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Beauty Haul: Random K-Beauty (Leaders, Holika Holika, Etude House)

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The past few months have been a personal beauty reawakening of sorts. I do so much research on brands, products, and techniques that I find myself committed to make-up and skincare more than I’d choose to commit myself to a person – right now. (That’s a story for another entry.)

My relentless obsession started a month ago when I discovered the Korean 10-Step Skincare Routine, which led me to Althea Korea. With all honesty, I realize that I’ve been such a snob when it comes to Asian brands because of my Western influences. I disagree with so much of our beauty standards that I limited my collection to brands like MAC, NARS, Maybelline, L’oreal, Rimmel, etc. Getting out of that bubble took a while but it finally happened, and it’s not only changing my skin but my life!

I’ve been trying brands I’ve never encountered before but hear so much rave about like Leaders Insolution and Holika Holika. I recently did a haul at this Korean pop-up store (I plan on writing about when they’re online), and of course, I had to share my thoughts on each product!

Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make-up Zero Sherbet Cleanser (P995)

I purchased the cult favorite, Banila Co. Clean It Zero, a few weeks ago (a separate review will up soon). It works so well for me that I had to get the Holika Holika Pig-Clear Make-up Zero, which is a very similar product. I can’t say it’s a cheaper alternative because they almost have the same price. Don’t mistake it for a facial cleanser because this just thoroughly melts off make-up – even your stubborn waterproof mascara. It cleans your face and prepares it for the next steps: cleansing, toning, and moisturizing.

It comes with a tiny plastic spatula to scoop the product out of the container but you can also just use your hand. You can start off with a dry or wet face. Massage the balm until all traces of make-up disappear then wash it off with water. I tend to do a double take (with a smaller amount) just to be sure. I find that this is more comfortable than a cleansing oil or micellar water. You also don’t need to use a ton of cotton pads, which I find to be such a waste. This also has a sweet scent which I prefer over the Banila Co. cleanser. The product claims to soften skin, which I don’t necessarily see nor feel. I have other products like a good moisturizer (currently the St. Ives Collagen Elastin Moisturizer) to do that job for me.

Holika Holika Wonder Drawing Browcara in 03 (P355)

I am finally convinced that doing my kilay changes my entire look. I talked about the P165 Nichido Eyebrow Gel on a recent Everyday Make-up entry. As much as I love the color, it doesn’t stay the entire day and it has this obnoxious shimmer, which I have to tame down using a mascara brush. It also transfers to my nails when I touch my face. It’s annoying!

On the other hand, the Holika Holika Wonder Drawing Browcara is brilliant. It doesn’t transfer and stays on the entire day. The color on the photo is better for when I have red hair so I picked up 01 which looks amazingly natural on my present hair color (brown). Of all the items on my haul, this is definitely something I’ll keep repurchasing.

Holika Holika Magic Pole Mascara 2x (P510)

My Maybelline Lash Sensational and Fashion 21 Double Up mascaras are both drying up so I purchased the Holika Holika Magic Pole Mascara 2x. This is the waterproof version; it lasts all day and doesn’t smudge. This has such a unique wand. The circular part (magic ball) brushes and separates while the thin end (magic wand) coats and lengthens lashes. Both parts complement each other and should be used together. On my first try, I only used the ball that I found the product to simply do an okay job. When I got around to using the product correctly, my lashes looked so full and long! I love it so, so much! Just have cotton buds prepared to clean the eyelid since application can get messy because of the wand size.

Holika Holika Cover & Hiding Liquid Concealer (P345)

I’m giving my tiny tub of the Catrice Camouflage Cream a break so I’m using the Holika Holika Cover & Hiding Liquid Concealer. This sticks to dry spots but is good for highlighting, especially dark circles. I can’t say this covers my acne so I wouldn’t consider this a full coverage concealer. I’m sure there are better in the market for the job.

(I got my hands on the best-selling Aqua Petit Jelly BB from the brand, which I can’t wait to review on a separate entry!)

Etude House Bling Bling Eye Stick in Sunset Star, Sunbeam Star, and Rose Star (P190)

I have mixed emotions for the Etude House Bling Bling Eye Sticks because the colors are so unique, rich, and pigmented yet the formula is not the best. Upon swatching one on my hand, I immediately had to get three shades. Sunset Star reminds me of my favorite eyeshadow ever: Just A Rose from the Zoeva Rose Golden palette.

Never use it on its own. I tried, and it creased so much that my eye make-up looked horrible. This is best worn with a primer or an eyelid primer. The E.l.f. Essential Eyelid Primer is cheap, good, and available everywhere. I personally find that it looks better with an eyeshadow base and patted on with a finger than used directly from the container.

Leaders Insolution Mediu Amino Moisture Mask (P128/piece)

I am absolutely, passionately in love with the Leaders Insolution Moisture Mask. Before I got obsessed with skincare, I’d get sheet masks as gifts from friends, and I’d use them just for the sake of finishing them. I never understood why I needed them until I actually did my research.

Leaders Insolution is such a popular brand for sheet masks in Korea that I had no doubts if I should get these. Because of how expensive they are, I only use it once a week. The recommended use is around 15-30 minutes but I personally use it until it dries up (which takes an hour or so because of how much product is on the sheet). I don’t throw away the packaging, I slather the remaining liquid on my face after. It works so well on my dry skin that it becomes so moisturized and supple. I can’t wait to get to a point in my life when I’m so financially stable that I can use a face mask every single day; I’m waiting it out.

Read: ITG’s Favorite Sheet Masks via Into the Gloss

Have you tried anything from the haul? Let me know in the comments!

*All items may be purchased on Althea Korea (except Leaders Insolution) and BeautyMNL (except Etude House). Prices and product availability may vary.