Korean hydrating facial serum: fresh and dewy-light with effortless absorption quality

“Ice Flower Hydra Essence”
by The Face Shop (of South Korea)

ice flower hydra essence-the face shop

(photo: http://www.thefaceshop.com/english/index.html)

Bottle size: 40ml = 1.35 fluid ounce | Price: HK$ 95 (~ GB£8; US$ 13; Euro 9)

“An essence that lavishes parched skin with hydration”

“This beauty essence is uniquely formulated with Masterwort extract (1), rock crystals (2) and micro-encapsulated beads of Alpine glacial water (3), this invigorating moisturising essence lavishes parched skin with energy, minerals and hydration for a smoother, more glowing complexion.  Additions of highly moisture-retentive Trehalose (4) flood skin with health and hydration.”

:: It has a cool, refreshing texture and delivers water drops that will burst and melt into your skin to protect and hydrate ::

(source: http://www.thefaceshopen.com/)

My verdict:
Fresh and dewy-light with effortless absorption quality and a gentle scent.  Didn’t leave a residue on my skin, instead it gave my skin a sense of being more than adequately silky-smooth.  The obviously light and watery texture was easy to glide over my face yet was readily absorbed without too many strokes – maybe my skin was especially parched!  It isn’t a particularly concentrated formula, which means I can re-adjust the volume I use quite readily, but it is substantial enough to contend with my often dehydrated skin, together with twice-weekly facial masks – I live and breathe air-conditioning!  Anyway, out of all the selection in the store, this was my optimum and decisive choice. 

Winking smile  It’s a very good Spring to Summer serum.

 More about the manufacturer:

The Face Shop’ is a South Korean cosmetics manufacturer founded in 1962, which only began to expand onto foreign shores in 2004, starting with Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia, and now operates in 20 countries with over 250 stores.


Nerd smile  What are these ingredients?

1- Masterwort extract

Latin name: Peucedanum ostruthium, Imperatoria ostruthium,
or Selenium ostruthium
Scientific name: Astrantia major

masterwort-1With its clump-forming perennial of spiky, pin cushion-like, star-shaped flowers of greenish white, sometimes tinted pink or rose red, Masterwort is a botanical herb which has recently been recognised in skin care science to aid skin regeneration through enabling the skin to better retain moisture

Previously it was known as a herbal aid for migraines and urinary problems, including gout and kidney stones. 

Originally, it was native to central Europe and still grows wild in Switzerland, but it is considered rare in the wild.  It was formerly cultivated for use as a pot-herb and in medicine and nowadays is sometimes found in the moist meadows of the north of England and in Scotland, but is generally regarded as naturalized having originally been a garden escape.

The Romans, who considered this herb helpful for restoring vision and youth, introduced it to the rest of Europe. It was being cultivated in Ireland in the 9th-10th centuries and was a staple in European medicinal gardens of the Middle Ages–so much so that it was referred to as ‘the divine remedy’.”

In Scandinavia it is an ingredient in spicy bitters and liqueurs and is considered to have magickal properties.

In the US it was mainly chewed for toothache and extracted as a digestive aid. The leaves were once cooked and used as a condiment. It is also made into a tea and drunk against migraine. It is still a homeopathic remedy.

In the US, Masterwort is considered a safe herb but is only approved as a flavoring in alcoholic beverages: it flavors malt beer.

It can cause a sun-sensitive reaction if the root is applied to the skin, and it should not be used during pregnancy. This is a handsome and useful historical herb that deserves to make a comeback and be a part of the witch’s garden.”

(source: http://www.alchemy-works.com/)

Note, during my research I found a ‘confusion’ or ‘blurring’ between Masterwort and various forms of Angelica.  There are a number of websites that reference Masterwort as the same as Chinese Dong Quai  (i.e. Chinese Angelica).  Really?  It’s possible, but seems unlikely.  Anyway, here’s a reference of clarity:

“Angelica and Masterwort are similar, but they are two different plants. This magick herb has leaves similar to and a fragrant root that smells somewhat like angelica and contains some of the same chemicals, and this is no doubt where the confusion comes in. You might even consider this as a sort of masculine, Mars equivalent of the feminine Venus angelica due to its ability to heat and its protective magickal properties.”

