Brought to you by Aniqa
I’m so excited to introduce you all to a new kid in town: Aniqa is an Australian-based online store that stocks some of the hottest Korean skincare products around.
What makes Aniqa different?
Aniqa stocks a carefully edited selection of “boutique” Korean beauty brands – such as, Cremorlab, Mizon, Be The Skin and Caolion.
There are thousands of Korean beauty brands out there, so if you’re a Korean skincare newbie like me, and you just want the best products from the best brands… this site is a godsend!
If you’ve been reading Vogue and other online fashion magazines and beauty forums, you’ll notice that they frequently feature products by Cremorlab, Mizon and Be The Skin. Also, big names like YouTube beauty queen Michelle Phan and Olivia Palermo rave about Cremorlab and Mizon too.
The Aniqa site is run by two passionate and hard working women, who are dedicated to trying and testing out every single product; listening to their clients, finding out what works, what sells and what are creating the most buzz around the world. There’s a nice personal touch to the highly professional site.
The site is beautiful, easy to navigate, secure, and most of all, you can get your Korean beauty fix with ease – cheap and fast! No need to pay gazillions of dollars in shipping from the US or wait 3-4 weeks for your order from Asia.
But first, I wanted to talk about where I’m at.
I’m in my mid-30s and skin care is really important to me. I wear sun cream, I wear a hat, I eat well, exercise, drink water, get 8 hours of sleep … most of the time, I do all the right things :)
Over the years, I’ve leaned away from drugstore brands and have reluctantly bought into the world of expensive skincare products from global brands. I say reluctantly, because a little part of me dies when I purchase a bottle of cream for $185!!
But I can’t complain really. If I work hard in keeping up a regular skincare regime, I see results.
When I take care of it, my skin is clear, radiant, smooth and it glows.
I’d say that my skin is at its optimum level. I rarely have dull skin days anymore.
I have been using mostly SK-II products (Facial Treatment Essence, Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, Stempower Cream and face masks), Lancome (Advanced Youth Activating Concentrate), and some products from Clarins, Shiseido, Alpha-H, SkinCeuticals, Philosophy and Trilogy.
My main problem is that it’s all so expensive.
(And I haven’t done any lasers, peels, dermabrasions, injectables, fillers, light therapy, or surgery before!)
My Recent Switch to Korean Brands!
I had been hearing a lot about Korean beauty products and how they are taking the world by storm. Everyone seems to be loving them – Vogue editors, fashion and beauty magazine editors, celebrities and hardcore fans on online beauty forums have been trying them out and absolutely loving them.
It sounded good and I was curious to try. I wanted IN on beauty products specially designed for Asian skin!
1) I was reluctant because I didn’t know where to start!
2) I am aware (and possibly quite cynical) that this too is just another “trend” and “hype” in the cosmetics industry.
3) It was difficult to buy Korean beauty products in Australia.
So a couple of months ago, I got a call from an old high school friend… she and her business partner had set up an online store specialising in Korean skincare products, Aniqa. It was a nice site! She wanted to work with me and my blog and we set up a meeting. Usually I am very cautious and reluctant when working with skincare brands. Most times I just say no thanks. I have had some really bad experiences in the past. The results ranged from terrible to mediocre, and who wants to read and hear about terrible/mediocre products?? I only ever want to talk about stuff that I actually LIKE and USE.
I was trying to find a nice way to say, “Uh no thanks babe. I’m happy with SK-II and my little routine!” I didn’t want to go through that whole testing out skincare products journey again – ugh!
But she was an old friend, a lovely person, super-smart, super-genuine, self-starting, go-getting kind of person… so we met up, we caught up with each others’ lives, we talked and laughed for hours… and she gave me a box of products to try out.
That was in June.
And for the last 2 months I have been hooked on using these new products!
Now for the first time, I actually enjoy looking after my skin. I use a facial sheet mask twice a week, and I do a scrub twice a week. I bounce with excitement knowing it’s FACE MASK DAY! Or I go through the day and think, YAY I GET TO DO A SCRUB TONIGHT!
