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Mirai Clinical: Naturally Sourced Japanese Skincare

9.28.2016

"Mirai." Future

That really is one of the motivations for using great skincare, is it not? The dedication to our morning/evening skincare routines does more than just focus on washing our face to clean up the dirt and grime for a cleaner and clearer reflection. We use anti-aging creams and serums in the hopes of preventing/treating/prolonging aging, along with other products to treat certain conditions that we hope short-term or long-term will be able to be helped. I know for me, I have a loooot of products in my vanity to help with my post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (especially on my right jaw/neck area). I know it's not going to be gone overnight but I diligently use these products in the hopes that with consistent usage that they will eventually go away. It's all for a future solution. 

Mirai Clinical is a brand that caters for that future solution we all want and diligently work hard for. Mirai is an indie Japanese natural skincare company created by Koko Hayashi, Hokkaido-born author and Mirai Clinical youtube content creator. It is founded on the Japanese skincare psychology of 'Less is More.' Per this psychology, it's taught that using less and more effective products allows for healthier, softer, smoother, and brighter skin, along with seeing longer lasting results. Mirai uses specific guidelines for sourcing and processing all of their natural-based ingredients, including not using any harmful synthetics, fragrances, and food extracts that contain psoralen (a photoactive molecule found in certain foods such as citric fruits, and if consumed it crosslinks double-helix DNA strands together with skin's exposure to UV radiation and stops cell activity; it is also well-known as being used in phototherapy for psoriasis). Mirai is also cruelty-free, which is something that's so very important. They are annually featured in the Emmy Award's ceremonial gift bags and are often featured in online publications.

What makes Mirai Clinical so special is because of its inclusion of effective natural ingredients. Persimmon and Astaxanthin are two unique ingredients included in numerous products. Some of my favorites also found in the range are Green Tea, Aloe Vera, Rose Geranium, and so many others.

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant found in microlagae and fish such as salmon, noticeable as a naturally occurring red pigment, and has been case studied as being a very good anti-aging ingredient. It's also been shown to provide fragile cell membranes the protection they need by neutralizing free radicals or other oxidative attack. It's golden moment relies on its significant antioxidant abilities in humans, such as helping and normalizing oxidative stress and protecting against oxidative DNA damage. Being a carotenoid (plant pigments) and vitamin A derivative, it's a very vital ingredient for anti-aging and especially for its photoprotective abilities, in addition to treating and preventing various diseases. Overall it's a very superb ingredient to use, especially in skincare. Mirai sources their Astaxanthin from freshwater algae and it contains no shellfish or allergens.

Persimmon goes well with the usage of Astaxanthin, since it's another powerful natural antioxidant. Persimmon is a fruit that has naturally purifying and anti-aging benefits. Mirai's Persimmon extract is harvested each Fall, and is processed and tested at their facilities in Japan. It should also be noted that their Persimmon goes through a fermentation process, by using Lactic acid bacteria sourced Lactobacillus. Persimmon does well to get rid of Nonenal (odor) through the usage of its juice and tanin. Green tea is also a great antioxidant that works at doing the same. Nonenal increases with aging. Due to change of skin chemistry, specifically oxidative, it's not something that's just as easy as getting rid of by taking a shower. Since it's being active due to the body's own response to a certain development (in this case being the skin's reaction to aging, by enacting nonenal 'odor' compounds), it's an ongoing situation. The sebaceous gland is what controls the skin's lubrication (that's right, good 'ol sebum), along with kerotinocyte cells found in the epidermis, being involved in skin conditions such as acne, etc. Both fatty acids and free fatty acids are sourced from both sebaceous and kerotinocyte origins, which is important as a whole since they are a form of lipids, which are not water-soluble (aka not so easily washed away). But the interesting part is that there are numerous scientific studies done to back the connection of skin's changing chemistry to aging and this odor found in some aging individuals. Of course, there is no generalizing here and everybody is their own individualized person. Everybody is a unique case (taking in personal hygienic habits, environment, diet, etc), and these ongoing studies are substantial to finding out the questions/answers relating to this odor plagued in certain individuals.

Koko-san had kindly sent me these products to try for review and I've really enjoyed them all!



Purifying & Deodorizing Body Wash ボディウォッシュ

10 oz | $29.00 | (Buy here)

This Purifying & Deodorizing Body Wash* is very soft and sensitive to use on the skin. Aloe Vera is one of the top botanical ingredients, along with Persimmon, Rose Mary, Rose Geranium, and Chamomile, which mix all together to provide hydration and a light wash. This works well to battle in eliminating Nonenal odor on the surface of the skin (it is not absorbed into the skin, that's not how it works), as well as any other strong emitting odor, and has a fruity/citrus aroma. It works wonders to moisturize and help any irritation. I can attribute that to the Green Tea, Aloe Vera, and other anti-inflammatory botanicals found in the ingredient list. It comes out as a gel-like texture that is easily spread all over the skin, adding a cooling feeling. You can use this not only as a body wash, but also as shampoo too. This is an amazing product that I think a lot of people will enjoy, as its aroma is not too strong (so those with fragrance sensitivity might do well with it), and it works very well to really make you feel all clean and refreshed.

