A couple of months ago, I was whipped into a Cremorlab buying frenzy on my trip to Seoul. Right before I left, I was constantly reading raves of this seemingly hidden gem of a brand. Into the Gloss loved it (thrice). Michelle Phan adored it. The Coveteur advocated it. Glamour listed it as one of five sheet masks to try (the only recommendation under USD10). The brand also appeared in Marie Claire, Byrdie, Teen Vogue, and Huffington Post. So in my (weak) defence, it was perfectly reasonable to get excited about this emerging superstar brand.
By the time I landed, I was all fired up to clean their shelves out. And when I finally hunted them down (here’s where you can score some in Seoul), I bought at least one of every product (there was also a storewide sale on). Even for an impulsive bulk buyer like me, it was excessive considering the fact that I haven’t tried anything from the brand before. That was how sure I was that this brand was gonna be my Skin Soulmate.
In this mega long post:
- Initial attraction
- Honeymoon period
- Review of Cremorlab Hydro Plus Snow Falls Melting Cream
- Review of Cremorlab Hydro Plus Snow Falls Velvet Toner
- Review of Cremorlab Hydro Plus Snow Falls Water-full Serum
- Disillusion and thoughts
THE INITIAL ATTRACTION
Unlike the 2374837 blogs out there who reviewed the new classic in hydration – yes, it is the official tagline and so many bloggers use that as their
shill review title – it wasn’t the packaging that I loved. My optimism stemmed from their stellar ingredient list and skincare approach that included:
- TEN water. All Cremorlab products hero this magical water pumped from their own source in Geumjin 1,100 metres below sea level, containing 300 times the amount of minerals found in ‘normal’ thermal water in the golden ratio of 1:6:1 for optimum absorption. Apparently, the brand has exclusive rights to the hot springs there and is building a spa to be opened in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea.
- Small molecular size.They claim to deliver ultimate absorption rates by keeping their products’ particles smaller than pores.
- 6 free. All products free of parabens, artificial colouring, mineral oil, paba (sunscreen ingredient linked to cancer// Edit: sources here, here, and here), petrolatum and benzophenene (preservative).
- Various cool hero ingredients across different products: The Hydro Plus Snow Falls line I’m reviewing today features edelweiss extract (a potent antioxidant that soothes irritation), hyaluronic acid, marine collagen. and glycerine.
THE HONEYMOON PERIOD
When I returned from my trip, I was super excited to try my massive Cremorlab haul. Of these three, I briefly tried two – the cream moisturizer and serum – and fell in love with the light, fluffy texture that seemed to sink into my skin. Each Cremorlab range also seemed to have their own scent, and the Hydro Plus line has a clean, light floral fragrance.
The packaging quality is also top-notch; while being plastic, nothing feels cheap at all. Everything feels sturdy and well made in your hands, and looks amazing on the shelf. So without patch-testing (yes, I was that confident), I introduced the toner into my regime, then a week later, the melting cream before adding in the water-full serum two weeks after that.
CREMORLAB HYDRO PLUS SNOW FALLS MELTING CREAM REVIEW
Let’s start with the biggest disappointment, shall we?
I won’t drone on about how hard it was to track these down, but it isn’t easily found online either. Only PeachandLily has them (USD42), and I know that Cremorlab is also stocked in HK and Taiwan stores. On eBay you can find this ambitious seller from Taiwan listing it for USD62.
25ml for roughly KRW20,000 (USD17). I got these at Lohbs on a storewide anniversary discount. It comes in a pastel blue jar, which I love – the colour not the jar – and every part of it was indulgent. No sharp corners, fancy spatula, sturdy container. A slightly smaller size also means that it’s easier to travel with.
I know heavily fragranced stuff isn’t the best, but this has a muted floral scent that makes you think of lakes, lying on a bed of soft grass with a non-UVA/UVB sun shining on your face. It is probably the best part about the product. Fragrance is listed as the 12th ingredient for this product on PeachandLily.
