[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 😦




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!


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


[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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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!

What’s your favourite K-beauty brand?

The K-beauty world is amazingly diverse with so many different brands, so I wanted to do a fun poll on which one is the most popular among my readers.

Do take part and cast a vote for your favourite brand! 🙂

[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’.






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.


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

How Much Is Your Lipstick Worth Per Gram? [PART I]

I’ve always been curious as to whether I’m getting the most value out of my lipsticks – I can’t tell whether some are rather pricey despite the small volume, or cheap precisely because of the volume. With this in mind, I started punching numbers to find out how much my lipsticks were worth per gram.

The first part of this series focuses on my bullet lipsticks, while more on liquid ones will come later.

DISCLAIMER: Some of these numbers may not be wholly accurate due to differences in prices – I obtained these prices from either official brand websites, other retailers, or individual sellers on selling platforms. Prices are also listed in SGD (Singapore dollars).

Korean brands

  1. Aritaum Wonder Stay Stick Tint: SGD 2.86 ($12, 4.2g)
  2. RiRe Luxe Glow Lipstick: SGD 3.14 ($11, 3.5g)
  3. banila co. Kiss Collector Luster: SGD 4.88 ($20.50, 4.2g)
  4. 3CE Mood Recipe Matte Lip Color: SGD 5.11 ($17.90, 3.5g)
  5. TFS Moisture Touch Lipstick: SGD 5.85 ($19.90, 3.4g)
  6. Etude House Dear My Matte Tinting Lip-Talk: SGD 5.97 ($17.90, 3g)
  7. moonshot – lipfeat: SGD 8.29 ($29, 3.5g)


Other brands

  1. Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Lipstick: SGD 9.71 ($33, 3.4g)
  2. shu uemura rouge unlimited supreme matte: SGD 11.18 ($38, 3.4g)
  3. Lancôme L’ Absolu Rouge: SGD 11.43 ($48, 4.2g)

Did any of these come as a surprise to you? Comment and let me know!

My Top 10 Cosmetic Products of 2017

As 2017 is about to end, it is also time to do a round-up.

I started writing on THERAGEFFECT just this year, which was also when I actually first started playing around with makeup. I try my best to give honest and frank reviews because I’m not paid or sponsored to do any, and I hope they have been useful in your shopping decisions, or at least interesting to read 🙂 Although I generally don’t regret many of my purchases, I definitely have a few star favourites.

Here is my list of 10 products tried and loved in 2017.

Note: not ranked in any particular order 

1/ Innisfree Eco Flower Tint

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I’ve raved about this so many times that it’s no wonder it made my list of top 10 cosmetics in 2017. One of the best lip tints and lip products I’ve ever used, I wish this product will never disappear, and just maybeee add more shades?

2/ banila co. It Radiant Glow BB Cream

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Good coverage, no oily or sticky feeling, minimal oxidation – what more can I ask for in a BB cream? I’m still on my first tube for 4 months, and I’m probably only halfway through even though I use this almost everyday. My only worry is that I tried to repurchase this in Korea recently and they changed the packaging – let’s just hope that they didn’t change the formula (for the worse) as well.

3/ banila co. Prime Primer Hydrating

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If you haven’t been actively using primer, 2018 is the year you should start doing so. I used to be a naysayer until I bought one of these. Not only do they hydrate my skin and prep it for my makeup, it also helps my BB cream (see above) stay on longer. Again, my worry is that banila co. changed the designs for only 3 of the primers, so it could really mean that the formula is not the same anymore 😦

4/ shu uemura hard formula

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I bought this after long deliberation (months to be exact) because it is not the cheapest eyebrow pencil out there in the market. The lead pigment only comes off when in contact with the oils secreted in eyebrows, and I find that it really helps to shape and fill my eyebrows in easily. Only downside – you have to sharpen it at the shu uemura store.

5/ Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder

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My face becomes an oil well very easily, so I bought this for sebum control. I ended up loving this powder for its ability to keep my makeup in place for hours, in addition to its commitment to anti-sebum.

6/ Innisfree Vivid Tint Rouge

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Another star lip product from Innisfree, what is most impressive isn’t just long staying power and beautiful colour payoff. From personal experience, I can apply one layer of peachy-pink on initial application, which eventually leaves behind a brighter and more intense pink tint on your lips. I’m sure you’ll love the dual colours as well.

7/ THEFACESHOP Moisture Touch Lipstick

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Another high-raved about product (raved by me, at least) that definitely topped my list. In fact, I love the formula so much that I bought 3 shades of this. I also appreciate how easy it is to apply to look ready – just one swipe and you’re good to go.

8/ THEFACESHOP Inkgel Pencil Eyeliner

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I’ve experimented with many different types of eyeliners over the year because I’m not great at drawing so sometimes I blame it on the pencil. I had one of my liquid eyeliners smudge completely in Korea because my eyelids were too oily, but this pencil eyeliner has held up strong with zero smudging through long bouts of bad weather – highly impressive.

9/ peripera Ink The Airy Velvet

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Long lasting, soft colours and extremely affordable price are everything that makes peripera’s lip tint so famous. I was initially not very impressed with my first try of the product; now, I am a converted fan with 3 shades bought on 3 different occasions.

10/ IOPE Air Cushion

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How could I leave out this cushion that changed the way I look at compacts? IOPE’s Air Cushion provides much better coverage than you could expect from a compact cushion. Together with moisture and longwear properties to stay on your skin for hours without feeling like your makeup is flaking off, this cushion is one that you’ll definitely want to keep in your makeup pouch.

[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!)


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