Banila Co. Clean It Zero Purity

12:20:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

lavlilacs Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity review

Even though I am the type of person to wait a while before jumping on any skin care trends, I am not sure what took me quite this long before trying Banila Co's Clean It Zero line myself. Maybe I was apprehensive towards the new idea of cleansing balms? Maybe I was just a little overwhelmed by the many variations Banila Co. offered? Whatever the reason was that stopped me then, I think my mind has been forever changed.

lavlilacs Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity packaging

Banila Co. & SOKO GLAM's Descriptions:

Refreshing feel & Recommended for Sensitive Skin.

Super skin-friendly mild "5 Non-Added Formula" reduces irritation of distressed skin while a healthy combination of 30% ECOCERT natural oils helps soften sensitive, coarse skin.

An offshoot from the popular Banila Co Clean It Zero Classic, this is a perfect first step in your double-cleanse. This award-winning hypoallergenic oil cleanser appears as a solid balm and transforms into a silky oil on the skin. It's sorbet-like texture and lightweight formula effortlessly dissolve stubborn makeup and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Free from artificial coloring, synthetic fragrance, alcohol, parabens, and mineral oil. Formulated for sensitive skin types.

1. Use the spatula to scoop a small amount and massage balm over dry skin, concentrating on eye and lip makeup.
2. Add a splash of lukewarm water to emulsify into a milky texture.
3. Follow with your cleanser as the next step in your double-cleanse.

Ingredients (translated from packaging)

Banila Co. (Korean retail): ₩22,000
RoseRoseShop: ₩22,000
iHerb: USD $21.80
SOKO GLAM and Peach&Lily: USD $25.00
oo35mm: USD $27.99

lavlilacs Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity security sticker

lavlilacs Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity seal


A narrow and tall-ish jar with a twist off lid. The cleansing balm comes with a small plastic spatula. It is also sealed with a thin layer of circular foam.

I love that it comes with a spatula. However, I would have preferred if the jar itself was a tad wider in diameter and shorter so that I can always have the option to use my hands (specifically with the knuckles) and effortlessly scoop the product. It would just be one less thing to fiddle around with at the end of the day when all I want to do is just shower and plop into bed. Since the spatula itself is clear and small, it could easily get lost if I don't remember to store it inside the jar.

On a similar note, could companies make the lid flip-top instead of twist-off? I haven't ever seen it on a cleansing balm type product but it would just make life so much easier.


The beauty of the Clean It Zero Purity balm lies in the fact that it is free of typical irritants (artificial coloring, synthetic fragrance, alcohol, parabens, and mineral oil). CosDNA's analysis of the ingredients seems to give it an A-OK as well, with the exception of an "Oenothera biennis oil."

Purity is chock full of plant extracts which are popular in most Korean skincare products. Most of them look to serve as anti-inflammatories and/or moisturizers. There are a few essential oils listed towards the bottom of the list that supposedly acts as "natural" fragrances. I've heard of people who do have sensitivities to essential oils like citrus and lavender so I would tread with caution despite Purity being marketed as a sensitive-skin friendly makeup remover.

lavlilacs Look At Me Jelly Sunscreen SPF50 swatch

Color, Texture, & Scent

Banila describes their Clean It line as sorbet balms, which I would somewhat agree with. It is light and easily meltable like sorbet. I use no effort to scoop out product whether it be with my finger or a spatula. The cleansing balm holds its shape well until I want to massage it in. The balm-oil glides well without much tugging and rubbing. I love that unlike traditional cleansing oils, the balm doesn't get uncontrollably runny. It stays put wherever I move it to on my face.

Since this is the Purity version, it doesn't have added color or artificial fragrances. A whiff of the cleansing balm, inside the jar, gives a very faint citrusy scent. But any scents are undetectable in the small amounts needed for cleansing.

lavlilacs Banila Co Clean It Zero Purity before after

How I Apply

The amount I use varies greatly depending on how much makeup I wear but I find a scoop of product with the provided spatula is usually enough for an average day's worth of makeup—perhaps slightly double the amount in the photos above. (I know that is also very subjective. The best I can say is my average face consists of cushion, powder, blush, highlight, bronzer, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and eyebrows.) I tend to be more generous with balm since it doesn't get very runny.

I rub the product between the palms of my hands prior to applying it to my face. Then I will lightly massage all around, including over my eyelids and lips. When I feel like I've thoroughly worked it into every corner of my made-up face, I'll wet my hands a little to start emulsifying the balm. After which I generously splash my face until most of the product is washed away.

Thoughts & Recommendations

Coming from someone who has used cleansing oils and a couple balms to remove her makeup all her makeup wearing life, the Clean It Zero Purity is one of the few (if not only one in recent memory) that doesn't leave skin dry and tight afterward.

But! I do have to say it takes a lot more splashing and rinsing effort to wash away than most cleansing oils. When I don't do a good enough job, I feel like there is still some leftover residue hanging around. It doesn't really bother me too much since I always follow up immediately with a second cleanse.

I do get cloudy vision if I open my eyes before rinsing; my eyesight is fine when I keep them shut until everything is washed away.

Waterproof pen liner (in the above photo) isn't removed well. However, do keep in mind, that is fresh liner on my forearm and not worn-out liner on my oily eyelids. The cleansing balm is able to cleanse that specific eyeliner off after a normal day but it does still need more massaging than other eyeliners would need. For those who wear more waterproof products, I would recommend using a separate eye-makeup remover.

My skin seems to like this product a lot. I have used almost the whole tub and still have yet to experience a drying or tightening effect (knock on wood). I do not think it has ever caused me to break out either. There are some videos and blogs that suggest using cleansing oils and balms to help with cleaning out pores and blackheads—this specific balm would not be one of those. I don't feel like it cleanses that deeply, it just does a good job at removing makeup and facial dirt & oils. If there weren't so many other cleansing balms on the market to try or the Clean It Zero Purity was slightly cheaper, I would repurchase it in a heartbeat. Until the day I get tired of trying new makeup removers comes around, I am just glad to know there is one available that definitely works for me.


