Skin brighteners vs. whiteners vs. lighteners?

24 May

Why, hello

After a hiatus in blogging, we’re back with a lot that we’re excited to share with you all!

We took a blogging break to curate and write an eclectic assortment of content guided by the most popular and interesting questions we’ve received over the course of the last few months. We also took a break to give our blog a quick face-lift – I’m sure you see the difference on the aesthetic changes but now we have better backend functionality that will hopefully help you find other (hopefully) interesting entries more easily. We’ll keep you posted on all that we’ve prepared. Hope you enjoy!

Onto the topic du jour

Lately, places like Sephora’s shelves have been filling up with skin brighteners and lighteners and whiteners. We’ve been getting asked quite a lot about which is which and how these work.

We’ll keep it simple. Essentially, there are two broad categories of these products: 1) things that make your skin whiter and 2) things that make your skin more radiant and evenly colored.

shk radiance

Radiance personified a la Song Hye Kyo, one of Peach and Lily’s favorites

The less relevant category (and also the one to watch out for!)

The first category is most prevalent outside the US (big category in India) where ingredients are used to make the skin color whiter. Typically, hydroquinone (and a lot of it) is used to suppress melanin production which does effectively whiten skin. This ingredient is a pretty tough chemical and has been banned for use in Europe and is sold in the US as an OTC drug but maxing out at 2% hydroquinone. The products sold in beauty stores in the US will typically not be in this first category.

Onto the more relevant category…skin brighteners

So what then are skin brighteners and how do they work? Skin brighteners are formulated to do a few things: 1) even out skin tone by attacking some of the hyper-pigmentation that causes sun spots and 2) create a more radiant skin tone by clearing out the darker, cloudier patches of skin. In principle, the formulation is similar to skin whiteners in that ingredients are used to suppress melanin production but the key difference lies in the ingredients used.

Major ingredients used in skin brighteners include vitamin C, vitamin B derivatives and plant extracts like arbutin. These ingredients are much milder than hydroquinone and effectively attack the darker spots and help bring out the brilliance underlying all the sun damage.

So which is right for me?

All three kinds of ingredients in skin brighteners do work. This product category (more than any other, IMHO) depends on skin compatibility. As an example, vitamin C didn’t sit well with me for years, but now my skin loves vitamin C ester products. Having said that, vitamin B derivatives and plant extracts are typically less irritating on the skin. However, watch out if you have any allergies to specific plant extracts.

These ingredients, in general though, are fairly mild and should sit well with most skin types. It may take a little time to find the right brightener for you, but this is one product category that is worth investing in if you’re looking for that extra wattage of radiant and dewy skin. Hydrated skin alone will be tough to bring out the brilliance as the sun will inevitably cause some cloudiness.

One extra tip: don’t undo all the work in creating radiance by neglecting thy sun care.

What do we recommend?


We personally LOVE this one brightener. Seems like we’re not alone, this one gets great reviews and we’ve had to restock twice. We give this two thumbs up for the way it creates a more even skin tone and glow, feels great on, and uses only high end ingredients that nourish the skin.  On that note, have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend everyone and don’t forget that sunscreen even if it’s unseasonably cold outside!



Asanas for the skin and the best after-yoga treat

1 Apr

Lately, we’ve been having a lot of discussions in the Peach and Lily office about how skincare truly is a lifestyle commitment. Basically, radiant skin is all about improving skin from within.

Effective skincare products have formulations that use healthy ingredients and effectively penetrate the deeper layers of the skin to improve from within. What’s also important is the food you eat that helps with improving skin from within, and the exercise you do that will help with circulation and detoxing to also help improve skin from within.

Today, we wanted to share 5 simple yoga poses that helps with the skin (really).

First, though, how does yoga help with skin?

1) Improved circulation, 2) Sweating out the toxins, 3) Detoxing the digestive tract which optimize nutrient absorption leading to better health and skin, and 4) lowering stress levels leading to better sleep, a stronger immune system and of course, better skin.

