What I’m Reading 4.30.17



The Face Shop x The Simpsons Collection Is A ’90s Beauty Dream Come True

When a beauty brand releases a throwback collection that pays homage to your childhood memories, it’s always exciting. From Sailor Moon compacts to Lisa Frank makeup brushes, millennials love their nostalgia. That’s why the new Face Shop x The Simpsons collab is so amazing: It brings the beauty world and our favorite TV family crashing together.

When you think of skin care, you might not necessarily think of Homer or Marge Simpson. The canary yellow skin might make it seem like they don’t have much to offer in terms of beauty tips, but this collection serves up a lot of everyday skin essentials. Not only are the products great, but they would look crazy fun displayed on your vanity or tucked away inside your medicine cabinet.

What’s In The Face Shop x The Simpsons Collection? Get Ready To Have A Cow, Man

The last person you would think you would get beauty advice from is Homer Simpson, but here we are. If there’s one thing the Face Shop x The Simpsons collection teaches us, it’s that the cartoon family has a spot in the beauty world.  The K-Beauty brand The Face Shop has just announced a multi-product skin care collection, offering up everything from sunscreen lotions to sheet masks. And while the products are going to be amazing for your skin and complexion, the packaging is what makes this collection truly fun.


Searching for Frida Kahlo at CVS

The discovery of Frida Kahlo in the bins at the front of CVS seemed like an accident. How did nail polish and lipsticks intricately illustrated with the artist’s portrait and motifs come to mingle with mini tweezers and travel-sized Purell? Given America’s well-documented Fridamania, this under-the-radar placement seemed like a mystical accident.

“You would think that something so beautiful would get more attention,” says Karen Monterichard of Makeup and Beauty Blog. She first spotted the Republic Nail collection on Instagram, but was surprised to find it wasn’t available to purchase online — or even at every CVS, the sole distributor of this Mexico-based makeup line. However, after visiting multiple CVS stores, the adrenaline of the hunt kicked in. “I kind of liked that not a lot of people knew about it,” says Monterichard, who ultimately netted four of the nail polishes and five lipsticks.

The Rebirth of YouTube Beauty Pioneer Michelle Phan

“I completely disappeared. I just left. I stopped uploading to YouTube. I’m an Aries so I’m either very hot or very cold,” says Michelle Phan, who stopped by the Racked offices on a recent whirlwind press junket to promote the launch of her Em cosmetics line. It’s not the first time she’s launched Em, however.

Phan, who is almost 30, is one of YouTube’s biggest success stories and arguably one of the most popular and recognizable so-called beauty gurus on the platform, with almost 9 million subscribers and well over a billion views of her videos. Then there’s Ipsy, her beauty sampling company, which is worth a reported $500 million.

Lab Muffin

How to Use Glycerin For DIY Beauty

Glycerin’s in a lot of skincare products because it’s an awesome humectant moisturiser that can grab onto water and hold it to the skin. It’s also very cheap to buy at the supermarket ($9.35 for 200 mL at Coles in Australia, $6-7 for 473 mL/16 fl. oz on iHerb or Amazon).

What can you do with it? Here are some (low-effort) suggestions


A Week in the Life of a Beauty Influencer

Like anyone worth reading who is an influencer, I’m going to start by telling you that I hate the term “influencer”. Influencer is defined by dictionary.com as “a person who has the power to influence many people, as through social media or traditional media,” but it has evolved to be a job title for people who have followers on social media (even if they don’t actually making a living from their accounts). Basically bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, etc.

Influencer sounds like something out of a Gary Shteyngart novel, which does make sense given that everything seems like something out of a Gary Shteyngart novel these days, but that doesn’t mean I need to roll over and accept the state of things. I am a blogger, a marginally better term.

And yet…I am an influencer. Sigh.

Watered Down Mess: How Garnier Moisture Bomb is Like “Kpop” Band EXP

There are two things I like in this world: cosmetics and kpop (Korean pop music produced within the idol factory system).

What I don’t like: whack knock-offs. And yet here we are, as the Korean Wave is starting to crest in the U.S., dealing with pretty egregious and unpalatable fakes trying to capitalize on the trend by borrowing whole concepts down to minimally modified names.

Fuck this shit.

The Beauty Brains

Why Isn’t Everyone Exfoliating With AHA’s? Episode 159

Long time fans of the show will remember that I love getting questions about Alpha Hydroxy Acids because it gives me an excuse to retell the story of the marketing director for St. Ives didn’t quite get the acronym and would instead of calling them AHAs would call them “Ah-Ha’s.” That always amused me during meetings because it sounded like she was speaking with exclamation marks. “We need to launch a new AHA!”



2 Weeks, 2 Dozen Eggs


Mostly I use this blog to ramble about skincare in an effort to not bore every person around me in real life with it instead. But occasionally I’ll talk about other things, like food.

Personally, I really like food. I spend a lot of me time cooking, or tending my backyard food garden, or reading about cooking and gardening. I know not everyone is passionate about it, but for me spending hours a day cooking is anything but a burden.

Now, is my diet a model for healthy eating?


It’s not, but I’m trying.

Which is where the eggs come in. I really struggle with getting enough protein, especially in the morning since I don’t like eating meat that early in the day (I find it sits unpleasantly heavy in my stomach). But I also need the protein to feel full and keep me from making poor food decisions later in the day. So in order to solve this conundrum I’ve been eating 2 eggs every morning.

I should point out that prior to this I would usually make myself a very large smoothie for breakfast and force myself to eat some breakfast sausage as well. By lunch I was always unreasonably hungry, and therefore more likely to make unhealthy choices. The only thing that’s changed is that I replaced the sausage with eggs, and yet I’m much more satiated now.

Whereas before I would need a large, not necessarily healthy lunch to feel full and carry me through the rest of the day, the last few weeks all I need is a hearty snack – like a baked sweet potato – around noon, and something similar around 4pm to sustain me through a workout and carry me to dinner afterwards.

This really shouldn’t be surprising considering this:

Two separate studies have shown that eating eggs in the morning (compared to a breakfast of bagels) can help you lose fat without trying.
In one of these studies, 30 overweight or obese women ate either bagels or eggs for breakfast (1).
The egg group ended up eating fewer calories at lunch, the rest of the day and for the next 36 hours.
Put simply, the eggs were so fulfilling that the women automatically ate fewer calories at subsequent meals.
In another study, 152 overweight men and women were split into groups. One group ate eggs, the other ate bagels… both groups were on a weight loss diet (2).
After 8 weeks, the egg group had lost significantly more weight than the bagel group:
  • 65% more weight loss (2 lbs vs 1.3 lbs).
  • 61% greater reduction in BMI.
  • 34% greater reduction in waist circumference.
  • 16% greater reduction in body fat percentage.
The difference in weight loss wasn’t huge, but it clearly shows that simple things like changing one meal can have a small effect. (source)

Also this, though not specific to eggs:

There is a lot of evidence that protein can increase fat burning and reduce hunger, leading to automatic weight loss.
In fact, studies show that protein boosts metabolism more than any other macronutrient (9, 10).
One of the reasons for that is that it takes the body more calories to digest and make use of protein, than it does fat and carbs.
Protein also increases satiety, leading to significantly reduced hunger (11).
In one study, increasing protein to 30% of calories lead to an automatic decrease in calorie intake of 441 calories per day (12).

