Keep Skin Fit With These Post-Gym and Swim Skincare Tips

post-gym and swim skincare

No need to punish your skin as you pummel your body into shape. Try these post-gym and swim skincare tips to ensure a complexion that’s glowing from more than just sweat.



You’ve followed your New Year’s resolution, and you’re dedicated to staying fit. You’re a familiar sight to all at your gym and the resident mermaid of their pool. And while gym’ing and swimming are excellent for your overall health, both of these activities can be a harsh mistress to your skin. There are two major things you should look out for: dehydration and irritation. These two menaces can lead to acne as well as leaving the skin vulnerable to nasty infections.


Luckily there are products that can treat your skin the way you treat yourself to that post-workout smoothie. And they’ll take the worry out of keeping your skin healthy while you put in the work to keep your body healthy.


Stay hydrated 


This doesn’t just go for your body; this goes for your skin as well. It’s doubly important if you’re a swimmer. Prolonged exposure to chlorinated water can dry the life right out of your skin. A good skincare routine should be at the root of this solution, and I’m going to go ahead and assume you have one. However, you should supplement with a good facial oil if you’re a swimmer. It’s just like the way you supplement with protein powder — you need a little boost and this is it.


Banila Co. The Blacks Extra Black Sesame Oil is a good one. This product first came to my attention when Kerry from Skin & Tonics told me I needed to try it, and she wasn’t wrong. It’s great for deep, penetrating hydration. The Blacks Extra Sesame Oil is a blend featuring macadamia nut oil, sunflower seed oil, lavender oil, meadowfoam seed oil, bergamot fruit seed oil, argan oil, and olive oil.


However, oily skin may not like how thick this particular product is. Also those whose skins don’t play well with olive or argan oil might want to avoid it. For them I’d recommend my new friend SanDaWha Extra Virgin Camellia Face Oil. It gives all of the same benefits with a thinner texture, quick absorption, and only one ingredient, camellia oil. Add your oil after cleansing and applying your serum step. You can also mix in a few drops with your emulsion step if you’re not a fan of an oil’s texture.
Speaking of your cleansing step, use a cleansing water instead of a foaming cleanser post-pool time. It will help to lessen the drying effects of cleansing. Primera Chamomile Cleansing Water will help moisturize while cleansing away impurities. It features calming ingredients and no acne triggers, perfect for wiping away harsh pool chemicals without stripping your moisture barrier. Follow up with your regular routine.


post-gym and swim skincare


Address irritation

Your skin can get irritated for any number of reasons at the gym. Aside from the harsh pool chemicals, there’s also friction and overheating, all of which can trigger sensitivity. A soothing sheet mask can address these concerns and leave you refreshed. Benton Snail Bee Mask is still one of my favorite anti-irritation masks. The bee venom and snail mucin babies irritation and can prove to be healing for skin that’s already damaged. This mask does wonders for me when it comes to calming down overheated redness.


If you’re not washing your hair because you’ve had on a swim cap and are only showering your body, slap one of these on while you shower off. Just be sure to use a silicone mask cover with it. The A’Pieu Silicone Mask Cover will help keep it in place and keep the water from saturating the Benton mask underneath. I live for these mask covers; in fact, I just might work up the balls to do an entire workout while sheet masking and wearing one. I bet no one will tap Mrs. Hannibal Lector on the shoulder to ask if I’m almost done with the cardio machine while I’m sporting one of those babies. But since that’s probably not a viable option, opt for …


A soothing mist


Too much heat could trigger sensitivity, so keep yourself cool and your skin calm with a well-formulated soothing mist. Whamisa Organic Flowers Olive Leaf Mist and Benton Honest TT Mist are two such mists that feature anti-inflammatory ingredients as their base instead of plain old water. Whamisa’s first ingredient is Aloe barbadensis leaf extract, and Benton’s is Melaleuca alternifolia leaf water (80% tea tree leaf water). Tea tree is especially nice for this use since it’s an antimicrobial, and I can’t think of a place more teaming with nasty microbes than a gym. Benton also features sodium hyaluronate, which will go a long way to keep skin hydrated, something plain water or an alcohol heavy formula certainly cannot do. I used to keep my mist in the fridge and take it with me to hot yoga class. I’d spritz myself with the cooled mist and feel fresher immediately. This is also good to use while doing spin class or just about any other stationary cardio.


I suppose you could pay some hot gym rat to stand and mist you whilst you jump rope. In fact, I’d pay to see that happen. Let me know if you find anyone willing.


Do you have any post-gym and swim skincare tips to share? What do you do to keep skin healthy at the gym or pool?


5 Summer Skincare Swaps to Make Now (and One Big No-No)

Just like we swap out our sweaters and hoodies for tanks and tees, it’s a good idea to switch your winter skincare homies for these summertime helpers. The five summer skincare swaps you need to make now (and one you need to put on hold).



I live in an area that is hot for only about two months out of the year, and because of that air conditioners are pretty much not a thing. However, for those two months, temperatures can reach up to 100 degrees so it’s absolute misery if you can’t get yourself to a pool or in front of an open fridge.


Of course, along with the hotter weather comes different skin needs. Because of this, I make a handful of summer skincare swaps so I can keep my cool when the temps start to soar.


1. Swap your cleansing oil for a cleansing stick


It may sound like a little thing, but when it’s that hot, the last thing you want to do is slather yourself in a thick oil. It just feels like some sort of ancient torture. But there’s no way I’m going to skip my nightly double cleanse. My workaround is to bring out my old friend, the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick. Its floral bouquet and solid form make those steamy nights at the sink just that much more tolerable, even if it’s totally a mental thing. (I’ll take what I can get.) Plus, it’s a hell of a product: It removes makeup with ease and keeps your skin supple. After all, just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you get to stop worrying about your moisture barrier altogether.


