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Cleansing is the first step in a skincare routine — and that’s an important thing to note: it’s not a pre-step to a skincare routine, but the first step. That means that how you cleanse your skin matters.
To start off, you don’t actually want to be cleansing your face to “squeaky clean.” If your skin is feeling tight and dry after cleansing, you’re likely using something too harsh for your skin that’s stripping your skin of its natural oils and damaging your skin barrier, the topmost layer of your epidermis, in the process. A healthy skin barrier is key to healthy, glowing skin, and a damaged skin barrier invites dryness, irritation, and inflammation because it can no longer serve its vital function of preserving the moisture in your skin and protecting it from environmental attack.
How do you know what kind of cleanser you should use, though? Is it just about ingredients? Does the texture matter?
While ingredients are important (always, always, always read labels), different textures are designed to work in different ways. Some cleansers are formulated to be more deep-cleaning while others are formulated to be super gentle, while even others have exfoliating properties, and it’s important to know both what your skin needs and what type of cleanser is best for your skin type.
Before we get into cleansers, here’s a quick primer on skin types.
Dry skin is dry all year round. It’s normal for skin to dry out during cold winter months (or hot summer months in dry climates like Los Angeles’), but, if you have dry skin, your skin will feel dry (and, often, itchy or irritated) no matter the season or climate. This is typically because your skin does not produce enough oil.
If you have oily skin, you deal with shine all year round. It’s normal for skin to feel more oily during summer months, but you’re likely always blotting away shine during the day no matter the weather because your skin just overproduces oil. Oily skin is more prone to breakouts and blemishes, but it’s worth noting that having oily skin doesn’t mean you’re dealing with acne all the time.
Combination skin is the tricky half-sibling to both dry skin and oily skin, and, if you have combination skin, you might have an oily T-zone and dry skin elsewhere, like your cheeks and around your mouth. Or you might have dry patches around your cheeks but have a normal T-zone. Or you might have normal skin everywhere except for your T-zone, which might be dry. Basically, combination skin is a combination of any of the other skin types, and it also means that your skin type might change frequently — some days, your skin will feel more oily, and, other days, it will feel more dry, partly as a reaction to the climate or season you’re in.
If you have normal skin, you have, well, normal skin. Congratulations.
Now that we’ve broken down the four dominant skin types, let’s talk about cleansers — six types of cleansers, to be precise. These aren’t the only types of cleansers out there, but they are the most common types. You’ve probably used one or more of these before.
Gel cleansers have the texture of gel (obviously) and are often designed for gentle deep cleansing. They’re able to get into clogged pores, helping decongest them and remove excess oil deep within skin, all without stripping skin dry and dehydrating it. Lightweight and smooth, gel cleansers tend to be more gentle and hydrating.
Recommended for oily, combination, and sensitive skin. Also recommended for acne-prone skin.
Recommended products: Lagom, Cellup Gel-to-Water Cleanser; Atoclassic, Real Tonic Soothing Multi Cleanser
Cream cleansers are usually thicker and smoother in texture, packed with moisturizing ingredients, and, when applied to your face, they whip into a smooth cream lather. Cream cleansers work gently without stripping your skin of its natural oils as they’re designed to be very gentle and very moisturizing.
Lightweight in texture, foam cleansers start as cream or gel cleansers that burst into a rich, foamy lather when you pump them into your hand. Because of their light texture, you might think them to be very gentle, but foam cleansers are formulated for that deep cleanse, which means they can sometimes make skin feel drier than other cleansers might.
Recommended for oily and combination skin. Also recommended for acne- and/or breakout-prone skin. Not recommended for dry skin.
On the surface, micellar water seems like water that just smells nice, but it’s not — it’s soft water with tiny oil molecules (“micelles”) suspended in it. These micelles help attract oil, dirt, and makeup, which helps cleanse skin and remove makeup. Micellar water works great as a first step to help remove and dissolve makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities. We recommend following micellar water with another cleanser because it’s not the most recommended to keep micelles sitting on skin.
Recommended for dry and sensitive skin. Also recommended for acne-prone skin.
Recommended products: Koh Gen Do, Cleansing Water
An oil cleanser is highly effective at decongesting clogged pores and removing makeup (including waterproof makeup!) without drying out your skin. Remember that oil attracts oil, which is why oil cleansers are able to go into pores and help draw out oils and gunk that have accumulated in pores — that’s why oil cleansers are the first step of the famed double cleanse technique that’s an integral part of the Korean skincare routine. After you use an oil cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, and sweat, follow up with a water-based cleanser to clear away water-based impurities and any excess oil and makeup that may have been left behind.
Recommended for most skin types, even oily!
Recommended products: Aromatica, Natural Coconut Cleansing Oil; Banila Co, Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm
Powder cleansers turn into cream cleansers when they come into contact with water, and they provide gentle exfoliation while they cleanse — gentle being the key word here. Powder cleansers are unlike traditional physical exfoliant; they move smoothly against your skin without pulling or scratching or otherwise irritating or damaging your natural skin barrier.
Recommended for oily and sensitive skin.
Recommended products: Dr. Dream, Rose Line Mild Natured Powder Cleanser
Myth One: if I have a certain skin type, like dry skin, that means all the skin on my face is dry. Myth Two: multi-masking is only for people with combination skin. Myth Three: multi-masking is just a marketing gimmick to get me to buy more products.
Your skin type is your general skin type — like, if you have dry skin, your skin, as a whole, tends to be more dry all over your face. Combination skin means you have completely different skin types on your face — for instance, your T-zone might be oily but your cheeks might be dry. When you read that, you might think, Doesn’t that mean Myth Two isn’t actually a myth?
However! Even if you don’t have combination skin, the thing is that not all the skin on your face is going to be the same or have the same concerns. For example, your skin type might be dry because your skin in general is dry, but you might have drier, flaky patches around your lips, more oil production (and, maybe, breakouts) on your T-zone, and blackheads on your nose. You might have some scarring and dark spots on your cheeks and fine lines around your eyes. You can treat these issues generally with one mask, but, sometimes, you might want to target these individual trouble areas by giving them some special attention.
Think about serums and ampoules. Serums and ampoules are the step in your skincare routine where you can really target your unique, individual skin concerns. While you can apply them to your whole face, you might prefer to use an ampoule to target a specific concern on a specific area of your face.
For example, take hyperpigmentation! Maybe you have a smattering of hyperpigmentation on the tops of your cheeks, and you want to focus on fading those pesky spots. You might apply a vitamin C ampoule just to that area.
Multi-masking is simply an extension of that same principle, just applied to your whole face at once, so think about what your skin needs.
