[SAMPLE] banila co Hi Bye Vita-Peel

I’m a fan of banila co’s skincare & base products – it’s just a pity that they don’t have stores here in Singapore cos I’ll definitely be a regular customer 😆 in their Korean stores, they have been rather generous with their samples (I even received a small tub of their Clean It Zero as a sample!) so I was pretty happy to try this out ~


Product Description

Instantly rid your skin of dead skin cells and say hi to smoother complexion with the Hi Bye Vita-Peel Clear Pad!

Each tub consists of 40 double-sided pads that are non-irritating and extremely easy to use. Its microfiber pad can be used to clean your pores while exfoliating the skin while the embossed cotton pad side replenishes moisture, leaving your skin with a healthy glow. These pads can also be used on other parts of the body which needs exfoliating, such as the elbows and knees.

The Hi Bye Vita-Peel is a daily vitamin peeling skincare product line meant to exfoliate the skin through 14 types of vitamins and AHA ingredients. AHAs (Alpha Hydroxic Acid) are derived from plant sources and milk. These ingredients chemically but safely breaks down dead skin cells, resulting to smoother and more youthful skin.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 33.72 (YesStyle)


Ingredient List

Unable to find a complete list of ingredients anywhere on the web – sorry folks 😦


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Just from reading the product description, you might already have an inkling that this sounds like a dupe for COSRX’s One Step Pimple Clear Pads. I hate to admit it, but even the product looks eerily similar. Maybe exfoliation pads can’t really differ much in terms of how they look, but still!

I forgot to take a photo of the (clean) product itself, so here’s one I got from the Internet (thank you source!)

Packaging: Nothing much to comment on the packaging for a sample, but I do think the full-size tub looks similar to COSRX’s.

Texture: I like that the exfoliation side is not too rough – I know you need a certain degree of roughness to scrub that dirt out, but not to the extent that I hurt my skin too. The other embossed side, which supposedly contains moisture, feels very good to the skin when you rub it gently.

Effectiveness: Frankly, I’m not certain that this will give me more youthful skin over a sustained period of time (as per product description), but I’m frankly quite convinced by its exfoliation and hydrating properties even just after using a few samples.

You can tell that the pad is doing a good job with the exfoliation when you obviously see the grime and oil, and your skin looks slightly brighter (dirt does dull your complexion quite a fair bit). I like how my skin immediately feels smoother and more moisturized after exfoliation. I was so impressed that I went to try the pads out on my knees and elbows as well, and they worked just as well. Holler to all of you there who are looking for a fast way to clean those areas! I was actually very tempted to post a photograph here of how much dirt the pad managed to absorb but it looks way too gross, so I’ll try not to scare you guys off with it HAHA.

I have faced no issues of breakout with this product despite my acne-prone and sensitive skin, so it’s getting a thumbs-up from me in that area.

 


Final Verdict

As much as I enjoyed using this (it even smells great tbh), I still do think that I’ll stick with my COSRX ones instead. The COSRX pads are great for keeping my acne in control, which is really my all-time skin concern, while I have not seen any marked improvement in my skin after using this. I would say this is more targeted at people who have no major skin issues, and are just looking for an exfoliator that can provide additional nutritional boosts.

In addition, I find this to be a little too pricey for my liking. 40 pads is actually not a lot, if you consider that you exfoliate twice a week. If you exfoliate using 2 pads each time (be it whether you have more area to cover, or that you exfoliate your knees as well), that amounts fo just 10 weeks worth. 10 weeks = less than 3 months, and you’d have to repurchase this around 4 times a year.

It also doesn’t really help that banila co is not the most accessible brand in Singapore, and I haven’t found many websites selling this product. However, if you happen to be in Korea (or any other country that is lucky enough to have banila co retail stores), you should give this a shot!


Rating

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

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[TIPS] K-beauty products for makeup beginners

When I first started using makeup (which was actually in December 2016), I was absolutely confused. I bought my first makeup products in Korea, and I completely had no idea what I was looking for. BB cream? Eyeliner? Eyebrow pencil? Lipstick? Those were probably the only 4 I knew, and even so I didn’t know which brands and which products were good. I struggled through my first few products because the application wasn’t always great, and some products just didn’t do well on my skin.

