May our skin grow beautiful, as we grow wiser.

Just another weblog

Introducing Brands : Sulwhasoo December 10, 2010



Today we would like to introduce probably our Number 1 brand in the world – Sulwhasoo.

Amore Pacific’s Sulwhasoo is no stranger to any Koreans. Ask any Korean women you know over 40 years old, and ask them what’s their beauty secret, and 5 out of 10 of them will answer you this : Sulwhasoo. All of my Korean friend’s mum uses Sulwhasoo, all of t hem swear by it. This is how reputable this brand is in Korea. Ask any of them – what do you think is the no.1 brand in Korea? And the answer will probably be Sulwhasoo too.




Paraben Free, Alcohol Free, Artificial Preservatives Free, Artificial Color Free, Mineral Oil Free, Talc Free, Silicone Free, Fragrance Free, Organic Natural BB Cream December 4, 2010

Consumers these days are getting more and more wary of what they are putting on their face. Paraben-free, alcohol-free, mineral-oil free : these words are no stranger to us anymore. However, most consumers do not even know the reason behind these words – what they do know is that they are not good for our skin, but are they really dangerous as everyone puts them to be? Or are these just marketing ploys made by ‘organic’/’natural’ companies to destroy the reputation of other brands who employ the use of these ingredients?

After extensive research online, we will be putting up a list of various BB Creams which are ALL paraben free, alcohol free, artificial preservatives free, and artificial colouring free. However some are not talc or mineral oil free – and mostly non are silicone free.

Before we get into the list, we will go through these so called ‘dangerous’ ingredients, you be the judge. These sources are compiled from different sites on the net.


Parabens are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products; they stop fungus, bacteria and other microbes from growing in your favourite creams and makeup, especially in the moist, warm environment of a bathroom.Their names are a mouthful—methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben. But over the past few years, a debate has been building among scientists, product safety regulators and cosmetic manufacturers about whether these ubiquitous chemicals, used for almost 70 years, may actually be harmful to our health.

Some of the questions being asked: Is the rising incidence of breast cancer linked in part to the fact that parabens, which have a weak ability to mimic estrogen, have been found in breast cancer tumours and can be isolated from other body tissues? Are declining sperm counts and increasing rates of male breast cancer and testicular cancer related to the fact that these chemicals can be absorbed into our skin, potentially disrupting our endocrine systems?

One recent Danish study, however, raised concerns. It showed that parabens could be detected in the blood and urine of healthy young male volunteers a few hours after paraben-containing lotions were applied to their skin. The authors concluded that since the chemicals could be absorbed, metabolized and excreted, they “could potentially contribute to adverse health effects.”

But Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), a U.S.-based industry-sponsored panel of experts that evaluates the safety of cosmetic ingredients, have all deemed that parabens are safe at current exposure levels. The CIR examined parabens in 1984 and again in 2005, and both times concluded that parabens at the low levels found in personal care products are not a concern. In 2005, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products confirmed that the use of methyl- and ethyl-paraben is safe as regulated. It is gathering data on other parabens.

Companies are increasingly switching to non-paraben preservative systems. Not because they believe that there is any dangers to them, but because it increases their marketability. With the rampant so-called dangers of parabens hitting the media, companies will use any reason to position themselves to take advantage of the situation. Even the companies will admit that they believe parabens are safe, but they want to open up another option. So please understand this: just because some companies maybe shifting away from parabens, this doesn’t mean that they are acknowledging any dangers associated with them!

My idol, Dr Leslie Baumman wrote a great article on Parabens. here / here

To read more about parabens and their controversies, click on these sites : here , here , here , here.


There are two types of alcohol – one that are good for the skin, the other bad.

There’s also two theories of alcohol – one is that alcohol is very irritating, drying and damaging to the skin, and that the other is that that alcohol evaporates once it is applied to the skin so it is just a carrier and doesn’t in fact make any difference.

There is a difference between alcohols. Some are good for the skin and don’t dry them out, some dry the skin out completely.

Read about the different types of alcohol here : here

To read more click : here, here, here, here,

Butylene/Propylene Glycol-Free

Propylene Glycol (PG, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG), and Ethylene Glycol (EG) are all petroleum derivatives that act as solvents, surfactants, and wetting agents.  They can easily penetrate the skin, and can weaken protein and cellular structure.  In fact, PG penetrates the skin so quickly that the EPA warns factory workers to avoid skin contact, to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.  PG is present in many stick deodorants, often in heavier concentration than in most industrial applications. (Nyack, Dr. Vin, Ph.D., Biochemist; personal communication).  And Propylene Glycol is what is used to carry the “active” ingredients in those transdermal patches INTO YOUR BODY.

