This is going to be a long mega-post, so go grab a sandwich, or a coffee. Yes, you may need some caffeine just to stay awake.
Go on, I'll wait.
I'm going to get a drink myself.
This review has been simmering here since last fall. Yep. Nine months. If it were a baby, it would be screaming for some breast milk now.
Anyway, where was I?
Ah, yes... Cremorlab.
Actually, it's good I waited out the Cremorlab hype with these products. It gave me enough time to get to know them and to form an opinion of sorts about the brand in general.
And what a huge difference a year makes!
It seems that Peach and Lily stopped pushing Cremorlab in every single advertorial, the hype is done and over now. So what did Cremorlab do to fall from the K-beauty pedestal? Nothing really, apart from being boring and expensive.
I bought all of today's products myself, and the only reason I could afford them was a huge discount at SkinGarden in Shin Okubo in Tokyo.
I've been getting quite frequent emails from people asking me if I could buy them Cremorlab this and Cremorlab that in Shin Okubo and unfortunately, I can't. One, because I am not a buying service, and two, because this is not how sales in Shin Okubo work.
You see, the huge discounts you can find at places like SkinGarden come with a trade off of short expiration dates, usually a year or less. Some products at 90% markdown are waaaay past their prime, I have seen SanDaWha and ElishaCoy that were so expired I'd be afraid to handle them without a hazmat suit.
Such are the risks of buying discounted Korean cosmetics in Shin Okubo. Those stores buy less than fresh overstock for super cheap and try to unload it as fast as possible. Once a brand is gone, it's gone for good.
That was the case with Cremorlab. Maybe some day it will appear in Shin Okubo again. If that happens, I will carefully check the dates on every single product and buy like there is no tomorrow. But until that happens, I will pass on Cremorlab. There is no way in hell I am paying the standard online prices.
But let's get started, shall we?
Last year, nearly exactly to the day (can you believe it?), I was writing about Cremorlab sunblock.
Today I will tell you about the rest of the Cremorlab goodies:
- Cremorlab Enriched Moisture
- Cremorlab Smooth Pudding
- Cremorlab Aqua Essence Water Fluid
- Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel
- Cremorlab Body Lotion.
My overall impression of the products?
I liked them. I really did.
They were simple, functional, basic, boring skincare. They did not irritate, they played well with each other and with others and they left my skin looking supple, smooth and ... ran out of ideas for more s words here... Anyway, you know what I mean.
They gave me nothing to complain about. Except the price, that is.
And maybe the fact that apart from moisture and plumpness, they didn't do much else. For that kind of money I expected bells and whistles and skingasmic experiences to live up to the Peach and Lily hype.
Instead, it turned out that the hype was just that. Hype. A year later there are new K-beauty darlings and Cremorlab is no longer the cool kid on the blog. You'd think that it would translate into lower prices, but noooo...
A new Korean beauty online shop selling Cremorlab - Brush and Powder, keeps the prices firmly in the Peach and Lily territory.
But unlike Peach and Lily, it runs frequent "buy one get one" Cremorlab promotions. And guess who will be dropping some change on a BOGO Cremorlab next time it happens? Yours very truly, that's who. Because despite all my bitching and moaning, and Cremorlab's ridiculous magical water mythology, it IS a good brand with decent products.
Wait, what? Magical water?
Pity, because this blurb is pure PR drivel gold.
I have enlisted the help of a Korean speaking friend and we've been trying to contact Cremorlab to find out the exact location of this magical hot spring in Geumjin where the water used in Cremorlab products reportedly comes from. No luck. The company simply ignored us.
In other PR blurbs, now no longer appearing on Cremorlab's website (at least not in English), it stated that their water had unique red wine color.
We have emailed the tourist board in Gangwon Province and asked them for help in locating this mysterious hot spring. They had no clue either. Gangwon IS famous for hot springs, but this particular one proved hard to find. Red wine color and all. Nobody knows...
Not sure about you, but this kind of stuff always pushes my BS alert into overdrive.
Here is another blurb of the same, but this time from Lotte Duty Free website:
Anyway, what does T.E.N. stand for?
Apparently, for this:
- T = Thermal water therapy
- E = Eco-energy
- N = Natural nourishment
Exciting stuff, right?
So let's get this party started, shall we?
- Cremorlab Enriched Moisture T.E.N. Cremor for Face (45ml)
The bar is set pretty high with claims of highly effective hydration, brightening and nourishment.
No, this photo was not taken in black and white, the box really is that simple and spartan.
Until you turn it over and see this:
Yep, it's printed in Japanese and in English. How very fancy. Here we have the blurb about the red wine color.
Why is the box in Japanese if Cremorlab is a niche Korean brand?