I know that eggs can get a bad rap nutritionally, though it’s not really deserved. I also make sure to buy certified humane eggs, which may or may not be healthier, but definitely make me feel better about what I’m eating.

And I should feel good about what I’m eating because in addition to lots of complete protein, eggs also offer stellar amounts of choline, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, selenium, and omega fatty acids.

Plus, they’re just very tasty 🙂




#holygrail – Hylamide c25 Booster

And I’m back with another #holygrail product.

So, I think it’s a fair to say that my skincare routine has changed dramatically in the last year. I’ve always been interested in skincare (suffering through 15 years of adult acne will do that to you), but I’ve definitely become a lot smarter about what I slap on my face – even if I do subscribe to the “whole face patch testing” method (shame on me). But after sitting down and really mapping my skincare over the last decade I had to accept certain things, not least of which was that my skin just won’t tolerate L-Ascorbic Acid.

That’s where Hylamide c25 Booster comes in. Unlike traditional Vitamin C serums that use L-AA, this uses Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, which is non-pH dependent, oil-soluble form of Vitamin C. That might not sound like a huge difference, but I think those are the key factors that allow me to use this product, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Product Information: Concentrated and completely stable 25% Ethylated Vitamin C booster offers a fast-tracked approach to a visibly radiant, healthy-looking skin tone.

Ethyl-Ascorbate Complex (25% pure Ethyl-Ascorbic Acid)

Extraordinarily-stable complex from the Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) family to encourage an even, smooth and glowing skin appearance.

Pre-solubilized Resorcinol Complex

A patented, highly-efficient form of solubilized active resorcinol offers an evenly bright-looking skin tone while acting as a powerful antioxidant with an outstanding safety profile.

Ingredients: ethoxydiglycol, ethyl ascorbic acid, hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, phenylethyl resorcinol

Price: $33


The Good

There are several reasons why I prefer Ethyl Ascorbic Acid over L-Ascorbic Acid that have already been mentioned, but that bear repeating:

  • It’s effectiveness is not dependent on pH. Similar to alpha and beta hydroxy acids, L-Ascorbic Acid needs to be at kept at a specific pH to be effective; in fact, it actually requires the lowest with a pH of 3. Anything above that and you start to lose effectiveness similar to how higher pH effects free acid content in hydroxy acids. Using an oil-soluble form of Vitamin C does away with this problem, and by extension any irritation caused by using a product with an extremely low pH on you skin.
  • Because it’s not pH dependent and because it is oil-soluble you actually have a lot of freedom as to where you place this in your routine. Because L-AA is so dependent on pH, layering it over or under other non-low pH products can reduce its effectiveness. If you’re rushing to get out the door in the morning you simply may not have 10 or 20 minutes to wait between layers in order to give it time to absorb at the proper pH. Also, applying it over products that aren’t water based also could limit it’s absorption. None of that is a problem with EAA.
  • Ethyl Ascorbic Acid is stable. If you’ve ever used L-Ascorbic Acid you know what a pain in the ass it is. Ideally it should be kept in a cool, dark place, and only expose it to air for the shortest amount on time possible lest it oxidize. And it will oxidize. Lightening fast. Adding Vitamin E and/or Ferulic Acid will slow the oxidation down, but it won’t stop it completely. Despite that, and despite cosmetic companies knowing damn well it’s super unstable, most still insist on packing it in dropper bottles. It’s almost like… I don’t know… they want it to oxidize quickly. But I digress. None of these issues are a problem with Ethyl Ascorbic Acid. Thank God.
  • Speaking of oxidization though, L-Ascorbic Acid can actually oxidize on your face if you go out in the sun within about 20 minutes of applying it. Pale skin + oxidized L-AA means your skin tone will be closer to an Oompa Loompa than anything else. Again, not an issue with Ethyl Ascorbic Acid.

Anyway, that’s more why I prefer forms of Vitamin C that aren’t L-Ascorbic Acid and less about why I like this serum specifically.

There are a couple of reasons why I really love this serum that don’t have anything to do with the above:

1.) It works

I’ve used several vitamin C serums that use other forms of stabilized vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, to be exact), and I’ve never noticed a difference in my skin by any markers generally associated with their use: brightening and/or evening skin tone, reduction in fine lines, improvement in firmness. Literally, I’ve never seen any of that with SAP or MAP. Or L-AA for that matter, but it’s more a function of the fact that I simply couldn’t use it long enough to have those effects.

Within weeks of using Hyalmide c25 Booster I noticed improvement in every single one of those markers. It noticeably reduced my Post Inflammatory Hyper-Pigmentation, and evened my skin tone over all. The loss of elasticity I was experiencing due to 20 years of smoking disappeared within a month (which was really freaking me out, tbh), as did all the fine lines around my lips. And while I’m sure, a year later, that my skin tone is a lot lighter because I consistently use sunscreen, I’m sure the Phenylethyl Resorcinol – also known as SymWhite377 – , and Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid are working hard to lightening and brighten.

2.) The concentration

Though Hylamide doesn’t disclose the amount of Phenylehyl Resorcinol they’re totally upfront about the amount of Ethyl Ascorbic Acid. There’s a paucity of research in topical vitamin C that isn’t L-Ascorbic Acid, but the research there is for L-AA is pretty overwhelming in the consensus that the most effective concentrations are 10% to 20%. Hylamide includes 25% EAA in this serum, so even if it’s mixed with another product (as Hylamide recommends) you’re still getting an effective amount of vitamin C.

3.) The ingredients

4 ingredients, three of which are actives. As someone with skin that is sensitive and reactive I appreciate that kind of brevity. Also, silicone free! Yay!

The Bad

You know how I mentioned there’s a paucity of research for forms of vitamin C that aren’t L-Ascorbic Acid? Yeah, there’s zero evidence that Ethyl Ascorbic Acid does much of anything.

This is what we know for sure: it penetrates tissue in ex-vivo testing, and it does reduce pigmentation in in-vivo testing. That’s it.

Does it convert to L-AA? No idea. Does it protect from UV damage? Who knows. Does it increase collagen synthesis? Good question.

Those are important questions, and anecdotally I can answer them, but I can’t back it up with the research receipts.

