Brand Overview: Kinship

I was excited to try Kinship‘s products as soon as I saw them, mainly because of the fun, bright and colorful packaging. Aside from the cuteness factor, their products are cruelty-free, leaping bunny certified, reef-safe, and are free of GMO organisms. Their packaging is also made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, 100% PCR paper and from Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) materials.

I first tried the Naked Papaya Gentle Enzyme Face Cleanser, which has papaya, jojoba oil, and sunflower oil. It feels as great as it smells, with a light fruity smoothie scent that gently strips dirt and makeup off my face. I love it as a morning cleanser since it makes my face supple enough and ready for the day ahead.

Meanwhile, the Insta Swipe Lemon Honey AHA Pads are also something to love. Unlike most acids, this one isn’t extremely strong and has a sweet, citrus scent. It doesn’t dry my skin out. But even if it’s gentle, it does a great job of smoothening out my skin and reducing those small blemishes and bumps.

The Supermello Hydrating Gel Cream is a favorite too. First off, it smells like marshmallows so what’s not to love? With hyaluronic acid, marshmallow root and coconut water, it keeps my skin extremely soft, without making it greasy. I also love that I don’t need to put a lot of it to feel the effects.

The Pimple Potion, a retinol and salicylic acid acne treatment. It does take a while for it to get rid of pimples, but it’s a good spot treatment if you have sensitive skin and react badly to stronger products.

There’s also the Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen, providing SPF 32 coverage. It’s light, not too sticky and provides a bit of moisture, so it protects my face, without making it feel as oily as other facial sunscreens might. However, I prefer sunscreen with a higher SPF every day.

So while there were a few bumps, overall I’m a fan of Kinship‘s products. They not only look good on my skincare shelf, but they also have a good effect on my skin. Overall, their products are worth checking out as they are gentle and nourishing.

The Kinship Naked Papaya Gentle Enzyme Face Cleanser, Insta Swipe Lemon Honey AHA Pads, Supermello Hydrating Gel Cream, Pimple Potion, and Self Reflect Probiotic Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 32 were provided by @kinship. Available at lovekinship.com

Cult Favorite: Tarte Knockout Daily Exfoliating Cleanser and Knockout Tingling Treatment

My face has been through some dark times and receiving the Knockout Daily Exfoliating Cleanser and the Knockout Tingling Treatment from Tarte brought back some memories I’d really like to forget. It made me with these products were available when I was in high school.

Using a AHA and BHA acid complex with lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acids, the Knockout Daily Exfoliating Cleanser promises to remove dead skin, refine pores, improve texture, brighten, and balance the skin. It also contains apple extract to hydrate and peppermint and eucalyptus to soothe, and eucalyptus to soothe the skin. Its gel texture emulsifies into a creamy milk-like lather.

It smells very clinical, which I don’t really mind but it’s worth noting for those who are sensitive. It feels cooling to the skin, which I enjoy. It can be a bit stripping for some but for my oily and clog-prone skin, I like it. This claims to be okay for everyday use but for me, I prefer to use twice a week and when my skin is feeling irritated and clogged. It wipes my face clean and devoid of any oil. I follow this with hydrating serums to balance my skin and makeup for the intense cleansing I just went through. This was especially helpful when I had a lot of blemishes a few weeks back as it helps keep my face clean and clear.

To treat, the Knockout Tingling Treatment promises to resurface, balance, control oil, minimize pores, and clarify the skin using niacinamide, salicylic acid, lactic acid, and sulfur.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that the BR P50 smells like vinegar and I think this toner took it as a challenge. This has a strong sour smell and, consistently, it also has a strong tingling feeling to the skin. Fortunately, both the tingle and the smell dissipate after a few seconds. I have used treatments like this before and by far, this felt the most intense. However, results are as intense as it felt. I used this thrice a week when my skin was irritated and after week, I noticed a lot of changes. It cleared up my skin and zapped all my whiteheads and pimples. I would definitely recommend this if you want some intense treatment for your irritated skin and clogged pores.

Using this combo made me get out of skincare hell but even if my skin isn’t that sensitive, I would recommend using this sparingly and when you do, pile on soothing and moisturizing products to support these.

The Tarte Knockout Daily Exfoliating Cleanser and Knockout Tingling Treatment were provided by @tartecosmetics. Available at tartecosmetics.com

Skincare Review: Troiareuke Oil Cut Cleansing, TOC Toner, AC Spot Solution

I was fortunate enough to have managed blemishes. I rarely get one anymore. However, when I came back from vacation, my skin reacted to the rise in temperature and humidity. I slept having no blemishes and woke up with three out of nowhere. What’s worse, two of them are whiteheads – something I never had since grade school.

I was pissed. However, this was the perfect time to test some products from the ACSEN line from Troiareuke. This line is for those with acne-prone and sensitive skin.

The Oil Cut Cleansing promises to be an all in one cleanser that removes oil, dirt, and impurities as it soothe and hydrate the skin using lichen extract, zanthoxylum piperitum fruit extract, pulsatilla koreana extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, papaya fruit water, portulaca oleracea extract. This cleansing gel removes oil and impurities and leaves the skin feeling fresh and smooth. It doesn’t completely strip the skin, which would when your skin is feeling sensitive or irritated. As a preference, I still use a foaming cleanser after this.

To balance and build the skin’s protective barrier, the TOC Toner contains glycolic acid, centella asiatica extract, hyaluronic acid tocopheryl acetate, allantoin, glycerin, portulaca oleracea extract, betula platyphylla japonica juice, argania spinosa kernel oil, zea mays oil, rosewood wood oil, calendula officinalis flower oil, and geranium maculatum oil. It also promises to soothe, renew, and moisturize the skin while removing excess sebum and dead skin cell buildup. This has a very water-like texture but it somehow leaves my skin nourished and hydrated. It’s gentle on the skin as well. This is the only toner I used during the time that I had pimples and it helped soothe and hydrate my skin after I apply detoxifying masks and treatment products.

