Missha Tension Pact Review

Move over BB Cushions, there’s a new kid in K-Beauty town! This summer in Korea saw the entrance of the Tension Pact; a similar design to the BB cushion compact but instead of a soaked sponge, the tension pact has a thinly-woven mesh net that distributes the product more evenly on to the puff. Several brands have come out with their versions including Missha and Etude House – I decided to try Missha.

 

Missha came out with 4 types of tension pacts – cover, natural cover, tone-up and moisture. I opted for the cover as this is their bestseller and I got it in the shade No.23.

Packaging 

As previously mentioned, the packaging is exactly like a BB cushion and comes with a puff.  I particularly like this one because the clasp is in rose gold – YEAH.

When you open up the case, you will see the mesh net which underneath contains the product. When pressed down with the puff, the product seeps through between the net which is extremely satisfying.

img_0527

Application 

Application is VERY different to the typical BB cushion. Whilst with a BB cushion I will need to go in several times to get sufficient product on my puff, with the tension pact, only one firm dab is all I need to cover my whole face! The first time trying the tension pact I pressed down hard as I would my BB cushion and loads of product came out of the net and all over my hand – epic fail. Word of caution – dab lightly! A little goes a long way. As you can see in the photo, the product is more evenly distributed on the puff in comparison to a BB cushion.

img_0530

True to its name, this particular tension pact is very high coverage, I don’t even need to wear concealer with it. Despite the high coverage though it feels incredibly lightweight on the skin which is exactly what I want in a BB cream/foundation. It’s also incredibly long lasting; I wore this for about 10 hours and had little fading. Some have said that the cushion has a high matte finish but I find that using the product sparingly (only one dab blended across my face) that the product still retains that Korean dewy glow.

Scent 

I am horrible at describing scents. The only way I can describe this is that it has that quintessential ‘Korean make up’ scent; similar to the Etude House Precious Mineral Cushion (which I love). It is only faint but very fresh, light and slightly floral. See, I told you I’m horrible at describing scents.

Would I repurchase? 

This has become my go-to product at the moment and I’m already considering stocking up on it before I leave Korea! The cover version cost 17,800 WON which is roughly £12.00 which I personally think is a bargain for such a good quality product. I am definitely keen on trying out the natural cover version (which is even cheaper at 15,800 WON!) but all in all, this cover version is the perfect product to use for a long day at work or a night out – the staying power combined with the finish and low price point just makes this product insanely good value.

Rating: 4.5 / 5

The innisfree store in Gangnam

innisfree Haul

Ah Innisfree. The first Korean beauty store I ever walked in to and forever my favourite. Whenever I walk in to an Innisfree shop I go to my happy place. Innisfree prides itself on using natural ingredients from the island of Jeju just off the coast of mainland Korea. The product packaging is always slick and everything always smells great. The stores always have this eco-natural feel which is so calming.

The innisfree store in Gangnam

My favourite scent at Innisfree is Gardenia. I am obsessed with it. I first bought the hand cream a few years ago and some of my colleagues at work tried it, loved it and became converts as well. Since then Innisfree have expanded their scent range greatly. I came in for the hand cream but then I discovered that Innisfree now has home scents like candles and diffusers. So I bought the Gardenia diffuser and it.smells.wonderful.

Our flat is on the 8th floor and doesn’t have many windows so can at times get a bit stuffy so I wanted something to make the place smell fresher. Or at least that’s the story I’m telling myself. And Steve.

I then bought the innisfree Body Lotion in Gardenia as well which again smells divine and is highly moisturising – I love it. Perfect for a pamper session!

innisfree Body Lotion in Gardenia

I did in fact get the innisfree Hand Cream and also got the Peony one as well. Jo Malone’s Peony Blush Suede is what I wore on my wedding day so I love the smell of it. And just as I expected, this too smells delightful. These little tubes are so great for popping in the handbag, they last a surprisingly long time and I’m fairly sure all of them smell delicious.

Innisfree also have a collection of antibacterial gels – one of which was Gardenia so obviously I bought that as well. In fact I think the only Gardenia things I didn’t buy was the body wash (because it was sold out), and the rollerball (which I only later discovered from another beauty instagrammer!)

Innisfree has a great range of masks, hair masks, face masks, foot masks, sleeping packs, hand masks you name it. I was planning on doing a pamper session on the weekend so decided to buy some to try out.

I bought the innisfree Camelia Essential Hair Mask pack, the innisfree Rose Sheet Mask and innisfree Foot Softening Mask (yes that’s a thing here). I have yet to try out the hair mask and foot mask but I love the sheet masks at Innisfree and as they didn’t have a Gardenia mask, I settled for Rose.