The most obvious way to multi-mask is to look for ingredients in leave-on masks that address your concerns, applying them to the areas on your face they’re needed. For dry patches, look for masks with hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica extract, or chia seed extract. For oily areas, like your T-zone, look for kaolin clay, charcoal, or propolis extract. For hyperpigmentation, look for vitamin C, niacinamide, or licorice extract. For visible signs of aging, look for peptides, ginseng, or blue agave extract.
If you have some really specific concerns, here are a few creative ideas to multi-mask!
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Struggle with really dry patches under your eyes?
If you have really dry skin under your eyes, try using eye gel patches then layering a sheet mask on top! The sheet mask will help keep the gel patches hydrated, so they can really work to sink hydration and moisture into your delicate under-eye area. The sheet mask will also, of course, hydrate your face — pick one that targets your overall skin concerns!
(We really like the Shangpree Marine Energy Eye Mask. We like layering the Peach & Lily Original Glow sheet mask over it so our whole face can glow.)
Have pesky fine lines and want a burst of hydration but need to leave for work in 15 minutes?
Use the Shangpree eye gel patches under and around your eyes … and also apply gel patches to your laugh lines around your mouth! Apply a hydrating wash-off mask (like Femmue’s Flower Infused Fine Mask) to the rest of your face, and let that sit for 10 minutes. Wipe off the mask with cleansing tissues (like Ariul’s Stress Relieving Purefull Cleansing Tissues), remove the gel patches, and spritz your face liberally with a hydrating face mist and seal things in with your favorite moisturizer. Follow that up with your favorite SPF, and get out that door on time!
Need intense hydration but don’t have multiple masks just lying around?
We get that! If you have dry patches that need an intense blast of hydration, we recommend using your cleansing balm as a mask. A solid cleansing balm like Femmue’s Extraordinary Beauty Cleansing Balm and Banila Co’s Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm can double as a super hydrating mask when your skin’s feeling particularly parched — they’re formulated with beneficial oils that not only hydrate your skin but also form as a barrier as they rest on your skin, so all those beneficial ingredients have a chance to sink in deep.
Plus, the balm will then fully cleanse off your other masks when you rinse everything off with lukewarm water!
The thing about multi-masking is to have fun with all the masks out there and really target your skin needs. What are some fun combinations you’ve thought of for your skin? Share them with us below! We’d love to know — and steal some secrets from you!
The sleeping pack. What exactly is a sleeping pack? Is it just a really thick night cream? Is it just another name for a mask? Is it different? Why is it such a big deal?
In Korea, the sleeping pack — also called a sleeping mask — is considered essential to optimal nighttime skincare. Korean sleeping packs are at once potent and gentle, an efficient way to deliver beneficial ingredients straight into skin’s deepest layers during the body’s regenerative sleep cycle, transforming skin from the inside out.
“A sleeping mask is made to provide hydration and nourishment for skin to revive during the time sleeping at night,” says Yu Jin Oh, CEO of the Korean beauty brand, The Pure Lotus. “It is a type of product created to reflect how Korean women want to care for their skin not just during the day but also while they sleep.”
Who doesn’t love sleep?
The great thing is that sleep not only feels good — it also helps our bodies repair from a day filled with skin-damaging stressors. As we sleep, our bodies flush out neurotoxins and produce reparative hormones, instead of the stress hormones (i.e. cortisol) often generated when we’re awake. Skin, the largest organ in the human body, similarly experiences these regenerative activities as we sleep, so products that encourage cell turnover and help stimulate collagen production can, ideally, assist our bodies in their natural healing process.
“Skin regenerates itself between ten p.m. and two a.m.,” says Bunji, the Sales Director of Mizon, speaking on behalf of the brand’s storied R&D team. “Therefore, skincare at night helps your skin stay moisturized and healthy during the day. It is advised to apply a mask before sleeping and leave it on to absorb throughout the night, helping you get more beauty out of your beauty sleep.”
Meant to be massaged into skin as the last step in an evening skincare routine (replacing a moisturizer), the active ingredients in sleeping masks penetrate throughout the night. Further, sleeping masks also seal in facial skincare treatments like serums, ampoules, and oils.
When it comes to overnight masking, one of the most important benefits to look for is, of course, hydration. Overnight formulas all contain some sort of humectant, which attract water to your skin and bind water to help hydrate skin from the inside-out, and, according to Nancy Paneer, Peach & Lily’s in-house esthetician, humectants are available in both natural and synthetic iterations. Neither is more or less beneficial than the other.
“For example, glycerin is the most common humectant which can be both synthetic or plant-based, which is more natural,” she says. “Hyaluronic acid is another popular humectant that’s also found naturally in the dermal layers of human skin in the form GAGS or glycosaminoglycans — large protein molecules and water-binding substances found between the fibers of the dermis. There are others like Sodium PCA, sorbitol, seaweed extracts, algae, and propylene glycol, as opposed to European products which have alcohol denat in them.”
Now that we’ve hopefully explained sleeping masks to you more clearly, here are three sleeping packs from a few of our favorite brands.
The Pure Lotus, Lotus Leaf Extract Sleeping MaskBenefits: Helps hydrate dry skin, fight wrinkles, and prevent free radical damage
Containing 70% lotus leaf extract, this overnight mask comes packed with high concentrations of antioxidants and antibiotics. It features a blend of nourishing botanicals, including a very special lotus leaf extract sourced from Korea’s pristine Jeju Island.
“Lotus leaves have a high rate of removing free oxygen radicals, which destroy skin’s collagen layer and cause blemishes and freckles, resulting in premature aging,” says Oh, adding that the brand is in the process of securing an antioxidant patent. “Lotus leaf extract has powerful antioxidative effects.”
The Lotus Leaf Extract Sleeping Mask is also an excellent hydrator. Soft and buttery in texture, it has ingredients like shea butter, aloe leaf extract, and panthenol. Describing the texture, Oh says, “It has more weight to it than a day cream but is lighter than a night cream. It’s formulated to be long-lasting, thanks to a gel network made with water-soluble ingredients that provide hydration, along with oil-based ingredients that provide nourishment and build a hydration shield.”
According to Oh, the mask’s “refreshing” texture has been formulated to keep the mask on your skin, rather than on your pillow. “One of the common complaints when using sleeping packs is that they become more solid over time and smudge the pillow while sleeping,” she says. “The Lotus Leaf Extract Sleeping Mask has eliminated this inconvenience and gives only you moist skin after sleeping.”
Eco Your Skin, Lavender Bedside MaskBenefits: Provides gentle exfoliation and long-lasting hydration
This Lavender Bedside Mask is a calming lavender and milk formula that’s been blended with milk proteins and salicylic acid. As you sleep, thanks to the lactic and salicylic acids, it gently exfoliates away dead skin cells, so you wake up to a calm, clear complexion. The lavender extract adds elements of aromatherapy, making this sleeping mask ideal for those who struggle with stressful days and restless nights.