July Haul - RoseRoseShop

12:50:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

Oh, the constant battle between the frugal self and impatient mind.

Any Korean beauty lover outside of Korea would know the struggle of choosing between price and convenience. Do I want to have something immediately, support a local business, and pay a little more for it? Or do I want to pay as close to Korean retail as possible but wait a little longer?

When I find sites like RoseRoseShop, it certainly helps the thrifty side win out. Their prices are great and being forced to pay for shipping makes me reconsider everything I lust over. As long as I don't feel like I am in dire, immediate need of any product in my cart I can handle the long overseas mail time. Just please don't get lost!

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop

I ended up ordering various foot peeling masks, Pyunkang Yul Cleansing Foam, make p:rem UV Defense ME Blue Ray Sun Fluid, make p:rem UV Defense ME Blue Ray Sun Gel, Clio Kill Cover Pro Artist Liquid Color Concealer in Mint, A'PIEU Aqua Peeling Cotton Swab in Intensive, and an Etude House eyebrow scissor.

The recent launch and raves for the make p:rem sunscreens instigated this haulage. RoseRoseShop's prices and discounts made it hard to resist when considering how much it sells for on Glow Recipe (make p:rem's only official USA seller).

Pyunkang Yul's oriental beauty line has been highly talked about on YouTube as well. I do want to try everything eventually but chose to get only the cleanser for now.

I couldn't believe how much cheaper all the foot peeling masks were on RRS, so naturally, I added one of each that they had out of curiosity. If it all works well, I will probably just stock up on whatever is the cheapest in the future.

The cotton swab exfoliator, eyebrow scissors, and color corrector were thrown in there either because I liked it, needed it, or just plain o' intrigued by it. Since those products are all light in weight, it didn't affect the total shipping price much.

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop price and stock

Price & Stock

K-Beauty products offered on RoseRoseShop seem to be the lowest prices available online and in stores outside of Korea (even with additional shipping costs). Items are all listed with their Korean retail prices but most goods seem to be always on some kind of sale.

RRS offers a majority of the brands and products that are popular in Korea at the moment. Even if they don't have it, there is the option to try and request it via their "Request Form."

Something that makes RRS different is their wholesale option. If there is a product you absolutely love and they carry it, they usually list an "x10" option that is slightly discounted when compared to adding 10 of the "x1" version of the listing.

As if RRS couldn't be any more unique, they also sell sample sachets and mini-bottles. If you want to test smaller amounts first, you can. If you want a super travel-friendly version of your faves, you can get that too. Yes, those things are usually gratis in Korea but it is nice to have the option.

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop requesting


For the hardcore K-Beauty fans, RoseRoseShop allows their customers to request items and brands. Requests could either become one of three things: regular listing, special request listing, or be rejected. The main difference between a regular and special listing is the latter includes an additional 8% commission fee and RRS purchases it after the order is placed versus having it in already stock in a warehouse somewhere. (Think personal buying.)

Judging from their Request Form section, it seems that those who ask for something from a brand that RRS already carries has better luck with the request becoming a regular listing.

It can be difficult to find the button to the actual form for making a request, but fear not it is there. Look for the small "Write" button at the bottom of the page next to the "Search" button. Having the "Search" and "Write" functions closer to the top of the site would have been more user-friendly, but I digress.

In my own experience, I received a comment on my request within a day or two, which said whether they could fulfill my request or not. (I asked for a specific make p:rem product and also asked if they could carry other make p:rem goods as well—in hopes that my item wouldn't be considered a special request and thus avoiding the commission fee.) After checking every few days, I finally saw my requested item about 2 weeks later along with a few of other products from the brand.


Email/Contact Form // Surprisingly quick (within a day or two). Perhaps the quickness would differ depending on the urgency of your inquiry, albeit they were responding to my non-urgent, mistakenly- sent product request.

Live Chat // Has set times on Monday-Thursday (10AM-5PM) and Friday (10AM-1PM). It is relatively fast as long as someone is available. If you see that the chat is live, I think it is more than likely to be first greeted by a "Customer Service" user who might say everyone is busy at the moment and to leave a message with an email address. I left the chat window bar opened for a bit and waited just in case someone freed up to chat. Within 5-7 minutes later a "roseroseshop" user answered my questions very promptly.

Website Design

The website's design has a very typical Korean e-commerce look. (i.e. Global Lotte, Gmarket, etc.) It isn't the most beautiful to look at but it works.

Certain categories are very general (ex: "Makeup - Eye" instead of Eyeshadows, Eyeliners, Eyebrow, etc.). There is basic filtering according to Price, Name, and Rating. However, there isn't a way to further filter pages results by skin type, concern, ingredient, etc. If their offerings weren't so plentiful, I wouldn't as bothered. But because RoseRoseShop has so many products available it takes ages to click through every page.

At least there is a search bar, right? Yes and no. When it works, it does its job. But it is very picky—if the name of the brand or product is slightly off, there won't be any results.
Ex 1: "make p:rem" works but "make prem" without the colon will give no results.
Ex 2: "eyeshadow", "eye shadow", "shadow" will give varying results (2 pages v. 3 pages v. 10 pages)

On the topic of search bars and filtering products, there is no way to find all the "Free Shipping" products RRS has at once. It isn't listed separately under their "Hot Sale" tab. It also isn't a searchable term in the search bar.

The listing information for each product is fairly bare-bones. On rare occasions, they will include a product's infographic made by the brands. One thing I wished they have is the ingredient information.

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop My Account


An account is required in order to check out. I believe creating an account on RoseRoseShop will give new users ₩2,000 credit.

Sign-ins via Google, Yandex, and PayPal are also an option for those who don't want to create a separate account via RRS. I am not 100% sure if the ₩2,000 credit is available for 3rd party sign-ins.

They do not have a points/reward system.

Check Out Process

Quick and simple. No new windows or tabs to overwhelm your computer. All the basic info inputting occurs on the same page and is easily modifiable. A click of the "Continue" button takes you to their PayPal checkout page. Once the payment is complete the page will redirect right back to RoseRoseShop site and say "Your Order Has Been Processed!"