Imagine a bottle of Anti-Freeze in a picture with shampoos, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions and toothpastes?

Read more : click here

Mineral Oil Free

Known also as paraffin oil/wax, liquidum  paraffinum.

Petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. Interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Used in many products (baby oil is 100% mineral oil!) Any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH’s (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.

Breast cancer and impurities. EWG’s assessment of product ingredient labels and data on cancer-causing chemicals identified three common impurities in personal care products that are linked to mammary tumors in animal studies — ethylene oxide, PAHs, and 1,3-butadiene. Since September 2004 the EU has banned the use of petroleum jelly due to the carcinogenic contamination found in products containing petrolatum. The ingredients for which these impurities are of concern are used in one of every four personal care products on the market.

However, there are also different grades of Mineral Oil – so it really depends.

Read more about it here, here, here, here.

Artificial Coloring Free

Synthetic Colors — The synthetic colors used to supposedly make a cosmetic “pretty” should be avoided at all costs, along with hair dyes. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6. Synthetic colors are believed to be cancer-causing agents. If a cosmetic contains them, don’t use it.

Sure, they make your favorite products look inviting, but synthetic tints can contain a host of unnamed, and unsafe, ingredients. If you don’t tolerate mystery ingredients in your food, why trust them in your cosmetics? “Why would anyone want blue lotion?” asks Kathleen Lewis, who runs her self-named line of skincare products in Brooklyn, New York, and believes products needn’t be “unnecessarily decorative.” “What’s worse than blue,” says Pangea’s Onysko, “is white. Why does any lotion need to be white?” Many milk-hued “natural” products are made with refined, bleached oils, so just looking for FD&C Blue No. 1 or D&C Red No. 4 may not be enough.

Fragrance Free

The synthetic fragrances used in cosmetics can have as many as 200 ingredients. There is no way to know what the chemicals are, since on the label it will simply say “Fragrance.” Some of the problems caused by these chemicals are headaches, dizziness, rash, hyperpigmentation, violent coughing, vomiting, skin irritation by a cosmetic that has the word “Fragrance” on the ingredients label.

The catchall terms “fragrance,” “parfum,” and “perfume” can conceal thousands of synthetic ingredients. Nicole Maust, owner of Talulah Natural Skin Care, says that numerous reports have linked fragrance oils to such conditions as birth defects, cancer, brain damage, respiratory disorders, chronic skin reactions, and environmental damage through waste water. “Many constituents of synthetic fragrances, including phthalates, can be absorbed into the body through the skin, inhaled as fumes, and ingested when they’re in products like lipstick,” she says. But some companies, like Max Green Alchemy (MGA), use the term “parfum” for innocuous essential oils that have no other therapeutic effects. Wil Baker, the vice president of MGA, explains that the FDA allows “fragrance” to include natural as well as synthetic aromas. It might help, he says, to ask manufacturers if they use fragrance “from a plant or a plant in New Jersey.”

Talc Free

Scientific studies have shown that routine application of talcum powder in the genital area is associated with a three-to-fourfold increase in the development of ovarian cancer.

Read more here.

BB Creams (korean names included if you want to purchase it from Gmarket) :

1. 비비야  비비크림 Bibiya BB Cream (BibiyaBB크림 in Gmarket)

2. Skin Ceramic BB Cream 스킨세라믹 비비크림

3. Ecobeau BB  Cream (contains only 0.3% dimethicone)

4. Vichy Aera BB Cream

5. Swanicoco Snail Extract BB cream 달팽이 피부관리 비비크림

6. 자연의벗 BB크림 Eco.Be BB Cream

7. 자연마을 화이트닝 비비크림 Jayeonmaeul BB Whitening Cream

8. Caolion Match Blemish Balm SPF 30 매치 블래미쉬 밤 BB크림

9. Caolion Sensitive BB cream 카오리온 비비크림

10. Isoi 아이소이 Bulgarian Rose BB Cream ( Silicone Free too)


11. 르샤 비비 크림  Lesha BB Natural Mineral Sun BB Cream Spf 50

12. 프라젠트라 마더스 비비크림 Plagentra Mother’s BB cream – for pregnant mother

13. 클레어스 일루미네이팅 서플 블레미쉬 크림 Klair’s Illuminating Supple Blemish Cream

14. Dr MLE Triple BB Cream 닥터엠엘이 트리플 BB크림

15. 이니스프리 에코 내추럴 그린티 비비크림 Innisfree Green Tea BB Cream


17. 에코 내추럴 커버 비비크림 Innisfree Eco Natural Cover BB Cream

18. 에코 내추럴 선케어 비비크림 Innisfree Eco Natural Sun Balm


19. 에코 세이프티 비비크림 포맨 Innisfree Eco Natural BB Cream For Men





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Innisfree Windy Lip Balm November 24, 2010


