Part II – Sheet Mask Review: Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask

Happy Monday! I had a bit of time this weekend to sneak a mask session in and I’m excited to share the results.

I’m rarely super enthusiastic about face masks because the effects are usually temporary. Nevertheless, the Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask has reduced me to this type of euphoria.

Unicorn

I got this from my Glow Recipe order and I was excited to try it out because I’m obsessed with seaweed in my skincare (Shamanuti Seaweed toner discovered at Follain)

According to Glow Recipe:

The Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Mask is a 100% real sea kelp facial sheet mask that is simply vitamin and mineral rich. This next generation sheet mask that will change your perspective on masks! Drench your face in ultra hydration and nutrition for instantly glowing, clear skin. Also helps to improve skin’s elasticity and firmness.

The usual sheet masks are typically made out of paper and hydrogel versions such as the Whamisa Organic Seed & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask reviewed here are the more advanced versions. There’s also biocellulose masks such as the Tatcha Deep Hydrating Mask which I will be testing shortly.

Then, we have masks made out of actual sea kelp.

paper < hydrogel < biocellulose <  SEA KELP!

Meet the Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask

Mask Construction: This is a two piece mask similar to the Whamisa hydrogel mask, but it is made out of real sea kelp. Sea kelp is pretty sturdy stuff and I was less worried about ripping into the sea kelp than I was with the hydrogel. Since the mask is green, it’s probably something that you’d use in the privacy of your own bathroom. I took advantage of this masking moment to roam around the house giving my significant other a good scare. The first thing I heard was a yelp followed by, “swamp thing!”

Whamisa_Sea_Kelp_Mask

I had a good laugh if I can say so myself!

Price:

This mask retails at $14 a piece. Now, this is rather pricy for a single use. Nevertheless, the results sold me. Oh, and the ingredient list!

Ingredient List: As you can see below, this Whamisa mask is full of seaweed and plant extracts.

Laminaria Japonica, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Laminaria Japonica Extract, *Lactobacillus/Aloe Barbadensis Ferment Filtrate, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, ☆(-)-alpha-bisabolol, Trigonella Foenum-Graecum Seed Extract, Natto Gum, Leonurus Sibiricus Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Dioscorea Opposita (Wild Yam) Root Extract, *Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, *Centella Asiatica Extract, *Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Anemarrhena Asphodeloides Root Extract, *Bambusa Vulgaris Leaf/Stem Extract, Chlorella Ferment, *Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, *Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Angelica Keiskei Leaf/Stem Extract, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Royal Jelly 0.05, **Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Xanthan Gum, **Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Plantago Asiatica Extract, **Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, ☆Adenosine, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil

*Certified Organically Grown **Natural Preservative ☆Ecocert

Scent:

There’s a seaweed scent, but I wouldn’t describe it as overwhelming. I’ve tried powdered seaweed masks before and those…. PHEW!

Results:

I’d been having some flakiness from the dry winter weather and I was hoping this mask might do the trick.

My usual mask routine is to slap it on and read a book for 30 minutes. After I removed this mask, there was some essence left on my face and the color was light green. I patted the remainder of the essence into my skin and there wasn’t any green tint or stickiness left.

The real shocker was when I woke up in the morning and I took my shower. As I mentioned above, my skin had been flaky from the winter and facial oil was not helping. I was able to gently slough off the dry skin in the shower (ok TMI?) and I was left with plump, but NOT over-exfoliated skin.

Now, I don’t know what madness or magic this is, but my flaky winter skin was no longer. The best part was there was actually a brightening effect and also reduced redness of existing blemishes. My sunscreen and tinted moisturizer went on smoothly. Here’s my “thumbs-up” face (ignore the raccoon undereye please!)

Whamisa_Day_After

Summary:

The Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Sheet Mask deserves all the rave reviews and it’s something I would definitely repurchase.

P.S.:

Glow Recipe is offering a $5 off your first purchase through the link below. I purchased all the masks above myself and these reviews are an honest reflection of my experience with the products!

http://glowrecipe.refr.cc/3Q4XJQL

Part I – Sheet Mask Review: Whamisa Organic Seeds & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask

Facial sheet masks are all the rage in Asia and they have slowly made their way to the US. American skincare brands have also started to carry at least one sheet mask and sheet masks can even be found at Sephora.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with sheet masks. On one hand, I love the convenience of being able to pop on a pre-cut mask and not bother with rinsing it off. However, I have not been impressed by the ingredient lists of many popular Asian sheet mask brands and I also recognize that the benefit of sheet masks are temporary at best. Nevertheless, I do value them as a quick way to pamper and hydrate my skin. I also find masking a relaxing activity after a long day. Hopefully I am not alone in feeling relaxed after going through my skincare routine!

