Monday, April 13, 2009
I purchased these 2 items from Bath&Body Works recently and finally got a chance to post them! I really like Kose's products but unfortunately they are a bit hit-and-miss for me. Some of the products are bleh and some give fairly good results. Either way there is a strange hold all Japanese products have on me and I can never ignore their siren song.
Kose is one of Japan's top cosmetic and skincare manufacturers. In Japan they have several drugstore skincare lines and a cosmetic line (Softymo is a very popular one). They also have 3 higher-end lines that they distribute in Japan and in U.S. department stores: Sekkisei, Seikisho and Junkisui. All 3 lines rely on plant-based herbs and oils. To me Kose has an excellent brand but I don't think it's widely known because it's hard to find and if you do come across it the printed (English) directions and descriptions are minimal at best. Half the time I don't know if there is any additonal benefit to the product other than the fact that it's used a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, etc.
Sekkisei and Seikisho are VERY similar looking and housed in navy packaging. They also have the same scent added in their products that I can only describe as a pleasant "asian makeup" smell (takes me back to my childhood for some reason). Based on the concept of white snow, products from both lines have a whitening effect. The difference is that Sekkisei is the original product line and Seikisho is an offshoot that has an additional focus on clarifying and purifying the skin.
Junkisui is housed in distinctively forest green packaging and it's products have a "grassy" smell to me. I don't really care for this smell but it's light and not overwhelming. Junkisui is also derived from plants and herbs to address and treat adult acne specfically.
Kose Seikisho Perfect Cleansing Oil $28
When I spotted this, I knew I had to get it! I'm addicted to trying out cleansing oils. I've seen it many times before but did not have the motivation to try it out. My mother swears by baby mineral oil and that's about the only thing she uses but not me. I like variety cuase that's the spice of life!
This cleansing oil also has mineral oil as it's top ingredient and it feels a lot like baby oil but a bit more runny in consistency. Only the bottle is blue the oil itself is crystal clear. Apply this to a dry face. I put about 2-3 pumps in my palm and then rub it all over my face where I have makeup. And I should mention that I keep my eyes tightly closed during this whole process. If you peek, you end up with oil getting into your eyes. I just keep smoothing the oil over my face to give it ample time to dissolve all the eye makeup. Then I wet my palms just a little bit and rub some of the water on my face too - this turns the oil milky and gives a double-cleanse. To finish just rinse off with warm water.
The Verdict: Kose Seikisho Perfect Cleansing Oil
To me this oil is a bit on the oily side. After this my skin is not greasy but it does have a slight slippery feel to it. The box clearly states that this is "For rinse-off use only" so it must be followed with a cleanser. I just use my regular cleanser after this and my skin is squeaky clean! I will definitely re-purchase this! It is very comparable to SK-II and gives pretty much the same effect. I put a drop of each on the back of my hand to compare and the SK-II is a bit runnier than the Kose which is probably why I felt the Kose is more oily. Both spread easily over the face and both emulsify with the addition of water and rinse off cleanly. I do like the shape of the Kose bottle (not aethestically but functionally) better. The rectangle shape and taller pump makes it easy to dispense right in the center of my palm. With the SK-II one I find I have to pick up the whole bottle and hold it at an angle or else I can't get the oil to dispense in the middle of my palm.
Kose Seikisho Mask White $24
Another beauty item I just can't say no to - masks. This looked interesting enough so I picked this up too. This is a clarifying peel mask that removes dirt and skin impurities to cleanse skin and enhance clarity and radiance.
I apply this after cleansing and steaming my face for about 5 minutes. You can see from the picture above that the mask is quit goopy. I knew I would end up making a mess if I used my hands so instead I used a small concealer brush as an applicator. **WARNING** Do NOT let this touch any hair! It will adhere to hair and will become an all-in-one peel and wax session. Once it is applied it will start to dry (but fairly slowly) and you will not be able to form expressions (unless you want wrinkles!). Even when dry the mask looks shiny. It's looks and I suspect feels just like latex body paint (not that I know anything about latex body paint, but I imagine that's what it'd be like). Leave it on for 20 minutes to dry completly and then peel off.
The Verdict: Kose Seikisho Mask White
LOVE this mask! When I peeled off the mask it came off in ONE PIECE! Not every peel mask can do this. Sometimes they tear and it's removed in sections. Of course I inspected what gross gunk were stuck on the mask and there were definitely blackheads (woot! woot!). My pores were super clear! I was super impressed with the results. I was kinda at a lost what to do with the little mask bits that were left on my face. Finally decided to peel off what I could to let my regular toner take the rest off. I then followed with my regular night moisturizer and treaments.
Although I normally cannot stand any tightening effect the tightening of this mask is not that drastic. It dries slowly so the mask slowly transforms from a runny gel to a solid lining and the tightening and itching are minimal and gradual. I will definitely go back for a LOT more of this stuff (meaning whatever is in left the store inventory) before the Bath & Body Works BOGO sale runs out! It makes my skin really really clean, smooth, radiant and best of all CLEAR!
The SA saw offered me some Kose samples that she'd tried and liked. Clockwise from top: Kose Sekkisei Emulsion, Kose Junkisui Toner, Kose Sekkisei Powder Wash, Kose Sekkisei Cream.
The Kose Sekkisei Powder Wash was something I was looking forward to. I've tried drugstore powder washes in the past and never saw any results. This one powder wash gave me a good scrub and my skin felt super clean! Unfortunately, I have sensitive nasal tissues and the powder fumes made me cough as I was trying to cleanse. I won't pick up another one as I've no complaints about my regular cleanser.
The Kose Sekkisei Emulsion is a bit milky in color and is somewhere between a gel and a serum consistent-wise. It's fairly rich and doesn't need to be followed by a lotion.
The Kose Sekkisei Cream is not really a cream at all. It's clear and is more of a runny gel but when you apply it - wow! It's so rich! Maybe that's why they call it a cream anyways? I felt it was too greasy for me but I think this would be great for mature skin or for winter use.
The Kose Junkishi Toner is alcohol-free so no stinging or drying but there was a disctinct Chinese-Herb smell. It is a nice toner but I personally wouldn't re-purchase cause of the smell.