Review – from Jeju or from Heaven?

When the spoilers came around for memebox’s From Jeju edition, I clamoured to find them. This was one box I had been looking forward to for quite a while. It felt like it took forever for its shipping date to arrive, and then even longer to actually ship to my door. I was mid-wait when I saw the first unboxing picture of the box, and just like that, the great white hope, the excitement, the anticipation was dashed. Upon first look, it seemed to me to be a pretty unexciting box. My initial thought was, wait … two products that are one use only, a hand cream, a sample size … sigh. So, I waited for my own to arrive, knowing that and reminding myself that even when a box doesn’t excite you when you see it online, it is totally different when it is in your hands.

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Jeju arrived tonight and I unpacked it with my usual zeal. I read the information card and looked through my box’s contents. As I drove home from the post office, I unpackaged the hand cream and rubbed a little between my palms.

This is where my attitude got put in check and things started to turn around.

The Yeon hand cream smelled, downright heavenly. Floral, soft, practically effervescent! Normally, I find floral scents very hard to take because they tend to be intense. Though this one is strong, it is beautiful and the aroma mellows quickly. It isn’t greasy or oily in the slightest and it sinks into your skin incredibly rapidly, and the finish is silky verging on powdery. I absolutely love this “Jeju Canola Honey” Silky Hand Cream, and I never say that about hand creams.

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Later on, while soaking my worries away in my tub, I kept staring at the rest of my box’s goodies. I hadn’t planned on trying anything new because I am still gun-shy from my experiences with the Linzy Egg Soaps but if I finally liked a hand cream, maybe that was a cosmic sign.

I cleansed with the “SanDa Wha” Oil Cleanser and was pleasantly surprised. It smelled sweet, mild and of chamomile. It felt incredibly soft and wonderful between my fingers, and my skin loved it. No issues with irritation and it left my face feeling comfortable. Also did a commendable job removing my makeup. I was disappointed off the hop when I saw it, because it is very small. Memebox says it is full size and though I like it, I still question that. It is 30ml, I hope it will last and it should, as you don’t need much to cleanse your face.

I followed that with the “HallaBong” Peeling Toner. Ok, I know I keep harping on the scents of products this time around, but oh my God – this toner smells freaking unbelievable. Fruity, fresh, crisp and clean. It is an absolute treat for your nostrils. Now, I didn’t find any “peeling” to speak of, in this peeling toner … but I have to confess I used the Lemon D-Toc peeling gel this morning, so this might have altered the efficacy of this Hallabong toner. Yet, that doesn’t take anything away from its impressiveness. This toner left my skin looking so bright and awake I will have to start using this in the morning. It also didn’t irritate my skin, not even the left over red bumps from my recent breakout. I was happily applying this toner over and over, smelling it and making Hubby smell it. I love love, love this!

Then, since I was riding high, I threw caution to the wind and whipped out the “Skindeco” Volcanic Pore Clay Sparkling Heating Mask. This stuff is bizarre! But bizarre in the best way! First off, the texture is other-wordly. It looks and feels like hard-whipped whipped cream, it looks almost dessert like. It even smells kind of dessert like! It is light brown, and silky soft. It is very thick but easy enough to apply over your face. It quickly heats up, and while you remove it, it heats up even more (though I tend to react differently than most with these Korean heating masks) I enjoyed it. I left my pores cleared out completely. The texture was the most surprising, at first glance I thought it was dried out but it wasn’t at all … it was just trying to trick me. I think this mask will be a favourite among Memebox addicts worldwide. It could have qualified to go into an “OMG Box” without a doubt.

