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Disappointing Products: Spring 2017

Life is full of disappointment, so I count myself pretty lucky when the biggest disappointment of the moment is a beauty product not working out. That being said, it still sucks, so if I can help you avoid the same fate, well, I’m happy to do it. Of course, the things that don’t work out for me might be the perfect product for you, so take your own preferences and experiences into account when reading this post. I like to keep all of my reviews balanced by mentioning both the pros and cons of the products I’m discussing, but today we’re getting extra sassy. Just a bit of good fun, no harm or offense intended, so please don’t take it personally if you happen to love (or made!) any of the products I’m talking about today. Now, let’s unleash the sass fairy…

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Review: Jini Beauty Box Dry/Mature Skin March/April 2017

We’re changing it up this month! If this is the first one of my Jini Beauty Box reviews you’ve read, then this won’t seem strange at all to you, but my regular readers will know that I usually subscribe to the normal/combination skin variety. In light of the changes my skin has been going through thanks to Differin, I decided to try the box for dry skin this time around. It was also nice to change it up a bit. Since the selection window in March, my skin has actually bounced back to its natural state of being combo to slightly oily, but I enjoy hydrating products no matter what my skin is doing at the moment. This is actually one of my favorite boxes in all of the time I’ve been subscribing to Jini Beauty Box, so I’m very excited to share this box with you!

Disclosure: I purchased this box with my own money. This post does not contain affiliate links.

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In favorites, skincare, swatches on
March 10, 2017

What I’m Loving Right Now: February 2017 Favorites

Y’know how sometimes after you go through a rut with your beauty products, you come out of the rut with like 30 new loves? Well, that’s what happened here. I haven’t done a favorites post in several months because there just wasn’t anything making me excited enough to call it a favorite. There are a few exceptions to that, things I’ve been loving for a while, but just forgot to talk about for one reason or another. Psshh, how rude of me. I’m making up for it now by sharing the goods, including a few product combos that I think are really stellar. Are you ready for this jelly? Good, then I’ll stop blabbing and get into it!

Disclosure: This post does not contain affiliate links. This post is not sponsored. This post does not contain paid/sponsored product mentions. This post does include a product received as a PR sample, clearly labeled as such.

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French Luxury Meets Korean Innovation [Review] Erborian Yuza Double Lotion, Eau Ginseng, and Bamboo Matte Lotion

One of my favorite things about skincare, especially Korean skincare, is the innovation. New ingredients, new textures, new methods: I live for that stuff. There are numerous brands bringing out some very interesting products right now, and I think Erborian is one of those brands. Keep reading to find out why I think these Erborian lotions are something special.

Disclosure: These products were provided as PR samples, but the views expressed here are my own honest opinions and experiences. This review is not sponsored. This post does not contain affiliate links.

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Review: Jini Beauty Box Normal/Combination Skin January/Febuary 2017

I’ve been subscribing to Jini Beauty Box for about a year now, so I guess you could say things are kinda serious. I love that this box offers a mix of sheet masks, full size products, and deluxe sample sizes. Wanna see what was in the January/February box for Normal/Combo skin? Read on!

If you haven’t heard of Jini Beauty Box before, they’re a bi-monthly k-beauty subscription box that retails for $44.95. The box contains mostly skincare and one or two makeup items per box. You’re promised 6-8 full size products/deluxe samples, 2 sheet masks, and a few bonus sample packets. The unique premise with this box is that it’s curated by skin type (normal/combination, dry/mature, oily/acne, or sensitive/troubled). If you want to learn more about this box, I have an entire post here that explains everything about this box in-depth. Ingredients for all of the products included in the box can be found here.

You have until March 13 to sign up for the March/April box!

Disclaimer: I paid for this box with my own money. All views expressed are my own, authentic opinions. This post does not contain any affiliate links.



 Neogen Real Fresh Foam Green Tea Cleanser | Full Size

Retail value: $19 Sephora | Soko Glam

Jini Beauty says:

Wash away dirt, impurities, and excess oil with fermented green tea extract. This beloved cleanser brightens and hydrates skin without stripping away its natural moisture. Directions: (as step 2 cleanser) Pump 1 or 2 dollops of the cleanser into hands and lightly massage foam onto wet face. Rinse off foam with lukewarm water.

