Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Scar Removal Creams, Do they WORK?

I am on a continuous journey to find something that will remove, or reduce my scarring without having to actually get them surgically removed. I have many scars, for many different reasons. Because of my sensitive skin, even the smallest injuries (like papercuts or bumping into things) tend to leave permanent marks on my skin. Additionally, I have acnes scars, sunspots, and chicken pox scars, scrape scars, etc. Understandably, you would see it makes me very self-conscious about my skin. These are not just limited to my face, but exist on my arms, legs and body. I try to cover up as much as I can when I leave the house, and am concerned that my clumsy self will bump into something only to cause more scarring. Thus, I have attempted three different remedies specifically targeted towards my scar. I tried to mederma ointment, which was a complete failure. I can admit, that I did not use it routinely--only because I hated the texture, and how it would feel greasy on the skin. I would hesitate to get dressed after putting on the treatment, in fear it would rub off on my clothes. After giving up on it, and beginning to accept my scars, I discovered a new formula from Mederma, which was a cream. This was intriguing, because, I felt it would sink into my skin and I would not have to worry about the transfer to my clothes.

The Mederma Cream with SPF 30 Treatment was about five dollars more expensive than the previous formula. However, like expected, it did not rub off. I found it to be a bit drying on the skin, but it was nice that it provided a fairly high SPF, considering the areas with scars are more sensitive than other areas on your body. I also purchased the scar zone scar removing cream, which was conveniently on the shelf next to the mederma.

The  Scar Zone Topical Scar Diminishing Cream was about 5 bucks cheaper than the mederma, while promising the same effects. I tried both simulatneously, on different areas. I used the scar zone mainly for my face, and mederma mainly on my body. I have been religiously incorporating this into my routine, at least twice daily (though 3-4 is recommended), and sometimes thrice, for over six months. I have completed a tube of the scar zone, and still have some reminents of the mederma. Both have similar textures: Creamy, white, hard to get out of the tube when you are nearing the end. I found both at Walmart, though they can be found at most drugstores ranging from $12-$20.

My conclusion? Don't waste your money. These are pretty costly, and also require a lot of time and effort (especially if you have many areas to apply it). You must maintain a routine of utilizing it everyday, even though you cannot see results immediately. After over half a year of use, I can say, I do think I notice very slight improvement. However, I also believe that I would have seen improvement even without the treatments, because, skin does heal over time (--mine just happens to take much longer). For recent scars, this may be a bit more effective. But, if you have something you really want or need to hide (or reduce), I would not recommend this at all. It is a big investment of your time and money, with minimal (if any) effects. I can however say, I did notice a bit more effectiveness with the scar zone than the mederma, which is ironic since they are priced the other way around. Additionally, it did not help with raised scars.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Doggie Fashion

I never really understood those people who would buy expensive clothing for their pets--especially when the pets are unappreciative. Why get dog clothes that are more expensive than your own? Yet, I enjoyed the idea of dressing up my little ones, and tortured them with garments. In the past, before the dog-fashion trend began, I would design sweaters for my dogs, and force my mom to knit them (she enjoys knitting). Although cute, the products were never actually used, because my dogs disliked it. Well, as my dogs began to age--I noticed they get cold much more easily. Now, they seem to enjoy the comfort of being clothed, and I have reverted back to dressing them up occassionally. Unfortunately, my mother has given up her old hobby of knitting--and the old knitted sweaters no longer fit. Luckily, the world has evolved and now doggie clothes can be found everywhere. Although some continue to buy designer priced clothes for their pets, I love discovering cute, affordable pieces at Walmarts and Targets, and sometimes even TJ Maxx and the like.

