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Skincare Suncare

AmorePacific Skincare Testing with the Time Response Collection, Resort Sun Protection Mist and Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masques

June 15, 2016

I’ve been intrigued by Korean skincare for quite some time now and have played with items here and there incorporating bits into my skincare routine. Many of you frequently recommended items from AmorePacific and thanks to your recommendations I’ve found some favorites including the Color Control Cushion Compact (204 is my match), the Moisture Bound Lip Treatment (best unscented lip treatment I’ve used), the Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel (Oil Free) and the Treatment Cleansing Foam. This summer I’ve had the opportunity to team up with AmorePacific and try out some items from their Time Response Collection, Resort Collection and Moisture Bound Collection. I’ve put select skincare items to the test for the past three weeks and have reviews to share today.

First I want to mention the AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compacts as they are great foundations for warm summer weather.
I’ve reviewed them before and in case you missed previous posts a quick recap is that these
are weightless sheer to medium coverage foundations in a sponge filled
compact. I use 204 which has a golden yellow undertone. It’s the most natural foundation I’ve tried makes the skin look like your own skin but better. They come in a silver mirrored compact filled with a white insert, but there is another sealed package with a refill so I find the price quite reasonable. Below are two separate compacts shown, open vs closed:

Coverage is at most medium if you build it and you can do so without it looking cakey or feeling heavy. It also has SPF 50 and does not irritate my sensitive skin. Since it’s really lightweight I think it’s ideal for summer weather. I have normal combo skin and it works for me. One of my friends has super dry skin and she loves it too. Swatches of four of the options – I don’t have 104 shown, but there’s a face chart on their website to help you match online:

Next up is the Time Response Collection which is AmorePacific’s most popular skincare line. It’s a line that has Green Tea Flower Extract – the benefits of these ingredients are to reduce wrinkles by boosting collagen production, stimulate hyaluronic
production to balance the skin and regulate melanin to help with hyper pigmentation. A few of my close friends have urged me to try the Time Response line – stating that the Skin Renewal Cream and Eye Renewal Cream as the best wrinkle-fighters on the planet. The pieces from the collection are very expensive and I decided the best way to get a sense of the line was to try one of the trial sets. The current Time Response Collection set from AmorePacific is the Time Response Skin Renewal Set which has deluxe mini sizes of 6 items. The team ended up sending me a slightly different variation – two items from other lines are mixed into the set I have, so I’ll be reviewing items I received.

Below is the Time Response Introductory Set:

Items I tried out with thoughts on each product, full size options are linked in case you want to see the full ingredient list which is on each product page:
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Serum 5ml – this is a highly concentrated serum formula that you apply morning and night before the cream, serums in general help boost the results of moisturizers and when I use them, I notice my skin looks better but I usually prefer to use as few skincare products under my makeup so it’s often neglected
  • All Day Balancing Care Serum 10 ml – this is a more lightweight serum compared to the Time Response version, this one is almost like a toner in the sense that it rebalances the skin, I prefer this version to the Time Response, when using this under moisturizer I notice fine lines disappear and skin looks more alive
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Fluid 30 ml – this is a lightweight moisturizer which is a less intense version of the cream, it leaves the skin feeling very moisturized but has a lightweight finish
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Toner 30 ml – this is a balancing toner that restores skin’s pH levels and also works to make sure remaining residue after cleansing is removed, it’s a moisturizing toner and left the skin feeling well hydrated and plump
  • Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System 30 ml – is a face spray that comes highly recommended by many of my readers and it’s really great at refreshing and cooling the skin during the day
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Cream 15 ml – this is a luxurious face cream designed to reduce wrinkles and sagging, after using this for three weeks I found that it feels very rich and I was worried it would be too heavy but it is not, a little goes a very long way so the small container will probably last me at least a couple of months, I have wrinkles on my forehead and this has started to noticeably reduced fine lines
  • Time Response Skin Renewal Eye Cream 3 ml – another highly recommended product which I’ve found also goes a very long way with a tiny bit, it works really well to reduce puffiness on me which is my main concern for the eyes right now
I also tried the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque which comes in a box of 2 for $32 or box of 6 for $90. I love trying sheet masks and was really excited to try these and the price seemed really affordable especially if I were to fall in love and want to use these weekly or every other week. These are two-piece masks for the upper and lower face. It comes with a vial filled with serum that you apply directly to the face first before applying the sheet masks on top. They are the thickest most cushiony sheets I’ve ever tried, there is a peel off section to reveal a gel-like side you apply to the face on top of the serum. It has a soothing cooling feel and leaves the skin feeling plump, revived and glowing. I used one as an at-home face treat so I don’t know how the results perform under makeup. The next day after I used the mask my skin felt noticeably smoother and more hydrated.

