SUM:37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick Korean Beauty Review

SUM:37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick Korean Beauty Review

SUM:37 has somewhat of a cult following in South Korea.

I feel like I say this about nearly every Korean beauty brand, because, if we're really being honest, the Koreans know a lot about beauty, and (at least in my opinion) make some of the worlds best beauty products.

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Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream - Currently Testing & First Impressions

Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream - Currently Testing & First Impressions

For the past week I have been trying a very exciting new addition to the Dear Klairs range of beauty products. Dear Klairs is a Korean beauty brand established in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea, and what I love most about them is that they do not test on animals and their their products are alcohol-free, paraben-free, and artificial-color-free!

The majority of their products are catered towards sensitive skins, and their latest addition, the Midnight blue Calming Cream is no exception. If you have 'patchy' skin, dry and undernourished only in certain parts of your face, then this cream is just for you!

I have tried out a number of their products (courtesy of WishTrend) and have been most impressed with them. Dear Klairs has actually become one of my favourite Korean beauty brands, and I have tried LOTS of Korean. Here are my own (always honest) reviews for the products I have tried out so far.

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I'm From Honey Mask {Review}

I'm From Honey Mask {Review}

It's winter here in Korea, and the icy cold wind has wrecked havoc on my normal to combination skin. 

I hate the feeling of having tight skin after a hot bath (thank goodness for my bath tub...even though it's a shocking shade of pink nothing beats a hot bath after a day of being out in cold). I've been using and loving this Honey Mask from I'm from which was kindly set to me by WishTrend to review.

I'm from is a Korean skincare company that I hadn't heard of before trying this product. I initially though there must have been something lost in translation when I say first saw the jar as their name sounded very unusual. I kept trying to understand 'where' they were from.

This mask is very difficult to get your hands on here in Korea. Due to it's popularity it's often out of stock online. It's currently in stock on WishTrend, an online Korean beauty store which delivers worldwide.

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Korean Skincare Products: What goes Where & The Infamous 10 Step Skincare Routine

Korean Skincare Products: What goes Where & The Infamous 10 Step Skincare Routine

As you may or may not have noticed from my ever growing list of reviews, I am quite a fan of Korean beauty products. There are so many lotions and potions and pretty bottles and tubes (not to mention all the on going sales throughout the month) that it's hard not to get hooked.

There is also a reason that Korean Beauty products are so sought after...they work.

As a South African (ie I do not have, nor do I want, a face that is as white as snow) I have had my fair share of trial and error when it comes to Korean beauty products. Being part beauty blogger (I also sell stationery and am a freelance photographer) I choose to only review the products that I really do love and actually use. If I buy a product and I don't like it, I won't feature it. I'm not into tearing down a product just because it didn't work for me, as it may work for the next person. 

As Korean skincare products are so different to Western brands, it goes without saying that there are different ways to using them and preferred method of application for each product. Have you heard about the 10 Step System? If not don't worry, all will be revealed soon!

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7 Days of Beautiful Skin...#CGSFaceMaskChallenge

#CGSFaceMaskChallenge Korean Beauty Sheet Masks

Last week I started up a fun Instagram challenge to help us combat the icy cold Korean wind and the havoc it wrecks on our skin. It's not just the outside elements that lead to dry skin, but even more so, it's the air-conditioners in our classrooms and apartments that leaves our skin feeling tight flaky.

I started a facemask challenge to make use of all those facemask most of us have lying around at home. I created the hahstag (#cgsfacemaskchallenge...the CGS stands for CityGirlSearching, the name of this blog) and then asked everyone to snap a photo of themselves with their face masks, and tag their photos with the hashtag for the challenge. I really didn't expect so many of my friends and followers to take up the challenge, and was blown away by all the photographs everyone uploaded. It was so much fun to see everyones different poses and to hear their views of the different face masks.

South Korea is famous for their 10 Step Beauty Routine (blog post to come soon!) and one of the steps that Korean women advocate is the use of a face (or rather, sheet) mask. You can buy these masks in every beauty store here in Korea, and they are so affordable, with prices ranging from W500 (+- US$.50) and upwards. The skincare stores here often have specials where you can pick up a pack of 10 for a few KRW1000. I used a mixture of masks from Innisfree (around W800 a pop) and my new favourite brand for sheet masks, Mamonde (each mask was about W1500). 

