Watch: How To Bond With Your Kids Through Daddy Skincare

daddy skincare

In honor of Father’s Day (and as proof that real men wear masks), we asked a few kids in K-beauty households to provide some daddy skincare love with a couple of K-beauty’s more notorious skintertaining face masks: Elizavecca’s Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask and Hell-Pore Clean Up Mask. (And no, for our sadistic entertainment, we didn’t tell them it was called “hell pore.”)


The result? Well, let’s just say the kids (and we the viewers) probably had more fun than the unsuspecting dads.


Watch below or on YouTube here.



Interested in trying out the Elizavecca masks yourself (or on your unsuspecting dad, friend, annoying big brother)? Get the carbonated one here and the peel-off one here.


A big thanks to our dads for sacrificing your complexion for your kids’ (and our) enjoyment!


daddy skincare






6 Ways to Conquer Pollution, Skin’s Latest Enemy


Pollution’s like a zombie, dying to wreak havoc on your skin. Thankfully, antioxidants are the Glenn Rhee to the free radical walking dead.



Walking your dog in the park. A brisk jog around the neighborhood. Your daily commute to work.


All ordinary moments in the day of a life? Sure. But also all moments for pollution to attack.


While UV damage from the sun has been the hot topic in skincare in years past, an emerging body of scientific research now reveals that environmental pollution is another major factor in premature aging. Not only does air pollution worsen skin conditions like eczema and hives but it can exacerbate fine lines, sagging, redness, even hyperpigmentation. Worst of all? Unlike UV rays, pollution’s pretty near impossible to avoid. (What are you gonna do — never go outside?)


And we urbanites are especially vulnerable to premature aging. That’s because the major bad guys are from traffic pollution: nitrogen dioxide (NO2), microscopic particles called PMs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Now that may be a mouthful, but just think of these toxic substances, which are small enough to penetrate our skin pores, as zombies. A zombie bites a person, that person becomes a zombie, who then bites another person, who then becomes yet another member of the walking dead, and the chaos continues endlessly. Essentially that’s what pollution does: They rob molecules of an electron, resulting in unstable atoms or molecules. These unstable molecules, or free radicals, then start attacking healthy cells, including lipids, proteins, even DNA. This leads to a cascade of cellular damage, a chain reaction of inflammation and oxidative stress, which if left unchecked, can lead to all sorts of skin disasters from the breakdown of collagen and elastin, hyperpigmentation, and damage to the skin barrier. Essentially, zombie skin.


Pollution antioxidants cellnco sandawha


Thankfully, antioxidants are the Glenn Rhee of the free radical world — they’re our best weapons against pollution premature aging. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage — whether by preventing them from forming in the first place, stabilizing them, or repairing their damage — but it’s a one-to-one sort of combat: one antioxidant for one zombie, er, unstable molecule. While our bodies make their own antioxidants, like everything else, natural antioxidant production decreases as we age. So we need to supplement our antioxidant reserve, especially for our skin, which is on the frontlines of the pollution wars.


Ready to do battle? Here, 6 ways you can help protect your skin from pollution.


1. Double cleanse

Since pollutants leave an invisible, toxic film on the skin throughout the day, cleansing your skin before you go to bed is key. Always double cleanse, first with an oil cleanser to remove sunscreen and oil-based makeup, and then with a gentle foam or water-based cleanser to remove dirt and debris without stripping skin. Eclado’s Ionisation Daily Deep Cleanser utilizes negatively charged ions to remove the micro-dust particulates from urban air pollution that gets into our pores throughout the day.


2. But don’t overdo the cleansing!

There’s a fine line between double cleansing the pollutants away and damaging your skin barrier by over-exfoliating. Go easy on facial scrubs and acids, which can disrupt the skin barrier. Exfoliate with a gentle, non-microbead facial scrub no more than a few times a week or try a konjac puff when cleansing.


3. Always wear sunscreen

Free radicals are formed not just by pollution but also UV rays (which are magnified by pollution), so look for a high SPF sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) with strong UVA protection. In Asia and Europe, look for PA followed by at least three or four plusses on the label; in the U.S., mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide ensure you’re getting adequate UVA protection and create a physical barrier against pollution particles.


4. Eat lots of fresh veggies

Especially leafy greens, fruits (especially dark berries), and beans to get your antioxidants nutritionally.


5. Protect and build up your skin barrier function

Use a lipid-rich moisturizer to keep hydration in and all the bad stuff out. (We like SanDaWha Ultra Rich Hydrating Camellia Floral Water Cream, which also contains niacinamide, effective in fighting pollution-related skin damage.)


6. Use serums and essences with antioxidants

Hey, Glenn needed Daryl and Rick to have his back, right? So too do we need a variety of antioxidants, each working in its own unique way to scavenge free radicals. Some effective antioxidants to look out for include glutathione, vitamin E, vitamin C, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and a variety of plants and botanicals, like in CELLNCO Rose Therapy Nutrient Boost Ampoule.


Is pollution a skincare concern of yours? How do you try to protect your skin from pollution?



Stressed Out or Breaking Out? Try a 1-Day-1-Pack Detox

1-day-1-pack resized BANNER

Sure, a sheet mask a day sounds like a major commitment, but try a 1-day-1-pack detox for a week when your skin (and life in general) is troubled. It just may be the boost you need.



I remember the first time I heard about 1 일1팩. Literally translated as “1 day 1 pack” (“pack” is the Korean term for “mask”), this phrase refers to the skincare trend that swept South Korea a few years back. It’s the 32-year-old actress and singer Hwang Jung-eum (Kill Me, Heal Me; She Was Pretty) who is often credited with starting the trend. Back in 2012, she told a Korean news outlet that she used 1,000 won sheet masks (which is less than $1) every single day. “I buy 100 sheets at a time, put them in the refrigerator, and add moisture to my face every time I take a break,” Hwang said. Soon, it was reported that actresses Ko So Young and Uhm Ji Won had jumped on the 1 일1팩 bandwagon, and a trend was born.


