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.
In the skin department, I was dealt a doozy. Somehow the universe (and my parents, love you mom!) blessed me with a skin type that’s like a magical unicorn: Parched-to-the-bone dry, but also acne-prone. You might think that sounds impossible…like maybe I got my skin type wrong? Or maybe I’m over-exfoliating and using too many harsh products that are stripping my skin so it just feels dehydrated? Let me assure you, my glow-loving friends, all of the above Does. Not. Apply. To. Me. My skin is—and has always been—dry, flaky, and pretty much impossible to keep hydrated on a consistent basis.
And to make matters worse, the second I hit puberty—bam—hormonal acne and all the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that comes along with it joined the party. Over the last decade, I’ve struggled to find the perfect regimen (one that delivers enough moisture without clogging pores) and have tried everything from diet changes to spa treatments to countless topical products with no lasting improvements.
That is, until this January, when I finally jumped on the K-beauty bandwagon. And let me tell you: The hype is real. After researching and reading everything I could find about multi-step routines, unusual ingredients, and boundary-pushing technologies—I began experimenting in hopes of finally unearthing a holy grail regimen that could tackle both my perpetual dryness and acne at the same time. I’m happy to report I freaking found it, and even happier to share that it doesn’t take a ridiculous number of steps. It’s the 3-Step Green Tea Routine from Whamisa by Glow Recipe ($60) and it’s literally changed my skin.
Here’s a breakdown of the products—and protocols—that have worked for me:
Step 1: A Gentle Cleanser
TBH, cleansing was never a priority for me. I assumed that something that washed away and didn’t stay on my face didn’t really matter. Turns out, I was dead wrong. If you choose the right formula for your skin type, you can actually give skin an added boost of moisture or brightening, while you’re removing dirt, makeup, and oil. It’s now become my most important step. I’ve learned that cleansing sets the foundation for the rest of your skincare and if you don’t do it properly, there’s zero point in applying fancy serums and moisturizer.
Since my skin is like the Sahara Desert, and anything geared towards acne tends to strip what little oil it naturally produces, I always turned to super rich cream formulas. They handled my dryness, but never helped address my issues with acne bacteria and clogged pores. I hate wasting my money, so I searched long and hard to find a cleanser that can remove dirt and makeup and keep oil in check without turning me into a raisin. Low and behold, the Whamisa By Glow Recipe Green Tea Foaming Cleansing Gel ($20) does it all.
The Green Tea Foaming Cleansing Gel is a jelly-like formula that’s ideal for oily/combination skin, but to my relief, it didn’t strip or make my unicorn skin irritated or flaky. It’s SLS-free, which allows the foam to remove dirt and oil in a gentle way while heavy duty (but non pore-cloggy) moisturizers like hyaluronic acid, kale extract, and grape seed oil leave skin soft and supple.
On top of that, there are bits of fermented green tea leaves suspended in the gel that deliver concentrated antioxidants, which is really amazing for anyone dealing with acne because they soothe and calm irritation. I’d only ever used green tea to depuff my eyes before, but since it has natural anti-inflammatory properties it makes sense that it helps heal acne, too. As soon as I swapped my go-to acne-fighters (think salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which are both very drying) with green tea, my dry, blemish-prone skin has balanced out and been a lot less angry. Now, when I look at myself in the mirror after double cleansing, my face looks brighter, more even, and not as red.
Step 2: A Lightweight Toner-Serum Hybrid
I’ve learned over the years that my winning skin recipe involves consistency, so it was a no-brainer for me to follow up the green tea cleanser with the Whamisa By Glow Recipe Green Tea Serum Toner ($22), which magically packs the skin-boosting concentration of a serum into the watery, whisper-light consistency of a toner. On top of saving me time and money, it’s been a total gamechanger for my skin. Unlike other toning products I’ve tried, the Green Tea Serum Toner didn’t feel harsh, stripping, or astringent-y in the least. Instead, the bouncy liquid felt like silk going on and absorbed instantly, while still giving my skin a noticeably plumper, more hydrated look. I love it so much that I actually look forward to doing my skincare routine now!