My Thoughts:

I haven’t really used this cleanser enough to form an opinion on it yet. My skin is quite dry at the moment from the Differin gel I’ve been using, so I don’t feel like I can really give this a fair shot. After my skin settles down, I’ll begin using it more regularly and update you guys at some point. For now, here’s what I can tell you. The pump dispenses, big, soft, fluffy foam that doesn’t immediately break down into a liquid, so it’s like rubbing fluffy clouds on your face. There’s not much of a scent to it in my opinion, but I have seen a few people mention it had an artificial/chemical-y smell to it, so proceed with caution if you’re very sensitive to smell. To me it doesn’t really smell like anything, just… clean? This cleanser also rinses easily and doesn’t leave a film behind.

Double & Zero Piggy Girl 3-Step Nose Pack | Full Size


Retail value: $?

I couldn’t find an active listing for these because they’re sold out everywhere right now. My estimate based on similar products would be between $2-5.


Jini Beauty says:

Each step plays an active role in clearing up your nose: step 1 melts and controls the sebum, blackheads, and other gunk inside your pores, step 2 cleanses and removes all that gunk, and step 3 tightens pores with collagen and soothes skin with witch hazel bark. Directions: (After toner) Adhere the given nose strips in order of steps 1 to 3 and leave on for the number of minutes specified by the clock diagram at each step. For step 2, wet nose thoroughly before using the strip. Gently tear off or remove the strips after use.

My Thoughts:

I’m not really the ideal candidate for blackhead removal strips because I don’t really have any on my nose. I know, I know, don’t throw tomatoes at me! I had them a lot as a teenager, so I know the struggle. That being said, I did see a few little nasties on the pore strip when I peeled it off, so it does work. Step 1 was a wet strip to help loosen the gunk. Step 2 was the sticky get-ready-to-rip-this-off-your-face-and-see-gross-stuff strip. Step 3 was a biocellulose sheet mask for the nose area to help soothe the skin. I didn’t experience any irritation from it and I thought it was fun to use. It’s not something I would repurchase because, like I said, I don’t really have an issue with blackheads on my nose, but I did enjoy using it.

Mamonde Moisture Ceramide Sleeping Peeling Mask | Deluxe Sample Size

Retail value: $ 3.15 (15 ml) | Full size $16.78 (80 ml) Amazon

Jini Beauty says:

This ingenious sleeping mask doubles as an exfoliator that melts away dead skin cells in your sleep. Hibiscus improves skin’s natural moisture barrier to maintain hydration during this peeling process. Directions: (Last step of night skincare) Spread the mask evenly over face and leave on overnight. Wash face as usual in the morning.

My Thoughts:

I’m totally fascinated by this because it’s something I’ve never seen before. It combines the exfoliating and brightening power of an acid with the hydration of a sleeping pack. What’s more impressive is the addition of ceramides to help strengthen the moisture barrier, which can be deteriorated if the skin is over-exfoliated. The texture was great: thick, soft, and comforting, but not so heavy it felt like my skin was being suffocated (not that skin actually breathes, that’s a myth). It also smells amazing, just like hibiscus. I’m a total exfoliation junkie and I love a good wallop of moisture, so this is something I’m really enjoying. It also came at a perfect time as I’ve been low-key burning my face off with Differin (if you wanna know more about that, check my Instagram). I feel like this mask really helps to seal in all of my other layers, and I love the concept of hydration + exfoliation, so this is something I can see myself repurchasing.

Mamonde Moisture Ceramide Light Cream | Deluxe Sample Size

Retail value: $9.60 (15 ml) | Full size $31.99 (50 ml) Amazon

Jini Beauty says:

This hibiscus cream has a special ceramide formula that provides fresh hydration without any stickiness. It helps smooth away flaking skin and rough patches while building a firm moisture barrier. Directions: (After serum) Dab a small amount of the cream over face and massage into skin.

My Thoughts:

This is like a lighter version of the sleeping pack, with the same light hibiscus scent that I love. I’ve mostly been layering this under the sleeping pack because I think they work well together. This is a thick cream in the jar, but once you start to rub it in, it thins out and absorbs easily. It’s hydrating without feeling heavy, so I think this would be a great every day cream for normal to combination skin types, even moderately dry skin types might like this. It leaves a nice velvety finish behind and makes my skin feel soft and hydrated. I like this cream, but there’s nothing that ‘wow’s me about it, it’s just a moisturizer. There are tons of moisturizers that I like (Belif Aqua Bomb, Dr. Jart Water Drop, Anthony Oil Free Facial Lotion, etc) and there are always more to try, so I don’t know that I would repurchase this one, but I also don’t have anything negative to say about it. I would choose to repurchase the Mamonde Sleeping Peeling Pack over this because I feel like it’s a more unique product, but they also serve different functions, and I like the way they work together.