Last but not least is the new Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 from the new Resort Collection. These days I’m really concerned about anti-aging and protecting my skin from sun exposure. Living in Southern California we have lots of sunshine and I love being outdoors so I’m forever searching for sunscreens. So far there’s no one sunscreen for all occasions. Some work better under makeup, others are good for outdoors, and then there are ones I need for sport activity that are sweat-proof. For me there are quite a few good ones that fit the bill on all aspects of what I look for – lasts long, doesn’t irritate skin, doesn’t clog pores, doesn’t sting the eyes but so many have that white cast on the skin. There are very few that have passed my test – the AmorePacific Sun Protection Mist with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has joined the club.

It’s a lightweight mist sunscreen that’s completely clear. I sprayed it directly on my face when I first received it then read the instructions and realized that you are supposed to spray on your hands and not on the face. It has a fluid texture that’s clear making it disappear on the skin. It has plum extract which helps protect against heat-aging which is new to me and something I wasn’t aware of. According to AmorePacific heat exposure accelerates oxidization and inflammation which are the two major causes of premature aging. It also includes ingredients to reduce irritation, keep skin moisturized and cool. Applying on the skin I tried it over the Time Response moisturizers (I tried it over the cream and serum on separate occasions) and it is lightweight enough that it doesn’t feel heavy by adding that one more layer. Alone it will look very dewy on the skin but does not feel greasy – let it set on the skin before making any judgements. It works well under makeup. It appears to be designed for the face but I would also use this on the body.

I researched a lot of reviews online before deciding what to try from the line, since the items are pricey I wanted to pick wisely. The reviews on the Time Response Collection are overwhelmingly positive and I was thrilled to be able to test some pieces. I do believe seeing results from skincare takes a lot of time and diligent use – after three weeks I have noticed improvement with fine lines and wrinkles that seem to have creeped up on me. Since the collection is on the expensive side and if you’re unsure of what formulas will work best for your skintype, I hands down recommend trying one of the trial sets first which will allow you to sample items at a more affordable price compared to splurging on the full size items.

My favorites from what I tested include the Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque, Moisture Bound Face Mist, Sun Protection Mist, All Day Balancing Serum and Time Response Renewal Eye Cream. Once the trial box set is used but I plan on buying the eye cream. Another box of the sheet masks are in my online cart as I type this post ready for checkout.

Serum-wise going forward it’s a toss up whether I would decide to splurge on a box of sheet masks which have the serum vials or just purchase a bottle of the serum which sounds more expensive but would probably last a lot longer.

For the face creams, my favorite is still the Moisture Bound Hydra Gel because it’s more lightweight and better suited for my normal/combo skin (especially in the summer) and the price points of the Gel and Cream in the Moisture Bound line is a lot easier to swallow for luxury skincare. However the Time Response Renewal Cream is everything everyone has raved about – nothing I’ve tried has reduced my forehead fine lines and wrinkles as well as this has. My forehead area is probably the part of my face that is most exposed to sun and heat and is more normal-dry versus the rest of my face which is more normal-combo. The main difference between the two lines is the Moisture Bound is more geared towards anti-aging prevention and age delay while Time Response is more reactive to reduce effects of aging. It’s noticeable that the effects of the Time Response line are more potent. Now that I just turned 35 I feel like my awareness of wrinkles and fine lines has heightened. I don’t know if I will purchase a full size of the cream when my deluxe size is used up but given that the deluxe size has quite a bit of product I will have some time to think about it before splurging.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience testing items from AmorePacific! So many of you have given me such great advice about skincare, especially from the AmorePacific line. If you have anything to add about your experiences, loves or hates please do so in the comments.

Many thanks to AmorePacific for sponsoring this post. Products featured gifted for review. As always all opinons my own. More information in my disclosures.

Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum

February 27, 2015

Hourglass Cosmetics launched their first skincare products in January of this year with two items in a line they call Equilibrium. There are two items both are available in limited quantites at the Hourglass Store on Abbot Kinney, Bergdorf Goodman (New York, in store) and Liberty (London, in store).

