My Acne Ride or Die: D’Ran Wonder Tea Tree Essence Review

D’ran is a Korean dermatological brand whose products rely on many natural herbal ingredients to deliver results. The D’ran Wonder Tea Tree Essence contains a powerful 5% concentration of Tea Tree Oil, in addition to several other nutritive and hydrating powerhouse ingredients.

This essence is supposed to help with a multitude of skin woes, most notably acne and excess sebum, but also with tone/textural issues like scarring and PIH. While the product focuses on “natural effectiveness,” it also boasts suitability for sensitive skin.

The brand claims that this product is multi-functional, meaning that it can potentially be used on the scalp to help manage dandruff and irritation while providing nourishment. I have only ever used this on my face and neck, so I can’t speak for this product’s effectiveness when used in this manor.


Water, Butylene Glycol, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensus root Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Alcohol, Niacinamide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Ammonium Acryloydimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glyceryl Caprylate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Adenosine

Click here for the CosDNA analysis

Macadamia Seed Oil: improves skin elasticity and helps with moisture retention

Tea Tree Leaf Extract/Oil: a classic anti-acne ingredient, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties

Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Argan Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil: all are highly moisturizing. Meadowfoam can help strengthen the skin barrier (skin protective ingredient) as the oil closely resembles human sebum. Argan Oil has nutritive properties that can lend a healthy glow to the skin. Jojoba Seed Oil has soothing properties in addition to being highly moisturizing.

Vitamin E: a deeply hydrating ingredient with antioxidant and smoothing properties.

D’ran Wonder Tea Tree Essence also contains a few of my favorite ingredients, namely both the whitening/brightening niacinamide and deeply hydrating sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid).

A quick heads up that this product does contain alcohol which can be irritating to some. Tea Tree can also be known to sting a little when first applied (like Vitamin C).

The Results:

I’m nearly through my second bottle of this essence and have been very happy with the results. For my skin, this product’s main draw is its anti-acne properties, but before I began delving into using prescription-strength actives, also one of the most helpful products in terms of reducing red marks/PIH.

Tea Tree is a very old, time-tested, acne fighting ingredient, and at a 5% concentration, unlike many tea tree products, this essence’s concentration is high enough to actually yield results. It helps prevent the formation of acne without drying out or irritating the skin. After a little over two weeks of consistent, twice daily use, I began seeing a decrease in the number and severity of spots, especially around my ever-acne-prone chin/jaw area.

I had some very mild pockmarked areas on my cheeks and a lot of PIH from over a year’s struggle with adult acne to contend with. After finishing about 2/3 of my first bottle of this essence, much of my PIH had lightened from deep red/purple to a light pink/brown. Some of the less severe PIH wasn’t even visible anymore! I also noticed that my skin was a lot smoother in the pockmarked areas, to the point that it was no longer noticeable at all with minimal makeup on, and only visible with no makeup on to those hunting for it.

I started using actives around the time I finished my first bottle of this essence, and I think the results of this product in terms of skin lightening/texture are comparable to most 8% AHA’s, but it may take an extra month or two for this product to show the same results.

However, even though most actives may work a little quicker than this essence, this essence isn’t anywhere near as drying (or as finicky-no pH or wait times to worry about!), and also delivers superior anti-acne benefits to regular AHA/BHA products. Its only drawback is potential stinging/burning. Just like most actives (think Vitamin C) and anti-acne products, any sensitive area (like sunburn) or open wound/acne is going to sting and/or burn slightly upon application. It is not severe by any means and quickly dissipates after a few minutes, but it is something to consider if sensitive skin is an issue.

I am now steadily working through my second bottle of this D’ran Tea Tree Wonder Essence, and am still impressed with how helpful it is in managing acne, and even more so, with its gentleness. Even in combination with a prescription-strength treatment, it still does not dry out my skin, and has been vital in helping manage my roller-coaster skin purging experience(s). I continue to see my skin’s texture evening and smoothing out with continual use, which may be in part due to the heavy-hitting active I am using, but given the results of my first bottle, I know this essence is helping those results along as well.

Some other perks worth mentioning include the super-sanitary pump bottle packaging, the sturdy glass bottle, and the lack of smell. There is also no wait time, pH adjustment, or photo-sensitivity to worry about. It is also amazingly quick to absorb, and other products can easily be added on top of this product-including makeup (no balling, fuzzing, etc).