It's main two surfactant ingredients are derived from coconut oil: Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (naturally derived synthetic) and Sodium Cocoamphoacetate (mild amphoteric organic compound). These do well to help the thin gel consistency of the product smooth out over the skin and create a very mild, gentle experience. The following coconut oil derived Cocamide Mipa, works well as a foaming agent and complimentary to the first two ingredients. Polyquaternium-71 is a plant-based humectant and Sodium Cocoyl Oat Amino Acid is a skin conditioning ingredient (providing a smoothness to skin). Sodium Lauryl Glucose is a sugar-based surfactant and is used as an emulsifier, made by a mixture of fatty alcohol from coconut oil and glucose from corn. The whole basis in the first chunk of this product is to create a very light, moisturizing product that is smooth and gentle to use. Following these are a bunch of botanicals, like the vital fermented Persimmon juice extract and so on. Definitely a treat.

It is free of harmful chemicals, sulfates, synthetic detergents, foaming agents, preservatives, and coloring. 
Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamide Mipa, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Polyquaternium-71, Sodium Cocoyl Oat Amino Acids, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Lactobacillus/Persimmon Fruit Juice Extract, Hydrolyzed Silk, Rosmarinus Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) Flower/Leaf/Stem, Extract, Mentha Piperita Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Lavandula Intermedia Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf, Extract, Butylene Glycol, Arginine, Lactic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate

 Purifying Body Spritzer ボディスプリッツアー

0.96 oz | $10.00 | (Buy here)

Purifying Body Spritzer* is alike to the body wash in that it not only has some of the same ingredients, but claims to work to also eliminate Nonenal odor. Green Tea and Persimmon are familiar names to see, but now Astaxanthin has been added to the equation. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that works to extend the effectiveness that Persimmon extract does by neutralizing and masking the unwanted odors. I also liked to see other botanicals that I usually love included in my skincare, such as Camellia and Lavender.

I will be upfront about the smell: it is quite strong and smells like alcohol mixed with some faint grapefruit. I know, that sounds interesting to describe. Seeing as the denat. alcohol is the second ingredient after water (not a negative per say, as denat. alcohol in my books is a benefit in conjunction with other ingredients), I'm not surprised it's so strong. I do wish that some of the botanicals would add to the aroma, however! The great thing about this product from Mirai is that the smell goes away within seconds after spraying it, working to neutralizing and mask whatever needed. I honestly try and go to smell the same areas and I can't smell anything! It really does work for masking odors and I think especially for those who smoke/living with a smoker, this might work wonders for you. I like the inclusion of Aluminum Chlorohydrate, which is an antiperspirant that alters the pH balance of skin and sweat accumulation.

I'm no stranger to carrying around fragrances, I always have either a rollerball with me or some mini spray. I just love the feeling of using a perfume/mist when I'm feeling a bit like the day's gone on too long or I need a refresher. Japan sells a lot of different kinds of body mists/perfumes, depending on their function (ex., how much do you want to get rid of that pungent smell from someone across from you eating their food on the train?). If you want some perfume for your hair, Shiseido has your back. Hair perfume is probably my favorite thing ever and such a smart thing too. There are lots of different brands that create specific products to combat odor and many are small enough to just throw into your bag. Japan definitely has their priorities straight with this one.
Ingredients: Water, Sd Alcohol 40b, Aluminum Chlorohydrate, Lactobacillus/ Persimmon Fruit Juice Extract, Glycerin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Vinegar, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Astaxanthin, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate 



3-in-1 Multi-Tasking Face Serum フェイスセラム

1 oz | $45.00 | (Buy here

3-in-1 Multi-Tasking Face Serum* is my second favorite product out of all. This product is a multi-tasking toner, moisturizer, and age-defying serum all together in one. It is a very light weight formula that can be used both day and night, with only a little bit needed for an application. This was a great serum to use in the morning, which was how I primarily used it. I loved that it is touted as this three-based system, as it really is so moisturizing to use. In the packaging it looks a bit yellow-ish, but when its pumped out (at least on my skin) it looks more translucent. The smell is quite interesting, I wish I knew how to explain exactly what it is? Aloe Vera is the second ingredient, which I am happy about and am thinking it must be a big part of its aroma. It's a somewhat calming smell, a bit medicinal, but nothing very strong. It doesn't at all smell very herbal-y or give me any indication that all of these botanicals are included in this product (again, I would looove to really just smell the lovely aromas of all the botanicals included---Rose Geranium is just too gorgeous of a smell to mask!). This serum dries to a velvet finish and leaves the skin quite hydrated and cool. I definitely could tell that it helped settle down some inflammation and irritation I had on my left cheek after using some new acid products (ouch). I didn't see any substantial brightening effects (or fading) to any big spots or any big difference to my acne, per say. Since this is targeted as an anti-aging and moisturizing product, and I'm mostly doing preventative care with some minor treatment spots, I really have been happy with what I've seen since it's helped some stressed fine lines on my forehead and overall smooth out my skin. I'm so impressed with this product because of all of the ingredients involved really work so well together to provide an effective outcome.

