Happy first day of July and the long Fourth of July weekend! How are your summers going so far? I’ve been pretty busy since the start of my internship, but I finally had some time to put together a Korea haul (oh man, my trip to Seoul feels like ages ago!). Each time I visit, I bring back a bag full of beauty products to try. Since I’m probably going back this winter, I didn’t splurge as much as I would normally, but was really on the lookout for things that I absolutely needed or those that looked pretty unique. Well, let’s get right to it!
Banila Co. Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm
Banila Co has become one of my favorite Korean cosmetics brands and I had heard so many good things about this cleaning balm. On my last trip I purchased a cleansing cream from Nature Republic that had a softer, lotion-y consistency, but this one feels like a sherbert, almost like coconut oil (you know how it semi-crumbles up into a greasy dollop as you grab onto it?!). I was actually pleasantly surprised by how effective it was at melting down all the makeup, and actually prefer this texture over the creamier one. After using up a sample size that I got as a gift, I knew I had to get the full-sized tub. I found it kind of similar to Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, but I love how this one leaves a fruity, herbal fragrance as I wipe it across my face, and also the fact that it turns soapy as I wash it off with water (kind of like double cleansing, haha). On days I don’t feel like taking a gazillion cotton pads to remove all of my makeup, this cleansing balm is the way to go.
Skin Food Tea Tree Spot Treatment Oil
My skin isn’t too sensitive, but the hormone tsunami comes around every month – so I like to have a spot treatment solution ready to keep those evil pimples at bay. This Tea Tree Spot Oil from Skin Food is a natural way to take care of any trouble spots. My usual go-to spot treatment is the herbal blemish stick by Burt’s Bees; this one by Skin Food is similar in that it also has a pretty strong scent (I feel like the smell somehow makes my skin feel like it’s healing faster!). The formula seems to easily calm down any pimples that are about to or have already popped up. I do have some problems with this one, though – the application process can be kind of a fuss because you have to use q-tips, whereas for the Burt’s Bees stick you can just roll in onto your skin. I also have the spot treatment essence from The Face Shop (described in this post) that smells and feels a lot more gentle; after I’m done using this bottle, I might actually go back to one of the two alternatives I mentioned.
Innisfree Mineral Highlighter
I don’t include highlighters in my daily makeup routine – I normally use it only for fancy occasions when I need to add a little sparkle on my face. I found the highlighter stick and the liquid highlighters that I own a little too extravagant for everyday wear, so I decided to go ahead and purchase this shimmery highlighter from Innisfree. I also bought a travel-sized brush that I can use on the go! They come in two different kinds – a basic nude shimmer and a slightly pinker one. I chose the first one because my skin tone is on the yellower side, and I think it works well with my skin. One thing I like about the powder highlighter is that it’s so much easier to build up and control how strong you want the highlight to be, whereas more liquid/cream formulas are effective but harder to create a subtle glow.
Innisfree Skinny Longlongcara
On days when you’d rather sport a natural look over a full eye makeup but still want to look nice, mascara makes a huge difference. I became a fan of skinny mascaras 2-3 years ago when my roommate recommended it to me; I like it because you can target each individual eyelash and really create natural-looking lashes. This skinny mascara from Innisfree has little fibers in it, so it also has powerful elongating effects while still giving you that natural look. Most of the cosmetics stores you can find in the streets on Seoul now offer their own version of a skinny mascara – Innisfree seemed to have the most variety.
Innisfree Eyeshadow Primer
Eyeshadow primers have become such a crucial part of my makeup routine. When my skin is feeling sensitive or I’m just feeling plain lazy, I will skip the face primer step, but even then I will still put on eyeshadow primer for all of my eye makeup to stick and stay there for the whole day! I swatched this eye primer by Innisfree and knew that I wanted it; it went on without sticking to the creases, AND it smelled quite good! Most of the other eye primers I’ve tried are pretty effective as well but tend to have a slightly rubbery(?) smell, but this one doesn’t.