Equilibrium Day Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($115 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is a daytime treatment that is designed to give radiant, supple and healthy-looking skin created from within. From Hourglass:

  • This is designed to complement the evening treatment, and shield skin from the sun with SPF 30. It contains a plant-derived phosphatidylglycerol, which improves skin’s texture and tone. The light, luxurious fluid also contains a blend of four organic chemical compounds providing broad spectrum SPF 30 to shield the skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum ($350 for 1.7 fl oz/50 ml) is a rebalancing product intended for night time use only. Description per Hourglass:

  • This revolutionary nighttime re-balancing treatment contains a powerful family of ingredients designed to counteract the visible signs of aging – resulting in radiant, healthy-looking skin created from within. The serum is created using an ultrasonication process, producing microscopic oil droplets which deliver the ingredients into the skin at the most optimal level.

Equilibrium at the Abbot Kinney store opening last September, more on the beautiful store here

Hourglass kindly sent me a sample of the Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum for review back at the beginning of the year and I’ve been putting it to the test for 50+ nights. This is a resurfacing and rebalancing night time treatment that comes in a black pump bottle. The bottle is made of Miron violet glass to protect the contents from harmful light. The product description recommends use of the product for 40-56 days (after a full cellular turnover cycle) to see full results. I wanted to give this a thorough test drive in order to provide as detailed a review as possible on using this.

In testing the Equilibrium Biomimetic Skin Active Serum I saw results in two weeks. If you’ve followed my skincare posts, you know that ver the past year and a half I’ve had fluctuations with skin issues. I’ve discovered a number of products that have helped to rebalance the skin and bring it back to it’s normal state. Testing skincare is usually touch and go – you have to really test things over a long period of time to see if they end up working as you hoped. The biggest issue I’ve had with my skin included texture issues all over the face, breakouts on the chin area and scarring. The items I’ve tried and tested from Ole Henriksen, Tatcha, SK-II and regular go-to’s have helped with the texture and breakouts.

The Hourglass Equilibrium Serum has helped keep my skin clear and removed my chin breakouts and has worked remarkably well in fading scars. This is a fluid type of product that is very gentle on the skin and has a moisturizing feel without any detectable scent. It absorbs nicely into the skin so it doesn’t feel like there is product that is just sitting on your face that will slide off once your head hits the pillow. It feels very soothing on the skin which is a huge plus for my sensitive face. The results have been incredibly good. My skin has noticeably (and dramatically) improved in texture and clarity. 

There are three other night time treatments that I’ve used over the past couple of years that I will offer a comparison to.

1) Chanel La Nuit de Chanel is part of the Resynchronizing line. I bought this and used it up entirely. I found consistent use helped keep my skin clear but wasn’t strong enough to help with serious scars or texture issues. I used it up and really liked it, I will probably go back to this once my skin returns to it’s normal state. If you have normal sensitive skin that needs basic and simple hydration at night, I highly recommend this.

2) The SK-II Skin Refining Treatment is something I used and love. It improved my skin’s texture significantly after several months of use. This one is gentle on the face and after using this I noticed better skin texture, clearer complexion and a glow. The Hourglass by comparison exceeds the SK-II in terms of giving you results faster more dramatic improvement in skin. Both are good and over time they will give you a similar result (better complexion and texture), the SK-II will take a bit longer to give you the same results.

3) I’ve also written about and used the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment (reviewed here). This one also improved my skin’s texture and reduced breakouts on the chin area. This one isn’t the best for those with sensitive noses because it is fragranced. If you have super delicate skin you find this one tingles too much. I found the scent to be ok, but many have commented they found it too strong.

So out of the four night-time treatments I’ve tested, my top two picks include the Hourglass and SK-II. I didn’t want to fall in love with the Hourglass one due to the hefty price tag but it truly delivers results and performs exceptionally well. My husband has commented on how much my skin has improved after I used this and asked “what are you doing differently?” It’s gentle enough for nightly use – in testing this, I would recommend using this almost every night to get the best results (skipping this for 3+ nights resulted in breakouts coming back after testing some other products). I give this a super huge thumbs up.

The Equilibrium line is available at select locations: Hourglass Store on Abbot Kinney, Bergdorf Goodman (New York, in store), Liberty (London, in store). More online at Hourglass Cosmetics. Have you tried any of the Hourglass Equilibrium products? If not, what do you currently use at night?  
The Equilibrium serum was provided courtesy of Hourglass for review consideration.