I was first introduced to Glow Recipe when I stumbled upon them online while searching for natural Korean skincare products. There are many Korean brands that claim to be all-natural, but their ingredient lists prove otherwise. It is also difficult to shop for Korean skincare products because the ingredient lists are not translated. When I chanced upon the Glow Recipe, I was hopping with excitement.

Glow Recipe is the brainchild of Sarah and Christine, global beauty entrepreneurs who have curated a selection of natural Korean skincare products that pass their testing panels for efficacy and fit their strict ingredient criteria.

I decided to try out two organic Korean sheet masks, a hydrogel mask and a mask made out of real sea kelp (!!!) both from Whamisa. My package came with some skincare samples and a sweet handwritten note:

Glow Recipe Note

1) Whamisa Organic Seeds & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask – $9. Review below

2) Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Facial Mask – $14. To be reviewed.

Whamisa Organic Seeds & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask

According to Glow Recipe:

Whamisa Organic Seed & Rice Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask is an organic hydrogel mask that has been soaked in skin-plumping botanical serum. Drench your face in ultra hydration and nutrition for instantly glowing, clear skin. It works hard and fast to improve skin’s elasticity and firmness. Formulated with 95% organic ingredients, including Rice & Black Soybean, which are naturally fermented to preserve maximum efficacy. This one of a kind mask relies on a blend of fermented seeds and rice to help rehydrate and calm dry, depleted skin.

Mask Construction:

This is a two piece hydrogel mask with eye cutouts for the upper half of the face and the mouth cutout for the lower half of the face. Hydrogel masks have less of a Hannibal Lecter quality because of their translucency. I also prefer the feel of a hydrogel mask because it retains the moisture and essence of the mask without any dripping. It also adheres well to the face without much slipping and sliding.  One caveat is that I had to be careful not to accidentally tear into the gel with my fingertips when I put the mask on.

Price:

This mask retails for $9 a piece. Hydrogel masks are more expensive than paper masks due to the properties mentioned above. Admittedly, this is a little pricy for a single use mask, but the ingredient list below was what swayed me.

Ingredient List: LOVE. Most face masks list water, propylene glycol, butylene glycol and glycerin as the first 4 ingredients. The active ingredients are typically listed towards the end and these masks often include preservatives and fragrance. As you can see below, this Whamisa mask is chock full of seed and rice extracts.

Water, *Hordeum Vulgare Seed Extract, *Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Xanthan Gum, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, *Lactobacillus/Rice Ferment Filtrate, **Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, **Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, **Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, *Lactobacillus/Phaseolus Radiatus Seed Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Glycine Soja (Black Soybean) Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Phaseolus Angularis Seed Ferment Filtrate, Allium Cepa (Onion) Bulb Extract, *Lactobacillus/Hordeum Vulgare Seed Ferment Filtrate, *Lactobacillus/Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Ferment Filtrate, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-yuen Seed Extract, Adenosine, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil  *Certified Organically Grown **Natural Preservative ***Ecocert

Scent:

This has a light, slightly herbal scent which I found very pleasant and soothing.

Results:

I left this mask on for 30 minutes and after I removed the mask, my skin was still moist. I patted the remainder of the essence into my skin and went straight to bed. When I woke up in the morning, my skin felt hydrated and this mask helped eliminate some of the winter dryness I’ve been experiencing. I didn’t experience any brightening or change in skin elasticity. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed until I remembered that most sheet masks are typically short-term hydration boosters, but don’t deliver long lasting benefits from a one-time use. Nevertheless, I recommend this mask over other sheet masks because of the clean ingredient list and the ease of use due to the hydrogel.

This mask review is part of a series of reviews and my upcoming reviews will include sheet masks from the following brands, Tatcha, Whamisa, and Karuna:

Here is the full list!

Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Facial Mask

Tatcha Deep Hydration Lifting Mask

Tatcha Deep Hydration Lifting Eye Mask

Karuna Luxe Skin Regenerating Face Mask

I’ll be masking it up in the next few weeks to see if these masks can help soothe my poor, dry winter skin! If you have a favorite mask you’d recommend, let me know!

P.S.:

Glow Recipe is offering a $5 off your first purchase through the link below. I purchased all the masks above myself and these reviews are an honest reflection of my experience with the products!

http://glowrecipe.refr.cc/3Q4XJQL

Review: Verso Skincare Day Cream and Night Cream

Verso Skincare is a Swedish skincare brand featuring Retinol 8 complex, a proprietary blend of a new retinoid derivative, Retinyl Retinoate, polyphenol extract and vitamins.

