Sunday, June 30, 2013

Astalift Jelly Aquarysta (Picture heavy!)

Urgh, okay, I can't put off this post any longer. Sorry to have been procrastinating, but here goes...

Been using this Astalift Jelly Aquarysta for a few months now, and I don't want to admit it but I'll be sticking with it, in combination with SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, for a long time. You can call it whatever you want, but I hate the term "HG" because it implies I won't or can't get sick of the product, which is just not true. I get bored very easily, of anything and everything, including living environment, which explains why I've been moving about for the past decade (kind of sick of moving now too, actually, what to do? -.-'). That said, the 3 said products makes a hell of a skincare combo. Read on for my lengthy discovery and trial (and denial, ha...).

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure what this jelly is, exactly ^.^' I first read about it last summer from Rouge Deluxe, who was following Yumeko's weekly photo challenge. They got me curious enough about the Astalift brand to pick up the Moisture Kit from Astalift Japan as well as the Deluxe Trial Kit from Rakuten JP.

2012 Astalift trial Moisture Kit (top 2) and the Deluxe Trial Kit 2012 (bottom 2) from Rakuten JP.

I find it difficult to categorize this jelly. It's definitely *not* a moisturizer. As I'm tempted to call it a "hydrator" since there's no oil in its ingredients, or an "essence" of some kind, I'm reminded it's to be used immediately after cleansing, before toning with lotion (toner)! Even then, there is an entirely separate Essence (currently Essence Destiny) in this skincare line that is to be applied after lotion and before moisturizer, in combination with this jelly! In the end, I settled with just "facial treatment," because that's the only thing I can come up with for this product. Very creative, I know.

Astalift product guide 2013
***Screencap from Fuji Film Skincare Japan.

Jelly Aquarysta 0.5g packets from trial Moisture Kit 2012

Like its name suggest, it's a transparent red jelly scented with a very mild rose fragrance. Be rest assured that when FujiFilm says jelly, they really mean jelly - think thin and jiggly Jello, or if you're in Asia, jiggly coffee jelly or milk pudding. The really fun and neat thing about this product is that it doesn't matter how you mess it up, it will gradually melt back together. Even if you were to stir it frothy the night before, you will wake up to a pristine jar of jelly the next morning.

Supposedly, you are to use 0.5g for each application, which is one whole little packet from the trial kit. I find this is too much, and that about 1/4 to 1/3 of that amount feels better on me, depends. The jelly itself is very light and it spreads easily. You are to apply morning and night onto bare, cleansed skin, before layering on any other product, even lotion (toner). I follow this instruction for night use only, as in smoothing on Jelly Aquarysta first, splashing on Facial Treatment Clear Lotion and Facial Treatment Essence second and third in that order, then the rest of the layers follow. In the morning, I exfoliate with a toner after cleansing (currently using Shiseido Pureness Balancing Softener, will review soon), and so I apply this jelly after exfoliation. Then Facial Treatment Essence goes on, skipping the Clear Lotion (no AHA or BHA products during daytime - remember, these acids cause photosensitivity!), and the rest of the layers follow. Even though the jelly absorbs instantly, I wait 5-10 minutes before the next step anyway.

The 10g and 4g mini jars of Jelly Aquarysta from the Deluxe Trial Kit 2012.

I stumbled upon the winning combination of this Jelly Aquarysta, SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and Clear Lotion quite haphazardly. I know, you're probably thinking I'm full of sh*t because I claim accidental discovery a lot. But really, if I knew what works and planned out my skincare routine accordingly, this blog wouldn't exist as there wouldn't be any experimental journey to document! It didn't even occur to me these are the same 3 products Yumeko was singing her praise for in her blog post last summer. And since when did another gal's skincare combo ever work for me anyway? Everyone's skin is different, to say the least. So while I now too singing this combo's praise, just keep in mind it might not work for you at all!

Anyway, back in February I bought another tiny 40mL bottle of SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion (via to go with the rest of the 75mL bottle of Facial Treatment Essence I had started last fall. By late April, I was itching to move on as the SK-II products weren't really doing much. With less than 1/6 the bottle of the Facial Treatment Essence remaining (about 3 weeks' worth), I started using the tiny 4g jar of Jelly Aquarysta from the Deluxe Trial Kit. I was eager to get to the Astalift trial items after finishing up with SK-II, but since the jelly is to go on before lotion anyway, I figured it wouldn't hurt to get a head start with just this product. It took just two weeks for me to notice a change in my skin. I was traveling at the time too, and traveling always wrecks my skin, not make it better! I did tell you I have a very bad habit of trying out new products on the go, right? Yeah... So at that point, it was quite clear to me that the combination of these 3 products was working. And it was working well. 

