April Favourites & Upcoming Sheet Mask Roundup

This week I'll be doing something a little more casual and conversational, so if you're not into that or are more interested in seeing reams of sheet mask recaps, stay tuned for next week!

As I mentioned at the end of last week's giant two-part megapost which was a breakdown of the basic steps in a multi-step Asian skincare routine in Part I, and a detailed explanation of the products I use and what order they go in in Part II, I'd be skipping anything too strenuous this weekend.  I needed to recover from the 18-hour writing marathon (not including an entire prior weekend of photo taking) and I decided to do something fluffy and fun this weekend!

Oh Evercos Hanbang Masks, I love you so.  May you always have a place in my sheet mask stash.
I'm not normally one to do 'monthly favourites' because for one, I test things really slowly so I rarely have a lot of products to talk about at once, for another I dislike casual reviews, and lastly I just never gravitate towards those kinds of posts myself so it never occurs to me to do them.

In this post:
  • My favourites for April
  • Upcoming reviews and testing schedule
  • Upcoming recap of my Sheet Mask mini-reviews (normally found on Instagram)

My favourites for April

This month I have been all about hydration, sheet masks, mists, Joseon cream, my first-ever 'real' cushion, and finding a strong BHA due to my escalated aggression in the war against my clogged pores.

I'm still searching for a robust BHA to take down the unwelcome sebum squatters roosting in my pores, but I've been really enjoying a few products I haven't talked about yet, due to pending reviews and various reasons.

Ongoing Favourites:

Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick [review]

Mmm, eau du rose petals and burning wallet.
Step: Cleanser (either 1st or 2nd)

When it comes to an alternative to the Su:m37 MRCS for a gentle, effective, low-pH foaming cleanser, to quote U2: I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

As I mentioned in the review linked above, I find the hype surrounding the MRCS to be a little eyebrow-raising but there's no denying it's beaten the foamy pants off every contender I've brought into the ring.  I have a Hada Labo cleanser en route, so I am hoping the MRCS's pricey days are over, but for now it's the undisputed champion of my foaming cleanser/2nd cleanser collection.

Mizon AHA/BHA Daily Clean Toner [comparison review]

This needs to be restocked somewhere, stat.
Step: pH adjusting toner, cleansing toner

Pictured here is my 6th bottle; I have one as a back up and I have a roving eye on the usual stockists in the event that it comes back in stock.

In case the clear-bottle-on-white-on-stubborn-camera action makes it hard to see, this bottle is half empty already.

I don't know why this is always so scarce; there was a recent hiccup in a single batch and it was pulled from resellers and hasn't returned since.  I need my Mizon toner, dammit!  To read about what role a pH-adjusting toner has in a skincare routine, check out: Putting your products in order, including pH dependent acids.  It's optional for most, but it's a necessity in the desert for me.

LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence

Photo from Avecko haul here, one of these is already empty!
Step: Hydration

I've purchased a total of 3 of these, and just yesterday I polished off the last of my 2nd bottle.  This means I'm down to my last one and I should have ordered it in my last Avecko order, but I'm dumb and I told myself I was only 1/2 down the bottle so I had plenty of time.

Unlike the tea tree products of my youth, this is a gentle, refreshing, soothing step that reduces irritation in my skin and thereby, I believe, breakouts.  I don't consider it an acne treatment per se, but it's great as a sidekick to legit actives against acne like BHA and AHA.

Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream [review]

I knew I loved you before I met you, Joseon Cream.
Step: Occlusive

Now carried by international vendors and sometimes translated as 'Joseon Beautiful Woman Cream', this cream has been my jam since I started using it.

If you haven't checked out my glowing review yet, please click the link above for a full ingredients translation, ingredients analysis, lots of gratuitous pictures of its lust-inspiring packaging, and breathless gushing.

Plus, it's Hanbang (traditional Korean herbal medicine) and as you know, I am a total sucker for Hanbang anything in my skincare.

