My August Skincare Hauls and Holy Grails

After a couple of low-buy months, my wallet’s vacation has ended. My favorites need restocking and my new address apparently puts me in an Amazon Prime Free Same-Day Delivery Zone(!!!). While I normally share my hauls over on Instagram, this month’s skincare purchases revealed so much about what I’m loving these days that I thought I’d go into a little more detail than usual.

Affiliate links are marked with an asterisk(*).

Fifty Shades of Snail skincare haul

The madness began when I realized that I desperately needed to replace both my cleansing and makeup sponges. I don’t like to use konjac sponges for more than a month or so each. Meanwhile, despite frequent and thorough double cleansings, my Beauty Blender had developed a couple of suspicious spots after a little over half a year of use.

I’ve tried several brands’ konjac sponges, including the Innisfree Eco Beauty Tool Volcanic Konjac Cleansing Sponge* that I had been using, and haven’t felt a difference between the name-brand sponges and the Beauty Shelf ones that I’ve always loved. On the other hand, I’ve heard mixed reviews about Beauty Blender alternatives. So I grabbed my usual three-pack of fluffy, durable, inexpensive heart-shaped konjac sponges* and a classic pink Beauty Blender*. Then I started thinking about all the other things I could stand to replenish.

Amazon skincare purchase Sulwhasoo

By the time I finished and reviewed my first bottle of Sulwhasoo Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum, I knew I wanted more. I also knew, however, that it would be smart to wait a while before repurchasing so that I could see whether discontinuing use would make a difference to my skin. It totally did. My face didn’t fall off when I ran out of the Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum*, but it did begin to lose that remarkable resilience I mentioned in my review. Yeah, the pillow creases came back. Having experienced the joys of skin so firm that pillow creases don’t take, I find that unacceptable. I bought a second bottle, no regrets.

asian skincare order from Amazon

I do have regrets about letting myself run out of my Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence* sunscreen. When I have Watery Essence in stock, I tend to rely on it so much that I don’t give other sunscreens a chance. Biore Watery Essence is my face’s high school sweetheart. But despite my pure, true love for my Watery Essence, I feared I might be losing out on other, possibly better, options, so earlier this summer, I chose not to repurchase it until I’d played the field for a while. I’m glad I did, since I have found a couple other good products I would have overlooked otherwise, but none as perfect for me as my Watery Essence love. It remains my ultimate sunscreen holy grail. I grabbed myself a two-pack, apologized for my cold feet, and am happy to announce that we’re back together, our commitment stronger than ever.

While reuniting with my first sunscreen love, I also grabbed a pack of two tubes of Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream*, an old friend whom I’d thought I’d outgrown. This extraordinarily inexpensive AB classic (you should never have to pay more than $10 a tube, and $10 for two tubes is a very real possibility!) is a lightweight moisturizer with a smooth siliconey finish and one of the fastest drying times I’ve ever experienced in a moisturizer. I stopped using it a while ago, partly because of tretface but mostly because I wanted to move on to more “sophisticated” and “exciting” products, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and wondering how I’d like it now that I’ve tried so many other AB moisturizers. So far, I’m glad I gave it a second chance!

By the way, my old friend Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream and my first love Biore Watery Essence get along wonderfully together so far. Here’s to happy reunions on my face!

Biore Watery Essence Cool amazon order

Reconnecting with my Biore Watery Essence also brought me into contact with Biore Watery Essence’s cousin, Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Cool*. This already discontinued limited-edition version of the Watery Essence is said to have an even more “watery” consistency than the OG Watery Essence and supposedly gives a pleasant cooling sensation when applied. Watery Essence’s cool cousin is hard to track down and can never hang out for very long but will be honoring us with a visit soon.

Amazon Sulwhsaoo and My Beauty Diary skincare haul

Those old face friends I’ve rediscovered got me remembering the early days of my sheet mask obsession, back when My Beauty Diary masks made up the bulk of my collection. I still love MBD masks, of course, particularly their 2015+ “silk” masks, but with so many other options available, they often get relegated in my mind to “boring basics” status. I figured I could rekindle my excitement with a variety I haven’t tried yet. The Royal Pearl* flavor popped up at a great price, so into my cart it went. Royal Pearl looks like a reformulation of the old My Beauty Diary Pearl Powder masks, which I used to use often, so I have a good feeling about this.

I also have a good feeling about my second bottle of Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX*. Like the Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum, this product requires a pretty serious investment, so even though I loved it the first time around, I made myself wait a while before committing to a repurchase. And, just like with the Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum, I definitely noticed the difference. I’ve had to start using blush every day again, and in larger quantities than I did when I had the First Care Activating Serum EX. That fresh, rosy, lively look takes at least a year off my face. Totally worth it for me.

