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korean skincare

Beauty, Skincare

Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum

aromatica rose absolute first serumFor Christmas, my husband surprised me with a box full of goodies from Peach and Lily, a Korean beauty store in Queens. Out of all the products, the Rose Absolute First Serum from Aromatica interested me the most. First of all, I love anything rose-scented, and secondly, it’s organic and cruelty-free – not super common in Korean brands, from my research. I’ve been using this for a good three months, and I’m ready to share my thoughts. Let’s get into it:

Ingredients

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Propanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Betaine, Rosa Damascena Bud Extract, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Panthenol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Sodium Carbomer, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Allantoin, Malva Sylvestris(mallow) Extract, Mentha Piperita(peppermint) Leaf Extract, Primula Veris Extract, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Veronica Officinalis Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Adenosine

According to CosDNA, there are no acne triggers or irritants, and the ingredients are all a 1-3 (out of 9, 9 being the worst) for long-term safety. I can attest to this being super gentle and non-irritating.

How I use it

I apply this after letting my tretinoin sink in for 10-15 minutes. I shake out a dime-sized amount onto my fingers and gently pat onto my skin. I find that it’s more than enough for my entire face and neck. After letting it sink in for a few minutes, I follow up with CeraVe PM moisturizer.

Texture

The consistency is slightly thicker than water. I wouldn’t say that it’s a gel because it’s pretty runny, but it’s definitely thicker than a straight-up liquid. Here you can see how it looks right from the bottle, patted onto the skin for 10 seconds, and then after 30 seconds:

aromatica rose serum swatch

Straight out of the bottle

aromatica rose serum swatch

Patted onto the skin for 10 seconds

aromatica rose serum swatch

Patted onto the skin for 30 seconds

Although it’s subtle, you can see the brightening and moisturizing effect.

Other thoughts

This serum is marketed as hydrating and anti-aging, and with aloe and niacinamide being the first and fourth ingredients, I think it lives up to the claims. I’ll confess that during January and February, when I was dealing with several horrible skin issues, namely breakouts due to clindamycin and extreme dryness from tretinoin, I wasn’t sure if this was doing anything for me. Whenever I cut this out of my nighttime skincare routine, however, my skin would be extra dry in the morning, most noticeably around my mouth where I struggle the most with flaky skin. Even now that the weather is finally getting warmer and it’s not super dry, I still see more dryness in my skin on mornings after skipping this product. Niacinamide is supposed to help with red marks left behind by acne, but I can’t say that this serum helps at all with mine. For me, the main benefit is hydration, and I don’t think I can be without this in the cold, dry months.

It costs $39 for 100ml. I’ve been using it for over three months, usually twice a day, and I still have over half the bottle left. I think if I continue to use this, it would probably last me through August.

I think this is a great serum if you’re looking for something that’s gentle, soothing, and hydrating that will brighten your skin and help with anti-aging. If you want a serum to fade red marks or clear up acne, I think there are better products out there, as this one is almost too gentle.

Have any of you used the Rose Absolute First Serum? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Beauty, Skincare

Current evening skincare routine

DSC_8336Last week, I shared my morning skincare routine, and now I’ll walk you through everything I do to take care of my skin at night.

If I’m wearing makeup, the first step is always oil cleansing. I’ve been using the Aromatica Natural Coconut Cleansing Oil for about a month now, and I do like it. I’m not sure it’s worth the hefty price tag since it doesn’t work any better or worse than the other oil cleansers I’ve used that cost one fifth of what this does. After oil cleansing, I always use CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser to remove any leftover residue from the first cleanser, and to make my skin squeaky clean. I do still love and use my Clarisonic Mia, although I try to use it only once or twice a week. I cringe when I think back on all the over-exfoliation I used to put my skin through!

Once the cleansing is over with, I make sure to wait a bit until my skin is completely dry before applying my tretinoin .025% cream. Over the winter months, I find waiting any more than 10 minutes to be unbearable, even though I think waiting 15-45 minutes is recommended. I’ll usually wait about five minutes after applying the tret before moving on to the Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum. I should confess that I haven’t used it for about a week, and I haven’t seen much of a difference. I’m not sure if this stuff actually does anything or if it’s just rose-scented aloe water. My last step is to moisturize with CeraVe PM, aka the best moisturizer of all-time…maybe. I can’t help but think back fondly on my Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Mask. I still have half a tub of it, and it’s been calling to me recently! Lastly, and I didn’t include them in the picture, but I usually slather the area around my mouth and nose with Aquaphor or the Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum to try to keep the flaky skin at bay.

Next on my skincare agenda is to find a toner and to try to FINALLY work in some of the products I got for Christmas into my routine.

Beauty, Skincare

Current morning skincare routine

amskincareThings have improved greatly since my last skincare post. The main thing I did, and I recommend this to anyone having an acne flair-up, was to pare my routine to the bare essentials. I went back to my standbys from summer, Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask and CeraVe PM, and used pretty much nothing else for a couple weeks. Once the new breakouts stopped and my skin was healing, I felt comfortable slowly adding back in one product at a time. Around this time, my dermatologist prescribed me Erythromycin, an antibiotic. Thankfully, this doesn’t break me out like the dreaded Clindamycin, but I’m not sure it has improved anything as of yet either. I’ll be trying the lotion version of this soon though, because the gel is extremely drying, and it balls up on my skin whenever I put products on top of it. After the antibiotic, I use Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum. I looooove the scent of this. It’s a strong, but very natural pure rose scent. I’m not sure if this does anything for the skin other than add another layer of moisture, but I’m happily using it every day. I’ll follow this up with the CeraVe PM, and I’ve recently started using the Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream again. I was using this for a few weeks in December/January, but I thought it might be causing congestion in my forehead. I’m trying it out again now, but in case I find that it actually does break me out, I’ve repurchased the Bior√© UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence sunscreen. The only other product I occasionally use in the morning is the Be The Skin Non-Stimulus Face Polisher. For a few weeks, my skin would be so extremely dry in the morning, the entire area around my mouth and nose would be covered in flakes (so sexy). The Face Polisher does an excellent job of gently sloughing away dead skin and prepping it for cleansing and the rest of my routine.

The past couple months of trial and error have been frustrating, but also enlightening. I’m continuing to learn what does and doesn’t work for my skin, and it’s comforting to know that there are a few products out there that I can 100% rely on.