View part one here.
New York is a city of sample sales and pop-up shops. I’d never heard of the former before I moved here, and the latter has turned out to be a phenomenon far bigger than what I’d previously imagined. This month, one of my favorite US-based Korean beauty retailers opened a pop-up shop in SoHo: Glow Studio Downtown, by Glow Recipe.
Throughout March 2017, K-beauty enthusiasts have the opportunity to shop (and test!) the in-store collection and attend various events and beauty classes. The day I visited, I was able to check the hydration level of my skin with the innovative (and adorably donut-shaped) WaySkin device. After reviewing my hydration score, which was predictably low due to the evening’s icy winds (and due to winter in general), Glow Recipe co-founder Sarah Lee spoke with me about how I could replenish my dehydrated skin—focusing on the “7 Skin Method” in particular, which she has found especially effective against her own dehydration woes.
Sarah also showed me her favorite toner for the task: Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner. Incredibly enough, it has over 60 five-star reviews online and was crowned Glow Recipe’s first official “Glow Gamechanger,” and yet, in all my meticulous browsing of the website, I had consistently passed it over without a second look (I’m starting to realize I may be a bit biased against floral-based products that aren’t perfume). But the benefit of being in a physical store was that I could actually test out the product, and I was pretty impressed—impressed enough not to leave without buying a sample size of it (and a few other items, as you can see in the photos above). Another benefit of visiting the pop-up is that it’s selling quite a few deluxe samples that aren’t available online; this is a great opportunity for anyone who’d prefer to hold off on investing in full-sized products before giving them a trial run (if you haven’t already noticed, I’m a huge proponent of taking advantage of sample sizes wherever you can find them).
If you won’t be around Manhattan this month but are still interested in shopping Glow Recipe’s online curations, you can use this link to get a code for 15% off your first purchase.
Hello everyone! Yes: it’s been two months since my last/first post, but I am in fact still alive and well. I’m kicking myself a bit over the time it’s taken me to follow up, but there’s a lot more on my plate that takes precedence these days—namely, applying to jobs and interviewing for them (if you like what you see…)—so, as far as writing goes, most of my effort has been directed elsewhere. Anyhow, it’s still the case that I have been working on this blog in other ways: apart from continuously filling a Trello board with post ideas, notes, outlines, and research, I’ve diligently taken photos as I test various products for upcoming reviews (skincare never stops happening). There’s also one post—based on an idea I thought up a long, long time ago, before I even started building this blog—that I actually started putting together, and I’d hoped to publish it sooner; however, on top of it entailing reviews of about 20 products in one sitting, it also involves a bit more research, and I am serious about presenting that information responsibly. The types of products I’m going to discuss here require less (if any) scientific backing, though, so I can rattle off my thoughts based solely on my experience and let that be that.
Returning to the matter of skincare photography: in the past month or so, I’ve become a big fan of the Stories feature on Instagram, which I often use to document various skincare-related outings and mask sessions. If you follow me there, you’ll get a glimpse at what I’m up to every now and then, including plenty of mini-reviews before certain items get the long-form treatment. At the time of posting this, my story features some highlights from Glow Recipe’s March 2017 pop-up shop in Manhattan, Glow Studio. I’m going to start re-posting my stories to this page (the previous ones, and future ones as they expire) in those cases where I think they deserve to live on forever, or if I don’t plan on writing a full post about a certain product or topic. Additionally, I plan on using Instagram posts themselves for certain updates, which will just be cross-posted to this blog. This should make it easier for anyone who’s not a big Instagram user to follow along.
Now, to the substance. I’ve updated my skincare stash page once again, but there are plenty of other things I’ve acquired recently that don’t pertain directly to skincare yet still deserve a shout-out. I’ve been getting more into hair and makeup lately too (by which I mean: I’m trying to take better care of my hair and I dragged a box full of makeup my mother doesn’t want back to NY with me after my last visit home). I also finally—finally!—settled the organization of my belongings in a satisfying way, and I’d like to share how. So here we go.
It gets better with time.
A while back, I bought two of these single-use exfoliators from Glow Recipe (this link will get you 15% off your first purchase). I had used the first one some months earlier and finally got around to trying the second.
The product is known as an “aqua peeler,” which is a condensed version of the “aqua peel” treatment commonly performed by dermatologists in South Korea. As Glow Recipe co-founders Sarah Lee and Christine Chang explain here, the “oversized, jumbo Q-tip is pre-soaked with exfoliating and hydrating ingredients”—these include lactic acid and glycolic acid (chemical exfoliants in the category of alpha hydroxy acids), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), malic acid, and citric acid, along with plant and fruit extracts, algae extract, plankton extract, and 85% sea water.
The first time I tried this, I didn’t find that my skin looked better the next morning. In fact, the pimple I was hoping to combat seemed a bit more red and inflamed—but there’s no way to know if that would have happened regardless of whether I’d used the aqua peeler the previous night. Still, I do feel that my skin isn’t particularly fond of lactic acid, as it’s never given me the same incredible results others have claimed to see (such as from the cult-favorite product Good Genes, for example). Fortunately, the second time I used this, my skin was just as clear the next day, while some problem areas were resurfaced and hyper-pigmentation was lightened.
Product: Yoon Dermaline Marine Complex Exfoliator*
*Although I bought this from Glow Recipe, they no longer sell it online (but if you’re in New York, you can still find it at their month-long pop-up shop). Luckily, Glow Recipe does sell the Reme+G 3-in-1 Aqua Peeler Sheet Mask Kit, which was temporarily unavailable at the time I’d decided to test out their aqua peeler stock.
Above, I split an eye mask in two and used one half on each eye, as the full pieces of this mask are too large for my under-eye area. Applicable to full-face sheet masks as well, cutting items into smaller pieces when possible is a good way to conserve the product (and save money) when you don’t need to use as much of it/on as large of an area as designated.
This post might have the most clickbait-esque title you’ll ever see from me, but I can honestly say that I actually had to temper my enthusiasm while writing it. I’ve tried so many different products and regimen changes over the years hoping to accomplish what this face wash did, but only once I stopped aiming for a particular result—and instead took an informed step for the sake of my skin’s general health—was I successful. Let me explain.
It all started with a random Facebook log-in, leading me to a random comment on a random group post. If I hadn’t checked the app at that particular moment and scrolled past that particular post, I might’ve never been directed to the following link, vaguely described by the commenter as “really helpful for understanding my skin” or something along those lines—despite how assiduously I was already trying to learn about skincare at the time. And so, chance directed me to a 2014 blog post by Kerry Thompson, titled “The Importance of Fatty Acids, pH & the Moisture Barrier: How I Eliminated my Acne & Decreased my Skin Sensitivity.”