Other than their TEN water, the star ingredients listed are all the way at the bottom while potential triggers are at the top – including alcohol.
Water, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Alcohol Denat., Isopropyl Myristate, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Dimethicone, Potassium Hydroxide, Caprylyl Glycol, Polysorbate 60, Fragrance (Parfum), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Iris Versicolor Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Flower/Leaf Extract, Rose Extract, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract, Freesia Refracta Extract, Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus (Daffodil) Flower Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrolyzed Collagen
(Key: Red = Ingredients with a 2 or more acne/irritant rating on CosDNA,
Green = Hero ingredients/extracts that are supposed to be beneficial but may not be listed on CosDNA)
This product might be the reason why the entire range is named Snow Falls. It’s ultra fluffy, dainty texture mimics that of real snow; light as a feather and melts upon landing within the heat of your palm. It is so dreamy, and might stand on the other end of the spectrum of Skincaretainment – the side that makes you sigh in pure contentment and drift off to unicornland. If you’ve ever used Hazeline Snow, it feels like a pumped up, more luxe and expensive version of it.
The first few times I used this, I was so infatuated with the souffle texture and how it would just melt on my skin. I use the spatula to get a small dollop on my palms, rub them together to warm it up, and press it onto my face. it is a truly decadent step in my skincare regime, best before bedtime, and the experience can be compared it to the La Mer.
However, just like the La Mer, it did nothing for me. Or rather, my skin type. After that fancy melting-and-rubbing massage, the cream just sits on my face, waiting to be given cuddles without kisses in return. It just sits there. Like a very pretty and nice-smelling Vaseline. If I use it in the day, I dread seeing my face when I get to the office because in the hour I take to get there, my makeup would have started sliding off, even with my hardcore MUFE primer. While the greasiness I get with this is nothing compared to the Su:m37 Miracle Finisher, it has still been reneged to the back of my products. Where it sits, waiting for the phone to ring.
- Melty snow texture
- Pretty on your shelf
- Makes you feel like Queen Hera
- Stupid jar packaging, ain’t nobody got time for spatulas
- Makes makeup melt
- Doesn’t absorb
Repurchase? Hell to the no. I’ve given this two weeks – because unlike serums and ampoules and essences, moisturizers work on a ‘top-down level’ and I usually decide if I like it or hate it within a week or less. It’s supposed to seal all that awesome shit from before it in, so if it doesn’t seal, doesn’t absorb, doesn’t hydrate, well, you don’t need a full skin cycle of 28 days to see that. Unfortunately I bought two of this in my schoolgirl romance enthusiasm, so now I have one to give away. Probably my mom, because I wanna see how it works on matured skin. Maybe she’ll love it?
Bonus: I recently got a skin analyzer that reads your moisture, oil, and softness levels, and while I’m still in the process of trying to work it out (the manual is fully in Japanese), I tested the Cremorlab Melting Cream with the Mizon All-In-One Snail Cream just for reference.
Before: Moisture -1, Oiliness 4 (fuck genetics), Softness 1
Cremorlab Melting Cream: Moisture 3, Oiliness 4, Softness 3
Mizon AIO Snail Cream: Moisture 4, Oiliness 2 (??), Softness 4
Not sure what my thoughts on this are, seeing that a) Cremorlab claims 72h of top-notch hydration after application and b) Mizon AIO Snail cream ain’t the most hydrating moisturizer around and it STILL beat Cremorlab.
CREMORLAB HYDRO PLUS SNOW FALLS VELVET TONER REVIEW
Same as above.
150ml for KRW15,000 (USD13). Retails for AUD40 here, or if you’re in Singapore it is on sale for SGD37 here now. The packaging isn’t that interesting to me, but it is still well designed. The body is slim and plastic, but doesn’t feel cheap as well. It has a small opening that dispenses the toner in drops when you shake it, so there’s no product wastage.
