SKINCARE SHOWDOWN: The Japanese mochi-hada versus the Korean ulzzang glow


The Japanese mochi-hada versus the Korean ulzzang glow

(guest post by Yanna Zhang)


Fire with fire. Because, how else would two major competitors fight if not head to head?

Perhaps it doesn’t come as such a big shocker to us when these two similar Asian countries are highly competitive in which skin care routine will guarantee the most beautiful and ethereal results.

A whole culture based on their keen ability and skill to be ahead of whatever trend is in the beauty industry. Their K-pop idols practically embody the agelessness and radiance the vain crave. With their 10-step skin care routine being a sure formula for that much desired white glow, the Koreans have been crowned the ultimate masters of skin care.

For a nation that is big on the minimalist, the Japanese, on the contrary, do not hold themselves back in the skin care routine area. Passing their traditional secrets on getting mochi-hada white skin from generation to generation, they have long since polished and perfected their routine for plump, youthful-looking skin. Someone who is not new to the competition of the beauty industry is the Japanese country.


Broken down into a basic outline, the Japanese put more emphasis on prevention rather than absorption.

  1. Starting off with emulsifying oils and balms (removes make-up residue and oil), the routine would consist of double cleansing with the following foam cleansers (removes sweat and dirt).
  2. Skin conditioners or “lotions” then hydrate and soften the skin – serums or “beauty liquids” following soon after for no other purpose, but to whiten dark spots and diminish redness.
  3. The last being the highly-important sunscreen or protection against UVA and UVB.

What’s that? Expecting more? Well, that’s it. Sensei would be so proud.

Extra tip: My mother taught me how to use the power of using rice water for better skin and hair just as the Japanese do. Not only does it leave the skin feeling smoother, but also plump and dewy.


Misconception aside, the 10-step routine would not necessarily require all ten products for every single day. The Korean lather-rinse-repeat program would typically consist of:

  1. Oil cleansers and foam cleansers would the ultimate first to the long road of Korean skincare.
  2. After cleansing, that’s when they do exfoliating products to remove dead skin cells. Duh.
  3. The most important of all: toner. Newsflash. The Koreans love their toner as it makes it easier for the skin to absorb the next products.
  4. Essence for hydration and serums and/or boosters for dark or red spots.
  5. Face masks are the next step. Whether clay, peel-off, or other, the face mask industry thrives on how frequent the Koreans use face masks. I have one product review on Innisfree
  6. And if you think this routine was near over, bam, eye cream. Time to get rid of those droopy, saggy, miserable-looking bags and turn them into aegyo-sal, the currently trending cute, puffy under eye bags.
  7. Face cream, the figurative hair net keeping all the products on your face, is then applied to guarantee maximum absorption.
  8. To top it off, they finish the routine off with SPF for protection against the sun. Of course, we wouldn’t want to ruin all that hard work by leaving our skin exposed for harmful ultraviolet rays, would we?


With the more minerals and vitamins (one of their products is literally labeled ‘essence’), the Korean skin care routine is said to result in glowing, radiant skin while the Japanese had a more plump, youthful-looking and more on the white side complexion. While it may seem easy to mix and match, the two routines would actually have significant differences in the results.

We also have to take note of the highly noticeable routine efficiency. Everyone wants to know, “is it worth our time?” Being a busybody personally, I would dislike having to diligently follow the lengthy Korean skin care routine for radiant, young skin I could get from the Japanese routine, anyway. But, the idea of attaining the much envied glowy look from the Korean skin care is a little tempting.

I mean, why not? Their Korean idols look like such visions that it would be only normal to idolize them for the intricate procedures they go through. But, you do you.


With their shorter list of products, the Japanese skincare routine is said to be the better recommended program for beginners – or those who don’t have the diligence to persevere the many steps of K-beauty like me. The typical Korean skin care routine, having more minerals and essential ingredients and product variety, more recommended for those willing to go through the hard work of it and desiring the natural glow it provides.

I think, overall, there is no definite winner as it will always be in the eye of the beholder which seems more appealing and attractive to them. While the two beauty industries have always been argued about and debated on, it only ends up highlighting how much technology and innovation they have had in the beauty and cosmetics industry of the world.

So, who’s the winner? Who deserves that Iron Throne (heh, did you get the reference)? I’d say both of them did. Along with all the other countries who have their traditional, culturally diverse beauty routines as well.

With that, concludes our skin care showdown.

