Shop Your Stash: How I Found a Hidden Gem in My Own Skincare Stash

K-beauty dupes shop your stash

Broke much? We know the holidays must have been tough on your wallet. That’s why we’re advocating that everyone shop your stash — you never know what undiscovered holy grail is sitting in your beauty closet, just waiting to rejuvenate your skin.



Last month, I was blessed with the worst hormonal acne breakout I’ve had in recent times. Like, actually embarrassed to go outside in public bad. Thankfully, my breakout coincided with a trip to Miami, where I had the opportunity to meet the people behind my favorite mandelic acid serum, Vivant Skincare. There, I was treated to a facial (complete with extractions, thank god), and a slew of acids that I knew were going to return my skin to its pre-breakout glory.


So, thankfully, the mandelic acid completely cleared up my cystic acne, but then I was left with extremely dry, flaky skin, especially around my mouth and jaw. As a member of #teamoilyskin, I don’t really have many heavy serums or moisturizers and was about to go and try to order something, but then I had an idea! SHOP MY STASH.


I’m not even going to go into detail about how much beauty stuff I have, but it’s … a lot. I’ve turned my linen closet into a makeshift K-beauty storage closet and routinely put stuff there and sort of forget that I have it. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!)


I “shop” in my beauty closet and rotate my products every month or so. I also try to do a complete overhaul once every three months so I can throw away anything that’s expired and donate things I know I’m not going to use. Shopping my stash has rewarded me with some of my favorite products, like the Thank You Farmer cleansing water and soothing gel mask, as well as my other recent favorite, the Purple Tale Setting the Scene Treatment Essence. But this most recent shop my stash trip was where I found my new true love, the Eclado Red Velvet Natural Moisture Face Oil.


shop your stash


Beautytap sent me the Eclado oil back when I was living in Phuket. I was intrigued, but at the time, my skin definitely did not need an oil of any kind. My current dry and flaky skin, however, definitely needed some. And listen, let me tell you that this oil is ev-er-y-THING. Within one day, my skin was no longer dry and flaky, and not only that, I had the most beautiful, lit-from-within glow. It’s made with photosqualene (which also helps reduce dark spots, woohoo!), rose flower oil, macadamia seed oil, meadowfoam seed oil and camellia seed oil. It sinks into the skin beautifully and doesn’t leave your skin oily or greasy. Now that the weather is getting cooler, it’d be a great addition to your stash to combat dry and dull skin. Plus, it smells like roses. It’s absolute magic, and I had it sitting in my beauty stash this whole time! If that’s not a testimony on why you should shop your stash, I don’t know what is!


On social media, hauls are one of the most popular post types. I know I’m not the only one who loves to see what people have decided to spend their money on. But the next time you’re feeling that itch to buy, think about going through your beauty closet to shop your stash instead. What you find may surprise you!


Do you ever shop your stash? Did you find any hidden gems or holy grail products? Let us know in the comments!




Winter Skincare for Oily Skin: Yes, Even You Need an Oil (& 3 Other Skin-Saving Tips)

winter skincare for oily skin

Think your complexion is home free in cold, dry weather just because you’ve got oily skin? Think again. Here’s why even you oily skin types need to change up your skincare arsenal during the winter.



Since moving back to America, I’ve had to adjust to something I haven’t dealt with in three years: seasons.


When I moved back, it was the springtime. The weather was cool but not terribly freezing. Then summer came around and it was like I was back home again in Southeast Asia. But now it’s freezing. And dry. And most mornings I have the heater blasting while I teach English to little ones in China. Dry cold weather plus a heater going on in my house was basically a recipe for disaster. One tragic morning, I went out to run errands with my boyfriend and used the restroom at Target. As I was washing my hands, I noticed the ultimate HORROR STORY.


The skin around my mouth and jawline was dry, patchy, and flaky. You know those Google map pictures that show the giant, dry, cracked, arid ass desert from an aerial view? That’s what my skin looked like — a parched Sahara desert. I was horrified! I fished a bottle of hand cream (don’t try this at home, kids), and dabbed it around my jawline so I could look somewhat presentable.


