Drugstore K-Beauty Haul: CVS First Impressions
I have always been a sucker for a good drugstore beauty dupe, but nowadays when I head to my local CVS Pharmacy I seek out something different: Korean Beauty products. Curated earlier this year, Peach Slices has done us all a favor and brought K-Beauty to local CVS stores. Now, on your way home you can pick up that gallon of milk to nourish your body and a sheet mask or two to nourish your skin. I love the feeling of instant gratification (who doesn’t?) so I embraced this collaboration with open arms. Thanks to CVS x Peach Slices, we can all be K-Beauty gurus.
Peach Slices at CVS
Peach Slices is the sister site of online K-Beauty retailer Peach & Lily, with a focus on all things whimsy yet innovative to appeal to a broader audience of K-Beauty newbies. You’ll notice the products curated by Peach Slices are trendy and colorful, from brands such as Frudia, Holika Holika, ElishaCoy and the Saem.
When I first heard that Peach & Lily was releasing their Peach Slices curation in CVS stores, I scoured the list of CVS locations in my area that would be stocking these products. To my dismay, the website said the CVS closest to me had the products available in-store but didn’t actually have them stocked when I arrived. I learned not to trust the online inventory and just go in person to find out what locations I could get my instant K-Beauty fix. In my opinion CVS is one of the better domestic retailers for K-Beauty in terms of value, their selection may be small but they frequently dole out coupons and ExtraCare rewards which you can use towards even more K-Beauty!
After some searching (who knew there were so many CVS locations in my area?), I discovered K-Beauty at two of my local CVS stores. You can look up your local store here - it’s a good idea to call and confirm if they actually have stock before heading to the store.
During the first visit to my well-stocked CVS, I picked up several items that I have already mentioned in my summer routine post - such as Holika Holika Gudetama Peeling Gel, Peach Slices Citrus Honey Aqua Glow Moisturizer, Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots, and a bevy of Peach Slices sheet masks. I’ve raved about all of these items in past blog and instagram posts. To this point I’d only gone back to CVS to repurchase the acne spot dots or replenish my sheet mask stash.
However, after becoming jaded from lack of Whamisa/Glow Recipe at my local Target (again, I was duped by the online inventory) I headed to my CVS where I knew I wouldn't be let down.
So here I am, back with a haul of K-Beauty products from CVS! This time I picked up some items from ElishaCoy - the Vita Capsule Cleanser, Moist Up Hyalurone Ampoule Serum, and Refreshing Ampoule Solution Mask, JJ Young Pore Steaming and Cooling Pack, and Peach Slices Lip Mask. This is a first impressions post as I’ve only been using the products for about 3 weeks. I will update this post at a later date if necessary. Read on for my first impressions and review of these products!
According to the brand’s website, ElishaCoy is a natural cosmetics brand founded in South Korea. They promote natural beauty using gentle yet potent ingredients from nature. I hadn't heard of ElishaCoy before hitting up CVS, but their packaging and range of products caught my eye instantly. I picked up three of their products this time.
ElishaCoy Vita Capsule Cleanser
First up, I was in need of a new cleanser, so I grabbed the Vita Capsule Cleanser. This cleanser was released a few years back along with its proprietary ElishaCoy 3D Spin Cleaner (works similarly to a Clarisonic). Now, the cleanser has made its way to CVS drugstores and is available to the masses. I was so enticed by the cleanser’s price point of only 5 DOLLA. (Seriously, how can you beat that?) I did a quick google search on the product before buying and it seemed to have average to good reviews. I was weary of fragrance being on the ingredients list but decided I couldn’t pass up such a good deal. So, was it worth it? Let’s find out.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Beeswax, Ceramide NP, Polysorbate 20, Panthenol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, SD Alcohol 40-B, DENATONIUM BENZOATE, Glycerin, Lauric Acid, Menthol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride, Myristic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Urea, Retinyl Palmitate, Pyridoxine HCl, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glyceryl Arachidonate, Glyceryl Linolenate, Glyceryl Linoleate, Niacinamide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Water, Hydrolyzed Coral, Caviar Extract, Fragrance(Parfum), Hydrolyzed Collagen, PEG-100 Stearate, Onsen-Sui, Mannitol, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Sucrose, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492).
As far as ingredients go there are a couple standouts on the ingredients list, both good and bad. There’s ceramide 3, lemon, grapefruit, papaya, and chamomile extracts, along with aloe and hydrolyzed collagen. However, it also contains stearic acid as #2 on the ingredients list, along with palmitic acid, myristic acid, sodium laurel sulfate, and fragrance. Your skin could either have no issue with these acids or react poorly to them.