The Serum Toner has a base of steeped green tea (instead of plain water like most toners), which gives your face a turbocharged amount of antioxidants. Other key ingredients include moisture-binding hyaluronic acid, soothing bergamot oil, and brightening broccoli and licorice root extracts—all things my dull, blemished skin needs on the regular.
Since I’m on the drier side, I use it to do the 7-skin method, a technique that involves applying seven layers of toner to maximize hydration. Fellow dry skin-acne unicorns, take my word for it: 7-skin is where it’s at! It has single-handedly taken my skin to a whole other level of glow. Whenever I do it, my skin feels refreshed but not overloaded on product, which is crucial because that’s the kiss of death for breakouts and anyone who tends be reactive or sensitive. If you’re oily or combination, you probably won’t need as much; one to three layers usually gets the job done.
Step 3: A Non-Greasy Moisturizer
Wanting to stay true to my green tea experiment, I layered on the oil-free Whamisa By Glow Recipe Green Tea Moisturizer ($25) as my final step, which honestly, I was a little skeptical of. Sure, oil-free is great for acne, but would this formula be hydrating enough to tackle my dry patches?
To my surprise, this moisturizer did the job! Though, I admit the seven layers of Serum Toner may have swayed my glow factor. Regardless, I only needed a pea-sized amount of this vitamin-rich moisturizer to plump my whole face. Just like the cleanser and toner serum, the Green Tea Moisturizer is loaded with soothing green tea, rosemary leaf water, and a brightening mix of kale, broccoli, celery, and spinach to nourish and repair. Post-patting, I had this “chok-chok” (aka super hydrated) dewiness going on and no redness. Occasionally this winter, I’ve needed to double up to combat the super dry air and zero percent humidity, but when spring (finally!) rolls around next week, I’ll adjust the amount based on what my skin needs.
My Bottom Line
Over the last three months that I’ve been using this 3-Step K-Beauty Routine Kit, my skin genuinely looks better. I’m even getting compliments on how good my skin looks and that hardly ever happens. Within two weeks, my breakouts were no more. I still have a few dark marks left behind, but the blackheads on my cheeks have diminished and the large, red pimples are completely gone! And my pores are less noticeable, too. Even the Wayskin Skin Analyzer ($80) agrees: My skin no longer looks “middle aged”. Roger that, because what I’ve noticed is a more hydrated, clearer, glowier face over all.
This 3-piece set has taught me a lot about my skin and what it needs. I learned that sometimes less is more and that being gentle is the key to a successful skincare regimen. I’m a person that’s used to painful extractions, chemical peels, and drying ingredients to combat breakouts, but something as simple as adding a few antioxidants has been just as effective at clearing up my skin.
I’m going to continue to use this kit until each product is empty. It’s given me the confidence to up my complexion game and try to make my ultimate skin goal of #CloudlessSkin a reality. Stay tuned for updates!
What’s your miracle skin product? Let us know in the comments below!
I’m not someone who necessarily believes in miracles when in comes to my skin. Instead, I think the slow and steady outlook is the best one to adopt with skincare. I don’t expect my issues to be resolved overnight, although if I need an instant boost, I can put on this sheet mask that triples my moisture levels in 20 minutes flat. But real talk: Having naturally glowing skin takes some effort.
I adhere to a full-on, multi-step routine morning and night. And while the consistency has paid off, there’s a little K-beauty secret that I recently started doing that’s made the biggest difference in my skin. One word: Patting. So simple, yet so effective. I started patting, instead of rubbing, in everything from my toner to serums to face oils, and everything changed. I immediately noticed that my skin was plumper, more hydrated, and more receptive to absorbing every last drop of product I was applying. To find out exactly how this easy tweak can make a huge impact, I reached out to celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, who uses the same technique on her clients like Greta Gerwig and Elisabeth Moss to improve results. “Gently pressing oils and serums into your skin help to release active ingredients,” she saya. Here are a few reasons why you should be patting—not rubbing.