2. Swap your facial oil for a water oil


For the same reason, during the very hottest of days, I just can’t with a facial oil. I’m sweaty, I’m actually producing sebum (a rarity for a dry mummy such as myself), yet I want to hydrate deeply without feeling yucky. Cue Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil, the “oil” for people who hate “oil.” It’s technically a serum, not an oil, but it does have oil in it, so you can use this for both your oil and your serum step. It’s one less thing to worry about on those late hot summer nights.


summer skincare swaps


3. Swap your cream for an emulsion 


You know I love a cream. I live for the cream. I’ve got a Cream Life tattoo across my stomach like Tupac … metaphorically speaking, of course. But cream can go ahead and see itself straight to hell right around July and August as far as I’m concerned. I want a lotion texture and nothing else. Especially when I know I’m about to load my skin down with sunscreen every hour on the hour.


I keep talking about the SanDaWha Revitalizing Liposome Lotion because I love it. It’s one of my favorite new products this year. To me it’s everything I wish the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer was. It’s lightweight and non-greasy while still providing actual moisture that lasts. It’s excellent for me as an emulsion step for the rest of the year, and in summer I think it’s going to be the perfect standalone.


If you still need more hydration and an emulsion just isn’t cutting it, might I suggest the CosRx One Step Moisture Up Pad (stored in the fridge for maximum coolness). Give your face some refreshing swipes after your toner and before your serum — that should do the trick.


4. Swap your steam towel for a clay mask


I’ve written about the little-known but crazy effective Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Steam Towel, which is ultra handy for opening up your pores via steam and allowing product to sink in better. For obvious reasons, this is something we’re going to tuck away in a drawer until the crisp chill of fall is upon is again. For now, let’s cozy up to the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask. Those pores of yours are probably already open, what with all the excess sebum and sweat those apocrine glands are cranking out. Let’s suck the life out of all that excess with this classic mask. This is a favorite around my house for gently tackling oily pores. Paint on a layer and park yourself in front of a fan while sipping something fruity through a straw.


5. Swap your thick body cream for a shimmer oil


This is the only oil exception I want to make in summer. Your extremities still get dry out of the shower or bath, but a heavy body cream feels kinda gross. The 3CE Treatment Shimmer Oil is a near dupe of the Nuxe Shimmering Dry Oil Huile Prodigieuse, only I actually like the 3CE’s smell better. It sinks in fast and lives up to the “dry oil” part of Nuxe’s namesake. Plus this oil imparts a lovely Beyoncé shimmer leg, and who doesn’t want that?


The big summer skincare no-no


Last but not least, just say NO to alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in the summer. AHAs make your skin more susceptible to UV rays, and there is just too much risk of sun damage unless you seriously live behind UVA-UVB blocking treated glass or one of those grandma sunglass visor face shields.


Speaking of which, can someone convince Vogue to tell the world those are cool so I can wear one outside and be totally socially acceptable?


What summer skincare swaps are you making right now to keep your cool?


Treat Yourself to Etude House: 10 Under $10

etude house 10 under $10 10 under 10

Skip that boba milk tea for two and treat yourself to a new goodie from Etude House. From unicorn liners to a hair mask and yes, even sunscreen for all around $10 or less, you just may be able to get one for your bestie, too.



What’s $10 these days? About two Caramel Frappes. Maybe a fast food value meal? Whatever it ends up being, it usually isn’t much. I said usually, but that’s not the case today.


You’ve got $10? I’ve got 10 great Etude House goodies that cost just $10 or less. Worth it.


etude house enamel eyes talk etude house 10 under $10
Etude House


1. Etude House Tear Drop Liner $5.50 

If you feel like an ethereal space princess on the inside, the easiest way to look like one on the outside is with the Tear Drop Liner. This liquid product gives your eyes a dazzling flash of reflective shine, thanks to microfine glitter. It’s not chunky or overwhelming; it’s just the right amount of sparkle. Apply to the inner corner of the eye for a subtle flash or all over as eyeliner for a more dramatic effect. The Tear Drop Liner comes in three shades: a white pearlescent pink, a white glitter, and sunshine bronze. The pearlescent and sunshine shades are my personal picks.


Look how gorgeous they look on Little Porcelain Princess:


2. Etude House Keep My Brows Fixer $7.00

Big, natural brows are so in right now. But big and natural can sometimes mean unruly and bushy. Keep those brows groomed and in place with Keep My Brows Fixer. This clear gel really does keep your brows nice, neat, and totally how you want them all day long. The best part is there are no flakes or white cast, just all-day clear hold, which makes it great when used with other coloring brow products. Which brings me to …


3. Etude House Brow Contouring Kit $9.00

While we’re on the subject of brows, this kit is such a great deal. For $9, you get two powder shades, a wax, and a highlighter shade. You can mix and blend your perfect brow shade with the powders, set it with the wax, and then highlight the top and bottoms of your brows to really bring out the perfection that is your eyebrows. And if you’re not sure about how to achieve that perfect shape, don’t even worry! Etude House also has brow stencils available for just $3! They come in both a “natural” shape and “straight” shape guide, perfect to unleash your inner ulzzang.


4. Etude House Dear My Enamel Eyes-Talk $5.50

If you want more pigmentation that you typically find in the Look At My Eyes line, give Dear My Enamel Eyes-Talk a try. These creamy shadows are best applied with the finger in my opinion, as it lays down an easily controlled yet powerful color deposit. It’s available in 12 gilded shades that give your lids a gorgeous, colorful sheen. PK006, PK002, and OR201 are my personal picks from this line.


See how Korean vlogger Lamuque uses the Dear My Enamel Eyes-Talk:


5. Etude House All Finish Lip Tint Remover $4.00

We all know Etude House has some of the best (and cutest) lip tints. We also know that they’re so good at what they do, they’re hard to remove once it’s time to say goodbye. All Finish Lip Tint Remover to the rescue! Squeeze some of the gel on the tip of your finger, massage it into lips, and remove by rinsing or with a wet tissue. The gel will get into the cracks of your lips and remove the left-behind traces of tint that lurk within.


