Third Skincare Haul of 2022: Korean Skincare

My first set of purchases were back in March and all items fell under French Pharmacy. At the time my skin was still healing from my CO2 Fraxel Laser sessions and the skincare I purchased were all very reliable for sensitive skin – gentle, soothing and wound-healing.

Now that I’m well passed the healing phase and emptied 28 skincare products so far, I thought it was safe to make another skincare purchase. Not just because I felt like it, I have an actual need for the products I’m going to mention down below. I thought about these skincare items for a long time before committing to buying them, and I even did the due diligence of speaking to my husband about my purchases 😀

Although this is technically my second skincare haul of the year, my third skincare haul from Niche Beauty came in the mail first. Be sure to check out that post as well so you know exactly what has entered my skincare collection since July!

Let’s Low Buy! My Rules for 2022 | Journey to Minimalism
Low Buy Update #1: 3 Month Check-In + Skincare Empties
Spring 2022 Skincare Empties
Second Skincare Haul of 2022: Niche Beauty Lab + Allies of Skin

Man:yo Bifida Biome Ampoule Toner

Image from’s product page

My Sioris First Essener finally came to an end, and I needed a hydrating toner to replace it. I was originally thinking about picking up the Numbuzin No. 3 Super Glowing Essence Toner given its popularity among K-Beauty influencers. I noticed on Olive Young however it was no longer a top seller and that the Man:yo Bifida Biome Ampoule Toner, which I’ve also seen frequently as a top seller, is still doing well. I looked at reviews on YesStyle and it seems this toner has been great for people with dry and acne prone skin. I like that it has a combination of moisturizing and soothing ingredients along side PHA and ferments. Also it comes in a 400ml bottle, and some comments suggest that no more than 1-2 layers are needed for their skin to feel sufficiently hydrated. My skin well tolerates all the ingredients in the Man:yo Bifida Biome Ampoule Toner, so I’m looking forward to using it in my skincare routine!
YesStyle – “YESMICH” 5% OFF

Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule 5x


Jude from Fifty Shades of Snail made me buy it. I first heard of this ampoule when I just started using Rovectin Clean Forever Young Biome Ampoule (PR) and I was already smitten with that one. The Missha one seems to have the ingredients and texture I’m looking for. Now that I’ve emptied the Man:yo Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule, I’m ready to try this one! I currently have the Yunjac Whole Plant Effect Concentrate rotating in my skincare routine. I don’t mind it, but it just doesn’t do what an ampoule with Bifida Ferment Lysate serum does!
YesStyle – “YESMICH” 5% OFF

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX Mini


Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum is a product I have been highly curious about since a few of my favourite Korean Beauty influencers mention this time and time again. Sulwhasoo is a well-known luxury Korean beauty company that offers skincare formulated with Hanbang (traditional Korean herbal medicine) ingredients. The most common benefit I have read here or there on the internet is that it does a great job at rejuvinating the skin, giving it a healthy glow. I never picked it up because I did not know much about Hanbang Skincare at the time and the price was (and is) high. I found the mini size on YesStyle so I thought I’d try it before committing to the full size. I have also been reading more about Hanbang skincare and perusing through Odile Monod’s content, so I feel like I have a better idea about what to expect!
YesStyle – “YESMICH” 5% OFF

Kahi Wrinkle Bounce Multi-Balm

Image from’s product page

I’ve been keeping an eye out for a good to-go moisturizing product that I can keep in my purse as needed. Last year I decanted the Violette_FR Boum-Boum Milk (Reviewed) in a small spray bottle. I loved reaching for it after swimming in the sea and it provided much needed hydration. Violette_FR does not ship to the part of the world I’m in now, so I had to hunt for something else. I was contemplating picking up Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate the Mist – one of my favourite face mists I have tried, but I am trying to empty 2 mists in my skincare collection before I repurchase. The 2 mists I currently have are okay but do not provide anywhere near the amount of hydration I get from Jordan Samuel Skin and Violette_FR. Also when I am out for longer periods of time or we’re in the colder months, I need to apply something more emollient on my face following a mist. This is where the Kahi Wrinkle Bounce Multi-Balm comes in – I like that it’s in stick form so easy to pack and use, and since my skin tends to get dry throughout the day, this seems like it would fit into my lifestyle – including beach and other shenanigans. I’ve seen this in Olive Young’s bestselling product list for a long time. From my understanding, Kahi’s Wrinkle Bounce Multi-Balm has been featured in a few popular K-Dramas, but the reviews I’ve read also show that it performs well. I can’t wait to try it!
YesStyle – “YESMICH” 5% OFF

Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume

Image from’s product page

Nothing new here, people! Just had to repurchase another bottle of my holy grail moisturizer – Bioderma’s Atoderm Intensive Baume. This has been my go-to moisturizer for many a skincare routine and it’s here to stay. My husband’s minimal skincare routine for his healthy glowing skin is essentially this moisturizer so it’s good for us to purchase the 500ml size.


And that’s all, folks! Those are the 4 extra skincare purchases I have made this year. Let me know in the comments down below if you’ve tried any of the skincare items I mentioned and how they performed!

xo, M

My Body Care Routine – How I Prevent & Clear Back Acne

I have been experiencing summer-like weather since April, and as a result, I’ve never sweat so much in my life. At the beginning of this warm season I experienced a pretty bad cystic acne breakout on my back from the excessive sweating from the weather, gym and laziness towards body care. Then it hit me – some pretty painful cystic breakouts on my back – the dreaded bacne. It’s one thing to have breakouts on your face, – but for some reason, the pimples on your body tend to be larger, redder, more painful – just meaner in general. I managed to clear it up with my regular body care routine plus use of a go-to S.O.S. skincare active. In this post, I thought it was about time I share the body care routine I’ve been doing for 20ish years that has been keeping my back nice and clear as well as my overall body skin looking good! While acne on my face has always been my main concern, fortunately my back has never been too problematic and the breakouts have always been easier to maintain. I’ve also never had issues with rough skin or keratin buildup. I’m pleased to inform you that this body care routine is pretty simple and quite cost effective.

My Body Care Routine

Step 1: Dove Beauty Bar + Loofah

You read that right – Dove Beauty Bar! Me and my family have been using Dove Beauty Bar for years – most of my family members actually use it on their face as well! What I love about Dove Beauty Bar is:

  1. It’s affordable, especially the Costco bulks
  2. Does not leave that gross feeling on the skin like generic alkaline soaps do
  3. Contains cold cream to leave a soft feel on the skin
  4. Gentle

Now the 2nd piece of the puzzle for the shower routine is the loofah, or any tool that will help get a good lather out of the Dove Beauty Bar and allows for light exfoliation. A loofah is the most gentle version of this, however, if you’re Korean, you probably most definitely use one of the 2 cloths – the Italy Towel and/or the Salux Beauty Skin Cloth. These have been a constant in my body care routine since I was a kid, and I’m pretty sure all of my Korean family members still use it. These cloths are not for the most delicate skin types because they can feel like sandpaper. I’ve recommended them to a few friends and they even find the Salux Beauty Skin Cloth too rough. For me, they’re perfect; I can get a satisfying visual of the dead skin rolling off, and my body skin in general has had little to no issues.

I tend to reach for the Salux Beauty Skin Cloth majority of the time, whereas the Italy Towel I reserve for when I take a bath and the dead skin is just nice and soft and easier to scrub off. TMI, apologies.

I’ll lather the Dove Beauty Bar in the Salux Beauty Skin Cloth, and either contort my body to scrub my back or do a cartoonish motion of moving the cloth back and forth on my back.

A lot of the times this is all I have to do to keep any comedones at bay, but considering the warmer times of the year and my level of activeness, I decided to add a treatment.

Step 2: BHA

For an extra treat, I like to use a skincare product containing BHA – aka Salicylic Acid. I find a body wash or a spray does a really good job at keeping any types of comedones from forming and prevents that excess dead skin cell buildup that my back seems to crave for at times.

