10/19/2015

Review: Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Serum


Hey guys!
The last few weeks have been incredibly busy for me at work. I had my first solo inspection last week and we passed with flying colors (no deficiencies wahoo!!!). When I accepted this job, I had no idea just how intensive it would be but I'm glad the holiday season is coming up because that means I'll finally have some days off to recover.


A few months ago I was approached by Q-Depot, a new Korean beauty store, to review a product for them. They have been really friendly to work with thus far, so I was happy to do the review for them. Shah--sorry it took me so long to write up this review! As with all my reviews, you can be assured the following post is my genuine opinion, as I do not take compensation for good reviews.

Before I review the product, here's a bit of info about Q-Depot for my readers:
  • Products are shipped directly from Korea
  • They currently stock 25 popular and upcoming brands and are always adding new stock
  • Free shipping on orders over $69
  • $2.99 flat rate shipping under $69
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
  • Search by skin concern or skin type
  • Cruelty-free conscious
  • Q-Depot donates 3% of profits to charity (I assume this is related to Zakāt so you can be assured they keep their word!)
Being able to search by skin type is something all stores should be doing! I'm always amazed when I have friends asking me about products that are clearly not suited for their skin type, just because they couldn't figure out who it was for! Slow clap for Q-Depot. :)

To read more about their mission click here.


(Click to Zoom)

Also! They currently have a Halloween deal going on for 5% off orders, plus a free gift, and their regular free shipping deal on orders over $69. The code is 

QHALLOWEEN 

(and no this is not an affiliate code).

Lastly, my best friend Rachel over at Harlot Beauty wrote a review for them about an upcoming Korean brand NoTS' new toner here. Check out her review for some info on this popular new toner in Korea.


This is the product description from Q-Depot: 

Peach Sake Pore Serum is a product formulated by the renowned Korean cosmetics Skinfood with Rice drink and peach extract, which helps in moisturizing the skin, making it soft, smooth and resilient. This soft serum with sake, traditional Japanese wine brewed with strictly chosen rice and peach extract rich with vitamin A and C to remove greasiness due to enlarged pores and extreme serum. The SKINFOOD Peach Sake Pore Serum contains rice sake, peach extract rich in vitamins A and C, and silica powder, this soft essence minimizes shine and the facade of skin pores.

It currently retails for $15.47 on Q-Depot.


Oily or combination skin.

The Skinfood Peach Sake line is intended for pore cover/oil control.



Water, Silica, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydrogated Polyisobutene, Isohexadecane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Dimethicone, Sorbitan Stearate, Sucrose Cocoate, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Staryl Glycyrrhetinate, Alcohol Denat., Propylene Glycol, Hydogenated Lecithin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricara) Flower Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licroce) Root Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract,Oleanolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Rice Ferment Filtrate (450mg), Prunus Persica (Peach) Fruit Extract (450mg), Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Extract, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Seasame) Seed Extract, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Butylparaben, CI 17200, CI 19140, CI 15985, Fragnance


The bottle I received still has the "old style" packaging Skinfood used before they started revamping their lines. I haven't seen a new version of this Peach Sake line yet so I can't say if it has changed yet, but if you do see a different packaging just be aware that Skinfood has been overhauling their look in the last few months. This comes in a glass bottle with a pump dispenser and a faux wood style cap. In my opinion, Skinfood's old packaging style (this kind) looks nicer than their new plastic packaging.



I was surprised to find the texture of this is more similar to an emulsion, rather than a serum. Although it feels oily upon first application, the silica particles quickly dry oil out and leave a smooth finish. This does NOT have a white finish at all, unlike many oil control products, it's very transparent. Like all the other items from this line, it has a pleasant peach smell with a slightly tart sake smell to it. For the most part, it's just heavenly peach. 


Pros:
Added oil control
Sheer and SUPER silky finish
Smells good
Lightweight texture
Hygenic and attractive packaging

Cons:
May not be enough oil control for some or may be too drying for some (again all depends on skin type)
Glass packaging = increased shipping weight / fragility
Too much products can cause serum to ball up


I've tried this product in sample packet form before, but for some reason I totally forgot that the texture is more similar to an emulsion than a serum. What I mean by that is that it feels slightly oily upon application, but unlike emulsions it dries down to a completely silky smooth and dry finish almost like a primer. Personally, I am not a fan of emulsions so at first this was off-putting to me the first couple days until I got used to it. Other than the initial oiliness, this product does not sting at all and the (very yummy) smell dissipates quickly. I have not had any negative reactions to this product since I started using it.

I love that they made this product in pump packaging because the relatively air tight system prevents degradation versus an eye dropper type of packaging. Although it looks watery in my pictures, the serum comes out fairly thick and does not run at all if you turn your palm upside down. 