Frankly, Phenylethyl Resorcinol doesn’t have much more evidence that it works, or at least unbiased evidence. The only research backing it up is from the company that makes it. Granted, it’s interesting:

According to studies published by Symrise (no independent studies were found), when directly compared to B-Arbutin, SymWhite 377 (Phenylethyl Resorcinol) was shown to be over one hundred times as effective at lightening hair, and when tested in vivo on skin that had not been exposed to light, 0.5% concentrations of SymWhite 377 proved to be more effective than 1.0% kojic acid. (source)

But I’m not sure how faith I can put in that, especially considering this:

The most compelling research looked at the results of a cream with phenylethyl resorcinol plus three other skin-brightening agents. The product was applied over a period of 3 months by 20 women, all of whom also used sunscreen. At the end of the study, it was determined that the women’s uneveness decreased by 43%.
The problem is we don’t know how much of this improvement is due to phenylethyl resorcinol, as it wasn’t used alone, which is the case with most products using this ingredient as a means to improve the appearance of an uneven skin tone. (source)

Now, of course a lack of research doesn’t mean these ingredients don’t work, but it would be nice to have the research to back the claims up.

I could find even less information about Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid, though it’s supposed to be a lightening agent, and Skinceuticals – whose research I trust – uses it in combination with other ingredients as an alternative to hydroquinone.

The Ugly

Flushing and irritation are common complaints on the (several) makeup and skincare message boards I’m a member of. My skin does very flush slightly when I apply this, but it fades pretty quickly and I don’t feel it, just see it. No big deal for me. For some people though it’s intense, and/or painful, and/or doesn’t fade. I can see where that would be a problem.

Breakouts can also be a problem for some people, though none of the ingredients are generally considered acnegenic.

My Verdict

Like my #holygrail Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun, this isn’t a product I’m often tempted to stray from, especially when there are so many middling vitamin C serums floating around. As someone with serious skincare commitment issues that says a lot. As does the fact that I’m now on my 4th bottle of this, a year after trying it for the first time.



Shopping Diary April 2017




As much as I love my Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun, after I did from research while looking for a good body sunscreen I decided that I’d like to have a sunscreen rated “PA++++” for my face for days when the UV index is high (which is most of the summer, tbh). I don’t know how my skin will react to any of these – aside from possibly irritating it with the avobenzone in the A’Pieu sunscreens -, so it might be a pipe dream, but maybe not.

  • Nivea Sun Protect Plus UV Milky Essence SPF50+ PA++++ One of the reasons I’ve never tried Japanese sunscreen before is because of the high alcohol content that’s common to them; I’m just worried they’ll dry out my naturally dry skin even more. Alcohol is still pretty high up in the ingredients list of this one, but it’s described as a “moisturizing” sunscreen (we’ll see about that). However, it’s supposed to be tenacious and good for use while swimming (one of my favourite summertime activities), so that’s good.
  • Rohto Skin Aqua Sarafit Essence UV SPF50+ PA++++ Basically the same reasoning for the Nivea applies here. This one has alcohol as the second ingredient, but it’s also got HA, collagen, and amino acids which are supposed to be moisturizing. The bottle is a lot bigger than I was expecting – about an ounce more than my bae Missha -, and only about $7 though shipping from Japan was sloooow. I ended up waiting about 3-4 weeks for both Japanese sunscreens (oddly they were mailed a week apart, but arrived on the same day).
  • A’Pieu Pure Block Sun Gel Aqua SPF50+ PA+++ Honestly? I saw it on FifyShadesofSnail’s Instagram and it looked sort of interesting, and then it was 30% off when I was placing my RoseRoseShop order, so into my cart it went. I might end up keeping this in my purse for my hands, so I can easily reapply after washing them. I’m really bad about that.
  • A’Pieu Power Block Daily Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++ This was more or less the reason for my RRS order. I saw that A’Pieu had a sunscreen rated “PA++++” – one of the first Korean sunscreens on the market to offer that much protection – and freaked out. I needed it. NEEDED IT. Thankfully this version (there’s another “essence” type) is free of “cyclops” type silicones which would majorly fuck up my skin. However, it does have avobenzone, which has been a problem for my skin in the past.


  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% I’m all about niacinamide. I mean any ingredient that can treat acne, aging, uneven skin tone, and dullness all at the same time is going to have a place in my skincare routine. My only concern with this is that is contains carrageen, which is very acnegenic. Which, why would you put that in a product that’s main claim is treating acne? Whatever. I plan on mixing it in with my Missha FTE, just enough to kind of ‘boost’ it, so we’ll see.
  • Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Normally I use Hylamide Low Molecular HA, but I decided to try this since it’s made by the same company and quite a bit cheaper. I’m not saying they’re dupes (they’re not), but I wanted to try it regardless. Vitamin B5 (panthenol) is another water attracting humectant like HA. I’ve used B5 serums in the past and liked them, so we’ll see how combination works here.

Essences & Toners

  • Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion Yeah, I’m doubling up on the HA train. Honestly though, this time I year (spring/summer) I hit the HA hard, so neither of these will go to waste (assuming they don’t break me out). Unlike The Ordinary serum, this could possibly be a dupe for Hyalmide since they have similar formulas. We’ll see.
  • Missha First Treatment Essence Intensive This is a repurchase for me. I’ve been out for about 6 weeks, and despite using Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence and Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence, my skin has suffered for it. My skin is just dull and lifeless and uneven without it. Lesson learned, I’ll stick to this.
  • The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Most days I don’t have a problem using Lotion P50, but occasionally my skin needs something a little gentler. This is at the right pH (3.5-3.7) to be effective, but has a lower percentage of acids (7% instead of 12%), so in theory is should be gentler, though my experience with The Ordinary’s acid products hasn’t been the greatest.
  • Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Obviously, this is a repurchase for me. Normally I order from Shop Rescue Spa, but this time I ordered from Vicki Morav and the shipping was much quicker and they were a bit more generous with the samples.



  • The Ordinary 100% Plant Derived Squalane I’m a big fan of face oils. Squalane is a supposed to have high emollience, but not be comedogenic. It’s a saturated oil and there’s some dispute about whether saturated oils are better/safer for your skin than unsaturated, but squalane is at least a better option than coconut oil, which is the saturated oil most commonly recommended.
  • A’Pieu Nonco Tea Tree Emulsion I got this to use during ‘that time of the month’ when my skin always breaks out a little regardless of what I do. I’m a big fan of the Nonco sheet masks, so I’m hoping this will have a similar/greater effect since it’s a leave on product. I haven’t used it on my face yet, but on my hands it’s very light and watery and seems like it would be great for layering.
  • LALA Le Soleil Double Skin Therapy It’s no secret that I’m a fan of hydroxy acids, so of course I had to give this cream a try. Basically it’s glycolic acid in a base of fatty alcohols and glycerin, with a little squalane and HA thrown in for extra moisturizing. There’s a garden basket of natural extracts, plenty of peptides, and even a little yeast for good measure; basic k-skincare stuff.

