What’s In My Bag: A Glance Into Ruth’s Tote

ruth's tote

Sucker for beauty flat lays and anything (or everything) marble? So is Ruth, Beautytap’s Social Manager and Associate Editor. Here, we get up close with her personals, from favorite keychains to current lippie loves.



My style is fairly minimal, always accented with a touch of bling from a pair of earrings or a dainty necklace. Naturally, when it comes to my bag (and my life in general), I aim to be as minimal and as organized as I can be. But I also hate being unprepared, so you’ll always find a few extra miscellaneous items jostling in my purse. And since we’re talking minimal, let’s just get straight to it. Here’s what’s in my bag.


Bag basics


ruth's tote


I got this eye-catching tote bag as a free gift from my favorite store ever (aka the bane of my wallet’s existence), Madewell. I love it for its effortless style and easy portability, especially when I’m just out running errands or bringing my laptop to a cafe to do a few hours of work. And since it was free (well, aside from the unspeakable amount of money I spent as a “Madewell Insider” to qualify for this free gift), I can take it with me on the daily without worrying too much about wear and tear. Other days, I’ll usually sport a simple black leather crossover purse, of which I own way too many variations.


My personalized pouch, phone case & keys


This personalized black leather pouch was a gift from a group of lovely church friends, and it’s now become a staple in my bag. Another Madewell item, the pouch has several card slots, a small buttoned pocket, and ample space for some cash and other miscellaneous items.


ruth's tote


There’s really not too much to say about a phone case, but I do have to profess my affection for phone cases that double as a wallet. They’re so functional, and they make being on-the-go so much more effortless, when all I need is my phone, a debit card, and a license. (And you guessed it — it’s from Madewell.)


To me, keys and keychains are special. Not only do they literally unlock the doors to homes and cars, but they can represent places you’ve been, people you’ve met, or simply objects that you might have an affinity for. That’s why I love to keep these unique tokens on my everyday key set. My favorite is the “Love You. Love People.” tag from a blog/community/shop called So Worth Loving.


Lip essentials


I suffer from Dry Lips Syndrome, so any form of chapstick or lip balm is a life essential. I also carry two or three different lip tints, balms, or glosses, usually in neutral shades because I’m not much of a bold lip color kind of gal. (Think muted burgundies, mauve-y browns, or dusty pinks.) Lately, I’ve been reaching for the Glossier Generation G lip balm in the shade Leo, a beautiful neutral, warm brown shade, or the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the color London.


ruth's tote


For a more pronounced lip tint, I’ve been trying out the CELLNCO ChuChu Lip Gloss in the shade Sugary Grape, which can be applied with a light hand for a sheer wash of fuchsia or built up to a more pigmented layer of dark magenta. This lip gloss has a pleasant, fruity fragrance, and it’s infused with squalane, avocado oil, rose hip oil, and macadamia oil for lasting moisture.


Lash lifeline


There’s not much to say about this one, except thanks to my stubborn, straight-as-an-arrow eyelashes, I always carry my eyelash curler with me for midday and late afternoon pick-me-ups.


Scented things


Along with my Dry Lips Syndrome, I also suffer from DHS, or Dry Hands Syndrome, so having a hand lotion, ahem, on hand is key. This mandarin rind, rosemary leaf, and cedarwood-scented number from Aesop was gifted by a lovely unni of mine (a Korean term for sister), and she’s actually also a talented writer here at Beautytap.


ruth's tote


I’ve been wanting to find a signature fragrance for a while, so I was testing this one out by Nest. I don’t particularly love the overly sweet smell though, so I’m on the hunt again. (I’d love to hear your favorite fragrances and recommendations! I’m all about fresh and light scents.)


Give us our mist, our daily mist


I’ve been mixing in spritzes of face mists (pictured: Pixi’s Glow Mist) into my routine and throughout the day, and my skin is loving the extra bit of moisture. During my skincare routine, I’ll spray the mist two to three times after my toner and/or essence steps; and when I use a cushion foundation, I’ll sometimes moisten up my ruby cell puff with a few sprays and then apply my cushion foundation. The results? An extra hydrated, slightly dewy finish.


ruth's tote


Cushion the glow


Speaking of cushion foundations, Iope’s Air Cushion Flawless SPF50+ in the shade W23 is today’s #COTD. This was the first cushion I ever tried, and to a certain degree, it did not disappoint. (Iope was the first brand to introduce the magic of cushion compacts to the world, after all.) The first and most important thing I like about this foundation is its color match to my skin — I’m a slightly-tanner-than natural beige and nowhere near as pale as most South Koreans tend to aim for, so finding a cushion foundation that’s a good color match for me has been a struggle. (And I’m Korean! I can’t even imagine the frustration for darker-skinned beauties. At least Innisfree has now finally gotten the memo. End rant.) The shade W23 is described as a “Warm Light Medium,” and it fits my warm, yellow-undertoned skin nicely, with a brightening, matte finish. It’s also got a honeycomb type cushion, which is supposed to disperse the foundation more evenly onto the puff.


Throw in a water bottle and a pair of sunnies, and that’s my everyday haul. What can’t you live without on the day-to-day grind? Let me know in the comments below!



These 5 Cosmetics YouTubers Love Are So Good (*Add to Cart* Right Now)

cosmetics YouTubers love

When it comes to K-beauty makeup, you’ve got a lot of choice. So what’s worth adding to the cart? Here, we make it easy for you by rounding up the sure-to-please K-beauty cosmetics YouTubers love. 



These days, it’s easy to find the top recommendations for almost any product, restaurant, music, event, or experience that comes to mind. (Looking for the best toothbrush holder of 2017? There’s a Top 10 list for that.) But with so many words of advice from innumerable sources — particularly in regards to skincare and makeup products and practices — it can get a touch overwhelming to weed out the flukes. That’s why we rounded up a list of five K-beauty makeup products that resonated in the YouTube halls of fame, so all you have to do is sit back and read on.


cosmetics YouTubers love
Spoiler alert: Laneige’s Two Tone Lip Bar made the cut. Source: Laneige Facebook


1. The Saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer


Let’s start off with an essential product for your makeup base: concealer. It’s no easy feat finding the perfect concealer that gives hydrating, highly-pigmented coverage that doesn’t crease or dry out. So when we started hearing whispers of The Saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer, we couldn’t hide our excitement.


Its perks include a doe foot applicator, which allows for effortless application, and a thick, creamy consistency that provides moisturizing, no-crease, high coverage with a slightly matte effect. A little goes a long way with The Saem Cover Perfection Tip Concealer, and it’s got a brightening finish to boot.


Beauty YouTubers the likes of Aussie-Korean influencer Jen (the face of channel meejmuse) and Aussie-Vietnamese vlogger Kim Dao have both raved about the concealer, naming it one of their top picks for the best Korean makeup of 2016.



2. Etude House Play 101 Pencil


This next must-have beauty product comes in more than 50 shades of naughty and nice colors to fit any makeup lover’s palette. We’re talking about the Etude House Play 101 Pencil. Morgan from The Beauty Breakdown, a respected name in the YouTube beauty community, proudly put her stamp approval on the multi-colored eyeliners that also function as lip liners or cream blushes. The creamy consistency stays true all day, and there’s a sharpening tool fitted at the opposite end of the liner to always keep your wings sharp.



