Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant skincare line

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a fan of A-True. I like that the brand is trying something, while maybe not exactly new and original, definitely solid and reliable. In other words, A-True is doing what it can to stick to the plan and claim a very small, tiny niche in the very crowded world of Korean skincare.

I admire that ambition. And I admire the gumption. And the mostly moderate amount of crap in their PR blurbs. And I appreciate that instead of giving us a magical ingredient that can't really be independently verified (yes, Cremorlab, I am looking at you and your thermal water), A-True goes with a tried and true (haha, I'm so clever) approach.
Which is - tea. And tea is good. Hard to argue with that (unless you're an LDS, but just give it a couple more decades and even that sad bit of the gospel will be revised, mark my words).

And even though I am A-True's biggest fan girl (here are my other A-True reviews), I am not blind to the brand's shortcomings. And just like in the case of Cremorlab, I must say that while A-True is good, solid, basic skincare, it's also terribly overpriced.

Overpriced to the point that unless you can find it somewhere for 30% to 50% off, don't bother buying otherwise.

That's how I got today's products. My friend, who runs an online shop, was having a massive A-True clearance.

Today we are going to take a closer look at these three products:

  • A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Aurora Cream
  • A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Essence, and
  • A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Toner

White Snow Tea is A-True's bestselling "whitening", or rather - brightening, line. Last year samples from this line were also my initial introduction to the brand.

Yes, A-True is a Korean cosmetic brand that, instead of water, uses either tea, or fermented tea extract in its cosmetics.

A-True White Snow Tea line features, as the name suggests, white tea.

White Snow Tea? Snow Buds? Is there even such a thing?

Turns out there is. It's grown primarily in the Fujian province in China.
And "cultivated in spring during 2 days out of the entire year"? Well, almost true. Not "cultivated" but harvested. And not 2 days, but a very short window of time. And yes, in the spring.

The whole idea is to harvest the leaves and tea buds when they are very young, as only such young tea leaves can produce high quality white tea.

Why is it white? The name comes from the "fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, which gives the plant a whitish appearance." (source: Wikipedia - white tea).

The tea itself is not white, but pale yellow.

And what about the claim that "the extract of white tea protects the skin from dark spots..."?

Well, turns out that A-True might be onto something here.
Wiki again helpfully explains that:
"Like black and green tea, white tea is also derived from Camellia sinensis. Thus, white tea shares many of the same chemical properties and health effects of tea. However, white tea contains the most antioxidants."
But how exactly that translates into skincare is a mystery to me.

A-True gets its tea from a real place, which apparently, is quite fancy - Compagnie Coloniale.
For some of its skincare it then ferments the tea water. Yep, ferments. Not once, but twice. 1st fermentation uses Saccharomyces, and 2nd - Xylinum.

Today's contestants are not fermented. They all use straight tea water and tea leaf extract.

So let's get started, shall we?


A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Aurora Cream

Seriously, Korean companies must have some sort of an ongoing competition who can come up with the longest and the most convoluted name.

The box is plain and simple, just the way I like it. No cutesy designs and zero childishness.

Inside the box we have a 50 gram jar of cream, a spatula and a leaflet.

The lid is secured with a sticker. The jar looks fancy, but it's all cheap plastic. It bothers me when brands that aspire to be seen as fancy, pack their "fancy" creams in cheap, plastic jars. Why does it bother me? Plastic for cosmetic packaging is always "virgin" plastic, meaning it has to be made fresh, and not from recycled materials. And after the products are all used up and the jars are empty, such cosmetic packaging cannot be fully recycled. It can only be "down-cycled" for industrial use. Meaning, every time you open a plastic jar of "fancy" cream, it's a fresh, purpose-made piece of plastic.

In contrast, glass packaging can be infinitely recycled. But... glass packaging is expensive to make. Plastic is cheap. Money talks.
This is not the first time when I see Asian companies (even super fancy ones) pissing on the environment. And I don't know about you, but the environment is important to me.

Anyway, back to the cream...

In a typical A-True fashion, the inner cover got stuck inside the lid and as I have short nails, it took a kitchen knife to pry it out. (It seems to happen with all their creams).
And in a typical A-True fashion, the content of the jar has shifted.

The cream is very light. It's PERFECT for our hot and humid summer. It moisturizes without being greasy. It absorbs in a flash. It has a faint scent. But it's a pleasant scent. Vaguely tea-like, but not quite.

This is exactly what I loved about this cream last summer. This is exactly what started my obsession with A-True.

I'm using the entire A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant line in the morning. Let me repeat it once again, it's PERFECT under makeup. My skin is dry, but with close to 100% humidity outside, I don't need to slather on extra moisturizers. A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant does the trick.
I'm guessing it would be ideal for combo and oily skin in less extreme climates.

The cream is slightly pearlescent, but as you can see, it dries to a nice, matte finish.
Nothing to complain about here.

