Well it finally happened. I’m attracted to great packaging and it’s led me to this path I’m on.
I broke my cardinal rule of purchasing makeup only from North America. And I lost my v-card to South Korean and a Chinese brands. It was an Asian three-some that I still think of.
But on a serious note, I finally decided to purchase some of the makeup and skincare that are really popular. I had to see what the hype was all about. To be fair, I have used some Asian makeup in the past — The PeriPera Wholly Deep pot shadows and the Labiotte Chateau Palette. Loved them then and I still love them. Unfortunately for them, there are so many comparable shadows now, including ones from other K-cosmetic brands.
Here’s a quick round-up of what I purchased and mini-reviews of some of the makeup.
Sulwhasoo’s been on my wishlist for a long time. I’ve dragged my feet on the brand because their make up is expensive. It was the packaging that attracted me to this brand, and Sulwhasoo is supposedly considered a luxury brand in Korea. And once I used their powder, I understood the hype.
Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Powder Foundation 23N1 (Sand)
As I was looking for a powder foundation, I came across the Suwhasoo Timetreasure Powder foundation. Now, in the last few months, before the big Covid O-micron hit Canada, I had the opportunity to go back into the office, meet my colleagues and attend social events like the office Christmas party. The one thing I noticed was that, because of my mask, much of my foundation was rubbing off. Despite using powder to set my foundation and an okay setting spray, it wasn’t staying on my face longer than 6 hours. And when you go into office for team dinners and parties, you’re wearing make up for 8 – 10 hours. That’s when I felt the need for a powder foundation that I could use for touch ups. I never needed it before because, well, masks weren’t a thing. Remember those days??
So, I came across the Timetreasure foundation and decided to purchase it to try it. Unfortunately, after purchasing it, Toronto was shut down again and I haven’t had an opportunity to use it yet. First impression (without using it), the powder is smooth and silky. The compact is stunning and feels luxurious.
I’ll update this post with more details when I use it.
April 2022: I love it! It seamlessly blends into my skin. Surprisingly, the shade is a perfect match. I used it for touch ups and it worked so well. I absolutely recommend this product, if you can afford this product.
Price: 86.57 CAD on Yesstyle
Sulwhasoo Perfecting Powder 23N
Once I started shopping, I couldn’t stop. I decided to give the Sulwhasoo Perfecting powder a try. I won’t lie, I got sucked in because of the packaging. It’s a pretty plastic tub with lace detailing on the sides. It contains one of those net mechanisms to prevent the loose powder from spilling. This is one of those expensive products you wish you could hate on, but you can’t. It just gives you a flawless, airbrushed look. My skin looked like I was using an instagram filter in real life. My first thought after using it was “huh.. so this is what the K-drama actresses use to look flawless”. What was even better was the fact that it did not dry out my skin; it felt comfortable on my dry skin.
BUT… But, I read the ingredients and one ingredient stood out for me — Barium Sulfate. It’s classified as “expected to be toxic or harmful” by Environment Canada. Come on Sulwhasoo! Update your formulas.
In other cons for this product, I’m not even going to mention the shade range. Korean beauty does not have a shade range. There’s no Korean base makeup I can use in the summer because I’d be too dark for their shade range. They usually have 4 shades: Porcelain, Fair, almost tan and time to use a whitening skin cream.
So, while I love how it looks; considering it contains a bio-accumulative, harmful ingredient, I would not recommend this powder. Since I’ve already purchased it, I will be using it for those special occasions when I’m exposed to the powder only for a few hours.
Price: 74.91 CAD on Yesstyle
Peripera Ink the Velvet in 17 Rose Nude
I’ve been searching for a lip product that stays on despite wearing a mask. That holy grail product used to be Lisa Eldridge’s Matte lipsticks. Lately, I find that the velvets smudge. Last time I wore Velvet Jazz under a mask, it smeared all over my chin, upper lip and the under side of my nose. I was using public transport that day and I did sweat a bit, but it looked like I had sloppily eaten a popsicle.
The Peri Pera lip Ink lasts long under the mask. I’ve had no issues of smudging; but you have to wait for it to dry completely. Korean cosmetics rarely have decent shade cards or swatches on their sites, so I had to rely on Reddit swatches to pick a color. I picked 17 Rose Nude because I thought it would be dark, but it turned out to be just a few shades darker than my lips. So it looks like my lips but better. I wish I had picked a better color but I don’t regret purchasing it. Over the day when it wears out, it fades to a beautiful tint.
I love this product! If you work long hours and a long lasting lip tint, you should give this a go.