Today, everyone from Descendants of the Sun actor Song Joong-ki to 25-year-old Goblin actress Kim Go Eun is said to use one mask a day. That’s right — both men and women too young to know what a fine line looks like all adhere to a regular practice of applying one sheet mask on their face every single day. Is it the secret to that perfect K-drama skin? Perhaps. But having tried the 1-day-1-pack method for a week at a time, I can personally say this: It really does make a difference. I’ve never seen my skin so plumped, so taeng taeng, and just so healthy as when I’ve done a 1-day-1-pack detox for five days. And while I don’t do it 365 days a year (I mean, really, who has that kind of time other than mega-star actors whose job it is to look good), I will turn to a 1-day-1-pack detox for a week when I’m breaking out, stressed out, or my skin is otherwise freaking out.


But first, some tips

OK, so you want this 1-day-1-pack thing to work for you, right? I mean, why go through the trouble if you’re not going to do it right? So make sure you follow these steps to maximize the skincare benefits.


  1. First, cleanse your skin. If you’re doing this at night, then a double cleanse is a must. I actually apply my sheet mask in the morning, right after my actives step, when my skin has been marinating in vitamin C and BHAs for 20 minutes, so it feels amazing when I apply a soothing sheet mask. Bonus points for exfoliating one to three times a week to clear skin of excess sebum and buildup of dead skin cells and help your skin better absorb the nutrients in the mask.
  2. Before applying your sheet mask, prep your skin with a hydrating toner or mist. Even better? Apply after a shower when your pores are more open. (A warm towel application works, too.)
  3. Don’t wear the sheet mask for more than the recommended time, which is often 20 minutes and should never exceed 30. This is a situation where more is definitely not better. As the sheet mask dries, it will actually start to absorb moisture from your skin, so set your timer, lest you get lost in your Viki binge watching.
  4. Store your sheet masks flat, not standing up, to keep the entire mask absorbed in essence. And if you choose to refrigerate your mask, keep it in there until you’re ready to use, since a constant change in temperature may affect the essence.


Sheet mask smart

Now that you’re ready to get your sheet mask on, don’t just slap on any ol’ mask. Target your skin condition for that particular day with a sheet mask made to address your issues. With so many sheet masks on the market, you’re sure to find one for anything that may ail you. Here, some discoveries from my latest 1-day-1-pack detox.


1-day-1-pack moksha sheet mask


For when you’re irritated: Moksha Dear Honey Propolis Royal Jelly Mask

I’ll admit, I had never heard of nor tried Moksha before this most recent 1-day-1-pack detox. But seriously, I am obsessed with their sheet masks. The essence in the Dear Honey mask has a nice bouncy feel and is not overly watery. There’s a ton of essence in the package, so make sure to really get in there and scoop out as much as you can. The rayon sheet mask itself clings quite well to the face, and after a couple minutes, I suddenly get the sense that it’s really glommed onto my face, leaving me with a nice, firm fit.


This mask contains propolis, a secretion of the honeybee, which I am a huge fan of for its antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. I turn to propolis every time I feel a hormonal pimple coming on. Even better, 91.5% of the ingredients in this mask is derived from nature, and there are no parabens, synthetic dyes, or silicone. And at $2.50 a mask, I can stock up without giving up my monthly Starbucks fix.


After 25 minutes, my skin feels deeply hydrated and firm, and after patting in the extra essence, my skin surprisingly looks almost matte. My redness is gone and my skin feels calmed.


For when you’ve been outdoors: Eclado Daily Ionisation Mask

Eclado’s Ionisation Mask is a part of their new anti-pollution line, which is huge because studies now show that pollution is as bad for skin as UV rays. This mask contains illite, which is a clay that draw impurities out of the pores. Since micro-size particulates from urban air pollution are small enough to get into our pores, you can see how important a “vacuum,” so to speak, may be to detox our skin after a long day of work and commuting.


The sheet mask also features polyglutamic acid, an excellent humectant that boosts natural moisturizing factors and elasticity in the skin, as well as several botanical extracts like Centella asiatica and gardenia fruit extracts.


If that’s too much science for you, all you have to know is that there’s a ton of essence in this mask (it’s practically dripping when I take it out of the package), the essence is not overly watery and has a nice viscosity to it, and it plays well with other serums and face creams, without any pilling. As I pat the essence in, it does get a bit tacky, which I personally don’t mind. I think this mask would make a great primer for makeup, so I would recommend applying this mask after your other serums and treatments.


For when you’re super dry: Moksha Dear Shea Butter

Oh, how I love this mask. The essence is a rich, creamy lotion, much like some of the more expensive masks from Estée Lauder or La Mer. For that reason, I recommend applying this mask after some of your more lightweight essences and serums. When you put it on your face, you’ll immediately feel how soothing and comforting this sheet mask is. It’s like a cozy cashmere throw on a cold winter day.


Like with the Moksha Dear Honey mask, after a few minutes, I get a sudden sense that the mask has glommed onto my face, as if the essence is sinking deep into my skin, pulling in the mask a bit. But when I check the mask, it still looks shiny with essence.


After 20 minutes, the mask is still shiny on the cheeks, but definitely drier on the forehead and chin. As I pat in the essence, it sinks in quickly and feels so soft and soothing. My skin looks amazing and again, pretty matte. There is no sticky afterfeel; it’s almost like I patted on a moisturizer rather than an essence. By the time I put on my face cream, my face feels so saturated with hydration, it feels and looks incredibly plump and taeng taeng. My verdict? This may well be one of my favorite masks of all time.


For when you need a lift: Eclado Gold Essential Mask

The Eclado Gold Essential Mask is such a unique mask. Unlike the trendy microfiber and cupro masks of late, this is a relatively thick hydrogel that gold colored. It comes in two parts, one for the upper and one for the lower face, but what really makes it interesting is that the mouth and eye openings are just little slits. Thankfully, this mask is pliable enough so that you can widen the slips, but what the slits do is allow more of your mouth area and even your eyelids to be covered by the mask. Usually my mouth and the sides of my nose are left uncovered with a typical mask, but this one offers a lot of coverage. The interesting thing about this mask is that it’s relatively dry. Not to say that it’s bone dry, but I found that there’s basically no excess essence in the packaging other than the wetness along the inner lining. And the hydrogel, other than feeling moist, is far from drenched with essence. The hydrogel is thick, which means it’s heavier, so it does tend to slide down my face incrementally during the 20 minutes, especially the lower half.


