Skincare: What to use and why
The skincare fad has finally hit America! A recent surge of foreign skincare products have appeared in stores like Target and Urban Outfitters (where there is always a good sale on face masks in all varieties).
The idea of maintaining a skin care routine might seem daunting and even impossible for some, especially those who have no background knowledge of what products work with which skin types and which brands are worth trying. For those who are extremely lost one or simply don’t know where to begin, try starting with Korean and Japanese skin care products. Skin care products made in Asia are years in advance of products in the United States; when it comes to cosmetics, the beauty and skin care industry is huge and is continuously growing. Over half of the global revenue in skin care in 2014 came from the Asia Pacific region alone. Asian brands have become so popular that these products can now be found in numerous well-known stores.
These products actually make a difference in your skin; at least they did for me. They are also pretty affordable compared to the skin products you would see in stores like Sephora.
If you’re considering upgrading your skin care routine to include Asian skin care products, here are my recommendations:
This is one of, if not the most, important step in your daily skincare routine. Cleanser is used to properly wash off any leftover makeup or oil, which can lead to future skin problems (such as acne) if not removed thoroughly.
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
This product is from the Korean brand COSRX, which has been gaining popularity recently and has collected customer-needs data for about 10 years. This gel cleanser contains a low pH, from 5.0-6.0, which is perfect for the human skin (which is at about 5.5 pH). It is important to have a cleanser in this pH range as it will not dry out your skin like a basic cleanser would. It also won’t leave it feeling uncleaned and oily like an overly acidic cleanser would
Toners remove any excess makeup or dirt that may have been missed during cleansing, while conditioning the skin to prepare for the next steps in your routine.
Tony Moly The Chok Chok Green Tea Water Toner
This Korean toner is absolutely great for beginners and contains no complex ingredients. The main ingredient is 100% fermented green tea, which is used to replace the regular distilled water that is usually in toners. Green tea can help to calm down inflammation from acne, draw out any toxins and improve complexion without being to heavy on the skin.
This step in a skin care routine may be foreign to some, however it adds essential nutrients and vitamins to the skin. There are several different kinds of essences and lotions, including anti-aging and skin brightening formulas.
HADA LABO Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
This lotion is from a very popular Japanese brand called HADA LABO and is costumers favorite. Hyaluronic acid, an acid found naturally in your skin that helps moisture and youth, is the main ingredient in this product is. It can hold double the amount of moisture that water can, so it is a great addition to your routine, especially in the upcoming winter months. Making your own mask with the lotion, I found, is the best way to use HADA LABO lotion; using some cotton facial mask sheets (you can find them online or in an Asian supermarket most of the time), soak the cotton with the product before applying it to your cheeks and forehead for a couple of minutes.
This is typically the last step of a basic skincare routine, and one of the most important, as it locks in all the other products that you’ve applied before while adding it’s own moisture to the skin.
Mizon Black Snail All-in One Cream
This Korean cream is really a product that I find myself coming back too, because of how well it worked. It contains 90% black snail mucus filtrate and extracts from more than 20 kinds of plants. The fact that snail mucus filtrate is in this may freak out some, but snail mucus actually helps promote the growth of collagen and elasticity in the skin. This type of product had been a long favorite in Korea since it really does make a difference in the skin.
Now why would you need to wear sunscreen during the winter? Believe it or not, it’s extremely important to wear sunscreen throughout the entire year. Even though it isn’t hot outside for most of the time in Boston, there are still UV rays coming down and acting upon your skin no matter what the temperature is.
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen
This Japanese sunscreen is a must-try since it doesn’t even seem like a typical sunscreen. It’s super light and watery feeling and doesn’t have a strong scent like the sunscreens that you put on your body would. Oh and it’s SPF 50+, a major bonus to those who want superior protection like me.