REVIEW: COSRX AC Collection

In today’s post I will be reviewing 5 products from COSRX’s new AC Collection! For those of you who don’t know, COSRX is a low to mid-price K-Beauty brand that focuses on skin’s health with good ingredients – I find it a mix between science-backed ingredients as well as the trendy ones like Snail, Propolis and Galactomyces, to name a few. Based on their website, the AC Collection in particular is meant for those whose main focus is on pore, sebum and/or acne trouble. I tested them out on my acne prone, normal to dry skin and I’m ready to share my thoughts!


These products were sent to me by StyleKorean for review purposes. That in no way effects my opinion on these products. My reviews are honest, always *casts doe patronus*

This post also included affiliate links. If you click on the link to make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Thank you if you decide to use them! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.


ABOUT the COSRX AC Collection

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  • Their newest line for pore / sebum solutions
  • Tea Tree Oil (I assume Essential Oil) is the main acne treatment in the leave-on products in the line
    • Soothing
    • Antibacterial
    • Shown to be as successful as Benzoyl Peroxide in same percentages, but it may take longer to see results
  • All products contain Centella Asiaticas main constituents, which are wound-healing, anti-inflammatory, and have antioxidant benefits –
    • Asiaticoside
    • Asiatic Acid
    • Madecassic Acid
  • Products are made in Korea
  • Cruelty-Free
  • $-$$ pricepoint

COSRX AC Calming Foam Cleanser

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AMOUNT: 150ml
PRICE: $14.30 USD
WHERE TO BUY: https://bit.ly/2UJCewn
INGREDIENTS: 

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Highlight ingredients:

  • Glycerin – humectant and 2nd ingredient
  • Salicylic Acid – oil soluble chemical exfoliant that help to decongest the pores of excess sebum and dead skin
  • Centella Asiatica molecules

Surfactants/cleansing agents: Lauric Acid (also shown to be anti-acne), Myristic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Lauramide Dea, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Potassium Cocoate

Fragrance: Lavandula Hybrida Oil

INCIDecoder

 

Experience:

  • Feels like a cream
  • Very dense foam once you lather
  • Lavender fragrance quite noticeable
  • After rinsing my skin feels slightly tacky, in an unpleasant way

COSRX AC Calming Liquid Mild

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AMOUNT: 125ml
PRICE: $24.20 USD
WHERE TO BUY:
https://bit.ly/31JDrFr
INGREDIENTS:
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Highlighted Ingredients:

  • Camellia Sinensis Leaf Water – the extract is an antioxidant, helps with pores and antibacterial, so for the water ingredient these benefits may be reduced. I’ve personally seen benefits from applied tepid steeped tea on my skin
  • Betaine Salicylate – combo of salicylic acid and betain, to make it a mild exfoliant
  • Gluconolactone – is a PHA, a gentler type of chemical exfoliant than AHA, also moisturizing
  • Panthenol and Allantoin for soothing
  • Arginine and Sodium Hyaluronate as humectants
  • Tea Tree Oil as active anti-acne treatment
  • Also has the 3 centella asiatica molecules

INCIDecoder

 

Experience:

  • Watery consistency with little residue
  • Smells like mint
  • Leaves a slight, refreshing sensation
  • Makes skin look slightly smoother
  • Most reached for product out of the 5

COSRX AC Blemish Spot Clearing Serum

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AMOUNT: 40ml
PRICE: $27 USD
WHERE TO BUY:
https://bit.ly/31JE4yN
INGREDIENTS:
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Highlighted Ingredients:

  • Propolis Extract – base of the formula and is soothing
  • Niacinamide – best ingredient ever! In terms of acne prone skin, will help regulate sebum production and reduce the look of pores, it’s also supposed to help brighten any post-red marks
  • Allantoin for soothing
  • Tea Tree Oil as the active anti-acne ingredient
  • Sodium Hyaluronate, sunflower and macadamia seed oil as additional moisturizing ingredients
  • Ceramide NP and Niacinamide to help maintain skin barrier
  • Rh-Oligopeptide – Epidermal Growth Factor that is supposed to help with wound-healing and skin renewal

