I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
It's no secret that I'm not really educated on skincare. Some of you might have guessed it already because none of my articles have been about skincare.
For the longest time, I didn't really see the need to purchase "actual" skincare (basically stuff that's not moisturizer or makeup remover). I've never really had any issues with my skin; it's dry-ish and sensitive-ish (neither so much that it gets in the way of me living my irresponsible life). I never really break out, either. I thank genetics and lactose intolerance for it. Of course I've picked up a thing or two in my three years reading xoVain, but I never really put my knowledge into purchasing actual products, because skincare is expensive and I can't smear it all over my face and end up with a lovely duochrome glow that I can document on Snapchat (I'm @mauraivy there, by the way).
However, we're already three quarters of the way through 2016 and I had a couple of resolutions this year: quit smoking (x), grow my hair out (✓), floss more than once (x) and buy actual skincare (✓). Over the year, I'd already acquired some more fancy items like Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion, a moisturizer that cost more than a beer, and even a serum. And a few weeks ago I found myself browsing eBay late at night and I fell into a deep Korean-beauty-shaped hole.
I love the K-beauty approach to products, and they always seem to put way more thought into the packaging. As a visual person, that's already enough to get me going. And the best part of it all: it's cheaper than most drugstore items here!
After browsing the 'Bay for a couple hours and waiting for a few weeks, my items came in. Here they are!
I was on the market for a deep-cleansing mask, and I opted for this piggy-stamped jar by Elizavecca. The treatment, which is supposed to be suitable for all skin types, contains charcoal powder, green tea extract, collagen and bubbles.
You apply the mask like any other, using the spatula if you're feeling fancy (I tend not to). After a few minutes, your regular-looking clay mask will turn into a foamy sensation. The effect is quite subtle, and it feels really soothing. I love to just lie on my back and read a book while letting the mask do its foamy thing.
After a while, the foaming will stop and it'll look like any other dried up clay mask again. That's when you wash it off and end up with clean and soft skin.
This peeling gel contains brightening and clarifying ingredients, like vitamins C and E, hollyhock and black willow. The gel has quite a strong scent; it reminds me of tea tree oil with a light hint of citrus.
Instructions on the bottle say to apply it to wet skin after cleansing, but instructions online say to apply it to dry skin; I've found that it works better on dry skin. Anyway, you apply a small amount (just enough to cover your face) of product with your fingers and rub it all over your face, excluding the eye area. After a minute of rubbing, it'll start to pile together, and you wash it off. I was surprised to find out that this exfoliator doesn't leave my skin feeling dry at all.
I wasn't even familiar with ampoules, but the long and impressive list of ingredients and the fancy bottle made me really curious. The ingredient list is very long, and I'm not entirely sure what most of it means, to be honest, but it promises brightening, calming and anti-aging benefits.
What I can say for sure is that the product is really easy to apply. The slightly sticky gel sinks in right away. They say you can use it during the day as well, but I use BHA in the morning and they (the Internet) say not to use retinol and BHA at the same time. Even though the ampoule only contains a small amount of retinol, I didn't really want to take the risk.
I already noticed results after three days of using this; my skin tone looked more even and my skin felt softer and more firm.
This best-selling cleansing balm is the real MVP. It smells like raspberry and papaya, but it's not overwhelming. You apply a small amount of the sorbet-like product to your face and as you apply it, it turns into an oil. It removes every last bit of makeup, and because it's so gentle, you can use it to remove your eye makeup as well. I always rub it into my eyelashes to make sure all my mascara has gone and I'm pretty sure that it has made my eyelashes grow faster, too.
Even though it's an oil cleanser, it feels very lightweight, and it's easy to remove with water. It doesn't leave an oily residue on the skin; instead, it will make your skin incredibly soft and clean.
I already hear you saying, "This is all very nice Maura, but we're going to need some proof." Well, I took a sad-looking "before" shot. As you can see, there are some imperfections on my forehead, and I have some redness going on.
And this is the slightly-less-awkward 'after' shot.
I took both photos in the morning, right before applying my makeup so they have been taken under the exact same circumstances. I immediately noticed the glow in my skin, and my skin tone looks way more even. You can't really tell from the photos, but the change in texture is also really quite noticeable in real life. At this point I hardly even wear base makeup anymore, but when I do it sits better on top of my skin as well.
- Have you tried any of these?
- Are you a K-beauty fan?
- What's the last thing you bought on eBay?