Beauty Tools


Sheet Masks

  • A’Pieu Heat On Hot Pack These are supposed to be heating patches that contain mugwort to help ease menstrual cramps. Unfortunately they’re about a week too late, so testing will have to wait, but I love the idea of them.
  • Goodal Refine Pore Modeling Mask (not pictured) I was planning on waiting to try this out, but unfortunately there was a hole in the seam of the essence packet, so I had to use it ASAP. The tl;dr of this is that it really didn’t do anything and was super unimpressive. I’ll review it on my Instagram if anyone is extra curious about it.
  • Goodal Moisture Barrier Mask Because I am an idiot I will, at some point, trash my moisture barrier again. It’s just bound to happen. Hopefully, when that happens this mask will help repair the damage.
  • Goodal Nature Ampoule Mask These were an impulse purchase with my last RRS order, but this time they were essential. The Aloe variety was kind of a dud for me, but the camellia, ginseng, and silk were amazing. These are definitely some of my favourite sheet masks now, and I’m going to cry bitter tears when they’re not on sale anymore.
  • Goodal Sparkling Clear Black Charcoal Mask As much as I love the Nature Ampoule masks (a lot) I love this one so much more. This works like gangbusters on breakouts, even the hormonal kind. Lately, when I’ve wanted my skin to look extra good I use Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask and then follow up with one of these sheet masks.
  • It’s Skin Prestige Rose de Black Mask I am a sucker for anything rose, but these masks are exceptionally good. The rose scent is true, but not over powering, so it’s a nice sensory experience, but the NMF, adenosine, and niacinamide are real powerhouse performers. It’s Skin does a whole line of Rose de Black products I’d love to try, but a lot of them have ingredients that would freak my skin out 😦
  • Papa Recipe Bombee Rose Gold Honey Mask I’ve been curious about Papa Recipe’s Bombee masks for a while, but never really wanted to commit to a 10 pack. So of course since this is only a 5 pack and has rose in it I was sold. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but I think the A’Pieu Sweet Honey House sheet masks are supposed to be a dupe for these.




So, I did exceed my budget of $150, but not by as much as you might think. Ordering directly from Korea and shopping the sales keeps the costs much lower, even with international shipping factored in.

So… Grand Total…

including shipping…


K-Beauty Hack: Cleansing Oil For Beard Washing


this dapper gent knows what’s up

So, I know I talked about this on my Instagram, but I wanted to do a quick blog post about it too.

A few months ago the Mister started complaining about dandruff so I gave him a bottle of cleansing oil to use instead of shampoo (per Fanserviced-B), which worked great. He then took it upon himself to try washing his beard with it since it was dry and itchy too, and WOW what a difference. It’s so soft now he doesn’t even need to follow it up with the Tsubaki oil he had been using for months as a softener/conditioner after cleansing.

In doing a little Google research before writing this post I see that using oil to cleanse beards is actually pretty common, but it seems to be based on the “Oil Cleansing Method” (OCM), which doesn’t use emulsifying oils, but rather steam and/or hot washcloths to remove it.

And I’m sure that works for a lot of men, but I’m sure there are probably a lot of men who’s skin clogs right up too (considering that’s a common complaint with OCM), so using an emulsifying oil cleanser might be a solution to that problem, especially if you use a silicone free oil like DHC.

Anyway, here’s the steps for using an emulsifying oil cleanser, as told to me:

  1. Take an adequate amount of product and massage it into your beard for 1-2 minutes, being sure to work it down into your skin.
  2. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, again working down to the skin.
  3. Pat dry and follow with a finishing oil like Tsubaki oil if needed.

That’s it!

As the lady formerly on the receiving end of plenty of beard rashes I whole heartedly endorse this cleansing method 🙂


What I’m Reading 4.5.17



How Old Hollywood Manufactured Its Beauty

For the gargantuan glamour factories of Hollywood’s golden age — the movie studios — the process of making a movie star required equal amounts of whimsy and pragmatism. There’s always an unknown quantity; a mystifying onscreen charm that’s utterly unique to that person, from Garbo to Dean to Monroe. But in truth, that much-touted onscreen magic was a hard-gained and meticulously organized effort. In a new photo book, Styling the Stars: Lost Treasures from the Twentieth-Century Fox Archive, authors Angela Cartwright and Tom McLaren reveal the messy reality of living up to a star persona.

The Whitewashing of Natural Hair Care Lines

Raquel Savage, a Miami-based, board-certified sex therapist, was recently invited to be a hair model for Carol’s Daughter, a natural haircare, body, and skincare line. This event, an expo showcasing Carol’s Daughter and other products for CVS sales reps, took place on March 30th. From 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Raquel was to model for the brand, which would test products on her hair but not cut or color her locks. All Raquel had to do was come to the Westin Fort Lauderdale on that day wearing all black with freshly washed hair. She was looking forward to the opportunity. It was another way to collect a check and promote herself.

At first, Savage knew that something was amiss from how messily her natural hair was handled. When she was reached out to for this opportunity, she assumed the stylist, who was also black, knew how to do her curly hair, which was to style while wet. But instead, her hair was styled while dry. After Dark & Lovely and Carol’s Daughter were used on Savage’s hair, she was prompted to go to one of the Westin’s ballrooms, where besides the aforementioned lines, Shea Moisture, NYX, Wet n Wild, Maybelline, and Coppertone, among many others, were present. Downstairs, that feeling of something being a bit off escalated, as the majority of people present, including CVS ambassadors, were white. Savage, along with another light-skinned, curly-haired woman, were a part of L’Oréal’s multicultural booth, which included Dark and Lovely, Dessange, and Carol’s Daughter.

The Entirely False History of Women Tricking Men With Makeup

In various books, academic articles, blogs, legal notes, and social-media posts, you can find references to a law passed by England in 1770 that made it legal for a man to divorce his wife if she tricked him into marriage using witchcraft, such as makeup, to enhance her looks. Called the Hoops and Heels Act, it stated that any woman who tried to “seduce and betray into matrimony” a man using “scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, iron stays, hoops, high-heeled shoes, [or] bolstered hips” would be tried for witchcraft and have her marriage voided if found guilty.

Except it never happened. But generations of researchers have been fooled, some stating that the law was passed in 1774, others saying that it was voted down by Parliament, and another group claiming that under the counsel of their mistresses and wives, members of Parliament decided not to vote on it at all.

Vanity Fair

How Beauty Brand Tatcha Became a Philanthropic Success Story

Even if you don’t know who Victoria Tsai is, you will certainly recognize her beauty brand, Tatcha. Impeccably presented and exquisitely packaged, every item in her exceptional line of skincare is treated as a profound gem, dressed in shades of jade and amethyst, and, now, in black with Japanese gold-leaf accents. On top of that, it’s all for a very good cause.

In early 2009, Tsai, then in her early thirties and living in San Francisco (where she still resides with her husband and seven-year-old daughter), took a life-altering trip to Kyoto, Japan. Soon after, she found herself maxing out credit cards, selling her car and her engagement ring, and working four different jobs in order to build a brand out of pure belief and passion. Come September of that same year, Tatcha was born.


