by Rosy Day Blog
Minimalistic K-BeautyMinimalism seems to be a growing trend in K-beauty. When I first got into K-beauty, I often associated it with things such as "fancy water" ingredients and more shocking things like snail slime, down to their often colorful, cutesy packaging. Now, along with more black/white/grayish packaging comes along a more simple approach to skincare. That is not to say that the products/ingredients themselves are any less effective. Sometimes more simple ingredients lead the way for more potent formulations, as well as less irritation for those with skin sensitivity issues.
Polatam is a natural skincare brand created by Korean actress Tam Hee Park. Their focus is everything that I had just described earlier: high-quality, yet non-irritating ingredients for a more minimalistic approach to skincare. Recently there has been a bit of a surge in clean beauty and clean ingredients. "Clean beauty" means non-toxic and without a long winding list of potentially harmful ingredients (whether harmful to health, irritating or sensitizing to skin). Usually this means no parabens, phtalates, PEGs, ethanolamines, SLS, synthetic fragrance, dyes, etc. Even Sephora has dedicated a section for clean beauty now.
For those of you who actively seek/prefer clean products, I am happy to share with you that Polatam omits many of these potentially harmful ingredients and use lots of EWG-friendly (rated green) ingredients. As someone with sensitive skin that seems to be reactive to many different products, this is definitely something that I can get behind on.
Disclosure:I bought all of these with my own money from OhLolly. I was not given anything in exchange for this review. I enjoy doing product reviews to share my own experiences with the product and hope someone finds it useful. I do not work for OhLolly.
Table of Contents- About Korean Oak Tree Sap
- Cleansing Foam
- Optimal Repairing Mask
- Brightening Mask
- Moisturizing Mask
- Final Thoughts & Shop This Post
Korean Oak Tree Sap Extract
Skincare Benefits:You might have heard about the skincare benefits of tree sap (see my E Nature Brand/birch juice post), or have heard of a brand that revolves around tree sap (like May Coop and their maple tree sap). Oak tree sap is no different (despite being a different kind of tree's sap). Not only does it deeply hydrate, but it is supposed to be soothing, as well as anti-inflammatory.
In short, Korean oak tree sap is ultra hydrating and helps with overall brightening/evening of the skin as well.
And More:While not all of the Polatam products necessarily feature Korean oak tree sap as a star ingredient, it is important to note that some of them have other interesting ingredients such as shea butter, argan oil, and ceramide. For those of you who lean more towards the dry side (or need something to keep your Curology prescription in check like me), these are all very nourishing and hydrating ingredients. In fact, shea butter seems to be one of the few ingredients that my dry flaky skin responds well to on my Curology nights. Argan oil, despite having "oil" in its name, is actually good for acne-prone skin in addition to dry/dehydrated skin. It's good for inflammation and skin texture. Ceramide is a popular dry skin ingredient that can plump skin and help it retain moisture while also protecting the skin barrier (a very important thing if you're using actives in your skincare routine).
Polatam Better Cleansing Pure Moist Cleansing Foam Mini-Review
pH 5.5 + Rich lather:For many, it can be hard to find a good cleanser that doesn't irritate skin and leave it dry/stripped. I'm not necessarily "all about that low PH life", though I'll admit the best non-irritating/hydrating cleansers I've used were mostly a low PH of 5.5. It's safe to say there really is a good reason why many actively seek out low PH cleansers, especially if you have sensitive/acne-prone skin.
I'm happy to announce that this cleanser not only has a PH level of 5.5, but it also nicely foams up (for those of you who like foaming cleansers). I've noticed a lot of low PH cleansers don't really foam up and are usually gel-based. I have nothing against these types if they do what they claim to do, but personally I have found many gel-based cleansers to not clean that well (on me anyway). I don't mind them in the mornings when you don't have so much dirt and oil that you need to wash off your face, but at night even with double cleansing, I don't feel fully clean unless I use a cleansing toner such as the Son & Park Beauty Water right after.
The cleanser seems scentless at first, but once you lather it up, it produces a kind of earthy/hanbang (Korean medicinal herbs) type of smell. I don't exactly like the scent but it's not too bad and is tolerable (I'm not a big fan of hanbang scents but if you are you should like this). After rinsing my face, it doesn't feel dry or tight after. It feels clean yet totally comfortable - no redness or signs of irritation right after. The cleanser is slightly more pricey compared to drugstore cleansers but I think it's worth it for the price. It's fairly affordable if you compare it to some of the department store cleansers, even some of the ones at Sephora. I've seen some cleansers that are like $40 - $50 range and I'm just like "But why?!"
Polatam Vitalizing Water Mini-Review
pH Balancing & Moisturizing Toner:If you are looking for a light watery, yet still noticeably hydrating toner, this would be a great choice. Whether you use a cotton pad or pat it on your face, you do feel that there is something hydrating on your face - yet it does not suffocate or feel heavy at all. This is similar to the Huxley toner but cheaper and also comparable to the E Nature toner but lighter and less/not sticky. Interesting ingredients include: grape extract, orange extract, malus domestica extract, lemon extract, lime extract, anise extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, and citric acid. With all of these citrus-type of fruit, I believe the toner very slightly exfoliates, as well as help even out your skin over time. This toner also pH balances your skin and is a great choice for the 7-skin method (or however many layers you choose to pat onto your skin for hydration).
