As I entered my third year as an Assistant Professor at Small Midwestern State School, I decided that I needed to become an adult, which, for some reason, to me meant that I needed a skincare routine. At that point, I had been washing my face with cleansing wipes or, if I had run out and had forgotten to buy more, hand soap. (I cringe just typing that.) I’d slather on some Aveeno and that was it. I knew it wasn’t good. I was getting much more cystic acne than ever before, my skin was dull, and it managed to be both oily and dry at the same time. (Later, I would realize that my skin was oily because it was dehydrated.)

So, in the summer of 2105, with newfound confidence and money thanks to my steady employment, I did what most folks probably do in their 20s: I went to the Clinique counter. The woman apprised my face and declared my skin combination, and I promptly bought their 3-step program. The bottles were beautiful green, purple, and yellow pastels lined up neatly in the bag. I felt so grown-up. I mean, I just laid down some serious cash (relative to my aforementioned cleansing wipes) for a famous three-step skincare routine. I really couldn’t have been more proud. Of myself. Of Clinique. Of my awesome new (soon-to-be-forthcoming) skin.

Then the midwest winter hit.

If you’ve never experienced one, they are torture on the skin what with the moisture-sucking heating inside and biting wind with below-zero temps outside. My face wash, while smelling nice, made my skin feel squeaky clean, which I thought meant it was working. Following it up with the toner made my face, cheeks in particular, burn. I assumed, given my history as a teen of using Noxema pads, that it meant it was working (ha! sob). I found myself applying several layers of the moisturizer.

Around January of 2016, my skin really revolted. It was dry and tight-feeling on my cheeks but even more oily on my t-zone, and makeup was not working well since the dry spots on my face just made my cover-up job look worse. My skin was a mess, and I could not figure out where I’d gone wrong. I bought a heavy oil-based moisturizer by SW Basics at Target and slathered it on at night on top of my yellow lotion. (I swear, it was the only thing that kept my face from shriveling up. God bless SW Basics.) Still, it was too heavy to wear during the day, and my face was still feeling dry.

Like any good academic, I began to research heavy moisturizers and amid the internet rabbit-hole, noticed the phrases “Korean skincare” and “k-beauty” showing themselves time and again. I started to read about sheet masks, creams, serums, and interesting ingredients like snail mucus. I was intrigued, overwhelmed, and most incredibly interested

I finally ordered a pack of Tony Moly sheet masks from Amazon in early March 2016. And, like most folks who try sheet masks, I was hooked. (Sheet masks are absolutely the gateway drug to K-beauty. Go ahead, just try one.)

I began to really invest in K-beauty summer of 2016, eventually wrangling friends and coworkers into this fun world of skincare and, really, self-care. (I still have a half-used bottle of Clinique yellow stuff around here if anyone wants it…) I also began to really become more interested in makeup and also fragrance. Basically, K-beauty was my entry into investing in myself and enjoying some indulgences grad school had not allowed room for in my budget.

So, this blog will hopefully prove useful to folks interested in Asian skincare with some makeup and fragrance posts thrown in. I hope to post reviews, tips, and insights I have had so far and capture future thoughts as they come. As my partner loves to remind me, “I really took to capitalism.”

Look, I buy crap so you don’t have to.

What topics or products would you be interested in reading about?

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