Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 (12+) Step Korean Skin Care Routine

List of products at the end.

Recently I’ve adopted a 10 step Korean skin care routine.  It actually doesn’t take long at all and is meant to be done twice a day.  Starting to use various Korean skin care products I was amazed at how effective many of them are.  Ten steps might seem like a lot, and indeed the recommended steps and products vary a little by person (with some including 15 steps!).  But the results of this effort have been immediately noticeable for me and I’ve had a number of people comment on my “glow”. 
Korean beauty products can be hard to find and vary widely in price but the quality is generally excellent in my experience.  At some point I’ll recommend my favorite products but as of now I’m still experimenting.

As I’ve always been a skin care nut blessed with basically good skin, I’m a natural fit for this sort of a routine.  But it also quickly became a ritual, a time to slow down and care for myself in what is a typically crazy busy world.  I haven’t cut out makeup but I have cut back on the amount I need.  Good skin makes every thing else look better!

Step 1: Makeup Removal
(Cleanse 1)
Use an oil cleanser to remove oil based and makeup related debris (sorry).   Apply the oil based cleanser (whether an oil, pudding or cream) on dry skin to “melt” away makeup.  Gentle, circular motions with your fingers can be used to massage and clean off foundations or BB cream. Massaging is believed by many to help increase circulation thus adding a glow.  I find that with an oil based cleanser I don’t need a makeup remover but if you do, gently use one to remove excess eye and lip makeup.

Step 2: Cleanse 2.
The second cleanse is done with a gentle foaming cleanser, which removes whatever is left over, essentially the dirt from your own skin and the environment.  Some people skip the oil based cleanser in the morning.

Step 3: Exfoliate
Exfoliate once or twice a week.  I read that in Korea many women only exfoliate twice a month but I don’t agree.  Really, how often you exfoliate depends on your skin and whether or not your need to scruff off dried skin more often.  Use a gentle exfoliator and softly blend it in circular motions on your face.  Never rub, especially hard.  A gel peel also works great to very softly roll off the top layer of your skin, leaving the glowing fresh skin underneath.  It sounds awful but is so gentle it's actually a great product.

Step 4: Tone/Refresh
Toning is a considered an essential step in Korea. Toners, or refreshers, remove pollutants and cleanser residue, while also restoring your skin’s pH balance. They also soothe and prepare your skin to absorb the essence, serum and moisturizer that follow. Korean toners tend to be gentle and can be applied with a cotton ball or pad or just with your fingers (I do the latter).

Step 5: Essence
The essence is often considered the most important step in a Korean skin care routine.  The popular SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is a well known version but Korean brands make equally effective products at a fraction of the price (such as Missha and Secret Key).  The essence impacts skin on a cellular level, quickening cell turnover rate thus creating smoother and brighter skin. The essence feels a lot like water but I’ve seen a noticeable difference since adding it to my routine.  Pat it on then sweep in an upward motion. 

Step 6: Ampoule/Serum
Ampoules are also referred to as serums and boosters.  Many of the Korean versions address single issues but more than one can be layered on top of each other.  Thus some add collagen, which is anti-aging and increases skin elasticity.  Some are night repairs similar to the Estee Lauder version.  Others include green tea, ginseng and more, and target hydration, spot correction or aging.

Step 7: Eye Cream
Eye cream is meant to be tapped on gently around your eye.  Again, don’t tug at skin.  Eye creams are also targeted at specific issues such as aging, discoloration or elasticity.

Step 8: Moisturizer
Everything you’ve built up so far will be held in better, so it can have the maximum impact and absorption, by your moisturizer.  Again, these moisturizers are often targeted at specific issues, including hydration or anti shine.  A lighter moisturizer can be used during the day and Korean companies make a number of gel based ones which absorb beautifully.

Step 9: Night Cream
Hydration at night is considered important in Korean skin care.  At night a heavier cream might be used.  Every week so use a night mask, which is a super creamy product that hydrates more than a regular cream (so you don’t want to use it too often). Moisture is supposed to “plump” up your face and I have to say the rumor is true!  A dot of oil can be added after and blended in to increase moisture and absorption.  Argan is a popular option or ingredient, among many others.

Step 10: Sheet Masks
Sheet masks are used twice a week and are essentially a papery or rubbery sheet that is soaked in whatever ingredient you’ve chosen.  Worn for about 15 minutes (and don’t rinse your face after) they are used before moisturizer.  And the belief is that by having them sit on the skin for a while they are better absorbed instead of just evaporating away.  I love the variety available and they cover pretty much any need you could imagine! 

Step 11: Sun Screen
Every day put that sun screen on.  Not everyone includes this step but it is essential to protect your skin.

