Did someone say tea? Let me grab a cuppa before I settle down to this review…
If tea’s involved, it’s hard to pass up. As a Brit, my daily life simply would not be the same if I didn’t have at least five trips to the kettle in an average work day. I love tea. Any and all kinds. So if I can have the bonus of it being incorporated into my skincare, then you know I’m down. Tea has been used for centuries in improving the appearance of skin and hair – but what about applying it topically? Many skincare products now boast that they contain green tea, fermented tea, black tea…we have a while to go before PG Tips bust out their own face cream, but maybe if they knew the benefits, they’d get a marketing proposal brewing right now.
A by Bom Ultra Moisture Black Tea Cream
A by Bom are a luxury brand straight from the heart of Gangnam, that oh-so-famous district in Seoul, South Korea. An area that shot to fame after Psy’s viral video, it’s the super classy neighbourhood chock full of K-beauty flagship stores, hip(ster) coffee houses, relaxing spas, and beautiful boutique stores. A by Bom have a beauty salon based in Gangnam, visited by celebrities and South Korea’s most fashionable. They also produce their own beauty and skincare products, which are made using botanical extracts and natural ingredients. I am a big fan of their masks, which was how I got to know the brand – they are sold in big, appealing packets all across Myeongdong, and snapped up by hoards of visiting tourists and beauty connoisseurs.
Thanks to a package from BeMused Korea, I had the opportunity to try some of their skincare products, including the Ultra Moisture Black Tea Cream. As a dry-skinned type, I was looking forward to trying this highly nourishing, rich cream, and see what effects it had on my skin during the colder months: my opportune time to try out creams. I get seriously flaky skin on my forehead if I don’t moisturise and hydrate my skin properly, and a decent occlusive is a must for me. So, let’s see how this cream performed.
Water, Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Water, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Butylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Pentylene Glycol, Beeswax, Nigella Sativa Seed Extract, Ribes Nigrum (Blackcurrant) Leaf Extract, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Petrolatum, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Caprylyl Methicone, Dimethicone, Isohexadecane, Panthenol, Polysorbate 80, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbitan Oleate, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance(Parfum), Caramel
Nothing here particularly gives me a red flag – some might be put off by the presence of mineral oil, but I think it’s a demonised ingredient, and you can read more about mineral oil and exactly what it means for your skin on the beautiful Sharmtoaster’s ‘What the fudge is mineral oil?‘ post.
Now, onto other ingredients. The featured ingredient is obviously black tea, which comes at 50,000ppm, and fermented black tea, as a bonus. What benefits do fermented black tea bring to the skin? Well, in theory, black tea helps to improve skin elasticity and condition the skin, meaning the cream can help to protect your skin in colder weather, when it typically becomes duller and is in need of revitalising power. The cream also contains soybean extract, an ingredient my skin particularly gets on well with, bringing skin back to life and helping it to feel more supple and soothed.
Texture and scent
This cream is most definitely on the thicker side, which means for oilier types it could be on the verge of heavy, but for drier types like me, it’s ideal. It is worth noting that sometimes heavier creams and occlusive creams cause me to break out, but this is usually due to individual ingredients and essential oils in the cream on a case by case basis. This cream certainly falls into the sealing in, protective barrier category of moisturisers, and it can help to hold in moisture, locking in all the work you have done with your skincare routine, and preventing your skin from becoming dehydrated.
What I like about this cream is that it is thick without leaving a greasy film, and it absorbs well into my skin. I do have to leave it a few minutes to properly absorb, but it doesn’t pill or feel oily, and it doesn’t cause breakouts despite its thicker texture. A little goes a long way, and you really don’t need to apply liberally. A small amount is all you need to seal moisture into your skin and keep it supple and hydrated until morning, or throughout the day.
It’s worth noting that this cream IS scented. I don’t find it to be too much, but from what I’ve read from others, it’s a mixed bag on how they reported the scent. My good friend Woodnote Song just couldn’t use it based on the scent, which she says was overpowering for her – but did comment that it was a shame, as the cream was good quality. However, from other reviewers I’ve seen that the scent is not so bothersome for them, myself included. I don’t care too much about scent as long as it’s not too offensive, and while I find that this certainly is perfumed, it doesn’t linger and it doesn’t put me off using the product at all.
Packaging and price
The tub is certainly on the simplistic side, with uniform colour and the signature A by Bom lettering printed on it. It comes with a handy spatula, meaning you don’t need to use your fingers, and a protective cover under the screw-on lid to seal in all the goodness. It’s robust, not too big, and you get 50ml of product – the packaging won’t blow you away, but it’s pretty enough and doesn’t crowd the shelf.
The price at BeMused Korea is $48, which puts it in the average price category for me. I don’t like spending more than €50 on a moisturiser, and the conversion rate puts this at €39, so it’s reasonable at 78¢/ml. Obviously shipping has to be factored in, and it’s worth noting BeMused offers free K-packet shipping on orders over $60.
In the cold winter months, this product has been thoroughly enjoyable for me. I’ve not had a dry patch in sight, and it really does well with sealing in the moisture from my (extensive) cold weather routine. Now the weather is slightly warmer, I’m finding I only use it in the evenings as more of a sleeping pack, as it is thick and emollient enough to allow me to wake up with decently hydrated skin, but in the day it’s now a touch too much. I’d recommend this cream for those with dry, flaky skin, who find themselves becoming more dehydrated over the winter months, or colder times.
For now, I’ll continue to use mine as a sleeping pack as the days turn warmer, but it’s likely that in summer this cream won’t be a necessity for me, and I won’t need to rely on it quite as much as I have found I needed to these past few chilly months. Along with the 107 Core Flex Cream, this is high on my list of successful winter moisturisers which don’t cause breakouts or give me greasy-looking skin, but banish the flakes successfully.