reached out to me a few months ago and asked if I would be interested in testing and reviewing some other products, I immediately said yes! After some discussion on their different lines and my skin type, they recommended the Fermentation Care line, which I will be reviewing today!

This is a kind of super long review, so I set up a table of contents to make for easier navigation.

Table of Contents

Continue reading

evercos masks

Sunday Sundries! Ingredients to the Evercos Herbal Clinic Hanbang Sheet Masks

These herbal clinic sheet masks from Evercos are some of my favorites! I’ve searched far and wide and could not find the ingredients for these sheet masks in English anywhere on the internet. I generally like to know what I’m putting on my face, so I buckled down and translated them for you all!

evercos masks

All the pretty sheet masks!

Cat, who definitely knows her sheet masks, first raved about these sheet masks here and here a few months back. Everyone’s skin is different and there have been plenty of sheet masks loved by many that I have been less than fond of, but as a ginseng lover and hanbang liker, I immediately went grabby hands all over these! I first ordered the ginseng and licorice ones with Avecko’s assistance, LOVED them, and proceeded to order all the different varieties from 11st.

Btw, Cat also put together this awesome guide on how to order from 11st, which is one of the two places I know of to find these masks (the other being Testerkorea).

The masks are humbly made out of cotton, which may seem boring given all the fancy hydrogel and silk masks available these days, but they are incredibly soft, pliable, and soaked in essence. Also, the scent on all of these except ginseng is pretty subtle.

Ingredients and Impressions

In alphabetical order:

APRICOT KERNEL // 행인

evercos apricot kernel

Fragrance and Impressions: Wonderfully soothing and hydrating. This mask is faintly scented and smells sweet and floral! It’s my favorite of the bunch to use in the mornings, because I find it to be very refreshing. Also, if you are wary of herbal scents, this is a good one to start with because I cannot detect any herbal-ness to it at all. Also, despite 행인 written on the front of the sheet mask, I don’t actually see any apricot kernel in the ingredients, which is kind of weird. It’s possible I’m translating 행인 incorrectly, but google is pointing me towards “prunus armeniaca,” which is a type of apricot, and testerkorea has this mask listed as apricot kernel. It does contain chestnut shell extract though.

Ingredients (Click here for Cosdna Analysis): Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Castanea Crenata (Chestnut) Shell Extract, Natto Gum, Wheat Amino Acids, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-yuen Seed (Job’s Tears) Extract, Angelica Dahurica Root Extract, Sodium hyaluronate, Witch Hazel Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Methyl paraben, Fragrance

GINSENG // 홍삼

evercos ginsengFragrance and Impressions: Great for hydration. It has a medium-to-high intensity ginseng scent. If you like ginseng, you will likely love this mask. If you don’t like ginseng, consider yourself warned! This is the one I reach for when I’ve been spending too much time outdoors or in the sun because I find ginseng to be a very calming scent.

Ingredients (Click here for Cosdna Analysis): Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Ginseng Extract (1% concentration), Witch Hazel Extract, Angelica Leaf Extract, Angelica Extract, Natto gum, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Wheat Amino Acids, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Sodium hyaluronate, Carbomer, Tocopherol Acetate, Triethanolamine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl paraben, Fragrance

HOUTTUYNIA CORDATA // 어성초

evercos HOUTTUYNIA CORDATA maskFragrance and Impressions: Skin feels nicely hydrating after use. Whenever I’m putting this mask on, I start humming hakuna matata to myself. My brain can’t quite figure out how to pronounce “houttuynia cordata” so I just remember this as the hakuna matata mask!

Ingredients (Click here for Cosdna Analysis): Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Cnidium Officinale Root Extract, Natto Gum, Wheat Amino Acids, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Witch Hazel Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

LICORICE // 감초

evercos licoriceFragrance and Impressions: Skin feels nicely hydrated after use. Licorice is an anti-inflammatory and brightening powerhouse ingredient. The scent is barely detectable but has a hint of smokiness to it.

Ingredients (Click here for Cosdna Analysis): Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Licorice Extract, Natto Gum, Wheat Amino Acids, Taraxacum Platycarpum Extract, Artemisia Capillaris Flower Extract, Sodium hyaluronate, Witch Hazel Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Methyl paraben, Fragrance

PHELLINUS LINTEUS // 상황버섯

PHELLINUS LINTEUS evercos maskFragrance and impressions: Skin feels nicely hydrated after use. In addition to phellinus linteus, which is a medicinal mushroom, this mask also contains Job’s Tears (aka Chinese Pearl Barley, aka Adlay), which is another ingredient used for its brightening properties! It has an herbal, earthy scent. My mother used to make me drink this Chinese traditional medicine soup as a child whenever I had a fever, and when wearing this mask I get whiffs of that soup. For this reason, this is probably my least favorite of the masks. However, the scent is so faint that I doubt most people would be bothered by it.

