Cleansing Balm Battle!

Okay so, we saw previously my opinions on each of the “flavours” of Clean It Zero by Banila Co., now we have some new contenders to add to the mix!

Our two additions are the very luxe looking Heimish All Clean Balm, and the Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbet by Botanic Farm.

You know the drill, I’ve been using these products and have already formed my opinions on them, but how do they stack up side by side?

I slathered my arm in my most hard-working, long-wearing, bulletproof, waterproof, apocalypse-proof makeup, then used a cotton tip to apply roughly the same amount of each balm to each section.

Smoosh them around a bit (trying not to mix them together, failing slightly. Also failing to notice I missed a chunk of concealer on the far right. Dangit.)


And rinse!

So how did we stack up? Much of a muchness to be honest, that lipstick and mascara were NOT going anywhere without a dedicated makeup remover, and the rest vanished at the first sight of emulsification.

The glob of eyeliner on the left was the first stroke, if I’d have sharpened the pencil for each I bet it would have been the same for all three (also I wouldn’t have scratched my arm which you can see on the right. Eh.)

All in all though, I really really dislike the Heimish cleanser. Cute packaging, meh everything else. Smells floral and cloying, melts in the pot which is really annoying, and has a gross residue that sometimes even my foam cleanser struggles with.

And our winner is…

I LOVE this stuff. Smells great and the emulsification, guys, THE EMULSIFICATION. It feels so buttery and washes away with the tiniest bit of water.

It’s a bit harder to find and even though it apparently contains delicious ferments, I don’t put much weight on that as I’m just washing it down the drain anyway.

Do you have a fave cleansing balm?




My TOP TEN favourite Sheet Masks (and when I use each one!

Okay so, anyone who follows this blog (who, to my knowledge, is mostly my Mum. HI MUM!) will see I’ve been REALLY terrible at keeping up with posting. I’m hoping to post more often, it’ll still be fairly sporadic for a while at least though!

So let’s dive in! I had trouble picking some favourites so I thought about the times I’d mask most often, and what I look for in each, then picked my fave for those particular needs!

For special occasions:

Evercos Luxury Bogam Herbal Clinic – Licorice

If I have an event to go to in the evening, I’ll throw one of these on before moisturiser and the rest of my makeup for the night. These are my absolute favourite masks, they’re super thin and clingy and no mask has ever made me glow like these!I’m obsessed!

For temperamental skin:

Papa Recipe Bombee Honey Mask

Papa Recipe – Bombee Honey Mask and My Beauty Diary – Apple Polyphenol

When I have a lot of new pimples cropping up or I’m approaching that time of the month where my jawline trends to explode in annoying new guests I’ll pop one of these on, Honey for days I need to soothe my skin, and Apple for days where I feel like I’m being infested with new face friends and need to fight back! I find they really help tame existing pimples and make tiny ones fade away before becoming a bigger problem.

For speedy healing:

COSRx – Holy Moly Snail Mask

It happens, a friend’s rogue kitten got too excited, I walked into a tree branch again, or I just failed at skincare and got sunburned or picked at my face. These manage to heal things SO FAST and have, at times, managed to take my face looking like I got a “touch of sun” back to my usual “Basement Goth” pallor. Holy Moly indeed.

For super hydration (or just everyday):

Goodal – Water Full (Nutrition), Make p:rem – Comfort Me Air and Innisfree – It’s Real Squeeze (Rice)

For those times when my face feels kinda blah, for me, 90% of the time, it means my skin is thirsty. Almost any sheet mask will give you a dose of hydration, but these are my favourite to really get my skin back on track with a bit of pampering. These are my favourite “every day” masks as well, my skin just loves them!

For softness & moisture:

Too Cool For School – Egg Cream Mask (Firming), Elizavecca Milky Piggy – Silky Creamy Donkey Steam Cream *pant pant* these names! And last but not least, Illi – Intensive Moisture Hanbang (Camellia Oil Nourishing)

I mostly keep a few of these around for after I go away for camping and LARP, my skin is always tired, stressed, dehydrated and this is the easy way to get myself back into good skin days. The reason I don’t use these more often is they’re a little rich for my taste, but in winter or if you’re having a dry skin day (or, for some of you, a dry skin life, HI MUM!) you’ll love these.

