Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review: Juju Aquamoist Hyaluronic Acid Essence

My sister gave me this bottle of Juju Aquamoist Hyaluronic Acid Essence about a month ago and since then I've been using it daily under my moisturizer. However I felt it didn't allow my make-up to adhere well because somehow the essence makes it a little difficult to layer products over it. For example, when I apply my sunscreen after the essence and moisturizer, it doesn't absorb as well as usual and kind of just sits on my skin instead, and when I try to pat it in, it comes off in little rubbery flakes. I have also experienced this (on a lesser scale) with the Bio Beauty Advanced Hydrating Serum which was lighter in texture than the Aquamoist. Hence I concluded this is probably a common problem with most hyaluronic acid serums, so I wouldn't discount the product's efficacy too much, and instead try to work around it.

Also, while doing this review, I came across this description of the essence from a Singapore distributor of Aquajuju products -

"It is up to the customers if they use it for “day use”, however the maker’s recommendation is for the “night use”, as the essence is rich, there might be a possibility of making your makeup difficult to stick on the face. But decision is solely up to the individuals!"

Right. So I guess I'll just stick to night use then!

Here's the texture of the Juju Aquamoist Hyaluronic Essence - it is thicker than Bio Beauty Advanced Hydrating Serum, but other than that, totally similar. It has a somewhat slimy texture typical of hyaluronic acid serums that seems sticky at first but dries to a powdery film. The 'powderiness' of the film it forms when it dries on the skin is probably what causes make-up to not adhere well to it and come off in little clumps.

The main thing that puts me off repurchase - the price! It costs about S$39 for a mere 30ml of essence. In contrast, a 30ml bottle of Bio Beauty Skincolody Advanced Hydrating Serum costs less than half of that, about S$17 only, and works almost just as well! I find the Aquamoist slightly more moisturizing than the Advanced Hydrating Serum, but because of its thicker texture, can only be used at night, while the Advanced Hydrating Serum is light enough to be layered in the day.

Here's a comparison of the ingredients:

Ingredients for Aquamoist (from Makeupalley): Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol and Methylparaben.

Ingredients for Bio Beauty Skincology Advanced Hydrating Serum: Purified water, sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, sodium PCA, natto extract, cactus extract, butylene glycol, dmdm hydantoin, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate.

As for packaging, Aquamoist comes in a lovely heavy blue glass bottle with pump which will not leak when you travel with it. However the pump dispenser is not as easy to control as compared to the Advanced Hydrating Serum's dropper applicator. The Advanced Hydrating Serum comes in a simple clinical looking glass bottle too, but with a dropper which makes it easier to control how much product you use. The bad thing about droppers - you can't travel easily with droppers because the product tends to leak in the plane.

Take your pick! For me, the choice is obvious - I'd choose Advanced Hydrating Serum over the Juju Aquamoist Hyaluronic Acid Essence because I could buy 2 of them and still have change left, haha! It's also because I stay in a place with a humid climate and much prefer lighter-textured products. Still, Juju Aquamoist is a pretty good product and I have no regrets using it - the main issue is that I can get a comparable and affordable alternative, which makes it lose its competitive advantage.

Rating: 8/10

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: The Body Shop Spa Wisdom™ Japan Adzuki Bean & Rice Washing Grains

My sister got a tub of this recently. It retails for S$34.90, I'm not sure if it's available only in Asia? After using it a few times, I quite like it! I have the Spa Wisdom Japan Apricot and Rice Finishing Mist myself, and the washing grains smell just like it - a very comforting, powdery scent. (I usually hate powdery scents like Flower by Kenzo or Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely, but the Spa Wisdom Japan scent smells good to me! Perhaps it's more of a powdery fruit scent as opposed to overwhelming powdery floral. Very comforting and familiar and safe.)
So anyway, this is a salt-based washing powder with finely grinded rice and adzuki beans. (I feel kinda hungry just thinking about it, heh!) You could use it on face or body, but I've only used it on my face. (Wee bit expensive to use as a body scrub, I think!) It comes with a plastic spoon for you to scoop it out. It comes in a lovely glass jar with metal hinges like a cookie jar, which looks very pretty but not very functional next to the sink - I always have to use both hands to hold it steady on the countertop. Plus I find it quite troublesome to avoid getting the washing grains wet - I splash my face with water first, then I have to dry my hands thoroughly before opening the jar to avoid my damp hands wetting plastic spoon and in turn, the washing grains. Quite annoying.

How I use it - it's salt-based and I want to enjoy the exfoliation without the scrubbiness melting away into nothingness too quickly, so I just splash my face with water first, then I put 1 teaspoon of washing grains into my dry hand, add maybe just the tiniest drop of water to make it slightly pastey, then work it into my damp face. This way I get the exfoliating benefits and the washing grains melt away gradually. One thing to note - since it's salt-based, it'll sting your eyes if you're not careful and any open wounds/zits you might have on your face. And yes it tastes salty, somehow I always inadvertently taste it in the shower. >_< I like the fact that it's salt-based though, since salt is a disinfectant, I feel like it is disinfecting my face.