Rating: 2-a solid part of my routine for now ๐Ÿ™‚

Rating Scale:

1:Holy Snails! Its a Holy Grail!

2:Current-routine worthy (would buy again unless I found something better)

3:Meh, it was worth a try

4: Bleh, this was terrible. Donโ€™t buy this. Ever.



Why I Got Into Korean Skin Care

Hello my lovely readers!

I briefly touched on this topic in my first post ever (click here if you dare. Gosh, the embarrassment), but I never really elaborated on the why’s of my deep love for Korean skin care. Out of all the possible hobbies to have chosen to really and truly love in this life, I picked this thing of all things. Does it make any sense to you? Because it makes zero sense to me! So, in short, this is why I’m hooked for life:

  1. Hands down, it is the only thing that has ever really worked for my skin because it’s gotten down to the roots of my problems vs masked the side effects.
  2. The packaging is either gorgeously elegant or super cute, and either way I want to stare at it and use it every morning and night for the remainder of my adult life. Etude House will forever have my soul.
  3. Prevention is the best cure. Like, duh, why did I not put two and two together when I was using Windex and toothpaste in my teen years? Thank God I mainly stayed indoors and didn’t tan. This makes so much more sense than the American deal-with-it-as-it-comes approach.
  4. Its so affordable. Even with shipping, you can get so much bang for your buck in terms of quality and quantity. Not to mention all those wonderful freebies and samples.
  5. There is an infinite supply of super weird, super amazing products that the U.S. has never heard of…sheet masks? facial mists? cleansing balls? What about all the cool, unique ingredients? It’s a skin care junkie’s dream. I can experiment all I want and barely feel guilty about it!
  6. It’s discovery came to me at a point in my life when I was really struggling. It was my hardest semester of college, I was balancing waaaaaaaay too many difficult (and in hindsight, stupid) things on my plate, lots of drama in both my work and home life, several really expensive and really awful health problems, you name it, it was happening. Quite frankly, everything just sucked (in a first world problem kind of way). Finding something that sparked some long lost inspiration and a nudged me towards self-care was a total blessing for my burnout. The Korean skin philosophy created a small sliver of order in all the chaos that was going on around me. It made me look better, made me feel better. It gave me something to calm me down in the evenings and something to invigorate me in the mornings. Putting that 30 minutes aside everyday to just focus on taking care of myself helped pull me back to a place of empowerment where I could make the changes I needed to to get my life not to just where I wanted it to be, but surpass those expectations as well. In full honesty, no tub of face cream, Korean brand or not, will magically fix your life and make you happy, but the dedication to your face and yourself that the extensive Korean method requires can be advantageous to those between a rock and a hard place. At least, that’s how it worked for me ๐Ÿ˜…

Needless to say, the Korean routine has done a heck of a lot for me, and I hope if you dare go down the Korean path and risk becoming as obsessed as me, it is everything I find it to be and more. My love for it was a major motivating factor for when I first started the Skintuition beauty blog.

Has something beauty ever gotten you hook, line, and sinker before? Real Technique’s beauty blenders don’t count ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pore You: Banish Blackheads and Clogged Pores for Good

Regular dead skin cell maintenance  is a vital component in maintaining healthy-looking, glowing skin. Reducing dead skin cell build-up also lessens the formation blackheads, clogged pores, and other forms of acne. In addition, regular use of pore masks, BHA’s, and exfoliants can help with textural and tone issues in the skin.

At the start of September, having been slacking more than I’d care to admit in the exfoliation department, I jumped on a pore-cleansing bandwagon, whipping out some old favorites and trying some new products guaranteed to pull out blackheads by the roots and liquefy clogged pores. Over the course of the month, my skin showed some major results. All that extra attention really paid off! I learned a lot in the process and discovered a few new products worthy of incorporating into my regular routine.

Three Step Nose Packs:

Pig nose clear blackhead 3 step kit


This kit uses a 3 step process to remove those pesky nose blackheads. The first step is cleansing, the second is an actual peel-off pore strip, and the third is a hydrogel mask just for the nose area. Each step is worn for 10-15 minutes.