Korean Skincare Sheet Masks CityGirlSearching

At the start of the challenge I was worried that I would end up breaking out from using a different mask every night, but that didn't happen at all! Instead, the few pimples I had from recently changing my skin care routine cleared up dramatically and my skin felt baby soft and full of moisture every morning! I was shocked! Before this challenge I had used a sheet mask maybe once a month or so, but after using them every night for the past week I think I am going to start using them regularly, at least 3 or 4 times a week. I was worried about the time it would take to apply the masks, but after the second day I was in a good routine and simply popped one on at night, carried in with whatever I was doing (watching series, doing he washing, eating dinner) and then took it off just before bed. 

My skin definitely looks brighter and I have no more annoying flaky bits of skin around my nose area. Another thing I have noticed is that my foundation and BB cream no longer 'sits' on top of my skin, but rather sinks in properly like it's supposed to. I was having to use a primer to prevent the foundation from streaking and and sitting in my pores, but now it goes on effortlessly and looks far more natural. I was even able to use a BB cream I had long ago cast aside because it was so thick and I was never able to get it to blend into my skin. These sheet masks are just the best thing!

Thank you to all the ladies below who took part in this challenge. I hope you all had as much fun as I did and that your skin loved the masks too. I think this needs to be an ongoing challenge, especially in winter!

Klairs Vitamin Drop Vitamin C Serum Review - Currently Testing

For the past few days I have been trying a very exciting new addition to the Dear Klairs range of beauty products. Dear Klairs is a Korean beauty brand established in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea, and what I love most about them is that they do not test on animals! I have tried out a number of their products (courtesy of WishTrend) and have been most impressed with them.

Here are my own (always honest) reviews for the products I have tried out so far.

Just click on the images below to see the full post:

You can shop for the Klairs range of products on WishTrend, a Korean beauty platform which stocks lots and lots of Korean Beauty brands.  A little bonus for my readers, by using this code 052313605 you'll get $5 off your first order. 

I am currently testing out the much talked about Klairs Vitamin Drop (which you can buy as a set along with my favourite BB cream, the Klairs Supple Illuminating BB Cream for only $34 on WishTrend) .

And now back to the review.

So what's all the fuss about Vitamin C I hear you say?

Now I'm no scientist, just a lowly ol' beauty blogger with a love for any and all things beauty, and so I enlisted the help of Korean Beauty Guru blogger Charlotte from Soko Glam to help me out here. 

Many studies have proved that Vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid or l-ascorbic acid) is one of the most effective ways to help fade pigmentation -- those pesky brown spots from sun damage or even uneven skin tone from acne scarring.
It also improves the overall health of your skin by protecting it from free radical damage! Think of it as an anti-aging shield for your skin so you’re not only reducing what damage has already been done, but also preventing future damage.
To understand the science behind Vitamin C, let me breakdown how and why pigmentation occurs:
UVA/UVB, pollution, and smoking create free radicals that destroy your DNA -- and skin cells. Sorry for the dramatics - but it’s true. Free radicals suck!
The result? Premature aging: mainly brown spots and wrinkles (and a bunch of other health problems besides).
Antioxidants help slow down/eliminate free radicals, so that’s why it’s important to include them in your diet and most importantly for your skin, apply them topically!
And you guessed it, the best of the best for the skin is...Vitamin C.  You can read the full article by clicking here.

I recently raved about my experience using the Innisfree Whitening Pore Serum with pretty drastic before and after photos (click here) and so have really interested in knowing more about Vitamin C. 

This Vitamin Drop serum from Klairs contains a 5% concentration of Vitamin C, meaning it is perfect for even the most sensitive of skins. As a rule of thumb, the higher the Vitamin C concentration, the more likely it will cause sensitivity. For those first time users of Vitamin C (like myself), the 5% contained in The Klairs Vitamin Drop serum is the prefect place to start. 

As Vitamin C is highly de-stablilized by Oxygen & light, it is usually kept in dark coloured bottles and it is advised to store it in a cool dark place. What is great about the Klairs Vitamin Drop is that has been stablilized and therefore has a longer shelf life. That's why it is packaged in such a pretty clear bottle. You can see the full ingredient list below:

I have only been using it for a few days so I can't speak on the effectiveness yet.

What I have noticed so far in the few days of use is a faint, warm sensation when applied to the skin. Nothing unpleasant, it actually feels like I am applying a warm towel to my skin. I have also noticed that my skin is being purged (small pimples are coming to the surface that were obviously waiting for the right moment to pop up). I was very worried about this and though perhaps I was having a bad reaction to the product, but have since realised it's normal.

