Sarah Lee and Christine Chang started Glow Recipe with the mission to bring high quality, natural Korean beauty products to beauty-forward women around the world. Over the years, they have worked with thousands of women across the globe to understand and learn from their beauty rituals.
You would think that acne and breakouts would be less common in the winter, since skin is drier than normal. But as a lot of us know: The winter blemish struggle is real. To help get your skin back on track fast, we’re sharing the best K-beauty strategies for combating flare-ups during the coldest months of the year. (Hint: It’s all about hydration!)
“Simply put, overly dry skin can trigger an over-production of oil in skin to compensate, which can in turn cause or exacerbate troubled skin,” explains Young Woo Ro, MD of Oracle Dermatology, a highly prestigious skin clinic in Seoul. “During the winter months, we tell our patients to remember to exfoliate, hydrate, and treat.”
It seems counter intuitive to exfoliate during the winter but during this time, dead skin cells can easily build up on skin, preventing essential skincare ingredients from effectively penetrating and working. It’s important to regularly use a gentle exfoliator, at least once a week, that helps to slough off dead skin cells and help with skin turnaround without irritating active acne. Also, Dr. Ro recommends avoiding gritty scrubs with harsh ingredients like crushed apricot seeds or walnut shells. Under a microscope, these particles are often highly irregular with jagged edges that can potentially create micro-cuts on skin. This leaves the skin vulnerable to bacteria and can potentially exacerbate inflammation, redness, and breakouts.
Once skin is prepared to receive active ingredients, you’re ready to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It’s the key to regulating natural sebum production and maintaining the skin’s moisture barrier. Your goal: Hydrating on three different levels—from within (drinking sufficient amounts of water), on the surface of your skin (using an emollient moisturizer that contains humectants like hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate to draw moisture to the skin), and in the environment (get yourself a humidifier or put a shallow bowl of water out, stat). Fun fact: If you have your heater on blast, dry air can actually pull moisture from your skin because the humidity is so low. Being mindful of the environment your skin is in will go a long way in keeping it supple and hydrated!
So, how do you treat and prevent cold-weather blemishes? The three FDA-approved ingredients for acne are salicylic acid, benzyl peroxide, and sulfur. But these potent ingredients can also cause major dryness. During the winter months, an alternative option to using spot treatments to tackle a blemish that has already formed is to use a serum with natural anti-bacterial and soothing properties such as tea tree on an on-going basis to keep skin blemish-free.
Dr. Ro’s final tip? Remember to change your pillowcase regularly and clean and disinfect your cell phone. All the blemish-fighting skincare products and diets in the world won’t help if you are constantly pressing your skin—for prolonged periods of time—up against grimy surfaces that can transfer oil, bacteria, and dirt.
Have any great winter skin survival tips? Share them in the comments section below!
Arguably one of the most effective and versatile products in your complexion toolkit, face oils are the overachievers of the skincare world—you can rub a few sumptuous drops onto your face pre-flight to keep skin supple, tap some on over makeup to look instantly glowier, and even use it to treat oily skin and breakouts. From makeup removal to scar treatments to complexion-boosters, this ancient skin secret is our modern day must-have.
But that’s not to say all oils are equal. To make the most of them, you need to find the right one tailored to your specific skin type and concern. We’ve taken the guesswork out of gorgeousness with this handy face oils cheat sheet. Read on to find out your skin-hydrating soulmate.
If your skin is dry…
The indisputable superstar of all thing hydrating, oils were tailor made for those suffering from skin dehydration. Look for products with a cocktail of high-performance, essential fatty acid-rich oils like avocado, coconut, and argan to banish dry patches and repair barrier function in a snap.
An oil sheet mask? You better believe it. This first-of-its-kind mask is a marvel of modernity—chock full of a mind-boggling 10 natural plant- and nut-based oils, including argan, grape seed, olive, and evening primrose, just to name a few. But the real innovation is that it delivers all of that hydrating goodness in a watery essence texture that absorbs immediately. Ain’t technology grand?