6. Etude House Cherry Jelly Lips Patch $2.50

Don’t let your face have all the fun. You’re all about that sheet mask life, but what’s the major part that gets left out on all the sheet mask fun? Your lips! Don’t neglect your smackers — apply this giant lip-shaped pucker over your own to deeply hydrate and revitalize that pout with hyaluronic acid , licorice root extract, Camellia sinensis leaf extract, and hydrolyzed collagen.


7. Etude House Play 101 Blending Pencil $7.00

This is the next evolution for my beloved Play 101 Pencils. The Play 101 Blending Pencils are a larger, automatic twist-up version. They come in four textures: Creamy, Jelly, Jewel, and Velvet. They can be used as concealers, highlighters, color correctors, lipsticks, blush, eyeshadow, you name it. With 33 shades at your disposal, the possibilities are endless.


Check out how Korean makeup guru Jung Saem Mool uses the Blending Pencils:




8. Etude House Play 101 Blending Pencil Finger Brush $9.80

This little dual-ended brush is the perfect companion for the Dear My Enamel Eyes Talk shadow. Once applied with your finger, use the brush end of this little guy to buff out and blend your shadow into a pretty little smoke. The spongey end can be used to do a killer gradient lip or all-over soft-wash.


9. Etude House Silk Scarf Damage Protein Steam Hair Pack $3.50

Were you blue (and then pink, purple, green, and then orange)? Is your hair in need of some extra care thanks to all the colors of the rainbow that have found themselves in your hair at one point or another? Give your hair a little extra love with this hair pack. Coat your hair in the essence, cover, let it absorb for 20 to 30 minutes, and then comb through for hair that’s a lot softer than when you started.


10. Etude House Sun-Prise Leports Waterproof SPF50+/PA+++ $10.50

Yes, this is technically 50 cents over our imaginary budget, but consider it the tip you’d have left your barista. Etude House Sun-Prise Leports Waterproof sunscreen is a full UVA, UVB coverage product that dries down almost instantly. It’s very well-suited to oily skinned folks and the very active as it is water-resistant (it says waterproof in the description, but I really don’t think anything is actually fully “waterproof,” so I’m going to go with “resistant” here). What I like about this particular product is most sunscreens in this watery sports formulation are usually somewhere around SPF 30 to 35, so I’m happy to see an SPF 50 here. Shake it up, apply, and get active knowing you’re protected!


What are your favorite under-$10 Etude House products?


Getting Your Man on the K-Beauty Train

man on the K-beauty train men's skincare banner man on the K-beauty train

It’s not just about vanity. Your masking session with your guy can actually qualify as a date night. Here’s how you can trick get your man on the K-beauty train.



K-beauty is a lifestyle, and when it comes to getting your partner in on the fun, it’s not always an easy sell. He’s sat back and watched more and more bottles invade your bathroom, seen your time in front of the mirror grow from 2 to 20 minutes, and peeped those Internet searches for the benefits of snail filtrate. He might be slightly intimidated — and slightly might be an understatement.


So you want to bring the two loves of your life together? Well, good news — I have some simple ways to nudge him toward joining the glow squad.


Suss out just how much he knows about skincare

You’d be surprised at how much your partner picks up on, even if he hasn’t been an active part of something. What does your dude know about taking care of his skin? Does it go beyond face washing? You don’t want to risk coming off as condescending, explaining things he already knows.


This is also a great time to figure out what his skin issues are. Does his skin often feel tight and uncomfortable? He might be dry. Giant pores and shine? He’s probably oily. Redness and irritation? Be on the lookout for sensitivity.


man on the K-beauty train


Learn together

You’re probably not a dermatologist or skincare expert, and he may have some questions you don’t have the answer to. Go on an educational journey together. Just make sure you make it a light, fun atmosphere and not a stress-inducing SAT cram session. Who knows what you two might discover together!


Show him why and provide solutions 

Once you get a handle on his skin woes, show him the power of the products. We all know the proof is in the pudding and seeing is believing. Slap a pore strip on his nose and show him those blackheads. Then show him the products he can use to help fight those little bastards. If his skin is dry, show him how good a nice, hydrating facial oil can feel. The effects are immediate, and it will make a lasting impression. This also has the added benefit of showing him what a difference self-care can make, which will lead to a better understanding of why you are all about that K-beauty life.


men's skincare man on the K-beauty train
Proof that these tips work: The author’s own husband doing a sheet mask.


Break out the skintertainment

Those crazy fun products that first got you hooked? They’ll work on him, too. Now’s the time to break ’em out and have a party at the sink. No one can be in a bad mood when they have a bubbling mask on their face. Fun sheet masking makes for great couple selfies, and a giant cloud of foam from your bubble net will never not be awesome. It’s hard not to want to be a part of something that’s fun.


Make it a group thang!

Look, when you’re spending 10 to 20 minutes sequestered in the bathroom after a long day of not seeing each other, that’s a significant amount of time. Earmark your routine time as a chance to catch up with each other. Blow off some steam and listen to each other’s tales about your respective days as your fighting the good fight. Much like couples who take up biking or working out together, this is something that you two can bond over while bettering yourselves.


Show him how much you care

Let him know it’s not just a vanity thing; this is a health thing, and you care about the state of his largest organ. (I dare you to say that verbatim and watch for the incoming dick jokes — “You mean my other largest organ, right babe?”) Skincare is health care, and you want to make sure the package that protects the love of your life is in its best shape possible. Who can argue with that?


Do you skincare with your guy? Share your stories with us!