First Impression: The packaging is pink, cute, and feminine. It's a simple squeeze bottle and the product comes out looking like marshmallow foam. (Now that I’m thinking about it, the bottle looks very similar to the Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam from the Face Shop.) It was tougher than usual to dispense the product. It has a twist off cap instead of a flip-top cap. That isn't a huge deal but it's a little inconvenient especially since I prefer a flip-top cap for easier access.
Scent: The smell was light and slightly floral. I didn't find it to be particularly strong or offensive.
Use: The product foamed up decently, I used my hands to work the foam lather as well as a face brush from Daiso. Upon washing the cleanser off I immediately experienced a squeaky-clean feeling, like that of cheap bar soap. I knew right away that this cleanser likely had a high pH and was probably basic. I regret not looking harder to find its pH online before I bought it. After some searching I found a site that referenced its pH at 8 and tested it for myself between 8-9. Ugh. (Your cleanser should be between 5-6. High pH cleansers strip the natural oils from your face and leaves you feeling dry.) I couldn't wait to slather on my toner and essences after washing with this the first time. The area around my eyes also got itchy immediately after washing off. I'm not sure which ingredient is triggering this but fair warning for those with sensitive skin. I started breaking out around my eyes, thought I’m not sure if it’s directly related to using this cleanser.
Overall: Yes, it's only $5 but stay away from this cleanser. It has a decent foam but there's no way I'd advise using a cleanser (or any product, really) with a pH in this range. There are just so many cleansers out there that are better for your acid mantle and at this pH you might as well use bar soap. At least the $5 price point doesn't hurt as bad knowing I probably won't use it. Taking an L on this one and giving it 2/5 stars.
Repurchase? Hard pass.
ElishaCoy Moist Up Super Hyalurone Ampoule Serum
This is my first time using an ampoule, and I thought this would be a great option for the drier Fall weather in California when my skin is in dire need of extra hydration. I picked up the Moist Up Super Hyalurone Ampoule Serum to test my luck.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Gelatin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Chlorphenesin, Acacia Senegal Gum, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Magnolia Kobus Bark Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Disodium EDTA, Propolis Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Alcohol, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Gentiana Lutea Root Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Acacia Seyal Gum Extract, Potassium sorbate, Fragrance
This serum uses 70% fermented lotus water instead of purified water. It also contains their patented low-molecular hyaluronic acid and natural oil capsules for more lasting hydration. It’s purposely formulated to be gentle enough for sensitive skin, with lavender and chamomile to help soothe skin.
First Impression: Did y'all ever watch Rugrats? Do you remember the episode with Angelica’s “beauty juice”? That's exactly what I think of when I see this serum. The bottle is pink and the serum is viscous. It screams luxury and just like Angelica’s beauty juice, I had to have it. I have no shame in my game - seeing something pretty on my bathroom sink would make me more excited for my routine everyday. Call me a sucker, but isn't that the point of marketing?
Scent: It smells similar to the Vita Capsule Cleanser, slightly floral but not as strong as the cleanser. It fades quickly.
Use: The serum has a glass dropper which sucks up and distributes the liquid pretty well. There’s some rubber netting at the top of the bottle which prevents excess serum from being pulled out with the dropper. I used 6-7 drops on my face - 2 on right side, 2 on left, and 2 on forehead. I then smooth it into my skin evenly, it absorbs rather quickly. The serum looks more viscous in the bottle than it actually is. It’s pretty lightweight and water-like in consistency, but leaves a slightly sticky film to the touch. The stickiness is temporary and you can either proceed with a serum after or apply your moisturizer/sleeping pack afterwards.
Overall: At first, I didn’t really see or feel a significant difference after using the serum. However, as the weather transitioned from summer to fall and my skin got drier, I could definitely feel the serum added much needed hydration to my skin. I noticed a new vitality to my skin, I totally loved the effect it gave me and the packaging is to die for. Even though my skin can be sensitive I experienced no irritation from this serum. It’s a nice addition to my routine for the moment and I still use my Vitamin C serum after this. Plus, the serum is only $12.99 for a 50ml bottle which is a great value. I would give this 4/5 stars.
Repurchase? Possibly. I can see this lasting a while but it’s not holy grail hydrating. If I run out of this during the winter I will go for something with even more lasting hydration.
ElishaCoy Refreshing Ampoule Solution Mask
This is my second time using an ElishaCoy mask from the Ampoule Solution line. My first mask was the Coconut Revitalizing Ampoule Solution Mask which I absolutely loved. I was hoping the Refreshing Ampoule Solution Mask would also have me feeling some typa way.
