November/December Day Time Routine Skincare Results – Part 3: Holika Holika & Zymogen

[ disclaimer: products were received complementary for review purposes.  all opinions are my own and unbiased ]

I started a long term 6 ~ 8 week skincare testing routine back in November, which included the following products

Daytime: Kikumasamune Skincare Lotion –>  Gu:aam Method Black Pearl Conchiolin 35 Whitening Serum –> Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Serum (T-Zone) –> Melano CC Essence with Vitamin C & E –-> Graymelin Propolis 80 Energy Ampoule (T-Zone) –> Holika Holika Cheoeum Balhyo Miracle Seed Emulsion

Nighttime: Kikumasamune Skincare Lotion –> Innisfree Ginger Oil Skin –>  Gu:aam Method Black Pearl Conchiolin 35 Whitening Serum –>  Melano CC Essence with Vitamin C & E –> Graymelin 100% Beta Glucan mixed with Innisfree Ginger Oil Serum

I mention 8 weeks, as some of the products were started earlier than others.  Products I have already reviewed are hyperlinked to the reviews.

My skin type and concerns:  oily, blemish prone, aging, hyper-pigmentation.  This blog post will focus on items used in my day time routine

  • Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Serum
  • Holika Holika Cheoeum Balhyo Miracle Seed Emulsion

Back in October, Jolse graciously sent me a few products to review.  I personally chose these items as after researching them, I felt that they would work nicely with my skin type.  They also contain fermented ingredients and I have been banging the drum on fermented ingredients for well over a year now!   I love ferments and they love my skin ~ they are fantastic as an anti-aging ingredient.


Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Serum  I have used Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment products before ~ well, one ~ their AC Doctor Ferment Cream.  It is a spot treatment for blemishes and I really like it a lot.  I feel it is on par with cosRX Centella Anti-Blemish cream and both work effectively on my skin type.   Fermented ingredients seem to work well with my aging, yet oily skin.  A lot of products for aging skin are designed for dry skin and are too heavy for me.  However, I have found that by carefully selecting skin care products that feature fermented ingredients, I can layer them on my skin, allowing me to use their anti-aging skincare properties, without having to use a heavy, dense moisturizer.   This product contains 20% alcohol in the houttyunia cordata extract.

  • Houttuynia Cordata is a medicinal herb that is found a lot in Asian skin care products.   It is an antibiotic, which helps with preventing infection from skin problems, such as blemishes.  It is also a potent antioxidant, as it contains anti-aging compounds such as flavonoids and triterpenoid, which helps strengthen, purify and revitalize your skin .   It also has powerful detox properties, is an astringent and anti-inflammatory.
  • Sophora Japonica is also an anti-aging ingredient, as it contains flavonoids, also known as Vitamin P.  This extract will help soothe your skin, stimulate cellular regeneration and help regulate the oil(lipid)/moisture balance of your skin
  • Licorice Root (Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate) is a brightening ingredient as well as reducing flaking and smoothing your skin. It is also an anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory.
  • Rice Ferment Filtrate is full of amino acids, over a 100, organic acids, saccharides, vitamins, nucleic acids and esters. Fermented rice water helps keep your skin clear and moisturized, while helping to even out your skin tone by reducing hyper-pigmentation. Due to its own natural alcohol content, it is an astringent and also contains antibacterial properties to help control blemishes.
  • Panthenol helps cellular renewal and is an effective moisturizer.  It is derived from plants and this ingredient comes from Vitamin B5.  Panthenol is a natural humectant, which retains moisture and hydrates the skin. It also is a good lubricant on the skin, making skin look soft and smooth. It is also an anti-inflammatory
  • Sodium Hyaluronate is an intensive moisturizing ingredient which bonds water to keep skin hydrated. It is a natural substance found in the human body and it made up of amino and uronic acids, and helps retain 100 to 1,000 times its own water weight in our skin cells.
  • Azelaic Acid, Salicylic Acid (BHA)  and Lactic Acid (AHA) are exfoliating acids that will help gently unclog your pores and increase cellular renewal, which means it can also help even out your skin tone, by revealing new skin.  They are anti-inflammatory compounds and will help reduce inflammation and redness, while healing acne blemishes.
  • Tea Tree is an anti fungal, antibacterial and  antiseptic ingredient and helps prevent and heal acne

This is an interesting product as it is marketed as a “serum”, but its watery consistency and astringent properties makes me view this as a Western-like toner ~ it is astringent, due to the alcohol content in it, but it is also quite moisturizing too.   I use a cotton pad to apply it, like I would with an astringent and you can see it is yellow and soaks quickly into to the pad.