Which brings me to my main point — oily skin CAN get dry. And flaky. And patchy. I failed to adjust my skincare routine to account for the weather change, and it went freaking nuts. So now I’ve busted out some skincare tricks I learned while living in Korea to bring you my tried-and-true tips for surviving winter as an oily skinned babe.


winter skincare for oily skin


1. Light layers of hydration are key


In the winter, instead of using super heavy creams, I opt to use multiple light layers of essences and serums. My current favorite is the Purple Tale Setting the Scene Treatment Essence. I’ve also added in the COSRX Snail Mucin Essence to my routine, and I generously pat it into my skin after the treatment essence. I tap on one layer of essence, wait for it to dry, and then put at least three more layers on. It’s kind of like the 7-skin toner method that was the rage this past summer.


After I layer my essence, I use at least two or three layers of a lightweight serum. My current favorites are the Laneige Bright Renew Original Serum and the Swanicoco Black Yeast Fermentation Ampoule.


2. Sheet masks will save your life


Sheet masking will save your life in the wintertime. Trust me on this. If you haven’t committed to sheet masking every night, you must start in the wintertime. Sheet masks have saved my skin during these dry months! (Besides, this is a great time to get your sheet mask stash in order.)


winter skincare for oily skin


My three favorites are all from Leaders (aka the sheet mask king): the Aquablend Oil Pocket mask with white truffle oil, the Vaseline Nourishing mask, and the Amino Propolis mask.


3. Think about adding in an oil


In addition to lightweight layers, I’ve also added in oils to my nighttime routine. Keep in mind that an oil is NOT a moisturizer; it’s basically like a top coat for your skin. It helps to seal in all of the precious moisture and to keep your skin from losing too much moisture during the night. This is key, especially during the winter when your skin is prone to drying out. I’d especially think about adding in an oil to a routine if you sleep with a heater on, since heaters just suck the moisture out of the air like a vacuum.


winter skincare for oily skin


I like to use a few drops of the Eclado Red Velvet Moisture Oil at the end of my nighttime routine for a luxurious and extremely helpful addition to my skincare arsenal.


4. Buy a humidifier


Listen: If you don’t already own a humidifier, go and get one. It’ll change your life. If you’ve noticed that your hair and skin feel much drier in the winter, sleeping with a humidifier will make your life so much better. I was suffering from dry spots not just on my face but all over my whole body, and sleeping with a humidifier definitely helps keep my skin nice and hydrated while I sleep. I also don’t get that annoying dry/sore throat in the morning anymore either!


So do you oily skinned people suffer from dry skin in the winter? Share your winter skincare for oily skin!  I’d love to hear from you in the comments!



Wearing More Makeup & Other Beauty Resolutions for 2018

beauty resolutions

How are you going to up your beauty game this year? For contributing editor Sheryll Donerson, she’s going to actually get through her makeup and sheet mask stash. Find out why.



I have no idea how an entire year went by, but here we are! 2018 is here and in this new year, I’d like to take time to reflect on the previous year and take notes on what I loved about the year, what I can improve on, and how I can continue to grow in the next year.


2017 was full of excitement for me. I moved back to the U.S., I competed in my first powerlifting competition, and I dealt with the major adjustment (and depression) of leaving Southeast Asia. I tried a lot of new beauty products, I made new friends, and most important, I started working for Beautytap!


Skin-wise, 2017 has not been my year. Since I moved back to the States, I’ve been dealing with raging hormonal, cystic acne. I’m convinced it’s something in the food/dietary changes because I never dealt with this when I was living in Asia. Along with getting my acne under control, I’ve come up with some other beauty resolutions I’d like to bring into the new year.


beauty resolutions


1. Start an anti-aging regimen


By the time this is published, I’ll be 31 years old. I can’t believe it. I’ve never been on the anti-aging train because I’ve been dealing so much with my acne issues, but 2018 is the year that I plan on incorporating more anti-aging products into my routine. I want to try a Curology subscription and/or incorporate a retinol product into my routine. It’s never too early to start preventative skincare measures!


