ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polish Review and Swatches

“It’s not a nail polish, it’s a blush.”

Ayako is one of my favorite makeup Creative Directors. She has lived over 20 years in New York, working with celebrities and makeup artists like Francois Nars (another favorite of mine). I love it how Ayako thinks outside the box, creating high quality product to highlight one’s individual style. She is cool, edgy and awfully chic - not afraid of colors or texture variations. Today I’m writing about on of my favorite products from ADDICTION: the Cheek Polishes!

ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes

ADDICTION’s Cheek polishes come in a nail polish -like bottle with a similar brush applicator. There are two available textures: non-pearl matte colors and with pearls of silver or/and gold. The cheek polishes retail 12ml for 3024 yen (including tax). As I’m typing this there are 8 permanent shades (including two highlighters) and seasonal limited edition colors.

How To Wear ADDICTION Cheek Polishes

Using a liquid blush is relatively easy. You shake the bottle with cap closed, then adjust the amount of color on the brush (similarly as you adjust the amount of nail polish). You could use the back of your hand as a palette and apply with a brush or a sponge, but I find it easiest to add about ~3 dots of the color on my cheeks and blending with my fingers. I use my middle finger to spread the color, then my index finger to blend. The Cheek Polishes set relatively quickly. If I feel there’s too much product or harsh edges I do a couple dabs with my Beauty Blender or Shaquda foundation brush.

ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Addiction Cheek Polishes

ADDICTION is one of my favorite makeup brands, I feel Ayako can do no wrong (except reformulating my favorite foundation *grudge*). I think last year she reformulated the brand’s powder blushes and created 30 permanent shades with sensible color categories, but unfortunately her Cheek Polish range remained untouched. They have discontinued some older individual shades, which makes the range in my eyes a bit incomplete looking.. as I’m typing this there are only 6 blushers and 2 highlighters available. I wish they’d tweak and expand the current range. Meanwhile, they do bring out Limited Edition shades every now and then. I haven’t tried the highlighter shades (13 Reflection and 13 Moon Dance), but 12 Emotional has very little base color and is mostly very sheer with loads of golden glitter.

What I love about this formula is how weightless it feels on the skin. I personally like to wear a decent amount of makeup every day, but I don’t want to look or feel as if I’ve piled on a ton. The ADDICTION Cheek Polishes look and feel seamless on the skin with no tacky or greasy residue. I rarely blend makeup with my fingers, but with liquid blush and highlighter I make an exception. I’ve noticed that blush - especially cream blush - doesn’t last well on my cheeks, but with ADDICTION Cheek Polishes I can get at least 5 hour of decent wear-time without touching up or setting with a powder.

I actually like the packaging, but perhaps the caps should be a different color so they wouldn’t be confused with ADDICTION’s nail polishes? The mini bottle 09 Sensually was a gift with purchase and I don’t think I can even go through this small size during one life-time. You only need a couple dots or two small swipes of color per each cheek from the applicator. I wouldn’t mind if they reduced the product size and price ~1000 yen. Luckily the product seems to last well; I’ve had my 04 Revenge shade for a few years, but hasn’t gone bad or separated.

Swatches

04 Revenge - Matte bright red with a slight yellow undertone; “sunburn red”.

09 Sensually - Soft matte muted pink rose. (My favorite!)

12 Emotional - Sheer orange coral with gold pearl (with NARS Orgasm vibes)

ADDICTION by Ayako Cheek Polishes | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts

While I’m in love with this product type, I do think there is some improvement in the shade range. 04 Revenge used to look a bit too much like sunburn on my face, but I’ve learned to pair it with my other makeup. I do regret getting 12 Emotional a little as it’s very shimmery with little base color - I’d prefer it to be more coral, like in the bottle. I wonder if it would suit better a deeper skin tone than mine? In order to get some use out of it I like to layer this Cheek Polish with other blushers, apply generously and skip the highlighter. Overall, I love the Cheek Polishes but I definitely prefer the matte shades. If you love easy-to-apply, quick and natural blush, these are worth checking out! xx

Luxury In a Bottle - Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser Review

If you know green beauty, you gotta know Tata Harper. She’s a pioneer in luxury skincare whose aim is combining efficacy with eco products. Last Summer I had a pleasure to meet her at Naturelle’s Master Class and I gotta say that she glows from the inside out - and I’m not only talking about her skin! Her personality and philosophy is so radiant it was contagious. Today I’m taking a closer look at her famous Regenerating Cleanser**, I hope you enjoy the review!

