Review: Innisfree Perfect 9 Eye Cream vs Innisfree Orchid eye cream

So I’m going to review two similar products, today. The Innisfree Perfect 9 Eye Cream and the Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream.

If you’ve been following my blog for long, you’ll know I am a HUGE fan of K-beauty brand Innisfree. I discovered them in China, where there are Innisfree stores in airports, train stations, malls and pretty much anywhere else you can think of! They have a huge presence across East Asia, and it’s because their products are great.

I bought both these products at the same time. I got a sample-sized pot of the Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream and a full-sized one of Innisfree Perfect 9 Eye Cream. I was actually really struggling to find reviews of the Innisfree Perfect 9 range online, particularly comparisons to find out what is better out of Innisfree’s many different ranges.

Basically, Perfect 9 has nine different active ingredients aimed to improve common problems in more mature skin, where the Orchid range is aimed more at women in their late twenties/early thirties, and the main ingredient in the orchid range is hyalauronic acid.

In K-beauty, it’s difficult to place Innisfree as high-street or high-end because by western standards, Innisfree is extremely high end (and is priced like that), but the true Asian high-end market is several orders of magnitude more high end and expensive than our western ranges (Nature Republic and Clé De Peau are proper high end luxury brands).

I’d say Innisfree is high end but not necessarily luxury beauty, a bit like how we would classify Benefit, Calvin Klein, or Urban Decay (compared to, say, Guerlain, Murad, Elemis or La Mer). It’s minimalist high end, if that makes sense.

Packaging:

Both creams come in identical packaging, it’s a plastic jar with a screw-top lid. It doesn’t look as fancy as the Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Essence Watery Cream but it’s also easier to store the Innisfree jars and to find space for them on my crowded dressing table (Americans, a dressing table is literally the table you sit at when you’re getting dressed. You put cosmetics on it and sometimes it has a mirror).

The Orchid packaging does appeal to me a little more because it’s purple, which is my favourite colour, whereas the Perfect 9 range is all brown, not my favourite. Perhaps this is intentional, because older women aren’t necessarily going to want bright colours on their dressing table? I don’t know. When I’m fifty, I think I’ll still like purple more than brown.

The full-sized jar of Perfect 9 Eye Cream comes with a protective inner lid made of white plastic. The Orchid miniature jar doesn’t. This is usual for miniatures from Innisfree, I know, since I’ve had about 4 sets of miniatures at this point.

Scent

The scent of the Perfect 9 Eye Cream is what I’d consider a generic floral scent. The Orchid range obviously smells like guess what? Orchids, haha.

To my mind, neither scent is particularly strong or overwhelming but I have seen some reviews for the Orchid range by people complaining it’s overly-perfumed. I react badly to a lot of cheap western fragrances (I can’t use 80% of all deodorants because my nose and eyes start running and I feel like there’s a hairball at the back of my throat), and I’ve never actually come across a K-beauty product with a scent that caused me issues.

Consistency

Both creams are thick, you could turn both jars upside-down for several minutes and no product will fall out. The consistency is that of a very rich cream but somehow they still manage to not be overly-greasy. I wish western beauty companies would take notes from K-beauty because I cannot believe the amount of western “anti-ageing” creams that are useless because they’re oilier than putting butter on your face.

The Perfect 9 Eye Cream is a little thicker than the Orchid Eye Cream, but there’s not much in it.

Appearance

The Perfect 9 Eye Cream is a little darker in colour than the Orchid Eye Cream, but both creams are creamy coloured and opaque, meaning you can’t see through them.

For some reason, their appearance reassures me that they’re made of proper ingredients. My Innisfree Orchid Essence really throws me for a loop because it’s completely colourless which makes me wonder what’s effective about it (which is frankly silly because colour and opacity don’t determine how well a product works).

When you put them on your skin, they sit on the surface for a few minutes (especially if you have just used toner, essence etc) then disappear.

When to use it

I tend to use these at night time, around my eye area, and I pair them with the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender or the Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream.

Effectiveness

Okay, so up to now, the two creams are almost identical. You might be forgiven for wondering if Innisfree just puts the same stuff into different jars.

They don’t.

The Orchid Eye Cream is a gentle moisturising cream and when I use it, I don’t notice a vast improvement in the texture or elasticity of my skin. However, it definitely improves the moisture in my skin, which is usually prone to dryness.

I was surprised that a cream containing hyalauronic acid didn’t have any kind of noticeable plumping effect, even when I use it with all the other orchid products in the range.