2. Up my sheet mask game


What I’m about to admit is going to be a bit blasphemous, but I’m not the biggest sheet mask lover. I hoard them like crazy and buy tons of them and then … I don’t use them. Part of the problem is that I usually start my nighttime routine right before I go to bed, and I’m already exhausted and I just don’t feel like waiting another 20 to 30 minutes for a mask.


beauty resolutions


But every time I use sheet masks consistently, I see major results — my skin is bouncier, more hydrated, brighter. I want to get in the habit of starting my routine as soon as I know I’m in the house for the evening and use my sheet mask time as a time to unwind and listen to a podcast, read a book, or do some reflective journaling.


3. Wear all the makeup that I buy


Like sheet masks, I’m a makeup hoarder. The issue is, I work from home, and I’m also a gym rat, so I rarely have the need to wear makeup. However, I just want to spend more days dressing up and looking nice for no reason — I don’t want to feel like I have to be going anywhere or doing anything special to want to look and feel nice. I love the way I look without makeup, and I’m definitely very confident in going out and doing stuff without makeup, but I actually enjoy the process of putting makeup on and seeing myself transform. I also don’t want all of my makeup to go to waste. I plan on using 2018 as a makeup glow-up phase for myself!


beauty resolutions


4. Get my diet together


Easily the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in regards to moving back to the U.S. is my diet. When I lived in Vietnam, and especially in Thailand, I ate really clean. I didn’t eat sweets, and instead used to get my sugar fix from the abundance of fresh mangoes, pineapples, watermelon, and all sorts of other delicious tropical fruit. Sugar is an absolute disaster for my skin. It definitely contributes to my hormonal acne outbreaks and makes them much worse. I find it harder to resist temptation living back in the U.S. — there’s sugar and desserts everywhere! I gotta get it together, at least for the sake of my skin!


So what are your 2018 beauty resolutions? Please let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!



Vanity Fare: What’s on the Top Shelf of Courtney of Black Girl Gone K-Beauty

black girl gone k-beauty

In our continuing Vanity Fare series, where we take a peek into the beauty routines of our favorite beauty insiders, we talk to Korean beauty enthusiast and blogger Courtney from Black Girl Gone K-Beauty about her killer budget-friendly routine, perfect for treating combination skin and hyperpigmentation.



What started her K-beauty obsession:


I got into K-beauty because of women I followed on social media. I joined a group called Geom Girls on Facebook, which is a group dedicated to skincare and women of color. I have combination skin that suffers from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I did not have a steady skincare routine and I was fed up with my skin being in the condition it was.


black girl gone k-beauty


Her morning and nighttime routines:


My morning routine is fairly short and simple. I use COSRX Low pH Cleanser, followed by the Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner, the Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect First Serum, Tosowoong Camellia Oil, and Lagom Sun Gel.


My nighttime routine starts with removing my makeup using the Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil. I then use the Nooni Snowflake Whip Cleanser, followed by Son&Park Beauty Water, COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence, COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid, a sheet mask (the kind depends on my mood), and last but not least, the Skinfood Royal Honey Essential Queen’s Cream.


Her holy grail products:


black girl gone k-beauty


Son&Park Beauty Water is a product that I will continue to buy. I also love Nooni products and anything by COSRX. Leaders sheet masks are another favorite of mine!


Her makeup routine:


My basic makeup routine uses my three favorite: Lancôme Teint Idole Foundation in the shade 540 Suede W, Ben Nye setting powder in the shade Nutmeg, and Cover Girl Queen Collection Mascara.


How embracing a K-beauty routine has helped her skin:


K-beauty has gotten my combination skin under control. I used to suffer frequent blackheads and cystic acne, and it has been become very rare that it happens now. My overall skin texture is brighter, and my hyperpigmentation is finally clearing up.


You can find Courtney on Twitter (blackgirlgonekb), Instagram @Blackgirlgonekbeauty, and her blog Black Girl Gone K-Beauty.


All photos courtesy of Courtney.


This Is What’s on the Wish List of a K-Beauty Guru This Christmas

wish list

Beauty blogger and contributing editor Sheryll Donerson has tried it all when it comes to K-beauty. So what is she looking to spend her coins on for herself this Christmas? Read on for some lust-worthy products on her wish list you’ll want to try, too.



It’s that time of year again! And unlike the past five years that I’ve spent abroad, I can actually make a Christmas shopping wish list with wild, reckless abandon. There are things I’ve always wanted to try but just could never get a hold of, plus just straight-up luxurious items I’m hoping to get from the ones who love me the most.


