The Klog was born back in 2012. At first, it was just a small part of Soko Glam, a place for co-founder (and esthetician) Charlotte Cho to share skin care tips and give deep-dive reviews of her favorite products. But today, The Klog is your inside source for all things Korean beauty - skin care, makeup, culture and more.
Welcome to Dear Soko, a series dedicated to answering your biggest skin care questions with advice from Soko Glam’s skin experts. Whether you’re confused about specific ingredients or what you need to do to achieve healthier skin overall, our experts are here to guide you.
This week’s question is: “Where do pimple patches fit into my skin care routine and what type of acne should I use different types on?”
Here, a Soko Glam skin expert’s answer:
Pimple patches are a must have for me. I keep some at my desk at work and some back home on my bedside table. Patches help to keep my hands from picking at the pimples and spreading bacteria, and help to shorten their stay on my face! Let’s talk about how they work and when to use them.
The OG K-beauty pimple patches like the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch are made of hydrocolloid. Hydrocolloid bandages can be found in the first aid section of any drugstore. They are used in hospitals to suck out the blood and pus of open wounds to encourage healing and prevent infection. What pimple patches like the ones by COSRX do is take that same technology and create small, thin, and often clear, pimple-sized patches that can be used to conveniently and discreetly to cover up acne. Some patches are also infused with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and tea tree oil.
You apply the patch on freshly cleansed and toned skin once the acne has come to head with a bit of white pus. By covering up the acne once there is a small opening, the hydrocolloid will be able to get to work by draining the spot and collecting pus in the patch. Although slightly gross to look at when pulling off hours later, it’s also pretty satisfying to see all of the junk that is now out of your face and see how much smaller and less raised the acne spot becomes because of that. You can follow your patch application with your serum, moisturizer, and SPF, just be sure to avoid the patch when applying so it doesn’t slip or rub off.
Of course, not all acne comes to a head. Painful cystic or hormonal acne spots tends to be located under skin. Hydrocolloid patches won’t be able to help you in these cases (aside from acting as a barrier between the spot and your hands and the outside world that could make it worse) because the hydrocolloid has no opening in which to start extracting the pus. For acne located under the skin, you’ll want to use patches that can target the issue directly with newer technology.
The Acropass Trouble Cure is one example of the kinds of futuristic patches that have been created to target cystic acne at its source. This patch has rows of tiny, thin microneedles that are 1/3 the thickness of hair. They are made from a crystallized serum including ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide and soothe and treat the acne. After preparing the area with the included cleansing swab of tea tree oil and salicylic acid, you apply the patch to the spot and tap the needles into the skin. Again, they are super, super tiny and thin so at most you’ll feel a slightly tingly experience but nothing painful! After two or three consecutive days of applying these patches you’ll see that the bump under the skin is significantly reduced and been able to heal itself faster than usual.
Pimples always seem to crop up at the most inconvenient times. Though of course it’s never really a convenient time to be breaking out. Pimple patches are the perfect quick line of defense because they don’t attack and dry out the skin like many other acne treatments but help to speeding up the acne own’s healing process. By identifying the correct type of patch to use for different kinds of acne as well as the most effective time to be using them you’ll be able to see the best results and clear up the skin faster.
From a five-in-one cream to a glow-inducing cleansing balm, here’s how the jet set do travel beauty.
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and we bet many of you are heading out of town to celebrate. Who better to get some packing inspiration from than frequent flyers from the online beauty community?
Here, four skin care-obsessed influencers share the must-have products they won’t be traveling without this summer.
“I love bringing the Then I Met You Cleansing Duo when I travel because double cleansing is a must for me! I absolutely love the packaging and how luxurious it feels on my skin. The cleansing balm is unlike any other I’ve used – definitely very nourishing.”
“I love a good sheet mask for a hydrating session on a plane, as part of my meditation practice, or after a long day of being outdoors. These really fit my face nicely and you can actually move around in it a little. Plus the real green tea leaves make it feel like it’s doing more than other sheet masks.”