Hydrate and minimize fine lines with this luxe cream. Infused with truffle oil, which is naturally rich in a cell-protecting enzyme called superoxide dismutase, it’s also packed with a whopping 60 percent black diamond truffle extract to plump, fight premature aging, and eradicate wrinkles in one fell swoop. Talk about a multitasker.
If you have combination skin…
The catch-22 of combination skin is that it needs both intense hydration and oil-controlling powers. Sounds like an impossible feat, but turns out oils, specifically grape seed, hazelnut, and camellia, are up to the challenge. The trick is finding products that offer customization and the perfect mix of ingredients to help balance you out.
This two-step mask brilliantly combines the soothing and hydrating benefits of 100 percent pure camellia oil from Jeju Island with a silky-smooth, essence-infused sheet mask for a customized treatment that lets you choose just how much hydration you need. Feeling parched? Apply every last drop of camellia oil. More on the oily side? Use just a bit. Then throw on the sheet mask infused with hyaluronic acid, rosemary, and sweet pea extract to boost the skin-plumping benefits.
This goes on like a serum, but transforms into an oil to give you a hint of dewiness as it absorbs. Healing centella asiatica calms inflammation, then so-light-they-vanish olive and macadamia oils lock in moisture. Skin is glowing and nourished, with rich hydration exactly where you need it and just a touch in oil-slick regions where you don’t.
If your skin is oily or prone to breakouts…
No need to be scared: Oils are a very good thing when it comes to dealing with oily skin and acne. In fact, certain plant-based ones like jojoba, sunflower, and tea tree can actually help normalize and dial down the production of sebum, so your skin looks less shiny overall. Also, the natural oil your skin secretes might keep it lubricated, but it doesn’t add any extra nourishment or protection—and that’s where a lightweight, fast-absorbing oil-based formula that won’t overload your already compromised complexion can help.
What’s a pressed serum? Glad you asked: It’s a unique serum-moisturizer hybrid that hydrates like a boss. Fermented olive oil pulls double duty by protecting against pollution and environmental stressors, while lemon peel and lime oil have astringent properties to help purify without over drying. It also features the rare ice plant, a botanical renowned for its ability to store nutrients and water. Swipe some on to calm redness and give your skin a shot of cool, light-as-air hydration.
If adding an oil moisturizer seems like too much for you, try a balancing cleansing oil. This conditioning skin purifier pulls out pore-blocking gunk and melts away the dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells that cause pimples with a base of jojoba and macadamia oils. It’s also infused with green tea extract to calm and prevent irritation.
If your skin is red, itchy, or hypersensitive…
When your skin needs extra TLC, there’s no beating a nourishing oil, especially the anti-inflammatory varieties like sandalwood, meadowfoam seed, and jasmine. Dry, irritated, peeling complexions will transform into velvety smooth, healthy visages after just a few applications. Let’s see your moisturizer do that.
You’ve never seen a face mist quite like this before. Featuring dual layers of oil and essence, shake up the bi-phase formula and mist on compromised skin to calm and repair. Jojoba and bergamot oils lock in moisture while ultra-soothing aloe and licorice calm irritation for a complexion so velvety, you’ll have a hard time not brushing your fingertips over it.
Give your skin a nourishing boost with a lightweight cocktail of botanical oils that helps eliminate redness and protect skin from environmental aggressors. Free radical-fighting antioxidants astaxanthin and quercetin diminish and prevent signs of aging, while a soothing blend of camellia, olive, and jasmine oils soften scaly patches. Skin is left soft as silk without any stickiness.
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s with your bae, Galentine’s with your squad, or just grabbing drinks on a regular old Wednesday night, there are a few strategic moves that will help you look and feel your best. And it all stems from skincare, because if you don’t prep properly, it’s pretty much impossible to achieve flawless makeup. Los Angeles-based makeup artist Katey Denno, whose celebrity clients include Felicity Jones and Lily James, shares her top date-night tips for scoring a photo-ready finish.
Boost radiance with a gentle exfoliant
“The biggest misconceptions about exfoliation is that the grittier the scrub the better, but I prefer to use gentler chemical ingredients like lactic and glycolic acids to slough off every dead skin cell. You get the same brightening, smoothing, and whisking away of any wintertime flakes minus the redness and irritation, which takes a lot of work to cover up. I like to start my going-out beauty routine by swiping down with a peel pad to even everything out and make my skin glow. Plus, it helps foundation look so much better and last longer.”