3. Aritaum Shine Fix Eyes


Fix your eyes on these bad boys, and you’ll be stealing glances left and right. The Aritaum Shine Fix Eyes is our pick for a must-try eyeshadow, and while it’s been on the market for a few years now (see the eyeshadow in action as the sparkly base on the popular NYC-based Korean YouTuber Sunny), it’s been recently approved again by The Beauty Breakdown as well as by Australian YouTuber Wengie. Described as a “cushiony creamy powder,” the Shine Fix shadows boast iridescent pearls for serious shimmer and a “3-proof formula” that defies water, smudges, or creasing. The finely-milled powder is pressed securely with a small lid covering that keeps all the glittery goodness inside where it belongs.



4. Too Cool For School Artclass by Rodin Shading


While we don’t want to throw shade on other contour powders, our pick for best contour palette is none other than the Too Cool For School Artclass by Rodin Shading compact. You’ve probably seen your favorite YouTubers like Edward Avila and Jen from Meejmuse wax poetic about this shading product, and it’s for good reason. While many contour shades (and bronzers) come in hues that have overly orange or reddish undertones, the three shades in the Artclass palette are true, neutral browns, fitting for any light-to-medium skin tone.


Use the light shade to define the lines of your nose, the medium brown to slim down your cheekbones, and the darkest hue to chisel your V-line. The powder brushes on lightly at first, but can be built up to your preference; you can even use the product as matte eyeshadows, perfect for building your eye makeup base. It’s no wonder the Artclass by Rodin Shading is one of the top cosmetics YouTubers love, with over 5,000 videos on it.



5. Laneige Two Tone Lip Bars


cosmetics YouTubers love
Actress Lee Sung Kyung loves the shade No. 12 Maxi Red in the Laneige Two Tone Lip Bar.


We’ve got one lipstick in two colors and three reasons why you should pick the Laneige Two Tone Lip Bar as your go-to lippie this season. For starters, it’s the fail-safe way to achieve the perfect gradient lip in one effortless swipe. Available in 10 different color combinations, you have an array of vibrant, rich shades to choose from. Second, the two colors create a “high glossy and semi matte” combination of textures that’s equally pigmented and moisturizing. And third? Not only do YouTubers praise the multi-colored lipstick, beloved Korean actresses Song Hye Kyo (Descendants of the Sun) and Lee Sung Kyung (Cheese in the Trap, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo) are proud brand ambassadors, sporting Laneige’s two-tone lip in their signature makeup looks for their respective K-dramas.


Our honorable mentions for makeup must-haves include the oil-controlling Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Pact (and its powder form), as well as Etude House cult favorites, Curl Fix Mascara for voluminous lashes and My Brows Gel Tint.


Have you ever bought a makeup product because of a YouTuber’s recommendation? Did you end up liking it? With which YouTuber do you share similar tastes? Share your experience with these cosmetics YouTubers love in the comments below!



Your Scalp Is Skin; That’s Why Korean Hair Care 101 Starts With Scalp Care

scalp care

In Korean beauty, a great makeup look starts with your skin, which is why so many Korean makeup tutorials start with good skincare. So it makes sense that when it comes to K-beauty hair care, a good hair day should begin with good scalp care. So don’t gloss over these hair care guidelines, essential for lush locks from root to tip.



Let’s get down to the root of the problem. No matter how radiant the skin on your face might be, if the skin on your scalp isn’t happy — well, your whole appearance can fall flat. That’s why Koreans devote as much TLC to the skin on their head as they do in their multistep facial skincare routines. So whether you’ve got long flowing locks or a short pixie cut, it’s time to have the talk about your scalp care routine.


Why you need to pay special attention to the scalp


If you’ve noticed that your hair has been nothing short of lackluster in the past couple of months (or even years), then it may be about time to reevaluate your scalp care routine. If you simply foam up a shampoo, lather on a conditioner, blow dry your hair, and call it a day, then you’re likely neglecting the needs of your hair. Dry flakes or dandruff, oily residue, sensitivity, brittleness — these are all indicators that your scalp is signaling for help. In fact, the health of your scalp will determine the overall luster and condition of the strands of your hair.


scalp care
The Legend of the Blue Sea star Jun Ji Hyun is known for her healthy, silky tresses.


Industry expert Mindy Goldstein, Ph.D gives the long and short of it. “It’s the scalp that really controls the health of the hair,” she says in a podcast interview. “So what’s going on in the follicle and the skin around the follicle that makes — could make a difference in whether you’re losing more hair, or maintaining your hair, or [whether] you have healthy hair, or brittle hair.”


The thick skin on your scalp is different than the skin on the rest of your body, notably housing a wealth of sebaceous glands that produce sebum (oil). Hair follicles and pores can easily get clogged if oil build-up goes unchecked; and dandruff is a byproduct caused by bacteria trapped in the sebum, which yields problematic fatty acids and flaking dead skin. Additionally, clogged follicles can detrimentally stunt hair growth, says Dr. Goldstein, because new hairs are often not strong enough to break through and grow.


Of course, the actual hair shafts and strands can have their own set of problems (dry, frizzy ends or lack of volume, anyone?) which require its own tender loving care — but in different ways. It’s actually recommended that you target your shampoo and conditioner at the scalp and the tips of the hair, respectively. Dermatologist Zoe D. Draelos, MD, FAAD advises: “When shampooing, concentrate on cleaning primarily the scalp, rather than the entire length of the hair, as washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse. When using a conditioner, the recommendation is different. Conditioners should only be used on the tips of the hair and not on the scalp or length of the hair since conditioners can make fine hair look limp.” It’s safe to say that, just like the sensitive skin on the visage, your hair and your scalp require a special kind of multi-step skincare routine for head-turning results.


scalp care


Scaling: The essential step in Korean scalp care


Naturally, the skincare experts in Korea leave no stone unturned in all realms of beauty, and when it comes to an unhealthy scalp, they put it under a literal microscope to find the cause and the appropriate remedy. On Korea’s top beauty shows, like Get It Beauty and The Body Show, industry experts come armed with scalp-magnifying devices that reveal the true state of one’s scalp, shocking audiences with the before-and-after transformation from damaged to healthy skin. YouTube K-beauty gurus, like Wendy from Korean beauty channel WishTrendTV, divulge that the secret to silky, voluminous locks is to use specialized scalp treatments; and even the beauty-loving denizens of Reddit share their tips on Asian hair care, emphasizing the roots of the hair.


While Korean hair care can encompass a wide variety of products and methods from serums to hair milks, we’re going to focus on one thing the routines of these hair experts and novices had in common: exfoliating the scalp.


Whatever you prefer to call it — scalp exfoliation, scalp cleansing, or scalp scaling — make sure it’s the first step in your journey to a healthy scalp. Used once a week, scaling treatments are easy to add into your routine, and they work wonders on opening the hair follicles to exfoliate away dead skin and get rid of waste. As Reddit user cutis_pura puts it: “Think of this as clearing the weeds to make way for the field.”


Or as Korean hair artist Beom Ho called it on a hair care episode of Get It Beauty, “The top of the head is considered your hair’s trash can.” Ew.


On the episode, Beom Ho used a magnifying scalp checker to reveal the redness and irritation on a volunteer’s scalp (warning: more ew on the way):


scalp care


Post-scalp care, Beom Ho revealed the stunning results of already-improved skin after a single scalp treatment, with noticeably reduced redness:


scalp care


Before shampoo, Beom Ho recommends a scalp tonic, like this one from Skinfood infused with soothing and refreshing peppermint or this one from Ryo with peppermint oil and papain. He also recommends going the extra mile and using a scalp massager, as well as wrapping a steamed towel around your head after you’ve applied the treatment for intense pore-purifying results.