Looking at the ingredients now, there are a good amount of moisturizing and humectant properties in the first names. Aloe Vera, of course, not only a great anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant ingredient but also providing a non-greasy feel to the skin as a moisturizer. Panthenol is derived from pantothenic acid/Vitamin B5 and is used as a humectant, helping to retain moisture deep in the skin's tissue. Methyl Gluceth-10 is a water soluble humectant/emollient and helps to smooth skin. Sodium Hyaluronate undoubtedly a great source to include with all the humectants before it, and Pentylene Glycol, a synthetic humectant, following it.

Some of my favorite botanicals are included in this, such as Tamarind Seed Extract (helps to improve skin elasticity, hydration), Lavender oil (anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, soothing), Green Tea (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant), Rose Geranium oil (helpful for oily skin, anti-inflammation, helps acne-prone skin), Rice (natural skin lightener), Rosemary (natural preservative, great for oily skin), Sandalwood oil (great for oily skin and very calming), etc.

Others I am not so commonly familiar to using in skincare, such as Shiitake Mushroom extract (Lentinus Edodes, a plant polysaccharide, that is known to treat numerous diseases such as cancer, and is a known antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic), Reishi Mushroom extract (Ganoderma Lucidum, a fungal species, has been known to be used to treat cancer and demonstrate substantial anti-cancer activity), and Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (Sericin, protein created by silkworms in the production of silk) which has been studied as great for cell adhesiveness for tissues and regenerative medicine. Sericin works to help keep the skin supple and provide great moisturizing benefits. The mushrooms work as great antioxidants, along with helping to brighten and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Some powerful botanical anti-aging properties are working together in this product, and it was really interesting to research all about these.
Ingredients: Water /Aqua/Eau, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Panthenol, Methyl Gluceth-10, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Sericin, Phospholipids, Tamarindus Indica Seed Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Pelargoniumgraveolens Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Mentha Piperita Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Lavandula Intermedia Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi Mushroom) Extract, Lentinus Edodes (Shitake Mushroom) Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment Filtrate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Astaxanthin, Sodium Pca, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sclerotium Gum, Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium Bourbon) Flower Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil 


Purifying & Hydrating Face Wash フェイスウォッシュ

5 oz | $25.00 | (Buy here)

Purifying & Hydrating Face Wash* is my favorite out of all of the products I was kindly sent. It is a very light, gel-based foaming cleanser that is great for getting rid of skin impurities and oil. It claims to "gently cleanse, moisturize and soften with the most skin-friendly ingredients from nature," and supposed to "hydrate, prevent dryness, and keep skin supple." I didn't really use this to get rid of my makeup, only used it on days when I wore sunscreen or no makeup at all and had it as a first cleanse mostly (or if I did only one cleanse, then of course just as my main cleanser). I did accompany it with my clarisonic and it worked very well that way, too. I looove how light it feels and the fruity grape scent. This product out of all of them keeps the smell and it's not at all strong. It feels very refreshing as you work it into the skin, I really like how it gets rid of my oils and grime that accumulate so much for me with having my skin type. It pumps out just enough that you need for one application and I appreciate that it's so precise with that. Some products I feel like they give too much leeway with their pump mechanism, I end up wasting so much product in the end! I also like that there is a little cap to cover the opening. I don't know if that's supposed to kept on but I've kept it on ever since I got it, and replace it on after I use the product. 

Coconut oil derivatives are again the main base here and are the first chunks by being surfactants and emulsifiers. Aloe Vera Leaf Juice works as to soften and hydrate dry skin due to its humectant properties and binding moisture to skin, helping with its anti-inflammatory benefits. Hydrolyzed Silk makes its appearance again here, along with Astaxanthin and other anti-aging beneficial ingredients that work in multipurpose with moisturizing properties. Rosemary, Rose Geranium, Lavender, Grapefruit, Green Tea, Chamomile, etc, all great botanical ingredients: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant beneficial activity, moisture, detoxifying properties, stress reducing, calming, and refreshing skin. I can 100%+ say it did this and has made washing my face early in the morning really a nice activity, especially getting up for University.