Water, Dipropylene glycol, Glycerin, Butylene glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Magnolia Kobus Bark Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Betula Alba Juice , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract, Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance
The ingredients contain ElishaCoy’s patented “Youth Water” to revitalize and moisturize dry and tired skin. Centella asiatica and aloe vera leaf contribute to soothing irritated skin. It also has tea tree and green tea, peppermint, licorice root, and allantonin.
First Impression: The mask wasn’t white, it was brown. Lol. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, after reading the package I found it is made of an eco-friendly mint-cell sheet derived from the plant of yams and mint leaves to soothe and hydrate skin.
Scent: This is the strongest smelling of all the ElishaCoy products I’ve tried. It’s very sweet smelling and the scent doesn’t fade.
Use: The mask fit is small. It doesn’t completely cover my forehead and there is some excess material along my jawline. The eye and mouth holes work out fine for me but I know it might be an issue for a lot of people. The mask is to be left on for 10-15 minutes. As far as the mask material goes, I didn't notice a difference with the eco-friendly plant mask. I thought it did a decent job and felt like a regular cotton sheet mask.
Overall: At $1.29 a pop these are the cheapest masks you can get at any big box retailer that sells K-Beauty. These masks come with tons of serum, 25 ml which is enough to spread on your neck, arms, and legs. I really enjoyed the Revitalizing Ampoule Solution Mask I tried previously but this one wasn’t as great as I thought it would be (which is weird, considering all the stellar ingredients) and the smell was too much for me. This mask gets 3/5 stars.
Repurchase? Not this one. I’d repurchase (and already have repurchased) the Revitalizing Ampoule Solution Mask for the effect that it gave me. For my review on that mask you can view our instagram post here.
JJ Young Pore Steaming and Cooling Pack
JJ Young is a brand by pore gurus Caolion which is focused towards pore care for a younger audience (targeted to 20s and younger). They have various masks (glow, bubble, pore, sleeping) as well as cleansers and creams. The mask products in this line are packaged exactly like the well-known Caolion pore masks.
So far I haven't had much luck with clay masks. To be fair, I haven't tried that many (Glamglow hands down being the worst) and this was my first experience using a clay mask from a Korean brand. I couldn’t decide on which mask to choose so I got the Pore Steaming and Cooling Pack that includes the Pore Steam and Pore cool masks - best of both worlds!
Pore Steam Mask
Glycerin, Kaolin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Olivate, Charcoal Powder, Arginine, Carbomer, Betaine, Prunus Mume Fruit Extract, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) SeedPowder, Sorbitan Stearate, Dimethicone, Water, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Butylene Glycol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) RootExtract
Pore Cool Mask
Water, Glycerin, Kaolin, Bentonite, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Isoamyl laurate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Charcoal Powder, Limonia Acidissima Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle)Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Volcanic Ash, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, Menthol, Methyl Diisopropyl Propionamide, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate
Both masks have a bevy of powerful ingredients which differ quite significantly. The pore steam mask contains cetearyl alcohol and stearic acid which may be potentially irritating. The pore cool mask contains menthol which contributes to the cooling factor of the mask.
First Impression: The packaging is adorable, once again. It features two characters, I’ll just call them Steam man and Cool man. The steam mask is stacked on top of the cool mask and there’s a twist cap on top of the steam mask. I used them in conjunction as step 1 - purify and step 2 - cooling. I was hoping these little guys would change my mind on clay masks. So, did they?
Scent: Pore Steam Mask - this mask smelled similarly to charcoal vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t a bad or particularly strong smell. Pore Cool Mask - I have the perfect description for the pore cool mask - due to the menthol it smells like cough drops!
Use: First off, let me say that the spatula it comes with is pretty useless. It’s so thin that you won't be able to spread the product around quickly enough before it dries. It’s fine for taking the product out hygienically but I would recommend using a bigger spatula to actually spread the mask onto your face.
Pore Steam Mask
I put this mask on my T-zone and a bit on my cheeks, but you can use it all over your face as well. I was careful not to put product too close to my eyes because it contains buffing grains used for an exfoliating effect. It was like a clay mask and exfoliating scrub in one. OK confession, I’m not completely sure I used the steam mask right. The instructions say to massage gently for 1-2 minutes, leave on for 5-10 minutes, then rinse clean with cold water. So, um, I forgot to “massage gently for 1-2 minutes” and I didn’t feel a warm sensation when I had the mask on. BUT the minute I started rubbing the mask to loosen it up and wash it off I felt the heat on my forehead. The best way to describe it is that it felt like hot wax, if you get your brows waxed then you know what I mean. It wasn’t exactly a burning sensation but it was definitely warm. I was paranoid of getting this into my eyes so be sure to work carefully when you wash off and remove the mask. The wash off process wasn’t too bad, I used a tissue to help cleanup the product around my eye area and make sure it didn't go in my eyes. I could definitely feel the warming effect close to my eyes but I worked quickly to wash it off.