Scaling can also come in the form of convenient pre-soaked cotton swabs. Take a scalp-cleansing swab and run it back and forth along the hairline to remove dead skin cells and dirt, making sure to part the hair in different sections for a thorough cleanse.


scalp care
A’Pieu Clean Scalp Doctor Swab



Another method of scalp exfoliation involves a little bubbly (and no, not the alcoholic variety). You’ve likely heard of the skincare face wash trend involving carbonated mineral water to purify your skin and tighten pores. Similarly, using natural sparkling water on the scalp can help dislodge dead skin cells and pore-clogging gunk, as well as facilitate blood circulation and balance the pH levels of your skin, according to The Body Show.


Make like the show’s experts and soak your entire head into a bowl of carbonated water for around ten minutes, incorporating a gentle massage during the process. (Warning: you might be surprised at the amount of debris floating in the bowl afterwards!) Alternatively, you can fill a spray bottle with sparkling water like WishTrendTV’s Wendy, who spritzes the liquid directly onto her roots for a quick scalp refresher.


Along with other scalp-focused products like perfumed treatments and anti-hair loss masks, Korean hair care runs the gamut beyond shampoo and conditioner, from treatments and serums to masks and mists, all of which take in a variety of factors like pH levels and whether you’ve chemically treated your hair. But before you jump down the rabbit hole of hair care, make sure to start at the roots to ban bad hair days for good.


Have you ever thought scalp care the way you do skincare? What does your hair and scalp care routine look like? Share with us in the comments!



Degunk Pores, Lighten Spots, Hydrate Skin: Can the Aqua Peel Really Do All That?

aqua peel

The aqua peel procedure is supposed to do it all — deep clean pores, exfoliate dead skin cells, brighten dark spots, smooth fine lines, and even hydrate skin. Is it really a miracle cure-all? We do a deep dive into the aqua peel (and offer some at-home options in case booking your next flight to Seoul in not in your future).



When it comes to staying au courant with innovative and fast-developing Korean beauty and skincare trends, you’ve gotta keep your eyes peeled — because as trends, by definition, they come and go. But with the latest tidal wave of a trend crashing through the beauty scene, we think this one may be here to stay. Originating in derma clinics and only recently rising to popularity, the aqua peel is the latest must-try beauty secret that have both Koreans and skincare lovers abroad intrigued. Why? Simultaneously a deep cleanse, an exfoliation, an infusion of hydration, and an acne treatment, the aqua peel is the multitasking all-star of Korean skincare treatments.


What is the aqua peel?


Essentially, aqua peeling (also referred to as skin scaling) is a cleansing bath of hydration and skin-enhancing treatment for your pores, using AHA- and BHA-infused solutions and a suction nozzle to sweep away blackheads and residue. The serum exfoliates and clears away debris, priming the skin so the vacuum-like device is better able to exorcise the gunk out of your pores. Say goodbye to annoying whiteheads, blackheads, excess sebum, and the like.


Although “peeling” or “scaling” doesn’t necessarily sound hydrating for the skin, the nozzle simultaneously infuses and saturates the pores with healing, nutrient-rich serums throughout the entire procedure, banishing any worry of dry or irritated skin at the end. As Refinery29 puts it, “The solution creates a centrifugal liquid seal with skin to powerfully pull out impurities, while at the same time cushioning the skin from damage and irritation that a dry vacuum of the same force would cause.”



AHAs and BHAs 101


Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are naturally occurring chemical compounds widely used in skincare treatments for their exfoliating capabilities. Water-soluble AHA is an umbrella term for a wide range of acids: malic acid (commonly associated with apples), glycolic acid (derived from cane sugar), citric acids (oranges, lemons, limes and other citrus fruits), as well as lactic acid (found in milk, yogurt, and wine).


On the other hand, BHAs are oil soluble and less common; the most well-known BHA found in skincare products is salicylic acid, which can penetrate into the pores to get at sebum and help “unglue” the dead skin cell layer.


aqua peel


Acting as chemical exfoliators, products with AHA (with a recommended concentration of 10 percent or less) help slough away dead skin cells, smooth out wrinkles, even skin tone, and allow for regrowth of new skin cells and moisture penetration. BHAs also exfoliate and due to their oil-soluble nature, beta hydroxy acids more effectively treat oily or acne-prone skin.


Benefits of the aqua peel


In recent years, it seems nearly every Korean dermatology clinic proudly advertises the suction-powered technique at the top of their menu of treatments, and for good reason. Aqua peeling effectively treats hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles, and it’s a go-to for an overall skin brightening and smoothing session. One Reddit user named MiraMode raved post-treatment, “I don’t even feel like wearing makeup the following week [so as] not to hide that glow from the inside.”


What’s more, aqua peeling is a potent and generally painless method to thoroughly degunk your pores, evident in the cloudy tank of water that’s filled with sebum and other waste at the end of the procedure. The spiral-tipped suction sloughs away dead skin cells on the stratum corneum, the outer layer of the skin, and although redness may occur, it’s not a permanent effect.



The aqua peel is popular because it’s a quick trip to the clinic and requires no downtime post-procedure. It’s also an excellent stand-alone treatment or can serve as an ideal pre-treatment before laser skin procedures, which are more effective on a freshly exfoliated base. Costs do vary: derma clinic CNP shows the treatment costs around 150,000 to 200,000 won (around $150-$200), and Reddit user MiraMode shared that she paid $160 at CNP. On the other hand, Refinery29 writer and aqua peel fanatic Joyce Kong revealed that she paid 15,000 won ($15) to get her pores vacuumed. The final price may depend on whether you opt only for a quick pore fix or for the whole shebang (cleansing, facial, aqua peel, and more) as seen in this strangely calming video of the aqua peel procedure above.


The at-home aqua peel


Aqua Peel
Skin Spa Aqua Peel


We all know that once a Korean skincare treatment or procedure takes the world by storm, the do-it-at-home counterparts will inevitably — and quickly — make their way into the market. For those who don’t want to shell out two Benjamins every four to six weeks to see more permanent and lasting results for your skin, there’s a miniature version of the derma-sized pore vacuum on the market from Skin Spa, selling for 200,000 won (around $200).


aqua peel


And of course, there’s a slew of aqua peel-inspired skincare products that claim to exfoliate, hydrate, and shrink pores. 3CE’s White Milquidro Peeling Toner uses milk proteins, AHA, and BHA in its exfoliating toner, while the Mamonde Aqua Peel line gently refines skin with plum enzymes and AHA.


The more popular (and fun) at-home aqua peel method is probably the comically oversized cotton swabs soaked in AHA/BHA solutions, like Etude House One Sheet Solution Swab&Mask PeelingTony Moly Skin Clinic 3 Step Micro Peel Swab Kit, The Saem Express Beauty Aqua Peel Cotton Swab, and the A’Pieu Aqua Peeling Cotton Swab. YouTube beauty vlogger Denise Lim put the latter two exfoliating swabs, as well as the Holika Holika Daily Garden Lotus Vinegar Big Cotton Swab Peeling, to the test. (Spoiler alert: Her favorite was the Holika Holika, which she claims removed a few of her whiteheads.)