As I used it, I noticed that it actually does have oil control like it claims, however it is not as strong as some of the other oil control products out there that I've previously reviewed. On a scale of 1-10 for oil control (1 being none, 10 being super drying) I would rate this around a 6 maybe? It is not the strongest oil control you can buy, but it is definitely there. During the summer, this product was not strong enough for the amount of hormonal oil I produced on hot, sticky days. However, now that we are moving into the cold months, I am finding this to be a pleasant alternative to the stronger products that are too drying in the winter months. I would recommend this product for people with normal oily or combo skin. If you have insanely oily skin like me caused by endocrine disorders (such as PCOS) this may not be strong enough, though I am having good luck with it now during our dry, cold weather fall.

As far as ingredients and claims, this product does contain licorice extract which is helpful in lightening scars. It also contains centella asiatica extract which, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful anti-scarring treatments I've discovered in kbeauty thus far. I have not had enough acne in the past couples months to notice a difference in this, so I can't comment on the effectiveness of these ingredients. 

One negative thing I have to note is that this product does contain oil control powder (silica) which can ball up if you use too much of the product, or if you mix it with the wrong product by not waiting long enough after toner or other skincare steps. The silica will precipitate out and look like flakes of skin if you do not wait long enough between steps. If you believe this product is drying your skin, take a closer look and make sure it isn't the product itself that's flaking off. I always try to troubleshoot my routine before writing something off.




Overall my rating falls somewhere between a 3.5 and 4 out of 5 stars. On the one hand, I love that I've found an alternative for winter oiliness, but on the other hand I dislike having to be careful about the order of my products and the amount due to the fact that this product can ball up on itself if you use too much or in the wrong combo. 

Would I buy it again? Ask me when I'm done with the bottle. Right now I am still on the fence about it. It's not the greatest, but I found its own purpose for it in my skincare routine and I am going to continue to use it to see how it affects the quality of my skin long-term. I think I'm pretty neutral about this one in general.

Thank you for letting me review this Q-Depot!

9/10/2015

The Blog Police & Bullies

Hey everyone,

WOW! Two blog posts in one week? Surely I must be ill. Actually I am sick--sick of people trying to find excuses to argue, nitpick, and disagree with anything I say. It's funny because I always know which topics are going to be met with the most amount of resistance. I laugh about it with my friend Rachel every single time I post one because I know that people are going to come armed with any and all excuses to discredit something I've said. Funnily enough, we laughed about this before I published the last post, and what we predicted came to fruition.

I'm not sure why I have to continually reiterate this, but here it is once again. This is my blog. I am a human with a personality. I have my own thoughts, opinions, feelings, and knowledge. When I post something here, I typically am not looking to have a presidential debate with anyone. Why? Because this isn't a debate, it's a fucking Korean beauty blog and that's it. This is not the Christian Science monitor. This is not the battle of good versus evil. It's just. a. fucking. blog. It's just my opinion!

One thing I don't understand is why people get so personally offended when I post an opinion that differs from theirs or (insert popular blogger here). See, you don't have to take what I say as fact. In fact, I encourage you not to! I encourage you to seek your own truths and to do actual research outside of the blogosphere--by trial and error with your own skin and your own products. What's true for me may not be true for anyone else. I am not here to make you believe anything I say. I hope that you can trust me, because I don't pimp myself out to news outlets. I don't blog for any news sources or stores that have an agenda. When people send me products for review I always warn them that I will be brutally honest and if I hate the product I won't hold back on telling my readers about it.

It's funny how people responded exactly the way we expected them to. The same mob that came after me during the Benton scandal are basically the same people here on my blog today (with the exception of the ones I IP banned). If you're mad that I blocked you from commenting on here or Instagram, I'm not sorry. Why? Because I don't have to deal with antagonistic mobs who exist for the sole purpose of bullying other people into silence. If you believe (insert popular blogger) is always right because they're nice and they cite sources, by all means please read their blog. I have nothing against them! I'm not even sure why people are comparing me to other bloggers--I'm not them and I have no desire to be them. If you haven't gleaned this much from my blindingly neon Holika Holika layout and general non-chalance, I don't know when you will get it. This is not a research blog. I do not care enough to find books and websites and sources to reaffirm my posts and to comfort you as you click "Add to Cart." I leave those decisions up to you. I work in a laboratory every single day. I have to write SOPs, create studies, run QC and calibration, and tests etc every single day. When I blog, I blog for fun--not to advance my career in beauty.