I think that if you had to choose amongst all of the products to try, this, the serum, and the body wash might be your best bet to really getting the sense of what Mirai Clinical is all about and what their products are.
Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamide Mipa, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Threoninate, Astaxanthin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Hydrolyzed Silk, Rosmarinus Officinalis Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Mentha Piperita Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Lavandula Intermedia Flower/leaf/stem Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Arginine, Lactic Acid, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate

 Deodorizing Hair Brush Liner

30 sheets | $6.00 | (Buy here

This is a reaaaaally interesting product! Mirai's Deodorizing Hair Brush Liner* made with Japanese Persimmon absorbs dirt and odors with its natural cotton fibers imported from Japan, keeping your hair fresh and brush clean. With using natural fermented Persimmon extract, it neutralizes the odors and becomes a "dry shampoo" that absorbs dirt, sprays, and gels. So who exactly is this brush aimed for? I think those who are prone to dandruff or naturally have quite oily/greasy hair (like me!). It works wonders to really refresh the smell and also texture of your hair. One day I was running out the door and noticed how oily my hair looked (it may be Fall already but Southern California does not bend to the rules of seasons!), so I quickly brushed it with my brush with the liner tucked into the insides of it (not how it's lazily flattened out here, it's supposed to be tucked in) and it dramatically helped it after a few run-throughs.

I don't own any dry shampoos as I've been averse to using them after a weird accident with one (I don't know if I was just using it wrong or what, but it made the top of my head look really crusty?). I think it also depends on the kind of dry shampoo that you use, as there are powder or aerosol based ones. I think you definitely have to be careful what you use on your scalp, as it is skin that needs to be taken care of (I think sometimes people forget this fact) and the chemicals in your shampoo/conditioner/dry shampoo can actively hurt it. This list of common dry shampoo ingredients was interesting (of course just a base), along with looking at numerous brands' products. I found a mixture of harmful chemicals included in soooo many, especially popular ones like Batiste.

Using Mirai's Deodorizing Hair Brush Liner does not take the place of washing your hair, it is in supplement to it. It's a really interesting product and I think if you're wanting for a more green dry shampoo replacement, this might be a non-aerosol good alternative.



I have to thank Koko-san for kindly reaching out to me and sending me these products to try and review. She's such a sweet person and kind soul. I love the Mirai instagram, they always upload such positive and energetic things! I really hope you'll check out some of their products and help spread word about them.

Do you own any Japanese skincare products? What are your favorite brands?


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*This product has been kindly PR gifted from Mirai Clinical. See my disclaimer for more information.

SU:M37° Time Energy Skin Resetting Refining Toner

9.23.2016


I'm soooo happy to bring this post to you all. It's taken me a good amount of time to really test this product out and be able to sit down to write an honest review about it. Miibox reached out to be a while ago and asked if I wanted to try out some products for review as a collab opportunity, and this was the first product that I picked out. It's been such a treat to use this!

SU:M37° has always been a luxury Korean brand that I've wanted to try since they pride themselves on using natural fermented ingredients. SU:M37, owned by LG (yes, who make the phones), was established in 2007 and is free of fragrances, artificial colors, and synthetic preservatives. What exactly does "SU:M37°/숨37°" mean? "SU:M/숨" means 'breath' in Korean and "37°" represents the perfect temperature of fermentation. SU:M37 puts a lot of importance on "original beauty" and they go through a very diligent process for acquiring the ingredients needed for their fermentation process. They mention that they use "86 kinds of seasonal plants" per season, using all sorts of their physical makeup (branches, roots, stems, seeds, flowers, fruit, etc), and end up choosing the best to be part of their fermentation process. Supposedly the location where they do all their fermentation is based at South Korea's one and only exclusive fermentation institute (which I unsuccessfully have not been able to find information about). They remark that they put a lot of effort into studying and doing their own research on numerous kinds of plants to truly be able to get the best natural and fresh ingredients. 

You might have heard the term 'fermented' before from Japanese skincare brand SK-II, as they use a naturally fermented 'miracle ingredient' from yeast called Pitera (here's a great post explaining). Not only SK-II, but many other brands as well incorporate/base it around their whole line, like Missha, Sulwhasoo, Whamisa, and so on (not including Western brands as well etc). If you don't know what exactly fermentation is, it is a naturally occurring process by which yeast/carbohydrate produced enzymes work to break down large organic compounds into antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids, and rich probiotics (aka the 'good' bacteria). It is therefore making those important substances more available to use and absorb. SU:M37 describes it as being a biological process "where enzymes of microorganisms are used to produce, distribute, convert, and switch ingredients for human beings and ferment plants with microorganisms... to enhance the value of utility of our skin." All in all, very good things. The reason being is that these ingredients are power houses for taking care of our skin: amino acids (ex. encourages production of collagen for anti-aging), antioxdiants (ex. fights free radicals),  vitamins (ex. vitamin b12, extracted from saccharomyes, helps treat hyper pigmentation and rosacea/dry skin), and probiotics (ex. research case studied to show its help with acne). 

