Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid Review

Cosrx is a Korean skincare brand using minimal packaging with a focus on ingredients and formulation. The BHA Blackhead Power Liquid claims to deep clean pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, improve texture of the skin and prevent acne and blackheads, while being non-drying and non-irritating.

Ingredients: Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Water, Butylene Glycol, Betaine Salicylate, Niacinamide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Arginine, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Ethyl Hexanediol

Willow bark water has anti-inflammatory and acne-fighting properties and can mimic the effects of salicylic acid. Butylene glycol is a humectant. Betaine salicylate combines salicylic acid (softens and dissolves keratin and exfoliates the pore lining) and betaine (hydrating ingredient) and shows comparable effectiveness to salicylic acid at double the concentration (from Paula’s Choice website). Niacinamide can improve uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, dull complexion and fine lines. 1,2-hexanediol is a preservative and humectant. Arginine is an amino acid that functions as an antioxidant. Panthenol and sodium hyaluronate are humetants. Sodium hyaluronate is a smaller molecule than hyaluronic acid, so is able to more deeply penetrate the skin. Xanthan gum is used to improve product texture and formulation. Ethyl hexandiol is used as a solvent.

This contains a number of humectants, drawing moisture to the skin, and betaine for hydration.

Directions: After cleansing, dispense a small amount on a cotton pad and swipe over the face, concentrating on areas of rough skin, avoiding the eye area. Allow to fully absorb before applying other skincare products. Can be used 2 to 3 times a week. Apply sunscreen if used during the day.

I have oily, uneven skin, blackheads, breakouts and large pores. I used this specifically in hopes to help with blackheads around my nose. After cleansing and toning, I applied one pump every morning with my fingers all over the face to just under the jaw line, concentrating on and around the nose. This is a thin gel that doesn’t really have a scent and it spreads easily. This does not leave stickiness behind once it absorbs (unless too much is used).

I have used the BHA Blackhead Power for 5 months thus far (blackheads take a long time to treat), with quite good results. As in the photos above, there are less blackheads on the nose. My skin looks generally smoother and more moisturized, rather than having my usual oily shine. I think my pores overall look clearer; maybe not particularly refined in size though. The formula was not drying or irritating to the skin. I still got a few pimples throughout use, but they healed much faster. The BHA liquid prevented my usual small pimples and whiteheads around the jawline.

After 5 months’ use once a day, I still have half the bottle left, so this product lasts a while.

I have used a number of blackhead treatments, the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid providing the best results thus far. I would purchase again.

Thank you for reading.

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Densifying Leave-In Root Treatment Review

This root treatment by Alterna Haircare is a daily leave-in scalp spray for thinning, fine and fragile hair. This product claims to stimulate the scalp and create a natural defense against DHT build-up and excess sebum, allowing healthy, thicker-looking hair to grow.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract, Paullinia Cupana Seed Extract, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Oleth-20, Polysorbate 20, Rice Amino Acids, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Taurine, Hexyl Cinnamal, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Menthol, Limonene, Azelaic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Calphostin C, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Magnesium Salicylate, n-Carboxyethyl Butyric Acid, Niacin, Ornithine Decarboxylase, Phosphorus, Retinyl Palmitate, Threonine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Gluconate, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Linalool, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Cinchona Succirubra Bark Extract, Coptis Japonica Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Gastrodia Elata Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Nasturtium Officinale Flower/Leaf Extract, Polygonum Multiflorum Extract, Robinia Pseudacacia Flower Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Methylisothiazolinone, Geraniol, Dextran, Citral, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Panthenol, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Apigenin, Oleanolic Acid, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1, Keratin Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Algae Extract, Polysilicone-15, Wasabia Japonica Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment, Pikea Robusta Extract, Polyquaternium-10, Silanetriol Melaninate, Superoxide Dismutase, Bromelain, Glycine Max (Soybean) Symbiosome Extract, Papain, Saccharomyces/Iron Ferment, Saccharomyces/Copper Ferment, Adenosine Triphosphate, Hexapeptide-11, Niacinamide/Yeast Polypeptide, Saccharomyces/Silicon Ferment, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment, Caviar Extract, Phospholipids, Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide, Pantothenic Acid/Yeast Polypeptide, Soy Amino Acids, Fragrance.

