January 31, 2021

 You know how I know 2021 is going to be a better year than 2020? Because it’s January and I not only remembered that I want to write a best of 2020 roundup, but am actually doing it instead of pushing it aside for so long that it becomes pointless to even publish it (who wants to read a 2020 roundup in May 2021?). That’s why.

This will be a broader Best Of list than I’ve done before, because one of the lessons I learned in 2020 was how interconnected all of our pursuits are, and how important all of them can be for the maintenance of our overall mental health and well-being. During normal times, it’s easy to forget how much our mundane everyday decisions can affect us. During abnormal times, their impact becomes clear.



Sekkisei Treatment Cleansing Oil and Emulsion

As we get to the end of this list, in the wake of my love for a $200 cream, I’m incredibly relieved to finish this off with two products that gave me distinct Sulwhasoo vibes, sometimes at distinctly not-Sulwhasoo prices. I got lucky this year to stumble into an opportunity to review Sekkisei’s Treatment Cleansing Oil and Emulsion, and I’m glad I did. I doubt I ever would have tried them otherwise.

Sekkisei Treatment Cleansing Oil

For years, I’ve had two great cleansing oil loves. Both are medium thickness oils that massage easily over skin, break up even stubborn waterproof makeup and water-resistant sunscreen without much effort, emulsify well, and rinse off cleanly. On the more budget-friendly end of the spectrum is Japanese drugstore brand Hada Labo’s Gokujyun Cleansing Oil, a no-nonsense option that I don’t feel bad about also using to clean my sunscreen puffs and makeup brushes. On the higher end of the spectrum is Sulwhasoo’s Gentle Cleansing Oil, which enhances the cleansing experience with fun herbal additions and a beautiful scent.

Sitting right between them is Sekkisei Treatment Cleansing Oil, which costs a few dollars less than Sulwhasoo’s for a much larger bottle of product but retains a sense of luxury and indulgence thanks to Sekkisei’s choice of skin-friendly herbal extracts and distinctive scent. I’ve had my bottle open for several months now and am not even halfway through with it, despite using it for more than just my face. After I eventually finish this one, meanwhile, I have a second bottle to open and expect I’ll be perfectly happy to do so instead of moving on.

Sekkisei Treatment Cleansing Oil ingredients: Mineral oil, PEG-8 glyceryl isostearate, cetyl ethylhexanoate, cyclomethicone, water, glycerin, angelica acutiloba root extract, carthamus tinctorus (safflower) seed oil, coix lacryma-jobi (job’s tears) seed oil, melothria heterophylla root extract, sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil, tocopherol, alcohol, phenoxyethanol, fragrance

CosDNA analysis

Sekkisei is no longer at Costco as far as I know, but you can now find them at new K-beauty online store Plump Shop. I happen to know the team behind Plump Shop and can vouch for their products’ authenticity and their reliable order fulfillment.

Also, the pretty pretty blue bottles add some visual enjoyment to my routine, too.

Sekkisei Emulsion

I feel even more strongly about the Sekkisei Emulsion than I do about the Treatment Cleansing Oil, because this is one of only two emulsions I’ve ever loved. Two pumps covers me from hairline all the way down my chest, and the milky liquid moisturizer packs a surprising amount of hydration with a lightweight and totally non-greasy finish. I find this unbelievably useful on mornings when I want extra hydration but don’t have the time or energy to add a toner or essence to my routine. It does have a noticeable initial scent of alcohol as I put it on, but the scent fades quickly, and the fragrance of the product is otherwise pleasant to me. As an extra bonus, the Sekkisei Emulsion sits really well under the sunscreens I like and dries down so smoothly that it almost doubles as a makeup primer. It’s good stuff.

Sekkisei Emulsion ingredients: Water, alcohol, butylene glycol, glycerin, dipropylene glycol, ascorbyl glucoside, propylene glycol dicaprate, dimethicone, cetearyl alcohol, dipentaerythrityl hexahydroxystearate/hexastearate/hexarosinate, squalane, angelica acutiloba root extract, coix lacryma-jobi (job’s tears) seed extract, gentiana lutea root extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, inula brittanica flower extract, melothria heterophylla root extract, paeonia suffruticosa root extract, polyphosphorylcholine glycol acrylate, tocopheryl acetate, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, C13-14 isoparaffin, cellulose gum, citric acid, disodium EDTA, disodium phosphate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, hydrogenated lecithin, hydrogenated rapeseed glycerides, laureth-7, PEG-8, polyacrylamide, polysorbate 80, sodium hydroxide, sodium methyl stearoyl taurate, sorbitan stearate, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, fragrance

CosDNA analysis


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