Everything Absorbs Better
As Vargas mentions above, this all has to do with the active ingredients in your skincare. By pressing in products that contain powerful actives like vitamin C, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid (which you can find in products like Blithe Vital Treatment Essence 9 Essential Seeds, $42; Make P:rem Radiance Peeling Serum, $44; and Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, $39, respectively), you’re activating those ingredients with the heat of your hands. The heat also helps dilate pores and blood vessels ever so slightly so your skin is more receptive to absorbing all those ingredients, leading to better penetration and ultimately glowier results.
You Wind Up Using Less Product
A big plus to patting: Because your products are working better, you end up having to use a lot less! This was especially true with my oils, which seemed to sink into my skin so much better—and faster—thanks to the heat of my hands. Instead of six to 10 drops of my go-to moisturizing oil (we like Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil, $40), I was able to feel fully hydrated with just three to four. And that means your products last longer, which is never a bad thing.
You Aren’t Tugging At Your Skin
You know how experts always say you shouldn’t rub the delicate skin around your eyes, including when you’re applying eye cream (try Whamisa by Glow Recipe Chai Tea Eye Cream, $26)? That’s also true for your entire face. Tugging and rubbing can mess up the elasticity of your skin, which means you might start sagging and seeing fine lines earlier than you would naturally. Patting helps minimize the possibility of sagginess and takes less of a toll on skin over time.
It Feels Ultra Luxurious
For me, this is possibly the most important part. My patting technique doubles as a mini massage, which I love at the end of a long day. It’s a little moment of luxury that reminds me to slow down and focus on myself. It’s a perk that doesn’t exactly have anything to do with your skin per se, but it does add a little pampering and self-care to your regimen, which we all deserve, if you ask me.
Share your best skincare tip in the comments below!
In the skincare world, no one outpaces innovation faster than South Korea and their obsession with cultivating the most results-driven ingredients and packing just-as-potent, professional-grade effectiveness into over-the-counter creams at lightening speed has—and continues—to bring constant newness that’s useful and downright transformative right to our bathroom shelfies.
But while new products may be front and center when it comes to emerging trends, there are a handful of innovations that helped put K-beauty on the map in the first place. Here, the OG got-to-try-them-if-you-haven’t-already breakthroughs that have already reached cult-favorite status.
Before the revolving door of multitasking hybrids, came these powerful treatment products that are part serum, part moisturizer and wholly a miracle for anyone looking to cut down on clutter and save time. They’re pretty much magic.
The triple-threat Tundra Chaga formula became an instant Shark Tank favorite and the first K-beauty product to sell out on QVC. The reason? It’s packed with 60% chaga mushroom extract that’s cool instead of heat-processed to preserve precious nutrients, as well as fermented olive and argan oils to boost hydration, even out texture, and smooth fine lines in one swipe. Plus, it has an unexpectedly bouncy, pudding-like consistency that you won’t find anywhere else to melt into skin and nourish without feeling heavy.
If you have oily to combo skin that tends to be red and pimple-prone, then you’re going to want something soothing and lightweight like the Crystal Iceplant gel. It’s equal parts potent and comforting with 63% ice plant extract, an especially hardy plant that survives in harsh climates. This all-in-one formula won’t clog pores, feels cool on contact, has major anti-inflammatory properties, and is rich in antioxidants to plump and repair dehydrated skin while calming irritation in a matter of minutes.
Need a little more assistance battling fine lines and wrinkles? Try the Velvet Yam version, which has a richer, velvety texture and is loaded with heavy-duty hydrators like mountain yam, macadamia oil, and shea butter. In Korea, mountain yam is coveted for its ability to brighten and even out skin tone and texture, which is exactly what you’ll notice with consistent use.
If your skin is parched or you’re in the market for some major glow, turn to Blithe’s latest formulation—the Gold Apricot Pressed Serum. A brightening mix of 31% apricot extract, niacinamide, and turmeric is blended with olive and sunflower seed oils to create a luscious whipped balm that hydrates like a boss and gives skin an instant glass skin finish. It’s so concentrated that a little goes a long way, so all you need is a pea-sized amount. Just warm it up between your fingertips and gently press onto clean, slightly damp skin. We also love using it like a non-shimmery highlighter; tap a tiny amount on the areas where light would naturally hit your face—cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and brow bones—on top of makeup for a high-shine effect.
