A. True products popped up in several Memeboxes last year, and it just so happens that I never bought those boxes. That’s some seriously bad luck, considering how many I purchased over time! Luckily, the line is now available via new online Korean beauty store – Cupidrop, which is currently the only US-based retailer carrying A. True.
So I bet you’re wondering what makes me so fascinated with this particular brand, since there are so many other Korean gems out there? A. True line includes one very intriguing ingredient – black tea water made of premium French tea from Compagnie Coloniale. Each of their exquisite blends features only the finest leaves from the best tea bushes found all across the world: Keemun tea from China, Darjeeling tea from India, and Ceylon tea with rose petals from Sri Lanka.
Black tea is known for its antioxidant properties, when ingested, and for having a brightening and depuffing effect when applied topically on the skin, no wonder it was used by court ladies in different countries for generations. Here are just some of the beauty benefits of black tea water:
- Polyphenols act as antioxidants that fight free radicals, and also offer antibacterial properties. Great for problem skin!
- Catechin also acts as a powerful antioxidant.
- Vitamins B1, B2, Niacin, E and H help moisturize and brighten the skin, and also deal with fine lines and sun spots
- Caffeine helps brighten the skin and reduce swelling.
Cupidrop generously sent me two A. True products to try: Darjeeling Black Tea First Anti-Wrinkle Essence and Real Black Tea True Active CC Cushion SPF 50+/PA+++ in Light Beige. They also included several samples of other brand bestsellers, and of course I tried them all already! I’ll start with my thoughts on the samples first.
Sweet Song Black Tea Miracle Cleansing Foam, like many Korean foam cleansers, turned out to be too harsh for my skin with pH8.5, which is too “basic”. It contains some fun ingredients, like orange flower extract, and verbena leaf extract, as well as myristic acid that helps dissolve dead skin cells. Personally, I thought this product was not a good fit for me, as I try not to use cleansers with pH higher than pH5.5, but I made an exception for an oil-foam cleanser with pH7.0 once in the past.
From my very limited experience with Himalaya Black Tea Watery Gel Cream, I thought it felt absolutely divine! The gel-cream texture melted into my skin, and left it feeling comfortable and moisturized all day. I obviously can’t say anything about long term benefits, but I think this one would work great for someone with dry, normal or combination skin, who isn’t too concerned with addressing first signs of aging yet.
Another moisturizer sample I got to try was White Snow Tea Brilliant Aurora Cream, which is thicker than the previously mentioned gel cream. It’s made with one of the rarest teas in the world – white tea – which is actually collected from the same bush as black tea, but only the very top leaves are used in the process. It’s considered to be the most exquisite kind of tea, and at one point only the Emperors of China were able to enjoy it. This cream provides nourishing and brightening effects over time, and it’s probably best suited for people with dry and normal skin types, as I found it too rich for my combination skin.
Now onto the full-sized products!
In Korea, BB and CC creams, including cushions, are considered skin care, and A. True has their own version. Real Black Tea True Active CC Cushion SPF 50+/PA+++ comes in two shades – Light Beige for fair to light skin tones and True Beige for light to medium skin tones. I selected Light Beige, and it turned out to be a near-perfect match for my NC15 complexion!
To my pleasant surprise, the first ingredient on the list wasn’t some chemical filler, it was fermented black tea. So many companies tout their miraculous actives, and then put them at the very bottom of the list, so it was nice to see a different picture for a change. In addition to fermented black tea, this cushion also contains brightening Niacinamide, nourishing Avocado fruit extract, and anti-inflammatory Camellia leaf extract. While I generally recommend applying a layer of sunscreen under your makeup, this cushion also includes broad-spectrum UV filters that make it easy to re-apply sun protection throughout the day.
With this cushion I was able to achieve all levels of coverage, from light to full, by simply going over the problem spots several times. The formula blends seamlessly on the skin, so it never looks cakey or overdone. It provides luminous satiny finish, which is very popular in Korea; that dewy look is attributed to youth and healthy skin, and many women use highlighters to achieve it.
For those, unfamiliar with cushions, it’s basically a compact filled with foundation, and a sponge placed on top. By pressing on the foundation-soaked sponge using a special applicator, you get just the right amount of product and then gently press it onto the skin until you achieve desired coverage. Cushions are usually refillable, and many brands sell refills and applicator packs separately.
And here are some unflattering selfies! As you can see, the coverage is pretty impressive, and the color is just slightly lighter than my natural skin tone, which can easily be fixed with a little bit of bronzer.