What’s In CVS’ Korean Beauty Collection? You Need To Get Yourself To The Drugstore ASAP

When it comes to cutting-edge beauty trends and products, we’ve seen time and time again that K-beauty knows what’s up. The challenge? Getting your hands on the latest beauty innovations often involves some serious digging on sites you might not be familiar with, and it can be tough to distinguish between what’s a little sketch and what’s a well-kept secret just waiting to become the Next Big Thing (and your favorite new product). But sorting through it all just got easier — CVS is launching K-Beauty in stores and online, so reliably genius products are more accessible than ever.

The drugstore partnered with K-beauty giant Peach & Lily’s Alicia Yoon to curate the line of more than 100 products, which will be available at 2,100 stores across the country. This means it’ll be in more stores than any other retailer worldwide, according to CVS.


The “Caveman Regimen” Is The Hot New Skin Trend You Don’t Want To Try

Spend an hour or two sniffing around /r/SkincareAddiction, the hugely popular Reddit forum dedicated to all matters of the skin, and you’re bound to learn a few new things. You’ll learn the difference between PIH (Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation) and acne scarring, the unexpected brands that have major cult followings among those in the know (Paula’s Choice, CeraVe, and The Ordinary, to name a few), and why Aztec Indian Healing Clay makes your face feel like it has a heartbeat— and, if you’re lucky, you might even be alerted to a sale or two.
But even as you absorb the wealth of wisdom SkincareAddiction and its knowledgeable members have to offer, it’s crucial to remain alert: This is the internet we’re talking about, and it’s inevitable that you’ll stumble across something that sounds the alarm in your lotion-loving head. If someone writes that the “caveman regimen” saved their skin, for example, don’t assume they’re referring to a legitimate method of treatment you just haven’t heard of yet. They’re not.

#holygrail – Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF 45 PA+++

I feel like a lot of what I’ve been writing lately have been mediocre or negative reviews. It’s kind of a bummer, to be honest. So, inspired by the Simple Skincare Science blog I’m going to do a series of reviews of my “holy grail” products because doggone it, they deserve to be gushed about.

So the first one I’m going to write about is Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF 45 PA+++ because I think of all the products I use it’s had the most impact on my skin directly and indirectly, by both protecting my skin from damage and allowing me to use actives like tretinoin and alpha hydroxy acids safely.

I know I’ve mentioned this before (and will probably do so any time I talk about sun protection for the rest of my days), but sunscreen was my Mount Everest. A beautiful, dangerous dream. Because my skin’s reaction to sunscreen prior to switching to Korean products was either contact dermatitis or acne, generally of the cystic variety. And finally, I reached a point where I thought I would never be able to use sunscreen. That it was something I’d have to suffer through on the rare occasion my need for sun protection far outweighed the recovery I knew I’d have to make from using it.

But I’m nothing if not a risk taker when it comes to my skincare, so when I decided to dive head first into K-Beauty of course I included sunscreen in my initial haul, and I learned a few things: 1.) my skin will tolerate some chemical filters, 2.) my skin will not tolerate any silicones that start with “cyclo”, and 3.) HOLY SHIT THIS IS SO COSMETICALLY ELEGANT I CAN’T EVEN.


So yeah, a convert was made that day. And identifying what chemical filters and silicones meant I could finally plant a flag in sunscreen and called it conquered. No more acne. No more contact dermatitis.

But enough about me, let’s talk about this sunscreen.

Product information: Water and sweat resistant essence sun cream nourishes and moisturizes skin while providing superior UVA & UVB protection. New Double Layer UV Blocking System provides long-lasting and impenetrable UV protection, even as the humidity rises. Stands up against sweat and water from water sports and other outdoor activities. Double Layer Polymer provides long-lasting, water and sweat resistant UV protection. 6 ingredients – Aloe, Cucumber, Mulberry Root, Licorice, Portulaca Oleracea, and Witch Hazel extracts – combine to create 6 Essence Complex which hydrates and nourishes the skin. Comprised of 7 Asian tea extracts, Oriental Tea Newplex protects against environmental stressors.

Ingredients: Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Butylene Glycol, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Polyacrylate-13, Dimethicone, Polyisobutene, PEG-100 Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Limonia Acidissima Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Polysorbate 20, Sorbitan Isostearate, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Sorbitan Stearate, Panthenol, BHT, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Morus Alba Root Extract, Chrysanthemum Indicum flower Extract, Rosa Davurica Bud Extract, Artemisia princeps Leaf Extract, Cinnamomum Cassia Bark Extract, Diospyros Kaki Leaf Extract, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract, Morus Alba Fruit Extract, Alcohol, Potassium sorbate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate

Price: $14


The Good

In order of priority:

1.) Gentle, relatively non-irritating chemical filters.

  • Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
  • Ethylhexyl salicylate
  • Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid
  • Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate
  • Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine

I should note that neither Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate or BisEthylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine are approved by the FDA though they have been used by Asia and the European Union for years. That said, these filters are much gentler than the traditional avobenzone and oxybenzone common in U.S. sunscreens, which is why I can use this sunscreen on a daily basis without suffering bouts of contact dermatitis.

2.) Excellent UVB protection.

  • 4 of the 5 filters offer UVB protection, and of those four their protection is considered “extensive” by the FDA
  • Of the UVB filters included in this and regulated by the FDA, they use the maximum – or close to the maximum – percentage allowed.

3.) Very good UVA protection.

  • This is rated a “PA+++” sunscreen, which translates to a PPD of 8-16. What does that mean?
The persistent pigment darkening (PPD) method is a method of measuring UVA protection […] Instead of measuring erythema or reddening of the skin, the PPD method uses UVA radiation to cause a persistent darkening or tanning of the skin. Theoretically, a sunscreen with a PPD rating of 10 should allow a person 10 times as much UVA exposure as would be without protection. (source)

4.) While this is not silicone free it is free of “cyclo” type silicones, which break me out in a trice. As far as I can tell from the ingredients list the only silicone in this is dimethicone, which is about midway through the ingredients list.

5.) Despite the minimal use of silicones this is extremely cosmetically elegant. This applies light a mid-weight moisturizer, sinks in fully within 10 minutes, and thereafter doesn’t look or feel like I’m wearing sunscreen at all, even after liberal reapplication. It wears beautifully under BB cream, though it does not act as a foundation primer the way a more silicone-heavy sunscreen would.

6.) There’s a garden basket of extracts, which are nice, but not necessary for me to love this sunscreen.

The Bad

This is definitely fragranced and though it fades quickly and isn’t an offensive scent (to my nose, anyway) I can see where it would be a problem for some people.

As far as Asian sunscreens go the tube is actually pretty generous at 50ml/1.7oz, especially when it’s recommended to use a full 1/4tsp (about the size of an almond not a pea, btw), but I can see where the tube would seem tiny when you’re used to buying a 4 or 8 ounce bottle of sunscreen at the drugstore.

That in mind, I can also understand where people might balk at the $14 a tube price tag, but I also think that’s a small price to pay for what you’re getting in return.

