The Steambase Roseherb Moisturizer Line Just May Be Your Summer Skin’s BFF
Royal hot spring waters, an herbal-scented dream, and a matte finish — what more could you want from a summer moisturizer? Here, contributing editor Coco Park gets prepped for warm weather with her reviews of Steambase Roseherb cream and emulsion.
In a sea of new brands, gimmicks, and boring copycat marketing pushes, sometimes you just want to get back to basics. Basics but not basic, you know what I mean? Give me simplicity but make it rooted in solid thinking and tradition. It seems like an impossible task, but I’m looking for the skincare equivalent of the “Hoe, but then make it fashion” gif.
Enter Steambase. Steambase’s whole philosophy is setting up and protecting the building blocks, or “base,” of great skin. In other words, by protecting the skin from harmful elements, you set up a strong “skin architecture” resulting in a radiant, glowy, even-toned base. Honestly that’s exactly the kind of directive that makes me stand up and start paying attention as it’s exactly what good skincare should do. We’re already off to a good start.
After covering the “base” part of Steambase, they get to the steam. Steambase takes it all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty, using Onyang Hot Springs water. Kings would use this 1,300-year-old spring water as an all-natural moisturizing treatment thanks to the heavy mineral content. These coveted waters were so famed because it was said to outright cure the king’s skin conditions and completely revive the circulatory system. If it’s good enough for a king, it’s good enough for me, so I’m totally on board with that same thermal spring water powering Steambase’s offerings! Bring on the Onyang! Or bring onyang the Onyang? Too much? Either way, I was excited to get this on my face and see if I felt any more regal.
So what’s in it
The two products I had the pleasure to try were from the Roseherb Build Up series, which instantly had me looking like the leering eyes emoji. Now, I am a big fan of rose, but for those are you who aren’t, fear not, the rose in Roseherb is actually rosemary, rose geranium, and rose hip, each clocking in at a respectable .03% each! In my opinion, that was way more exciting than just another plain rose derived product.
Rosemary has a stimulating effect on the skin to liven it up, rose geranium (which, as an aside, is one of my all time fav scents) is known for creating balance, and rose hip is famous for its vitamin C content, as well as its revitalizing and moisturizing properties. It’s a pretty solid lineup, and given that each of the star ingredients clock in at a respectable 0.3% with the super-charged mineral water base, I was starting to get hyped up for a refreshing experience. Spoiler alert: It did not disappoint.
Given that I’m obsessed with hydration and moisture, I was hyped to see that the products I was given to try were the Roseherb Build Up Emulsion and Roseherb Build Up Cream. What I like about testing the emulsions and creams of lines is I can get a fairly instantaneous feel for the efficacy of the products and see the kind of care the lines are crafted with without having to wait several weeks to a month to see any noticeable effects like in the case of say, a serum. You can get a pretty good feel for a line when it comes to their hydration offerings — that’s not a hard and fast rule, but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb.
Upon first opening the box and examining the products, I took note of the heavy glass packaging. I’m a big fan of glass packaging — first of all, I can recycle it, and second of all, it just gives an elegant, substantial feel that I enjoy.
The second thing I noticed was the smell. The emulsion and cream both have a noticeable but oh-so-pleasant herby smell. You can really smell that rosemary and geranium. The smell is not at all overpowering, but if you’re not a fan of noticeable smells, this is not the product for you. If however you’re like me and you worship at the alter of high-end herbal brands like Aesop but cringe at the price, Steambase is sent from the gods. I’m actually going through a huge Aesop Geranium body product phase right now so these products smelled like a natural and freaking delightful continuation of that theme but for my face. Y’all, I was utterly thrilled. Still am.
Once I stopped sniffing the smell like an overly enthusiastic weirdo, I got to actually trying the product. I had my voice note recorder open so I could get a stream of consciousness first impression and my first words were “OMG, this is like Hanyul and Aesop had a baby,” and that statement has stayed with me. It really does remind me of Hanyul in feel and Aesop in feel. The substantial glass packaging also makes me think of Hanyul and sends me back to my Hanyul Rice Essential days, which is a happy memory.
The emulsion lies somewhere between a super thick toner and a lotion; it has this viscous property and is exceedingly light and airy but is definitely an emulsion. It has a slight cooling effect when applied to the skin (again, this harkens back to Hanyul to me) and dries down instantaneously.
The cream, while thick, almost has a cream-gel hybrid feel to me, but then again I’m coming off my super thick and heavy winter cream routine so anything less than that feels super light. The cream has that same delicious roseherb smell and slight cooling effect as the emulsion. It also dries down immediately and leaves a matte finish.
Although these products are moisturizing, I don’t quite think they’re the right call for very dry skin when used alone. I do however think they can be used by someone with dry skin if they’re layered with a nourishing oil and a heavier cream placed strategically in the driest areas, especially if you’re using the “strobing with skincare” technique, which is what I’ve been doing.
Where I see these products really excelling is in humid climates and with oily-skinned folks seeking hydration without any heaviness. I can also see them as summertime staples, which is exactly where they’re headed for me. Between the cooling sensation, the light airy hydration, and the quick absorbing matte finish, this is going to be a godsend in the mornings before makeup application between June and August here in my neck of the woods.
Although the formula also includes niacinamide, I haven’t noticed any noticeable brightening effects yet, but for the tactile, olfactory, and refreshing sensations alone I’m putting my stamp of approval on this line and declaring it a must for summer. In the meantime, the scent alone is energizing my gloomy month and giving me sunny aspirations. If you’re in the tropics or anywhere with high humidity or just plain sticky heat, I can’t recommend these beauties enough!
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This summer I’m going to be gathering Steambase along with refrigerated sheet masks and sunscreen as my hot weather prep kit. And to answer the question, did I feel any more regal after indulging in my Onyang water-powered skincare? I can’t hear you over the sound of being fanned and fed grapes in my herbal kingdom.
What’s in your summer skincare arsenal? Any products you’re saving for the hotter months? Let’s talk in the comments!