Ingredients (Click here for Cosdna Analysis): Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Phellinus linteus extract (1%), Natto Gum, Wheat Amino Acids, Sodium hyaluronate, Witch Hazel Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-yuen Seed (Job’s Tears) Extract, Angelica Dahurica Root Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol Acetate, Ascorbic Acid, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Methyl paraben, Ethyl Paraben, Propyl paraben, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

PORIA COCOS // 백봉령

evercos poria cocosFragrance and Impressions: Skin feels nicely hydrated after use. I actually find this mask best for immediate brightening effects – the areas of my face prone to redness look less red immediately after this mask. It has a faint, somewhat sweet scent. Also, remember how the apricot kernel mask didn’t have any apricot kernel in it? This one does!

Ingredients (Click here for Cosdna Analysis): Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Poria Cocos Extract, Natto Gum, Wheat Amino Acids, Sodium hyaluronate, Witch Hazel Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Extract, Licorice Extract, Tocopherol Acetate, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl paraben, Fragrance

Side-by-Side Ingredients

Here are all the ingredients, side by side, if you’re interested in how similar / different these masks are to each other. Ingredients common to all masks are highlighted in blue. As you can, see there a lot of blue!

evercos ingredients vanityrex

My personal favorites are the ginseng mask, because I find the scent of ginseng to be pleasant and calming (although there are plenty of people who don’t like the scent so this is a very personal preference here). The poria cocos mask, which interestingly is the only one that uses sodium ascorbyl phospate instead of ascorbic acid for Vitamin C, has the best anti-redness effect on my skin. The apricot kernel mask, which actually contains walnut shell instead of apricot kernel, is another favorite because of its floral scent.

My one gripe about these masks is that they do leave my face sticky. Most sheet masks make my face sticky, so this isn’t some horrendous oversight of Evercos’s or anything. How I deal with this is after I remove my mask, I will spray my face with a non-sticky, oil-free mist, then pat my face until dry. If I’m sitting around reading a book or watching Netflix, I will repeat this a few times. I feel like the mist helps the excess essence, which is causing the stickiness, to absorb into my skin better, and the wetness of the mist will slowly lessen the stickiness of my face.

That’s it for today! There will be more sheet mask round-up posts to come! What are your favorite sheet masks? Also, if you guys have any tricks to deal with residual stickiness, I would love to know!

evercos ginseng mask

Spotlight on Ginseng!

There are a lot of “all-natural beauty” types out there who swear by the refrain if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. I’ve always thought thought that guideline was silly, not only because there are a lot of chemicals that are awesome for your skin, but also because if I only put stuff on my skin that I eat, I would be toning my face with Coke Zero and moisturizing with butter.

I also would not be using any ginseng products, because despite having grown up with it and forced to consume it in my childhood, I don’t actually like eating ginseng. It tastes like perfumey dirt and is frequently served with jujube fruit in chicken soup, which is a terrible association because I happen to detest jujube. Yet, on my skin, none of this seems to matter – I not only love how ginseng makes my skin feel but also love how it smells!

And so today I’m going to talk about ginseng, what it is, what it does, and what are some of my favorite products that contain it!

WHAT IS GINSENG and WHAT DOES IT DO?

Panax ginseng is a root used widely in traditional Eastern medicine. You may have heard the term hanbang (한방) being thrown around to describe certain skincare products that contain traditional, oriental medicine ingredients. Ginseng is one of the cornerstone ingredients of hanbang and is touted as a cure to everything from erectile dysfunction to high blood pressure. Most of these claims revolve around eating ginseng, but if you dig through the scientific literature there’s a good amount of evidence ginseng has positive effects when applied topically as well! For example:

In addition to these healing and UV protective effects, I personally find ginseng to have aromatherapeutic mind-calming effects! Putting on a ginseng sheet mask at the end of a long day is a quick, effective, and alcohol-free way to destress!

Here are some of the ginseng products I’ve been using, grouped into different levels of ginseng enthusiasm:

For the Ginseng Newbie –

evercos ginseng mask

Evercos ginseng masks are everything! First of all, Evercos masks are my favorite sheet masks. I even like them better than any silk masks or hydrogels I’ve used because they are just so incredibly soft, pliable, and generously soaked in essence without being drippy.

