As I’ve incorporated stronger actives (notably tretinoin) into my skincare routine, one of the things I’ve noticed is that my skin is getting less oily. In fact, I’ve actually had days where I noticed a patch that was (gasp) dry. With that in mind, I thought “Hey, this is weird, but at least it gives me the opportunity to test stuff that would have pissed my skin off if everything was normal!” – so we’re going to start with some creams that had only a 50% chance of turning me into an oil slick.
Chosungah is a brand created by a Korean makeup artist. The brand is purported to “allow women all over the world to enjoy makeup as a form of play and self-expression”, according to the brand’s blurb on Sephora.
Here’s the dirt on Chosungah’s Original Raw Ice Blue Jam*:
Mineral-rich marine sea extracts combine with hyaluronic essence to prevent water loss in the skin and keep it moisturized.
Directions: Apply a small amount in the morning before makeup. Apply a sufficient amount to skin in the evening to absorb overnight. Ice Blue Jam is a specific formulation of water concentrated to repair the moisture barrier. You can feel the moistening effect of the pack on the skin.
While the cream itself is blue, it doesn’t actually go on blue, which is good for, well, my face. Nobody wants to look like an unintentional Smurf.
This product works well under makeup as long as you give it a minute or two to ‘set’ or sink in. It doesn’t stay as shiny as you can see on my hand in this picture.
Star Ingredients: Niacinimide, “Marine Sea extracts”.
All Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Niacinimide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Indian Chinaberry (india melia azedarach) extract, Indian Chinaberry flower extract, (apricot?)fruit extract, Glacier Water, Eggplant Extract, Aloe Vera Flower Extract, Turmeric Extract, Basil Flower/Leaf Extract, Pearl Powder, Henna Flower/Fruit/Leaf Extract, Holy Basil Leaf Extract, Hydrolized Okra Extract, Sea Water, Chrysanthemum Extract, 금불 Extract, Camellia Flower Extract, Daylily Flower Extract, Rosa Rugosa Extract, Water Lily Flower Extract, Can Plum (what?), Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, Bale Extract (is this even a thing?), 갈파래 (some kind of green algae) extract, 개청각 extract, some kind of seaweed extract, 납작파래 extract, Dunaliella Salia Extract, 매생이 extract, Bladderwrack Algae Extract, 씨위드 (seaweed?) Extract, Agar Extract, 참미역 (another kind of seaweed?) extract, Corallina Officinalis (also seaweed) Extract, Kelp Extract, Chlorella Extract, 톳 extract, Samphire Extract, Plankton Extract, Hydrolyzed Sponge, Horsetail Kelp Extract, Ecklonia Cava Extract, Sargassum Extract, Porphyra Yezoensis (another seaweed) Extract, Spirulina Extract, Sea Whip Extract, 가시우뭇가사리 (some kind of agar?) extract, Ulva Pertusa (more seaweed) Extract, Codium (seaweed) Extract, Woundwort Extract, Sea Cucumber Extract, Pikea Robusta Extract, Pumpkin Seed Extract, Trehalose, PEG-240/hHDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Hydroxide, 아가 (I hope this doesn’t actually mean babies), Adenosine, Amino Esters-1, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Dextrin, Citric Acid, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Palmitoyl Proline, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Carbomer, Caffeine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance.
There is so much seaweed and/or algae extract in this ingredient list it’s a wonder the cream doesn’t smell awful.
One of the claims this product makes is that it produces a cooling or soothing sensation on the skin. Well, I lucked out (not really) and had a bad reaction to a sunscreen, which produced itchy, red, and irritated skin, so I decided to double down and see if this cream actually did anything. Happily, it did. Within a few minutes my face had completely stopped itching, and within an hour the redness was gone. I’m calling that a success!
And now for something (sort of) completely different: the Chosungah Original Raw Galactomyces Cream*.
This is a pack designed to help with various skin problems through the use of galactomyces ferment filtrate, which is used instead of purified water as an ingredient to help with moisture retention and skin resilience.
Directions: In the morning before makeup, pat on a small amount and massage in small circles. Apply a sufficient amount before sleep to allow absorption for the entire face. Galactomyces Pack Cream concentrates water in the skin until the next day for a moist and lively effect you can feel.
Like the Ice Blue Jam, this product goes on shiny and takes a minute or two to really sink into the skin, so you should wait a bit between applying the cream and starting your makeup routine. I had no problems wearing makeup over the cream.
Star Ingredients: Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Arbutin, Adenosine
All Ingredients: Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Arbutin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betaine, PEG-240/HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20, Ether, Glycosyl Trehalose, Water, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Hydroxide, PVP, Adenosine, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Carbomer, Caffeine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.
(*translated as best I can from the Hangul on the box)
This cream is also supposed to assist in wrinkle prevention and whitening of the skin (not bleaching, but lightening is probably a more appropriate word to use). I can’t really speak to those claims, because I don’t have any wrinkles and I don’t have any dark spots or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that I’m combating at this point.
So which should you use?
Both products have a clumpy, jelly texture. The galactomyces feels richer and ‘creamier’ going on, the blue jam feels a little more watery. Both go on shiny and need to sit for a minute or two before absorbing.
Of the two creams, the Ice Blue Jam is the lightest, and is something I could definitely recommend for combination to slightly oily skin, although it might be too much if you’re really oily. The Galactomyces is good if you’re normal to combination. Neither is phenomenal if your skin is dry, and they weren’t great in terms of treating the really dry patches I had from using tretinoin.
If you have sensitive skin, or are worried that you might have issues with sensitivity, I’d go with the Galactomyces cream simply because it has fewer possible sensitivity or allergy triggers.
Both creams come in a 50mL jar, and the amount that you see on my hand in the photos above is enough to cover your entire face, so you won’t go through it too quickly. If you’re the kind of person that slathers on product really thickly, you may want to find something that comes in a larger size (although in my order I got a 50mL pouch of the Ice Blue Jam along with the jar for a fairly small add-on fee).
I purchased both of these creams (and a third, actually, that I haven’t tested yet) through Avecko’s buying service. You can also find them for a pretty steep markup on eBay. Sephora has a brow mascara-type product available from Chosungah’s makeup line now, so maybe they’ll be getting more skincare products in the future as well!