The third ingredient, serenoa serrulata fruit extract, also known as saw palmetto, is believed to block the conversion of testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which can bind to receptors in the hair follicles and cause them to shrink, weaken and eventually die, causing hair loss. The fourth ingredient, paullinia cupana (guarana) seed extract contains caffeine, which is also said to suppress DHT. This spray contains castor oil, amino acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Mint leaf extract and menthol can stimulate and soothe the scalp. Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is a form of vitamin C. Red clover growth complex is said to help improve blood circulation, soothe irritated skin and eliminate buildup of DHT on the scalp, encouraging thicker, fuller hair that looks and feels denser. Fragrance is the last ingredient.

Directions state to spray on scalp in sections on clean, towel-dried hair and massage in twice daily. Do not rinse.

I have had thinning hair for a years now. My hair type is fine and wavy (though I had a keratin straightening treatment a few months ago). My scalp gets oily rather quickly. About a year ago I finished using The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density with some results, and wanted to try something else in hopes to increase growth and thickness of the hair, particularly at the edges.

Alterna Haircare’s leave-in root spray has a fresh, clean scent that fades once it dries. I used the root spray twice a day, not always on damp hair, as I wash my hair twice a week or so. I parted my hair into four sections, spraying directly on the scalp and massaging in, concentrating towards the front and edges of the scalp, as this is where my hair is thinning. It has a concentrated spray nozzle that doesn’t spread too much; good for getting the spray right on the scalp. One bottle lasted about 2 months; I got two bottles. This doesn’t leave a residue on the hair nor weigh the hair down. It doesn’t leave the hair feeling dry or textured.

Above is the center part and middle of the scalp. After 4 months, I do not see or feel any difference in thickness or growth of the hair.

This is the front hairline, also no change.

The above photo shows a before and after of the edges of my hair that shows no change.

The root spray didn’t increase the thickness, growth or density of the hair, nor did the hair feel any healthier or softer. I have a generally oily scalp that can get itchy and this helped with soothing a bit of the itchiness, but didn’t seem to help with elimination of oil buildup.

The Caviar Anti-Aging Densifying Leave-In Root Treatment has good ingredients, but gave no results in terms of thicker or stronger hair, and I would not repurchase. At this point, I’ll be focusing on the health of the scalp and will soon purchase a scalp toner from Follizin and the salt shampoo and healing mask from Playa.

Thank you for reading.

The Inkey List Kaolin Clay Review

Kaolin Clay from The Inkey List claims to be a gentle yet powerful mask to deep-clean the skin while absorbing oils and toxins and unclogging pores, leaving skin looking clearer and more even. This mask is for all skin types.

Ingredients: Aqua, Kaolin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil, Stearic Acid, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminium Silicate, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Dimenthyl Sulfone, Centella Asiatica Extract,Glyceryl Caprylate, Decyl Glucoside, Cellulose Gum, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Carbomer, Tocopherol, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Sea Water Extract, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Vitis Vinifera seed oil, Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract,Sodium Hydroxide, Lonicera Japonica Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Oryza Sativa Bran Oil, Geranium Maculatum Extract, Taraxacum Officinale Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Spirulina Maxima Extract, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil

Directions state to use this in the morning or evening once or twice a week, applying a thin layer to clean, damp skin. Leave on for 10 minutes, rinse and pat dry.

I have combination skin now that it is winter; oily in the T-zone and dry on the cheeks, that is prone to large pores, congestion and breakouts.

This mask has a soft, cream-like consistency with a light clay scent that applies smoothly to the skin.