A.H.C. The Real Eye Cream For Face Season 4 | Full Size

Retail value: $10.81 Amazon

Jini Beauty says:

Say hello to this famous eye cream that doubles as an intensive face cream. It reduces wrinkles and fights aging with ingredients such as fermented collagen, natural moisturization factor, goami extract, snail filtrate, ceramide complex, and 14 kinds of peptides. Directions: Pat a small amount of the cream under eyes and around creases. Spot treat other areas of face that are prone to wrinkles or where wrinkles have already formed.

My Thoughts:

I like this, but nothing can replace my precious Algenist Power 360 Eye Serum. This is a thick cream, with a bit of a perfumey scent. I don’t really notice it when I’m applying it, nor does it irritate my sensitive eyes, but it’s there. This cream also forms a bit of a barrier, which is something I like in an eye cream, and it hasn’t given me any millia. I haven’t been using this long enough to see results, but I do like it so far. Algenist has just totally spoiled me for all other eye treatment products.

Peripera Milk Moist Lip Balm in Peach Milk | Full Size

Retail value: $6 Club Clio

Jini Beauty says:

Say goodbye to dry chapped lips with this tinted lip balm in strawberry milk or peach milk flavors. The lip balm is infused with milk extract rich in moisture, protein, and vitamin D. Directions: Squeeze tube to dispense lip balm and apply directly to lips.

My Thoughts:

This smells so good😍 I love pretty much anything peach-scented, so this was an immediate winner for me. The balm is thick, plush, and non-sticky, with a slight orange tint. It’s quite hydrating and stays on well, but for me the main draw is the scent.


A’Pieu Tangle Jelly Mask Grape | Full Size

Retail value: $3.80 Amazon

Jini Beauty says:

This sheet mask contains 1,000 ppm of grape extract to vitalize and brighten your skin tone. The elastic jelly texture allows for deeper nourishment and absorption of the extract. Directions: (After toner) Place mask over face and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Pat remaining essence into skin for additional absorption.

My Thoughts:

I haven’t used this yet, but keep an eye out for a review on Instagram sometime in the next 1-2 weeks (it takes me a while to go through sheet masks, especially in the winter).

Natural Pacific Premium Metal Snow Mask | Full Size

Retail Value: $4 eBay

Jini Beauty says:

Your skin will enjoy radiance as bright as snow through this mask’s active ingredients of pearl extract, niacinamide, and vitamins. The unique silver coating helps retain moisture to allow for higher absorption and longer lasting hydration. Directions: (After toner) Adhere mask over face and leave on for 10-20 minutes. Massage in the excess serum.

My Thoughts:

I haven’t used this one yet either, but I’m super excited about it. I haven’t tried any of the metallic sheet masks yet, and I’ll take any excuse to wear a mask that I can use to scare my sister! Again, look for a review on my Instagram.

Bonus Samples:

I received the Holika Holika Good Cera Super Cream and the Too Cool For School Pink Girl Jelly Base as my bonus samples this month. I haven’t tried either of these products before, so I’m excited to give them a try!

Final Thoughts:

The total retail value of the January/February 2017 box was between $58.36 to $61.36, depending on the cost of the nose pack that I couldn’t find a price for, and not including the bonus samples. The cost of the box is $44.95, so that’s at least $13.41(possibly $16.41+)  more than what I paid for the box. I would like to see a little bit higher box value, especially since it’s now a bi-monthly box, but I also tend to cut smaller companies like Jini Beauty a break on box value (as long as it’s above what I paid!) because I know they don’t have access to the same bulk purchase discounts and distribution deals that larger companies like Ipsy and Birchbox have. I also factor in what my personal value of the box is, and since I’ll use everything in this box, it has a high value for me. I know that may not be the case for everyone, so take a look at previous boxes on Jini Beauty’s website or my previous reviews (note that these are all for the boxes prior to Jini Beauty switching to bi-monthly boxes) to get a feel for the boxes and to assess whether or not you think the subscription would be a good fit for you. I’ve consistently discovered new and exciting products in these boxes, including some I now consider favorites, such as the CosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner and the Cosmo Monster Aqua Gel Sunscreen, so it just makes sense for me to continue subscribing to Jini Beauty because I get so much out of it.
I think Jini Beauty Box is a great choice for beginners especially because it provides a variety of products tailored to your skin type and a helpful info card that even tells you where to use the product in your routine. As someone who’s been using Asian beauty products for quite a while now, I feel like I still discover new products, especially some lesser-known gems such as the Cosmo Monster Aqua Gel Sunscreen. If you think this box would be a good fit for you, I definitely recommend giving it a try.