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop Korean Won v US Dollar

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop PayPal


RoseRoseShop accepts payment via PayPal only—within PayPal you can choose to pay with your linked bank account or a credit card.

Even though the site has the option at the top right corner to view prices in Korean Won and USD, payments are done only in USD at their specified exchange rate. I contacted their customer service and they said it is because PayPal doesn't allow transactions in Korean Won. This seems a little weird since I have shopped on other international sites before where I have paid in a foreign currency via PayPal. So who knows?

As of now, I believe the only function of having the option to switch between the two currencies is so they can easily add new listings in their native Korean Won and then have their site's coding automatically convert the listing to USD for international customers to see.

RoseRoseShop's exchange rate isn't terrible. But it definitely isn't the most current rate at the time of purchase (ex: RRS's USD $1 to ₩1,120 versus actual ₩1,154).  In reality, it will usually only be a few dollars' difference. Those few dollars could potentially add up for larger hauls with shipping in consideration.

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop Checkout shipping


The most important aspect of RoseRoseShop that needs to be spelled out is, there is no "Free shipping with minimum purchase." Shipping prices are calculated by weight—the more you buy, the more you pay for shipping.

With that said, they offer a bunch of options: K-packet (has a weight limit), EMS, Air Parcel, DHL, etc. There are price tables for every mail courier.

It is a difficult system to "cheat" in the sense that it requires patience and a lot of adding and subtracting items from the cart. I found that this really helps curb my impulse purchases.

Sometimes RoseRoseShop offers "Free Shipping" for certain products or all products of a specific brand. This means that the shipping for each product is $0. If an order consists of only products that are labeled "Free Shipping" they will require the purchase of a tracking number for a few dollars.


The estimated shipping time for K-packet (regular Korean Mail) packages to the USA is 2-5 weeks. This seems pretty normal for an affordable international shipment option.

7/7 Placed order.
7/9 Order processing.  (Received no email, just saw the status on my account & order history)
7/12 Order shipped with tracking number. (Received email and on account)
7/17 Packaged arrived.

At first, I was a little worried that my package took a few days from being processed to being shipped. I had read on forums and blogs that some people have experienced items going out of stock after placing an order. RRS seems to only notify after the order has been shipping. While refunds for the OOS item is a no-brainer, shipping costs seem to be non-refundable.

Luckily for me, the reason for the delayed shipping wasn't due to stock. Perhaps they just had a lot of orders to deal with at the moment? I was surprised by how quickly my package arrived since I was expecting it to come in a month's time. It didn't even take a full week for the order to be transported from Korea to New York.

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop package


Everything was very well protected. Products that came in boxes were all individually wrapped in a double layer of bubble wrap. Flatter items (masks, beauty accessories, samples, etc.) were bundled together in a plastic pouch. Even the box my order came in was thoroughly taped on all sides.

I don't know if customs made a cut to the box or an untaped edge couldn't withstand the thrashing of international travel, my box had a small tear on one of the corners. Luckily, it wasn't bige enoug hfor any of my items to fall out of.


Within 7 days after the delivery date with some conditions and limitations. Costs are the customers' responsibility.

lavlilacs July 2017 haul - RoseRoseShop samples

Other Comments

Despite their product prices being the lowest available, I feel the possible hidden costs are in the Payment (exchange rate) and Shipping departments. But since all their items are Korean retail price, I'll let it go.

I am not sure how often their USD to Korean Won rate is updated to reflect the real exchange rate but as of now, summer 2017, the difference isn't too large. It seems that the RRS rate is maybe around ₩30 less than the live rate. Since when I ordered, I have seen the site's rate go from ₩1,120 to ₩1,100 to ₩1,090.

Since shipping costs are calculated based on weight, the final cost per item may potentially end up not being the cheapest available when considering Amazon and eBay sellers into the mix. (Still within only a few dollars difference.) However, what customers get in exchange is potentially better communication with RoseRoseShop and ease of mind regarding the authenticity of products.

They don't give a ton of samples but it is better than not receiving any at all. It is free aferall.

Shopping tips to maximize on shipping
Mix heavy and light items // The price tables are tricky to navigate. To summarize, shipping prices are based on some kind of weight tier system. If an order only has heavy items then the shipping fees will only be spread out between that. A few lighter items (under 100g) can usually be added without causing the price of shipping to change—in effect spreading out the cost of shipping to other items or getting free shipping of sorts for the lightweights.

Final price compare // If there is another site that sells the same/most of the same things as RRS, add everything to the carts first and see if there is an estimate for shipping. Gauge what the total price would be to see which ultimately has a better deal.


Look At Me Jelly Sunscreen SPF50 PA+++

12:44:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

lavlilacs Look At Me Jelly Sunscreen SPF50 review

A sunscreen that promises broad spectrum protection while being jelly in texture and moisturizing in formulation sounds perfect in every way possible. Look At Me's Jelly Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++ says it could do just that. It is a stark difference from the pasty and thick goop one typically associates with UV protection.

I was completely unaware of this brand and product before. There aren't even many reviews available on the internet. But since it was pretty affordable at oo35mm and it had a nice texture and finish, I was willing to give it a try. Plus, it didn't hurt that it seemed to be a mix of both chemical and physical sunscreens.

lavlilacs Look At Me Jelly Sunscreen SPF50 packaging

Look At Me's & TradeKorea's Descriptions:

Jelly Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF50 PA+++ cream with moisturizer is a broad spectrum protection and a light jelly type texture cream designed for daily use to keep skin protected against powerful UV rays. With its light texture it feels comfortable with no stickiness or greasy residue it keeps skin not only protected but hydrated, soothed wherever your day takes you.

Water Holding System
It moisturizes your skin first and protects the moist of your skin. Oil and moist of your skin is to balanced perfectly.

Outstanding Sun Protection
It creates a protective layer on your skin and it functions as a sun protection.

No Stickiness
It is not sticky at all since it is made of gel type and rather makes your skin smooth. Recommended for men and oily skin type.

For Sensitive Skin
Its main ingredients are natural ingredients so that it is suitable for acne, pimple skins.