The Perfect 9 Eye Cream is literally the best eye cream I have ever used. Since using this cream, my skin has been transformed. I used to have deepening lines around my eyes which were especially noticeable when I smiled.

Since using the Perfect 9 Eye cream, those lines have faded significantly. I know this is a long-term effect because they stay faded on days when I use other products.

Verdict

My full-sized jar of Perfect 9 Eye Cream is almost empty, and my trial size jar of Orchid Eye Cream is almost full. This is because I keep reaching for the Innisfree Perfect 9 Eye Cream over and over again, its results are fantastic and I’m really happy with this eye cream. I hope they keep making it for years to come.

There’s nothing wrong with the Orchid Eye Cream, per se, it’s just not got the incredible transformative power of the Perfect 9 Eye Cream which I think is the best thing you can put around your eye area once ageing starts to take hold. I can see this being effective for older women, not just women my age (34).

Overall, when that jar of Perfect 9 Eye Cream runs out, I’m going to order more of it. Given that there will be a 6 week delay before it arrives from South Korea, I’m going to have to use up the Orchid Eye Cream in the meantime.

I do also have the Innisfree White Mushroom range in miniature, so I’ll review those, too, in a separate post, and I will discuss how they compare to these.

Have you tried anything from the Innisfree Perfect 9 range, yet? I’d love to hear about their other products. Let me know in the comments!

Review: Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream High End Luxury K-beauty

In this article I’m going to review the high-end K-beauty product Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream.

It costs about £75 or $100USD from Nature Republic’s official website. For that, you get a full-size jar and this contains 50ml (just under 2oz) of product.

Packaging and first impressions:

It comes in a green cardboard box with a sleeve giving you product details (and stopping the cardboard box opening). Inside the cardboard box is a crystal-style big square jar which is colored green in a gradient from clear to dark green.

Everything about this product screams pure luxury. I heard about it from a friend who asked me to bring her a jar back from Seoul when I lived in China.

Here are some photos:

The white lid is a screw top and underneath, there’s a black protective second lid.

The cream itself has a jelly-like texture and consistency. It’s clear and colourless apart from the 24 karat gold pieces that are embedded in the cream.

It has a sort of perfumed scent, I think it would pair well with Chanel No. 5 because the scent is in the same style but different.

Active Ingredients:

Every active ingredient in this product is a powerhouse from nature. They’re all slightly a big deal in South Korea (slightly), and since we know for a fact K-beauty is all about the skincare, this product should be top of everyone’s list in the fight against ageing.

The active ingredients in this product are royal jelly, silk amino acids (known for their repairing properties for skin and hair), and extract of red ginseng.

Royal jelly is well-documented as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. It contains antioxidants that work against free radical damage. Reference here.

Ginseng is a superfood that has been used as a supplement for decades in the west to help with middle-aged women’s problems. It stands to reason it’s going to bring its A-game to skincare products, and in K-beauty, it’s currently everywhere. Red ginseng contains vitamins B1, B2 and B12, and it helps increase oxygenation and circulation to skin cells. Reference here.

The 24 karat gold is supposed to improve your complexion. Reference here.

Gold is still the next big thing in skincare, especially Korean skincare, so whether or not it’s an effective ingredient, at least you’re getting some actual gold for your money. Gold is technically inert as it’s unreactive (chemistry, yo) but it can illuminate and brighten your complexion so there’s that.

Really, the gold is there to make it look pretty while the other ingredients do the hard work.

The ingredients also list zizyphus jujuba fruit extract, which is a well-known ingredient native to South Korea which they also make delicious jujube tea out of. It’s a superfood, darling, and it’s the Korean skincare equivalent of Japan’s matcha green tea extract except that’s an understatement because this stuff is packed with vitamins. Jujube is the nutritional lovechild of goji berries and matcha powder. Reference here.

Another powerful ingredient, much higher up the list, is Cāng Zhú, aka Attractolydes Root Extract, which has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. It is harvested in Springtime and it has antimicrobial properties. It increases your chances of sunburn (like retinol creams do), but conversely, attractolydes has also been shown to have anti-cancer cytotoxic properties, so wear sunscreen with this one! Reference here.

How good is it?

It depends on what your skin is like, your age, and how you use it. I am 34 with some minor first signs of ageing like fine lines which I can still disappear with the right creams, masks and exfoliations (just about).

When I first opened my jar of Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream, I mistakenly used it as a day cream and as a result I didn’t like it. Bad, bad plan. It’s FAR too gloopy for that. Instead, use it in place of a sleeping mask/night cream, or in the evening if you’re staying in. Don’t try using this cream with makeup, the results will be damp and sticky.

