Saturday, August 29, 2015

Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture line and Grinif O2 Bubble Mask Cleanser

I'll try to keep it short and sweet today, hence the combined review of:

  • Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture line (we'll take a look at the toner, lotion and cream) 


  • Grinif O2 Bubble Mask Cleanser.

Grinif is a Korean skincare brand, you might call it a niche brand, that specializes in "natural" skincare.
Their website is entirely in Korean, and it's of the not awesome variety that is fully and completely image based. So people like me, who are not going to learn Korean just to be able to read PR spin of cosmetic manufacturers, are sadly out of luck. You can't copy and paste the text into google translate.

Usually, that alone is enough for me to skip such brands and spend my money elsewhere. If a brand doesn't care about its foreign customers, then foreign customers should do the same. Or maybe in case of Grinif, this is a conscious choice to keep the brand "niche" and mysteriously alluring? Don't know and, frankly, after today's review, I'm not going to care.

I found myself with a few Grinif items purely by accident. And yes, I admit, at the same time I was curious about the brand as well.

Grinif's tagline is "Skintherapy by nature" and its products are supposedly made of imported, European ingredients. What? Korean ingredients are not "natural" enough? Or European are more prestigious? Whatever the case, it's supposed to be "natural", because natural sounds trendy. And trendy sells.

We have plain paper boxes to match the natural image, and at least for the products purchased in Japan, there are no leaflets in the boxes.  How very "green" and eco friendly!

Big mistake, in my opinion, because if you're going to sell in foreign markets, and clearly, this is Grinif's intention, as the ingredient lists are also provided in English, please respect your international customers.

Dear Grinif people, the bare minimum of relevant information in a language that non-Korean speakers can understand goes a long way, trust me.
But I guess Grinif was so focused on creating pretty and "green" boxes that the more practical side of things simply slipped the company's honchos minds. Oh well, it happens.

So let's start, shall we?

Grinif O2 (Oxygen) Bubble Mask Cleanser

I like those bubbly "oxygen" cleansers. It's the stuff that takes all the work out of cleansing. You spread it on your face and wait. And then simply rinse off. Done.

This cleanser is supposed to be ideal for sensitive skin. It's supposed to be as soft as whipped egg whites.
You can check out the entire, barely comprehensible, description on Skin18 (no, I am not affiliated with the store), which was evidently copied in its entirety from Cosmetic Love (no, I'm not affiliated), including the same illogical mistakes. Both stores claim that the product is 8-free (meaning free of 8 "hazardous" substances) and later in the description say that it's 5-free.
So which is it? 8-free or 5-free?

The back of the bottle helpfully clarifies that the product is indeed 5-free, meaning free of: parabens, triethanolamine, artificial colors, mineral oil and animal oil(?).

We get 100ml of cleanser in a pretty, white pump bottle.

Grinif is one of those rare Korean companies that list their ingredients according to the international standards following the same ingredient list order as the US, EU and Japan.
How do I know that?
I compared the English list printed on the box with the Japanese list printed on a sticker. They're identical. Usually the Korean list has to be reshuffled to conform to the Japanese labeling laws, which are the same as the laws in the US and Europe.

Grinif O2 Bubble Mask Cleanser ingredients:

I had high hopes for this cleanser.

If you've never used an "oxygen" cleanser, you should definitely try it, if only for the novelty value.

This is how it looks in action:

The upper dot (which, oddly, looks like an oversized sperm cell) is freshly squeezed out of the bottle.
The lower blob is what the upper blob is going to look like after about 20 seconds.

You can wait until all the bubbles disappear, or if you're impatient like me, you can just wash it off when the foam is still in full bloom.
No scrubbing required. Just rinse off.

Grinif O2 Bubble Mask Cleanser is supposed to do double duty as a makeup remover, and the company claims there is no need for double cleansing. Unfortunately, that didn't work for me.
This cleanser was my SECOND cleanser and I used to remove the leftover oily residue from the initial oil cleansing.