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Tata Harper and Regenerating Cleanser

Like many green beauty founders her brand has a personal backstory: her stepfather got diagnosed with cancer and Tata started paying attention to product ingredients. She couldn’t find something effective, safe and 100% natural that was a pleasure to use, so she decided to make it herself. All Tata Harper Skincare is made in Vermont, but her passion for beauty comes from her Colombian background.

Regenerating Cleanser is Tata Harper’s daily exfoliating treatment cleanser for dull and congested skin. It provides a gentle physical and chemical exfoliation with the combination of apricot microspheres and BHA from willow bark. 100% of total ingredients are from natural origin, 82% from organic farming. See certifications here. 125ml pump bottle retails for €82 / $82. Available at Sokos, Stockmann and Naturelle (in Finland).

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Ingredients

Hordeum Vulgare Leaf Juice*, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Seed Powder, Sorbitan Olivate, Aqua/Water/Eau, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Leuconostoc Ferment Filtrate, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Coco-Glucoside, Cetearyl Glucoside, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Kaolin (White Clay), Sclerotium Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Sodium Phytate, CI77491 (Red Iron Oxide), Aroma**, Alcohol, Citral, Limonene, Linalool *Ingredients from Organic farming ** Clinical grade essential oils blend

This cleanser is in a in a barley base with emulsifying agents based from olive oil. After moisturizing sunflower seed oil, the apricot seed powder is high in the ingredients list, making this creamy cleanser generous with mechanical ‘scrubby bits’. The apricot seed powder is very fine, more like fine sand than very gritty. Personally I can use this cleanser on a regular basis, but you might want to sample it first if you’re sensitive or very prone to redness.

What I really enjoy in this formula are the amount of fermented ingredients (Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc from pomegranate and radish root) and BHA delivered from Willow Bark Extract. Willow bark naturally contains salicylic acid, which helps the skin shed dead cells and clear pores while stimulating new cell growth. Salicylic acid is one of my favorite exfoliants, to get the full benefit I would leave this cleanser on a couple minutes as suggested on Tata’s website. Notice that this combination of manual and chemical exfoliation will make the skin more sensitive to sun and I always recommend using a sunscreen.

After Willow Bark Extract the formula is packed with many botanical leaf extracts such as arnica, borage, calendula and alfafa. There is also a small amount of white clay that helps to pull out impurities. Overall this ingredient list looks very safe and well-balanced to my eyes. There is a small amount of essential oils if you’re very sensitive. To battle acne I might use a BHA toner instead and not aggravate the skin with too much scrubbing.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Regenerating Cleanser

Tata’s cleansers are among the most beautiful and luxurious I’ve ever tested. I love it how their website provides information on different cleanser types and what are suitable for specific skin concerns. For dull and congested skin she recommends using this cleanser in a combination with her strong enzymatic mask, the Resurfacing Mask. If you’re curious, you can read more tips on this article. At the Master Class I tried topping the Regenerating Cleanser with the Resurfacing Mask for 5 minutes for deeper exfoliation, but for this review I’ve used the cleanser on its own.

In my opinion, the Regenerating Cleanser is best suitable for mornings when you feel extra gunky, sweaty, oily or as a second step after thoroughly removing makeup. You get the whole exfoliating effect by massaging the cleanser on dry skin by using circular motions and buffing. Most times I’ve applied the cleanser on damp skin for gentler results; I use strong acid toners regularly so I don’t want to over-exfoliate my skin too abrasively, but if you suffer from a lot of congestion or build-up you might want to apply the cleanser on dry skin time to time. If there isn’t many acid containing products in your routine already, one way to get all the benefit from the willow bark extract is to leave the cleanser on the skin for a 5 minute mini-mask.

