Updated: Hope In A Blog Beauty Awards 2013



I’ve tried so many products over the past year, and haven’t wrote reviews about them so I thought that I’d just sum up the ones that I loved through this post! Don’t hesitate the products that you have loved over 2013 too!

One of the reasons why I’ve stopped blogging is because I found out that marketing intelligence departments, consulting agencies, professionals have been using information on this blog for their own benefits, and none of the credit goes to the blog. So basically, they are paid thousands of dollars using my information, trends, etc..  while I pay on my own to keep the site going. Therefore, perhaps I will just focus only on reviewing products.

Not to mention, since starting work, I now I have a tunnel to channel my passion for cosmetics. I really love what I am doing at the moment. I have learnt so much over this past year and a half and it is amazing when you are able to do what you love. I have been like a sponge, absorbing everything and have started to develop my own personal taste, aesthetics, style, principles, and preferences in beauty . Hopefully, one day, all of you will be able to see my products on my market, and I hope that they will bring you guys happiness and hope just like what they bring to me.

Anyway let’s start !


Best Cleansing Product




There is just something about this product that brings a luxurious experience. From the petals found on the stick, to that exquisite rose scent on your face, and that naturalness and mildness of this product brings an entirely comfortable experience. However, the packaging isn’t very hygienic but that doesn’t hinder me from repurchasing this product.

Anyway due to the success of this product, Sum37 has also pushed out a charcoal version of the cleansing stick which I am sure will be an excellent product for oily skin.

Other notable mentions : Hera SIlky Cleansing Mousse, Chosungah Raw Black Bubble Cleanser, History Of Whoo Jinyul Cleansing Oil.




Best Exfoliating Product



This product has been my favourite for years and I have not found anything that has been as efficient as this. It basically looks like you have a new skin when you peel this product off, and your skin is extra smooth and doesn’t dry it up either. That herbal scent is also very therapeutic, though it is very personal. Sulwhasoo also has another exfoliating product that is amazingly hydrating, mild and amazing too!

Other notable mentions : Re:nk Bubble Mask, Sulwhasoo White Ginseng Exfoliating Gel.


Best Mask



This unique gel mask is extremely hydrating and your skin will definitely be so hydrated for at least 12 hours. It really plumps up your skin and feels as if that every cell in your skin feels so happy, full of moisture. However, be careful of dried-up masks because it happened to a few of my friends. But if you have a freshly produced mask full of essence, you will see why I like it so much.

Other notable mentions : Naruko Magnolia Sheet Mask, Sulwhasoo Trufresh Soothing Skin, SK2 Facial Treatment Essence, Hera Aquabolic Soft Touch Mask



Best First-Step Serum



My bet this year is that the First Step Serum trend will launch worldwide. You will probably see this appearing in all non-korean brands over the next year and Estee Lauder has just released their own version a few days ago. This might even be the next asian ‘big thing’ after the BB and CC Creams, and when that happens, the whole world will know the Sulwhasoo First Care Serum, THE serum that launched this phenomenon and the original one. The first step serum routine has been something I have incorporated into my beauty routine for years, and I have tried almost every first-care serum you can find on the market ( about 40+ ), and I always come back to the Sulwhasoo one. The first-step serum is my favourite skincare routine step! It is the step that makes all the difference throughout the day.

Other notable mentions : Allvit First Care Serum, Sooryehan Bio Ginseng First Essence, Hanyul Optimizing Essence, OHUI The First Cell Source, The History Of Whoo Soon Hwan Essence, The History Of Whoo All In One Treatment, SUm37 Secret Programming Essence, SK-II Facial Treatment Essence.


Best Lotion


It was a fight between this and the Sum37 Waterfull Toner. The OHUI Aqua Healing Magic Potion is a summer toner that has a gel-like texture that breaks into water and is immediately absorbed into the skin! Very refreshing and the skin is immediately hydrated.

