July 25, 2014

Etude House Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara Review

Back when Etude came out with their Minnie Mouse line, they also “Minnie-fied” the packaging for one of their mascaras, the infamous Volumecara:

So aside from the revamped packaging (which I believe lasted only while the Minnie craze was on), this is quite an old product. I’m a major slowpoke, but here are my two cents anyways! (Long story short, it’s nice!)


Brand: Etude House
Name: Lash Perm 3 Step Volumecara Review
Amount: 9.5g
Actual Weight: 33g
Price in Korea: 13,000KRW

water, acrylates copolymer, iron oxides (CI 77499), paraffin,kaolin, copernica cerifera (carnauba) wax, beeswax, stearic acid, behenyl alcohol, hydrogenated polyisobutene, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, tromethamine, milk protein extract, glycerin, acacia senegal gum, potassium cetyl phosphate,1,2-hexanediol, hydroxyethylcellulose, isostearic acid, dimethicone, silica, inositol, butylene glycol, glycine, serine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, leucine, alanine, lysine, arginine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, valine, threonine, proline, isoleucine, histidine, methionine, cysteine, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol

Here is the Minnie-fied box:

Closeups of the description, directions, and expiry:

*Notice the expiration; it lasts only 6 months?!

And here is the mascara tube:

This is the interesting part. The “3 step” part of this mascara refers to the 3 different settings in which you can twist the tube. Doing so adjusts the amount of mascara that gets loaded onto the brush, with Step 1 being the least and Step 3 being the most. Here’s a video demonstration:

(It’s about a minute long.)

The idea is that with each successive setting, you build up volume exponentially. As I mentioned, there isn't much difference between Step 1 and Step 2, but with Step 3 there is a lot of mascara on the brush:

In these pictures I’ve just followed instructions and applied Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 in order. But of course, you can switch things up by using only one setting, stopping after Step 2, etc!

In the first picture I’ve applied it modestly, brushing on only one layer of each Step. In the second photo I was very liberal and applied two to three layers of each Step.

Length: It darkens and defines my lashes, which makes them look longer (especially at the tips), but the actual length of my lashes didn’t change much.

Volume:Volume is definitely buildable! As you saw above, both a thin, defined look and a voluminous, clumpy look are possible.

Curl: I don’t have pictures, but it holds my curl fairly well. My lashes began to lose curl at Step 3 (which would be the third coat.) I find that if I prop my lashes up while it’s drying, my tips will stay upturned.

Waterproof: With water, it might clump a bit; but otherwise, it stays put. It doesn’t smudge or run…just don’t touch it. A gentle dab or two (to get rid of the water) won’t do much, but actual rubbing will make it come off:

The more I put, the more easily it smudges off if I touch it. On the plus side, that’s essentially how to remove the mascara: just use water! Most of it comes off easily with a water, though I must admit that the last remaining bits can take me several more tries to clean completely.

Lasting Power: If it’s dry, it doesn’t really rub off:

It lasts throughout the day and doesn’t flake off on me.

I like it! I must say, though, I think the whole “3 steps! Breakthrough packaging that allows you to choose between 3 different styles!” is a gross exaggeration (and wickedly successful marketing scheme) for what is essentially just applying 3 layers. One could argue that this wand versatility does make some difference, and I agree. It does! But comparing the small difference it makes to how fancy they make their twisty packaging seem, I still find the two disproportionate. If anything, twisting the packaging takes more time for me to apply (swipe, put back in, twist—oh wait, I twisted it the wrong way—twist back, take out, swipe, repeat process.) It’s a bit frustrating in that aspect.

That aside, I still think it’s a very nice mascara! But as a mascara, adds volume, stays put, and rinses off easily. It doesn’t really lengthen so much as it accentuates what I already have, but I have no complaints! I will happily use it until it’s empty and possibly buy another, this time with less expectations on the magical twist packaging. :)

July 24, 2014

Koreans have kanji, too!

Well, sort of. On a much lesser level.

Kanji, as I'm sure you all know, is when Chinese characters are used in Japanese. It's well-known that Japan uses Chinese characters, but what about Korea?

Koreans used Chinese characters back in the day as well, as I'm sure many people knew already! But that’s why you still see historical sites with Chinese signs. Then King Sejong the Great came along and invented Hangul, the Korean alphabet as we know it. Whenever I've come across this topic (both in blogs and in real life) people often talk about the invention of Hangul in a way that implies Chinese is now obsolete in Korea. But it's not! And that's what I found interesting: Even today, even with Hangul, Koreans still use Chinese characters in daily life!

Granted it’s not common, but you see it from time to time. In a way, it’s kind of like kanji: People who are well educated or have studied well know more Chinese characters (aka Hanja) than those who haven’t.

The first example would be names. Koreans learn how to write their name in Chinese and the respective meanings of each character. Korean children learn Hanja in school and gain a grasp of basic Chinese characters. That is, they learn Chinese characters and their corresponding Korean pronunciation. (This is different from actually learning Chinese Chinese, although many people do that as well!) And of course, some people don’t study well and/or forget. Bun Fun, for example, has general knowledge of basic Chinese characters. :)

Being a creeper here with the kid pictures, but they're so cute! Lol at the first kid!

Another example I encountered was at work. My boss had scribbled down a note for June, but instead of writing it in Korean like this: 6월, he wrote it in Chinese: 6月. This is the example that caught my eye. 6월 seems just as common and easy to write, yet he opted to write in Chinese instead.

If you remember my post from awhile back, I mentioned that Korean tally marks are often done with the Chinese character 正.

In more rural areas, it's not uncommon for signs (roads and buildings, from what I've seen) to be written in Chinese.

