Fiddy Snails and the Holy Grail(s)

August 2015 Korean skincare holy grails

And now for something completely different…

I’m on a quest for some new holy grails. Please send help.

(Note: I actually don’t like the term “holy grail.” It implies that once I’ve found a holy grail, I’ll never feel the need to try anything else in that category again ever, and that’s just, like, not realistic. But “holy grail” is easier to type than “my current favorite that I’ll use for a while before filing away as an old faithful and moving on to new experiments,” so for the purposes of this blog, let’s just stick with “holy grail.”)

August 2015 Korean skincare holy grails
All my current true loves. What can I say? Skincare monogamy just isn’t my thing.

I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this or not, but I change out products in my routine a lot. As in, it’s very rare that I’ll finish a product and actually buy another of the same thing. The only current exceptions to that are in the picture you see above. With almost everything else, no matter how much I enjoy using a product, I always feel the itch to move on to the next.

That might sound exhausting, and if you aren’t a blogger with a constant need to choose, acquire, and test new products in order to continue creating new content, you won’t have to worry much about changing up your routine unless that’s really your thing. (Which, I mean, I think it’s a good thing, but there’s nothing wrong with creating a stable skincare routine either.)

But anyway! It isn’t exhausting to me. I love the process of discovering and learning about products and brands, and skincare is so much more fun for me when I can try out a whole bunch of things around a common theme, whatever my fetish is at the time: currently all things marine, but before that, honey and propolis and all things bee.

The thing is, sometimes I hit a wall. I’m hitting a wall now. I need recommendations for certain types of items or items with certain ingredients. I’ve listed the things I’m interested in below. If you’ve found your holy grail for any of these, I want to know!

Skincare products I want to explore

Hand cream: I’m about halfway through my last (adorable) jar of Etude House Missing U Hand Cream. I’ve used Harp Seal and Fairy Penguin. As you might expect from such cutely packaged products, the actual cream is…it’s okay. It’s passable. But I don’t actually love the cream, and I want to find a hand cream I do love. Bonus points if it’s richly moisturizing yet doesn’t make my palms greasy, because when that happens, I always feel compelled to wipe my palms off, and then what was even the point?

Eye cream: Okay, so far I’ve used Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream, COSRX Honey Ceramide Eye Cream, Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Roller + Eye Cream Pack, and Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream, which is my current eye product. But just as with hand creams, I haven’t yet found an eye cream that I really love. It doesn’t need to have a lot of actives, since I take my Vita-Sea and my retinol serum (and most of the rest of my routine) all the way up to my lashlines. It does need to be deeply moisturizing and non-greasy. And it can’t leave a film or residue behind that would screw with my eye makeup, because I hate it when my eye makeup gets screwed.

Enzyme powder cleansers: I desperately want to call my Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash my holy grail in this category, but that would be like marrying the first guy I ever dated. Not even my first boyfriend, just the first guy I ever went on a date with. I’m sure he’s doing very well, but I bet I’m happier with my current situation than I would be in the alternate universe where I married that boy, you know? You don’t call holy grail on your first product in any category. So if you know of any other enzyme powder cleansers that foam up to a pH of 5.5 (6 at the highest), let me know.

So fess up! Do you have any product recommendations? As always, I’m also open to pretty much anything that has seaweed, sea water, ceramides, and/or astaxanthin, too.

52 thoughts on “Fiddy Snails and the Holy Grail(s)

  1. The Skinria or Skinia enzyme powder wash has great reviews. Maybe you could do a face off. Also, one of the eye creams I’ve been eyeing is the one by MAC. Looks interesting. Have you snagged the Swanicoco fermented stuff yet?


  2. My current eyecream is the Innisfree Ecoscience one. I’ve also used Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye. But it’s hard to tell how effective eye creams are but could be some suggestions?
    I am also not a fan of overly rich hand creams. It’s too impractical! I usually rub in hand cream by rubbing the backs of my hands together so as to avoid contact with the palms. Awkward but useful imo haha

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was going to recommend exactly that one too. I haven’t used it myself, but during my research found it to garner a lot of positive attention and reviews of Korean rating sites and even Top Beauty products 2014 lists.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I must say, I like the term Holy Grail solely because of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It makes me think happy thoughts of Harrison Ford, Shaun Connery and that villian ageing away into dust after choosing the wrong cup.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually really like Kiehl’s Creme de Corps as a hand cream. It is moisturizing without being greasy. I use it a lot during the day at work, and love that I don’t end up with grease all over my keyboard 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Eye cream: I just starting using the Sephora brand Total Age Defy Cream for Eyes & Lips & I’m liking it a lot so far – it’s rich without being at all greasy, you don’t need to use a lot to get great coverage, it soaks in quickly & plumps out nicely. I definitely have drier skin than Momma Snail, but maybe just a dab’ll do ya!