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These three products are my standouts from the “From Jeju” box from Memebox. I feel like I may have judged this box sight-unseen, harshly and with undue haste. Also, I think I was swayed into thinking this was going to be a poor box because the packaging of these products are rather ho-hum. Yet, after trying these products for myself, I am convinced that this box is a quiet winner. The box also included a one-use sleeping pack from Etude House, a sheet mask and a serum. The serum, in my opinion, was rather mediocre. It didn’t smell of anything particularly yummy, and it was slightly oily. It didn’t sink into my skin as fast as I would like, either. I am trying the sleeping pack tonight, mainly just to be rid of it, and the sheet mask will go into my collection of sheet masks for use later on. All in all, this little box changed my mind and made me put my attitude away. I think the four products I mentioned in detail above make this box worth the money, which is something I questioned early on. Perhaps this will teach me to get my box first before having an opinion about it.

We can only hope. Until next time Beauty-mavens. Be safe out there.

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Holy Grail Beauty Must-Haves

For the longest time, this term as far as it related to beauty products made no sense to me. I didn’t know what a “holy grail” item was because I rarely finished any beauty product unless it was out of necessity, like shampoo or conditioner. More often that not, even if I found something I loved, I either quickly lost interest or I physically lost it before the real love affair began. (Hello, Bonnebell lipsmackers, I think lost you most of all)

There are, of course, the holy grail items you hear about through the beauty grapevine. And for a time, I listened and followed suit, buying up whatever was the hot ticket. This is how I came to be the temporarily proud owner of many beauty-mistakes: the quintessential 90’s pixie cut with blonde frosted tips, orange lipstick, roll-on body glitter, chunky glitter hairspray, neon blue mascara, frosted pink lipgloss – just to name a few. Let’s just say I didn’t exactly make high school easy for myself. That haircut especially, haunted me for many years … *shrugs off chills* egads. It just didn’t always register with me that my pale skin, big eyes, and freckles just wouldn’t look so hot coupled with many of these trends … ah, the folly of youth.

And, so? It goes on. And, it gets worse. We finally grow up a little and learn to not blindly take on every trend whole-hog and we become a bit more discerning in our tastes. Yet, no matter how old we are, if our best friend finds something and shouts “Holy grail! Holy grail!” we all still jump in line, don’t we? Even my Bestie – the makeup neophyte – even we have this relationship when it comes to mascaras. If I ever stand a chance of holding a cosmetics-related chat with her then you can bet it’s about that. If she finds one, I buy it. If I find one, she’ll roll her eyes but usually she’ll buy it too.

But none of these situations truly constitute finding a real holy grail item. These are just scenarios where we amuse ourselves while we wait for the real thing to come along. And for me? It never did. I would use certain things a few times, maybe repurchase them if I was really caught up but eventually something new would come along and I was a terribly disloyal harlot and frankly, when it came to cosmetic brands, I really “slept around,” I liked them flashy and I liked them cheap. Hence the Bonnebell and roll-on glitter filled purses of my youth.

But now, as I stand at the end of my twenties, staring down my thirties, my relationship with cosmetics has changed. I have to be more thoughtful with what I splash on my face, and sadly, I have to spend more money and give myself over to the going theory that you get what you pay for and with cosmetics and makeup that really tends to be the truth.

In my recent explorations into the Korean beauty market, and on the back of a well researched friend’s opinion I found something that fits the bill. A truly holy enough item to call itself grail.

Now at first when I was buying and trying new products from Korea I was hesitant about anything that alluded to “whitening” or “peeling” … even the mention of skin-brightening or descriptions of dead skin cells sloughing off … I just buried my head in my western beauty ideals and stayed away. It wasn’t until I was more versed, and did my own research that I finally became open to these ideas. And now, frankly these elements are integral to my new skin care regime.

On Instagram, I had started to follow fellow beauty bloggers, and thrill-seekers in the Memebox/Korean beauty sphere, and a few became friends and the more we all talked, the more I valued their opinions, reviews and suggestions. Christina, another Vancouver-based Memebox lover posted a picture, late one night on Instagram that hooked me straight away. A peeling gel she had received in one of her Memeboxes, and she touted it as being an almost-holy grail. Suddenly, at two am, I found myself skulking around ebay to find this illusive lemon peeling – magic – gel. I had to find it. It became an obsession. I the hunter, it my prey … ten dollars later it was mine. My own. My prrreeeecious. *cough cough*

Two weeks later, it arrived and it sat on the bathroom shelf for a while more … even though I had taken the plunge, I was still terrified to try it. The idea that I would apply this and my skin would drop off horror movie style to the floor and I would have no one to blame but myself, stopped me every time I reached for it. It became a game of chicken. Nightly. And every night, I lost.

