It’s Not All BB Creams: Asian Beauty and Skincare 101
Since puberty, I have dealt with the double whammy of dry and oily skin. About a year ago, a good friend (and cosmetologist-in-training) introduced me to the incredible world of Japanese and South Korean beauty and skincare products. What makes these Asian brands so great (besides the awesome packaging), is that they have a strong focus on combining makeup and skincare, which many American and European brands keep totally separate.
In recent years, Asian products have saturated the American market, but there are so many products out there that it’s hard to know where to start. That is why I have picked a sampling of the Asian products I cannot live without. While I love all these products, everyone’s skin is different and what works for me might not work for you, but if you are looking for some makeup and skincare experimentation, this is the right place to be! ￼
LIOELE VITA JUICY FOAM CLEANSER
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with cleansers. I would never know which ones would irritate my skin or which ones would do nothing to help my acne and other skin problems. The Lioele Vita Juicy Foam Cleanser is gentle, but hardworking and smells amazing (just like cranberries)! It’s great at removing all makeup and leaving skin super soft, without the chemical feeling you get from a lot of cleansers. The cranberry is great for unclogging pores -- and did I mention it’s pink?￼
HOLIKA HOLIKA SODA PORE CLEANSING SODA WATER
A lot of products claim to shrink pores, but few actually do. The Soda Pore Cleansing Soda Water from Holika Holika is one of the best. While it definitely shrinks my pores for a few days, it requires pretty consistent use once a week to keep them minimized. It uses baking soda, an old trick, to unclog pores and leave skin feeling clean -- like really clean.￼
MIZON WITCH HAZEL TONER
Witch hazel products have been a skincare staple for years, seeing that they’re fantastic at getting rid of acne inflammation. Annoyingly, a lot of toners add in alcohol, which not only makes them smell awful, but is also no good for your skin. Mizon’s Witch Hazel Toner, which is 90% witch hazel and alcohol free, not only leaves your skin feeling fresh all day, but also supposedly tightens pores.￼
SKIN79 HYDRATING FLUID
Let’s just say I used to not be into wearing moisturizer. Even though I knew it was a good thing to do, I couldn’t believe that putting oily lotion onto my already oily skin was a good idea. The Skin79 Hydrating Fluid has converted me into a moisturizer queen. It strikes the perfect balance of being light enough that it doesn’t feel heavy on my face, while also being super hydrating. ￼
ETUDE HOUSE PRECIOUS MINERAL BB CREAM
There are so many great BB creams out there that it is hard to pick just one, but I love the Precious Mineral BB Cream from Etude House, mostly because I think it is the best in its price range. It works great mixed with a moisturizer for lighter coverage, or on its own for more full coverage. It also has an SPF of 30. One of the reasons I left out a lot of makeup from this list is that many Asian brands only cater to lighter skinned consumers because that is their main market in Japan and South Korea. Luckily, many of these brands are beginning to expand into darker BB creams and foundations, but the market is still dominated by beige products. ￼
SKINFOOD SILKY FINISH POWDER
Skinfood, which has been around since 1957, has so many fantastic lines and products it is hard to pick just one. Even so, I love their Peach Sake line and the Silky Finish Powder. The packaging is a little ineffective (I have definitely spilled a fair amount of powder), but it leaves my face matte and mostly oil free all today.
HOLIKA HOLIKA CUCUMBER ESSENCE MASK SHEET
One of the best ways to ease yourself into the world of Asian skincare is with face masks. A lot of the skincare products can be a bit expensive, but masks, which usually are in the range of $1-$3 for a one-time use, are a great way to test out a brand. There are so many I love, but some of my all time favorites are the Holika Holika Tea Café Line and the Lioele Essence masks. Ingredient-wise, I gravitate towards masks with tomato and tea tree essence, which are great for acne-prone skin. Also, with summer coming, I love to stick a cucumber or aloe vera mask in the refrigerator before putting it on - an awesome trick I learned from someone who works at an Asian beauty store. It is super refreshing and a relief on sun-damaged skin.
Now the hard part is knowing where to buy these products. I’m lucky to live in the same city as Pretty and Cute, one of the best Asian beauty and skincare shops in the U.S, who also have an online store.
For buying online, Amazon is pretty good and RoseRoseShop also can have some incredible deals, but with a high shipping cost. Good luck and have fun!
ALL ILLUSTRATIONS BY AMANDA L.
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