Two Sun Screens

From the left: The Saem's Eco Earth Power Tone Up Sun Cream, A'Pieu's Pure Block Natural Daily Sun Cream
Since July is fast approaching, I thought it would be fitting to do a little review of the two facial sun screens I've been using recently: The Saem's Eco Earth Power Tone Up Sun Cream (SPF 50+ PA+++) and A'Pieu's Pure Block Natural Daily Sun Cream (SPF 45 PA+++). This isn't really a comparison of the two, since they have pretty different formulas. The former is an inorganic (meaning that it contains zinc oxide and titanium oxide) and the latter an organic sun screen. I'm just too lazy to make a dedicated post for each, lol.

I have to say right off the bat that I'm not a fan of The Saem one. I tried to make it work, but I just don't think it's right for my skin. I wore it every day for two or three weeks - and probably looked like a hot mess. To be fair, this wasn't a carefully researched purchase. I bought it on a whim from a holiday sale at the beginning of this year. I had been using The Saem's Eco Earth Power Perfection Waterproof sun screen and I thought it was alright, so I wanted to try another product in their line. Plus it was discounted on top of having a very affordable price in the first place. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a bargain!

Here's swatches of both sun creams. The Saem's Tone up Sun Cream on the left and A'Pieu's Pure Block on the right.
I was expecting the Tone Up Sun Cream to have a thick texture and some sort of a white cast. I wasn't expecting it to leave me looking ghostly, though. Which it does. I think this sun screen might look really weird on someone with a darker skin tone. Once applied, it settles into a matte finish with a bit of an adhesive feeling. I wouldn't call it sticky, but it kind of feels like a makeup primer. But it still leaves behind a powdery residue on top of the skin? I don't understand how, but it makes the surface of my skin feel a bit tight as the day goes on, yet somehow it also makes my makeup break down faster. It's almost like whatever base I'm wearing on top of it shrinks and goes all patchy after a while.

Here are the swatches after a little bit of blending. You can definitely get the Tone Up Sun Cream less white if you keep patting it; this is just to give you an idea of the texture.
The sun cream seems very waterproof to me. In fact, I've had difficulties removing it properly, which might have contributed to some small break outs I've had recently. I've been trying to use the cream up by applying it all over before going out running. It's really not ideal for that either, because it leaves white powdery marks on my clothes. I definitely can't see myself buying it again. It's a bummer, because the actual sun blocking properties seem to work well. I just personally can't handle the consistency. That said, I really like a lot of The Saem's other products. Their concealers are the and I love their Green Tea cleansing water!

The A'Pieu Pure Block is a lot nicer to my skin. I've used it much longer, so it might just be a case of my skin being more accustomed to it. It doesn't leave a heavy white cast and applies very smoothly. The consistency is more on the lighter, runnier side. The finish is definitely shiny, but it doesn't bother me. I like my base makeup dewy, plus I can always knock it back a bit with some loose powder. The Pure Block is not waterproof and it will probably come off pretty easily if you sweat a lot. I'm not sure how well this would work in a more hot and humid climate. Luckily the weather is pretty cool for most of the year where I live. I've already purchased this product again four or five times already, so I think I'm going to stick to it from now on. I actually don't have much to say about this product, even though I like it! I just think it's a nice staple in my morning routine. It's A-OK.

Which sun screens are you using this summer? 

Upgrading my brushes!

My old make up brushes had started to fall apart, so at the end of April, I finally took the plunge and bought a new set. My last brush set was from EcoTools, and while I liked them a lot, I wanted to try cruelty-free natural hair brushes next. I considered a lot of different options. At first I thought about getting individuals, but it seemed kind of time consuming. Plus I figured that in the end it might be cheaper to just buy a full set. I decided to go with Zoeva's Complete Rose Golden Eye Set vol. 2, because of all the good things I read about them. They were pretty pricey for me, but I think they have been worth it. I've been using them almost every day for the past month, and so far I've really loved them! There are 12 brushes in total: four of them are synthetic taklon and the rest are a blend of synthetic fibers and goat hair. 

The brushes are not only beautiful to look at, but they feel really lovely and soft against the skin. I love the shiny rose gold ferrule and the tiny engraved decorative detail it has. I smile every time I get them out for use! I even feel like I manage blend my eye shadow a bit better than before (but that might just be my imagination).

Here are my favorites from the set, from top to bottom:

227 Luxe Crease is a soft blending brush that tapers toward the tip. It's perfect for blending everything together to create smooth transitions between shades.

227 Luxe Soft Definer is a fluffy flat brush. I like to use it to apply a dome-shaped wash of color on the whole mobile lid for a simple and easy eye shadow look. I reach for it a lot when I do my daily make up.