Talk about sneaky! These high-tech blends look, feel, and splash on just like water, but they’re actually depositing active ingredients that target a myriad of problems at once: dullness, hyperpigmentation, rough texture, dryness, and breakouts. And the world has taken note: Copycat versions have popped up over the last year, everywhere from Sephora to the drugstore aisle. Why? Simply put, they’re a no-brainer beauty breakthrough that makes life—and your skin—so much better. All three formulas have a soothing mix of botanical extracts and exfoliating lactic acid, but each add an additional hero ingredient: green tea helps calm, citrus will brighten, and the berry one preps skin with protective antioxidants. Regardless of which one you choose, just splash a capful onto your face in the shower, wait 15-30 seconds, then rinse. Big-time payoff in the form of smoother, clearer skin with practically zero effort. Now, that’s genius!
Long before glitter masks took over our Insta feeds, there were these satisfyingly goopy, rainbow-hued rubberized masks from Seoul. (Live under a rock and haven’t seen them yet? Here they are in action.) Once available only at professional spas, the celebrity-loved K-beauty brand Lindsay developed an at-home, Instagram-worthy version in a handy, single-serving cup to deliver that fresh-from-the-facialist glow anytime. Each of the seven options contains a smattering of skin-nourishing minerals, including a special sea kelp extract that helps transform the base powder into a gelatinous mixture. The how-to: Mix with water, spread on a thick layer, take a selfie and watch the likes roll in. Peel off after 15-20 minutes and bask in the glory of instantly nicer skin.
The follow-up film to the OG rubber masks mentioned above? These next-gen modeling masks that give serious face gloss. Their main points of difference: To provide a potent injection of hydration thanks to a base of licorice extract, centella asiastica, and ginger and to leave skin with a subtle sheen, rather than a matte finish like their rubbery predecessors. Don’t expect them to get fully hard either; they dry into a soft, slippery, jelly-like film that’s super gentle on skin and easy to peel off. Choose the one that addresses your main skin concern: goji for antioxidants, clarifying for clogged pores, aqua for a double dose of moisture, gold for calming, and pearl for brightening.
Which K-beauty product is your fave? What about the one you’re dying to try?
Even the most casual of beauty users can rattle off a list of well-known skincare ingredients. Green tea, retinol, berries, exfoliating acids—we just can’t get enough of their complexion perfecting powers. But, since we’re always on the hunt for the newest and coolest products, we’ve found some new extracts you’re going to want to meet. From the latest pollution fighter to a cleansing herb that can make your skin and your spirit feel reborn, here are the new kids in skincare.
We love alpha-hydroxy and beta-hydroxy acids as much as the next person, but our latest acid crush is PHA (short for poly-hydroxy acid). Unlike AHAs and BHAs, this gentle acid stays on the skin’s surface, rather than penetrating below, to keep it from being overly irritating. It also helps draw moisture into the skin, so you don’t have to deal with dryness and peeling that’s usually associated with chemical exfoliation. One of our fave PHAs is lactobionic acid, which comes from the lactose in milk. Find it in Make P:rem’s Radiance Peeling Sleeping Pack ($30), a gel-cream that dissolves away dead skin cells to uncover dewy radiance and give skin a firm, plumped look and feel.
If you do have sensitive, easily irritated skin then you also need to be on the lookout for anti-inflammatory ingredients. The most promising addition to our skincare lineup? The ancient Chinese herb, centella asiatica (also known as Tiger Grass, because legend has it that tigers used to roll around in it to heal their wounds). Inflammation is the culprit behind everything from eczema to sunburns, so adding this naturally reparative extract to your routine will calm things down, making you look less red and irritated. Anytime it feels like our faces are flaking off—be it from general dryness or self-induced irritation from too many products—we turn to Make P:rem Cicapro Cream ($37). The healing cream is packed with centella asiatica, in addition to other super healers like moisture-locking glycerin, nourishing probiotics, and ultra-hydrating bamboo water to strengthen and soothe damaged skin.