The ginseng masks might be my favorite amongst the six Evercos varieties. I find the mask to be very hydrating and calming. My skin inflames and reddens easily and these masks have a way of quickly calming things down.

For those interested, here are the translated ingredients for the Evercos Ginseng masks:

evercos ingredients

Korean Ingredients: 정제수, 부틸렌글라이콜, 글리세린, 홍삼 추출물 ( 1.0% 함유), 위치 하젤 추출물, 안젤리카 잎 추출물, 당귀추출물, 낫토검, 디포타슘글리시리제이트, 밀아미노산, 소듐 아스코빌 포스페이트, 소듐하이알루로네이트, 카보머, 토코페릴아세테이트, 트리에탄올아민, 피이지-60하이드로제네이티드캐스터오일, 하이드록시에칠셀룰로오스, 디소듐이디티에이, 에칠헥실 글리세린, 페녹 시 에탄올, 메칠파라벤, 향료

English Ingredients: Purified Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Ginseng Extract (1% concentration), Witch Hazel Extract, Angelica Leaf Extract, Angelica Extract, Natto gum, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Wheat Amino Acids, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, Sodium hyaluronate, Carbomer, Tocopherol Acetate, Triethanolamine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl paraben, Fragrance

I purchased my Evercos masks from 11st. For a guide on how to order from 11st, please see this very helpful tutorial put together by Cat Cactus on Snow White and the Asian Pear. Coincidentally, she’s the one who turned me onto Evercos in the first place

For the Casual Ginseng Fan –

I have very thick and very straight hair and have yet to find the perfect shampoo for it. However, the History of Whoo Spa Shampoo and Rinse is a current favorite! I find it to clean better than Damoae Therapy Shampoo, which I am also a big fan of, and leaves my hair looking shinier and feeling lighter than Shiseido’s red bottle Tsubaki shampoo and conditioner, although Tsubaki definitely leaves my hair feeling softer and silkier.

This is what the bottles look like. I buy sample packs off Testerkorea, not because they're cheaper (they're actually priced on par) but because the full sizes seem to always be out of stock! :(

This is what the bottles look like. I buy sample packs off Testerkorea, not because they’re cheaper (they’re actually priced on par) but because the full sizes seem to always be out of stock! 😦

It also smells amazing! The shampoo fills my shower with the sweet and perfumey but not overwhelming scent of ginseng. The rinse (which is basically just a conditioner) has a different fragrance, one that is less exclusively of ginseng, but still very hanbang in a refreshing and pleasant way. The two together make for a very pampering, hair washing experience! I definitely recommend both, although I do think the duo would work best for thick and straight-to-wavy hair-types. The shampoo might not be appropriate for frizzier hair types, and the rinse might be too heavy for people with tight curls, although I am definitely not an expert on hair types so I could be totally off base.

I purchased sample packs of this shampoo and rinse from Testerkorea (shampoo, rinse). They also carry the full size but it’s NEVER in stock and it drives me crazy because I want it and it’s not outrageously expensive like History of Whoo’s other stuff either. Someday it WILL be mine. Someday…

For the Ginseng Obsessed –

If you really, really love ginseng, maybe even more than I do, you will probably like this essence and cream from Sooryehan.

sooryehan ginseng juice essence and cream

I picked up this essence + cream set because I fell in love with the packaging. They both have gel-like textures and even though the cream is a a bit thicker and denser than the essence, I find the two to be quite similar in how they feel and absorb into my skin. I actually prefer the cream, but the essence does include a handful of other extracts in addition to ginseng. See ingredients for both products here.

For those of you frustrated with skincare products where the top ingredients are all water and filler ingredients like butylene glycol, you’ll be happy to know that the first two ingredients in both are water and ginseng extract. There’s plenty of ginseng in these and it’s very obvious! This stuff smells VERY strongly of ginseng so consider yourself warned!

Top 4 photos are of the essence, bottom 4 are of the cream

Top 4 photos are of the essence, bottom 4 are of the cream.

Unfortunately, these products are not quite hydrating or moisturizing enough for my skin type. I imagine people with normal or oily skin, or those living in more humid and tropical climates may have better luck with it! Regardless, it does feel very luxurious to use this essence and cream and to display them in my bathroom!

Sooryehan essence and cream purchased from wemakeprice.com via avecko. They are also available on eBay (essence, cream).

Have you guys tried any ginseng products? What are your favorites?