The luxurious present that I want more than anything else in the world:

Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream Sheet Masks


wish list


When I saw Sulwhasoo announce the launch of these on Twitter, I legit screamed. My boyfriend asked what was wrong with me because I could not deal at all. Like, let’s talk about this for a moment. The Sulwhasoo Ginseng Cream is already one of the most decadent products I’ve ever put on my face (I’ve only tried the samples but OMG), and the fact that they’ve now put their iconic cream into a SHEET MASK gives me heart palpitations. If you have a friend or loved one that’s an absolute K-beauty lover and has everything they could possibly need, get them this. They will love you for the rest of their lives.


Winter weather comforts:

Korean Herbal Secrets Box


wish list


Now that the weather is chilly, all I want to do is wrap myself up in warm, luxurious blankets, wear comfy pajamas, and sip coffee and tea while watching cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix. I haven’t had this luxury in years, so I welcome it with open arms. And for some reason, now that it’s cold and dry, my skin also wants to be pampered with the finer things in life. Enter the Korean Herbal Secrets box, a box of amazing hanbang products that will leave your dull, winter skin with a gorgeous glow. So many of my favorite products are in one box: the Sulwhasoo Balancing Water, the Su:m37 Secret Essence Mist, the 107 oneoseven Oriental Herbs Facial Soap. There’s also two new-to-me items I haven’t tried: the History of Whoo Herbal Ginseng Mask (swoon) and the Swanicoco Plant Stem Pure Ampoule. I just want to slather everything all over my face!


Exfoliators, chemical peels and acids, oh my!:

Makeup Artist’s Choice Mandelic Acid Peel

Swanicoco AHA 10% Coco Soft Peeling Cream

Holika Holika Garden Lotus Peeling Swabs


We all know how I feel about my chemical exfoliators. You’ll have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands before I give them up. I’ve tried a LOT, but there are still a few out there that I’m itching to get my hands on. I have tried the Makeup Artist’s Choice 25% and 40% Mandelic Acid Peels before, but I need them again in my life. Never have I ever used a product that has seemingly given me a whole brand new face overnight. I plan on buying both products in the full size and using a peel about once a week to keep my hormonal cystic acne at bay.


I also want to try the Swanicoco AHA 10% Coco Soft Peeling Cream because I keep hearing so many awesome things about the brand and I’ve never tried anything from them. I’m a terrible beauty blogger, I know.


aqua peel wish list


And I’m a bit obsessed with peeling swabs — that’s why I have my eye on the Garden Lotus Peeling Swabs from Holika Holika. Peeling swabs are just so easy to travel with and “garden lotus” just sounds so fancy. I need!


The one product I need a case of for my entire life:

Sulwhasoo Vitalizing Overnight Mask


wish list

I know, I have two Sulwhasoo products on my gift list, but the Vitalizing Mask is a more affordable option for those you want to really impress with your K-beauty gift-giving skills. I’m almost out of mine, and I’m having a minor breakdown thinking about it, so it’s going on my Christmas buy list NOW. It’s easily in my top 5 K-beauty products of all time. I’ve never tried another night mask that leaves my skin so glowy and dewy and beautiful in the morning. If you’ve never tried it, do yourself a favor and treat yourself. If you’ve tried it and you love it, pay it forward and give the gift of gorgeous skin to a loved one. We all deserve!


What’s on your Christmas shopping list? Let me know in the comments!



Totally Steal These Gym Skincare Routine Tips From a Skincare Guru

How does a K-beauty skincare guru care for her skin while working out? Very thoughtfully. After all, sweating regularly in the gym isn’t exactly skin’s best friend. Nab these genius tips from a workout addict (whether you’re in or out of the gym).



I have two great addictions in my life: skincare and the gym. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I’ve become one of those women who take #sweatyselfies daily and are a bit addicted to getting my workout on. I am also obsessed with making sure my skin looks and feels the best it can at all times. As a result, I’ve developed a gym skincare regimen that helps keep me glowing on and off the treadmill.