Afterwards my face is moist, though not wet. I pat in the excess essence, and it feels like I’m patting in the last half of my hydrating toner — moist but not wet. Nevertheless, my skin looks nice and matte and firmed afterwards. The essence plays well with the rest of my regimen without any pilling. My skin doesn’t necessarily feel oversaturated like with some of the wetter masks I’ve tried, but it definitely feels just as plumped.


For when you’re stressed: Moksha Dear Avocado Sheet Mask

This gel-cream essence mask is just the thing I needed to top off my five-day 1-day-1-mask detox. It’s comforting, it’s cushiony, and it’s anti-aging with vitamins A and E. (Have I mentioned how much I love Moksha’s sheet masks?) Avocado extract calms irritation and has skin soothing properties, so it’s perfect after a long, stressful day. After 25 minutes, the essence takes a while to pat in, and it doesn’t completely even after a couple minutes, so I just move on to the rest of my regimen. I find this to be typical after a five-day sheet mask regimen — my skin feels so saturated with hydration that it almost can’t take anymore, which is always a good thing. My pores look smaller, my lines less noticeable, my skin like you could bounce a quarter off it.


So it’s official. I’m addicted to the 1-day-1-pack detox. And while I can’t do this every day, I will definitely be doing this anytime my skin starts acting up or I’m feeling stressed.


Which, on second thought, probably means I’ll end up doing this every day. Sheet masks in bulk, anyone?


Have you guys tried doing a 1-day-1-pack detox? I’d love to know how it worked for you! Let’s talk about it in the comments below.


Finally! A Viral Makeup Brand You Can Wear Every Day: Romand

romand banner

Sure, holographic cheekbones, overstuffed lips, and unicorn-inspired anything are great — for social media and cosplay. But for everyday? Let the hyper-pretty, totally wearable makeup of Romand inspire you (without the need to sacrifice your Instagram feed).



In a world of Kylie Lip Kits, holographic unicorn beauty, and Pat McGrath Skin Fetish highlighters (worth buying just for the sequin-filled packaging if not the alien-like sheen you’ll never wear before 10 pm), it’s hard for pretty, natural makeup to create any buzz in the beauty-sphere. And yet just one month after its launch last year, makeup brand Romand did just that, going viral in beauty-obsessed Korea, beating juggernauts Pony Effect and 3CE in online searches.


romand blush


And it’s no wonder. Because when your before-and-after looks something like this, you pay attention:


saerom before & after romand


This is the magic of Saerom Min, the creator of Romand, also known as Gaeko of the popular beauty blog Gaeko’s Open Studio. It’s a chameleon-like transformation: Her eyes look brighter, her nose a bit shorter and more pert, her face smaller, more lifted. In a society where looks are a nationwide obsession — and cosmetic surgery no small part of that — it’s Min’s willingness to bare it all and show women how to make the most of their features that has inspired fans around the world to embrace their own unique look. Her favorite kind of comment on her SNS feeds? “I grew to like my face in the mirror after you.”


Yes, Min’s an “influencer” (as in, 105k on Instagram), but she’s got some serious credentials as well. With a degree in Western visual art from Korea’s Inha University, Min is also a national certified colorist, an author of two bestselling beauty books, and a frequent lecturer on personal color and makeup. Oh, did I mention that she was the #4 beauty blog on Naver in 2015? (Think of Naver as Korea’s Google.) All by the ripe old age of 27. Can we say #girlboss? #careergoals?


So when Romand approached Min a couple years back about starting her own makeup line, she knew it was the right fit. A combination of SaeROM and “and” (as in communication and collaboration, two linchpins of the brand), Romand launched last year with Instagram-worthy packaging and makeup colors perfect for every look you could possibly want in a week.


romand makeup


“We tested a huge number of products in a variety of ways,” says Min, who recruited fellow makeup aficionados and even her mom as guinea pigs. “I intentionally went to see a sad movie to cry or to the gym to sweat it out; I even drank alcohol to see if the foundation would hide flushed skin.”


The well-curated collection includes two eye palettes of 10 shades each, 10 matte lipsticks, four duo-shade blushes, four foundations, a foundation brush with dense wool bristles (that feel like heaven on the skin, by the way), and a blending puff, all in the trendiest colors and textures, but with a certain standard of quality that feels more Bobbi Brown or M.A.C than Etude House. The foundation feels super lightweight and yet it covers impressively and lasts all day. The foolproof eyeshadow palette offers mix-and-match colors (each shade sized according to frequency of use) that you can use not just on the eyes but also as your brow color and even blush. The matte lipsticks are highly pigmented and can be applied straight from the tube for intense color or patted on with your fingers for a softer flush. (They’re hydrating, too — check out Min’s tip below for using one of the shades as a dark circle concealer!)


Romand lipstick


Of course, as a viral brand, one can never underestimate the importance of a gorgeous presentation, and this is where Romand shines. Pastel marbleized palettes and clean, glossy white tubes are just begging to be photographed for Instagram. Magnetic closures offer a satisfying click à la Giorgio Armani Beauty or Marc Jacobs. And the products feel substantial and weighty, its gold logo and trim adding a glamorous, sophisticated feel. All this while offering color options that are approachable for the makeup newbie and still creative enough to keep it fun for the more adventurous. (And of course, this is still K-beauty, after all, which means prices range from $3.50 to $44, far below their Western counterparts.)


saerom looks romand


But perhaps what puts Romand over the top are Min’s makeup tutorials: the mesmerizing way she treats her face, like a fine canvas, utilizing the lightest touch and a layering technique that feels more like you’re watching a master painter at work. Min — whose makeup routine is admittedly far from simple and is considered “heavy” by Korean standards — says she enjoys the entire process of transforming herself into who she considers she really is. It’s almost like she finds it cathartic or relaxing, and it’s contagious. After watching her videos, it’s hard not to have a fresh perspective on your own makeup routine, to actually approach your face like a work of art, to slow down, to revel in the gradual transformation.


Need more inspiration? Check out more of Min’s Romand looks for the freshest, prettiest makeup you’ll want to wear every day. (And keep scrolling down for her lipstick as concealer trick!)


saerom mon tue looks romand
The Romand Monday and Tuesday looks.


saerom Wednesday look romand
The Romand Wednesday look.


saerom wed thu looks romand
The Romand Thursday and Friday looks.