Other notable mentions : Sum37 Waterfull Toner, Hadalabo Lotion, OHUI Hydra Formula Lotion Fresh, Sk2 Cellumination Mask In Lotion.




Best Serum/Essence/Ampoule



I just love the Lirikos Marine Hydro Ampoules. It is meant to be a 1 month program, but I use it daily as my serum. It’s super light, refreshing, and absorbs immediately into the skin. The skin also becomes really hydrated with time, and after a few days, you can already see the difference. It’s also a very popular product in Korea.

Other notable mentions : History Of Whoo Soo Yeon Essence, Donginbi Red Ginseng Aqua Oil, Amore Pacific All Day Balancing Serum,




Best Cream



If I had to pick the best moisturizing line in the world, It would probably be the Waterfull line from Sum37. Nothing hydrates my skin better than this entire line. I have been using this on-and-off for the past 2 years and can’t find anything better. The triple layer ampoule is a little rich and oily, so if you have combi or oily skin, you can skip that. LG really does produce good moisturizing creams : Belif’s Aqua bomb is quite similar to this, so as History Of Whoo Soo Yeon’s new moisturizing cream. Excellent! They have a gel cream version, but I prefer this!

Other notable mentions : Hera Water-inGel Cream, Primera Alpine Berry Watery Cream,




Best Primer


This isn’t really a classic primer – but it is a product that acts like one – but with concentrated skincare ingredients. This last step serum from Sulwhasoo will probably win Product Of The Year for me, and it has become a must-use, must-have product for me. At the end of your skincare routine, apply a layer of this. It immediately radiates your skin without any pearls or glitter. The result is a natural luminous finish. It also has a very matte finish ( not matte look ) and feels amazing on the skin. It really gives your skin that extra oomph! You can apply a BB after this, or mix it with your BB Cream. Can be used at night as well. I think Sulwhasoo will start the trend for skin finishers – and we have already seen a few on the market.

Other notable mentions : Banilaco Prime Primer,



Best Suncare Product


Sun products are really hard to make and good ones are hard to find! I like this DIorsnow UV Shield Compact. It is kind of like a primer balm. It doesn’t have any colour and has that silicone, powder finish that a primer gives. So if you are looking for high protection touchups throughout the day without applying liquid products that can be too greasy and white, this product is perfect! It has practically no color.

Other notable mentions : Sulwhasoo Hydroaid Moisturizing Sun Cream, Sum37 Sun Away Baked Essence, SK2 Cellumination UV Day Surge, OHUI Moist Cooling Sunblock, Chanel Daily Sunscreen SPF50. 



Best Highlighter



I don’t use highlighters as they have the glitters and pearls in them, but I can’t deny that is product is exceptional. All of my friends love this product, and it has top class texture, moistness and hydration. It can be TOO pearly, so I don’t know if sum37 changed the formula with this new packaging. Mine was the old packaging. This really is a texture to die for.

Other notable mentions: Re:NK Radiance Color Cream is also a dream if you have dry skin. It is rich in fermentation moisture, and has subtle pearls in it.



Best BB Cream


I gotta admit that BanilaCO produces very good BB Creams. I have yet to be disappointed with their BB offers. This is one of my favourite BBs of 2013. It has a very nice mousse-primer texture that is extremely spreadable and easy to apply with your hands. It also leaves a very nice natural finish.

Other notable mentions : Diorsnow BB Cream 010, Dr Jart Premium BB Cream, Sulwhasoo Snowise BB Cream, Lancome BB Complete, Chanel CC Cream



Best CC Cream



CC Creams are the star of 2013.. There were lots of really good CC Creams this year,it was really hard to pick. The Charmzone Albatross CC Cream is really moist, has a natural luminous coverage and doesn’t melt. It’s really a good CC Cream!

Since there were so many good CC Creams, I will also mention all of them that I loved without a particular order :

Sum37 CC Cream,

Hera CC Cream , IOPE CC Cream – rather similar but both are crazy good!

TonyMoly CC Cream



Best Cushion



I believe this needed a category of its own since there is so much out there now!