From natural sugar scrubs and pore strips to aqua peel visits to the local dermatologist, there’s countless ways to exfoliate and ban blackheads for good. What’s your go-to method? Let us know in the comments below!


This Is What It’s Like to Get the V-Line Surgery (+ 3 Ways to Get It Sans Scalpel)


It’s not just Korean men and women who are making a beeline for the V-line, that super-defined jawline sported by practically every K-pop and K-drama star. YouTube vlogger Mandy Candy also decided to go under the knife — and you can watch her do it here. Of course, if you’re a bit squeamish about slicing off bits of your jawbone, don’t worry — we show you less invasive ways to achieve a slimmer jawline.



If you’ve visited Korea in recent years, you’ve likely noticed the ubiquitous advertisements for plastic surgery. Plastered on the subway or on billboards, the “before” photos of ordinary Korean women (and men) are nearly unrecognizable when compared to the adjacent “after” photos. Such drastic surgical alterations to one’s face are so commonly accepted that there’s even a famous  “beauty belt” in the tony neighborhood of Apgujeong in Gangnam, where thousands of high-end plastic surgery centers are lined up one after another. Walk around this area, and it’s not uncommon to see women and men — both locals and foreigners — shopping, their faces wrapped in bandages.


With such high standards of skincare and beauty in Korea, it may be near impossible to resist the urge to get some surgical work done. A 2009 Trend Monitor survey reported that one in five women in Korea have undergone surgery. Although simpler procedures like the double-eyelid surgery are widely accepted in both Korea and more recently in the States, there’s a slew of increasingly invasive incisions that cause more than just a shudder. We’re talking about the V-line jaw reduction surgery.


It’s something that Brazilian YouTube vlogger Mandy Candy decided to undergo this past summer, flying all the way out to Seoul for the procedure. Naturally, she recorded the whole thing for her audience to witness, from the pre-op wash-up to the post-op pain (and boy, did it look painful).


Though the process looked pretty grueling (and again, painful), she seems pretty happy with the results. Here she is in a recent Instagram shot:




Or watch her reveal her new jawline to her YouTube audience, along with some snippets of her post-surgery recovery.



Defining the V-line


V-line surgery is nothing to sneeze at. Essentially, the complex procedure aims to slim the jawline and chin into a narrow V-shape. This requires removing bone from both sides of the jawline as well as a piece of bone from the center of the jaw. The jawbone is then put back together with pins. If that sounds harsh, it is. Recovery can take up to a few months, and there is risk of nerve damage, even paralysis. And yet it is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the country.


A typical V-line before and after.


So why are Koreans so fixated on the V-line? For starters, they believe that the V-line shape, like the straight eyebrow and puppy eyeliner, creates a more youthful face. Think of Korea’s top celebrities — from beloved 40-year-old actress Kim Hee Sun to pretty much every member of girl group Black Pink — all of whom boast translucent skin and elegant, V-shaped faces. While the age-deceiving doe-eyed look can be easily achieved with makeup, a narrow jawline isn’t always in the books for those who aren’t naturally born with the shape. And with these visages serving as the country’s standard for beauty, it’s no wonder denizens are scrambling to make appointments for their V-line consultation.


Korean actress Kim Hee Sun.


Of course, if you’re not keen about flying 5,000 miles, going under the knife for hours, and sawing off big chunks of your mandible, you can always try these three non-invasive methods that are just as popular in Korea (not to mention safer!).


1. “Make Up” Your V-Line


For those of us who want to non-surgically enhance our natural-born features, there are a few ways to slim down the face without the doc’s help.


There is power in makeup, and even for nonexistent V-lines, your favorite foundations and bronzers can create an outline for the shape. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to take a powder or cream product in a shade darker than your skin tone and apply it just above the jawline. Products like the Etude House V Line Slim Maker or the 3CE Duo Contour Stick 01 Shading will do the trick. Much like how you would apply your contour under your cheekbones, diligently blend in the product along your jawline until it is evenly smoothed out. The darker shadow will minimize the size of your face and give the illusion of a V-line.




Strategically applying a lighter shade of foundation can also affect your face’s silhouette. Korea’s top celebrity makeup artist Jung Saem Mool likes to apply a cushion compact or cream foundation in a slightly lighter shade starting above the cheekbones and moving inward and down to the chin, leaving the outer perimeter of the face untouched. Continue to blend on and around the nose as well as the forehead, using a darker concealer only to cover blemishes in the actual V-line zone. This draws the eye to the “inner triangle” of the face and away from the jawline. (You can begin watching at the 17:20 mark.)



Post-application, you can see a subtle V-line shape; the lighter shade highlights the angle from the high point of her cheek to her chin, while the untouched “outer V-zone” is subtly contoured and defined.


2. Patch It Up


Missha Lifting patch
Missha Speedy Solution Lifting Patch


Makeup aside, you can achieve a temporary tightening and lifting effect with V-line “patches,” which have been making the rounds in the Korean beauty-sphere. These sheet mask-like products like Missha’s Speedy Solution Lifting Patch and The Face Shop Face It Modeling Patch Sharp Face fit around the chin and jawline and help to relax and lift the jawline, while simultaneously tightening the skin for a slimmer silhouette.


3. Roll It Into Shape


Laneige Time Freeze Face-Fit Roller
Laneige Time Freeze Face-Fit Roller


You can also shape the V-line with unique and innovative tools that claim to tone your facial muscles. Jawline rollers, like Laneige Time Freeze Face-Fit Roller, are widely used by many beauty junkies who want a slimmer face. The idea is that the balls on the roller gently massage the muscles of the jawline, and daily use of the anti-aging tool is supposed to tighten the muscles over time for firmer skin. Even Korean American style blogger Chriselle Lim swears by the funny-looking tool for a slimmer jaw line and youthful skin.


Needless to say, many beauty lovers the world over are willing try anything for a little beauty enhancement. Do you covet the V-line? Have you tried any of these methods? Let us know in the comments below!



These Are the 5 Dry Skin Moisturizers That Will Save Me All Season Long

dry skin moisturizers

Dry skin girls, unite! Just because winter is coming doesn’t mean you have to put up with the tightness, flaking, and redness that accompany low-humidity air and overworked heaters. Stock up on some serious dry skin moisturizers (I live by these three face creams and two emulsions) for supple skin all winter long.



Fall signals changing leaves, the rebirth of sweater weather, and naturally, an updated skincare routine. During the summer months, I layered on lightweight products, but now that the weather is finally cooling down in sunny Los Angeles (and by cool, I mean a cool 70, 80 degrees) and the drier months are upon us, my routine definitely needed some help in the moisture department, especially for my ever-so-parched skin.


My skin type is a combination of things: normal-to-oily on my T-zone (sebum-sucking powders all day!) and dry on my cheeks as well as on and around my nose and lips (avoid sebum-sucking powders at all costs!). I also tend to get redness on my cheeks, and thankfully, I don’t get too many acne flare-ups (unless I’m indulging in too many sugary, fried, or cheesy foods). So my main skin qualm is keeping my cheeks peachy-keen and hydrated all day long. Here are five dry skin moisturizers (three creams, two emulsions) that help me tackle hydration head on.


dry skin moisturizers


1. SanDaWha Ultra Rich Hydrating Camellia Floral Water Cream


If I ever wrote a love letter to a skincare brand, it’d be addressed to SanDaWha. Their Liposome Skin Softener, Camellia Flower Hydrating Mist, and Extra Virgin Camellia Face Oil are at the top of my favorites list, and this moisturizer is right there with ’em. The SanDaWha Ultra Rich Hydrating Camellia Floral Water Cream (*gasps for air*) is so luxurious, rich, creamy, and outright delicious, I want to spread it on some toast and eat it right up.




