Tag Archives: skincare

[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.


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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.


Rating

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

mustbuy

[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.


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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.


Rating

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

[REVIEW] Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Nose Pack

Time for a confession: part of the reason why I purchased this was because I needed to hit $20 for free shipping on Shopee. I wasn’t in particularly dire need of clearing my blackheads at that time, but let’s admit it, everyone’s gotta need a good nose strip at some point in time, right? I bought this in a box of 6, but I think they only sell individual packets in Singapore’s Innisfree stores.


Product Description

A nose pack containing Jeju volcanic scoria that removes blackheads and keeps pores clean.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 1 (for 1 piece)


Ingredient List

VP/VA Copolymer, Water/Aqua, Titanium Dioxide, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Volcanic Ash, Silica, Hamamelis Virginiana(Witch Hazel) Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Black Iron Oxide (CI 77499), Red Iron Oxide (CI 77491), Yellow Iron Oxide (CI 77492)

I’m actually quite surprised that this product’s second highest ingredient is water. You wouldn’t exactly be expecting water in your nose strip, but I’m guessing it could be the ‘glue’, which helps the strip to stick on your nose. The fact that there’s more lavender oil than volcanic ash is also quite unexpected, but overall I’m quite happy to see other beneficial ingredients like witch hazel extract.


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Packaging: Very consistent with Innisfree’s eco-friendly, natural branding. It’s also very easy for you to tear open an individual packet, so I generally have not much to say about this.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD

(gunk on pore strips)

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Effectiveness: The photos speak for themselves when I say that this pore strip is SUPER EFFECTIVE. I got a shock when I saw all these gunk trapped on the strip. I’ve seen my fair share of dirt when I use other brands’ but never so much before. It’s horrifying, but also actually very pleasing to see after you get over the initial shock. Of course, I’m extremely happy that this strip is effective because it means a cleaner nose for me.


Final Verdict

I’ve read some reviews online that this product is not good because it peels their skin off. I haven’t encountered this problem so far, and I think a possible reason it could happen is if you leave it on your skin for too long, so the glue (which is really sticky) dries up. My recommendation is not to put it on for more than 15 minutes, or you might not like this product even if they eradicate all your blackheads.

I would definitely repurchase this, but another good point to take note would be doing the necessary after-care (closing your pores using cold water, etc.), because this does such a great job in pulling out the dirt that your pores might be enlarged after that.


Rating

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

[REVIEW] LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask

Despite my love of matte lipsticks and my occasionally dry lips, I never really saw the need to use lip masks, much less sleeping masks. However, Friend A told me that she used this quite a fair bit and it wasn’t too bad, so I decided to try out a travel-sized version that I bought on Shopee for just SGD2.


Product Description

Sleep-in mask for the lips; gently melts away dead skin cell leaving lips moist and supple the next morning.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 27


Ingredient List

Diisostearyl Malate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Phytosteryl/Isostearyl/Cetyl/Stearyl/Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Hydrogenated C6-14 Olefin Polymers, Polybutene, Microcrystalline Wax, Shea Butter, Synthetic Wax, Candelilla Wax, Sucrose Tetrastearate Triacetate, Hydrogenated Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Mica, Astrocaryum murumuru Seed Butter, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethicone, Aromatics, Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Methicone, Carnauba Wax, Polyglyceryl-2 Triisostearate, CI 15985, CI 15850, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Water, Potassium Alginate, Propanediol, Glycerin, Alcohol, Lycium Fruit Extract, Cranberry Fruit Extract, Strawberry Fruit Extract, Raspberry Fruit Extract, Sapindus mukurossi Fruit Extract, Blueberry Fruit Extract,  Rubus chamaemorus Seed Extract, Coffee Extract, Chenopodium quinoa Seed Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta-Glucan, Manganese Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Ascorbyl Glucoside

I’m a little disappointed that shea butter doesn’t rank as high as I would have expected, as well as how low the fruit extracts rank in this ingredient list.