1. Don’t over-cleanse


Let’s start with my schedule. I actually schedule my workouts to coincide with when I need to wash my face. I know, I know — this sounds insane, but hear me out.


When I was training in Phuket, I realized I was washing my face too much, and it made my skin tight, dehydrated, and super acne-prone. If I work out too late in the afternoon, I have to wash my face in the morning before I work out to remove my morning/early afternoon makeup/dirt/sunscreen, and then wash it again after I workout. If I have something else to do after the gym, I have to put on makeup again and take it all off before I go to bed, and that’s just too much face washing for one day.


So now, I work out as early as I possibly can so I don’t have to wash my face a bajillion times a day.


2. Keep it minimal


I have two rules when it comes to my gym skincare routine: absolutely no makeup at the gym, and I have to have a freshly cleansed face. I sweat like a crazy person, and I cannot stand to know that my face is dirty and sweaty. I like to focus on making sure my face is properly moisturized, but not so much so that I have tons of product running into my eyes.


gym skincare


So in the morning before I go to the gym, this is what I do:


1. I cleanse with a cleansing water like Son&Park Beauty Water or Thank You Farmer Cleansing Water. Sometimes, I use a non-foaming cleanser like the Troiareuke Acsen Oil Cut Cleansing.


2. Then I use a lightweight emulsion like the Hyggee Balance One Step Facial Essence or the Su:m37 Water-full Gel Lotion.


3. Walk to the gym and get ready to kill another workout.


Yup. That’s it. Two pre-gym steps and then I’m out the door.


3. Hydrate post-workout


When I get finished with my workout, I go ahead and do my full morning skincare routine. I usually have errands to run or something to do after my workout, so I focus on hydration but also making sure my skin isn’t too slippery for makeup. Before I leave the house, I like to throw a few sheet masks in the fridge to use after my workout. It’s a super nice treat after a long run or a day of heavy lifting.


post-gym & swim skincare gym skincare


So my morning gym skincare routine goes a bit like this:


1. I use a gentle foaming cleanser like the COSRX Good Morning Low pH Gel Cleanser or the Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Cleansing Foam to get rid of all the sweat.


2. I lightly spritz my face with a hydrating mist. I have an obsession with the Mario Badescu Rosewater/Aloe mist, but I also love the Su:m37 Secret Programming Essence Mist. I gently tap the mist into my skin before moving on to my next step.


3. Then I take one of those sheet masks I’ve had chilling in the fridge and put that on while I drink my after-workout protein shake. #Gainz.


4. After my sheet mask, I move on to a lightweight emulsion/moisturizer. Usually I go for the Su:m37 one again or sometimes I use the COSRX Oil-Free Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap. If I hit the acids hard the night before and my skin needs a little more TLC, I’ll use a lightweight gel cream like the Laneige Water Bank Hydrating Gel or the Purple Tale Ode to Hydration Facial Cream.


5. Sunscreen time! Read all about why you should use sunscreen here.


6. If I’m wearing makeup (which is more often than not), I move on to the last step of my skincare routine, which is a mattifying primer. I cycle between the Becca Ever-Matte Primer, the Sephora Beauty Amplifier Mattifying H20 Gel Primer, or a drugstore option from NYX.


And boom. I’m all refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day. I fortunately literally live across the street from my gym so I never have to take my skincare routine with me, but trust me, I have samples on deck for when I need them.


Do you have a gym skincare routine? What are some of your tips for working out while caring for your skin? Let me know all about it in the comments!



No, I Don’t Want No Fakes (and How You Can Spot Fake K-Beauty)

fake k-beauty

Yes, even the most veteran of K-beauty gurus have fallen prey to fake K-beauty products. Learn from contributing editor Sheryll Donerson’s experience and never let a counterfeit product ruin your day (and complexion).



Let’s all sit around the campfire for story time.


When I lived in Vietnam, I took a trip to Bangkok for a short holiday. Bangkok had (at the time) way more diverse beauty shopping, so I planned on spending my hard-earned coins on sheet masks and some other things I had my eyes on. I went to a Boots drugstore in the shopping district and stocked up on a whole lot of My Beauty Diary masks. Pleased with my purchases, I posted them online to my Instagram page.