Innisfree also has a wall of capsules which at first, I didn’t know what it was for. Then I read online that they have a mixture of sleeping masks and wash off face masks in these great little capsules. These are useful for travelling or for just trying out.

innisfree capsule recipe pack

I bought the Seaweed (revitalising), Green tea (moisturising), and the Volcanic Clay (pore minimising). Each capsule has about 2-3 uses and comes in a handy re-sealable pack for easy storage. I have only tried the Seaweed pack but noticed a huge difference in my skin the next day.

I also got a pack of my favourite face wipes from the Olive Oil collection – innisfree Olive Real Cleansing Tissue. These are great because they are essentially like using a cleansing oil but easier and less faff. A lot of face wipes can be quite drying to your skin whereas these ones gently remove all traces of make up. Perfect when I can’t be bothered or come home late after a few too many sojus!

innisfree Olive Real Cleansing Tissue

On to make up. I bought a couple of my favourite products from their innisfree No Sebum range – the Blur Primer and the Blur Powder. Most people rave about the blur powder white version (similar to the Makeup Forever HD Powder) but I find that sometimes it makes my face look a bit washed out so I wanted to try this version which is skin-toned. I haven’t tried it yet as I am still waiting to finish the Peach Sake Silky Finish Powder which I reviewed in my Skinfood Haul but I am sure it will be good. The blur primer is good and again is a much raved about product here in Korea but it still, for me, does’t compare to the Etude House Beauty Shot Face Blur which is my all time favourite base primer.

I’ve been meaning to try Innisfree cushions for a while and I am always so amazed when I see their wall of personalised cases. At Innisfree, you select which BB cushion you want and then buy a case – they come in all different patterns and colours. I opted for the innisfree Ampoule Intense Cushion which I am saving for the winter time when my skin will appreciate the moisture this cushion offers. And I opted for this polka dot case 🙂

The last product I got was this innisfree Creamy Tint Lipstick in Cocktail Orange, a lovely vibrant coral colour. The tint lasts quite a while but can be a bit drying on the lips, it needs topping up after about two hours. The lipstick smells great though and I just really love the colour. It goes on very easily (and creamy like the name suggests), however I would say the finish is more matte.

Innisfree can be a bit hit and miss with samples. One time I didn’t get any which is the first time I have ever had that happen. I was not happy. Granted I only bought a couple face masks which cost hardly anything but usually, no matter what you spend, they will always give you a bunch of samples to try. However, this time the saleswoman gave me quite a few to try out:

I received:

  • 3 x samples of the Cherry Blossom Body Wash (I think she thought I should try another scent other than Gardenia. I get the hint)
  • 3 x Aloe Vera Sheet Masks
  • 4 x Green Tea Seed Serum (holy grail product)
  • 2 x Green Tea Cleansing Foam
  • 2 x Volcanic Pore Cleansing Foam (another holy grail product)
  • 1 x Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (this is their bestseller but I’ve never actually tried it)
  • Green Tea Balancing Special Kit including Toner, Lotion and Cream.

I keep meaning to try more of the make up from Innisfree but I always think of it more as a skincare shop. Would Innisfree products would you recommend?

 

Too Cool for School Dinoplatz

Too Cool for School Haul

Too Cool for School is another Korean brand, renowned for it’s funky, artistic packaging. The brand partners up with a lot of upcoming and leading illustrators and designers to create a fun, stand-out brand identity. You can spot a Too Cool for School store a mile away. It just looks, well, cool.

Too Cool for School now has stores in the US and I believe recently has started selling certain product lines in Selfridges. It’s a little bit more expensive than the other Korean beauty stores like Etude House, Innisfree and Skinfood but in my opinion, is still reasonable for the quality it offers.

One of the collections that has come out in the last year is their Dinoplatz collection which features an all-in-one make up box . After trekking around what felt like all the Too Cool for School stores in Seoul, I finally got my hands on the Dinoplatz UFO Multibox. Even though it came out summer 2015, it’s been so raved about that it’s difficult to come by – it was sold out in the Myeongstore and Hongdae stores that I went in to.

Too Cool for School Dinoplatz UFO Multibox

As to be expected from Too Cool for School the box is super cute. The square compact makes it stand out among the sea of round BB cushion compacts. The multi box comes in two shades – 21 and 23. I opted for the darker shade 23, although it is still a bit too pale for me. The coverage is quite light but it definitely gives that Korean ‘glow’ and I’m all for the lightweight consistency. It’s not my favourite BB cushion but it definitely does the trick and is a great addition to my ever-expanding collection.