How to use lipstick to cover bluish dark circles

  1. Apply 2-3 swipes of Romand Matt Lipstick in #Awesome (or any light coral lipstick) on the back of your hand.
  2. Using your fingertip, dab the color on your dark circles, extending out a bit beyond the discoloration.
  3. Dab foundation on top of the color.
  4. Wet your Romand Pro Blending Puff and dab on top to blend.


Which one’s your favorite Romand look by Saerom Min?

The Top 3 Reasons You Need Eclado in Your Life

eclado resized BANNER

Want a side of #skintertainment with your hardcore anti-aging products? Eclado just may be the missing link in your skincare routine.



One look at Eclado’s extensive lineup of skincare products and you can tell this is a professional spa line. There are many, many lines, each dedicated to specific skincare concerns like contouring and whitening, and the packaging is often functional, with few bells and whistles. But what’s inside that packaging is also testament to its functionality — its ability to deliver results without fancy fragrances or an overload of silicones that impart a consumer-friendly texture but little else. There’s a reason why this is the brand of choice for about 9,000 aesthetic spas in a country known for its sophisticated skincare culture.


After all, Eclado is the culmination of almost 20 years of research and hands-on, in-spa experience. If their products don’t show results, their spa clients will let them know, week by week. Take their “down-aging” F.G.F. Rejuvenation Cream and Ampoule, which utilize FGF, or fibroblast growth factor. While the more commonly known EGF (epidermal growth factor), impacts the epidermis, or the outer layer of the skin, FGF, actually gets into the dermis, or the deeper layer of the skin, to facilitate the synthesis of collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans; in other words, everything skin needs to maintain its elasticity and firmness. FGF and EGF are extracted through a “bio-art” process and dual-encapsulated to facilitate its penetration deep into the dermis. It’s no wonder Eclado calls their F.G.F. Rejuvenation collection a “28-day skin reconstruction project.”


Too science-y for you? No worries. Eclado’s not all about technical geek-speak. All you have to know is that Eclado delivers results, with no shortage of fun thrown in. Here, the top three reasons why you need Eclado in your life.




Reason #1. Their textures are seriously #skintertainment

Pudding, velvet, jelly — anyone drooling yet? The variety of textures in Eclado’s moisturizers is really worth experiencing. Take their Cell Memory Cream. It has a unique pudding or Jell-O-like texture that’s firm and actually jiggles. You have to scoop it out with a spatula, and the minute it touches your skin, it’s already breaking down into a watery texture. This allows the cream to spread easily and cool skin upon contact. It’s shocking how light and not sticky this cream feels. And yet as you pat it in, it takes on another form, creating a moisture barrier on the skin that lasts all day and leaves a bona fide glow without being shiny. (For more Jell-O fun, watch the cream re-form itself into a smooth surface that looks like it’s never been touched.)


Eclado’s Activation Cream is another fun moisturizer to try. It’s an opaque, completely matte gel-crème out of the tube — in Korea, they call this a “velvet cream.” But the minute it touches your skin, it too melts into a lighter, almost water-like texture. It absorbs quickly and even stays cool for a little bit after application. It feels nice and moist, not creamy or rich (for those of you who don’t do sticky), eventually absorbing into a finish that feels almost like you have nothing on.


I could go on and on. Their Oil Free Sun Cream feels like custard, more like a creamy moisturizer than a chalky sunscreen. The Cell Phyto Anti Wrinkle Eye Cream imparts a firmed, lifted feel and yet it too is surprisingly lightweight, melting into a serum-like texture. And the Oxygen Bubble Pack will literally make you giggle as tiny oxygen bubbles start tickling your face, exfoliating and deep cleaning into the pores.


Reason #2. Their ingredients = hardcore anti-aging

But Eclado is not all fun and games. Because they started as a spa line, they’ve got a slew of products made to address whatever skin issues their clients come to them with. From “down-aging” to anti-aging (yes, they’re considered different), acne to whitening, lifting to contouring (yes, they’re different, too), Eclado’s got it covered. But one thing Eclado is consistent about is their use of botanical ingredients married with high-tech science. The result is an anti-aging weapon that attacks and defends from all sides.


The aforementioned Cell Memory Cream is a perfect example. Yes, it’s fun experiencing its texture transform and re-form. But while you’re ooh’ing and aah’ing over this cool little trick, the cream is actually getting to work soothing and hydrating your stressed-out, sensitive skin. Epidermal growth factors and plant stem cells are synthesizing collagen; peptides are spurring on the activity of cells; hyaluronic acid is pulling in moisture; and macadamia seed oil is tamping down inflammatory flare-ups.


Even their Oil Free Sun Cream contains skin-nourishing ingredients. In Korea, sun cream is distinguished from sunscreen for its inclusion of skincare ingredients in addition to broad-spectrum protection. The mineral (titanium dioxide) and chemical UV filters in the Sun Cream are bolstered by sodium hyaluronate, the water-soluble salt form of hyaluronic acid, and allantoin from the root of the comfrey plant, which promotes cell regeneration and skin healing. Antioxidants like Portulaca oleracea extract, which is rich in vitamins and fatty acids, help bolster your UV defenses by fighting free radicals.


Reason #3. Kim Gyu-ri: Need we say more?


kim gyu ri sure magazine
Kim Gyu-ri in Sure magazine.


Yes, Korean actresses are known for their flawless skin, and Kim Gyu-ri is no exception. The award-winning actress seems to be particularly focused on wellness, espousing skincare methods like cleansing with makgeolli (Korean rice wine) and detox shakes made with kale, cabbage, broccoli, and paprika. And the fact that she’s the face of Eclado? That says a lot about the line.


Kim Gyu-ri, who suffers from dry skin and a buildup of dead skin cells, uses a few drops of Eclado’s Red Velvet Natural Moisture Face Oil to prep her skin before makeup. And it’s no wonder. This multitasking oil is a dry oil that absorbs almost on contact, leaving a satiny finish. In addition to antioxidant-rich macadamia seed oil and seven other botanical oils, this facial oil is rich in phytosqualane, which has antibacterial, UV protectant, and dark spot-fighting properties. Try mixing it with your foundation or BB cream like Kim Gyu-ri does in this video for a natural strobing effect.


