Today I have decided to finally write about something that has been taking over my mind (and heart) for a long time now… and that is Korean cosmetics! ^^
For those of you who don’t know, the Korean skincare/cosmetic industry is booming and shows no signs of stopping. When I first got to Korea, I had no idea about it and had brought a number of products for home ‘just in case’ they didn’t have what I needed here. Fool, fool I tell you! Whatever you ever need in Korea (ever), you will find it here. Especially if it pertains to beauty.
After moving to Guri (infinitely larger than my temporary home in the quiet but a-little-too-quaint Dosim) my eyes were opened (metaphorically, not via the abundance of extreme plastic surgery that occurs here) to the brilliance of Korean cosmetics and skincare stores. It didn’t take long for me to develop a fully-fledged Korean cosmetics addiction, and I’ll be honest – I show no signs of recovering. I have so many products I bought ‘to review’ it’s absurd. I have absolutely lost my mind, and it feels fantastic!
My friend Sehar and I immediately felt a particular fondness for one Korean brand in particular, Nature Republic. As I (and Gavin) always say, Guri provides, and there happens to be a small but well-stocked Nature Republic right in the heart of Doldari (the well-known ‘shopping centre’ of Guri). The owner is a nice (but slightly eccentric) man who may have had the aforementioned plastic surgery. The two girls that work there are really sweet and I think find me a curious novelty. It’s a wonderful experience all round!
Okay, so onto the product review. Today, for my first K-product review ever, I will be telling y’all about Nature Republic’s Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream! 🙂
Firstly, what’s with the name? I almost ran out of breath typing it just then, so believe me, I get it!
When you come to Korea, you will find that not a lot of things make sense, sometimes not initially, and often not at all. And that’s okay. What I have found with product names here is that they tend to incorporate a fair bit of ‘Konglish’ (a hybrid of Korean and English that produces questionable results). So you get weird names, and you get long names. This is one of those instances, and you’d better get used to ’em if you gon’ survive in the wild (or something).
Basically, Korean women are obsessed with beauty and appearing youthful (but then again, which culture isn’t?!). So you will find a lot of emphasis on the ‘watery’ side of things, which actually just refers to moisture and radiance, as does the ‘Super Aqua Max’. As I always say, the watery and super aqua max-y, the better. The ‘Combination’ part describes the type of skin this product works for. In this case, I pretty much have combination skin (it’s temperamental, just like it’s mama!), but you can also purchase this cream for dry or oily skin. This product, however, is the bestseller by far.
Also, have you noticed that the design aesthetic seems familiar? If so, good spot. It is actually a blatant rip-off of Biotherm’s Aqua Source, and how!
(Image on the right via MakeupStash)
As you can see, Nature Republic has taken a fancy to Biotherm’s fancy marketing and designed their lid to look like the Aquasource gel ‘swirl’. To be honest, I actually really like the look and feel of the lid (although it is a bit heavy and thus not great for travelling). Also, there seems to be a lot of blatant copying of design aesthetics going on in Korea, from cosmetics to phones and beyond… But I guess if you do it well, then what’s the problem (and, more importantly, who’s going to stop you)…? Nature Republic also puts a lot of effort into the design of their packaging boxes, which usually coincide with their ‘natural’ theme.
As you can (hopefully) see on the above picture, Nature Republic’s Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream contains a bunch of deep sea minerals, such as chlorella, seaweed and plankton, and also collagen and hyaluronic acid (?) which are all meant to moisturise the skin. As you can also see, there are a bunch of other ingredients listed below, most of which are extracts of natural minerals as well.
The amount of ingredients is slightly concerning, as even though they are overwhelmingly natural, there are always a number of chemicals tucked into these lists with difficult-to-read names. Basically, the more ingredients you have, the more it detracts from each individual ingredient and sullies the purity of the product. However, this isn’t exclusive to Nature Republic, and I commend them for at least including so many natural extracts. Go Agarium Cribosum Extract, go!
One of the things I like about this product is that it comes with a spatula, which makes for convenient (and hygienic) application. Although you have to keep it clean and it takes up a bit of time on rushed mornings, it does improve the hygiene issues related to potted moisturisers. Have a look here:
When I first removed the lid, I was pleased (read: overexcited) with the pleasant colour and aroma of this cream. That may sound a bit Stepford Wives-y, but I do think it’s pretty and it smells delicious! As you can see in the following picture, it is a mint-green colour (pretty much the same as the jar) and it has a fresh, citrus-y scent. It actually smells like a perfume, so yum!
This product is also filled to the brim; here is what it looks like upon first opening:
Moving on… how is the actual cream itself? (Drumroll)
You will be pleased to know… I love this stuff! The texture is super lightweight and nongreasy, but moisturising at the same time. It spreads nicely on my skin and I actually look forward to putting it on in the morning and in the evening. Some other reviews have said that this was too greasy for daywear, but I haven’t found this at all. In fact, I find this moisturiser perfect to wear under makeup as it has such a smooth texture. Have a look here:
What’s the verdict? Overall, Nature Republic’s Super Aqua Max Combination Watery Cream is a lightweight, smooth textured cream which is a pleasure to use. It has cute packaging (although a bit of a heavy lid) and comes with a spatula, too. Most importantly, this cream feels like silk on my skin and I really enjoy using it. If you are looking for an easy, cooling cream I highly recommend this!
I hope you all enjoyed my first Korean product review, and for those of you with experience with or questions about this product I would love to hear your comments below 🙂 Thanks for reading and keep your eyes peeled (metaphorically) for more!