In regards to fermented skincare and its process, the ingredients (ranging from floral/herbal/food ex. rice/many different things, etc) are soaked in some kind of enclosed space and will sit for a considerable amount of time until they are fully ready. It occurs in an aerobic setting (no oxygen) and takes some patience since it is something that doesn't happen overnight. SU:M37 says that they ferment their ingredients in an "oak tank, cedar tank, and a pottery tank" to benefit the process of each one individually. After the fermentation rounds, combination of "the technology of SU:M37," and a wait period of "four seasons," they will then filtrate out everything except what they deem important to being good and healthy for the skin. Since Korean skincare uses a good amount of food-based ingredients anyway, they go through an organic fermented process regardless. There are research backed studies that provide ample evidence of the efficiency that fermented skincare has for being topically applied, along with fermentation of plants, so there's actually science behind all of this and it's not some gimmick that's being hyped all over. The lovely Renee has a great video explaining the concept (blog post too!) and also mentions her favorite fermented skincare she uses.

SU:M37 has fourteen different skincare lines, each with specific target treatments. They not only have skincare products available to purchase but also makeup, too



SU:M37 Time Energy Skin Resetting Refining Toner

160ml | (Buy here)

SU:M37 Time Energy Skin Resetting Refining Toner* is part of their Time Energy line, which is targeted for oily/combo types who are prone to sensitivity and have often troubled skin. They describe it as a line that "recovers the exhausted skin by normalizing the disturbed rhythm... by using the fermented material, which has the vitality of life from long waiting," basically a whole line that works to revitalize and treat skin that needs it the most.

There are four products within the line: Skin Resetting Repair Serum (energizes the skin and keeps it pure and healthy), Skin Resetting Moist Firming Cream (strengthens the foundation of skin and keeps it hydrated), Skin Resetting Softening Emulsion (balances oil and water, and keeps skin moist and smooth), and Skin Resetting Refining Toner. As you can see, there is a lot of 'resetting' happening. The whole concept is that it 'resets' your face, by lessening/balancing your facial oils and helping nourish sensitive skins. This toner specifically helps to keep "the skin supple" and "smooth out skin surface" by the abundant natural fermented ingredients and plant extracts (which you'll see all the ingredients lower in the post).

The consistency of the toner is very thin and watery, smells very fruity! Every single time I would use this I would loooove to just smell it straight from its bottle.  It says to apply it using a cotton pad and pat after, but I found I was wasting a lot of product doing it that way. The open part of the top only lets out so much product and you really have to just shake it out quite strong (at least I did), and I was wasting some product since I didn't need a whole lot of it. The best way for me was to just put it straight onto clean hands and pat it into my skin. I found that it gave me so much more hydration compared to when I tried to use it with a cotton pad. I loved how cool the product was on my skin and how watery it felt, especially as its been so humid here, it was like my skin was drinking it all up right as I placed it on! Plus with all my pigmentation and troublesome spots, I really felt like having it directly put onto them (with no added texture like a cotton pad to scratch against or dilute the liquid) helped a lot with lowering the redness and getting the most out of the yummy, skin nourishing ingredients. I used this successfully over a 3-4 week period on a daily basis, using both evening and morning time, and from that concentrated usage I felt my skin look clearer and softer. My oils felt a lot less than usual and I really do believe it's because it was lacking the needed amount of water content in my skin, so this toner really helped to treat that. Around the same time as I began using this, I also began to incorporate more moisturizing oils and lotions. So, using this as the basis starting product with all those really helped my skin to get to where it is now.

The packaging is just beautiful. Etched on the front of the frosted glass bottle is the black lettering titling the product, and in the back has all the information in Korean. I love how luxurious it feels and looks. The gold top with the SU:M37 logo is beautifully engraved into it, it really adds such a lovely touch to the product. It's the little things that make this brand so special. It is on the heavy side, so maybe not the best when traveling (but easily decanted into a smaller container). I love that it is a frosted glass bottle, protecting the ingredients from any possible light inducing harm to lessen their quality and performance (you should keep this in a protected place, regardless). One thing I want to bright attention to is Korean expiration dates and how to read them, as the location of it is on the bottom of the bottle (mine says 20181111까지). Sometimes you'll see two dates, one manufactured date and one expiration date, and others one date (like mine). If you're newly getting into Kbeauty, it's good to recognize these Korean characters and understand what they mean so you're not totally confused (or end up throwing away products that are not expired yet!).


Let's talk about the ingredients...