Watch out vitamin C: There’s a new brightener in town. Rich in vitamins A and C and packed with antioxidants, apricot has emerged as the new way to make you glow. Just a little bit of this fruit will help fade any discoloration, leaving your skin smooth and even-toned. For the most effective results, look for products with a potent amount of apricot extract like Blithe Gold Apricot Pressed Serum ($49), which infuses 31% cold-processed apricot to maximize brightening. This innovative whipped oil doubles up on antioxidant power—thanks to the addition of berries and turmeric—while olive and sunflower seed oils give skin an almost otherworldly glossiness (without the stickiness) that we’re totally hooked on.
Speaking of antioxidants, have you checked out tomato leaf extract? No? Then you are missing out on one of the best sources of pollution protection on the planet. The plant naturally fights free radicals, including environmental aggressors from smog, dirt, and other not-so-nice particles in the air. That’s why we’re obsessed with how Blithe InBetween Makeup Prep Essence ($38) uses tomato leaf in their formula to create a barrier on the skin that literally shields it from all that junk. But that’s not all: Combined with rice and fermented soybeans—and the hyper-hydrator squalane—this lightweight serum also boosts radiance, primes your face for smooth makeup application, and even helps makeup slip off more easily at the end of the day. Talk about the total package.
This fragrant herb is good for so much more than just cooking: You can burn a bundle of it to clear away bad energy from your home or you can have an equally clarifying experience by using a sheet mask infused with sage oil to even out discoloration and purify skin. That’s right: Those deliciously scented leaves also happen to be a natural alternative to harsh brightening and detoxifying creams. The Make P:rem Safe Relief Moisture Mask ($5), specifically geared towards those with sensitive skin, is infused with it, the moisturizing powerhouse hyaluronic acid, and a nourishing Nordic berry extract to soothe, heal, and gently brighten reactive skin naturally.
Hydrolyzed Soy, Wheat, and Corn Proteins
We know that keratin amino acids are great for hydrating, firming, and building collagen in your skin but they are also derived from animals—something many of us aren’t okay with. Which is probably why we’re starting to see products that are using plant-based alternatives. Three such proteins are hydrolyzed soy, wheat, and corn. They’ll keep your skin barrier strong and help trap moisture without the guilt. The Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer ($39) features all three proteins to give you the best collagen-boosting results. It drenches your skin with oil-free, refreshingly cool moisture while nourishing and protecting against damaging free radicals. Like you needed any more reasons to love watermelons.
Which skincare ingredient can you not live without? Leave your answer in the comments below!
A sheet mask is supposed to be a one-hit-wonder in the very best sense of the word: You smooth it on, chill for 15 minutes while it works its glowy-ifying, hydrating, and brightening magic, then go about your business. But most of them have a common theme: instant results. They’re intended to give skin a quick shot of moisture (which don’t get us wrong, we love), but sometimes a girl just needs long-term moisture. Enter: the latest sheet mask innovation from Leegeehaam that actually delivers and maintains hydration over time. We put it and its brightening sister the Vita Propolis Nutrimask to the ultimate moisture test with the Wayskin Skin Analyzer, a high-tech beauty gadget that measures your skin’s hydration levels. Check out how they stacked up!