Jung Saem Mool Ice Foundcealer – is a new type cushion that’s very innovative unlike the other cushion products out there today. It has a metal plate that squeezes out the essence and it has a cooling sensation with very ultra-light texture! Highly recommended.

Other notable mentions : Amore Pacific CC Cushion. 







The best brand for me this year is Sum37. Their newly upgraded packaging, the universe they created, the advertistment campaigns, the visuals – everything was spot on. It’s the dream brand I would have created. If only I was the brand manager…








As I mentioned above, it would be the Sulwhasoo Finisher. Would Sulwhasoo create history once more with this last-step serum ?







If I were to let my inner artist go wild, the brand I would have created would be Chosungah 22. If I were to describe my inner universe and my aesthetics, it would be a merge between Chosungah 22, and Armani Beauty with hints of Diorsnow.  Chosungah 22 visuals, products and universe are just so unique and captivating. Have you tried any of their products? Not to be confused with Chosungah Raw which was already sold off.




As said above, my aesthetics and visual universe is very much like Armani Beauty collaboration with Chosungah 22, and hints of Diorsnow. Armani has done a fabulous fabulous over the past year with their skincare and makeup. The visuals are just enchanting, and everytime I close my eyes, I am immediately brought into the mysterious world of Armani Beauty. Almost everyday I dream of what I can bring to this brand, and how to strengthen it, and create my own Armani Beauty visuals and advertisements in my head! Haha.  I hope they would have good enough products to live up to their visual universe.


What were your favorite products of 2013? Share them below!


  • Anusha Puri

    I am so very happy after seeing you post.I owe a lot to this blog and i will forever be grateful and a loyal follower of this blog.Please keep writing hope.I felt bad when i read your blog information was misused.From this single post itself i got to know so many products.All the best hope ;) NAMI

    • hopeinablog

      thank u!

  • maru Lee

    Love this post! I’m itching to try su:m 37′s waterfull line and the cleansing stick<3 Anyway will continue to support your blog :) Much loves

    • hopeinablog

      thank u! u will like it i am sure!

  • lorena

    I am so happy that you are writing again, thank for the recomendations. It is an age range for the sulwhasoo last step serum?

    • hopeinablog

      nope, there isn’t! it’s more like a radiance booster!

  • ayachan

    I love Sum37 waterfull line!works on me and never failed to amaze me everyday. I have oily skin but works on me, you just have to massage it well so that it won’t sit on your skin. You’re right with the Sulwhasoo First care serum, it really does make difference. I love BanilaCo bb cream because they gave a nice coverage. I will probably try the Diorsnow if shield and Sum37 highlighter nextime.

    • hopeinablog

      great to have another waterfull fan!

  • Kooslee

    Glad you’re back. I love History of Whoo products. Su:m 37 cleansing cream looks interesting. I would like to try that.

    • hopeinablog

      I highly recommend the HERA one too

  • Jessica

    Hi, so glad to see you post again. It was insightful!

    Have a question for the su:m37 miracle rose cleansing stick, is it a makeup remover or the second step to our usual double cleansing? If its the first step, mu remover, then do we need to follow up with double cleanse?

    • hopeinablog

      it is meant to be a 2nd step cleanser!

      • Jessica

        Thanks! And I was wondering about the shelf life of su:m37 after opening. Do you have any idea?

        • hopeinablog

          most cosmetics are good 1-2 years after opening. but they might not be as effective..

  • moomoo

    Is the sum37 waterfull moisturizing cream suitable for combination skin in summer? since it is summer all year round here. I was wondering whether to purchase the waterfall moisturizing cream or gel cream since all I hear is raves about the moisturizing cream. I’m prone to breakouts but my skin type is more oily and dehydrated even though it is overall combination.

    Appreciate anyone who can advise. Thanks.

    • Jessica

      I’m from Singapore where its summer all year round (although its been rainy and cold for the past week brrrrrr). My skin type is dry combi and dehydrated. I’ve used both the cream and gel cream versions and I assure you that the cream version is loads better!