[REVIEW] TFS Finger Cotton Tint

I’ve always been a huge fan of TFS’ makeup products, so it is little wonder that I got back to buying stuff from them again. I do think that TFS in SG gets a lot less attention than they deserve despite selling some products worth holy grail status, so do show the brand some love if you’re looking to try something new ~

Product Description

  • Contain moisture oil complex to create moisturizing gorgeous and vivid lips without lump.
  • Cotton applicator with diagonal tip allow soft and delicate lip makeup with creamy texture at first then a semi-matte finish.
  • Apply a moderate amount from inside to outside lips gently.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 13.23 (Qoo10)

Image credits

Ingredient List

Again, I’m not sure why I’m unable to find the ingredient list for this product anywhere on the web, just like a few others previously 😦 Ah well.

I had such a hard time trying to pick a colour – did I want to buy something more vibrant, or a wearable shade that I could pull off everyday? In such times of doubt, I went with the easier option – buy both!











Packaging: It reminds me a lot of paint tubes, which is probably what they were going for when they designed this. I like that it’s easy to bring around and use, and is not too messy either.

Texture: Even though the shots make it look like it’s slightly glossy, it definitely dries down to a matte finish. It gets a little drying as the day progresses, but nothing too uncomfortable.

Colour payoff & intensity: The swatches in the photos were achieved with just one swipe each, which is honestly very amazing. I find the #08 Brown-presso is a lot more pigmented than #04 More Coral, which can probably be partly attributed to the fact that it’s a darker shade after all. I like to create a gradient look using these because I’m not too keen on

Colour: I’m so happy that I picked these two shades, because they are definitely complimentary to any occasion you can name. You can use #08 when you want to achieve a more mature look for an important event, and #04 for a casual day out, or even wear it to school!

Staying power: The staying power of this lipstick is pretty okay, but nothing really outstanding. I’ve had it last at least one meal and survive multiple rounds of drinking water, but what’s left is usually just small patches of colour on the lips. Do also note that it’s not transfer-proof, which is slightly disappointing 😕

Final Verdict

As usual, TFS has not disappointed with this lip product. I really like the colours available, but it would be great if they offered more MLBB/nude shades in future, as the current selection mostly comprises bright, vivid colours that not everyone may be comfortable with.

The staying power is not too bad, but again, nothing really noteworthy. It doesn’t actually promise to be long-lasting or transfer-proof, so I guess you can’t fault the brand for it. But I guess you would expect a lip tint to last longer, no?

I do think that it gets a bit too drying over time, despite being branded as a semi-matte lip product containing moisturizing oils. Maybe it’s just my lips? But the problem is not too serious, you can always prevent the problem of dried-out lips by applying lip balm before the lip tint.

This is a good product to try out if you love bright and bold colours, so do pop this in your basket the next time you visit TFS 🙂


Colour payoff: ✮✮✮✮✮
Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Staying power: ✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮✮

[REVIEW] CLIO Kill Brown Waterproof Brush Liner

I’m a fan of CLIO’s liquid eyeliners, so I tried to buy them again when I went to Korea last December. It came to no one’s surprise that I managed to buy the wrong one – I had intended to buy the pen liner again, but ended up getting the brush liner cos I was blur.

Product Description


Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 16.90 (ezbuy)

Image credits

Ingredient List



I couldn’t seem to find this online for some reason, so I had to use a photo taken from the packaging. Again, you’ll find that the main ingredient in this product here is water. The iron oxides are presumably to give the pigment its brown colour, which could also explain why the colour is much lighter than you might expect.

I only use brown eyeliner, period. I think no one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. I got this limited edition set – I’m hypothesizing that it’s got to do with the repackaging/rebranding of the liner series. It came with a free furry mirror that you can bring on the go, and who doesn’t like freebies, right?











Packaging: This is slightly thicker and shorter than the CLIO pen liner I have. Again, I’m not sure if this is a new packaging, but I find that it being thicker actually allows for even better grip, and in turn an ability to draw more comfortably.

Colour payoff & intensity: It’s still a lighter brown that I would have liked, but I’m very pleased with this eyeliner’s payoff. I was initially quite worried that it would be harder to use than the pen liner, and I’d end up drawing uneven lines all over my eyelids, but my worries were unfounded. I would even say that this brush liner’s payoff is much better than the pen liner, and doesn’t fade throughout the day. One stroke is sufficient for a good colour, so you don’t have to keep drawing again and again on the same spot.