By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serum | Apricot Glow and Sunny Flash

October 20, 2014

I’m always a fan of liquid highlighters that give a nice luminous glow, especially ones that have just the right consistency to mix in with foundations. Finding ones that are warm enough in color with just the right amount of shimmer for my medium olive skin isn’t easy. There are a number of liquid highlighters on the market that are perfect for highlighting that are very shimmery or pale in color. Finding the right one to mix product in with foundation or use as an all over primer is tricky for me because I prefer ones that are beige, golden, yellow or darker in color. I had been eyeing the By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serums ($89 for 30 ml/1 fl oz) for quite some time and finally splurged over the summer on Apricot Glow No. 3 and Sunny Flash No. 4. I’ve been very pleased with both.

The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serum is a color correcting fluid. It has a nice smooth texture that blends in nicely with the skin. By Terry calls these “color control radiance elixirs.” The reps that have helped me at Space NK and Barneys explained that these are called serums because of the ingredients inside these that help smooth and nourish skin while brightening dark spots. I’m not sure if the serum actually helps lighten dark spots or just lightens the look of dark spots. I haven’t used this long enough to see results of dark spots fading. Over the past four months that I’ve been using these, I haven’t noticed dark spots fade, although this does really help to even the look of the skin and creates a lovely glow.

There are four different shades, I tested a sample packet of all four and prefer the options 3 and 4 because they work best with my skin tone. You can use these individually or mix them together to get different effects. Due to the high price of these I haven’t splurged on the other two.

Swatches with different lighting shows how soft these liquids are, they have a subtle luminous glow that is visible but not too shimmery, these have a soft rose scent that is really soothing and not overpowering. However if you have an extra sensitive nose, you may want to test in person before splurging:

Out of the four shade options, I picked out Apricot Glow which is their universally flattering shade for fair to medium skin tones and Sunny Flash which is the bronzed version. I really like how Apricot Glow has a yellow-peach undertone which flatters my medium olive skin. There is a subtle pearlescent quality in it that flashes slight hints of pink, but it’s predominantly golden and peach which I find adds that perfect glow when used all over the face. I like this as a primer to give a healthy looking radiant effect. If you add foundation and powder on top, you won’t see the glow as much but I do see a visible difference in the overall look. I like this one mixed in with foundation as well.

Sunny Flash is a shade darker than my skintone but I like this mixed in with foundations to warm them up. I also like this layered on top of the cheeks or eyes to add a bit of depth and warmth. If you add powder or foundation on top, you won’t see as much of the glow but I really like how this looks to smooth out the skin and cheek area. It has enough color to give a very slight contour. It has visible shimmer in it so it makes the skin glow, but not too much.

The serums come with an easy to use pump dispenser:

Some comparisons to other highlighters and illuminators. All of these have beautiful shimmery particles which make them look different depending on how the light interacts with the highlighters. I’ve taken three different swatch shots to show the base color along with the luminescent quality:

NARS Hot Sand Illuminator (discontinued)
MAC Strobe Liquid in Golden Elixir (discontinued)

I’m really pleased with both. Many highlighters look good for a few hours if I use them all over the face or mixed in with foundations but end up looking too dewy by early afternoon. The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi Serums have a thinner texture that isn’t quite as emollient as others which I find makes them last longer on the skin. You get the nice glow without looking greasy in a few hours. I found them both suitable for my super sensitive skin, neither clogged or emphasized pores, although I did find they looked best when used over well-moisturized skin. At $89 each these are quite expensive. I haven’t found anything quite like Apricot Glow though, it’s a very unique golden apricot color which I’ve been looking for what seems like forever. I highly recommend both.


The By Terry Cellularose Brightening CC Lumi-Serums come in four shades. They retail for $89 each, available at Space NK and Barneys New York.
PS If you have been waiting to splurge, you may want to take advantage of Space NK’s Discover Promotion which ends on 10/21 for $20 off a $75 purchase with code DISCOVER20.
Are you a By Terry fan? What are your favorites?