For a wash, I just use whatever cheap option at the drugstore – eg. Neutrogena’s BHA washes. My favourite however has been the Paula’s Choice Acne Body Spray with 2% Salicylic Acid. Majority of the time I use it on my back on sweatier days like in the summer or after going to the gym. I tend to spray it on my chest as well in the summertime because I do notice a buildup of dead skin. I have gone through 3 bottles of this and may repurchase again if the Transparent Lab PHA Soft Peeling Cleanser I plan on occasionally using doesn’t suffice.

Step 3: Moisturize as Needed

Winter 2022 Empties – notice all the moisturizer empties?

For majority of my life, Dove Beauty Bar seemed to do the job and I never considered moisturizing my body to be a necessity. However I am older, and I do go swimming more – so I definitely need to up the body moisturizer game. For the most part, I just moisturize as needed – I’ll either use the Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Baume since it can be used for both face and body, or skincare that I downgraded to bodycare. If I had to go out of my way to by a moisturizer specific for my body, it most definitely needs to be a lightweight cream and have a considerable amount of urea in it – I’m talking 5-10%. There’s brands like Uremol, Goldbond, Eucerin, so it’s easy to find a drugstore option for this.

Does This Body Care Routine for Bacne Really Work?

Heck to yes! Like I said, I have been doing just Step 1 since my childhood and it’s only been in the past half decade that I decided to be fancier with Step 2 and 3. If I slack on the body care, particularly Step 1, I end up with this

Yes, it was painful. Yes, it hurt when I slept on my back.

At the time when I got these gnarly breakouts, I wasn’t being good about Step 1 and for Step 2, I was using a weaker BHA toner with only .48% BHA. Needless to say, lesson learned. Don’t fix what isn’t broken!

In emergency situations like these, I go in with the big gun – Benzoyl Peroxide.

BPO, in my opinion, is way more powerful than BHA when it comes to dealing with very inflamed, cystic acne. I should know, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it for almost 20 years!

I do one of two things:

  • Option 1: Apply a BPO wash on my back during my shower routine and leave it on for a few minutes.
  • Option 2: Contort my body to apply a thin layer of a BPO gel on my back every night until the inflammation around the breakout and the size lowers.

I only like using BPO for emergency situations because it is too finnicky of an ingredient; Chances of irritation are higher and it bleaches my damn towels and any other fabric it comes in contact with. That’s why if I ever use a BPO wash, I have to wrap myself in a white towel. If I use a BPO Gel, I most definitely wear a white shirt to bed.

Bonus: Sun and Sea

I find every time I swim in the sea or any salty water, my back and skin in general look better and the acne heals faster. I have seen this time and time again throughout my life, especially when I started taking vacations down south for the winter. Keep note that my skin has no issues in the sun whatsoever in the northern parts of the world. If you’re fairer than me and are higher on the FitzPatrick scale, you definitely have to be careful. I don’t know how many times I’ve been down south seeing the very pale tourists from Canada overdo it in the sun – while the locals all cover up in long sleeves, hats and stay in the shade.

And that’s all, folks! As always, I hope you find my content helpful and informative. Please comment down below if you’ve tried any of the steps or products I’ve mentioned before and if you find them effective or not!

Shop my body care routine:
* Contains affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you so much if you decide to use them!

xo, M

Second Skincare Haul of 2022: Niche Beauty Lab + Allies of Skin

8 months into the year of 2022, and I am sharing with you my second skincare haul! This time around I made a purchase from Niche Beauty Lab, a Spanish-based beauty company that reminds me a lot of Deciem. I picked up 4 products and am sharing with you what they are and my reasons for buying them. I also feature a new Allies of Skin skincare product that I won in an Instagram giveaway 😀

Transparent Lab Soft PHA Peeling Cleanser

Recall my Spring Skincare Empties 2022 video when I talked about replacing the Paula’s Choice BHA Spray with a Geek & Gorgeous exfoliant? Well I changed my mind when I saw Niche Beauty’s Transparent Lab Soft PHA Peeling Cleanser. I’ve come to like using certain actives in cleanser form, BHA being one of them. I decided to pick up this cleanser for it has 5% PHA and 1% BHA – a low pH, gently exfoliating cleanser for both my face and body that’s easy to use.

