Thursday, August 28, 2014

A-TRUE: Korean Skincare - Sampler Haul Review!!

A couple of months ago I started seeing lots of positive online reviews about a Korean skincare company called A-True, who recently made an appearance in the Memebox Mini series. And I got curious. A-True specializes in black tea skin care, something I've never tried before. I love tea, so naturally I wanted to find out more.

There are also lots of benefits to using black tea water in a skincare regimen:

Furthermore, A-True products are cruelty-free and only use safe ingredients. Their products do not contain parabens, phenoxyethanol, benzophenone, triethanolamine, talc, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic pigments, or sodium lauryl sulfate.

I checked out their website (it's available in several languages and I thought the English site was impressive) for products available for purchase but there weren't any prices on the English site. I contacted Jason, the general manager, as well as Leesoo, the communication coordinator, and found out they don't currently ship to US (but if you really want to buy something, they are more than accommodating and will work something out with you). It is my understanding that they're planning to sell some products through Memebox so keep your eyes open for that. Leesoo generously sent me some samples to try before committing to a full size purchase. I thought that was so thoughtful of them! I don't know why everything seems to ship uberfast from Korea, but I was holding the box in my hands within 3 days (and that's spanning a weekend)!

Unboxed. Sort of.
They requested a list of stuff I wanted to try. Of course I wanted to try everything but I limited myself to a select few. But what I pulled out of the box was way more than what I asked for. Wowww. So excited to try it all!

Violet Petal Black Tea - for Normal Skin

A-True uses various blends of Compagnie Coloniale black tea to target specific skin concerns. Violet Petal Black Tea is intended for normal skin: "With Mallows and Violets, they help to restore the natural skin balance by preventing excess oil from the T-zone and dehydration from the U-zone."

Violet Petal Black Tea Hydrating Toner - Skin conditioning Mallow and Violet extracts help restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier and protect it from damage against harmful elements to maintain its overall health. A slightly acidic balanced hypoallergenic toner with plenty of organic acids from black tea helps control the pH balance maintaining and even skin tone.
This toner had no scent as far as I could tell and didn't burn like my normal toner. It absorbed quickly into my skin and left it feeling soft.

Violet Petal Black Tea Hydrating Moisturizer - Skin conditioning Mallow and Violet extracts help restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier and protect it from damage against harmful elements to maintain its overall health. A multitude of minerals are available, from black tea to natural moist factors which draw moisture to improve hydration. The silky texture of the moisturizer smoothly absorbs delivering moisture deep into the skin without any sticky feeling.
The consistency of this moisturizer is thinner than most others I've tried so it spreads very easily - one 2ml foil was enough for two applications. It has a faint flower petal scent but it's not bothersome at all. It's not greasy or oily either - yay!

White Snow Tea - for Whitening

A-True uses various blends of Compagnie Coloniale black tea to target specific skin concerns. White Tea is intended for whitening: "White Tea was once only exclusively reserved for Emperors of China. The extract of White Tea protects the skin from dark spots, helping maintain a crystal clear and clean skin tone."

White Snow Tea Brilliant Toner - White Tea improves the skin’s overall radiance and tone by minimizing the appearance of discolorations. In addition, Willow bark helps neutralize surface impurities and dead skin cells to promote the skin’s turnover. This helps the following steps of skin care to be effectively absorbed into the skin.
Like the Violet Petal Toner, this one had no scent and didn't burn my skin either. I can't vouch for its whitening effects as I only used it for a couple of days, but overall I couldn't tell the difference between this and the Violet Petal one.

White Snow Tea Brilliant Essence - The whitening and moisturizing properties of the brilliant essence help the skin to be resilient and glow with both a pure and natural radiance. The brilliant essence has been formulated using *Oriental Beauty Fruits Newplex. This special formula is attained by extracting four different kinds of medicinal fructose using low-temperature ultrasonic extraction methods to maximize efficiency.
In case you're wondering, those four fruits are pomegranate, fig, ginko, and mulberries, and all are great antioxidants. This is where I got kinda confused. This essence looks more like a runny lotion. It's scented, but not overpowering. Since this was on the thicker side, it took quite a while to sink in. Or maybe I just used too much. Since they sent a generous sample, I'll continue using it as part of my routine and report back on any effect it has.

White Snow Tea Brilliant Aurora Cream The brilliant cream helps lock in an optimal moisture level, preventing overall loss of moisture whilst simultaneously delivering comfort and nutrition. It hydrates the skin, protecting it from dryness by helping it maintain its moisture for long periods of time. This improves the skin’s overall radiance and tone by minimizing the appearance of discolorations.
Again, I can't comment on its whitening effects, but I do like this cream. It smells like the White Snow essence and for me a little went a long way. What I liked most about it is that it wasn't greasy at all. My face didn't feel suffocated or oily afterward, yet it still felt well moisturized.

Real Black Tea True Active - Radiant/Firming/Hydrating/Toning/Brightening/Boosting

True Active Real Black Tea is A-True's top grade black tea. Tea leaves are double fermented using Saccharomyces (the "fermentation" bacteria) and A. xylinum (produces cellulose for binding/thickening/moisturizing), enabling their natural ingredients to be easily absorbed into the skin and revitalizing it with its nutrients. "By selecting the finest tea leaves only, F.T.G.F.O.P (Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe) is harvested within Castleton Tea Garden, placed in Darjeeling, India. We present the precious value of the top grade black tea which holds the first golden buds of spring."