INCIDecoder

 

Experience

  • Slightly hydrating on my normal to dry skin, feels lighter than the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner
  • Face feels sensitized because the “refreshing” feeling takes a while to subside
  • A very light residue, barely noticeable and I still question whether or not the finish is the same as the Calming Liquid Mild

COSRX AC Lightweight Soothing Moisturizer

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AMOUNT: 80ml
PRICE: $19 USD
WHERE TO BUY:
https://bit.ly/38q1tb6
INGREDIENTS:
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Highlighted Ingredients

  • Propolis extract, Aloe leaf water and green tea leaf water for soothing
  • Glycerin, Betaine, sodium hyaluronate, Arginine for moisturizing
  • Niacinamide – the all-rounder for skin health
  • Panthenol and Allantoin for soothing
  • Zinc PCA both for moisturizing and limiting acne bacteria
  • Tea Tree Oil for anti-acne
  • Centella asiatica molecules

INCIDecoder

Fragrance: Menthyl Lactate

Experience:

  • Smells like mint
  • Very nice light gel texure
  • Made my skin feel lightly moisturized and smooth, but not enough for my dry skin type – best used as a humectant before a more occlusive moisturizer
  • Face felt sensitized for 30 mins – 1 hour – I suspect it’s the Menthyl Lactate

COSRX AC Ultimate Spot Cream

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AMOUNT: 30g
PRICE: $22 USD
WHERE TO BUY:
https://bit.ly/2SBwfXD
INGREDIENTS:
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Highlighted Ingredients:

  • Aloe Water for soothing
  • Sunflower Seed Oil, Glycerin,  Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Kernel Oil as moisturizing
  • Calamine – pink substance that you use on bug bites and the sulfur based spot treatments
  • Tea Tree Oil as active anti-acne treatment
  • Centella asiatica molecules

INCIDecoder

Experience:

  • Quickly calmed any inflamed, sore feeling lesions
  • Brought the bacteria to a head
  • Did not sensitize my skin
  • Works like other ones I’ve tried on the market

Final Thoughts

Overall PROS:

  • All products contain Centella Asiatica constituents Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Madecassic Acid
  • Leave-on products contain Tea Tree Essential Oil, a gentler anti-acne active
  • Impressed with the additional concoction of soothing, wound-healing, moisturizing ingredients
  • Pleasant light consistency that does not make you feel congested
  • Suitable line for oilier skin types with light to moderate acne
  • A good quantity of product in each formulation
  • Packaging is sanitary A.K.A. no jars

CONS:

  • Skin felt sensitized; I think it’s because the formulas are so thin and my skin drinks them up so fast; I imagine those with oilier skin types would experience something more gentle
  • COSRX is not the only K-Beauty brand at fault for this, but no indications of percentages for its actives
  • Not super sensitive-skin friendly – my skin is somewhat sensitive but the constant sensitized feeling on my skin after all products (except the spot cream) definitely makes me believe that those with known sensitivity will not like the Tea Tree Oil in these products

I can see how COSRX put in effort in the AC Collection to create gentle acne-fighting products to help those with troublesome skin. While not entirely meant for my skin type, I still noticed some of  the products calmed my skin down from active acne lesions and made my skin look smoother.

Overall if you have light to moderate acne, check this line out! I used to use Tea Tree Essential Oil as an acne active back in my teens, and with proper dilution it definitely helped. However as someone who’s been through a vicious cycle of controlling acne in different ways, I advise you to buy ONE of the following reviewed products. I never got on well with my entire routine consisting of an acne-fighting ingredient, and it’s a very easy way to overwhelm your skin with actives (especially since the percentages are not listed). Also the products in general were either a hit or a miss, so the one I recommend the most is my favourite product out of the bunch, the Calming Liquid Mild. It has Tea Tree Oil for treatment of active acne, (low %) chemical exfoliants to help speed up the healing process and slightly improve skin’s texture, and it’s a product I can easily associate as a treatment and use 1-2x a week.