1. After basic skin care, apply a good amount to areas that need intense care, such as the face, the neck and then make it absorbed into the skin by tapping it lightly.
2. Applying 30 minutes before going out is recommended. Apply additionally in case of being exposed to sun for long hours.

BeautyBoxKorea: USD $23.42
oo35mm: USD $10.99
Amazon: ~USD $8.49 + $5 shipping

lavlilacs Look At Me Jelly Sunscreen SPF50 back of tube

lavlilacs Look At Me Jelly Sunscreen SPF50 tube opened


The product comes in a standard opaque tube with a twist off cap. Since the formula of the sunscreen is very light, it doesn't cling to the sides of the tube and I had no trouble squeezing the gel out until it was almost cleared.


This jelly sunscreen seems to be mainly water and aloe based. There are a bunch of other floral and plant extracts added as well. Witch hazel, hyaluronic acid, and fragrance are placed towards the end half of the ingredients list.

What isn't in the sunscreen: alcohol, mineral oil, and parabens.

The main UV protectors are ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (octinoxate), titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. Since Korean regulation doesn't require active ingredients be spelled out on its packaging, customers just have to trust companies when buying Korean made sunscreens. Some companies who have plans to market towards international/USA customers do print the sunscreen percentages on their package, but those are rare.

*I did find an Amazon review where one person claims to have gotten a reply from a seller of the Look At Me Jelly Sunscreen when inquiring about the percentages. The seller told the person that this product had 1% titanium dioxide, 2% zinc oxide, and 5% octinoxate. Whether it is true or not, I cannot say but just thought I'd share what I have come across.

lavlilacs Look At Me Jelly Sunscreen SPF50 swatch

Color, Texture, Finish, & Scent

The sunscreen has a cloudy translucent color straight out of the tube. Once it is blended it, like any other gel-type product, it becomes transparent and invisible to the eye. There is an aloe scent that goes away quickly after application. The product is unbelievably lightweight and easy to spread for something that is marketed to be a sunscreen.

Despite some e-commerce sites noting a "no stickiness" finish, I beg to disagree if applying a thick layer (which should be how it is applied). It isn't a wet/moist feel but there is an undeniable tacky feeling no matter how many hours pass by after applying—pressing a hand against it will result in some adhesion but there isn't any residue. I ultimately got into the habit of applying some translucent powder over top for good measure, but the feeling doesn't go away completely. It is almost like having constantly sticky skin due to sweat.

Unlike titanium dioxide- and zinc oxide-heavy sunscreens, this one is definitely very hassle-free in the sense that soap and scrubbing aren't necessary to wash it away. I do not have to spend a few extra minutes to thoroughly wash off my hands after application for fear of smearing creamy product everywhere. No sunscreen is waterproof, but this sunscreen is not even water resistant.

How I Apply

I prefer to apply a generous 4 finger lengths worth of sunscreen for my face and neck. I am not sure if this is the correct amount to get the most SPF benefits. Some websites say a nickel sized, some 1/4 teaspoon, some 1/2 tsp, some a full 1 tsp, and there are ones who say a whole tablespoon. I like to think the amount I use is about 1/4 tsp, at the very least; who has the time to actually measure in the morning?

Since it is so lightweight and the formulation seems pretty gentle, I have no problem applying it right over my eye area. Companies always say how only special products are to be used for the eye area. I have gotten to the point where finding a separate SPF for the eyes is a bother and needing to applying a separate product in my routine is one too many. I haven't noticed any major issues from applying non-eye products onto the eye area yet, but then again if what the beauty companies say is true the harm would be done for the long-haul.

Thoughts & Recommendations

Rather than thinking of this as a moisturizing sunscreen, I feel like the Look At Me sunscreen is more of a moisturizer with some SPF. I appreciate that the sunscreen seems to add extra moisturizing capabilities to my skin without looking oily or dewy. Not having to deal with a white cast makes switching to chemical sunscreens a real possibility. But the fact that it washes off so easily with water worries me a little if I choose to apply the Jelly Sunscreen on a very hot and humid summer day. I would definitely not wear this if I plan to get wet in any way or sweat a lot. I see it being a great product for low-maintenance types who can't be bothered with skin care, makeup, or (double) cleansing who need convincing that SPF is a necessity. It could also be nice for those who work mostly indoors and see limited sunlight throughout the day. Makeup wearers and people with very sensitive/agitated skin could potentially fall in love with its finish and texture.

As for myself, I did like it but only for the specific situations mentioned above: indoor days, makeup days, and lazy days. If I were to be very picky and serious about my SPF, I would prefer something that is a little more water resistant and with better defined active ingredients for my own peace of mind.

Note 1 // I have gotten slightly sun-burnt (pre-tan, pinkish-red but not to the degree of itchiness and pain) on areas where I applied only a lighter layer of this sunscreen sat out in the blazing mid-day sun for about 20-30 minutes. It was long after my initial, and only, application of sunscreen. But I have done the same for other sunscreens before and don't think I have ever gotten burned then.

Note 2 // One tube lasted almost a month with regular use. I tend to be more generous with lightweight non-creamy sunscreens.


Deciem The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

12:09:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

lavlilacs Deciem The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Review

The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is a great introduction to both The Ordinary brand and niacinamide as an ingredient. When companies throw around jargon like niacinamide, retinoids, vitamin C, extract this, extract that, the first thing that comes to mind is all the dollar signs it will cost. With this little bottle of serum, I was able to try a new specialty skincare ingredient without the worries of having spent an obscene amount of money on something that won't play well with my skin.

*This post is mainly based on my experience with the product after about 1.5 month of use—which is around how long a bottle lasted me and my brother when applying it once daily.

lavlilacs Deciem The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% packaging

Deciem's description:

pH 5.50-6.50, water-free, alcohol-free, oil-free, silicone-free, nut-free, vegan, & cruelty-free

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.

Contraindications: If topical Vitamin C is used as part of skincare, it should be applied at alternate times with this formula (ideally Vitamin C in the PM and this formula in the AM). Otherwise, Niacinamide can affect integrity of pure-form Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid).