Shanho Jin, Eco Your Skin’s Director, says, “The Bedside Mask tidies dead skin cells and regenerates skin while providing synergy during sleep. It is made with ingredients that become more effective with time, especially salicylic acid, which slowly tidies dead skin cells while you sleep, and protein ingredients that help regenerate cells. As it is in activation mode for 4 to 5 hours, the mask is best to apply right before sleeping.”
The skin-soothing formula also includes 15 amino acids that help prevent loss of elasticity, while helping brighten and tighten your overall complexion. Meant to help address issues brought on from irregular sleeping patterns, this mask works on tired skin to undo the day’s damage and restore a healthy glow.
“The Bedside Mask purifies skin that’s been stimulated by harmful external elements,” continues Jin. “Tired skin loses hydration and nourishment, which leads to a loss of elasticity and an uneven skin surface due to dead skin cells. It creates a negative cycle and interferes with skin’s ability to breathe. It is important to remove dead skin cells and provide enough hydration and nourishment for skin to relax.”
With a relaxing floral scent, this mask is fast-absorbing and lightweight and leaves behind a subtle matte finish. Use it as the last step of your evening skincare routine before bed or apply over a moisturizer if your skin is feeling particularly dry.
“The soft lavender scent as you massage the product onto your skin will also help relax your mind and aid in a good night’s sleep,” says Jin. “The next day, after dead skin cells have been managed, skin becomes more silky and ready for applying makeup.”
Mizon, Snail Wrinkle Care Sleeping MaskBenefits: Helps combat breakouts, rough texture, dark spots, and fine lines
If you’re familiar with Korean skincare, you’ve probably heard of Mizon. Mizon went viral years ago when they launched their famed All-in-One Snail Repair Cream, and now they have an entire product line featuring that celebrated K-beauty ingredient, snail extract.
Mizon’s Snail Wrinkle Care Sleeping Mask is part of that line, and it’s a power-packed blend of 50% snail extract, 4 types of peptides, and a medley of botanical and herbal extracts.This gentle-yet-potent mask works by targeting fine lines and wrinkles while you sleep because it sends peptides and adenosine deep into skin to help plump things up as you sleep, and, as a whole, the mask helps firm skin, increase elasticity, and, most importantly, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
“The Snail Wrinkle Care Sleeping Mask gives skin energy, wrinkle care, and elastic improvement,” says Bunji. “It contains shea-butter and honey extract, which forms a moisturizing layer on your skin, so you will feel very moisturized and relaxed. It’s good for all skin types, especially for dry and sensitive.”
Another benefit of snail extract is the decreased appearance of dark spots and acne scars. If you have troubled, congested skin, this is the sleeping pack for you — and, before you ask, snail extract is sourced ethically and, in fact, is generated only when the snails are feeling happy and peaceful.
You’ve opened a product, and it’s been some time, and you’re not sure if you should still use it — or you’ve just bought a new product, and you’re confused because there are two dates written on the bottom.
What do those numbers mean?
And how do you know when your products have expired?
Skincare products don’t all include expiration dates — because they don’t have to.
In the US, only products that are regulated as over-the-counter drugs, like sunscreens and acne products, have official expiration dates printed on them, but other skincare (which is considered cosmetic) is kind of up to the discretion of the manufacturer. Korean brands that sell in the US will obviously operate under US laws, so the same thing applies — printing the expiration date is up to the brand.
To add to that, Korean brands sometimes opt to print manufacturing dates on their products because that helps consumers know exactly how fresh their products are, as opposed to an expiration date, which indicates when a product is likely to be no good. We can go back and forth on which date is more useful, and, of course, having a number at all is nice.
The main thing to remember about products and expiration, though, is that, it’s important to remember when you’ve opened a product. Even if you get a super fresh product, once you open it, the clock that is that product’s shelf life starts ticking. Opening a product starts exposing it to oxygen and bacteria, which means that the product is now open to contamination.
That’s why Korean brands usually include the PAO (“Period After Opening”) — a little jar logo with a number and the letter “M” written in it — indicating the period after opening that a product will be good. Which means, if you open a particular product that has a PAO of “12M”? You should try to use that product within twelve months because it may no longer be good for your skin after.
Korea formats dates differently — and uses, well, Korean.
In the US, we write our dates as month, day, year — aka, February 13, 2019, or 02132019. Asian countries format their dates as year, month day — aka 2019 February 13 or 20190213 or, even abbreviated, 190213.
And then there’s the language difference — for products sold in the US, Korean brands will print labels with ingredients, how-to-use directions, and brief product descriptions in English, but, oftentimes, that’s it. That means that, if there’s a date printed on the product, it will be include a qualifier explaining what that date means … in Korean. Sometimes, there might be two dates because some brands like to include both the manufacturing and expiration dates on their products, and they’ll clearly indicate which date is which … in Korean.
Luckily, they’re very short words, so, to make it super easy, we have this graphic for you.
Don’t just rely on dates; follow your intuition.
If you’re not sure when you opened your product, also follow your intuition.
If your product is separating (like, if your moisturizer no longer looks creamy, but instead has a layer of oil sitting on top of a more solid, gloopy mass), it’s probably no good. Similarly, if your product has a weird smell, it’s probably no good. If it feels weird on your face, it’s probably definitely no good.
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to applying things to your skin, so, if you suspect that a product has gone bad, throw it out. We know it can feel wasteful, but applying bad products to your skin can cause irritation, sensitivity, and other kinds of skin problems.
For general guidelines, though, an unopened product generally has a shelf life of three years from the manufacturing date. An opened product generally has a shelf life of one year, unless that PAO label tells you otherwise. Even so, trust your instincts. The PAO isn’t a hard-and-fast rule because there are a lot of factors that can impact how quickly a product gets contaminated.
Here are a few tips to get the most shelf life out of your products.
First, store your products properly! Don’t let them sit out in direct sunlight or expose them to extreme temperatures, including the refrigerator. This isn’t a rigid rule to follow (like, we do like storing our sheet masks in the fridge because the cooling sensation helps depuff), but, generally, the refrigerator can be too cold an environment for your skincare products, which are formulated to be stable at room temperature. Of course, though, if your product specifically says it needs to be stored in the refrigerator, of course, you should do as it says. For most products, though, we like to keep them in cool, dry spaces, like cabinets or drawers.
Second, use the spatulas that come with products in jars! You’ve seen them — Korean brands love including spatulas with their jarred products, and those little spatulas haven’t been manufactured and included with the product just to be cute. Every time you dip your fingers into a jar, you’re introducing contaminants to your product, which will help it go bad faster.