My favorite, the AC Spot Solution, to treat blemishes. It contains selemix an, phenyl salicylate, and centella asiatica to speed healing, help prevent scarring, and prevent future blemishes. This flattened up and coming blemishes overnight. For full-on zits, it takes about three nights to heal. I’m amazed as to how quick this is and how gentle it was on my skin. Most solutions tend to dry the skin and stimulate peeling but I didn’t experience that with this one. It doesn’t even sting. However, in terms of scar prevention, I still got post-blemish pigmentation but I’m fine with it, I have other products for that.

I would definitely recommend these products to those who have blemishes and want something gentle yet effective for their skin concerns. The main highlight for me is the AC Spot Solution because of how quick and gentle it zapped my blemishes.

The Troiareuke ACSEN Oil Cut Cleansing, TOC Toner, AC Spot Solution were provided by @troiareuke.

Skincare Review: Hanskin Pore Cleansing Balm (BHA) and Pore Cleansing Oil (BHA)

As someone who simply used a cleansing foam and called it skincare, the discovery of cleansing oils and cleansing balms when I was in Korea is almost as good as discovering that the baker of your favorite chocolate cake is your neighbor.

So, no matter how many cleansing balms and cleansing oils I own, I always welcome trying another first cleanser, especially from a brand that’s I’ve heard when I first got into skincare.

Hanskin offers cleansing products suitable for your skin type, which intrigued me. Most brands only offer one variant. They sent me the Pore Cleansing Balm (BHA) and Pore Cleansing Oil (BHA).

The Pore Cleansing Balm (BHA) promises to remove makeup and impurities, control breakouts and oil, and fight blackheads using salicylic and a blend of argan, jojoba and peppermint oils.

This has a balmy texture but it feels oily once you massage it on the skin. It melts into a heavy balm consistency but doesn’t leave a film upon rinsing. It removes everyday makeup but needs more massaging if I have waterproof makeup or complicated eye looks. It also leaves my skin soft and supple after rinsing. This, however, does not emulsify easily so I rub this onto my hands to breakdown the product before applying it on my skin.

On the other hand, the Pore Cleansing Oil [BHA] uses salicylic acid, a blend of fruit oils, including orange, lemon, and grapefruit, as well as olive and jojoba oils, to cleanse the skin and prevent breakouts. The watery oil consistency leaves the skin feeling moist. It leaves a bit of a film after wash but this is easier to use than the balm because it easily emulsifies with water. The filmy feeling is okay, since I always do a second cleanse, but I like my first cleansers to not leave a trail as it makes me feel like I haven’t removed every grime on my skin. This is best removed with a warm cloth, which I don’t really do. However, in this method, it leaves the skin cleansed and smooth. Two pumps can remove everyday makeup and dirt.

I like using these when I’m about to get my period because my hormones are on overdrive during that time of the time and I need all the help that I can get. However, I did not see a huge difference in using both compared to other cleansing oils and balms that don’t cater to a specific skin type. As a cleansing balm lover, though, it surprised me that I enjoyed using the Pore Cleansing Oil (BHA) more as it removed makeup and dirt faster and easier.

The Hanskin Pore Cleansing Balm (BHA) and Pore Cleansing Oil (BHA) were provided by @hanskin.

Skincare Review: Ole Henriksen Cold Plunge Pore Mask and Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub

The products from the Ole Henriksen Balance Collection aims to reduce oil and refine pores without stripping the skin. They sent over their two exfoliators – the Cold Plunge™ Pore Mask and the Pore-Balance™ Facial Sauna Scrub. These products promise to purify and reduce the appearance of pores and mattify the skin without using parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

Inspired by the cold plunge part of a Scandinavian sauna cycle, the Cold Plunge™ Pore Mask ($36) is a clay mask uses alpine willowherb and snow lotus to soothe, mattify and refine pores. It also has AHA and BHA to help improve the texture of the skin and the brand’s Green Fusion Complex™ and neem seed oil to help replenish the skin.

This face mask smells a bit rubbery mixed with mint. I like that this feels really cooling to the skin (lasts until I have to rinse it) and feels really gentle. It doesn’t tighten or pull the skin as it dries. The fun turquoise color is uplifting as well. It’s creamy and doesn’t completely dry so it requires more water to rinse but I don’t mind it because it leaves my skin smooth, cleansed, and moisturized. This is a great option for those who have normal skin types looking for a detoxifying mask.

The Pore-Balance™ Facial Sauna Scrub ($28) is inspired by traditional Scandinavian spas and uses a blend of AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids) to lift and loosen dead skin cells. It also contains Icelandic volcanic sand, Green Fusion Complex™, and neem seed oil to purify, unclog, minimize the appearance of pores.

This face scrub also smells a bit minty. Again, this feels really gentle even if it contains small beads, which doesn’t feel coarse. I like using this on my nose and chin, where my pores get easily clogged, to purify and cleanse my skin. This leaves the skin soft, bright, and deeply cleansed.

This combination has helped smooth and maintain a blemish-free skin and helps balance the oil production of my face. I have noticed while using these two, that my skin doesn’t get as oily as usual. I still have to blot in the middle of the day but I would only have to use one blotting paper instead of two.

The Ole Henriksen Cold Plunge™ Pore Mask and Pore-Balance™ Facial Sauna Scrub were provided by @olehenriksen as PR. Available at olehenriksen.com