La Muse Makeup Review
Korean beauty site StyleKorean sent me a box of makeup and skincare products from La Muse Makeup and Let Me Skin to review. Here’s a quick rundown of the items I received:
Correct Care Complete Cushion SPF50+/PA+++
I didn’t know what a CC cushion was when I got this, but I’ve since learned that it’s a tinted complexion product that is applied with a cushion sponge. La Muse’s only comes in one color, a neutral-to-cool toned tan. Since the coverage is light and the texture weightless, this shade would match most people with medium beige complexions. The focus of the product is actually on the high SPF that can be used to touch-up over fading makeup. This is a mineral-based sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
I love cushion sunscreens as a touch up, and this one is light and matte. The only downside is that the neutral-to-cool tone will dampen any blush or highlight you’ve got going on, but I guess that’s inevitable with any cushion product!
This product is $42, which is pricy - I guess it competes with prestige brands like AMOREPACIFIC in the color cushion category. I would probably re-purchase this if they had a shade with a warmer tone.
Micro Foaming Toner
This toner turns into a bubbling foam when pumped out of the nozzle. The product claims to be pH-balancing (though I couldn’t find the exact pH online) and contains mulberry extract (brightening) and witch hazel extract (tightening, anti-acne). It feels and layers fine. Overall a cute product, but IMO not a must-have - I couldn’t find a clear use case for it.
This product retails for $24, which is midrange for toners.
Skin Repair Signature Mask
I really appreciated how thick this biocellulose mask was. It was absolutely soaked in serum! I liked how high up the ingredients list niacinamide was too, as that is one of my favorite brightening ingredients; These masks also contain licorice extract (brightening), centella asiatica (calming), and 8 other botanical extracts.
This product retails for $30 for a pack of 5 masks, which is a bit more expensive than a regular sheet mask. These sheet masks do have a luxurious feel to them and are worth the splurge.
Let Me Skin Ultra H2O Mask
This is a “water-jelly” rubber texture mask that comes in a fun pink-and-purple egg. This is actually a modeling mask, which is a type of mask that is popular for spa facials in Korea. The idea is that by sealing in moisture with a rubber mask, the face will feel more hydrated and nourished. There are 2 solution components to the mask: one for the rubber mask and one for mixing.
Mixing the solutions together did take extra time and effort, but I enjoyed the end result: a dewy, plump, and hydrated face.
This kit retails for $20 and includes 4 solutions (which can be used for 2 masking experiences).
Photo from The Sleek Shop
I received these products free to test from kbeauty e-commerce site StyleKorean.
Venn Skincare Age Reversing All-in-One Concentrate Review
When Venn Skincare reached out to send me their All-in-One Concentrate to review, I was a bit skeptical - especially when I saw the $185 price tag. A lot of direct-to-consumer brands are all hype and markup; I’ve been offered serums and moisturizers that break the $100+ range and have fewer “hero” ingredients than drugstore CeraVe. But after doing some research into Venn Skincare, I think that they’ve actually got a shot at their claim to “streamline an extensive multi-step formula into a single formula.”
While Venn Skincare has a few other products, the Age Reversing All-in-One Concentrate is their headliner. The full list of ingredients includes bioactives, antioxidants, and peptides.
Their key bioactive ingredient is Compound K, the metabolite from Panax Ginseng. One study suggests that Compound K can prevent melanogenesis and improve hyperpigmentation. Another study suggests that topical applications can improve generation of hyaluronic acid in skin. Because wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and other signs of age result from loss of moisture, this is where the “age reversing” claim comes from.
While ginseng is a common ingredient in Asian skincare products, the isolated Compound K form is much rarer because it is naturally hydrophobic. Venn Skincare claims that they’ve patented a new method to make the ingredient water soluble, and therefore more readily available for use by the skin.
Antioxidants and Peptides
The antioxidant ingredients include green tea extract, skullcap root, and Pycnogel pine bark extract. Antioxidants firm and soothe skin and fight environmental damage.
There’s also a long list of peptides, which are also claimed to reverse signs of aging through enhanced collagen production. Compared to vitamin C, retinol, and AHAs, peptides are the hot new ingredient on the block and their research is still in early days. Studies related to peptides tend to be performed in lab settings or on animals, rather than people.
The concentrate has a thicker serum-verging-on-gel-cream texture. It’s clear and does not have any distinct smell. I use this after cleansing and acid; It layers well, despite being a product designed to not need layering ;) The lack of acids in this complex is actually pretty useful, as I can still mix in my favorite glycolic or lactic acid product and still feel like I have a full routine.
My report on its efficacy is going to be a bit light. My face does feels hydrated and smooth in the morning, but I don’t have wrinkles yet (knock on wood). I’m not sure how to evaluate prevention, so maybe I’ll have to check in in a few years.
A 50mL bottle is available on their website for $185. I tried to do a quick search for another isolated Compound K product and found the Sulwhasoo concentrates line, which retails for around $82-$240 depending on whether it’s a toner or cream.
If the price point is out of your range, Manyo Factory has less sophisticated ginseng formulations at the $30 mark.
I enjoyed using this and was impressed by the ingredients. It feels like a lot of thought and intentionality was put into the formulation. If you’re a Korean luxury skincare afficionado and are already using prestige brands like Sulwhasoo, Venn Skincare is an interesting next step to try.
I received this product free to test.
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Tatcha Silk Canvas Protective Primer Review
I’m not sure how Tatcha convinced everyone (including me) to shell out over $50 for a primer that you have to scoop out of a tin, yet here we are. It claims to brighten, smooth, and even out your complexion, provide a protective barrier between skin and makeup, and prolong the longevity of makeup. Throw in a gorgeous purple saucer and the words “velvety smooth balm,” and you’ve got yourself a very desirable product!
Is there actual silk in here?
The key ingredients actually include silk: fibroin, sericin, and silk powder. Silk has a few practical benefits that actually improves it as a primer. It’s a slip agent that helps products spread and is also an absorbent.
In addition to silk, the ingredients include “Hadasei-3,” a Tatcha branding word for their three ingredient complex of green tea, rice, and algae. Green tea is an antioxidant, rice is nourishing, and algae helps with skin hydration. The complex is fermented, which supposedly helps break down the plant proteins for better delivery into skin.
The last few ingredients I want to point out are the emollients. Squalane, dimethicone, and silicone give the primer its velvety texture, though only squalane has skin benefits.
How is it as a primer?
I use the purple scoop to knick about a pea-sized amount, then massage it into my face with my fingers. The heat from my fingers helps spread the primer out.
This primer does look brightening due to its pearlescent sheen. Its ability to brighten while de-slicking oil on the face is my favorite thing about it. While every beauty YouTuber talked about how it minimized pores, I didn’t notice that myself. My makeup does stay put from morning to night, like there’s a canvas for my painted foundation to hold on to.
The full-size (20g) is available for $52 at Sephora and Tatcha. If you don’t want to commit, there’s a smaller size (7g) available for $20. I think the mini-size will still last at least 2 months. I’ve been using my primer almost daily for that long and have not even gotten through half the tin.
This is my favorite primer; It brightens my face and brings me joy. The only thing that gives me pause is the price. At $52 without a sale, I didn’t find this to be an irreplaceable part of my routine. Using this made me feel like there’s diminishing returns on splurging on any primer. When I use this up, I’ll probably switch back to my Aritaum primer and invest the money in Tatcha’s Brightening-C Mask instead.