    Enzyme cleanser: My Big Love for this category is Tatcha’s Polished Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder – for Momma Snail’s skin, I’d recommend the Classic The price may be a bit shocking…but! The good news is, it lasts for months. Literally! So price-per-use is def not as bad, just think of it as a front-heavy investment in baby-soft skin 🙂


  6. I’m currently using the Whamisa Organic Flowers Eye Essence. It doesn’t have actives (I don’t think), so in that way it’s disappointing for me, but it is hydrating without being greasy, and it smells heavenly. Will I buy it again? I don’t know–no eye cream has really wowed me. Also, if you don’t like the Su:m37 price tag, then you might not like this one.

    I also have the enzyme powder of the brand you don’t want mentioned, and I only recently learned how to use it properly, thanks to Snow’s review. Before that, I used the whole packet at once, kind of like your bad experience with their white de-award mask, and I didn’t add enough water, so all of those grains irritated my sensitive skin and destroyed my moisture barrier (this happened twice!). Now that I only use 1/3 of the package and mix it with plenty of water on my konjac sponge, it’s fine, but honestly, I find the packets super duper annoying (other than that they are convenient for traveling), so I don’t think you’re missing out too much.

    For hand cream, I’m really loving a Whamisa hand cream that I’ve purchased, but alas, it’s kind of pricy and came in a set, so I won’t repurchase.

    In other words, I’ve got nothing for you, and apparently I have expensive tastes!


  7. Eye cream: Nature Republic The First Eye Cream! Non-greasy, hydrating, absorbs wonderfully, and really brightens my undereye circles! (And I KNOW you like fermented skincare stuff as much as I do.) I liked the Innisfree Eco Science Eye Cream too, but the Nature Republic blows that one out of the water.


  8. It’s not an AB product, but I really love Philosophy Hands of Hope hand cream and I consider it my HG since I compare every other hand cream to it. It’s super moisturizing and absorbs well so there’s no greasy feeling. It is a bit expensive (~$20 for 4oz), but totally worth it since you don’t have to use much so it should last a while. I’m fairly certain you can get a travel/sample sized tube at Sephora, so I’d definitely check it out.


  9. For an eye cream, Shiseido’s BENEFIANCE Wrinkle Resist 24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream is just AMAZING and I CRY IF I HAVE TO USE ANYTHING ELSE. It’s $$$, but it’s the only cream that soaks in my dry skin, and just doesn’t sit there. It can be a little thick, so if you only use it at night, that’s fine. Tip: I don’t really wear a lot of eye makeup, but I do wear mascara sometimes. I’ve found that if there’s at least 15 minutes between applying the eye cream and mascara, there’s no smudging.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m going to try TCFS’s Mcgirly Good Morning Rice Wash. Very reasonable on RRS but I can’t find it there anymore. My favorite hand cream (not AB and so not exciting) is Gold Bond Ultimate Intensive Healing Hand Cream. Might as well be AB with a long ass name like that though. It actually smells really fresh and it’s not greasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I recommend 100% Pure’s Coffee Bean Caffeine eye cream for day time! I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect, but it seemed to make my under eye circles more tolerable and it works really nicely under makeup. For nighttime, I like the Superfruits reparative eye balm from the same brand. Since it’s a balm, it’s obviously a lot heavier in texture, but it’s quite nice at night 🙂


    1. I forgot to mention that the Coffee Bean eye cream is the perfect amount of moisture for day time, as I can’t stand when my undereye area feels too dry when I’m applying concealer 😐

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello, new follower of your blog. ^^

    Eye cream: Laneige Time Freeze Eye Serum.
    I don’t have dark circles but I do have fine lines under my eyes, due to cat allergies and rubbing my eyes constantly, and this product really helped to reduce them! Also Yalmeh Eye Cream helped a lot as well.
    However I still have yet to find an eye product to help with puffy under eyes. Under one eye it has become noticeable , only recently! (I’m 32.) Do you know of a product that helps with that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! I like chilled eye masks (the hydrogel ones are best) for puffiness. It works really quickly to take down that kind of swelling. Any masks will do, but in general I like the ones that come in tubs of 60 as they’re the most economical. Memebox has a few options right now that are good, I think!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. According to a couple blogs I’ve read, the ph is 5.5. But I think it was stated that it also depends on the powder to water ratio. I don’t know how accurate that is but when I use it my skin never feels stripped, it still feels moisterized when I rinse it off, and I never have had any break outs our negative reactions visible to the naked eye.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The pH is supposed to be 5.5 according to Glow Recipe. I started using it when I found out Tatcha’s cleansers were too alkaline. I’d def recommend the Snow Queen!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been using haba squa powder enzyme cleanser, its available on amazon, and next I will be trying the dr. Oracle snow queen cleanser. Mario badescu also makes a non-foaming gel type enzyme cleanser with a 5 – 5.5 ph.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Not AB, but L’Occitane shea butter hand cream is my richly moisturizing, bleak-English-winter tested constant companion. The original scent in the full sized tubes is the thickest and richest, the handbag sizes are not as turbo powered!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m late to this game but what about trying the Kanebo enzyme powder? I have been contemplating it for myself once I run out of Tosowoong. Like you, I must try all the pretties before commitment.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s not AB or anything fancy, but I always use Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. The skin on my hands is prone to psoriasis and this is the best, non-irritating moisturizer for me. And it’s not greasy!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Okay! I’m like a million years late but here I go. Haven’t really found a hand cream I really love yet. Going to re-read Sheryll’s blog though because I think she mentioned a few.