Moving onto our top 5 favorite, easy yoga poses for a healthier, more radiant you:

Don’t forget to warm up and ease into these poses

1) Tadasana “Mountain pose”: this natural, standing pose focuses you on deep, rhythmic breathing by drawing oxygen into, through and out of the body to release harmful toxins and fuel vital systems. Tadasana

2) Uttanasana: uttanasana Don’t worry about keeping the legs super straight or touching the ground. Over time, the flexibility will come. For now, just let the head hang, close your eyes and relax as you let your blood switch directions and clear things out through this. Blood will flow faster into the face, bringing oxygen and helpful nutrients to fight free radicals. Even a minute a day will help.

3) Bharadvaja’s Twist:

BharadvajasanaTwisting positions are supposed to great for digestive health, which is a big factor in eliminating toxins from the organs. The twisting in conjunction with deep cleansing breaths will help with toxin elimination.

4) Utkatasana: utkatasana

This is an “advanced” pose and which increases the heart rate and thereby enhancing circulation throughout the body and Challenging poses like Chair make the heart beat faster, increasing the circulation of blood flow throughout the body.


5) Viparita Karani: viparita karani

This inversion pose should be attempted at your own risk (and apparently, is not recommended for those on your period). This inversion pose will increase blood flow to the face and help with digestion.



Post-yoga, this roll-on massager has been incredibly popular to help soothe the mind and muscle.


This pretty much flies off shelves in yoga studios in Asia. We love this roll-on massager during the work day as well when things get a tad stressful. It’s a product passed around a lot in our office. Two-thumbs up from everyone here at Peach and Lily!

On that note, it’s time to wrap up this rather long work day and go unwind with some green tea and mindless dvds. 🙂


A few of our favorite things: what others love and what we love

25 Mar

What others love:

We love getting emails that share stories about our products. This week, we thought we’d highlight Aromatica’s Sea Daffodil Aqua Gel Cream for all the loving this got through emails sent to us this week. Through the varied emails, there were a couple common themes about this gentle, soothing and deeply hydrating gel cream: 1) soothes damaged skin and leaves it feeling supple and 2) hydrates well without over-greasing or feeling too heavy. And people also really liked how it smelled.

Over here at Peach and Lily, we love that the base of this gel cream (unlike most others that use water as a base) is organic aloe cream. So luxurious.


Now onto the part about what we love! 

Not that we don’t love the gel cream above, but we wanted to highlight some blogs that have caught our eye and the reasons we love them (and therefore, reached out to them to share about Peach and Lily!). Here’s our top 10 favorite blogs of the week (in no particular order)!

1. – Tina does such a fantastic job of providing overall lifestyle content in a highly informative and whimsical way. Always high-quality and stylish like the fabulous Tina, herself.  Oh, and gorgeous photos.

2. – Kathy writes beautiful entries about travel, beauty, lifestyle and how to save money (smart entries!). Best of all, she writes up journalistic interviews about some interesting companies/CEOs. We love it.

3. – Tianna is so approachable and writes with honesty and wit about a broad range of fun topics ranging from achieving the ballerina look, to hot bathing suits, nail art to eclectic skincare picks.

4. – Denise is so great with color, beauty hauls and giveaways. She’s also clued into the beauty blogger scene so has interesting tidbits from everywhere. Great for learning about beauty tips for warmer climates.

5. – Donah is wonderful about covering a wide range of topics in color/skincare. Her blog is easy to read, follow and learn from. We love the topics covered – hard-to-find information otherwise, aka online gems.

6. – Hilary and Courtney are a lovely duo – makeup artist & hair stylist – who provide fun, relevant content on all things beauty and fashion with creative pictures, and a whole lot of style and grace.

7. – Airi is really great at provided detailed information about Asian beauty products. We love her closeup pictures and detailed and rich reviews about Asian products, stores and beauty trends.

8. – Stephanie is awesome at finding the fun giveaways with great reviews that are pertinent and compelling. We love that she covers a bit of everything (even book reviews) and provides savvy lifestyle tips and quips.

9. – We love this as the fun go-to place for anytime we’re feeling up for a giveaway or sweepstake. A great collection of contests when you’re feeling lucky! 😉

10. – Jamie is awesome at providing great reviews and giveaways altogether. We love reading about what’s great and then entering easy giveaways right then and there. And a big hearty congratulations to her recent engagement!