What about the spatulas, though? If you’re using them and leaving them out, won’t they also collect contaminants? We like wiping down our spatulas or rinsing them after use, and we also recommend keeping a little spray bottle of alcohol with your skincare products — that way you can spray some alcohol onto a cotton pad and wipe down your spatula before using it, so you know your spatula is clean and sterile.
Third, this is an obvious thing, but, sometimes, the obvious needs to be stated — make sure you’re closing your products properly! Don’t leave your jars cracked open or your lids uncapped; make sure you close your products when you’re done with them, preventing oxygen and bacteria from collecting in your products. Doing so will help keep your products good and effective longer!
We hope that was helpful! If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments below!
It’s cold, and it’s time to go to bed, but you don’t want to leave the warmth of your sofa or bed or wherever you’ve curled up (probably near the radiator). You still need to cleanse your face, though, and go through some kind of routine … but your bathroom is too cold or it feels too far away, and you just want to clean your skin, moisturize, and go to sleep with as minimal movement required as possible.
… who says you need a sink to do your routine, right?
On lazy cold nights like these, when we’ve come home from work in freezing rain or snow or both, we like to keep things cozy, which means we like to get creative.
We start with a good cleansing wipe that will remove our makeup, sunscreen, and environmental grime and leave our skin feeling fresh and clean, no residue or stickiness left behind. Ariul’s Stress Relieving Purefull Cleansing Tissues are particularly nice, generously-sized with a pleasant citrusy scent (thanks to citrus oils) that feels and smells pleasant as we rub it very gently over our skin, even around our eyes to remove mascara, brow gels, and other eye makeup. Because these Cleansing Tissues contain oil, they’re able to get at those oil-based impurities!
(Of course, though, a cleansing tissue can’t get as deep into our pores as an actual oil-based cleanser can … but we can go back to our sinks and “proper” cleansers tomorrow.)
After we’ve removed our makeup with a cleansing tissue, we take one or two cotton pads and pump a cleansing or micellar water (like Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Water) once or twice, saturating the cotton pads and swiping them (gently) over our faces. The water-soaked cotton pads will help pick up water-based grime like sweat and dirt, as well as anything left over from the cleansing tissue — and it’s like we’re getting our double cleanse in, even sans sink!
If our skin is feeling a little dull and in need of some gentle exfoliation, we like these Ground Plan First Clear 2 in 1 Peeling Pads, which are microfiber on one side, organic cotton on the other. They’ve been soaked in a gentle formula that contains AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs, helping slough away dead skin cells through both physical and chemical exfoliation, so skin looks brighter and feels smoother. The best part? The pads are soaked in just the right amount of formula, so you don’t have to deal with excess formula dripping all over the place — or run to the sink to rinse your hands.
We then keep our toner/essence step super simple by using a face mist; we really like Lagom’s Cellus Mist Toner. Because it’s a toner, it helps balance the pH level in our skin, which helps keep our skin barrier intact and protected, but, because it’s a mist, it’s super hydrating — as well as soothing thanks to camellia extract and nourishing thanks to green tea extract and rose oil. The Mist Toner sprays evenly onto our face in a fine, uniform layer, and we make sure to pat the excess in, so all the hydration gets into our skin instead of evaporating away.
Finally, we seal everything in with a moisturizer, and, these days, we’ve been liking the SOS Balancing Gel Cream from Shangpree. Packed with botanicals and plant extracts, this gel moisturizer cream is hydrating and nourishing, helping protect and rejuvenate our natural skin barrier, so our skin is better able to stay hydrated and protected against the harsh winter climate. We like to apply this as part of our nighttime routine, so our skin is able to soak in all the nutrients while we get our beauty sleep.
And there you have it! A nighttime skincare routine we like to do from the comfort of our sofas or our beds or whenever we feel most cozy and comfortable. Of course, this shouldn’t be our routine every night, but we know you get it — you’ve been there, too. And, of course, you can substitute out any of the products mentioned for your favorite products — the important part is that you still remove your makeup, cleanse skin, and apply proper hydration, even on nights you just want to be warm and cozy … and not go into that cold bathroom.
So, you’re new to skincare. Or you want to make some changes to your routine. Or maybe you want to try out the Korean skincare routine.
We know — there are so many products out there and so many steps in the Korean routine that it can all feel very intimidating. Where should you start? What kinds of products should you start with? Do you need to be double cleansing? Should you start with all ten steps? How should you get started?
It’s okay! We’re here to help.
Determine your skin type.
When we talk about skin type, we’re typically referring to four basic skin types: dry, combination, normal, and oily. We like to recommend you start by identifying your skin type because skin type is the general category that will point you in a general direction of the types of products you should be looking for.
There are different ways you can go about figuring out your skin type, but, for our purposes, we recommend the clean face method because it’s simple: cleanse your face, dry it, and don’t apply any products. Just let your skin sit.
After thirty minutes, look at your skin, then check it again thirty minutes later. Does your face look shiny all over? Does it feel kind of slick to the touch? If you applied blotting paper to your face, would it come away saturated with oil, no matter where you applied the paper? If so, you likely have oily skin.
Is part of your face (i.e. your T-zone) shiny while other parts (i.e. your cheeks) feel tight and parched? Or is part of your face shiny while other parts feel just fine? Or, alternately, do some areas on your face just feel fine while other parts feel tight and patchy? You likely have combination skin, which put simply means that parts of your face are one skin type while other parts are, well, a different skin type. People commonly think that combination skin is a combination of dry and oily, but combination skin can be a mix of any of the skin types, oily/normal, dry/normal, etcetera.
Does your skin feel tight and parched all over? Is it starting to show ashy patches? Does it feel flaky, maybe even itchy? You likely have dry skin.
And, finally, does your skin feel just fine, balanced and hydrated? Lucky you — you likely have normal skin.
Before we move on, there are a few other things to remember about skin types:
Just because you break out doesn’t mean you have oily skin. Oily skin types may be more prone to regular, more intense breakouts, but breakouts alone are not an indication of skin type.
Skin concerns like sensitivity or redness are not the same as skin types; they’re concerns that can affect any skin type.
Your skin type can change! Skin types are dependent on a whole variety of factors, from genetics to hormones to climate, amongst others, so your skin type can change depending on your stress levels or, even, depending on the season.
Start with the basics; don’t just jump into the 10-step routine.
We like the Korean 10-step routine (obviously), but we admit that it’s a lot to jump into right away — it might not even be the most beneficial for you to inundate your skin with so many products at once all of a sudden.
When you’re just starting to figure out your routine, we recommend starting with the very basics — a cleanser, a toner, and a moisturizer — and maybe adding a general good-for-skin-health serum (like the Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum) if you want.
Give your skin time to respond to your selected products, and listen to your skin. Just because a certain product is recommended for your skin type doesn’t mean that it’ll be the right product for your skin; it could still be too heavy or too drying or too greasy. Your skin is its own unique organ, and, unfortunately, there’s no way around the trial-and-error process that is developing your own skincare routine.