The scent is CAN be a bit off putting to some ~ it is very strong, very herbal and it does almost smell like alcohol, but not quite.   However, the scent does disappear quickly.     Since I considered this to be more of a toner product,  I did  a pH test on it and came up with a level between 4.5 and 5.

Initially, I was hesitant in using this product as I thought the weather would be getting colder (hint, it was 70 degrees on Christmas Eve, so it didn’t really get colder!) However, as the warmer temperatures hung around, I did use it on my T-Zone, as that is my really extra special oily area on my face.   I thought this product might strip my skin dry and leave it with that horrible squeaky clean feeling ~ which means that you have just removed all of the good oils on your face and be prepared for an onslaught of new oil production!  But it didn’t.  This product was successful in balancing my oil-moisture levels and it did not strip my skin, did not leave it dry and in fact, my skin digital readings showed a major increase  in my lipid/moisture levels ~ 39% increase in both lipids and moisture levels!   For a product that I thought was going to be an astringent, this is pretty amazing to me.   It also helped clean out any gunk in my pores as well.

Honestly, if you are looking for a nice Western type astringent product but with the moisturizing benefits of Asian skincare, I highly recommend this product.  If you do not have issues with alcohol in skincare, this serum would be a fine “toner” for your skin care routine.     I plan on purchasing this when this is done, as I do miss that traditional astringent product that helps remove excess sebum.

IngredientsWater, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Bacillus/Houttuynia Cordata Extract Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Lactate, Sophora Japonica Flower Extract, Aspergillus/Saccharomyces/Rice Ferment Filtrate, Glycyrrhiza Inflata Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Azelaic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Coceth-7, Triclosan, Panthenol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Allantoin, PPG-1-PEG-9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol analysis

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Holika Holika Cheoeum Balhyo Miracle Seed Emulsion Holy crap! What a name ~ and don’t even ask me how to pronounce Cheoeum Balhyo. I just called this the Miracle Seed Emulsion and that works fine.  When I was looking thru Jolse’s shop, I really wanted to see what products were new and this caught my eye.  I didn’t even realize it was by Holika Holika as the bottle looks very chichi and expensive ~ the reddish-brown bottle with a baby-bump along with the Korean lettering, made it look very hanbang-y ~ which it is. Hanbang, that is.    This product has an amazing list of seed extracts, germinated seeds (sprouts) and fermented date extracts ~ yes, dates.   This has 20 different fermented seeds in here and Cheoeum Balhyo means First Fermentation.  Using 20 different native Korean seeds, they are using the traditional 2-step method of fermenting seeds.  The seeds are first allowed to germinate in pottery containers and then placed in bamboo containers, where they will ferment and become the main ingredient behind this emulsion.

  • Phoenix Dactylifera (date palm) Seed has antioxidant properties which help with anti-aging concerns, such as wrinkles and fine lines and also helps to remove toxins.  It contains compounds that help combat the signs of aging (isoflavones, tocotrienols, ursolic acid, phytosterols), which encourages collagen production, keeping your skin firm and promote elasticity in your skin as well.  It also helps block UVA damage by increasing its activity to combat free radicals ~ sun damage is one of the major causes of premature skin aging. 

