July 6, 2015

The Japanese Skincare Revolution: Why I hate this book (skeptical book review)

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The Japanese Skincare Revolution: Why I hate this book (skeptical book review)

The Japanese Skincare Revolution is a book that was pretty popular a couple years ago. And as you’d guess, it claims to divulge the secrets of flawless Japanese skin. I know just about everyone loves this book, but let's just say that it's not my cup of tea.

Japanese Skincare Revolution

The bulk of this book is massages; there are no mind-blowing secrets apart from that. There is a little bit of introduction on skincare regimes, but nothing that people who read beauty blogs don’t already know. Everything is cushioned with fluffy, happy-go-lucky writing. This book is best suited for people just getting into skincare—people who are enthusiastic to start taking care of themselves, and those who do not struggle with demoralizing acne.

I, on the other hand, come from a history of cystic acne. And because of that, I hate oversimplified advice. "Become my own dermatologist," you say? Hah, if only it were that easy! When it comes to skincare, I believe in a practical and down-to-earth approach. Skin is an organ, and dermatology is a science. I don’t like fluffy writing, nor do I believe in holistic skincare. Unfortunately, both of those are present in this book.

Here is a breakdown as to why I can't stand this book:

1. Flowery and fluffy writing:

The author’s writing style is extremely flowery. You see this through her choice of words and her sentence structure, both of which pull you into her warm, whimsical world of beauty:
“Take in beauty with all your senses.”
“Put your heart into every drop of the skincare products you choose.”
“Restore your skin’s vigor by generously fortifying both the epidermal and dermal layers.”

And here’s an example of what I mean by fluffy. She says:
Japanese Skincare Revolution

It sounds great and all, but if you look closely, most of it is fluff. She talks so greatly about how important things are, but she doesn’t actually teach anything. Her only advice in that paragraph is to use your hands. "Putting your full heart into each step" does not count as advice. What am I supposed to do, slather my face with gusto?

2. Her approach to skincare: Shamanism

Her approach to skincare is part science, part spiritual. For example, she recommends you to “urge your brown spots to disappear or your cheeks not to sag.” A recurring theme of hers is “beautiful skin from within.” Here are some other excerpts:
“…I thank my skin every day during my skincare routine. In response, the skin will be gratified and increase its beauty.”
“Our brains generate alpha waves…they enhance our natural healing power."
Yeah, no. I can't do that. And this, read this:

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and call her crazy.
Now, obviously not every sentence in this book is about her hormone-secreting fantasies, but if you combine what I've showed you thus far, you get a pretty good idea of the things she says, and how she says it. Plentiful analogies, fluff, and spiritual advice.

3. Her solution to everything is a serum and lotion mask

In Chapter 2 she attempts to address various skin types and issues (moisture, firmness, elasticity, clear skin), but her answer to everything is almost always the same: either use a serum, or use the lotion mask:

And yet, she doesn’t even explain how to choose a proper serum! And as far as the lotion mask goes, you don't even need to buy the book. You can learn about it for free here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0wbX7rjtec

4. But doesn’t Saeki teach you how to make the most of your cosmetics?

That’s what I thought. I mean, that’s what she claims to do. “It’s how you use your cosmetics, not what you use, that will transform your skin,” she says.

But really, the only part where she talks about how to apply products is the lotion mask. Apart from that and maybe one massage, the rest of her massages focus on the massage itself, not on making the most of a product through that massage.

5. Vague and unsubstantial skincare advice

I've come to believe that the focus of this book is not on teaching. A lot of her skincare advice is vague and incomplete. Here and there she’ll offer interesting tips that catch my eye, but she never elaborates or explains why. For example, she mentions using damp cotton instead of blotting papers:

That’s interesting, but why? What's wrong with blotting paper? Is there something I should know? Or in the following picture, she instructs to wipe your face off with wet cotton (after using makeup remover to dissolve your makeup.)

Again, why? Why wouldn't you use water to rinse off your makeup and makeup remover? She merely mentions it in passing without any explanation, which is why I say that this book isn't really about teaching.

Sometimes, her advice is even questionable. She advises the use fragranced products for extra soothing effect:

But aren’t fragrances known to be irritating on the skin? She also advises to use alcohol to disinfect your acne:

Isn’t alcohol an irritant as well? And doesn't skin not work that way?

6. Her unhelpful skincare regime

The last few pages of her book center around choosing a skincare regime for your skin type. Problem is, it's almost entirely lists with little explanation, which I find pretty unhelpful (and untrustworthy, without explanation.)

Once again, she doesn’t lead you through why she made these choices, which basically asks us to blindly trust her without fully understanding her train of thought. She doesn't even detail how to find products that actually deliver these results. She merely dances around the topic of choosing a skincare regime, getting just close enough to make people think that she's saying something useful.