Holika Holika Pro Beauty Lip Top Coat
This product is my first purchase from Holika Holika. I read an article on hot lip items to try and this was on the list, so I decided to give it a go. This product is supposed to provide a clear, glossy layer of protection over your lipstick, to prevent those nasty lipstick stains on your coffee mugs. This picture is after a few uses so you can see how the wand was stained pink (it’s originally white, though). This lipstick topcoat definitely alleviates the lipstick stain problem, but I have to say that it eventually wears out like any other lip product, so you would probably have to carry it around with you along with your lipstick/lip tint to reap the full effects throughout the day. What I like about it is that you can just use it on its own, for when you just want a little bit of shine on your lips but not so much pigment.
Banila Co. it Radiant CC Cream
This product was actually a gift from my mom that came in a care package sent from Seoul to New York, but I decided to put it on the list anyway because I used it so much during my entire stay in Seoul this summer. This CC cream is white, but as you rub it onto your face it adjust to your skin tone, and brightens your skin in a natural way. You know how sometimes foundation or BB cream is too bright for your skin tone and you end up looking like a ghost? Yeah, you don’t have to worry about that. The product has a cool, refreshing scent and doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. The tube is small enough that you can easily travel with it and apply it using just your hands! But make sure to put on a layer of sunscreen beforehand, as it is only SPF 30 (and it’s always good to put on sunscreen no matter what).
These little suckers are the bobby pins of the sock community. They roll up into little balls and are soon nowhere to be found! But unfortunately for me they are an essential item all year long, so I purchased quite a few pairs so I’m prepared for when they decide to disappear.
Daiso Hair Sheets
Now, a haul can’t be a Korea haul without something from Daiso, can it? I swear, I will never run out of new items to try from that place. This time I picked up two beauty items, the first being a set of hair sheets. They are basically these velcro patches that you push onto your hair, and it works as a very convenient alternative to a hair band (which can mess up your hair) or hair pins (which are too much of a hassle for me, honestly) when you need to wash your face or put on makeup.
Daiso Blending Puff
This was another item from Daiso that I’ve been wanting to purchase for a long time – makeup sponges are all the rage these days, but the Beautyblender can be a little pricy for what it’s worth. Local beauty bloggers in Korea praise Daiso’s makeup blender to be a great alternative for a fraction of the price (around 2 dollars). The sponge isn’t too stiff, and all I need to do is run it under water (or spray it with water) for a few seconds, squeeze out the excess moisture, and start blending away! These sponges are so popular that it took three visits to three different Daiso stores to find them.
Tony Moly My Sunny All-In-One Sun
This item has been my go-to sunscreen since I picked it up at the Tony Moly store in the Koreatown in Manhattan (that’s probably the reason why it wasn’t mentioned in any of my previous haul posts). Although this is a repurchase, I love using this product and I do use it almost every single day, so I figured I would include it on this list. This sunscreen pretty much has every function – SPF, color-correcting, moisturizing, nourishing, and gentle to the skin. The product is lightly tinted, so on no-makeup days, just this can brighten up my face a lot. When my skin is going through trouble and I don’t want BB cream or foundation caking up my pores, I just use this sunscreen and a little bit of concealer and I’m good to go. It’s really light and has a floral scent, which is perfect for people like me who don’t like the smell of classic sunscreens.
Nature Republic Botanical Eyelash Serum
Last but not least, I picked up a new bottle of eyelash serum from Nature Republic. As a mono-lidded girl, sometimes I like to go hard on the mascara to make my eyes pop. But just like conditioning your hair, you have to take care of your eyelashes, too. I have been using Etude House’s My Lash Serum for quite some time, but I decided to switch it up and try the Nature Republic one this time. Although a bit higher in price and lower in volume, I really like the applicator; this one has a two-part wand with a soft brush tip that you can use to really nourish the roots of your eyelashes.
I hope you enjoyed exploring the items I purchased from this year’s summer trip to Korea. See you next time!