Staying power: The pen liner doesn’t hold up too well when oil is in question, but the brush liner is totally in a league of its own. This has survived all kinds of undesirable conditions found in sunny Singapore, including thunderstorms, buckets of sweat rolling down my face, and too much oil from my pores. For even better staying power, I sometimes pat a small amount of Innisfree No-Sebum powder and I know that I’m all set to survive the day. Don’t believe me? Check out this infographic:

Final Verdict

I’m sticking to CLIO for all my liquid eyeliners for as long as I can. I love this brush liner and I can definitely vouch for its claims of being waterproof and smudgeproof. If you’re a beginner at eyeliner and want to try your hand at liquid eyeliners, this is the one for you.


Colour payoff: ✮✮✮✮✮
Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Staying power: ✮✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮✮


[REVIEW] CANMAKE Quick Lash Curler

I’ve never been a great fan, nor a frequent user of mascaras. It’s not because my eyelashes are naturally fantastic, or that I got extensions, but I have the tendency to slack off with regards to certain steps in my makeup routine when I don’t have the time, which usually happen to be contour, eyeshadow, and mascara. Mascara is the worst of them all tbh – I always have so much trouble curling my eyelashes, making sure my mascara doesn’t clump together etc. etc. – ain’t nobody got time for that in the morning.

One fine day, I went to a departmental store and saw Canmake’s products. I actually tried the tester, headed off, went home after a few hours, and saw that my lashes still looked fantastic. That was when I knew for sure that I had to get this.

Product Description

Boosts lash curl and keeps it in place!!!
● Keeps lashes looking perky for hours on end.
● Ideal for those who suffer from stubbornly downward-pointing lashes and curl droop!

Stands up to water, sweat, tears, humidity and sebum!
● Waterproof formulation is highly resistant to water, tears, sweat and humidity.
● Resistant to sebum, preventing your mascara from bleeding onto your eyelids.

Including beaytifying agents
●Sodium hyaluronate (moisturizing agent)

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 11.92 (RedMart)

Ingredient List

I’m not sure why I’m unable to find the ingredient list for this product anywhere on the web – can anyone enlighten me? 😦 It’s a tad disturbing that this information is not widely available.

Packaging: I love the unique packaging – it’s cute, but a different kind of cute from the usual K-beauty products.


This eyelash curler comes in two types – transparent and black. The transparent one works best if you’re using it before your usual mascara, while the black one helps to add length to your lashes. I bought the black one because why not get an added benefit, right? HAHA.

Effectiveness: I haven’t gotten around to taking before/after photographs but I found this photograph online that is an accurate portrayal of my experience using it:

Image credits

Look at how curled the eyelashes are after application!! I’m honestly so amazed every time I use this product because my lashes just seem to hold themselves up without me having to use an eyelash curler at all. I reckon there must be some glue-like ingredient in this mascara, because it really holds up very well throughout the day, and frankly, it does look a lot like glue.

Using the black curler also gives the added benefit of having your lashes look longer. I find that it doesn’t give so much volume, and it tends to clump your eyelashes together, which can look pretty weird, so remember to use the comb/any other spoolie to spread them out.

Staying power: This curler’s staying power is NO JOKE. It is so good that it even makes removal difficult. I’ve struggled every single time to get it completely cleaned off my lashes, and no amount of makeup remover and wipes can remove it cleanly. I often have to wipe it off myself using tissue paper AFTER washing my face, and even that doesn’t guarantee that all of the product comes off. I mean, it is great that you have something that will last you through all weather (I can attest to this), but having it almost impossible to remove thoroughly? Well…

Final Verdict

Everything about this product is fantastic, except the fact that it’s so stubborn to remove. It’s the answer to any lazy person’s call for an easy-to-use mascara, and in fact, I would suggest that you don’t even bother with using even more mascara after you apply this. I wish I knew about this product much earlier so I didn’t have to spend money on lash curlers, and didn’t have to struggle throughout all those times that I attempted to get decent-looking eyelashes.

Canmake’s Quick Lash Curler is definitely getting a thumbs-up for me, but you’ve been warned: you might lose a few eyelashes every time you try to remove this.



Effectiveness: ✮✮✮✮✮
Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮
Staying power: ✮✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮✮

Cosmetic Junkie Quiz

I’ve always struggled with identifying myself as a beauty junkie, because it does sound a lil problematic (like I’m severely addicted), but deep down inside, I know it’s probably true. So when I saw this post by cookinginhighheels, I knew I had to try it out.