So have fun with it! Ask for samples, and read return policies! And, as you get more comfortable with products and start to identify specific skin concerns, gradually add other products into your routine. Remember to give your skin time to show results — generally, it will take about 3-4 weeks for a product to start working. At the same time, if your skin shows signs of irritation/redness or starts to feel sensitized, stop using that product immediately and go back to the basics, and give your skin time to calm down and your natural skin barrier to be revitalized before trying new products again.
Normal skin can take a wider range of textures and products than other skin types, but you should still be gentle with normal skin, avoiding harsh products and opting for products that hydrate, nourish, and balance skin. Start with the double cleansing technique — using an oil-based cleanser first and following that with a water-based cleanser — to get a thorough but gentle cleanse that won’t strip your skin dry. Follow that with a toner that will help balance the pH level in your skin, and hydrate and seal everything in with a moisturizer. Normal skin types don’t necessarily need very thick textures.
Recommended products: Banila Co’s Clean it Zero Cleansing Balm, Aromatica’s Sea Daffodil Cleansing Mousse, Ground Plan’s First Clear Skin, Lagom’s Cellus Mild Moisture Cream
Dry skin requires lots and lots of hydration, so you want to be thinking about hydrating with every single step, even when it comes to cleansing. Look for super gentle cleansers that will give you that deep cleanse without over-cleansing or stripping your skin dry, whether they’re oil-based or water-based! Some oil-based cleansers can be too strong, removing all oil from skin, even the good oils that balance skin and keep it healthy.
Dry skin types might want to opt for a toner/essence that will help balance skin’s pH level while also drenching skin with hydration — you might want to try a waterless toner/essence that is all about hydration. You should also opt for a thicker moisturizer to help seal moisture in and deliver emollients to help fill in the gaps in those dry, flaky patches, so your dry skin can get the relief of deep hydration and conditioning it so desires.
Recommended products: Femmue’s Extraordinary Beauty Cleansing Balm, Shangpree’s S-Energy Facial Mousse Cleanser, May Coop’s Raw Sauce, Lagom’s Cellus Deep Moisture Cream
Combination skin can be particular and difficult to figure out. We recommend taking things gently, cleansing thoroughly with products that won’t strip your skin dry, and applying products in layers. Combination skin types might benefit more from textures that are more gel-like or pudding-like, instead of heavy, thick creams, though, if you one of your skin types is dry, you may want to layer on something heavier on those dry patches.
Recommended products: Eco Your Skin’s Oil to Foam Cleanser, Lagom’s Cellup Mist Toner, Peach & Lily’s Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream
Oily skin can benefit a lot from the double cleansing technique, which might sound counterintuitive because adding oil to already oily skin? Won’t that make oily skin even worse?
Oil-based cleansers help sweep away excess oil, though, while also dissolving stubborn makeup, sunscreen, and other oil-based impurities. They go deep into pores and remove debris, oil, and other gunk, and, by doing so, oil-based cleansers can actually help balance sebum production and help prevent breakouts by clearing away excess sebum and bacteria-laden congestion that can lead to acne, blackheads, and other irritations. Make sure to follow up your oil-based cleanser with a water-based cleanser to remove sweat, dirt, and any remaining residue.
A toner helps balance the pH in skin, and we recommend looking for a toner that also has light exfoliating properties to help remove dead skin cells on the surface of skin. Oily skin types should never forget to moisturizer as well, though you should generally avoid thick creams — we recommend lighter textures that will absorb quickly while sealing moisture into skin. It’s important to remember that oily skin can get dehydrated, too, so it’s crucial to make sure your skin is getting sufficiently hydrated. When skin becomes dehydrated, it often responds by amping up sebum production, which leads to even oilier skin.
Recommended products: Be the Skin’s Daily Complete Cleansing Oil, Aromatica’s Tea Tree Balancing Foaming Cleanser, Peach & Lily’s Good Acids Pore Toner, Peach Slices’ Citrus-Honey Aqua Glow
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, reach out to experts!
There’s nothing wrong about asking for help!
If you’re not sure where to start, take advantage of Peach & Lily’s complimentary Ask Lily program! Email your skin questions and concerns to email@example.com, and one of our in-house estheticians will get back to you with answers and product suggestions to set you up on your personalized routine!
Over the past year, we’ve been hearing a lot about Japanese beauty (J-beauty) making a comeback, slated to overcome the buzzy “trend” that is Korean beauty (K-beauty). There have been quite a few pieces making the rounds, putting J-beauty and K-beauty against each other, J-beauty often being heralded as the mature, quiet stalwart while K-beauty is written off as the “cool little sister.”
Is it really such a competition, though? Are Korean beauty and Japanese beauty so diametrically opposed?
Or are they maybe much more similar than people think?
Fundamentally, Korean and Japanese beauty have the same ideals.
This isn’t a surprise, given how Korea and Japan (and China) have historically been very intertwined (not always happily). There’s been a lot of mutual rubbing-of-shoulders, so you may find that Korean beauty and Japanese beauty (because these are the two up for conversation, not to disregard Chinese beauty) actually have more in common than not.
Both K-beauty and J-beauty are highly regimented, and they’re both big proponents of the double cleansing technique, especially at the end of the day when it comes time to remove makeup, cleanse skin, and let it rest and heal overnight. They also both focus on hydration and layering, preferring gentle products that won’t aggravate or irritate skin, even when it comes to exfoliants — both Korean and Japanese beauty look for ingredients that are effective but also gentle, soothing, and calming.
K-beauty and J-beauty both take the preventive approach, instead of the reparative. They want to prevent wrinkles from showing, dark spots from happening; they choose to anticipate these skin problems and try to get ahead of them, instead of treating them once they happen — it’s why people in both countries tend to start their skincare regimens when they’re as young as middle schoolers.
Further, they both respect consumers, understanding that consumers in Korea and Japan like to care for their skin and invest both time and money in skincare — they know that consumers educate themselves about skin and their skin needs and, therefore, expect the best from their products.
They also both pull from traditional ingredients.
People commonly speak of traditional ingredients when they talk about Japanese beauty, while Korean beauty is often given descriptors like “innovative” or “trendy,” when the truth is — both Korean and Japanese cultures go back centuries, and both present-day Korean and Japanese beauty cultures call back to their ancient traditions, having deep respect for the wisdom passed down generation to generation. Both cultures also share a love for some of the same traditional ingredients, from matcha to rice to camellia oil.