And it was wonderful and great and all things awesome exactly three times when I used it.
On the fourth try, the pump broke. Just broke. Something went "poof!" and the pump was no more. You could keep pressing it until the next presidential election in the US and nada.

I had better things to do with my time, so the cleanser went straight into the trash.


Moving on...


Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture line sounded exactly like what my dry and sensitive skin needed.
Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, moisture. I was sold.

The unfortunate bubble mask on the left... buuuu...

I went ahead and decided to try these three products:

  • Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture Toner
  • Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture Lotion


  • Grinif Vitamin ACE H2O Moisture Cream.

Since right after cleansing, we need a toner, let's start this story with this product:
Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture Toner

Packaged in true Grinif style in the same pretty, quasi-cardboard box. 

Inside we have a white pump bottle with 100ml of toner.

The company claims that:

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Betaine, Retinyl Palmitate, fruit extracts, fruit oil, Tocopheryl.

Let's take a closer look at the ingredient list (arranged according to the American, European and Japanese ingredient order).

Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture Toner ingredients:

Alcohol at number 3, pretty high for a product that claims "Skintherapy by nature".
At number 12 we have Triethanolamine, the very same ingredient that was considered undesirable in Grinif O2 Bubble Mask Cleanser. LOL. 
Sigh. It's not hazardous. It's a pH balancer. 
Sorry, I don't like companies that use such questionable scare tactics.

Here's how the toner behaved on the skin:

See that shiny splotch on the right?
The damn thing didn't want to dry. Stayed sticky and unpleasant to the touch. When it did eventually dry, it left a nasty layer of filmy residue.
This was not moisture. This was "hey, let's seal the skin with this horrid sticky stuff to keep the moisture in".

Unfortunately, as that was not my idea of a moisturizing toner, I gave it to my friend. After a couple of days she sent me a Line message complaining "what is this shit you gave me? Take it back, or I'm going to throw it out."
I took it back but I'm not sure what to do with it. Maybe I can use it on my feet. Or my bum. 


Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture Lotion

Ahhh... Grinif uses the word "lotion" in its western meaning here. This is a light moisturizer, not a Japanese style lotion (which then would be a toner).

Again, the same Grinify packaging.

In a different light the box can appear quite drab and dark.

Again, a white pump bottle (bonus points for hygiene) with 100ml of product.

Again, the same claims as with Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture Toner.
And what do the ingredient list (American ingredient order style) says?
Let's check.

Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture Lotion ingredients:

Mineral Oil at number 3, so if you don't like that in your skincare, this is not a product for you.

Retinyl Palmitate (which is a form of vitamin A) is at the very end of the list, so how effective is it in this formulation? I'm guessing not very.

And now for the swatches:

Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture Lotion was, without a doubt, one of the most disgusting skincare products I've ever had the misfortune of using.

It leaves a heavy, sticky, filmy layer on the skin.
It smells awful. Do you know those cheap drugstore imitations of high-end perfumes? This is just like that. Like a cheap and overpowering version of Dior Addict. Dis. Gus. Ting.

And now, the final piece of today's Grinif puzzle.

Grinif Vitamin ACE H2O Moisture Cream.

Inside this simple box we have a white plastic jar with 50ml of cream.

The jar states that it contains anti-wrinkle ingredients, as well as Adenosine.

Ok, let's take a look at the ingredient list (American, European and Japanese ingredient order).

Grinif Vitamin ACE H2O Moisture Cream ingredients:

Yes, I was laughing, too. Adenosine is listed third from the end. 

The insides of the jar are protected by an inner plastic cover.

And under the cover?
This unholy mess:

I don't know if this is just my cream. Maybe it was stored improperly? Or the heat of Japan's summer got to it?

No idea.

The gluey substance inside can't be called "cream".
Searching on the internet, I saw Grinif's pretty promo photos, where the cream appears as light and soft as freshly whipped cream. 

