Amarte Daily Wonder Cleansing Foam Review

Amarte is a Korean skincare company that formed an international partnership to customize their formulations for the western markets.

I was looking for a new cleanser that would help with congestion and breakouts on the skin as well as remove makeup and oil. The Wonder Cleansing Foam fit with what I was looking for with claims to deep cleanse all skin types while providing moisture to the skin.

Directions state to use a pea-sized amount morning and night, apply to palm and add water to work into a rich lather; massage face with fingertips and rinse. This can be used as a first step to double cleansing, with the Daily Exfolipowder as a second step (which I also purchased).

Ingredients: Water, Polysorbate 20, Allantoin, Potassium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Beeswax, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Extract, Elemental Sulfur, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Juice, Sodium Hyaluronate, Natural Betaine, Iris Florentina Root Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Seed Extract, Luffa Cylindrica Extract, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Myristic Acid, Glycerin Lauric Acid, Glyceryl Stearate/PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-75, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.

Allantoin is an anti-irritant said to soothe and calm skin. Elemental sulfur is effective in use against acne and rosacea as an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Sodium hyaluronate and glycerin are included as humectants. While these two ingredients are beneficial for the skin, as the cleanser remains on skin for a minute at most and then is rinsed off, I don’t imagine the skin gets much benefit. Luffa cylindrica is said to have anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antioxidant properties.

I’ve been using the Wonder Cleansing Foam for a few months now, most mornings and and at night. The value is good – only a pea-sized amount is needed to cleanse the whole face and neck, and it foams up quite a bit, so the bottle lasts a long time. It comes in a bottle with a pump and has a light, cucumber fragrance that is not overpowering or chemical-smelling.

On first use of this cleanser I was struck by how much friction and pulling there is between the fingers and the skin on rinsing. If enough water is not used while cleansing, there is a lot of friction as well. I used this with my Foreo Luna and had to make sure there was more water on the skin while cleansing; if not, I would get tugging on the skin. Because of this over-squeaky-clean skin, my face seemed a bit tight on rinsing, although didn’t really feel dry and I didn’t get flaking of the skin like I did when I used Akita’s Rosewater Face Wash. I wouldn’t say this is a moisturizing face wash though. It seems to rinse well, so I don’t think the friction is due to residual cleanser left on the skin. I tried this on my chest, arm and hands as well and still had the same friction feeling. I followed this cleanser with a mask or with the Exfolipowder a couple times a week and didn’t feel the friction after rinsing these products.

This removed a full face of light coverage foundation and non-waterproof mascara. It left a bit of eyeliner, however. A double cleanse was required to remove silicone-based sunscreen (I have been using sun care from The Ordinary and NIOD). This cleanser seems too “strong” for use in the morning and I sometimes used a gentler cleanser; Drunk Elephant’s Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser or NIOD’s Sanskrit Saponins.

While using the Wonder Cleansing Foam, I still got my usual breakouts,
especially in warmer weather as my skin got oilier, and my blackheads didn’t seem to diminish much, if at all, but it cleansed the skin well, and the pores around my nose seemed cleaner. I wouldn’t say this had long term calming effects for my skin; there are better leave-on products for that.

I didn’t test the pH of the Wonder Cleansing Foam myself, but while I was looking for the pH, a blog post from glamorable.com says when mixed with water, the pH is high at 9.

While this works as a cleanser for makeup removal and has a nice, foamy texture while cleansing, I cannot get past the squeaky friction feeling on rinsing (overly squeaky-clean skin usually means drying), and will not be repurchasing.

For my next cleanser, I’ve ordered The Ordinary’s newly released Squalane Cleanser.

Thank you for reading.

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The Ordinary 1% Retinol in Squalane Review

Having used Retin-A twice before (the last time being over a year ago), I wanted to try the more gentle retinol and decided on The Ordinary’s 1% Retinol in Squalane. On The Ordinary website, this is labelled as high strength with very high irritation. This product claims to reduce the appearance of fine lines, photo damage (damage caused by UV exposure – hyperpigmentation, fine lines, texture issues) and general skin aging.

Ingredients: Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, BHT. 

Directions state to apply a small amount over the face in the evening. Use sun protection.

The first ingredient is squalane. This is naturally found in the skin and decreases as we age. Squalane provides non-greasy hydration. Tomato extract and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are used as antioxidants. This also contains jojoba oil.

I was a little reluctant to purchase this at first, as it contains squalane and I have generally oily skin, but I used this over the winter for 4 months, as my skin gets dehydrated and combination in colder weather.