Korean beauty also regularly features hanbang ingredients, which are traditional ingredients that have been passed down through generations; brands like Atoclassic have even built their brand identities and philosophies around these hanbang ingredients. Even outside of beauty, it’s still common for Koreans to turn to medicines called hanyak made of these very same ingredients, with recipes for all kinds of bodily needs, from acid reflux to inflammation to pregnancy-related issues, amongst others.
Of course, there are differences. Japanese beauty is, indeed, more about minimalism and tradition.
The Japanese beauty approach is to lean more towards functionality and simplicity. It tends more for products that do multiple things in order to pare down a skincare routine, as opposed to the more involved Korean 10-step routine, and keep it thorough but minimal, a reflection of Japanese culture itself, which is one of quiet, stoic politeness.
It is a beauty approach that is slower, considering beauty as something that takes time, patience, and consistency over a longer period of time. Japanese beauty also tends less towards “hot” and “trendy” things, opting for ingredients that are more rooted in tradition and have that long-standing foundation in its history and culture.
Korean beauty loves to innovate.
Korean beauty does indeed look more forward, with R&D beauty labs constantly innovating, looking for new ingredients, and developing new products. Korean consumers are highly invested in their skin, and their demand for gentle and effective products that also have positive sensorial qualities unsurprisingly keeps the industry highly competitive and drives it forward.
While Korean beauty also understands and shares the prioritizing of routine and consistency, Koreans like to try new things (hence, the constant innovating), and they do consider efficacy in products, wanting products that work and show results quickly. That means that Korean beauty may cycle through things more frequently than Japanese beauty, as Korean consumers constantly look for what is new and better and improved.
To be sure, Koreans do love their trends, and, when something takes off in Korea, it really takes off. That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s nothing of substance driving the trend — snail extract, for example, was a huge trend a few years ago, and, as it turns out, there was a reason for that, given snail extract’s ability to brighten, calm, and hydrate skin while also providing anti-bacterial qualities.
Both Korean beauty and Japanese beauty want you to know your skin.
Glowing, healthy, radiant skin is about knowing your skin and personalizing your skincare to nourish, balance, and hydrate it according to your individual skin needs, and both Korean and Japanese beauty understand that skin health begins with that knowledge and intentionality. Consumers in both countries take the time to educate themselves about skincare, personalizing their routines to address their skin concerns and, thus, work towards maximum skin health.
But what does this all have to do with you and your skin, dear reader?
Forget about the debates and the discussions, and listen to your skin and give it what it needs. There is no one-size-fits-all in skincare, just like there is no “right” approach to beauty. In the end, it’s about what you need, and, here, you have these two approaches to beauty steeped in centuries of tradition, practice, and wisdom — so listen to your skin, and reap all the benefits offered from Korean and Japanese beauty as your skin needs!
“Okay, Pibuu,” you might be thinking, “do I really need to have a separate category for eye creams? I just applied, like, a bajillion other things to my face — do I really need to add yet another product to my routine?!”
Hear us out.
We’re going to be honest.
We’re here to be your skincare resource, and we believe that part of that is being honest. We’re not here to sell you a marketing gimmick, so here’s the truth about eye creams.
Eye creams are not a miracle cure.
No skincare product is, though, so it’s unfair to put such a burden on eye creams. An eye cream is not magically going to vanish all your dark circles or eye bags or puffiness, but hear us out — don’t write off eye creams just yet.
The truth is that eye creams can only do so much, especially when put up against genetics. There are several causes for dark circles and eye bags, and one of them is genetic. Some people just have a genetic predisposition for dark circles (it’s called periorbital hyperpigmentation), and, while eye creams can help brighten the overall eye area, those dark circles aren’t just going to disappear completely.
Of course, dark circles, eye bags, puffiness — they don’t all just come down to genetics. Age is a factor because, as our bodies age, our skin gets drier and loses its elasticity. Sleep is a factor; not getting enough sleep (and, even, getting too much sleep) can exacerbate dark circles and eye bags. Allergies and inflammation can also be causes.
You might be thinking that’s no different from the rest of the skin on our faces; all skin ages, is affected by sleep (or lack thereof), and can struggle with the effects of allergies and inflammation — so why eye creams?
Eye creams have been specially formulated for the delicate eye area.
Eye creams typically do three things: they help brighten skin, reduce the appearance of visible fine lines and wrinkles, and deliver ingredients in a gentle formula that won’t irritate skin.
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most delicate on your face, and it’s also a site of a lot of movement — and micromovement. Every time you blink or squint or smile or cry or, even, sleep, the skin around your eyes is affected, and that constant movement means that this thin, delicate skin is much more likely to show visible signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles, faster than elsewhere on your face.
Further, because the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most delicate, it can also be more prone to sensitivity and irritation. That’s why eye creams are usually formulated at lower doses to strike the proper balance so that thin skin can absorb well without being overwhelmed. Eye creams also provide a flood of hydration, as that thin skin is more likely to lose moisture more quickly, another reason the area around your eyes is likely to show visible signs of aging first.
Does that mean a dedicated eye cream is absolutely essential?
Honestly? This might not be what you want to hear … but it’s up to you.
If you have a good moisturizer that deeply hydrates, doesn’t contain strong active ingredients, and doesn’t have any strong fragrances that make your eyes sting, it might be enough to take an extra few seconds to pat some of that moisturizer around your eye area. If you’re concerned about visible signs of fine lines and wrinkles or struggle with dark circles or a lot of puffiness, adding an eye cream to your routine might be a good idea.
Think of it like a treatment. If you have a skin concern, say, hyperpigmentation, you might add a serum or ampoule that targets hyperpigmentation to your routine, looking for ingredients like retinol or vitamin C that help fade those pesky dark spots. Use the same reasoning when it comes to adding an eye cream to your routine — an eye cream might be a good addition if you struggle with dark circles or have visible fine lines or puffiness or, even, if you want to take the preventative approach and start caring for your eye area earlier before visible signs of aging start to appear.
As usual, listen to what your skin needs.
Here at Pibuu, we actually prefer eye creams that are lighter in texture. Because the skin around the eye is so thin, we don’t want to overwhelm it with something too heavy that just won’t be absorbed into the skin, leaving us feeling and looking greasy around our eyes — that’s not the kind of glow we’re looking for.
Of course, it’s all relative, though — if you have very dry skin around your eyes, you might want a slightly thicker, creamier texture, like May Coop’s Raw Eye Contour, which is still light enough that it won’t oversaturate that delicate skin and cause puffiness. Mature skin might benefit from an eye cream that’s packed with antioxidants and ingredients that deeply hydrate and help fight visible signs of aging by encouraging collagen production — we recommend something like Shangpree’s S-Energy Repair Eye Cream.