“I love to travel with the products below because who wants to land from the airport looking jet-lagged? I’m all about a natural glow with minimal makeup while on travel. Hydration is key and my best friend while I’m on-the-go. I will definitely use these products on a red-eye flight before I fall asleep, or before I start a day of exploring. Here are my go-to’s:”
“Since I travel quite often, I want to make sure I take my favorite products that I know are a comforting “pick-me-up” and won’t take up too much space in my bag. I also want to make sure I keep my routines minimal and effective during travel periods which is why most products I bring can be used for more than one step. Here’s what I’ve been bringing lately:”
“I love using Too Cool For School’s Egg Mellow Cream as my serum, eye cream and moisturizer all together. I don’t usually suggest using a face cream on the under eye area as it’s so delicate and can cause milia, but this cream is packed with tons of great ingredients and it’s actually one of the only products that really performs as a claimed 5-in-1.”
You asked for it, so over the next few weeks, we’re going to be breaking down how to build the perfect 10-step routine to address the most common skin concerns you may be facing, depending on your age. Here, we’re focusing on the fifty-plus set.
If you’re going through, or have already gone through, menopause, it can directly impact the look and health of your skin. A decrease in estrogen levels results in a degradation of collagen and elasticity, dehydration, and a compromised moisture barrier. Other common skin concern among this age group are sun spots and slowed cell turnover. But! There is a silver lining: A decrease in sebum production.
You’ll want to focus on products that plump, hydrate, firm, brighten, and protect the skin’s moisture barrier. With that in mind, keep reading below for our tips and K-beauty product recommendations that cater to your unique skin needs.
The main goal of oil cleansing is to remove oil-based impurities (i.e. makeup, sunscreen, and excess sebum), but if you choose a formula with the right ingredients, it can also be super nourishing as well. This one contains argan oil and sweet almond oil – both sources of vitamin E and fatty acids, as well as moisturizing shea butter. Plus, it’s free of potential irritants like mineral oil, synthetic fragrance, and parabens.
Rice ferment filtrate has long been a prized ingredient in K-beauty for its ability to help boost cell regeneration, brighten the complexion, and keep skin soft and supple. This toner features it, along with fruit extracts to provide light exfoliation. Because it’s free of alcohol, it won’t strip your skin of moisture.
When cell turnover slows down, exfoliating is key to keeping skin looking bright and youthful. We love this multitasking essence because it contains both glycolic and lactic acids. Glycolic acid effectively sweeps away dead skin cells, while the lactic acid helps improve the skin’s natural moisture factor.
If you’re looking for a natural way to plump up deep wrinkles and prevent new lines from forming, look to mushroom extract, which has been shown to increase collagen levels. This serum contains 76.52% mushroom extract, along with a cocktail of anti-aging and antioxidant superstars such as adenosine, licorice root, and beta-glucans.
Take your mask step to the next level with a sheet mask that does more than just hydrate. This one is souped up with elasticity-boosting, nourishing, and soothing ingredients like caviar, squalane, and seaweed.
When you lose collagen in your eye area, you may not only experience wrinkles, but dark circles. This eye cream tackles both. The formula features hydrolyzed collagen to firm and two different types of peptides to stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance dark circles and puffiness.
If your go-to moisturizer isn’t quite cutting it anymore, we recommend swapping it out for a nourishing overnight mask a few times per week. This formula energizes, moisturizes, and brightens while you sleep with hanbang ingredients (traditional Korean herbal medicine) like ginseng, orchid, and black soybean so you’ll wake up with a rejuvenated, supple complexion.
These lighter alternatives to moisturizer will keep your complexion feeling fresh even when it’s hot and humid.
There are so many things to look forward to when it comes to summer days, but uncomfortable, humid weather is definitely not one of them. When the temperatures soar and the thought of leaving the house makes you want to hide in a dark, air-conditioned room, a 10-step skin care routine probably isn’t your first priority. Thankfully, there are still ways to pamper and protect your skin on those days when you want to look glowy, not sweaty. Read on for five of them.