[Date palm extract] affect[s] both intrinsic and extrinsic aging. It affects intrinsic aging by slowing cell proliferation and affects extrinsic aging by providing antioxidant protection to slow environmental aging factors. In addition, the active reportedly reduces the total surface of rosacea.  source

  • Hordeium Vulgare (barley) and Oryza Sativa (rice) are antioxidants that help preserve skin elasticity and protect against free radical damage.  It will help make your skin look supple and toned, as well as removing toxins from your body.  These ingredients are also anti-inflammatory and help reduce hyper-pigmentation, allowing your skin tone to be even and brighter.
  • Triticum Vulgare (wheat), Camellia Sinensis (green tea) and Camellia Japonica all are powerful anti-aging ingredients as they contain antioxidant compounds.  They help product your skin from the damaging UV rays of the sun, as well as other environmental damages, and will result in radiant, glowing skin.
  • Allantoin moisturizes, exfoliates and softens skin, making it look smooth and refined, while reducing and relieving irritaion. 
  • Caffeine helps reduce puffiness, by stimulating and improving blood circulation 
  • Panthenol helps cellular renewal and is an effective moisturizer. It is derived from plants and this ingredient comes from Vitamin B5. Panthenol is a natural humectant, which retains moisture and hydrates the skin. It also is a good lubricant on the skin, making skin look soft and smooth. It is also an anti-inflammatory

Also, this product will help suppress tyrosinase activity ~ tyronsinase is an enzyme in our skin tissue that helps produce melanin ~ causing hyper-pigmenation.

You might be asking yourself why I am just using an emulsion instead of a traditional face cream.   I have very oily skin that is prone to blemishes if I am not careful about my products that I use.  I have found that layering light, hydrating skin care products first and then using an anti-aging emulsion works best for me.  I am able to keep my skin moist and hydrated, while nourishing it with ingredients to help fight free radical damage and lower the risk of blemishes.   Emulsions allow me to skip the last step of a moisturizer, which might be too much with all of the products I just applied to my face.  That isn’t to say I do not use traditional face moisturizers ~ I mainly use them at night time or when my skin has been damaged by wind and sun (chapped) and I need that extra moisturizing.   This explains why I use so many products, but you will notice that they are lighter in texture and consistency so I am able to layer, let it absorb quickly and then apply the next layer.  I do not have 40 minutes in the morning to apply all of my skincare products and wait for a dry time between each one. 

This has an easy pump applicator to dispense the emulsion, but one thing I will say is that the cap to this bottle is very attached and dedicated to the bottle.  At times, I actually removed the whole pump applicator in my zeal to remove the cap, as it wouldn’t just come off.  I thought it was a twist off initially ~ hence my removing the pump applicator from the bottle!  It isn’t a twist off ~ you just have to work the cap back and forth to remove it.   I guess I shouldn’t complain too much as I have owned bottles where the cap just falls off when you look at it.  At least this one stays put! 

Miracle Seed emulsion has a nice weight to it ~ it isn’t as thin as other emulsions, but it isn’t heavy either.  I was concerned initially about the ingredient list after I ran it thru, as there were some potential skin and acne triggers, but I also have to remember that 1 or 2 ratings on an ingredient isn’t really that bad either for me.   This product is full of moisturizers, emollients and emulsifiers and it is a creamy light beige in color.  It does have a scent ~ it is very floral-herbal scent, which is light and not overpowering.  It does fade quickly, so although I would have liked a more traditional hanbang scent, this was pretty unassuming and unoffensive to me.   As you can see by the first two images in the photo below, this emulsion is not so thick that it won’t run, but it isn’t drippy either.  The third image is right after I massaged the emulsion into my skin, so you can see how glossy it is.   My skin is not greasy feeling, however.  The four image is after 5 minutes ~ there is still a slight gloss or glow to my skin, but the product is completely absorbed at this point, with no tacky residue.   Overall, the increase in oil and moisture in my skin was not overly dramatic ~ 16% for both ~ but it is balanced ~ there isn’t an uneven spike, so this is a balanced product when it comes to your skin.   I am actually good with these numbers because by the time I get to this step of my skin care routine, I have already added other hydrating skin care items and I am just looking to top it off with a final moisturizer that isn’t too thick or oily.

I really liked this product from Holika Holika.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to it, as Holika Holika swings between absolutely fantastic and abysmal.  In this case, I think this product is leans towards the fantastic side of the spectrum ~ it is a solid player, has some amazing ingredients that are very much target anti-aging concerns and this emulsion works well with oily skin as well.   Holika Holika Miracle Seed is a complete series, consisting of

I am interested in some of their other products now ~ please note, some of them do contain alcohol ~ this emulsion does not contain alcohol, however.