“One of my favorite skincare steps is spraying my face and neck with a hydrating toning mist. It’s a wonderful act of self-care whether you’re getting ready for a night out (it gives skin the dewiest finish), just waking up to greet your day, trying to relax, or even winding down for bed. And I’ve learned that it’s crucial to apply any treatment products like serum or face oil on skin that’s slightly damp, so I always make sure to spritz down with a facial mist in between steps. The theory is that as the water is being absorbed into the lower layers of your skin, it brings along good skincare stuff like hyaluronic acid and oil molecules with it. Another important tip: Inhale deeply as you mist—it’s just as much about uplifting your spirits as it is about hydrating your skin.”
“I love treating myself to a mask—I use it as a time to rest and recharge in a forced time out away from my phone and laptop, which to me, is just as important as is any product. Plus, it’s a super quick, easy, and fun way to up your glow. Make sure to rub any extra serum onto your neck and décolletage for seamless luminosity.”
“By now, my clients come to expect that I’ll send them into the bathroom to scrub their lips before we start on makeup. Flakes of any kind will completely ruin a lip look. I like to scrub mine in the shower each morning with a soft muslin cloth to gently exfoliate away dead skin cells. Or you can make your own lip scrub by mixing a little sugar with coconut oil. Work it in small circles over your lips to gently scrub away dryness and and plump at the same time. Finish by slathering on a moisturizing lip balm.”
“Hands say a lot about how well you look after yourself. So often, as busy women, we get a professional manicure once every two to three weeks, but in between we don’t think twice about caring for our hands, despite how on display they are! Take an extra few minutes a day to show your cuticles and knuckles a little TLC by applying your favorite heavy-duty cream. And at the very least, rub whatever’s left from doing your daily skincare routine into your hands.”
They may be small, but in the fruit world, blueberries are some of the biggest badasses of the bunch. Each tiny berry is packed with a powerful cocktail of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants to help ward off everything from high cholesterol and blood pressure to cardiovascular disease and cancer. In fact, studies have shown that blueberries contain one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits. And their perks aren’t just limited to internal health: They also boast serious skin-boosting capabilities, making them a no-brainer when it comes to looking and feeling your best. Here’s the scoop on why you should be working them into your daily beauty rituals for a healthier body and better skin.
They help you achieve glow-getter status
Blueberries are more than just a tasty snack: When applied topically, your skin reaps the brightening benefits, says Rachel Nazarian, M.D. of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC. “Thanks to vitamins C and E, which naturally help remove dead surface cells and stimulate new ones, skin looks smoother and brighter.” As a result the wonder fruit is now finding its way into high-tech skincare formulations like the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser ($34), which is equal parts makeup remover, exfoliator, and cleanser. Packed with a mix of antioxidant-rich blueberry extract, dead skin cell-sloughing AHAs, and moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid, the bouncy jelly exfoliates tired, dull skin and infuses it with so much moisture, you’ll swear it’s a serum. Plus, it’s versatile: Use it twice a day to prep skin for the rest of your routine or slap on a generous layer as a five-minute mask for an instant pick-me-up.
They even out your complexion
“Vitamins C and E also help minimize sunspots and uneven pigmentation by removing surface skin cells, which cause discoloration,” says Dr. Nazarian. For a quickie skin boost, try Blithe Patting Splash Mask Rejuvenating Purple Berry ($45), which can be used in the shower to save you time. This innovative formula gently dissolves dead cells with lactic acid, while the antioxidant-rich power of berries brightens the skin after only 15 seconds. Splash a cap full onto your face, do the rest of shower routine, then rinse with lukewarm water to reveal smoother, softer, more evenly-textured skin.
