Monday, March 16, 2015

My top 5 affordable Asian beauty favorites

I've been buying Asian beauty products for awhile now and have built up a substantial collection, so I thought it was time for a favorites post! Behold, my current top 5 affordable beauty products from Asia: Etude House I Need You A to Z sheet masks, The Face Shop Lovely me:ex Design My Eyebrow auto pencil in No. 1 Grey Brown, Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher in No. 06 Grapefruit Jelly, Skin79 VIP Gold BB cream, and Skin Food's Rose Essence Lip Balm.

All of these products are price equivalent to American drugstore items and are great options for people new to Asian beauty. The price will vary based on where you purchase, but I have had good luck RoseRoseShop.

1. Skin79 VIP Gold BB Cream
 I love Skin79's BB creams, especially the VIP Gold. If you have trouble finding the VIP Gold, the Hot Pink version is very similar in color, coverage, and texture, but is slightly more matte. The texture of this product is thick and creamy and is very easy to blend into the skin. I usually apply with a damp beauty sponge, but it also works well applying with fingers or a synthetic brush. The color that comes out of the tube is a pale grey beige, but the grey tones help neutralize the natural redness on my face instead of looking unnatural like you would expect. The color melts into the skin, offering medium / buildable coverage and is suitable for fair to light medium skintones. Overall, this product works well for my dry, sensitive skin, lasts all day, and looks natural. My sister with more combination acne prone skin loves this as well.

My one big negative here is with the pump packaging (15g and 45g sizes) - the opaque weighted tube disguises the amount of product left inside, ensuring you will be surprised when the pump abruptly stops dispensing product. I always choose the squeeze tube when possible (30g tube shown in picture) so I keep better track of when I need to re-order.

2. The Face Shop Lovely me:ex Design My Eyebrow in #1 Grey Brown

The Design My Eyebrow auto pencil by The Face Shop is a great option for someone who wants a natural looking defined brow. The packaging is similar to the Hourglass eyebrow pencil, with a triangular pencil tip and an attached spoolie brush. If you have naturally sparse eyebrows and want a product that will draw in fine hair like strokes, this won't be for you, but it will work well for someone who wants to add natural definition. On me, this pencil lasts all day and I really enjoy it as an affordable alternative to high end brow pencils. The shade #1, Grey Brown, is as advertised - it is a cool toned brown that is similar to the Anastasia Beverly Hills shade Medium Brown.

3. Skin Food Rose Essence Lip Balm

If you were disappointed in the pigmentation of Benefit's Benebalm or wished that Benetint came in a jelly base, you need the Skin Food Rose Essence Lip Balm. Seriously, just go buy it right now and finish reading this post later. This lip balm has a texture similar to vaseline and smells like actual roses. The shade is remarkably similar (but better than) Benetint - a rosy pink-red that looks fresh and naturally pretty on the lips. This balm is more pigmented than I anticipated, so make sure you have a tissue to wipe off your finger after you apply or use a brush. The color is absolutely noticeable enough that you can't just wipe the residue off on your jeans and call it a day. (which, of course, I haven't done...) If you love moisturizing tinted lip balms, give this one a try.

4. Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher #06 Grapefruit Jelly

The Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher line has adorable packaging - the compact has a frosted bubble top with an opaque bottom that shows the shade and comes with a cute puff. I apply mine with a brush, but the puff would work in a pinch. The shade Grapefruit Jelly is a light peachy coral that brightens up the face and adds a fresh pastel pop of color to the cheeks. This is a perfect spring and summer color and looks good on my fair skin, but I think it would be ashy on deeper skintones. This blush is not super pigmented, but is smooth and blendable. If you do want to pick up a Lovely Cookie blusher, make sure to do shade research - in my experience, the frosty shades in this line are not friendly to anyone with skin texture issues. I have a full review here if you want more detail.

5. Etude House I Need You A to Z - Green Tea, Royal Jelly & Hyaluronic Acid

Sheet masks are one of my favorite categories of Asian skincare items - anyone new to Asian beauty should definitely try out the experience of using a sheet mask.  My husband thinks I look a little "murdery" (his word, not mine) wearing a sheet mask, so try it out when you are home alone if you don't want to scare your family. I like most of the Etude House I Need You A to Z line (I bought almost all of them... for science...), but my absolute favorites are G (Green Tea), R (Royal Jelly), and H (Hyaluronic Acid). I have dry, sensitive skin with intermittent eczema, and all three of these are gentle enough for my skin and leave me feeling hydrated and plumped. If I could only pick one, the Hyaluronic Acid one is my favorite because it is the most moisturizing.

Edit: It looks like Etude House has updated the packaging on their masks! Don't be surprised if you see different packaging while shopping :)


As always, swatches are over bare, unprimed skin. The Skin79 BB cream swatch is a little disingenuous - heavy, unblended BB cream swatches look grey and odd, but it blends into the skin seamlessly. I chose not to brighten the picture to accurately show the opacity and how buildable the lip balm and blush are, apologies that it looks a little dark.

Left to right, Skin79 VIP Gold BB cream, Design My Eyebrow in Grey Brown, Skin Food Rose Essence Lip Balm one swipe and built up, Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher in Grapefruit Jelly one swipe and built up.

I hope that this gives you some ideas for affordable Asian beauty products to try! I really enjoy all of these items and I hope you will too.

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