(The inflatable neck thing* is an impulse purchase. Even with my Tempurpedic pillow, sometimes I sleep wrong and can’t turn my head the next day, and I read that an inflatable home traction device like this can help.)

I’ve gotten some of my packages in and am waiting patiently for the rest, because not all of them had that same-day delivery after all. I’m stocked up for some time and so happy to have rediscovered so many old friends.

Which skincare products do you keep going back to over and over again?


20 thoughts on “My August Skincare Hauls and Holy Grails

  1. I highly recommend the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge over the Beautyblender — I actually prefer the Real Techniques sponge, and it’s only about $4 – $5 or so. I get a package of 2 for $9. love your blog!


  2. Have you read in any newspapers and have opinions on the Asian sheet mask video that have now been hitting different beauty forums online? It does make one think about buying and using sheet masks especially from certain companies due to their manufacturing process.


    1. Yeah, I’m trying to process my thoughts on it right now 😦 We talked about it in when we recorded the Snailcast over the weekend. For now I’m sticking to Taiwanese masks and modeling masks while I get some info from my contacts at Taiwanese brands about their practices.

      I’m sure not every K-brand does that, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to get some clarification sometime of the ones that do and don’t at some point so that we can know what to do. Aaaargh.


      1. I have not heard about this in any media form?? Can you direct me to a place or forum where I can find out about this? I have lots of K Beauty masks and now I am worried. Please advise.


      1. Ok! I love me some Sulwhasoo and use the First Care Activating serum and am waffling on which one to try next!


  3. Hi Fiddy! I love your blog and podcast. I did “a little” haul today myself: lots of hanbang sheet masks, lots of sunscreen and some higher end samples to try.

    Despite I saw the news about sheet masks being produced in poor, dirty environment, I decided to purchase Korean masks. I find the conditions to be very difficult to believe (at least on a general level) without a proper proof. Of course the brands will deny everything, so I wonder what will happen with this situation. So far I’ve mainly tried just Japanese and MBD masks.

    Products I repurchase over and over again have been Innisfree eco safety SPF50 PA+++ sunscreen. It’s heavy, creamy and has a white cast, but my face loves it. Biore is my second fave, as my other half uses it. Sunbear I use for my body as it’s dirt cheap and I go through sunscreen like crazy. I also always have a backup or two of 1st essences, so far my favorite is the Estée Lauder one. NIOD CAIS 1.00% has been a must have for me this year.

    xx Laura from Laurantaina Beauty Blog


    1. It is really hard to know what to believe, isn’t it? My feelings right now are that I’ve gone through so many hundreds of sheet masks without a problem and have not heard of any mass contamination incidents like what you might expect–and yet the photos are very damning, so it’s really hard to just ignore too. But I do feel that it doesn’t seem to be every brand who does this, so once we know more details about the brands confirmed to do that and the ones that are willing to confirm that they do not, the situation may settle a bit. I’m also really curious to know if the practice goes beyond Korea, though it doesn’t seem like it so far?


      1. A fellow redditor who lives in Japan contacted Lululun and 2 other companies, they gave an answer the making of sheet masks is completely automatised. Too bad Japanese masks have little variation and ‘flavours’ to enjoy. I have no idea how things are in Taiwan though.


      2. I’ve got some initial confirmation that Taiwanese sheet mask production tends to be the same way, automated and done in the factories. From what I’m hearing, it is much more common for K-brands to use third party manufacturers than it is for T-brands to do so. So that’s encouraging. And thank you for the update! I agree on the limitations of Japanese masks :\


  4. Hi, have you tried the Rohto Menalo CC Spot Essence, its suppose to be a serum with two types of vitamin C and vitamin E and very potent, its one of the most affordable yet effective serums out there. Its on my next to buy list. They also do a sheet mask version, I was wondering if you have heard of it or already have reviewed it. Thanks


    1. Some of us are working on a database of brands confirmed to not do that home folding thing 🙂 So far it looks like the major Taiwanese brands are safe as well some Korean ones (I don’t think we’ve had confirmation yet from any J-brands). Stay tuned!


  5. Could you please explain when you use the Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX vs Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum? Thank you


  6. Products I stock up on & always have on hand: Illi Total Aging Care cleansing water & cleansing oil; Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner. The former are the best in their categories, as far as I’m concerned; the latter has drastically reduced the redness I used to always have on my chest.


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