Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Review: Secret Key Snail & EGF Repairing Toner, Essence, Emulsion & Eye Cream

Hi everyone! Today I have a couple of reviews from the same skincare line but first, I have some exciting news! I'm saving up to go to Japan!!! I decided that since I am working at a beauty counter temporarily again, I will put away most of my pay to save up! After I finish work, I'll put away as much as I can from what I make at events with my brand - whilst I'm on the subject, see if there's anything you like from my shop and take part in the old tradition of exchanging money for goods, which I will then exchange for a trip to Japan! ^_~ Anything helps! I actually had the idea of starting a Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, whatever, where you get a voucher for my store that is higher than the amount donated - that way, it's not just 'Hey send me to Japan for no reason, okay? ^^', you actually get a really good deal out of it. I'm still thinking about it though and any input you have would be so appreciated! It really annoys me when you see people expecting money for nothing on these funding websites...like, really infuriatingly annoying...anyway, back to the reviews!

I have reviewed the cream from this line in the past, Secret Key Snail & EGF Repairing Cream - I have actually started to run out of the essence and emulsion and have cut open the bottles with a scalpel so I figured I'd best do a review before they run out!

productinfo 
Brand: Secret Key
Name: Snail & EGF Repairing Toner, Essence, Emulsion and Eye Cream
Price: Toner $6.34, Essence $5.76, Emulsion $6.34, Cream $5.95, Eye Cream $9.76
Where to buy: Koreadepart (Toner, Essence, Emulsion, Face Cream, Eye Cream)

Secret Key's brand store is 'The Secret Key uses a natural extract base, therapy method which human's wisdom was included, working hard to make trendy yet a product thatgives [sic] smooth skin and mind peace. You can check the information onthe [sic] site http://www.secretkey.co.jp/'

Um...okay? XD Secret Key has a few different lines of skincare, including their Snail & EGF, Syn-ake, White Pearl Illuminating, Snow White (whitening), Power Extreme Moisture (men's) and Dragon Blood line.

EGF stands for 'Epidermal Growth Factor'; it's a growth factor (naturally occurring substance, usually a protein or steroid hormone; in these products it's a protein) that stimulates cell growth and kickstarts the cell renewal/repairing process. EGF can be found in human platelets, macrophages, urine (ew!), saliva, milk and plasma. The main active ingredients in these items are snail extract (1%), caviar extract, non-germ pork placenta, white mushroom extract and lanoline.

Snail extract is used in cosmetics for its repairing benefits - it strengthens the skin and moisture barrier, so skin holds onto moisture and hydration longer and breaks in the barrier are less frequent (breaks in the moisture barrier causes dry skin, irritation, breakouts, etc.). Snail extract, to some extent, repairs damage on and in the skin - skin looks brighter, more even toned and healthier. The benefits of snail mucin/mucus was discovered when someone (a company, person, etc? I forget.) wondered why the hands of paddy field/rice workers were so smooth, even toned and healthy-looking.

Caviar extract is debated about whether it has any benefits in cosmetic products. It contains proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, lipids, vitamins and minerals, which, assuming they can penetrate and effect your skin, means your skin is more hydrated, plump, soft, healthy, the moisture/skin barrier is repaired and more radiant. Studies done by Aqua Bio Technologies (a cosmetic company that features caviar extract in their cosmetics) for their Aquabeautine XL line showed that women between the ages of 40 and 65 showed improvement in wrinkles, fine lines, roughness, dullness, hyperpigmentation and sagging after 12 weeks (source). However, the means and actual ingredients of 'caviar extract' can vary from company to company; some companies actually use real caviar in their products, some use the fluid extracted from fertilized fish eggs and whether the caviar comes from salmon or sturgeon can depend on the company too.

Pork placenta is used in cosmetics for stimulating cell growth and renewal, leading to softer, more supple, radiant skin. The use of pig placenta (as opposed to other animals such as cow and sheep) has been shown to be more compatible to humans and more receptive. The cell renewal benefits of snail extract and pork placenta slow the visible signs of ageing when used regularly and over time.

White mushroom extract is used because white mushrooms contains lots of vitamins like Vitamin B and D, fatty acids, minerals like selenium, copper and potassium and antioxidants. These components are proven to prevent the signs of ageing, brighten the skin and hydrate it. Mushrooms contain a polysaccharide that is equally beneficial in hydrating and providing a plumping effect to the skin as hyaluronic acid. Vitamin D repairs the skin and its skin barrier. Some mushrooms contain kojic acid, which is a natural skin lightener that inhibits the production of melamine and evens out the tone of skin. Mushrooms also contain antioxidants which help fight against free radicals, damaged cells that spark a chain reaction in other cells that leave them damaged and causes visible signs of ageing.
packaging
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All the product packaging is the same - a creamy main colour with brown lid/screw top and writing. It's not particularly cute, nor particularly boring but it reminds me of cocoa butter and chocolate! The little snail on each product is in metallic gold.

Below is the size of each item in my hand for comparison.