Same fragrance as above, but stronger.
No red flags in this – at least according to CosDNA. The star ingredients are also a lot higher on the list than the cream.
Water, Sodium Lactate, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Styrene/VP Copolymer, Octyldodeceth-16, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance(Parfum), Butylene Glycol, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Iris Versicolor Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Flower/Leaf Extract, Rose Extract, Freesia Refracta Extract, Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus (Daffodil) Flower, Extract, Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract
This is a hydrating toner, and it is very watery, slightly whitish with a lot of slip. I pat this on my face instead of swiping with a cotton pad like I do with the pH-adjusting Mizon AHA/BHA Daily Clean toner.
I am so lost on this. Two weeks after slapping this around, I still have no idea what it’s supposed to do. It feels nice, sinks into my skin after about 15 seconds, but it doesn’t seem to brighten or hydrate my skin much. Since its biggest selling point was adding moisture and softening skin, I gave up after the lack of results because it had replaced my Missha First Treatment Essence and I was getting annoyed. Needed my brightness back. Also, it is more heavily fragranced than the cream and I was just a little icky about that.
- Pretty on your shelf, maybe
- Medium absorption speed
- Does not do what it’s supposed to
Nope. Nope nopitty nope. Might use it to tone my back, if just to finish it.
CREMORLAB HYDRO PLUS SNOW FALLS WATER-FULL SERUM REVIEW
Same as above.
30ml for KRW28,000 (USD24). I adore the packaging on this, even though for its size it is not the cheapest thing around. The plastic body on this is a sleek matte pastel plastic, but it feels very nice and solid in your hands. And everyone loves pump bottles! Retails for USD48 on PeachandLily.
Same as above, but not as discernible.
Gah, what a shitty wormhole this is. An essay list of ingredients, with 5 potential trigger/irritants.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Alcohol Denat., C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Pentylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, Beeswax, Steareth-20, Stearic Acid, Ceteth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Arginine, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Fragrance (Parfum), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Squalane, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower/Leaf Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Iris Versicolor Extract, Leontopodium Alpinum Flower/Leaf Extract, Rose Extract, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract, Freesia Refracta Extract. Narcissus Pseudo-Narcissus (Daffodil) Flower Extract, Phenoxyethanol
The consistency of this serum is closer to that of Western skincare than Asian, though it’s still very lightweight for its ‘class’. Upon contact with my skin, it starts to melt (as you can see in the pic) and is easily absorbed.
As it is with the toner, this looks great, smells okay, and applies just like it’s supposed to. But it just doesn’t work. For all the trumpeting of ingredients, this doesn’t hydrate me much or soften my skin in the few weeks that I’ve tried. It also leaves behind a slightly sticky and shiny finish, which I cannot stand. And when all the other stuff in my regime has a defined purpose, the bar is obviously raised on the newbies that I introduce to the gang. This serum does not meet that bar. In the picture below, the right half of my wrist is freshly applied with the serum, while the left is bare.
- Melty and easy to apply
- Fast absorption speed
- Great packaging
- Does not do anything
- Sticky and shiny finish
- Not easy to find
Uh. I don’t think so.
DISILLUSION AND THOUGHTS
I have a lot of Cremorlab stuff left to try, so even if I’m very hesitant about doing it, I still want to give certain items like the Smooth Pudding cream a second chance. Maybe the Hydro Plus line or even the Cremorlab brand is more suited for dry/mature skin and I was just trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. But after such a huge disappointment, I find myself more cautious of new brands I hear about no matter how miraculous they seem to be or how much love they’re currently getting. I especially have a new found distrust for Western media when they introduce Asian products, since the main information source they seem to rely upon are the usual US webstores hawking their stuff. So while it’s been a painful (and kinda pricey) lesson, I am a lot more prudent with my hauls now – which is good, right?
All products have been purchased with my own money and opinions here are 100% my own.