Sometimes they are priced as low as $1 (below), and I never push further than $5.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Small Room? Multi-Purpose Furniture

For those with small apartments, its always good to look out for items that can serve dual purpose. Disregard slightly higher prices, because technically you will be saving money by not having to buy multiple items. Since your bed is often the biggest piece of furniture in your room, its a good idea to get one that can save space.
ie. (above) A Sofa Bed that includes storage. Flips down to make a flat bed, flips up to be utilized as a sofa, and has three drawers, two in the front and one big, long storage space in the back.
Other ideas are beds that can be raised to allow space for desks under them, or single beds that have pull out beds under them. But, I would say for those who live alone in tiny apartments--storage is always the major problem! Invest in something that offers space saving options. It will not only give you more room-but let your place look less cluttered.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Designer Bags I Regret Purchasing

I personally have a severe obsession with bags. What brings me joy is not necessarily "purses" but the category of "bags" in general. As a kid, I owned multiple backpacks, rotating them everyday. When I travel, I always feel compelled to buy new suitcases. I enthusiastically collect my shopping bags. Of course, this means I adore handbags--whether they be cheap or expensive. However, not all of my endeavors have been successful. At times, I make bold purchases, only to regret them later.

1. I got this small Fendi purse at a duty free shop in Korea. I believe it was around 6~700USD. It was so cute and unique that it stood out from the rest. However, after owning it for about 5 years, I have only actually used this bag on a couple of occasions.
  • Triangular shaped
  • Beige/tan color with white embellished pattern and white stitching
  • long, singular handle suitable for wearing on the shoulder, can be adjusted shorter
  • flips open to reveal beige inside with small pocket
  • magnetic button encloses the purse

  • This purse has a small opening, although the inside is pretty spacious for a small purse--the opening is too small to even fit wider wallets.
  • The Fendi Logo, the handle, and other designs are white and raised. For this reason, it is extremely easy to get dirtied, and extremely difficult to erase any marks made on them. (they especially collect color on the edges of the designs, say, from your hands)
  • The shape is a hassle to maintain. Because this bag is made of fabric, the bottom of the bag loses its flat shape easily, and is unattractive when it is uneven
  • Storing this bag is also annoying. You really need to stuff it to keep it from losing its shape, and additionally want to cover it to keep it from getting dirty. You also need to be cautious of the handle getting squished or wrinkled.

CONCLUSION: This purse, though cute, serves little to no practical purposes and requires a lot of work to maintain

2. This Beverly Clutch purse was actually given to me as a present from my mom. It was the first Louis Vuitton bag I owned, and the most expensive bag to add to my collection at that time. However, I don't know if it lives up to its price tag (though I don't know how much she paid, the website says $825), but because it is a gift from my mom, it holds special meaning to me.
  • small purse that can be doubled as a clutch
  • regular monogram LV logo, with gold emblem press lock that clicks the bag closed
  • detachable handle, long enough to wear on shoulder
  • small pocket on the inside
  • velvet/tan interior, leather exterior, brass hardware
  • I find this purse is also hard to maintain the shape of, especially when storing. It is easy for it to get lost in your pile of bags and get squished, ruining its shape.
  • Though most clutches are small, I find this one can hardly fit my basics--wallet, keys, and phone
  • If it contains something thick, it will be impossible to shut closed
  • Few occasions where I can actually use this bag (especially hard to match since I usually go for black shoes at formal events and I want to match my bag and shoes)
CONCLUSION: This is still a nice, elegant clutch. If you are a person who often attends formal events and dinner parties, i would recommend this purse. However, if (like me) you are a person who only uses clutches for nights out at clubs or less formal events, I would suggest getting a more convenient clutch (you don't want to have to worry about losing it or dirtying it when you are out partying).

 3. This is my most recent regret. This was pretty reasonably priced for a Gucci purse (I believe I paid about 7~800USD at the time I purchased, cant recall specifically), which is the exact reason I got it. It is available in multiple colors and looks really cute at the store, something that can serve dual purpose for casual outfits, as well as formal. However, the lesson to be learned is that you really get what you pay for.
  • Fabric exterior with Gucci Logo, leather handle and trimming
  • Soft fabric interior, fairly spacious, with inside pocket
  • Double handle, pretty short
  • Gucci logo charm attached to side
  • small flap to close
  • wrinkle? ruffled? design

  • looks cheap / low quality
  • the bag is still for the most part open when it is "closed" as the flap that keeps it closed is very small. If you were to turn it upside down everything would still fall out, and people can still peek in
  • the charm looks cheap as well

CONCLUSION: The one positive characteristic of this bag is that it is low maintenance. Aside from that, it does not live up to the standards of a Gucci bag, and really just does not seem high quality.