Seeing as I don't understand Korean, I can't translate the ingredients into English myself. Luckily some have already done so, and I'd like to give them credit by showing you where to read the full English translated ingredients. Translators put a lot of time and work into their craft, so they deserve the respect and full credit from that hard work. You can also see the ingredient list available on cosDNA. Now, how do your eyes feel after reading ALL of those ingredients? SU:M37 isn't messing around when they say they use 86 kinds of seasonal plant extracts.

In the actual large chunk of the ingredients, Saccharomyces and Zygosaccharomyces from yeast and multiple gram-positive lactic-acid bacteria (plus other kinds of different sourced bacteria) from carbohydrates (Lactobacillus, Leuconostocare, Pediococcus, and Polysaccharide Maltodextrin) are both found in this product. The first chunk of fermented ingredients, Lactobacillus/Ampelocissus Martini Fruit/Lavender Flower/Rosa Canina Fruit/Rosemary Leaf/Sage leaf/Thyme Leaf Extract Ferment Filtrate, is unique to the Time Energy line. Whereas the larger chunk of fermented ingredients, starting directly from 'Acetobacter/Aspergillus/...' all the way until '.../Potato Fermentation Extract (aka Helianthus Tuberosus Tuber Ferment Extract),' is SU:M37's specialized mass fermentation juice. It's basically a huge chunk of fermented plants, foods, yeast (filtrated), and carbohydrate produced results all mixed together. 

There is no added fragrance, however natural essential oils such as Lime Oil, Rosemary Leaf Oil, and Grape Leaf Oil are used (unsure if added for fragrance purposes, however!). Limonene is the last ingredient in the product and is a known naturally occurring fragrance used in cosmetics, so that is definitely being used for the fruity smell of the toner. 

There are a good amount of emulsifiers in the toner to help with moisturizing and helping to absorb in the skin. I found that while it was enough hydration and more for me, it might not be for those who have dry-very dry skin. You definitely will want to slather on a good moisturizer when you use this. Since it has ingredients that are good for helping acne and balancing oil (such as what I've listed below), the exfoliant properties might not be the the most moisturizing for dry-very dry skin types. 

Soooo many yummy extracts, I don't even know where to begin to list my favorites but I'll try:
  • Kelp (protects against damage caused by free radicals/moisturizing/inflammatory/humectant), Persimmon (antixodiant), Soybean (boost collagen/decrease redness/evens skintone), Mulberry (natural skin lightening/antioxidant), Licorice (natural skin lightener to help hyperpigmentation), Ginseng (antioxidant/anti-inflammatory), Mugwort (known as a 'blood cleanser' to help with acne), Turmeric (antioxidant/anti-inflammatory/antibacterial to help with acne), Rice (antioxidant/moisturize/good source of vit. b12), Lotus (anti-inflammatory/anti-aging/controls oil/hydrating/contains natural AHAs), Rosemary (helps control oil/anti-aging/anti-inflammatory), Lavender (antibacterial/antiseptic/oil balancing/helps treat acne/soothing), and so on...

Clarification: all of the pictures in this post have been taken a couple weeks ago. I usually take pictures of my products quite early in my usage for blog posts. 

I can't speak highly enough about this product. I'm dying to try more from SU:M37 and especially from their Time Energy line since it specifically is aimed for my skin type and concerns. Their Secret Essence and Repairing Serum are next on my list for sure.

I also highly recommend Miibox (no, I am not obligated to say so as I truly believe this!). They are the loveliest and have a mass amount of Korean skincare available to buy, along with Japanese, etc, and makeup products, etc, too! It also helps they are located in Southern California as well like me, but ships very quickly to everywhere else even outside here.



Have you tried anything from SU:M37°? What are your favorite fermented skincare products?



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*This product has been kindly PR gifted from Miibox. See my disclaimer for more information.

Apsara: Ayurvedic Skincare

9.18.2016


Recently I've been really into acquiring natural, organic, and cruelty-free skincare, as it's been something that I've been meaning to do for a long time but hadn't put out the effort into implementing. As I kept on researching brands and products, the term 'Ayurveda' kept on popping up and it really interested me to find out what exactly it was.

Ayurveda (transl. from Sanskrit,  'knowledge of life') is a thousands year old Vedic Indian holistic system of healing that focuses on treating not only remedies for the body but also for the mind and spirit. Ayurveda believes there are three basic energy characteristics (doshas) found in every person (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), each one with physical and emotional/mental attributes, but one or two dominates the others. Disturbances of these doshas (external and internal forces) enact the usage of Ayurvedic treatments, the outcome hoping to bring energy back into stability. What's essentially important in this is that it differs substantially to the Western outlook on treatments, as Ayurveda takes in specifically an individual's unique circumstance (based upon the doshas) while looking at both medical and psychological history. There are mass amounts of research cases and studies done on Ayurveda and its connection to Western medicine and science. Some research specifically shows its validity in science, connects it to specific genes and physiological patterns, and has uncovered substantial findings of doshas' important link in regulatory systems. Ayurveda is a multiple layered holistic system that aims for the most accurate treatments and disease prevention (ranging from dietary changes, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, etc), especially when it comes to using natural herbs and vitamins that are full of antioxidants. It's essentially part of a wider picture by being involved in socio-cultural elements within a traditional and religious environment, and is often used in home remedial cases.

