Why I Switched to a Korean Skincare Regime

This is somewhat of an embarrassing confession, since I am a qualified beauty therapist, but I have always struggled with my skin. As a child, it was eczema/psoriasis, worsened by wearing certain fabrics and dry Adelaide winters, and then it was acne. Like, really bad, teased for, bright red against super pale skin, acne. I know now it was because of hormonal issues like Hashimotos/PCOS, but I had no way of knowing that when I first started to experience problems.

When I was 11, I was prescribed an antibiotic for my acne, every day, twice a day, for about 4 years. Every time I went back to the dermatologist who brushed off my concerns, I was too shy to speak up for myself (something I still struggle with), and so I stayed on them. It utterly ruined my digestive and immune system and after a while I started to experience a whole lot of problems due to that, which I’m still trying to fix. If you’re wondering, it didn’t help my skin. At all.

That’s not what I’m writing about, though. What I’ve finally realised is that my skin never changed, really. It was always sensitive and dry, but the products I was using were dehydrating my skin and causing it to overproduce oil, hence the congestion. I thought: more oil? Need to cleanse more/deeper/harsher, right? Nope. That is a one-way ticket to dehydrating your skin, causing it to over-produce oil to counteract it.

In the past couple of years, as I experimented more with skincare and makeup, I found that I was reacting quite badly to certain exfoliants or changes in weather and diet, the most recent of which was entirely my fault, but I ended up having what seemed like an ‘opposite t-zone’: super dry t-zone, with normal skin on the rest of my face, where it was sucking up all moisture, including barrier creams, no matter how many layers I put on, while continuing to be flaky and painful. What??!! *insert Dali’s scream face here*

There are only two things that helped: remembering that I know what is best for myself, and Asian skincare – Korean in particular.

When I first heard about Korean skincare, I was like; “Tch, that’s way too many products, your skin won’t even notice the difference between one moisturiser and three/a serum/mask/sleeping pack”. BUT IT DOES!!! I cannot live without the products I’ve found, and steps I’ve started to take, and I was lucky enough (after doing much research) to find exactly what I needed on my first try.

Korean skincare, and asian skincare in general, seems to be a world ahead of their western counterparts, and it’s because they address specific skincare concerns, instead of a more general approach that has been typical in the west (although they are catching up – mostly by copying asian skincare trends). From demanding the best ingredients, to the least amount of irritation, sun protection, anti-ageing, etc, it takes a holistic philosophy. While there are specific concerns to be remedied, it’s a process that incorporates diet, sleep, overall health and wellbeing, in tandem with the actual products and usage. It’s all in the same vein of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Confucianism – prevention is better than the cure, and honouring your parents by taking care of your body, and something that was beaten into me studying beauty: it’s all about what you do everyday.

If you keep up good skincare habits everyday, or dietary habits or exercise habits, you can afford to skip this or that once in a while, or eat that doughnut *_* or whatever else. Likewise, it’s not about getting some fillers or botox after you’ve already developed lines – if you rely on quick fixes rather than a lifestyle you choose every day, no matter how much you pay for those ‘miracle cures’ for whatever issue, you’ll invariably have more to keep nipping and tucking, whereas someone who does keep up a daily habit suited to them will be able to achieve a much better outcome combining the two.

As always though: whatever works! If you find the most basic bar soap and water works for you, that’s fine! If you’re happy, you don’t need to change.

When I visited Japan in Winter, 2016, my skin freaked out, and the products I was half-heartedly using did not help. I know, I know, I should know better. In my defence, I don’t have a lot of energy at the best of times dealing with chronic illness, let alone being non-stop for two weeks in dry-ass winter weather, having packed no suitable clothes from my sub-tropical homebase. It took me over a month to get my skin to calm down upon returning, and I learned a very important lesson: to pay attention to my skin and my body, and not just keep blindly following something that worked for me in a different time or situation.

Photo one: Terrible, but it was the only one that illustrated what I’m talking about. Can you see the fine lines? What the heck?! I don’t even have them – they are literally just from dehydration O_O

Photo two: After using a more suitable regime and products for my skin concerns

I’ll be doing a series of posts on the regime I follow and the products I use and would recommend. My ultimate goal is yuri pibu: a Korean term for ‘glass skin’, or skin so clear and glowy it’s like glass, so that I never have to wear makeup again muahahah! One of the many things I’ve been discovering recently – I really hate the feel of makeup on my skin these days. I’m all about the long-term instead of quick fixes – and having limited energy, the less I have to do to get ready in the mornings, the better!