Inisfree, a naturalistic brand that uses 99% natural  ingredients and under the Amore Pacific Corporation ( Laneige, IOPE, Sulwhasoo etc..)  has released three new lip balm from their Jeju Island line (the other being the Jeju Island Volcanic Pore Mud Mask).

5% of the sales from this item will be donated to the Jeju Island committee to preserve the island.  Ingredients include sunflower oil, palm seed butter, babassu oil/cusi oil – a clear light yellow vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of babassu palm and has similar properties to coconut oil,  and other naturally derived ingredients which makes up of 99% of the composition.

The lip balm is available in 3 flavours – Green Tea (White tube), Camellia ( light red tube), and Tangerine (Orange tube).

Retailed for 8000 won (15ml).

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New : SkinFood’s Omega Inca line & Cosmetic launch


Skinfood – ‘good cosmetics nade with delicious food’ – has released it’s new line – called the Omega Inca  line.

So what exactly is the INCA Omega Oil ?

This vegetable oil is extracted from the seeds of the Sacha Inchi plant, a small plant that produces mall hermaphrodite flowers producing small pods which has usually 6 lobes. This plant is cultivated mainly in Peru at the heart of the Inca culture. Inca Omega Oil contains one of the highest amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids among all oily seeds used for human consumption. It reaches an average of 48% content of alfa-linolenic acid (omega 3) and an average of 37% content of linolelic acid (Omega 6). Additionally it also contains 8% of Oleic Acid (Omega 9).

Not only that, it is also very high in Tocopherol ( Vitamin E) concentration.

Abilities of Inca Omega Oil includes :

– Reduction of Trans-Epidermal Water Loss

– Improvement of Skin Barrier function

– Reduces hyper-sensitivity

– Improves microcirculation

– PUFA (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) protect the cell’s membrane and prevent the destruction of DNA.

Products in the INCA Line will include :

1) Essence 140ml – 9,900 won

2) Emulsion 140ml – 9,900 won

3) Cream 50ml – 10,900 won

4) Eye cream 25ml – 9,900 won


Also, Skinfood will also be launching it’s first cosmetics make up line at the end of the year.  Pearl with be the highlight of the line.

The makeup line will include

1) Cake Party All Over Powder – 13,900 won – consists of 4 eye shadow colors (can be used as highlighter, blush or powder too).

2) Partty Pearl Lip Gloss – 5,900 won

3) Pearl Party –2,900 won – nail polish with shimmering silver glitter.

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BB Cream for very dry skin : IOPE Super Vital Extra Moist BB SPF33 PA + +


Good news for those of you who have been searching high and low for a BB Cream  for your very dry skin. Introducing the IOPE Super Vital EXTRA Moist BB Cream SPF 33.

IOPE is a brand under the Amore Pacific Corporation, Korea’s largest cosmetic company bearing brands like Sulwhasoo, Mamonde and Laneige under its wings.

As most of you might not be familiar with this brand, IOPE shot to fame after releasing it’s star product and best seller till today – the ‘ IOPE Super Vital Extra Moist Cream ‘ which has been upgraded recently – and of course the BB Cream from the same line was released last month.

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Since it’s release last month, the Super Vital Extra Moist BB Cream has already exceeded sales expectations in less than a month and has been a hit with ladies with dry skin. This BB Cream contains 40% of the Super Vital Extra Moist Cream and is three times more moisturizing that the BB Creams out in the market. This BB Cream also contains Pearl Powder .

This BB Cream is retailed for 55,000 won ( 35ml ).

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Alexander Kimsco BB Cream Ceramide November 20, 2010



Alexander Kimsco is the KING of all BB Creams. It was also one of the first BB Creams that hit the market ( after Schrammek’s BB Cream ).  After the success of Schrammek’s Blemish  Balm, other german cosmetic companies also launched their own BB Cream, and Alexander Kimsco was one of them.

Amongst the the brands, Alexander Kimsco’s was one of the more popular brands because it came in skin color that gave a natural look compared to other brands that were grey in color ( However, i beg to differ here! )

In 1990, Alexander Kimsco establied a subsidiary in Korea and released their First BB Cream. That BB Cream that made Alexander Kimsco a household name was their ‘BmB Blemish Balm’ .