Verso Skincare

I’m sure most have heard about the anti-aging benefits of prescription retinoids, retinoic acid AKA Vitamin A, but these are heavy duty anti-agers which often come with unwanted side effects namely skin peeling and flaking (extreme in some cases) and sun sensitivity.

Over-the-counter formulas contain a derivative of retinoic acid/Vitamin A called retinol which is a gentler and more well tolerated by sensitive skin types, but it often takes longer to see results.

There are other weaker versions of retinol which I’ve tried including encapsulated retinol, but my sensitive skin has always rebelled. It has never been able to tolerate any form of retinol, much less prescription strength retinoic acid.

When I first purchased Verso Skincare, I was skeptical. I would use the night cream for one night, then get freaked out and stop using it even though I never experienced any of the typical reactions I have had to retinol namely skin redness, peeling etc.

Verso features Retinol 8 which is 8 times more potent than retinol, yet gentle enough for sensitive skin and can be used safely in the day.

According to Verso:

“Retinol 8 has a proven rejuvenating effect on the skin and it works by making the skin cells mimic how younger cells behave. The substance stimulates the production of collagen and increases the flow of nourishment to the skin, which leads to improved skin elasticity, a more even skin tone and a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.”

The products lingered on my shelves. Then two things happened.

  1. I read Sunny’s rave review of Verso. For those of you who read MostlySunnyBlog.com, you’ll know that she always thoroughly reviews items and she hasn’t steered me wrong.
  2. In 2015, my skincare resolution was to finish what I owned so I pulled out both the Verso Day Cream SPF 15 and Verso Night Cream that I’d purchased and resolved to give them a fair shot unless my skin experienced a negative reaction.

I have to admit, I was pleasantly happy ecstatic with the results.

Verso Day and Night Cream Black and White

After a few weeks of daily use of both the Verso Day Cream SPF 15 and Verso Night Cream, here’s what I found:

Noticeably smaller pores in the cheek area, a more even skin tone, plumper looking skin especially when I wake up in the morning, and none of that dreaded oil slick on my T-zone.

Inner skeptic splutters.

Scent:

Some reviews I’ve read have raved about the scent, but nothing can win me over the amazing scent of Neroli so I’m neutral in this case.

Packaging:

The sleek black and white packaging is pretty cool. I’ve read some reviews that say the tube doesn’t pump well. I haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of the tube yet, but it’s been working well for me.

Formulation:

Both the day cream and night cream are a light yellow lotion/cream texture. The day cream does give off a subtle glow when applied. This is perfect in the winter, but I think it may be a little too shiny in the summer especially for oily skin. I love the formulation of the night cream. One to two pumps of the tube gives me enough to smooth over my face. The cream instantly sinks in without leaving any stickiness. When I wake up in the morning, my skin still looks and feels moisturized. Although I still love facial oils, I do not enjoy waking up looking a little greasy in the T-zone.

The Active Ingredients:

-Retinol 8 with Retinyl Retinoate: Combines the highly effective antiaging properties of vitamin A acid and retinol; dramatically decreases the UV sensitivity usually associated with retinol.
-Niacinamide: Reduces the appearance of dry skin, wrinkles, fine lines, spider veins, hyperpigmentation, and blotchiness.
-Curcuma Longa Root Extract (from Turmeric Root): Provides antioxidant protection, leading to a more even skintone, reduced appearance of wrinkles, and improved skin hydration.
-Tetrahydropiperine (Pepper Extract): Improves absorption of active substances into the skin.

Ingredient List for Verso Day Cream SPF 15:

Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Niacinamide, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Diethylhexyl Carbonate, Heptyl Undecylenate, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Sorbitan Olivate, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Jojoba Esters, Glycine Soja Oil, Retinyl Retinoate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tetrahydropiperine,Tocopheryl Acetate, Curcuma Longa Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, BHT, Fragrance.

The Active Ingredients:

-Retinol 8 with Retinyl Retinoate: Combines the highly effective antiaging properties of vitamin A acid and retinol; dramatically decreases the UV sensitivity usually associated with retinol.
-Niacinamide: Reduces the appearance of dry skin, wrinkles, fine lines, spider veins, hyperpigmentation, and blotchiness.
-Curcuma Longa Root Extract (from Turmeric Root): Provides antioxidant protection, leading to a more even skintone, reduced appearance of wrinkles, and improved skin hydration.
-Tetrahydropiperine (Pepper Extract): Improves absorption of active substances into the skin.

