Category Archives: Serum

Rosehip oil – a closer look

Following on from my rosehip oil (RHO) review post, here I have a short article based on scientific research on the comparison between rosa canina (RC) and rosa eglanteria/mosqueta/rubiginosa (RR).


Rosa Canina

RR Wikimedia

Rosa Rubiginosa


Most RHO brands out there uses RC. Below I have listed most known brands using RC or RR. These brands include those who have pure RHO (100% RHO) and RHO+ (plus other oils and ingredients) products.

Brands using Rosa Canina
Rosehip Plus
Natural Instinct
People for Plants
In Essence
Oil Garden Aromatherapy

Brands using Rosa Rubiginosa
Kora Organics
Thursday Plantation

In terms of pricing, usually RC is cheaper than RR. It is also much more common.

The reason why I started this mini research was the difference I felt when using Kosmea, which uses RR instead of RC. Upon googling the term ‘RC vs RR’, I stumbled upon these useful blog posts:

I then proceeded to look for scientific research articles to back this hypothesis. Here are some that I have found to be informative. I have tried to find open access articles so everyone is able to read them too.

Note – Flavonoids are basically antioxidants. Here’s a longer, more scientific explanation: “They act in plants as antioxidants, antimicrobials, photoreceptors, visual attractors, feeding repellants, and for light screening. Many studies have suggested that flavonoids exhibit biological activities, including antiallergenic, antiviral, antiinflammatory, and vasodilating actions. However, most interest has been devoted to the antioxidant activity of flavonoids, which is due to their ability to reduce free radical formation and to scavenge free radicals.” (Pietta, 2000)

To sum the articles up, here’s the difference between RC and RR:

From Adamczak, Buchwald, Zielinski and Mielcarek, 2012:

Upon comparing 75 samples representing 11 species –

Mean Vit C content – 0.51 g/100 g DM (dry matter)
Mean Citric acid content – 3.4 g/100 g DM (my reading of the graph)
Mean Flavonoid content – 41 mg/100 g DM

Mean Vit C content – 1.18 g/100 g DM (my reading of the graph)
Mean Citric acid content – 3.1 g/100 g DM(my reading of the graph)
Mean Flavonoid content – 72 mg/100 g DM

“…flavonoids were highest in R. rubiginosa (72 mg/100 g DM)”
“…average flavonoid content in R. canina hips (41 mg/100 g DM) was nearly half that of R. rubiginosa hips (72 mg/100 g DM).”
“The average amount of vitamin C in R. canina hips (0.51 g/100 g DM) was nearly a third that of R. dumalis hips (1.44 g/100 g DM).”
“Rosa villosa is the richest source of vitamin C, while R. canina usually shows low content of it (Krzaczek et al., 1970; Gao et al., 2000); our results support that.”

From Roman, Stanila and Stanila, 2013:

“Yoo et al. reported a higher content in flavonoids (400 mg QE/100 g fresh fruit) but in Rosa rubiginosa, data which is in concordance with Adamczak et al. who obtained the highest concentration in flavonoids for Rosa rubiginosa among other 11 species of Rosa L.”

Concluding thoughts

Based on my quick research, it seems that RR’s content is more beneficial when compared to RC. This is purely comparing the concentration of the components (flavonoids, citric acid and vitamin C). As a consumer – I’m now more aware of what is in my RHO and of the options available in the market. I’m definitely trying Thursday Plantation and Sukin next, to see if the quality of their RHO is comparable to Kosmea.

After reading more blog posts, reviews and various articles on RHO (sorry can’t remember all the individual sources), I have also learnt that you should always buy unrefined, non-heat treated/cold-pressed RHO. You can see the difference in the colour. Heat treated RHO will be paler in colour and does not smell as strong. Kosmea’s RHO is reddish and smells quite strong, when compared to other RHO brands.