In fact, the texture is damp and sticky anyway, which is why I think this is much better as a night cream or sleeping mask. Keeping this on for 8 hours uninterrupted is going to do your skin a lot of good. When it touches your face, it literally feels packed with goodness. It’s like making your face take a bath in a 24-karat superfood smoothie.

I tend to use this Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream in the evening after the sun has gone down, and over winter, when my skin needs more nourishment due to the weather and more time spent indoors with the heating on.

For best results, pair this with the Ginseng Royal Silk Essence.

Over several months, I’ve found that my skin has become brighter and holds moisture much better than before I was using this product. I’m liking it better than the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream although that’s a thin day cream and this is a very thick night cream so the two could work extremely well together. I’ve reviewed the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream separately.

I don’t think this cream is targeted at people in their twenties at all. You won’t find any benefit from it. If you’re in your mid-thirties onwards, this cream really comes into its own. Unfortunately, the vast majority of beauty reviewers in the world are in their teens and twenties which obviously makes it difficult for them to review anti-ageing creams.

The reason I took so long to review this cream is on the first use it didn’t seem like it had made any difference. The reason it’s hard to assess on one or even a few uses is because it doesn’t have those skin-plumping ingredients found in many western creams that are actually just a quick fix and really useless for long-term anti-ageing.

This cream is so powerful, that after using it every night for 3 weeks, I started only using it twice a week and alternating it with Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender, because I don’t need to use this cream every day, yet, so now I’m just using it for maintenance. This means if you’re under forty, one jar will last you FOREVER. Well, a long time, anyway.

The Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream is a long-term fix for your skin. It’s skincare rather than skin-fakery. And that’s what makes it worth buying.

Travel Packing:

The packaging of this cream is a little over the top. I weighed it on some scales, the jar by itself was over 500 grams (over 1lb)! It doubles up as a great paperweight. However, this is definitely not a jar of cream that you would want to take on vacation or any business trip, especially if you like to only take a carry-on.

If you regularly take excess baggage on flights and don’t mind dealing with really heavy suitcases (I absolutely detest lifting heavy bags), you could probably take the whole jar, but I’m not a fan of carrying things when I’m on vacation and I find that even executive-level rooms at the Marriott or Hilton are not big enough for more than a couple of suitcases, which is two people’s normal luggage, so this cream is good for travel only if you are booking a whole suite or apartment.

If you’re travelling and need a K-beauty fix, I recommend you take Laneige Water Sleeping Mask in a little travel pot, instead, or decant Nature Republic Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream into a travel container. Since this product increases your sun sensitivity, I’d suggest the Laneige product if you’re travelling to a very sunny destination like the Seychelles, Maldives or Malaysia. Likewise, if you’re under 30, Laneige Water Sleeping Mask should be your go-to night cream/sleeping mask.

Where to buy:

You can buy direct from Nature Republic’s UK website www.naturerepublicuk.com or in the US you can get it on Amazon in this incredible offer of the Ginseng Royal Silk Watery Cream, Ginseng Royal Silk Essence and FIVE miniatures for $130, saving about $60 on the RRPs of getting all this separately. In South Korea, just pop into any Nature Republic store where the assistants will be delighted to advise you.

The verdict:

An investment in your future skin.

Add-to-cart potential: High.

Review: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender

While I was in Seoul, I was able to get a bunch of very exciting K-beauty products, including the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. I bought the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask in two different scents: Original (the blue jar) and Lavender (purple jar). In this review I’ll look at both, and explain why I bought the lavender one again after I finished them.

The original one has a nice, light scent to it, and if you’re used to it, you might not want to change to the lavender one, but if you haven’t tried either (and if you don’t mind scented products, which I don’t) then the lavender one is worth checking out.

The Laneige Water Sleeping Masks in Lavender and Original do exactly the same job. You apply them last, after cleansing, toner and essence. Some people put a thick layer on so it can be absorbed as they sleep. I suspect these people sleep on their backs.

I sleep face down on my front and I can’t sleep at all without earplugs and an eye mask, so applying any product thickly is a non-starter, it just makes my pillow wet, then when I move in the night, the product transfers off my pillow into my ear and I wake up with a silky soft ear and a nice-smelling pillowcase that now needs a wash.

D’oh.

I apply this after my other products have absorbed, and I only use a thin layer, so one jar lasts me FOREVER. While it says it’s a sleeping pack, if I’m not going out of the house at all on any given day, I will put a thicker layer on my face during the day and cover it up with my silicone mask shield which I got in Japan, then I can leave it to bake for an hour or two and get extra goodness infused into my skin.

