Take My Money: Swatches, Sulwhasoo Balancing Water First Impressions, & Beautytap Review

You know those shops that you always have on your radar, yet somehow never purchase from? That was me with Beautytap (née W2Beauty); it's been around for years, quietly part of the Korean-based shop landscape, a site I'd often check for new releases but ultimately bail on my cart, usually due to the high price tags and lack of distinction from the many other options I had for buying K-Beauty.

That changed when W2Beauty changed; all of a sudden they started doing smart things like bringing on top K-Beauty bloggers (like Coco Park of The Beauty Wolf and Sheryll of The Wanderlust Project) for their new Editorial section. Instead of the usual thinly veiled "advertorial" in-house blogs run by shops to shill their wares, they started publishing original content that was good, written by people who knew what they were talking about.

W2Beauty was always legit, but once it turned into Beautytap it seriously upped its game, and I started plotting out my second order before I even received the first.

Beautyap haul products
Once this SWS water went on sale, it was tiiiiiiime

They also hired people who knew K-Beauty; they brought on Fiddy Snails (of Fifty Shades of Snail and The Snailcast podcast) who unleashed terrible things upon the unsuspecting K-Beauty community, like daily flash sales of fancy products that gave me flares of grabby-handitis and made my wallet weep.

All sorts of products that I'd regulated to the "if I ever won the lottery" wishlist are now regularly appearing in their daily deals, and I need Snesus because they're trying to kill me.

twitter screenshot
This was some friendly fire, y'all.

In this post:

  • Am I affiliated with Beautytap?
  • Shopping experience: pros, cons, & why I'll continue to shop there
  • Swatch & first impressions: Peripera Ink Airy Velvet #10 Dry Rose Brown
  • Swatch & first impressions: Sulwhasoo Essential Balancing Water EX

You might wonder why I'd bother doing something as old-hat as a haul post/shop review, but 1. the world always needs more swatches, and 2. there's a lot more to say about a haul from Beautytap that I definitely want to cover. Plus, hanbang. Haaaannnbaaaangggg.

Love Me Low [pH] & Gently: Make P:rem Safe Me Cleanser Review

You know what I should be doing daily? Washing my face with something other than puppy slobber and the occasional half-hearted swipe of BHA exfoliant on a cotton square. Somehow, though, that hasn't quite always worked out as I planned, much like my plans to raise a perfectly trained, polite dog that doesn't jump on people's faces to greet them and isn't plotting diabolical schemes to procure bits of steak on demand.

That had quite a bit to do with why I'm reviewing the Make P:rem Safe Me Relief Moisture Cleansing Foam, but I'll get to that shortly.


Make Prem Safe Me Relief Moisture low pH foam cleanser
Sure it says it's pH 5.5, but is it really? We've been mislead and our wallets waylaid before.

As it turns out, puppy slobber can be pretty irritating, or perhaps it's just the combination of noncon puppy tongue baths + the winter elements when it's 11pm and -18C** and you're outside huddled in your jacket chanting "go potty, go potty" like some sort of scatologically-obsessed cult member. Wind chapping is no joke, I'd almost forgotten what real winter weather is like after a decade outside Canada.

**That's just below zero Fahrenheit for my non-metric peeps out there.

It turns out that skin savaged by winter like the twitterstorm that obliterated that article about the "skincare con", isn't thrilled about the application of products. Especially cleansers (even low pH ones) gamely trying to strip the last remnants of lubrication out of your moisture barrier.

While digging through my stash (much like my dog in our doomed garden, except with less mud and no eating of unknown objects) I realized I had a full tube of the Make P:rem Safe Me Relieving Moisture foaming cleanser waiting to be used. I had bought the full size after going through several sample sachets, and remembered liking its gentle, mild foam. It's also low pH (as proclaimed proudly on the packaging) and into my bathroom it went, standing like a lone, forlorn soldier against the tide of unholy bacteria no doubt marching across my face.

In this post:

  • Product details
  • Ingredients
  • Does it foam, though?
  • Cleansing demo
  • Overall thoughts

I suppose not everyone is as concerned with the qualifications and performance of their cleansers as I am, but everyone's got their kinks. Mine is for low pH cleansers that snuggle my skin's horny layer with soft suds and sultry scents, and I'm not ashamed. Let's roll!