Adamczak, A., Buchwald, W., Zielinski, J., & Mielcarek, S. (2012). Flavonoid and Organic Acid Content in Rose Hips (Rosa L., Sect. Caninae Dc. Em. Christ.). Acta Biologica Cracoviensia, 54(1), 105.

Pietta, P. G. (2000). Flavonoids as antioxidants. J Nat Prod, 63(7), 1035-1042.

Roman, I, Stanila, A., & Stanila, S. (2013). Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of Rosa canina L. biotypes from spontaneous flora of Transylvania. Chemistry Central Journal, 7, 73.



Rosehip Oil | Review

I am a self-confessed oil hipster. I used oil before it was mainstream. Someone put it on a t-shirt!


I started using oils and the oil cleansing method in 2005 (early enough, right?). The first brand I used was Kosmea. At the time, no other brands offering RHO was widely available. I oil cleansed with no-brand castor and sweet almond oil from the health shop. Compared to the plethora of choices that Australian consumers now have, back then the choices were minimal.


Somehow, I stopped using RHO and did not oil cleanse as regularly as I explored other products and brands. Looking back, using products from the Kosmea range and not chemically exfoliating was not beneficial for my oilier, younger skin; which is perhaps why I did not see any benefits. My bank account breathed a sigh of relief as Kosmea products weren’t exactly the cheapest on the market, even now!


Fast forward a couple of years and my skin is now more dehydrated. I started using RHO again due to the increased exposure and availability of newer brands. Literally almost every single naturalist brand out there has a RHO. Swisse, Sukin, A’Kin, Trilogy… There are even brands which are built on RHO – Essano and Rosehip Plus. So in this post, I will go through three brands that I have tried so far: Trilogy, Swisse and Kosmea.






Rating: 3/5


Arguably the most well known and widely available RHO brand in the Australian market right now. I have used more than 5 bottles in the last 2-3 years with no profound effects on my skin. It moisturises decently, absorbs decently and is non-offensive. Scent is OK – then again I’m not fussy with product scents. The oil is gold-coloured and texture is light.


I guess it just became a staple of my skincare routine that I didn’t really question its effectiveness anymore. I still have frequent dry patches on my face. It’s also frequently discounted, which is a great incentive to buy.


I didn’t see or feel any major differences between the antioxidant and normal versions. The antioxidant version contains Rosapene™. I did use the Rosapene night cream and found the cream to have a good plumping and moisturising effect on my skin.


I would probably use this for mixing with body creams in the future, but then again I can buy from cheaper brands for that purpose. Honestly, going back to Kosmea has made Trilogy’s RHO redundant. I have 1.5 bottles of this left and I’ve been using it on my neck, chest and back of hands. I actually WANT to like Trilogy more than Kosmea, due to the more affordable price and wider availability.


Buying tip
Wait for Priceline or Chemist Warehouse sale


Normal version
Rosa Canina (rosehip) seed oil


Antioxidant version
Rosa Canina (rosehip) seed oil, Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) seed oil (and) caprylic/capric triglyceride (and) vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil (and) helianthus annuus seed oil (and) tocopherol, Lycopene, Euterpe Oleracea fruit oil (and) Tocopherol, Avena sativa kernel extract (all of these ingredients are trademarked as Rosapene by Trilogy).






Rating: 2/5


Bought this as it was on sale (those sales always get me). I tried using it on my face and it was just too heavy and oily. It just sat on top of my skin. The texture and smell are different from other RHOs that I’ve tested. It’s light golden in colour and thicker than other RHOs in the market. The scent is nice and citrusy, not the typical RHO smell.


After a few uses, I relegated this to neck/chest/back of hands duty and have not repurchased. I wonder if the addition of other oils contributes to the different texture and feel of this oil? Maybe OK for body oil but as I said above, there are other cheaper RHOs or body oils for that purpose.


Buying tip
Wait for Coles/Woolies half price sale or Priceline or Chemist Warehouse sale.


Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (94.25%)
Certified Organic Rosa Canina Fruit Oil (5%)
Tocopherol (Vitamin E derived from Soy and Sunflower)
Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil
Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil
Litsea Cubeba Fruit (May Chang) Oil
Cymbopogon Martini (Palma Rosa) Oil
Pelargonium Graveolens Flower (Rose Geranium) Oil.






Rating: 5/5


I bought this a few months ago on a whim and have not looked back since. I remembered the bright orange colour and heavier texture of the oil and the unique aroma which made this product different from the rest of the RHOs in the market.


What a great decision! One week later, after using it religiously after my toner every night, I realised how smooth and moisturised my skin was. No more flaky patches! I didn’t change anything except starting the Kosmea RHO. I have also recommended this to three other people who have given me positive responses.


I definitely recommend this for RHO fans out there. If you’re skeptical, buy the 10ml and trial it for a few weeks. IMO it absorbs better and it’s more moisturising than the Trilogy one. I have read reviews and comparisons of both the Kosmea and Trilogy RHO.


Kosmea uses a different rosehip variant, rosa eglanteria (or rubiginosa) instead of rosa canina, which seems to be the common ingredient in all the other RHO brands. Kosmea also uses the fruit, skin and seed (instead of just the seed like other brands), which is perhaps why the oil is richer and darker in colour. I will follow up this post with an explanation on the difference between rosa canina and rosa rubiginosa.


Buying tip
Search online for a cheaper price or check individual retailers for specials (health shops, DJs, smaller chemists). The Kosmea website has a 20% sale probably twice to three times a year. Follow their social media for sale updates.


Organic rosa eglanteria (rosehip) oil.



Apostle Skin-Brightening & Tone-Correcting Serum | Review

Apostle skin brightening serum











Score: 2.5/5

Pros: natural ingredients.

Cons: expensive, doesn’t brighten dramatically, drying.

Price: $58.99 at Priceline and various websites.

Buy again: no.

This serum’s consistency is unique, as it is very watery and thin. After distributing it on my palms and applying it to my face, it instantly dries within 2-3 seconds. After application, it has a slightly tightening/drying effect, so I always follow up with Rosehip Oil and a moisturizer.

Apostle skin brightening serum

I didn’t notice any brightening effects after using this for 3-4 months in a consistent manner (I used 3-4 drops after cleansing every night). However, it is made from natural ingredients and did not break me out.

In conclusion, I would not buy this product again as it was more of a placebo product. For the price, I could probably find another natural product with better results. If you would like to try this product, I recommend waiting for a sale at Priceline, as I got it during the 40% off skincare sale around July.

However, I read other reviews on this product and some people have experienced good results. To be fair, I don’t have any focused hyper-pigmentation or spots so I was expecting a more overall brightening effect to my face. I also only used it at night while the recommendation is to use it both morning and night.

just kitteh


Nature Republic Snail Therapy

All I can say is: I succumbed to the snail trend. Very quick and messy post just for the sake of updating!

I had the priviledge to visit the infamous cosmetic shops of Korea – including the tourist-hungry shopping strips on Myeong-Dong earlier this year.

One of the things that I was looking forward to see for myself was the snail products galore… and see them I did! They were everywhere! I was even confused on which one to buy.

My pick was Nature Republic’s Snail Therapy. I figured I’d buy the set as it was more economic. My friend took the cream away and I snatched the eye cream and ampoule.



Pros: Makes skin smooth, moisturising

Cons: Hard to get, can congest skin.

Price: Unfortunately I have forgotten… around $80 per box straight from the Nature Republic shop. I’m not sure about online.

Buy again: No, try another brand perhaps.

