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

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.

End of Year Beauty Favourites 2018

Eek I can’t believe I’m typing this - it’s time for my yearly roundup of favourite products. Everyone and their dog has probably typed how they can’t believe it’s already 2019, but my mind is still orientated it’s September or October. Past two to three months has just flashed by.

I’m trying to list you only new products I’ve discovered (or/and reviewed) in 2018. Not all of these items are brand new, but they are new to me. My initial list was massive, so I’m trying to list only crème de la crème, best of the best, non-negotiable items. This doesn’t mean I’m not standing by my other recommendations, they’re still good, but the items in this post deserve the extra attention. Enjoy!

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina
Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

Brushes

Sonia G (aka Sweet Makeup Temptations) smashed 2018 with Beautylish. Her brushes are so gorgeous, designed and manufactured with absolute finesse. I skipped the first set, but decided to pick up some individuals and later her PRO Eye Set, which was even more to my liking than her first eye brushes I purchased! It solved one design issue I had with a smaller eye brush (review here). In 2019 I’m dying to pick up more face brushes from her.

I also loved Hakuhodo’s G511 “salt and pepper” brush, which became my most used contour brush in 2018. It’s much cheaper than Surratt’s contour brush, which is also lovely, but I think for most people I’d recommend the more affordable Hakuhodo. This brush is also less dense, and gives nicely diffused edges for cheek and neck contour.

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina
Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

Perfume

This Fall I wrote about my obsession with Atelier Cologne and Mimosa Indigo* (review), which instantly became my signature scent. It’s unique, light and elegant and perfectly balanced with floral and leathery tones. Atelier Cologne also has such attention to detail in their packaging and service, so I’d recommend them for anyone looking for a luxe gift.

..Then came Black Friday and I made some perfume investments and purchased a couple of perfumes from Tom Ford, including his Tobacco Vanille, which will get a post of its own. I love how Tom Ford’s perfumes last very well on me, I can even smell them on my clothes. I think one of the best (free) gestures of affection is borrowing your scarf with your scent and perfume on it.. Hehee, perfect during cold Finnish Winters.

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

Skincare

Gosh, it was a great year for skincare in 2018. I discovered and loved so many, especially wash-off masks, but they were mainly old favorites (Mahalo, Max and Me). My best new discoveries are exfoliation related, both acid, powder-to-paste and cleansers with beads (non-plastic of course!).

I especially fell in love with de Mamiel’s Cleanse and Exfoliate that works great both as a quick brightening mask and an exfoliant. I also tried the iconic Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 in mini size and purchased a full size bottle once I ran out. I can agree it’s worth all the hype and every penny, but certainly not for sensitive skin.

Then there is Tata Harper. I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting her this Summer in Naturelle’s event and her product made such a lasting impression me: luxury and efficacy meet eco beauty. Her Regenerating Cleanser* quickly became favorite to me, you’ll notice its refreshing effect right away. The bottle in my hand looks almost full, but I’ve gone through a couple of minis. 

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

I also tried a bunch of good hydrating serums and ampoules this year, but the one that was above others is Esse’s R6 Serum*. Not only Esse products are packed with probiotics, but also this serum plumps and hydrates in instant - contesting my old fav Kypris Antioxidant Dew (review).

Another hydrating product I’ve been reaching are the Kicks sheet masks*. Although I’ve seen Korean sheet masks with better ingredients list and cheaper price tag, Kicks’ bio-cellulose sheet masks are pretty easy for us Nordic/Scandi people to access. I’ve never really liked jelly or gel masks before, but the Kicks ones stick to the skin without slipping and sliding. They’re thin, thin, comfortable, cooling and packed with moisture. They also come with a generous amount of serum and I use the excess for my arms and décolleté.

Last but not least - Ben and Anna deodorants (review)*. To this day, I’ve used up almost 4 tubes of them in various scents. I love it the packaging is recycleable, scents are not overpowering, but above all - these deodorants keep me odour free and feeling dry! Naturally baking soda and shea butter based, formulated without any aluminum. The only con is I go through these pretty quickly.

Hair

I tried and tested some very good hair products this year, but I can’t choose one shampoo or conditioner over the others as I tend to mix and match them according to my hair’s needs. My most “mind blowing” hair experience was meeting Mark Birch and learning about proper scalp health. Since then I’ve been washing my hair and scalp almost daily! Unfortunately I’m not the biggest fan of the tar-like scent of his products, so I do rotate them with others.

The Maria Nila Schist fibre cream* is certainly my most reached for styling product this year, I much prefer it to the OUAI matte pomade. I like how Maria Nila’s matte texture hard-to-detect; as if I had woken up with my hair styled nicely. I use it to add some nice texture, hold and add that piece-y look to my short hair.

Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina
Best of Beauty 2018 | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog / Laurantaina

Makeup

I think this was the easiest category for me to choose from. I’ve tried a good amount of very nice makeup this year, including cream blushes, new shades from firm favorites (Tom Ford and SUQQU), but what raised above everything else were SUQQU’s Glow Touch Eyes (review), creamy liquid eyeshadows. Not as opaque as my other favorite Rouge Bunny Rouge Cream shadows, but still very lovely and perfect for easy eye looks. Just a quick swipe with the applicator and blend with a fluffy brush and you’re done!

Honorable mention goes to Lumene’s Invisible Illumination Instant Luminizer*. It can be doubled as a glowy primer and a highlighter, but personally I prefer the former method. I apply a couple of drops on my cheeks and blend with my fingers before applying a tinted moisturizer. The result is less flashy than RBR liquid highlighter so you can wear it on its own too.

Then I have two mascaras that are outstanding: Lancome’s Monsieur Big (not pictured - review here) and MAC’s classic Extended Play Gigablack mascara. Monsieur Big gives the perfect doll like fat lashes while MAC’s Extended Play Gigablack mascara has the perfect dryness from the first application, holds a curl and won’t smudge during the day. I rarely purchase high-end mascaras, but these are total repeat items!

Speaking of lashes, I love Tweezerman’s lash curlers*. Who knew this classic tweezer brand made eyelash curlers (or “Hell Machine” as my gf says) as well? I’ve tried both the regular and round eye version and they both create an amazing, long-lasting curl and won’t pinch my eyelids!

Last but not least there’s Bobbi Brown Crushed Lipstick in Ruby (mentioned here). Gorgeous everyday muted red shade that wears like a stain without drying the lips. I’m eyeing more shades from the Crushed range..

Final word

THERE WE HAVE IT! Best of the best 2018! I need to know what’s your favorite product(s) from last year! Please chat with me in the comments. xx

* Products marked with an asterisk (*) were kindly offered for review.
My thoughts are honest and my own.