When I went to Seoul a couple of months ago, I indulged in a bit of shopping after a long 'no-buy' period.
I'd wanted to post detailed reviews of the makeup and skincare products I'd purchased, similar to the beauty reviews on my old blog - but just never seemed to get around to that topic! There were so many other posts I'd wanted to write first. Now I'm happy that I waited since I could try the products for a long time.
So here's a lightning round of mini-reviews for my Korean beauty haul from February.
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When visiting Seoul to do some last minute shopping before attending a wedding, I'd been looking for lip products and a foundation and/or concealer since my old ones were empty.
Thanks to shopping with two beauty bloggers that know what they're talking about and had lots of recommendations, I went home with a bit more than I'd planned on. But first:
Let me geek out over color theory here for a moment!
Orange lipsticks are great for evening events! In dim light, red just looks dark or even black to human eyes, while orange is one of the colors that can be perceived even in relative darkness. That's why signs and clothing that need to be visible in darkness are usually bright orange or yellow. Since yellow isn't really a lipstick color I could ever pull off, orange is my color of choice for evenings, softly lit restaurants or bars - it just looks brighter and more lively than reds!
Enter the CLIO Mad Matte lipsticks. These matte lipsticks have a very forgiving texture. Instead of going on heavy and creamy, they're incredibly lightweight and just coat your lips with an intense punch of color. The finish feels slightly powdery, but while dry and matte in itself, doesn't dry out the lips or accentuate lip lines.
I actually use this lipstick a bit like a lip tint for its staying power and adherence.
The shade #2 Sunlit Orange was recommended to me by Ohmyglossblog (she has swatches of the lipstick here) and I wore this lipstick to the wedding event the same evening. It's a bright and intense color but works really well with simple eye makeup.
(If you shop via Amazon for K-Beauty, you might want to use Ebates, especially now before the holidays - they offer a bonus of 10$ on top of the usual cash back if you sign up via a recommendation/ referral link until the end of December.)
Next, we visited VDL, where my search for a concealer evolved into the quest for the holy grail perfect cushion foundation.
Shopping at VDL for Cushion Foundation
VDL is one of my favorite Korean makeup brands. Their primers are wonderful, and they have a lot of high-quality lip products in a wide variety of colors and forms (cubic, for example).
So when their Metal Cushion Foundation was on sale, with two free refills in the bargain, I caved, swapped for a matching hue and went with the Moisture Glow edition in shade A201.
This foundation gives even very dry skin a flawless dewy finish. If you're not one for the dewy look, this isn't for you, but I live for anything that keeps my skin from drying out.
I've since reached for this cushion a lot! It's very sturdily packaged, easy to clean and keep hygienic thanks to the metal cushion design, and re-applies without smudging.
Now that temperatures here on Jeju Island have risen, I was positively surprised by how little heat and humidity seem to affect this formulation. I just set it with a bit of powder around my eyebrows and nose and it stays flawlessly in place, without turning greasy, accentuating pores or breaking me out, as heavy formulations tend to in summer. Two thumbs up for this one!
VDL Color Makeup Haul & Blusher Review
The sales lady that helped me swatch products and find my shade had a really pretty blush on her cheeks, so I asked her which shade she wore... and tried it, loved it and bought it. It's their VDL Festival Blusher Creamy in 103 OK, a muted coral that leaves me with rosy cheeks, that works with pretty much any color combination (pink lipstick, orange lipstick... the neutral undertone of this blush goes well with anything) and has a slightly dewy finish.
Often, cream blushes dry to a powdery finish - which kind of defeats the purpose, in my opinion. I like to combine dewy foundation with similarly dewy blush, especially since my cheeks are the driest part of my face.
I also received a free gift in the form of a lip tint: VDL Expert Color Lip Stain in 301 Absinth Mary. This smells divinely of roses and the muted burgundy hue looks grown-up without aging me (as darker lip colors normally tend to...). Not quite as long-lasting as the name suggests, but great color, finish and, again, that scent...!
Korean Brand "Beauty People" Eyeliner Review
Last but not least, I found an eye liner by the brand Beauty People, called the "First Highliner Brush Unit Pencil". While I'd seen the brand pop up here and there on Korean beauty blogs, I'd never tried a product of theirs before. The eyeliner (or highliner? What does that even mean??) is very buttery and applies smoothly - perfect if you hate tugging and dragging at your eyes! The shade #5 has the (ridiculous) name "Madonna Lusty", a neutral brown that's just light enough to work for under the eyes and dark enough for the upper lid. The brush at one end works surprisingly well with the melting texture of the pen, and I've been using this eyeliner a lot for quick makeup application since it's hard to mess up the application. It dries quickly and doesn't smudge.
K-Beauty Sheet Mask Haul at Olive Young
And since you can't go beauty shopping in Seoul without grabbing at least one sheetmask, I somehow ended up with four. Seoul and its polluted air always wreck havock on my skin, so I was looking for a pamper session.
The Vitamin Water sheet masks had a jelly texture that was fun and cooling, but other than being moisturizing, I didn't notice much of an effect.
The MediHeal Collagen Impact Essential Mask one though - that one worked wonders on my tired skin after I'd returned to Jeju from four days in Seoul! It actually plumped my skin visibly and smoothed the annoying lines around my mouth temporarily.
I've yet to try the 'White Truffle Oil - Aquablend Oil Pocket Mask' by Leaders Insolution, but am looking forward to it just for the strangeness. If it doesn't smell like a mushroom risotto, I'll be very disappointed.
That's it for my Korean beauty haul & mini reviews.
I'm normally not a huge shopper (budget constraints cough cough) but when I do, I prefer choosing products that work in different combinations and situations, like the blush, and am always on the look-out for additional gifts and sale events, which are abundant in South Korea - if you ever go shopping in Seoul, keep your eyes open! :)