7. But if you like massages, then you might like this book:

Most of the content in her book is massages: massaging your face while you cleanse, massaging to remove wrinkles, massaging to unsag your neck, your cheeks, your mouth, to remove acne, massage everything!

I don’t like massages (which is a big reason why this book was disappointing to me), but if you do, then there are a number of interesting massages in this book. Although, I still found their instruction vague and contradictory towards one another.

My final opinion

Honestly, I hate this book. I think it’s a waste of money and provides little intellectual value. She promises a plethora of mind-blowing knowledge, but she never really pinpoints anything in particular, nor does she give a solid list options to try. (Unless you are into massages, in which case she gives several routines to try.) For people like me who either don't care for massages or already have an intermediate knowledge of skincare, this book is far from revolutionary.

I will admit that a lot of my resentment comes simply from the fact that she and I have different approaches towards skincare and communication, so I completely understand that there are people who love her book. I myself might have liked it 7 years ago before I knew anything about skincare. So for anyone reading this who does like this book, don’t be offended; it's nothing personal.

Overall, I’d say the main secret to this book is not the content itself, but her approach towards it (flowery, spiritual, happy-go-lucky.) It's like a huge pep talk. It’s definitely an inspiring and motivating read for beginners to Asian skincare, or even skincare in general, since all her recommended products are Western. And of course, this book is also catered towards people interested in massages.

Thanks for reading! Where do you stand in terms of skincare approach?

July 1, 2015

Soufeel necklace and charm review

Here are three good quality charms made of 925 sterling silver, worn as necklaces, courtesy of Soufeel!

Soufeel an online jewelry store known for providing a very similar service Pandora. Pandora, for anyone that doesn’t know, sells customizable bracelets. You buy a bracelet, pick your charms, and put it together yourself. Soufeel does the same thing except at a fraction of the price.

I’m not personally into charm bracelets, but I do like necklaces! And as it turns out, Soufeel’s charms can be easily worn as necklaces instead. And boy, do they have some cute charms!

Here are the three that I picked:

Four leaf clover, $19.95

Pink bon bon, $15.95

Moon Goddess, $19.95
And the chain I got to put them on:

Lobster Claw Clasp, $9.99

Everything I picked is made of 925 sterling silver. (That means 92.5% pure silver.) And for that, there is the number “925” engraved on all of them.

The package arrived from China. Inside the envelope was a cardboard box that read “Soufeel,” and inside the cardboard box was this: a nice little bag and box with a sky blue bow:

The jewelry was stored inside the box, each in their own little bags:

We'll start with the necklace that I put them on!

1.) Necklace chain, $9.99
The chain is a typical pale silver, nothing too blingy. It doesn’t tangle at all. There are 3 rings available for you to clasp it at. To give you an idea, its longest option rests about 3” below my collarbone, so it’s about average length.

Total chain length: 17” long

the 3 circles for you to clasp it on:

the clasp:

2.) Four Leaf Clover, $19.95
It’s a think, flat clover. The beads are a cool sea green, as opposed to a warm yellow green. The charm is shiny overall, but not quite blingy, if that makes sense. It reflects light similar to how aluminum foil does, but it doesn’t sparkle like a crystal. The quality is sturdy; it doesn’t bend despite being a thin shape.

Height (not including the ring): 1.4cm long, Width: 1.1cm

2.) Pink swirly lollipop, $15.95
This lollipop is much thicker than to the other two, so it’s a pretty solid build. It’s got a round depth to it. The pink and silver colors are darker than in the product photo. There’s almost have a grey undertone to them. This makes the charm matte; it’s not shiny or blingy at all. And on one side, the silver lines are a bit muddled.
Height (not including ring): 1.5cm, Width: 0.9cm

3.) Fairy dangling under the moon, $19.95
The crystals on this charm are a cool sky blue. They are blingy and shiny. The silver portions aren’t, though.
The interesting thing about this charm is that the hole is through the charm itself. The chain (be it from a necklace or bracelet) passes through the moon rather than a separate ring. It doesn't look strange! though. And as you can see, the moon is quite thick; there’s no question about durability there. The fairy is much thinner, but despite this, her wings do not bend when I squeeze them. Quality is solid as far as I can tell!

Total height: 2.6cm; Width of fairy: 1.2cm

I like them! I think the charms (and even the box they came in) are adorable. The necklace is great; I love the weight it has and its inability to tangle. I will say that the clover and lollipop were less shiny than I expected, but it wasn’t too disappointing. The clover is still bright overall. My biggest remark would be that the lollipop isn’t a baby pink like I had expected. I still like them, though! Still very cute :)

TIP! Soufeel also sells necklaces, but the price is the same as buying the chain and charm separately. So if you’re planning on purchasing several necklaces, it might be cheaper to just buy one chain and choose the charms separately. That way you get more selection, too! Soufeel has tons of charms of all sorts of flavors. Blingy, elegant, cute, quirky…the list goes on.