1. On your vanity, one would find

A. All types of cosmetics of most of the brands.

B. Cosmetics of the one-two brands I like most.

C. Only the basic cosmetics, a girl would need.

2. Whenever you go out, what do you apply?

A. My make-up routine would include foundation, concealer, talc, eye-liner, mascara, lipstick, etc.

B. A little face and eye make-up, and a lipstick.

C. A lipstick, and a face cream.


3. How much time do you take to wear your make-up?

A. An hour at least.

B. 15-25 minutes at least.

C. 5 minutes is enough.


4. Going for a party, what look do you prefer?

A. Totally glamorous, shimmering and shining. A diva look.

B. Subtle but still a gorgeous look.

C. A simple look.


5. How often do you buy new cosmetics?

A. When a new product is launched.

B. When I feel, I have over-used my current cosmetics.

C. Only when my current ones completely run out.


6. You wear make-up,

A. Most of the time. I adopt a simple routine, even at home.

B. Only when I go out.

C. Only on occasions, that demands it. Else I avoid.


7. How much do you spend on cosmetics?

A. Most of my money.

B. A sizeable amount, but not too much.

C. Hardly anything


Mostly As

You are a complete cosmetics junkie. You love to be a total glam doll. You wouldn’t dream of stepping out without your make-up.

Mostly Bs
You like cosmetics, but you aren’t freaky about make-up. You prefer to keep a subtle but great look. You have a balanced outlook towards cosmetics

Mostly Cs

You are not a cosmetics junkie at all. You avoid make-up whenever you can. And if you do use cosmetics, your use is minimal.

The results weren’t very surprising, but it’s good to know that my outlook towards cosmetics is still relatively balanced!

Feel free to try out this quiz, share your results in the comments, and repost on your websites as well 🙂

[REVIEW] Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum

One important step in all Korean skincare regimes is serum. If you’re not too sure what serum is, here’s a definition for you:

serum is a product typified by its rapid absorption and ability to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, together with its non-greasy finish and intensive formula with a very high concentration of active substances.

Essentially, it’s a product that contains a high level of nutrients that should be well-absorbed by your skin. It sounds fantastic, but not every serum is made equal.

The first serum I ever used was this Innisfree Green Tea Serum. What I tried was a small sample, but I loved it so much that I’ve actually purchased a full-size version of it.

Product description

A moisturizing and nourishing serum containing eco-friendly Jeju fresh green tea and green tea seeds

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 36

Ingredient list

The green Tea Extract (75.9%), Propanediol, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Ethanol, Glycerin, Betaine, The green Tea Seed Oil (208mg), Prickly Pear Extract, Orchid Extract, Tangerine Peel Extract, Camellia Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia Extract, Grapefruit Extract, Orange Extract, Tangerine Extract, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cetearyl Olivate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitan Olivate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Cocoa Extract, Dextrin, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance

The first thing that caught my eye (probably yours too) is the 75.9% green tea extract!! That is honestly one of the most impressive % of a key ingredient I’ve seen in any of my skincare products. Some products highlight certain ingredients as their key selling point, but their ingredient list will usually have other ingredients (e.g. water) as their top ingredient. This serum, however, is truly a green tea concentrate on its own.

You’ll also see many other natural ingredients such as green tea seed oil, prickly pear, orchid, tangerine peel, camellia leaf… and all ranked high on the ingredient list! Looking at this already makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.







Packaging: Green for green tea – straightforward enough. I like that it’s not very bulky, and comes with a pump that makes it easy for you to pump a sufficient amount of serum out at one go.

Texture: It has a very thin consistency which allows for fast absorption by the skin. As a hydrating serum, it definitely feels almost like water (lol), and doesn’t leave a sticky feeling on the skin.

Effectiveness: The serum smells strongly of green tea: not too overpowering, but definitely enough to convince you that it contains a strong percentage of green tea extract. I can’t say much about the nourishment, but when it comes to hydration power, I’m truly convinced that this product works.

I used to have very dry and even flaky skin for a period of time because I’m usually stuck indoors in a dry, air-conditioned room, and I was too lazy to even use moisturizer for days (yes, terrible, I know). However, after using this product for about two weeks, I noticed that my skin wasn’t as dry anymore. It is currently visibly more hydrated, and I haven’t had a flaky skin problem since then. My skin also feels more supple and hydrated throughout the day when I apply this – do take note that I usually apply this twice in a day (in the morning, and at night) to replenish the moisture in my skin.