Slay Your Vacation Beauty Look in 3 Simple Steps

vacation beauty look

Vacations are the time to let go, be free, and experiment with a new look. Make your vacation easy (and memorable) with a signature vacation beauty look that’s more tropical goddess than traffic grunt.



If you have a big vacation planned, you know that everything is planned down to the minute. You’re going to make every second count, and all your time is accounted for and assigned a mission.


So why not assign yourself a signature look to capture the essence of your trip? Something that deviates from your norm that you can look back on and associate with that time you ran off to an island and really lived. I’ve been daydreaming about white sand beaches, gauzy maxi dresses, complicated rum-based cocktails, and glowing in the moonlight. We already know a vacation tan is a no-no, but a sun-kissed makeup look is not only acceptable, it’s a major yes, and we’re doing it, damn it.


Your vacation beauty look? Get it in three simple steps.


1. All bronzed up

Since we’re not about sun damage, we’re going to fake and bake, sort of. Since Korean beauty standards are almost totally aghast at the idea of an on-purpose tanned look, there is a woeful lack of bronzers out there. Hera has their Face Designing Bronzer, but really that’s more of a broad contouring powder than a true bronzer. It could look muddy on most complexions, and it’s not very pigmented, so unless you’re incredibly fair, I’d say look to western beauty in this instance. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer is pricey, but one of my very favorite options. It comes in four shades and it looks fantastic swept on. I sweep it  on my forehead and up into my hairline, on my cheeks, and on the neck.


When sweeping onto the cheeks, stick to the back near the ears and don’t brush it onto the apples. Why? Because we’re going to sweep a coral blush onto the apples for dimension and brightness. Tony Moly Spoiler Mini Cushion Blusher in 03 Peach is an insanely gorgeous peachy orange shade that screams, “Mai Tai on the beach!” Combined with the bronzer, you get a look that says, “Who me? Oh, I just got back from a seaside yoga class where I reached nirvana #Blessed.”


vacation beauty look


2. Get glowing

Now that your flushed, blushed, and bronzy, let’s get glowing. Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Pearl Bay Invasion Highlighter in Baby Pink Clam: Have you two met? No? Well, say hello to your sexy new friend. Pearl Bay Invasion Highlighter is an easy to use liquid highlighter that comes in a sturdy pump packaging. The color is a beautiful pinky-bronze, and it’s formulated with olive and avocado oils. Use this one on the bridge of your nose, Cupid’s bow, cheek bones, and on your eyelids.


(I’m calling it now, the wet eyelid look is going to be huge in the coming years. I’ve seen it creeping back in editorials, and more and more products are being released to give this look. It’s also going to be part of your signature vacay look.)


If this color doesn’t work for your eyelids, Too Cool For School Eyeshadow On Flat Iron liquid eyeshadow in a mixture of peach gold and bronze will make for a more dramatic yet effortless looking eye. 3CE Pot Eyes Shadow Coral Time is yet another option that will give a slightly different look but still keep with the shimmery tropical theme.


3. So Coralicious 

Now, this is the thing that’s going to define your look. This will be a lipstick that you won’t ever be able to wear again without getting a phantom taste of salty air and being flooded with memories: a bold coral lip. Because you’re on vacation and keeping up with lipstick is work, we’re going to go with only the most tenacious of options, because screw work. This lip color has to not only be long-lasting, it has to be worthy of immortalization.


Clio’s Virgin Kiss Lipnicure in #6 Rumor Coral is just the ticket. It’s bold, it’s beautiful, and damn it, that stuff ain’t comin’ off unless you’re ready for it to come off. Take a dip in the ocean, play some beach volleyball, hell, strap on a parachute and parasail — that stuff is not coming off your lips, and when you see how it looks you won’t want it to.


So book your tickets, pack your bags, and don’t forget to stuff me in your carryon because we’re going on vacation, and we’re going to look fabulous doing it.


Do you like to experiment with your makeup look when you’re on vacation? If so, let us know how!

Be the Cool Aunt: Our K-Beauty Teen Gift Guide

teen gift guide

Whether graduation, birthday, bat mitzvah, quinceañera, or some other adolescent milestone, celebrate the teens (and tweens!) in your life with the gift of beauty. After all, it’s hard to go wrong with anything shaped like a bunny.



Between birthdays and holidays, there’s never a shortage of anxiety over just what to get a picky teenage girl. From the ages of about 11 to 18, it’s a minefield. The slang is as rapidly changing as this week’s latest meme, what used to elicit a smile now produces an eye-roll and a groan, and you have no clue how not to be the lame, out-of-touch oldie. Bridge that gap with this K-beauty teen gift guide, and redeem yourself in the eyes of the world’s harshest judge, the teenager.


Etude House My Beauty Tool Lovely Etti

Pro tip when choosing a gift: Ask yourself if it’s Instagram-worthy. With so many “doing it for the ‘gram,” the requirements of a good gift are largely weighed against how ‘grammable it is. Etude House’s My Beauty Tool Lovely Etti items are the perfect grouping for an adorable, heart-collecting selfie. The Lovely Etti Hairband with its white kitty ears, the pink Lovely Etti Standing Hair Brush with a cute cat graphic, and the Lovely Etti cat head shower ball are both handy and photogenic and just may make you grownup of the year in your teens’ eyes.


The Banana Split Gift


teen gift guide


Who doesn’t love the combination of strawberries, chocolate, and bananas? K-beauty took a cue from our tastebuds and created all sorts of food-inspired items. Pair a gift certificate from their favorite local ice cream or dessert shop with these delectable treats for your face.


On team strawberry, there’s the ever popular Skinfood Strawberry Black Sugar Mask Wash Off, a gentle manual exfoliating scrub that smells and looks exactly like strawberry jam. There’s also Nature Republic Sweet Jelly Gloss 04 Strawberry, a perfectly pink strawberry hued gloss. And rounding it all out are the all important Instagrammable My Beauty Tool Strawberry Sponge Hair Curlers by Etude House.


