I consider myself an open-minded person when it comes to different cultures than my own. I appreciate that every region in the world has its own unique style of dressing, eating, expressing emotions and living life. I think that living in Canada, I get to experience the best of all these cultures, and that’s a terrifically enriching benefit to living in the Great Northern “melting pot.” In past years I have also become more open to embracing different approaches to beauty, from the Dead Sea mud facials in Israel to snail secretion face creams from Korea. After all, if something has worked for one group for thousands of years, why not give it a go, too?
I was approached by a Malaysian cosmaceutical skincare brand named Bliv this spring to receive a selection of their products to sample and possibly share with you, my followers. After examining their website (I had never heard of them before) and discussing with fellow beauty junkies, I decided to give them a green light. The package arrived, and I got to work testing out its contents. As always, I am brutally honest in my reviews, and will not hesitate to tell you what worked and what did not. If you would be a little lost if asked to place Malaysia on the map (no shame), it’s a Southeastern Asian federal constitutional monarchy bordered by Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. It’s officially a Muslim country, but non-Muslims are free to follow other religions as well. They are one of the most commercially successful countries in the region, specializing in science, commerce and medical tourism. They even have their own Malaysian Sephora chain, which includes many brands we can’t access here in North America.
From Bliv (also spelled b.liv) I received a couple of sheet masks, a skincare set containing a cleanser, toner, treatment and moisturizer, and a separate night complex. Some of the products worked fabulously, others were a letdown. You should know that the only guidelines I gave the representative in picking products for me were: “I have dry skin with a tendency for dullness, and occasional breakouts. I am not sensitive or allergic to any ingredient.”
From the Complete Hydrating Set I received ($69*) I really liked the treatment and moisturizer, but wasn’t a fan of the cleanser and toner. The Drench Me cleanser smells like white tea and has a thick gel consistency. Mixed with water it foams nicely and indeed does not strip skin as claimed, however I found it to give too much resistance when used in conjunction with the Foreo Luna Mini that I favor for deep-cleaning my skin. The Refresh Me toner was a fail from the get-go, because the pump it comes with squirts products in very concentrated, narrow streams that won’t allow for “2-3 pumps evenly over your cleansed face and neck,” as instructed (I was expecting a mist). When I tried to rub the saturated spots across my skin it felt oily and unlike any of the more astringent toners I am used to. I’ll pass.
The Off With Those Heads blackheads sebum gel was my favorite bit, and apparently Seventeen Magazine‘s as well (it won the Best Blackhead Remover award in 2012). I concentrated one pump on my nose morning and evening, and the first thing I noticed was a strong tingly sensation and eucalyptus scent. The ingredients include witch hazel extract, aloe leaf extract, tea tree leaf oil and peppermint oil to help with clearing out clogged pores. Over time it is supposed to help soften them for painless extraction, but I enjoyed it on its own (actual results to be determined, keep an eye on my empties series). The Quench Me moisturizer was also pleasing, a nice thick gel that left my skin feeling supple and soft the next day. I recommend the two on their own, but it turns out they are cheaper (and bigger!) in the set. Go figure.
Next I gave the Shrik & Tighten+ night complex a whirl ($49*), and was pleasantly surprised with the results as well. This product claims to eliminate large pores while ensuring skin’s firmness and brightness. It comes out in a clear fluid, and I massaged three drops onto my cheeks day and night, and even though you’re supposed to I certainly did not keep the bottle refrigerated after opening and I certainly did shake it, at least accidentally. I’ve always had issues with large pores, so much so that kids at school used to ask why I have “holes” on my face. The situation has drastically improved in the past two years I’ve been cleansing and hydrating, but this took things to a whole new level. After a couple applications I literally could not see where my problem area used to be. My skin looked dramatically better, and I felt more confident. If only those schoolyard bullies could see me now!
Finally, after putting everything to the test thoroughly, it was time to unwind with a good mask. The Bright Is Right range ($2.50 each*) is made with black pearl, silkworm extract (!), and willow bark extract to both lighten skin and improve its reflective properties. You leave the serum-drenched sheet on for about half an hour, after which you strip it off to reveal results. My skin didn’t like whatever is in this, it became irritated and sensitive and red with none of the benefits (it turns out I am sensitive to something, after all). For brightening I prefer THEFACESHOP’s bird’s nest mask, or Sephora Collection’s Pearl variety. I will say that the mask material was very soft and comfortable.
To conclude my review, I must say that the more targeted products worked wonders for my skin, a lot more than several local brands I know. The “one size fits all” approach for the others didn’t work for me at all, but I wouldn’t dismiss all of their cleansing and masking ranges outright. Let me know if you’ve tried anything from Bliv before, because I’m definitely interested in learning more! Thanks to Pui for organizing this review.
*Prices true at time of writing.
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