* 4:43


I decided to pick up THERAMID C-TETRA E.F., a 20% vitamin C serum for my hubs who likes having this active in his super minimal skincare routine. I opted for a vitamin C derivative-based serum because it’s just gentler to use and less fussy than the traditional L-Ascorbic Acid serum.

* 6:58


My main reason behind a Niche Beauty haul, their new 15% Azelaic Acid serum, THERAMID AZID! I emptied my prescription 5% Dapsone and decided to return to using AA in my skincare routine for when I need something for breakouts. I also like the brightening properties of AA and how gentle it is. I have already used THERAMID AZID a handful of times and I am very impressed so far.

* 10:34

THERAMID Advanced Eye Treatment

My eye area just hasn’t been the same since I emptied out the Hylamide SubQ Eyes. I’m currently using the COSRX Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream; I like how it softens the skin on my eye area, but it just doesn’t have the same effect. I decided to pick up THERAMID’s Advanced Eye Treatment with a concoction of different actives in hopes I get a similar effect to the discontinued Hylamide SubQ Eyes.

* 13:33

Allies of Skin Molecular Barrier Recovery Cream Balm (Gifted)

Remember in my 2nd Low Buy Update when I talked about temptations and that I participated in Instagram giveaways? Well it turns out after that video, I ended up winning Allies of Skin’s new Molecular Barrier Recovery Cream Balm 😀 I already started rotating it in and out of my skincare routine to compare to other products I tend to reach for, so I’ll be sure to review this pricey skincare product in the future.


And that’s all, folks! I’m still patiently waiting for my YesStyle haul to come in the mail with further skincare purchases I will justify to you all lol. In the meantime, please check out some other content related to this one:

Low Buy Guide 2022
Low Buy Update #2
Summer Skincare Routine 2022
Spring Skincare Empties 2022
Skincare Haul #1 2022

xo, M

Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ PA++++ I, II, and III!

Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ was the first Japan-exclusive sunscreen I ever tried and immediately fell in love. My friend and I swapped our current favourite sunscreens – I gave her the OG Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel SPF50+ (Reviewed), and she blessed me with Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ I (pink bottle). I was so impressed with how cosmetically elegant it was all the while being gentle.

I had friends that were planning a trip to Japan and I asked them to pick up all 3 versions of Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+. Apparently they were very difficult to find because they were always sold out due to its popularity! I was even more intrigued by these Japan-exclusive sunscreens.

Note before you start reading the review – these sunscreens are unfortunately discontinued. HOWEVER, I still wanted to review them to keep those of you reading informed of what I’m using in my skincare routine, as well as to spark some interest with Japanese sunscreens if you haven’t tried them yet. Also if you ever get a chance to visit the country, maybe you’ll peruse the beauty shops and also try a Japan-exclusive sunscreen, or something else you haven’t seen a North American Youtuber or Blogger review!


English description and ingredients list provided by Ratzilla Cosme

  • Water-based creamy gel formula
  • Spreads evenly
  • Absorbs quickly
  • pH Protect Technology – reacts to skin’s acidic pH upon contact to transform into a skin-bonding veil
  • Leaves skin feeling moisturized and silky smooth
  • Water-resistant
  • For face and body
  • Made in Japan

Price: 900 Yen
Packaging: Opaque tube packaging with twist-off cap, each level has a different colour.

I – skin that burns easily and doesn’t tan (pink tube)
II – skin that tends to burn then tan (orange tube)
III – skin that tans easily and doesn’t burn (blue tube)


Based on the general description, my skin is suitable for Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ III. However looking at the INCI list of all 3, the Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ sunscreens share the same base of the following 12 ingredients:

water, octinoxate, dipropylene glycol, Uvinul A Plus, dimethicone, glycerin, polymethylsilsesquioxane, alcohol, isotearic acid, hyaluronic acid, soluble collagen, ceramide NP

Below I have shared some highlighted ingredients that make each Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ more distinct. For my experience however, you’ll find that they all more or less perform the same.