Description: The Miracle Seed series has an effective tonic effect, helping to get the effect of a young, radiant skin.  Carefully selected component composition provides a full line of skin care, stimulates regeneration, neutralizes the harmful effects of free radicals.  Effectively protects the skin from environmental factors. Its components soften and moisturize the skin, slow the aging process. Natural ingredients of cosmetics formulated by natural fermentation, immediately conveys the freshness of the skin and maintains a clean, healthy tone.

Ingredients: water, butylene glycol, cetyl ethylhexanoate, mineral oil, glycerin, dimethicone, hydrogenated C6-14 olefin polymers, glyceryl stearate, polysorbate 60, petrolatum, phoenix dactylifera (date palm) seed extract, caffeine, allantoin, panthenol, levan, oryza sativa (rice) extract, coix lacyma-jobi ma-yuen (job’s tears) seed extract, phaseolus radiatus (mung bean) seed extract,  sesamum indicum (black sesame) seed extract, glycine max (soybean) seed extract, phaseolus vulgaris (kidney bean) seed extract, avena sativa (oat) kernel extract, zea mays (corn) kernel extract, phaseolus angularis (red bean) seed extract, triticum vulgare (wheat) seed extract, hordeium vulgare (barley) seed extract, camellia sinensis (green tea) seed extract, camellia japonica seed extract, polygonum fagopyrum (buckwheat) seed extract,  cuscuta japonica seed extract,plantago asiatica (plantain) seed extract, prunus  amgdalus dulcis (sweet almond) seed extract, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed extract, juglans regia (walnut) seed extract, cassia obtusifolia seed extract, pisum sativum (pea) extract, coffea arbica (coffee) seed extract, phenoxyethanol, tremella fuciformis (white mushroom) polysaccharide, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed extract, cetearyl alcohol, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, stearic acid, sorbitan stearate, PEG-100 stearate, disodium EDTA, ethylhexanediol, 1,2-hexanediol, capryly glycol, chlorphenesin, triethanolamine, sodium acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, isohexadecane, polysorbate 80, carbomer, fragrance analysis

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Final Thoughts

I was really surprised by these two fermented products.  Zymogen Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Serum is a fantastic alternative to those who want a Western astringent product with Asian hydrating properties.  I do highly recommend this product for oily skin types, as it does address common concerns ~ how to reduce the oil and grease, unclog pores while not stripping our skin dry.    The only thing I would warn you on is the scent ~ it is very strong, very herbal and does contain alcohol.  That said, the scent does disappear quickly.

Holika Holika Cheoeum Balhyo Miracle Seed Emulsion is another winner in  my eyes.   It is a great moisturizer for oily skin types in the cooler months ~ it hydrates and keeps my skin supple and moist, without causing my skin to break out or get greasy.   I would say, barring any gluten issues, this emulsion is great for all skin types ~ oily, normal, combo and dry ~ and how you would use it ~ either as your last step moisturizer or a hydrating skin care product before your moisturizer cream ~ depends on your skin type and needs.   The scent is fine and I love the creamy rich texture that absorbs quickly into my skin without any tackiness.

Will I purchase? Yes, to both (until something else catches my eye ~ haha)   I would say that out of the two products, Zymogen seems to fill a spot that is lacking in Western/Asian skin care and is one that I can see purchasing.   Holika Holika new Miracle Seed line is very promising and I have to say that this bottle of emulsion will last me a long time before I can think of a repurchase ~ but I would seriously consider it, as I love the texture and feel on my skin and it works very well with the other skincare products used.

So… Thoughts, comments, questions?  I am happy to read about reviews on these products and if you have any questions about them, I will be happy to try and answer them!  I always read my comments and respond pretty quickly.

Where to Purchase

Jolse  ~ Free International shipping plus lots of samples!

Full Daytime Routine November/December 2015

If you are interested in the other products I used with my Day Time Routine, I have hyper-linked them above, but here they are again

[ disclaimer: products were received complementary for review purposes.  all opinions are my own and unbiased ]




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