For the banana bunch, there’s the must-have Tony Moly Magic Food Banana Sleeping Pack and Magic Food Banana Hand Milk, which both come in banana-shaped packages that would make for a killer grouping with the strawberry products, especially the curlers.


And like any good sundae, you need to top it all off with a bit of chocolate. Give your banana split a K-beauty twist by adding The Saem Choco Pie Hand Cream or, if they’re old enough, Pudding Hair Shaking Pudding Hair Color in Chocolate Brown.


Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Perfume Bar


teen gift guide


You can’t be mad at a face like this. The Pocket Bunny Perfume Bar is the sister product to the bunny lipgloss bar and bunny mist from Tony Moly.  It comes in three different colors with a corresponding scent — a fresh powder, a citrus, and a floral scent — all of which are totally sweet without being cloying or smelling cheap. It’s also got the added benefit of being travel-friendly since the perfume is a solid bar instead of liquid. Pick up all three scents or mix and match with the lip gloss and mist for an adorable trio.


Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Dear Brachiosaurus Blotting Paper

Oily skin seems to go hand-in-hand with the teen years while hormones are trying to work themselves out. This blotting paper is on a whole other level; it ain’t your usual boring powdered paper. It’s a genius way to soak up that excess oil on the go, and it’s made with 100% Korean mulberry paper (or hanji). These pacts also offer a great blotting method, as the included sponge puff holds the paper for more accurate and effective dabbing. You’ll like this so much you just might want to get some for yourself.


And now that you’ve become their favorite parent/aunt/uncle/adult, luxuriate in your newfound cool grownup status.



Get In a Summer Mood With These Etude House Must-Haves

etude house must-haves summer buys banner

It’s gorgeous outside, and so are you! Brighten up your summertime look with some Etude House must-haves, including a limited edition popsicle-shaped lip tint that’ll get you drooling.



Darling Water Gel Tints

Hurry up and get these while you can! These limited edition 2017 summertime tints are just what your summer needs. Adorable ice treat-shaped containers house a tint that gives a perfect just-ate-a-popsicle look. There are six different shades available, and at $7 each, you might find yourself drooling over every single flavor.


Etude House Sunprise Must Daily SPF50+/PA+++

What is summer without sunscreen? Stupid, that’s what. Now is the time to start preventing sun damage and photoaging. Get on it with Etude House Sunprise Must Daily SPF50. The chemical and physical sunscreen formula protects from both UVA and UBA rays with very minimal white cast. It also doesn’t smell like your typical drugstore sunscreen; this has a pleasant perfume-y smell. And at $8.50, this sunscreen may save you thousands of dollars in your dermatologist’s office 20 years in the future.


Etude House Drawing Eye Brow

Did you lighten your hair this summer? Maybe you did a balayage or put in some all-over babylights to look like a beachy goddess? Don’t forget to update your eyebrows, too! Drawing Eye Brow pencils have a super sharp, slanted flat edge to get in and define your brows. The best part is it’s available in a whopping seven different shades to better match your brows to your new hair.  It’s also crazy inexpensive, so you can have several shades on hand if you change your hair color as often as you change your mood like I do.


etude house summer must-haves RESIZED


Look At My Eyes

Etude House Look At My Eyes shadows are the perfect introductory eyeshadows. A soft, easily blendable, wash of color awaits you when you pop open a new shade. Grab some tropical hues from this line and be your own sunshine. The deep pink RD301, the hot pink RD303, the sunset orange OR205 — all of these are as bright as they are fun. If a mellower tropical island vibe is your thing, the Etude House Mellow Jelly Pot Eyes Jewel line has shades that look like a sandy beach, jade waters, and a clear sky. Think of these are your perfect destination.


Proof 10 Eye Stick Primer

Everything is handier in a stick. I’m a huge fan of Etude House’s classic Proof 10 Primer cream, and here it is in the form of an ultra-portable stick. This formula can be used as a primer to make eyeshadow more vivid or as an all over eye-brightener if minimalism is your thing. I wouldn’t recommend this for oily lids as it is dimethicone-based and infused with several oils, so it might make things feel slippery after a while. However, if your eyelids are normal to dry (dry eyelids are sometimes a side effect of prescription acne treatment), give this little stick a try.


Etude House My Beauty Tool Etti Silicon Puff

I’ve been impressed with the silicone blender, and now I’m dying because there is a kitty version?! What? I need this! Etude House My Beauty Tool Etti Silicon Puff has all the benefits of a silicone puff (insane amount of saved product, easy cleansing and disinfecting), and it’s shaped like an adorable kitty. What’s not to love here? Squeeze some of your favorite BB cream onto the back of your hand, lightly dab your Etti puff into it, and then tap onto your face for a flawless finish.


Glass Tinting Lips Talk + Case

I started with lips, and I’m going to finish with lips. There’s nothing more summer than a pair of glossy lips, and if I get those lips from the cutest customizable case ever? Um, yes please! High shine, hydration, and 20 gorgeous shades to choose from — you’re sure to find your perfect match in Glass Tinting Lips Talk. But my favorite part of all of this? The cases you can slip them into. There are 20 different graphic patterns, and they are 200 shades of cuuuuute. It’s even more customizable than I first realized because you can mix and match the tops and bottoms of each case! My personal favorite combos are the hot sauce, lobster, matches, vitamins, ketchup, and of course the French fries. I want them all!


Which case would you get? What else is on your Etude House must-haves list?

Look Like You Went to an Esthetician With This DIY Facial Massage

Women in hairdressing DIY facial massage

Estheticians can’t get facials every day, either. But you can steal some of their tricks to give yourself a DIY facial massage at home for that just-got-home-from-the-spa glow.



In my training as an esthetician, I picked up many beneficial habits as I learned about the intricacies of skin health. While there are some steps that can only be duplicated within your esthetician’s office and under trained hands, there are many that you can practice yourself at home.