You see, apparently, Cremorlab is one of those arrogant Korean brands who think that having Japanese packaging is the key to success in the Japanese market. Whamisa is another such brand. Idiots. They should have learned from the flagship Amore Pacific failure. It takes a lot more than Japanese writing on the box to succeed in Japan.
Cremorlab touts its eco-friendly cred, but as you see above, it's just lip service. The amount of waste that goes into preparing country specific packaging for every product is mind boggling. And very, very eco-unfriendly. Japanese language stickers satisfy all legal requirements for imported products, are much cheaper to produce and have a much lower carbon footprint. But noooo... Cremorlab is so green and eco-friendly, they had to produce individual boxes for the Japanese market. Idiots.
Let me repeat it one more time. Idiots.
K-beauty fans used to fawn over Cremorlab's minimalistic design. I don't find it particularly worth of fawning over. Maybe because many Japanese products in the comparable price range follow similar esthetics.
Now, whoever at Cremorlab thought it would be a good idea to have white print on a very pale whitish-gray background needs to be fired. It looks clean but is impossible to read. Hello Cremorlab, ever heard of visually impaired people? If it was the US of A, you'd get your ass sued by someone who's legally blind and can't read the blurbs on your containers.
Cremorlab Enriched Moisture had a light, fluffy texture. A nice surprise for a quite rich cream.
Cremorlab Enriched Moisture swatches:
You can see that initially it looks very rich, and then - magic! it absorbs completely and fully. There is no shiny cast, there is no residue. There is no sticky film. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just happy, plump skin.
As you can see above, the ingredient list is printed in Japanese as well. There was no Korean and no English version.
Cremorlab Enriched Moisture T.E.N. Cremor for Face ingredients (in English):
Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Isotridecyl Isononanoate, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Dimethicone, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Triethylhexanoin, Polyacrylamide, Panthenol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hamamelis Virginiana (witch Hazel) Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Brassica Oleracea Italica (broccoli) Extract, Orchid Extract, Theobroma Cacao (cocoa) Extract, Glycine Soja (soybean) Oil, Yeast Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (licorice) Root Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (matricaria) Flower Extract, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Myristyl Myristate, Bis-diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Tribehenin, Pentylene Glycol, Peg-40 Stearate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Sorbitan Stearate, Laureth-7, Caprylyl Glycol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Bisabolol, Adenosine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, 1,2-hexanediol, Algin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Myristyl Alcohol, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate
As you can see, the ingredient list in English has a very different order from what's printed in Japanese on the box. Let's just say, some of the extracts dropped to the very bottom in the Japanese version. Which leads me to believe that despite Peach and Lily's assurances that their ingredient lists were reshuffled to comply with the American regulations, they are not.
Later, when I have a moment, I will add the Japanese listing in English. Japan is very strict about the ingredient order in cosmetic products. Korea, on the other hand, tends to fudge things somewhat so the products appear "better" ingredient-wise than they really are.
Here is a nice write up about the differences between Korean and American ingredient lists: link.
Time for contestant number 2.
- Cremorlab Smooth Pudding T.E.N. Cremor for Face (60ml)
Cremorlab Smooth Pudding was my favorite from the whole lineup. I would pile it on after my Hanyul White Chrysanthemum Radiance Serum and let my skin drink it all up.
I didn't notice any anti-wrinkle results. I did notice, however, that my skin was amazingly hydrated, moist, supple, plump and glowing.
Last fall while waiting in a waiting room somewhere I grabbed a women's magazine and started paging through it absentmindedly. An article about skincare caught my eye. It advocated something, which I dubbed "force feeding". The basic principle was that you are supposed to force your skin to drink as much moisture as possible. Winters in Japan are notoriously dry, my dry skin tends to crack, flake and peel. I went home, pulled out my Cremorlab lineup and started force feeding my skin. Turned out my skin was a bottomless pit when it came to moisture. It would immediately eat up whatever I gave it. And it wanted more. And more.
The texture was indeed very smooth and very puddingy. The name didn't lie.
Cremorlab Smooth Pudding swatch:
Again, initially it looks very rich, and then - magic. It's all absorbed into satiny nothing. There is no sticky film, no filmy residue. Nothing. Just moist, fluffy skin.
No surprise to anyone that we run into the same ingredient order problem as with Enriched Moisture.
The Japanese and English language versions don't match up.
