Sample Sundays: feat. Laneige, The Face Shop, Innisfree & more!

Hi friends,

As I wrote last week, this Sunday marks a new era for Sample Sundays (get excited). Instead of focussing on just one product from one brand, my overwhelming stash of samples has forced me to shine a light on a bunch of samples. Because I have far too many. So, today I will be writing a number of mini reviews of things I have tried over the past week – strap yourselves in because here we go!

The remains of my samples :)

The remains of my samples :)

Innisfree Green Tea Pure Cleansing Oil
I haven’t tried too many Innisfree products (the Green Tea Pure Cream was the most recent one) but I’ve always been happy when I have. I guess I got really into Nature Republic and these two companies have a similar ethos, except Nature Republic is generally cheaper and I find their products cuter. But anyway! This cleansing oil worked a treat, although I didn’t find it a particularly stand out product. Maybe my standards are higher these days (K-cosmetics snob much?), but although it didn’t leave a lasting memory or have a particularly memorable fragrance, it still did its job. And that’s what matters, right?

The Face Shop Chia Seed Fresh Cleansing Foam
This is one that I was quite excited to use, as I don’t have too many samples from The Face Shop and it’s something a bit different. However, I do have the world’s most sensitive skin and this cleanser just isn’t right for delicate flowers such as myself. I found it cleaned really well – a little too well. It left that squeaky cleanness that I really don’t like, the one where you know all the moisture has been sucked from your skin and it actually squeaks when you rub it. Not good. Perhaps those with hardier skin than mine would like it, but I would say in general – watch out for harsh products such as this one.

Laneige Water Bank Essence
I really enjoyed this product, and it feels good to write this after the two previous unimpressed mini-reviews (it’s hard being honest whilst staying positive, I’ll tell you that much!). I have always been curious about the Laneige range but haven’t really given it too much of a chance. I received a whole bunch of samples with my IOPE Air Cushion XP, and only now am I finally using them. And I’m really enjoying it! This product has a light, gel-like consistency and it glides onto my skin easily. It’s not too heavy that it weighs it down, but it also provides a lot of moisture. And I’m all about moisture these days! Two thumbs up from me.

Missha Super Aqua Water-Full Cream
This is another product that I was really happy with, and is something I could see myself using (if Missha didn’t test on animals). It is a lightweight gel-cream hybrid that is perfect for the warmer months. Again, this isn’t too heavy or too rich, so it is perfect for those with sensitive skin or perhaps with oilier skin. Coming into the colder months, I am going to need something with a bit more oomph, but for now, this is a nice final step in my Korean skincare routine.

Derma:B Daily Moisture Body Wash
This is a sample I received in a previous Memebox a while ago, but I hadn’t got round to trying until now. It sort of does what it says on the tin: it’s a simple, no-fush body wash. To be honest, I found this a teensy bit drying (because I’m currently using the rich Skinfood Quinoa Body Milk and loving it) but it does a good job at what it says it’s going to do. I wouldn’t repurchase, but it was good while it lasted.

Nature Republic Snail Solution 80 Emulsion
Oh Nature Republic, how you thrill me! As y’all probably know by now, I am a big fan of this lil ol’ Korean cosmetics company (except it’s not the least bit little, nor old!) and am quite upset about the fact that I can no longer buy their products. Also, the fact that I have been on a self-imposed spending ban means that I haven’t stepped foot into their shop for months now – although I still have a good backlog of products to use up! Anyway, I am a big fan of their Snail Solution line (and snail products in general, mmm) and I really love this emulsion. I haven’t had to use a full-sized emulsion for so long, simply because I have so may of these samples, so rest assured I know what I’m talking about here! It has a nice smooth texture, and although it’s really moisturising, it doesn’t feel sticky on the skin. It makes my skin feel like silk! Or snail mucus, whichever one you prefer.

And that’s a wrap! Unfortunately, all of these products test on animals so I won’t be repurchasing them in the future :( I have a whole post coming up about this, so stay tuned! It is a bit of a downer for me, but in my quest to become more minimalist (is that an oxymoron?) I’ve started focusing on the things that matter to me, and testing chemicals on innocent animals is something that I am not okay with. However, I am going to be using up previously bought products in the meantime, and will continue to post my honest opinions. It’s a hard life being conscientious and all!

That’s it for this week’s Sample Sundays, let me know how you like the new format and I shall speak to you soon!

Steph x

Sample Sundays: Holika Holika Deep Cera All-in-One Master

Hi friends!

Sample Sundays may have been gone for a little while, but it certainly is not forgotten. In fact, I’ve started doing something a little bit radical in my offline life (concerning samples, nothing actually radical)… which I will tell you about at the end of this post!

For now, let’s talk about the topic at hand, which is Holika Holika’s Good Cera All-in-One Master. This is yet another product from their bestselling Deep Cera range, and it is one that I met with a little bit of confusion. I mean, what is an “all-in-one master”? Although I’m still not 100% sure, after using my samples I have a much better idea where it sits in the Korean skincare routine spectrum, and I’ll let y’all know my thoughts on it… now!

