Saturday, August 1, 2015

Skincare Saturday: Aromatica Sea Daffodil Cleansing Mousse and Cremorlab Herb Tea Blemish Minus Calming Mask from Peach & Lily

This post contains press samples. (Squee!) All expressed opinions (of which there are many) are my own.

I've been interested in exploring more Asian skincare, but between the vast variety of products and the fact that most of the reviews for said products aren't in any of the languages I know, initial forays proved so overwhelming that I scurried off in fright. It was very serendipitous, then, when Peach & Lily's PR team reached out to me a few weeks ago.

Peach & Lily was founded by Alicia Yoon in 2012, with the goal of providing Korean skincare and beauty, known for being on the forefront of product development and technologies, to a Western audience. They're based in the US, which means faster shipping (free over $50, samples included) and no customs (assuming you are also based in the US, of course). They also have an extensive vetting process for all products, which contributes to the comparatively limited selection they offer––and this is honestly the part of the site that I was most impressed by: search for cult favorites in Japan and Korea, explore reviews, examine formulas, talk to brands' R&D teams (fun fact: they don't offer products from any brands that don't have internal R&D), and finally, do focus group testing. In their own words,
Only items that receive at least 8 out of 10 stars across the board (and cause no adverse reactions) make it through the final round.
Pretty neat, eh?

I'm terribly indecisive, so I made a list of all the things I was interested in trying and told them to pick; they sent along Aromatica Sea Daffodil Cleansing Mousse* and Cremorlab Herb Tea Blemish Minus Calming Mask*.
Aromatica Sea Daffodil Cleansing Mousse* and
Cremorlab Herb Tea Blemish Minus Calming Mask*
I use an oil cleanser to remove my makeup, but I've been lacking a gentle cleanser to do a second wash and use in the morning. The Aromatica Sea Daffodil Cleansing Mousse* fills that gap very nicely!
Aromatica Sea Daffodil Cleansing
Mousse from Peach & Lily

The foam comes from the pump mechanism, not harsh surfactants, and the formula includes marshmallow root extract, papain, and sea daffodil extract. (As an aside, I'd never heard of sea daffodils before, but they're so pretty!) I love the sea, I love daffodils, and I love the foaminess of this cleanser. It is definitely not designed to remove makeup, but it's correspondingly gentle; one pump (^) is plenty, and after rinsing, my face feels clean but not overly tight.
mm, foam
I think it might not be moisturizing enough for dry skin, nor is it advertised for such, but for my oily and sensitive skin, it's quite nice. Unfortunately, it also seems to break me out slightly; it's not terribly noticeable, but I watch my skin like a hawk, and there's definitely an increase in white heads when I use this. I suspect it's due to the inclusion of several essential oils (lemon, bergamot, rosewood, cedar), which together smell quite strongly of pickled lemons (rosewood or cedar must be one of the notes that smells like pickles for me!), but knowing my skin, it could well be something completely innocuous that no one's ever reacted to. Sigh. As long as you're not overly sensitive to any of the essential oils, the Sea Daffodil Cleansing Mousse is well worth checking out! $22 for 150 ml, available from Peach & Lily

Speaking of breakouts, my skin has overall been relatively well-behaved lately, thanks to my dermatologist. I say "relatively" because, while I am happy to be able to get away with just concealer and powder foundation, I suspect most people would not preface "concealer and powder foundation" with "just". So I was happy to get to try the Cremorlab Herb Tea Blemish Minus Cleansing Mask*, despite its impossible-to-remember name, and gave it a whirl last week when I needed a pick-me-up (turns out the negative effects of eating wheat last 3 days, so I'm never doing that again).
Cremorlab Herb Tea Blemish Minus
Cleansing Mask from Peach & Lily
I haven't tried a whole lot of sheet masks, but I did like this one: the mask material was super thin, soft, and flexible, and it was positively doused in essence. I had a bit of trouble unfolding it and getting it oriented on my face, but as that has been true of every sheet mask I've tried, it's clearly due to user error/incompetence. Once on, it stayed in place (even though I moved around, leaned over, and made weird expressions; I'd pretend like I was putting it through its paces to write an accurate review, but it's actually that I cannot physically go more than 2 minutes without abundantly moving my face**).
It's impossible to take photos of oneself wearing a
sheet mask without feeling like one is in a horror movie.
(Lolz too at my hair; that's what it does when I fail
to style it after it gets wet. Good thing I have no shame, eh?)
It smelled very faintly of herbiness, but it was so subtle that I cannot rightly tell you more than that, and felt pleasantly cool on the face. I left it on for 20 minutes, then removed it and patted in the excess essence––and then stuck it back in its package in the fridge and used it again the next night! Definitely had enough product in it to use twice, though the fabric was getting a little stretched. The next morning(s), my skin was plumper and the dry flaky spots were a lot less so. While it didn't magically fix any of my blemishes, it also did not exacerbate them, and I suspect using it when suffering from a more dramatic break-out would be most beneficial (I was not willing to wait that long, though). More impressively, though, my skin continued to be nice and moist and calm for several days after; I was definitely not expecting a sheet mask to provide such long-lasting benefits!

Bottom line: It was good and I would repurchase. If you're ordering from Peach & Lily, I'd definitely recommend getting this or one of the other Cremorlab masks; they're pretty reasonably priced, the ingredients are on-point, and the mask is so soft. $6 per mask, available from Peach & Lily

So! If you are interested in Korean skincare or beauty but overwhelmed by the options, I highly recommend Peach & Lily. The prices are manageable, shipping is fast, and everything is explained thoroughly in English; plus, it's really nice that the products are so carefully chosen. I've got my eye on a few other things! (Okay, like, 10 other things. I sent them a really long list.)

Have you tried any Korean (or Japanese) skincare? What do you think of Peach & Lily's model? Do you have any favorite sheet masks I should give a whirl?

*Press sample
**One student, when asked their favorite thing about me, responded "The expression is abundant, but I like it." Thank heavens I don't have dry skin, or my wrinkles would be totally out of control.
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