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It’s that time of the year again when I must prepare myself for increased humidity, warmer weather and skin irritations – yes, I’m talking about spring. Aside from my usual skin allergies, my skin’s oil-balance has been thrown off the scale as reflected in the pesky pimples on my forehead and mouth area. With the weather changing, I also find that other areas of my body are more prone to dryness and irritation, including the intimate areas that I often neglect.
I decided to venture beyond my comfort zones to try skin care and body care products that are slightly unusual for a three-week period. This time round, I picked up two products from Korean skin care brand ALIVE:LAB: the Houttuynia Cordata Hush Serum, which isn’t your typical serum due to its toner-like formulation, and the Avocado V Balancing Balm offering care to intimate body areas.ALIVE:LAB incorporates natural ingredients into formulas that help users achieve clear, healthy and radiant skin. All products are 100% made in Korea.
What is it? This multifunctional serum features fermented houttuynia cordata (heartleaf) extract to treat acne, and soothe and hydrate irritated skin. Suitable for the face and body, the refreshing formula may be used as a mist if you swap its dispenser cap for a spray-type nozzle.
Main ingredients: Bacillus/houttuynia cordata extract ferment filtrate, camellia sinensis leaf extract, witch hazel extract, purslane extract, panthenol, beta-glucan, glycerin, allantoin, tea tree leaf oil.
The simple bottle came in super cute box packaging in my favorite spring summer colors: light pink and grass green. Unlike many serums in the market packaged in a glass dropper bottle or squeezy tube, ALIVE:LAB’s serum is housed in a PET plastic bottle fitted with a pump dispenser. Its texture resembles the water-light consistency of toners and essences, with a grassy scent mixed with a tea tree oil aroma. The formula dries almost instantly on skin with a non-sticky, matte finish.
I incorporated this serum in my skin care routine as a secondary toner or essence step, and so far it does the job in hydrating and soothing skin after cleansing.
What is it? This pH-balancing balm is designed to soothe, protect and nourish intimate areas of the body. It’s enriched with avocado extract, moisture-retaining botanical oils (such as avocado and evening primrose oils) and fermented extracts, which help weakened and sensitive skin lock in moisture, and prevent dryness and soothe irritation due to chafing, garment friction and waxing.
Main ingredients: Avocado fruit extract, hydrogenated castor oil, centella asiatica extract, mugwort extract, aloe ferox leaf extract, soybean ferment extract, rice ferment, panax ginseng root extract ferment filtrate, glycerin, lavender oil, Vitamin E.
The V Balancing Balm comes in a fuss-free ivory-colored squeeze tube packaging. The product boasts a dense, balmy texture that leaves skin with a petrolatum-like sheen, but without any lingering stickiness or oiliness. I tend to use the balm around 2-3 times a week after my evening shower. I used a pea-sized amount whenever the skin around my groin area felt dry and thin. The balm doesn’t stain my underwear or PJs, and leaves the intimate skin area feeling soft.
The Houttuynia Cordata Hush Serum stands out from my usual toner or essence because of its many benefits. Although the serum’s primary purpose is to calm and soothe skin, a lot of its ingredients such as purslane extract, beta-glucan and tea tree leaf oil also have anti-aging and wound-healing properties. I skipped my usual anti-aging serums as they weren’t needed during the three-week trial of this product, and I gratefully haven’t noticed a decrease in skin plumpness. The only issue I have with this formula is that the combination of active ingredients may irritate those with extra sensitive skin or with open wounds. The serum helped tame my recent bout of pimples, which recovered a lot quicker than usual.
In my opinion, the V Balancing Balm is way more appropriate for use in autumn and winter when my skin, including the intimate areas, generally becomes drier and more prone to irritation due to friction. Right now I’m experiencing less of those issues. Even so, I found the balm particularly helpful as a post-shaving or post-waxing treatment. I usually use tweezers to remove remaining hairs in the area after shaving or waxing, so my skin often becomes red and irritated afterwards. I added the balm from ALIVE:LAB to my post-hair removal routine to help nourish and calm the area.
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