Don’t literally bake your cosmetics.

That would be weird. And probably not very tasty.

So anyway, I like the lavender scent best because lavender helps you sleep and it’s also very relaxing. It’s one of my favourite herbs and I have a lot of other lavender products so this compliments those.

I also like the colour purple a lot so serious props that the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender comes in a purple container. The actual cream itself is not purple, it’s a sort of white colour, the same as the original scented Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.

The jar has a screw top and the inside has lots of product. I really don’t like skincare brands that put a tiny amount of cosmetic into a gigantic jar to make you think you’ve bought a lot of something when you haven’t. It’s a nightmare to pack products like that.

The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender is one of my holy grail products partly because of how easy it is to pack. Laneige do travel-sized jars of original scented Water Sleeping Mask and I keep getting them free with other purchases, so what I did is used up the original Water Sleeping Mask in my travel jar and now I refill that with Lavender Water Sleeping Mask to take wherever I’m flying to.

I use the other empties of this product to decant other products such as my high-end skincare from Nature Republic whose products are fabulous but the packaging is really heavy and bulky and therefore generally abominable for frequent flyers! I’ll review some Nature Republic products in the near future.

The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask original and lavender both come with a thin plastic inner lid to protect the cream from leakage and from getting damaged if you accidentally don’t close the lid properly.

When I use this product, it feels really cooling and soothing to put on my face. My skin feels super hydrated the next day and I think the scent helps me sleep better, too.

The other thing I love about the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is it’s not rich or greasy at all, which is super for people like me who paradoxically have very dry skin that doesn’t like heavy, oily creams at all (does anyone’s skin actually respond well to those thick greasy creams?).

It sort of has a gel-like consistency, but it’s not as jelly-feeling on my face as other products with this consistency. I find a lot of “gel cream” type products cling to my face like a cheap lipgloss and my hair then gets stuck to my face and my skin looks weird like I just fell into a plate of jelly.

The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask isn’t like that. It’s basically the ideal consistency of any product ever.

I’m now on my third jar of Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender because it’s perfect and I intend to keep buying it as long as it’s for sale!

Have you tried Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender yet? Let me know in the comments! It’s available here on Amazon. You can also find the original one on Amazon if you want a less scented option (I know that one is available cheaper from other sellers, but that listing is the official and genuine Laneige product.

Not sure how to use K-beauty products? Check out this article!

Review: Tony Moly I’m Real Sheet Mask: Red Wine

You have to hand it to K-beauty, they really know how to come up with the most random ingredients to put into products! Like this Tony Moly I’m Real Sheet Mask in Red Wine, which apparently is supposed to help refine pores.
This is what it looks like:

Tony Moly red wine mask sheet for pore care.
Tony Moly red wine mask sheet for pore care.

And this is what the back of the pack looks like, with the ingredients and some pictures showing you how to use it:

Tony Moly red wine mask sheet ingredients for pore care
Ze Ingredients.

So at this point I was wondering whether, inside, the sheet mask was going to be drenched in red wine (because I’m literal, apparently) but they hadn’t soaked a sheet in actual red wine, it was the usual white papery stuff that all sheet masks ever are made of (except for those ones that are more like jelly). I was a little disappointed, and part of me was wondering how much actual red wine it could have if it wasn’t even a little pink:

Tony Moly red wine mask sheet for pore care
I didn’t expect this color.

Maybe the ingredients in K-beauty are like totem ingredients. You know… “This is red wine sheet mask… it will refine your pores, like red wine!!” rather than actually having those ingredients in. I guess we do that with western beauty too — I know for a fact that 70% of the Herbal Essences shampoos don’t actually contain herbs any more. This makes me sad. 😦
Anyway, I decided not to think much on what was in this face mask, I bunged it on my face and ignored it for 20-30 minutes, just like the packet told me to:

Tony Moly red wine mask sheet for pore care
I am wearing a piece of paper soaked in cold stuff. If I smile, the piece above my lip hits my teeth. That made it really hard not to giggle while taking this picture.

I was trying so hard to be serious and not giggle that this just popped out:

tony moly red wine mask
Literally couldn’t help myself.

When I took it off, my face looked… pretty much how it did before I put it on:

Tony Moly red wine mask sheet for pore care: before and after
No visible difference. My skin felt really smooth, though.

I have another one to try out, too, so while this red wine one wasn’t for me, I’m looking forward to trying this rice one:

tony moly red wine rice mask sheet
Red wine and rice flavor masks. I haven’t tried putting them in my mouth to establish if they actually taste like these things.