Note: While Niacinamide and Zinc PCA reduce the look of blemishes and balance visible sebum activity, neither is a treatment for acne. For persistent acne-related conditions, we recommend the use of Benzoyl Peroxide and/or Retinoic Acid. We do not recommend the use of Salicylic Acid. This formulation can be used alongside acne treatments if desired for added visible skin benefits.

Apply to entire face morning and evening before heavier creams.


Deciem (30ml): USD $5.90

lavlilacs Deciem The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% flat lay

I first saw this brand sprinkled throughout the Explore section of Instagram. I didn't pay much attention to it until Liah Yoo made a video on treating acne scars; it piqued my interest but didn't make me want to actively search it up. I just assumed it would be an expensive product and clicked away. C'mon the packaging and name makes it seem kind of fancy and clinical. Plus, I try not to click on everything YouTubers recommend so I don't overspend and hoard. It wasn't until Liah's follow-up The Ordinary review video, with "Best Skincare Under $10?!" in its title, did I become a tad obsessed and wanted to learn more about the brand and its products.

The Ordinary offers a ton of specialized products. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% stood out to me because Deciem markets this primarily for skin blemishes, congestion, and oiliness. Then a bunch of YouTubers and blogs noted it for being most beneficial to acne scarring and pores amongst a whole list of other concerns; all sounded like skin issues I have and wouldn't mind treating/preventing.

Benefits of topical niacinamide

→Good for acne, psoriasis, & rosacea

Reduces clogged pores
→Therefore improves oil production & the appearance of large pores

Stimulates cell renewal
→Evens skin tone (sallowness & dullness)
→Improves skin texture
→Reduces blotchiness & hyperpigmentation
→Repairs sun damaged skin

Increases production of collagen & ceramides
→Strengthens skin barrier
→Prevents moisture loss & dryness
→Feels more hydrated, soft, & supple
→Good for anti-aging (fine lines), skin elasticity

lavlilacs Deciem The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% pipette


Like with a majority of The Ordinary's products, the niacinamide serum comes in a glass bottle with a  dropper. It allows for very precise control of how much product to dispense. If I could change something about the packaging it would definitely be the pipette; it doesn't reach the bottom of the bottle so getting the remaining product was a challenge. Deciem/The Ordinary, please source a pipette that is slightly longer and tapered towards one side!

lavlilacs Deciem The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% swatch

Color, Texture, Finish, & Scent

The serum has no scent and no color. It is a viscose liquid, almost gel-like, that is easy to spread. Application of the serum can be tricky. If it isn't rubbed in properly and instead let to sink in on its own, the serum will dry out and leave white streaks. If it is rubbed in too rigorously it also leaves a white film. I like to lightly rub it in and then pat it down to help absorption. I have read that some people experience pilling but I have not.

How I Apply

I am not any more liberal with the serum just because it is an inexpensive product; if I was then it would completely defeat the point of it being affordable in the sense that I would go through a bottle way too quickly. Effective products should work even if a minimal amount is applied. I do use this to treat more areas (i.e. applying to neck versus not) but I would not dispense more serum per area than necessary.

With that being said, I have used this in two ways: apply ~1-2 drops per area on the forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, and neck (which comes out to be almost 1 pipette of product per use) or mix 3-4 drops with my moisturizer or oil.

Somehow I was able to persuade my teenage brother to test the product too. At the time, the both of us applied it at night only and directly onto our skin. When using the serum this way, one bottle seems to last about a month or so between the two of us. If using twice daily for 1 person, it'll probably last 1 month as well. If used once daily for 1 person then perhaps closer to 2 months. If mixed only a little with a cream or oil, it will obviously last much longer.

lavlilacs Deciem The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% before after

Just my guess on what kind of acne I have via observation. I haven't been professionally assessed by a derm.

Have more pustules (pus-filled pimples), blackheads, whiteheads, and some papules (inflamed red acne with no pus).

Only applied at night after cleansing and toner/essence but before moisturizer.

lavlilacs Deciem The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% brother before after

Again, this is just my guess on his condition from observation. He usually doesn't give a darn about his acne so he has also never been assessed professionally. I wish I had taken true "Before serum" and "After serum" photos but I didn't. To be completely transparent about it, the pics are of him after a month's nightly use versus a month without after he got fed up with my nonsense. His acne condition, prior to using the serum, looked more or less like the right photo, possibly a little worse.

Has more papules than pustules, sometimes has cysts (deeper rooted, large, painful acne with pus). He also has a lot of blackheads and whiteheads.

Only applied at night without any other skincare products and only cleanses face with water.

Thoughts & Recommendations

Neither of us experienced irritations from using the serum. We didn't do a patch test nor did we slowly build up our routine. The main benefit common to the both of us is a reduction of inflammation amongst red bumps. Over the course of the month, the bumps seem to subdue faster compared to before using niacinamide. Since my brother has a higher concentration of red acne than I do, he looks to have had drastically better results. However, it didn't seem like the niacinamide is stopping new acne from emerging—just that whatever came up the serum would help to make it less severe and recover a little faster. I think this is what Deciem meant when they say niacinamide will "reduce the look of blemishes" rather than be a treatment for acne.

I benefitted more than my brother from niacinamide's declogging abilities. My skin feels a lot smoother and looks less congested (especially from whiteheads in the chin area). There is also a big difference in my facial congestions when I applied the Niacinamide 10% serum directly and when I mixed it with my moisturizer. Direct application is, of course, more effective.

My skin concerns aren't 100% fixed, heck it doesn't even look that much different without the photos. I would say it seems comparably better than before I used the serum though. My pores do not look smaller per say; they do feel a little more clear (I tested this without exfoliating). I am hoping the appearance of my pores will improve with continued use. As of right now, I cannot attest to how helpful it is for the oilies since my skin hasn't adjusted to the hotter & more humid weather yet.

One and a half months is definitely not enough time to see results for scars, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles. Given the skin concerns the serum has been helpful for already and the great price point, I am not hesitant at all to continue using and repurchasing it. I may up the dosage to both day and night application or I might continue the current nightly routine and look to add toners/essences/moisturizers formulated with niacinamide. If I do end up purchasing it again and see better results for hyperpigmentation, skin tone, and fine lines I will most likely share an updated post.