Soufeel's jewelry is made of either 925 sterling silver, 14K gold, or Swavorski crystals. They offer free shipping worldwide for orders over $50, which would be about 2-3 necklaces. If you’d like to check them out, be sure to use my coupon code “Airi5” for 5% off! And if you don’t like the items, they have a 365 days return policy.

5% coupon code: Airi5

Thank you for reading! Tell me what you think of the charms I picked out ^^

June 30, 2015

This year’s Korean fashion trend: Overalls and 90s tees!

Nowadays, young Korean style is taking a turn back…to the 90s!

Full album here (best viewed on computer):

You'll have to forgive me; whenever I upload photos onto My Album, they lose color and become a bit grey. It's a bug that they're currently working on, but I have hope that they'll fix it soon! (They even added some more girly icons by my request which was nice ^^ ) But until then, my photos might not look as nice as they would on my blog, although they will be much bigger!

Going back to fashion, I have to be honest about these new trends. I’m a bit on the fence about them! As cute as they are, they remind me too much of what prepubescent kids would wear. For example, pairing white tees under loose spaghetti strap dresses:

That’s exactly what kids would do when they couldn't show skin at school!

It seems hypocritical of me—I mean, don't I love childish clothing? But the difference for me is that even in real life, kids don’t actually wear lacy, gingham dresses like the ones I like. They might for baby photos, but that’s about it. And not to mention, many of those Liz Lisa/Yumetenbo dresses are A-line dresses that they hug your womanly curves. So in that way, the intentions of these dresses are blatant—they’re obviously made for women for a certain style. But with these new fashion trends, they’re so shapeless that they actually look like what kids (including myself) wore 7-10 years ago. That’s why they kinda remind me not updating your wardrobe. I dunno, that's just how I feel!

And of course, wear what you want! These are just my thoughts on a certain style, critique that I myself am not exempt from in this post. It goes without saying that when it comes to the actual person wearing the clothes, I don’t care. So long as you’re happy and kind. :)

What do you think about this style?

June 28, 2015

Korea’s hottest whitening cream! Cloud 9 Blanc de Whitening (review on dry, pale skin) + Giveaway

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Korea’s hottest whitening cream! Cloud 9 Blanc de Whitening (review on dry, pale skin) + Giveaway

Next to the horse oil cream, this is the other product that took Korea by storm this past spring. It’s a whitening cream; you apply on your skin to look paler. (So it’s makeup, not skincare.) But unlike most whitening creams, this one also contains arbutin, a whitening ingredient, to have a long-term effect as well!

Summary: It has a thin, lightweight texture suitable for oily skin. The whitening effect is buildable: 1 layer is subtle, 2 layers is drastic. But even so, it doesn’t look fake. I’d even describe it as “undoing” my yellowness.


Brand: Cloud9 (parent brand is Claire's)
Name: Blanc de whitening
Amount: 50mL
Expiry: ~3 years (Expiration date is April 2018)
Price on Cupid Drop: Currently on sale for $29.00 ► LINK HERE ◄

About Cupid Drop: This review was generously sponsored by Cupid Drop, a new K-cosmetic retailer based in NYC. It’s run by a Korean girl who goes back and forth to Korea often. They carry some interesting brands that I’ve seen in Korean magazines, but haven’t yet seen in many other English-speaking stores.

But most importantly, they’re having a giveaway right now! 2 lucky winners will receive the infamous horse oil cream as well as this Cloud 9 whitening cream. All you have to do is sign up for their email list! The giveaway ends in a couple days, so hurry! Giveaway info here!

  • water
  • titanium dioxide
  • cyclopentasiloxane
  • arbutin
  • dipropylene glycol
  • sodium acrylate/sodium acrylolyldimethyl taurate copolymer
  • isohexadecane
  • phenoxyethanol
  • aluminum hydroxide
  • disodium stearyl
  • sulfosuccinamate
  • caprylyl glycol
  • glyceryl caprylate
  • hyrdated silica
  • polysorbate 80
  • aloe barbadensis leaf water
  • perfume
  • adenosine
  • morus alba bark extract
  • lilium candidum flower extract
  • nelumbo nucifera flower extract
  • saussurea involucrata extract
  • houttuynia cordata extract
  • freesa alba flower extract
  • bellis perennis (daisy) flower extract
  • leontopodium alpinum flower extract
  • panax ginseng root extract

Product link here

There are a lot of fakes out there for this product, so I will be including many photos of the packaging. Mine is authentic. Skip if you’re not interested!

Here’s the front of the box.