In 2009, they released a new BB Cream called the Alexander Kimsco Ceramide BB Cream ( which will be reviewed ).

What Are Ceramides?

First of all, let us understand the name behind this BB Cream. What exactly are ceramides?

Scientists are uncovering the important role that ceramides play in the barrier function of the skin. The top layer of the skin is the epidermis, and the top layer of the epidermis is thestratum corneum (SC). Even though the SC is very thin — 10-30 mm or one-tenth the thickness of a piece of paper — it is the main barrier of the skin. It keeps chemicals that come in contact with the skin from absorbing into the body, and it keeps water inside the skin from leaching out.

The SC contains three types of lipids — ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids. These lipids have different chemical compositions and different functions throughout the body. There are nine different types of ceramides in the SC, conveniently named ceramide 1 through ceramide 9, and they account for 40-50% of the lipids in this outermost layer.

Scientists have learned that people who have eczema have significantly fewer ceramides in their SC. On the other hand, people with psoriasis(another itchy, flaky rash sometimes confused with eczema) have the same number of ceramides compared to people with normal skin.

Recent studies have shown that lipids can be replaced with topical preparations. Interestingly, all three lipids have to be replaced at a certain ratio to restore the barrier function of the skin. If the incorrect balance of lipids is applied, it actually takes longer for the skin to heal. The healing effect of ceramides has been studied in eczema, but there are no studies yet for psoriasis.

Moisturizers with Ceramides – Not All the Same

There are several moisturizers that claim to have ceramides in their ingredients, but these are just regular moisturizers unless they can show:

  • The moisturizer also contains cholesterol and free fatty acids
  • The ratio of these three ingredients is correct

That is what Alexander Kimso’s Ceramide BB Cream is all about. As BB Creams was firstly used for those who has undergone cosmetic treatments ( such as laser peel, etc) and for those with skin problems such as eczema – therefore, it is only natural that Ceramides was used as the main ingredient here.

The Ceramide BB Cream helps keep moisture in the skin  and contains the same balance of lipids as your skin.

Ceramide moisturises are extremely useful to treat eczema, but they can be used by anyone with dry skin.

To read more on moisturisers with Ceramides, click here !


As i was given a 5ml sample, i cannot comment on the packaging, but here it is how it looks like : comes in a simple 50ml tube. It is really sad to say that the packaging isn’t appealing at all. In fact, the european-made BB Creams such as Schrammek, Alexander Kimsco, etc have the ugliest BB Cream packaging in the world and cannot be compared to their Asian counterpart. The packaging isn’t desirable at all and makes it seem like a cheap product!



1) Ceramide – please refer to the What Are Ceramides section above.


2) Licorice Extract – from the Licorice Plant known also as sweetwood and black sugar since the extract is very sweet. As an herbal supplement, licorice extract is said to boost the immune system, aid in the function of antioxidants. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.


3) Cera Alba – also known as Beeswax. It helps as binder when manufacturing and also helps withstabilizing the emulsion when combining water and oil based products while conditioning the skin and thickening the mixture.

The inclusion of beeswax in a formula does NOT make the product tacky or oily – but helps to create a very luxurious “feel” to the product.

It is classified as a binder, emulsion stabilizer, fragrance ingredient, skin conditioning agent (miscellaneous), surfactant (emulsifying agent) and a viscosity increasing agent and chemically classed as a wax.

Texture and Color

The texture here is rather unique, i have not felt such texture before with any BB Creams or even Creams. My guess is that it is probably due to the ceramides?

It leaves a matte feeling on your skin and does not feel oily at all. However i do feel that this is a love-it or hate-it texture. Personally, i felt weird initially because i’ve never felt such texture/feeling before, but i came to like it after a few uses. It feels like the cream creates a barrier over the skin , and doesn’t feel like the slippery smooth feeling that most BB Creams have ( which is due to silicones ).

However, this cream will not give you that moist feeling and those with very dry skin will definitely need to apply some cream before the BB Cream. For those with oily skin, you will probably be happy with it’s texture.

The BB Cream looks very creamy and rich in texture, but it isn’t quite the case once applied to skin as it doesn’t give that rich feeling that it seems to have. It also needs a little rub when applying to your skin due to it’s creamy thick texture.