Cremorlab Smooth Pudding T.E.N. Cremor for Face ingredients (in English):
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydrogenated Poly (c6-14olefin), Butyrospermum Parkii (shea) Butter, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender) Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (witch Hazel) Water, Orchid Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (licorice) Root Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (matricaria) Flower Extract, Yeast Extract, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Pentylene Glycol, , Polysorbate 60, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Acrylates/c10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Arachidyl Glucoside, Silica, Sodium Acrylate/sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Potassium Hydroxide, Isohexadecane, Adenosine, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hyaluronate, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, Algin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Caffeine, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol Denat., Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Fragrance (parfum)Again, the differences in the ingredient order between the Japanese version on the box and the English listing provided by Peach and Lily are quite shocking. I was under the impression that Peach and Lily had the reshuffled American ingredient order. But apparently no.
I guess I'll have to get my stuff together and post the Japanese translation as well.
OK, moving on.
Next up is:
- Cremorlab Aqua Essence Water Fluid T.E.N. Cremor (50ml)
The name of this essence is very misleading.
It's neither "water" nor "fluid". And yes, I do think that "aqua" and "water" in the same name is a bit of an overkill. Especially if your product is neither.
Here you have a review of Cremor Aqua Essence Water Fluid by the lovely adoredee - link. She wasn't particularly pleased with this product.
I, on the other hand, loved it.
Make no mistake, despite what you can read about it on the internet, this is not an essence in the traditional sense. Not a "booster serum" either.
It's just a plain, old moisturizer.
It claims to do three main things: anti-wrinkle, whitening and super mega hydration.
I have gone through 2 bottles of it, and while I loved it for the super mega hydration (no lie here), I noticed zero whitening and zero anti-wrinkling. If anything, whatever superficial anti-wrinkle results it did offer were due to superior hydration. Plump skin looks visually less wrinkly than dry skin.
Cremorlab Aqua Essence Water Fluid comes in an airless pump bottle. Yay!
The "essence" looks like that:
See what I mean? Not very "aqua" and not very "water". "Fluid"? Hahaha! Nice joke, Cremorlab!
Cremorlab Aqua Essence Water Fluid swatch:
See? This is why I loved Cremorlab. It absorbed to nothing on my dry, dry skin. Initially I used it after my toner and before the Hanyul serum. I found that it wasn't the best order for me (despite what other websites claim) and started using it after the serum. The results were immediate. Soft, hydrated, plump skin. Happy, happy, yay, yay!
Ingredients in Japanese:
Cremorlab Aqua Essence Water Fluid T.E.N. Cremor ingredients (in English, from Peach and Lily):
Water, Butylene Glycol, Isohexadecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Rosmarinus Officinalis (rosemary) Leaf Extract, Glycine Soja (soybean) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender) Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (witch Hazel) Water, Orchid Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (licorice) Root Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Chamomillarecutita (matricaria) Flower Extract, Yeast Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Glycerin, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Octyldodeceth-20, Peg-5 Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Acrylate/sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Bisabolol, Caprylyl Glycol, Arginine, Polysorbate 80, Acrylates/c10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Adenosine, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, 1,2-hexanediol, Algin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Cetearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Alcohol Denat., Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Dehydroacetic Acid
And no surprise to anyone at this point, the order is completely different. Shockingly different.
Hang on, this is the final stretch. Only two more products to go!
- Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel T.E.N. Cremor for Face (100ml)
Yes, it's really THAT big. It's not a typo. 100 ml. For real.
The jar is huge (relatively speaking) and it almost justifies the non-sale price of US$48.00
I used it as a sleeping pack. Yes, on top of all the other Cremors. I kept it by the futon and just smeared it on when it was time to go to bed.
If this goes on a "buy one get one" sale at Brush and Powder, I am totally buying it.
Oh yes, the design. Here you can see the details. Alien doodles, as my friend called them.
The gel is really gelly and kind of watery:
I loved this Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel. No matter how many layers were on my face before I got to put it on, it always managed to somehow sink in and keep it all together. Important when you consider the pillow mess that some sleeping packs can create.
Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel swatches:
The gel claims to be soothing and smoothing in addition to highly effective hydration. This one actually did all three. The skin looked fresh and rested in the morning.
Cremorlab Fresh Water Gel T.E.N. Cremor for Face ingredients (in English from Peach and Lily):
The first ingredient should be "water" but it's not included in their listing. Oh well...
Butylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, 1,2-hexanediol, Sodium Glutamate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Orchid Extract, Yeast Extract, Glycerin, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Lavandula Angustifolia (lavender) Water, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Glycine Soja (soybean) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (licorice) Root Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (matricaria) Flower Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Water, Rose Flower Oil, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Algin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Polysorbate 60, Silica, Cetyl Peg/ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Hamamelis Virginiana (witch Hazel) Water, Alcohol Denat.
And of course the ingredient order is very different than the Japanese language version. I also think there is a typo in the listing provided by Peach and Lily, because "water" is not listed at all, yet it clearly is the first ingredient.