Its first ingredient is Camellia japonica flower extract, which is followed by over 30 botanical extracts and oils (hello, shea butter, we meet again), as well as skin saviors like niacinamide, adenosine, hyaluronic acid, and beta-glucan. It smells sooo good, and at $38, you’re getting a luxury face cream for a bargain.


2. Swanicoco Extra Hydrating Swan Cream


Swanicoco, you had me at “swan cream.” Milky, gel-like, and creamy, this moisturizer is chock full of skin-quenching ingredients. First on the list? Saccharomyces ferment filtrate, a natural humectant that belongs to the #fungifam and boasts the ability to brighten, even skin tone, and promote cell turnover. Marry that with macadamia seed oil, shea butter, allantoin, and a number of other natural skin-boosters, and you’ve got a cocktail for nourishing hydration in one spatula-full of facial cream.




3. COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream


dry skin moisturizers


You’d think that any dry-skinned girl would run far away from any product labeled “acid intensive,” but lucky for you, that acid is hyaluronic, and girl, it’s intense in the moisture department. Formulated with a base of antioxidant-rich sea buckthorn water, glycerin, sunflower seed oil, macadamia seed oil, and of course, sodium hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid), the COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream has an ultra-gooey, slightly tacky texture, and a little goes a long way. I would recommend this more so as a nighttime moisturizer, but I have used this during the day. Just make sure that you let the cream sink in and dry completely before applying your sunscreen and foundation or cushion.




4. Swanicoco Bitamin A All Skin Emulsion


For extra, extra hydration — and thanks to my moisture-sucking skin, I need the extra, extra help — I incorporate a layer of emulsion before my face cream step.


dry skin moisturizers


For day, I’ve been using Swanicoco’s Bitamin A All Skin Emulsion, and at $16, this one is an affordable option if you’re looking for an everyday emulsion. For starters, it’s got the holy grail snail secretion filtrate, cotton seed oil (which contains free radical-fighting vitamin E and antioxidants), rice bran extract, sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of the oh-so-hydrating hyaluronic acid), and allantoin. Its texture is everything you’d want in an emulsion: a lightweight moisturizer that absorbs quickly, prepping your skin for the final seal of moisture from your facial cream.


My only qualm with this product is that it doesn’t come with a pump dispenser, so I have to whack the bottle against my poor hand until the product comes out. But all in all, the Bitamin A All Skin Emulsion is a trusty emulsion that my skin can depend on.


5. Swanicoco Peptine Care Emulsion


The other emulsion I’ve been using is the Bitamin A’s much fancier (and pricier) older sister, the Peptine Care Emulsion. I use the latter mainly at night (and especially when my skin feels like it needs an extra boost), and that’s because it contains an extensive list of rich, nourishing ingredients that’ll leave your tongue twisted and your face happy.


dry skin moisturizers


The first five ingredients of the Peptine Care Emulsion are skin-conditioning rice ferment filtrate, aka sake; Poria cocos extract, a derivative of mushrooms that has skin-soothing abilities; ginseng callus culture extract, stem cells that claim to lighten and brighten skin with antioxidant properties; hydrolyzed collagen (oh hi, plump skin!); and sodium hyaluronate. The rest of the skin-tillating ingredient list goes on and on.


At $62, it definitely is on the expensive side for an emulsion, so this does fall under the splurge category for me — or alternately, it would work well as a fancy gift for Mom or Aunt Steph (I mean, look at that black and gold packaging!). I’ll also interject and say that it is thick and hydrating enough to work as a moisturizer alone. It’s rich, creamy, and leaves a healthy sheen to your skin, which absorbs nicely into a dewy finish.


What are your go-to dry skin moisturizers? Do you use different moisturizers for day and night? I’d love to hear what your favorite creams are in the comments below!


These Beauty Blogs and Instagram Feeds Will Give You Heart-Eyes ?

instagram feeds

Sure, they review the latest technological advances in the industry and provide exhaustive ingredient lists and swatches, but these must-see beauty blogs and Instagram feeds also offer plenty of eye candy to feed your obsession with all things skincare and makeup. There’s a reason they call this industry “beauty.”



In this digital age, it’s all about maximizing the pixels on your screen to make a follow-worthy first impression. I’ve rounded up some of the most aesthetically-pleasing Instagram feeds and beauty blogs that have mastered the art of love at first sight. These seasoned skincare and beauty bloggers and ’grammers know a thing or two about creating eye-catching and unique content. Stop by for the aesthetics, and stay long-term for their sound recommendations on the best skincare and makeup products on the market.




instagram feeds


Our first feature is none other than Fiona of the blog and Instagram @orchidsandpeonies. A true believer of nurturing healthy, glowing skin and wearing less makeup, Fiona artfully arranges her vibrant bouquet of Instagram photos, always composed of floral elements (roses and peonies everywhere) and her favored skincare and beauty products that work well with her combination, sensitive skin.





Gothamista’s Renee needs no introduction. The seasoned K-beauty YouTuber started curating and sharing her skincare and beauty finds in 2014, and has already garnered over 4 million views on her channelShe’s a trusted voice in the world of Korean cosmetics, and her squared photo feed is a go-to source for the best products on the market.




instagram feeds


Let’s cut to the chase: I’m very obsessed with beauty blogger Adri and her impeccable eye for the ‘gram. She contrasts her go-to skincare vials and beauty products against a varying palette of washed pastel hues for the ultimate cosmetics eye-candy. If you’ve got an oily T-zone and dry patches, congested pores, acne scars, and hormonal acne like Adri, you’ll benefit from her curated array of skincare and beauty obsessions. (She swears by Missha’s All Around Safe Block Mild Sun for her choice of UV ray-blocking sunscreen.)




Night Routine?? Reading the new spring issue of Domino Magazine this evening. If any of you are into home decor I recommend you check them out! ✨Cleanse Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil ?Tone Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich ✨Missha First Treatment Essence mist ?TheOrdinary Hyaluronic Acid ✨Herbivore Botanicals Orchid Oil ?Chilled Jade Roller massaged overtop of oil #skincare #skincarediary #skincarereview #skincareaddict #skincareblogger #skincareroutine #skincaredaily #skincareobsessed #skincareobsession #skincareregimen #kbeauty #kbeautyaddict #kbeautyblogger #koreanbeauty #rasianbeauty #beautyflatlay #slaytheflatlay #asianbeauty #flatlayoftheday #instabeauty #instablogger #instaskincare #instabblogger #glowingskincare #chokchok #igskincare #skincarejunkie #skincareproducts #skincareluxury

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There’s no shortage of dainty air plants and pastel hues on Bailey’s skincare and beauty Instagram, @baileys_skinroutine. Previously known as Blossoming Chok Chok, her moniker reflected a universal desire for ever-flourishing, chok chok (the Korean term for moist and dewy) skin, and her feed features a wealth of Western and Asian cosmetics. She mixes in her love of healthy foods, which adds a unique element to her skincare routine — after all, what you put into your body is as important as what you’re putting on your skin.




instagram feeds


Stephanie Zheng is a self-proclaimed lover of travel-sized beauty products and the woman behind the popular Instagram @collectionofvials and eponymous blog. Currently living the college life in NYC, Stephanie shows off her skincare and beauty choices with a sophisticated, minimalistic eye. You’ll pretty much lust over every vial and tube the Glossier brand ambassador showcases — and you’ll inevitably fall in love with her miniature hedgehog who makes occasional appearances on her feed.