In regards to skincare, Ayurveda's cosmeceutical usage of natural herbal spices, botanicals, and minerals date back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Western culture has caught onto this anti-aging and antioxidant rich treatment treasure that's been used for so many years, and one can easily see the influence by the numerous powder cleanser products available on the green beauty market. Although Western powder cleanser products do stray away from traditional Ayurvedic ingredients by using harsher mixes (often 'extras' such as vitamin c, sodium bicarbonate, etc), the main core inclusions of clays, turmeric, essential oils, and other skin nourishing items are still there. Ayurvedic skincare is made up of numerous product varieties and uncountable ingredient mixes, all with their own individual target treatments.

Taking all of this information into account, I was more than ecstatic when Apsara Skincare contacted me about trying out their Camphor and Geranium Facial Gel Cleanser* and talking about it on my blog. Founder Sheetal Rawal, a scientist with a background in molecular biology/human genetics, established Apsara (transl. from Sanskrit, '(celestial) nymph') to create natural and cruelty-free skincare products inspired by Ayurvedic principles to get healthy, glowing skin. Rawal from a young age had always been interested in taking care of her skin and often found herself in the kitchen making all sorts of concoctions with much trial and error. After changing her whole lifestyle for a more green one (including becoming a vegetarian), she set to work to create Apsara Skincare and used her scientific background to help her with chemistry formulations. Rawal believes that "beauty and grace is inherent in all of us," with nature's abundance of herbs and botanicals easily accessible to  use and help get our skin to the best possible state that it can be.

Apsara Skincare is for the consumer wanting natural ingredients in effective, low cost products without the need of using harmful chemicals or synthetics. It is made without animal ingredients (nor are they tested on animals), no parabens or sulfates, fragrance free, made in small batches under concentrated supervision, and over 70% of products are made without synthetic preservatives.  They have a user-friendly interface that allows you to get help with choosing products based upon your skin type and the kind of product you want, along with including options for men and baby/kids.

Camphor & Geranium Facial Gel Cleanser



Made specifically for oily and acne-prone skin in mind, this mild gel cleanser deeply cleans out the pores and skin impurities to create an even base without stripping away the skin's natural moisture. Two of the main ingredients are essential oils camphor and geranium, and both are very effective at treating and helping troubled skin. 

The camphor included in this product is taken from Cinnamomum Camphora/Camphor Tree, a large evergreen tree native to Asia, and is extracted from the leaves through steam distillation (traditionally also by the wood). By that extraction, three fractions are created: white, yellow, and brown. White camphor essential oil is the only one that is safely used since it does not include safrole, which is toxic and carcinogenic. Camphor essential oil is used for a variety of treatments, from being antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and great for acne-prone skin. It should be heavily diluted and mixed with other oils (such as frankincense, lavender, eucalyptus, etc). It's important to understand that camphor EO should be included in an essential oil mix at a small quantity (less than 1%), and in this product it is second to last on the ingredient list. However, you still are getting some of the great qualities that camphor essential oil does for the skin as it works effectively in small quantities. It has a pungent, woody aroma. 

The geranium included in this comes from Pelargonium Graveolens/Rose Geranium, a type of floral from the Pelargonium genus that is native to South Africa, and only one of the few of its species to be used as an essential oil. It is produced via steam distillation from Rose Geranium's flowers and leaves, and is used topically to promote the appearance of healthy skin. It has a sweet aromatic mix of rose and citrus, and is widely appreciated in aromatherapeutic usage as a very calming and mood uplifting oil. Rose geranium works wonderfully mixed with other essential oils such as lavender or jasmine. It works for all skin types but especially well for those with oily, clogged pores. Rose geranium essential oil is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, hydrating, and oil balancing product. 




I've been using this cleanser since mid-August and I've been really impressed at how well it's done at clearing up my skin and helping some little bits of PIH I have on my right jaw (my most troublesome spot). The PIH did not really change until the 3rd week and by that time my acne had cleared up a good amount, which was great to see since my skin can be quite stubborn when I'm under so much stress. You already know that my skin is very oily and because of that I have an arsenal of products to help me balance out that oiliness. Using this cleanser by Apsara has been like a dream, one in which I would look forward to after inhaling its herbal scent and quickly rush to throw it onto my face (literally rush). I prefer to use this in my second cleansing step, since I want to get the most out of the camphor and geranium ingredients (and also at the beginning of using this, I wanted to see how it did with my skin as I consistently used it). I especially liked to use this cleanser at night, as its cooling sensation and aroma really would help after a long humid day. 