If you struggle with really dark circles, look for ingredients that help brighten skin, like snail extract (Mizon, Snail Repair Eye Cream) or rose oil (Aromatica, Rose Absolute Eye Cream), and, if you’re struggling with visible fine lines, we recommend something truly unique — an eye essence with a silky gel texture that uses volufiline and polylactic acid to help fill in those pesky fine lines and help diminish their appearance (Eco Your Skin, Volufiline15 Eye Essence).
Have any other questions? Leave them in the comments below!
Moisturizers often have occlusives to help you seal in all your hydration.
Hydrating is basically about giving skin the water it needs to be, well, hydrated. The thing about skin, though, is that it’s porous, meaning that, if the environment you’re in is super dry or if you’ve compromised your skin barrier, all that hydration you just layered in? All that is going to evaporate into the air, leaving your skin dry, possibly even drier than when you started all this layering and hydrating.
That process is called transepidermal water loss, and moisturizers help prevent it.
Moisturizers do introduce more hydration into your skin, but it’s important to note that moisturizers come last, after super-hydrating products like essences and serums and oils, because moisturizers contain these things called occlusives. Occlusives are ingredients that create a hydrophobic film on the surface of skin, which is a fancy way of saying that they create a seal by forming a thin layer of oil that prevents water from evaporating out of your skin. In other words, occlusives help prevent transepidermal water loss.
It’s because occlusives create that seal that moisturizers come last. Think about it — if you create this barrier on the surface of your skin and apply hydrators after, that hydrating isn’t actually going to sink into your skin because the barrier is already in place. Apply your hydrators first, so they can sink into skin underneath that protective occlusive barrier created by your moisturizer.
If you have oily skin, don’t worry.
While many moisturizers do typically include occlusives to seal everything in, there are oil-free moisturizers that are particularly great for oily skin. Instead of using oil-based occlusives to add another layer of oil to act as a barrier, these oil-free moisturizers focus on humectants (more on those below!) to slow down this transepidermal water loss, by binding moisture to skin. While dry skin will need more support via lipids as occlusives, oil-free moisturizers can work wonders for oily skin.
Moisturizers typically also contain emollients that help soften skin.
Moisturizers help skin feel softened and conditioned, and that’s because of emollients, texturizing and conditioning ingredients that don’t necessarily bring moisture into skin but help soften and smooth skin.
When skin is dry or dehydrated, it starts to crack or flake off or create really ashy patches, and that cracking, flaking, creating of ashy patches essentially create gaps between skin cells. Emollients are flexible, wax-like ingredients that sink into skin and close those gaps, bringing them together with fatty substances (aka lipids) which helps create a smooth layer of skin, reduce flaking and cracking, and give skin that desired, even softness. Not only that, but emollients also help prevent water loss by filling in these gaps between skin cells.
The most popular emollients are aloe vera, shea butter, and plant-based oils like jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, and squalane. Sometimes, emollients (like squalane) also have occlusive properties as secondary benefits.
And, then, as if that weren’t enough, moisturizers usually also have humectants.
Humectants are hydrators that draw moisture to the surface of skin. Often, many humectants will draw moisture from the deeper layers of skin (the dermis) and pull it to the surface (the epidermis), which helps skin look visibly plumper.
Because moisturizers also contain humectants, they provide skin with hydration, though you’ve probably heard of or seen humectants in your various skincare products, with the two most well-known being glycerin and hyaluronic acid, loved for their abilities not only to pull water to skin but also to help boost skin’s ability to retain hydration. Hyaluronic acid, in particular, is incredible for its ability to bind moisture that’s a thousand times its own molecular weight.
Humectants often come paired with occlusives to maximize their abilities because, as we discussed above, occlusives help seal hydration in, which means that all that hydration humectants pulled to the surface of skin will stay there. You might be wondering if oil-free moisturizers are less effective then, without occlusives to seal hydration in — even though oil-free moisturizers don’t contain oil-based occlusives, they typically feature powerful humectants that sink into skin to bind water at all levels, as well as emollients that fill in those gaps between skin cells and help prevent water loss.
Moisturizers are also a great step to personalize, personalize, personalize!
We say this a lot, and we really mean it. Everyone’s skin is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to skincare. Getting your moisturizer right can help save your skin from breakouts or visible signs of premature aging, so listen to your skin and give it what it needs.
Like all other skincare products, moisturizers are developed with different needs in mind, using different amounts or types of humectants, emollients, and occlusives. If you have dry or dehydrated skin, you might want a moisturizer that has a lot of humectants that can get deep into skin and pull moisture into all its layers, like Lagom’s Cellus Deep Moisture Cream. If you have rough, textured skin, you might look for a moisturizer with more emollients to “fill in the gaps” and help soften and condition skin to make it more even and smooth — we recommend a moisturizer like Ground Plan’s Day & Night Secret Moisture Cream.
Oily or acne-prone skin could benefit from a moisturizer that has lighter occlusives that allow for some kind of permeability so your skin can breathe. You might, for example, want to avoid petrolatum and mineral oil, which create a tight blanket on the surface of skin, looking instead for lighter formulations that use, say, snail extract to hydrate skin and fight bacteria, like Mizon’s perennial best-seller, the All-in-One Snail Repair Cream.
Moisturizers also vary by texture or finish — we recommend a lighter, gel texture for combination skin, like Peach Slices’ Citrus-Honey Aqua Glow. If you’re looking for an all-around moisturizer that leaves your skin feeling plump and bouncy but with a matte texture that doesn’t pill under makeup, we recommend a moisturizer with a pudding cream texture, like Peach & Lily’s Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream.
Finally, we’ll leave you with one last pro tip: if you have super dry or dehydrated skin, spray a facial mist evenly over your face before applying your moisturizer. The occlusives in your moisturizer will seal all that hydration in, so it can truly, deeply sink into your skin.
Have any other questions? Leave them in the comments below!
There are some skincare products out there that just have that wow factor. Highly effective and thoughtfully formulated, these superstars break through categories, amass loyal fans, and eventually become the stuff of beauty legends. One such hero is Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Water.
Introduced a decade ago, long before micellar water even started trending, this beauty water was a game-changer, with the unique ability to make heavy makeup and even permanent ink disappear in an instant. This Cleansing Water quickly became a favorite of celebrities, makeup artists, and consumers all around the world, and it, along with its celebrated sister products, has since gone on to sell millions of units.
Part of the reason for its long standing reign, to be sure, is Koh Gen Do’s decision to update the formula constantly, improving it ever so slightly with each iteration. Pairing the newest technological R&D innovations with celebrated Asian ingredients like white birch sap and mineral-rich thermal water sourced from Japan, this beauty water may look and feel like water, but it behaves like anything but.
We sat down with the brand’s chief brand officer, Diane Nakauchi, to get the inside scoop on what makes this product so special. We’ve condensed and edited the conversation for your reading pleasure.
Can you tell us a little bit about the creation of the Cleansing Water? What was the inspiration? How did it come to be?