  • peach leaf extract – emollient
  • mugwort flower extract – soothing
  • aloe extract – humectant, soothing
  • licorice root extract – soothing, brightening
  • tocopheryl acetate, tocopherol – vitamin e derivative and original, antioxidant

Based on the key ingredients following the base, soothing is the name of the game.


  • aloe extract – humectant, soothing
  • licorice root extract – soothing, brightening
  • rice bran extract – skin conditioning
  • chamomile flower extract – soothing, some antioxidant activity
  • ascorbyl glucoside – vitamin c derivative, apparently most promising one to show similar benefits as LAA; in sunscreen, it is probably more for antioxidant benefits
  • tocopherol – vitamin e, antioxidant

I find this one to have a more well-rounded inactive ingredient list – some soothing, brightening, antioxidant activity.


  • Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract – skin conditioning
  • rice bran extract – skin conditioning
  • chamomile flower extract – soothing, some antioxidant activity
  • Saxifraga sarmentosa extract – skin conditioning
  • ascorbyl glucoside – vitamin c derivative, antioxidant
  • tocopherol – vitamin e, antioxidant

This one seems to be more focused on softening the skin and providing antioxidant protection.


All 3 Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+ sunscreens have the exact same texture – a lightweight gel-cream with no noticeable scent, you can’t even smell the alcohol in the formula. Given the texture, it’s super easy to apply an adequate amount all over my face and neck without worry. The lightweightedness makes it enjoyable for reapplication, especially during the warmer months; I can reapply a liberal amount without worrying about streaks or excessive shine. One point of slight concern for those of us with dryer skin types is that these are quite light and I do not find they add a lot of extra moisture despite the “pH Technology”. Be sure to use your moisturizer properly without banking on any addition from these sunscreens.


Unfortunately, these gentle, cosmetically elegant sunscreens are not only Japan-exclusives (can’t find them online for international retail), but they have been discontinued! This seems to be common for Japanese sunscreens – always discontinuing to improve the formula. I hope with this discontinuation, they just make one new and improved Coppertone Perfect UV Cut Gel Cream SPF50+. After using type I, II and III, there is not much difference between them. I hope that it’ll be an improved version of II because this one seemed the most well-rounded when it came to additional beneficial ingredients.

And that’s it for this review! I hope this post peaked your interest in Japanese sunscreens and the exclusive products they offer on their market – affordable ones at that! For us skinthusiasts, it’ll definitely be a fun “activity” to find what’s popular on that side of the world.

For a Japanese sunscreen I really like that is easily accessible on the international market, that is the Kao Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++:
YesStyle – Use “MICHXMASH”* for 5% off

* Affiliate links and code. If you use these to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you so much if you decide to use them!

xo, M

Low Buy Update #2: 3-Month No Buy, Maximalist Skincare, My Colour Palette, Interests Beyond Skincare

Wow, has it been 3 months already? It’s time for another Low Buy update! Before you continue, please check out the below posts for more context about this one

Let’s Low Buy! My Rules for 2022 | Journey to Minimalism
Low Buy Update #1: 3 Month Check-In + Skincare Empties
Spring 2022 Skincare Empties

6-Month Low Buy Update

3-Month No-Buy

I’m patting myself on the back, I haven’t purchased any skincare in the past 3 months since I published my first skincare haul of 2022. The haul I posted back in April have been the only products I have bought this year so far and I’ve always looked at my skincare collection first when wanting to try something new.

The only temptation the past few months was on Instagram; I participated in giveaways of skincare bundles, but didn’t win anything 😛

Now that we’re in July, I emptied out a ton of serums including the Man:yo Bifida Biome Complex Ampoule and I am near the end of Sioris My First Essener. I gave myself permission to buy some skincare that I need. I already placed an order on YesStyle so stay tuned for another skincare haul post!