If you’ve ever had a professional facial, you know that one of the most soothing, tension relieving parts is the facial massage. Lucky for us, it’s also the easiest one to replicate at home. While it’s unrealistic to think that one would have enough time to go through the entire choreographed dance that is a professional facial massage every night, you can take the basics and work them into your daily life. Boiling these steps down to their essentials and incorporating them into something you’re already doing every night is a great way to do it.


The Oil Cleanse Massage

A perfect place to incorporate a facial massage is during your first step of a two-part cleansing routine. Here’s how.



  • After oil cleansing, don’t immediately rinse. Take that time to use the oil as lubrication as you make sweeping motions upwards, cupping your chin and stopping at your temples. Do this with both the right and the left hand.
  • Each time you reach the temples, do a little circular motion (as you would if you were massaging a headache) before traveling back down to the chin. Do this for at least three to four passes.
  • Once you make your way back down to the chin for the final time, bring the middle and ring fingers of both hands back up, and trace around the jawline and chin, and circle the mouth, as if drawing the number 8 around those areas. Again, do this motion for at least three or four passes — more if you have time; we tend to hold a lot of tension in the mouth area. Just think of all the lip pursing you do as you read the news or try to cough out polite responses to troublesome people!
  • On your final pass around the mouth, take your fingers and slide them up the nose bridge. From there, fan out to the cheeks and use all four fingers to sweep the cheeks toward the ears. Use slightly more pressure for this sweep than you did for the mouth areas, but not too much! You never want to tug at the skin.
  • From here continue the outward sweeping motions four to five times. This will help with lymphatic drainage and tone the skin.
  • After your final repetition, bring your fingers back up to your temples and pause, applying slight pressure and centering yourself.
  • Now, make a fist, knuckles flat to your temples, and use your knuckles to “walk” up your temples to your forehead. Once at the forehead, “walk” your knuckles across the entire span of your forehead.
  • Once you reach the ends, “moonwalk” those knuckles back to the starting points. The forehead is a place we hold a tremendous amount of tension (hello, Botox’s most popular injection site!), so really take your time to massage out the tenseness of those muscles, applying the most pressure yet. The forehead skin is thicker than, say, the delicate eye and lip area, so while we do have to take care, it requires the most force to get the desired results. Once you’re finished, simply rinse, and continue on the rest of your routine as normal.


The Essence Massage


Women in hairdressing DIY facial massage


If you don’t want to do these massage techniques during your first cleansing step at night or if you’d like to do them in the morning, there are other places you can work it into your routine. You can use it during your essence or essential oil step with a slightly different ending.


Do the massage as described above, but once done with the forehead portion, take a few extra drops of product and place your hands at the bottom of your neck. From here we will do a basic effleurage technique, sweeping the hands in a brisk upwards motion, one right after another, sweeping toward the chin.


Always use upward motions, as this is thought to counteract the effects of gravity. I don’t quite know how valid that claim is, but it’s certainly better than pulling downward on your delicate neck area. This step has the added benefit of forcing the inclusion of the oft-neglected neck skin into your routine. The effleurage technique will both tone the skin and act as a delivery system of the product, helping it be better absorbed by the skin.


A Word About Pressure

Now let’s talk pressure. In regards to the massage, I used the word “force,” as that’s the most appropriate word, but really, it sounds harsher than I mean. Please be gentle, gentle, gentle. Use no more pressure than you would working with delicate dough. I’ve heard the analogy that skin is like a delicate silk garment, and you must treat it as such, but I’d go one step further and say touch your skin as tenderly as you would if you had a broken nose. You have one face, and that’s the only one you’re going to get. Imagine if you were assigned a single garment at birth and told it had to last you a lifetime. I bet you’d take a lot better care of it than most do in regards to their skin. Our skin is our biggest organ as well as our biggest ally in staying healthy. It protects us not only from the elements but also from infection and even disease. Our skin is not only our bodyguard, it’s our soldier and protector. Let’s show it a little love!


How to Marie Kondo Your Makeup Stash

makeup stash

Sometimes it’s not about inspiring joy — it’s about avoiding infection. Here’s how you can reorganize and spring clean your makeup stash — any time of the year.



Spring cleaning: It’s not just for your baseboards and oven hood; it’s a year-round necessity that extends to your makeup stash, too. While we’re making the effort to ensure the little seen crevices of our rooms are clean, we should apply that same thinking to the stuff that actually touches our face just about every day.


Mascara (6 months)

Let’s start with the eyes. If you’ve ever had any kind of eye infection, you know that it’s one of the most uncomfortable ailments you can get stuck with. Taking away as many possible culprits should be a priority. Mascara is a good starting point. Your mascara has the shortest shelf life of any of your makeup products. The general consensus is to toss your mascara after six months, which makes sense not only from a bacterial standpoint, but also from a performance standpoint. I find that most mascaras give up the ghost well before the six-month mark. It starts to get dried out and work a little less around the four-month mark for me. Plus, guys, let’s be honest: There is something almost magical about a fresh tube of mascara. Cracking open a fresh tube is not only good for the health of your eyes, it’s just plain delightful.


Eyeliner (3 years)

If tossing your mascara every four to six months has you feeling like you’re wasting your money, the shelf life of eyeliners should make you feel a lot better. Pencil eyeliners can last you up to three years safely. Which makes sense — you’re constantly sharpening it, revealing a new fresher layer underneath and shaving off all those germy germs.


Eyeshadow (2 years)

Eyeshadows — well, I’m going to tell you what the experts say, but I’m not even going to pretend like I follow this rule. According to almost everyone, eyeshadows are only “good” for about two years. Do I throw out my limited edition, holy grail, all time fav palettes at the two-year mark? HA, no. Truth be told, I have held onto one shadow palette from my teens so long that it’s now old enough to legally drink. That’s not to say I put that one on my face! That one is for pure nostalgia.