But then, one of my eagle-eyed readers sent me an email that still haunts me to this day. One of the boxes of masks I’d bought was allegedly a fake. She sent me a link on how to spot fake My Beauty Diary masks, and what do you know — they were indeed fraudulent. I threw them away and thanked her profusely for saving my face from who knows what disaster.


Spotting fake K-beauty isn’t easy, especially when most of our K-beauty shopping is done online. I’ve come up with some tips to help you make sure your hard-earned coins aren’t going to waste!


fake k-beauty


1. Look for reputable sellers


Whenever I shop online, I read reviews for the seller, especially on Amazon and eBay. I make sure that the seller is a reputable one and that there aren’t any sketchy reviews lurking around. As an extra precaution, I always do a Google and reddit search of the seller to make sure that they’ve never been linked to fake products.


For example, when I search for COSRX Pimple Patches on Amazon, the first storefront is a seller by the name of florasumi90. I can then click on her name and read reviews from customers. So far, this storefront has a 100% rating and when I Googled the name of the shop, nothing bad came up. Wins for everyone!


P.S. The COSRX Pimple Patches are heaven-sent, and you should buy them.


2. Check the packaging


When I lived in Phuket, I used to go to the night market almost every weekend. Some of the biggest (and most popular stalls) were the ones selling counterfeit beauty products. One stall even sold fake Innisfree sheet masks, complete with a different brand name.


fake k-beauty
The fake Innisfree mask: Most fakes won’t be this easy to spot.


Some fakes won’t be that obvious, but when in doubt, cross check the packaging of your product with a Google image search. Don’t be alarmed if it is different though, as longtime K-beauty products sometimes go through a rebranding and a lot of brands change their packaging quite frequently.


Besides the actual look of the product, make sure to check the physical packaging. Does it look like it’s been tampered with? Does it have a safety seal? Has the safety seal been damaged in some way? Do reviews say the packaging should be in a heavy glass bottle, but instead it’s cheap plastic? All of these clues are tips that your product may not be real.


3. Touch it, smell it


One of the biggest giveaways for a fake product is its texture and scent. Nine times out of ten, the fake will have a completely different consistency and smell than the real product. Again, if you are unsure if your product is real, check the reviews. Most beauty bloggers will comment on scent and texture in some form. However, if there aren’t any reviews available, go with your instinct. If it doesn’t feel or look right, message the seller about your concerns and absolutely do not use the product if you don’t feel comfortable.




4. The dolla dolla bills


There’s a saying that if it’s too good to be true … then it probably is. I always cross reference prices when buying K-beauty online. Typically, most online stores have the same price range, plus or minus $10-$15. If you come across a product that is ridiculously cheap (and not on sale), this could be a sign that the product you want to buy is not real. You’re never going to find the full size Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing mask for under $40, unless it’s on sale or a part of a discount code or something so don’t even think about buying a tube for $15.


5. Don’t freak out


If you use a product and it breaks you out, this does not mean it is fake. Fakes are not that common, and more than likely, your skin does not agree with a certain ingredient. Before you use any product, again, double check the packaging and make sure you’ve bought from a reputable seller and you’re good to go!


Have you ever bought a fake K-beauty product? How did you know it was fake and what happened? Share your experience with me below.



Vanity Fare: What’s on the Top Shelf of Kimmi Spark

kimmi spark

In our continuing Vanity Fare series, where we take a peek into the beauty routines of our favorite beauty insiders, we talk to Kimmi Spark, an English teacher in South Korea, about her skincare routine, makeup tricks, and how to make K-beauty work for deeper skin tones.



Kimmi Spark is a British YouTuber and English teacher who is currently living in the world’s beauty haven itself, South Korea. Check out her favorite Korean makeup picks for darker skin tones and her tips on making the most of your Korean beauty products, including her video below where she shows you how to glow like a goddess with Korean highlighting makeup. 


Why she’s in Korea and how she fell in love with K-beauty


I grew a love for Korean beauty products and dramas back in London. I then came across an opportunity I could not turn down to be an English teacher here. I have been here one year now.


kimmi spark


Her skin type and skin concerns


I have combination skin and an oily T-zone area. I’m currently trying to restore my skin because I had two spots on vacation.