I hope you found this post helpful and informative!

xo, M

REVIEW: By Wishtrend Polyphenols In Propolis 15% Ampoule

Another week, another Korean skincare product to review for you all! In this post I’ll be reviewing the By Wishtrend Polyphenols In Proposlis 15% Ampoule and how it performed for my acne prone, normal to dry skin. Believe it or not, I think the last time I tried any product with Propolis was the Egyptian Magic Cream.


Product is a PR sample and provided for review purposes.
All thoughts are my own, always *casts doe patronus*


CLAIMS

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This ampoule contains Houttuynia Cordata Extract effective in soothing acne instead of water and 15% Propolis with powerful antioxidant effects. The product improves acne and sensitive skin through powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and immune system enhancement.

– Wishtrend

Price: $32 USD
Amount: 30 ml

  • Made in Korea
  • Made for all skin types
  • Cruelty-free
  • Free of ethanol, silicone, steroid, artificial colouring, artificial fragrance

 


INGREDIENTS

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Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Propolis Extract, Glycerin, Propanediol, Isopentyldiol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Corallina Officinalis Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Panthenol, Perilla Frutescens Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Betaine, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Zinc PCA, Pantolactone

From my -skinthusiast- perspective…

Just like their Vitamin 75 Maximizing Cream, I appreciate that the bulk of the product is not in a base of water! Houttuynia Cordata Extract has polyphenolic flavanoids (hence the name) which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. The extract also contains sugar molecules that serve as good humectants. Propolis Extract may also have soothing and antioxidant properties, so I can see how based on these ingredients alone that By Wishtrend claims the ampoule will help those with acne prone and sensitive skin.

Joining the moisturizing list is Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate, both great humectants that are found in pretty much all moisturizing products these days.

Panthenol and Zinc PCA are also listed as moisturizing ingredients, but for acne prone skin are particularly beneficial; The former for being soothing and having wound-healing properties, and the latter to help reduce acne causing bacteria.

Admittedly the number of plant extracts overwhelmed me at first, but reading about them calmed my mind, for they all pretty much further contribute to the ampoule’s soothing and moisturizing abilities. Since Houttuynia Cordata and Propolis Extract take up the bulk of the formula, it’s highly possible that the additional extracts are in low percentages either way.

INCIDecoder Breakdown


EXPERIENCE

Packaging: Glass bottle with a dropper.

Usage: Morning and/or evening, applied after cleansing and/or before moisturizer.

Texture: Slippery.

Fragrance: None.

Finish: Light but moisturizing.

Instant Results: Skin feels surprisingly moisturized. If I were to measure based on previously reviewed products, it sits between the I’m From Rice Toner and Laneige Cream Skin Refiner.

Long-Term Results: Skin rarely feels rough or dehydrated.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The By Wishtrend Polyphenols In Propolis 15% Ampoule has performed well in terms of gentleness, adding additional moisture to my skin, and its antioxidant benefits. However when it comes to calming active acne lesions, this was not enough for me; I still need to use Aczone or Benzoyl Peroxide to really get the job done. With conversion to CAD it is a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way so if you’re interested in this ampoule, you’ll get a fair mileage. I appreciate the blend of science-backed and traditional ingredients being used in the formula, and they avoided including heavy fragrance and a high use of texture-enhancing ingredients – it’s not to say that these ingredients are bad, but it’s nice to know that the cosmetic elegance of the product is mainly due to a lot of the beneficial ingredients in the formula. Overall if you want to try a Propolis type of serum that is gentle enough to use on acne-prone skin, you may like this.

WHERE TO BUY:
Wishtrend
YesStyle

Links provided are affiliate links. This means if you click the link and use it to make a purchase, I make a small commission. Thank you if you decide to use them! If you do not feel comfortable, feel free to Google a new link.

Hope you found this review helpful and informative!

xo, M

REVIEW: Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask

Just like the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner, Youtube influence was strong and I also picked up the Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask! I purchased this around the time the Klairs Vitamin E Mask started becoming too irritating to use, so I was hoping Laneige’s new sleeping Mask would be a good alternative for soothing and keeping in moisture.


CLAIMS

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Cica Sleeping Mask with new and powerful ‘Forest Yeast’ helps to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier for the sensitive and dry skin to make it appear healthy.

