Posted in cosmetics, shopping

K-Beauty: My First Venture (With A Sephora Haul!)

Hi, everyone!

You might remember that a few weeks ago I tried my first sheet mask from a little Korean grocery/household shop nearby. No, I didn’t write about it back then, because I wanted to save it for when I had more to write about. With my little Sephora haul over the weekend, I now have stuff to write.

First off, the masks. They are made by a company called Dermal (which makes me think of the layers of the skin… I guess that’s what it’s supposed to do!), and come in a lot of different types, unlike what you see on their site for some reason. I knew I wanted to try the snail formula, just to see if it would make me shudder even putting that on my face. I also found one that said it’s “firming · mild · healthy”, so I grabbed two of that, also. It wasn’t until I got home and really looked at them that I saw the other one was called “Syn-ake”, and is made with a synthesized form of snake venom. I’ll be honest – I haven’t had the nerve to try that one yet, though I’ve read reviews online and haven’t found anyone suffering a bad reaction to it. I know it’s supposed to be like a natural-type Botox, but I never wanted to do Botox, either!

2015 09 21 Dermal Snail SynAke masks

The next week, Hims took me back over to the market again, partially because he wanted to get some more buckwheat noodles – they taste great, even though they sort of look like gray worms in your bowl… This time I bought two more snail masks, along with two Q10 masks and two charcoal masks.

I use a mask every few days, and I am loving them. It’s a really nice change from the masks you leave on your face to harden; these stay moist (read: pretty wet) the entire time, and really give your skin a nice moisture boost. All you do is remove them after 20 minutes and then lightly tap the excess serum on your face into your skin. You don’t have to wash anything off!

2015 09 27 Dermal Snail Q10 Charcoal masks


Then came last weekend. The day after I’d ordered a couple things from Sephora (thanks to their $50.00 credit because of the Epic Rewards thing), I learned that they were holding a K-beauty event in-store all weekend! Hims is wonderful and agreed to take me there, even though his interest in anything in Sephora is pretty minimal.

Starting with what I ordered, there was the AmorePacific Treatment Toner. This puppy took up all the $50.00 credit. It’s not really something I would have bought without trying it first, especially not with that price tag! But I knew I needed a good toner, and decided to give this one a whirl. If it performed amazingly, then I could see dropping such a huge amount for more of it when I run out.

So far, it’s really nice. A bit more scented than I was expecting, but I don’t mind it – it smells like one of the shops in Los Angeles’s Chinatown that I used to frequent. Nice memories! There’s no alcohol, so there’s no sting to it. The toner does definitely clean up any residue from my washings and any dirt that might somehow have stayed, clinging for dear life on my skin. I can see it on the cotton pads when there is anything left! Will I repurchase this? I don’t know. I am thinking of trying some of the other, much less expensive toners I’ve seen around from Korea. Anyone have any suggestions?

2015 10 05 AmorePacific treatment toner


Also in the shipment was Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay in Moisturizing Pink. I love this stuff! It’s a clay mask, or at least you put it on like one. You leave it on for three to five minutes, then use warm water and circular motions with your fingertips to foam it up, then you can wash it off. It doesn’t dry out my skin at all, and doesn’t leave it feeling tight or hot, either. I bought the small size to test it out, but next time I might have to go for the larger size.

2015 10 05 Dr Jart Dermaclear Transfoam clay pink


And just for the heck of it, here are the samples I was sent – three I requested and the little extra on that card: Marc Jacobs Decadence. The other samples are Angel by Thierry Mulger, which smelled pretty nice. Angel, which launched a new fragrance category called the “oriental gourmands,” seduces us with angelic flavors found deep within the heart of our memories, as well as sensual and passionate notes.

L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake, a fragrance I’ve loved since I first got a whiff of it. L’Eau d’Issey is a pure floral with musky and woody tones. A very complex fragrance, the Eau de Toilette is made up of a wide range of floral scents including lotus, cyclamen, freesia, carnations, and white lilies, with hints of amberseed and musk.

Cleopatra by Tocca, which I own and just adore. I love nearly all the perfumes by Tocca, though! Inspired by the Mediterranean seductress, Cleopatra captivates the senses. It is infused with the crisp, fresh scent of juicy grapefruit and soothing cucumber used in the legendary queen’s beauty rituals.

2015 10 05 samples


On to the event at Sephora!

I do love Sephora, even through its screw-ups and all. I was really looking forward to this event, because they said you could enjoy an exclusive K-beauty learning session to uncover the secrets to a fresh-faced glow. Receive a complimentary skin care service, and discover the best formulas for your unique skin with a Beauty Advisor.