First Impressions & Swatches: Make P:rem Blue Ray Sunscreen

Good all-physical UV filter sunscreens are hard to find. "Physical" filter (also known as "inorganic") sunscreens  are sought by people with sensitive skin and/or reactions to chemical UV (also known as "organic") filters, such as yours truly. The most common recommendation request from phys-only sunscreen hunters is for a high protection rated sunscreen with no white cast.

Sadly, with phys-only sunscreens, that just doesn't exist. One of the two options, Titanium dioxide, is literally used as white pigment. Think back to your trusty tube of Titanium White in art class. That's your sunscreen filter bro giving your paints the "whitest white" and also making your sunscreen search hell.

When my former favourite all-phys sunscreen was possibly reformulated (it's not, but more on this later) and I was blown away by a chemical sunscreen I could actually use from Make P:rem, I needed to get my ass in gear and test out some new all-physical options, stat. But I can't review the (orange cap) one I've been using. More on that later too.

So here's a first impression of the Make P:rem UV Defense Me Blue Ray Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++. That's right, four PA ratings.


Make P:rem Blue Ray Sun Cream physical filter sunscreen
Our backyard wild bunnies were displeased that I plunked this down in their bun buffet patch.

(Incidentally, if you'd like to see one of the bun patch bunnies in action, I tweeted a short video of one that visited during this post here.)

In this post:

  • Why this is a first impression instead of a full review, aka I'm lightly brined by unfortunate developments
  • Differences between the orange (Natural) and blue (Blue Ray) cap versions
  • First impressions of the Blue Ray Sun Cream
  • White cast swatches on NC10 and NC30 skin tones
  • Is it worth it & where to get it

I was initially put off buying this version because I'm highly suspicious of anything "cooling" because that usually means either 1. massive amounts of alcohol, or 2. added menthol, which can be highly irritating.

Just give me a high-rated sunscreen with physical (inorganic) filters that's pleasant to wear, doesn't break me out, and has minimal white cast. So how does the Make P:rem Blue Ray Sun Cream stack up?

Weekend Travel Essentials For Lazy Summer Skincare

I don't travel well. Or rather, I don't prepare for travel well. I always feel stressed out of proportion about the packing stage, and having a multi-step skincare routine complicates even a simple weekend trip by car. Rather than fuss with what skincare to bring, I just grabbed necessities off my sink.

Does anyone else have issues with the sudden appearance of skin troubles during travel? It's like one's cycle; always picks the worst possible time to visit. With that in mind, I prepared for a skin rebellion just in case. They say that what you prepare for doesn't happen, after all.


K-Beauty skincare
I managed to snap these in between intermittent summer showers.

It fit in a ziploc, at least. A large one.

In this post:

  • Sunscreen
  • Double Cleansers
  • Clear Pores & Soothe Skin
  • Brighten & Moisturize
  • Nullify Blemishes
  • Cushion and Concealer
  • Mist because it's @#^$# hot out and heat makes me crabby

Also, these photos will not only feature "Skincare I Brought With Me to My In-Laws' House" but also "Random Items I Pilfered From My Bemused Mother-In-Law's Decor For Photo Props" and "Gifts Of Quirky Things She Correctly Thought I'd Like, Such As Old Books And Shiny Things" because hey, you work with what you have on hand when you're travelling. It's ... a metaphor. Something about necessity, or something.

Anyway, here's what I brought to keep me safe, sane, and with as few surprise pimples as possible.

Feelin' Fancy: Sulwhasoo Hydro-aid Mist Review

Summer skincare usually consists of cleanser, chilled sheet masks, maybe a BHA chemical exfoliant to battle my oily and sweaty pores, and mists. Lots of mists. 'Tis the season for mists, because it's hot and humid and everyone is miserable, and mists are light and most importantly, refreshing.


Sulwhasoo Hydro-aid Mist Review
Benefit of photographing a mist: you can use it in between shots to cool off. Which I dd. A lot.


