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.
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.
*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.