my foray into k-beauty, and reasons why i have an asia problem

I shouldn’t even need to explain that this is a thing of glorious beauty.

Listen, it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have a… thing for most anything Asian.  Mostly Japanese things, yes (yeah, I’m that nerd who met her future husband at an anime club meeting in college.  zero. shame.), but I really do love most anything Asia has to offer.  Don’t ask me why – I just do.

About a month ago, I got back into wearing makeup on the regular.  It wasn’t something I’d really done since I had my daughter, but 2 1/2 years is long enough, and I was having photos taken, and just… yeah.  It was time.  And as I started putting on makeup, I got a really good look at how my skin was doing.  Which led me to go, “Oooh no.  Up with this I will not put.”  I had very clogged pores, a few breakouts, a lot of redness, and at the same time my skin was horribly dry.  It needed serious help.

So, after trying a few things, including picking up a very gentle cleanser and going hogwild with moisturizer, things got slightly better.  But then I noticed someone in a Facebook group I belong to mention K-beauty.  A day of research and reading blogs later and I was sold.  So very sold.  I mean, cool things from Korea, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia?  And this stuff will give me clear skin?  Give it to me.

There’s really very little reason for me to reinvent the wheel and detail what K-beauty is or isn’t – a few excellent blogs spell this out better than I can.  Some that come to mind include Snow White and the Asian Pear, Fifty Shades of Snail, and Fanserviced-b, but there are so many others, as well as a great sub-Reddit.  Google and Ye Shall Find.  But what does my experience with AB (Asian Beauty) look like so far?

  • Double cleansing.  I now use an oil cleanser to pull my makeup off and then a regular cleanser for a second cleanse.  This has resulted in me no longer being afraid to wear makeup – my skin shows zero negative effects from makeup wearing as long as I take it off properly.  Huzzah.  I currently use The Face Shop Rice Water something something Oil and my trusty Burt’s Bees Orange Facial Cleanser, although the latter will likely be replaced with something new when it runs out.  I try hard not to let washing my face dry it out, and if you read the above blogs, you’ll see that a low pH cleanser can help with that.  My Burt’s Bees is pretty low, low enough that washing never leaves my face tight or itchy.
  • Chemical exfoliation.  OH NOES SCARY.  I was.  I was terrified of it.  But I dipped my toe in the water when I learned it wasn’t like a chemical peel or anything hardcore – I picked up the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid and it is my jam now.  Gentle enough to use twice a day if I want (although I just use it mornings) and it definitely keeps my pores unclogged and my breakouts to a teeny tiny minimum.
  • Masks.  Sheet masks, clay masks – omg I am developing a mask problem.  Once I realized that masks could just be about pampering and loving my skin and that they didn’t always have to be super scary drying peely masks, I was on board.  My favorite mud mask is the Pixi Glow Mud Mask (go slow with this one, less is more – it will dry you out) and my favorite sleep mask is the Cosrx Rice Nourishing something or other Mask.  (the names are ridiculously long.  All of them.  God, I love Korea.)
  • Snails.  I use snail filtrate on my face.  More on that later as well, although my husband would be very glad if I just abandoned the snails for good.  But I love them.  Pry my snails out of my cold dead slimy hands.

That’s just a really basic skimming of what I’ve been doing – I could go on and on, but I’ll leave that for subsequent ramblings.  Basically, this combo has all worked to the point that now I’m actually using a prescription cream (more on that later) to fade the redness and old hyperpigmentation, because that’s really all that’s left to mar my skin.  I can happily wear just a BB cream and feel comfortable, and best of all, I have a great morning and night ritual that has kept me positive and gives me a moment to care for myself every day.  A lot of moms of young kids know – that’s hard to justify sometimes.

Basically, I love you Asia, I’m glad we’re back together.  Smooches.





Oh, big promises.  I am always full of the big promises.

Anyway.  Things and stuff!

  • Knitting! Socks are hibernating.  I have come to realize that I need to switch to an afterthought heel type of scenario to actually finish anything ever.  So I’m going to shortly here start a second pair with plain old tube patterning and try the afterthought.
  • Reading!  I’m powering through the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews – holy shit that’s enjoyable.  I don’t like just any urban fantasy series, and some of them I am just reading now because I don’t even know why (looking at you, Lords of the Underworld) but these books are on point.  Love them.
  • Planning!  Slump.  Huge slump.  Waiting for a Plum Paper horizontal, which might help.  Or not.  Who the hell knows.  At the moment I’m just forcing myself to use my two daily planners interchangeably (Day Designer and Simplified Planner) just so I make to do lists and get things done.  Also attempting bullet journaling, which is having mixed results.  I think I prefer having a book for lists even more than I do using it as a planner, which hey, no wrong way to bullet journal, so there you go.
  • Beauty!  Holy shit have I gotten myself out of my comfort zone with this, and I am loving it.  Loving it.  I’ve started collecting some pieces of higher end makeup (thanks, Sephora Flash membership) and fallen in love with Tarte products mostly.  But, with getting back into wearing makeup came a realization that I couldn’t go days at a time without looking in a mirror anymore – it was time to deal with my skin.  Deal With It.  And I did just that, by discovering K-Beauty products.  Full rambly post for sure on that later.
  • Parenting!  I mean, she’s still alive, guys.  Don’t expect a lot beyond that.

That’s my summary of the last month, kids.  Keep it real.