April 22, 2014

Etude House Nymph Aura Volumer #3 (Dry and Normal Skin Review)

This review was requested by Sataa! Sataa was looking to buy this product as a possible solution for dry skin, but wanted to figure out if it was worth the shipping fee. In light of that, I wanted to give an extra thorough examination of it, meaning that this review is a bit long!

My short answer is that it’s a nice product and definitely worth a look for both normal and dry-skinned gals, though for the latter, it still won’t solve everything. For my long answer, read on!


Brand: Etude House
Name: Nymph Aura Volumer #3 Transparent Watery Aura
Amount: 24g
Actual Weight: ~ 75g (I forgot to weigh it before using it this time ㅜㅜ)
Price in Korea: 15,000KRW

Directions: Mix with BB Cream in a 1:3 Volumer : BB Cream ratio. You can also use it as a highlighter. If you do that, there’s no need to mix with the BB Cream; you can apply the Volumer directly.

The theme of this review is how the Volumer affects the BB cream, and how it compares to BB Cream alone. For reference, I currently have normal skin. My nose is oily and bumpy, but still has some flakes. All pictures were taken outdoors in the shade on a sunny day.

The box is a light lavender color, decorated with gradient and glitter detailing:

The bottle itself is predominantly white, though the center artwork and cap top are reflective:

The volumer comes out light pink, but is clear when you spread it out. There is no shimmer. The volumer does not affect BB Cream color.

It’s thin and spreads out easily. It’s not sticky at all. It feels similar to oil, I say.

Hand Swatch Demonstration with BB Cream: It makes the BB Cream much runnier. As you can see in the following picture, the bottom swatch with Volumer added to it is dripping down my arm. It began dripping as soon as I finished mixing it:

To get another idea of what texture is like, notice how it’s still dripping even as I begin to spread it out.

Since it was so runny, it took more rubbing to get it completely absorbed and blended. Here is the fully blended swatch, where you can see a subtle difference in shine (look towards the right.)

Although I’ve probably gone a bit over the 1:3 ratio in the above pictures, I’ve found that even if I add less than a 1:3 ratio, the effect is still present! It still makes it considerably thinner—at least enough to notice a difference while I’m applying. This brings me to my next topic!

How it feels when applying it on my face:
From the perspective of dry skin: When I first bought this product I had dry, flakey skin. (I currently have normal skin.) I remember back then, using the Volumer felt like real sebum. The BB Cream felt as if it melted into my skin, rather than sticking on top as a dry, cakey disaster.

From the perspective of normal skin: It glides on effortlessly. However, it streaks much more easily with my foundation brush. It also comes off easily when I dab my fingers to blend the streaks.

General unevenness, pores: It looks much smoother overall. It doesn’t accentuate any of my deep pores, whereas BB Cream alone tends to accentuate them (sometimes BB cream even sinks into them and forms little dots!) Instead, the Volumer creates a very even canvas on my bumpy nose. It still clings my nose flakes a liittle, but only a tiny bit. Overall, it’s a greater improvement than any primer has given me.

Unfortunately my camera couldn’t pick up the difference on my nose, so here’s a demonstration on my boyfriend’s skin instead. Don’t laugh at him! His pores are quite big. Notice how BB cream alone accentuates them, but Volumer evens them out:

Powder blush: Continuing on with how it smoothens pores, let’s talk about blush. Blush, as well as most powders, tends to accentuate my pores. But with the Volumer, my blush looks much smoother overall--none of that powdery texture! It's not a huge improvement, but enough that I noticed!

Red acne scars: I found the coverage for redness more or less the same regardless of Volumer:

(I did say that it streaks more easily!)

Flakey crusty pimple: You know when your pimple hardens and forms a crusty, outer layer and it’s hard to conceal? Using Volumer doesn’t make much difference here, either.

Back when I had dry skin, I could feel some moisture when using this. It was as if there was a layer of protective oil that kept me from feeling dry. As of now I don’t feel anything when I wear this.

Surprisingly, I’ve found that it only gives me a subtle dewiness, hardly different from not wearing it at all! It’s also less obvious in ample bright light than in dim light:

Bright light, outdoors shade on a sunny day:

Dimmer light, inside car garage on a sunny day:

I will note that because my skin is no longer dry, I no longer absorbs any inherent dewiness provided by the BB Cream itself. That causes any difference between using Volumer and no Volumer to be less drastic.

Another reason why I think the dewiness is so subtle: The Volumer is not shiny; it doesn’t have shimmer beads. The Volumer only causes the BB Cream to be runnier. You’d think that’d make my skin dewy, but instead it just forces me to blend more. So in the end, I spread it out thinner, thereby offsetting any possible dewiness anyways. Makes sense?