The texture IS like snail slime (not that I have ever put snail slime on my face) – slimy, sticky, slippery. This one smells a bit artificial. I initially put 3-4 drops on my face but reduced it to about 2-3 as it was too much. A little goes a long way. The feeling after it settles down is a bit peculiar – like a layer of film on top of your skin. However, I love the effect it has on my skin the next morning. My face feels smooth and moisturised (sometimes a little overly moisturised/oily). A word of warning for the oilier-skinned people though; don’t overdo it or your skin will get congested. I alternate this with my other night creams/serums as it’s quite heavy. I think it’s more suited to dry and mature skin.

Can’t say much about the eye cream. Unfortunately the texture is not as fascinating as the ampoule, it’s just a normal light creamy texture. Goes on smoothly and smells the same as the ampoule. Also can’t say much about the effect as I don’t have any wrinkles/lines around the eye area yet. Only using this for the extra moisture and as a preventative measure.

O’slee White Medi Perfect Whitening Serum | Review

O’slee White Medi Perfect Whitening Serum – Score: 5/5

oslee white medi perfect serum

Description from

Patent ingredient-SYMWHITE ® 377
Reduce Melanin in 24 hours

Before Use
: Skin is swarthy with dark spots.
After 28 Days
: Brightening skin and make spots invisible.

Non-stop Restrain Melanin Buildup. 
Long-lasting whitening effects. 
The latest world best whitening ingredient –SYMWHITE ® 377, comes from botanic plant extracts, is one of the most effective Tyrosinase Inhibitor, performs a powerful whitening effect with low Irritant reaction. Strongly retrain melanin buildup; its whitening effect is 20 times more than Kojic Acid. The test proves that it can 100% reduce Melanin in 24 hours.

Other Benefits:

Potent anti-oxidation , enhance whitening effect
Natural Papaya Enzyme , instant brightening and even skin tone
Sympeptide TM 222, anti-aging and firming skin
Hyaluronic acid, intensive hydrating


  • 【SYMWHITE ® 377】inhibits Tyrosinase, thus restraining melanin buildup.
  • 【Tranexamic Acid】reduces the appearance of flecks.
  • 【Natural Papaya Enzyme】removes dead skin cells, instantly brightening and evening out skin tone.
  • 【Sympeptide™ 222】gives anti-aging and firming effect.
  • 【Hyaluronic Acid】intensively hydrates.
Full ingredient list:
Deionized Water, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Mulberry, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, European Hop Flower, Cetyl Alcohol, Waltheria Indica Extract, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Isopropyl Myristate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice Extract), Azone, Papain (Papaya Enzyme), Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E, Tranexamic Acid,  L-Superoxide Dismutase, Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Methyl Paraben, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, A-Bisabolol, Propyl Paraben, Hyaluronic Acid, Rose Water, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Ethydiglycol, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Oligopeptide. (credit:


I thought it would be worthwhile dissecting this serum in detail, so my apologies as this review is not going to be in the usual format.


Below are the whitening/lightening ingredients that I have identified:
-Mulberry extract – reduces melanin synthesis by inhibiting the Tyrosinase enzyme.
-Waltheria Indica – reduces melanin synthesis by inhibiting the Tyrosinase enzyme, anti-oxidant.
-Licorice extract – contains Glabridin, which reduces melanin synthesis by inhibiting the Tyrosinase enzyme, anti-inflammatory.
-Papaya enzyme – contains Papaine, an enzyme which promotes skin exfolation/turnover. It is not a whitening ingredient.
-Ascorbic acid – inhibits melanin production.
-Tranexamic acidacts on the chronic mild inflammatory condition at the sites of spots, to suppress melanocyte activation (from Shiseido’s website).
-Oligopeptide – inhibits tyrosinase but also halts melanosome transfer well as melanin synthesis.
(Credits to, an excellent, well-researched website for reviews and ingredient information).


If you have a look at O’slee’s website, they have a freaky video wherein a liberal dose of the serum turned an iodine-stained water from brown/red to white within seconds with some vigorous stirring! Quite alarming… to be honest I don’t believe the video (IMO they must have used a very strong version or altered some condition or the other), as only very harsh bleaching products could do that; and if it is true then I would be as white as a sheet of paper now after using it for some weeks.