You might be interested to read that they are at the bottom of the ingredient list, and it's because essential oils (especially in a mixture) need to be at a certain diluted percentage due to them being so strongly concentrated. It doesn't lessen their ability to work well or to absorb less of any of their great skin benefits. 
Ingredients: Aqua (DI Water), Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide Gum), Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Cinnamomum camphora (camphor) EO, Pelargonium graveolens (geranium) EO



I'm really impressed with Apsara Skincare as a brand and I know I'll be on the lookout for more products to try once I get through some others I currently have in rotation! Ayurvedic skincare is also something I'd like to look more into, so if you are a fan of any products or brands I'd love to know what you really love! 

Apsara Skincare has partnered with me to host a giveaway on my instagram! Be sure to enter (it's REALLY easy!) as you can win one of their cleansers of your choosing! There are four cleansers all based on different skin types. It is an international giveaway so anybody can enter! Good luck!



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*This product has been kindly PR gifted from Apsara Skincare. See my disclaimer for more information.

MINTD BOX: THE EXPERTS ON 'POST SUMMER SKIN'

9.10.2016

It's that time again. Yes, you know what time. The annual dread of summer ending for those of us in the Northern hemisphere. All of us enjoying the last bits of heat and sunshine until Fall does its magic and brings Starbucks' seasonal drinks, cold temperatures, and 21282109 different shades of dark vampy lipsticks (raise your hand if you own/have owned MAC Sin, Diva, or Rebel--time to bring those babies out!). But the great thing about September is it allows us to hold onto the last little bits of summer, which means that, that tan ain't going away too quickly! It's a whole month to slowly transition into Fall, giving ample time to switch up accommodating your wardrobe, skincare routine, makeup choices, you name it. 

Transition doesn't imply a total change, you can still hold onto that radiant and healthy summer look, especially by using quality products to help keep your skin glowing beyond the season. Also important is to nurture and treat skin that's possibly been damaged by the sun or needing some real TLC. September is the ultimate 'pamper month,' if you think about it? I know for myself, I've been thinking about what products might be in my arsenal for the upcoming F/W seasons, and what exactly I hope to treat for my skin for this next month and so on. 

I was recently nicely offered to try out another box from MINTD Box, who have amazingly thought of our transitional needs and concerns for us, and have amply prepared a great assortment of supportive products! If you have not yet read my full intro about them, check out my first post here. To sum up that post, MINTD Box is a UK luxury monthly/bi-monthly subscription box service that offers only the highest quality luxury brands at value price with 4-5 full sized products in every box. The concept is that you are getting more than what you are putting into it money-wise, while also trying out products from a variety of luxury brands from trusted retailers and ones currently globally on trend. I have been so sick of subscription boxes being such a disappointment and including products that I never even use. MINTD Box presents itself in a very sophisticated and organic way that does not feel at all untrustworthy or fake, and I am truly without a doubt so impressed and highly recommend them. The September box has just even more so confirmed these feelings!

MAX FACTOR USA CAPSULE COLLECTION

9.03.2016


Whoops, I meant to get this out waaaay earlier than now, but better late than never! And no, your eyes aren't deceiving you. The title of this post is indeed true! Max Factor has returned to our U.S. retail stores where it rightfully belongs... well, for a limited time at least! 

Pat McGrath, global makeup artist and creative design director, has released a limited-edition capsule collection with four brilliant products: Masterpiece Max Mascara*Masterpiece High Precision Liquid Eye Liner*, and two Colour Elixir Lipsticks in Simply Nude 725* (right) and Maroon Dust 735* (left). Released in August, you can buy these four products at your local Target, Walmart, and Walgreens, along with online on Amazon and Drugstore.com, for a limited time. I believe that this collection will be in retail until end of September (don't hold me to that though?), so you might have time if you haven't yet gotten any products from it!

This capsule collection was specifically developed to "be a fresh, modern take on an iconic glamour look: the sexy cat eye paired with a nude or rose-colored lip." I absolutely agree with that description as both the lip colors and the eyeliner create such a glam look, and the mascara really adds the dramatic effect by how they thicken and elongate your lashes. If there's one thing I truly miss about Max Factor's makeup being readily available here, it's how amazing their mascara is. This liquid eyeliner and mascara are actually part of a collection already, named The Enticing Cat Eye, that also is acommpanied by an eyeshadow palette full of romantic tones and spearheaded by Victoria's Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel as their model. They also have a tutorial that you can follow using products from the collection. If you've gone in person to buy these products, you might have noticed that Max Factor has been promoting this as their Enticing Cat Eye collection, without the eyeshadow palette.