Serums In Rotation: Chanel Le Jour de Chanel and Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum

June 18, 2014

I’ve started to explore more in skincare the past couple of years. Through my 20’s I had pretty good skin that didn’t need much treatment other than a basic cleanser or moisturizer. As I transition into my early 30’s I’ve found my skin in need of more. So many have told me about the benefits of using a serum under moisturizer, but I have sensitive skin. Several serums I’ve tried at the counter or at make over events have ended up being too rich and heavy-feeling so I avoided them for a long time. In the past I’ve tested mini samples of several serums, I’ve found many feel nice but didn’t didn’t really seem to make a difference in my overall skin appearance.

Three serums have changed my outlook on serums in general. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum is amazing in terms of maintaining a good glow for the skin. I find it’s good if you have minor imperfections and need an extra boost of moisture (more details in my review here). Two other serums I have in rotation that I wanted to share with you are Chanel Le Jour de Chanel and Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum

Both serums come in a convenient pump dispenser bottle. The serum textures are on the thin side with a slight gel-like finish but blend easily onto clean skin. Chanel Le Jour de Chanel is clear while Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum has a subtle pearly finish that contains 24k gold.

First up is the Chanel Le Jour de Chanel ($85 for 50 ml/1.7 fl oz). I’ve been using this for a year since it was first released as a Nordstrom exclusive. This one has Salicylic Acid which helps exfoliate the skin gently and clears up any clogged pores and small blemishes over time (but doesn’t make the skin peel). It claims to tighten pores and reduce the size. I have small pores but I found it does improve the look of the skin and make pores smaller. It layers well under moisturizer to make the skin feel hydrated, smooth and slightly more radiant. I wouldn’t recommend using this if your skin is irritated or has any open or healing blemishes. This one is best for unbroken skin and if you’re not extremely sensitive.
I made the mistake of using this alone as a moisturizer when I first received a mini sample in the mail. The artists at the Chanel counter explained to me that I was using it incorrectly and it was not sufficient to be used alone. Adding this under your moisturizer helps improve the T-zone area and extends the wear of your foundation throughout the day as it helps to draw in your moisturizer to the skin. 
A quick tip on application – if you feel that it stings the skin, make sure your skin is completely dry after you cleanse and tone before you apply this. I’ve found that applying items to a wet face can sometimes make moisturizers or serums sting. I’ve used this in conjunction with a number of moisturizers, my current favorites to use this with are the Chanel Le Blanc Moisturizing Cream, Chanel Sublimage La Creme Texture Fine and Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Cream.
Chanel Le Jour de Chanel ingredient list here

If you’ve shopped online with Tatcha you know that their orders come with generous samples and often have good promotion codes to try new items. My first order with them came with their Deep Hydration Firming Mask which is amazing. They’ve recently expanded their Water Collection with the Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Serum ($95 for 30 ml/1.0 fl oz). They kindly sent me a sample to try and I’ve been thrilled with it. Several readers have already raved to me about this one before I had the chance to try it. Many have said it’s worked wonders on their dry skin so I was worried this might be too strong for my skin but I found the Deep Hydration Firming Mask to be amazing on my skin so I had high hopes. I am really happy to find that even though it’s super hydrating that it isn’t too strong.

This serum has a hydrating blend of Okinawa red algae and hyaluronic acid to soothe and firm skin – and the it does just that. The 24k gold shimmer isn’t overpowering but gives that glow from within kind of luminosity. I’ve been using this for a week and already have noticed a difference in the overall look of the skin. It appears more radiant and it has soothed my skin which has been acting up for the past month. I’ve been using this during the day under regular moisturizers but I’ve read many like to also use this at night (which I haven’t tried yet).
If you’re unsure about purchasing the full size, Tatcha now has a selection of mini travel sized skin care items. The Deep Hydration Firming Serum comes in a $33 mini travel size option nicely priced proportionally to the full size.

Full ingredient list here

I like to alternate serums weekly depending on what my skin feels like. On normal skin days I find the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum to be a good everyday kind of serum suitable for all skin types (even sensitive ones). When my skin is in need of some texture improvement the Chanel Le Jour de Chanel works wonders to clear up the skin. I wouldn’t recommend this for super sensitive skin but it is gentle enough for me. For extra hydration and soothing of irritated skin I like to use Tatcha Deep Hydration Firming Serum.
What do you currently use for a serum? Or do you skip it entirely? I’d love to hear what you’ve tried, what you loved or what didn’t work for you.
This post contains a press sample sent by Tatcha for review consideration. For more information refer to my disclosures.