I apply the serum after cleansing, toning and applying essence. I leave it on for about 10 minutes before applying my eye cream, day/night cream and sun cream. I have noticed that my skin is a lot more mattified since I added this serum into my routine, and I have also been very pleasantly surprised to notice that I no longer have flaky skin on my nose area. I am very excited to see more results and will report back after a few more weeks of use.

You can buy the Klairs Vitamin Drop serum on Wishtrend for $17.25 by clicking the button below.

I have also recently added the much talked about Misha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence & Toner to my skin care routine and will be making a video on them very soon. 

{This review and all the reviews on my blog are honest and my own personal experience with the product. Please note this post contains affiliate links which means that should you purchase something though one of these links I receive a very small commission}

Innisfree Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock 50+ PA++ {Review}

Innisfree Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock

Even though it's technically winter here in South Korea, whether you wear sunscreen (or suncream for my South African readers and sunblock for my American readers) should not be dependant on the season or weather. It should be worn every day regardless of how much sun you actually see in the sky.

For my own skin, I suffer from pigmentation (click here to read about my new wonder product from Innisfree) and one of the main causes of skin pigmentation is sun exposure. Having grown up in a country that has plenty of year round sunshine (South Africa) I was exposed to A LOT of sun growing up, and even though my parents were very cautions and made ma layer up with cream and hats when outside, I still spent a lot of my teenage years baking myself outside to achieve the perfect tan. Now that I am older and wiser (and the first few wrinkle...ahem, I mean 'laugh' lines are appearing) I have been making sure to wear a face suncream every day, without fail, and have incorporated it into my beauty regime. It's something that is just not worth missing out on. 

The Skin Cancer Foundation has the following to say about sunscreen:

Sunscreens are products combining several ingredients that help prevent the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB, damage the skin, age it prematurely, and increase your risk of skin cancer.

UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are associated with wrinkling, leathering, sagging, and other light-induced effects of aging (photo-aging). They also exacerbate the carcinogenic effects of UVB rays, and increasingly are being seen as a cause of skin cancer on their own. Sunscreens vary in their ability to protect against UVA and UVB.

What about SPF?

Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. SPF — or Sun Protection Factor — is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. Here's how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer — about five hours.

Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent. They may seem like negligible differences, but if you are light-sensitive, or have a history of skin cancer, those extra percentages will make a difference. And as you can see, no sunscreen can block all UV rays.

Thankfully, these days, suncreams are no longer these thick lotions that turn you a ghostly shade of pale, and there are so many skin care lines that are producing suncreams with various properties. I have always been a BIG fan of the FaceShop's range of suncreams (like their Oil Cut range which is great for oilier skin and provides a matte finish) and ha been alternating between that and their Natural Sun Eco Power Long Lasting Suncream. That was until I tried the Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock from Innisfree. 

Innisfree Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock Review

As you can see this particular suncream has an SPF factor of 50+ and is PA+++. 

So what does PA+++ mean? PA is a Japanese/Korean rating system that shows how much protection you are getting from UVA rays. You will see either PA+, PA++, or PA+++ on the label, with more + signs meaning a higher level of UVA protection.  

The Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock from Innisfree combines all of my needs in a suncream. It's mattifying, non-greasy and acts as a primer for my skin, allowing my makeup to glide on top effortlessly. It sinks into my skin instantly so no waiting around for that typical suncream shine to go away. 

The Innisfree Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock SPF 50+ PA+++ is made with organic sunflower oil and organic green tea grown on Jeju island in Korea. It’s also made with their famous “5 free” formula. According to Innisfree, their products are free of parabens, artificial dyes, ethanol, animal ingredients, and mineral oil. 

I have normal to combination skin (although it is drier in Winter times and oilier in the summer) and right now this suncream is perfect for my skin type. If you have oilier skin, Innisfree does offer a formula called Eco Safety No Sebum Sunblock which absorbs sebum and provides more of a matte finish. I find currently, this formula offers the perfect makeup base for my skin and I love how soft and smooth my skin is after using it. 

The cream is a thick, white formulation which I didn't find left a white cast on my skin at all. I have an olive skin tone (which is much darker than most Koreans) and yet I didn't find that my skin had a white cast at all after application. You can see my hand in the before and after photographs below. 

I will most definitely be repurchasing this suncream when mine runs out and have been most impressed with the formula as well as what a great makeup base it is.

