Celebrity Skinvestigation

Long story short, I wanted to start a series on this blog looking at celebrity skincare routines and products they’ve agreed to promote. Why? It sounds a bit counter-intuitive, to look into products people are paid to promote when most beauty junkies have been growing increasingly annoyed with the consumerism theology in marketing campaigns and tired of sponsored blog/vlog content, but these two worlds just naturally came together for me because I follow entertainment media, and I follow skincare releases. I’m not taking these stars at their word, but using them as a stepping stone to introduce myself to new brands/products; this method of research also allows me to take an interesting angle during reviews–what was the marketing behind this product? Why did they frame the product in this light? How does the company’s vision for the product align, or conflict with, the product’s place in my own skincare routine?

To kick off this series, I wanted to focus on a celebrity with a lot of content to work with, so I started by watching old episodes of Get it Beauty. Not old enough that it was more beauty show than advertisement, but old enough that someone will probably scoff and call me late to the game with this one. I concede, but will be reviewing About Me’s Skin Tone Up Massage Cream, pimped by the gorgeous Soyou of SISTAR,  regardless!


Photo from Naver

In the remainder of this post you’ll find:

  1. Celebrity Introduction
  2. Soyou’s Skincare “Routine”
  3. Skin Tone Up Massage Cream Review (read: Ramble)
  4. Summary

Soyou and About Me

The goddess pictured above is Soyou, part of the group SISTAR, that has been contracted as brand ambassadors for About Me for above a year now. In this video she filmed as a behind the scenes with Get It Beauty, she demonstrates some exercises for keeping herself in shape, a run through of some sponsored gym bag products, and then her About Me sponsored skincare routine (at the 8 minute mark) that I’ll summarise below:

  • About Me Skin Tone Up Massage Cream: more about this product below
  • About Me Skin Tone Up Peeling Pad: a pre-dampened exfoliating cotton pad she rubs in small circles over her face. One side is embossed to provide physical exfoliation, and the other mesh and smooth to wipe off the dead skin that pills up. Recommended usage is around once a week.
  • About Me Skin Tone Up Eye Cream: A brightening eye cream with a cool steel applicator. She mentions the importance of eye creams because dark circles can make you look sickly, and also mentions to apply products around the area lightly. She applies this in circles from her under eye area through the crease in her upper eyelid, but doesn’t extend near the brow bone or apply any directly on the eyelid.
  • About Me Skin Tone Up Finishing Cream: A brightening, lightweight cream with a dewy finish. First she rubs, and then she pats this cream into her skin. She mentioned it having a gloss, but it looked like a slight white cast that brightened. Formulated to look nice when you go out bare faced.

The most intriguing part of this routine to me was her use of the massage cream–she uses it like an oil cleanser to draw out impurities, but instead of using it as a first cleanser like most do, she uses it right before she applies the rest of her skincare products–so as a second cleanser? I ended up purchasing this product out of curiosity, and because I’m extremely susceptible to all forms of marketing, in order to try it out myself. Onto my first experience with a massage cream!

Massage Creams, an Interlude

As mentioned before, the About Me massage cream seemed different from my preconceived definition of a massage cream. I had seen ones such as Missha’s Misa Cho Bo Yang Chung An Massage Cream or Sulwhasoo’s Benecircle Massage Cream, where it’s applied to clean skin and then washed off afterwards; massage creams seem to have originally been meant to aid in simply massaging the face by providing an oily base so there won’t be any skin irritation due to friction or skin-dragging that could result in premature wrinkles. In my limited experience with Asian Beauty on reddit and Instagram, the community doesn’t seem to own or use massage creams regularly, especially compared to routine standards like serums and creams. Their marketing also tends to focus on the benefits of improving skin circulation through massaging, or helpful ingredients in the massage cream that the skin will absorb during a massage. Missha’s claims focus on how the “rich nourishing cream”‘s ingredients will “revitalise skin,” and Sulwhasoo’s description markets it for “nourishing and revitalising tired skin.”

I had no use for massage creams previously because I often do things too harshly as an absentminded side effect of trying to do them quicker, evident by the broken capillaries on the sides of my cheeks from “skin stimulating slapping” I had attempted previously, and viewed massages as another avenue to broken capillaries. However, with About Me seemingly trying to “reinvent” the massage cream game by comparing it to a cleansing oil. Soyou emphasizes how the oil massage will draw out impurities in the skin, which reminds me of how many tutorials use a cleansing oil to try and draw blackheads/sebaceous filaments/”grits” out of the skin. This made me want to try and delegate some of my oil cleanser’s tasks to this massage cream, and see how it would preform.


advertisement-4Photos from eBay user asian_beauty_shop

Product Review

Product Description

Name: About Me Skin Tone Up Massage Cream
Amount: 150 mL
Price: 16USD Amazon // 22USD Memebox
Purpose: A detoxifying massage cream to apply between your cleansing and skincare products. Helps brighten skin.
Consistency: A stiff cream that melts down into a fluid oil.
Scent: An older cream (e.g. Ponds) with some fresh citrus notes.

Ingredient Ramblings

Full list available at CosDNA here.

