A few years ago I would have simply answered 3-steps (taking my cue from Clinique’s 3 Step System).
I do still believe there is some truth to the simplicity. However, after some experimentation, extensive immersion/deep dive with Korean skin care (more like a casual obsession), reading articles/studies about current cosmetics I’ve educated myself to know that:
- 3 Step System to 13 Step Korean routines, if it works it works
- Your skin changes with age
- Should maybe change skin care items with the seasons
- Asian, Caucasian, Indian, and African American skin are different
- There’s no way to satisfy everyone
I’ve tried a lot of products over the past 10+ years from the house hold names(SK-II, Clinique, DIOR, Cosme Decorte, etc.) to the lesser known (iN-BE+v, Dr. Ci:Labo, Welda, etc.), to be quite frank I see why some expensive items are worth the money and why some items should be taken with a grain of salt.
I mean some products boast amazing results too good to be true, with a heart stopping low price tag…with a 90%+ effectiveness, this one cream.gel with anti-againg, pore tightening, and whitening solution that includes toner/serum/lotion/cream/base/sunscreen only for $20+…if it works, good for you but more often than not when a product boasts a lot of effectiveness (wth an incredibl low price tag) I get suspicious, and in my opinion probably means it is too good to be true. I sound like a skeptic, I know, but don’t get me wrong there are plenty of low budget items I would happily use that boasts a high effectiveness.
One of my all time favorite low budget item is a mascara from MOTEMASCARA in Japan that has a serum within the mascara for growth, lengthening, and volume to help your eye lashes become longer & fuller for the price of ¥1,800 (might be slightly more…with exchange rates and inflation in diff currencies). Long time user, and I will without hesitation recommend it to anyone who asks me for a mascara rec. I even pre-ordered their new line before it came out and sent it to my aunt’s house so I could pic it up when I was back in Japan while I live overseas. For the budget price it does work for me, so I don’t hesitate to recommend it to others and keep using it.
So you see I am not a cynic or skeptic, just more or less realistic. I have used items in the past which was for what it was not bad, but nothing to write home about. It boasted miraculously amazing results with users comments etc. but it fell short of any miraculous effects it was supposed to have on my skin.
Like I said, if it works for you great! It just didn’t cut it for me, that’s all.
Then again, I see why some items come with a high price tag. It does have amazing results, but it has ingredients in there that justify the price (most of the time…). I get it, caviar/pearls/gold is not the most cheapest o items and if the cream or whatever had it as one of the ingredients it will be more expensive than an all-in-one cream I bought at a grocery store. All in all I prefer to buy my skin care items at specialty stores (like individual standing brand stores) or department stores. At least this way I can talk to a rep who knows the items, and go home with samples I can patch test to make sure my skin won’t break out after a few days.
I have sensitive skin and I tend to be super careful on what I use. Otherwise I’m stuck using baby friendly items, and that’s o fun!
That’s when I discovered Korean Skin Care items. Japan is known for SK-II, which at the time was revolutionary with the Pitera Skin Lotion, but Korean items took things to the next level. It is safe to say Korea runs on the fore front of skin care, make up and cosmetic surgery. It is the only country I know where parents give their children plastic surgery as a graduation gift (I got a hand shake from my parents when I graduated college with a bank notice telling me how much my payment plan was for the college tuition loan). Korea is so close to Japan and yet…WOW!
MIND EXPLOSION !!!!!!(ﾟﾛﾟ屮)屮
At the time when I got really into Korea products the Japanese market was just starting to discover that by going over the sea one could get affordable and result driven items which weren’t available in Japan. The Korean stuff really had a good audience base in Japan as it was also the time when Korean Drama started to get traction on Japanese public TV. Hoards of middle age house wives poured into South Korea visiting the drama locations, and of course on the way home buying these affordable skin care products in Myeongdong by the bulk. Back in the day most shops had Japanese speaking clerks to cater to the audience, but now replaced with Chinese clerks as it is the trend. Japanese→Chinese, the trend may have shifted but Korea still runs ahead in the game.
It also helped that Korean skin care item catered to the Asian skin. Most of the products like Dior, Lancome. Clarins, Clinique, etc. back then were based on the Western skin. In terms of effectiveness it might have been the same, but the Korean products did have the upper hand as it suited the Asian population. Also helped that so many Korean girls had beautiful skin…I was hooked.
I first started off with the common brands like THE FACE SHOP, Innisfree, Skin Foods, Nature Republic (which are now available in Japan and most parts of the word) experimenting with their stuff. It was nice to have item that catered to my specific needs along with extra ingredients that helped to compact more goodness in them. I know I said in the beginning if it sounds too good to be true it probably is…and so after a while I realized that packing a lot of stuff into one items isn’t going to help. It will for a while, but you on’t know what works and what doesn’t when so much stuff is inside.
So instead of quantity I decided to look more for the quality of the item.
There are plenty of budget, cost friendly Korean items that I would be happy to recommend but like I said in the beginning there are items with the right price tag that I understand come with that tag. Even in the cost friendly shops there are premium lines that cost slightly more (to a LOT more) that really does offer almost miraculous cures to what you’re looking for.
- Pore Tightening
- Skin Rejuvenation
I think are the most common factors women look for in most items.
Also it’s never too late to start anti-aging products! NEVER!!
Instead of looking at something that includes all these items I prefer to concentrate on items that have a high rating for a few of these factors. Enlarged pores can be an direct effect of dehydration of the skin. Dull skin can be caused by lack of skin turnover, which can simply be solved by skin rejuvenation. So there is always a cause to your skin problems. Instead of trying to solve everything in one go…I took the approach of getting to know my skin and trying different items to cure specific issues. Of course taking into account anti-aging since we all want to look ageless.
It’s a long process and it takes a while, but this worked much better in the long run than trying to have quick fixes. I had enlarged pores from living in Singapore where it was hot and humid all the time. Now that I’m in London I have to combat dry cold weather which gave me patches of dryness also adding to my enlarged pores.
The skin care thing is still a work in progress, but I know better now than before that I can’t just make things happen. Step by Step, Little by Little, Baby Steps…I just have to figure out the regimen that works in each situation. My skin is just a bit weaker than others so I may have to struggle a bit more, but ultimately it is improving.
Best Solution = Skin Strengthening
This is the best answer for me since it will help my skin to be healthier in the long run without having to struggle with a lot of issues which stems from my skin lacking in one area or another. My goal is to have better natural skin. By Strengthening my skin to combat minor issues I can concentrate on the bigger problem to target the ageless look. Also I nee to get a health routine going so I can get back into a good spot. Regular exercise does help to circulate the blood and oust toxins in the body from building up and manifesting onto the skin. Healthy living believe it or not with a stress free environment does wonders…along with spa treatment and cosmetic treatments.
After all…we all aim for one thing…to be TIMELESS.
We may not be able to turn back the clock completely, but we can damn well try to slow down the clock and make it struggle a bit pressing forward.