They plump you up
Well, your skin to be exact. In addition to all that vitamin C and E, “blueberries also contain a healthy dose of vitamin A, which stimulates the creation of more collagen and elastin,” says Dr. Nazarian. Why is that so important? Because they’re the foundations of youthful skin—the more collagen and elastin you have, the tighter and more supple your complexion will be. To boost collagen on the regular, try using a night treatment like Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Blooming Vitamin Sleeping Mask ($60) on clean skin before bed. The formula’s blueberry extract gives skin a noticeably bouncier look and feel over time, while aloe vera and licorice repair the moisture barrier.
They wage war on wrinkles
Blueberries are naturally rich in anti-inflammatory properties and a particularly potent type of antioxidant called anthocyanin. Together they strengthen new collagen formation and help prevent cell-damaging free radicals produced by sun exposure and pollution from causing wrinkles, skin aging, and all-round cloudy skin, says Dr. Nazarian. In other words: “These vitamins act as a shield against daily damage to skin,” she says. To nourish and protect skin, incorporate a blueberry-infused mask like Make P:rem Firming Layering Double Mask ($7)—a two-in-one sheet mask soaked in a potent blend of blueberry, royal jelly, and honey to hydrate and repair—at least twice a week.
They’re not just good enough to eat
Munching on these little superfoods has healthy benefits all around (stronger heart! better digestion! lower blood sugar!), but you can also use their mojo to the max by applying them topically, too. Dr. Nazarian’s tip: In a blender, whip up a cup of Greek yogurt with a handful of blueberries and a teaspoon of honey. Not only does this make a sweet, nutritious snack, but it’s also an effective face mask. After 10 minutes, your skin will soak up the high vitamin content of the blueberries, while the “yogurt acts as a chemical exfoliant, smoothing skin naturally,” says Dr. Nazarian. And the honey? That’s a humectant, which means it’s super hydrating. Now, that’s food for thought.
The 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea have officially begun, and to celebrate, we rounded up the most luxurious chromed-out treatments. Take your pick!
The Glass Skin Shortcut
This golden apricot extract- and turmeric-packed whipped oil pulls double duty as a serum-moisturizer in one. And a little goes a long way to even out texture and tone. Warm a pea-sized amount of the Blithe Gold Apricot Pressed Serum($49) between hands and gently press the gel-balm into skin. What you’ll see? Skin with an insta-glossy glow.
The Ultimate Skin Refresher
Spritz Whamisa Hydrating Double Mist($38)—a bi-phase formula infused with soothing botanicals, hydrating jojoba oil, and revitalizing gold extract—anytime (even on top of makeup!) to quench your skin and replenish moisture.
The Brightening Booster
The glow-inducing LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule ($38) spiked with 50% propolis extract is your golden ticket to better, brighter skin. Smooth a few drops on after cleansing and toning to plump and hydrate or blend it with a bit of foundation for a high-shine finish.
The No-Fuss Exfoliating Treatment
Splash your way to smoother skin with the Blithe Energy Yellow Citrus & Honey Splash Mask ($45). Post-cleanse, pour a cap full into your palms and gently pat the AHA- and botanical-laced formula onto your face. Leave it on for 15 seconds, then rinse with lukewarm water to reveal a more even and radiant complexion. Easy, breezy!
Ready to glow for the gold? Let us know which product (and sport!) you’re most excited about in the comments below.
What spots? My skin after using LJH Hope for two weeks.
I’ve learned in my 247 years as a beauty editor that oily and acne-prone skin needs gentle TLC—not hardcore, surgical-level scrubbing. Using harsh ingredients and strong astringents can strip skin and actually backfire when it comes to a zit-free complexion. (Seriously, rebound oiliness is a thing; the drier your skin is, the more oil it will produce naturally.)
But despite all that, my face still gets hijacked by zits every once in a while. Blame it on hormones, stress, pollution, and that pint of Ben & Jerry’s I pounded over the weekend. Such is the plight of skin that’s naturally extra.
Thing 1 and Thing 2 taking up some serious real estate.
The good news: I’ve become a master of distraction—a bright lip does wonders to make hot, angry pimples less visible (also: a touch of green color corrector topped with a creamy concealer that matches your skin tone exactly will help MacGyver those spots virtually undetectable).
Still there, don’t care.
