Leegeehaam Grow Tea Tree 70 BHA Toner Review
Originally founded by dermatologist Dr. Lee Ji Ham, Korean skincare brand Leegeeham collaborated with kbeauty curation site Glow Recipe to develop their first BHA product: The Grow Tea Tree 70 BHA Toner. I had been a big fan of their Matcha Clay Mask, so when they reached out to me to review this toner, I had high expectations.
What does it claim to do?
Clarify, soothe breakout prone skin, and unclog congested pores through gentle BHA exfoliation.
What are the ingredients?
70% tea tree, willow bark extract, niacinamide, betain salicylate, witch hazel extract, aloe. As you can tell from the name, tea tree is the star ingredient. It is a well-studied topical antimicrobial that also has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, most notably in the treatment and prevention of mild to moderate acne (PubMed ID: 22998411). An alternative to salicylic acid derived from beets, betain salicylate is the BHA part of the toner.
The ingredients above are really targeting acne-prone skin, yet the toner feels really gentle. It is almost indistinguishable from water in terms of consistency. I dislike herbal scents, and this smells like cucumber water 💯 While the instructions say to swipe it on the face using a cotton pad, I like to squirt a few drops into my clean palms and pat it into my skin. It sinks in quickly and is easy to layer as part of a routine.
I really like the bright green plastic packaging, which stands out on my shelf. The pump mechanism dispenses a generous amount of liquid without being wasteful. And when I accidentally dropped the bottle on the floor, it bounced and did not break. Bulletproof!
Thanks to my robust skincare routine (understatement?), I haven’t had breakouts in months, so I can’t evaluate whether this will calm existing acne. However, unlike the other BHA products on my shelf (Stridex, Paula’s Choice Benzoyl Peroxide), this feels gentle enough for consistent use. My skin feels fresher, and yes - clarified - without stinging, tautness, or irritation.
This is one of the most gentle BHA products that I have tried, and I will continue to use it to prevent future breakouts.
I received this product free to test.
Vitamin C Moisturizer Comparison: Ole Henriksen vs. Lumene
Today, I would like to compare two moisturizers that claim to even out your skin tone and help with overall glow based on their vitamin C content: The Ole Henriksen C-Rush Brightening Gel Creme and the Lumene Valo Light Glow Reveal Moisturizer. Ole Henriksen was founded by a Danish celebrity skincare guru and is now part of the LVMH family of brands (which includes Sephora), whereas Lumene is a Finnish skincare brand available at Target and CVS. So this is also a Scandinavian skincare smackdown!
Why I love Vitamin C
For those who follow me on Instagram, you know that vitamin C is one my favorite skincare ingredients. It reduces photosensitivity, preventing signs of aging caused by sun exposure, and targets one of my main skin concerns: hyperpigmentation (PubMed ID: 23741676). I always use a 15%+ vitamin C serum stabilized by ferulic acid (PubMed ID: 28805671) as my main source, but I think that having some ascorbic acid in my other parts of the skincare routine can’t hurt.
What ingredients do they share?
Both moisturizers contain ascorbic acid, vitamin C in its gold-standard form. They both also include sea buckthorn extract (nourisher), hyaluronic acid (humectant moisturizer), citric acid (pH balancing), jojoba (emollient moisturizer), and fragrance. Did I mention fragrance? Ole’s smells like a delicious orange creamsicle, while Lumene’s has a bold berry scent. I am picky with my scents, but I love both of these. However, if you don’t like fragrance, neither moisturizer will be for you, since these smell very strong.
Which has more vitamin C?
Vitamin C appears higher in Ole’s ingredient list, which means there is more of it; There are also 3 different types of it in the creme (Ascorbic Acid, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate). However, whether either moisturizer contains a significant enough % of it to make a biological difference is unclear.
I still use a vitamin C serum separately for this reason. Unlike the C-Rush cream, Glow Reveal contains Niacinamide too, which I love for evening out my skin tone.
Both have a creamy texture that sinks in fast. I think that Lumene’s is more versatile and would work for all skin types, because people with oilier skin should be careful with Ole’s. The C-Rush Creme leaves a dewy finish that could slip into greaseball territory.
Both feel equally hydrating (that is, moderately hydrating) and layer well under makeup. They haven’t made a significant difference with my dark spots.
They’re both great products that I love using and are similar enough in terms of ingredients and results. What puts Lumene’s version ahead is value: Their moisturizer has a more accessible price point of $25 USD at places that have frequent sales (Ulta, CVS, Target) whereas Ole’s is $44 USD at Sephora. I would splurge on the C-Rush if you want a better multitasker, as it has more vitamin C and can also act as a dewy finisher, but Lumene comes out ahead as a daily moisturizer if you’re just looking for a slight vitamin C boost.
I received these products free to test.
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FRÉ Skincare Review
Founded in 2014, FRÉ Skincare targets women with active lifestyles. Formulated specifically for post-workout, sweaty skin, their products are popularly featured by many Instagram workout gurus clad in athleisure on the beach. When the brand sent me their products to review, I put on my only pair of Lululemon leggings and headed to my cycling class with their 123FRÉ set in tow.
What’s in the 123FRÉ set?
- PROTECT ME Moisturizer
- PURIFY ME Cleanser
- REVIVE ME Serum
- A blue cloth FRÉ makeup bag with cinch closure
Who is it for?
Based on how hydrating each product is, I think that these would work best for people with dry to normal skin. The ingredients look like they’re targeting bacterial acne, dehydration, and irritation - problems that I assume they’re tackling by way of “sweat”.
PROTECT ME Moisturizer
SPF 30, argan oil, squalene, vitamins A, B5, & E, chamomile. This is a creamy moisturizer that takes 5-10 minutes to absorb. It does feel like a sunscreen. The cream’s richness make this a good pick for dry, irritated skin. It does leave a sheen that you need to mattify with powder - fine if you’re working out (especially in a dark cycling stadium), but something to note if you’re planning to use this under makeup.
PURIFY ME Cleanser
I asked the FRÉ rep about the pH, and it is formulated to be between 4.9 and 6 to protect the acid mantle in the skin barrier. This has a milky consistency with little blue jojoba beads for exfoliating sweaty skin. This is a really hydrating cleanser thanks to the Shea butter content. My favorite item in the set!
REVIVE ME Serum
Argan oil, fatty acids, squalene. This has a similar ingredient list (minus the SPF) to the moisturizer and is really similar. However, it feels silkier and has a thinner texture for faster absorption. This leaves a smooth finish.
This is available in the USA and Canada on their website, freskincare.com. The set retails for $115. That feels on the high side to me, but the package sizes are generous, and I could see these lasting for a while.
I was surprised by how hydrating each product was. They all share a slightly floral fragrance and use argan oil as a foundational ingredient. (FRÉ plants an argan tree for every set sold.) I don’t know if it made a difference for sweaty skin in particular, but it’s a solid set for those who lead an active life.
I received these products free to test.