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time but life (surgery, recovery, school, holidays and work) have gotten in the way. So, stay tuned!

Thanks for reading,

Lola xo

Circle Contact Lenses for Light Eyes

 

Ok, what the heck are circle lenses?

If you have no idea what circle lenses are, they’re basically coloured contact lenses that are a little bit bigger than your natural iris, ranging from 14mm up to 22mm(?!).

Why….would I want that, sorry?

Basically, it’s part of the “Ulzzang” (‘ool-jang), or ‘best face’ look. It’s a Korean phrase that I take to mean putting your best face forward. It’s you, but it’s a more enhanced version of you: a cute, fresh-faced look. So, think of barely noticeable makeup, unpainted nails, casual clothes…but everything just looks a little more perfect. An airbrushed you. Ulzzangs in Korea are basically the instagram models of the West, where they’re noticed for their looks and then get into show business or have their own online shopping sites, because people like their look/style. To the untrained eye, you’d just think they’re some really attractive people, but I’m sure everyone’s seen those videos of the ‘ugly’ girl transforming through makeup – it’s just that, compared to Western style makeup, the point is to enhance, not to glam up.

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This girl is obviously not ugly, but this shows the Ulzzang process: makeup, then photoshop to complete the look
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Famous Ulzzang Park Sora

I’ve been a fan of circle lenses for a few years, getting my first pair in 2010. However, it was so difficult to find ones that would fit my eyes (they change from blue to green, to grey), and I had no idea what to get. So I got ones that had a black ring around the edge…and I basically looked like a werewolf. Definitely one of the cringier times in my life. I kind of wrote-off all coloured contacts as a luxury after that, especially since I didn’t need corrective lenses. Now that I do need to however, glasses drive me crazy and make literal dents in my nose. So I decided to try one last effort to find some coloured circle lenses.

Where do you even find them?

After hours of research, I found Pinky Paradise, and they have a huge amount of categories – even for light eyes – and customer photos to show how each style looks. The ones I really wanted weren’t in stock in my prescription, but what I got instead actually turned out much better. The EOS Fairy Grey lenses in 14.5mm are a perfect fit for my eye colour, and I can actually see with them; something I was a bit apprehensive about. They arrived quickly, within two weeks – which is rare for Australia – in sterile glass vials of contact solution for hygiene reasons, so that you can see if there are any defects, and you can return them if needed. Also, they came with a free animal case, adorable stickers, and the cutest instruction leaflet I’ve ever seen. *_*

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Perfect with Azeredo Icon lashes (discount code: Lola10)

How do you use them?

I soaked them overnight in my favourite lens fluid and tried them out the next day. After so much researching, some common complaints about circle lenses in general were that they’re thick and unbreathable, leading to discomfort and drying out of your eyes, and a warning not to wear them for more than a couple hours at a time, especially in the beginning. But I found they were so thin I even had trouble putting them in – much thinner than my usual monthlies (and the EOS are purportedly yearly lenses, although I probably wouldn’t use them for that long), and when I wasn’t able to get back home after a couple hours, they were still super comfortable!

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Wearing those Azeredo lashes *_*

I could not be happier with these. It kind of looks like my childhood self (have you ever noticed little kids had seemingly huge eyes proportionate to their bodies?), I can see without discomfort, and they enhance a minimal makeup look, which is a huge plus since my skin has been changing lately, and I’m finding I actually kind of hate wearing so much of it nowadays.

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What to look for

If you’re looking for a solution like me, and can’t find any lenses for your light eyes, I highly recommend this site. It was much easier to use than any of the others I looked at, and even though there weren’t as many reviews for the ones I bought, the photos were what sold me, and I’m glad I didn’t wait for the out-of-stock ones (you give them your email so they can let you know when they’re back in stock, and four weeks on; no word). Look for lenses without a limbal ring (the dark edge that made me look like a vampire/werewolf/whatever), and if you don’t have grey eyes, choose a mix of colours, like tri-colour, so they look more natural….unless that’s not the look you’re going for. In that case, there are red, purple, pink with heart shapes – just go for it!

WARNING: As with anything that goes near your eyes, you should take the utmost care with lenses, and circle lenses in particular. There are plenty of horror stories over infection, irritation etc, which I won’t go into here – you should always do your own research to find what fits you best. Make sure you do your research with regard to brand/size/store.

I hadn’t done a post in a while, since I’m still recovering, and I literally dislocated my thumb at lunch T_T so hopefully this is helpful! Happy shopping!

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xo Lo