And incase you're still wondering whether you should be wearing suncream, maybe this video will convince you...

Are there any sun care products that you current love? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Innisfree Whitening Pore Synergy Serum {Review}

Innisfree Vitamin C Whitening Serum Review

Innisfree established itself in Korea in 2007 as the first natural beauty brand to set up shop in Korea and it markets itself as an authority on eco-friendly skincare. Their products feature extracts of pure ingredients from Jeju Island and are packaged in eco-friendly materials, making me, and a lot of other women, huge fans of this skincare brand. 

I have been using the Innisfree Whitening Pore Synergy Serum for a while now and I'm really excited to share my thoughts on it with you.

One of my biggest skin concerns is pigmentation. When I was younger I had pretty bad skin (lots of pimples and my skin was always inflamed from my constant touching and picking) and I tried a host of lotions and potions, eventually resorting to Ruaccutane which sorted my skin out after the second round of use. Since then I have been lucky to have pretty clear skin.

But, I do suffer from pigmentation, which I'm sure is a direct result of the contraceptive pill. I don't view my pigmentation as a dehabilitating thing, I know it's more of a vanity issue than anything else, but I am always interested in products that are specifically catering for this skin issues. I wear a factor 50+ sunscreen everyday, and wear a hat most of the time that I am outdoors to combat any further damage to my skin. It's the summer months when I am outdoors more and the sun is stronger, that my skin really suffers. I know there are more permanent options out there, like laser and peels but they scare me a bit and as I am pretty sure my skin is due to The Pill I am planning on waiting until after I have children before venturing into the realms of laser.

Innisfree Whitening Pore Synergy Serum Review

This serum claims to offer the combined goodness of an ampoule & an essence (if you're not sure what the difference is between the two click here) for an intensive whitening treatment. It claims to diminish dark spots and brighten uneven skin-tone.

On that note, here is a before and after of 4 weeks of use of this serum. All these photographs are unedited and I am not wearing any makeup in either of them. Although the lighting is a bit different, the results are quite drastic. These shots were all taken on my iPhone in the early morning after a light walk with my dog. I really hadn't noticed an actual difference in my skin tone until I put these photographs next to each other. Although the pigmentation is still noticeable on the right, my skin tone is much more even and looks a lot smoother and now after seeing these photographs together I think I am going to go and purchase ALL the other products in this range! 

I use this serum both day and night under either my  Innisfree Whitening Pore Cream (review to come soon) or my Innisfree Eco Science Cream (when I need more moisture) both of which I use at night. I wear this serum under my Nivea Q10 Day Cream for day time use. 

The serum comes in a pump dispenser with 50ml of product. The pump is great for measuring out the right amount of product without unnecessary wastage. I always seem to apply too much product to my skin and end up wiping my hands on my towel and wasting too much. The fact that this serum also comes in a pump means it is far more hygienic than sticking your fingers in a tub. 

I really wasn't expecting much from this product and have been quite shocked at the before and after photographs. The serum isn't cheap though and will set you back W28 000 at your local Innisfree store. You might want to wait until Innisfree has their monthly sales where most of their products are on sale for 30% - 50% off. This serum should last anywhere from 2 - 3 months with daily use (both morning and night) as you only need one pump of product per application. 

Have you used any of the Whitening Pore range from Innisfree? Did you notice any results? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Innisfree Eco Science Eye Cream {Review}

Innisfree Eco Science Eye Cream Review

The Eco Science range is an anti ageing line of products from one of Korea's natural skincare brands, Innisfree. It's no secret that I love Innisfree and spend an unhealthy amount of time in there (my Instagram feed is proof to my obsession with this brand!). 

I first read about this eye cream from Sheryl (one of my favourite Asian skincare gurus) and she raved about it. I had been using the Olay Total Effects Eye Transforming Cream (I even brought a tub over back in 2013 when we came to Korea the second time) but I must say this Innisfree one is even better. This is my second tube and I just can't get enough of it.

What it says on the box "This skincare product is naturally derived with wrinkle treatment that promotes skin vitality with marine plants from the clean and pure ocean of Jeju Island. It contains marine plants that are rich in Vitamin A and minerals to rejuvenate the ageing skin and to foster the self protective power of the skin.

The cream comes in a pump tube and dispenses exactly the right amount of cream for both eyes. I hate eye cream in tubs as I never know how much to use and either end up wasting it or not using enough and having dry under eye areas. This handy tube does all the guess work for you. 