The 235 Contour Shader is one of the reasons why I decided to purchase this set. I think a brush like this is a must have for anyone with hooded eyes. The shape really makes lid-contouring easy.

231 Luxe Petit Crease brush is great for precise application and blending. I don't have a lot of visible lid-space, which can make eye shadow a bit tricky. I need to be really careful about how I place the colors. This brush is really helpful, when I want to blend small areas and keep the color contained.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the pouch that came with the set. Usually these sort of things look and feel kind of cheap, but this one is made of a pretty nice material. I like the dangly puller on the zipper. It's very pretty! I've been very pleased with my new brush set and I want to add some of their face brushes to my collection too.

Have you used any of Zoeva's brushes? Do you have any favorites/recommendations?

May empties!

I've always liked empties posts and videos. It's interesting for me to see what kind of products people use up and how they feel about them after going through a full container. So here I am, documenting all the stuff I slathered on my face/body last month.

I only used up two makeup products in May:
Skinfood's Royal Honey Cover Bounce Cushion in the color No.1 Light Beige is the first cushion base I've ever used. I know I'm really late to the party, but I was always a bit skeptical of the concept. The formula had an interesting texture. It was kind of sticky when I first started using it, but it seemed to become less so as the cushion got saturated. I really liked the shade, coverage and the dewy finish. You can really get an even application with the dispensing system. But to be honest, I'm still not really sold on cushions. Towards the end, I just started to find the whole thing kind of gross. I don't really like how you have to keep dipping into the cushion inside the compact. It just seems like a breeding ground for all kinds of germs. I probably won't write cushion products off completely, but I can't see myself trying another one any time soon. I also won't be repurchasing this guy. 

Next up is Missha's Perfect Eyebrow Styler in Light Brown. I'm a bit miffed to include this item in this post, because it ended up here prematurely. The actual color stick had detached from the base of the pen-casing, but I was set on finishing it up because there was only a little bit left. I guess the last time I tried to use it I had my hand tilted at a bad angle, because the thing flew out of the packaging and shattered when I opened it. I really liked this brow pencil, but since the packaging seems kind of unreliable, I won't repurchase it. 

The Saem Eco Earth Power Perfection Waterprood Sun Block was my go-to sun screen during the winter, but it started to feel a bit too dewy even for me once the weather warmed up a bit. It had a light beige tint, but it could still leave a white cast if I went a bit over board with the application. It's probably not my all-time favorite sun cream, but I'm going to keep it in mind when I'm on the market for a new one.

COSRX's Acne Pimple Master Patches are a staple for a lot of K-beauty lovers, myself included! They don't really make blemishes go away over night, but I do think they shorten their lifespan. Or maybe that's just my wishful thinking. In any case, I always stock up again when I run out. Though last time I got A'pieu's hydrocolloid patches instead, because I'm curious to see how they measure up - or if there's a discernible difference at all.

ACO's Lip Cerat lip balm is my favorite! It really saved my lips when I had to take isotretinoin to treat a bad cystic acne flare up a few years ago. I've since been lucky enough to have mostly clear skin but I've stuck with the lip balm. All the other ones just pale in comparison for me. 

I love, love, looove Mizon's Multi Function Formula Snail Wrinkle Care Sleeping Pack! I have a dedicated review of it here.

Innisfree's Jeju Sparkling Mineral Mist was a nice enough thermal water mist. I would spray it on if I applied too much power to make my make up look more natural, I'd spray it on kaolin clay to make my white clay mask, and it really came in handy during work outs when I needed something quick and fresh to cool my skin down a bit. I don't think it's the be-all end-all of facial mists, though, so I'm getting something else next time.

I've been using Lumene's Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover forever. It's like the nuclear option of eye makeup removers: I've yet to own a product it doesn't melt off. It removes all traces of eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara and eyelash glue, Hell, it'll even remove the mineral stains from your bathroom floor! Don't ask how I found out. I've heard some people say it irritates their skin, but I must have built up a resistance over the years, haha.

The Erioil moisturizing emulsion is another another old faithful product I've been using for years, ever since I was a child. It's a very simple, no-nonsense body lotion without fragrance, bells or whistles. I always end up coming back to it in the end, even if I sometimes try something else.

I've been really into Batiste's dry shampoo in Bare ever since it launched. I love Batiste's dry shampoos! I used to use the Heavenly Volume and Beautiful and Brunette ones, but to be honest, I was never a fan of the fragrance. They'd just end up smelling kind of stuffy to me. Bare on the other hand has a more light and neutral scent, so it doesn't bother me. I'll probably stick to getting this one, because all the other brands I've tried so far have been really disappointing.

That's it for May! Do you have any skin care or make up staples that you keep coming back to again and again? 

Cosmetics sample inferno

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