The cream in other people's photos didn't looked freshly whipped at all. It resembled my gooey substance, but still within commonly accepted skincare limits.

I was brave and decided to swipe it on my skin anyway.

Greasy and sticky? Yes and yes. On the right you can see the sticky sheen this cream left behind. 
Gross! Yuck!!!

I have a skin moisture meter, but decided that Grinif Vitamin ACE Moisture line wasn't worthy enough to use it.

There is also a serum in this line, but mercifully, I was spared that experience.

Final thoughts:

This entire line is garbage. Total garbage. Nicely packaged, overpriced garbage.
If you have cash to burn you can purchase your own Grinif garbage at Skin 18, or Cosmetic Love, or ebay. But if you have that much cash to burn, I have a better idea. Send it to me. It will be much appreciated. 

I still have one more Grinif product to try and I'm honestly dreading it. I need a break from Grinif. I need to scrub this horrible experience from my skin and my memory.

I had been trying to use these things (because I don't want to call them "cosmetics") for three weeks. That was enough for me.

This post contains ZERO affiliate links and all products were purchased by me. Yeah, what was I thinking... Not much, apparently.

PS> Sorry, I lied, it wasn't short, and definitely not sweet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N in 02, 04, 07, 09 and 10

Point makeup terrifies me. And baffles me. But mostly just terrifies, so for the most part I don't even bother.
While I can hold my own when it comes to base makeup (cushion foundations saved my life, or rather - cushion applicator puffs), the whole liquid eyeliner, eyeshadow, contouring, strobing, sculpting bullshit is not for me.
Trust me, I've tried. Multiple times. And I've failed. Multiple times. I just don't look good with a lot of war paint on. Why? My face is extremely asymmetric and it takes a lot of skill to make sure I don't end up looking like a drunken clown. So much skill that even some so-called "pro" makeup artists gave up on me after a few attempts.
So now, I just don't bother.

Yes, I do own a few eyeshadows, all in fairly neutral colors, that I hardly ever use. Instead I have a staggering collection of color eye pencils, because they're easy and don't require makeup brushes.
I have 2 very neutral liquid highlighters, both non-sparkly, because I realized that shiny balls, while pretty and all that, are not for me.
I have 3 undereye concealers, of which I only use 2 anyway.
I have a stack of blushers, because I'm as white as a freshly painted wall and look sick without a touch of color on my cheeks.
And I have a staggering collection of tinted lip balms and lip glosses. But not one lipstick*.
Why? See above - asymmetric face means crooked lips means lipstick emphasizes that means I look like shit.

I'm not going to tell you how many I have, because it's just embarrassing.

Today I'll show you five of them.

Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N

And I can only hope I'm not the only person who obsessively saves cosmetic outer packagings, unfolds them and then files them alphabetically in a special folder? Or am I? Help me out here, folks!

If you've ever wondered what a simple sheer lip gloss with a touch of color, in an awesome tube, looks like, now it's your chance.

Jill Stuart knows how to play this game.
Pretty colors? Princess packaging? Shut up and take my money already.

Jill Stuart is a Japanese cosmetic brand that is famous for its... well... packaging. It's over the top girly, it's over the top cute, and it makes your inner princess wet her pants with giddy excitement.

Swarovski elements (whatever they are), tiara shaped tube caps, encrusted blush and powder compacts, Jill Stuart has got you covered.

And the products themselves? They are good. Not outstanding. But solid, decent makeup. Is it worth the money? It all depends on how much you love your princess bling. (Hell yeah, just shut up and buy it already!)

When it comes to lip gloss, or tinted lip balm, with a very few exceptions (yes, Dior, I am looking at you), I prefer Japanese brands.
The formulas are lighter, the textures are less sticky, they spread easier, adhere better to your lips and last longer. Usually they don't have stupid flavors and annoying fragrances.

And in the case of Jill Stuart, they make your inner princess so very happy.

