How K-Beauty transformed my skin and life
Today's blog features a special testimonial from Eva Lu (not her real name), an avid Korean skincare user, and how it completely transformed her skin and improved her self-esteem.
As an Asian female born and raised in America, I long consumed beauty secrets distilled from the glossy pages of teen magazines during the 1990s. How to hide your zits, how to use concealer, how to find the perfect shade of foundation to mask the blemishes of the skin. Everything I read about was about how to hide or “fix” your face but nothing was ever about how to take care of your skin. Growing up, I was often made fun of my skin by my very critical family. I had a “T-zone” combination, which meant an oily forehead, nose and chin while having dry cheeks. I had zits, particularly whiteheads, from the age of 13 until my late 20s. I never left the house unless I had some form of foundation or makeup on as I was embarrassed by my acne and uneven-toned skin that was frequently shiny or red from using harsh cosmetics to clean my skin.
As the internet evolved over the past twenty years, so did the beauty industry and the media began covering cosmetic products from Asia. I started to do my own research online rather than rely on content from fashion and style magazines. My first real exposure to Asian skincare was to the Japanese brand, SK-II, known for their serum-soaked face masks. In 2008, a friend’s aunt went to Hong Kong, where SK-II is very popular and sold at a much cheaper price than in the U.S. She brought back a box of their famous masks for me at my request and when I started using them I immediately noticed a softer, brighter complexion.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed—all my girlfriends started commenting on my skin, how it glowed and made my complexion look clearer. It wasn’t until then, at the age of 28, that I really started taking care of my skin and looking into different options for skincare. I felt that the usual powerhouse brand of products like Clinique, Estée Lauder, and Lancôme didn’t ever do anything for me — I had tried them throughout my 20s, spending a large sum of money and never really seeing any improved results in my skin’s texture or acne. I started reading up on the 10 step Korean beauty routine but rolled my eyes at the seemingly endless list of steps. I thought to myself, “I would never do all that!”
However, given the luminous skin I saw from K-beauty models, I was curious and started small—first I tried essences. Then I moved on to toners. Eventually I found my way to serums and oils and before I knew it, I was incorporating a multi layered skincare routine into my morning and evening rituals. Most importantly, my skin improved dramatically. I no longer was breaking out, the size of my pores minimized, my skin tone became more even and clear, and I had “the glow.” There have been many dinners over the past several years where I would sit across a friend and they would tell me how great and bright my skin looked, even if we were sitting in dark lighting, and asked what products I was using. Though I don’t do the full ten steps, I use about 4-6 steps based on what I need.
Asian skincare has a deep and long history and I wish I was exposed to it earlier as I was growing up. I am the only one in my family who had “bad skin” in my DNA; everyone else in my family had no skin issues so there was nothing to learn from them! I went from the girl who would hide from her reflection after a shower to a woman who revels in having a clear skin complexion at any point in the day. I never felt like I could leave the house without make-up like foundation on until I was in my early 30s and figured out which Asian skincare products worked best for me. Over the past several years, I’m confident in going out bare-faced if needed, something I never imagined I would feel back when I was younger. I wish I learned how to take care of my skin in my teen years or in my early 20s but it’s never too late to start.
I reached my fourth decade on Earth last year but many people are surprised to learn my age. I don’t have many lines/wrinkles compared to most of my peers and I owe it all to learning how to take care of my skin. Incorporating the Korean beauty philosophy into my life is a part of me now and I don’t find it time consuming at all. The skin is the largest organ in the body and lathering on my lotions and serums is how I protect it, along with diet and exercise.
Skincare is self-care and I encourage anyone who struggles with their skin not to give up!
* This Blog was written to provide general information only and should not be seen as a replacement for a professional medical consultation. It is highly recommended to always consult your healthcare provider prior to trying a new treatment or a product.