The texture of the Regenerating Cleanser is creamy with sand-like particles called ‘apricot microspheres’. I used to be afraid of manual scrubs because I didn’t want to get micro cuts on my face, but since they are called spheres I assume it’s safe. To be honest, I’ve grown to like a little scrubbing from time to time. The Regenerating Cleanser feels especially satisfying on the days when I’ve worn sunscreen and makeup for hours and my face feels extra grimy.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts

What I love about this Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser is its simple efficacy. Of course I take the luxurious user experience into account when I’m using a cleanser this $$$, but nothing beats how clean, fresh and radiant my skin feels after each use. There’s no greenwashing, gimmicks, unrealistic magical promises or fancy feeling fragrances. Yes, the price is very high for a cleanser, but you get what you pay for: certified organic ingredients, a perfected formula in a generous 125ml heavy glass pump bottle. If you’re on a budget I highly recommend picking up an acid toner and a good serum first, but if you want to treat yourself I think the Regenerating Cleanser is lovely.

In the end I think it’s your choice what’s worth it for you and if you want to splurge on a cleanser or skincare in general. Will I be buying a new bottle after finishing the sample? Yes. I’ll be saving up and keeping my eyes open for sales! xx

**This bottle was kindly gifted for consideration.
My thoughts are honest and my own.

Worth the hype? Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review

If you’re a big lover of K-beauty, I’m sure you’ve bumped into Pyunkang Yul. Famous for their effective yet simple formulations, this Korean brand has taken the Internet by storm. Their Finnish retailer Kokoskin.fi kindly offered a couple of products for me to try, let’s see if the Moisture Ampoule* is worth the hype!

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule

This Moisture Ampoule by Pyunkang Yul is a moisture/hydration booster with only 6 ingredients. Designed to soothe and calm the skin while giving it a plump, bouncy texture. Pyunkang Yul products focus on safe and effective ingredients without fragrance. Developed in Korea by Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic. Retails €32.90 / $28 for 100ml / 3.3 fl oz. Cruelty free.

Ingredients

Coptis Japonica Root Extract, Polysorbate 80, PEG-150 Distearate, Polysorbate 20, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glyceryl Caprylate

The star ingredient of this ampoule is Copris Japonica (aka Japanese goldthread) Root Extract that makes up 90% of the product according to retailers. I could find little information or studies on this ingredient that is not directly related or a review of Pyunkang Yul products. Even if the inspiration is from Eastern Medicine (like as hanbang, which I generally love in skincare), I’d like to read some studies. According to the brand it soothes and hydrates the skin while being the best suitable for oilier skin types.

The rest of the ingredients are actually surfactants, emulsifiers and one solvent to thicken up the consistency of the product. What I’ve read on PEG it should not be used on broken skin - thus, I don’t think this product is optimal for soothing major irritation. Overall the synthetic compounds in this product don’t appear to be hazardous, so I think most people can use this ampoule.

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Using the Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule

The texture of this ampoule is a bit odd to me. On websites it’s described as ‘honey-like’, but for me it reminds of some sort of goo or a lubricant. You know, the stuff they used in Alien movies? Jokes aside, the texture is viscous without being too gloopy or stringy to my taste. On my dry skin it doesn’t glide on effortlessly - I prefer taking some product on my palms and pressing it on my cheeks, neck and forehead. Fortunately the texture isn’t sticky and the ampoule sinks in quickly. If your skin is more normal to oily you might just spread and gently rub it in with no problem.

I do feel this adds a layer of moisture to the skin, but I’m not sure if this has any other skin benefits.. On its own this ampoule isn’t hydrating enough for me and I need to top it up with an oil or/and a cream. While I like the short and sweet ingredients list I’m missing some basics that have good research backing up - such as hyaluronic acid. Pyunkang Yul is nicely inexpensive if you take the large bottle size in consideration, but I still feel the formula is inferior to other hydrating serums I’ve reviewed, such as Leegeeham, which has a bit similar consistency.

Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule Review | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Final Thoughts

What I like about Pyunkang Yul Moisture Ampoule is the price, lack of fragrance and other additives, but that’s about it. On a hot Summer day or for oily skin people it might be a good addition to the routine, but for my skin type it isn’t hydrating enough and I don’t think there is enough studies available backing up the root extract’s benefits. So for me it’s a pass, sadly, but I’m still very much looking forward trying other Pyunkang Yul products.

*This product was kindly gifted for review.
My thoughts are my honest and my own.