In this post, I’ve recommended products which I personally feel are a) worth every cent, b) easy for beginners to use, and c) basic products that most people would use, so I’ve excluded stuff like highlighter, contour etc. Do read on! 🙂


Primer: banila co. Prime Primer Hydrating (SGD 25)

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I didn’t use primer early in my makeup journey, and if you’re on a really tight budget, I honestly think you can skip this step. While the brand is not available in Singapore (officially), you can either get it on Althea, other E-commerce platforms like Shopee, or even in Malaysia. This primer is really good for ensuring your skin stays moisturized and that your makeup stays in place – great for most skin types.


Foundation: Innisfree Skinny Fit Foundation (SGD 29)

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They weren’t joking about the skinny cover fit in this product, which is why I love using this. I think this foundation has really good coverage, stays on for long without much oxidizing, and feels very light on the skin. There are a few downsides of course, such as lack of shades available and low SPF, but generally still good for its price.


Setting powder: Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder (SGD 10)

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Never thought before that you need setting powder to lock in your makeup and keep oil under control? You’ll know what you’re missing out on once you get around to trying this. This is a holy grail product of most K-beauty bloggers. Perfect dupe for more expensive setting powders in Sephora, smells great, and is cheap!! One small tub can last you for months on end, so imagine how much value you’re getting out of your $$$$. This is actually much cheaper on sites like Althea, and of course in Korea (bought 3 for around SGD 10, just imagine). This powder sets your makeup for you to go from dawn to dusk, and prevents your skin from becoming an oil well.


Eyebrow pencil: Etude House Drawing Eye Brow (SGD 5.90)

No product photo as of yet, sorry!!

This eyebrow pencil from Etude House is another product frequently touted for its great quality and low price. This was the first eyebrow pencil I used, and I stuck to this for more than one year before I tried the Shu Uemura Hard Formula. I love it because it is seriously very cheap, can last for very long, and is super easy to use. If you thought drawing eyebrows is going to take you at least 30 minutes, this product will certainly change your mind.


Eyeshadow + Blush: Innisfree My Palette (SGD 8/colour)

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My colours look like I’m confused (I was, kinda – when I bought this, I was sneezing my head off at the store like no one’s business) but actually I found this very useful for doing a whole face of makeup haha. The browns, in particular, are very useful for doing both eyeshadow and contour. I like the pigmentation and how easy it is to blend, which is especially useful for beginners who can’t deal with chalky, tough eyeshadow (actually no one can).

This is slightly pricier at $8 per cube/colour, but I think that a nice brown is a good investment because it works as both eyeshadow and contour.


Eyeliner: TFS Inkgel Pencil Eyeliner (SGD 15.90)

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Some people don’t do eyeliner, but some people live by it. If you’re a beginner, please don’t jump straight into liquid/gel liners. Even I still struggle with them and stick to pencils 90% of the time 😦 This one from TFS is one of my favourites because it really glides on your eyelids easily, and is smudge-proof & waterproof. No one will be able to tell that you’re just starting out in makeup if you get your eyeliner on point, and this product definitely can do that for you.


Lipstick: Peripera Ink the Airy Velvet (SGD 6.90)

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The truth is that there are many great lip products out there, but one that is particularly noteworthy is this product from Peripera, famed for its lip tints. Gradient lip? Full lip look? Last you from one meal to the next? This one’s got you covered for just SGD 6.90.


Total spending: SGD 100.70

This amount looks terrifying (yes, makeup is unfortunately really expensive), but I’ll further streamline this for you by cutting out the eyeshadow+ blush, and primer:

Total spending: SGD 67.70

It’s definitely still a big sum, but this is money that you can consider a good investment because you will use it well – trust me, these products won’t be left untouched on the shelf just after one use,  unless you bought a shade you don’t like.