Try…a primer that boosts moisture.
A hydrated and well-primed complexion ensures makeup goes on fresh and stays fresh until the evening’s oil cleanse. The Hanskin Vstra Toning Water-Radiance Cream, a light moisturizer and primer in one, is the superstar primer to rule them all. Squalane, ceramides, polypeptides and hyaluronic acid work to moisturize and smooth the skin while niacinamide and vitamin C brighten and offer antioxidant protection (especially important in areas with heavy air pollution).
Try…a lightweight balancing serum.
Those with oilier skin types probably want to avoid greasy-feeling skin care on sticky summer days, but the right hydrating product can not only reduce your skin’s oily finish but also calm any redness or irritation that frequently comes with acne-prone skin.
The Enature Squeeze Green Watery Serum feels light and fresh, sinks in instantly, and keeps combination skin balanced thanks to its blend of vitamins and plant extracts (kale, parsley) picked for their anti-aging and skin-strengthening abilities.
Try…an all-in-one formula.
Power-packed serums and heavier creams and lotions are amazing for sealing in moisture during drier winter months, but the summertime calls for fresh textures that sink in immediately and work overtime.
Re:P Nutrinature All-In-One Multitem offers the benefits of toner, essence and a hydrating emulsion all in one lightweight formula, meaning it’s not just perfect for summer, but for those days when you’re pressed for time. Avocado and olive extracts hydrate without feeling heavy and niacinamide works to reinforce the skin’s barrier and even skin tone. This product is ideal for anyone looking for a quick and easy solution to use on summer mornings, plus it won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin types.
Try…a 2-in-1 hydrating SPF combo.
You already know how important it is to wear your SPF daily, but layering it with your essences, serums, and moisturizers can be time-consuming and can make your skin feel suffocated on extreme weather days.
The Tony Moly My Sunny Watery Essence SPF 50/PA+++ offers UV protection in a light formula packed with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera extract to hydrate and protect skin without the sticky texture or white cast that some sunscreens can leave behind.
Try…a serum mist.
The Neogen H2 Dermadeca Serum Spray does more than just give skin a quick burst of refreshment. It’s packed with antioxidant vitamin C and inflammation-calming centella asiatica. Keep it in your bag to hydrate and protect throughout the day, or store in your fridge for a cooling treatment that will help calm and nourish skin after a long day in the sun.
So you religiously cleanse your skin, but it never feels totally clean or clear? Follow the advice below to ensure you’re getting the most out of your cleanser.
Cleansing your skin is one of the most important things you can do for its overall health and clarity. A variety of different kinds of debris build up on your skin over the course of a day or night and if your skin isn’t clean, well, the rest of your routine is just a waste of time.
However, even the best cleanser won’t get the job done if you aren’t using it correctly. Below, we outline some of the common mistakes people make when cleansing that may be keeping you from getting your best skin ever.
Mistake: You’re not using an oil cleanser.
Your skin gets clogged up with two different types of debris: Oil-based impurities (sunscreen, makeup, and sebum) and water-based impurities (dirt and sweat). Oil – not water – best breaks down the latter impurities (Remember science class? Like dissolves like). If sunscreen or makeup isn’t effectively removed from your skin, it’s a recipe for breakouts. This is why it’s crucial that you use a dedicated cleanser to remove it. The Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm Original is a perfect starter oil cleanser.
Mistake: You’re applying oil cleanser on wet or damp skin.
Oil cleansers should be applied onto dry, not wet skin. Massage it into skin to remove impurities and then dampen your fingers with water to emulsify the formula (most oil cleanser formulas contain emulsifiers so they won’t leave an oily residue on your face). When it’s emulsified, it will turn into a milky consistency that is easily rinsed off. If you emulsify the formula with water too soon, you won’t thoroughly remove the oil-based impurities.
Mistake: You’re using a raw or natural oil on your face.