I mean, just look at this stuff:

"I want MOAR!!!" (shut up princess!)

On the company's website, this is what they say about Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N:

Colors like fresh fruit and delicious sweets. 
Lustrous gloss in a wide variety of hues.  
Pouch (Embroidery Flower)  
In stores from August 2, 2013  
New product JILL STUART Jelly Lip Gloss N  
11 colors, 1 limited edition color  
2,200 Yen each (not including tax)  

Product features:  
・Lip gloss that transforms your upper lip into a "Cupid’s Bow", bringing you the aspect of an innocent angel.  
・Spreads easily with the lightest touch, providing a full, rich luster and pure sparkle.  
・Provides highly uniform application, for lips that leave a full, plump impression.  
・A cherubic fresh oil formulation, thoroughly moisturizing by sealing in moisture while also placing no burden on your lips, for a lasting sensation with zero stickiness.  
・The diagonally cut tube allows for easy application on the lips, and perfect coverage.  
・A cap design with a sparkling Swarovski, as though topped with a tiara. The entire cap is also scalloped, giving a three-dimensional presence to the finish of the design.  
・Fragrance of Crystal Floral Bouquet.

You heard them. Now this is what I say about Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N:

  • Innocent angel? Hahaha, nice try, Jill.
  • Spreads easily, full luster, shine all that - all true.
  • Uniform application, plump lip - yep, all true.
  • Moisturizing and non-sticky - yes and yes (well, as non-sticky as you can imagine lip gloss to be).
  • Slanted tube, easy to get the product out - yes.
  • Cute, cute cute - yes, yes, yes.
  • Fragrance - very slight, delicate smell which goes away super fast.

Let's look at them one by one, shall we?

Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N in 02 - Light Lavender:

My favorite of the bunch. Goes on nearly clear with just a hint of sparkle. Looks pink in the tube, looks clear on my lips. Perfect everyday all-purpose gloss. Reminds me of Lavshuca BB Lip Essence in pink.

Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N in 04 - Honey Lemon:

Looks yellow in the tube, goes clear on your lips. A nice all-purpose moisturizing gloss for everyday use.

Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N in 07 - Cherry Flame:

Looks very fierce in the tube, but goes nearly sheer on the lip with just a hint of color. Perfect for the summer. Reminds me of Lavshuca BB Lip Essence in red.

Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N in 09 - Apple Cinnamon:

Apple cinnamon? Seriously? It's a nice pinkish all-purpose gloss.

Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N in 10 - Treacle Pudding:

Beautiful pink beige, very subtle and dare I say, sophisticated?

On the company website the colors of Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N look like that:


This is what my colors look like in real life:

In natural light, no filters applied.

As you can see, they are all very sheer and not as sparkly as they appear in the tube.

In natural light, when the sun hits them, they are very, very subtle, sweet and extremely delicate.
Light Lavender has the most shimmer. Honey Lemon appears completely clear.

Each tube hold 16ml (15g) of product:

If you buy your gloss outside of Japan, you won't have that ugly sticker on your tube.
Nothing exciting under it anyway:

And here's the applicator tip:

All very standard, nothing earth shattering. Just cute. Very cute.

I don't have full ingredients for you, but if you're not ok with Rosemary extract or Lavender oil, Jill Stuart Jelly Lip Gloss N is not for you:

And that's about it for these cute, little guys.

You like?
You want more Jill Stuart on the blog?

There's plenty more where these came from!

Disclosure: Products purchased by me from a local shopping mall.

* The sole liquid lipstick I got from a fellow blogger turned out too drying for my lips, so I mixed it with a clear Verite lip shiner and voila - a new lip gloss, yay!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control No 13 (True Beige) and No 14 (Pink Beige)

After using Iope Air Cushion Matte (in color M13), I decided to dig out my Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control and ponder the differences. And finally post something about Pore Control, because I need to work through the backlog of cushion entries that are sitting saved as drafts.

So, let's get started, shall we?