Step 1: It was strongly citrus scented (much like the household cleaners type of citrus) and had a cooling effect. It had a good fit, but was slippery. I had to lay down to keep it on my face.

Step 2: Remove step one, wet nose area, apply the peel-off pore strip. The adhesive side was an adorable shade of pink. It didn’t feel uncomfortable or tight as it dried. It fit only around the nose area, and adhered to all areas (no bubbles, etc).

Step 3: Slowly peel off step two. Apply the hydrogel mask. Wearing this for a full 10 minutes was hard because it smelled so bad. It was something I couldn’t quite place other than something normal skincare product mixed with industrial plastic. Bad combination, especially when it is literally surrounding your nose!


The results:

This took out blackheads in their entirety (no half a pore’s worth here), especially around nose edges where the blackhead population tends to grow the most. However, the strip only grabbed the biggest of the blackheads (the “ripe” ones most ready to come out so to speak), but not many of the medium-sized to smaller ones.

It is definitely a step up from the usual drugstore pore strips, and I love the idea of a three step approach that preps and soothes. I also was impressed with the amount of blackheads it removed from the sides of my nose-an area the larger strips tend to neglect.

In all honesty though, these are just not as good as BHA+ Elizavecca Hell-Pore Clean Up Mask combination I usually rely on. This pack maybe hit 1/2-2/3 what that combo does on my nose area.

3.5- I may buy this again in the future, but I definitely won’t be relying solely on these for blackhead management.

Ettang Peeling Soothing Mask:


This is a two step mask, featuring a mild chemical peeling gel that is followed by a soothing, moisturizing mask.

Step One: The peeling gel comes in a small, detachable packet. It gets rubbed into the face for 30 seconds, then needs to be rinsed off.

This step blew my mind. I am not kidding. Once the gel hit my face, so much, SO MUCH, dead skin and pore gunk started turning white, lifting, and balling up. I honestly wished I had filmed this step because the amount of dead skin that was coming off my face was so large, it was actually scary. I have to now revoke my love for my old holy grail product, Cure Natural Aqua Gel, in favor of this peel. That’s right. It has replaced my longest standing holy grail it is so amazingly awesome!

Since its a chemical peel, many people would expect some painful/annoying side effects. However, there was no stinging, burning, etc during application. After I rinsed off what looked to be my entire face’s worth of skin down the sink, there was a very slight hot/tightly sensation, plus my face was very faintly pink. At the ends of the day, this product is incredibly gentle for how effective this peel is. Frankly, Vitamin C hurts a lot worse.

Step 2: This mask is built to soothe, nourish, and hydrate. The mask is super generous with material, making it a very versatile fit. It reached up to my hairline, had ample under eye coverage, and there was enough material around the chin area to almost completely cover my face underneath.

The mask was also deliciously soft, which is a necessity if following a peel. Good call, Ettang!

The essence was a milky white, containing ingredients such as soothing aloe, nourishing silkworm, and protective and hydrating medowfoam extracts.  It was to be worn for 20-30 minutes, but it was still so wet after the 30 minute mark, I went ahead and wore it for another 20 min. The mask was still damp enough to wear for maybe an additional 15 minutes, but I was in (dire) need of food. That kind of wear time (and without a silicone mask sheet to help!) is amazing.

Taking the sheet mask off, my skin was unrecognizably soft and smooth. It wasn’t pink, irritated, or showing any sign of having lost so many dead cells. My face felt ridiculously clean and hydrated…on levels I don’t think I’d ever experienced before.

That sort of clean feeling is downright addictive!

1-I need this in my life, once a week, indefinitely. Holy Grail, hands down.

Elizavecca Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask


This product is as fun as it is effective. The smile it puts on my face every time I use it would be worth the repurchase alone, even if it didn’t reduce the appearance of my pores and bubble gunk to the surface.

It tickles like crazy as it foams up, but is a lot more comfortable to wear than my beloved Scinic All Day Fine Pore Mask. I think the bubbling “technology” that supposedly allows the clay to stay in a more nutrient-delivering state (over quickly drying up) for longer, meaning more nourishment for the skin, actually works. 

It doesn’t give that tight, clean feeling like traditional clay masks, but leaves the skin soft, moisturized, and visibly cleaner looking. A better clay mask alternative for us dry skinned folk, but honestly, any skin type could use this with great results.