The Ugly

So Missha likes to tout that this is sweat resistant and meant to be used while engaging in water sports (stop giggling) and outdoor activities. I’m not going to argue whether this provides adequate UV protection through those scenarios, but I will say when I sweat moderately this melts into my eyes. Without fail. It’s not a great experience, and generally requires flushing with copious amounts of Visine.

For me it’s not a deal breaker, but it’s definitely something to be aware of, and if I was going to go swimming or sweating a lot I would rely on some other sunscreen.

My Verdict


So this wasn’t the first Korean sunscreen I tried, but it was the last, and the one that – though I will literally stray from every other product in my routine – I am never really tempted to step out on. I think that says it all.

Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask


This is not the first time I’ve sat down to write this review. It’s just so depressing. You know I love Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask, and I fully expected to write a glowing review for Cosrx’s Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask, but alas… it wasn’t meant to be. So… sigh.

Well, this review isn’t going to write itself.

Product Information: Close your eyes and dream of glowing skin. COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask contains 65% rice extract to moisturize and soften skin while you snooze. Niacinamide gently brightens and enhances skin radiance while arginine stimulates collagen. The luxurious texture comforts irritated areas, leaving skin soft, supple, and radiant.

Ingredients: Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Betaine, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) oil, Elaeis Guineensis(Palm) Kernel Oil, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Arginine, Carbomer, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum.

Price: $14-18


The Good

Ummm… the ingredients list is free of irritating ingredients? Yeah, I’ll go with that. It’s very moisturizing, and combated tret-induced dryness like a champ.

There. Now I don’t feel like such a harpy.

The Bad

It’s sticky. Even if you just apply a thin amount it’s sticky. I mean, not quite like I imagine slathering your face in, I don’t know, Elmer’s glue would be, but it can be unpleasant for sure.

The Ugly

Yeah. Okay. This was a disaster. My skin loved it when I used for the first week. Loved it. I was all soft and glowy, and on nights when I was too tired to do anything with my skin I could cleanse, tone, and apply this and not have to deal with dryness or flakes in the morning.

But that didn’t last. By the middle of the second week I started developing deep, painful, papule-type zits all along my jaw line, which is where I normally break out, so I tried to brush it off as tretinoin purging. But then I started breaking out all over and my skin never does that unless it’s a product reaction.

I stopped using the Cosrx hoping against hope that it was something else in my routine, but within days it was abundantly clear this sleeping mask was the cause of all my problems. Now, 3 or 4 days later, – after liberal application of BHA and Vicco Turmeric Cream – the acne along my jaw is about 80% healed and the rest is basically gone completely.

Coincidentally, there was a recent post on the r/asianbeauty sub-reddit about the Cosrx sleeping masks, and – spoiler alert – I was not the only one to have serious problems with the rice mask. Similarly when I posted about it on my Instagram most of the comments I’ve gotten were along the same lines as my experience.

Apparently, it’s really common for this product to break people out, which, boy, was that news to me! But I’d honestly never read that about it, and even Googling reviews of it’s effects on acne-prone skin specifically doesn’t really produce too much information.

I do think this is a good lesson in “your milage may vary” skincare though. CosDNA lists 3 ingredients as potential acne triggers (none exceeding a 2 on a scale of 1-5), and none of them are acne triggers for my skin. I can happily slather myself in butylene glycol and fatty alcohols and sunflower oil with nary a thought about it. But the rice extract – which isn’t flagged as an acne trigger or irritant – seems to really disagree with my skin (and plenty of other people’s).

My Verdict

If your skin isn’t even remotely acne prone, and it is dry this can be a great product for you. However, if your skin is acne prone AVOID, AVOID, AVOID! I’ll stick to eating my rice, thank you very much.




26 Products, 1 Skincare Routine

When I dove into AB (“Asian Beauty” for the uninitiated) skincare a year ago I didn’t do so with the intention of playing product Bingo, checking off every slot on the Korean Skincare Routine playing card. I wanted to use just as many products as my skin needed to maintain a healthy moisture barrier, control my adult hormonal acne, and protect my skin from environmental stressors. Nothing more, nothing less.

And I suppose that, particularly to Westerner’s, my skincare routine can look like conspicuous consumption (at best), but I tend to look at it this way: some people are genetically blessed and don’t need to go to the gym and watch what they eat so they can fit into skinny jeans. Some of us aren’t so lucky though, and we’ve got to work at it; we’ve got to go to the gym every day, and have enough self control not to eat half a pizza or over indulge in sweets just because we can. Skincare isn’t any different. A few are genetically blessed with good skin, but most of us have to work at it.

And some of us – like me – have to work really hard at it. Having a minimal skincare routine doesn’t make anyone more virtuous than having an extensive one makes me vain. Everybody’s skin is different, and what benefits me might not benefit you, and vice-versa.


Morning Routine

  1. Earth Science ADE Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser – Since all I’m doing is removing my nighttime layers so a cream cleanser is really all I need. This cleanses well without drying my skin (although I don’t find it adds moisture either).
  2. Thayer’s Alcohol Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner – Not to brag or anything, but I’ve been using this Thayer’s toner for years. Like a decade, maybe? It’s been a while, and I was thrilled when I learned of it’s popularity in the K-Beauty scene due to it’s gentleness and pH of 5.5. It was actually really comforting to get to keep something familiar in my routine, at the time. Anyway, my skin just loves this stuff. It’s so gentle, but still great for prepping skin.
  3. Aura Cacia Nighttime Baobab Facial Oil Serum + Hylamide c25 Booster – I actually mix these two products together (yes, I use a “nighttime” serum during the day! I’m a rebel, what can I say?). The Hylamide uses an oil-soluble form of vitamin C (ethyl ascorbate acid), which works great for my skin, but when applied on its own can be a bit drying. Mixing it with a little of the baobab oil serum prevents that. Speaking of which the baobab oil serum (full review here) is a mix of sunflower oil, baobab oil, and jojoba oil, which is super light and when applied in moderation as a first layer absorbs into my skin completely so I can still benefit from watery layers applied on top of it.
  4. Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence – I’m on my third or fourth bottle of this, which is really saying something for someone who has commitment issues with skincare products. There are a lot of really fantastic claims made about both snail mucin and bee venom – some of which are likely to be complete bullshit -, but for my skin this stuff is amazing. Within minutes of applying it, it evens out my skintone drastically, sucking away any hint of redness. This and the Hylamide c25 Booster are the only products that have done anything for fading my post acne scars, and for that alone it’s a useful product, but it also goes a long way for preventing any new acne, at least for my skin. You can read a great, in-depth review of it on the Skin & Tonics Blog.
  5. Scinic Honey All in One Ampoule – I’ve only been using this product for the last few months, but I absolutely love it (read my review here). You can’t beat the ingredients list, and my hydration levels have been amazingly consistently high since I started using this despite dealing with artificial heating and upping my tretinoin to .06%, both things that had left my skin a dry, flakey mess before I started using this.
  6. Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream – Real talk, I can totally understand why this gets such mixed reviews. It can be greasy, and I say that having some seriously dry skin. A pea sized amount is really all you need. Seriously. That said, I do love this stuff, and like the essence I’ve used multiple tubes of this product. I find it really calming, and it’s the perfect occlusive layer to keep my skin moisturized throughout the day (which was a problem before I started using this – by 4 or 5 o’clock my skin was flakey).
  7. Missha All Around Safe Block Essence Sun SPF 45 PA+++ – Part of living the #tretlife is needing serious sun protection. Prior to AB I tried a ton of both US and Euro sunscreens, but all of them either broke me out or gave me contact dermatitis. I don’t recommend it. Luckily for me many Korean sunscreens use chemical filters that don’t irritate my skin, and now that I know to avoid “cyclops” type silicones it makes my life a lot easier. So, this was not the first Korean sunscreen I tried (it was the second, huzzah!), but it is the one I love the most both for it’s protection and it’s cosmetic elegance. This never breaks me out, never lets me burn, and never feels like I have anything on my skin even when I’m reapplying generous 1/4tsp’s every few hours.