The photo above is a thin layer of the mask applied to damp skin as directed. Starting at about 5 minutes, the product seems to disappear on the skin as it dries. It doesn’t fully dry out and crack like other clay masks (clay masks really should not be left to dry and flake on the skin anyhow as it causes dryness and irritation).

Above, I applied the mask to dry skin in a thicker layer, which seems to work better than the thin, damp layer for absorbing oils and smoothing the skin.

I have been using this product two to three times a week in the evening for about two months. On first use, I was surprised by how light and non-drying and non-irritating this is on the skin. The skin felt a bit smoother after rinsing. After using this for the two months, the skin does not look much different; no more radiance, not much less congestion, no less blackheads around the nose and the pores do not appear more refined nor the skin deep cleansed. This is such a light mask, that it doesn’t feel like anything is happening on the skin. The mask takes a bit of extra effort and water to rinse well and there seemed to be a bit of residue left that I needed to take off with toner on a cotton pad (I quite like this toner and these toner mates). The skin felt maybe more smooth applying to dry skin in a thick layer. Unlike other clay masks, this one from The Inkey List doesn’t seem to really stay on the skin long enough before sort of drying down and disappearing. The Inkey List Kaolin Clay mask may be better suited to dry or sensitive skin with minimal issues. A kaolin clay mask that performed well for clarity of the skin and deep cleansing the pores is that from Michael Todd. Also, while not a similar product, I get better results with NIOD’s Sanskrit Saponins using as a mask/cleanse when compared to The Inkey List Kaolin Clay.

I would not repurchase the Kaolin Clay mask from The Inkey List.

Thank you for reading.

NIOD Sanskrit Saponins Review

Sanskrit Saponins (SS) from Deciem’s NIOD is a pH-balanced, concentrated cleansing balm formulated with arginine and Ayurvedic plant surfactants. By deep-cleansing, SS claims to clean pores, clean dead skin cells without peeling and gently remove the skin’s own oils encouraging “natural recycling” of the oils. With continued use, SS is said to target build-up, congestion and blemishes. Claims are made that from the first use, SS leaves skin looking “pore-free,” clean and radiant.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Stearic Acid, Sapindus Mukurossi Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Arginine, Polysorbate 60, Acacia Concinna Fruit Extract, Balanites Aegyptiaca (Desert Date) Fruit Extract, Gypsophila Paniculata Root Extract, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Pentylene Glycol, Melanin, Sorbic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

Directions: This is to be used once every other day in the morning or evening, but can be used more often if desired. SS is not intended to remove makeup or sunscreen, so cleanse the skin using another cleanser as a first step. Wet face and lather SS into a paste in the hands for a few seconds. Apply and massage gently, avoiding the eyes, then rinse.

I have oily skin prone to breakouts and blemishes and often get build-up and congestion, especially in the T-zone. I’ve been using this on and off for a long while, and have purchased three tubes thus far.

SS is a light tan/beige color with a thin, cream-like consistency. It smells rather yeasty, which I don’t mind. It doesn’t lather or foam on massaging into the skin.

This is a product that I didn’t realize was doing much of anything other than a nice cleanse until I stopped using it after a few weeks. I then started using again and realized it had helped with clearing dead skin, making the skin smoother, and skin appeared clearer and less congested around my nose and forehead. I have since been using this as a morning mask and cleanse (with much better results than using as just a cleanser), putting a rather generous amount on dry skin, letting it sit while brushing my teeth or showering, then massaging with a bit of water and rinsing. Using it like this, my skin is immediately smoother and more radiant-looking from the first use. With continued use, I don’t feel like my pores look smaller, but my skin is generally clearer, cleaner, less oily and feels less bumpy. SS helps small breakouts along the jawline and whiteheads on the forehead. For bigger pimples, I’m not sure they are cleared up any sooner than the usual healing time, but seems to help with redness and irritation of these larger pimples and helps prevent these breakouts. This has no effect on the blackheads around my nose. SS is also nice to use with the Foreo Luna. SS rinses well and is not drying.