What’s your top 10 sheet masks? Or the *holy grail mask* you have almost endless backups of?

Ingredients that make me go… “Ew.”

So, I have a confession to make.

In my KBeauty Hanbang-y world of snail goop and other weird ingredients, there are some that I just can’t bring myself to try. Some for ethical reasons, and some just because they make me feel all… squicky.

I’d be really interested to see what others think, especially if you already have a KBeauty based routine!

What makes you go ew? And why?

To start off, some things I am NOT squeamish about include snail (❤️ 🐌) Bee Venom, Propolis (and everything 🐝) donkey milk,
Things that I can’t bring myself to use are…

1. Horse Oil. Eurgh. I’ve smelt a couple of horse oil products and that alone is almost enough to send me screaming to a western, vegan beauty routine. Or just coconut oil forever. Almost.

2. Birds Nest. Ugh. Bird spit? Okay. I *might* be willing to try this is the ethics involved weren’t so… shadowy. I don’t particularly believe in “miracle” ingredients, and even if I did, I don’t think this would be magical enough to convert me.

3. Pig Collagen. Uhh. When collagen is used as an ingredient in skincare, the particles are too big to penetrate into the skin. Benefits being slightly dubious, I’d rather have a bacon sandwich.

Lazy skincare tips (not just for lazy folk!)

Okay, so you’ve done it. You have your sunscreen application perfected, your actives trialled, tested, and happily working for you, a few new products to try waiting for you in the the wings…

And you just can’t be bothered.

“Just one more episode” you tell yourself, before deciding you’re too tired, it’s too cold, someone else is using the bathroom, or any other perfectly reasonable excuse.

I know, because obviously this happens to me too! (or how would I be so knowledgable as to write this?)

So I’m here with some routine-saving tips for those nights when the thought of your beloved 10-step routine makes you want to claw your eyes out.

LAZY TIP Micellar water is magic. And fast. And super easy. I keep a bottle with some cotton pads on my bedside table for those nights where one-more-episode gets traded for one-more-drink and I just have precious seconds to remove makeup before collapsing into bed, so there’s no excuse for not taking off your makeup and all the filth of the day!

LAZY TIP Keep sample sachets and decants for products you love in your handbag/car/bedside table/drawer at work etc. This way if you can’t be bothered dragging yourself back into the bathroom after your actives waiting times you can still finish your routine (without getting out of bed!)

LAZY TIP Some products are multi-use, if you find one that works for your skin you can use it to replace multiple steps in the morning or those nights where you just CBF. I adore Scinic All-In-One Ampoule in Aqua Bomb for this – I can use it thinly as a serum or spread on a thicker layer as my final step to use as a sleeping pack.

LAZY  TIP Sheet masks! Depending on which one you choose these can pack a serious punch of hydration and moisture, soothing or brightening ingredients. And all you have to do is lie still and relax! I love listening to podcasts (I’m currently obsessed with Lore and NoSleep) while masking. A thin occlusive layer to seal it all in and you’re done!

LAZY TIP So you wanna throw that lovely sheet mask on your face, but recoil at the thought of how cold it’s going to be? Can’t be bothered getting out of bed to run hot water on it? Sit on it! Yup, in the packaging, slowly bring it up to a more bearable temperature! Just be careful it doesn’t pop, but I’m yet to have this happen. (This has to be one of the laziest hacks ever!)

Comment below with some lazy tips or hacks you figured out for your routine!

How I deal with the (retinol/retinoid) uglies!

So, lured in by amazing – science backed – claims of anti-aging (yes, true anti-aging!) I’ve decided to try out some retinol/retinoid products.

Now, these products are serious business. Yes, the results have been proven but there is a LOT to keep in mind when using these products! I am by no means advocating or recommending the use of any retinol or retinoid products to anyone, heck, I don’t even know if they work for me yet! Because of this, I won’t be going into any further detail on the retinol/retinoids I’m using on this blog. Speak to a dermatologist if you have any questions about these products.

What I DO know is my skin is acting in new and… special ways since I started using them. (Why oh why did I decide to do this in Winter?!) This is what I’ve done so far to combat the dreaded “uglies”.