Even better news than that: In the world of K-beauty, there are always newer, smarter ways of treating skin conditions, including acne—and the latest launch from LJH is proof. The magic of the LJH Hope Control Emulsion and Control Cream is their ability to dial down sebum production via a special antibacterial, oil-absorbing complex called Sepicontrol A5 made from cinnamon extract. And after using the combo for two weeks, I can wholeheartedly say that I’m a believer.
In addition to the Sepicontrol A5 complex, this milky mattifying toner-serum hybrid is also laced with soothing witch hazel, nourishing lingzhi mushroom extract, and free radical-fighting fermented soybean to help strengthen and heal compromised skin. It instantly takes down shine, feels super silky going on, and adds a noticeable evenness to the skin. One layer on a clean face is all you really need, but if you’re super oily, you can pat on a touch more to help keep grease at bay all day.
This lightweight watery gel-cream is the perfect partner-in-crime to the emulsion: It smoothes, hydrates, and helps dial down sebum production even more. It’s also packed with brightening ginseng and vitamin C to gently fade dark spots left behind by any spots. The texture is killer and actually blew my mind the minute I swiped it on. The best thing about it is it’s all creamy and hydrating, but completely weightless and sinks in immediately to give skin a soft-focus effect without looking overly matte. You just look fresh, soft, and plumped minus the grease.
So here’s the bottom line: If you’re dealing with oily, breakout-prone skin you’re going to want to give these a try. Can’t guarantee that these two products will fix your acne for good, especially if it’s hormonally-related but they’re made without irritating ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil, so they’re a good place to start. (Full disclosure: They contain some silicone to help mattify shine and hide the look of large pores. As an oily-skinned girl, I found that it did not irritate my skin or make me breakout at all. In fact, it did the opposite.)
Got any amazing tricks to obliterate shine and breakouts? Share them in the comments below!
How many times have you done a sheet mask and thought, There, that looks better, only to be disappointed a few hours later when your glow is gone? Aside from the feel-good factor (obvs), we’ve come to expect both instant visible results (hydration! brightening! smaller pores!) and long-lasting benefits like plumping, smoothing, and softening. Unfortunately, not all offerings live up to the short- or long-term hype, which is why we’re putting three of our newest hydrating sheet masks to the ultimate test: Tracking our skin’s moisture level pre- and post-application with a high-tech beauty gadget called the Wayskin Skin Analyzer. See how our latest mask curations measure up!
What we say: “This was my first time trying out Make P:rem’s Firming Double Layer Mask. The two masks were both drenched in product which I loved and I really felt my skin soaking up all the moisture. I also loved the ear hooks as I could go about my business without worrying about the mask falling off. After I masked for 10 minutes, I could go straight to moisturizing and was out the door. Someone even gave my skin a shout out on the way to work!” – Stevie, senior PR manager
What we say: “Oily skin folks, listen up: This will not give you zits. As someone who breaks out even at the thought of oil, I was hesitant to put this anywhere near my face. But the silky, paper-thin mask is infused with 10 different kinds of plant-based oils (no mineral oil or petrolatum) that actually helped balance out my skin and dial down the production of sebum. Not going to lie: It felt a little goopy going on, but after letting it do its thing for 10 minutes and patting in the remaining serum, my skin felt noticeably softer and smoother—and not the least bit greasy—and remained that way the whole day. It won’t bump my beloved Polatam Pure Cream Firming Radiance Mask ($7) from the gold medal spot in my sheet mask arsenal, but it will definitely be in regular rotation, especially when I need to inject a heavy dose of moisture into my skin.” – Maureen, director of content & partnerships
What we say: “After patting the serum into my skin and letting it dry down a bit, I felt like my makeup applied more easily and lasted longer. I definitely noticed a difference in the glowiness and hydration level of my skin, even under makeup and as the day went on. Using the mask in the morning was a really refreshing way to start my day and it was easier than I expected to work into my routine!” – Alison, assistant marketing manager
How does your sheet mask stack up? Let us know in the comments below!
In an ideal world, we’d wake up with Energizer bunny-level stamina, wash-and-go hair that looks professionally blown out, and clear, non-puffy skin that glows. Not much we can do about the first two things, but we can help with the skin situation. Here, everything you need to know about the secret beauty solution that improves skin while you snooze.