Colour wise , this BB Cream is very natural. It is actually one of the more natural colours i’ve seen in BB Creams. However, this BB Cream did give me a shock when i applied it for the first time because the greyish tone was very heavy and my skin looked so dull and ‘ash-ified’.

However, i found out what the problem was – i was suppose to wait for a few minutes to let the BB Cream sink into my skin and blend with my skin tone ( which applies to ALL BB Creams! ). After a few minutes, it gave a very natural look.


SC : Skin Ceramic BB

B : Beaute Derm BB

SV : SunnySide VIP BB

A: Alexander Kimsco Ceramide BB







The coverage for this product isn’t very good. Although it is an excellent skin camouflage because of it’s very natural colour, it sadly lacks in coverage. Those of you with big pores, scars will have to cover it with something else, but this BB Cream serves as an excellent make up base because it keeps your skin matte and helps protect from loss of moisture.




Before :


After :


Before ( On my troubled cheek Sad smile ),  After : Not much difference Sad smile :


Before and after on my less troubled cheek :


Oil Control

One word to describe : FANTASTIC!

This BB Cream has one of the best oil-controlling properties i’ve come across on any BB Creams. It’s perfect for those with oily skin. After 8 hours, my skin doesn’t feel very oily, and feels very comfortable!

Here’s some proof :

The time when the photo was taken is noted on the blotting paper itself on the right.

SC : Skin Ceramic BB

B : Beaute Derm BB

SV : SunnySide VIP BB

A: Alexander Kimsco Ceramide BB







On its own :







Incredible isn’t it? Even after 12 hours, the oil doesnt even cover 1/4 of the blotting paper!


The question is now : Is it worth spending $100 on this BB Cream? Is it even worth $100? My answer is sadly No.

While i’m satisfied with this BB Cream, i do feel that it’s price is too steep for a BB Cream. One can easily find another BB Cream that does the same job for much less!  However, i believe that the steep price is due to the high-quality natural ingredients that was used to make this BB Cream. Ceramide itself is a rather expensive ingredient. However, i would purchase a sample size of it on days when i need to look fabulously naturally !

While i do love it’s very natural color ( and hates its very greyish base it gives on first few minutes of application ) , i have to say it has one of the best oil controlling properties. The BB Cream is also very comfortable to use and doesn’t dry up your skin, nor does it make it oily. When applied, you will feel that there is some kind of a ‘barrier’ on your skin.

On the coverage side, it is average. Those with no skin problems would find this enough, but those who wants more coverage should skip this product, or use it as a make-up base.

For it’s moisturizing properties, those with dry skin would definitely need to apply their usual cream before this BB Cream. For those living in countries where it’s summer all year long, this might do just enough! And for those with oily skin, you definitely just need to apply this to your face and skip the moisturizer!

Here is the before  (just after cleansing ) and after ( 5 minutes after applying the BB cream)  results with the skin analyzer :




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Gmarket Haul Number 5 November 16, 2010

Hope In A Blog received their 5th Gmarket Haul and almost everything was from the LG Corporation! (Yes, LG like the handphone manufacturer, i bet most of you don’t know that they do produce very good cosmetics skincare too right?)  Smile

Don’t you love openings lots of boxes at one goal? Hehe..

I was sent the wrong item AGAIN. I don’t understand why sellers can’t check their items before sending it out! And GMartket isn’t useful here too. When there’s a wrong item, we need to send the item back via EMS and pay for it first. EMS will then refund the money via Gbalance. Who the hell wants MORE Gbalance? It’s useless for us international users and makes our shopping at Gmarket such a pain in the ass.

My wrong item sent : It was suppose to be the Anti-Trouble Serum but they sent the Herb Clay Pore Refining Mask (w hich i already have! ).

LG Corporation’s luxury brand called Sum 37. It is said to be the Korean equivalent of SK-II (using fermentation!)

All opened up. Boy, these babies are heavy and love the luxury packaging!

On top of that, we bought lots of samples from another LG Corporation luxury brand called The History Of Whoo ( who is on head on competition with Amore Pacific’s award winning brand Sulwhasoo ) . Even the samples have such luxurious packaging. We bought the full size Whoo Whitening BB Cream though Smile

Sulwhasoo is an amazing brand and we swear that once we finish using these samples, we will be buying the full size products. Support original products please! Smile

On a different note, the GMarket has been really pissing me off (and the customer service too… ). I was not able to leave multiple reviews for all of my shipments on Gmarket ( since the first shipment till the 5th.. ), and have lost about 80+ GStamps and 80,000+ mileage… I really hope GMarket does something about this.. before i launch a worldwide boycott ! Smile

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