      I was wondering about the lifespan of su:m37 products after opening. I know the shelf life is 3 years from manufacturing date. But how about after opening? Since su:m37 is supposedly preservative free, how fast do we have to finish using it. I have been using one year as a gauge.

      • moomoo

        Thanks for sharing. I’m from singapore too! Are the 2 cream versions sticky and do u use them day and night or only at night? Do u use other products from the range and where r u purchasing it from? I am probably getting it online from korean seller.

        It’s slightly aircon weather here and not cold lah. Just comfy hehe.

        • Jessica

          I purchase from qoo10 from those korean sellers. There are really good deals for the waterfull toner and emulsion (refresher and gel lotion). SGD15.90 only!

          I use the entire waterfull line. Cream only at night. Day time i stop at the gel lotion. Our tropical weather isn’t really suitable for a rich cream in the day unless your skin is really dry.

          • moomoo

            Any links for me? I only saw 40 pcs of one item to select from. That is like 2 tubs worth of the original products.

            Yeah our weather is too humid for rich creams.

          • Jessica



            The above links are for full-sized toner and emulsion at 15.90 each. Good deal! But they may or may not be the upgraded versions that hopeinablog has been mentioning. You can ask the seller about it. As for samples…


            They have a mini kit for waterfull series here. Good if you wanna try out before committing to full sized. However they are probably the older version, not upgraded versions. For more precise sample satchets, head to gmarket.co.kr

          • moomoo

            Wow thanks. I will buy the gel lotion first on qoo10 since the price is so good. :)

            You bought the entire waterfull full size range? Then I guess your favourite is the gel lotion and moisturising cream? I need a luminous dewy glow on my dehydrated face and I hope those 2 items can help me achieve it!

    • hopeinablog

      agreed. the cream version is much better. but they upgraded both versions this year and i have yet to try the new gel version. will let u know as i just repurchased the entire line except the ampoules

      • moomoo

        I have made up my mind to purchase either version. I’m concerned that the cream version will cause acne breakouts though. :-(

        • Jessica

          Purchase a sample or travel kit before plunging into the full size! You can find samples selling in gmarket korea, as well as our local gmarket ->qoo10 Remember to buy from reputable sellers and enquire whether the sample cream is the newer or older version.

        • hopeinablog

          in that case, just get the lotion and toner, with the gel essence, or even the gel mist !

          • moomoo

            I have a friend who uses primera watery cream. Is the texture of primera more similar to gel or cream version of sum 37?

  • Jessica

    Seldom do I see taiwanese skincare products in your beauty awards list over the years. Upon seeing the naruko magnolia mask, I was pretty surprised! Moreover, I have been using naruko’s masks for some time. Namely, raw job’s tears, aqua cubic hydrating and magnolia EX.

    I’ve used the [naruko magnolia brightening and firming mask EX]. I found the whitening and brightening affects astounding upon removal of the mask. However I noticed that if you rub at your skin after masking, residue of white stuff actually comes out. The essence of the mask seems to form a film on the face, which I think results in that whitening and brightening effect visually. I wonder if you have experienced the same thing as me.

    • hopeinablog

      i like the naruko brand quite a lot! usually i put it on, and then go to sleep with it, so never actually rubbed it. will try the next time. but i usually exfoliate before sheet masks so they absorb better

      • Jessica

        I thought sheet masks are meant to be removed after 20min? Or do you mean you sleep with a 20min timer?

        I usually massage the mask serum into my face after masking, And it was during the usual massaging the i found the white residue flakes created. I will usually exfoliate, then toner, mask, massage the mask serum into the face, then seal it all in with a cream.

        • hopeinablog

          yes they are meant to be removed, but i always fall asleep after that!

