by Becky Clifford

As a busy mum, I definitely enjoy some self-pampering and sometimes it comes in the form of patting my skin with a new product. It is something I can do at home locked in the bathroom at night after everyone is asleep and before I lay my head down to recharge & renew (unless of course I am awoken to some little face by my bedside that came out of nowhere and isn’t Santa Claus). It is something you can spend a lot or a little on, and you can learn about different ingredients and how they react to your skin as you move through the seasons of weather and life. The first thing people tend to notice and talk to is your face, so why not give it a little more TLC?

So let’s talk beauty products, specifically Korean beauty products because they are quite hot right now. The demand for Korean beauty products is exploding and beauty exports from Korea have gone from 1 billion in 2012, to 1.3 billion in 2013, to 1.9 billion in 2014. The Korean beauty sector is known for creating trends and product innovations as well as Korean women having skin that doesn’t age, appears super flawless, and leaves the rest of us wondering “how”?

As I read more about it and talked to a friend who has sampled some products, it is not only the products, but also the amount of products as well as the application that I found interesting. Korean women typically purchase up to 10 products that can make up their beauty routine. I watched a couple you tube videos that showed the application process, and it is important to go step by step, pat –do not rub, and basically play music on your face. This reminded me of the best facial I have ever had and there was classical music playing in the background and her long slender fingers were like playing the piano on my face. I never thought to try this at home. I think this is a perfect time to do some positive “I am worth it” reminders to myself before bedtime. If I want to age gracefully, I think it is important to show my face some graceful touches.

I phoned my friend Lindsay who is Korean and lives in Brooklyn, New York to help be my subject expert since she has tried some K-beauty products. Here are some of her thoughts.

“If you’re curious about Korean beauty (k-beauty) products, but not sure where to start, you should check out sheet facemasks! I love using these for a quick, affordable way to treat ma’self at the end of the week. On the higher-end are the gel snail masks. I know…sounds gross, but they are amazing! The texture is lightweight, smooth and my skin is noticeably softer and more moisturized. Oh and not to worry – snails aren’t hurt during the process. I should mention that the sheets tend to make you look like a creepy mummy or the bad guy from the movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I may have scared the living daylights out of my boyfriend when I walked out of the bathroom.”

 

If you are a virgin to “sheet masks” like me (I have heard of sheet cakes) and wondering what they are exactly…I found the below definition on Peach & Lily.

“Soaked in powerful ingredients, single-use sheet masks are like an “a la carte” version of serums that can be used as needed. Korean face masks are contoured to rest on the face for superior delivery of moisture and active ingredients, a concept that was born in Korea—and perfected in the standouts shown here.”

As I looked through the product options, I was drawn to the different varieties you can try. Some examples were snail moisture mask, red ginseng hue mask, premium collagen, charcoal hydrogel, and gold black pearl just to name a few. They even have ones inspired by green juice cleanses.

Another beauty staple amongst the Korean market are cushion compacts. A Korean cushion compact is a refillable super light fluid foundation with an airy sponge on top. You press down and the sponge soaks up the foundation for application. Here is what Linds had to say about those.

“Cushion compacts are another big k-beauty staple, and now brands like L’Oreal have similar products, but I’ve yet to compare. I ended up choosing the Laneige BB Cushion based on reviews and price. I prefer lighter coverage BB creams and this is a close runner-up to my favorite non k-beauty bb cream. The compact is rather bulky so it’s fine at home, but I find myself reaching for my Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue instead.”

Lastly, I asked her what her FAVORITE Korean beauty product has been thus far and here is her answer:

“Last year I picked up Goodal’s Moisture Barrier Liquid at Clio in NYC and it’s now one of my favorite products. It’s a 3-in-1 that acts as a toner, serum, and essence. The salesperson told me it’s a pre-moisturizer meant to prep skin and lock-in moisture. I’m typically skeptical of multi-tasking products, but I have to say I’m a fan. It has a light scent and a gel-like texture that doesn’t feel heavy, and absorbs quickly, which is perfect for these brutally humid New York summer days.”

So if you are looking to add some variety, which is the spice of life, to your current beauty routine and haven’t yet tried a K-beauty product, maybe now is the time. Or if you don’t have a routine – maybe time to start one? Be the face of your brand, and show it some love. Let us know what you think?!