The UV Filters:

-Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Triazone

Ingredient List for Verso Night Cream:

Water, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii Oil, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Heptyl Undecylenate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Stearic Acid, Jojoba Esters, Glycine Soja Oil, Retinyl Retinoate, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Curcuma Longa Root Extract, Tetrahydropiperine, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrahydropiperine, Soy Isoflavones, Lecithin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Tocopherol, Sodium Hydroxide, BHT, Fragrance.

For those who want to learn more about Retinyl Retinoate, here’s a handy article.

In summary, I personally feel I’ve seen more benefit from the Night Cream than the Day Cream so once I’ve finished the Day Cream, my next experiment will be to try layering the Super Facial Serum, also known as number 4, with the Night Cream. Verso has also recently released the Verso Super Facial Oil (number 7), but I haven’t seen it in online stores yet. I am always looking for another facial oil. So tempting…

Has anyone tried Verso or retinol in the past? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Winter: Black & White

Winter: Black & White

 

Temperatures in LA over this holiday season have been consistently in the 50s and 60s and I have been living in sweaters being the wimp that I am. ;) I was inspired to create this clothing set out of items I own or I am drooling over. I always love a good ankle boot, cashmere sweater, and sturdy tights.

Have a happy holidays!

 

Minimizing my Skincare closet for 2015

The holiday spirit has always brought about a flurry of shopping and beauty hoarding especially with the sale notifications that flood my inbox. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sale, but I found this year’s barrage a little too much to bear. I still have a penchant for testing out new skincare which is why I rarely repurchase items. Although I do find items that I love and repurchase, there’s always something new that I itch to try.

However, in 2015, I’d like to be more conscious of my purchases. Here’s some of my empties from 2014:

Empties

Here’s a snapshot of my skincare closet as of today:

Cleansers

  • Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm 0.5 fl oz x 2 (This items is highly rated, but I just don’t like using black goop to clean my face. Will not repurchase)
  • Su:m 37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick 80 g x 2 (Love this. Will review soon)

Oil Cleanser

Toner – Nada. how did this happen?

Facial Oils

AM Moisturizer

PM Moisturizer

AHA/BHA/Glycolic Acid

Eye Cream

Masks (This is where it gets ridiculous)

  • Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask 1.7 fl oz x 1 (This is a repurchase. Love)
  • Omorovicza Copper Peel x 1 (On the fence. Need to use it more often)
  • Laneige Water Sleeping Pack EX 80ml x 1 (Not the cleanest ingredients, but it works)
  • Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 100ml x 1 (Unopened)
  • SkinFood Black Sugar Washoff Mask 100g x 1 (Does the job, but its a little rough on the skin. Will not repurchase)
  • Paper face Masks: Bucket loads since I went to Korea this summer.

Sunscreen

  • LaRoche Posay Comfort Anthelios XL SPF 50 Lait 100 ml x 1 (unopened)
  • LaRoche Posay Ultra-Light Fluid Anthelios XL SPF 50 50 ml x 1 (unopened)

Face Mist

Lip Balm (Again, I hoard these like candy)

Samples – I give away most samples that I get, but these are the ones I kept

  • Tatcha Discovery Kit for Dry Skin – 3 week supply of their enzyme cleansing powder, cleansing oil, brightening serum, and ageless enriching renewal cream. (I’ve probably repurchased this 5x. Very handy for travel)
  • Sulwhasoo – 2 week supply of first care serum, firming cream, balancing water, balancing emulsion, ginseng renewing cream, CC cream.

Summary: 4 cleansers, 1 oil cleanser, 0 toner, 3 facial oils, 2 AM moisturizers, 1 PM moisturizer, 2 acids, 2 eye creams, 6 masks, 2 sunscreens, 2 face mists, 9 lip balms, 5 weeks of samples = 1 face.

As I think about my 2015 purchases, I realize that the words “face mask” and “lip balm” should probably not exist in my vocabulary since I have a supply that could last me through an apocalypse. I have been wanting to try more oils namely marula oil and prickly pear seed oil both known for being extremely rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamin C and E providing deep hydration and protection against free radicals. I’ve always been obsessed with the scent of neroli after trying out the Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme – Neroli & Orange so imagine my excitement when I discovered African Botanics Neroli-Infused Marula Oil. ZOMG.

Here are my 2015 wants:

2015 Wish List

Have a happy holidays!