Ready to get Eclado into your life? Shop the line, and let us know what you think!


Jeju Camellia Oil May Be the Only Natural Anti-Ager You Need

sandawha jeju camellia oil

Korean actress Lee Young Ae (she of the ageless #skingoals) says Jeju camellia oil is all she uses. Find out why this all-natural skincare ingredient just may be the anti-aging powerhouse you need. 



The island of Jeju at South Korea’s southern tip is famous for a lot of things: its particularly succulent black pigs, honey-sweet gam-gyul tangerines, and ancient volcanic lava tubes that make geologists go wild. In fact, Jeju is so full of wonders, the entire island’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a country that is 70% mountainous, Jeju is its tropical crown jewel, long a honeymoon destination for its Maui-esque waterfalls and sweeping ocean cliffs views.


But recently, Jeju has become a mecca of a different sort, as more and more beauty companies discover the skincare benefits to be gleaned from the island’s unique botanical ecosystem flourishing in mineral-rich, unpolluted volcanic soil. Among the beauty brands to jump on the Jeju bandwagon are Innisfree, which has built their entire line around the pristine ingredients grown on the island, The Face Shop with its Jeju Volcanic Lava collection, and Nature Republic, which uses Jeju mineral spring water in its Jeju Sparkling cleansers.


sandawha sandawha jeju camellia oil


Mineral water’s great, but what about the actual flora of Jeju? After all, if its water and soil are so amazing, imagine the botanicals growing in such optimal conditions. Enter the camellia flower, a native plant of Jeju that thrives along its harsh, wind-whipped volcanic mountainsides. It’s the focus of SanDaWha, a beauty brand that started as a bio-venture company in Jeju, tasked with the mission of not just good skincare but actually healing “skin diseases.” After years of research, they zoomed in on the purity and power of the camellia flower, and for good reason: Camellia seed oil is a super-moisturizing dry oil, with more antioxidants than almost any other botanical oil, including grape seed and olive. It’s rich in vitamins A, B, and E; oleic acid; squalene; and omega-3, -6, and -9. Even better, its low molecular weight allows the oil to absorb deeply into the skin, leaving no stickiness or slick feel. Miracle ingredient? Yeah, pretty much. There’s a reason why Korean women have been using Jeju camellia oil as a beauty treatment for centuries.


SANDAWHA CAMELLIA FACE OIL sandawha jeju camellia oil


SanDaWha’s star product, its Extra Virgin Camellia Face Oil, is formulated to maximize the benefits of Jeju camellia oil. Consisting of 73% naturally unrefined camellia oil — with the remaining 23% made up of other botanical oils, including rosehip and olive — each bottle of Camellia Face Oil requires 72 camellia seeds to produce. To preserve and maximize the skin-nourishing benefits of camellia seed oil, SanDaWha took the extra step of using a cold-pressing process to naturally extract unrefined camellia oil.


Because of its pure, “untreated” nature, this face oil is a serious anti-ager: It actually helps the skin to retain moisture; it’s flush with antioxidants to protect skin from oxidative stress; and it boosts collagen production, fights inflammation, and helps to minimize dark spots and fine lines. Oh, did we mention that it’s soothing to sensitive skin and calms redness? (In fact, every ingredient in the Face Oil has the safest “1” rating on EWG, the nonprofit environmental research group that rates cosmetic ingredients for toxicity or hazard.) Yeah, it does almost much everything but fix the kitchen sink.



Sandawha floral water_cream_08 blog sandawha jeju camellia oil


And it’s not just the Face Oil that’s amazing. SanDaWha’s Ultra Rich Hydrating Camellia Floral Water Cream has joined the ranks of my new favorite face creams. Camellia japonica flower extract is the first ingredient listed (which means it makes up the largest percentage of the product), but the Water Cream also contains over 30 botanical extracts and oils, including mango seed butter, olive fruit oil, and grape skin extract, as well as proven skincare ingredients like niacinamide, squalane, and hyaluronic acid. In the jar, the Water Cream has the texture of softened butter, plush but firm, like you left a tub of it on the counter for an hour. But as you pat in the cream, it instantly cools the skin and starts to melt into an almost liquid texture. Keep patting and all of a sudden — whoosh! — the cream virtually disappears, instantly sinking into skin. My parched winter skin is left plumped, hydrated, and with a glow that diffuses light over my dark spots. Oh, did I mention it smells like a dream — the same scent as the Face Oil — with the lightest warm floral scent that I just can’t get enough of? It elevates the entire experience of using SanDaWha to a mini aromatherapy session.


lee young ae sandawha jeju camellia oil


Korean actress Lee Young Ae (she’s 46!) says she uses only camellia oil because it heals her skin, and why not? There are numerous ways to incorporate the oil into your routine. Try mixing it into your moisturizer or foundation for a hydrating boost. Use it after a sheet mask to help seal in the benefits of the treatment. You can apply it before your makeup as a nourishing primer, or pat some on the high planes of your face for a natural-looking strobe. Indeed, for dry winter skin, especially after the stress of the holidays, something pure and clean like extra virgin camellia oil may be just what the (skin) doctor ordered.


And while I wouldn’t put it past Korean beauty companies to come up with a black pig-honey tangerine-volcano lava essence that miraculously resolves all your skin issues, until then, camellia oil reigns as Jeju Island’s best all-around, natural anti-aging skincare ingredient.


Have you tried Jeju camellia oil in your skincare regimen?


5 Signs You May Be Obsessed With K-Beauty

obsessed with K-beauty K-beauty obsessed resized BANNER

Trust us — there are far worse things to be obsessed with. And if you’re going to be obsessive about something, why not something where the side effect is healthy, glowing skin? Read on to see if you’re obsessed with K-beauty.



You know the signs. You can’t sheet mask without the urge to take a selfie. Half your friends you made through the Asian Beauty subreddit. And you have a multi-step skincare routine that takes more time than your morning commute.


It’s time to acknowledge the obvious. You may be obsessed with K-beauty.


It’s OK. You’re not alone. There’s an entire country — arguably, an entire continent — obsessed with Korean beauty, and its reach is growing. And while a K-beauty addiction may have its downsides (um … YouTube tutorials in a language you can’t understand?), there are many, many more upsides (increased skin hydration, a strengthened skin barrier, less acne, a lower monthly beauty bill, even less stress!).