My BB cream is more prone to streaks caused by scratching when I use this. But in terms of general melting (i.e. without touching my face), it still stays put just fine, no different from BB cream only. The exception is my nose, which is oilier than my cheeks. BB cream there melts off much quicker when I use this.

Summary: I think it really emulates the feeling of natural sebum. It basically makes the BB cream thinner. It makes the BB cream glide on, but also requires more blending for the streaks. It smoothens my skin well in terms of pores and general unevenness. However, it doesn’t fix my crusties or major dry flakes. (It still clings to my dry flakes a bit, though it’s definitely better than BB cream alone.) It also doesn’t make me very dewy.

Opinion: Even though I don’t have dry skin anymore, I still like it! My skin doesn’t look bad with BB Cream, but this just makes it look even better! I especially love that it allows me to use blush without accentuating my pores. I will continue to use and buy this, unless I find a better version. I'll definitely dial down on the 1:3 ratio though. Since I already have my own sebum, my nose area gets pretty shiny as the day goes on!

Recommendation: I definitely don’t recommend this product for oily skin. For normal-skin, I say it’s optional! You already know that I'll still be using it. And as for dry-skinned gals, I think it will help ease the application and will help your face makeup overall, but it won’t fix everything, especially if you have a thick dry flakes.

Whew, thanks for reading! I know it was long--even for me!--but I hope it gives you a pretty good idea of what the product is like! And of course, let me know if you have any questions and need any clarification! And for anyone who has already used this product, please share your experiences in the comments!

Sataa, I hope this helps you in your decision-making!

April 18, 2014

Diaries of Korea: My first time ordering food delivery!

A little bit about food delivery in Korea:

After living in Korea for a little while, I came to realize that food delivery is a BIG thing here. I'm not talking just McDonalds and Burger King. All sorts of restaurants deliver! How did I come to learn this? Well, every day I would come home and see a delivery moped parked outside my officetel. And every other day I'd share an elevator with a delivery man. Oh, that torturous, tantalizing smell of chicken... (Fried chicken seems to be the most common thing ordered, at least from what I noticed in my officetel.)

They’d also post ads on my door quite often. Chinese food, Korean food, pizza, pasta, small finger foods, big group plates~ The ads ranged from little papers to full on booklets, equipped wwith magnetic strips as to stick on my door!

Some of the chains are endorsed by celebrities, so you might see some familiar faces on these advertisements. Gongyu, Suzy from Miss A, MC Yoo~ Now that’s not to say that only big chains deliver. Little Korean restaurants do too! In fact, in my neighborhood I’d often see ajummas carry trays of food ontop of their heads while delivering to nearby businesses on foot!

My first experience: Yogio to the rescue!

I had always wanted to try food delivery, but I was too scared because of my bad Korean. And that's where Yogiyo comes in! Yogiyo (요기요) which means "here" in Korean. (Well, technically it’s 여기요, but let’s not go into that. :P) Yogiyo is both an app and a website that lets you order food delivery!

I heard about it from my fat boss, but I had also seen lots of ads on Youtube for it. Personally I found the ads a bit disgusting because of how piggylike the people were eating… (It's my pet peeve.) But don’t let me keep you from enjoying them!

I'll make a little guide later about how to order, but just know that it's really fast and painless! Here is me filling out the address form:

(My pictures have bad lighting because this was a case of late-night munchies~)

As for me, I thought I'd start my initiation into the world of food delivery with a basic black bean noodles. But since they had a minimum purchase of 9,000₩, I got some dumplings too! If I remember correctly, the noodles were 5,000₩ and the dumplings were 4,000₩. This is the confirmation page I got after ordering:

And within 10 minutes, there was a knock on the door from the delivery man!

What happened next really surprised me. When I opened the door, he started walking towards me. I wasn't sure what was happening, so I backed up. But he kept walking towards me, and I was forced to keep backing up. Eventually this awkward cornering stopped when was fully inside my entryway. The door had closed and he was right about to step into my actual house.

That's when he put down a big metal box. He knelt down, slid up the side door of the box, and took out my food. He placed the bowls on the floor (my actual floor, not my entryway floor.)

Aha, so that's why he came in! He had to put the box down to take out my food! Now I know~ (However, the second time I got food I automatically backed up and the delivery man was confused and awkwardly came inside. I noticed later by observing my neighbors that for small things [small boxes of fried chicken, for example] they don't necessarily have to come into your home if they can just give it to you then and there. Embarrassing~ )

I asked the man how much it was, and the price he gave me was a 500₩ more than the price on Yogio’s website. I paid anyway. If he was trying to cheat me 500₩ (50cents), then he’s a petty man… But besides that, no delivery fee or tip! I only paid the cost of the food.