Etude House BeBe Foot Mask

12:27:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

lavlilacs Etude House BeBe Foot Mask Review

There isn't much left to say, without being overly repetitive, about the state of my feet when I don't give it any tendering loving care in the form of acid peels. FYI I shared an in-depth explanation in The Face Shop's Smile Foot Peeling review.

Long story short! My feet skin gets very tough very quickly. The Face Shop's version is considerably more affordable when compared to the ever-so-popular Baby Foot Exfoliant Foot Peel (~$10s versus ~$20s). Yet I couldn't help but wonder if there were even cheaper but effective versions on the market, which is how I found Etude House's BeBe Foot Mask.

lavlilacs Etude House BeBe Foot Mask packaging - Korean and English ingredients, description, and directions

Etude House's description:

Easy and comfortable foot care sheet that makes sleek and clean feet with the effect of removing keratin, relaxing the foot odor and others by wearing it.

1. Slip on foot sheets. (Each sheet is double layered)
2. Cut along enclosed pouch’s dotted line and pour contents into foot sheet.
3. Wait 1~1 hr 30 minutes atfer wearing sheet for solution to absorb into skin.
4. Atef r a certain amount of time, take sheet off, wash off remaining solution and dry feet thoroughly.
5. After 4~6 days, the dead skin cells will naturally peel off. Do not peel with hands.
6. Wait 2 weeks until dead skin cells completely peel off for smooth and clean feet.

1. For external use only.
2. Avoid contact with eyes.
3. Keep out of reach of children.
4. Discontinue use if signs of irritation and/or rash appear.


Etude House (international): USD $9.10
Etude House (Korean retail): ₩7,000
Amazon: USD $7-9 (varies)
BB Cosmetic: USD $6.79
Cosmetic-love: USD $9.38

lavlilacs Etude House BeBe Foot Mask - Before and After

Why did it take me 3 years to discover that other Korean road shop beauty brands (The Face Shop, Etude House, the SAEM, Holika Holika, etc.) also sell their own versions of the foot peeling mask? I guess I mentally decided to just stick with the one brand that I have tried and saw results with to play it safe. Formulations probably aren't that much different from one shop to another...but you never know if even the slightest things will affect the effectiveness of the product or cause sensitivities.

I am glad to say that Etude House's BeBe Foot Mask does indeed work just as well as The Face Shop's Smile Foot Peel for me and costs a few dollars (and won) less. With the rate I need to use these babies, every few dollars less per mask adds up.

lavlilacs Etude House BeBe Foot Mask box contents


There isn't a whole lot different between Etude House's version and The Face Shop's: both peeling serums comes in a foot-shaped pouch and have plastic booties. The biggest distinction between the two are the former requires tying a knot to secure the bootie and the latter uses a sticker.

lavlilacs Etude House BeBe Foot Mask socks

Like TFS' bootie, this one also had two layers. The outer layer is made of plastic and the inner one is made of a cloth-like material.

The instructions are identical. Clean feet. Slip on booties. Pour serum into each bootie. Wait for 60-90 minutes. Remove bootie. Rinse off serum. Wait for the peeling to commence.


The ingredients are more or less the same as well; both have alcohol, water, lactic acid, sodium lactate, glycerin, and glycolic acid as the main components—only the order differs. Etude House and The Face Shop use salicylic acid but EH's lists the ingredient higher meaning the amount of the acid they use is potentially larger in comparison to TFS's formulation. The rest of the ingredients found are various plant and flower extracts.

Color & Scent

The serum is colorless and relatively odorless (maybe slightly artificially fruity). I didn't experience any sensitivity to all the acids.

lavlilacs Etude House BeBe Foot Mask progression of peeling

Day 1

Soaked my feet for 30 minutes in water prior to soaking it for 90 minutes in the peeling serum.

Day 2

Saw no changes. Didn't do any extra soaking.

Day 3

Still did not do any extra soaking. Started to see some peeling around the toes after a shower.

Day 4

Drenched my feet for a few hours while washing a car in flip flops. Skin started to really slough off just from it rubbing against the shoes. Didn't physically peel off any skin myself. Had to sleep with socks on.

Day 5

Skin continued to peel and shed. Socks were necessary 24/7.

Day 6

Impatience took over—began to manually peel off skin that looked likely to detach soon on its own. Did not forcibly remove any that were clearly not ready.

Day 7

Old skin on the bottom of my foot nearly finished peeling. Skin on top and on the sides of my feet needed a little help; rubbed it off with my hands in the shower. Deeper callouses on my heels remained.

Day 8

Peeling completed. Scrubbed heels with a pumice stone in the shower and was able to file and smooth down quite a bit of the deeper & tougher stuff. Feet were baby smooth.

lavlilacs Etude House BeBe Foot Mask with soaking and abrasion from shoes

Thoughts & Recommendations

I am not sure if it was due to Etude House's formulation or the wet feet & flip flops combo, but this is the first time I have had actual skin peeling off in a layer. Of all the times I have used The Face Shop's version, my skin came off in flakes and it could not be peeled off in any capacity.

Regardless, I can say for sure that having wet feet does help loosen and soften the dead skin a great deal. Abrasion from walking further loosens and separates the dead skin from the soles. Even if there is no time in the day to sit and soak your feet in water for 30 minutes every day, keeping the bottoms of your feet in the shallow water while showering for even 10-15 minutes helps a lot.

lavlilacs Etude House BeBe Foot Mask - after peel, close up of heel

While the BeBe Foot Mask wasn't tough enough to tackle the most stubborn cracks on the heels and balls of my feet, it did a damn great job at breaking down and loosening other thick skin my soles developed over the last few months. The flakes came off in multiple layers in areas where the skin was thickest.