Pre/Post Workout

  1. The Saem Healing Tea Garden Tea Tree Cleansing Water – This is the one thing I still struggle with. No matter how much I clean my skin before and/or after working out, I break out. It’s really pissing me off at this point, tbh. At the moment The Saem’s cleansing water is the best option; it cleanses well, but doesn’t strip or irritate my skin, and the tea tree oil in it might be helping (not sure if 100ppm is really helping, but it smells good at least). I use this both before and after working out, and rinse enthusiastically.
  2. Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion –  I used to use this at night as my first step after cleansing, but I think I’m getting more milage out of it here. Between 12% hydroxy acids and a pH of like 3 I’m banking on it cleaning out whatever gunk is causing my post-workout breakouts. I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks, so we’ll see. At the very least my skin is still baby smooth despite moving this to a different slot in my routine.
  3. Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid – I bought this specifically to use post-workout. Of course then I contracted some form of the plague that meant I couldn’t workout for a few months, and am just recently getting back to it. But anyway, BHA’s are tricky for me because of my dry skin, but this one pairs a gentle form of BHA (beataine salicylate) with a natural form of BHA (salix alba bark water) in a base that includes hyaluronic acid, panthenol, niacinamide, and arginine. So all in all it’s actually pretty nourishing, like to the point that other than eye cream my skin is perfectly happy going an hour or two without a proper moisturizer on it after working out.
  4. PCA Skincare EyeXcellence – TBH, I don’t have any strong feelings about this eye cream. I bought it a while ago, and I just need to use it up. It works just fine; adds moisture without being greasy and doesn’t irritate my eyes. Not much to say other than that. I use it because while the rest of my face might not miss a moisturizer post-workout my eye area definitely does, so I’ve got to use something.


Nighttime Routine (Curology)

*My nighttime routine actually alternates: 2 night of Curology, and then 1 night of “acids”.

  1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil – Like the Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel I’ve actually been using this product for years. When my skin first started freaking out in my early 20’s I discovered double cleansing hoping that I was breakout out because I wasn’t getting my skin clean enough. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, but I was so awed by cleansing oil’s ability to literally melt away a full face of makeup without being harsh or drying, that I was a total convert. 15 years later and I still love the OG DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.
  2. Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser – The name of this product is so nonsensical because it’s actually a makeup remover. You apply it like you would a cleansing oil (to dry skin), then add water to wash everything away and/or turn it into a foaming cleanser. But whatever. On lazy days sometimes I’ll just use this instead of a proper double cleanse and it’s brilliant. I started using this because I heard it was a gentler alternative than my beloved CeraVe Foaming Cleanser, which was just a tad too stripping for winter use. Long story short: it is, but I’ll probably switch back to the CeraVe come summer.
  3. Thayer’s Alcohol Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner – Like I said, it’s my toner of choice 🙂
  4. Curology – I have a long, storied history with tretinoin, which mostly ended in tears and pain. And was complicated by the whole sunscreen shit-show, but moving on. Curology – due in part to a base my skin loves, and the beauty of multiple hydrating layers of products – is the only prescription retinoid that I’ve successfully used. I’m up to .06% now, which is great (my Rx also includes azelaic acid and clindamycin). Other than sunscreen tretinoin and it’s like are the best products you can use for anti-aging and acne treatment. I apply this immediately after cleansing and toning and let it sit for an hour before I layer anything on top of it, so it has a chance to really do it’s stuff, unbuffered. The only exception being…
  5. Cosrx Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream – I dab this thick serum-like cream around my eyes and on my neck because those areas will otherwise turn into a red, irritated, peeling mess if I let unbuffered tret anywhere near them.


Nighttime Routine (Acids)

  1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
  2. Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
  3. Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner – I use this purely to prep my skin to the right (super low) pH so that I can get the most out of the acid products that I follow it with. TBH I’m not super in love with it. It doesn’t contain AHA or BHA in effective amounts and the pH can be unstable (as mentioned here). I honestly doubt I’ll repurchase it, but for the time being it serves it’s purpose.
  4. Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum OR Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask – I go back and forth between these two products. For a long time I loved the Andalou Naturals mask because it was stronger and really made a difference in my skin, but using acids more frequently now I find it’s too harsh and the Mizon is just right. Really it just depends on what I feel like my skin needs. Though I haven’t properly review the Mizon serum yet, I have shared a few thoughts on the Andalou Naturals mask.
  5. Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid – This stuff is so gentle compared to Western BHA’s that I have no qualms about slathering my face in it multiple times a day. And I have used it in this capacity enough to say that even though it doesn’t have as noticeable an effect as something like Stridex it definitely helps heal acne. Like with the Curology I allow this any leave-on acid products to work, unbuffered, for an hour or so before I follow with the rest of my skincare routine.