2-it’s too fun not to use on a regular basis, plus I’m growing addicted to the softness and smoothness of my skin after using this.

And, in a post about pores and their maintenance, I would be committing a sin if I didn’t mention Ciracle’s Sebum Control Powder. Acne forms when dead skin cells, debris, and bacteria become trapped inside of a pore because excess sebum has essentially “glued” them together, inside the pore. When this cocktail is exposed to air, it oxidizes and turns black, forming a, you guessed it, blackhead. 

This powder not only has an amazing, budge-proof hold that can be a lifesaver for setting/preserving makeup (even in Florida summers!), but really helps manage oiliness (sebum) throughout the day without being drying in the slightest. This effect can help prevent the formation of acne by helping control excess sebum which may clog pores.

Regular attention to pore maintenance and dead skin removal can make an amazing difference in skin texture and appearance. A routine that incorporates exfoliation and specific pore products around 2-4 times per week will make skin healthier and give it a natural glow, no makeup required. Many of these products are really fun and unique as well; skintertainment at its best!

How I Fixed My Keratosis Pilaris

YYQ3XBYDAPMany people struggle with a skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris. This skin condition causes tiny, acne-like bumps and dry patches to form on the arms, thighs, cheeks, and buttocks; the bumps form due to an overproduction of a protein called keratin which can block pores. It’s by no means a serious condition, but it can be annoying and unsightly. Its also not really curable: it can only be managed and subdued.

I’ve struggled with these little bumps on my upper arms ever since I can remember. In grade school, I was always so embarrassed to wear short sleeves or go sleeveless. A couple of times, kids would ask “eew, what are those?!” and for my middle school self, comments like those did nothing for my self-esteem. I’ve tried countless methods over the years to eradicate these stupid SOB’s but nothing really worked. I spent my middle school and high school years in 3/4 tops and sweaters, embarrassed and self-conscious (in only the way a typical teenager can be) about my bumpy arms.

It was by no means severe (except in my teenage mind, which, well, we’ve all been there), but I didn’t register that fully until I hit true adulthood (and had other bigger things to worry about like college finals, bills, real health problems, and, of course, adult acne).

As most of my readers know, Asian (well, Korean) skincare is more exciting to me than the creation of pre-sliced cheese and bread. Along the way down that rabbit hole, I picked up two products (I’m getting to them, I swear!) that in a true stroke of luck/fate/whatever have you, I combined and applied to my arms and was like “whoa!”

Status: keratosis pilaris remission achieved!

Now that all that background is out of the way, here is the method that took my upper arms from full-on granola mode to sleeveless-ready.

I use two products: Papa Recipe White Flower Clear Up 8% AHA Gel and Let’s Cure C-ster High Performance Powder.

The AHA gel stinks to high heaven (and much MUCH worse than a typical AHA which will smell like butt to begin with) and that rotting fish odor on my face was just something I couldn’t tolerate even for the sake of skincare…and that is saying something. Being the ardent “waste not, want not” stingy person that I am, I had to find another way to use it.

Within this time frame, I also picked up my first, very sad attempt at Vitamin C and wound up with a powder formulation that was supposed to be mixed with whatever moisturizer of choice. I didn’t know anything about pH or using vitamin C at the time, and when I used it on my face for 2 months, several times a week, and was not seeing anything that resembled results, it went into the same pile as the AHA.

And then I got creative and decided to mix the two. I had noticed that the Vitamin C powder helped neutralize the scents of whatever it was mixed with and lend it a gentle citrus-y note. Figuring the AHA couldn’t get any worse, I went ahead and mixed it as a 1:1 ratio (as per the C-ster powder instructions) and slathered the slightly less terrible solution on my upper arms where it wouldn’t be directly under my nose.

To use these two products up and get them off my valuable counter surface real estate, I mixed this solution up every night fresh and applied it. Within about a month of doing this, I started noticing how soft and smooth my normally rough upper arms were getting. Within two months (the products you don’t want always last the longest right?), my arms were 98% clear-the most “normal” arm state I ever remembered achieving.