This time my food came in Styrofoam bowls:
Two pairs of chopsticks…? Are they calling me a piggy?

Here you can see the noodles look like before mixing the sauce~

Everything is covered in plastic wrap, and boy is it a pain to remove!

After tearing it apart, my feast is finally ready!

It tasted alright~~ (I'm quite picky ^^) But it definitely tastes like the restaurants I've had!

Overall, I had a good experience! I can’t get over how SUPER convenient it is! Coming from the suburbs of California, food delivery of this level is a new concept to me. It's like a whole new world of possibility...

What kind of food delivery do you have around you? I’m curious about big cities in America as well as other countries!

April 16, 2014

Holika Holika Jewel-light Waterproof Eyeliner #10 Chocolate Citrine Review

You may have seen this eyeliner before! It's a bestselling item from Holika Holika. I know there are many reviews out there already but I think what I have to say is a bit different from what others have said before me. :)

This review is kindly sponsored by Honest Skin. Thank you Honest Skin!


Brand: Holika Holika
Name: Jewel-light Waterproof Eyeliner #10 Chocolate Citrine
Amount: 2.2g
Actual Weight: 7.8g
Price in Korea: 4,900KRW
Price on Honest Skin: $6.00 (Click here)

It's encased in plastic, but you sharpen it like a regular pencil.

As you can see the two o's have rubbed off:

It actually came like that, and no more has rubbed off since then. The writing doesn't rub off easily.

Overall, it's a cool, dark brown. It can also be milk brown if I apply gently. When I actually wear it on my eyes, it basically just looks like a soft black. The finish is matte.

When I draw a thick layer on the back of my hand (see right), it feels smooth—not quite creamy, but smooth. ►

But here's the thing. When it comes my actual eyelid: First, I don't press that hard. I try to be gentle. Secondly, my eyelids are not as smooth as my hand. The skin is thinner, and I have fine lines and creases from blinking. And third, my eyeballs are round, not flat like my hand.

So in terms of actually applying it on my eyelid, I don't press nearly as hard, and consequently, the texture fares quite different. It doesn’t feel smooth or creamy. There’s a lot of tug, and it almost feels like a light scraping. It applies unevenly and tends to form little clumps:

It goes on slightly smoother on my lower eyelids, but the problem with clumps/unevenness still applies. Strangely enough, this doesn’t happen all the time! Sometimes it goes on smoothly. Then a few strokes later it feels dry and doesn’t apply evenly. After a few more strokes it’s smooth again. It also seems smoother when I don't use primer, seeing as primer makes my eyelids stickier.

Now it is smoother and more consistent if I press hard, though I still wouldn’t call it creamy. And pressing harder also requires me to hold my eyelids taut for the strong tug.

I unfortunately can’t explain why it’s different between my hands and eyelids, but that’s why I’m including observations for both!

Again, I experienced a bit of discrepancy here between my hands and eyelids.

I. On my hand: It tests very waterproof and smudgeproof on the back of my hand:

II. My Eyelids (rubbing only): On my eyes it still rubs off some, even after letting it settle. It doesn't rub off a lot, just a little each time. Here I rubbed a little more than I would irl: (FYI: My eyelids are a little oily, but not overly so.)

III. My Eyelids (water and then rubbing): As for water, water alone doesn’t cause it to smudge. It’s mostly the rubbing. Here I've poured water on my eye, followed by rubbing:

Here’s how it lasted on my eyelids on a typical day. Throughout the day I sometimes scratched my eyelids—because eyes get itchy, right?—but I did so gently. I also dabbed away some tears after yawning. Almost every time I touched my eyelids (especially when I had tears), I’d see a little eyeliner on my finger:

To summarize: Overall, the eyeliner is still there and definitely visible, but much of the vividness has faded. The little clumps from the uneven application (see “with primer”) are also gone.

Honestly, I wonder if mine was a dud, considering that this is a popular product and bestseller for Holika Holika. But as it is, this is not my favorite eyeliner, and I wouldn’t buy this myself. However, the other colors in the series could be different! And I will also warn you that I am not an avid pencil user. Who knows, I could just REALLY suck at using pencils! (Though I can't imagine being that far off...)

Thank you again Honest Skin!

Has anyone else tried this pencil eyeliner? What were your experiences? Please share below!