Clio Kill Black Waterproof Brush Liner

Camera: Oh hey, would you like some white balance for once?
Step: Makeup - Eyeliner

I don't wear makeup often (drawback of working from home) but when we go out, I like to do a strong liquid liner upper lid/winged liner + subtle everything else.

Since I've only worn it out on evenings, I haven't been able to test its long-term wear time.  I absolutely see what the fuss is about though; it makes such a thin, fluid line that I was able to use it between my lashes without making a mess.

It's nice when you get a hyped-up product that lives up to the hype; at least as far as initial testing goes.

Clarisonic Cashmere Brush Head

These bristles are so long/soft compared to a regular brush!
Step: Cleansing tool

As you may have seen in my Cleansing Megapost: Double Cleansing, Cleanser Types, Tools, & Techniques, I do have a Clarisonic brush and I do use it on occasion.

Clarisonics (and similar automated facial brushes) are unpopular with Asian skincare devotees, mostly because they are considered to be harsh and bad for the skin.  I have seen manual brushes on the market but most Asian skin gurus (like my idol Go Hyun Jung) that I have seen discussing it, use their hands or even just their fingertips to cleanse.

The Asian skincare philosophy on cleansing focuses on the double cleanse to remove stubborn makeup, sunscreen, and dirt, with a gentle foaming cleanser afterwards to remove residue.  The 'power' of the double cleanse, coupled with a facial brush, is more oomph than most people need.  I find I need a serious foam to buffer my skin from the bristles, even with no pressure and the brush barely touching my skin, but I gave up my robust-foam cleansers when I switched to low-pH cleansers.  You can read why low-pH cleansing is important here: Why the pH of Your Cleanser Matters.

So what's this brush doing here?  Well, oil cleansing results in massive clogging of my skin due to the oil being trapped deep in my pores where second cleansers cannot reach.  The Clarisonic does a better job of vibrating the oil cleanser residue out of my pores than other cleansing methods, but it was way too harsh to be used more than 1-2x a week for me.  Someone recommended I check out the new (to me) Cashmere brush, and I have to say, so far I have been loving it is although I've only been using it for a few weeks.  It's so much more gentle than any of the prior brushes, even the ones meant for ultra-sensitive skin, and that means I can use it more often in my battle against oil cleansers.

New Contenders:

Cleansing Water

Behold, an ... empty bottle?
Pictured: Bioderma Crealine H2O Solution Micellaire

Step: 1st cleanse

This was my first Cleansing Water, and I have to say that although I was not impressed by its ability to thoroughly remove makeup and sunscreen, I absolutely loved it as a gentle/lazy AM cleanser.

I'm not going to be repurchasing the Bioderma itself, which is why I didn't list it as anything but 'Cleansing Water', but I'm on board with them in general and have ordered a Japanese brand (Bifesta) to replace the (empty) Bioderma.  Just goes to show that in the world of Asian beauty products, there is always another horizon to explore that you didn't know you needed, until you tried it and now you don't want to live without it.

Mizon Snail Repair Hydro Mist

I want all the possible snail-delivery-systems for my face.
Step: Mist

At last, you elusive unicorn, you are mine!

Pictured here is the fourth bottle of this mist I have attempted to purchase over the years, and the only one I've managed to successfully buy and receive.

I've either had this in my cart and had it go out of stock just as I placed my order, or bought it only to be apologetically refunded by the seller as it had gone out of stock.  Repeatedly.

This is pretty much me, especially at work
when I'm feeling the urge to flip my desk.
But it's mine now, and I am spraying this stuff all over my face like Daesung Ahjumma; morning, mid-routine, randomly throughout the day, at night, whenever my skin feels dry or overheated.

I've even sprayed it on my cushion puff before applying it, for an extra boost of hydration/sheer finish.

I am looking forward to reviewing it after some long-term testing, but so far, I am feelin' this mist.