While I've never had great skin, I'm lucky in that my skin was never that bad either. Even as a teenager, my oily skin broke out only mildly in comparison to the crazy acne that torments many others. In all my life, I'd only broken out horrifically once after experimenting with European sunscreens in my mid twenties, which got me started on this whole retinoid rescue regiment that ended up sticking for, what, 6 years now? 

Of course the retinoid had a big role in reforming my skin. As a whole, it evened out my skin tone and made it clearer. I promise I will review the retinoid I'm using (Differin - Adapalene), once and for all. I even took pictures of it, mmkay? But I didn't think things could get any better, and this addition of the "winning trio" very much surprised me with the translucency my skin has since gained. It looks great close up too, plump and smooth, and super soft to the touch. My face just glowed, and I'm absolutely thrilled. 

Before I got too far ahead though, my wary self decided to do some experimenting, because I'm a skeptic like that. I'd already decided I would repurchase more of Astalift and SK-II, but I didn't do it right away. I waited until the very last drop of the Facial Treatment Essence to order both, knowing it would take at least a couple of weeks, if not longer, for them to arrive from overseas, Astalift from the UK (via, and SK-II from Japan. Since I ran out of the Facial Treatment Essence, I stopped using the Clear Lotion also and moved on to the other Astalift trial items as originally intended. I wanted to see if my skin would "change back" if I were to break up the "winning trio," even if for just a couple of weeks. 

Here's my Astalift loot from UK. They had a nice promotion at the time wherein any Astalift order of GBP35+ will receive a Radiance Boosting Trio as GWP, so I bought the Discovery Collection and a 15g jar of Jelly Aquarysta. On top of the GWP, I also got an extra 10% off ^.^ Will post my SK-II order later.

Discovery Collection (left) and Radiance Boosting Trio (right). 
***Screencaps from UK.

Well, what do you know, my skin did change back. And pretty quickly too, like, within the week! Not that it became bad or anything. It was still clear, smooth, and soft. But it lost that translucency, that plumpness, that special something. Very interesting, but doh :X Thankfully, my orders arrived in just a little over 10 days instead of the minimum couple of weeks I thought they would take. Phew. Boy, did I tear into those packages, took pictures, and reunited the "winning trio" right that night (sounds raunchy, doesn't it? LOL!). This time around, it took a bit longer for my skin to get back that luster. After more than 3 weeks, just when I started to think, hmm, may be that was just a fluke after all, poof - my translucent skin was back. Wee!!! Oh how I miss the light in thee, dear skin *muah*muah*

So even as I refuse to call any of the 3 products "HG," I will say that I very much enjoy the result of using them together. And yes, I do intend to keep going for as long as I can bear my glowing skin (you know I'm being sarcastic, right?). And it has to be the 3 of them together, as the jelly by itself was great but nothing transformative, and the SK-II essence and lotion by themselves were, sorry to say, meh. 

The Discovery Collection also comes with a 15g jar of Jelly Aquarysta too ^.^

Jelly Aquarysta Japanese versus UK version, both of which list pretty much the same ingredients but in different order, probably due to different laws of the two countries. Also, the Japanese version lists tomato extract (lycopene, a red pigment like carotene but without the vitamin A) as colorant but the UK version does not. Am I missing something? I'm pretty sure the UK version uses a colorant of some kind, I mean, shoot, it's red! Hmm...

Anyways, I decided to get the Astalift 2013 from Astalift JP trial kits too, just for the hell of it ^.^

The Moisture Trial Kit 2013.

The Hari Skin Trial Kit 2013.

The new 2013 0.5g packet of Jelly Aquarysta.

I also tried this Astalift Day Protector White SPF50+ PA+++ from 2012's Moisture Kit. It was only a 0.7g one-time use packet but I hated it anyway LOL! It felt almost identical to Allie Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist N SPF50+ PA+++ in its super thick and heavy texture, the lengthy time it took to absorb, and the white cast it left behind. The difference is that this Astalift Day Protector never even made it to the soft focus glow that the Allie UV Gel did, not even for a short time. It just stayed greasy and shiny, and setting it with translucent powder didn't help at all whereas just a light dusting would transform the Allie UV Gel into a luminous glow. So yeah, this didn't work out too well and I'm not too keen on trying out the new 5g trial tube (from the Hari Skin Trial Kit above) of the UV Protector SPF30 PA+++ or the Perfect UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++. Oh well...

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