A full list of ingredients  for the products in this box can be found here on their website. Reviews of all of the previous months’ boxes, as well as additional information about the service can be found here. If you’d like to subscribe to Jini Beauty Box, you can do so here. Additionally, Jini Beauty can be found on Instagram (they post spoilers for each month’s boxes!) and Twitter. I can also be found on Instagram and Twitter, come hang out with me!

Thanks for reading!

In deciem, review, skincare, the ordinary on
January 22, 2017

[Review] The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

I’m slowly but surely making my way through reviewing The Ordinary products I purchased when the brand first launched. Previously I reviewed the Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1% Blemish Serum, and I’m currently testing the 10% Lactic Acid, so if you’d like to follow along with my testing process check out my Instagram. The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% is a treatment product that offers similar benefits to retinol, but promises less/no irritating effects such as drying and peeling skin. Is this product from The Ordinary a low-cost, low-irritation retinol option worthy of praise? Let’s find out!

My Skin

Combo, acne-prone, clog-prone

I have a lot of texture and a bit of hyperpigmentation from the frequent clogs in my skin, so I mainly use a retinol/retinoid to reduce texture and pigmentation.


Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinol, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.


  • glycerin: A humectant that can help to protect the skin from dehydration
  • Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate: a form of retinol said to give the same results as retinol without the irritation

 Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (abbreviated HPR), […] is an ester of Retinoic Acid and works similar to Tretinoin (Retin–A) but without the irritation. Unlike Retinoic Acid, results of the standard RIPT (Repeat Insult Patch Test) skin irritation test showed no irritation after 21 days of continual use. And because it is not a drug it can be used in cosmetic products. Results of a two week study showed that a 0.1% concentration of HPR applied topically gave a 50% improvement in skin roughness and a 40% improvement in skin surface scaling, an indicator of dryness. No irritation was evident in any of the test subjects. And unlike Retinol and other derivatives that must be converted to the biologically active form of Retinoic Acid, HPR binds directly with Retinoid receptors to initiate a response (i.e. cell proliferation and differentiation) in the skin. Think of receptor binding as turning on or off a light switch. When the Retinoic Acid binds to the receptor the light switch turns on, initiating a cellular response. By the same token, HPR is also capable of turning on the light switch, whereas, Retinol and Retinyl Palmitate must first be converted to Retinoic Acid.

  • Retinol: Aids cell turnover, good for improving texture and pigmentation.
  • Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract: Anti-inflammatory, strengthens capillaries
  • Caprylic/capric triglyceride is a coconut-derived ingredient, so you’ll want to avoid this if you’re sensitive to coconut-based ingredients


Brown glass bottle with a dropper. Functional as it protects the product from light better than a frosted glass bottle would, but I would’ve preferred an airless pump for this product to further protect it from degradation. It’s not a big issue, but it’s something I would’ve expected The Ordinary/Deciem to do with this product considering the heavy emphasis on science in their advertising for this line.

Other Product Notes:

Scent: Not fragranced, but it does smell vaguely plasticy straight out of the bottle. Not something I noticed during application.
Texture: Thin, lotion-type texture like an emulsion. Very slippery but dries matte.
Absorbency: Takes a bit of time to absorb, maybe a minute. Doesn’t play well with oils, so you’ll want to use them during a different part of your routine (am/pm). I only had issues with this pilling when I used an oil over it, but you may find that this pills in combination with some moisturizers too depending on how much oil they contain.
Caution: Use sunscreen! You should be using sunscreen daily anyway, but it’s especially important to use one when you’re using a retinol or retinoid product as these can make your skin more prone to sunburns/sun damage.

My Experience:

As promised, there was no peeling or other side effects from this product, which was especially important to me as I’ve had a bad reaction to a retinol product in the past. Unfortunately I didn’t have wow-worthy results either. I did see a bit of improvement in the texture of my skin, so I do believe this product works. However, if, like me, you’re used to something with more impressive results such as Sunday Riley Luna Oil or a prescription retinol/retinoid, I doubt you’ll enjoy this. I would only recommend this to someone on a super tight budget or someone with apprehensions about using a retinol product. I wish I had something more mid-range to recommend as an alternative, but so far the only retinol I’ve loved is Luna Oil [full review of that here if you’re interested].
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% can be found here for $9.80 (1 oz)
Have you tried anything from The Ordinary so far? Anything from the line you want me to try? Let me know in the comments down below!
Want more skincare reviews? Come hang out with me on Instagram!
Thanks for reading!