4. This Juicy Couture bag was also given to me by my mom along with a matching small pocket keychain. I think it is very fruity and girly, suitable for younger bag-lovers.
  • spacious bag, with large opening, and plenty of room inside
  • Cute interior lining (with same color scheme and print)
  • silver hardware
  • many pockets, inside and out
  • green, round (single) handle, long enough to wear over shoulder
  • soft, velvet exterior, with stitching
  • rounded shape on top, rectangular on bottom
  • zips closed
  • Easy to get wet or dirty, as the velvet seem to attract particles (not good for those with pets)
  • Round handle begins to hurt when worn on shoulder for extended period of time
  • Round shape is hard to maintain as it can be easily squished by your arm (when worn) and does not stand properly (when stored)
  • Hard to coordinate with outifts (when you are wearing bold colors, you dont want to overdo it with a bold bag, yet, when you are wearing more neutral colors the bag looks too out of place)
CONCLUSION: Although it is a cute bag, it is not very practical (in terms of usage and maintenance).

5. I didn't even bother to pick out a specific item for this, but whenever I purchase COACH bags, I always seem to regret it. I mostly buy them (like most) because they are usually on the affordable end of department store bags. Coach changes their designs often, which means your handbag will only last you one season. Since I'm not one to bow to trends, I don't mind carrying items that may be "out of fashion," so this does not bother me. What does bother me is that Coach bags are not as durable as other designer brands, you will begain to notice wearing and tearing of your handbag much sooner than with other bags. They also seem to look of less quality, and not as pretty when brought home compared to when you view them at the store. I always tell myself I will not buy another Coach bag after regretting a recent purchase, but seem to repeat this process whenever I see a cute bag at the store and give into the temptation (much like you say you will never drink again after a horrible hangover, but find yourself with another drink in your hand shortly after). I would recommend saving up the money you spend on multiple bags from this brand, and getting ONE from another, that will last you significantly longer, and be of much higher quality.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Transform your Keys into a Fashion Item

When I make copies of my keys, I always ask for the designs. I think it gives interest to your normal keys, and also eliminates the necessity of a keychain for accessorizing purposes. I also like to attach my keys to long strands and just hang it around my neck on casual days where I don't even feel like carrying my purse out. I just keep my keys and a small pocket with some cash on a strand, and leave the house. Others will always be asking where/how you got your keys, and study them for minutes. Even though I've moved and the keys serve no longer serve its main purpose of opening doors, I still keep mine on my pooh bear on my chain because I think he is so cute! The one pictured first is especially convenient, as the large size facilitates the process of digging your keys out of your purse. I've had these keys for around 5 years, and the print is pretty much still in tact. Only the color on the thin part of the keys will scratch off a bit with time, but for the most part is pretty durable.

Louis Vuitton wallet--For who?

I never imagined males carrying oversized wallets. Actually, many males I know opt not to even carry a typical wallet. Thus, I was shocked to see a boy searching through this wallet while on a date. While in Japan, I often observed many irregularities, such as boys with coach pencil cases, fruity scarves, or designer umbrellas. On my first date with a particular Japanese boy, he took out this Louis Vuitton Tresor wallet when it came time to pay. I was shocked to discover it was identical to my own--and something I only imagined females carrying. It would be surprising enough to have a female friend whip out an identical item, so it was much more unimaginable to have it happen in this situation. Albeit his was much more beat up than mine, my impression of him changed, as I questioned his masculinity. Am I sexist? Am I a perpetrator of stereotypes? What do others think? Is it acceptable for males to also splurge on designer items? Should all accessories just be labeled as unisex?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Affordable Quality Shampoo/Conditioner

First of all, I'd like to start off by saying that I haven't tried too many Shampoos. The reason being, is that I never really felt the need. In the past, my hair has been very cooperative, and I never noticed damage like split ends or drying of the hair. I had very fine, pin straight hair, that others often envied. Well, that was in the past. As I moved about 3 years ago, my new home was in an area that had very poor water quality compared to what I had always been used to. Additionally, my hair was under more sunlight than usual, and often got soaked in Clorox at the local pool. Split ends began to become apparent, my hair lost pigmentation and progressively turned lighter, it lost its sleekiness, and overall just did not feel like my hair.