Coming out from underneath the cushion is a nifty little trio of pore balm, concealer and lip / cheek tint. The pore balm is ok, it minimises fine lines and smooths out the area ahead of BB cream application but it’s so tiny you can only really use it on the areas that require the most attention (for me, under my eyes and nose). However, I really love the concealer. It blends in easily, brightens up the under eye area and covers blemishes well. The lip / cheek tint is ok but not the colour I would normally go for, it’s a bit pale on my lips and quite drying but fine to use as a blush. Pink eyeshadow is in right now in Korea so you could use it as an eyeshadow as well.

The next product that I got was a pack of products from the egg range (Egg-Essential Skincare Set); arguably their most famous range. Egg is used in a lot of Korean beauty products, it’s great at tightening pores, brightening skin and amazing for your hair.

This skincare set came with the Egg Mousse Soap, Egg mellow Cream, the Pore Cleansing Brush and an Egg Cream Mask.

The egg mousse soap is a gentle cleanser infused with egg yolk that helps hydrate your skin. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling stripped of essential oils which is good and lathers up nicely. It’s not great at removing make up but certainly a great addition to my double cleanse routine. (Double cleansing, for those that don’t know is the Korean beauty method of removing your make up and impurities with a cleansing oil/balm first, before going in again with a foaming or gel cleanser).

The egg mellow cream is a game changer for me. I love it. Suitable for dry, oily and combination skin it claims to help speed up your skincare regime but acting as a serum, primer, eye cream and moisturiser all in one. It can also be used as a sleeping mask (providing intense hydration to your skin over night). Anything that reduces the time required for my skincare regime I am all for. The cream smells great, seeps in to the skin easily, brightens my complexion and leaves my skin feeling nourished. I will definitely by buying more of this!

I have yet to try the egg cream mask but I have heard great things about the Too Cool for School mask range. Which is why I bought this set:

I mean how cute is this – it’s a recipe book! There are three tabs – one for hydration, one for pore tightening and one for firming. Each tab includes an overview of the ingredients for each mask and 2 x sheet masks. The hydration mask contains ingredients like egg yolk and coconut extract. The pore tightening one contains witch hazel and vinegar and the firming one contains things such as shea butter and collagen. Well I don’t know about you but that all sounds wonderful to me!

This next product is a new release from Too Cool for School and I felt I was somewhat pressured in to purchasing it from the saleswoman (although I’m glad I did because it’s awesome).

Too Cool for School Air Sun Primer

Koreans are obsessed with SPF and suncream. Most BB creams contain at least SPF 30 and suncream is usually one of their essential steps in their skincare regime. I never realised the importance of using suncream on my face (even in cloudy, rainy weather) but boy does it make a difference. I always thought that it was just to maintain that coveted ‘paleness’ that is so popular in Asia but it actually has made a difference to my skin. Now, when I first heard about using SPF on your face everyday I thought YUCK. Sticky, white gloop on my face that smells like, well suncream, isn’t what I thought would be good for my skin! But surprise surprise, as with any Korean beauty invention, the have found a way to avoid that! There are two products in the range, one for dry skin (Air Sun Essence) which is highly moisturising and one for combination/oily skin (Air Sun Primer). As you can see, I opted for the latter. This great product is a suncream (SPF 50+ PA+++) and primer in one. It’s the perfect base for your foundation or BB cream, seeps in to the skin like a dream, is incredibly lightweight and smells really fresh.

The consistency is quite watery, none of that thick gloop that I was expecting, and reduces the appearance of fine lines making it the perfect base for your make up. Oh yeah, did I mention the smell? The scent is wonderfully fresh but not too overpowering and not at all like the suncream I’m used to putting on my face back home!

Another summer essential is this face mist that was new in stores as well.

Too Cool for School Coconut Mist

Now I am a sucker for anything coconut related. So when I saw this, it was already in my basket before the saleswoman even had a chance to explain what it was. Face mists are an essential in this Seoul heat and many use it to either cool themselves down, refresh and moisturise their skin or to help give that plump, dewy glow. But the ones I’ve tried so far make my face look like I’ve just been saved from a drowned wreckage. The Laneige one, I’ve resorted to using as a toner because the spray was just too strong to be considered as a mist! This one goes on very fine, smells divine and gives my skin a boost on the go. I’ve used it as a toner, to set my make up, to give my skin a dewy glow, and before bed as a little aromatherapy.