Hyaluronic Acid, Collagen, and Peptides Oh My!

13 Mar

Hyaluronic acid, collagen, peptide….these are all terms and ingredients that are prevalent in today’s beauty industry jargon.

But what are these ingredients, how do they aid in skincare and who should use them? If you aren’t proficient in chemistry (like me!), trying to find that answers to these questions can be a bit daunting. Glycosaminoglycan… huh? Oligomers… what? Have no fear – Peach & Lily is here! I will try to answer these questions (and more!) in the most basic terms.



In general, all three compounds are all naturally formed in the human body and play an important role in keeping our skin looking youthful and healthy.


Collagen is a protein that your body produces to support the skin’s structure and keep it firm and elastic. Since collagen production decreases fairly rapidly as we age, our skin ultimately starts to sag (read: less collagen = less structure = more wrinkles)


Hyaluronic acid (HA) is described as “nature’s moisturizer” because its main function in the body is to bind with water. 50% of the body’s HA is found in the skin tissue, so it is a vital ingredient in keeping skin healthy!

Young skin is smooth and highly elastic because it contains a high concentration of both collagen and HA.  The HA acts as a space filler by binding to water and helps keep the collagen moist and elastic (read: more moisture = healthy, plump skin). Unfortunately, as we get older, the body isn’t able to maintain this same level of concentration, which results in the skin becoming drier and prone to wrinkles.


Peptides are an entirely different beast. They are short chains of amino acids that are formed when collagen and skin tissue break down.  The peptides essentially signal to cells that skin has been damaged and that it needs to produce more collagen to heal it (read: more peptides = cells produce more collagen & HA = healthy, young skin).


Obviously, all three compounds are very important in our skin care regimen. I firmly believe that you are never too young or too old to protect and care for your skin.

20’s and 30’s – We recommend investing in some form of Hyaluronic Acid and/or collagen boosters

Mature skin (late 30’s onwards) – Make sure that peptide is a major ingredient in your skin care products

Peach and Lily carries highly-concentrated HA, collagen, and peptide serums from Mizon. Note – Mizon doesn’t put just a little bit of the ingredient in there like most beauty brands, they put in A LOT. The collagen serum has 90% marine collagen. The HA serum has a 50% HA concentration, and the peptide has a 45% peptide concentration. Major ingredients = major results.

You can find them here:

-Cindy and Alicia-

Fabulous begins with the eyes

12 Mar

Fabulous eyes make such a statement, don’t you think?


On the other hand, eyes that attempt to look fabulous but have smudges (usually happens around 2pm for me) or that ever-so-pesky messy look is almost way worse than clean bare eyes with a touch of gloss. With eyes, it either looks clean, striking and fab…or messy, uncomfortable for others (you know that feeling when you want to reach over and wipe that smear off someone’s face), and depressing (think, raccoon-eyes, been-crying-in-the-bathroom-look, life-falling-apart).

I personally like to tightline my lower lash line and until 2pm, if I may say so myself, I’m looking quite fab ;). Post-2pm, I’m basically doing the whole wet-q-tip-to-wipe-off-smears routine, then reapplying the eyeliner because invariably some always comes off. The wipe off and reapply combo is not terrible, but mediocre on good days and sloppy on bad days.

LADIES, there is a solution. It is all about the QUALITY of your eyeliners. There are incredible waterproof, smudge-proof, will-stay-on-exactly-where-you-put-it-and-nowhere-else eyeliners out there.

After testing about 25+ eyeliners on the market, we are so thrilled to bring to you Clio’s wonderful, wonderful, truly long-lasting eyeliners. When we fell in love and approached the brand, we thought we were the only ones in on the secret, but nope, apparently, it’s globally loved and touted by makeup artists and beauty editors and almost every consumer in Asia. Had no idea that they were basically this iconic fabulous brand that is practically synonymous with “eyeliner” and “mascara” in Asia.