Its now been three months since arriving at this lucky fusion of crap products and my arms are totally tank-top appropriate. They are also ridiculously soft. While I do have to apply sunscreen to my arms now in addition to my face, its worth the newfound texture.

I have yet to totally decide whether or not the Vitamin C powder actually works  (its just sketchy as hell y’all), the AHA definitely does as its not only at a powerful 8% concentration, but also a powerful exfoliator which keeps keratin from building up and forming bumps.

Before I conclude this post, I just want to say that I am no doctor or scientist and I’ve also been very bad and not done any research on if these two formulas can be mixed together without preservative measures cancelling out the other, etc. I figured (for my own safety, when I first played mad-cosmetic-scientist on my vanity) that the C-ster powder could be mixed with any moisturizer of choice, and since that territory was pretty broad, I figured why not a gel? If the C-ster powder actually does work, it would work with a product with similar pH needs. When it didn’t burn my arms off or anything, I think just mixing it up fresh, every night is safe enough for my own self. I would NOT recommend keeping a bottle of this stuff pre-mixed as, despite the fact these are acids, who knows what might want to play petri dish? (And geez, whatever would grow in THOSE conditions, I would NOT want on my face even more than just typical compact cushion/hangbang serum dwellers). The powder as well, should you choose to buy it (I honestly don’t know if it does anything other than minimize the day-old fish market “scent”), you’ll find that the amount of mixing will make successful bottling near impossible.

If you do try this method, know that YMMV, I am not a doctor or scientist or any kind of person that is qualified to be doling out this sort of information, and that if anything bad happens, I refuse to be responsible (although I will feel bad, probably cry a lot, remove this post, and send you lots of care packages).So if you attempt this, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK and release me from any sort negative consequences like legal action. Love you guys!

Anyway, now that I’ve made this sound super scary and serious (lol, sorry, you just never know!), this very strange, very lucky, and in hindsight, very stupid adventure with two products that my stingy self just couldn’t chuck in the bin led to a very nice discovery and some very nice results. Just in case anyone who reads this is struggling with managing this skin condition, I thought I would share my findings here online. To perhaps try this method at their own risk ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you do so happen to try this method, please let me know how it went. I am very curious to see if this is just a me-thing or if I’ve actually stumbled on something weird-but-super-helpful. I can only tell you in this case that it gave me my arms back in about two and a half months from a M/W/F application schedule [and with wearing sunscreen on them during the day (so no burns or anything from AHA and Vitamin C photo sensitivity)].

This post is finally over, and I hope it was helpful. Please let me know if you’re interested in tying this method or know of something that worked for you! Have a wonderful rest of your day/night everyone! *mwah!*

Real Talk+Etude House Play Color Eyes: in the Cafe Swatches and Mini-Reviewย 

Staying content and happy in life can be really hard in today’s modern culture. Juggling professional demands with staying on top of house work, keeping up with social and romantic relationships, for some:maintaining a family or at least taking care of pets, trying to keep in touch with friends and family, social media, and simply trying to have a life on top of all this is a recipe for disaster and emotional burnout.

So where am I going with all this?

Your beauty routine can help you.

For me, personally, a diligent skin routine not only got me back on track in terms of self-care, but taught me to work with myself instead of against myself…give your skin what it needs over saturating it with harsh treatments. That easily translates into healthier habits beyond the vanity table.

Using your bathroom counter top as the starting point for a healthier, happier you may be the most helpful thing you do for yourself in the next year or so.

Having said all this, picking products that speak to you, that capture who you want to be, where you want to go, in short, inspire you, has become a hobby of mine.

This isn’t to say that, like, my deodorant reflects my future career path or anything, but I try hard to pick the product that will deliver the results I need in the most aesthetically pleasing way as possible.

In steps Etude House (and no, not because my ultimate life goal is to be a princess…although I wouldn’t be all too opposed to that if it were to just happen). When I saw this palette, I saw the seamless merging of three things that always put a smile on my face: Etude House, eyeshadow, and coffee. Oh. Hell. Yes.

First of all, can anyone look at the case without instantly thinking of their favorite cozy coffee cafe or smelling a dark, rich roast? It’s literally like your morning coffee…but for your face.

This palette has gotten a lot of love on a regular basis…should have cleaned it up a bit more for the photo but was too excited over this post-so my apologies! But one month strong and I’m still reaching for it more than any other one…let that be the proof.