During an excursion to Paris during fashion week, our Brand Director, Megumi Setoguchi, was inspired by the quick changes of both outfits and makeup on the runway. Megumi worked for 4 years innovating the signature blend of the Cleansing Water to be perfect for everyday quick makeup removal – gentle on and off the runway as well TV and film stages around the world.
When was the Cleansing Water first introduced to the market? Was it popular right away, or did it take some time for customers to jump on it?
2018 marks the 10th anniversary of our launch in Japan with our signature blend of thermal, mineral, and botanical water — as well as Koh Gen Do’s debut in the US market. In 2008, Koh Gen Do wowed audiences at IMATS with demos of our Cleansing Water as it easily removed permanent pen marks on skin, as gently as if we were using pure water. People in the TV, print, and film industries began using the product to remove both everyday and heavy, resistant, stage makeup.
The Sons of Anarchy series was one of our first big media customers, and they used our Cleansing Water to remove the actors’ tattoo effects on set.
Our Cleansing Water did not stay a secret for very long, and consumers gravitated toward our unique and effective formula because the gentle, nourishing Cleansing Water leaves the skin feeling clean and fresh without any tacky or oily residue — no rinsing is even needed after use.
Is this the brand’s best-selling product?
Our Cleansing Water, as well as our travel-friendly Cleansing Water Cloths, is one of our best-selling categories, along with our Aqua and Moisture Foundation, which also has a very devoted following. Globally, millions of Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water products have been sold since its launch.
Micellar water is now produced and sold by many brands, but what makes yours different? Were there many others when this particular product launched?
Koh Gen Do emerged a decade ago and continued to evolve to the coveted formula we have today. Koh Gen Do was one of the first brands to offer a micellar water with a unique formula that blends botanical, thermal, and mineral waters with six essential herbs.
Our Cleansing Water is different in that we use the same amount of skincare ingredients in the Cleansing Water as we do in all of our skincare products. Our technology allows the pH balance to remain consistent while the Cleansing Water supports your skin before, during, and after a beauty regime. To add to that, our Cleansing Water cloths are made of natural cotton, certified organic in Japan. They have a soft yet sturdy, feel and are amply sized to cleanse the entire face with just a single cloth.
Customers often marvel at how water-like the formula is, yet so deeply cleansing. Can you share a bit about how micellar water removes makeup and impurities from the pores?
Micellar waters contain tiny spheres (micelles) of cleansing oil molecules suspended in a water solution. They are soft enough for the oils to disperse and attract and remove impurities like dirt, oil, and makeup from skin.
Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Water relies on Japanese mineral-rich thermal waters known for their soothing, restorative properties. We blend white birch sap that is harvested for only 3 weeks every spring containing sugars (namely xylitol), proteins, amino acids, and enzymes; that white birch sap combined with botanicals effectively dissolve even stubborn waterproof makeup. Then, to go truly above and beyond, Koh Gen Do added 6 essential herbs to brighten and balance the skin.
Can you tell us a little about the Koh Gen Do brand. What is its ethos?
The Koh Gen Do brand begins with our beliefs that nourishing skincare help bring out inner beauty and restore troubled skin. Our ethos remains the same from the beginning; we practice mindfulness of earth and nature, as well as environmental impacts on skin. We never add active ingredients to try to produce aggressive results for skin as we target the health of the skin first.
Skin requires daily care, as the rest of our body does, and we support the inherent abilities of staying healthy and tapping into inner beauty. Healthy skin is part of this system and can recover quickly from stressors such as sudden dry weather, emotional upheavals that affect your system, even on nights you can barely wash your face.
Our evolution continues with technology-based Macro Vintage products designed to repair, plump, and ensure a glowing complexion at any age.
We hear (and talk) a lot about not damaging the skin barrier when cleansing. How does that typically happen, and how can it be avoided?
The skin barrier, in scientific terms, refers to the stratum corneum of the skin. which is the outermost layer (often called the horny layer). This is skin’s “brick and mortar” that keeps moisture in while keeping harmful irritants out. The bricks are the surface dead skin cells while the mortar is the lipids that keep it together. With other products, damage to the barrier can occur in many ways: harsh products that strip lipids, rough handling or rubbing of the skin, exfoliating with granular products and harsh environments.
This beauty water is said to help balance skin’s pH. Can you talk a bit about how it does that and how someone should know if they need to balance their pH?
The skin has a thin protective layer called the acid mantle with an optimal pH of 5.5. On the pH scale, 0 is most acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is most alkaline. Skin’s pH is important to maintain as it protects the skin from external irritants, such as bacteria, allergens, and environmental pollution while keeping moisture in. Enzymes that break down collagen are triggered at higher pH levels, and higher pH levels can also leave the skin vulnerable to accelerated aging, dehydration, and sensitivity. Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Water products have pH levels of 5.3 to support and respect the acid mantle’s ideal pH range.
Should this be used instead of a regular face cleanser/makeup remover?
Our Cleansing Water is always the first step we need to remove makeup first! Use the Cleansing Water to remove even the most stubborn or waterproof makeup, including the eye makeup. Then, embracing the Japanese double cleansing method, follow with a cream or lotion cleanser. Lastly, ensure a supremely clean skin by using a foaming cleanser.
Is this really safe even to remove eye makeup? Is this made for any specific skin types?
Yes! It is perfectly safe to use around the eye area. Sensitive skin types really love how soothing and balanced the Cleansing Water is. All skin types benefit!
Can you share about the ancient Asian inspiration that went into this product?
In Japan, we have the onsen, or hot spring, which we consider a superpower of the world. Japan has over 27,000 hot springs. Japanese thermal waters have been known to have an abundance of minerals ,along with skin-softening benefits. We use the deep thermal water from Izumo, Japan, as the base of our Cleansing Water.
Why do you include lactic acid? And xylitol? What do they do for skin?
Lactic acid is an AHA but is gentler. Uniquely used as a humectant and a gentle exfoliator in our Cleansing Spa Water, lactic acid helps keep cells hydrated while gently removing dead cells. Xylitol is naturally found in the white birch sap we use in our Cleansing Water. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol with humectant properties for skin.
Finally, can you give us any hint on future formulations/products that might be in the works? Any interesting trends or ingredients the brand is currently exploring?
Koh Gen Do continuously innovates in our R&D labs, taking advantage of all the newest technology to deliver effective yet soothing skincare that doesn’t irritate skin. Skin is already inundated with outside stimuli, so restoring moisture and calming are one of the first benefits we want to achieve with our products so that skin can return to a healthy state. Koh Gen Do continues to expand our collections to support the needs of skin to thrive and enhance skin’s innate elasticity, hydration, and radiance.
Thank you, Diane, for taking the time to talk to us!