Step 12:  BB or CC Cream/Foundation
Again, not everyone includes this step as an “official” one but it does provide a little more polish than going out bare faced.  And many Korean BB or CC creams have both protective and restorative ingredients.  Korean BB creams are often heavier coverage than some of the like products in the United States.

Optional:  Mists.  To maintain dewiness and the re-activate the products you’re using, a mist twice a day helps.  I don’t do this step.

Maintenance Facials.  In Korea ongoing spa visits are considered an expected part of an ongoing skin care routine.

Product in the video…though I'm still testing and don't have my final favorites yet.  Skin care takes a while to test.

Banila Clean it Zero (step 1).  Tony Moly has a like product.

Ddung Family fruits Foam Cleansing Cream (step 2).  I've also been using various egg white cleansing cleaners.

Be the Skin Non-stimulus face polisher and Ddung Family peeling gel (step 3).  I also love some of the apple peeling gel formulas.

Misa Cho Bo Yang Toner (step 4).  I've also used the emulsion.  Misa is also spelled Missha depending on the product.  Website is Misa.

Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence and Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence (step 5).

Step 6 I've been playing with a number of serums including a Shu Uemura Red Juvenis (Japanese), It's Skin 10 Syn-ake and AHC Hollogram (the later 2 are on sale on Memebox right now.

The Face Shop the Smim eye cream.  Love (step 7).

Iope Essential Moisture relief cream (step 8).

The Face Shop Escargot 24K gold cream and, honestly, a bunch of others.  I've been experimenting most with this step (step 9).

The Face Shop sheet masks.  I picked up a bunch in Koreatown and love them.  I will try others soon (step 10)

For oils I've been using an Algenist and Josie Maran but have ordered one from Korea to try out.  I also love the Lassie'el night masks but haven't been able to find a place online to buy them!!!

Hope these help!  A final recommended list to come when I'm done testing.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Elizabeth Arden All Day Chic Color Collection Holiday Set 2014 Review and Swatches

I loved the lipstick and lipgloss along with the mascara.  I was less thrilled with the powder products.  The set leaned very cool toned.

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in 02 Raspberry Review and Swatches

Something I didn't know I needed until I got it.  Moisturizing and looks a lot like a (shiny) gloss on.  It swatches lighter than it wears, adding a tint and even staining raspberry.  And it is moisturizing.  Limited edition, sadly, I think…

This looks darker on than it swatches.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Favorite Beauty Products of 2014

Not the best of 2014 but rather my favorites…..

Korean Skin Care
Smashbox step-by step Contour Kit
Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows
It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush
Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
Banilla Clean It Zero
Chanel Camelia De Plumes Highlighting Powder
Missha The First Essence
Guerlain Terracotta Foundation
Besame Noir Red Lipstick
3W Clinic Collagen Make-up Base
Dose of Colors Angelic Lipstick
Milani Constellation Gel Eye Liner
Maybelline Creamy Mattes and Rebel Blooms Lipstick Lines
Tokyo Milk Everything and Nothing and Dead Sexy Perfumes
Guerlain Meteorites
Dolce & Gabbana The Bronzer in Cashmere
Chanel Les 4 Ombres Eye Shadow
Giorgio Armani Lumminessence CC Cream
Tom Ford Nude Dip Eye Shadow
Tom Ford Stroked Contouring Cheek Color Duo
Shu Uemura Mika for Shu Eye Shadow Spiral (the white and brown)
Dolce & Gabbana The Eyeshadow Quad in Desert
Chanel Blush in Cheeky
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush
Nars Almeria Blush
Gucci Magnetic Colour Shadow Quad in Cosmic Deco
Giorgio Maestro Blush
Tom Ford Lipstick (Black Dahlia, Negligee and Twist of Fate)
Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Eye Shadow Quad and Lipstick
MAC Maleficent Eye Shadow Quad, Lipstick and Lip Pencil
Nars Audacious Lipstick
Nars Dual Intensity Eye Shadow
Gucci Luxurious Moisture Rich Lipstick (Iconic Red and Ethereal)
Dolce and Gabbana The Lipgloss in Vibrant
Living Proof Nourishing Styling Cream
Givenchy Le Rouge Lipstick (especially, but not only, Rose Plumetis)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sephora Pantone Facets of Marsala Multi Finish Eye Palette 2015 Review and Swatches

Warm….but with some very cool shades.  Much smaller than last year but I think Sephora upped the quality.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sephora Pantone Marsala 2015 Matte Lip Creme Review and Swatches

Pretty…browner than the like eye shadow and than I like…but pretty…

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Peach and Lily Seoulcialite Box Relaunched Unboxing and Review

Skin care heavy…I'm happy.  Love the Banilla wash (love!).  $49 including shipping…so worth it if you love skin care…

I got the:

Banilla Clean it zero
Cremorlab Triple Bright White Bloom Floral Cream
Be the Skin Non-Stimulus Face Polisher
Mizon Vita Lemon Sparkling Powder
Aromatica Natural Hand Cream (not the eyeliner in the earlier box)
Mizon Correct Combo Lip Gloss
Cremorlab Discovery Kit (sample)
Ugly Earrings

Black Friday Special Box 5 Unboxing and Review 2014

Yeah or near?  Watch and find out.  I'm lucky and got a lot of skin care in this one.