I decided to purchase this as this brand is quite established in asia and after reading up on the background and ingredients I thought it would be safe to try.


At first impression, the packaging and the bottle are very nice compared to other asian brand products of the same price range. They are well-made and not plasticky. The bottle itself is made of ceramic/glass and is quite heavy.


The serum itself is not white and runny as in the freaky video mentioned above, but rather yellowish and thick. The fragrance is quite strong and smells of roses… and something rather synthetic. I don’t mind it but it might be too much for some people. I hope mine is not a bad batch!


The texture is sticky and oily. Unfortunately it doesn’t spread easily over the skin, so I need at least 3 pumps to cover my face and neck. It also feels quite heavy on the skin, to the detriment of those who like lightweight serums. However, like most serums, it sinks into the skin and my face feels fine the morning after (not overly greasy). I am not using a moisturizer on top of the serum because it would be way too greasy. So now my nighttime regime is wash>b.liv serum>lotion>this serum.


oslee white medi serum


Whitening effect… hmm, maybe it’s due to the other products in my skincare regime which has been updated, but I do believe that this has helped a little bit in terms of lightening. I started using this in mid-September and I have noticed my face getting slightly lighter. One proof of this is the increased contrast between my cheeks and my dark circles.. haha.. unless my dark circles suddenly grew a shade darker!


I was alternating this with the isQueen night cream before, but I would like to see the concentrated result so I will be using this exclusively. Let’s see how it fares in the next 2-3 months.


b.liv Off With Those Heads Serum | Review

b.liv Off With Those Heads Serum – Score: 5/5

Pros: it’s a miracle in a bottle, non-sticky, refreshing feel.

Cons: expensive, not readily available, stinging sensation on sensitive skin.

Price: US$63.20 for 45ml (SASA).

Buy again: YES.

((This is gonna be long… and graphic))

Like the Clarisonic Mia, this was a totally random impulse buy. I was browsing through some beauty blogs when I read about this seemingly too-wonderful-to-be-true serum! After reading through some reviews on the net, I decided to take the plunge despite the semi-expensive price.

I have (had ;) )severe blackheads on my nose and some on my cheeks.  I also have an issue with enlarged pores and congestion… it’s a vicious cycle!.

After using b.liv for 3 weeks, AM & PM (only on the nose in the morning and the whole face at night), my blackheads have pretty much disappeared. They still needed manual extraction but using pore packs/squeezing became MUCH easier.

Unfortunately I don’t really have a clear “before” picture of my strawberry nose. This is the best that I’ve got. Aren’t you thankful I don’t have a HD photo?

Before > After

As you can see I had severe blackheads and spots on my nose. I’ve been battling them since I was about 11/12 years old so this is as bad as it gets.

Now my nose feels smooth to the touch and even though my pores are still huge, they’re EMPTY!! haha. Makeup works much better when I want to conceal my pores. Here are some disgusting close-up pics of how effectively this has worked in combination with physical scrubs and pore packs. Note: I think the more severe blackheads you have the better the results. If you have a speck or two then I don’t think it’s worth it to buy this product.

I can’t thank this serum enough and will buy it again and again and again and stock up for the next 20 years if they plan to discontinue it. The ONLY thing that has worked for me in getting rid of blackheads. No amount of chemical/physical exfoliants, pore packs or masks have been able to get rid of them.

FYI I have tried chemical exfoliants (Neostrata Ultra Smoothing Lotion, Dermalogica Gentle Exfoliant, etc), numerous scrubs (aspirin mask, St. Ives, etc), and regular pore packs (Biore and other Japanese brands). One thing I haven’t tried is Mario Badescu’s Silver Powder.

Might do another post on blackhead battling plan and a review of my absolute favorite pore pack: Kose Softymo Nose Clean Pack.