So in my head I wanted to stop there. I only came in to see if they had the Dinoplaz UFO Multibox and my basket was getting quite full. Walking to the cashier though there was a travel size of the Pumpkin Sleeping Pack. So in the basket that went.

Too Cool for School Pumpkin Sleeping Mask

This is a great night cream and the fact that there was a diddy travel version, well, I had to get it. For the record, their pumpkin sheet masks are also fantastic as well.

And then I passed the new Dinoplatz Twisty Tail Mascara display.

Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Twisty Tail Mascara

I mean, LOOK AT IT!

Now I don’t wear mascara usually, partly because I can’t be arsed to clean it off my face in the evening but as my eye lashes are non existent I thought to myself (eh hem…gave myself the excuse) that I really ought to buy a mascara. I grabbed the little tester wands and tried it on and it really did lengthen my lashes. And then I realised why it was called ‘twisty tail’. You can change the shape of the wand to get in to these little eyelashes in the corners of your eyes! You can set it straight, curved and very curved.

Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Twisty Tail Mascara

Another great example of Korean innovation which no doubt I’m sure other brands will be following soon. Later I realised that the mascara doesn’t budge an inch, even when I wore it to the gym!

So after popping the mascara in to my basket I was really, truly done this time.

I mentioned the amount of samples that Korean beauty shops usually give out and Too Cool for School is one of the most generous (along with Etude House). The saleswoman, despite being a tad pushy with the Air Sun Primer was very helpful, gave thoughtful recommendations and spoke great English (which is rare here). Because I spent over a certain amount (and I told her just how fantastic her English was), I received this cute little make up bag and a WHOLE lot of samples.

Too Cool For School Samples

I received:

  • 2 x Replenish Hydra Essential Toner and Serum
  • 2 x Replenish Aqua Soft Peeling
  • 2 x Pore Minimising Serum
  • 2 x Ultra Rich Intensive Cream
  • 4 x Get Ready Dual Primer
  • 2 x Watery Skin BB Foundation SPF 37 PA ++
  • 2 x Egg Mellow Body Butter
  • 3 x Egg Remedy Hair Pack (I used this yesterday and it is amazing)
  • 2 x Fresh Gore Sleeping Pack
  • 2 x McGirly Come Clean Face Wash
  • 2 x McGirly Rice Scrub
  • 1 x Deluxe Sample Glossy Blaster Tint in Chic Red (very moisturising, long-lasting and smells like fruit). My new favourite lip product.

So that was it for this haul. Too Cool for School was a brand that I never really looked in to before but now I am hooked. All the products I have tried have been really great quality. I now really want to check out more of their make up range as I was so impressed with the concealer and glossy blaster tint! What are your favourite Too Cool for School products?

Skinfood

SKINFOOD Haul

Last week I went in to the Skinfood in Garosugil to get a tub of my favourite scrub and ended up coming away with a whole bag of goodies. Story of my life. SKINFOOD prides itself on using natural ingredients in their skincare and make up ranges and is very popular in Korea. They have numerous lines focusing on the beneficial properties of a particular ingredient, i.e. broccoli, peach, salmon, tomato and many more. This brand couldn’t be any more up my street. Food for your skin? Sold.

I’ve been using the Skinfood Black Sugar Mask Wash off for a few years now as my exfoliator of choice and absolutely love it. In this Seoul heat, it’s been great at keeping my skin fresh and smooth. It is probably their bestselling product and reminds me a lot of the Fresh Brown Sugar Scrub (but at a fraction of the price!) You are supposed to use it as a mask (leave it on your face for 10-15 minutes) then wash off but I just use it as my exfoliator twice a week. The scrub smells heavenly, a little bit citrus-like and because the sugar dissolves when mixed with water, it does the job whilst not being too abrasive for your skin. WIN. There are other scrubs within this range like the strawberry and rice but I always come back to the Black Sugar one.

Another product I bought was the Peach Sake Silky Finish Powder. A lot of Korean beauty bloggers have been raving about this on social media and many of the SKINFOOD shops I went in to, it was sold out! But I finally found it and had to buy it. I have been a loyal user of the Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder for years so was intrigued by this one. First of all, the packing is so sweet and the puff it comes with is really good quality.

The Peach Sake Silky Finish Powder is essentially a make up setting/sebum reducing powder that keeps your BB Cream/Foundation in place and creates that flawless finish to your make up. It is comparable to the Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder. You only need to use a little bit and I tend to only use it on my t-zone. If you use a lot you will look like a ghost in photos! It is incredibly lightweight and easy to use and helps keep your make up in place throughout the day and evening – essential in this Seoul heat! I forgot to set my make up with it the other day and definitely noticed the difference.