Think you may be obsessed with K-beauty? Read on to see if you exhibit the symptoms.


K-beauty obsessed obsessed with K-beauty


1. Your fridge is packed

Sheet mask much? I once saw an Instagram post of a K-beauty addict who had an entire full-sized refrigerator stuffed to the gills with sheet masks. Crazy? Nope. I was in awe (and not a little jelly). Sure, you may have started out with a modest box full of sheet masks (or even a mini fridge in your bathroom), but when your collection of sheet masks to support your 1-day-1-pack habit starts to take over your kitchen, that’s when you know you’ve crossed over.


2. You can read Korean

OK, maybe not all Korean. (And oppa, kimchi, and Gangnam don’t count.) In fact, you’ve just memorized two really important terms: the characters for the manufacture date (제조기한 or 제조) and expiration date (유통기한 or 까지), which is stamped on almost all Korean beauty products to indicate when the product was produced and when it should be used by, respectively. If that’s the extent of your Korean, you’re still pretty hardcore.


Bonus points for knowing how to pronounce those two important terms: je-jo-gi-han or je-jo (manufacture date) and yu-tong-gi-han or kka-ji (expiration date).


3. You’re fast-forwarding through K-dramas

If you’re one of the millions who are obsessed with every aspect of K-dramas — the stars, the food, the fashion, the back-hugs — then you’ll probably pick up on the K-beauty trends through osmosis (and well-placed product placement). But I know some who watch obsessively, less for the plot lines and more to keep up with the latest lip colors and hair trends. If you spend hours on end watching what you consider to be “cheesy” just for the beauty insight, you may well be K-beauty obsessed.


4. Your fingers are cramping

That’s because every time you post your skincare routine for the evening on Instagram, you’re writing out product names like Missha Super Aqua Oxygen Micro Visible Deep Cleanser or Nature Republic Forest Garden Argan One Step Oil to Foam (try saying that five times fast). Korean beauty companies seem to have an obsession with long, detailed product names, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (though your tech neck may have something else to say about it).


Though to be fair, I find that more and more Western brands are adopting that more-is-more product name philosophy (try Maybelline New York Eyestudio Colortattoo Metal 24hr Cream Gel Eye Shadow), while up-and-coming Korean brands are finding brevity gets the message across loud and clear (Beauty Water, anyone?).


5. All your bookmarks have, shall we say, a certain theme

Your daily feed is less The New York Times and more The Wanderlust Project, less CNN and more Ssin’s amazing transformations on YouTube. That’s right: Your reading and viewing material consists mainly of K-beauty blogs and YouTube channels.


Not that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, a little global perspective is always a good thing. And with K-beauty gurus located all over the world, it’s pretty amazing that we can share a passion with people from as far flung as Malaysia and Australia and as close as England and Canada.


So what do you think? Mildly obsessed or hardcore addicted? If you find that you may be obsessed with K-beauty, don’t despair. I’ve got one thing to say to you: At least you’ve got gorgeous skin.


What other symptoms have you found that K-beauty obsessives exhibit? Let me know what I may have missed in the comments below!


How I Do K-Beauty: Julie’s Skincare Routine

julie's skincare routine BANNER

Just like everyone’s skin is unique, the way everyone cares for their skin is also unique. After all, there’s no right or wrong way to do K-beauty; it’s what works for you. In this series, we take a deep dive into the individualized skincare regimens of some K-beauty insiders. Here, Julie Sohn, director of global operations at W2Beauty, gives us a peek into her 9-step routine.



Though Julie Sohn says she’s not quite at a 10-step skincare regimen, “being in the beauty industry, I’m getting there. I am certainly trying more products these days, but there are too many to name.” After all, as director of global operations at W2Beauty, it’s her job to test and review products from up-and-coming and established K-beauty brands. Good thing, too, because Julie likes to switch up her skincare regimen every two to three months “to treat my skin to new products and ingredients on the market.” Here, we take a look at her current 9-step skincare routine.


julie skincare routine julie's skincare routine


Skin type: Combination, sensitive

Skin concerns: Fine lines, acne

Skincare steps: 9


1. Double cleansing

I learned about double cleansing many years ago at a top aesthetic spa in Cheongdam-dong in Korea. I use Green Tea Calming Cleansing Oil by It’s Skin to massage my skin and to reduce morning puffiness. Then I cleanse with SanDaWha’s Ultra Gentle Natural Mild Cleanser.


2. Exfoliation

I exfoliate three to four times a week with Neogen’s Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine, which I keep refrigerated.


3-6. Toner, serum, cream, eye cream

Currently, I am using the SanDaWha line for my skincare regimen. I have sensitive skin so SanDaWha, made with natural ingredients from Jeju Island, works well for my skin type.

After exfoliating, I use SanDaWha Vitamin C Whitening Essence and Liposome Skin Softener, followed by Revitalizing Liposome Lotion and Intensive Eye Contour Cream.

If my skin is extra dry, I will use O HUI Age Recovery Skin Softener, Essence, Cell Lab Cream, and Eye Cream.


7. Sheet mask

On days when my skin is extra dry, I put on a sheet mask from my mask drawer. (I always have a stash of about 50 sheet masks.) My favorite brands include Neogen, Troiareuke, Innisfree, Tony Moly, Benton, and Sulwhasoo.


8. Sunscreen

I’m really big on protecting my skin from the sun so I typically use SPF 40 or higher. Currently, I’m using AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+.


9. Facial mist

My skin gets extremely dry during the winter months so keeping it hydrated is a must. I always have a mist spray with me. I love Innisfree Green Tea Mineral Mist.


How do you do K-beauty? Let us know in the comments below! We just might feature your routine!

How I Do K-Beauty: Anna’s Skincare Routine

skincare routine

Just like everyone’s skin is unique, the way everyone cares for their skin is also unique. After all, there’s no right or wrong way to do K-beauty; it’s what works for you. In this series, we take a deep dive into the individualized skincare regimens of some K-beauty insiders. Here, W2Beauty’s editor in chief Anna M. Park reveals all.



I always thought that as I got older, my hormonal acne would dissipate. That was the consolation prize of aging: At least if I had to deal with wrinkles, I wouldn’t have to deal with pimples.