Are there any products here that you also used when you first started doing makeup, or that you agree are great for beginners? Let me know in the comments!

[REVIEW] banila co. Clean It Zero

Another star product that’s been hailed as a holy grail by many beauty bloggers, banila co,’s Clean It Zero is definitely one of the steps in many people’s Korean skincare routine.


Product Description

This award-winning cleanser goes on as a solid balm and transforms into a silky oil on the skin. Its sorbet-soft, lightweight texture effortlessly dissolves stubborn makeup without stripping your own natural oils. Papaya extract works to naturally exfoliate the skin and acerola extact is rich in vitamin C which helps to brighten.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 27 (Althea)


Ingredient List

Mineral oil, cetyl ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 glyceryl triisostearate, PEG-10 isostearate, polyethylene, butylene glycol, water, rubus suavissimus (raspberry) leaf extract, bambusa arundinacea stem extract, aspalathus linearis leaf extract, viscum album (mistletoe) leaf extract, angelica polymorpha sinesis root extract, carica papaya (papaya) fruit extract, malpighia glabra (acerola) fruit extract, epilobium angustifolium leaf extract, BHT, butylparaben, Cl 16255, Cl 15985, fragrance.

They weren’t joking about the papaya extracts – just look at the ingredient list! It’s also interesting how they contain other plant extracts (raspberry leaf, mistletoe, acerola). According to Soko Glam, ‘papaya extract works to naturally exfoliate the skin and acerola extract is rich in vitamin C which helps to brighten’.


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Packaging: I once read somewhere that banila co.’s packaging is very similar to Benefit Cosmetics. I guess it is kind of true, but I do think that it’s pretty unique – in the K-beauty world, at least. This product’s packaging is very clean and sufficiently luxurious.

Texture: Soko Glam describes this product’s texture as ‘sorbet-soft, lightweight’, and they aren’t exaggerating. It goes on as a solid balm and transforms into a silky oil on the skin when you rub it. I love how this product looks, smells and feels exactly like sorbet. The melted ‘sorbet’ also doesn’t feel overly oily, sticky or gross on the skin.

Effectiveness: When it comes to cleaning power, this cleanser is faultless. With this cleanser, I could wipe off any stubborn makeup on my face almost instantaneously. Waterproof eyeliner? Long-lasting BB cream set by primer and powder? Nothing is too difficult to remove with Clean It Zero, and this truly amazes me.

My issue with this cleanser, however, is that I experienced mild breakouts on the days immediately after I used it. I didn’t quite believe it was the cleanser giving me breakouts on my first try, so I waited for one more month before I got around to using it, with the same result. Frankly, the breakouts weren’t too bad or unsightly, but it is a sure sign that my skin does not react very well to the product.


Final Verdict

I’ve always had some doubts about products hailed as ‘holy grail’, but I’m glad to say that banila co.’s Clean It Zero has dispelled my thoughts on this issue.

If I hadn’t faced any breakout problems on the 2 occasions that I used this, I would definitely use it every day in place of my current water-based makeup remover. However, reality is cruel, and it appears that my skin doesn’t take this product as well as I would have liked. My only salvation would probably be its Purity counterpart for sensitive skin. Anyhow, I digress – the main point here is: take note of this potential breakout problem if you have sensitive skin like me. However, most reviews I’ve read online have only sung praises, with no mention of breakouts, so it’s likely that it’s not so much a product issue.

I personally also think that SGD27 is pretty expensive for a cleanser/makeup remover, and if you’re on a budget, it’s probably better for you to stick to something more affordable, like Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water.


Rating

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

[SAMPLE] banila co. Prime Primer Classic

Korean brands are always superbly generous with product samples, so I got a sample of the Classic version of banila co.’s primer, along with my purchase of the Hydrating one.


Product description

A translucent gel-textured primer that minimizes the appearances of pores and helps your makeup stay fresh all day long. This primer is a Korean favorite for being a silky, lightweight formula that not only provides you a smooth canvas for makeup application, but hydrates as well.