Dr. MJ Real Mucin Restore Cushion

Cushion resistance is futile, your makeup will be assimilated.
Step: Makeup - Base

I know, I know, a cushion?  In my favourites list?  Me, the-hater-of-cushions?!

I'm not a fan of the concept of cushions, as I mentioned in my review of the Missha Special Edition Magic Cushion Case which is the limited edition version of the Missha DIY Cushion Case.

I worry about their hygiene implications and I wasn't impressed with the effect they have with regular BB creams, but I can't deny that their rubbery puffs have a great blending effect.

Still, I wasn't willing to shell out for something I couldn't colour-match test beforehand, but then a friend offered me this cushion she'd swatched once and determined to be too light/too yellow for her.  Since it was pale yellow + snails, I couldn't resist!  As it happens, it's still a little bit too peachy for me but compared to anything else I've tried, it's been a solid option and has a lovely, natural finish.  I haven't tested this in enough conditions yet (i.e. longer than a few hours wear on a night out) to be able to review it, but I've been reaching for this over any of my BB creams lately.

Sheet Mask Scissors

Pictured with one of my much-loved Evercos masks.
Step: Sheet mask customization

Don't laugh; I use these little dedicated mask-only beauties every day.

You don't need to have small and/or fancy scissors for this trick, but I wanted something pretty + something my husband wouldn't accidentally snag to cut stray threads off his socks/underwear.  While he's wearing them.

I use a lot of sheet masks, 1-2 per day in fact.  This might sound excessive, and for some people it is, but 1일1팩 (aka one mask per day) is a thing in Korea, and some famous Asian celebrities swear by daily mask use. Fan BingBing famously uses minimum two masks a day/600 a year!

In my case, I use them because I live in the desert and I need to saturate my face with hydration while preventing evaporation before it can be absorbed.

So, I go through a lot of masks and most of them have a terrible fit, which makes for a lot of folding and cursing and spots flapping around/drying out and general rage.  I have tried one of those Japanese silicone masks, which are ingenious little masks that slip loops around your ears and hold your mask in place, allowing you to motor around without worrying about your mask falling off.  They also prevent moisture loss, so you can wear your masks much longer without worrying about them drying up.  Unfortunately the placement of the eyeholes, nose flap, and mouth opening are completely the wrong distance from one another to fit me, making the silicone mask miserable to wear.

I have seen people use scissors to cut slits in their sheet masks for a better fit, but when I tried my first-ever hydrogels (which I hated, btw, but more on that next week) I realized that the two-piece system was the answer to my sheet mask fit prayers.

Two-part hydrogel. Image from testerkorea.com
If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's a picture from testerkorea.com:

Because my masks pull away/tent over the bridge of my nose, and then bunch up around my mouth, cutting my masks into a hydrogel shape like this allows me to pull in and smooth the top half flush against the sides of my nose, and then allows me to stretch the bottom half of the mask across my mouth for a perfect fit against my skin.

I always have a giant overlap of mask on the outer edges of my face where the two pieces meet, so I snip off the excess and layer them over my nostrils and the tip of my nose, both of which are always neglected.  I don't have a large nose, so I'm not sure what's up with it getting no hydration love from sheet masks.

I now take care of covering my nose after I saw it called out in a video by a woman who was using the more traditional slit/cut out approach to customize her mask fit.  She recommended snipping off excess parts of the mask to completely cover the nose to help with blackheads, and since adopting this, I've noticed that my nose pores are minimized and sebaceous filaments (what people mistake as blackheads on  the nose) are less obvious and also slip out more easily when I oil massage or apply my normal skincare.  Win!

Upcoming reviews and testing schedule

I've got a few things that I have almost emptied and have barely enough left for review swatches, and thus they're on my to-do list.  If you see anything on here that you'd like to see moved to the top of the list, leave me a comment below!

