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: Then I Met You The Skin Balancing Duo

I’ve always described Then I Met You products as thoughtful and nourishing. The Skin Balancing Duo, their newest offerings, are no different.

Promising to be hydrating and exfoliating, the Birch Milk Refining Toner using birch juice, marshmallow root, squalene, glycolic and lactic acids, and gluconolactone.

The watery toner is something you would have expected if you have tried other Then I Met You products – gentle and nourishing. It’s good for daily use and it leaves the skin hydrated and soothed after application. As for exfoliating, it’s not as quick nor as harsh as the other exfoliating toners in the market but it gets the job done. This would work for those with sensitive skin. For me, I like it as a hydrating toner that offers additional brightening benefits while nourishing my skin.

I have developed my love for essences when I got into K-Beauty. They just help plump and nourish my skin without the thickness of moisturizers that offer the same promises. A new addition to my stash is The Giving Essence, which aims to hydrate and brighten the skin while providing antioxidants using black chokeberry, galactomyces, ellagic acid, red algae, and polyglutamic acid.

Similar to most essences, this is watery with a bit of weight to it. The essences has a bit of tackiness but it sinks in quickly to the skin and leaves it looking and feeling plump and soft. It’s, of course, nourishing and hydrating to the skin. It does help brighten the skin a bit and this, conjunction with the toner, just provides a soothing and calming feeling to the skin.

I have long believed that there are no products suited for all skin types but Then I Met You made me eat my words. Their vegan and cruelty-free products help hydrate my oily skin without any tackiness nor does it leave my skin begging for more. Their products are just right when you need nourishment and hydration. If you are looking to protect you skin and improve its overall health, these products are for you.

The Then I Met You The Skin Balancing Duo was provided by @thenimetyou. Available as a set for $78 or individually (toner for $32 and essence for $50) at

Skincare Review: Goodal Phytowash Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam and Washup Deep Clean Pore Glacial Clay Mask

I have used Goodal before and loved the Phytowash Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam ($20) for my oily skin. It claims to be a foaming cleanser that removes excess oil and impurities through its ingedients andiroba seed oil, acai berry extract and copaliba balsam extract.

Formulated with yerba mate sourced from the amazonian rainforest and housed in a minimalist and light colored packaging, this cleanser has become part of my morning routine for the past couple of months. It’s gentle but helps manage my oily skin throughout the day. It doesn’t strip the skin and has a subtle clean scent that I like, and is creamy when applied. It’s non-greasy, lightweight and not dehydrating. The pea-sized amount can go a long way so, this tube would definitely last for more than three months.

They also sent over the Washup Deep Clean Pore Glacial Clay Mask ($25). This mask uses Canadian glacial water, glacial clay, and green tea extracts to exfoliates, cleanse pores, and balance the skin.

These two works when your skin is feeling clogged and super oily. Both just gives those with oily skin a clean canvas that will gives you the opportunity to start anew (and unclogged.) I use the mask on my face once a week to thoroughly clean my pores. If I’m having a good skin week, I only use it on the oiliest parts of my face – the t-zone area. I love this removes all oil but doesn’t tighten as it dries. It just leaves the skin feels smooth and soft. It also doesn’t strip the skin or leave it feeling rough. The mask is creamy enough, even with some scrubby bits.

The Goodal Phytowash Yerba Mate Cleansing Foam and Washup Deep Clean Pore Glacial Clay Mask were provided by @goodalbeauty for review. Available at

Cult Favorite: Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid

As a fan of what vitamin c has done to my skin, I have actually tried the Triple C Lightning Liquid from Cosrx and @charlottecho from Soko Glam. I actually ordered this as soon as it was available again. The hype around this product was so big, it was sold out after an hour it launched.

Why wouldn’t it be, this vitamin c serum contains 20.5% pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and 72% black chokeberry to attack pigmentation, lighten brown spots and acne scars, and bring radiance and balance back to the skin while keeping it hydrated and smooth.

This is actually an instant like because it has a watery consistency. I honestly prefer this consistency to oil-based ones. The mere strength of this I felt as soon as it came into contact with my skin because it stung a bit. That sensation seems to wane the more you apply it though. I love how light and gentle it feels on this skin, despite the initial tingling sensation. Unlike other vitamin c serums, this actually feels hydrating on the skin. I can easily use this in the morning without worrying if it’s going to make my face oily after a few hours.

As for the results, I wasn’t surprised as that a week in, I already noticed brightening. It also faded dark spots and pigmentation in a couple of weeks but the effect that really stood out to me is how it also helped hydrated and soften my skin. It just helped with the overall health of my skin and left me looking radiant and bright.

The Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid was provided by @cosrx and @sokoglam. Available for $27 at

Skincare Review: The Plant Base Pore N Tightening Essence

Oily skin and large pores, for me, are things that go hand and hand. It’s something I live with, something I have chosen to accept because the more I take care of my skin, the more I look at it, there is really no way I can make it smaller than it is. Especially now that I’m in my 30s, where gravity, as glad as I am that I can walk on land, is slowly but surely making sure I look as old as I my age. Unless I pull out the skin of a baby and sew it on my face, there is just no way I can go back and have “baby skin.”

So imagine my hesitance when I received the Pore N Tightening Essence from The Plant Base. However, since this is a K-Beauty brand, I chose to ignore that and read on their site what the essence really claims to do.

The essence contains 45.34% tannin extract and EVERMAT, a patented ingredient, to control oil, minimize the appearance of pores and smooth skin texture. It also has adenosine, polyphenols, and a V7 Complex from vitamins a, b3, c, and e to moisturize, brighten, and offer anti-aging benefits to the skin.

First off, the light and smooth consistency of this essence are right up my alley. It has a smooth formula and I enjoyed how much softer my skin felt after first use. It also feels so silky on the skin, the modern packaging a total juxtaposition from the luxurious and elegant content. It feels hydrating and nourishing to the skin while still allowing me to use serums and creams at night. It forms a really thin silky veil on the skin and leaves it feeling so smooth and soft, not tacky and shiny. I can honestly attest as to how this product “perfects” the pores. After a few weeks of use, I noticed how this makes my pores flatter and, therefore, smoother contributing to the overall look of my skin.

Honestly, I prefer essences that are watery but this one is now included in my top essences because of how it makes my skin feel and look – soft, smooth, balanced, and hydrated.

The Plant Base Pore N Tightening Essence was provided by @theplantbase and @sokoglam. Available for $37 at