Watch: It’s Not Too Late to Slay Summer With These Stay-Cool Tips

Fall may be just around the corner, but we’re still in the dog days of summer, so it’s not too late to slay the season. Rachel of DearSeoul shows you seven stay-cool tips to survive the crazy humid summers of Seoul in this cute video. (Bonus: It involves a lot of eating!)



Want a glimpse of life in Seoul? Look no further than Rachel’s lifestyle YouTube channel DearSeoul, which covers everything from beauty to culture to travel to, of course, food! One of her most recent videos has us grateful not to be in Seoul in the sweltering month of August, but then again, wouldn’t those juices and dishes be extra amazing in that crazy humid heat?


You decide …



For more stay-cool tips on how to slay summer (other than carrying mini electrical fans with you everywhere), check out:


stay-cool tips


The best sunscreen according to Editor at Large Jude Chao


Sun protection 101 (yes, you need to know this stuff year-round)


Festival tips you can use all summer long


Summer skincare swaps you have to make (step away from the AHA …)


Eat your way to better skin with delectable summer fruits (who knew eating could be so good for your complexion?)


Staying sane while on the road (yup, it’s possible!)


What are your favorite stay-cool tips for summer? And have you ever tried kong-guksu?




Ask the K-Beauty Squad: I’m Overwhelmed; Where Do I Start?

ask the K-beauty squad

To kick off our continuing series answering your most pressing questions (beauty or otherwise), we ask the K-Beauty Squad for some advice to those who just may be starting out in Korean skincare and feeling a bit overwhelmed.




ask the K-beauty squad


ASK THE K-BEAUTY SQUAD: I’m new to K-beauty skincare and a bit overwhelmed by all the products! Where and how do I start?


Contributing editor Coco Park: 

Don’t whip yourself into a frenzy of wanting to know “ALL THE THINGS” all at once. You should think more like a fine art gallery curator and less like a Boy Scout — you don’t need to be prepared for (or have a product for) every little thing when starting out. Start with the basics and essentials and then build your way up to your perfect routine. The slower you go at this the better.


Editor at Large Jude Chao:

It also cuts down on the consequences of newbie over-enthusiasm. By which I mean the “I bought a 20-step routine and put it all on my face at once and my face exploded! K-beauty is terrible!” reaction.


Contributing editor Sheryll Donerson:

You’d be surprised at how many people start a K-beauty routine by just slathering a billion things on their skin at once and then being surprised when they have some sort of breakout.


I think it’s best to take inventory of what you already have in your stash and go from there. Everyone already has a cleanser and hopefully a moisturizer, so it’s all about filling in the gaps with what you think is necessary. Do you have acne-prone skin? A good BHA or AHA product (like the COSRX BHA and AHA liquids) would be a great thing to add. If you have dry skin, look to add a hydrating toner like the Klairs Supple Preparation Toner.


It’s not necessary to buy all the things and slather them on your face at once. Do your research and make informed decisions based on your skin type!


Editor in chief Anna M. Park:

I think once you have your double cleansing, moisturizer, and sunscreen down (the basics!), the other products you should think about adding is a hydrating toner and a good essence with antioxidants. A toner will kick-start your skin’s hydration process (a fundamental pillar in Korean skincare) and an essence with antioxidants will fight the free radicals that cause all sorts of premature aging. (And since free radicals are produced by everything from UV rays to pollution to stress, it’s a never-ending battle!)


Want to know more? Check out our must-read guides here:


How to get started with your essential K-beauty kit 


When to use what: Your intro to the 10-step skincare routine


Teen’s first skincare routine (but great tips for anyone just starting out and how to incorporate new products into your routine)


The basics of double cleansing


Understanding the basics of Korean skincare


Wanna ask the K-Beauty Squad a question? Submit it below and we just may feature your questions!


Weekend Watch: Mesmerizing Romand Makeup Videos

romand makeup videos

It’s a lazy, hot Saturday afternoon, and you’re sick of lying by the pool. Why not get some makeup tips from around the world while you’re lounging about? We’ve gathered some fun makeup videos featuring the ever-chic Romand brand for you to enjoy. But be warned: These Romand makeup videos can be addicting.



“The packaging is on point.” Pretty much the universal consensus among beauty vloggers about Romand, including Ashley Elizabeth, Berry Beautiful, and Nicky Murphy. And why not? The magnetic closure of the lipstick, the gold-trimmed marbleized packaging, the opalescence of the lip tint tubes — all reasons to love the experience of Romand as well as the actual product inside.


romand makeup videos


Another thing they agree on? Gorgeous, silky colors in the eye palette. (And how on earth do so many of them rock that glittery tangerine eyeshadow with aplomb?)


Clearly, I need to take notes. So sit back and click play on some of our favorite Romand makeup videos. You’re in for a mesmerizing time.