Recommended for normal to dry skin types.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 25 (from Althea)

Get $7 off your first order from Althea here!


I had high hopes for this because of how good the hydrating version has been for me, so hopefully, I don’t have too much of a bias in writing this.

The first difference I noticed was the texture. The hydrating primer is more gel-like and feels extremely comfortable when you apply it on your skin. The classic one feels a lot oilier and greasier on my skin, which I didn’t really like as much because my face tends to get really oily as the day progresses.

There’s also a tinge of fragrance in it, much like the hydrating primer, but nothing too overwhelming.

I tried to control the oil by applying my Innisfree No Sebum powder (which I love and strongly, strongly recommend! will write more about this next time). My makeup did last the whole day (through hot & humid weather), which is pretty amazing, but I could feel that my skin was considerably oilier than when I used the hydrating primer. I also found this out the hard way when I started having a few fresh pimples pop up the next morning, so…


Final Verdict

This product does work well as a primer, but I highly doubt it works on all skin types. If your skin tends to get really oily, this is definitely not the one for you. I guess that’s why the product description says that it’s for normal to dry skin types. I suppose if your skin is on the drier side or you’re using this in a dry climate, this would work pretty well. However, if you’re like me (skin tends to secrete oil to remedy dryness, pretty strange I know), this is a big no-no.

I honestly won’t recommend this for hot and humid climates. I still think the hydrating one is much better, although I’m hoping to try the other products in the range (especially Blur and Purity!)


Rating

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

[REVIEW] banila co. Kiss Collector Luster

banila co. is famous for their base and face products, but much less so for lips. However, being an avid collector of lip products, I wanted to give this brand a try, in hopes that its ambassador’s star power will at least account for something.


Product description

Smooth rolling powder gives soft application without bunching.
Soft but not dry reversal formula.
Vivid color on lips.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 18.96 (Qoo10)

Image credits


If you read my blog often, you might be able to guess which shade I would most likely pick. I actually got LND901, a dusty rose pink that resembles quite a few other products’. I think this is a very wearable shade and perfect for everyday looks, especially if you’re not super fair (in which case nude lip colours will make you look super washed out), or are not keen on rocking bolder shades of pink and red.

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I may be a fan of the shade I got, but the formula leaves much to be desired.

As you can tell from the product description, there is no promise of it being long-lasting, and I found out right after the first time I used this. All it took was one sip of my drink, and the lipstick was about as good as gone. It is probably one of the shortest-lasting lip products I own.

I do have to admit though, the lipstick feels very comfortable when applied. It feels like a gloss, but with a higher colour payoff. This is quite obvious in the swatch on my hand, as you can see that it reflects quite a bit of light. I would probably just use this product as a top coat on top of, say, a matte lipstick, so that I get a bit of gloss on my lips without having to feel annoyed about reapplying my lipstick every time I eat and drink.


Final Verdict

As much as I love this colour, I am honestly not keen on having to reapply my lipstick every time I reach for water, and therefore highly unlikely to be repurchasing this.

I’m honestly hoping that other banila co. lip products will be as good as, if not better, than their face ones, having bought one of the best BB creams of my life from this brand.


Rating

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

[REVIEW] banila co. It Radiant Glow BB Cream

As I mentioned previously, I love using BB creams. They are a staple of my makeup routine because my skin is terrible and BB creams always do such a great job in instantly making it look 10x better.

I was quite keen on trying this together with my hydrating primer from banila co. because Taeyeon (banila co.’s ambassador) always looks like she has flawless skin.


Product description

Creates hydrating and illuminating skin by refining pores and wrinkles.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 31.50 (from Qoo10)


As with most Korean products, this product comes in limited shades. I’m not too sure if my information is 100% correct, but the banila co. PH website only offers 2 shades – Classic Beige & True Beige. Classic Beige is a lighter shade, while True Beige is darker.

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Image Credits

I’m usually quite terrible at matching my shade well, so I asked the salesgirl for help and she recommended that I buy Classic Beige. I got really worried about whether this was going to work out fine after I tried a few CC cream samples that they gave, and the CC cream was such a bad fit that I looked like I had slapped white paint on myself.