Yup. Didn’t happen. I’m in my 40s, dealing with soul-sucking wrinkles and regular breakouts you could set your watch to. Oh, did I mention the sagging and enlarged pores? The skin gods are definitely not smiling down on me.


Of course, the upside to these myriad skin “issues” (the way schizophrenia is a mental “issue,” right?) is that I’m the perfect guinea pig for all sorts of skincare. Salicylic acid to clean out pores? Bring it on. Vitamin C and antioxidants to battle hyperpigmentation? Count me in. Growth factors to regenerate and firm up skin cells? I’m all over it. If it might work, it’s in my regimen. Which of course means that my skincare routine is a rather elaborate one.


Not that yours has to be as elaborate. In my 20s, it was a foam cleanser, a serum, an eye cream, and a moisturizer. (Yup, I didn’t even use sunscreen back then. For shame, I know.) I began adding to my regimen as life (and genetics) began adding to my skin woes.


So here I am. In my 40s. And with a skincare routine that, yes, is well into the double digits. But my skincare routine works. It really works. I may not be able to significantly undo the damage I did in my younger years (unabashed tanning, no sunscreen, lots of white carbs), but truly, my regimen has prevented a lot of new hyperpigmentation, my hormonal acne is a lot less angry (for lack of a better word), my neck is holding up, and my skin texture is smooth and has a certain glow. I truly believe my religious devotion to my skincare routine is the reason, and not just because of the actual products and its ingredients. My skincare regimen is a meditative me-time, a time to de-stress, be in the moment, and focus on me. And now that scientists have confirmed that stress (and the resulting cortisol spikes) are the source of all sorts of health evils, from heart disease to obesity to breakouts, I treasure my skincare routine all the more.


So herewith, my I-can’t-even-count-anymore skincare routine for my combination skin (read: cheeks as dry as the Sahara and a T-zone that clearly thinks it’s a temperamental teenager).


anna skincare routine


Skin type: Combination

Skin issues: Hyperpigmentation, hormonal acne, oily T-zone

Skincare steps: 10+


1. Eye makeup remover

Yes, it’s a triple cleanse for me. Because seriously, an oil cleanser just does not cut it with my waterproof eyeliner.


2. Oil cleanser

I play around when it comes to my oil cleansing step to remove makeup. Sometimes I’ll use a micellar water if I didn’t wear much makeup that day. And I’ll admit, I used to prefer micellar water (especially in wipe form) to oil cleansers; I think I just wasn’t crazy about that heavy, suffocating oily feel on my face. But recently, I find myself reaching more and more for my oil cleanser, especially on heavy-duty makeup days.


My current go-to is SanDaWha Natural Mild Cleansing Oil. This camellia oil-based cleanser (it makes up 61.55% of the ingredients) feels so light, unlike other oil cleansers, and I like that it almost “grips” all that makeup and gunk on my face, rather than slip-sliding all over the place. And as soon as I add a little water, it turns milky with a bit more slip, allowing me to really give myself a good, thorough massage. This combined with a mild water-based cleanser, and my face has never felt so soft or so hydrated after cleansing.


3. Water-based cleanser

During colder weather, I stick to a mild water-based cleanser made more for dry skin. (Of course, when summertime rolls around, I need to switch to an oil-control cleanser — thanks T-zone, for doubling my beauty arsenal.) For mornings, I love COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser with a konjac sponge for my T-zone. It never leaves my skin feeling tight or stripped.


I also never use a towel to dry my face. I’ll lightly pat it with a paper towel so that it’s no longer dripping, then mist my face with a facial mist and pat it until it’s moist.


4. Acids

This is where I’ll invest a little time and money to really get at my serious skin issues. For day, I’ll apply a well-formulated vitamin C serum on my cheeks, and a BHA serum, like CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, on my T-zone. I then go check my email for 20 minutes to let those acids do their thing.


5. Sheet mask

On days I’m doing a 1-day-1-pack detox, when my skin really needs it or I have a special occasion coming up, I’ll apply a sheet mask here. Depending on what’s going on with my skin, I’ll use a hydrating mask or one with tea tree extract or maybe a firming mask. (Moksha has some of the best I’ve tried in recent memory.) If I don’t use a sheet mask, I may use a day mask and under-eye mask after my serums and before my moisturizer. (See what I mean? Aging skin = a million more products.)


6. Hydrating toner

My current toner obsession is SanDaWha Liposome Skin Softener. I had a mild allergic reaction recently, and until I could figure out what it was, I stripped my skincare routine down to the more nature-based and soothing products in my arsenal, and this was one of them. It’s just an exceptional toner loaded with antioxidants — camellia flower extract is the first ingredient and the rest of the ingredients consist of mainly of 32 botanical extracts and oils. It balances my skin’s pH, immediately injects some hydration, and — no small thing — it comes in an elegant glass pump bottle. With a milky look and a watery texture, this toner never fails to make my skin (and soul) go aaaaahhh when I apply it.


7. Pre-serum booster

Sulwhasoo first introduced me to the concept of a pre-serum, which further preps your skin for subsequent treatments. Is it really necessary? I guess it depends. But I do feel that my skin is a bit softer and more plumped in the long run when I use one, though I don’t always.


8. Essence/serum/ampoule

It’s deceiving to put all this in one step because really, this category probably involves five to seven products at any given time. But hey, that’s because I’ve got a myriad of skin issues from dryness (I love Graymelin Hyaluronic Acid 100% serum) to acne (tea tree and Centella asiatica essences) to sagging (peptide serum) to hyperpigmentation (you name it, I’ve tried it). Suffice it to say, in the long term, I’ve seen results, so I’m not giving up my half dozen serums anytime soon.


9. Spot treatment/special care

For day, I’ll  I used to use a benzoyl peroxide lotion for active acne. Now at night, I alternate between Retin-A and a glycolic acid treatment.


