I recall an experience a few years ago when my mother (an esthetician for decades) tried to introduce me to a line of products she was carrying, created by a dermatologist. As I recall, the routine was a cleanser, a toner, a moisturizer and a sunscreen. To me at the time, that was a INSUFFERABLY long time to spend at the mirror taking care of my face twice a day (and I’m sorry to say I told her so, too).
Then again, I spent most of my twenties falling asleep in black liquid eyeliner. I was awful. And since I was young my skin never had problems — at least not until hormonal acne entered the pic when I was 28. But we’ll save that part of the story for later.
So after multiple visits to different dermatologists, prescription skincare that never worked, and endless frustration, I just resigned myself to living with hormonal acne breakouts — and for those of you that know, they are SHIT. I’d show you a picture, but I promptly deleted them all so could erase any trace of my angry, zit-covered face.
I started using Korean skincare in 2013. I’d gone to Tokyo in 2009 and brought home some stuff, fascinated with what I found, but I couldn’t read Japanese so I was unable to learn much about these products or what they were doing for me. Like many other fans of k-skincare, k-pop was an entryway. I wanted the flawless skin that my idols had (except instead of coveting Jun Ji-hyun’s skin, I was pining for G-Dragon’s, because that bitch is flawless).
The first thing I tried was Etude House’s Moistfull line in the orange jars. I don’t know where I heard about it, but I’d guess I found it on some k-beauty blog way back then. And I loved EVERY MOMENT of putting those products on. They were unlike anything else I had ever used. They smelled so good, the fragrance was gentle, and my skin finally hurt a little less (even though I was still totally washing my face with painfully high pH products). My boyfriend at the time informed me that my skin smelled like his sister’s (he was Filipino). As you may have guessed that relationship didn’t last…
I started visiting the Missy shop in my local H-Mart, excited to see new things and ask for advice. I’ll never forget that one day a Korean woman at the counter mocked me when I told her I was using Etude House and told me that it was not for “mature” skin. She had strong eyebrows and a judgemental face and was older than I was. Even though she was a stranger, her comment really hurt me. It also made me think: I’m not Korean, what do I know. I’m just a dumb American.
That ugly comment actually did me a great favor. It made me start exploring. I slowly began to experiment with new products, a little at a time. I discovered k-beauty bloggers. I found my first true holy grail product (R.I.P., Mizon Starfish Cream). I fell madly in love with Sokoglam and Charlotte Cho, who was one of the first pioneers to bring k-beauty to the states in a major way. And now here I am, writing this blog, and to this day having more fun than ever putting layer after layer of product on my face.
My approach has changed and so has my routine. But where I once whined over four steps, now I’m always happy for more. I do them carefully and slowly. I massage my face with my fingers when I do my oil cleanse. I enjoy relaxing when I do sheet masks. And I read blogs, make wishlists, and research products. I learn so much about bloggers with similar passions, and I admire and am inspired by them. It’s truly wonderful.
Why TEN steps, though? After all, the routine has its haters. Well, that question has been answered by just about everyone in the k-beauty scene by now, and I don’t like to repeat what other, more experienced bloggers have said. In short, the routine is about five key steps: cleansing, exfoliating, treating, intensely moisturizing and consistently applying SPF during the day. It isn’t really about the amount of steps, though — but rather, the consistency of the care
[Via Glow Recipe]
Are you a skeptic that thinks this whole thing just sounds too long? Or are you a devotee who uses the full ten steps and loves them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.