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.

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.

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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.

Bushbalm Body Polish and Oil Review

Bushbalm is a Canadian company, based in Ottawa, Ontario, that makes body scrubs and oils for the bikini area (but can be used anywhere on the body and the oils can be used on the eyebrows, lips and scalp hair as well). These products are said to soothe irritation and redness, prevent ingrown hairs and clear pores while shaving or waxing.

I generally shave most/all the pubic hair, so I get irritation, red bumps and razor burn. I use the Sweet Escape scented oil and scrub. I’ve never noticed ingrown hairs, so can’t comment on the effectiveness of the oil and scrub on treating/preventing these.

Exfoliating Scrub:

The body polish claims to exfoliate, remove dead skin cells, soften skin and help prevent ingrown hairs. As a note, it looks like the packaging for the scrub has been changed since my purchase (probably a good change, as I can never get the jar threads to fully seal).

Ingredients (Sweet Escape): Sugar, Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Vanilla Extract, Tangerine & Tea Tree essential oils 

Jojoba oil is an emollient oil, similar to the sebum on the skin. Grapeseed oil is a light moisturizing oil. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, said to calm redness, inflammation and swelling.

Directions state to rub a handful of the scrub in small circular motions on wet skin anywhere on the body.

The scrub smells very good; like a creamsicle. The scent is light. I use this on the bikini area and my underarms before and/or after shaving, about every 4 days. It is not too harsh on the skin. It exfoliates well and my skin feels smooth and moisturized after using.

The scrub isn’t particularly different or better than other sugar scrubs I’ve used, but I like that the scent matches the oil and it is nicer than my DIY sugar scrub.

Treatment Oil:

The oil claims to soften skin and hair, prevent and soothe ingrown hair and help redness and irritation along the bikini line.

Ingredients (Sweet Escape): Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Copaiba Balsam Oil, Vanilla Fragrance Oil, Tangerine Oil.

Copaiba balsam oil is used for healing the skin, reducing inflammation and soothing irritation. The oil is said to smell woody, earthy and resinous (like tree sap).

Directions state to apply 3 to 4 drops to the bikini area after showering and/or shaving, trimming or waxing.

On opening the Sweet Escape bottle, it smells a bit like cinnamon to me, and applied to the skin, like a creamsicle with a hint of resin. The scent is light, and does not last long on the skin. The oil absorbs quickly with no heavy, oily or sticky residue.

The bottle the oil comes in has a dropper that is pushed down rather than squeezed to get the product out. While it looks nice and different from most other droppers, I find the squeeze dropper easier to use especially when handling with wet/oily fingers.

I’ve used the oil every day after showering for about a month on the bikini area and the underarms. The skin is moisturized, soft and smooth and this feeling lasts all day. Shaving with the direction of hair growth, razor bumps and irritation are reduced by 75% when using the oil. I get a bit of itchiness/irritation on regrowth of the hair around the third day, and this was reduced as well. Shaving against the direction of hair growth causes a lot of irritation and many razor bumps, and I wanted to see how the oil performed in this scenario, and there was about a 25% reduction in this case. On third day hair regrowth, there is a lot of itchiness/irritation and the oil helped this for about 10 minutes. So, this product performs better on milder irritation.

I’ve tried the Bushbalm oil on my hair, rubbing 3 drops on the hands and running through the hair to smooth fly-aways and leave behind a light tangerine scent. The oil softens and moisturizes the cuticles on fingers and toes. I tried a drop on my lips as well; it felt a bit heavier and not as moisturizing as the squalane oil I usually use and I’ll stick with the squalane oil for my lips.

A long while ago, I used a bikini area spray called U-Fresh by Prairie Bliss Botanicals, claiming to reduce irritation and ingrown hair, and Bushbalm works better than U-Fresh.

I would repurchase the Bushbalm oil and exfoliating scrub.

Thank you for reading.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Review

The Ultra Repair Cream, Intense Hydration, by First Aid Beauty (FAB) is a moisturizing lotion for all skin types to be used head to toe and claims to provide immediate and long term hydration for dry, itchy, eczematous skin. It can even be used on baby’s skin.

Ingredients: Colloidal Oatmeal 0.50%,Water, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Squalane, Allantoin, Sodium Hydroxide, Dimethicone, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus, Ceramide 3

Colloidal oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing redness and itchiness while locking in moisture and protecting the skin barrier. Glycerin is a humectant. Glyceryl stearate and stearic acid are emollients. Shea butter and dimethicone are occlusives, sealing in moisture. Feverfew extract can reduce the appearance of redness and irritation to the skin. Ceramide 3 is the last ingredient, a lipid naturally occurring in skin. Squalane is moisturizing, also naturally occurring in the skin.

For a moisturizer to be complete, it needs a humectant (draws water to the skin), emollient (moisturizer) and occlusive (sealing in moisture). This FAB cream contains all three.

Directions state to apply from head to toe once or twice daily or as needed.

This has a light whipped texture, but I don’t find it a particularly rich or heavy cream. It has a light eucalyptus scent.

My hands get very dry every couple months, no matter the season. This dryness lasts a few weeks, progressing to redness and peeling. I also used the FAB cream on my hands, as well as heels which are dry and cracked, and all over the body after showering. I didn’t intend to use the lotion on my face, but tried it once.

The lotion spreads easily and absorbs immediately with no greasy feel.

Above, the hands immediately felt soothed and smoother, but 5 minutes later felt dry, not to the touch, but on opening and closing my hands. I was surprised by how dry my hands looked after 30 minutes, but they were quite dry before.

I used this on my hands twice a day for 3 weeks. While they look better after 3 weeks, it looks like the lotion improved surface hydration, but there are still dry patches in the creases and my hands still feel dry on opening and closing.

I used this on my heels for 4 weeks and, like on my hands, improved some surface hydration, but the heels are still very dry and do not feel much more moisturized.

On application to the body, the lotion absorbs immediately. It is not greasy, heavy or oily feeling. There is no residue left on the skin, but unlike most lotions I’ve used, there is no nice butter-like or hydrated feeling on the skin, but almost a friction-like feeling. The skin felt no softer or hydrated after 4 weeks’ use. I have mildly dry skin on my legs and felt like I had to use quite a bit for the skin to feel any sort of hydration. For this reason, I’ve been going through the 8 ounce tube quite quickly. I’ve gone on to using the body lotion by Consonant which leaves a much nicer hydrated feeling on the skin.

I didn’t buy the FAB Repair Cream for use on the face as I am using another cream at this time (and the Repair Cream doesn’t smell or feel like something I’d want to use on the face), but tried it once after my skin felt quite dry after a shower. This felt completely different on the face than on the hands and body. My skin felt moisturized and soothed and while the lotion absorbed fully, it left a light, smooth, protective layer over the face.

I would expect better results after a few weeks’ use on the hands, feet and body, and I did not like how the FAB Repair Cream felt, so would not repurchase for that use; however, it performed quite differently on the face and I would consider longer term use for this purpose. Next I’ll be using the hand and foot lotions from Deciem’s The Chemistry Brand; stayed tuned for those reviews.

Thank you for reading.