Here are the sides. You can see some Cloud 9 stickers on the bottom:

Other side:

This side has the Hidden Tag. The Hidden Tag is a recent addition to their packaging and allows you to verify your product’s authenticity.

To verify your product, simply download an app called “Hidden Tag for Claire’s,” scan your sticker, and if it says “正品,” you’re good to go!

Here’s the bottom. It’s all in Korean.

Annnd opening the box! The tub is made of sturdy glass.

When you take out the jar, you’ll see a spatula tucked into the bottom of the box:

Here is the jar:

jar front:

jar side (with a Claire’s sticker):

other jar side:

jar bottom:

Opening the jar, you’ll find an inner seal that folds down on three sides:

And finally, here’s the product:

It reminds me of warm, half-melted whip cream mixed with cottage cheese. :P
I say that because it’s light and fluffy—hence, like whip cream. But it’s not foamy. It’s more like a creamy gelatin. Hence, like melted whip cream! When you take it out with the spatula, you’ll see that it comes out as little, soft chunks. This leaves dents in the cream. And in that way, it’s like cottage cheese!

Here’s how the tub looks after using the product for awhile:

Notice how the product about to drip out of the tub. It’s a wet formula, so it glides around. If your room is hot, the product will drip off your spatula and fall onto the floor:

How it feels on my skin: The cream glides on and feels moist at first, but it eventually absorbs and becomes matte. It then feels starchy for a few minutes before absorbing completely. Once it does, there is no residual texture left on your skin, just a white cast. Here is a hand swatch:

spread out:

fully blended:

(You can see the whitening result where my arrow is.)

On my dry face, this product feels drying. It sucks up all my sebum. I can only apply a thin layer before looking terribly dry. And for areas where I have flakes (such as on my nose), I have to be even more careful because it catches onto flakes easily. Basically, one layer is doable, but two looks bad:


A closeup of my nose with 1 layer on:

You can see how much it clings on flakes.

I’m a pale yellow, and I’d describe this product as “undoing” the yellowness in my skin. It makes me paler, but not just by adding white on top. It sort of “erases” the yellow hue in my skin.

Face Swatches:
1 layer is a subtle brightening effect—the result is there, but it just looks like I slept well:

2 layers, on the other hand, is drastic. It still looks believable (I think), but we are approaching the ghostly pale look:

Overall, I’d say that there’s a large gap in between 1 layer and 2 layers:

Swatches on dark skin:
Example 1: Here I’ve applied 2 thick layers on my neck, which is light brown in color. Dang, look at that difference!

It brought the darkest part of my body to the color of my pale forearms. This photo demonstrates what I mean by “natural but effective brightening.” Usually, applying white stuff on brown skin looks fake and obvious. That’s not the case here. It looks believable. And because neck skin is smooth, I can apply as much as I want without worrying about dryness like on my face.

Example 2: Here it is on my boyfriend, who is a light golden brown. As you can see, 1 layer makes his skin less orange, while 2 layers is ghostly:
It would seem that 2 layers is less believable on him than it is on me, probably because his skin is darker to begin with. So that's something to keep in mind, too!

Long-term whitening: As of right now I have not used this product enough to testify long-term effects on acne scars/hyperpigmentation, but I will update again in 1-2 months!

It washes off easily with water. But apart from that, it holds up well throughout the day. It fades, but I’m still paler than what I began with:

If it’s hard to tell, make sure to only compare two pics at a time. Also, look towards my nose and chin. Those are the darkest parts of my face, so results are more obvious there. In the 3rd photo, you can see that my natural color peeking out around my chin. That’s actually because I wiped the product off while eating, but it should give you a comparison for how much product is still on.

Effect on texture: 1 layer makes my foundation look a little flakier and more powdery (towards my dark circle area):
It’s not too terrible, though. It still okay for real life! But it is a step down from what it normally looks like.

Effect on lasting power: 1 layer did not visibly affect the lasting power of my foundation. My makeup faded the same either way:

fading with only foundation:

fading with Cloud 9 cream applied:

In the last photo you can see that my foundation is a little bumpy with the Cloud 9 on, especially after fading. Again, not too terrible, though!

I like it! I don’t love it, and that’s because I have dry skin. However! If you have oily skin, I think this would be fantastic. It might even help control your sebum!

Even though I don’t love this on my face, I do love it on my neck. As you saw, it made a huge difference there. The best part is that it doesn’t have a goopy texture like other whitening creams do. I can apply as much as I want without feeling gross with my necklaces or clothing.

Would I recommend this? For dry skin, maybe. For normal or oily skin, sure! And for people like me who struggle with pale face/tan neck syndrome, definitely!

Be sure to enter into Cupid Drop’s current giveaway to get a chance at winning this and the horse oil cream! Do it now because it ends in a couple days!

Thanks for reading ^^