Meet Elisa, the whimsical beauty and fashion lover behind the feed @SokoBeauty and Netherlands-based blog Memorable DaysMixing floral and feminine notes with skincare and cosmetics, Elisa fancifully displays her current beauty faves that cover the range of American and European cosmetics, including some K-beauty classics like the Neogen Bio Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea exfoliating pads.


Mrs. James Recommends


That smooth and flawless complexion belongs to none other than Mrs. Quennie James, the face behind the appropriately-named beauty blog, Mrs. James Recommends. Currently residing in the UK with her hubby (aka Mr. James), Mrs. James is a Jill of all trades: beauty writer, mother, traveler, stylist, sheet mask enthusiast, self-taught makeup artist, singer, dancer, and — the cherry on top — MMA fighter. The former M.A.C Cosmetics employee is now a freelance artist, sharing her wealth of knowledge — and of course, recommendations — on all things makeup and skincare, with an emphasis on Korean products. Her recent mentions include the popular Son&Park Beauty Water and her tips on anti-aging K-beautyNeedless to say, I’m taking note.




instagram feeds


LA-based blogger, New Jersey native, and aspiring anthropology major, Sharmili (who goes by Mili) combines her quirky personality with a passion for beauty on her blog and Instagram @sharmtoaster. Catch up with her on her blog where she shares her adventures in K-beauty, her reviews on drugstore brands, tips for flat lays for the feed, and much more.




✨Adventure Awaits ✨ // Photo Shoot Teasers w/ @lucygloverphoto . . This last Sunday as many of you may have saw on my Instagram stories I was over the moon excited to shoot w/ the talented Lucy Glover (been wanting to shoot with her for the longest time!) and boy did it not disappoint! . We shot in the Marin Headlands just outside of San Francisco. We shot these teaser shots at the end of the day at Golden Hour and it was pure magic ✨ . Can’t wait to see how the rest of the shots came out (΄◉◞౪◟◉`) this was definitely one of my favorite shoots to date ! . #beautyblogger #skincareblogger #koreanbeauty #kbeauty #japanesecosmetics #abcommunity #rasianbeauty #skincareaddict #asianskincare #koreancosmetics #koreanproduct #instagood #instabeauty #instablog #instadaily #beauty #sanfranciscomodel #bayareamodel #lifestylemodel #commercialmodel #fauxcamping #marin #natureshoot #nature

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Ashley Hasegawa, the pixie cut-adorning charmer behind @gamine.beauty, is a San Franciscan beauty and lifestyle blogger and model/actress. She currently flexes her multiskilled abilities as an independent beauty brand specialist; she’s a freelance education/product specialist for Korean mega-cosmetics conglomerate AmorePacific (and in particular, their brand Sulwhasoo), as well as a West Coast Trainer for quirky cosmetic line Too Cool for School. We love that the late 20-something is a self-proclaimed “ingredient nerd” who promises to only post products that she truly swears by. Check out her newly-launched beauty blog (her first review is on the Swanicoco CC Pact) — I personally can’t wait to see what other products receive her stamp of approval.




Woke up and saw the news of Hurricane Irma, hoping everyone is evacuating and keeping lives safe?? . . ?Cleanse Pestle & Mortar Renew ?Mist Jurlique Rose Mist ?Skin: Darphin Radiance Retuxturizing Cream ?Base: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin ?Eyes: Lined with Maybelline & Estee Lauder Sumptuous Mascara ?Cheeks: Maxfactor Nude Beige & Stila Kittten ?Lips: Bobbi Brown English Rose ??Perfume: Francis Kurkdjian APOM . Have a lovely day all? . #pestleandmortar #jurlique #darphin #kevynaucoin #esteelauder #maxfactor #beautypie #maybelline #franciskurkdjian #stila #stilakitten #makeupmess #motd #fotd #makeupblogger #makeupaddict #makeupjunkie #makeupregime #makeupproduct #beautyroutine #chicagoblogger #instabeauty #instablogger #bblogger #bbloggers #beautyblogger #beautybloggers #beautycommunity

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Beauty junkie Binita is the face behind the Instagram, Hidden Harmony World, and she’s no rookie in the skincare game. Binita runs the gamut of beauty and skincare reviews, which encompasses both Western and Asian cosmetic brands. Follow Hidden Harmony, and you’ll get a glimpse of her go-to products (arranged in beautiful, well-lit flat lays, natch), as well as a taste of her lifestyle and travel moments on her blog of the same name.


What do you think are some of the prettiest Instagram feeds and blogs out there? Who do you follow?


Why You’re Not Too Young to Build Good Skincare Habits

good skincare habits

Whether you’re a teen searching for ways to get rid of that first bump or a mom looking to nurture good skincare habits in your teen, know that you’re not alone and it’s not too early to develop good skincare habits for a lifetime of good skin.



It’s never too late to quit smoking, find love, or pursue your passions. But for some things in life — well, it’s never quite too early. Habits like wholesome eating and regular exercise, as well as healthy relationships with friends and family, are smart lifestyle choices to establish early on, setting you up for an age of success later in life.


Skincare is no different, and bonus tip: When it’s coupled with that good-for-you diet and an intentional zeal for life, you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for the coveted lit-from-within glow. So if you’re at the cusp of adulthood, here’s a friendly reminder why you’re not too young to start investing in your skin.


good skincare habits


The sooner, the better


Why deal with wrinkles, sunspots, and other signs of aging when you have the power to prevent them? Skincare products — particularly the anti-aging variety — carry a wide range of perks, from brightening dull complexions to maintaining the skin’s elasticity for less fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, learning the nuances of your unique skin type (oily, dry, combination, or anywhere in between) at a young age will better prepare you for the future, equipping you with the know-how to modify your skincare regimen when facing changing climates and with a knowledge base to avoid common misconceptions that many skincare beginners have when diagnosing their skin.


If there’s one person we can trust on skincare, it’s the talented actress and anti-aging advocate Song Hye Kyo. She began experimenting early on with youth-saving skincare products at her mother’s recommendation — and we all know: Moms know best.


“My mother told me it’s better to start using anti-aging, even at a young age,” the K-drama veteran told Malay Mail Online. “Especially since I’m an actress, and I’m constantly under stage lights or exposed to a lot of sunlight. … I think using anti-aging products really helps; the (sooner), the better, you know?”


good skincare habits
Song Hye Kyo’s secret to that youthful glow? Start using anti-aging products early.


With one glance at Song Hye Kyo’s baby-faced complexion, you might find it hard to believe that the hit drama Descendants of the Sun star is in her mid-30s. The official face of Korean cosmetic company Laneige, Song explains that “skin aging originates from dry skin.” She swears by the brand’s ultra-hydrating Perfect Renew Regenerator or the Water Bank Essence, a lightweight formula with unmistakable moisture.