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Packaging: The full-size product’s packaging looks very similar to the Water Sleeping Mask, but I think the travel size one is also pretty good. In fact, the packaging + size are really very good for bringing along when you’re traveling, because it’s so light and easy to pack into your luggage.

Texture: There was a period of time I suspected that this was just lip balm because it felt exactly like it!! The texture is really smooth and feels a bit like wax (probably because of the shea butter). It doesn’t feel sticky on the lips, and you might not even remember that you applied this mask the previous night when you wake up in the morning.

Plus point: I also love how it smells and tastes like berries!

Effectiveness: This lip sleeping mask promises to remove dead skin cells from your lips – while I’m not too sure about that claim since I haven’t actually seen the dead skin cells (LOL), I do think that my lips feel more supple in the morning after using this. I’ve also had no allergic reactions, a good sign since my lips are one of the fastest to react to irritants in products.


Final Verdict

If your lips are in dire need of care no matter how much lip balm you apply every day, this product will come in handy for you. On the other hand, if you have no major issues with your lips, I personally feel that it is a little difficult to justify forking out SGD27 to take care of your lips.

It’s also a tad troublesome to remember to clean off the sleeping mask the next morning. As of yet, I haven’t had the experience of not cleaning it off before, so I can’t tell you what will happen if you don’t.


Rating

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

[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: ✮✮✮

[REVIEW] RiRe All Kill Blackhead Remover Stick

I’ve cycled through my fair share of blackhead removal products over the years, because honestly, who doesn’t struggle with blackheads? These pesky things seem to keep coming back no matter how many pore strips and clay masks I try.

I saw this product on Althea – it was on sale at the time, and I needed to add one more item to my cart for free shipping, so there it went into my shopping cart.


Product Description

Melt blackheads, whiteheads and dead skin cells with this simple-to-use stick! With extracts from charcoal power, rice, black bean and sesame, this cleansing stick targets hard-to-reach areas like the sides of the nose to thoroughly cleanse pores. Lavender, tea tree, aloe and chamomile extracts soothe skin and prevent a dry or tugging sensation. Apply on moist nose and rinse with water. Use 2-3 times a week.

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 11 (Althea)


Ingredient List

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Image credits

Most of the ingredients listed have been certified to be safe and don’t pose much of an irritant risk. If you’re worried about ingredients such as Propylene Glycol, you might be relieved to know that they are usually quite safe in small doses.

 


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Packaging: Black and sleek, this is actually much better than RiRe’s lipstick, although still not exactly the most luxurious of product packaging.

Texture: It reminds me a lot of gluesticks – I even suspected at some point in time that it might just be glue 😂 It rolls and applies very easily on the nose and cheeks (depending on which part of the face you’re trying to remove blackheads from).

As you can see from the product shots, there are little black and white specks all over. Apparently, those are charcoal powder, rice, black beans and black sesame seeds. Definitely sounds like it would make a delicious meal. They’re slightly bumpy to the touch, but nothing extremely uncomfortable.

Effectiveness: This product has really helped to remove a lot of my blackheads and dead skin. Although I think that it is not as effective or satisfying as using a pore strip, I love how smooth my skin feels immediately after I use it. It feels almost as though the little grains in the product helped to smoothen my skin while removing the blackheads. That being said, I still see a handful of blackheads after usage, so it’s most likely that it’s not that good at removing the stubborn ones.


Final Verdict

I think for a price of SGD 11, this is not too bad, but it’s honestly not the cheapest option you can get.

If you have really, really stubborn blackheads and whiteheads to remove, you may be slightly disappointed in this product because it’s not that good at removing them, based on my personal experience. Those will have to be eradicated by using pore strips.


Rating

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

[REVIEW] LANEIGE Eye Sleeping Mask

To be honest, I never really paid much attention to skincare for my eyes. I knew they looked terrible thanks to my not-so-stellar sleeping and dieting habits (which I find it hard to get around to fixing), and I could cover my eyebags with concealer, so I just didn’t give it much thought.