Meejmuse’s unboxing 


Let’s start off with one of our fave beauty vloggers, the crazy adorable Meejmuse. Seriously, can we just listen to her all day long?


Her first impression video of Romand should give you a good sense of the texture and pigmentation of the products (and she can’t resist applying the lip tints during the unboxing either).



Vivekatt’s #monolidgoals


This video is so good because it shows — other than the fact that Chinese Swedish beauty vlogger Vivekatt is a genius at completely transforming herself — that makeup tutorials go beyond language. I also like how she does super closeups on the eye as she’s applying makeup — a great tutorial for monolids and how to pull off daring shades like shimmery tangerine.



Jane’s Beauty Room’s sweet GRWM


Can’t get enough of that Australian accent? Jane’s Beauty Room is another vlogger from Down Under whose GRWM videos are as softly lit as her super fem makeup looks.



Lou Sanchez’s newbie-friendly look


Filipina beauty vlogger Lou Sanchez does an easy-to-follow day to night Korean-inspired look using Romand. I really like the way she shows how versatile the colors are — from how light or pigmented you can make the Romand lipsticks to how to use one of the shades in the eye palette as a contour for the nose and hairline.



Saerom Min: The original makeup magician


And of course, we can’t forget Romand’s founder herself, Saerom Min, the original magic maker for the way she completely elevates her look with what seems to be a few strokes of her magic wand makeup brush. Watch as she transforms herself.



And as a bonus, Saerom gives Korean American vlogger Joan Keem the Romand touch.



If you’ve tried Romand makeup, what’d you think? Which are your favorite Romand makeup videos and who are some of your favorite vloggers to watch?

What’s Next in Beauty: 5 Cool Korean Beauty Trends at Cosmoprof

korean beauty trends at cosmoprof

Take three days, two W2Beauty staffers, and one massive beauty convention filled with the best, latest, and greatest innovations from around the world, and what do you get? One very full carryon bag (and a lot of inspiration!). Here, we highlight some of the cool Korean beauty trends at Cosmoprof North America 2017 in Las Vegas.



If you’re a beauty editor, Cosmoprof can be one giant candy store. It can also be a massive obstacle course, one in which you’re dodging the fluff and gimmicky in an effort to suss out the next big thing, the true hidden gems.


And when that gem is hidden in an obstacle course that is over 250,000 square feet, with more than 1,000 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors jam-packed therein, well, let’s just say, Cosmoprof is as exhausting as it is exhilarating.


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof
Moksha and other brands under the Rankiss umbrella.


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof
Korean brand Jayjun featured gorgeous sheet masks focusing on anti-dust, a big trend in Korea.


This year, Cosmoprof featured two Korea pavilions (yes, there were so many beauty companies from Korea, it required two dedicated sections). Of course, even those large areas couldn’t contain all the Korean beauty companies represented at Cosmoprof — it seemed everywhere you turned there was a Korean beauty company featuring the latest in technology (skin ironing, anyone?), skincare, hair care, body care, and color cosmetics.



So we swatched, slathered, sprayed, and even got “tattooed” (for real! See what I mean below). I was once again overladen with free product to test and review. (Not complaining!) After three days, my back ached but my spirits soared, inspired and rejuvenated by the best of beauty and reminded why I love this ever-growing industry. (Seriously, beauty people are some of the nicest people ever.)


We saw and learned a lot in three days, and we only scratched the surface. Nonetheless, here are some of the highlights of our experience there and the cool Korean beauty trends at Cosmoprof.


1. Microneedling, the next generation


You may have heard of microblading, the procedure by which a thin row of needles is used to tattoo semi-permanent pigment into the eyebrow area for fuller, natural-looking brows. Well, welcome to the newest, more advanced way to get those perfectly natural Cara Delevigne-meets-Han Ga In brows: microneedling.


Microneedling is different from microblading in that you’re using a nano needle, not a row of needles, so you have far more control and precision in depositing pigment and shaping the brow. There’s also less pain, which my colleague can attest to. (After about 30 minutes of a topical cream anesthetic, she said she felt nothing while getting her brows done — and she admits to a low pain threshold. Check out our Instagram for a video of the procedure!)


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof
You can already see how amazing her brows look.


Of course, your microneedled brows are only going to be as good as the artist doing the needling, and in this case, Sun Young Park of Beauty Briea is a true artist. As head of Beauty Briea, an “art makeup” salon and academy specializing in semi-permanent makeup and nail art in Incheon, South Korea, Park works with the steadiest of hands, creating needle-fine strokes with amazing precision. (I know — I sat there mesmerized for a good half hour before I started to see stars.) Park also developed the Ming-Ming-Briea (or MMB Solution) microneedling machine, which offers different settings for brows, eyeliner, lips, and hairline. MMB can also used for skincare, including wrinkle reduction, scar treatment, and brightening.