Q: Is There Actually a Difference Between Regular Masks and Sleeping Masks?
A: Overnight masks are regular masks on steroids that give you almost instant facial-like results. They’re super-concentrated, problem-solving formulas powered by active ingredients that are designed get sh*t done while you sleep so you can wake up looking more rested—even when you’re not. Most of them contain ridiculous amounts of ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and brighteners like vitamin C to help combat the inevitable signs of life (dullness, dark circles, puffiness, breakouts, and general haggardness). They’re also formulated to be pillow-proof, which means you can slap one on and hit the sack within seconds without messing up the sheets.
Q: I’m Perpetually Sleep Deprived. Can I Use an Overnight Mask Every Single Day?
A: Always play it safe by starting off slowly; use yours a few times a week to make sure your skin can take it without freaking out from the high doses of actives. Some exfoliating ingredients like AHAs (found in the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, $45, along with vitamin-rich watermelon extract, which helps you wake up looking more even, smooth, and hydrated; pro tip: give it a good mix for a few seconds until its bouncy and smooth before applying) help break down all the gunk that makes skin dull and sad and allow other ingredients to penetrate better, but can sometimes cause sensitivity, so be careful you’re not doubling up with an AHA cleanser or serum. We know it’s a magical skincare superhero that gives good glow, but more is not more when it comes to this exfoliating acid. While light peeling can happen for some people (you are, after all, sloughing off dead skin cells), overdoing it will likely result in redness, peeling, and inflammation. If that happens, back off immediately until your face is back to normal (soothing formulas with centella asiatica like Yuri Pibu Asiatica Calming Lotion, $36, help A LOT). (AHAs also make skin more sensitive to the sun, so if you’re using them, you best be slathering on the SPF every morning!) If the coast is clear after a few weeks, by all means, go forth and use your sleep mask every single night.
Q: How Should I Prep My Skin for a Sleeping Mask?
A: Use in this order at night: Cleanser, toner (try the 7-skin method), serum, and then sleep mask. If yours has a potent combination of proven ingredients (we’re talking niacinamide, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants, all of which are packed into the J.One Black Jelly Pack, $47), no need for a serum underneath. Smooth a bit of your sleep mask right up to your lower lash line and skip eye cream altogether, too.
Q: If I Have Oily Skin, Can I Still Add One to My Routine?
A: YASSS! When you hear ‘overnight mask’ you might think of something thick, rich, and pore-cloggy. But there are tons of options that aren’t any of those things. An ace pick if you have oily skin that’s prone to breakouts? Make P:rem Radiance Peeling Sleeping Pack ($30). It’s full of lactobionic acid, which is less irritating than BHAs and AHAs to help deep clean and keep pores clear. We also love the LJH Probiotics Sleep Cream ($48), a lightweight gel cream that tackles dryness and sops up excess oil with soothing glacier extract and pore-minimizing probiotics. Try them—you’ll see!
Q: What Do I Do When I Wake Up?
A: Look in the mirror and gloat in the glory of glowiness. Then cleanse with a gentle, hydrating formula (like the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser, $34) and rinse your face with lukewarm water. While skin is still damp—don’t even think about towel drying—apply your toner (have we mentioned how obsessed we are with the 7-skin method???), serum, moisturizer, and SPF. Swipe on some makeup if you wish or go hard with a bare, radiant face, because with the magical sorcery of overnight masks—the choice is yours.
Taking a bite out of a fresh slice of watermelon is beyond satisfying—the naturally sweet fruit is delicious, healthy, and hydrating AF. In fact, it’s made of 92 percent water and is jam-packed with damage-fighting vitamins A and C, skin-plumping amino acids, and the phytonutrient lycopene, which is found in other red foods as well. It basically does it all: moisturizes, plumps and soothes, as well as helping to treat acne, flakiness, and fine lines and wrinkles. Considering it’s winter, though, you’re probably not consuming the summertime staple (and reaping all the skin-boosting benefits) on the regular. That’s all the more reason to inject watermelon into your year-round beauty routine—to add a touch of warmth to the colder, darker days and get glowing 24/7.