The colors themselves are lovely basic essentials. I have blue eyes, so browns help my eyes pop. When I first got the case, the shadows were protected by a plastic insert that had the most adorable coffee/latte drinks printed on the along with, well, coffee-related names. Now if only they smelled like their titles (mmm, cafe mocha and honey milk )…

Etude House Play Colour Eyes In The Cafe - Hikoco - Korean Beauty, Skincare, Makeup, Products in New Zealand - 2

Here are some translations of the colors and a good view of the shades: Image credit

The colors all work really well with each other which is such a plus!

Even though I had to wait over a month for this palette to ship to my country (#kbeautyproblems), I am so glad I bought it. It’s by no means high-end in terms of quality,  but the pleasure I get from its super cute packaging and it’s wide range of simple, pretty, totally-spending-the-afternoon-in-a-coffee-shop-appropriate looks, makes me really glad I splurged on some shipping charges and got this favorite addition to my collection.

This review isn’t so much about recommending this particular product (although it’s really great and you should go buy it if you’d like!), but recommending using the things that will regularly add more pep to your step.

Things won’t make you happy; even all the Tony Moly and Etude House products won’t ever magically make your life turn into the life of your dreams. But treating yo’self to things that regularly put a smile on your face and help you feel you can take on the world? 100%worth the investment.

So go slay ’em readers! Take on the world!

What products or rituals help you channel your inner-awesomeness? What do you think of the palette?

Banish Blackheads for Good with Elizavecca’s Hell Pore Clean Up Mask

The Elizavecca Milkypiggy Hell-Pore Clean Up Mask is an oldie but a goodie. Its essentially a liquid pore strip that you can put wherever your face might need a little pore-cleaning love. Once it dries, just peel it off and rejoice as you stare in strange fascination at the gunk its pulled out. Even though this product is no new release-its over a year on the US markets-its so effective that I want to be sure to spread the word!

This mask is supposed to help manage excess sebum, blackheads and whiteheads, and dead skin. When used over time, it can help minimize the appearance of pores (as they are kept clean and unclogged).


Water, Polyvinylpyrrolidone, Alcohol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Charcoal powder, Titanium Dioxide, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Rhus Semialata Gall Extract, Diospyros Kaki Leaf Extract, Prunus Serrulata Flower Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Rosa Hybrid Flower Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Illicium Verum Fruit Extract, Aluminum hydroxide, Silica, Methyl acetate, Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Fragrance, Cosmos Bipinnatus Callus Culture Extract, Saccharomyces/Caragana Sinica Root Ferment Extract

Click here for the CosDNA analysis of this ingredients list.

This product has two main types of ingredients: skin moisturizers (mainly the plant extracts) and thickening agents (silica, polyvinylpyrrolidone, alcohols, etc). Please note that many people do find alcohol (and similar ingredients) to be irritating, so use with caution if you know or suspect you may have a sensitivity to said such ingredients.

Some ingredients of interest:

Charcoal is known for its absorbent properties. In skincare, it “sucks” gunk out of pores.

Titanium Dioxide is, of course, a sunscreen. Chances are it is being used for its pigmentation and/or thickening purposes in this product though.

Salicornia Herbacea Extract is also known as glasswort. This plant has potentially moisturizing properties. Prunus Serrulata Flower Extract, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Rosa Hybrid Flower Extract, and the like are all essentially moisturizing ingredients as well.

Rhus Semialata Gall Extract is a plant found in traditional Chinese medicine. It is used for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract is actually made from lotus flowers. They are known for whitening/brightening of the skin and (more symbolically than actually)its purification. Similar to this is the ingredient Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, or white water lilly, which is also know for its skin lightening properties.

Illicium Verum Fruit Extract is also known as anise. While it is a potent anti-acne ingredient, it is often a potential irritant.

What’s “sand” doing in here? Silica is often used in skincare products as an absorbent and thickening agent.

The last  ingredient is yeast-based, fermentation being a popular trend in Korean skincare. Rumor has it this “obsession” with Saccharomyces and Galactomyces stems from the large portion of the Korean diet that consists of fermented foods. Fermentation seems to have a positive effect internally, when ingested, so why not try it on the face? It appears to solve a large number of common skin care woes (much like snail or starfish), and almost all brands have a yeast-based ferment first essence or toner to hop on this trend.