Her nighttime skincare routine


At night, I usually use Bosomi baby wipes to remove my makeup. I then use a cleansing foam by Skinfood to get rid of any excess makeup and dirt. Then I use a Moksha moisturizing mask and use my Cetaphil moisturizer to moisturize.


Her daytime skincare and makeup routine


My daytime routine is quite simple. I don’t really do much to my skin because it’s usually very good from the night before. A simple rinse and a dose of moisturizer does the trick.


For work Monday through Friday, I do simple brows using my favorite Etude House eyebrow pen (Tint My 4 Tip Brow) and then I moisturize my lips. I don’t wear foundation or any other makeup; I let my skin rest all week. If I’m going out on the weekends, I do a medium coverage full face using Clio eyeshadow, L’Oréal foundation, 3CE lipstick, mink lashes from London, and Etude House Play Stick Highlighter in #20. I have a video on my YouTube channel with all the details.



Her favorite K-beauty brands and holy grail product


I have a favorite K-beauty brand for each section of my makeup. For my eyes it’s Clio, for lips it’s 3CE, for highlight and eyebrows it’s Etude House, and for skincare it’s Innisfree.


My holy grail right now is the amazing Etude House Play Stick highlighter (color 20). I am so in love with this product. It gives brown to dark skin a very beautiful glow. The shade is perfect for WOC (not ashy at all). Thank me later!


kimmi spark


Her favorite black girl-friendly K-beauty products


I think with K-beauty products, you can make a lot of them black girl-friendly, but the key thing is to know your undertone. Once you know, you have to test and purchase products that will go well with your undertone. I’m deep dark so obviously foundation is a hard thing to find here, but I skip that at times and use cream contours as a light foundation.


I hardly ever use a product for its actual purpose. I’ve used eyeliner as a lipliner, contour sticks as foundation or concealer, eyeshadow as lipsticks, highlighters as eyeshadow. My standout favorite is definitely the Etude House Play Stick Highlighter (20) as I mentioned before. I recommend every black girl who wants an amazing glow to get it!!! #GlowWithKimmi


You can find Kimmi on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at KimmiSpark.


This Is What I Turn to Again and Again For My Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

holy grail cosrx bha

Oily skin? Blackheads? Acne? Say buh-bye to these unwelcome guests, says contributing editor Sheryll Donerson. Let her introduce you to her holy grail COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid.



Do you want to balance your oily skin? Get rid of those pesky blackheads around your nose? Help tame and calm your acne? Well, girl, I have just the product for you.


I know it sounds too good to be true, but the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is one of my holiest of holy grail products. It’s been a holy grail, must-have, skin NEEDS product since my review (which is still the most popular post on my site). I’ve bought countless bottles and every time I don’t use it and use it again, I wonder why I would ever betray myself in such a way.


What is the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid?


It’s a gentle, non-irritating, chemical exfoliant made with 4% betaine salicylate, and other good-for-you ingredients like willow bark water, hyaluronic acid, and one of my skin faves, niacinamide. Most other acne-fighting and BHA products on the market can be incredibly drying, but the COSRX BHA Liquid isn’t one of them. It’s an excellent product for skincare newbies who suffer from blackheads, oily skin, and have mild acne.



What does it do?


The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid uses its magical BHA powers to gently unclog your pores and reveal smooth, glowing skin. The BHA ingredient in this product, betaine salicylate, is kind of like the gentler, skin-friendly version of salicylic acid. If you don’t react well to salicylic acid products, then one with betaine salicylate should be a much better fit for you.


I don’t really get blackheads, so I can’t personally vouch for the product’s blackhead removal properties, but what I do know is that it helps balance my oily skin (especially in my T-zone) and really helps reduce skin inflammation around that time of the month. One of the biggest results I always get each time I use it is major skin texture improvement. My skin always feels baby smooth after just one night!


How and when to use


I do not have sensitive skin by any means, so I’m able to use the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid every night. However, if you are new to using chemical exfoliants, try using it two times a week and increase usage as needed. I apply it after I use my second cleanser, before any serums or essences or sheet masks.