Nighttime Routine

  1. LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence – I went through my first bottle of this thinking it didn’t do diddly for my skin. Boy, was I wrong. While it definitely calms acne, it doesn’t treat it like tea tree oil would (there’s a big difference between the extract this essence contains and the potent oil). This essence is all about babying sensitive, easily irritated skin, which makes it brilliant for use with tretinoin, in my experience. It’s light, but hydrating, and makes a perfect first layer, prepping my skin for anything else I put on top of it. Lesson learned, I won’t go without this again.
  2. Kiku-masamune High Moist Lotion – The Japanese do a few things really, really well when it comes to skincare, and hydrating “lotion” toners are one of them. This one is my favourite with it’s sake ferment, and ceramides, and glycerin (which we’ve already established I love), and almost ridiculous amount of other beneficial actives. My skin freakin’ loves this stuff. I could bathe in it and be perfectly happy.
  3. Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence + Scinic Night Repair Ampoule – I’m just going to say it quick, like ripping off a band-aid: Cosrx Galactomyces does nothing for my skin. Like zip, zero, zilch. NOTHING. I’ve been using it for months now and it just doesn’t work for me. I mean it doesn’t hurt anything either, but I get no benefit from it. I think my skin is just unaffected by galactomyces ferment, period. Because both Missha First Treatment Essence and Scinic Night Repair Ampoule, which use a mix of bifida and saccharomyces give my skin that ~*ferment glow*~ lickity split. At this point I’m just using it up because I’d feel bad tossing it. The Scinic though I’ve gone through multiple bottles of and love it. My skin is so much more hydrated and even toned when I use it at night. One of these days I’ll review it properly because it deserves it and I never hear anyone talk about it.
  4. Secret Key Snail Repairing Eye Cream – Another eye cream I like, but don’t love. It layers well though, adding a bit of extra hydration where I need it without getting greasy or causing milia. Not sure if I’ll repurchase, but the tube it huge and you only need a small amount so it’s not something I have to think about for a while.
  5. Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask OR Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Mask – These are the first “sleeping masks” I’ve ever tried, mostly because other products in this category rely on types of silicones I can’t use unless I’d like a lovely outbreak of cystic acne (spoiler alert, I would not). But, straight talk, they’ve been saving my skin this winter. The honey one is my bae, but when I need more moisturizing I reach for the rice version. Fifty Shades of Snail has a great review of them that more or less inspired my purchases (here). They’re the perfect last step for me though; they keep my skin hydrated all night, don’t clog my pores, and in the case of the Honey mask, work like gangbusters on hormonal breakouts (a benefit I was not anticipating!).

Masks, Spot Treatments, Etc.

I didn’t take pictures of these because they’re used purely on an “as needed” basis. Sometimes I sheet mask nightly, and sometimes I’ll go weeks without touching one. I might use a clay mask once a month during the winter, and once a week during the summer. Spot treatments vary considerably depending on why and how I’m breaking out. Of my skincare wardrobe these are the parts that are most mutable. At some point I’ll probably write a post about them, but this isn’t it since I wanted to focus on my day-to-day routine.


So there you have it, a day in the life of my skincare routine. I’m sure to some people it still seems grossly excessive, but hopefully it gives a little insight into why a multistep routine might be beneficial to people like me.

What I’m Reading 3.22.17


Fifty Shades of Snail

Guest Post: On Asian Beauty Hype, Appropriation, and a Global Skincare Routine

Those of you who read Fiddy’s blog regularly are no strangers to Asian beauty. Since beginning my own skin care journey years ago, I’ve found myself drawn to Asian products and beauty philosophies. The ritual of applying skin care and the minimalist approach to makeup appeals to my vintage side as well. But incorporating Asian skin care philosophies and products into a Western beauty routine comes with its own special set of pitfalls to navigate, particularly because I am not of Asian descent. I want to draw on these traditions, but not in a way that feels appropriating or exoticizing, which can be a fine line to walk.

Now, the last thing the world needs is to hear the thoughts of another white lady blogger, but I thought perhaps some of Fiddy’s readers would be interested in hearing about my experiences building a routine that includes Asian inspiration, without falling victim to common misconceptions about the Asian beauty world.

The Lab Muffin

Purging vs. Breaking Out: When to ditch your skincare

Have you ever tried a new skincare product, only to discover that it makes your skin flare up with pimples? This could be one of two things:

Purging: When your skin is adjusting to the new product, and persevering with the product will eventually make your skin better – in fact, the sudden crop of pimples means that it’s working as intended.

Reacting: When your skin is breaking out because it’s sensitive to something in the product. It could be clogging your pores, or causing an allergy, or just plain old irritation. Continuing with the product will just make the situation worse.

How To Protect Your Skin From Pollution

Move over UV and sunscreen, the next big thing in anti-aging is pollution and pollution prevention. Many types of pollution are well known to be harmful when inhaled, but there hasn’t been much information about how they interact with skin until quite recently. A handful of newer studies have shown that pollution is linked to skin allergies, aging and slower recovery from damage.


Korean Beauty New Releases (that I won’t be buying)

I freaking love the anti-haul trend where people share what they won’t be buying. Korean beauty new releases are so tempting, and it’s really tough as a blogger to sit new stuff out, but I’ve had to become more cautious over the years as products have piled higher and higher in my house. I don’t think it’s necessarily easier as a non-blogger, especially since the lines have blurred with the rise of Instagram and Facebook, where people can share looks, hauls, and mask selfies in shorter posts.

These Korean beauty new releases legitimately tempted me, so I’ve shared what I know about them, where to find them now, and why I won’t be buying…yet. If you’re grabbing some of these, let us know in the comments — I may end up swayed!

Cosmetics Business

Lifestyle Matters More Than Genetics in Latest Aging Report

Sunscreen and a positive attitude is the key to younger-looking skin, according to research by P&G brand Olay and 23andMe.

Over 155,000 participants took part in the study, which revealed that external factors had a larger effect on youthful skin appearance than genetics.

The two companies found that 10,839 of the participants claimed they were often told that their skin looked ten or more years younger than their biological age, and most of these women were over 60.

These younger looking women almost always used sunscreen while women who reported they had a positive attitude towards themselves were 30% more likely to have youthful-looking skin.

The Beauty Brains

How Does Color Changing Makeup Work? – Episode 158

Julia asks…I’m a make up artist and my question is how does color adjusting makeup work? I’ve tried a few and they didn’t adjust very well. Also, what are both of your favorite ingredients to use on your own skin?

Thanks for bringing this up Julia! Color changing makeup has never come up on the podcast before but we’ve written about it a couple of times. On our website someone once asked “People have called self-adjusting makeup the mood ring of makeup, does it actually change with your mood?” Great way to rephrase Julia’s question…So, Perry, what say you?


7 Innovative Beauty Treatments You’re Going to Want to Try in 2017

The beauty sphere is constantly changing — so much so that keeping up with every new product and technology hitting the market can be a challenge. 2017 is taking beauty services to the next level: The industry has ushered in a host of  innovative, new beauty treatments worth trying to reveal your most beautiful, refreshed you.

There’s no getting around the tried and true old school beauty treatments that never fail. Using apple cider vinegar for toner, whipping up a mayonnaise hair mask, and other home remedies give DIY beauty treatments their good rep. But the latest beauty services and advancements in skincare technology give an at-home spa day a run for its money. You just may be an appointment away from no-fail brows, luscious lashes, and a clear complexion. In fact, you could stumble upon the next big beauty treatment you never knew you needed and now don’t want to live without after giving it a try.

4 Ways to Extend The Life of Your Manicure

Leaving a salon or even your bathroom with a fresh paint job— a matching manicure and pedicure that is, can help you feel refreshed and put-together. But why is it, regardless of who does your nails, your tips can barely survive changing the channel on your remote while the polish on your toes could survive an apocalypse? Well, as Smith & Cult Beauty Ambassador Sarah Bland tells me over email, it has to do with how much we use and abuse our hands compared to our feet.

The Snailcast

Episode 28 – Year 3000 Skincare

The snail unit dreams up fantastical futuristic skincare, and end up talking about catfishing, commercial cannibalism, and copycat curation.