Today's contestants:

Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control SPF 50+ PA+++ in these two colors:

  • No 13 - True Beige
  • No 14 - Pink Beige.

I have written before about the standard Laneige BB Cushion, also in No 14 - Pink Beige. In the meantime I also got a refill of the new shade No 11 - Light Beige.
So, right now, my Laneige cushions shades are as follows:

  • No 11 - Light Beige Laneige BB Cushion
  • No 14 - Pink Beige Laneige BB Cushion
  • No 13 - True Beige Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control
  • No 14 - Pink Beige Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control

You can jump for joy that I don't own any Whitening or Anti-Aging Laneige Cushion versions.
(But if any store wants to send me a refill for review purposes, I'll happily accept it, hahahaha!)

I know this cushion is not for everyone. There are some less than flattering opinions on it out in the cyberspace.
Even for me, it took the heat and humidity of Japanese summer to fully appreciate this cushion's potential.

But first things first.

What's a cushion foundation?

For the benefit of those readers, who are new to cushion foundations - it's a type of base makeup, where the liquid is housed in a foundation-saturated sponge, a.k.a. cushion.
The cushion sits in a specially designed compact and features a special applicator.
You press on the cushion with this applicator and then in a stamping motion apply the foundation to your face.

And that's it, in a nutshell.
Click on the tab "cushion foundations" to read about other cushions in my ever expanding collection.

Laneige is a well known Korean skincare and makeup brand hailing from Amore Pacific. Amore Pacific, despite its silly name, is a number 1 cosmetic company in Korea.

Think of it as the L'Oreal of Korea. Just like L'Oreal, Amore Pacific also holds a varied portfolio of brands - from inexpensive drugstore ones like Etude House, to high end fancy schmancy ones like Sulwhasoo.

Laneige is somewhere in the middle. Not high-end, and not bargain bin. Just a solid mid-range brand featuring a full assortment of skincare and makeup.

If you live in the US, you can buy certain Laneige products at Target. If you live in Europe, you can buy them online from Korea.

As with nearly all other cushions currently on the market (nearly, because there are always exceptions), Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control comes to us in a simple box.
My versions came to me from Korea, so they have Korean writing on them. I am only assuming that Singaporean and American versions have English text on them instead of hangul.

In the box (as you can see in one of the photos above), we get a cushion compact with a refill (15 gram) already loaded, a sealed refill packet (15 gram) and a leaflet.


Let's see what the leaflet for Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control has to say:

Wow! It promises quite a lot.

  • Semi-matte finish? 
YES! I loved this finish. It reminded me of Kate Powderless Liquid for Cover (Kanebo, Tokyo Kate), but with an even nicer end result.

  • Long-lasting?
Check. But you have to be careful what you put it on. On me it didn't want to work with any of my usual sunblocks.
Eventually, through trial and error, I noticed that it worked like magic when paired with Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV sunblock/base. When applied on top of Canmake, the cushion would last and last and last.

  • SPF50+PA+++?
Yes, but if you think that a cushion alone will give you an adequate level of UV protection, you are very naive. It won't, because it can't. It's physically impossible to apply enough foundation to be properly protected from the sun. Always use a separate sunblock, unless wrinkles, photoaging and skin cancer is the look you're going for.

  • Cooling sensation?
Yes, but that's pretty typical of all cushions out there.

  • Pore coverage?
Yes. Though to be honest, I think this cushion does cheat a little. Or a lot, depending on how you look at it.
It's the semi-matte, non-dewy finish that is responsible for the illusion of perfect pore coverage.

  • Pore Control?
No idea. Didn't notice any.

Yes, it is non-greasy. That is definitely true.
It gives a beautiful powdery finish that I liked so much that I didn't bother to set with a powder. There was no need. My face wasn't shiny or dewy. But at the same time, it was still pretty glowing.


The cushion compact itself is pretty standard:

You can't tell what type of Laneige cushion it is from looking on the cover.
To check the details, you need to flip it over and look at the bottom:

And there you also can see the date of manufacture.
As you can see, this compact is loaded with a Pore Control No 14 Pink Beige refill.