Hydration, Moisture and Gommage Peels! ❤️

Surprise! My skin is acting up, dried out, peeling, flaking, grey and just generally kinda disgusting. Now I know why the settling period of retinol/retinoids is called the uglies! I’ve been slathering on the hydrating products, sealing them in with some heavy-hitting moisturisers and sleeping packs. It’s helped a LOT but there’s still some peeling. I’ve skipped all other actives for the time being as I don’t want my face to fall off in chunks bigger than it already is! So my current night time routine looks like this;

First cleanser: Heimish All Clean Balm

Second Cleanser: Sukin Charcoal Gel Cleanser

FTE: Secret Key First Treatment Essence

Gommage: the Yeon Hallabong

Hydrating Toner: Secret Key Milk Toner

Essence: Scinic Aqua AIO

Serum: Holy Snails Aqua Shark 

Sheet Mask: Elizavecca Donkey Milk Steam Cream Mask, Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask (Hydration), Illi Hanbang Camelia Intensive Moisture Mask, A’Pieu Milk Mask, are my current fave to really nourish and throw a lot of hydration and moisture into my skin

Eye cream: Purebess Galactomyces 80 Eye Cream

Occlusive: Benton Steam Cream or COSRX Honey Ceramide 

Sleeping Pack: COSRX Honey or Rice

Phew! So as you can see, I’m putting products that are a lot thicker and more moisturising than I was previously using, including some that I had put aside because I thought they were too heavy for my skin! I’ve lowered the amount I’m using and saw a decrease in irritation almost immediately, though keeping up this routing through winter should hopefully save my skin!

While I’m still getting a little bit of peeling, my skin isn’t red or sore and I’m hoping that the worst of it is now behind me.



Are you using enough sunscreen?

Sunscreen is arguably one of the most important steps in any skin care routine. It prevents aging by blocking UVAs, protects the skin from damaging UVBs and keeps you looking younger, longer, but only if you choose the right one and apply it correctly!

Stated SPF VS Actual SPF

Some sunscreens state their SPF as higher than it actually is! In 2015 wrote an article on how they tested some common Australian sunscreens and not all of them delivered the Sun Protection Factor that was stated on the bottle. Make sure your sunscreen isn’t out of date and has been stored correctly (not in a hot car) in order to maximise its effectiveness.
“Broad Spectrum” vs PA (Photo Aging) rating 

Broad Spectrum sunscreens show that they offer UVA protection, however PA rating shows you how much! PA rankings can be shown as PA+, PA++ PA+++ or PA++++, with more plus symbols meaning more protection. The PA rating system is used in Japanese and Korean sunscreens, however some western brands are now also starting to add the PA rating system.

How much to use 

Obviously the size of your face and body might vary, but in general the agreed amount  for the average adult is 1/4 tablespoon for the face – this is based off of 2mg of sunscreen per square centimetre of skin in order to meet the stated SPF. Try measuring out 1/4 tablespoon of sunscreen sometime – you’ll probably be surprised at how much this is!
Sunscreen should ALWAYS be the first and most important step in any skincare routine. Which one do you use?

Most important though, is you actually wear it, every day!

Review: COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid (BHA)

This was my first product from COSRX and my first experience into chemical exfoliation.

I use it right after cleansing and using a pH balancing toner (I currently use a simple DIY combo of apple cider vinegar and water) and before AHA, hydrating toners and serums. COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid is oil permeable which means it can get right down into the pores and work it’s gentle exfoliating magic deep in the skin.

I have quite large pores and this is gentle enough to use twice a day for me.

I really like this product a lot – it’s good value for money, and I really admire COSRX as a company for their integrity and dedication.

A while back on the AsianBeauty subreddit there was a discussion on the pH of this product as people with batches made from 2016 onwards were getting higher readings than the expected pH of 3.5-4.5 – most were getting readings of around 5-6.5 – however studies show that Salicylic Acid (and Betaine Salicylate – a neutralised form used in this product) are also effective at higher pHs (6.5). COSRX has responded that the pH had been raised as the previous versions were unstable, and in order to bring the pH back down they would have to add alcohol to the formula.

I find the product still works fine for me – it’s very gentle but I can really see amazing results when I use Fifty Shades of Snail‘s pore shrinking method with my Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask – so I will continue to buy and use this product even with the higher pH.

I would definitely recommend this product to anyone who has enlarged pores, blackheads, or is interested in chemical exfoliation or a K-Beauty style skin care routine.

Love, Selkie.