In all honesty, this ingredients list is nothing to write home about, at least, in my opinion. Unlike a serum or daily moisturizer, where subtle blends of ingredients can make or break a product for someone’s skin (especially over time), with a product that is meant to latch onto nastiness lurking in my pores in under 20 minutes, all I care about is whether or not it does just that. Its a lot like a cleanser or a cheap sheet mask; as long as they do the job placed in front of them, I’m happy. Anything more is considered an added bonus.

The Results:

I’ve been using this product for around 8 months now, about 1-2 times per week. It works partially like a clay mask, in that it leaves your skin smooth, but free of excess sebum. I tend to need most of my facial oils (sounds so weird when put that way, doesn’t it?) as my skin is quite dry, but for oilier skin types, using this mask 2-3 times a week would definitely help manage that “oil slick” feeling. I actually recommended this product in my oily skin shopping by skin type series a while back-you all should know it works!

It also functions much like a pore strip that you would traditionally put over a wet nose and then peel off once it hardened (and then stare at the aftermath for longer than you would like to admit to yourself). When you pull it off, clogs and blackheads (and peach fuzz-oh my!) will be standing up like little soldiers much like you would find with any other sort of pore strip.

Here is the process taking place on my hand (no one needs to see the contents of my nose pores on the Internet just yet):

Tips and Tricks

While this product will pull stuff out of your pores if applied to clean dry skin, why not get the most bang for your buck (and the maximum peel-off grossness) and allow a BHA to work its magic 25 minutes or so before using this mask? It ensures that every last bit of whatever nastiness is lurking within your pores will “loosen up” so it can easily be pulled away, and pulled away in its entirety. This method is especially effective on stubborn clogs and blackheads. One and done.

This product can be pretty brutal on the more sensitive areas of your face. While it won’t actually rip out your eyebrows, it will definitely feel like it is. This product is designed to remove dirt and impurities from deep inside your pores. Upper lip peach fuzz doesn’t stand a chance to put it mildly. If you wouldn’t put a Biore nose strip on the area, then you sure as hell shouldn’t put this product there.

Ripping it off like a waxing strip of band aid doesn’t work that well from my own personal experience. If you want big chunks or a full-face portion of mask to ogle over at what just came out of your face, then speed is definitely not an option.

If you apply the mask too thin, it won’t pick up very much in the way of pore debris and be a b**** to try to get off. If you apply it too thick, you will be waiting a very, very long time for it to dry (both from personal experience everyone). The ideal medium is really the thickness of a Biore pore strip or a business envelope. You’ll want just enough product to do the job and still be able to be pulled off intact.

Redness afterwards should be expected. You just peeled something stuck to your face off of your face after all.  However, go ahead a show it a little love with a light moisturizer or sheet mask. I treat it much like waxing or shaving. If you don’t want irritation, throw on some oatmeal or snail or something.

You don’t have to put this on your entire face all at once. Sometimes just a nose, chin, or T-zone application is all you need. This product is harsh so don’t fix what isn’t broken (its a, um, peel-off mask, so… yeah). You may being saying “well, duh,” but you would be surprised how many people see the videos and ads for this product, featuring full-face masking, and think that that is how they have to use it each and every time. Think outside the box, or tube, in this case.

At around 12 $ for a whole tube of this stuff, it puts traditional pore strips (which around here cost about 12$ for a package of 8) to shame. It is not only slightly more effective, but much more versatile, not to mention so much cheaper. Even though I have dry skin, this product keeps my skin smooth and clog free (they’re bound to happen when you use 20,000 moisturizers a day just to stay flake-free). However, knowing so many people who use this (or perhaps I may have made them use it and gotten them hooked for life like some sort of K-beauty crack dealer) on their not only oily, but acne-prone skin. Its pulled out stubborn blackheads and clogs that they had been trying to remove for weeks, months even, in just under 45 minutes. A quick session with a BHA of choice to loosen up the gunk, and then the attack from the Hell Pore Clean Up Mask, gets their skin into a much smoother, clearer state after just one or two uses.