This section will be a bit stunted… but starts with my initial impression that massage creams and cleansing balms would be quite similar. On a whim, I pulled up four random cleansing balms and massage creams to skim the ingredients before I opened the product and found the order and type (the “Function” column) of ingredients to be very similar. Not looking any further than that, I proceeded try and use my massage cream like a cleansing balm with makeup removal. I got to the intended destination–makeup free skin–but the journey was dissimilar in every possible way. Looking closer at the actual ingredient names, there are specific emollients and emulsifiers used only in cleansing products, and separate ones common in massage creams. PEG-10 isostearate, glyceryl triisostearate, and stearic acid all seem to be common emulsifiers for cleansing nbalms, while glyceryl stearate was an emulsifier in almost every massage cream I pulled up. Basically, both same to made up primarily emollients, emulsifiers, solvents, and viscosity controllers with fragrance thrown in somewhere. The actual ingredients used within those types seems to differ between cleansing balms and massage creams.

Speaking to the About Me Skin Tone Up Massage Cream itself, it contains mineral oil and phenoxyethanol as its preservative. It’s full of extracts, and About Me emphasizes the lemon fruit extract and royal jelly extract for skin brightening purposes because this entire line is meant for skin brightening. Other notable ingredients are titanium dioxide (I’m pretty sure this is meant to create a “brightening” white cast upon application), licorice root extract (a go-to extract for skin brightening), and some anti-inflammatory additions (e.g. aloe vera water).

My Experiences, a List

Due to this focus on this massage cream’s abilities to pull out impurities from the skin, I thought of everything I’ve ever used an oil cleanser before and tried it with this massage cream. With the exception of a scalp shampoo–this massage cream will not emulsify under any circumstances, and I was not about to spend days trying to rinse the cream out of my hair.

As a first cleanser with makeup:

  • The emulsifiers seems to all be busy holding the cream itself together, because this Will Not Emulsify.
  • Creamy texture; the experience itself would be very familiar to those who often remove makeup with Ponds Cold Cream, or a similar product.
  • Didn’t leave any viable residue of makeup once I wiped the cream off, in the mirror or on a damp towel I ran across my skin.
  • After wiping the massage cream off, my skin felt like I had applied a sleeping pack and then lightly blotted it off.

As a first cleanser without makeup

  • N O P E
  • DON’T
  • THis was a terrible idea to begin with, but I did it anyway and I will say it taught me something about the product. This product works in three stages:
    • Applies like a moisturiser
    • Soaks in like a moisturiser
    • Oily residue turns into a runny oil that provides enough lubricant for safe massaging
  • When I used this as an oil cleanser over makeup the makeup prevented the cream from penetrating my skin, but with just sunscreen I felt the cream begin to soak into my skin. You can’t get to the oil’s benefits of this cream until it soaks into your skin, so I would not recommend as a first cleanser. You face absolutely has to be really dirty or really clean before applying this product.

As a massage cream

  • My greatest skepticism was about Soyou’so description of the cream’s transformation from a cream into an oil, but it really happened. It rubbed into my cream, and then after a while the surface became greasy and there was thin layer of oil over my face. I gently massaged it for quite awhile to see if it was the product that hadn’t soaked in yet, but the residue remained and it continued
  • My skin felt moisturised afterwards, but my FTE’s and essences all still sunk in the same afterwards

As a shaving cream

  • Because I shave before showering, my skin is dirty before showering and I felt uncomfortable using this as an oil so I didn’t let it soak into my skin and just used it as a shaving cream in it’s cream form. My skin wasn’t irritated afterwards and I had that same moisturised feeling when I use my EOS shaving cream.

With the renowned 3-Step Pore Shrinking Method

  • The cream turned into an oil quicker when I used it after a clay mask, which makes sense because the clay mask must have made the moisturiser half of this cream soak into my skin easier.
  • I’ve never gotten grits using the method with an oil cleanser but still use this method because it does shrink the appearance of my pores. No grits came out with the massage cream, unsurprisingly, but the end results of both were identical.
  • Because the needs to be wiped off with a damp washcloth (more on this later), using this massage cream can be a bit much after the 3 steps listed above. There’s cleansing before you apply the BHA, cleansing to take off the mask, and then cleansing with the oil cleanser step. When using an oil cleanser you’re only cleansing, though it is still three steps, but when you wipe the cream off you’re cleansing and exfoliating with the washcloth, so it’s a bit harsher on your skin than just using an oil/balm cleanser.



One general note I want to start this summary off with–Soyou recommends removing this with a tissue. I thought “tissue” meant something different in Korean, but when she wiped the massage cream off the back of her hand in the video she really used a Kleenex-esque tissue. Nah bruh. Damp washcloth is the way to go with this. The tissue will be too abrasive, break apart and leave lint on your face, or not actually wipe any product off.

Onto the summary!

This product is through and through a massage cream; granted, I have no massage creams to compare this to, but when trying to substitute it for an oil cleanser it has all the cons of being a massage cream and not an oil cleanser. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and if you’re in the market for a massage cream I would look through the ingredients and definitely consider this one. It’s comfortable, definitely smooth/oily enough, and relatively inexpensive. I don’t regret purchasing this despite not being in the market for a massage cream, and enjoyed playing with it and melting it on my face. That being said, I make it a point to use up every last bit of every product and I’ll only be able to finish this if I “waste” it as a shaving cream to get it over with. I went into this product not seeing a necessity for a massage cream and enjoyed playing around with this one, but at the end of the day About Me’s marketing is just marketing and the product is still a massage cream. I did spend money on this though, so I would say they were successful.

5/10 || It is what it is