I needed a solution, and finally ditched my drugstore shampoos and decided to invest in a quality cleanser and conditioner. At that time, I discovered LUSH, a brand that prides itself on entirely natural and organic products, that have many beneficial traits for your health. I bought my first introductory shampoo and conditioner from the brand, the Big Shampoo and the American Cream Conditioner. Honestly, I did not care for the conditioner, and ultimately donated it to my mother, whose hair needed much more help than mine (I also gave her a bottle of Rehab Shampoo). Basically, I felt the conditioner, though not bad, was not worth the money. The shampoo on the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed. It feels like salt out of the tub, but once worked into the hair, lathers surprisingly well, so much that you need very little product. I only used this shampoo about 2-3 times a week because of its hefty price, but every time I used it I was in awe. It instantly felt my hair feel weightless, and gave it that softness I had longed for. I was very pleased, however, I was still on the edge about the hefty price tag (given that lush products also have expiration dates--its not something I can just save for the really special days).

Here's the important part: I reverted back to drugstore brands. I recently moved out of my family home, and into my own place, back to where I am originally from. The main reason for not repurchasing from lush is because, in all honesty, I cannot afford it. With new burdens of rent and living costs, I must restrain from spoiling myself. Knowing the superior water quality will not be interfering with the nutrients in my hair made it even more justifiable to go back to cheaper alternatives. While in the past, I had often opted for brands like Herbal Essences and Pantene, I newly took advantage of a bargain deal for Aussie. In the past, I had had a roommate who was a loyal user of this brand, and finally decided to give into her recommendation. I got the Aussie Aussome Volume Shampoo and the Aussie Aussome Volume Conditioner . I have the admit, I previously undermined drugstore shampoos as generally being the same thing. I never found one particularly better than another. Until I used this!! Normally, my hair turns noticeably greasy after a day without washing (or even by the end of a day), and is very flat. Using this line of products provided the volume the packaging promises. Plus it smells pleasant (fresh and kind of fruity/florally?), and is packaged conveniently. Its creamy texture is easy to lather, and has drastically improved the condition of my hair.

So, when it comes to bang for the buck I would recommend Aussie products!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review: Egyptian Magic.. Is it Magical?

I purchased this product about a year ago, after hearing so many youtubers rave about its healing effects. I anticipated it would give me the promising results of healthier skin. Some thoughts:
  • can be found online or in stores like whole foods (check website for details)
  • seems expensive at $30 for a tub, BUT I have used less than half a full year later-it will last you forever!
  • wax-y texture, feels heavy on skin at first but after learning to use very small amounts, found it to be less noticeable on the skin
  • mostly use for bedtime, because the oils within the product will make you feel like you are frying if you go outdoors with it on
  • Has a peculiar scent, but nothing terrible
  • no adverse effects
  • good to use on the lips as a lip treatment
  • avoid using too much product because even after a full night's sleep, you will feel the product in the morning if you overuse
  • cheap packaging
I depotted mine (into the pictured pink container) because I did not want to bring the big bulky tub with me when I moved. For some reason, once removed from its original tub, it lost its wax-like texture, and turned into a more creamy consistency. Even though it remains in an air-tight container, it seems stays "melted," which is good in the respect that it is now easier to pick up. As for the results, I cannot say I noticed anything special. I attempted using it on scars to see if they would disappear--it did nothing for this purpose. I continue to use it for my face at night, but I cannot say its effects are distinguishable from any other moisturizer. The only difference is in the way it feels. Whereas other moisturizers sink into your skin and feel weightless over time, the egyptian magic can be felt hours after application. It feels like vaseline on the skin, and for the most part is similar to vaseline in many respects. It did not fade acne marks, or reduce fine lines. When worn on the lips, it feels very moisturizing. I can say I have not really "broken out" after beginning to use this product. I still get occasional pimples, but nothing major. However, I cannot solely credit this product, as I have been using many others in conjunction with it. It has not had any negative effects on my skin, but it has not necessarily been a "magical" experience either. For those with very dry skin, I would recommend this because it would probably work a lot better for drier skin types.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sun Protection--an overview