Polatam Oak Tree Sap Deep Moist Cream Mini-Review
Moisturizer for all skin types & all ages:This is one of the more unique moisturizers out there in that it's a thick white cream, yet it comes in a convenient tube (usually I'd see lighter watery-gel type of moisturizers come in a tube). I used to wonder if some creams were just too thick and that's why they were packaged in jars instead of cubes, but no that's not necessarily the case here. I'm not against jars since I always use a clean spatula to scoop up what I need, but I totally understand those who are against constantly exposing the entire product to the air for fear of contamination. This moisturizer is scentless and emolliant (very moisturizing) yet it leaves an almost matte finish on your face (you won't look like a greasy mess waiting for it to fully absorb).
For those of you that like going bare-faced once in awhile (do use sunscreen whenever you expose yourself to the sun though), I can say that I look the same after putting this cream on as before. Meaning, you can't tell that I just slathered on some heavy cream. A good thing for me actually. I kind of hate the greasy moisturizer look, though sometimes that's hard to avoid if you need a moisturizer with a certain level of hydration. If you want a "basic" moisturizer (scentless, clean ingredients) housed in a convenient tube, I highly recommend this one. It has also helped on the nights that I use my Curology prescription as well, so this is definitely one of the better ones to me. It's also not super expensive (it's $34 - often moisturizers seem to start at $40+). If you have much drier skin, Polatam also has the much heavier (and in a jar) Deep Moist Melting Rich Cream. It costs a little bit more but you are paying for a luxurious moisturizer mixed with argan and olive oil.
Polatam Water Gel Extra Force Optimal Repairing Mask Mini-Review
Firmer and smoother skin in minutes:Out of the 3 Polatam sheet masks, this one is my favorite and is true to its name. The first time I used this a long time ago, I didn't really think too much of it but I think it's because I was already having a fairly good skin day. This time around my skin was a bit irritated and needed some "oomph". This sheet mask is deeply hydrating, not to mention it got rid of my redness and helped calmed down my flared up skin. In this case, it really did some "optimal repairing" for me. This sheet mask is also supposed to be good for anti-aging and firming as it contains adenosine (a proven ingredient for advancing collagen and elastin levels) plus niacinamide and natural minerals for brightening. Polatam sheet masks are unique in that they are made out of Cupro fibers (cellulose fibers derived from cotton linter, ultra-fine and silky). Accordingly to Oh Lolly, "They can hold ten times more essence than regular cotton fibers, which means more concentrated essence for your skin". They are also soft, thin, breathable and hypoallergenic.
Polatam Water Gel Extra Force Brightening Mask
For bright, luminous skin:I don't really have any issues with dullness and unevenness, however I don't doubt the brightening powers of this sheet mask as it did subtly reduced the existing dark spots and marks on my skin (from a recent breakout). I would imagine that if someone bought a box of these and regularly used them (almost every day), it would definitely help out with the overall brightening of your skin tone and help tackle some of those pesky dark spots like what I had when I used this. In additional to the usual Korean oak tree sap, niacinamide and minerals, this sheet mask adds licorice extract which is great for hyperpigmentation. Polatam sheet masks are unique in that they are made out of Cupro fibers (cellulose fibers derived from cotton linter, ultra-fine and silky). Accordingly to Oh Lolly, "They can hold ten times more essence than regular cotton fibers, which means more concentrated essence for your skin". They are also soft, thin, breathable and hypoallergenic.
Polatam Water Gel Extra Force Moisturizing Mask
Soothing and ultra-moisturizing:If you're looking for a more "basic" moisturizing mask, this one is a really good choice as the thinner material does seem to make the ingredients penetrate your skin better than others (it does hug your face nicely). In fact, this sheet mask is so moisturizing, I highly doubt you need moisturizer after. For me, I feel like I'd suffocate my skin if I added moisturizer after. If you need to seal in all the goodness with something else after, I'd suggest using a hydrating mist instead and pat it all in. You can definitely do a more simple routine with this sheet mask as you don't need multiple hydrating layers after using this. This sheet mask includes hyaluronic acid and centella extract (good for healing and calming skin). Polatam sheet masks are unique in that they are made out of Cupro fibers (cellulose fibers derived from cotton linter, ultra-fine and silky). Accordingly to Oh Lolly, "They can hold ten times more essence than regular cotton fibers, which means more concentrated essence for your skin". They are also soft, thin, breathable and hypoallergenic.
Buy Polatam Skincare
Similar to E Nature, Polatam is another underrated/lesser-known brand in this huge sea of Korean beauty products. They have simple packaging and mostly revolve their products around hydrating/balancing your skin. However, I do respect the brand in their attention to making clean products for sensitive skin and at a fairly affordable price point. Other similar simple and natural hydrating brands such as E Nature and Huxely (I do think these are great brands as well) costs more.
Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with this brand. I would definitely recommend this line to everyone, but especially to those with dry and/or sensitive skin. I was also using many of these products while I was breaking out (to offset any possibly drying acne medications) and it did not make my breakouts worse. These products definitely helped while I was using my Curology prescription as well. Obviously you might not want to use all of the products in this line if you’re oily/acne prone, but I would recommend the cleansing foam and the toner as they feel very light, yet still hydrating on the skin (the cleansing foam also isn't drying/irritating). It was hard to pick a favorite honestly as I felt like I could see myself using any of the products in this line. In fact, if you will be traveling somewhere where you could use some lightweight hydration and you want something more basic/simple for sensitive skin, this would be my pick (the minis-to-go set).
Any questions and/or comments about my Polatam brand overview/product reviews? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please let me know in the comments below!
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Photo Credit: OhLolly/I Aem Beauty