Some people use a cotton pad, but I’m a G and use my hands. Whatever you decide is up to you! I only use it at night, and that’s because I do most of my chemical exfoliating at night. Please keep in mind that whenever you are using any sort of chemical exfoliant (or all the time, really), you should be wearing sunscreen during the day. I like to wait at least five to 10 minutes after using it before moving on to my next skincare step.


And listen: I made my boyfriend (who has just now started to get into a skincare routine) buy this and the next day he yelled for me to come in the bathroom to marvel at how amazing his pores look. If that isn’t enough of a glowing review, then I just don’t know what is!


Have you tried the holy grail COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid? Did it live up to the hype? Let us know in the comments!



This Su:m37 Mist Makes Me Feel Like I’m Living Like Oprah

su:m37 mist

When you discover a beauty product that makes you feel not only super happy but like you’re living an Oprah-level life, you know you’ve found a real treasure. Here, contributing editor Sheryll Donerson shares what she loves about Su:m37 Secret Essence Mist.



When I made my plans to finally leave Asia this year, I made sure that I was going to get a layover at the Incheon Airport in Seoul. Why? Because the Duty Free stores at the Incheon Airport are a work of art and are honestly a small slice of heaven. It’s like everything you could ever want in a K-beauty world.


Since I knew it’d be my last time in Asia for a while, I made sure to save my coins so I could ball out like the Lord intended for me to do. I had already made a mental note of the things that I needed to get: sheet masks, the Su:m37 Rose Cleansing Stick, the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask and the Snowise EX Cleansing Foam, etc., etc., etc. But when I went to the Su:m37 counter, I was not expecting to see my beloved Secret Essence in mist form.


For those who are unaware, Su:m37 is my all-time favorite skincare brand. I love COSRX, but Su:m37 is kind of like a religious experience for me. Some of my favorite memories of beauty shopping in Korea are at the Su:m37 Shinsegae counter, fangirling over all of the products while the sales women looked at me as if I was insane (but they also gave me hella free samples, so I win). One of the products I loved was the Secret Essence, but it’s a bit of a pricey buy so once I finished my bottle, I said a little RIP and didn’t repurchase.


su:m37 mist


So imagine my surprise when I saw that my beloved product had been recreated in a more affordable and luxurious mist! This Su:m37 mist is the one you display on your bathroom counter when you want people to know you take your skin seriously. The packaging is seriously luxe: It’s housed in a gorgeous frosted gold bottle with a gold cap. It looks super regal and is basically a whole lot of heart-eye emojis. ???


It’s made with a major cocktail of fermented herbal ingredients, designed to leave your skin dewy and moisturized. I have oily, acne-prone skin, but thankfully the mist isn’t oily or greasy in any way. It’s quite soothing and smells faintly of citrus, but the scent doesn’t linger on the skin.


You know those mists that have terrible spray pumps? The ones that just feel like you’re shooting your face with water? Well, thankfully, the Su:m37 mist is the exact opposite of that. It’s a very fine mist — about three or four mists will cover your whole face. I typically make a cross motion, first misting twice vertically, and the same horizontally. I lightly tap in the mist with my fingertips and usually go for a sheet mask afterwards. If I’m not in a sheet-masking mood (gasp, I know, don’t hate me), I move on to my serum and moisturizing step.


I also love to use it to set my makeup. Even though I have oily skin, I hate looking matte because I think it makes me look flat and dated. When I use this mist over makeup, it gives that perfect “fresh” face look — not too dewy, not too matte.


su:m37 mist


Will you see any special benefits from this mist? No. It’s not going to make your acne go away or give you a glow like chemical exfoliation can. However, it looks amazing, it feels even better on the skin, and it’s just really a treat to use. Misting myself with it always feels like the ultimate luxury. Who doesn’t want to live their best life and feel like Oprah while doing their skincare routine?


And the best part about this mist is **drumroll** YOU GET TWO 60ml bottles. Instead of putting the mist in a giant 120ml bottle, they decided to split it into two smaller bottles. It’s like you’re getting a 2-for-1 deal. To put it into perspective, it’s been six months and I’m still on my original first 60ml bottle. The two bottles can easily last you a year with generous usage.


The Su:m37 mist is a treasure. So go forth and get your blessings, saints!


Have you tried the Su:m37 mist? What’d you think? And what’s your favorite mist to use? Let us know in the comments!



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