Ward off the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays


Speaking of SPF, one of the single most important skincare products you could add to your skincare routine (if you haven’t already) is sunscreen. (And unfortunately, a BB cream with SPF doesn’t suffice.) Among the various factors that can contribute to aging of the skin — loss of collagen, which forms wrinkles, or exposure to different irritants and pollution that can cause damage to the skin — the sun’s UVA and UVB rays have the most potent and harmful effect not only to your skin’s appearance, but more importantly, on your health. Even a round of doctors on a forum focusing on anti-aging all adamantly agree that a broad-spectrum sunscreen with high levels of SPF (at least 40) is crucial in combatting aging. We simply can’t stress enough the importance of applying (and reapplying, if needed) sunscreen daily to protect your skin from the harmful exposure.


good skincare habits


“By damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, excessive UV radiation produces genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer,” warns the Skin Cancer Foundation. UVB (ultraviolet short-wave) rays penetrate the outermost layer of the skin, causing superficial (but equally injurious) damage to the skin’s epidermal layers. Think redness and sunburns. On the other hand, the wrinkle-forming UVA (ultraviolet long-wave) rays infiltrate even deeper and have “relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year,” penetrating through clouds and glass.


And if you’re a beach lover who loves to get her tan on, think twice before hitting the sand. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “A tan results from injury to the skin’s DNA; the skin darkens in an imperfect attempt to prevent further DNA damage. These imperfections, or mutations, can lead to skin cancer.”


Although you’ve likely heard it all before, we’ll say it again for good measure: Avoid sun tanning (both directly in the sun and inside a UVA ray-emitting tanning booth) and always wear sunscreen, even on the most gloomy, overcast, dark, and dreary days.


Because the real value of skincare is (almost) priceless


To put it simply, you can’t quite put a price on your health, and if it comes with the added benefits of clearer, brighter, and more youthful skin at a low cost, then sign us up. The cherry on top of the sundae that is Korean beauty and skincare is that it’s incredibly affordable to start your collection, and nearly every brand, whether it be lower-priced or high-end, has incredibly effective products to offer. So don’t worry: You don’t have to buy Song Hye Kyo’s mid-tier priced night serum or Chriselle’s pricey choice for a moisturizing cleansing balm to achieve baby-soft skin. With countless Korean brands to choose from, you’ll have a diverse spectrum of within-budget, skin-boosting products that will strengthen and fortify your skin’s barrier.


“Healthy and functioning skin barrier is [an] important protector against dehydration, penetration of various microorganisms, allergens, irritants, reactive oxygen species and radiation,” a recent study on skin anti-aging strategies states. “For this reason daily skin care may increase skin regeneration, elasticity, smoothness, and thus temporarily change the skin condition.”


good skincare habits
Etude House’s Moistfull Collagen Water Jelly Cream is an easy way to kick-start your anti-aging routine.


Don’t know where to begin? Start with the affordable skincare line from the cult-favorite collection from Etude House that puts collagen in the spotlight, in the form of emulsions and nighttime moisturizers to collagen-infused eye patches and sheet masks. Or try products with vitamin C, a proven antioxidant that decreases the effect of the sun’s rays.


For more easy-to-follow routines and recommendations, check out:


A teen’s first skincare routine


Our essential $100 skincare routine


Build your own essential skincare routine with Etude House


Where to start if you’re overwhelmed by K-beauty


The preventative skincare guide for teens


As you build your skincare cabinet, add in products like exfoliators to unclog grime and dirt from pores, and invest in eye creams to give special treatment to the most sensitive parts of your face. With gradual and consistent use of your revamped daytime and nighttime routine, we’re sure that you’ll see a lifetime of a difference for your skin.


What good skincare habits did you develop early in your beauty journey? And what was the first beauty product you used?




The K-Beauty Menagerie: 4 Unique Skincare Ingredients Worth Trying

Remember when you first eww’d at the thought of smearing snail slime all over your face? You soon learned what wonders the gastropod could do for your skin. So don’t sniff at the latest “unusual” ingredients coming out of Korea. Find out why beauty lovers are making a beeline for these brow-raising, unique skincare ingredients, from donkey milk to horse oil (and no, there’s no animal cruelty involved!).



Korean skincare doesn’t horse around. If an ingredient can benefit your skin and be infused in a cream or essence, then you bet it’ll make its way into the next headline-making product on the front page of K-beauty — even if said ingredient is, uh, literally straight from the horse’s mouth. Yep, today we’re talking horse oil, plus three more unusual ingredients you’ve seen on your beauty radar. So let’s make like a fish and dive right in.


Horse Oil


We’re off to the races with horse oil, an ingredient that deserves a brief preface. Contrary to what you might think, no horses are harmed specifically for the making of horse oil-infused skincare products. In fact, the oil is a byproduct of horses that are processed for their meat — and before you inhale sharply in shock, know that horses, like cows and pigs, are commonly killed for human consumption in countries like Belgium, Japan, Italy, Kazakhstan, and many other countries outside of the U.S. But rest assured that the oil used in skincare products comes from the byproduct from the horses that have already passed on.


unique skincare ingredients


So what’s so great about horse oil? For starters, it contains a surprising amount of linolenic acid, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that work wonders to moisturize, repair, and prevent inflammation on the skin. The skincare fanatic behind beauty blog Vanity Rex goes in-depth in her spotlight on horse oil, her findings backed heavily by research on the oil’s promising antibacterial and redness-reducing properties. But the most appealing aspect of horse oil is that its composition is like that of human sebum, which essentially means it penetrates more quickly into your skin, resulting in “sustained moisture” for your skin, explains beauty blogger Mrs. James.


Feed your horse oil curiosity with the Get It Beauty favorite, Guerisson 9 Complex Cream, which is touted for providing 72 hours of lasting moisture and lightening dark spots with the help of vitamin E, ceramides, and extracts of peppermint leaf, apple mint leaf, sage and rosemary. Horse oil also comes in the form of hand creams, horse fat-infused sheet masks, and soothing gel creams.


Donkey and Goat Milk


Milk has long been known for its health and beauty perks (hello, Cleopatra). Enriched with a cocktail of vitamins and nutritious minerals, the creamy white liquid moisturizes dry skin, promotes healthy cells, and diminishes fine lines by strengthening the skin’s elasticity. Best of all, milk contains lactic acid, a naturally-derived AHA that gently exfoliates to reveal a smoother and brighter complexion.


unique skincare ingredients


In particular, donkey milk has been a popular choice for cosmetic use, as it contains 60 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk. Rich in fatty acids and ceramides, donkey milk forms a protective layer on skin for ultimate moisture retention. Proponents give high praise to the milk for its skin compatibility, which means it’s friendly to sensitive and normal skin types. Additionally, goat milk is another lactose alternative that’s high in lactic acid with skin-toning properties.


Add some dairy to your skincare routine with moisturizing creams infused with goat milk or donkey milk, as well as in a variety of skincare fare. The Imselene Donkey Milk Holic Sleeping Mask Pack is a current hot product for its ultra-hydrating properties that you can slather onto skin right before you hit the hay.