A lot of people wonder why I "quit" Reddit. See the truth is, a certain person who was permanently banned from Reddit (in the scandal of the century) actually made my life hell enough that I stopped posting there. This person was banned from Reddit for trying to monetize off of links they posted in their SubReddit. Coincidentally, Benton and Paula's Choice were two companies this person was working with to bring people to their new monetized site. This person conspired to bully anyone who disagreed with them into submission or quitting. This person threatened tons of people including other moderators who claimed they were also scared of her. This person photoshopped screen caps to suit her, then sent them to other moderators in an attempt to get people banned. This person led conversations then lied and claimed she was "doxed" when in fact the only person whose personal information was shared, was mine--my address, my phone number etc. I was terrified that people were going to do something because unlike her, my shit was actually spread. At one point she told a moderator to ban me because she Googled a phrase I said in a post and found a company with a similar name. The moderator she contacted didn't trust her and asked me if it was true. This person lived in America, yet the company was located in Canada (and not the company she publicly stated she actually works for). She was grasping for anything to have me taken off the site so no one would learn about the Benton contamination. This was just one example of how she hurt my blog long-term. I was bullied and harassed on my personal blog, my Instagram, and Reddit by her and her cult of followers. She left mean and nasty messages for me in hopes that I would quit blogging. This is a 30 something year old woman, mind you who only wanted to make money off her Reddit account.

I stopped posting on Reddit because this person made my life hell and no one believed me when I said I didn't do anything to her. The moderators of AsianBeauty can confirm that I never did anything to her. Everyone said "the moderators are just babying SampleHime"--actually they knew what was going on but they expressed fear of being taken down with me, because everyone was on her side. It wasn't until months later that the mob ceased because she was shot down from her pedestal. People exposed the things she did and she was eventually permabanned from Reddit (but not before she somehow got my account deleted so she could hide any evidence I had against her.) Everyone thought I deleted my account. I didn't! Actually, someone told me they think she got it banned in the last few days when she knew she was falling from grace. They claim she was scared I might expose her. People flooded my Inbox with ding dong the witch is dead posts. People said "it's okay, you can come back to Reddit now! You're exonerated! See how people are proving your innocence? We believe you now!" But guess what? I didn't want to come back--not after how people turned on me and made me the bully.

If you wonder why I don't post on Reddit anymore, that is why. A 30 something year old bully caused enough problems that I did not want to be a part of that community anymore. Everyone trusted this person with their skin, yet at the end of the day they only cared about the paycheck they were receiving from nice little hidden referral links. But here's the best part--she wasn't the only one! She had at least a few other people in on it--people that did know about what she was doing and denied their involvement with her. At the end of the day, I did not "dox" or expose any of these people despite the proof I have against them. Why? Because I'm not a bully. I have plenty of proof against a specific person who is great friends with her, but I have not said anything because I was tired of the drama. I fell into a horrible depression when all of this was going on because the only people who believed me and knew the truth were the same people who were too afraid to speak up for me. 

If you find my posts as a blogger so threatening that you have to leave harassing comments about me on Reddit, it's probably because you're afraid there's an ounce of truth to my posts and you're afraid that your beauty routine is a sham. Again, you know your skin better than I know yours! Do what you feel is necessary. I am not here to have petty arguments with people who subscribe to cult mentality. If you don't like my blog, kindly leave. If you don't like the way I moderate my social media, don't leave harassing comments. If you want to leave personal attacks against me and my credentials, you are a bully. I do not have time for drama with adult women who should know better. 

If you disagree with my blog and you want me to cite sources, I am sorry to tell you that it's not gonna happen. I don't care enough to become a Paula Begoun. It's funny how in my last post no one addressed the main point of my post--emulsificiation of oils is stripping at any pH. Instead people floundered to identify some place that I "misspoke" so that they could carve a hole in my post. I am maintaining what I asserted: cleansing with a higher pH isn't the end of the world. You may or may not benefit from a low pH cleanser. Low pH cleansers are not going to solve all your skincare issues. Emulsification of oils is as important if not more if you are concerned about the acid mantle of your skin.

I will not be entertaining any more comments on the last post. Feel free to pick me apart like everyone did during the Benton scandal, but do it somewhere else. This is my safe space now, not yours. I will do what I have to do to protect myself now. To all the bullies out there, I really hope that you don't treat other people like this who are far more sensitive than I am, because lord knows most people would crumple under the kind of crap I've put up with as a blogger.

And lastly, thank you to the nice readers and friends I've made from blogging who stuck by me through all of this. I appreciate everyone who stood by me and helped me through all of this. 

9/09/2015

I'm Not Drinking the Low-pH Cleanser Koolaid and Here's Why:

Edit: This is not and has never been a reference to Snow. Sorry for the confusion!

Hey guys,
Today I'm not going to post a review. I'm actually going to comment on a monster I feel like I helped create a long time. In a couple of my old posts, I mentioned that products with an extremely high pH can be problematic. I also spoke with many people on various sites, or through private emails and requests for help on how to clear up their acne. I mentioned the acid mantle barrier and why it is important, but beyond that I have tried to stay away from being too scholarly on this blog. Actually being surrounded by science and pH's 24/7 as a Laboratorian, I don't really get the greatest pleasure posting TL;DR dissertation posts complete with MLA Bibliographies in my time off. For that reason alone, this is just going to be me talking.