It Stops Inflammation In Its Tracks
“Watermelon has lycopene, and is a great source of vitamin C, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties,” says Lauren Slayton, nutritionist and founder of Foodtrainers in New York City. So not only can it help with any internal inflammation when ingested, but when applied topically, helps soothe skin, as well. “Vitamin C is also required for collagen formation,” she adds. When used on the skin, not only do these antioxidants help tame redness and acne, but also brighten and even out the complexion for a healthy-looking glow.
It Guards Against Free Radicals
From fine lines to sun spots to dry patches, the onslaught of environmental damage is constant. A smart way to deal with the elements besides wearing SPF every single day? Watermelon extract says Slayton, both ingested and applied directly to the skin. The reason: It’s rich in vitamin A, which helps scavenge for free radicals caused by the sun and pollution. If you use a heavy-hitting watermelon-infused product at night like our Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($45) that sloughs off dead skin cells and injects a powerful dose of moisture, skin will be able to repair and renew better.
It Fights Wrinkles
The watermelon rind—you know, the part you usually don’t eat—has got its own wealth of good-for-you compounds, too, particularly citrulline, an amino acid that improves blood circulation and works as a natural exfoliator. And that’s actually the part of the watermelon used originally on skin. “In Korea, our grandmothers used to rub watermelon rind on our backs in the summer to soothe and cool heat rash and irritation,” says our co-founder Christine Chang. That’s because citrulline (which, according to Slayton, is a precursor to the more well-known amino acid arginine), increases collagen production, which helps to plump skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “We grew up relying on the naturally calming, hydrating effects of watermelon and have seen it make the biggest difference in safeguarding and protecting skin,” adds co-founder Sarah Lee.
If you wanted, you could literally put a slice of watermelon on your face to experience its multitude of benefits, or rub the rind like Korean grandmothers do. But you can also try our new Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer ($39), which features watermelon flesh and rind as its top two ingredients. The lighter-than-air formula is also laced with hydrating hyaluronic acid, making it especially great for oily to combination skin (and underneath makeup!). If you’re a bit drier or need heavy-duty moisture this winter, try using it as a serum and sealing in all that juicy goodness by slathering on a thicker cream over top.
A bonus benefit to the juicy fruit? “Beyond skincare, watermelon makes for a great margarita,” adds Slayton. How many days until summer again?
Believe it or not, the ultimate skin goal (and best complexion compliment ever) for Korean women isn’t “baby,” “glass,” or even “honey” skin. In Seoul, nothing says K-beauty flawlessness quite like cloudless skin or malgeun pibu in Korean (see actresses Jung So Min and Chae Soo Bin for proof). What exactly does that mean? It’s skin that’s undeniably “clear, bright, and discoloration-free with a whisper of translucency,” like—you guessed it—a cloudless sky after the rain, explains Seoul-based dermatologist Kim Young Hoon. “It is a figurative way of calling out the overall health and condition of the skin,” he adds. “When it’s rough, dull, and tired it mimics the sky on a cloudy day that’s overcast and streaked with so much haze you can’t see the sun or stars.” While the backbone of cloudless skin is hydration, other factors like texture, clarity, and evenness play a huge role, too. Here, pro advice on how to tackle the four main issues that stand between you and clear, cloudless perfection.
The cause: While most of our skin cells (like millions a day!) shed normally, some get stuck and pile up over time to create an ashy, grey-ish cast on top of the skin’s surface making it look dreary.
The solution: When it comes to sloughing off dead skin cells, exfoliation is your best friend. But instead of defaulting to a grainy scrub or harsh chemical peel a few times a week, try restoring glow the K-beauty way with gentle daily exfoliation. A nighttime leave-on treatment with alpha hydroxy acids like Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($45), can loosen build up, fade discoloration, and even help prevent breakouts. Another smart addition to your glow-boosting arsenal is a twice-weekly splash mask that exfoliates and smoothes with the power of lactic acid. Choose Blithe Patting Splash Mask – Yellow Citrus & Honey if you have dry skin, Soothing Green Tea if you’re oily, and Rejuvenating Purple Berry if you’re looking for extra anti-aging oomph ($45 each). If you’re sensitive, try a gentle exfoliating treatment like Primary Raw DoYou 2-Step Milk Peeling Kit ($6), which lifts dry flakes, while simultaneously delivering a heavy dose of hydration.