However, I started noticing that my eyes would sometimes get very puffy at one moment, and extremely dull & dry the next. I also got comments telling me that I looked dead tired when I didn’t put concealer, so I decided that it was high time I found a cure for it.


Product description

The eye sleeping mask moisturizes, revitalizes, and brightens skin around the eyes by taking care of puffy eyes with the ceramic ball massage

Official Retail Price in Singapore: SGD 46


Ingredient list

WATER, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERIN, DIMETHICONE, 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, HESPERIDIN, CAFFEINE, BETA-GLUCAN, SACCHAROMYCES CEREVISIAE EXTRACT, CHENOPODIUM QUINOA SEED EXTRACT, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, CALCIUM CHLORIDE, MANGANESE SULFATE, ZINC SULFATE, ASCORBYL GLUCOSIDE, ADENOSINE, TRIETHYLHEXANOIN, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKY LACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, AMMONIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE/BEHENETH-25 MET HACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, GLYCERYL CAPRYLATE, PROPANEDIOL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, PEG-14M,DISODIUM EDTA, FRAGRANCE

This looks like a mouthful of incomprehensible terms on first sight, but you can infer bits and parts of it. For example, water is its top (or rather, most common) ingredient, and fragrance is added in the smallest percentage, which is a great thing.

Upon further research (thanks to websites like The Derm Review), the next common ingredient, butylene glycol, is actually a controversial chemical that’s derived from petroleum. It’s added to increase penetration by other ingredients in the formulation, as well as to give products a thinner consistency. It makes sense to use thin, easily-absorbed products on the area around your eyes.

However!! This product also raises alarm bells. As I quote from TDR:

“Although butylene glycol has many benefits for the skin, one of the likeliest side effects from this chemical is the potential for skin irritation. Several studies suggest that this ingredient can cause a rash around the eyes and other forms of irritation in individuals with sensitive skin. Further, it may even cause irritation of the respiratory passages if it is accidentally inhaled from products like hair spray or skin mist sprayers.”

If you have sensitive skin, do take special note of this!


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Packaging: I love LANEIGE products’ packaging. They always look and feel so luxurious despite being AMOREPACFIC’s mid-tier-price-brand. The frosted/ombre effects on the packaging, coupled with LANEIGE’s signature blue (to symbolize hydration, which the brand is famous for), give the impression of a clinical skincare product.

The one thing I didn’t like about this particular product, however, is the fact that the roller is separate from the actual bottle, which is capped with a normal cap. It’s not the easiest (or most hygienic) to keep and store, so whenever I use this, I always wonder why couldn’t LANEIGE just combine both.

Texture: It has a very thin consistency which allows for fast absorption by the skin. It reminded me of their most-famous Water Sleeping Mask, just less viscous and more watery. I really like this thin texture, because products that are too heavy usually end up clogging my skin instead.

Effectiveness: While I’ve not noticed any spectacular or mindblowing results yet, I have to say that this product has indeed been effective at moisturizing and depuffing my terrible eyebags. They don’t look as bad ever since I started using this sleeping mask, and I find myself not needing to apply concealer under my eyes all the time.

It is also extremely relaxing to massage this product into the area around your eyes. It feels naturally cool without me having to put it in the fridge.


Final Verdict

If you’re looking for an eye product to enhance your under-eye area, this is definitely the product you need.

Despite the presence of ingredients that can possibly cause allergies and discomfort, I’ve been fortunate enough not to report any of these reactions… yet. So don’t fret too much about having harmful ingredients in the product.

At SGD46, it’s definitely pricier than what we might normally want to spend on skincare, so this may be another deterrent for you.

I’ve seen travel sizes for this eye sleeping mask online, and I’m hoping to get these in the future when I do travel. Having to bring such a huge bottle around (together with that cap) is not ideal, and small rollers sound much more practical. If you’re worried about having to commit immediately to a full bottle of product, do consider getting the travel sizes as well!


Rating

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