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof


All I can say is that after seeing the final results on my colleague (with no swelling or bleeding or downtime whatsoever — we went to a gala a few hours later), I was blown away and wanted to immediately plunk down a fistful of Benjamins for the picture-perfect K-drama, crazy natural brows now sported by my colleague, who instantly looked  10 years younger. Sob. If only Cosmoprof were another day longer.


2. Instant lifters


The V-line has been big in Korea as a coveted facial silhouette for some time now. And while cosmetic surgery to get that V-line is advertised all over Seoul, thank goodness beauty companies are looking for more innovative (and less invasive) ways to achieve the coveted look.


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof


One such brand, Cell 97.7, offers a facial mist called First 3S Tight Junction Solution (sold with a serum as a set) that literally tightens and lifts the skin in minutes. They misted one side of my colleague’s face with the solution (yes, she was the official guinea pig), she gently patted it in (over makeup), and in seconds, her face not only started to feel tighter and more lifted, but you could see the silhouette of that side of her face smooth out, lift, and eventually look noticeably more V-line than the other side of her face (which was slightly more angled). It wasn’t so drastic that she looked asymmetrical, but if you stared at her straight on, it was definitely noticeable. She said that the tightened, lifted feeling lasted all night.


Another interesting company, Elra Story, offers a beauty tape that instantly lifts and tightens the skin. The woman at their booth showed me her tape — she had it right below the ear, pulling back her jawline so that her V-line was more pronounced. She said it felt totally comfortable, the tape is hardly visible, and you can apply makeup over it. Just check out this video:


3. The new cushion applicator


The Plastipuff? The Plastisponge? Sorry, I don’t know what else to call this other than what it is: a flat, multi-layered piece of round plastic that is supposed to forever replace your ruby cell cushion puff.  Because it’s made with multiple layers of thin plastic (and yet is still no thicker than a credit card), this “puff” remains pliable and soft, and because it’s plastic, it soaks up less of your cushion foundation while still purportedly offering the same coverage. (Think of it as the silicone sponge blender version of the cushion puff.)


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof


I haven’t had the chance to try this with my cushions yet, and while it did look promising on the back of my hand when I tested it at the Lamy booth, I’ll have to get back to you on whether this will truly replace my ruby cell puff. I will say, if it works half decently, I may be inclined to convert because while I love cushions, I despise cleaning my ruby cell puff applicators.


4. Spot patches with tiny spikes to mimic a microneedling effect


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof
Excuse the bad photo. I’m juggling, like, 50 pounds of product on one shoulder at this point.


Microneedling is usually associated with those little needle-filled rollers that look more like a torture device. The purpose of those tiny needles is to create micro-wounds on your face, allowing skincare ingredients to penetrate more deeply and to kick-start the natural wound-healing (and thereby collagen-generating) process of the skin. Elra Story Hyaluronic Acid Micro Patch takes the microneedling concept to another level. Their eye, forehead, and laugh line patches have tiny spikes that supposedly help deliver active ingredients deeper into your skin. And don’t worry — the spikes don’t hurt and they eventually melt away.


5. No-mess modeling masks


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof


Modeling or rubber masks are great for deep hydration and really helping actives penetrate the skin. What they’re not great at is allowing consumers to do them at home, mess-free.


Oséque is promising in that their Premium Gold Film Forming Skin goes on like a regular mask and forms a film that is akin to a rubber mask. Just apply, let dry, and then peel off. I can’t wait to try this, and the brand has cool foaming cleansers that are worth testing, too.


And one bonus trend out of Taiwan


korean beauty trends at cosmoprof


I’m a sucker for skin analysis — if there’s a UV camera, a dark spot detector, or skin hydration monitor, I’m all over it. So I consider HiMirror my greatest skin friend (or frenemy, depending on the condition of my skin.) It analyzes your fine lines, your dark spots, your wrinkles, even your pores and texture. It tracks the progress of your skin, operates on facial recognition, and is hands-free. The best part is that it’s now available for consumers (so you can analyze the daylights out of your skin at home, not just at your derm’s office). At $200, it’s not cheap, but if you think about it, it’s actually priceless.


What Korean beauty trends are you most excited about?



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. Here are 6 ways you can whack pollution in the head.



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. (Get her days of the week makeup kits here — and keep scrolling down for her lipstick as concealer trick!)


Romand Monday and Tuesday looks:

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


Romand Wednesday look:

saerom Wednesday look romand
The Romand Wednesday look.


Romand Thursday and Friday looks:

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. How Korean actress Kim Gyu-ri’s complexion says it all.



Spoiler alert: Reason #3 (but by no means last) is Kim Gyu-ri’s amazing skin. Check out her mesmerizing beauty routine using Eclado.



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?


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