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.


My top 5 Beauty stuff that makes me cringe

Okay so, here’s a list of things that make me cringe. I’ll go into the why I don’t personally use them but if you have used them please leave me a comment telling me why!

1. Harsh physical exfoliating scrubs

Okay, so you know how soft and smooth you feel after a scrub? You might actually be doing more harm than good depending on which kind of scrub you’re using! One very popular scrub is the Patron “Saint” of physical exfoliants (I’m not going to hint any further with the name but you know the one) – using ground up walnut shells that actually create tiny tears in the skin. Others use little plastic beads that go down your drain and end up in our oceans. Sloughing off a few dead skin cells shouldn’t be so rough as to be creating wounds and tiny tears in your face! When I had bad pimples as a teenager, I used this particular scrub to try to get rid of them, but they kept getting worse! I one day noticed that the less I did to my skin, the better it was, and until recently have strictly adhered to this!

What to try instead: Maybe look into chemical exfoliants – these have changed my whole perception on exfoliation! I love COSRX Blackhead Power Liquid. Or if you really like the feeling of scrubbing your face clean, try gently scrubbing with a sugar scrub while in a warm shower or a “gommage” type exfoliant! Konjac sponges are also amazing to gently exfoliate!

2. Lemon juice

This one is all over Pinterest and makes me want to curl up into a ball and click “report for harmful content” every time. Lemon juice is much much too acidic to go onto your skin, never mind cutting one in half and scrubbing your face with one covered in coffee grains or sugar ugh no no stop. Adding baking soda or bicarbonate of soda to raise the PH doesn’t work unless you’re testing it accurately… even then. Unless you know what you’re doing, leave it to the pros.

What to try instead: If you want the brightening effects of Vitamin C all over your face OST C20 is a fairly inexpensive popular choice.  If you want a scrub, well we’ve covered that.

3. Vaseline

Ugh. I mentioned in my Clean it Zero review post that me and Vaseline do not see eye to eye. I understand that some people are happy using it as their occlusive layer and that’s them, but the thick viscous feel of it always makes me cringe.

What to try instead: Try amping up your hydration! If you’re hydrated to the max and love Vaseline as an occlusive then go for it! This one is totally a personal preference.

4. Peel off masks and “quick fix” crazes

Okay so, we’ve all been there. The newest craziest easiest beauty product just hit twitter/instagram/everywhere and you NEED that $463 (okay I just pulled a number out of my butt – like I feel some of these companies do) black peel off mask. OR did you know you can just make it out of things you have in your house for free? Ugh. I hate when things trend like this. Sure, sometimes they’re interesting, fun, or occasionally actually not terrible products (some people hate the Elizavecca Carbonated Clay mask – I like it!) but mostly the idea that you can throw some glue on your face and “instantly, magically” fix your skin (and the accompanied savvy businesspeople trying to sell you 30mL of glue for a ridiculous price because it’s trendy) really makes me kinda sad. Yes, for some people it may be a gateway to taking amazingly good care of their skin – unfortunately, most of these trends are one off – do nothing – wastes of money. That is, if they don’t damage your skin,

What to try instead: Ensure you have a base skincare routine you’re happy with. Try new products – but always take everything – especially anything labelled as “the hottest new skincare trend” or similar – with a grain of salt. Or maybe it’s just me that’s salty…

5. Nose strips

Okay, immediately relating to the above peel off masks, these can actually damage your skin. Those tiny little flecks that get pulled out of your nose/forehead/chin/eyelids aren’t actually blackheads – they’re sebaceous filaments,  and they’ll be back in a couple of days. Overuse of the nose-strip type ripping/pulling mask technique can lead to scarring of your pores, and I’m unfortunate proof of this. I had really bad blackheads so I was using the strips – as directed – twice a week. Then I notice one pore in my nose had gotten big. Like REALLY big. Like 4 of my other pores mashed together in a line. It’s been that way for 10 years now, and I’ve accepted my goof, but seriously, please don’t use peel type strips or masks!

What to try instead: GENTLE exfoliation. You can try chemical (it’s not as scary as it sounds, honest) or any of the techniques I mentioned above.

So weirdly, most of my cringe inducting skincare related junk is related to exfoliation. Just remember – a pimple is a wound. If you had a scratch on your arm would you be scrubbing sand onto it to make it “go away”?

Love, Selkie.

How to take care of your skin (after rolling around in filth for 3 days)

Hi everyone! First off, I just want to clarify the title of this post. I’m a LARPer. 

Without going too deep into the process, what this means is a few times a year I go camping for 3 or more days (depending on the event I’m attending) in the dust and the muck all while being blasted by the Australian sun and “fight” other LARPers, with swords, or nerf guns, or whatever. While the wounds from swords and guns might not be real (aside from a couple of bruises) the dust, dirt, heat, sunscreen buildup, dehydration and other effects on my skin are very real.

Since starting my new skincare routine I noticed even more when I came home last Monday that I had really put my skin through a hard time. No showering, overloaded with sunscreen and only makeup wipes twice a day. Ew. My skin looked very dehydrated, and just kinda gross. I felt disgusting too. So here’s what I did to fix it:

Now you see why there aren’t many photos on this blog. Also, I forgot to photograph my Banila Co. Clean it Zero so just imagine it’s there…
Step 1: Easing back into my routine.

I have a lot of products that I use daily but for now I concentrated on GENTLE cleansing and lots and lots of hydration. When I was initially planning this post before the event I had images in my mind of doing a pore cleanse and having mountains of grits falling out of my face, but for a couple of reasons I didn’t do that. First, I was tired. I had slept about 3 hours each night since Thursday and wasn’t in the mood for a full routine. Looking at and feeling my skin I could tell it wanted care, not to be doused in acids and clay and sucked dry. So I kept it very very simple.

Step 2: Oil Cleansing

The first thing I did (even before taking off my dust caked shoes) was I slathered my face in almost half a sample size tub of Banila Co. Clean it Zero (the regular kind in the pink tub). I then pottered around the house, got undressed and unpacked my toothbrush, and checked my phone to make sure I hadn’t missed anything major while I’d been out of contact all weekend. I left the oil cleanser (and dust and everything) on my face for about 45 minutes. After this I did a very gentle facial massage, though it wasn’t too satisfying as I couldn’t tell grits from… well grit.

Step 3: SHOWER.

Oh bliss. It was only as I stepped into the shower that I could smell myself for the first time all weekend. Eurgh. I scrubbed and washed myself (and my hair) while leaving the oil on, leaving cleaning my face til last. I made sure to emulsify the oil very very gently, partly to ensure I wouldn’t harass my skin any further and partly because I was so damn tired I could barely move my arms. Then just before jumping out I cleansed with my gentle Sukin charcoal cleanser.

Step 4:  Hydration

Everything after this point was about making sure my face could spend all night drinking up products and be in a better state by morning. I skipped actives and went straight for a hydrating toner, some Holy Snails Shark Sauce, then Sukin night and eye creams. I then crawled into bed and passed out.

Step 5: Back to normal!

I took it kinda slow over the following week, sheet masking daily (Innisfree I’m Real Squeeze Rice masks were perfect for this week), only using my BHA on from Wednesday onwards and my AHA for the first time yesterday since last Monday when I got home. I’m going to re-introduce the Vitamin C Serum tomorrow. I’m currently writing this and one week after returning I believe my skin is actually in better shape than it was when I left.

I hope this was kind of informative to some! Hit me up if you have any tips or questions.