And last but not least, I’ve also heard that you see Chinese characters from time to time in formal writing, such as in newspapers. I can’t say I’ve seen that with my own eyes, though. Never really looked at those type of documents before.

But yeah~ I've nothing else to say! I just thought it was interesting. It reminded me a lot of kanji, except to a much lesser extent~ And of course, please remember these are just my observations. I'm not Korean nor can I speak for everyone, so don't take this as hard, solid fact. >.<

P.S. Did anyone notice the CUTE drawing at the bottom of the first picture? Omg, children books!! I'm totally going to use children's books when I get better at Japanese! (I'm learning Japanese instead of Korean now ^^)

July 21, 2014

Banila Co The Secret Marbling Highlighter 01 Scandalist

Here’s a brand I don’t typically talk about, Banila Co! It’s a little higher end than Etude House and Holika Holika. In other words, it’s a little pricier. Hence why I don’t mention them much, keke… But anyways, let’s take a look at this highlighter!

This review is kindly sponsored by Honest Skin. Thank you Honest Skin!


Brand: Banila Co
Name: The Secret Marbling Highlighter
Color: 01 Scandalist
Amount: 8g
Actual Weight: 65g
Price in Korea: 18,000KRW
Price on Honest Skin: $21.36 (Currently on sale for $14.96; also make sure to use my discount code "P88FIHW163" for 5% off!)

Here's the box:

And here’s the tub. The tub is reflective, enough so that you can actually use it as a mirror.

You can see the container’s actual color a little better here:

It comes with a little brush:

The brush is reasonably soft, but the bristles aren't entirely even or full:

Underneath the brush is a plastic lid covering the powder. If you continue to store the brush inside the tub, I recommend keeping this plastic lid. As annoying as it is to remove all the time, it keeps the brush from becoming a powdery mess!

The powder has swirls of pink and blue in it, but when applied, it’s mostly a pale shimmer. If you look closely you can see a hint of pale yellow.

Natural window light:

Alone: It’s smooth, but not soft. I say this because the powder “particles” (I’ll just call them that) feel smooth, but they are pressed together very firmly:

Natural window light:

At first, the outer layer looks textured and shimmery. But after wearing through it, the powder becomes smooth and more matte, like this:

Natural window light:

It picks up modestly on my brush (unlike the Minnie Mouse Highlighter):

Natural window light

On my face: I currently don’t have any dry flakes, though I do have large pores and bumps on my cheeks. As it turns out, this highlighter doesn’t accentuate my unevenness too much! My guess is because it applies in such thin layers (since the brush picks up so little), and because the “powder particles” are fine? But anyways, it goes like this:
  • 1 - 2 layers: Completely ok; no unflattering accentuation.
  • 3-4 layers: The powder finish starts to get become noticeable, but not necessarily in a bad way. It still doesn’t accentuate my bumps.
  • 6-7 layers: Now it starts to look powdery in a bad way. I begin to notice it clinging onto my bumps. (But then again, 6 layers sure is a lot!)

Here's a photo summary. Notice how with 1 and 2 layers, the texture is hardly noticeable from a normal distance:

Natural window light

It’s incredibly subtle, at least on me. I can hardly see it under bright light (and by that I mean daylight.) It shows up better in dim light, but even then it’s still a natural payoff. The shimmer is not obvious. Up close you can see little golden specks, but from normal distances, it looks like a slight metallic glow at most.

Here are some full-face swatches. You can hardly see anything, I know! I’m mainly including them for completion. If you hover over the images, I’ve shaded in where I’ve applied the highlighter. (It might take a few tries for the hover thing to work.) I recommend focusing on the left side of my forehead. That area shows up best, I think!

Natural window light:

Dim room light:

If you’re interested in more details other than what I’ve already summarized above, here are some extra descriptions that may not be clear from the photos:
  • 1 layer: Hardly noticeable. It makes just the slightest difference under dim light, and is practically unnoticeable in ample light. Only if I look very closely can I see the tiny gold specks of shimmer.
  • 2 layers: The difference is there under dim lighting, but again, very subtle. It brings light to my face in a very natural way, as opposed to looking unnaturally shimmery. (Because people don’t naturally shimmer, right?) The highlighter is still unnoticeable in bright light.
  • 3-4 layers: The highlighting and shimmer specks are no longer subtle under dim light! I wouldn’t say it’s quite transformative (in terms of changing the curvature of my face), but likely enough for most gyaru looks (circa 2009-2010). The powdery finish is a little visible in bright light, but the actually highlighting still not so much..
  • 6-7 layers: This is basically a step up from the previous one. The highlighting is there and it’s definitely illuminating my face, but not to the point of Kim Kardashian-style contouring. And even with so many layers, the shimmer still does not stand out. It’s more glowy than pearlescent, if that makes sense...

It certainly has it's nice aspects. It applies very naturally, which can be helpful for people like me who tend to over apply. I also like how I can apply several layers without it accentuating my bumps or large pores. But at the same time, it hardly shows up on me!

And for that, I think it’s ideal for gentle highlighting—if you wanted to add a bit of light under your eyes or into your naso-labial folds, for example—without too much powdery texture, which can be unflattering for rough skin. As for really dramatic contouring (what I like), I think it is possible but would require an immense amount of product.

And please remember, these are just my experiences! I personally used a brush and have somewhat light skin. It may be very different on darker skin, but I can't say!

Thank you again Honest Skin!

If you've tried this product, please do share your experiences! Otherwise, I'm very curious about everyone's preferences when it comes to highlighting. Y'all know I like me some dramatic lifting! :3