I’m sure you are already aware of the importance of sunscreen, especially in the summer season. I became obsessed with sunscreen after moving to the sunshine state. I used to not worry so much about it, because I was so fair that I thought I could use a tan. However, constant sun exposure causes uneven tans in areas, redness, dark spots, brings out blemishes, and damages skin. After undergoing these adverse affects, I realized I needed to protect my skin everyday, regardless of the weather. Here is a review on the different ones I’ve tried (in order of worst to best)

PART I Neutrogena: UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 70 with helioplex

If you check youtube, you can find many reviews on the Neutrogena sunblock. These are easy to find, and affordable. You can even get good bargain deals at Costco. I got a pack of two plus a small travel size at Costco last year. Being my first time purchasing a facial sun screen, I did not know it was possible to really have preferences, or dislike a product—I quickly learned this lesson, and my tubes remain largely unused. Unfortunately, most Neutrogena skincare products do not suit my sensitive skin. I heard that others have also had this problem with the product being too harsh/strong. When I tried to wear this on my face, it stung and hurt immediately, and had to thoroughly wash it off. I then gave it to my mom, not wanting to waste the product. We both have combination skin, but hers is much less sensitive, though more mature. However, the product did not seem to work for her either. She broke out (which she never gets), and the product just sat on her face and did not sink it (even though it is a chemical sunscreen), leaving an unattractive flaky white cast. The product itself is very thick in consistency and tends to dry out the skin over time. It also has the particular sunscreen scent, which I am not a fan of and is somewhat sticky (but it wears off with time).

So after my mom and I both attempted to like the product but failed, I resorted to using it for my body instead of my face. Since the skin on my body is less sensitive than my face, it does not present problems of stinging. It is used on days I know I will be outside for long periods of time. I mix it with moisturizer to thin it out and make it easier to blend. This process also cancels out the drying effects. It has a high SPF so it is good for this purpose, but I would not purchase it specifically to use it on my body (basically, I am only using it because I already own it).

PART II AVEENO: Active Naturals Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion Face SPF 70

After the failure with Neutrogena, I went back to the drugstore in search of another sun block. I purchased Aveeno, which also provides high SPF coverage. I found Aveeno is less drying than Neutrogena, yet still gives a nice matte finish. I initially liked this product, as it felt much less severe than the Neutrogena. However, after about a week, I started to notice similar drying effects and stinging, though to a lesser degree. Luckily, I only bought one tube of this, and since it is not too bad, I like to use it for my hands and neck area. I also bring this one around with me for touch ups and emergencies.

PART III SHISEIDO: Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion For Face/Body

Still in the need for a facial sun protectant, I abandoned the drugstore and went to a Shiseido counter. I told the lady working there my history of problems with sunblocks, and she literally snickered at me. She assured me that the high quality of the Shiseido sunblocks would not cause such troubles. So, trusting her judgment, I hesitatingly purchased my first high end sunscreen. I was at first unhappy with the high price I had to pay and questioned whether it was worth the mark up. After I tried the sunblock, my opinion totally changed. I loved it the first day, the second, and a year later I still love it.