Upcoming reviews (in no particular order):

  • Mizon Rice Wine White Toner (Hydrating Toner)
  • Mizon Almighty Cold Cream Cleanser (Cream Cleanser)
  • Mizon Oil Bubble Deep Cleanser  (Cleanser)
  • Mizon Real Oatmeal Cleansing Sherbet (Balm Cleanser)
  • Mizon Magic Peeling Foot (Chemical peel for feet)
  • Mizon Oil Olive Cocoa Butter Foot Cream (Foot cream)
  • Cosrx Blackhead Brush (Nose pore brush)
  • Esthetic House Gold Snail Hydrogel Eye patch (Under-eye hydrogels)
  • Hankook Cosmetics The Prestige Gold Oil Essence (Facial oil)

Testing schedule:

Sometimes I get questions about what I think of XYZ product I featured in a haul, or talked about somewhere, but I haven't tried the product yet and have to disappoint them.  Forgive meeeee!

I feel badly, but I have a very methodical testing process that can't be rushed without throwing review integrity out the window, so I wanted to leave a little reminder that you can see my upcoming (and completed!) testing queue on the To Try - Testing Schedule tab of my spreadsheet.

Upcoming recap of my Sheet Mask mini-reviews (normally found on Instagram)

Since I do at least one mask a day, I decided I didn't want to flood my blog with sheet mask reviews, nor did I want to pressure myself to do an in-depth review for every mask I slapped on my face.  Sometimes a girl just wants to relax with a mask without hunting down ingredients translations, or googling chemical names with too many syllables.

So I decided to post mini-reviews on Instagram when I use a new mask (I don't use new masks daily, especially if I am patch testing a new product) rather than here.  Someone requested that I do an  occasional 'master list' post to collect the mini-reviews into one blog post for easier reading/searching, and I think that's an excellent idea!

Next week spoilers: there's going to be sheet masks.  Lots and lots of sheet masks!

So many sheet masks! O___O

I have to say I'm pretty excited for next weekend, because not only do I get to organize my sheet mask reviews (and you know how I love to organize!) I also get to review my - dare I say it - HG sheet masks which I haven't talked about anywhere yet.   **Update: Done!  Click here.

All the best,

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. You enabler! My credit card almost always takes a hit after your posts T_T

  2. I really enjoyed reading your posts and your blog in general is awesome! :) I've learned a lot about asian beauty products here! Keep up the great work, I'm a fan! :D

    xoxo Ana

    PS: maybe you wanna check out my blog? I'm so new to this lol


    1. I am glad you liked it! I took a look at your blog and saw you are on temporary hiatus; I hope things calm down for you soon and you are able to blog again. :)

  3. PLEASE assure me you are going to supply ingredients lists for some of the Evercos masks? I am bereft of new products to lust after.

    1. Not unless I find a kindly volunteer to translate the Korean for me. If I can't find English ingredients anywhere (and I haven't so far), I am afraid the ingredients will be out of the picture. ㅠ_ㅠ

  4. Great post! I'm excited about that mist (and can't wait to read a thorough review). Also, a light bulb went off in my head after realizing you cut your sheet masks in half ... why haven't I thought of that?! :)

    1. Seriously, cutting the mask in half horizontally was a game-changer. I had been trying to methods I'd seen online with little cut outs and slits that you fold over, and it just wasn't working. Now I do one single cut and get a perfect fit. WIN!

  5. I love your photos, they're so gorgeous! I have like 5 mists at home, but I am so getting the snail one! Go snails! <3


    1. I am so relieved (and surprised) to hear that because I have a terrible camera and it takes me hours to get decent shots, then ages to correct the white balance. We're hopefully moving this year, and when we do, I'm definitely investing in a better camera!

      Wooo snails!

  6. It really depends on the person. As I mentioned, 1일1팩 (one mask per day) trend is going strong in Korea, and many famous Asian actress do even two masks a day as a regular thing. :) As you mention, I am in the desert and I need sustained moisture so my skin has a chance to absorb it before it evaporates.

    Ultimately, each person has to figure out what works best for them and their skin. :)

  7. I can't wait to read your HG sheet mask reviews!

    1. How scared is your wallet now that it's up? :P