There are a few popular bloggers who continue to tout that low pH cleansing is the end all of skincare. I want to point out that the people who are giving this as sage advice are people who previously had very bad skin that did not respond well to other products or treatments. 

There are a few points that seem to largely be missed by people when talking about the importance of the acid barrier and low pH cleansing:

1) The acid mantle is important, don't get me wrong, but the acid mantle is a primary concern for people who have an under-production of sebum (dry skin) and people are colonized by pathogenic (acne-causing) acne. Depending on your skin's natural level of oiliness and the bacteria you are colonized by, this may be a moot point. People who have endocrine conditions causing overly oily skin (like PCOS) may compensate quickly with oil production. 

2) The pH of the cleanser tends to be directly proportionate to the foaming action, however, the foaming action is the more problematic part of the equation in most cleansing routines. I continually see bloggers claiming to have found a high-suds low pH cleanser. Quit drinking the Koolaid. The pH hardly matters if you just stripped your skin of every last molecule of your sebum.

Here's how soap works (the easy version)...every time you mix soap up, this is what happens:


You add a drop of soap to an oily bucket filled with water and mix it. Molecules have polarity, meaning they can have a positive and a negative end. The big circle in the picture is an oil molecule. Each little chain (the spokes) have a positive end and a negative end. The positive end can mix with water easily, so it faces away from the circle (the end of the the pink bits) where the water is. The negative end can mingle with the oil so it points inward toward the oil being emulsified (the purple and white chains).

When you emulsify the oils on your face with too much foaming action, you are actually mechanically stripping your face of essentials oils. The same goes for enthusiasts who use a foam net or any form of daily cleansing brush/sponge. When you use a lot of soap--you strip more oils from your face. 

To try this concept easily, try to clean a greasy kitchen pan with just enough soap to cover your thumbnail. Didn't work? Use more soap. Get more of a foaming action going. See how easily it works now? IT IS ALL RELATIVE PEOPLE. Apply this to your skincare routine per your skin type. Are you a greasy lasagna pan or are you as dry as pilot bread? The amount of foaming you're doing will matter more than pH.

If you are overzealous with the amount of cleanser you use, as well as the emulsifying process via too much lather, of course your skin is going to be stripped. Stripped skin at a low pH is still stripped skin.

3) The majority of pH testing by amateur bloggers are questionable at best. A lot of people do not take into account that water will be added in to the equation and the potential for numerous sources of error between matrices and product type. I can only wonder how many sources of interference and other things could be caused by the operator's lack of knowledge. 

To create a proper study for cleansers, it would be advisable for the tester to determine a premeasured amount of product in a vol/volv dilution to keep each test consistent. I would suggest that someone first determine the average amount of water they go through while washing their face. This could be as easy as doing your normal routine in a sink and just collecting the wash water in a bowl for measurement of water use during routine. A standard amount of cleanser needs to also be used. The difficult part here is whether or not the solution should be left to equilibrate or not. The problem with not letting the solution equilibrate before checking the pH, is that the reading may be different depending on how much water and how long the person normally takes to cleanse with. It could be different every time. 

I wonder if it would be possible to let cleansers equilibrate in water before use, that way you would literally always know what pH you're using. Anyway, I'm not saying I have a definite concrete solution for pH testing, but I do believe that there's no point in testing something that has no real life application. Unless you're only going to slather a cleanser on dry, let it sit on your skin long enough to kill your natural flora, then wipe it off, the testing must changed for consistency and relevance. Test conditions should always reflect the conditions of which you are trying to replicate.

4) If you are using a Korean pH adjusting toner directly after cleansing (or booster) your skin isn't going to fall off. That's right! I use high pH cleansers, not because I prefer them, but because I get them from subscription boxes and my skin has been fine. How is that possible? Because I have always used a pH adjusting toner from Mizon. I always follow up with an acid. To say "the damage is irreparable" is fear-mongering and not based off any study or fact. What damage? I continually see that high pH cleansers are the devil and "cause so much harm" yet no one, outside of a few people with unfortunate acneic skin, have said why.

Changing the pH helped a few people who probably have bacterial acne. It has helped people who have severely dry skin from stripping it. For people who do not have acne, this is hardly a breakthrough.

All in all though--my skin has cooperated very well with me for the last couple years I've been doing Korean beauty, and I have not deviated from oil cleansing followed by cleansing with a high pH foam cleanser. I believe the excess oil from oil cleansing probably helps as a buffer in this process due to the sheer amount--who knows. Until I have horrible skin that forces me to rethink high pH cleansers, I'm not drinking the Koolaid. Low pH is fine. High pH is fine. Stop soaping your face up and sudsing all the oil away. Use a pH adjusting toner or acid. You'll be fine.