The Shiseido sunscreen has a very light and thin consistency, and once applied it is totally invisible and feels nonexistent. Yet, it works perfectly as a face primer (under makeup or alone) because it makes your skin feel so smooth and flawless. It does not irritate my skin, even when applied over acne. Because the consistency is so thin, it is a bit tough to control getting out of the bottle at first, but after a bit of adjustment, you can easily avoid wasting product. It is unscented (from what I can tell) and requires the smallest amount to apply all over the face. It gives a nice matte finish, and leaves the skin looking natural, without the white cast. I got mine in SPF 55 which was the highest at the time I purchased it, but a year later when I went to the shiseido store with my mom, they had even higher SPF available. I recommended this sunscreen to my mom (who never spends money on makeup or skincare), and she gave in (because the store was offering promotions with nice free gifts) and bought it in SPF 60. Although she initially regretted purchasing the expensive item, she quickly changed her mind when she used it the next day. It is perfect for her combination and aging skin, and she now does not leave the house without application.

That day at the store, we also discovered the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++, which is basically the same thing for different skin types. It is a thicker consistency (like the name suggests, it is more creamy), yet works just as well. I purchased one in SPF 55 because I knew I would love it. Although it does require a tiny bit more effort to blend out, I still enjoy it as well.

The downside to Shiseido products is the high price, but I think it is definitely worth it. It is worth investing in a product, where the purpose is not to cover up your skin, but maintain healthy skin, body, and lifestyle. Secondly, although the bottle suggests it could be used for both face and body, I personally reserve it strictly for my face/neck because of the higher price (I would run out very quick if I were to apply it all over my body).

All three brands claim to be waterproof, and the Shiseido Lotion has the most product at 100ml. Both the Neutrogena and Aveeno have 88ml, and are oil free, while the Shiseido Cream contains 50ml. I definitely recommend the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BB Cream—an overview

BB Creams are a popular product in Asia. If you are not familiar with BB Creams, they are called ‘blemish balms,’ and are closest to tinted moisturizers.

  1. provide light to medium coverage
  2. Whitening/brightening effects
  3. offer high SPF
  4. serve as a moisturizer
  5. treatment/replenishing effects for troubled skin
  6. replaces tinted moisturizer or foundation
The specific properties of the BB cream will depend on your targeted preference. However, because BB Creams mostly originate from Asia, their color selection is very limited. Most brands offer only one or two “universal” shades (which are not so universal). Although most brands have many different lines of BB creams, the shade selection is basically geared at Asian skin tones. The good news is that if you have fair to medium skin tones, you will most likely be able to find one that is right for you. The BB cream tends to blend into your skin, so even if it may not initially seem like a perfect match, it will adjust to match your skin tone a few minutes after application. BB Creams have become so popular that they are widely used by both females and males in Asia.

I have experimented with a handful of BB Creams myself, most of the ones I mention will be available in Asian markets (or cosmetics stores) or online. Some are harder to acquire than others (availability will also be considered when reviewing these creams)

***Banila Co.***
I’ve tried two different BB Creams from Banila Co. This is the only BB Cream I’ve actually gotten a backup of, and thus, my favorite. However, this is not as readily available as other BB Creams (not available in most asian markets, but you can find it on ebay or other websites that ship internationally). (www.banilaco.com – Korean site)

a) Let me finish BB cream SPF37 PA++ (35ml)
  • best for medium skinned people
  • gives a nice sheen finish
  • lighter and blends easier than other BB Creams, yet still offers decent coverage
  • looks very natural because it is not as white as other BB Creams (but that also means it does not advertise those ‘whitening effects’ that other BB creams offer)
  • convenient pump--means you will not be wasting any product
  • suggest for dry to normal skin types
  • Although I am fair, I like this BB Cream because it balances out my pale skin, and gives a nice sheen. However, for those with very oily skin, this may not be the best option. I purchased mine in Korea along with a backup. I am on my second tube now, but this may also be due to the fact that the product itself is smaller than most others. This product is also very affordable, (about 15,000won, or $12 if purchased in Korea). All in all, my personal favorite.
b) Let me bebe Luminous BB Cream SPF 37 PA++
  • I tried this one but actually returned it because I preferred the other BB Cream from banila co. This one was actually more expensive than the previous, but was very typical. It left a white cast, and has a thicker formula. It’s not bad, but it would only work for fairer skin tones. I personally did not enjoy the thickness on my face. It also has SPF 37, and is similar to the Let me finish BB Cream in other respects.