I got:

AHC Hologram Serum
Shara Shara Top Talented BB (slight tint)
Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin Cream
DearBerry Ice Cream Hand Cream
Kiss of Berry Cranberry Lip Balm

Too Faced Black Friday Special Box 2014 Unboxing and Review

Amazing deal
Full size smoky eye palette, La Creme lipstick in Cinnamon Kiss, Milk Chocolate bronzer.  Deluxe better than sex mascara and 6 brushes.  $35.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes Book Review

Jojo Moyes can write a touching story.  Having read a lot of her work I believe she continues to improve on her craft and imagine better books.  So I was thrilled to read two earlier works, of which Silver Bay is one (review for The Ship of Brides when I finish it).

How did she do?

Moyes has always been a writer who sees inside the hearts of her characters.  And she's willing to craft her heroes and heroines to be flawed, thus more real.  But occasionally they frustrate me.  And the books can challenge what I believe.  All good things.

Silver Bay is about a woman trying to escape her past and living a sheltered life in a remote fishing community.  She wants to remove herself from emotion and the conflicts of life, despite having a daughter and almost succeeds.  Until the wrong (or right) man shows up.

A shameless love story on so many levels, I still connected with the characters and really enjoyed the story.  A worthwhile read.

Return to Oakpine by Ron Carlson Book Review

This book is so atmospheric…and I mean that as a compliment.  Return to Oakpine by Ron Carlson is a bittersweet return to a quit midwestern town by some men who have left to now return, and some men who never left but perhaps see things differently as they grow older.

The weakness of the book is that is shifts perspectives too often and sometimes with a jolt.  But that is countered with a strength in explaining these men and what drives them (forward and back).  The town itself comes alive with beautiful descriptions.

And the town is middle Americana, a small town trying to move forward.  One man left to become a driven attorney and another to get Aids as a gay writer in New York.  Yet despite these seeming cliches, which do happen in life, we step back to the boys they were and watch the writer's brother, a golden boy, die in a stupid accident.

These boys had a band, dreams and the vigor of youth.  How did they end up?  Read the book.  The answer isn't as obvious as you'd assume.  It is, however, very touching.

I really enjoyed this book.

The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin Book Review

How cute is this book?  Usually when I say something like that I'm being sarcastic (or, as my daughter says, don't give me that sass).  This time I'm genuine.  It's sort of unfair to give a book like this to book fanatics.  Seriously, of course a book can solve all of the world's problems.

Now I don't need to decide the book (cure).  Berthoud and Elderkin have laid it all out for me.  And I appreciate it.

If I fail to seize the day, am addicted (to a list of things….each has its own book), feel abandoned or just am in a jam, lonely or am not taking risks.  There is a book.  Perhaps I'm senile (ok, not quite yet), again, there is a cure.

The writers are fun in their exploration of dark or silly ailments.  I'm sold.  This one is a must keep part of my library.

Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands Book Review (by Judith Schalansky)

So this book is a gift.  I swear.  It's just too perfect a gift to give for me to keep it for myself (much as I'd like to).  I actually know a lot of people who are driven to learn the minutia about things like islands…and they will love this book.

I loved this book.

First, it's lovely.  Small, as befits a traveler.  But rich in the sort of information someone interested in lesser known islands is looking to find.  Where is it?  How did it get it's name? What's the history and chronology?  What sets it apart.

The book is fun to read.  It's written in an engaging style, interesting instead of dull.

And I learned a lot.  Some of these islands are more important than they seem.  Moreover, they and their stories bind us to this earth.

A great gift, and one I'm determined to give but would rather keep for myself.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Urban Decay Little Perversions Eye Liner and Mascara Set Holiday 2014 Review and Swatches

Deep rich and beautiful blacks.  I wanted this…couldn't justify it…sephora dropped the price for one say to $24 and it was mine.

Chanel Camelia De Plumes Highlighting Powder Review and Swatches

Perfect…cooler…with a little warmth and glow not shimmer.  Perfect.

Memebox City Girl 75 Unboxing and Review (and Swatches too)

Here my thoughts and see what's inside (hint..love…)

Tutorial on making blue and aquamarine eyeshadow work

One person's way of making blue and aquamarine shadows work!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chanel Rouge Coco in 18 Rouge Noir Lipstick My eBay Prize

Stunning…sadly a limited edition that is no more…mine is from eBay….