Price: $45 CAD
Amount: 60ml/2oz

  • Hypoallergenic
  • For all skin types
  • Helps to tackle redness and dryness
  • Mask
  • Free of parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil
  • Contains less than one percent of synthetic fragrances
  • Vegan
  • Fermented Forest Yeast Extract: Provides more skin strengthening benefits than traditional Cica products with madecassosides.

INGREDIENTS

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Water / Aqua / Eau, Propanediol, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Squalane, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Glycerin, Panthenol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Caprylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium Edta, Asiaticoside, Madecassic Acid, Sorbitan Isostearate, Asiatic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Aureobasidium Pullulans Ferment, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Leaf Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Tocopherol.

From my -skinthusiast- perspective…

Love that the first ingredients include Squalane, Glycerin, and Shea Butter. The mask is a nice, medium-weight (if that makes sense) cream that would be enjoyed by all skin types depending on much you apply. Typically a moisturizer that is Shea Butter-based is not enough for my normal to dry skin type, so I imagine myself using a more generous amount.

Panthenol, Centella Asiatica constituents Asiaticoside, Madecassic Acid, Asiatic Acid can be found for some soothing and wound-healing benefits. Tea Tree Oil (I’m assuming Essential Oil) in small, diluted doses is also beneficial for its soothing properties, and helps reduce inflammation with active acne lesions.

As for the star ingredient Aureobasidium Pullulans Ferment/”Forest Yeast” – I can’t really find much about what it does for skincare, but in terms of food it has film-forming properties, it’s used to create a gelatin-like coating for capsules and tablets, and is edible. According to WHO, Japan has been using it as a food ingredient and additive since 1976. Based on this, my guess is that it may also form a film on the skin, hence Laneige’s claim that it helps strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. Their other claim that it “provides more skin strengthening benefits than traditional Cica products with madecassosides” may be hard to determine from personal experience if the product also contains Centella Asiatica constituents. Either way, soothing, barrier strengthening action are always welcomed!

INCIDecoder breakdown
ScienceDirect on Aureobasidium Pullulans


EXPERIENCE

USAGE: Alternate every other night as last step with or without my moisturizer.

TEXTURE: Like a thick night cream.

APPLICATION: Without moisturizer – scoop out a nickel-size amount, when applying it looks like there’s a cast forming on your skin. With moisturizer, I applied a thin layer.

SCENT: Herbal.

FINISH: On it’s own with a considerable amount there initially is a casty look. Skin feels moisturized.

SHORT-TERM RESULTS: Without moisturizer – skin is slightly moisturized. With moisturizer – skin feels very comfortable in the dry winter weather.

LONG-TERM RESULTS: The more I used this on its own, the more it stung my face and felt like it wasn’t doing enough to moisturize my skin. I switched to using it after my moisturizer more and I never had an irritating experience after, I also woke up in the morning with very moisturized skin.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask is okay. It didn’t really work for me as a stand-alone since it irritated my skin. It wasn’t until I applied after a layer of moisturizer that I actually noticed its benefits. I’ll call myself out and say I am probably supposed to use sleeping masks like this lol. Reflecting on the INCI list, I wonder if my skin has become that sensitive to Essential Oils and it was really Tea Tree EO that was causing irritation when I applied it sans moisturizer :\ I’m just over halfway through the product, so I will finish it but won’t be repurchasing since I have the Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask to finish up as well. Overall I found it performed pretty well as a barrier mask since I would wake up with very comfortable, moisturized skin ever morning I used it (over moisturizer, that is). If you’re not a fan of the traditional petrolatum as an occlusive because of the greasiness, you may like the Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask instead.

WHERE TO BUY:
Sephora
YesStyle

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. Thank you if you decide to use it! If you feel uncomfortable, feel free to google a new link.

I hope you found this review helpful and informative!

xo, M

REVIEW: I’m From Rice Toner

The last time I reviewed an I’m From product, it was back in 2016 when I experienced some awesome voodoo magic that was their Honey Mask!

Wishtrend sent me their I’m From Rice Toner to try out, and I’m ready to share with you all my thoughts on this product.