“This mask makes a great addition to any skincare routine and works for all skin types, but if you’re dry and breakout-prone like I am, I can wholeheartedly say that it makes all the difference in the world. I have extremely dry skin to the point where I develop eczema (and small pimples) if I don’t hydrate properly. OK, it doesn’t help that I don’t drink as much water as I should. But that’s why I’m always on the hunt for super hydrating products that don’t clog pores. The new Pink Juice Moisturizer ($39) and this new Leegeehaam Life Hyal B5 Moisture Mask are absolute game-changers for my super thirsty skin. The first thing I noticed when I put the mask on was how thin it was despite being completely saturated in skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, which is one ingredient my skin loves. It felt so light and surprisingly fit my face like a glove. Within 20 minutes, my skin was moisturized and dewy without feeling tacky to the touch. It wasn’t much of a shock to see my initial before and after Wayskin scores since it is winter time, but I hadn’t expected it to hold up when I woke up the next morning, especially since I just patted in the excess serum and skipped moisturizer altogether. I’m a chronic side-sleeper so I was sure the essence would wipe off on my pillow, but there was no mess at all! I loved that there was plenty of essence left over to apply on my décolletage and shoulders, which isn’t always the case with affordable sheet masks.” – Cortney, content intern
“When I was asked to test out the Leegeehaam Vita Propolis NutriMask, I jumped at the opportunity. I love that propolis has both healing and antibacterial benefits, which is why the Vita Propolis Ampoule ($38) has a forever home on my dresser. The texture of this mask felt very similar to one of my other skincare favorites — the Leegeehaam Tea Tree Soothing Mask ($5). They’re both lightweight cotton masks that hug the face without a lot of fuss. The Vita Propolis one came packed with a super silky, non-gloppy essence that kept my skin moisturized for a full 20 minutes without any fears of dripping. (Hello multitasking!) Needless to say, my expectations were fully met. I love that this sheet mask was able to combine two of my favorite skincare things — moisture and healing propolis — into one easy step. It also makes the perfect twice-a-week sidekick to my beloved daily Vita Propolis Ampoule and will definitely be a travel staple for me going forward.” – Kirsten, office manager
What do you look for in a sheet mask? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re one of those people who thinks K-beauty is intimidating (so many products, so little time), you clearly haven’t tried one of these specially-curated kits that take the guesswork out of taking care of your complexion. Here, six out-of-the-box offerings — all available at a special price — that make it easy to get the skin of your dreams.
Inspired by the viral K-beauty trend, glass skin, comes this 8-piece set that buffs and brightens your face to clear, luminous, seemingly translucent perfection. What’s inside: Two gentle cleansers that offer a deep, yet gentle cleanse, Whamisa’s Deep Rich Toner made with supercharged fermented ingredients that’s genius for doing the 7-skin method, a bouncy vitamin E-rich essence from Blithe, Make P:rem’s ultra-calming moisturizer, and an antioxidant-rich physical UV-blocking sunscreen designed to ward off any environmental aggressors that threaten to derail your ultimate pursuit of ‘gwang’ (aka that K-beauty glow). A bonus hydrating mist and mask are also included to amp up moisture anytime, anywhere. Plus, an adorable pink headband to keep you looking cute while you’re at it.
In Korea, if you’re not doing a sheet mask every day, then you’re not truly living. It’s the country’s secret for getting —and maintaining — soft, radiant, no filter-skin, and the best way to indulge in some daily self-care. This set of supercharged sheet masks provides a week’s worth of skin-perfecting, ultra-hydrating goodness and features a diverse assortment ranging from a silky cotton version packed with a brightening niacinamide gel-like essence, a soothing aloe vera- and camellia-infused hydrogel, and a selfie-worthy foil mask with squalane that locks in moisture while noticeably lifting and firming the skin in as long as it takes you to brew your morning coffee. At the end of seven days, you’ll end up with facial-level results and feeling way less stressed, because let’s face it: A face mask is freaking relaxing. Still think it’s a daunting task? Try one of these smart tricks for easily working sheet masks into your life, anytime, any place.
They say that before you can truly love someone, you need to learn how to love yourself. And what better way to start showing yourself some major love than with an indulgent 5-piece K-beauty kit that’s meant to replenish your mind, body, and skin. The Whamisa Organic Flowers Cleansing Water is a soothing cleanser that effortlessly sweeps away dirt, makeup, and oil—no tugging necessary—while the Deep Rich Toner and Rose Petal Facial Mist offer up double-duty hydration in the form of organic and fermented botanical extracts. The lightweight Blithe Inbetween Makeup Prep Essence primes skin perfectly for longwearing makeup and protects against free-radical damage. Finally, the Instant Glowing Cream blurs and boosts radiance-boosting immediately, while also repairing and smoothing skin long-term. The end game when used morning and night? A moisturized, supple, and luminous glow that shows the world just how much you love the skin you’re in.