          • Jessica

            Have you read about the harms of falling asleep on your mask? Once your skin is more moisturised compared to the moisture on the mask (ie mask is drying out), the reverse osmosis effect will make the mask absorb the moisture of your skin. You are better off not doing any mask at all than to fall asleep on a mask. Set an alarm to wake yourself up next time :)

          • hopeinablog

            haha yeah i have. the masks usually fall off after that anyway! lol

  • Danny

    Just a quick message to say I feel very sad your not doing the blog anymore I found it so inspirational and it got all my knowledge from reading your reviews . It’s a real shame xx be well

    • hopeinablog

      dont worry! i will still continue reviews and blogging!

  • Sasha

    So glad you’re back! Awesome Beauty Awards! It’s SO interesting! I’m totally adding some of the products in my wishlist :D

    It’s the first time I see the SUM37 Cleansing stick, I love this concept :O

    I really need to try the Sulwhasoo’s first care serum. I wanted to try it this year but I tried so many other things instead. Seeing you still love it is amazing and I need to buy it! :D

    • hopeinablog

      try the finisher too! :)

  • Sunita

    I am surprised that you didn’t mention Hera CC Cream! :o I love it!

    • hopeinablog

      haha i did mention it, Hera and Iope ;)

      • Sunita

        Oh, I see it now. Haha.

  • Kevin J.

    It’s undeniably HERA’s Cell Essence, IOPE’s Bio-Intensive Conditioning CC cream, and O’hui’s Cell Source. All the rest are arguably staples which I use and have never strayed away from.

  • Shadia Liou

    I’m glad that you haven’t left completely and permanently! Your blog is a jewel to those who wish to explore Korean beauty products, and you’ve definitely influenced quite a few of my purchases!

    I’m sorry to hear about the plagiarism, etc. Sadly, in this day and age, such acts seem more and more commonplace, and there’s not much one can do as a victim yet; kudos to you for keeping this site running, despite the thieves!

    I’m thrilled that the other reason you’ve been away is due to a busy and satisfying professional life! Your passion should do much good in the beauty world, and I look forward to seeing what it produces in the future!

  • kkamjong~

    hai! i love your blog, i hope you can continue to writes and reviews beside your daily busy life lol first i wanna ask you is about cc cream.. you mentioned above that tonymoly’s cc cream also good, but you didn’t mention which cc cream –because, you know right, they have too many various kind of cc cream– so i hope you can more detail about the product, because i’m a fan of tonymoly’s product so i hope i can get your reviews about their cc cream line. thank you for your reply~ :)

  • sickandtired

    I love this blog but for some reason my laptop freezes on this website. So I’m not here as often as I would like.
    But I am very desperate now and so I’m hoping someone might help.
    I received gift of Sooryehan Cheong Cheonganjin cleansing foam with my order of skincare from website store. And I absolutely love it. It is the only foam that leaves my very oily skin flawles.
    I tried 19 other cleansers from many brands but this one is just the best. The only one that would be very close is Aromame Mochere and Allvit but I have to wash my face twice to “de-oil it”.
    So I wonder where in USA I can get the Sooryehan one?
    The Korean store I buy from does not sell it seperatelly.
    I emailed LG with no responds.
    I tried to look around gmarket but no luck. I wonder if it is either new product and maybe not available much yet or old one or limited version?
    I also wonder what is the difference in between Yeha and Yunha.
    I even tried to ask in local Chinese stores if anybody would know anything but people look at my strange. Maybe Chinese don’t use fancy Korean brands?
    Anybody who could give me some info on how to get this Sooryehan foam, I would be very happy.
    Maybe I am too old for this blog (53) – I don’t see much info on Sooryehan or Allvit and just about non existent info on Sib Yang Saeng, which is BTW very effective on my oily skin. Specially the toner. It is the only one that keeps my skin breakout free.

    • thatgirlinnewyork

      Try this good U.S.-based resource–they know a lot about Korean skincare, and specifically, Sooryehan’s lines. Many of their products are good for those over 40! They have a retail location in NYC, but have excellent online consumer care response. They’ll answer your questions!

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