10. Face moisturizer

Of course, I need one for my dry cheeks and one for oily T-zone. (Again, thanks schizo skin.) Eclado A.C Pimpeel Cream, which has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory propolis extract and tea tree leaf oil, is great for when I’ve had a breakout, and I recently discovered Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream for my oily areas. I’ve found Mizon to be too lightweight in general for my aging skin, but this gel cream is perfect for my T-zone (which thinks it’s an adolescent, so of course). For my cheeks, I alternate between SanDaWha Ultra Rich Hydrating Camellia Floral Water Cream (oh, that heavenly scent!), Eclado Cell Memory Cream for when my skin needs some firming up, and Swanicoco Centella Asiatica Salve for when I’m feeling irritated or red, all of which prevent that midday tightness I used to get around my eyes and temples in the wintertime.


11. Eye cream

I’m in my 40s. Need I say more?


12. Sunscreen/sleeping pack

At night, I slather on a sleeping pack just for some extra moisture-sealing protection. And sunscreen all day, every day. Preferably with a mineral/physical UV filter to ensure I’m blocking out those UVAs. And lots of it. Like a quarter size dollop just for my face. (OK, it’s more like a half dollar size. Hey, if you’ve spent all your teen years baking in the sun, you’d be overdoing it on the SPF at my age, too.)


And just to show you how crazy I am about sun protection, I also live in a hat in the summer and take antioxidant sun supplements when I know I’m going to be outdoors. Yes, I’m that ajumma. But if I have anything to do with it, I’ll be that ajumma with pretty decent skin at age 60 — assuming my hormonal acne has stopped by then.


How do you do K-beauty? I’d love to hear about your routine, and who knows? We just might feature it!

How I Do K-Beauty: Alice’s Skincare Routine

alice skincare routine resized BANNER

Just like everyone’s skin is unique, the way everyone cares for their skin is also unique. After all, there’s no right or wrong way to do K-beauty; it’s what works for you. In this series, we take a deep dive into the individualized skincare regimens of some K-beauty insiders. Here, Alice Bang, director of brand engagement at W2Beauty, gives us a peek into her 11-step routine.




If you ask Korean native Alice about the necessity of the multi-step skincare regimen Korean women are known for, she’ll answer, “Why not?


“If you really care about something, you want to do as much as you can for it. Imagine taking care of a baby. You’d wash your hands first before you touch the baby. You’d try to find the purest baby products like baby wash, diaper cream, and baby lotion. And before going out, you’d dress the baby in several layers of nice, warm clothing. So just consider treating your skin with the same care that you would a baby.”


Indeed, for Alice, skincare is like clothing — for the face. “Skincare products are the only protection for our facial skin,” she says. “And like wearing several thin pieces of clothing is much warmer than wearing one thick piece of clothing, so should skincare progress from lighter textures to richer textures to allow the skin to absorb each layer step-by-step.”


That being said, Alice isn’t strict about the number of steps one must follow. “You can skip steps depending on how your skin feels,” she says. “When your skin is feeling sensitive, don’t use products that can irritate like a foaming type cleanser or exfoliating peels or scrubs. It’s important to know that our skin condition can change every day.”


For Alice, who has combination and sensitive skin, that means she’ll sometimes truncate her usual 11-step skincare routine, which focuses on hydration but also enlarged pores, hormonal breakouts, and easy flushing of the face. “My essential steps are cleansing milk or balm, cleansing water, toner, face cream, and sunscreen,” she says. “But when I’m really feeling lazy or I want to treat myself, I’ll go to an aesthetic spa for a facial.”


alice skincare routine


Skin type: Combination & sensitive

Skin issues: Enlarged pores, hormonal breakouts, easy flushing

Skincare steps: 11


Alice’s 11-step skincare routine


1. Eye makeup remover

I use a mascara remover first, then an eye makeup remover with a cotton pad, followed by eye makeup remover on a cotton swab to clean up the residue.


2. Cleansing milk or balm

I apply a cleansing milk or balm on my face and wait about one minute for it to melt my makeup. Then I massage my face to remove all the makeup and rinse with warm water.


3. Cleansing foam

I will use a cleansing foam afterwards if I feel that I really need it. I usually skip the cleansing foam when my skin feels sensitive. When I do use a cleansing foam, I always try to make a thick, foamy lather and then gently massage it on my face using only my third and fourth fingers. I also massage under my chin and along the sides of my nose. I usually massage for the length of a song.


4. Special care/exfoliation

This step may include a pore mask, peeling, or a scrub. When I use a peeling exfoliator, I only apply it on the thick parts of my face, like my nose area, under my chin, and my forehead, never on my cheeks or around the eyes.


5. Cleansing water/toner/mist

Sometimes I will use a cleansing water to make sure I’ve gotten all my makeup off. Otherwise, I’ll use a hydrating toner or facial mist on a cotton pad and gently wipe my face twice.


6. Hydrating toner

Next, I sprinkle a hydrating toner on my palm and pat it on my face gently. I’ll usually do this once or twice, but sometimes up to seven times.


7. Special care/sheet mask

Before a special event, I’ll use a deeply moisturizing gel-type mask, like Leaders Coconut Water Gel Mask or Eclado Gold Essential Mask. For everyday, I use a variety of sheet masks, like Innisfree It’s Real Mask Packs, Moksha Dear Mask Sheets, and Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask Pack.


8. Serum, essence, ampoule

Right now, I’m using CELLNCO Rose Therapy Nutrient Boost Ampoule, Eclado Cell Phyto Anti Wrinkle Serum, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop for its brightening properties, and Benton Fermentation Essence for when my skin is sensitive.


9. Face cream

After I apply a face cream, I use my palms to warm my face. Some of my favorites are Sulwhasoo Essential Firming Cream and Eclado Cell Memory Cream.


10. Facial oil

I use a facial oil, like Innisfree The Green Tea Seed Oil or SanDaWha Extra Virgin Camellia Face Oil, for night or when the weather is cold to seal in moisture.


11. Sunscreen (day), sleeping pack (night)

For day, I use different sunscreens depending on my skin condition. For everyday, I like Primera Skin Relief UV Protector, but when my skin feels oily, I reach for Innisfree Daily UV Protection Cream No Sebum. Eclado Natural Perfect Sun Cream is great as a makeup base, and when my skin feels sensitive, I use Missha All Around Safe Block Mild Sun.


At night, I wear a sleeping pack like Laneige Water Sleeping Mask or Su:m37 Water-full Aqua Sleeping Pack.


What’s your skincare routine? Share in the comments below!



Sign Up For Our Newsletter