Which one I would repurchase all depends on whichever is cheaper at the time, how urgently I need it, and what the availability is at the (e-)shop. Etude House's foot peel and The Face Shop's foot peel work similarly enough that I would gladly pick up either or; they are one-in-the-same to me in terms of efforts required and results returned.


tria Hair Removal Laser 4X & SmoothStart Calming Gel - 6 Months

12:06:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

It is more than safe to say that I gave the tria Hair Removal Laser 4X a fair trial with 6 months of bi-weekly usage. Even tria claims there would be visible results after just 3 months of lasering. I gave my pits, stache, and knuckles double the attention and received varying degrees of results in return.

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 24 Weeks

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 26 Weeks, 6 months

Click to see the progression of hair loss: 1 month. 2 months. 3 months. 4 months. 5 months.

Do take my observations with a grain of salt. Everyone's skin and hair are different. Heck, even on my own body the hairs on different areas are not one in the same. My knuckle and arm hairs are thin and wispy. My armpit hairs are thick and course. My mustache hairs are thin & short and thick & long depending on which section of my upper lip it grows out from.

With that being said, I have come to the definite conclusion that the tria Hair Removal Laser works best on thicker, darker, and coarser hair. I won't say that it is completely ineffective towards thinner and lighter hairs; I just didn't see as noticeable results in the same treatment period.

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 24 Weeks Closeup

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 26 Weeks, 6 months Closeup

tria Hair Removal Laser Facial Hair 2 Weeks Closeup

Upper lips.

Case in point 1. There are minimal differences between the photo taken 2 weeks after my first lasering and two weeks after my thirteenth lasering. Maybe there are some hairs that haven't regrown. But on the whole, most of the stache hairs are still very much present. My biggest hope was to at least not see the longer wisps at the corner of my mouth. But alas, those continue to grow back a little longer every week that I don't shave them.

tria Hair Removal Laser Knuckle Hair 24 Weeks

tria Hair Removal Laser Knuckle Hair 26 Weeks, 6 months

tria Hair Removal Laser Knuckle Hair 2 Weeks

Knuckle hairs.

Case in point 2. Like I've mentioned this before, these hairs aren't my top priority when it comes to hair removal. The strands don't bother me if it's there. If the lasering could rid them, cool. If not, cool too.

These hairs are much thinner and lighter when compared those on my upper lip. I had a difficult time trying to laser this area because the surface is small compared to the laser's nozzle and the hairs don't all grow on the flattest part of the knuckle. Both reasons gave the device a tough time trying to detect the hairs and to activate the lasering.

tria Hair Removal Laser Armpits Hair 24 Weeks

tria Hair Removal Laser Armpits Hair 26 Weeks, 6 months

tria Hair Removal Laser Armpits Hair 2 Weeks


The success story of the journey. True to their words, I definitely saw the most drastic results within the first 3 months of using the device on the pits. I was floored by the number of armpit hairs that didn't sprout back after just 1 month of zapping. 2 months in and there was only about a quarter of the original amount of thick pit hairs left. 3 months in however was when things started to stagnate. 6 months later, a few stragglers are still left behind; those few strands of hair seem very persistent despite after half a year of trying to literally destroy them at their roots.

Few hairs remain but the time it takes for them to grow back after each shave is much longer than before. My pits also do not feel unbearably itchy when the regrowth occurs. I have also noticed fewer in-grown hairs over the half year that I have been lasering and shaving instead of plucking.

Half-Year Conclusion

The tria Hair Removal Laser is truly an investment device in terms of cost and time dedication needed. Using this device is considerably cheaper than having to pay professionals up to thousands of dollars per session. Both require the same commitment to multiple sessions while the tria has one flat cost and unlimited usage.

Worth it just for the time I save by not plucking each individual armpit hair with tweezers manually. I am aware that epilating, waxing, and shaving are much faster options. But the preparation & cleanup time and other frustrations (in-growns, stubbles, itchiness, etc.) with those methods aren't as ideal.

Worth it for the cost when compared to professional services. If comparing to prices of other at-home hair removal options mentioned earlier, it cannot even be placed in the same league.

I haven't had any professional treatment done so I don't know what the size of those laser's treatment window is, but the biggest gripe I have with the tria is its small laser window. Zapping larger areas like the pits is a pain since the device does start to feel heavy after using one-handed for a while. I can't even imagine trying to tackle larger spaces like the arms, legs, and chest. I guess the good thing with a smaller treatment window is that it allows for precision and targeting of smaller regions without needing to buy a separate smaller device.

The SmootStart Calming Gel doesn't do the best job as a consumer-friendly numbing cream of sorts, it did help psychologically to know there is a slight barrier between my skin and the laser. While I am always tempted to slather on a thick layer of it prior to the zapping session, I found that this action only hinders the devices from being able to sense the skin and hair properly.

Now that I have used the laser for half a year, I am declaring my mustache, knuckles, and armpits to be laser-free for at least 3 to 6 months to see whether or not any of the current results revert. I have read that while the laser does stop existing hair follicles from producing hairs, it doesn't mean new hair follicles won't develop. Here's to hoping the changes aren't too drastic!


May & June Haul - CeraVe

12:13:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

lavlilacs May and June 2017 haul - CeraVe

The byproducts of a skin allergy and drugstore sales: two too many backups of skincare in my stash. I hadn't bought beauty goods from CVS, Walgreens, or RiteAid in over 3 years. I stocked up on so many skincare and makeup items from the time I studied abroad and on my big Asia trip that local shopping was quite unnecessary. As I depleted the basics like toner and moisturizer in my stash, I still found myself gravitating towards Asian brands just out of habit. Then that allergic reaction happened and I forced myself to go on a skincare diet of sorts with some non-fancy and inexpensive beauty potions.

The CeraVe brand and especially their PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion seemed to be highly recommended by dermatologists, at least according to a bunch of forum threads I came across when searching about treating the allergic reaction I had in April. Reviews were generally high praises for how gentle and moisturizing the lotion is—exactly what I was looking.

Then you know...drugstores and their BOGO 50% deals, CeraVe's Eye Repair Cream found it's way in my hands as well. It made the best use of the 50% off as it was closest in price to the lotion ($16.29 versus $16.49). I didn't want to commit to 2 bottles of the moisturizer without having tried it. Plus, CeraVe always has a $2 manufacturer's coupon on their website.

