Photographers Need Skincare Too
If you follow me on Instagram, or if you're friends with me at all, you know that I am obsessed with K-Beauty. K-Beauty has become somewhat a rising phenomenon in the US lately. During college I couldn't care less about my skin because, well, I was young(er) so I had better skin even without skin products, and also my college budget didn't really allow me to splurge on things like "serum" or "essence". But after starting work I started to notice skin changes, mainly because I get a lot more stressed out at work compared to how I was when I went to school. I suddenly felt the need to do a better job in this whole skin care department.
I've come a long way since then, I even pulled Sean on board and he is equally obsessed. I've gone from using just a moisturizer to doing the whole 10-step K-beauty regimen, and I've seen positive changes in the way my skin feels. I am not an esthetician by any means, but I'd love to share about the products that have worked for us so far (definitely not all inclusive or exhaustive at all, and definitely not endorsed)
Sean has oily skin that is prone to acne, while I have very dry skin that is acne free (most of the time), so I will cover both skin types when applicable!
Where do I buy these K-Beauty products? I usually get them from Soko Glam (click here for 20% off your first purchase), Peach and Lily here (click here for 10% off) or Wish Trend. Wish Trend's shipping is slightly slower so I tend to avoid Wish Trend. There's also Amazon, some people are concerned about the authenticity of products in Amazon, but I gamble anyway if I can't find the products anywhere else. Sephora has also started carrying various K-Beauty products and now has its own K-Beauty corner, the products they carry are very limited though and super overpriced. Please keep in mind that the products listed below might or might not work for you - everyone has different skin types and skin problems and it's always hard to generalize. Find something that works for you!
Step 1 - Makeup Remover + Oil Cleanser
I personally love the Banila Co Clean It Zero Classic makeup remover because it melts away all of my makeup. It's really affordable too! I used to use Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil (supposedly a Japanese product), but that one is almost three times the price.
Step 2 - Water Based Cleanser (foam or gel)
The double cleansing is a K-Beauty thing - supposedly needed for extra cleaning backup, just in case your oil cleanser doesn't pickup all the dirt, your water based cleanser is supposed to pick up the slack for you. For this one I tend to share with Sean, the CosRx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser works so well for Sean's oily face - his acne calmed down by a lot after using this product.
Step 3 : Exfoliate
You should exfoliate twice a week for clear looking skin, they said. I actually don't use a korean product for this one (I'm sure there are many many Korean exfoliators out there though). The Kate Somerville ExfoliKate from Sephora works so well on my skin (though not so much on my wallet).
Step 4 - Toner
I love the CosRx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner. Toners are supposed to balance your skin pH, but honestly I just really like how refreshing it is. You're also supposed to use a cotton pad to apply it, but being the lazy person that I am, I just spray it to my face a couple times and pat gently to even out.
Step 5 - Essence
The Missha Time Revolution Essence is really popular right now, but I am honestly not a big fan. I think this product would be better suited for people with oily skin because of its water-like consistency. I am a big fan of the CosRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence because it's more moist thus it works better for dry skin (not pictured below).
Step 6 - Other Treatments
I also used to use the Klairs Vitamin C Serum, but apparently you're not supposed to use Vitamin C with AHA/BHA products (my toner contains AHA/BHA), so I tend to use my Vitamin C serum at random times now, just when I need an extra boost for moisture (because the serum is really oily).
In addition, Sean uses the CosRx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol. This one helps with acne! A lot of people recommended the CosRx Blackhead Power Liquid as well, but I'm not sure if I'm seeing results on Sean at all. Give it a try and let me know if it works on you!
Step 7 - Sheet Masks
Okay, so obviously we don't have time for sheet masks everyday.. this is more of a once-a-week thing (twice a week when I was prepping for my wedding). I don't have any preferred sheet mask brand, I just choose ones that I think smell nice. Usually, the ones that I buy at K-Town in New York are super affordable (they're usually super expensive online, like three times the price more expensive). I like Nature Republic because their sheet masks are not too oily, and more water based. You can find them here.
Step 8 - Eye Cream
I don't have any recommendations on eye creams because I have not found eye creams that work on me. The best eye cream is probably 8 hours of sleep each night :) I think a combination of drinking enough water + lots of sleep should reduce dark circles.. but who has time for that nowadays?
Step 9 - Moisturizer
I like the Laneige sleeping mask (easily obtainable at your nearest Target or Sephora). Sometimes the travel sized ones comes in a package with their Yogurt Repairing Mask (can replace your sheet mask! I wear them to sleep sometimes, they also smell super good, like real yogurt).
For oily skin like Sean's, I would recommend the CosRx Oil Free Ultra moisturizing lotion instead.
Step 10 - Sun protection
I'm usually too lazy to add another layer to my skin, so I just use the Amore Pacific CC Cushion that serves as both a light foundation and UV protection (it's SPF 50!). This one looks expensive but it's actually not too bad because it comes with a refill, so essentially you're getting two at a time.
pfiuh! That was a lot, wasn't it? I certainly didn't start with all those products so don't feel intimidated. If you do feel intimidated, Soko Glam has a 10 step skincare pack that you can try (oily skin here, combination skin here, make sure to use this link for 20% off!)
You can certainly also just start with a Cleanser, Toner and Moisturizer! That might be the simplest way to start, and not a bad one either.
Just remember to use products that make your skin feel better, and even better if you do additional research on the ingredients of the products. Happy trying!!