It doesn't break me out, it doesn't clog my pores, it doesn't make my red face any redder.
To be honest, I didn't notice any major "brilliance", but then again, it's not what I was expecting.
I was expecting moisture that would work under makeup in extreme conditions, and I got exactly that.
But to be honest, I also noticed that my complexion is, indeed, more even, when using A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant line.
However, it's a temporary effect, probably due to the pearlescent nature of the products.

This is what the leaflet has to say about A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Aurora Cream:

They talk about moisture - I agree. Comfort - yes, I agree again. Improves overall radiance? Yes, but temporarily.

Still, good enough for me. I like it.

A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Aurora Cream ingredients:

Because Korea doesn't follow the American (and Japanese) ingredient listing order rules, please use it only as a general guidance to see what's IN a product.

Next up we have the essence. Yes, I realize that we are going backwards here. We started with the cream, now the essence, and yes, we are going to finish with the toner.


A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Essence

Again, the same simple design.
Inside the box we have a 40 ml bottle of essence and a leaflet.

There's a pump. Not airless, but better than nothing.

This essence is almost like a light cream, or a heavy milk.
Again, slightly pearly, with a gentle, delicious smell.

And as you can see, it absorbs fully, and leaves NO white, sticky residue.
I love A-True essences (though they are really more like emulsions), and if there is one item from this line that I'm going to definitely repurchase, this is it.

I really can't find anything to complain about here. Except maybe for the price...

A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Essence ingredients:

And here is the official spiel:

And the expiration date:

Again, I like it.
A good, solid product worth trying, if you can find it on promotion somewhere.


And finally, last but not least:

A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Toner

Don't know about you, but toner is one of those skincare products that I use a lot of. It goes the fastest at my house. The fact that I use it with dry sheet mask capsules for instant refreshment for my poor face surely has something to do with it as well.

Either way, I go through liters and liters of toner. So when I hear that someone is using the same bottle of toner for a few months, I always wonder how they manage that. Because I can't.

Inside the box we get a 180 ml bottle of toner and a leaflet.
Look guys, this is what I really liked about this bottle. It came sealed like that:

And if you are really obsessive about your skincare, you could save this plug and reuse it. I didn't. I tossed it in the garbage. My toner isn't going to last long enough to be stored with a plug.

I like how A-True prints expiration dates on their products, instead of manufacturing dates. Though, in all fairness, having both dates would be even nicer.

As you can see, A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Toner is a clear liquid that dries to a nice matte finish. It's light and non-greasy. It absorbs fast. Again, perfect for the summer. And it smells yummy!

A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Toner ingredients:

All three products in this line have Niacinamide in them to even skintone and fade discolorations. Some people swear by Niacinamide. Personally, it does nothing for me.

I like this toner for its refreshing and moisturizing properties.

A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant Toner official blurb:

All in all, it's a solid skincare line. It delivers ample moisture without being heavy, or greasy, or sticky. It's perfect for the summer. It should work well for combination and oily skin types. It works well under makeup and thus makes an ideal morning routine.

As all A-True products, this line is formulated without alcohol and parabens:

And A-True doesn't test on animals! Yay!

The only problem with A-True is that it's terribly overpriced. However, if you see a promotion on it somewhere, buy it. It's worth it.

You can purchase A-True at Jolse - a reputable Korean online cosmetic shop.

I got my A-True White Snow Tea Brilliant set at Berdever.pl.


  1. Kupiłam kiedyś krem i esencję (bo polecałaś, a ja kupię wszystko, co mi każesz). Bardzo mi odpowiadają, są lekkie i przyjemne. Naprawdę nie można im niczego zarzucić. Szkoda, że przegapiłam promocję w Berdever:(

    1. Zgadzam sie, nie mozna im niczego zarzucic. Tylko za taka cene oczekiwalabym czego wiecej. Jakiegos ooomph. A tu klapa. Dlatego uwazam, ze cena jest nieadekwatna do zawartosci.

  2. Another great review!! Thank you!! I really need to try A-True the next time I'm out of cream/essence/toner!!

    1. Just don't expect too much. It's basic skincare :-)

  3. It means a lot to me that you liked this. I feel like you have high standards.

    1. I think sometimes my standards are too high...

  4. Rzadko na blogach o azjatyckich kosmetykach i pielęgnacji pojawiają się teksty o dbaniu o cere trądzikową. Wiem, że nie jest to Twój problem, ale czy wiesz może jak dziewczyny sobie radzą z tym problemem? Czy jest tak jak w Europie- przyjmowanie różnych lekarstw i smarowanie się co raz to nowszymi wynalazkami czy może istnieją jakieś sposoby i produkty o których jeszcze nie słyszałam?

    1. wydawało mi się, iż podpisałam swoją wypowiedź - Adrianna

  5. I used to feel meh about toner, but for the past several months I've been on a tear! This one looks really nice. I'm always up for a good brightening toner. Also, I need to get some dry sheet masks now! I don't know why it's never occurred to me to do that, but it's a brilliant idea.

    1. Hi Kerry!
      it IS a brilliant idea! I'd say it's pretty common in Japan, after all our multi-pack sheet masks are nothing more than 5-minute toner sheets.
      But I'm surprised that more AB fans aren't embracing the DIY sheet mask idea :-)


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