I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
When I first got my babe, Andy, to use treatment essence, I felt like the (wo)man. Seriously, that stuff is for everyone, and I bet there will be some quality cheapies coming out as Asian skincare trends continue to permeate the Western market.
As he commented on my lengthy routine once, I wondered what insights I could derive from having a fairly novice skincare enthusiast take a swim in the deep end.
I hit up Glow Recipe for one of their wonderfully compact but comprehensive Korean Beauty Trial Kits. Andy selected the Trouble Rescue Kit, since tea tree is a favorite in our household. The product kits come with enough samples for a week of use — four steps and two bonus steps. I think this is an amazing way to try out K-Beauty favorites like splash masks and modeling masks, without having to buy a full-size product... or six.
Typically, Andy's skincare routine is four steps, which is pretty good for a dude. I'm proud that he's riding that "skincare is for everyone" wave that we're pushing so hard in the alt-beauty community. Masculinity with a side of good skin is not fragile, guys.
One of the best things in his typical daily routine is Big Cloud Daily Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen. It's cheap, has good ingredients, and provides the SPF 25 that I know for a fact Andy would normally skip. Great under-$10 buy, and it smells light and fresh, and it has a great dry-down.
Andy feels ahead of the game because I've got him using essence, and he really likes that step. In fact, he says he's happy to use both essence and toner because that's his favorite part. Like me, Andy is a product-splasher, not a cotton-pad-wiper. We both agree it's one more thing to buy and throw away, and since you're only doing this after washing your face, your hands are a perfect application tool.
The Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner and Tea Tree 90 Essence from Glow Recipe work great together, adding the benefit of fermented botanicals and tea tree to help balance acne without drying the skin. He wasn't crazy about the toner's scent, and neither was I, but he was quite happy that these products were splash-on. He compared using spray-on essences to being marked by an animal, and I cried laughing.
The other two steps in the kit are also things he's no stranger to — cleansing and moisturizing (not in that order) — but the products were a pleasant surprise. Glow Recipe stocks Leejiham because their products are among the best for people with combination skin — or the double whammy: dry and acne-prone. Andy says his skin puzzle is more than just products because stress and alcohol also trigger acne, but that dryness is still a concern. The Tea Tree 30 Cleansing Foam and Tea Tree 80 Cream were a good balance for him, but he prefers a heavier moisturizer at nighttime.
Although the four steps were NBD to him, getting Andy to mask with regularity is a challenge. I think I just like to mask together as a chill couple's activity, but he's not always in the mood. Since he committed to the full routine, though, trying Lindsay's Vitamin Modeling Mask and Blithe Soothing and Healing Green Tea Splash Mask were both nonnegotiable.
The Lindsay mask has enough for two (yay!) so I got to try as well. Andy liked the way the rubber mask made his skin look (as did I) but said beware of getting this in your beard. He said he prefers other masks that he can safely use in his beard so that he can also treat that skin.
The splash mask was also strange to him. I thought he would like it more because it's instant, but he did not like the slimy feeling it left behind. I tried it and actually enjoyed that — it felt like exfoliated skin to me.
The insights I gathered from watching him fiddle with these packets were useful to me. He liked things I didn't expected him to like, and didn't like things I expected him to like. Plus, his skin looked pretty great afterwards! He wants the Tea Tree 90 Essence for his collection, and I want to do a modeling mask once a week.
This is an easy way to dabble in K-Beauty. It comes with a full explanation of each step and product. It's also fabulous for travel; everything is airplane-friendly, and you don't have to worry about spilling with foil packets containing each dose.
- Would a kit like this convince you to try the K-Beauty phenom?
- Who else forces their lax partner to up their skincare ante?
Some photos by Maria Penaloza