I have fine lines on my forehead and around my eyes (I didn’t use the retinol around the eyes), hyperpigmentation from sun damage, large pores, blackheads, breakouts, scarring and texture.

I started right in using this every evening, applying 3 or 4 drops. The product took a couple minutes to absorb (though didn’t seem to absorb fully), but didn’t feel heavy or oily. After the first week I had a tight, tingling feeling on the skin, but no more redness than usual. My nose got a bit dry and had a bit of peeling. My skin felt sensitive in the harsh wind and cold and to almost every other product in my routine. To mitigate some of the irritation and sensitivity, I used Balance from Your Best Face Skincare. After one week of use my skin looked brighter and felt smoother and moisturized. The irritation diminished after about 2 weeks.

After one month of use, I had some flaking around my mouth and between my eyebrows. It was also around this time that I felt texture and bumps on my lower cheeks toward my jawline that had been smooth prior. I stopped use for 2 days, and on reapplication after this time, my skin smoothed out again and the bumps disappeared. About 5 days later, they returned. I tried an application of mandelic acid, also from The Ordinary, which took the bumps away. This seemed to be the typical cycle over the remainder of use. I had a thought that perhaps this is due to the squalane preventing exfoliation as cell turnover increases with the retinol (especially as the mandelic acid improved the texture) – oily skin needs exfoliation as dead skin builds up, though squalane is not really an oil- so I’m not certain. There was not really any further peeling that I noticed in the mirror after about 1-1/2 months.

Over the last week the weather has warmed up and my skin has gotten oilier especially on my forehead and I’ve gotten a couple breakouts.

The retinol diminished the fine lines on my forehead, though it looks a bit more congested (perhaps due to my own increased oil on the skin). My nose looks a bit smoother with some diminishing of some surface blackheads. The pores look a bit more noticeable, perhaps due to being cleaner. My skin looks less blotchy and textured and looks smoother.

I do not see any improvement in the freckles and hyperpigmentation, but I do not really expect to after only 4 months.

I quite like the squalane for hydration and moisturization of the skin without feeling heavy and oily; I’m not sure about use in hot summer weather, however, I might look to purchase a couple products from Biossance that uses a base of squalane in their product line.

I generally like this product and would consider repurchase. I am now moving onto Retin-A again soon before the summer months.

Thank you for reading.

Briogeo Blossom and Bloom Volumizing Spray

Briogeo Blossom and Bloom Ginseng and Biotin Volumizing Spray is for all hair types and for those with fine or thin hair texture that lacks volume. This product claims to immediately give fuller-looking hair and volume, extend time between washes and encourage thickness in the long term.

Directions state to spray throughout damp hair focusing on the roots, then blow dry and style.

Ingredients (from Briogeo website and my packaging): Water/Aqua/Eau, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Polysorbate 80, Maltodextrin/VP Copolymer, Biotin, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract, Glycerin, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Fragrance (Parfum), Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid

Ingredients (from Sephora website) : Water, Alcohol Denat. (Grain Derived), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Polysorbate 80 (Coconut Derived), Maltodextrin/Vp Copolymer, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Biotin, Glycerin (Coconut Derived), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Leuconostoc Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.

Witch hazel and lemon extract absorb excess oil to extend time between washes. Ginseng and ginger root stimulate blood flow to scalp and hair follicles to promote growth and strength. Biotin promotes growth and can strengthen the hair follicle. Malodextrin coats each hair strand to increase the diameter and create the appearance of fuller hair.

My hair is wavy, fine and has been thinning for the last couple years on the top of my head. I have an oily scalp. After a hair wash, I can usually wear it down for 2 days and up for 2 days, then need to wash it again because it is too oily.

Usually when I blow dry and style my hair it initially looks good, then goes flat halfway through the day. With the Blossom and Bloom Volumizing Spray my hair has so much more lift after blow drying and still has volume on the second day. By the third day there is less volume, but my scalp isn’t as oily as usual. I can wear my hair down for 4 days and up for 2 before I have to wash it again. Overall, my hair appears thicker when using this product. I haven’t been using it long enough to speak to long term growth and thickness, though I’m not sure it would actually make hair thicker.

I tried the spray on damp hair without blow drying as well and got better volume than without, but of course, blow drying enhances the volume.

The scent is orange and ginger – a fresh, clean scent and not chemical-like or artificial-smelling. My hair feels softer when using this product; it doesn’t go on crunchy or greasy.

I don’t have many must-have products, but the Blossom and Bloom Volumizing Spray is now on the list. I will definitely be repurchasing.

Thank you for reading.