Because men have skin too—and it deserves to glow as much as yours. This masculine-looking (nothing flowery or pink up in here) 5-step routine comes equipped with all the maintenance basics that will help keep your bae’s skin game on point. He’s got the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser to clear away grime while subsequently boosting skin with tons of hydration (you know, in case he doesn’t get around to doing anything else). If he does, the Yuripibu Parsley Herb Toner and Yuripibu Artichoke Power Essence post-cleanse will flood skin with lightweight moisture while gently purifying so oil slicks, stubborn breakouts, and razor burn are a thing of the past. To cover all his moisturizing bases, there’s also an intensely-hydrating, but weightless J.One Sleeping Pack that sinks in instantly and a badass superhero Wish Formula Bat Eye Mask that works brightening wonders without looking girly. Warning: Everything is so good, you may even want to steal them yourself.
Tell us what your ultimate #skingoal is in the comments below!
Feeling like your skincare routine isn’t working the way it should? It may have less to do with the actual products you’re using and more with how you’re actually using them. When applied correctly, and in the right order, you’ll boost absorption, get better results, minimize irritation, and allow your products to work up to their full potential. When used incorrectly, they’ll be ineffective — or worse, can actually do damage to your skin.
So what’s the exact game plan for maximizing product performance? First, stick to the golden rule of skincare: Start with the lightest product, and work your way up to the heaviest. Then, follow our handy guide, below. You’ll never be left wondering where to start or how to layer again.
Step 1: Cleanser
Arguably the most crucial step of any skincare routine. Because there’s zero point in slathering on (and investing!) in smart products if you’re going to put them on a dirty face. Seriously — the more effective you are at removing every speck of makeup, dirt, sunscreen, and excess oil, the better everything you put on top will work. To do that, douse a few cotton pads in cleansing water like Blithe Anti-Polluaging Himalayan Pink Salt Cleansing Water ($36) and sweep them across your face until they come up clean. You can also try dissolving the first layer of gunk with an oil-based cleanser like Yuripibu’s Grante Cleansing Oil ($36). Regardless of which first formula you choose, follow it up with a second cleanse to get rid of any leftover residue and bacteria. For the best results, look for one that’s geared towards your specific skin type: Try a gentle, hydrating formula like Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser ($34) if you’re dry or sensitive, an antibacterial foam like Leegeehaam Tea Tree 30 Cleanser ($30) if you’re oily/acne-prone skin, and a mild, SLS-free one like Whamisa by Glow Recipe Green Tea Foaming Cleansing Gel ($20) if you have combination skin.
Step 2: Toner
Your first post-wash step is toner, because “its job is to prep skin for whatever products are to follow,” says Calabasas, California, dermatologist Debra Luftman, M.D. But instead of reaching for one of those stripping, alcohol-based formulas, try one that’s meant to infuse skin with lightweight hydration like Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner ($40). For the best results, pat a few drops onto skin while it’s still damp — it’ll sink in better than if skin is totally dry. And feel free to adjust the amount depending on how much moisture you need; apply just one, a few layers, or up to seven (find out how to do the viral 7-skin method here) for major hydration.
The Viral K-beauty Trend for Clear Skin: 7 Skin Method | Glow Recipe - YouTube
Step 3: Essence, Serum, or Ampoule
Next, you want to reach for your essence, serum, or ampoule. (Try the pH-balanced, nourishing Make P:rem Safe Relief Moisture Essence, $35.) Serums tend to have the most active ingredients, so they should hit the skin when there isn’t anything else blocking its ability to penetrate. “You should also consider the amount of active ingredients in it,” Dr. Luftman says, especially if you’re using more than one. “The product with the most active ingredients should go first, so that it can penetrate the skin.” And just like with toner, make sure to pat them in instead of rubbing, which “helps release the active ingredients.” Just be extra cautious around your eyes — some potent serums may be too much for thin, under-eye skin.
Step 4: Eye Cream
While you’re waiting for your serum to absorb and do its thing, apply eye cream. Use your ring finger (it gives the least amount of pressure, says Luftman) to gently tap it in underneath and around your orbital bone. Again, choose one that works for your skin type. Try a lightweight gel like Whamisa Organic Flowers Eye Essence ($40) if you’re oily to combination or a thicker, creamier version like Whamisa by Glow Recipe Chai Tea Eye Cream ($26) if you’re on the drier side. Give each at least 30 seconds to soak in before moving on.