Price: 8.88 CAD on Yesstyle
Etude House Lovely Etti Hair Band
I purchased this hair band purely due to nostalgia. There used to be a time when we didn’t have access to Korean cosmetics and I would see many of the influencers wear this head band when filming a make up look. And I always wanted it. And I love it. It’s cute and it does a great job of holding back the hair.
Are there similar products to this? I’m sure there is. But I will say this, it’s way better than the headbands you get in Dollarama. I always end up with foundation in my hair because of the head bands from dollarama.
Price: 9.49 CAD
Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream
For my last Sephora birthday gift I received minis of the Laneige Lip Mask, Water Bank Moisture Cream and Night Mask. While I hate the lip mask because It dries out my lips and makes it peel, the Water Bank I stan. When I travelled to New York for the Holidays, I carried the sample of the Water Bank Moisture cream and O.M.G it soothed my troubled skin. When my skin broke out, I layered it with the Neutrogena Oil Free Mositurizer for Combination skin. And when my skin calmed down, I was able to layer it with other conditioners and oils.
Just the cream is not enough for my very dry skin. I have to layer it with various other serums and creams but it makes for a pretty good base layer. The downside is the price of this cream. For a person who has used drugstore creams like Olay in the past, this one put a dent in my wallet.
Price: 50 CAD + taxes
I was very excited and nervous about purchasing from this brand. I was nervous because I was entering my credit card details in an Asian website. I was looking forward to a spam call (P.s: And I received one! I’m not sure if it was their customer care reaching out for feedback or actual spam, but I received a call).
But their products were so beautiful they were calling out to me. Because of my Asian heritage, I love anything with peacocks. I don’t know why, but make anything with Peacocks and Dragons, and you have an Asian’s attention. I went through their website and quickly purchased two products. The makeup isn’t cheap but I was willing to pay for quality products.
Now China is associated with cheap products that do not last or are harmful. But from what I read on the internet, this brand seemed to be a homegrown company that has invested in formulas and packaging. The only thing about this brand that doesn’t sit well with me is the fact that we don’t know much about the founder or the board of the company. I’m sure there’s more information out there on the Chinese web searches, but I couldn’t find much on Google. That always gets me anxious. I will not discuss whether it is right or not to purchase from a Chinese brand or the CCP or the Uighur crisis. I think we all know what’s happening, and we’re all dependent on China to manufacture almost everything. It’s useless to argue anything till our dependency is curbed.
Back to the makeup, I purchased two products that looked like they were sustainably packaged. I was impressed by the design, packaging and the ingredients. Having been let down by Sulwhasoo, I was wary of the ingredients in Florasis products. The ingredients were surprisingly safe (as safe as an non-clean brand can be) and there weren’t massive red flags. I love how every element of the brand was well thought of — from the box it arrived in to the engraving on the makeup. I received some extras like makeup wipes, a beauty sponge and a lip gloss sample card. All in all, it was a great brand experience. Now here’s something funny that I noticed — their products have hologram stickers on the packaging. On a hunch, I searched Aliexpress and found so many dupes for their lipsticks, powders and eye shadow palettes.
Fairy Peach Blossom Pressed powder
This is such a beautiful piece of makeup. Needless to say, I’m never using it! The etching inside and the peacock pattern on the outside makes it stunning. The detail on the designs is amazing. The only thing I didn’t like was the container which felt like cheap plastic. As per my understanding, having read and watched influencers’ reviews, it was supposed to be made of metal. I expected the peacock design or ornament to be made of plastic, but I’m not sure if I misheard and misunderstood the container to be made of metal. I can’t tell if the product itself is good, but I can say that it’s beautiful.
The powder came with a small brush but I don’t think I’ll be using it.
Blooming Rouge Porcelain Lipstick in M304 Peach Petals
I love this lipstick. I’ve already used it almost every time I’ve worn makeup. As is the case with Korean cosmetics, Chinese cosmetics do not have a large shade range. Nor do they have great swatches. I’m missing a peach lipstick in my collection and on a hunch, ordered the shade Peach Petals. Now this lipstick is much darker and redder than a typical peach, but I like the color because it suits me. It doesn’t feel drying, in fact it feels very comfortable and the etching on the sides of the lipstick is amazing. I’ll say this, I’m quite enjoying the experience of using the lipstick.
The packaging was a bit of a disappointment though. It is a porcelain bullet but the designs on it looks like a sticker. I kinda expected the designs to be etched on the porcelain, which it isn’t.
Would I recommend the products from this brand? Sure, if you’re fine with purchasing Asian cosmetics. I probably won’t be repurchasing any of their products, but you do you.
In part 2: I’ve placed an order for the Missha BB cream and Solved Skincare Coconut Water, Hibiscus and Rosehip Toner on Soko Glam. Look out for reviews on those products in the next post.