However, I do regularly use five- to seven-year-old palettes to this day. My workaround is scraping. Now, I don’t advocate this for everyone. I can’t attest to how sanitary this is; it’s just something I learned over the years. I take a small plastic spatula (like the ones you can pick up for free at the Sephora testing stations) and scrape the first layer of powder off, then give it a spritz of rubbing alcohol from a mister. This is also a good tip to use if you have oily eyelids and your shadow has developed those hard, discolored spots from the oil you’ve transferred into the pan. Just scrape those areas off and reach fresh pay dirt beneath. Viola — “new” eyeshadow.



spring cleaning makeup makeup stash


Base makeup (2 years)

Foundation, no matter how much you paid for it, should absolutely be tossed at around the two-year mark. I don’t even take chances with unopened ones; those get the boot if they’ve gone unused for two years. Your skin is your biggest organ, and you’ve only got just the one face, so don’t mess around with it. The same timeline goes for your cream and liquid concealers, as well as your face primers. If you can, check the manufacture date on the bottom of your bottles and make note of the information.


This is one of the reasons I love BB cushions; they kind of take care of this problem on their own. There is no BB cushion on earth that will last you two years. They tend to peter out around the six-month mark, which is perfect. They’re also usually very reasonably priced, so replacing them is no big hit to the wallet. It also allows you to explore lots and lots of different formulations without feeling wasteful. If I had the bottles and bottles of dead soldier foundations piled up around my makeup desk, I’d feel queasy. But BB cushions I can use up and toss quickly. Plus, you can just order the refills, so you don’t have to worry about creating waste of the actual cushion compact.


Blush (2 years)

Powder blushes, like eyeshadows, are recommended to be tossed after two years. I don’t hold onto blushes the way I do eyeshadows, but I do tend to use them for slightly longer than recommended, which probably isn’t the smartest. So far, my luck has held out. *Knock on wood*


Lip products (1-3 years)

Your lipgloss may be poppin’, but it should only be kept for about a year. Liquid lipsticks, too. After that, toss it. It’s way too easy for liquid lip products to pick up and then propagate bacteria. This is why I almost always go for low price point lipglosses and liquid lipsticks. They’re like peach season: brief and glorious.


Traditional lipstick has a longer shelf life, clocking in at about three years of safety. Which makes it more justifiable to splurge on that luxurious formulation you’ve had your eye on. Lipstick also gives that exciting fresh-tube sensation of mascara: Rolling up that new tube is like a mini Christmas morning present, any time of the year.


Tips, tricks, and real talk

Another thing that should get the mother of all cleanings this spring (in addition to regular quick cleanings year-round) are your makeup brushes. A good makeup brush can last you damn near a lifetime if it’s well made and taken care of. I have a 20-year-old concealer brush that, unlike that old eyeshadow palette I held onto, is still in heavy rotation today. Take some time to wash, shape, and dry every brush you own. If you do your makeup in the morning and clean them immediately afterward, they should be good to go by the next morning. I have a couple different brush cleansers I really like: Innisfree makes a good one, as well as the Japanese dollar store Daiso.


When it comes to keeping up with the dates of manufacture on your products and gauging how long you’ve been using them, keeping a small, pretty ledger at your makeup station is a good idea. You can log your products, when they were made, and when their expiration date will be. Then set reminders in your phone’s calendar. It’s also a good way to keep track of your spending and how often things are coming in and out of your stash. It can also pinpoint any wasteful behaviors you engage in, like buying too much of any given category when you have a lot of unused ones already. You’ll feel a bit like a fancy scientist, your safety will be in check, and your findings just might surprise you.


One last thing I’d like to touch on is de-stashing. How many of us have held onto products simply because they cost a lot, even if they don’t work for us? (You can’t see it, but I’m raising my hand right now.) Take the time to really ask yourself if you truly love your products. You can apply the Marie Kondo method to your makeup hoard as well as your kitchen junk drawer. Ask yourself, does this lipstick really bring me joy? Do I get happiness from this yellow eyeshadow? Can I really pull off this lavender blush? If the answer is no, toss those babies, and be a little more selective next time you pull up your browser to engage in some retail therapy.


So what’s the oldest item in your makeup stash? C’mon, ‘fess up! We all have ’em!

10 Cult K-Beauty Color Cosmetics Everyone Should Try

K-beauty color cosmetics cult k-beauty makeup resized BANNER

Whether you’re a K-beauty newbie or a long-time devotee, these are the cult favorite Korean makeup products that are tried and true.



Amongst the longtime K-beauty crowd, certain makeup products have popped up over and over again. Fueled by word of mouth street buzz or features in multiple beauty stories, these tried and true products have innumerable fans. Some are dupes of cult-favorite Western products, and some are totally unique creations. Both have found a permanent place on the beauty shelves of gurus and casual consumers alike. Read along, and I’ll tell you why.


1. Etude House Proof 10 Eye Primer

I first came across this product near the beginning of my K-beauty journey. I was searching for a dupe of the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I wasn’t thrilled with the packaging of the Primer Potion back then, as I felt a lot of product was wasted. The packaging has since changed, but I don’t even care because I’ve found its successor, and it’s much, much cheaper. Etude House Proof 10 Eye Primer performs almost exactly like UD’s Primer Potion, at a fraction of the cost. With this primer, eyeshadow applies vividly, stays put, and lasts throughout the day. People eventually caught on to that fact, and you soon spied Proof 10 Primers in many a makeup bag. At less than $6 (compared to UD’s $20), you really can’t go wrong with this one.


