Skincare: A Tale of Two Soaps

When I was young, I had a ton of trouble with acne. So much so that at one point in middle school my skincare routine was a $200 face care set from some company I can’t even remember now. For all the money my mother sank into it, the program never worked for me. So it’s no surprise that skincare became a bit of an obsession for me. Over the years, I’ve tried many different face washes and toners, all promising results. Some delivered and some didn’t.  Eventually I settled on using Saint Ives Apricot Scrub and being ok with the fact that my face would never be smooth.

That is, until I came to Korea. Even in Korea I had a bit of trouble at first, mainly because it was extremely hard to find Saint Ives! So for the first few months, I stumbled through my old routine of trying different face cleansers. I found a few that were ok, but nothing notable until roughly a year ago.

Enter AprilSkin. AprilSkin ads began popping up EVERYWHERE for a soap called “Magic Stone”. It promised to be an all natural face cleanser that took care of any skin trouble. So when it went on sale at the local Olive Young, I decided to try it out.

The Magic Stone was my first attempt at using an actual bar soap for my face. Thankfully I had rewatched the April Skin Ulzzang video enough times that I knew to make foam with the soap and then put that on my face for around 20-30 seconds.

(The video in question that popped up on Facebook, Instagram and literally everywhere I seemed to look.)

I was pretty pleased with the Magic Stone right off the bat, as it easily removed all of my makeup. But after about 3 days, I was astonished that a problem patch on one of my cheeks was gone. Gone as in my entire face was COMPLETELY clear.

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My only issue with Magic Stone was that it left my skin feeling a tad bit dry, but as I normally used it before bed it didn’t bother me much as I applied a heavy face cream. I mean, who cares about a little bit of dryness when you’ve found the holy grail of skin care, right?

I stuck with Magic Stone exclusively for around 9 months. But then these pesky ads on Instagram started showing up for a new soap.

DailySkin had arrived and their Strawberry Milk soap was all over the place. I held off for a while, as I still very much loved my Magic Stone. But the DailySkin advertisements promised a soap that would leave your skin more moisturized than others and the packaging was super cute. So I decided to try it out. I didn’t have anything to lose, after all.

For a week, I stopped using Magic Stone and switched to using only the Strawberry Milk. As with Magic Stone, my skin stayed completely clear. And DailySkin was right about my skin feeling moisturized. With the Strawberry Milk soap, the website had recommend cutting it, as it easily melts in the heat. So I attempted (poorly) to cut it into 4ths. It, predictably, crumbled a bit. So, do not do this. Other than that, I found myself in love with this soap as well.

So what to do, now that I had found not one but two amazing soaps? Use them both of course. In the mornings, I now use the DailySkin Strawberry Milk soap, since it isn’t as drying as the Magic Stone. At night, I use the Magic Stone before going to bed to really make sure I’ve gotten everything off of my face. I can honestly say that I LOVE both of these soaps, and that my skin has never been in such great condition. Another great aspect of both is that a little goes a long way. The soaps foam up really easily, and one Magic Stone lasted me around 8 months from daily use. So far the tiny piece of the Strawberry Milk soap has lasted around 3 months without getting too small to use.

In conclusion, both of these soaps are wonderful, and if you have sensitive skin I recommend trying them out. Those of you with oily skin may want to look into the Black Magic Stone, as it has added charcoal to help with oil. Skincare is really important, and for those who struggle with acne, finding the right soap can really help. Really expensive soaps and serums aren’t always the way to go. Sometimes, a soap marketed to you on Instagram by Ulzzangs can actually be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for.

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Pastel Hightlighters: K-beauty brands

Etude House Wonder Fun Park Candy highlighter vs Tonymoly Luminous Rainbow highlighter . How does each product stack up? Which one is worth the money?

Hello lovelies~ It’s Ren here with my first k-beauty post about highlighters! Recently pastel highlighters have been EVERYWHERE online. I love love love makeup, but I’m generally pretty toned down. So while I had used highlighters before, and therefore knew the basics, I figured it would be better to wait until Korean brands caught on before I tried to snag one of the highlighters (although that Kat Von D pallet is VERY tempting).

So I was pretty excited when Etude dropped a pastel line over winter break. These line is the Wonder Fun Park line, and it has a cute carnival theme to it. I ended up buying two things from the line on a whim, the Wonder Fun Park Candy Highlighter (about $16 usd when I purchased it), and the Wonder Fun Park Glitter Pigment in pink (around $10 usd). I also ended up purchasing the Luminous Rainbow highlighter ($20 usd) from Tonymoly as it doubles as eyeshadow and blush, according to the lovely sales lady. So how do they measure up against each other? Let’s take a look!

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Above you can see the differences in the packaging. Etude is more cutesy, which is typical of them, and Tonymoly’s is more sleek and minimal which is a new direction they’ve taken in the past few years with their products. Personally, I prefer the Etude packaging because it’s just really cute and fun, which is a weakness of mine. So packaging wise, I’d give the Etude highlighter  4 out of 5. The Tonymoly one I will give a 3 out of 5 because there isn’t anything really “Wow!” about the packaging, but I do like that it has a button to open rather than having to pry it open.

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And here you can see what the products look like. The Etude pact is more pastel, and not as visibly glittery. The Tonymoly one is more of a bright rainbow than pastel to me, and is visibly got glitter in it. I won’t give points for this, because it didn’t really effect my feelings towards the product in the end. What it really comes down to is how well each product did what it was supposed to do. Below I have two photos of the products side by side on my arm, with and without flash. (I know, I know, I’m pale af.)

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(With flash, without flash)

As you can see in the above photos, the Etude product doesn’t show up at all. It almost looks like there isn’t any product there at all, but this is after using a clean brush to apply almost 4 layers. And yet, it still looks like nothing is there. The Tonymoly one in contrast is very clearly there in both photos after applying it lightly. So, it’s safe to say that the Tonymoly product is clearly the winner and that the Etude one is pretty much only cute to look at. I was super excited for the Wonder Fun Park line as it had been a little while since Etude had released anything I was interested in. Their winter holiday line “My Little Nut” (Etude pls) was also a bit disappointing, and now I find that I am also disappointed in the WFP line. The eye pigments were worth the money spent, but the highlighter was a dud all around. Don’t waste your money on it, if you’re looking for a cute highlighter from a Korean brand, pick up the Tonymoly one this time. It’s actually worth the price. I have links for all of the products below, although the Tonymoly one is not listed on the US website, so I’ve linked it on amazon. I hope you guys enjoyed this little post, and I hope it was useful for you!

http://www.etudehouse.com/index.php/new/wonder-fun-park-candy-highlighter.html

http://www.etudehouse.com/index.php/new/wonder-fun-park-glitter-pigment.html

https://www.amazon.com/TONYMOLY-Luminous-Goddess-Aurolighter-Highligher/dp/B01N2WRRG9