EDITED to add:
this is the ingredient list from the package intended for international markets:
It does not match the Japanese version.
So Cremorlab is full of it.
And fuck only knows what's REALLY in their products. This is a perfect example of how unregulated the Korean market is when it comes to ingredient listing rules.
And Peach and Lily is full of it too for putting imaginary INCI on their website.
Sadly, Brush and Powder just copied and pasted the Peach and Lily version on their website, instead of checking what's on the actual package.
And we are almost, almost done.
This is the last item for today:
- Cremorlab Body Lotion T.E.N. Cremor (250ml)
Comes in a standard pump bottle.
The texture was very similar to the smooth pudding but more sticky.
It was OK as a body lotion. Unlike Cremorlab's facial products, this one left a filmy layer. It wasn't uncomfortable, but it was there. It moisturized, it did its job. But for that kind of money, I expected, I dunno... more... I guess. I'm glad I got it for really cheap in Shin Okubo, otherwise I'd be might pissed it I had paid full price for it.
This one's totally not worth it. Skip it.
Cremorlab Body Lotion T.E.N. Cremor ingredients (in English via Peach and Lily):
Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, ceetyl Ethylhexanoate, Butylene Glycol, cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Butyrospermum Parkii (shea) Butter, Cyclopentasiloxane, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (soybean) Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extrat, Hamamelis Virginiana (witch Hazel) Water, Orchid Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (licorice) Root Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hordeum Vulgare Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (matricaria) Flower Extract, Yeast Extract, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Cyclohexasiloxane, Sorbitan Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 60, Peg-100 Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Acrylate/sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Allantoin Polysorbate 80, Tocopheryl Acetate, 1,2-hexandediol, Algin, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Stearyl Aclohol, Xanthan Gum, Caffeine, Alcohol Denat., Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Yellow 5 (c1 19140)
Of course they are arranged differently than the Japanese version printed on the box. Of course.
So there you have it.
Of all the products presented today, I'd repurchase all (except the body lotion) if I could get them on sale.
There are other Cremorlab products I'd like to try, so you bet I'll be waiting for a "buy one get one" sale over at Brush and Powder.
Folks in Europe can get Cremorlab from Honeysu.
These are NOT affiliate links. I'm just putting them here for your convenience.
When I translate the ingredient lists from the Japanese boxes, I will add them here for comparison purposes. Somehow, I am more inclined to believe the Japanese language version ingredient order, because it simply makes more sense. They make Cremorlab look less of a formulation darling that it's been advertised to be for the western audience.
Still, even despite that, Cremorlab is solid, basic skincare and if you can find it somewhere on sale, jump on it. Chances are you'll like it.
Streszczenie po polsku:
Cremorlab to koreanska marka kosmetykow opartych na wodzie termicznej (termalnej, czy jak jej tam), cos jak koreanskie Avene. Lansowana byla az do bolu przez oficjalna dystrybutorke w USA, ktora jest wlascicielka sklepu internetowego Peach and Lily.
To bylo w zeszlym roku. Zachodnie wielbicielki azjatyckiej pielegnacji dostawaly zbiorowego orgazmu jak tylko marka Cremorlab byla wspominana. Pani od Peach and Lily twierdzila, ze to super hiper popularna marka w Korei, ekskluzywna, cudotworcza, jedyna w swoim rodzaju. Jak latwo sobie wyobrazic, nie, nie, nie i jeszcze raz nie.
Ale ja tez padlam ofiara Cremorlabowej histerii, wiec jak tylko wypatrzylam ja w koreanskim sklepie SkinGarden w Shin Okubo w Tokio (nie mylic z polskim sklepem internetowym Skingarden, ktory, co za niesamowity zbieg okolicznosci, rowniez sprzedaje koreanskie kosmetyki), to wzielam co bylo do wziecia. Sklepy w Shin Okubo maja to do siebie, ze potrafia miec niesamowite znizki, i tak tez bylo w przypadku Cremorlab. Za pelna cene w zyciu bym tego nie kupila.
Za pol ceny bylam bardzo zadowolona. Za pol ceny kupilabym znowu.
Moja sucha i wrazliwa cera polubila sie z kazdym produktem opisywanym powyzej. Fajerwerkow nie bylo, ale za to bylo mega nawilzenie i ukojenie cery. Zero wypryskow, zero podraznienia. Ale rowniez zero dzialania przeciwstarzeniowego, czy przeciwzmarszczkowego, czy ujednolicania kolorytu. Tego nie zauwazylam. Zauwazylam tylko wspaniale, dlugotrwale nawilzenie.
Jesli znajde gdzies Cremorlab za pol ceny, to z pewnoscia znowu kupie.
Za pelna cene uwazam, ze nie warto.