The best thing about this product is the smell. God bless Korean beauty products – I always find they have this unique, fresh scent to them that I absolutely love. There have been mornings where whilst doing my make up, I’ve just shoved my nose in this powder because of the smell (although white powder around your nose is not a good look so I wouldn’t recommend that!) But seriously, the smell is so lovely.

The next product I got was a similar cult product here in South Korea and that is the Salmon Dark Circle ConcealerNow I know what you’re thinking. SALMON concealer?! But like I mentioned in my post ‘What’s the deal with K-beauty?’ Koreans are the best at skincare innovation and sourcing all the latest ingredients to utilise in their products. This little concealer contains Norwegian salmon oil that is said to have anti-aging properties (salmon oil contains over 18% of Omega-3 fatty acid DHA and EPA) therefore it helps boost your skin with lots of nutrients. It also contains the salmon roe which is, again, full of nutrients as well like retinol and Vitamin E. I don’t tend to get dark circles under my eyes but I like the idea of using this concealer to brighten up that area nonetheless. I have used many concealers before and I always find that they either look a bit cakey or show up fine lines and creases. Not this bad boy. This concealer blends so easily and really brightens up the under eye area. It doesn’t feel drying at all and is very lightweight. I will just dab my ring finger in the little tub and gently dab under my eye area for an instant pick-me-up. The only downside is that it doesn’t smell of anything (though this is a benefit for some people, I just like my products to smell pretty!) But it doesn’t smell like fish though in case you’re wondering!

On to the next product. Another product from the Black Sugar range is the Black Sugar Perfect First Serum. This serum comes in two varieties – normal (for dry skin) and light (for combination to oily skin). As you can see I opted for the light version. Again this product is very popular here in South Korea and they actually had a promotion on at the Skinfood store I went to in Hongdae – for 16,000 won (around £10) I got a big bottle of the serum, 2 deluxe sample sizes of the serum and a box of their high quality cotton pads. This bottle is going to last me a really long time as you only need a few drops of this serum.

For the past two years I’ve been using the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum but was interested to give this one a try due to its popularity. I have been using this now for about a week and whilst I like it, it’s not blown me away. I pour a few drops of the product in the palms of my hands, rub together and pat gently on my skin before applying my moisturiser. It has a more watery consistency compared to the green tea seed serum by Innisfree; the first time I used it, it completely seeped in to my hands! I personally prefer a thicker, gel like consistency for my serum. It does feel very nourishing and I have noticed my complexion improving over the past week although I’m not sure I can attribute that directly to this product. Perhaps I need to keep using this in order to see the benefit longer term. Another point to make about this product is that I found it quite scentless which I didn’t like. The one thing I love about the green tea seed serum is the fresh smell – it makes me want to put it on my skin. This serum, for me, just felt a bit ‘meh’ but I know that there are thousands out there who beg to differ.

Too Cool for School Black Sugar Perfect First Serum

Finally at the checkout, I purchased two items – the Miracle Food 10 Solution Eye Patch and Mask Sheet and the Egg White Perfect Nose Kit. I’ve tried the Miracle Food 10 cream before so thought I would give the mask sheet a go – you can never have too many sheet masks, right? The three-step nose pore pack I wanted to try because so far none of them have blown me away – I’ve tried the Innisfree and Etude House blackhead packs but wasn’t too impressed by either. I have heard that the Holika Holika Pig Nose Blackhead Kit is the best so will have to try that soon!

The great thing about beauty shopping in Korea is the free samples. Pretty much every store will give you free samples with every purchase. And I am a sample JUNKIE! I have boxes upon boxes of samples, I love them. The lady at SKINFOOD was super nice and gave me a bunch of stuff to try. I got:

  • A full size tub of the Aloe Vera Soothing Gel. This is supposed to be a great lightweight everyday moisturiser (although it would be great on sunburn). Nature Republic have their cult aloe gel which all the other Korean beauty brands followed so interested to try the SKINFOOD one.
  • Lettuce and Cucumber emulsion and essence sample.
  • Another box of the cotton pads
  • 2 x Watermelon face mask pack
  • 3 x Waterbury Ampoule and Cream samples
  • 2 x Fresh Apple essence samples
  • 3 x Royal Honey Essential Queen’s cream
  • 2 x Black Sugar Perfect First Serum (included in my full size purchase)

Too Cool for School Samples

That’s it for this haul. I’ve got an Etude House, Innisfree, Banila Co and Too Cool for School haul coming up as well. If you’re in to K-Beauty let me know what your favourite SKINFOOD products are so I can try them out 🙂