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Urban Decay Naked on the Run Swatches and Review

I love it but am very biased…

Memebox Christmas Collection 1 Stress Free Holiday Unboxing and Review

Not for me…sorry…dress perfume?


Recipe By Nature Ice Cream Swing Gloss
Angel's Black Head Eraser Coconut
Dipodeur Dress Perfume
DD'ell Moisture Facial Mask Gold Kiwi
Neogen Don't Cry Armpits Deodorant
Shara Shara Glod Label Reescargo Cream

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Memebox 81 Next Best Thing in Skincare Unboxing and Review

Nice set…I don't agree with the pricing information but it's still a great deal...

1. Lassie’el Night Miracle Sleeping Pack 4g X 2eaFull size product: 4g X 2ea ($6)Randomly selected from Egg, Mango, Pearl Shell, Avocado
Product Description
Adorably packaged mini sleeping packs formulated with concentrated extracts from egg, mango, avocado, and pearl. They work to deeply hydrate and rejuvenate dry, exhausted skin overnight to reveal healthier and brighter complexion the next morning.
How to use
Remove the lid and use the spatula provided to mix the formula inside together and evenly spread the mixture all over face and neck. Go straight to bed without rinsing it off.
2. AHC Hologram Active Gen Serum 50ml
Full size product: 50ml ($89)
Product Description
This premium serum combines active aesthetic ingredients with a scientific liposome system that maximizes absorbance of nutrients deep into the skin, to give a visibly enhanced complexion. A blend of ice fig extracts, hydrolyzed collagen, and ginseng callus extracts effectively firms, brightens, and repairs dry, damaged skin, reviving youthful and healthy glow to the complexion.
How to use
Apply evenly to clean face. Pat it in for full absorbance.
(Best before November 14th, 2015)  
3. IASO Intensive Clear Conditioner 15 sheets
Full size product: 15 sheets ($12)
Product Description
Containing centella asiatica, aloe vera, licorice extracts, and BHA salicylic acid for softly melting away dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, IASO Intensive Clear Conditioner sheet is a new easy and convenient method to maintaining silky soft and even toned complexion.
How to use
Gently wipe all over cleansed face as the very first step of skin care.
(Best before June 15th, 2015) 
4. Blithe Patting Water Pack 5ml X 6ea
Full size product: 200ml ($46) 
Use EXTRA SAVINGS CODE: BLITHE4ME to get $2 off on full-sized Blithe Patting Water Pack
*Promo code offer valid until 31 December 2014
Includes Energy Yellow Citrus & Honey, Soothing & Healing Green Tea, Rejuvenating Purple Berry
Product Description
No need to stick on a sheet mask every night with Blithe’s all-new Patting Water Pack! Simply through patting on the water pack onto your skin, it’ll remove dead skin cells, deliver moisture & nutrition, and renew the skin balance for maintaining soft, moist skin condition. The Energy Yellow Citrus & Honey revitalizes and brightens up the skin and the Soothing & Healing Green Tea is for oil and pore control, while the Rejuvenating Purple Berry works to improve skin elasticity and firmness.
How to use
After cleansing the face, fill 1/4 of the basin with water. Pour in 1 lid-ful (use the lid of the product to measure; about 7ml) of the Patting Water Pack into the water and mix in well. Then repeatedly pat onto your face with the water pack for 30 seconds. Do not rinse off. Simply let it absorb into your skin.
5. Shara Shara Green Tea Seed Magic Balm 25ml
Full size product: 25ml ($17)
Product Description
Enriched with green tea seed oil, jojoba seed oil, argan tree kernel oil, and over 30 kinds of natural essential oil, this multi oil balm delivers rich moisture and nutrients by softly melting onto skin. It’s scented with a refreshing lime essential oil fragrance and can be used from head to toe as a multi cream, a sleeping pack, a massage cream, a lip balm, a highlighter, or a hand & foot pack.
How to use
As a cream, apply it directly to dry face, lips, body, etc. To mix it into your makeup routine, apply a small amount as a highlight or mix it in with base makeup to create a naturally glowing complexion.
(Best before July 18th, 2015)  
6. Dr.MJ Moisture Bounce Collagen Capsule Cream 50g
Full size product: 50g ($54)
Product Description
A rejuvenating facial cream formulated into bouncy, jelly-like texture packed with collagen capsules, hyaluronic acid, and adenosine to intensively hydrate and gently firm up sensitive and tired skin. It works to alleviate and nourish stimulated skin for a quick skin renewal as well.
How to use
Apply evenly to clean face. Pat it in for full absorbance. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Colourpop Lippie Stix in BFF, Bound and Dalia Review and Swatches

Pretty…I do like the eyeshadow better…but these are great at the price point!