Fortunately, the salesgirl was right, and my worries were unfounded. As a reference point, I use 21C for my IOPE Air Cushion, so I guess I might be relatively fair enough for the Classic Beige shade to work for me, although I do think it’s still one shade lighter than my original skin colour.

The tube is not very big and contains 30ML of product. The volume is a tad little as compared to, say, Etude House’s. However, I came to realize that I only needed to squeeze a small amount of cream every time because the cream’s coverage is so, so good.

I also love how the BB cream applies nicely on the skin just by using your fingertips (this is, in fact, the recommended method to apply it!). The cream doesn’t feel oily, and it gives your skin a nice, dewy glow. Paired together with the hydrating primer, I find that this product is capable of lasting from morning to night without any need to touch up unless you have been sweating buckets (especially in Singapore’s hot and humid weather) – that may require a quick touchup with a cushion compact.


Final Verdict

I was originally a fervent user of the BB cream from The odbo, but was always on the lookout for something else because I felt that it was a bit too fair for my liking. banila co.’s It Radiant Glow BB Cream appears to be the answer I am looking for.

It hasn’t given me any major skin problems so far either, unlike my experience with Etude House’s, which was too oily for my skin. It also helps that the BB cream itself is meant to be hydrating for your skin, which gives my dry skin the extra boost it needs.

The price tag is also much easier on the wallet than The odbo, especially considering how little you have to apply per use. I’m definitely repurchasing this, and would even put this on my holy grail list. I’m also looking at giving banila co.’s CC creams a try the next time I get to visit their stores, and hopefully, they’ll have a shade that’s a right fit for me.


Rating

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

[REVIEW] banila co. Prime Primer Hydrating

I only started using primer recently, after I was advised to do so due to my dry skin (which in turn led to excess oil production and clogged pores). I wasn’t very sure which primer would be good, but I had heard great reviews of banila co.’s primers. When I went to Korea, one of the brands I had to buy was banila co. (because we don’t have it here in Singapore, & also because Taeyeon is their ambassador), so I thought I might as well give their primer a shot.

The primers actually come in different versions for different skin needs. I picked the hydrating one, because my skin is really super dry no matter how much moisturizer I apply. The hydrating one is also recommended for people with combination skin.


Product description

Creates hydrating and illuminating skin by refining pores and wrinkles.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 25 (from Althea)

Get $7 off your first order from Althea here!


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Packaging: This primer is easy to use – simply squeeze out a suitable amount, and apply on your face at the start of your makeup routine.

Texture: It feels like…gel? I think that’s the most suitable word to describe it. It’s not heavy and oily on the skin, and gets absorbed pretty easily. I think this would be good for people with oily skin and worry that using primer might clog their pores.

Effectiveness:  The primer leaves a rather cooling and hydrating feel on the skin once applied, which I quite liked. I don’t think the hydrating effect is that drastic though, so it’s best to still do proper hydration for your skin before applying this primer. It also smoothens the skin, making it easier for you to apply BB cream/foundation after that.

I’ve noticed that my skin doesn’t get so oily throughout the day after using this, and my makeup stays on longer as well. My acne problem (caused by excess oil production from dry skin) has also significantly improved.


Final Verdict

This product definitely lives up to its hype, thoroughly prepping your skin for your makeup routine, and helping it to last throughout the day.

My only issue with banila co.’s primer is the small quantity – 30ML is seriously very little, especially if you apply makeup almost everyday. The price is also not very affordable if you think about how you’re paying SGD 25 for such a small quantity that you’ll most likely finish after a month.

However, this has seriously won me over and I’m already looking at my next purchase. This has worked much better for me than other primer products, such as Etude House’s FIX&FIX Pore Primer (which I felt clogged my pores a little, and didn’t really cover up my pores that much as it promises).

I’m really hoping that banila co. will release a bigger sized version of this product sometime in the future.


Rating

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