Real Black Tea True Active Essence - A bottle of double fermented True Active Essences acts by filling every single layer of the dermis and epidermis to improve the natural vital power of the skin and to restore its original rhythm. Technologically advanced essences with 6 multi-functions continuously feed moisture into the dermal layer enabling the skin to glow with a pure and natural radiance. Anti-oxidant properties found within black tea help eliminate the free radicals of skin and prepare it for the daily routine of life by improving absorption.
This unscented essence is like water but more slippery. And it's refreshing. I don't have too much experience with essences, but are they usually kinda sticky? It seems like the Korean essences I've been trying are slightly sticky and remain that way for a while.

Real Black Tea True Active Mask - Our superior mask is formulated using up to 73% of Compagnie Coloniale Black Tea Fermentation and 3-activator. The mask itself comes with all the benefits of the Real Black Tea True Active Essence. Using the True Active Mask just once can deliver a natural vital power to the skin which helps restore its vitality giving it a more natural and radiant glow. Our 100% bio-cellulose is cultivated from acetobacter xylinum bacteria yielding fermented fibers from natural sources. They are safe and gentle to your complexion. The nano-sized fibers closely conform to your face with superior moisture retention abilities.
This mask is great. It's pretty much the True Active essence in mask form so you get the longer contact and absorption time. Masks are fun, but with most of them I cannot tell a before/after difference since my skin is pretty hydrated to begin with (I know, toot). I kept this one on for 20 minutes then massaged the excess into my skin. It took a while, but I could definitely see a difference. My skin looked more radiant after just one application!

A-True also sent some cleanser samples:

Earl Grey Black Tea Refresh Foam - Calamine, which flawlessly removes and cleanses sebum and impurities on skin's surface, helps protect the skin barrier after facial wash and minimize dryness. Try using this cleanser formulated for low irritation to care for those irreversible pores on your sensitive, irritated skin stressed from external aggressors.
This cleanser is for blemishes. You remember putting calamine lotion all over yourself when you had the chicken pox? Same idea. It's not only anti-itching, but also a mild antiseptic. This has that same subtle yet sweet scent present in most of the other samples (is that what tea smells like in cosmetic form?). It foams a bit and doesn't leave skin feeling tight or irritated.

Sweet Song Black Tea Miracle Cleansing Foam - The cleansing foam provides a rich lather to gently dissolve dirt, makeup residue and any other everyday impurities. Fruit acid is contained within *Multi-fruit Complexes, which softens dead skin cells whilst moisturizing and hydrating you leaving a softer and cleaner texture.
I think we have a winner! Now this is what I'm talking about. This cleanser kind of looks like Clearasil and really does foam considerably and really did take off my face makeup. It smelled faintly of rose petals but not enough to turn me off of it. The "Multi-fruit Complexes" that moisturize and soften(?) dead skin are bilberry, sugar cane, orange, lemon, and sugar maple extracts. This cleanser made my face soft and supple. Also, as with other foaming cleansers you only need a little bit so one foil packet was enough for two uses.

And even more samples!:

Black Tea All Day Long Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++ - ‘RONDE DU SOLEIL’ represents ‘round the sun.’ Blended by using the golden ratio of black teas; Orange peel and Cinnamon which itself has many Anti-oxidants, helping improve the skin’s complexion whilst respectively calming it.
I guess if you reeeally don't want any sun getting through to your skin then this is the way to go. It's very thick and creamy, but rubs nicely into the skin without leaving whiteness. They also did a great job of hiding the sunscreen smell. Unfortunately, this is way too thick for me, especially for my face. If anything I'll use it on my arms when I'm planning on spending the day outdoors.

Himalaya Black Tea Watery Gel Cream - The active ingredients of ‘Darjeeling Himalaya,’ which are grown in arctic conditions, effectively hydrate the skin, increasing its overall moisture. This fresh and lightweight gel cream helps you maintain a radiant and revitalized skin. It relaxes tired skin by moisturizing it after it has been negatively affected by adverse environmental effects.
Another one I love! This actually looks more like a moisturizer than a cream. It's not too thick and spreads evenly. I love how it feels light and velvety when you apply it. It's also very hydrating but not sticky. It's a win!

A-True also included a couple of teas with the samples. I didn't drink them yet, but it looks like one is Darjeeling and the other is Earl Grey? No matter, I love black tea so I know I'll enjoy both of them!

I am sooo thrilled with everything I received! I've corresponded with two A-True representatives and both were extremely kind and helpful. I also think they have the most responsive customer service of any company I've ever dealt with. Not to mention their products are amazing! Right now they are not selling in the US, but I hope they do soon! I'm sure American consumers would go nuts over what they have to offer (I know I would). I'm gonna see if there's a way I can purchase the full size of the Sweet Song cleanser and maybe the Himalaya gel cream. I also hear really good things about the Sweet Song cleansing water. I didn't get to try it but I'm totally interested! Thank you again to Jason and Leesoo for being very gracious and generous. This company is definitely a win!!

Note: I received these complimentary samples from A-TRUE. I am not affiliated with A-True in any way. I just wanted to share my newest finds with you all!


  1. The Himalaya Black Tea Watery Gel Cream sounds amazing! I hope they do start selling through Memebox, because some of this stuff seems pretty boss.

    1. It is amazing! I like stuff that makes my face feel velvety and unsticky. Did you get the Tea Cosmetics box? I'm guessing there will probably be some A-True samples in there...