June came around and Bestie C kept me updated every week on the status of stock at our local CVS after I lamented about how impossible it was initially to track even one bottle of the PM lotion in our neighborhood. I wasn't too interested in the idea of having multiple back ups but another BOGO 50% sale on CeraVe, $2 manufacturer's coupon, $4 off $14 CeraVe brand at CVS, and $5 off $25 at CVS changed my mind immediately. My second haul came out to be as if it was BOGO Free, an impressively better deal when compared to my previous purchase!

Despite having a bunch of backups, I won't rule out the idea of buying non-drugstore brand moisturizers in the near future. It is just nice to have something on hand which works with my skin, isn't too expensive, and I can fall back to if sensitivities do happen.


May Coop Raw Moisturizer

12:11:00 AM mandy 0 Comments

lavlilacs May Coop Raw Moisturizer Review

Despite the scarce number of reviews for May Coop's Raw Moisturizer, I couldn't help but be intrigued by the rest of the Raw line since their Raw Sauce is beloved by so many people. The moisturizer is the most affordable cream in their lineup to incorporate the star ingredient: Acer Maple Water. Keeping within the same range isn't a priority. It is more likely to happen if I hear good things about any one item, adding a sister product seems like a no-brainer.

lavlilacs May Coop Raw Moisturizer packaging

Peach & Lily's description:

The Raw Moisturizer is a unique formula moisturizer that contains a powerful combination of 70% maple tree sap, aloe, baobab tree and cactus extracts that easily absorb into the skin. Leaves skin feeling deeply hydrated and smooth. Perfect for all skin types.

If the Raw Sauce is the perfect prepping agent to ensure your skin will drink the following steps of moisture and nutrition, the Raw Moisturizer is the perfect seal, holding everything in with a silky non-sticky finish perfect for both morning and evening wear. Take full advantage of all the steps of your skincare routine, from start to finish.

Apply as the very last step of your skincare routine to seal your skin for maximal moisture retention.


Peach & Lily (80ml): USD $40

lavlilacs May Coop Raw Moisturizer out of packaging


Unlike the Raw Sauce, the Raw Moisturizer only has 70% maple tree sap. Peach & Lily mentions a bunch of other extracts. However, those are listed further down on the ingredients list—meaning amounts used are small and benefits typically minimal. For those with sensitive skin, the moisturizer does have silicones, mineral oil, fragrance, and parabens.

lavlilacs May Coop Raw Moisturizer inner cover stopper


Nice packaging is the one thing I can confidently say I love about May Coop. Frosted glass jars are such a pleasure to look at every day. Although it doesn't matter so much for a jar per say, I generally appreciate see-through properties of glass packaging more as I can tell when the product inside is running low.

lavlilacs May Coop Raw Moisturizer closeup shot of texture

May Coop's Raw line has a bunch of different moisturizers:
Raw Moisturizer 80ml - USD $40
Raw Concentra Day Cream 50ml - USD $48
Raw Concentra Night Cream 50ml - USD $65.

I chose the Raw Moisturizer because of it's clearly larger size and cheaper price. The biggest difference ingredient-wise between the three are their maple sap percentages (70% vs. 90% vs. 80%) and various additional extracts. The fact that May Coop decided to balance out the lower percentage of maple sap with more product is very much appreciated.

After having gone through a majority of my tub of Raw Moisturizer, I am curious of just how much more moisturizing the extra percentages of acer mono sap really is in cream form. Would it really be worth the extra money and less product for a higher concentration?

lavlilacs May Coop Raw Moisturizer swatch

Color & Scent

There is a scent to the cream. I can't place my finger on precisely what it is. It definitely isn't mapley as one would expect nor is it overpowering. Regardless, the fragrance doesn't linger once applied.

lavlilacs May Coop Raw Moisturizer swatch applied to hand

How I Apply & Finish

The moisturizer is very lightweight - it is heavier than a gel but far lighter than most creams. My skin takes it in really well. I can easily apply a generous glob of product (2-3x shown above) and my skin would drink it right up without leaving any stickiness. It might not be heavy enough for those with drier skin though. The moisturizing-ness doesn't last all day for my driest and flakiest parts. Raw Moisturizer would be just right for normal, combination, and oily skin.

Even when I wake up, my face, for the most part, feels moisturized without being oily. It is normal for me to feel some kind of leftover tackiness in the mornings but I didn't have that with this moisturizer.

I have also used this very generously (heaping dollop) and moderately (stingy scoop) on various occasions. Like with Raw Sauce, this cream shows better results when a liberal amount is applied. I would recommend using more than "just enough" to cover the face.

Peach & Lily accurately describes the finish as "silky non-sticky finish". I assume this is a result of all the silicones it is formulated with in addition to the maple sap being able to sink into the skin more easily. The moisturizer even spreads like a typical silicone-based primer would. There is definitely a visible lack of the moist look minus the pore-smoothing effect.

Thoughts & Recommendations

For comparison's sake, I have applied the Raw Moisturizer on half my face and neck before. It was weird because the moisturizing difference didn't look drastic. The side with moisturizer did feel softer and smoother but it could very well be all the silicones.

My skin looks less oily of late. I cannot tell whether or not this moisturizer is the reason for it or if my skin is still in cold & dry weather mode. There are tons of reviews that claim this cream is mattifying and keeps their oilies at bay. I won't argue with that because it does have a satiny finish after applying. What I can say from my experience is the Raw Moisturizer is slightly lacking in the deep moisture department for my combo-dry skin. My face looks just right in the oily spots throughout the day but for the drier and flakier sections, it just isn't enough—very similar to the Raw Sauce in this respect.

Maybe I just used this moisturizer during the wrong seasons? Maybe I need to find a way to better exfoliate those darn dry flakes from my face? I wonder if my opinions towards May Coop's Raw Moisturizer would have been any different under different circumstances. It is a great product in the areas that aren't overly troubled and I have never tried a moisturizer of all things to have such a satin finish. Chances of me repurchasing are kind of low right now; perhaps if my skin gets oilier in the summer I might consider Raw Moisturizer as a tried-and-trusted option.