Rating: 2.5-I have major doubts if I will ever find anything more grossly satisfying…

Rating Scale:

1:Holy Snails! Its a Holy Grail!

2:Current-routine worthy (would buy again unless I found something better)

3:Meh, it was worth a try

4:Bleh, this was terrible. Donโ€™t buy this. Ever.

So that’s it for me, singing its wonderful, peely praises. Have you ever tried this product before? Would you want to?


Winter Wishlist: Cold Weather Skin Routine

Cooler weather is right around the corner, and unless I’m willing to spend a few weeks trying to deal with winter-level dry skin with summer-level products (which never again, ever), its time to place my orders and pray to the beauty gods everything gets here in time.

Like any good product junkie, I’ve got my shopping carts filled and ready to go, just awaiting that one sweet click of the checkout button. Here’s my game plan for this winter season.


My skin is going to be even drier this season because of my Curology prescription so I need to stock up on some major moisture this round. The perfect excuse for spending more than I should on new things ๐Ÿ˜‰

Memebox I’m Cleansing Oil for Dry Skin- I bought the Memebox oil for oily/combination skin types when I ran out of cleansing oil early this year. This was originally the one I was going to buy, but it was sold out! Now I’ll finally get to try it ๐Ÿ˜›

Its Skin Collagen Nutrition Toner-after trying Etude House’s Moistful Collagen line and seeing how great my Its Skin Hyaluronic Acid Toner was this summer, why not combine the two in my toning step? Fingers crossed, everyone.

CosRX Propolis Light Ampoule-I love CosRX and propolis is an ingredient I’ve been dying to try by itself. Hopefully it will help give me a little glow during the pasty winter months.

Etude House Bubble Tea Sleeping Pack-its just too cute guys. I’ve been pining over this for such a long time. I still don’t know which “flavor” to get as they are all equally as appealing-suggestions? I may just have to buy all three…

Skinfood Salmon Brightening Eye Cream-their concealer version of this line has become a holy grail for me. I hope their actual eye cream is just as good!


Its back to basics with some of my favorite winter essentials. I’d honestly use them year round, but it just gets so damn hot and sticky around here making it impossible to apply anything that isn’t strictly water consistency to your face (thank God for sheet masks).

Goodal Phytorain Murumuru Seed Hydra Serum-an oldie, but a goodie. Its strength lies in its superb ability to moisturize and then keep that moisture in. Perfect for windy days that sap your skin of its water content.

Berrisom SOS!  and TonyMoly Lip Patches-chapped lips? I don’t think so. I like to have a couple of lip patches stashed for those moments in the fall/winter where your lips are loosing the moisture battle. A nice weekly exfoliation+a custom mask=survival.

CosRX Rice Overnight Spa Mask-How I’ve been longing to return to its loving arms. Its says its more of a sleeping pack, but I honestly use it as a twice daily moisturizer.

CosRX Advanced 96 Mucin Power Essence-need I explain myself? I think YOU need to explain yourself if you don’t have one sitting on your vanity right now ๐Ÿ™‚

Etude House Moistful Collagen Cream-an old favorite I’m very familar with. It will help keep my skin glowy and bouncy even in the biting winter wind

Enprani Tone Up Cheese Cream-I like to keep a jar of this on hand (or its Dear by Bounce version) for emergencies. Its a product that I can use on my face, but also anywhere else that might be really suffering. I’ve used it on my feet, elbows, knees, you name it-and this, ladies and gentlemen, is where those plastic spoons come in handy for keeping those jars hygienic  ๐Ÿ˜›


I’ll probably also get another two pack of Cure Natural Aqua Gel to keep my skin texture smooth and my pores clear. A year-round must have for me. Sheet masks are, of course, a given, and if you all are interested, I can make a haul post/video here on the blog whenever my winter bulk buy arrives (let me know down below).

I’m actually still wondering what I should use on the largest portion of my skin. Its so easy to pick a bajillion things for the face, but what about the body? I’ve been using the Scinic All-In-One Snail Ampoule for my daily hydration recently, but I know its not going to be thick enough for the winter. Aveeno cost me a fortune last year. Anyone have some (fairly cheap) suggestions for a decent body lotion that won’t break the bank (since I’ve got my face to spend the big bucks on lol)?

What products are you planning to use this season?