Step 5: Face Oil and Moisturizer
When it comes to face oil (we love Blossom Jeju 100% Camellia Seed Dry Oil, $30) and moisturizer (try Polatam Deep Moist Cream, $34), there’s some conflicting information about which to apply first, Dr. Luftman says. If you’re looking for just an extra hit of moisture, apply oil before moisturizer, so it can absorb into the skin and plump things up. If what you need is heavy-duty hydration, you may want to pat your oil on after your face cream to help seal it in and prevent moisture loss throughout the day. Or you can cheat the system completely and mix the two together.
Step 6: SPF
The last part of any solid skincare routine is SPF like Make P:rem Blue Ray Sun Gel ($32). By applying SPF last, regardless of whether it’s a physical or chemical sunscreen, you’re ensuring that you’re sealing in the rest of your skincare, while making sure it’ll actually do its job — protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Give it a full minute to settle in before applying makeup and at least 30 minutes before you step outside for maximum protection. And if you’re sweating or swimming, make sure to reapply every two hours.
Make P:rem Sunscreens | Glow Recipe Tutorials - YouTube
Have any additional skincare routine questions? Leave them in the comments below.
Who doesn’t love a good multitasking beauty product: a hair and body oil, a lip and cheek tint…a cleanser that doubles as a face mask? Yup, that’s right. In addition to gently whisking away dirt, makeup, and oil as a cleanser that actually boosts hydration with every wash, the works-for-all-skin-types, antioxidant– and AHA-packed Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser ($34) also makes a mean mask that brightens and plumps skin to glowy perfection—all in a matter of minutes. We asked three staffers to use it both ways, then measure their hydration levels with the Wayskin Skin Analyzer ($80). The results are shocking!
“After about two weeks of using a backup face wash, my skin was simultaneously broken out and super dehydrated. So when I finally got my new refill of the Blueberry Bounce cleanser and heard that I could use it as a 5-minute mask to help tackle both issues, I ran into the bathroom to give it a go. And let me tell you, using the cleanser as a mask is everything. Like cut-the-end-of-the-tube-off, good-to-the-very-last-drop everything. And it’s so easy to use: I applied a thin layer onto clean, dry skin and then went about the rest of my morning routine—brushed my teeth, ran a comb through my hair, and chose a lip color for the day. After a few minutes, I emulsified the mask with water and gave myself a quick mini massage before rinsing it off completely. I immediately noticed the calming hydration—the Wayskin numbers prove it—and how soft my skin felt. My face also looked less red and my breakouts didn’t seem as angry, which is the holy grail when it comes to acne. Best of all, I loved that it’s something I can do within the timeframe that it takes to set my coffee maker. If this cleanser-mask duo is not in your routine already, you may need to reexamine your life and choices!” — Katarina, sales specialist
“I’ve been using the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser for about two months, but didn’t realize until now that I could use it as a mask. So genius! All I did was let it sit on my face for a few extra minutes and it made the biggest difference. It refreshed my skin, provided even more moisture (just look at those Wayskin results!), and upped my glow thanks to the exfoliating AHAs. I’ll continue to use it as my daily cleanser (love that it’s fragrance-free and removes all of my makeup), but will definitely be incorporating it into my nightly routine as a mask a couple times a week, too!” — Janet, graphic designer
“The Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser is such a great way to boost your routine in a snap! When I use it in the evening, it literally brings life to my skin. I’m a full-face makeup kind of girl and it removes all of it with ease and leaves my skin completely clean without any tightness. But…using it as a quickie mask the next morning really blew my mind. To tell you the truth: I was skeptical that it would increase my moisture level at all, especially since my skin is naturally dry and I’m serious about loading up on hydration on the regular. But after washing off the mask and measuring my skin with the Wayskin device, it boosted my hydration score by 17 points. It also made my skin look smoother, plumper, and brighter than before. Bottom line: This cleanser is a serious gamechanger for anyone looking to glow.” — Krista, sales specialist
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.
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