Not quite what was happening in the store where I went. There was a line of women waiting for a free makeover in the middle of the store – nothing connected with the event whatsoever. That’s cool – but the station with the K-beauty products was completely desolate the entire time I was there, save for the one moment the lady helping me went over to get an open pot for me to try some moisturizer from. I had to ask someone about the event, and they sent that lady over to me, saying she was the one who actually knew anything about those products. Yikes! The training was limited to one person?

Okay, I’ll admit it seemed as though I was the only one there for the event. I don’t blame them for not making everyone learn about K-beauty if they didn’t expect people to come. If they didn’t expect anyone, then why bother with manning the K-beauty station? And since I rarely go shopping for clothes or cosmetics except when I’m dressed in jeans and an old teeshirt, I am never offered any type of services like a makeover, a skin analysis, or “let’s try this on your face and see how it looks”. Still, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed I knew as much, if not a bit more, about K-beauty than the lady helping me did. She sounded as though she’d memorized the information the company gave her and that was it – the only thing I actually learned was that the company fresh is really big in Asia.

I did get to try a few things on the back of my hand, though, which gave me a good sense of how they would feel on my face. I want to go back for the Egg Mousse Soap by Too Cool For School – I loved the light, fluffy feel it had on my skin. I liked the May Coop Raw Sauce as well – it smelled to me like the perfume Heaven Sent by Helena Rubenstein – my very first perfume! And I am truly lusting after the AmorePacific ColorControl Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+! (Lordy, what a mouthful!) But at $60.00, there was no way I was going to get it.

What did I wind up with? I liked the belif product I tried in the front of the store, but it didn’t seem very moisturizing. (belif The true cream – aqua bomb) Later, looking through the comments on Sephora’s site, I noticed that the fourth ingredient is alcohol. No wonder it felt cooling on my skin – but why would I want alcohol in my moisturizer? Plus, like other reviewers, I noticed it felt sticky and tacky after awhile.

Instead, I asked if there was a different version, and the lady took me to the back of the store, where all the skincare stuff is, and introduced me to belif The true cream – moisturizing bomb. Lots better! It’s a bit heavy for daily use, but for night time use it’s great. Very moisturizing, and very soothing.

2015 10 05 Belif the true cream moisturizing bomb


While in the line, I caught sight of a smaller version of a boscia cleanser – boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil. It was only $10.00, so I figured why not try it out? The first few days I used it, it made my skin red and blotchy, and I had that burning-itching feeling for 15 to 20 minutes afterwards. Did. Not. Like. We were planning on taking it back, but it’s as though the stuff knew this – and since then it hasn’t irritated my skin. Now, it could have been the oil and the Retinol serum I’m using not playing nicely with each other… I’ll have to try it again and see if that’s it. I’m still on the fence about the boscia, though – I might still take it back and exchange it for the Egg Mousse Soap.

2015 10 05 Boscia makeup breakup oil


So, that’s what I got at Sephora! Did anyone else go to their local Sephora and do the K-beauty thing? Does anyone have any product suggestions for me, whether from Sephora or from somewhere else that sells Korean products? Let me know down below, please!





Syd is a Midwestern girl who doesn’t think the term “girl” is sexist in the least – especially after she left her 20s. She holds a huge love for history (from WWI through the end of WWII, Victorian, Regency, and Elizabethan eras), some science fiction, and likes to pass the time reading, working with photography and needlework, and writing things. Lots of things. Syd likes to dance, too, but she looks like an utter goob doing so!

9 thoughts on “K-Beauty: My First Venture (With A Sephora Haul!)

  1. Loved reading your post. That’s awesome you were able to get in on that Sepbora epic rewards thing, since I know so many people accessing it in time! You should check out the brand Innisfree — they have some great skincare products

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard of Innisfree… I’ll have to look for it now, thank you! And the only thing I got from the Epic Rewards thing was the “booby prize” of $50.00 store credit to be used by the end of September. Anyone who sent them an email complaining about the Epic Fail in August got sent an email with a coupon code in it as their way of saying “sorry, guys”. I WISH I would have scored the train case – that’s what I was after! 🙂


  2. This was so interesting / helpful! So many new brands at Sephora especially in the k-skincare variety. I’m excited to get this month’s new Sephora Play! Box because it’s supposed to be focused on the Korean skincare thing. I hope to get a few of the products you have mentioned to see what the hype is!


  3. I can’t wait for Sephora to expand on their kbeauty venture. Right now their range is pretty laughable, they don’t have much and what they do have isn’t really viewed as GREAT in South Korea (aside from brands like amorepacific).

    Liked by 1 person

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