Holika Holika's Good Cera All-in-One Master

Holika Holika’s Good Cera All-in-One Master

I first received a bunch of these sachets in my goodie bag from a random Seoul beauty pop-up store, which I was over the moon about (obviously). I was also really happy to see this product in there, as I have previously tried Holika Holika’s Good Cera Deep Cream and I looooved it. It’s so creamy, moisturising and just feels amazing on the skin, especially in drier weather. So, you can imagine my excitement about this one.

I just realised I’m setting this whole post up to sound like there’s a big “but” coming… but there’s really not! Although I wouldn’t say this is necessarily my be-all, end-all “master” product, I haven’t really got any bones to pick with it. So I should probably lay off the dramatics!

Anyway, so the consistency of this product is something I would compare to a serum. I think by using the word “master” they’re getting at the fact that it should be able to fulfil a number of products’ purposes, but I wouldn’t necessarily just rely on this. Especially if you’re converted to the religion of Korean skincare, you would know that one product just ain’t gon’ cut it, no matter what they say on that packaging! However, I appreciate the effort and the silky texture of this product.

Holika Holika Good Cera swatch

Holika Holika Good Cera swatch

As you can see in the above picture, the Deep Cera All-in-One Master is a clear gel-like serum. It goes on smoothly and absorbs into the skin quickly. It also has a sort of medicinal smell, which I don’t find unpleasant. I’m not sure about this product: because I don’t really knows what it’s supposed to do, it sort of does nothing for me. Maybe that’s just me being uneducated and underresearched, but it is a little bit confusing! However, at the same time, I don’t really have anything against it. It’s just sort of there.

All in all, this product makes a nice serum or toning step before applying your heavier-duty beauty products. I certainly wouldn’t refer to it as a “master” and, at least for me, it doesn’t hold a candle to Holika Holika’s amazing Good Cera Deep Cream, but as a part of your Korean skincare routine… it’s aiiight.

That’s it for today! Now as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have been changing my preferred method of dealing with my sample prison collection. I’ve decided to decant a number of samples each week into a ziplock bag in the hopes that it will force/gently encourage me to use them. And so, future Sample Sundays are going to include a number of samples instead of focusing on one. That’s right, you’re getting multiple goodness for no extra reason, other than the fact that my cupboards are bursting with samples and I know that I will at some point have to move out of our house (that sort of gives me nightmares). I’m on a decluttering rampage right now, so yes, expect to see lots more mini reviews this Sunday!

Until next time,

Steph x

So I Went to Kyoto…

Hi friends!

I know I have been AWOL again and honestly, I am still finding it difficult to balance fulltime work with pretty much anything else. It has sort of taken over my life, well not really, but it certainly sucks up a lot of my energy and doesn’t leave too much room for anything else. So, apologies for the lack of posts on here in recent times. However, I am going to try doing all my blog work on my weekends (it relaxes me and is fun for me, so that’s not a problem) because during the week isn’t really feasible. Let’s see how this goes!

Part of the reason I’ve been away is because recently I had my mum over to visit! It was quite a whirlwind trip, in the best way possible, and I still can’t quite believe it happened. She always said she was going to come to visit me in Korea, and when it actually happened it was pretty unbelievable. We managed to hook up our arrivals in Kyoto, then come back to Korea and then she went on to Perth before heading home to Melbourne. World traveller!

While I am partial to Korea (and I found myself missing it over the 5-day holiday… weird), I do love Japan and Kyoto is especially beautiful. I am not 100% sure I could live there, but to visit it is a special experience. My personal favourite was the Golden Palace, which was just unbelievably beautiful. There are some things which defy words, and that was one of them. It looked like a postcard, except it was real.

Without further ado, here are a number of photos from our trip… enjoy!

A typical Japanese cafe... so perfect

A typical Japanese cafe… so perfect

Our first Japanese breakfast

Our first Japanese breakfast

The colours of a Japanese pharmacy

The colours of a Japanese pharmacy

Mum and I <3

Mum and I <3

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

The Golden Palace... so beautiful

The Golden Palace… so beautiful

Mum reflecting :)

Mum reflecting :)

When we got back to Korea, we had a few days in Guri and then mum whisked us off to the Westin Chosun in Myeongdong, Seoul. For anyone who doesn’t know (including myself until a week ago), this is most likely the most badass hotel in all of Korea. Just incredible. It was so relaxing and chilled, especially after the whirlwind week that was, so I think we all appreciated the R&R. We also got to go sightseeing around Gyeongbokgung Palace

My favourites <3

My favourites <3

Hyangwonjeong Pavillion in Seoul

Hyangwonjeong Pavillion in Seoul

All in all it was a really special trip, and one which I will never forget. I know I haven’t really written much today, but I wanted to get the photos up first. I might talk about it in depth later on (if you guys want me to!) but just rest assured that it was totally, 100% awesome.

Until next time,

Steph x