I would categorise this as a mild exfoliating cleanser, not a facial scrub, which means I'd use this in place of cleanser maybe once or twice a week, whereas for regular facial scrubs, I use them after cleanser once a week. I usually use this on no-makeup days, because it is not a super deep cleansing kind of facial wash (which is what I prefer to use after removing make-up, personal preference).

Overall, this is quite a unique product and I would purchase it for my own use in the future. I really love the scent, it's very soothing and makes me look forward to using it. The main drawback - it's difficult keeping the washing grains dry and lid of the jar is annoying. Then again, you could reuse the jar when it's used up, since it looks so pretty.

Rating: 8/10

Some photos to share... I've been having training the past week, so I could leave work on time, go out with friends, get my hair dyed. Oh, how nice to have a regular life.

Beef hotplate from Manna Story at Plaza Singapura basement.

Bario half ramen with egg at Ramen Champion. It's this mini-ramen-town at Bugis Iluma with 6 ramen stalls which will be around for a year (till next July), and we get to vote for our favourite ramen stall. The winner gets to set up a permanent ramen stall here! They all taste so good. The Bario half-ramen with egg is only S$7.50, and I couldn't really finish it. If I can't even finish a half bowl, I can't imagine how filling a regular bowl would be. >_<

Macha float at Shokudo.

Beef kebab roll from The Flyin' Bread - really good and filling! It's middle-eastern, but somehow reminds me of burritos filled with rice I had at Chipotle in Chicago, so yummy and huge.

No I will not climb the stairs to fitness, no matter how pretty the stairs look. :P

Have you guys seen the iphone whale? ^_^

What I wore out recently. The dress was elasticised and too short so I unpicked the elastic but it was still too short so I wore denim shorts underneath.

Hot pink blazer - I wonder what people would say if I wore this to the office hehe.

I saw this really cute pink leopard print bag at Forever21, I'm thinking of getting it but it seems pretty useless, I can't think of what to use it for. Any ideas? It's too cute!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Laneige Water Sleeping Pack EX

My friend helped me purchase a tub of Laneige Water Sleeping Pack EX from Korea. It's way cheaper there, about S$20 (~US$15) for an 80ml tub. And he got the one with the cute designs on the tub! I don't know if it's limited edition? Here's more photos of the design, it's really cute, much nicer than the plain-looking regular tub and makes me feel happy looking at it.

I like the way the tub is sealed to keep the contents fresh. Other similar sleeping masks I've used in the past don't come sealed; instead they have an additional plastic lid on top of the jar which I find kind of unnecessary but I guess it serves the same purpose?

The sleeping pack has a really nice gel texture that is readily absorbed - when I first apply it, it makes my face look very dewy (but not the kind I would want to go out in the day with, so this is strictly for night-time use). I use quite a generous amount of it, about a slightly heaped teaspoonful for the whole face. It comes with a plastic spatula (not pictured) so no problems with hygiene!

The way I apply it - don't just smooth it on and let it sit on your skin, you have to pat it in. It doesn't break me out at all this way and makes my skin super smooth and supple in the morning. I've been working late and feeling very stressed with a bout of gastritis the past week, so my skin has been horrid, dry with some zits. The Water Sleeping Pack has helped soothe and hydrate my skin really well and left it moisturized after just one use. It's a skin-rescue treatment for when your skin is dry yet still breakout-prone, and moisturizes my skin without causing breakouts (which is quite difficult as you can imagine).

This is a fragranced product, I've read it can be irritating to some people but I love the scent, it's very light and soothing. Apparently it contains hyaluronic acid (yay! no wonder it moisturizes well). I'm guessing the dewy look I get when I apply it is due to the cyclomethicone (third on the list). Doesn't break me out though!

Ingredients (from MakeupAlley so I'm not too sure how accurate it is since I can't read Korean): Water, Butylene Glycol, Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Trehalose, Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vaccinium Angustifolium (blueberry) Fruit Extract, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone, Ammonium, Acryloyldimethy Itaurate/Vp Copolymer, Polysorbate 20, Triethanolamine, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Carborner, Mannitol, Arginine, Serine, Sucrose, PCA, Citrulline, Glycogen, Histidine, HCL, Alanine, Threonine, Glutamic Acid, Lysine HCI, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Chondroitine Sulfate, Atelocollagen, Beta-Glucan, Disodium Edta, Imidazolidinyl, Urea, Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, Fragrance, Blue 1 Yellow 5.

The recommendation is to use the sleeping pack a couple of times a week, but since it's not heavy at all and I don't really have a good moisturizer for night right now (I'm skipping the Vitacreme currently with my skin's condition), I use it once every 2 days (alternating with another gel hyaluronic acid moisturizer which I'll write about in a while) and it works pretty well like that. I even dab it on my eye area (after putting on eye cream). The only thing - it can be expensive if you don't get it directly from Korea.

Rating: 9/10


Gosh I really feel like I'm aging much faster than other people my age (22). No thanks to my horrible job! While working late is the nature of my profession, there are many who have better lives than I do, who are better remunerated and it can get trying. I'm trying desperately to get my youth back. I feel so unnerved every time I'm in front of my miror applying products. I'll be thinking 'is that a wrinkle I see there?!'

I've got some horrible new addition to my portfolio in the coming year which I predict will accelerate my aging process. >_< I'm going shopping soon to buy more products to cheer myself up! :D Till next time ~


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