***Somang COENZYME Q10***
I’ve tried two from this line of BB creams. It is by a Korean brand Somang Cosmetics. They can be purchased online or at your local Asian market. Also an affordable option. I own the Coenzyme Q10 B.B Sun Based SPF46/PA++ (pink package), and finished a bottle of the Coenzyme Q10 B.B cream Bleamish Balm (purple package). They are actually very similar, but I feel the pink one is a little heavier, but in turn offers more coverage.
  • Matte finish, works for oiler skin types. For very dry skin, this may look unnatural (I think the oils on your skin help to blend it out)
  • Good option for more mature skins (my mom’s personal favorite)
  • Thicker texture than many BB Creams, which requires a bit more effort to work into your skin
  • The purple one is only SPF 15 and comes in a 50ml tube, while the pink one has a higher protection of 46 with 80ml of product
  • Purple tube would fit younger users, while the pink one targets older users
  • Best for light to medium skin tones, and those who want more coverage

***Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++***
This is the hyped BB Cream that most people seem to use. For me, it’s just alright. I use No. 21 (lighter one) as the No. 23 is too dark for me. The packaging is similar style as the Banila Co Let me finish BB Cream, (a tube with a pump) but it has more product at 50ml. I use this because I can easily repurchase. However, it doesn’t give much coverage. It seems unreasonably priced when you purchase it abroad as I am sure it is much cheaper in Korea. This would be okay if it was a product well worth the money, but unfortunately, I think I would rank this much higher if it were more inexpensive. The cap seems to have trouble staying on after you’ve been using it for a while, but it is forgivable. (http://www.misshaus.com/)
  • probably the most accessible BB Cream for the general public. Missha has some overseas stores, and it is also sold at Asian markets as well as online
  • useful for evening out the skin, but not for covering up blemishes (as the name would suggest).
  • blends well, but sometimes looks too sheer
  • good option for mixing with foundation to give a lighter coverage
  • high SPF, yet does not leave white cast in photography
  • Mature skin types should stay away from this, it looks very unnatural on top of wrinkles and sun damage
  • Conclusion: Good if you already have trouble-free skin, but not great for others.

***Hanskin Premium Magic BB Cream***
My worst purchase. I got mine in Japan for way more than I would usually pay for a BB Cream, but I thought since it was actually in a Japanese store, it must be great (since the Japanese make great cosmetics). Expensive at upwards $50 for a bottle. I didn’t even bother to bring it with me when I moved. The bottle is annoying, as it has a screw cap and no pump. Since the BB Cream is very runny, you end up wasting a lot of the product. Looks unnatural because it does not sink into the skin as well as other products, which consequently also means it transfers off your face with the slightest touch. The product comes out dark, but becomes progressively whiter as you blend it—I would say it becomes too white for it to work for most skin tones.

***Dr. Jart Detox Healing BB Cream***
I almost purchased this, but quickly changed my mind after trying a couple of sample sizes. Similar to the hanskin, it is very white. Dr. Jart offers multiple BB Creams, but all are comparatively expensive. It is hard to blend, and the white cast it leaves makes it look unnatural. As it tends to run off your face, it is best if you set it with a powder. This BB Cream is also not as available as other options (thankfully :P). In Korea, it is only sold at high-end stores, and abroad it can be found at some but not all Asian stores and markets.

Ironically, the more expensive ones were deemed unworthy. It might be because these focus more on the “whitening” effects, and thus leave a harsh white cast on your face and are harder to blend. Although BB Creams originated when the Asians discovered the recovery effects used in the treatments of German doctors and decided to incorporate it into cosmetics, I cannot really say using BB Creams has really improved my skin. However, I enjoy the light feeling, and the fact that it is so easy to use. No BB cream has given me adverse effects of breaking out, or causing trouble. So although my skin has not necessarily improved, it has not gotten worse since using BB creams everyday. It would be good for people with sensitive skin (like myself). With so many BB creams in the market, you're destined to find one that suits your personal tastes!

Let me know if you have any unlisted BB Creams you think I should try.