Speaking of hydration, you’ll also want to get in the habit of moisturizing well not only in the AM and PM, but also throughout the day, since dewiness helps fight dullness, too. Our fix? A mini hydrating facial spray like Whamisa Mini Hydrating Double Layer Mist ($15) tossed on your desk or in your bag so you can literally #misteverywhere. If you can fit it in, consider doing a mid-day sheet mask like Common Labs Ggultamin C Real Jel Mask ($4) that brightens with vitamin C and peony extract. Wipe down skin quickly with a cleansing water, give skin a good slough by swiping on the exfoliating peel pad first, then sit back and relax while the antioxidant-rich, vitamin C- and peony-laced mask addresses a laundry list of cloudless skin obstacles: pigmentation, collagen production, and wrinkles at the same time.
The cause: Bacteria, dirt, and natural oils mingle with those aforementioned dead skin cells and have a party in your pores. The result of those ragers? Blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.
The solution: “Daily cleansing is very important. If you don’t make sure to properly remove all the impurities and residue, you’re at a high risk for congestion,” says Dr. Kim. A hydrating, great-for-all-skin-types cleanser like Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Cleanser ($34), which can also be used as a 5-minute mask, relies on skin-refining AHAs to gently dissolve makeup, dirt, and grime. Beyond keeping the surface of your skin clean, using a deep-cleaning solution souped up with active ingredients like detoxifying charcoal (found in Lindsay Modeling Rubber Mask, $6) or purifying tea tree oil (like MD’s Pick Clarifying Water Rubber Mask, $9) will also help clean out buildup and excess oil. Used weekly, you’ll notice less shine, congestion, and fewer gaping pores.
The cause: Some of us have truly sensitive skin, but overdoing things with scratchy scrubs and aggressive ingredients can also cause an out-of-whack pH level that leaves you red, splotchy, and raw.
The solution: “It’s all about making sure your skin is in balance,” says Dr. Kim, who emphasizes the importance of repairing (and maintaining) the skin’s barrier—a protective layer and the first line of defense against aging. The first step to doing that: using the right cleanser and toner. Stick with non-stripping, alcohol-free, low-pH formulas like Make P:rem Safe Relief Cleansing Foam ($20) and ID.AZ Dermastic Essential Toner ($34). “If something leaves your skin red or irritated afterwards, it means that the product is too harsh,” warns Dr. Kim. Next, add in hydrators that contain natural moisturizing factors including glycerin (like in Make P:rem Cicapro Cream, $37) and hyaluronic acid (try LJH Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule, $33), as well as ceramides and jojoba oil (both found in Yuripibu Cellum Amiad Cream, $38) which all soothe redness, lock in moisture, and calm skin over time.
The cause: Free radicals from the sun, microscopic particles in the air, and hard water can all trigger inflammation in skin leading to dark spots, flakiness, and breakouts, says Dr. Kim. “Everything from environmental issues like changes in weather and pollution to lifestyle factors related to stress, diet, and alcohol cause the skin barrier to weaken and collapse, making it look cloudy.”
The solution: Your newest security measure against the elements is a serum that creates an invisible film of protection like Blithe InBetween Makeup Prep Essence ($38), which uses fermented soybeans, rice, and tomato leaf extract to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and prep it for flawless makeup at the same time. For added skinsurance, incorporate products with antioxidants like Whamisa by Glow Recipe Green Tea Moisturizer ($25), which scavenge and destroy damaging free radicals throughout the day. And don’t even think about forgetting SPF (we love the light-as-air protection of Make P:rem Blue Ray Sun Fluid ($38); no respectable Korean woman leaves the house without a solid coat and a sun stick to reapply. Equally important is what you eat and how you treat your body in the long run, so start guzzling water, try committing to a solid night’s rest every day, and pack your plate with antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies. New year, new glow—right?!
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