One night somehow I found the balls it took to whip it out and slather it all over my face. Listen, I told myself You’re married. If your face falls off, guess what? He still has to love you. He took vows and shit. Girl. He has to love you even if you come out looking like Voldemort. Go on. Do it. 

and so, I did.

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Here is my review of the Lemon D-Toc Peeling Gel by Secret Key

If you’ve never tried a peeling gel before, take a breath and be brave – it is worth it. If you think you’ve exfoliated successfully, try this and see what a peeling gel can really do, things that an ordinary exfoliant can’t do, even in its most sudsy, soapy, moistest dreams.

I think I thought that dead skin cells were few and far between, and that I obviously had the issue covered by exfoliating twice a week. Bah, oh Kelsey of the past. I laugh heartily at you. Fool!

This peeling gel is miraculous for one reason. It is an incredibly gentle yet effective product that not only renews your skin, but removes your dead skins cells and lets your true “best skin” emerge. You’d think that a lemon extract peeling gel product would have to be particularly harsh to be effective, but not so with this Secret Key winner – and that in itself was extremely surprising.

I sparingly applied the gel to my face and even before I had evenly distributed it, I could already feel my dead skin begin to ball up underneath my fingers. It took less than thirty seconds for the gel to permeate my skin’s surface and begin to remove all the waste. It didn’t burn, irritate, leave my skin red or inflamed in any way – and for someone with sensitive skin, this was a huge shock – I kind of expected my skin to scream out in agony, or break out, breakdown or break up with me entirely … but she remained calm. Bloody fucking miracle. I washed away the bits of old skin with warm water, and my skin didn’t feel dry or tight which I expected. It felt extremely clean, so soft and oddly moisturized which I did not expect.

But the best came after looking in mirror aprés my pampering session in the tub. My face was bright. Beautiful. And as I inspected, it truly was descaled and smooth. Best of all was my acne scaring; all of it was at least a shade or two lighter. The old red marks where my hormonal acne had gotten the better of me and I bugged it far beyond the point of necessary, all of those reminders of breakouts past were remarkably diminished. Anyone who battles hormonal breakouts – and is like me, always has their fingers to their face to “cover it” or bug it – would know that even after those breakouts heal, they leave behind a red spattering of marks that only a decent foundation can really hide. Yes, they do fade over time, but it takes eons, and by the time they fade, a new breakout has begun and the cycle begins again. It’s heart-wrenching.

Well, this gel helped more than anything else I’ve tried to help heal, hide or blur those marks, and I wasn’t even expecting that as a result when I applied the Lemon D-Toc for the first time. It was a perk and it was glorious. I sincerely urge you to try a peeling gel if you’re so bold, and I think this one by Secret Key is something to consider. Gentle, effective, and surprising. Give it a whirl.

A few tips from me to you:

One, with this product less is more. Two, you don’t need to leave it on long. Just cleanse then apply, wait a second and then rub & rinse. Three, don’t use it more than once week. Since it is as effective as I say, it is pointless to use it more often. I used it a second time in a week where I had previously used the gel and I had no dead skin for it to find, so it ended up being unnecessary!

If you’ve tried this or something similar, tell me about it below! This newly appointed holy grail item comes to me by way of my fellow beauty adventurer “Mmnoob” – A braver soul than I by far so check out her blog too – We thank her for her bravery and for her need to share her beauty secrets! Beware though, if you’re the jealous type. She has the most beautiful skin EVAH!

Until next time, beauty-bots. Be safe out there.