The natural beauty world has hyped up the use of things like coconut oil and olive oil as a stand-in for a proper oil cleanser and these ingredients can work for some, however using a product formulated for cooking and not your skin might not yield the best results. First, they can have preservatives or additives that are not great for your skin, plus, they won’t have emulsifiers in them to ensure they rinse off your face, meaning your skin will be left with a thin film of oil that can clog pores and cause breakouts, not to mention make you feel greasy.
Mistake: You’re not washing your hands before cleansing.
It’s so important to wash your hands right before you cleanse to make sure you aren’t transferring new dirt, bacteria, and the like to your face as you’re trying to remove impurities. Plus, it ensures your hands are clean for the rest of your routine. On a related note, if you use a washcloth when cleansing or a towel to dry your face afterwards, you should also make sure these are clean.
Mistake: You’re not cleansing long enough.
We’ve all been there – rushing through our routine when we’re running late in the morning or can’t wait to get to bed. It’s easy to shorten – or skip altogether! – your cleansing step. Especially if you’re oil cleansing, this is bad news; it often takes a bit of massaging to remove all the makeup, SPF, and other oil-based impurities. We recommend cleansing (with each type of cleanser) for at least 20 seconds before moving on to your next step.
You may have been seeing disconcerting headlines lately that question the safety of sunscreen. We talked to an expert to find out if we should really be concerned.
Earlier this month, there came the news of, a rather alarming – or at least upon first glance – medical study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It revealed that the chemicals in sunscreen are absorbed into the bloodstream of a person who applies it to the maximum application recommended.
Huh? What does that mean? Should we toss all our sunscreens in the trash?Before doing anything rash, let’s understand the point of the study and its conclusions.
The study was conducted to find out if the chemicals in sunscreen are in fact being absorbed into the bloodstream. It was completed in a lab that involved 24 test subjects who applied sunscreen all over their bodies four times a day for four days – this is called a “maximal usage trial”.
The results of the study confirm that the sunscreen was absorbed into the bloodstream when used to the “maximum application recommended”. The author also concluded, however, “These results do not indicate that individuals should refrain from the use of sunscreen.”
The findings of the study end there. As of now, we don’t know what the potential health risks are for the absorption of these chemicals, so more research needs to be done. However, it’s important to highlight that in response to the study, the FDA noted, “The fact that an ingredient is absorbed through the skin and into the body does not mean the ingredient is unsafe.”
What we do know are the dangers of skin cancer – the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.
“There is no question that unprotected cumulative exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is a major risk factor for skin cancer,” Dr. Neal Bhatia, MD FAAD and member of the Women’s Dermatologic Society says. The most effective way to prevent it is sunscreen.
Dermatologists like Dr. Bhatia want consumers to know that the chemicals in sunscreen have been safely used for decades without a negative impact on our health. “There is no reason to abandon them because of this small lab based study,” he says.
The FDA recently released their new standards on sunscreen safety and their plans for further research. In the meantime, the FDA says, “While industry and other interested parties develop further data, the public should continue to use sunscreens with other sun protective measures.”
“Dermatologists are constantly playing defense when it comes to sunscreen safety, because patients are misled by headlines, chat room experts, and social media propaganda,” Dr. Bhatia says. “I personally believe this is the same issue we see with the misconceptions about vaccines, where the costs of bad information far outweigh what is being prevented.”
As with any decision concerning your health, it is ultimately your body and your decision. If you’re still concerned about the safety of sunscreen, talk to a dermatologist and check out the AAD’s guidelines for practicing safe sun. Have more questions? Share them below!
If a product is all over Instagram or in all of your friends’ medicine cabinets should you be using it too? Welcome to “Do You Really Need…”, a new series where we discuss how to determine whether or not a trendy or divisive product really belongs in YOUR skin care routine. Today we’re discussing essences.
Essences are one of the most commonly misunderstood steps in the K-Beauty routine. Unlike toners and serums, they are less well known outside of Korea and their purpose is less cut and dried. To make things a little more clear, we’re breaking down what essences do, the ways they can benefit your skin, and finally, how to determine whether or not they deserve a place in your routine.
What is an essence and where does it go in your routine?