Right side up and opened, there is the eponymous white and blue Rubycell applicator puff.

The puff picks up just enough of the product and ensures even application. Its special porous material (Rubycell technology) has antimicrobial properties that inhibit growth of mold and bacteria. So it's supposedly safe to dunk it in the cushion time and again, even after touching your face. Unfortunately, cleaning it an arduous task that I'd rather avoid, so I just buy multi pack replacements. Makes life a lot easier.

As you can see, this poor puff got a bit mangled by the lid of the compact.

And speaking of the puff and the lid.
Cushion compacts are equipped with an inner cover to protect the surface of the cushion. And the applicator puff fits nicely on top of that cover.

Yes, I know, stuffing a damp puff in there and closing the compact gives me nightmares, too. Yet oddly enough, despite being too lazy to wash the puff after each application, my face hasn't rotted off yet.

When you lift the inner cover, you can see that when the cushion is brand new, its surface is protected by a security sticker.
Some people save these stickers and reuse them to keep their cushions fresher longer. I don't bother.
I just peel it off and toss it in the garbage.

Pretty, pretty, hey, hey!
And this is what a cushion foundation it.
A chunk of sponge saturated with foundation. Of course, for this type of foundation to work, the liquid must be pretty, well... liquid.
That characteristic and the stamping application technique are responsible for the "second skin", flawless finish that cushions are famous for.

The cushion itself looks pretty dark, but when you dunk your finger in it, you realize that the actual foundation color is a lot lighter.

The cushion has a scent, but mercifully, it goes away pretty quickly (unlike other Laneige products, cough, sleeping pack, cough, white renew essence, cough).


Swatches of Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control No 14 and No 13 (for comparison):

Recently, Amore Pacific has been adding new cushion shades to its many different brands.
Iope got a new shade number 13.
Laneige also got a couple of new colors, one supposedly lighter (No 11) and a darker one too?

I can't speak for the darker shades, though I understand that finding a cushion suitable for a darker skin color is a challenge.

Here's how the story goes for the pale and pasty folk:

It's frustrating. Very frustrating.

All swatch photos are unfiltered and were taken in natural light, just in different conditions, and with different cameras.

I decided to try No 13 True Beige on my face (unedited photo in natural light):

I didn't use a primer that day, this is how it looks on bare skin without any corrector or concealer.
As you can see, it didn't fully cover the melasma splotches on my forehead. The dark circles under my eyes are still there.
And you can clearly see that my face is not dewy wet but powdery and glowy at the same time.
The color is still a tiny bit too dark for the rest of me. My neck and collarbone area looks lighter than my face.


Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control SPF50+ PA+++ ingredients:

According to the Korean list on the leaflet, colors No 13 - True Beige, No 14 - Pink Beige, and No 21 - Natural Beige, have the same ingredient lists.

Color No 23 - Sand Beige has a slightly different list. Nothing important, all the basic ingredients are the same.


Where to buy:

All reputable online stores selling Korean cosmetics should have a full assortment of Laneige cushions.
I got my cushions from TGI Wholesale (yes, you can buy retail from them) and from W2Beauty.
If you register on W2Beauty using this code: 182991708, you'll get $5.00 off your first order. You need to use this code 182991708 to receive the discount. Free worldwide shipping directly from Korea. Enjoy!

I honestly don't remember how much I paid. Check the websites to see current prices.

No 13 came through a trade with another blogger.



I like it.

Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control SPF50+ PA+++ is PERFECT for the summer. It survives crazy heat and humidity. It doesn't clog my pores (maybe the magical pore care is really working?). It doesn't make me break out. 

What more would a girl want?
(from a mid-range foundation anyway).

The end.


This post contains an affiliate link. Shopping through the affiliate link helps support this blog.
All products featured in today's post were purchased or traded by me.

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