Although this is a fancy full size bottle, I've actually used (and emptied) a travel size of this mist before. You might recognize the travel size from posts such as K-Beauty & Portion Control: Why Sometimes Good Value Can Be a Bad Idea, and Winter is Coming: Plotting My K-Beauty Skincare Routine for Colder Weather.


In this post

  • Product details
  • Ingredients
  • 4 ways I use mists
  • Where to get full and travel-sizes
  • Final thoughts


Unfortunately, I have no idea where my travel size bottle has gotten to; it's probably sill buried in an unpacked box somewhere, like 99% of my post-move beauty stash. However, during the recent snail rout in NYC, I received a gift bag of goodies from Amore Pacific and conveniently a full size of this mist was in it.

So while bottle in these photos is from Sulwhasoo, it's a product I've already purchased and used on my own. It's no longer sold on their US site regardless. I haven't opened this one yet, but I'll happily commandeer it for photos.

Chemical Love: Make P:rem Capsule Sun Gel Review

Yes, the Make P:rem UV Defense Me Capsule Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++ is an all-chemical/organic sunscreen. This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill: this a chemical sunscreen review, on my blog.  I know, I can scarcely believe it either.

If you told me two months ago I would be writing a review on a chemical sunscreen with anything to say but "it made my face break out into burning pimples of angry rage" I would never have believed you. All my life, chemical sunscreens have made me want to claw my own face off. It's been all-physical/inorganic sunscreens or bust for me.


Make P:rem UV Defense Me Capsule Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++
When you're that friend who brings a tray and their camera to Sunday afternoon dinners because they need to take photos while the light is still good. #bloggerfriendproblems

It's fitting that the combined enabling powers of the HolyFan duo from The Snailcast are to blame for this unexpected development. During our first ever live snail rout in NYC, we converged on Fanserviced-b's HQ loaded with travel-friendly sample sizes and decants.

After wearing this sunscreen on my neck and chest without incident, I was willing to risk it. Drunk on the spirit of yolo (or maybe it was the White Girl Rosé) I patch tested it on my face, expecting the usual burning, itchy reaction. Nothing untoward happened, unless you count our decision to try freezing the dregs of the wine in an adult novelty mold. Which I don't. 🍆

In this post

  • Product details
  • Ingredients & UV filters
  • My theories on why this isn't destroying my face
  • Swatches
  • Final thoughts, wear time, and how it plays with makeup


On the final day, I recklessly wore this sunscreen all over my face, determined to test it as much as possible in the time we had left. To my amazement, my skin didn't protest and I made it to my PM routine without incident.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! A chemical sunscreen! On my face! I have some theories on what might be going on, and after chatting with a few others who have the same sunscreen woes, there may be hope for us yet.

Sulwhasoo Golden Bird 2017 Limited Edition Cushion

Forget what I had planned to review, my Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening Golden Bird 2017 Limited Edition beauty is here! It's time for photos, swatches, more photos, and also photos. Because rawr.

Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening Golden Bird 2017 Limited Edition
I'm such a sucker for metallic accents like this. The shinier, the better! #magpiethings

There are two Limited Edition versions of the Perfecting cushions, the regular Perfecting and the Perfecting Brightening; this is the latter. They're both gorgeous though, it was hard to choose. You all know I'm forever a ho for fan of all things Sulwhasoo and their Peony 2014 Limited Edition Cushion is one of my prized K-Beauty possessions.

Sulwhasoo releases Limited Edition cushions and powders every few years, but the last few have left my enthusiasm flaccid and my wallet happy. When this magical baby showed up on my Instagram feed (courtesy of enabler Julie of @pdxbeautful) my skincare boner sprang to attention and I set out to get my hands on it stat.

In this post

  • Photos of the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening Golden Bird 2017 Limited Edition
  • Where to get the Limited Edition cushions
  • What cushions fit into this case for more shade options
  • Swatches of #11 and #13 vs Mac NC10 and NC15

I've reviewed the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion #13 and I've been using the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening #11 for a while. I'll be doing a full review of it in the future, but right now, it's all about this cushion case.