Product is a PR sample and provided for review purposes.
All thoughts are my own, always *casts doe patronus*


CLAIMS

This toner is made with 77.78% Rice Extract effective in whitening and elasticity care. The product forms a protective barrier over the skin to prevent water loss, eliminate dead skin cells and provide luster and moisturization to rebalance dry and tired skin.

– Wishtrend

Price: $38 USD
Amount: 150 ml
How to use:
1) Before use, shake well to mix the water and emulsion layers.
2) After cleansing, dispense on a cotton pad and wipe off or press onto dry areas.

  • Made in Korea
  • Made for all skin types
  • Cruelty-free
  • Free of ethanol, silicone, steroid, artificial colouring, artificial fragrance

INGREDIENTS

Rice extract, Methylpropanediol, Triethylhexanoin, Hydrogenated poly (C6-14 olefin), Niacinamide, Pentylene glycol, Common Purslane extract, Rice bran extract, Japanese elm bark extract, Amaranthus caudatus seed extract, Hydrogenated lecithin, Distilled water, Polyglyceryl-10-myristate, Butylene glycol, Adenosine, Cellulose gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol

Total number of ingredients: 18

From my -skinthusiast- perspective…
I’ve mostly heard of the benefits of Rice Extract from other people making anecdotal claims that the traditional -washing your face with Rice Water- helps to soften and brighten the skin, and keeps one looking young. I have also DIYed a Rice Water toner before and while it gets pungent pretty quickly, the first handful of uses I did instantly notice my skin felt soft, moisturized, and looked bright. INCIDecoder unfortunately doesn’t have any solid information to share on Rice Extract, but Paula’s Choice’s ingredient dictionary states the following:

“…rice bran is a rich source of over 100 antioxidant compounds, including vitamin E, ferulic acid, and oryzanol.

The bran also contains moisturizing polysaccharides, omega-3 fatty acids, and micronutrients like calcium, selenium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.”

Aside from the abundant amount of Rice Extract, I always love me some good ol’ Niacinamide for an extra boost! I’ve said it multiple times and I’ll say it again, Niacinamide is a great multitasking ingredient for brightening, strengthening the skin barrier, and minimizing pores. This toner also is filled with a handful of humectant and emollient ingredients, making it a toner on that will have more of a light residue than a fresh, barely-there finish. In my experience, it would sit between the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner and The Laneige Cream Skin Refiner.

Moisturizing (mix of humectants and emollients): Triethylhexanoin, Hydrogenated poly (C6-14 olefin), Pentylene glycol, Amaranthus caudatus seed extract, Hydrogenated lecithin, Butylene glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol
Antioxidant: Niacinamide, Common Purslane extract
Wound healing: Common Purslane extract, Adenosine

INCIDecoder Breakdown


EXPERIENCE

Packaging: Glass bottle with a small spout.

Usage: Morning and/or evening, applied after cleansing with hands. Would sometimes layer the toner.

Texture: Thin milk.

Fragrance: None.

Finish: Light but moisturizing. Not as moisturizing as the Laneige Cream Skin Refiner.

Instant Results: Skin feels smooth and has a light moisturized film. There have been the odd times my skin felt sensitive after using it.

Long-Term Results: Skin rarely feels rough or dehydrated.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The I’m From Rice Toner reminds me of a more well preserved, enjoyable version of the old school method of DIY Rice Water toner lol. If you’ve ever been interested in that old school way of softening and brightening your complexion, this toner is the easier way to go. I’m not 100% on how much “elasticity care” it can provide, but preventing water loss is always a #1 priority when it comes to preventative aging, and this toner definitely helps to add and maintain skin’s moisture. Overall the I’m From Rice Toner performs well and I’d imagine anyone else using it would enjoy it for what it offers.

WHERE TO BUY:
Wishtrend
YesStyle

Links provided are affiliate links. This means if you click the link and use it to make a purchase, I make a small commission. Thank you if you decide to use them! If you do not feel comfortable, feel free to Google a new link.

Hope you found this review helpful and informative!

xo, M