Pore Cool Mask
I used the cool mask all over my face. It was very easy to apply and spread evenly. This mask contains micro grains but they are not as large or noticeable as in the steam mask. Like I mentioned, it smells exactly like a cough drop and has a nice cooling effect. The instructions say to apply 3g of product to face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. The mask should be washed off with warm water, as opposed to cold water for the steam mask. My face wasn’t completely rock hard in 15 minutes and it was pretty easy to wash off. The wash off process left my skin feeling completely soothed and soft.
Overall: I was so freaking scared to try these masks. I have just had awful experiences with clay masks to the point where I wanted to give up using them, but I was pleased that the masks were gentle enough to even be used one after the other. These masks are a complete game-changer for me. My skin was left feeling smooth and supple to the touch. My pores look cleaner but I’m not sure if they’re smaller because tbh I don’t pay enough attention to them. I will continue using these masks and introduce chemical exfoliators to my routine to keep blackheads and large pores at bay. Now I don’t know if the fact that this line is geared toward a younger audience means it’s more gentle for your skin, but I do know that it worked for me. Thank you K-beauty for changing my opinion once again on a product. I see myself using the cool mask on its own and the steam mask probably in conjunction with the cool mask since I’m just not super into the warm feeling. Overall, I’d give the steam mask a 4/5 and the cool mask a 5/5. The dual masks sell for $17.99 with 0.7 oz of each mask, but I had a coupon to save $10 off $40 and they work really well! You can probably get 5+ uses out of each tub, and if you prefer one over the other the solo masks come with 3x the amount of product as these.
Repurchase? Definitely yes.
Peach Slices Aqua Jelly Lip Mask
Another first for me was trying a lip mask. I picked up a jelly lip mask from the Peach Slices house brand. Now, my love for Peach Slices products is strong. I hoped I could add the Aqua Jelly Lip Mask to my long list of Peach Slices items to repurchase.
First Impression: It’s a cute jelly mask in the shape of oversized lips. The mask is a sheer pink color with a slightly metallic finish.
Water, Glycerin, Calcium Chloride, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Xanthan Gum, Methylpropanediol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Bambusa Textilis Stem Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract, Honey Extract, Phellinus Linteus Extract, Inonotus Obliquus (Mushroom) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Prunella Vulgaris Extract, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Artemisia Vulgaris Extract, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chondrus Crispus Powder, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Carmine, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance
The main ingredients that stand out to me are the honey, coconut, and mushroom extracts, as well as shea butter and green tea. These ingredients are great for plumping, soothing, and nourishing the lips.
Scent: Honestly, it smells like grass jelly. I couldn’t get over the smell. It’s boba or grass jelly for sure. It was VERY overpowering.
Use: To use the mask you simply peel the lips off the plastic backing and stick them onto your own. The directions say to apply to clean lips, so make sure to remove any lipstick that you may have on prior to use. I swiped some cleansing water on before using (this might have been my demise).
Overall: Meh. I didn’t notice any significant plumping or hydration to my lips whatsoever. They were a bit shinier? But that wasn’t even a claim. I didn’t want to post a before and after of my lips because they looked exactly the same, so I don't think this was worth the $4. Disappointed to say the least, 2/5 stars.
Repurchase? No, chapstick works better than this stuff and isn’t as unnecessarily fragrant!
Overall, I would say my 2nd CVS haul was positive for the most part. I found some new favorites like the ElishaCoy Moist Up Super Hyalurone Ampoule Serum and my stance on clay masks has changed completely. The duds that I got were cheap enough that I don’t lose any sleep over it. I’m glad I was able to try these products and I’m looking forward to Peach Slices hopefully expanding their selection in the future. Since this haul I did pick up a few more things I’ve been dying to try at CVS - the Holika Holika Gudetama All-In-One Oil to Foam Cleanser along with Ariul and Frudia sheet masks. I will save those for another review so be sure to keep an eye out!
Here are links to all the products mentioned (prices and selection may vary by store):
- ElishaCoy Vita Capsule Cleanser - $4.99
- ElishaCoy Moist Up Super Hyalurone Ampoule Serum - $12.99
- Elisha Coy Refreshing Ampoule Solution Mask - $1.29
- JJ Young Pore Steaming and Cooling Pack - $17.99
- Peach Slices Aqua Jelly Lip Mask - $3.99
Have you stumbled down the K-Beauty aisle at CVS? If so, what did you try - we’d love to hear it! I hope you enjoyed our first haul, we look forward to doing more posts like this in the future!