    Only powder cleanser I’ve tried is the Amore Pacific Enzyme Wash which I really freaking love but sadly everyone says the PH is a big no-no. Haven’t tried any others since I started using the Goodal Phytowash, but definitely going to try the Sum 37 since Snow recommends it.

    As for eye cream I’m on the fence. I’ve literally tried every single eye cream from both sum37 and sulwhasoo. I orderded a million samples from tester korea. I really loved the scents especially from the sulwhasoo ginseng eye cream but they didn’t lighten dark circles which is what I was looking for. I decided to splurge on the Whamisa eye essence and I have to say I’m obsessed. Someone here said they don’t think it has actives….I don’t know what the hell is in it. Going to check the ingredients because my eyes LOVE it and I’m convinced it’s a magical potion but going to check out the nature republic that was recommended here.

    Sorry for the essay, LOL! I get cray over Kbeauty ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So sorry for the late comment! But I’ve been using Missha’s geum sul vitalizing eye cream. My Korean friend scoured review boards for me since I can’t read hangul and said a lot of people spoke positively about it. I don’t have dark circles or puffiness but I do have some fine lines (i’m 27 1/2). I don’t notice any difference while I am using it (I don’t think any eye cream will ever turn back the clock dramatically) but if I go without it it’s like OH MY GOSH I JUST AGED 10 YEARS. I measured with my skin analyzer (yeah I’m already addicted to testing my skin with it!) and before I put on my eye cream my eye skin levels were 24.1 oil/53.6 water and then after applying the eye cream and letting it soak in my levels were 26.5 oil/59.0 water. Don’t know how that stacks up against other eye creams but now you have some data points to work with. Not the cheapest but not the most expensive. I will probably keep using it unless I hear about something amazing thats not super expensive.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The moisture levels were probably due to my initial stage of moisturizing (I double cleanse, then do toner, Essence, emulsion. Let it soak and absorb–at which point I measured my eye skin oil/water levels–then I follow with eye cream and my night cream) so hopefully those levels will continue to be good when I switch things up. I’m adding cosrx’ bha and aha into my routine, as well as tosowoong’s sparkling propolis thanks to your awesome reviews!!


  19. Thank you for your writing, I appreciate the analytical nature of your blog, it’s been very educational.

    As I was reading through this post, I wondered if you had found an eye cream that was meeting your needs? I am considering non-AB CeraVe Eye Repair Cream (received a sample and liked).

    Learning of your love of niacinamide, I thought you might be interested in the ingredients (copy of first five, taken from the brand website): “Purified Water, Niacinamide, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin…”

    I hope this isn’t somehow incorrect or inappropriate, I don’t usually (read: never) comment but felt compelled…

    Liked by 1 person


    This Vita Ade Eye Cream by Scinic is one I just purchased to try myself. Even though I couldn’t find any reviews for it in english the ingredients list had me at hello ❤

    Key ingredients include Niacinamide, Adenosine, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract, Apricot Extract, Kernel Oil, Lime Extract, Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, Green Tea Extract, Argan Oil, Shea Butter, Grapefruit Extract

    It would be really awesome to read a review for it by someone more skin care savvy! :))

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hello! How do you use the COSRX AHA7 and COSRX BHA? I’m kinda confused about the right timing. I know that the AHA 7 can only be used in the evening but do you also use the BHA in the evening or in the morning? It’s just that I’m also using the C20 and I don’t know which goes first and what to apply first. Please send help. ;;


    1. Hiya! The AHA doesn’t actually need to be used in the evening (this is a misconception because AHA is photosensitizing, but that effect actually persists for 7 days). I would do them in this order: C20 -> BHA -> AHA. Wait 15 minutes for the C20 to sink in. I cut my AHA and BHA wait times to about 5 minutes each and that seemed to work fine. Good luck!


  22. For a hand cream I really like Cerave, it contains ceramides and HA, does not leave a greasy feeling at all, well priced. I’ve used several of their products and enjoyed them


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