Innisfree Eco Science Eye Cream Review

I have most definitely noticed a reduction in the nasty little fine lines that started appearing around my eyes last year (I am going to say they are my smile and laughter lines because I am always smiling!).  My eye area looks plump and smooth after applying the cream and I love the texture of the cream. It's smooth and easily sinks into the skin.

Innisfree Eco Science Eye Cream Review

I will be on to my third bottle soon, and even though it is on the pricier end of the scale (W28 000 for 30ml) it's absolutely worth it for me. I usually stock up my skincare products when Innisfree has their monthly 20% - 50% sales. 

WIN a Spring Inspired Package from Korea

The weather over the past few days has been absolutely delightful (it's the final days of summer and I know this means we are in for a very cold winter here in Korea). It really has felt like Spring, and to celebrate I'm giving away this very pretty package of stationery and beauty products from some of my favourite stores here.

Happy Friday everyone! The weather here in Korea has been feeling very much like Spring and to celebrate I am giving...

Posted by CityGirl Searching on Thursday, 10 September 2015

I've got face masks, nail polish, pencils, writing paper, and lots of other pretty goodies. All you have to do is head over to my Facebook page and comment & share the photo. This giveaway is open worldwide and the winner will be drawn on Tuesday 15th September.

Good luck!

Innisfree Eco Science Cream {Review}

Innisfree Eco Science Cream

The Eco Science range is an anti ageing line of products from one of Korea's natural skincare brands, Innisfree. It's no secret that I love Innisfree and spend an unhealthy amount of time in there (my Instagram feed is proof to my obsession with this brand!). This is my second purchase of the Eco Science Cream, which I just love. 

This cream is enriched with natural anti-ageing active ingredients from marine plants and botanical extracts from Jeju Island and is said to 'regenerate skin and provide nutrients for a self-protective skin'. As I am going into my late twenties, I have started to notice a few extra lines (I am going to call these laugh lines and say they are from squinting with my camera and not because I am getting old!). I had heard only good things about the Eco Science range of products which are aimed at ageing skin.

In Korea, most skincare lines will carry a cream & a lotion (which is sometimes referred to as an emulsifier). Lotions/Emulsifiers are very light moisturisers which would best suit skin in summer, or very oily skin due to the lighter texture. These are usually water based. Creams on the other hand are have a much thicker texture and are used in winter, or for those with dry to very dry skin. During Winter this was my go to moisturiser which saved my skin from the harsh winds and snow, as well as the indoor heating which can wreck havoc on your skin. I now use this every other evening as my night cream, or when I feel like my skin is thirtsy.

The light grey coloured cream has a thick texture and comes in a round, white tub. The tub is filled with cream (80ml of product) so no sneaky packaging has been used to give the appearance of more product. I always get so cross when I open up a cream and see half the bottle is purely packaging, this is so wasteful (financially and environmentally!). Luckily for us, Innisfree is all about being ECO friendly and is great with their packaging (their boxes are even all printed with soy ink!).

The texture of the cream when applied to your skin is sticky, and depending on how dry your skin is, it might take a little while for the product to sink in. I have found that in summer it takes a long time for it to sink into my skin. This can be a bit annoying as I sometimes feel like I am leaving residue on my pillow. This is why I would recommend it for winter or for anyone with very dry skin.

Whenever I wake up after using this the night before my skin is incredibly smooth and plump and feels firmer to the touch. I have also been using this with the Eco Science Eye Cream (this is my favorite eye to come soon) and most recently with the Eco Science Skin toner (review to come soon).

I recently purchased the Whitening Pore Cream (review to come soon) and use it interchangeable at night with this one.

If you're wondering where a cream fits into your beauty regime, it's broken down on the side of the box:

Cleanser- Skin (toner) - Lotion  - serum - wrinkle spot essence/recover spot essence - eye cream - cream 

The Korean skincare regime is extensive, with most women using a serum, essence, lotion AND cream every day. I simply don't have the time and use a cleanser, toner, cream and eye cream with a suncream during the day. I will be doing a breakdown of my current summer skincare regime soon.

Eco Science Cream
Innisfree Eco Science Cream

I am on my second tub of this cream (it comes in a 80ml tub) and will definitely be repurchasing more when winter comes. It is on the pricier side at W28 000, but I try and stock up when Innisfree has their monthly 20% - 50% sales. Also, 80ml of product lasts me over 3 months so it's definitely worth the price for the amount of uses you get out of each tub.