If cleanser is like detergent, think of an essence as a fabric softener. After cleansing, you use a toner to balance your skin, and then an essence to inject a first round of moisture into freshly-cleansed skin. Notably, they also help your skin better absorb the products that follow it, rendering products like serum more effective.
After your toner has absorbed, gently apply the essence with the palm of your hand and follow it with your serum.
What’s the difference between an essence and products like toner and serum?
Essences are like the middle ground between toners and serums. They usually aren’t as light and watery as toners, but they aren’t as ultra-concentrated as serums. Since a main goal of an essence is to nourish skin, they are usually formulated with ingredients that are safe for regular, everyday use, unlike some, more targeted toner and serum formulas.
What skin concerns and skin types can benefit most from an essence?
Since an essence provides an extra layer of hydration, those with dry skin can obviously benefit. If aging is a major concern, this added boost of moisture can also help to alleviate fine lines and prevent wrinkles. And for sensitive skin types, it can aid in strengthening the skin barrier.
However even if you’re not in the groups mentioned above, there are many different essence formulations to choose from, so it’s easy to find one that addresses your specific skin concerns. For example, if you struggle with discoloration, it can be great to use an essence like the DewyTree Ultra Vitalizing Snail Essence Water, which has snail mucin to boost skin cell turnover and even out skin tone.
So do you really need an essence?
Essences aren’t a mandatory step, but they certainly do have benefits. The added hydration and nourishment essences provide will only do your skin good – especially if you are concerned about dryness, aging, or sensitivity. Plus, if a treatment product like a serum isn’t working as well as you’d hoped, using an essence could give the product the boost it needs to get the job done. Like with any product, consider your skin concerns and what ingredients best target them when choosing a formula that’s right for you.
Would you change your diet if it meant achieving your skin goals? Here one writer shares how eating cleaner put her on the path to a clear complexion.
When I first found out that what I eat might affect my acne, I was in middle school. I ignored it and prayed otherwise. Since then, I’ve made various, temporary lifestyle changes in the hopes of improving my skin. Like in high school, I started drinking green tea like a maniac because I heard it can be good for acne.
While my acne is better now than it was when I was younger, it’s still not totally where I want it to be, so recently I decided to give clean eating – think reduced added sugars and a higher intake of fruit and veggies – a try.
I chronicled my first week eating clean. Read on below to find out what I ate and how it affected my skin.
In the spirit of transparency, I ate an entire pack of Peeps last night. “It starts tomorrow,” I said. Well, I woke up with a huge, juicy, and deep pimple on my jawline – safe to say food definitely affects your skin, yeah? My new sidekick served as greater motivation to start clean eating and to bid her adieu sooner rather than later.
Today, my diet primarily consisted of scrambled eggs, an apple with peanut butter, a pasta salad, a green juice, and a grain bowl with sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn. At the end of the day I craved something sweet, so I had a few dark chocolate covered almonds.
When I woke up, I noticed my pimple sidekick had begun to diminish in both size and redness, so I took that as a solid win for clean eating. Though I am lactose intolerant and typically avoid dairy, there were cupcakes at work today, and well, what’s a girl to do? I ate the cupcake and one green juice, hoping it would counteract it. Of course, my stomach was extremely irritated that I let dairy enter my system, but I’m hoping my skin won’t be. Luckily, the smoothie shop nearby was having a deal, so I decided to get myself a huge smoothie packed with avocado, banana, spinach, kale, and dates. This held me over for a shockingly long time, so for dinner, I had leftovers of my grain bowl from the night before.
The cupcake was definitely a bad idea, because I woke up with another sidekick right above my lip! This was not as large as the previous one, but even that one was continuing to shrink in size and reduce color. Not only that, but the usual texture around my jawline was starting to diminish, too! This was the boost I needed to keep going on my kick. Much to my delight, I noticed a brand new item at Trader Joe’s – a jumbo size of their classic cold-pressed green juice. I grabbed it to hold onto for the remainder of the week, so I could be sure I was hitting my greens goals each day. Surprisingly, drinking a green juice helped to curb my sugar cravings, which made sticking with clean eating even easier. Since even a little bit of dairy was making me breakout, I decided to cut out all dairy (except for eggs!) for the remainder of the week. Since the smoothie held me over for so long, I kept it simple and had a brown rice salmon avocado roll with a miso soup. A simple roll like this one is packed with good fats, which are supposedly great for skin, so it felt like an easy decision.
