I want to start the third season of fanserviced-b with something that surprised and delighted me. I’ll be giving a jar of the Hanyul balm away to a reader at the end of the post, so don’t dart out without registering to win.
Since Caroline Hirons announced that her last Cult Beauty box would contain a solid-but-melting moisturizing balm called The Blue Cocoon made by May Lindstrom Skin, I’ve been intrigued by the concept of oil balms meant to soothe skin rather than remove makeup. The Blue Cocoon sounded lovely, but the $160 price for a 50ml jar put the brakes on my cocoon curiosity.
At that point, The Blue Cocoon sounded like a rather unique product to me. I hadn’t been aware of anything similar in kbeauty, and assumed that I’ve have to pony up for the blue stuff or forever be stuck with handling my dry patches the way I have always been.
Luckily, I have ADHD and am prone to following research trails for hours on end (this is literally how I did the first few years of research for my doctoral dissertation). In the course of casting my net again and again for something entirely else I found a product that sounded magical: a kbeauty moisturizing balm that’s very well reviewed by Korean skincare fans and costs less than $20 per jar. Needless to say, I rushed to order it.
I usually take months to test and review products, if at all. This is an exception. I knew from the first time I used it that it’s a true find and something that needs to come to the attention of the community ASAP.
Introducing the Multibalm
Before finding this Hanyul balm, I assumed that there were two types of balms: lip balms we’ve all known about for ages and oil cleansing balms such as Banila Co’s Clean It Zero. It turns out that there’s more to the story: a “multi balm” or “moisturizing balm” is a skincare product that’s made of oil and other ingredients that’s solid until you apply it to skin to melt it into an oil-liquid using your body heat. It’s different from straight oils in terms of portability, obviously, and that it’s sometimes formulated to be a bit easier to spread. They can be used on lips, but also just about anywhere that needs some moisturizing action.
Once I noticed the Hanyul multibalm I’m reviewing here, I started to notice other multibalms from companies like 3CE, Sulwhasoo, Mamonde, and Primera. They had always been there, I just didn’t know that they were different from lip balm! I found the Hanyul balm to have the most promising ingredient list for those hoping to find a high-quality, low-price alternative to The Blue Cocoon and the best Korean reviews of the bunch.
What it does
This balm is packed with emollient oils and shea butter that soften and soothe dry, chapped skin.
Where to use it
I use this on my face skin and lips, but you could also apply it to elbows or whatever else needs mega softening and soothing. Here’s a chart showing all the uses. It kind of reminds me of Windex from My Big Fat Greek Wedding–it’s sort of a do-everything, fix-everything with the added benefit of not being a household cleansing product unintended for use on skin.
When I use it
I have naturally normal, now oily-due-to-hormones skin, so I apply this at night right before going to bed when I use my prescription retinoid (Curology). You can think of it as an…oily sleeping pack.
If you have bone-dry skin you might be able to get away with using this on your whole face under bb cream or foundation. I suspect that unless your skin is extremely dry, this will result in mid-day oil slick conditions for most people if worn under makeup.
How I use it
I take a small amount of balm out of the jar with a scoop (this balm does come with a scoop, but I sort of destroyed the packaging and misplaced the original scoop while switching my office with my bedroom, so check out Jolse’s blog post with lots of nice packaging and scoop photos), place it on the back of my hand to let it melt (using my finger to push it around and speed up the melting), and then apply the melted oil to my face on dry areas. When I’m using lots of acids and tretinoin, I just apply it all over.
In some cases, I need just a bit of dry skin relief for my lips or a dry patch, so I run my [clean] finger along the top of the balm like it’s lipgloss and apply it directly to my skin. The heat of my finger combined with the small amount of product I’m picking up allows it to melt on contact.
Since I have normal-to-oily skin, I really wouldn’t need this product if I wasn’t using acids and tretinoin.
Think of it as a dry skin rescue product and reflect on whether your skin has needed basically an…oily chapstick…in the last few months. If not, skip it!
Why not just use a facial oil?
Many of the ingredients in this balm are emollient oils, so why not just use a straight facial oil instead?
The main reason is that the ingredients make the product thinner and more effective than any oil I’ve applied to my face, giving it way more slip, and a less oily/coated feeling. It’s also mixed with shea butter, which really calms and soothes my angry skin. It’s like a super-charged hit of skin chill-out with major payoff in the morning.
This oil does not really sink into my face. I mean, it does a bit, but it mainly hangs out on the surface, which means that I lay carefully on my back and then get frustrated and end up mashing my oiled up face into my pillow when I decide that, fuck it, I really care more about sleep than my face. Despite this attitude, I wake up with amazingly moisturized skin, so perhaps I just need to scale back my balm portion a bit to cut down on the surface oil.
Will this block out my sunscreen and other products I layer over it?
Not if you only use it at night! ahahaha
Also, the oils used in this Hanyul balm are emollient oils, not occlusive, so they won’t truly “seal in” other products or block your sunscreen’s effectiveness, as far as I know. It’s not petroleum jelly.
I wake up in the morning after using this and my face feels so SILKY. To be clear: I’ve mainly tested this with a two-step routine: Curology and Hanyul balm, so it’s not like there are any other steps that might be making my skin feel so soft.
