Hello everyone (by everyone, I mean all 10 people who read my blog)! Oh how I have missed the feeling of letting my fingers fly over the keys, typing word after word, thought after thought, providing you my reader with whatever knowledge and enjoyment I can with only 5 hour long breaks in between the start and finish of each post….Alas, what can I say? Writer’s block has become less of a block and more like a visit to Brooklyn in 5 inch heels where I am forced to walk 20 blocks when I was promised it was only 6. I’ve been feeling less than inspired lately but today, I will push through. I will walk those 20 blocks to Brooklyn Bowl to see a band who not only have I never heard of but who will also inevitably be 2 hours late. It’s time to get back on this horse called “blogging” and not fall off again. I know you are equally as thrilled as I am. So let’s just jump back into it.
Where have I been you ask? Well, when I’m not ordering large amounts of cleaning supplies on Amazon thanks to my new, pint sized, extremely hairy, and misbehaved roommate, Clementine, I have been sleeping, organizing my new apartment, or staring into the computer scrolling over pages upon pages of the number one new discovery in the United States since central air conditioning: Korean skin care.
Don’t write (ba dun ch) me off just yet! I have no doubt that you yourself are like me and have been hearing about Korean skin care for quite some time now. You set up google alerts for “Korean skin care”, you smother yourself in weird and some times less than desirable ingredients, searching for the mecca, the holy grail, the perfect combination of anti-aging/hydrating/blemish reducing/soothing ingredients that will make your skin look like you’re 16 forever. At least I have. Let’s just say I’m not accepting the natural aging process as well as I would have hoped. Anyways, enough about me and my dark spots. Korean skin care is everything right now so I wanted to share with you the new regimen that has made it’s way into my bathroom while everything has made it’s way to the trash.
Before I start imparting my knowledge upon you, let me tell you my credentials for speaking on this topic aka let me brag on myself. I am now the Assistant Manager of a Korean brand known as Blanc & Eclare. While we have only been in the US for about 8 months, our brand is widely popular in Asia. Starting with eyewear in 2014, we now sell ready-to-wear, denim, and, you guessed it, skin care. I have slowly become obsessed with not only the products and ingredients in the Korean world but the way in which the Koreans apply their skin care. Skin care in Korea is thought of as a preventative measure as opposed to in the US where people start using products after the damage is done. Korean skin care technically has 10 steps. That’s almost as many as Alcoholics Anonymous and it takes just about as long. I, being a little lazy, have managed to get mine to about 4 steps in the morning and 6-7 at night. Let’s review the 10 steps, shall we:
- Oil Cleanser
- Foam Cleanser
- Eye Cream
What???? How does the modern woman have time for it all? Who has time to wash their face three separate times before they even begin with products? Honest answer: they don’t. It’s like pulling teeth to get a woman to agree to use a toner as well as her moisturizer and that’s only one extra step! Realizing that I have finally found something I believe works for my skin, let me share with you what I do and how I do it. Maybe, having tried everything else like myself, you’ll be inspired to branch out and incorporate some of these ingredients into you routine. (WARNING: some of these products are not meant for the queasy stomach’d).
- Exfoliate– When I wash my face I have always loved a good exfoliator. Koreans recommend only doing this step 2-3 times a week but it’s what I’ve always done and cannot resist the feeling of scrubbing off those dead skin cells, having completely smooth skin, knowing my products will soak down into my skin and not just float on top. Right now, I’m partial to Clinique Pep Start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser ($19.50).
- Toner– A toner is a must have when it comes to hydrated skin. Most cleansers are meant to dry out your skin which throws off your skin’s PH balance. A toner restores that balance while providing the first step in forming a barrier between your skin and outside toxins. Blanc & Eclare’s Serein Toner ($37) is my favorite toner I have found in a long time. I, being over the top as usual, go through a bottle about every month and a half. It’s light and soaks in easily. It also smells like a dream and uses no parabens, only plant derived ingredients.
- Essence– What the hell is an essence I can hear you asking yourself? Isn’t that the music festival every Summer in New Orleans? Well yes, but it’s much more than that. An essence is a water based serum that is used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, etc., and I’m obsessed. It is hot in the Summer so in the morning I don’t like piling on thick products and then putting on make-up. Essence’s are super light and easily absorbed. For the morning, I love Blanc & Eclare’s Serein Essence ($41). Apply a small amount to your forehead and nose, a generous amount to your cheeks and neck, and then lightly play the piano around your eyes with your fingers which helps the essence to absorb.
- Eye Cream– You must use an eye cream. The skin around your eyes is very thin and delicate. All you need is small amount to help brighten your eyes and give your skin the protection it needs. Wait for your essence to dry then play the piano around your eyes once again with your eye cream. Blanc & Eclare’s Serein Energizing eye cream ($50) not only fights against wrinkles, it hydrates intensely which is key to younger looking skin.
- Make-up remover– I take the easy way out on this one. Neutrogena make-up removing wipes. One and done. Also, they’re cheap ($7.99).
- Toner– In the evening, after my skin has soaked in oil from my make-up, hands, and whatever else touches my face for 9 hours everyday, I like a nice, intense toner that has a specific purpose so I allow myself to splurge on Perricone MD Intensive Pore Minimizer ($60). I have been using this for years and I love how quickly I notice my pores shrink and my skin regain its texture.
- Essence- Here’s where I get a little crazy. One of the main ingredients used in Korean skin care right now is snail mucin or snail slime, if you will. I am pretty fearless when it comes to what I’ll try out on my skin and after seeing the plethora of products using this ingredient, reading the benefits, and seeing reviews, I couldn’t not try. I now swear by Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence by COSRX. (*Side note- Amazon may sell a cheaper version, but it’s not the real thing. Find on a Korean product website like Soko Glam.) It’s the miracle cure for everything from acne scars to uneven texture.
- Eye Cream
- Moisturizer- If i’m already using one snail mucin product, why not up the benefits and incorporate it into my moisturizer as well. Missha Super Aqua Cell Renewal Snail Cream is wonderful. It’s constituency is more gel like than cream which I love because it’s easily absorbed but you still can feel it moisturizing your skin all night.
- Mask- Once I finish all of these steps, if i’m not too tired or have not already fallen asleep, I will put on a mask. Masks are cotton sheets saturated in an intense serum that you leave on for about 20 minutes 3-4 times a week. They make masks for every sort of issue your skin can have. I am preferable to Blanc & Eclare’s Soothing Masks ($22 for a pack of 5) or the The Face Shop’s Real Nature Mung Bean mask ($3 for 1).
Well readers, I hope that I have inspired you to get out there and try something new. Put some snail slime on your face! Trust me, you will not regret it.