I’ve had no breakout problems with this product, which is great for people with sensitive and acne-prone skin just like mine.

Final Verdict

This is definitely my favourite serum of all time.

It might be a tad difficult to convince anyone that their skin needs such a powerful boost of nutrients, but my favourite part about this serum is its hydration power.

I do believe that green tea extracts have a lot more benefits, of course. One of my favourite ingredients in facial masks is green tea (along with aloe vera) because it always leaves my face feeling clean and refreshed. It’s a little too early to say for now if my skin is truly benefitting from the nutrients in the serum, but I can vouch for its fast-acting hydration properties.

At SGD 36, this serum is not cheap. Frankly, I don’t usually buy such expensive skincare products (at least not in Singapore), but I made an exception for this because it’s been so effective.


Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮✮
Effectiveness: ✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮✮


[REVIEW] MISSHA Super Aqua Ultra Water-Full Cream

I’m always on the lookout for great moisturizers (would deeply appreciate if anyone has good recommendations!), and I chanced upon this while I was drawing up my shopping list for Korea. It sounded pretty good, so it went straight into my shopping list, and eventually into my luggage.

Product Description

1. Energy from natural bedrock water
Bedrock water from the Blue Mountains, which contains natural energy gathered over thousands of years, helps to energize and moisturize the skin

2. Mineral water for healthier skin
Mineral water content helps skin maintain its optimal condition

3. Helps skin maintain more moisture, over a wider area for a longer period of time
Powerful Vitality Complex, derived from the extracts of plants that endure extreme climates, helps skin absorb and retain more moisture for extended periods

4. 72-Hour Moisture
Melts into skin upon contact and retains moisture for 72 hours

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 24.90 (Shopee)

Ingredient List

Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Silica, Pentylene Glycol, Panthenol, Glycosyl Trehalose, Dimethicone, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance(Parfum), Disodium EDTA, Water, Anastatica Hierochuntica Extract, Sea Water, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Myrothamnus Flabellifolia Callus Culture Extract, Rhizophora Mangle Callus Culture Extract, Salicornia Herbacea Callus Culture Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Callus Culture Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Phenoxyethanol, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract, Adansonia Digitata Seed Extract, Adenium Obesum Leaf Extract

I always find these ingredient lists a mouthful, but it’s good to look out for certain ingredients as promised in their marketing. I’m assuming here that the ‘Australian Blue Mountain cave water’ is the ‘sea water’ listed, and frankly, it’s not present in high proportions.







Packaging: Nothing very extraordinary, but I do appreciate the blue container because it reinforces the idea that it’s moisturizing – a little like LANEIGE, perhaps?

Texture: The first time I used this, it definitely reminded me of Innisfree’s Jeju Sparkling Moisture Cream. I didn’t really like the Innisfree one because it was too oily and I found myself breaking out quite a fair bit thanks to my daily usage of that moisturizer, but this is not too bad. It has a smooth texture that spreads easily across skin. Despite it being quite a rich cream, I like that it’s not overly oily because my skin is so prone to clogging. My skin manages to absorb it pretty well, which is definitely a good sign.

Effectiveness: First and foremost, a moisturizer’s job is to keep skin moisturized, so I’m pretty glad to say that it’s as good as advertised. I usually apply this cream right before I sleep in an air-conditioned room, which tends to be very dry, and wake up the next morning to skin that is still feeling quite moisturized and supple. When I don’t apply moisturizer on days that I’m feeling super lazy, I’d wake up to find my skin really oily from all the oil it secreted to keep my dry skin, well, not dry.

BUT. There were certain days that I found myself with slight acne the following morning after applying this cream at night. I’m not entirely sure if I can attribute the sudden emergence of pimples to this cream, but it’s definitely worth taking note of if you have acne-prone skin.

Final Verdict

I enjoy using this moisturizer quite a fair bit, but it still doesn’t come close to my all-time favourite – belif’s aqua bomb (which I will talk about in another post).

I think that creams like these are generally not recommended if you have oily skin (like me), even if they are marketed as suitable for oily skin. Even if they don’t clog up your pores immediately after one use, the risk is always there. However, if you have dry skin, this is definitely for you.


Ease of use: ✮✮✮✮
Effectiveness: ✮✮✮✮
Value for money: ✮✮✮

k-beauty lover