I cannot seem to express how much sheer joy and pleasure I have when I go through my routine and seeing my skin glow!
Well, I keep waking up in the morning and my skin is gorgeous!
Every day I look in the mirror and think – holy crap, er wow?!
I can honestly say that my complexion is more radiant, smoother, has less redness and is more hydrated than it’s ever been over the past few years. My skin is optimum + a few notches up.
Now whether that’s the result of ONE product, or a RANGE of products, or that I’ve simply upped my skincare regime and have now made it a positive priority in my life… I’m not entirely sure. I would say that it’s a combination of all three/four reasons.
The fact still stands, I see great results and I’m liking it.
Another result is a change in attitude: Taking care of my skin is not a boring, futile chore at the end of the day. It is seriously so. Much. Fun… and I think that inner joy and sparkle comes across in my face too :)
Yes I still get an occasional dull skin day, where my skin is not radiant and smooth. But… that is possibly connected to hormones, sleeping at 2am, eating way too much chocolate, exercising with makeup on my face, not drinking enough water, experimenting with new makeup (reviewing for blog posts) and sitting in a room with a heater/aircon on for 5-6 hours. Haha all the major no-nos!
And yes it’s probably the same amount of skincare regime work (possibly a bit more) as before with my old products SK-II, Lancome, Shiseido, etc.
So then, what was the difference? Why switch?
1) The prices.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (150ml) is about AUD$185 and Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence (270ml) is AUD$58.
SK-II Stempower Cream (80g jar) is AUD$200 and Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Cream (70ml) is AUD$55.
Ok I know I seem to be hard on SK-II. That wasn’t my intention! I DO love, love, love their products and they DO work for me. But it’s so expensive… $385 for two products?? Whereas two equivalent Korean products (as mentioned above) would set me back $113. Yes I know this is a self-inflicted, first world problem… Haha don’t judge me!
2) Using products in the same range.
Because the prices are great, I can afford to buy all the products in the same range (for example, Mizon Pore Range, Cremorlab Hydro Plus Snow Falls Line) so I’d be happy to use all the toners, serums, eye creams etc. And while a small part of me thinks these ranges are just a marketing ploy, I still like to think that products from the same range should work together chemically, in terms of the right pH, active ingredients, layering and absorption.
3) The smell is simply ah-mazing!
Where to start?
The brand Cremorlab (recommended by YouTube beauty queen Michelle Phan and Olivia Palermo) has a huge cult following. Their most raved about products would be Cremorlab Cremorlab Mineral Treatment Essence ($58 – pictured above), Cremorlab Triple Bright White Bloom Foam Cleanser ($39 – pictured above), Cremorlab Smooth Pudding Moisturiser ($65)
And their range of amazing Cremorlab Sheet Masks (starts from $5 – $14) are often featured in fashion and beauty magazines.
Mizon is stocked in Urban Outfitters in the US! According to online beauty forums, Mizon’s range of Snail Repair creams and gels are JUST AMAZING. (These are not stocked on Aniqa yet!) Their serums are also really popular.
My favourite so far is the Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Cream ($55) and the Mizon Collagen Power Lifting Toner ($40).
I am hoping to try the Mizon Hyaluronic Acid 100 Serum ($65) too.
Be The Skin is also another popular product, often raved about by fashion and beauty editors. I personally haven’t tried any from this brand yet, but I heard that these were good: Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Cream ($58) and Be The Skin Botanical Nutrition Power Serum ($59).
I have tested out most of these products mentioned above and I’ll be posting my reviews on which worked best for me!
I’ll also be testing out a few other popular Korean skincare products… so stay tuned!
(Btw, I had a few messages about the flowers in these photographs – Yes I photographed these photos! I sourced the purple Native Wisteria and Camellia branches from my garden, the Almond Blossom from my neighbour’s garden, and the white Lisianthus flowers are from the local florist.)