Skin care is something I’m very passionate about as I’ve expressed in past posts, it’s very much a theme of this blog alongside the travel posts. Today’s product reviews are of those from the UK and Korea. I’ve always been taught to invest in my skin, however, that doesn’t mean spending a lot on everything, it just means prioritising correctly. My aim with these ‘Empty’s’ posts is not just to review quality but to help decipher how worth they are to spend money on. The 7 products below are a mix of Korean High street to Premium Western brands, with surprising results from each. Everyone’s skin is different, therefore, this is only my opinion on what’s worked and hasn’t worked for my combination type skin.
NIOD low viscosity cleaning ester – £30
I raved about this product in my Korean inspired 10 Step Skincare Routine as a great oil cleanser. For a good few months before I discovered double cleansing, I’d actually gotten great results using just this to cleanse by itself. The only downside was that when I cleansed my face just with this, I would feel an oily ‘film’ like texture on my face. It never caused me to break out, but when I started the double cleansing ritual, this downside was eliminated. My housemate purchased this whilst she visited the UK over Christmas and is having great results also. The trick with Deciem, is to wait for Black Friday for the heavy discounts, likewise this is not a product to be waited for and is definitely worth the premium price tag.
This product is also vegan, silicone free, alcohol free, nut free and cruelty free. Deciem claims that the LVCE uses isolated sugar and avocado esters to remove dirt and grime from the day. This product despite not being available in Vietnam (but for you city folk back home) is also great to combat the effects pollution has on our skin with its vitamin E benefits. The science behind it is nothing short of amazing and I really recommend you visit here for the full details.
I’m sad I can’t purchase this again until I’m in a country that sells Deciem products but luckily the Asian market is full of Korean inspired oil cleansers to test out.
Would I buy again? – YES
2. NIOD Sanskrit Saponins £21
Another one of my beloved cleansers, I can’t seem to live without. I have two bottles in my back stock of western products. This is a water based cleanser to follow the oil cleanser, but again, I had great results from single use only. It’s PH is 7-7.5 which is good for me, it’s a nice medium and especially out here where the PH of Hanoi water is high. We need to keep it low, if possible, to maintain hydration. I’ve only just started educating myself on PH scales and it’s mainly due to living in this heavily polluted city. I’ve re-purchased this over and over again and since the early days of myself using Coconut oil as a natural oil cleanser, it’s left my face feeling super clean and baby soft. I recently started buying the larger amount of 180ml but I’d suggest starting off with 90ml for the slightly lower price. Please visit here for the full details.
Would I buy again? Obviously, yes.
3. The Inkey List – Zinc and Turmeric moisturisers (£8.99)
I believe in investing in eye cream and serum but honestly when it comes to moisturiser, this was perfect for me. Light and cheaper with ingredients that suited my skin. It complimented my combination skin well, my only problem was that the amounts were too small. It usually takes me a good 6 months to get through a product and I seem to have gotten through both these in less than 3. For that reason I will not be buying this again.
Will I buy this again? No
4. NIOD – Hydration Vaccine (£35)
I’d apply this at night or sometimes if my moisturiser had run out, but I couldn’t tell you of any amazing effects. My skin felt fresher after use, but it also feels that way after many other products too so using this felt like over complicating my routine. If you read the extensive and impressive list of ingredients on the Deciem website, it leads me to believe perhaps I was using this the wrong way, however as the price point is quite high, it’s not something I would buy again. (Luckily I got for a fraction of the price in the black Friday sales).
Would I buy this again? No
5. Tony Moly – Lip scrub (£5)
I’d been so excited to try this lip scrub after all the raved reviews I had read and watched on YouTube, with some of my K beauty idols championing it but on this occasion I found the texture too soft. I didn’t feel like any exfoliation was happening. I’m a huge fan of the Lush Store sugar lip scrubs, so in comparison it didn’t live up to expectation. The packaging is of course, super cute! Tony Moly is known for their cute and clever packaging. I believe this cost me around 150,000 vnd (£5) from Lotte Centre, the Korean shopping mall in Hanoi.
Would I buy this again? No.
6. Innis Free – Face masks (80p-£1.60)
Absolutely swear by these, 27,000-50,000 vnd (90p-£1.60) per sheet makes it very tempting to pick up every type. I’ve bought the whole range on 2 separate occasions and using them twice a week as part of my Korean routine, they haven’t disappointed thus far. Using one of these in the morning, made my day instantly better and as a result my skin felt more awake on those cold early mornings. I even sent a few of these back home for my Mum to use. I’m currently going through a period where I’m abstaining from Korean beauty products until my trip to Korea in April, but when I return home to the UK in summer, I’ll definitely be taking these with me!
The only thing I’m concerned about with the popularity of sheet masks are the environmental factors, being disposed after a single use. Thankfully, the super amazing eco conscious warriors of Innis Free have solved this. Most of their masks and the ones you see below in the picture are biodegradable. Yay!
Would I buy again? Yes.
7. Elemis Daily defence shield SPF 30 (£38)
This product I bought on a whim, in a panic that I needed a Western SPF to take with me to Asia that didn’t contain bleach. Luckily it worked out to be a very good investment. It’s light on the skin, moisturising and leaves no residue. Sometimes I would apply this over makeup (if I forgot) and it would create a more dewy look to my skin during Winter. 30 or higher SPF should be worn every day to combat sun damage and the consequences of that on our skin in terms of premature ageing. It’s a habit I’ve only picked up since living in Vietnam, but when I return to Europe I’ll continue to use SPF in my routine. This was quite expensive at £38 in the UK from Harvey Nicks, worth every penny though. I feel UK SPF’s are quite behind in terms of the ranges available to us. I’ve used Deciem ones, but they leave a greasy residue. I’ve since bought a Korean SPF 50 to use on my face, that I’ll restock up on before I return home. If I had a choice from UK SPF’s though, this would be it so on that basis I would reinvest.
Would I buy this again? Yes.
If you have any recommendations for alternative SPF products that’s worked well for you in the UK and rest of Europe, please let me know in the comments below for my return! Also if you experienced any of these products differently or have any other tips hmu below.
Thank you for stopping by x