2. Tony Moly Backstage Gel Liner

This product is one of my personal holy grails. I had been a longtime devotee of M.A.C’s Blacktrack Fluidline Gel Liner when one day I ran out and in a panic went to the nearest store for a quick replacement. That store just happened to be a Korean beauty store and Tony Moly’s Back Gel Liner caught my eye. Once I tried this product I was hopelessly hooked for life. I’ve never found a smoother, more tenacious gel liner before or since. Amazing is the only way I can describe this liner. It even lasted through labor for me! Other people have also experienced similar results, and I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a negative thing about this product from anyone. This absolutely deserves a spot in your makeup lineup.


3. Clio Kill Black Waterproof Pen Liner

If gel liner isn’t your thing, and you just really want a liquid, Clio’s Kill Black Waterproof Pen Liner has got you covered. It’s the classic true black felt tipped pen liner of your dreams. A steady hand will get you a smooth, flawless application with wings so sharp they could cut someone. I don’t know how they manage to do it, but the Korean cosmetic market really kills it when it comes to waterproof formulations. It’s never once run like most liquid liners have been known to nor does it flake like some waterproof formulations do. This is the perfect pen liner. It’s also available in the same formula but with a brush tip.


top 10 cult k-beauty makeup K-beauty color cosmetics


4. Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream

This is the BB cream I feel everyone has cut their teeth on. If someone is really into K-beauty, I guarantee you they either have or have had this BB at some point. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that this popular formulation came in the widest variety of shades made at the time, making it more accessible to a wider consumer base. I have a great personal affinity toward this BB cream, as it was the first one I ever used and the one used on the cover of our book Korean Beauty Secrets. One of our models is sporting the darkest shade, #31 Golden Beige, and the other the lightest, #13 Milky Beige. The coverage is great, the shade selection is good, and it has a nice, natural finish. My favorite way to use this is to mix one part BB cream with one part VDL Lumilayer Primer on the back of the hand and then apply with a damp beauty blender. You get a luminous finish with better coverage than the average BB.


5. Etude House Play 101 Pencils

There’s nothing these little pencils can’t do. A minimalist’s dream, these pencils can be used as liners, brow definers, lipsticks, eye shadows, blush, and even concealer! Named for the fact that there are 101 shades, this product does it all and then some. They come in matte, creamy, glitter, and shimmer finishes and can take you from day to evening. They’re so customizable you can create endless lip and liner color combinations. Aside from your base makeup, you can whip up an entire full-face makeup look with just these pencils. Korean beauty guru Pony has some great YouTube tutorials demonstrating the transformative power of these little pencils.


6. The Face Shop Face It Waterproof BB Cream

Speaking of waterproof, here’s another doozy. The Face Shop’s waterproof BB cream is some of the best performing waterproof face makeup I’ve ever come across. As a matter of fact, it’s the best. It’s great on those steamy summer days that melt most makeup right off your face. A dear friend of mine even tested it while deep diving with sharks. She sent me picture of herself right after a dive with perfectly done skin — it was unreal! Of all the reviews I’ve ever written on my blog, this one gets the most traffic. People really seem to love this BB cream and for good reason.


laneige lip bar resized K-beauty color cosmetics


7. Laneige Two Tone Lip Bar

With the rise of the gradient lip trend out of Korea came the desire to replicate it in North America. Some tried to re-brand it as an “ombré lip” and experimented with the technique to mixed results. Along came Laneige with this unique two-toned flat bar lipstick that, when applied, gave a perfect gradient. It’s foolproof and took the labor out of the look. Available in a wide array of complementing color duos, this became a must-have for all wanting that innocent “I just ate a popsicle” K-drama lip.


8. Clio Virgin Kiss Lipnicure

Clio’s Virgin Kiss Lipnicure is a mouthful; it’s also a lip-ful. Lipnicure is a funny word meant to call to mind a manicure for the lips. This creamy liquid lipstick defies logic as it dries down into a kiss-proof, matte finish. As steadfast as this lipstick holds, you’d expect it to be drying to the lips, but you’d be wrong. While it’s not moisturizing in any capacity, it’s not drying either. If applied to healthy lips, the color will stay true without cracks or feathering for hours on end. Once word got out about this lipstick, it became one of the most recommended K-beauty color products.


9. Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder

This powder is an oily girl’s best weapon, and everyone’s best friend. Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder has been a trusted helper and makeup mainstay for several years now. This best seller is a finely milled loose powder that puts a stop to oily shine by absorbing sebum. The difference between this powder and every other powder out there is you needn’t apply it with a heavy hand. A light dusting can keep a greasy shine at bay for several hours. The delicate mineral powder leaves your skin feeling smooth and soft like raw silk. It has a fresh pleasant scent and never leaves your skin with the gunky buildup some other powders can. What I really love about this powder is not just that it works incredibly well at its billed job but it also makes for a great multi-use tool in your makeup bag. Want to turn that glossy lipstick of yours into a matte look? Tap a little bit of this powder onto the lips with your fingertips. Need to get somewhere quick and don’t have time for a shampoo? Sprinkle a little in your hair and massage it into the scalp. It’ll work the same magic on your roots as your nose. For well under $10, you have a high performing face powder, makeup transformer, and even dry shampoo if you’re in a pinch. No wonder this has remained a must-have for so many for so long.


10. Berrisom Oops My Lip Tint Pack

You’ve probably seen the GIFs and reviews of this product more than any other K-beauty point makeup. This thick, sticky jelly is delivered onto the lips via a squeeze tube applicator. From there, you wait for it to dry, and then peel it off like a mask, revealing perfectly stained lips underneath. You had better test to make sure the color is a flattering one because once it’s on, that baby ain’t goin’ nowhere. It’s absolutely waterproof. Short of a good oil-based remover, it’s not going to budge. I have personally worn this lip stain for 12 hours straight and still had to really massage it with a cleanser to get it off. It’s perfect for swimming and hot yoga classes.


So how many of these would we find in your makeup bag? Are any of these K-beauty color cosmetics your holy grail products? Let us know your faves in the comments below.



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