First Impressions feat. CosRX AHA, Memebox Finds, Milani Baked Blushes, and More

Man. I haven’t gotten the chance to try out so many new products, all at once, since I first started getting into Asian skin care. I got really lucky this month and got my hands on some really interesting things, and while it’s too early for me to write up thorough reviews of them, I’m too excited to keep all my thoughts to myself. So here are some first impressions of some cool new additions to my arsenal. I have a feeling that at least some of them are going to end up making the cut and becoming part of my official (but always subject to changeskin care routine.

CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

Those of you who know me or follow my blog may know that I consider an AHA to be absolutely necessary to my routine. In the right concentration (5-7%) and at the right pH (between 3 and 4), AHAs are fantastic for keeping skin smooth, clear, and bright, and in the long term, they also help stimulate increased collagen production, a must for keeping wrinkles at bay. Unfortunately, finding a properly formulated daily use AHA product isn’t easy. Not many options exist. I’ve gotten along fine with my Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant for many months now, but I have been getting pretty bored with the product. I’d been considering Mizon’s AHA 8% Peeling Serum when, as if sent by the Korean skin care gods, a bottle of CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid practically fell into my lap.

Bottle of CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
“Fell into my lap” = “A fellow Redditor decided after just one use that she didn’t want it, and I happened upon a comment in which she was seeking to unload it.”

This is a 7% glycolic acid chemical exfoliant whose exfoliating strength may be boosted somewhat by the company’s use of “apple fruit water,” which CosRX claims has “natural AHA inside.” Much like the Paula’s Choice AHA gel, it’s carefully formulated to avoid many common irritants, and as a nice bonus, it contains niacinamide! Yay niacinamide!

The CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid is indeed a liquid. It’s fast-absorbing, slippy, slightly thicker than water, and feels somewhat like an extremely thin oil when first applied. And it smells godawful, thanks to the lack of fragrance in the formula. Descriptions of the smell of CosRX acid products range from “chemically” to “burnt tires,” according to a quick Reddit search I did. I’d describe the smell as an intense, sharp, acidic chemical odor. The smell does fade after a few minutes, though, and thanks to Paula’s Choice products, I’ve gotten a lot of practice at enduring a temporary unpleasant smell in order to get a great result.

I’ve heard good things about both this brand and this product recently, and I’m looking forward to seeing whether the results are on par (or perhaps even better!) than my trusty old Paula’s Choice. I hope the CosRX works out for me, as the typical price for a 100ml bottle is about $10 less than the same amount of the Paula’s Choice AHA gel.

DD’ell Extra Vitalizing Serum

This one’s an interesting find. As I mentioned in my last post, a friend sent this to me recently, having gotten it in a Memebox. I wasn’t looking for another serum at all, but when I found out that it contains galactomyces ferment filtrate (the same ingredient as the famed SK-II line), algae extracts, and niacinamide, I figured I might be able to find some room for it in my routine.

DD'ell Extra Vitalizing Serum from Little Mermaid Memebox
That button on top of the cap is currently the bane of my existence.

After several days of using it, I’m happy to report that I haven’t had any problems with the product except for my endless frustration with the button-style dropper. It doesn’t suck up enough product with one press of the button, and dispensing product involves holding the stem of the pipette between two fingers, which means I’m touching a part of the packaging that goes back into the product, which I just don’t like doing. My skin really seems to enjoy the extra hydration I’m getting from this serum, however, and I’m willing to give it some more time to see whether the extra niacinamide in my routine will show any results. Also, I absolutely adore the way this smells. It’s got the perfect fragrance for my tastes: clean and fresh but still feminine, halfway between soap and flowers. Soapy flowers. That’s nice.

Neogen Gold Cacao Cream

This product also came in my friend’s big cosmetics care package. I believe she got this one in the chocolate-themed Memebox and decided against using it because she felt the rich texture might be too much for her combo-oily skin.

Neogen Gold Cacao heavy moisturizing cream
Looks like a serious product.

I really don’t have any more room in my routine for creams. I’m perfectly happy with my Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream and my Mizon Returning Starfish Cream, and I have the Mizon Good Night White sleeping mask as yet another occlusive nighttime option. The ingredients in this one didn’t really sound that compelling to me, either. It’s got a high concentration of cocoa butter, as you might expect, as well as some odd-sounding (to me) additions like tin oxide, iron oxide, and a teeny tiny bit of gold, which I suppose helps one feel like one’s using a very luxurious product.

Neogen Gold Cacao Cream texture
The gold flecks aren’t visible when you look at the cream but do add a teeny bit of shimmer once the product is spread onto skin.

I couldn’t resist trying a bit on the back of my hand, however, and I liked the thick, buttery texture so much that I started testing it as a nighttime hand cream. I’ve been putting it on my hands right before bed, and I’m pleased with the results so far. I wash my hands quite a bit during the day, so they often get dry and uncomfortable, but they haven’t felt that way at all since I started using the Neogen Gold Cacao Cream on them. Additionally, I noticed today that the skin on the backs of my hands was noticeably more translucent than usual and felt incredibly soft. If these results keep up, I may well have to start putting this on my face.

Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour brush

I’ve been on a big blush kick lately but hadn’t yet found the perfect blush brush, so I thought I’d give the Sigma F40 a shot, since I love most of my Sigma brushes.

Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour brush
Soft. Fluffy.

I like it so far. I found the bristles on my Sigma F15 Duo Fibre Powder/Blush brush to be just a bit too stiff to apply blush the way I like it. The F40’s bristles are very very slightly softer and fluffier, but that tiny increase in softness adds up to a big difference in blush application, at least for me. I’m able to apply much lighter, more diffuse, and more buildable layers of blush with the F40, reducing mishaps. (They can still happen, don’t get me wrong, but it takes a lot more to mess up with this one.) I think I’m keeping this as my blush brush and repurposing the F15 as a precision powder brush so that I can tone down shine in very limited areas of my face when I want to.

Milani Baked Blushes

Speaking of blush, it’s a good thing Milani baked blushes are so cheap and accessible (they’re a Western drugstore product), because I love them and am building up a little collection!

Milani baked blushes in Red Vino, Rose D'Oro, Luminoso, and Dolce Pink
From left to right: Red Vino, Rose D’Oro, Luminoso, and Dolce Pink.

All of the Milani baked blushes that I own are highly pigmented, requiring a very light hand to apply properly, but give such a gorgeous, lit-from-within radiance that they’re worth the extra effort it takes to put them on right. They are also, as I mentioned, super cheap and easily accessible, and considering how little product I need at a time, I imagine these blushes will last forever. Red Vino is a rich red that sheers out to the intense but natural flush you’d get from a good workout or walk in the snow; I got it for the days when I feel like using a red lipstick. Rose D’Oro pulls a rich golden peach on me and I think will go very well with coral or nude lip colors. Luminoso, which was my first Milani blush and which I bought because of how much Bun Bun Makeup Tips raved about it, is a lighter peach that really lives up to the “Luminoso” name. And Dolce Pink is a classic petal pink that will be perfect with pink or bare lips. With these four, my ideal blush collection is nearly complete. I just need to find a good lavender, and I’ll be set.

All in all, the last few weeks have been like Beauty Blogger Christmas for me, and I’m excited to keep using these products and, eventually to review them for you! And in case you were wondering about my sheet mask collection, don’t worry, it’s still going strong and about to receive some new additions.

Box of sheet masks
Actually, I had to move the collection from the kid’s shoe box it was in to this adult man’s shoe box.

Have you tried anything new lately? Tell me about it in the comments!


7 thoughts on “First Impressions feat. CosRX AHA, Memebox Finds, Milani Baked Blushes, and More

  1. i’m loving your blog – and you post so frequently, i’m impressed! it’s hard to constantly have new material 🙂

    off topic, but i happened to be researching dermarollers on AB and saw that you had used a 0.5 a few months ago… would love to see a post on it if you’re still using it and what your results have been!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya! It’s no big deal! I have a lot of fun talking about these things, and I write fast 🙂

      As far as dermarollers go, I’m afraid I wouldn’t recommend them for home use. Since my early experiments with them, I learned a bit too much about the risks to feel comfortable continuing. The needles cannot be properly sterilized at home, only sanitized, and doing it incorrectly can result in some permanent scarring and unwanted pigment changes. If someone wants to explore that, I think that getting it professionally done would be much safer 🙂 The other issue is that there doesn’t seem to be much consensus on what is a good frequency for use, and doing it too often can really damage the skin, too.

      (Also, it hurts! It really hurts! And the “pop-pop-pop” as the needles pierce the skin is just horrifying.)


  2. thanks for your input. i’m so tempted by something that is so cheap/easy and mayyyyy have great results, but i can also definitely see the potential for major damage and that freaks me out! i’m in my late 30s now and starting to see changes i don’t like, but that’s no reason to be silly/rash 🙂 it actually surprises me how many people are doing it at home!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That Neogen cream is the most luxurious feeling elbow/arm/hand cream I’ve ever owned. It was sadly too rich for even my Canadian winter dry skin. Which is too bad because the parts of my face that didn’t break out felt so lovely the morning after I would use it.


    1. It really is amazingly rich–it’s exactly what I think of when I hear the word “buttery” to describe a cream! My hands are so soft, even though I’ve had to wash them like 5 times today.


  4. I love my Milani Luminoso! At first I too found it a bit difficult to work with because it is so pigmented, but I followed the suggestion that I saw on a few blogs of applying it with a stippling brush so I pick up less product (I picked up one of the super cheap ELF brushes to use just for blushes) and then blending it out, and now it works perfectly!

    As far as Lavender blushes go, I really like Clinique’s Pansy Cheek Pop
    It’s not as pigmented as the other Cheek Pops, which is great for someone with super fair skin and a heavy hand like me! It might not lean as purple as what you’re looking for, and it’s kind of pricy, but I really like it!

    Liked by 1 person

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