Maximalist Skincare Routine

Skincare routine from Winter 2021

For the past year and half I have been playing around with minimizing my skincare routine from an average of 5 to 3 skincare items. I have tried many times to cut down on the number of products in my skincare routine, but alas, it never lasts long. I’ve come to accept that I like having a more elaborate skincare routine, or just certain skincare products on hand when the situation calls for it. As someone who creates skincare content, I have experimented a lot in many realms of skincare and have reaped the rewards in most instances – layers of hydration, tretinoin, chemical exfoliants, soothing creams, fermented essences and serums. I’ve come to understand what I like and what my skin likes, and unfortunately for my wallet, it really likes variety when it comes to skincare. I notice a difference in my skin’s quality and vibrance when I am not as high maintenance and I enjoy skincare in general so I’ll be sticking to my somewhat maximalist skincare routine and having those extra products on an as-need or feel-like-it basis.

Discovering My Colour Palette

In the makeup corner of the beauty world, I still have not purchased anything *pats self on back*. I almost broke my no-makeup buy streak recently – I was really really tempted to buy a bunch of cool toned lip colours from Rom&nd that seem to be well loved (Pink Tassel, Bare Grape, #Figfig). But I did the best thing possible – I shopped my collection and discovered a treasure trove of lovely cool-toned colours that compliment my complexion.

I have actually been shopping my stash more frequently now that I am settled in a new apartment and have easy access to my collection. I occassionally decluttered a makeup product here and there, eventually noticing that majority of the decluttered makeup falls in the warm-toned spectrum; My suspicion for this warm-toned makeup declutter is that I stopped wearing medium-full coverage foundations, or tinted sunscreens that had a warm undertone and paired well with this makeup – i.e. never turning orange. However now that only spot conceal and lightly conceal in the center of my face, I have been noticing more and more that all the warm-toned makeup in my skincare collection has been turning slightly orange shortly after it makes contact with my skin. I actually revisited my Merit Beauty vs Current Makeup Collection video and even saw how while both sides looked good, there was something about the slightly cool toned, Merity Beauty side that looked a bit better.

For the first time in my life, I did a very obvious cool-toned makeup look with ashy browns and very purple berry colours… And gaddamn it looked good. I always stuck to mauves in winter and peach in summer, but never ventured too far with the cool-toned makeup. I have to say, cool-toned makeup suits my cool, olive undertone skin way more. I did a cool-toned look a few weekends ago for an event and I never questioned the colour of the makeup and how cohesive the overall look was. I still kept some warm-toned makeup though – the ones that I find still look good on me especially in the warmer months, the colours that bring me joy.

Interests Beyond Skincare

Ever since reducing the noise of skincare on my social media and Youtube, I have been interested in more topics outside of skincare – a lot which focus on my self-growth.

Language Learning. I am currently learning Bulgarian and it’s really renewed my interest in language learning in general. Fun fact, I speak a bit of French (all Canadian kids have to take French class for a number of years) and I also learned Italian (forgot a lot of it, I’m a False Beginner again lol). I was taking Bulgarian classes before to give me a good schedule, but now I am attempting some self-studying.

Fitness. The time has finally come – I have been working out for 3 months straight, 3-4x a week! I first started with Shelley Darlington’s lockdown workout playlist at home. The last 2 months (and now this month of July) I have been going consistently. I have always liked the results I got and now that I’m in my 30s, I want to have a family and also live a healthy life with little to no problems. So all in all, it’s good that I finally got into the habit of going to the gym – willingly :).

Fashion. I’ve been watching a lot of informative videos on yin and yang in body types (i.e. Kibbe), essence, and colour analysis. Looking at my current wardrobe since doing a mass declutter, I have seen a pattern with the types of materials, silhouettes and colours I gravitate towards and it’s become a real “AHA” moment in my fashion development. I have been in uniform-required schooling and jobs for a good chunk of my life, so I feel like I’m finally understanding myself more through fashion.

Now that it is just past 6 months into this Low Buy year, I feel like I’ve finally escaped the beauty trap. I lost my impulsivity to buy and I don’t have FOMO for new releases. I also stopped watching a lot of skincare and makeup content which made up a bulk of my social media for years and added fuel to my unnecessary spending. Now, the vicious cycle of spending in the beautysphere has come to a halt and seeing how I’ve developed in the past 6 months is a real testament to that.

How’s your low buy year going? Have you also been decluttering, picking up additional interests, discovering you’re green? Let me know!

xo, M