Yesterday was the first day I feel I truly had no added sugar or dairy, and my skin saw the payoff. I have oily skin, but it was less slick than usual when I woke up, and I even noticed a reduction in the look of my pores (which is a huge concern for me). I know that sugar and dairy can exacerbate both issues, I just never thought the effect was as strong.
Since I felt I was doing such a good job, I decided to treat myself to a Sweetgreen Shroomami bowl for lunch. I paired my bowl with an apple and peanut butter, so I was able to keep half of my salad for dinner.
Each day I have more whole foods, and the more my skin appreciates me. Today I woke up with minimized oils and pores, and I noticed the texture around my jawline was nearly smoothed out. On top of that, I began seeing a change in the texture on my forehead, as well. Overall, my skin is beginning to look less irritated and red. I sautéed some spinach, boiled some eggs, and went about my day. The eggs held me over for quite some time, so my lunch was a small Trader Joe’s salad accompanied by some green juice and salted cashews. Dinner today consisted of the grain bowl I had previously in the week – it’s super easy to make, nice and healthy, and I’m lazy with recipes, so it always fits the bill.
This was my day off of work, so I decided to treat myself to a huge juice and fruit salad. The juice consisted of beets, carrots, turmeric, ginger, and apple, and the fruit salad was packed with watermelon. Not only did my body feel incredibly hydrated afterward, but my skin looked so, too! I ended my day with yet another grain bowl. I went to bed with a full belly, and hopes of clearer skin.
From eating clean, my skin looks less oily, my pores look smaller, and most of my underlying redness has gone away. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t cut out all sugar, but at least now I know what to expect with my skin if I’m going to indulge in sweets. Suddenly devouring a pack of Peeps doesn’t seem quite as worth it.
Skin care and Korean food are two of our favorite things. Agree? Keep reading for the inside scoop on an exciting collaboration that melds the two worlds.
As the experts on K-beauty trends and products, we frequently get asked what our favorite Korean restaurants are. We’re spoiled by the fact that our HQ is located in the heart of New York City’s Koreatown, meaning we have numerous amazing options at our fingertips. But one restaurant that stands out among the rest is Her Name Is Han.
This top spot – named after owner Kihyun Lee’s mother – opened in 2015 and quickly became a crowd favorite; lines form for hours during peak dinner time.
Unlike more modern Korean BBQ restaurants, you won’t find any individual gas grills here. Instead, Her Name Is Han specializes in homestyle Korean food or “Korean soul food”. Soko Glam co-founder Charlotte Cho is a regular at the space, telling us, “It’s one of my most treasured escapes in the heart of NYC because of the nostalgia and comfort it brings to me through Korean comfort food.”
Some of our favorite dishes include dumplings, slow-cooked pork belly, kimchi pancakes with poached eggs (Insider tip: They even pierce the soft poached egg for you for an always entertaining Instagram moment), and bibimbap. And rest assured, there are plenty of delicious options for friends of all dietary preferences.
If you have any plans to visit New York anytime soon or are local to the tri-state area, we recommend stopping by ASAP because from now until May 31, there’s a limited-edition menu that was created in partnership with one of our favorite skin care brands, Then I Met You.
There’s the Jeju Island Cocktail, inspired by Then I Met You’s periwinkle blue packaging, and Persimmon Passion Sorbet (pictured above), a nod to the Living Cleansing Balm.
And if you go and share photos of your meal on Instagram and tag @thenimetyou and @hernameishan with the hashtag #ThenIMetHan, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free Then I Met You Cleansing Duo ($68) plus $50 off a future visit to Her Name Is Han.