(source: http://www.alchemy-works.com/)

2- Rock Crystal

Also known as : Clear Quartz, Pure Quartz, Crystal Quartz or Rock Crystal.
Chakras : Crown Chakra | Zodiac : All birth signs | Planet : Sun | Element : Fire
Typical colours : Pure Quartz is colourless or white
It is a natural form of the mineral silicon dioxide (SiO2) and is a 10th Anniversary gemstone.

rock crystal-colourless quartz

Quartz is the most abundant single mineral on Earth and makes up around 12% of the Earth’s crust.

Legend says that the ancient Greeks, who discovered the mineral in caves near Mount Olympus, thought that it was water frozen so hard by the gods that it would never thaw.  Even in the 18th century, some scientists thought it was fossilized ice.  The Chinese believed that the gemstone could quench the thirst like ice, when held in one’s mouth.  Only in the 17th century did the well-known Irish physicist Robert Boyle finally and precisely define Rock Crystal as a mineral.

Clear Quartz is known as the “master healer” and will amplify energy and thought, as well as the effect of other crystals. It absorbs, stores, releases and regulates energy.  Clear Quartz draws off negative energy of all kinds, neutralising background radiation, including electromagnetic smog or petrochemical emanations.

It balances and revitalises the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes. Cleanses and enhances the organs and subtle bodies and acts as a deep soul cleanser, connecting the physical dimension with the mind.

Clear Quartz enhances psychic abilities.  It aids concentration and unlocks memory. Stimulates the immune system and brings the body into balance.  Clear Quartz harmonises all the chakras and aligns the subtle bodies.

It is found worldwide in but the best quality is located in the USA, in the Hot Springs area of Arkansas.  Brazil has produced some of the largest individual quartz crystals, weighing as much as 44 tonnes.

“Although many of the varietal names historically arose from the colour of the mineral, current scientific naming schemes refer primarily to the microstructure of the mineral. 

Colour is a secondary identifier for the crypto-crystalline minerals, although it is a primary identifier for the macro-crystalline varieties. This does not always hold true.

Examples of variations of Quartz are:

  • Onyx (multi-coloured with waxy lustre),
  • Aventurine (commonly green with shimmery inclusions),
  • Citrine (yellow to reddish orange-brown chatoyance),
  • Tiger’s Eye (fibrous gold to red-brown),
  • Amethyst (purple transparent),
  • Rose Quartz (pink translucence),
  • Smoky Quartz (brown to grey opaque)”

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page)

3- Alpine glacial water


Glacial water is considered to be beneficial due to its purity and unique mineral composition.

On Earth, 99% of glacial ice is contained within vast ice sheets in the polar regions, but glaciers may be found in mountain ranges of every continent except Australia.  In the tropics, glaciers occur only on high mountains.

Glacial ice is the largest reservoir of freshwater on Earth. Many glaciers store water during one season and release it later as meltwater – a water source that is especially important for life.

Because glacial mass is affected by long-term climate changes, glacial mass changes are considered among the most sensitive indicators of climate change and are a major source of variations in sea level.

“Global warming may wipe out three-quarters of Europe’s alpine glaciers by 2100 and hike sea levels by 4m by the year 3000 through melting the West Antarctic ice sheet, two studies published on Sunday said.”

10 Jan, 2011, from News.24.com,
“Global warming to devastate glaciers”

4- Trehalose


trehalose molecule

“Trehalose is disaccharide sugar found extensively, but not abundantly, in nature. It can be synthesised by fungi, plants and invertebrate animals.  It is implicated in anhydrobiosis (the ability of plants and animals to withstand prolonged periods of desiccation).

The sugar is thought to form a gel phase as cells dehydrate, which prevents disruption of internal cell organelles by effectively splinting them in position.

Rehydration then allows normal cellular activity to be resumed without the major, generally lethal damage, that would normally follow a dehydration/rehydration cycle.

Trehalose has the added advantage of being an antioxidant.”

(source: http://www.squidoo.com/trehalose)


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