Bird’s Nest


unique skincare ingredients


Another bizarre (and slightly controversial) ingredient making its way into youth-rejuvenating creams and sheet masks is bird’s nest. No, we aren’t talking about twigs and dirt. The bird’s nest in question is made by swiftlets, cave-dwelling birds that craft their nests out of layers of hardened saliva. While bird’s nest extract has been consumed as an anti-aging, anti-cancer delicacy for over a thousand years, the nutritious ingredient has only recently been incorporated into cosmetics. Unfortunately, despite many brands’ claim that the extract has skin-repairing ability, there is still insufficient research to actually prove if it has dermatological staying power. We recommend that you always check where the extract stands on the list of ingredients, like this vigilant Reddit user does; the extract should be one of the first few ingredients listed in order for your skin to benefit from what the extract is hyped to do.




When a temple viper snake strikes, its venom paralyzes the muscles of the unsuspecting prey. While cosmetic companies are not injecting bona fide venom into your skincare products (or at least we hope not), Syn-ake is the synthetic version that mimics the effect of a peptide found in the toxin. First created by Swedish chemical company, Pentapharm Ltd., this “anti-wrinkle chemical” acts as a more affordable alternative to Botox, reducing fine lines in a similar way as the injections do. Much like the real venom, the topical treatment “paralyzes” the muscles, reducing contractions and cell movement to keep skin smooth and wrinkle-free.


unique skincare ingredients


There are a few drawbacks, though. According to The Derm Review, it’s been reported that the treatment is harsh on sensitive skin, and Livestrong.com reveals that the results of a clinical trial showed no more than 52 percent reduction in wrinkle size after a month of application.


Of course, the anti-aging effect is only temporary, because gravity always wins. Nonetheless, it may be worth a try to ward off those pesky fine lines while you can. Get it in sundry forms, from essence formulas to sheet masks.


Of course, there’s a zoo of other ingredients that can elevate your skincare game, from the popular snail mucin with its powerful skin-repairing properties to antimicrobial bee venom and even salmon oil-infused dark circle-concealing eye creams that pack an omega-3-infused punch. Pick your poison, if you will, and let us know what your favorite unique skincare ingredients are in the comments below!



This Jamsu Makeup Hack Will Change the Way You Do Foundation


Before you (literally) take the plunge, take note from people who’ve tried the powder-water-dunking, foundation-setting jamsu trick out of Korea for the most flawless results.



Let’s dive right in.


Jamsu, which translates into “diving” or “submerging” in Korean, is the latest Korean trend that’s making the rounds in the beauty realm. (Do a search on YouTube and you’ll get over 30,000 results.) Believed to have been introduced by a Japanese beauty vlogger and made virally famous in Korea, the unusual face-smoothing technique has made appearances on widely watched beauty YouTube channels, reputable fashion magazines the likes of Vogue and Cosmopolitan, and even news sources like the Today Show. The hack promises ultra-soft, smooth, and mattified skin, as well as long-lasting makeup, with the use of two basic components: water and baby powder.




What makes this beauty trick so unique? It entails layering tons of powder all over your face after you’ve applied your foundation, and then dunking your face into cold water for 30 seconds or so. Yep, you read that right. You dunk your made-up face into water.


The method


The actual process is fairly simple:


1. First, apply your base makeup (primer, foundation, concealer) as you normally would onto a clean, moisturized face.


Bustle’s writer Danielle Sandoval tries out the jamsu makeup trend for herself.


2. Next, take a talc-free baby powder (keep reading to find out why) or loose face powder and generously apply it all over your face in an even layer. Your face should look abnormally powdery. Let it sit for a few minutes.


3. Meanwhile, fill a bowl (deep and wide enough to fit your entire face without touching the rim) with cold water.


4. Plunge your powdered face ear-deep into the water, making sure all powdered areas are submerged, and hold for 30 seconds or less. (Don’t worry, you can divvy this up into shorter increments, too.)


5. Once done, your face should be completely wet and powder-free. Gently pat — never rub — with a soft towel until dry. Continue with the remainder of your makeup routine. Your skin should be left feeling baby soft and smooth for the rest of day. 


The verdict


All in all, the response to the jamsu makeup trend has been a resounding success. For dry-to-oily skin types of all ethnicities, the hack delivers on its guarantee of matte, feels-like-it’s-not-there makeup. Vogue writer Monica Kim observes: “I quickly find, the results are beyond. Yes, my skin is intensely matte, but also incredibly smooth and even-toned. Better yet, when shading in my arches and applying liner, there is no oil-induced glide, allowing me to craft fine, pencil-thin strokes that are the best brow-work I’ve done in ages — all thanks to a $4 tin of drugstore powder. It lasts remarkably well with no under-eye smudging and, I’m frequently told, my face looks softer and even younger — appropriately enough, like the skin on a baby’s bottom.”


Bustle writer Danielle Sandoval recommends the jamsu trick for her matte-makeup lovers. Although she prefers a dewy look herself, she attests to the hack’s ability to create incredibly matte skin that lasts all day long.


Emily Slawek of the Today Show gets down and dirty with the jamsu trend.


Not yet sold? Emily Slawek from the Today Show raved about the powder-water-dunking trick, despite the mess the powder can make during application. (Tip: Don’t wear black). She tested her jamsu-finished makeup through a lunch date and even a gym session. “My foundation looked better than ever,” she gushed. “My pores were nearly invisible and my complexion looked smooth.” She recommends the technique for occasions when you need reliable, long-lasting makeup, such as for a wedding or an important photo-op event.


YouTube beauty vlogger Taylor, who goes by channel name thataylaa, swears that her blush, bronzer, and highlighter blended onto the shine-free skin with unprecedented ease. And the best part? Her makeup lasted through over 10 hours of wear.



There are some drawbacks to the mattifying trend, though. Taylor did notice some dry spots around her nose (however, it does appear that her nose accidentally grazed the bowl when she dunked), and she mentioned that the overall finish has a subtle texture, but nothing too cakey.



Beauty vloggers like YoonCharmi and Denise Lim loved the hack overall , but they, too, experienced powdery patches in spots especially prone to dryness. Despite this setback, the two vloggers went about their day in humid weather, participating in sweat-inducing activities. They came back home with oil-free, sweat-free, and streak-free makeup.


The product: baby powder vs. translucent powder


There’s a little bit of debate over whether or not one should use baby powder in lieu of a translucent face powder, or vice versa. We’ve seen YouTubers try the trick with both store-bought baby powder and best-selling mattifying powders, like the Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Powder, and all have produced essentially the same results. If baby powder works for you, then it might be wise to apply the affordable drugstore powder over a more expensive translucent powder.


3CE Pink Rumor Blur Setting Loose Powder


One thing’s for sure: Stay away from baby powder that’s made with a base of talc powder, as that variety has recently been on the hot seat for its potential links to ovarian cancer and respiratory problems if inhaled. To be safe, opt for a cornstarch-based baby powder instead.


The takeaway: Tailor it to your skin type


As with anything related to beauty and skincare, you’ll have to tailor the method to your specific skin type. For skin that’s excessively dry, dunk your face into the water for only 10 to 15 seconds. For extremely dry skin, Vogue’s Monica Kim even suggests skipping the jamsu technique completely and opting for a generous spritzing of a hydrating face mist instead (although we can’t promise you’ll get the same results).


For normal-to-combination skin, keep your face submerged for up to 30 seconds, but no more than that, even for the super oily-prone.



We’ve seen the trick done with liquid foundations, BB creams, and cushion compacts by both Western and Korean brands. We recommend that you use a foundation or BB/CC cream that you’re certain works well with your skin.


Have we “wet” your appetite for the jamsu makeup trend yet? Let us know if you’ve tried the hack, and how it worked for you in the comments below!



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