(sorry the image is small so it’s hard to read, but you can read it directly in the above link)


When we interviewed the brand, we fell more in love. First, their office is amazing. The company is really into fine arts and sees makeup as an art form in itself. So the conference room is basically decorated with Warhol prints everywhere, fabulous chandeliers and just a really incredible interior aesthetic. They host art exhibitions, have artwork on some of their cases, and always make sure that more than anyone makeup artists are always finding their products best and most innovative in color, applicator, diversity and long-lasting wearability under runway lights and on sweating models!


On that fabulous note, it’s my last full day in Seoul after a whirlwind and really informative beauty hunt, so must go pack!

x- Alicia

-ps- for those who like eye candy…here’s a mega picture update of Clio’s former model who’s sporting all of Clio’s products. Those eyes! Enjoy and be fab!


hyorihyoriclioHyori5Hyori 9Hyori8 hyori11 hyori16 hyori17

Win a $300 Peach and Lily Shopping Spree!

11 Mar

PeachandLily_Pinterest_vFCheck out our Pin to Win sweeps on Pinterest for a chance to win a $300 shopping spree on our site! (

Just to clarify: this is open internationally!

You can get a lot for that chunk of store cash 🙂

Japanese Beauty Secret – Binchotan Charcoal Facial Soap

8 Mar


Lilian’s skin profile: Age range: 28-32, Skin type: Eczema, Dry

Quick Takes: Cleanses my face like no other. Leaves my extremely dry skin feeling balanced and moisturized.

1. Facial bar soap? Do people really use those?  

I often ask my friends in Japan what they think the secret is to beautiful skin.  Many respond, “washing your face and cleaning out your pores with the right natural bar soap is most important.”

In the U.S., consumers tend not to use facial bar soaps because they falsely assume that bar soaps altogether are extremely drying. However, in Japan, using facial bar soap is quite common, and probably even more common than using face wash. With these thoughts in mind, I ventured out to see which natural bar soaps work best for me.

I’ve tried a good number of facial bar soaps at this point – organic, olive-oil based, rice-bran based. They were all okay, just never fantastic. They always left me wanting for more, especially with my eczema and extremely dry skin. (FYI – my skin is so dry that if I don’t slather moisturizing cream on my face the second I get out of the shower my skin starts pulling and feeling tight!)

2. The revelation

I happened to pick up Morihata’s binchotan charcoal facial soap as we were hunting for beauty products at Peach and Lily. The Japanese have used Binchotan charcoal in skincare for centuries to naturally detoxify, exfoliate and moisturize skin.

After using this soap, I am officially hooked. Living in Manhattan wreaks havoc on my already dry skin, but since I started using the binchotan charcoal soap, my skin feels CLEAN (really clean!), more radiant, and moisturized (big pluses all around).

3. Why I love the Binchotan charcoal soap over others:

  • I love the rich creamy foam texture and how the fine charcoal powder really gets into my pores to draw out dirt.
  • My skin feels VERY refreshed after. Again, because I have eczema, this is a pretty bold statement for me to be making about a facial soap. But it really works and I love how clean (and I mean seriously clean) my face feels and looks after I use it. (Note – it may take a couple of rinses to get all of the binchotan charcoal off your face, but I don’t mind this because the charcoal powder is in all those crevices and pores for a reason.)
  • Once I get out of the shower, I don’t have to put cream on as immediately because of the soap’s moisturizing properties. My face doesn’t pull and feel tight like it normally does. Instead, it feels soft and prepped for the rest of my skincare regimen.
  • My skin absorbs toner, serum, and cream more effectively 
  • Extra tip – you can couple the soap with Morihata’s facial puff to very gently exfoliate your skin without any irritation (I like to use the puff after the soap. Others like using it with the soap.)

4. The downside:

  • The only downside to the soap is that it can get messy if you wash your face in the sink, so I recommend using the soap in the shower.

A lot of our friends at Peach and Lily who have acne have used this soap and seen a lot of clarifying benefits. Has binchotan charcoal worked for you too? Let us know!

Hope you enjoyed the review! Arigato!

-Lilian –

(Lilian is Peach and Lily’s Director of Japan Business Development. She’s our guru on all things skincare and wonderful about Japanese beauty products!)