Monday, February 29, 2016

A Welcome Back with My Korean Skincare Challenge!

It's been quite some time, hasn't it?  Quite some time....  I wish I could say a lot has happened in my life, but it's been all work and home....   I pretty much only wore my uniform all of last year!

But that's not actually why I'm coming back.
Yes, I still pursue my style, and in fact, my whole wardrobe is completely full of cute clothes now.  I still like Hime-kei, but I'm probably moreso considered Retro-kei, as I tend to gravitate towards designs that follow a more vintage feel (and that's a big reason why I adore Larme magazines).   However, I know I won't be wearing much of it this year either, so instead, I've come back for another reason.

These past few years, my skin has been so angry with me.   No matter what I use or do, my skin just keeps acting up.  Partner that with my need to pick at my face all the time, especially when I'm stressed, and my skin just couldn't get better.  I had wanted to learn how to do my makeup, but with all the skin problems, I knew it would just look bad.   I certainly didn't want to aggravate it further, that's for sure.  I had reached a point where my skin was suddenly flaking, and I had to exfoliate every morning.  Cysts would come in and just stay there for months.  The scars and marks kept accumulating.  I didn't know what to do. 

I don't know how I came across it, but I ended up on a page about the Korean skin care routine.   It was really interesting, and I ended up doing a lot of research.  Within days, I was planning out my own skin plan of action. 

So, I'm coming back to my blog to document my own Korean skincare challenge!

Have you ever heard of the "typical" Korean skincare routine?  They claim that it's anywhere from 7 to 12 products a day!   But that's a bit of a misnomer, as some products aren't used everyday or at all times.  In the end, it can boil down to a cleanser, a hydrating toner, essences and serums focusing on various skin concerns, some emulsion/lotion, and a cream if your skin is super dry.  There are extras like spot treatments, masks, and night creams, but those are optional.  The key is layering the products from thinnest to thickest on your skin. 

There's a whole culture behind it and a lot of things to consider, like whether certain ingredients are irritants or acne triggers, or whether one product's pH will counteract another, rendering it useless.  I learned a lot of the basics, but there's clearly a lot more to learn.  It's been two weeks since I started planning, and I'm just now getting into the ingredient stuff now! 

I have purchased an entire regimen to try, with a focus on hydration and skin repairing.  I tried to check reviews for everything I got, so I hope they all work well.  However, obviously doing everything at once would be a problem for two reasons; one being that I wouldn't know how effective anything is if I use everything, and the other being that I wouldn't know what item is causing problems if I break out or have a reaction.

In order to remedy this, I will try each item for around a week.  I feel like that's a good amount of time to know if something is working or not.  I will test the next product on my neck and under my jaw.  The neck is good because I will be able to see any changes easily on my neck, and the jaw is good as I would be able to find out if a product would cause cystic acne through it.  I tend to get cystic acne fairly quickly to my experience, so I think a week is good.

And just to know,
Skin type: Combination oily/normal, especially on the chin, cheeks, nose, and right between the eyebrows
Concerns: Acne (especially cystic), dehydrated skin, hyperpigmentation, acne scarring
Goals: Prevent acne, get rid of acne scars and marks, hydrate skin, even out skin texture

I ordered 10 items from RoseRoseShop, as I had a good experience with them at their Ebay shop at rubyruby76.   With the Mizon items having a free shipping promotion, shipping through EMS was under $30, and my whole order came to around $185 with it.   It took a few days to process as I caught them right after their New Year vacation, and it arrived a week later.  When it arrived, everything was wrapped up nicely and safely.   It was super exciting unpacking everything one by one!  I also got some samples of their new Neulii serum line!  I got the Teatree BHA Blemish Control (Yes!!) and the Snail Bee Anti-Wrinkle Serum.  They're meant to go on before toners, so I'll try them next.  I figure I should get the samples out of the way anyway, or I'll never get to them.

I have one last thing coming in from Amazon since RoseRoseShop sold out before I could purchase it.  The reviews made it sound extra hydrating, and I can always use that.  My goal for ideal skin is plump and bouncy, like freshly showered skin--"chok chok", as they say. 

I also got the book Korean Beauty Secrets by Kerry Thompson and Coco Park.   Since I quickly realized there's a lot more to it than slathering stuff on your face until it's fixed, I wanted to have a physical item to always consult for information.  It's pretty interesting, as it talks about some of the popular ingredients in Korean skincare items, what they do for skin, as well as going over skin concerns and what to look for in a product for whatever you're targeting.  There's even a Korean to English dictionary on ingredients in the back.   It's a pretty hefty book, but 2/3 of it is dedicated to various blogger regimens and popular Korean makeup styles (however, the bloggers do give you their own information and helpful tips).  It has been pretty useful for me, especially the regimen help, and I hope I can get more into the "meat" of it in the near future, as I continue to work on perfecting a regimen.

I will be trying out one of my products at a time, with the exception of my toners, as I would like to get started with them.  I'm currently using Mizon's AHA Peeling Serum, and I want to start using the AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner to get the best out of its effect.  My cleanser is very alkaline, I've learned, which means if I use the AHA right afterward, it just cancels out.   But if I wait for my skin to return to its natural pH, my skin just gets uncomfortable.  It's actually pretty hydrating, which I didn't expect, but I don't think it's working to its full potential.  I also want to start using the Skinfood Royal Honey Essential Toner, since during the day, I want to focus on moisturizing, not skin renewal.  My skin has been very dehydrated these days, and I know my skin really loves honey, so I think it will go well.  I can't imagine having a reaction to either, so I will start with the Neulii products in a few days while I test the cleansing oil I got.

However, nothing is set in stone, so I will probably test different orders and whatnot to figure out what works best. 

In a week, I hope to report any changes in my skin's condition, so I guess consider it a mini review of what I've used.

I know, I've been gone for a long time.  I felt really embarrassed about my skin problems, and kept hoping that I could get it under control so I could get back to blogging, but I only succeeded in making it worse.  I eventually realized it wasn't possible with what I was doing and that I really needed to do a lot more.  Wearing my nice clothing is fine, but makeup can really finish off a great outfit.  I can put in so much effort towards what I wear and the accessories I put on, even the hairstyle I go with, but without the makeup, it always felt a little incomplete.  I'm not saying I look ugly without it (I think I look alright), just that everything isn't all there.  I can't fulfill my style goals 100% without it, but I can't do it without smoother skin.  So this year, it's all about repairing all the damage that's done.

Next week, I'll go over what I've bought.  I promise this time, as I'll be taking notes every day.  I'd like to go back to documenting my path, because I always like seeing how much things have changed.  I'm really excited, especially because if this works, I can get back to perfecting my style to its fullest potential.  I'm getting left in the dust!  So the focus will shift away from fashion for a little bit.  Then, once I've gotten to a better spot, I can go back to showing my fashion progress (seriously, I have so many cute things you've never seen!).

This Week's Product Lineup
Day: Cleanser, Skinfood Royal Honey Essential Toner, Lotion
Night: Cleanser, Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner, Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum
Test: Neulii Teatree BHA Blemish Control Serum (day), Tony Moly Clean Dew Apple Mint Cleansing Oil (night)

See you in a week!

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