On my combination skin Real Black Tea True Active CC Cushion stayed put for about 4 hours before I needed to touch up. It didn’t crease or cake, but I had to blend it out again, because my pores became visible after a while [perks of the skin type]. I tested this cushion in both humid and dry air-conditioned environments, and it performed well each time. I don’t think this formula would work well for someone with very oily skin, or someone with lots of dry patches, because like many mineral foundations, it tends to make the dryness more visible. However, if you are good about exfoliating, and your skin is dry, normal, or combination, this would be a nice Korean cushion to try.
Ingredients – CosDNA: *Saccharomyces/Xylinum/Black Tea Ferment(3,840mg), Cyclopentasiloxane, Titanium Dioxide, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Octocrylene, Zinc Oxide, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Butylene Glycol, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Stearic Acid,1,2-Hexanediol,Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Chlorphenesin, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Iron Oxides (CI 77499),Saccharide Isomerate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Adenosine, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract, Maltodextrin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance // * Compagnie Coloniale Black Tea Fermentation
Another full-sized product I was able to give a nice trial run is Darjeeling Black Tea First Anti-Wrinkle Essence, a serum-like lightweight skin treatment, recommended for fighting first signs of aging, which can appear in your 20s. Comprised of 66% fermented Darjeeling tea water, it also contains several tried and true anti-aging ingredients, like Adenosine, Hyaluronic Acid, and Papaya Fruit Extract, that smooth out fine lines, hydrate, and brighten the skin over time.
First of all, I want to mention that this essence does contain fragrance [it smells like cold sweet tea], which is very strong immediately after the application, but loses its strength a few seconds after it’s rubbed into the skin. It does linger lightly for maybe 10-15 minutes before disappearing completely. I consider myself a scent-sensitive person, and to me this particular scent didn’t seem off-putting or unpleasant, nor did it trigger a migraine, despite being fairly strong.
This essence comes in an airtight pump, and looks like a slightly runny ivory gel-cream that feels highly emollient and spreads easily, instantly providing a burst of hydration. I usually need only one pump for my whole face and neck!
It normally takes me about a month or more to properly evaluate skin care, but this time I thought I have a pretty good idea about Darjeeling Black Tea First Anti-Wrinkle Essence after using it for a couple of weeks. I noticed that each time I apply it, my skin immediately drinks it up, revealing perfectly hydrated, plump and soft surface, which helps other products and makeup go on smoother.
This serum contains a potential skin irritant Algin in the formula, but personally I didn’t experience any redness, discomfort, or breakouts; on the contrary, my face and neck always felt soothed and hydrated. Even though I am currently already testing a different serum for another review, I plan to come back to Darjeeling Black Tea First Anti-Wrinkle Essence and finish it off, because I loved the way it transformed my complexion from dull to glowing.
Ingredients – CosDNA: *Camellia Sinensis Leaf Water(25,872mg), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Propanediol, Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium Adenosine Triphosphate, Algin, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, **Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract(134mg), Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sophora Japonica Flower Extract, Rehmannia Chinensis Root Extract, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract, Maltodextrin, Fragrance, Adenosine // *Compagnie Coloniale® Black Tea Water ** Compagnie Coloniale Black Tea Blending™ Formula
I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews of A. True products! Like everything in skin care, some things that work for some might not work for others, so my experience is not necessarily the same as someone else’s. To sum it up, I thought that Real Black Tea True Active CC Cushion SPF 50+/PA+++ is a good cushion to try for those with dry, normal, or combination skin, but its quality to emphasize dry flakes and the need for midday touch-ups makes it not suitable for everyone, although I personally liked it and will continue using it every day. Darjeeling Black Tea First Anti-Wrinkle Essence felt very pleasant on the skin, and always made it look hydrated, soft, and plump, but the strong fragrance might be off-putting for people with scent sensitivities, however, being a scent-sensitive person myself I wasn’t bothered by it. I would recommend it for people with dry, normal, and combination skin that want to fight the first signs of aging, like fine lines, dryness, loss of firmness, and dehydration.
WHERE TO BUY:
- Real Black Tea True Active CC Cushion SPF 50+/PA+++ – $28 USD for 12g. Available at Cupidrop.
- Darjeeling Black Tea First Anti-Wrinkle Essence – $42 USD for 40ml. Available at Cupidrop.
Have you tried Korean skin care before? What are some of your favorite ingredients in beauty products? Let me know in the comments below!
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