Additionally, this seems to help dead skin that has peeled–due to my acids and prescription medication–roll off my face with the help of some water and a light massage in the shower. I asked my friend Chel, blogger and skincare maker at Holy Snails, what could account for emollient oils helping me roll dead skin off with ease in the morning and she said that it’s possible that the oils reconstitute the dead skin (puffing it up) and allow it to detach from the rest of my not-peely skin. It’s a disgusting and satisfying way to exfoliate very gently and deal with what’s known as “tretface” (super flaky dry skin due to using prescription face medication).
Sunflower Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Wax, Cocoa Seed Butter, Olive Fruit Oil, Shea Butter, Squalane, Lithospermum Erythrorhizon Root Extract, Sesame Seed Oil, Nelumbo Nucifera Germ Extract, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Pinus Koraiensis Seed Oil, Apricot Seed Oil, Glyceryl Caprylate, Fragrance.
CosDNA analysis. There are a few possible acne triggers in the list, so review it carefully if you have acne or reactive skin and always patch test products before applying them on your whole face. My skin is obviously acne-prone, but that’s due to hormones over-producing oil, not ingredient reactions. My skin loves this, but if your skin hates oils, it may not be a good fit for you.
This has a fairly light, but noticeable smell. It’s sort of like…a lighter version of Primera’s general skincare smell? Sort of forest and meadow fresh hanbang. Not unpleasant to me, but not addictive or anything. Although this contains sesame seed oil, you will not dream of grilled kalbi or other tasty Korean food–I didn’t detect any of that scent, which means that I can sleep without fear of being licked to death by my cats and/or husband.
Compared to The Blue Cocoon
Ingredients: Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil, Butyrospermun Parkii (Shea) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Sclerocarya Birrea (Virgin Marula) Oil, Calodendrum Capense (Yangu) Oil, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Oil, Tanacetum Annuum (Blue Tansy) Oil, Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Boswellia Carteri (Frankincense) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium Rose) Oil, Vanilla Planifolia CO2 Total Essential Oil, Schisandra Sphenanthera CO2 Fruit Extract, Helichrysum Italicum (Immortelle) Oil, Ravensara Aromatica Oil. (from Eco Diva) [BOLDED ingredients are also found in the Hanyul balm.]
I’ve been extremely curious about May Lindstrom’s The Blue Cocoon, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to test it! Eco Diva Beauty offers a 3ml sample for $10.50 plus shipping, so I grabbed one. In total I spent $15.50 for my sample, not bad considering the overall price of a regular jar, but also just $4.40 less than a regular-size jar of the Hanyul balm bought using Amazon Prime (which is obviously not the absolute cheapest way to buy it).
I have to say first that I reject the rise of eco organic conscious skincare on the grounds that it is often motivated more by a class-based urge toward distinction based on taste than any sort of skincare science or reason, no matter what stories people tell themselves. The rationale for buying such overpriced, shakily-scienced products is both fear that normal things will kill you or fuck you up, but also a desire to demonstrate superior taste and consciousness. I have no patience for this sort of nonsense unless the products happen to be good.
That said, I thought that this was a good product. I mean, on one hand, it smells like something fucking biblical–potent, strange to my nose, possibly useful for embalming dead skin that you need to look fresh as hell…heaven in three days. Did I mention the smell? THE SMELL. Do not invest in this without buying a sample first, please. I’m so thankful that I don’t need to use a full jar of it.
The actual results were good. Whereas the Hanyul balm makes my face feel satiny in the morning, this make it feel more velvety. I’m down with both fabrics.
The consistency of the melted The Blue Cocoon is thicker than that of the Hanyul balm, and it melts more easily. Due to the thicker consistency and quick melting, I applied this straight to my face in order to get the most product on my face rather than the back of my hand.
As someone who prefers less pronounced smells, a thinner balm formula, and doesn’t care about the eco conscious organicness of my skincare, the Hanyul balm is more my style, but I can see how someone with different priorities could like The Blue Cocoon a lot, especially if they liked the smell. The Hanyul balm is really not at all a Blue Cocoon dupe, but they do have similarities.
Where to Buy Hanyul Ja Cho Moisturizing Balm
*Note that if you buy this and there’s a white “bloom” on the surface of the balm when you open it, that’s actually natural and due to changes in temperature and humidity. Same thing happens to chocolate. The product is fine!
How to Win a full-size Hanyul Ja Cho Moisturizing Balm
Enter using this Rafflecopter widget.
Rules: This giveaway is open to kbeauty fans worldwide, who live in a country to which the USPS ships regular mail (99.99% of all countries). Entrants must be 18 years of age or older, or must have the express permission of a parent or legal guardian to enter and receive the prize. Entries will be verified. There will be a total of one prize and one winner: one winner of the Hanyul Ja Cho Moisturizing Care Balm. The prize will be marked as a gift and with a low value to help the winner avoid Customs charges, but ultimately any Customs charges or taxes charged by the winner’s home country are not the responsibility of fanserviced-b. fanserviced-b is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes. The winner is responsible for verifying the freshness and suitability of all prize items before using them; fanserviced and fanserviced-b are not responsible for the effect of any products received as part of a giveaway on skin or general health. I will notify the winners within 24 hours of the contest close. The prize winners will have 36 hours to contact me with their mailing addresses. If any of the winners do not contact me within 36 hours, the winning entry is void and I will draw another winner. This giveaway is void where prohibited.
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