SS comes in a metal tube and once punctured, product runs out on opening the lid for the first few uses. I then have to try and close the lid really fast while product continues to leak out around the lid. There have also been some inconsistencies in the formula between the three tubes I have bought. In one, the SS was thicker, one was thinner and the last tube I bought had some small, hard particles in it; these were not uniform like in a scrub and were rather sharp on the face, but seemed to dissolve slightly in water while massaging the cleanser on the face.

Sanskrit Saponins has become one of my favorite morning masks/cleansers. It provides the results claimed (except for the skin appearing pore-free) and I will continue to purchase.

Thank you for reading.

Moroccanoil Color Depositing Mask Review

The Color Depositing Mask from Moroccanoil is for all hair types and claims to deposit temporary color while hydrating, nurturing and adding shine to the hair.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Propoxytetramethyl Piperdinyl Dimethicone, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Parfum/Fragrance, Bis-Hydroxy/Methoxy Amodimethicone, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Algin, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Chitosan, Citric Acid, Acetic Acid, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Panthenol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, C11-15 Pareth-7, C12-13 Pareth-9, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyquaternium-70, Dipropylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Quaternium-87, PCA, Sodium PCA, Hydroxyacetophenone, Trideceth-6, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Acetate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, CI 56059 (Basic Blue 99), CI 12245 (Basic Red 76), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Linalool.

Directions state to start with clean, towel-dried hair, applying a generous amount of product on sectioned hair and distributing evenly with a wide-tooth comb. Leave on for 5 to 7 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

After a keratin straightening treatment lightened my newly colored hair to an auburn (which I do not like), then over time faded to an orange/auburn color with grown out grey hair, I wanted to give the Moroccanoil Color Depositing Mask a try, hoping it would tone down the red/orange tones and cover the grey.

Based on the color chart on the Sephora website and my starting color (light brown to dark brown), bordeaux and cocoa are the only masks that would deposit color. I chose cocoa (the mini size). The formula was not too runny or too thick. It has a similar scent to the oil, a sort of musky, masculine scent (which I don’t particularly like) that fades throughout the day.

After shampooing and towel-drying the hair, I divided it into four sections and distributed using a plastic wide-tooth comb. I used the whole mini tube, putting extra on the grey hair. I found that the hair, once the mask was applied, was rather difficult to get a comb through. The hair felt almost sticky and stiff. Once applied, I wrapped a plastic bag over the hair so it would not dry out, and let sit for 10 minutes. This stained my hands and under and around my nails. It washed off okay with soap and a scrub from the palms of the hands, but the next day I still have staining on dry patches and around my nails.

While rinsing the mask, my hair did not have the silky feeling of a regular conditioner or deep conditioning mask (surprising since the Moroccanoil mask has a few different silicones and oils). On towel drying the hair and running my fingers through it, my hair did not feel very soft or smooth and I had to apply a leave-in conditioner. After blow drying my hair, the color looked a bit darker and more refreshed.

As above, the mask provided no grey coverage.

The red-orange in the hair is toned down and there is less of it. I was hoping for a more brown color, however, it’s not too bad. The mask color itself looks like it has red undertones.

The photo on the left is shortly after the keratin treatment faded my hair a couple shades and the right is after the Moroccanoil mask. So it looks like the mask sort of restored and refreshed my hair color closer to my previous shade before it faded to a more orange tone.

As for how long the color lasts, this would depend on the starting shade and condition of the hair; the lighter and healthier the hair, the longer the color will last. I have washed my hair four times so far, shampooing twice each time, and have had no fading yet.

As a hydrating, conditioning mask, I was disappointed. As for the color deposit, I was hoping for more of a brown and at least some grey coverage, but it did deposit and refresh color.

I would consider purchasing again to restore color, however, I wonder if a color refresh hair gloss might work better for this purpose. If the Moroccanoil mask covered grey, I would repurchase.

Thank you for reading.