 P1090537
You get 150ml of the toner, in a bottle with a screwtop lid and a small hole on the neck of the bottle for easy dispersion.
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You get 50ml of the essence, which is a bit more than most serums (usually 30ml). This essence comes in a pump-style bottle.
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You get 150ml of the emulsion, with the same product packaging and dispersion method as the toner, except the hole is larger, the full size of the neck. Because the emulsion is quite thick, it doesn't drip out like the toner - you have to shake/tap the bottle and squeeze a blob out, but it was almost always too much for my face and neck.
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You get 30ml of the eye cream, which is a little more than the average (usually around 15ml-25ml). It's in a squeezy type tube with screwtop lid.

application
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The toner is a watery substance and clear. It smells like most of the other Secret Key Snail & EGF items - it's not really floral, fruity, sweet, etc...just kind of clean and nice? The toner is meant to reset the levels of the surface of your skin back to PH neutral after cleansing (where most cleansers are alkaline) ready for the other products you'll put on your skin afterwards as well as give a bit of hydration. Many Western toners are for astringent purposes and contains alcohol usually. The toner spreads and absorbs easily in a few seconds. This will be the third thing to run out - the first thing that ran out was the face cream, then the essence and now that I've sawed the bottles in half, I can see that the toner will run out before the emulsion.

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The essence is clear and smells the same as the toner. It has a more goopy consistency, and if you try to split the amount you've pumped out, it goes all stringy, a bit like glue. Some people have said it feels more like snail slime than the other products but I don't really think that and it doesn't really bother me; like I said, it's just a bit more goopy that the others. It's not sticky when you apply it to your face though, and again, spreads and absorbs easily. The purpose of the essence is moisture and the general benefits of snail extract, white mushroom extract, pork placenta and caviar extract (shown above in the 'Product Information' part) which is brightening and evening of the skin tone, encouraging cell growth and renewal, repairing the skin's moisture barrier and plumping the skin. I use two half pumps, one on each side of my face since it's hard to split one full pump due to the goopiness. Other than the face cream, this was the first product to run out. I sawed the bottle in half and was able to get about a week's extra supply by using a cotton bud to retrieve it! *hobobeauty*

P1100027
The emulsion is thicker and creamier than the essence, with a milky white colour. This actually smells more citrusy than the rest of the products for some reason! Again, it absorbs really fast. This is the last product that will run out, other than the eye cream, which I started using after I started the other products. I actually ended up using too much of this product almost every night due to the opening of the bottle, as mentioned above, yet it's the last thing to run out? ...Okay.

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This is the eye cream. I was using Clinique's All About Eyes when I first started using the Secret Key Snail & EGF Toner, Essence, Emulsion and Face Cream. I ordered the eye cream to go with it and when I used up my Clinique one, switched to it so I started using the Secret Key Snail & EGF Eye Cream after I started the rest of the line. I'm about halfway through the eye cream. It has the same brightening, evening, repairing and hydration properties as the cream. I started using this cream after I used the Balance Syn-ake Eye Cream to lighten my dark circles considerably so I was worried they'd darken again after switching to a new eye cream. I'm happy to say this eye cream maintained them and maintains the hydration in my eye area too. The eye cream doesn't really smell of anything and it absorbs and spreads easily. However, when combined with certain products that aren't part of the Snail & EGF line it can actually sting a little...more specifically, the Aurelia Revitalise and Glow Serum, I haven't tried anything else.
durability
The whole line delivers hydration, brightening, cell growth/renewal and skin barrier strengthening. My skin has no dry flakes or tightness whilst using this line. Applying the skincare in the morning makes my skin feel hydrated and soft all day with or without makeup. At night I apply a couple of other products for night time hydration and again, the sensation lasts. In the morning, before makeup or not, I used to apply the toner, essence, emulsion, eye cream and face cream. Nowadays I use Clinique's Liquid Facial Soap in Extra Mild, Clarifying Lotion #1, the toner, emulsion, eye cream and Astral face cream now a couple of the products have run out. At night I applied the toner, essence, emulsion, eye cream, face oil (pure rice bran oil) and Astral moisturiser and nowadays I use the Clinique soap and Clarifying Lotion again, the toner, emulsion, eye cream, face oil and Astral cream.
mythoughts
I really like this skincare line - the benefits are great, actually work and the line is super cheap yet high quality. They don't feel the need to charge through the roof with ingredients like snail extract, EGF, pork placenta, white mushroom extract or caviar extract. There's a lot of higher end lines toting caviar extract as a luxury ingredient charging 10 times the price. The skincare line is great for my dry skin and I can imagine it's good for dry combination skin if you only use the toner, essence, emulsion, eye cream and face cream as opposed to adding in extra products like I do at night. With oilier skin types, you can actually swap the Snail & EGF Face Cream for the Snail & EGF Gel instead. I'd definitely give this line a 5/5 for price, quality, packaging (not cute but kind of chic looking) and durability. It's a great, affordable introduction to the delights of Korean skincare. The only niggle is that it's a bit hard to get, since you have to order through Koreadepart or eBay.

3 comments:

  1. thanks for the review unnie:) actually now its available also in beautynetkorea and testerkorea as far as I know... I am going to place an order of the essence for christmas

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  2. How do you think this system compares to the Rhoto Hada Labo Goku Jyuun system? Thank you :) This was a very helpful review. Also how old were you when you did the review? You mentioned you have used it since you were 16.... but I don't know how old you are now. I'm 30, so my needs my be different haha.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't used the Hada Labo Goku Jyuun system yet but it's funny you should ask - I've just came back from a trip to Japan, where I bought the entire system so I'll let you know how it compares! I'm 22 now and even though at the moment I don't use the Secret Key Snail and EGF Repairing line, I still really like it and would use it all the time if I didn't have other items to try! I'm not sure of the anti-aging benefits of the line though, I think it's more about prevention since the ingredients and benefits are hydration, firming, repairing the skin cells, etc! I hope that you like the line if you try it! Thanks for your comment! :)

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