From 2008 through 2009, I did what a number of fresh college graduates did: I moved to Asia (Korea, to be exact) to teach English to adorably kiddos. In addition to spending my days coloring and playing games with grades K through 6, I also absorbed the Asian culture around me. That, of course, included all things fashion and beauty.
Sure, every culture has mascara and eyeshadow and foot creams and hair conditioners, but I found that Korea -- and consequently, other Asian countries I traveled to/read about -- had beauty products I was unfamiliar with. Whenever I shopped at beauty stores, sales reps were good about trying to explain products, but the language barrier meant I did a lot of research on my own. The result? I came to love some of these formerly unfamiliar products!
Since moving back, I've noticed that some of these products are now becoming more popular in the United States (or perhaps, I'm just more inclined to notice them). Today I'm talking about a few of my favorites that'll help you look more rejuvenated. Enjoy!
One Piece Face Masks
While many traditional American face masks come in paste form that you smear all over your face, some Asian products have simplified (and de-messified) this process. I'm downright obsessed with one-piece face masks, like Wei's Gingko Leaf Repairing Face Treatment Pads
($68 for 6).
The Gingko leaf is a traditional Chinese herbal treatment and this pad does wonders. It feels slightly tingly and leaves your face feeling what I describe as alive, softer and brighter. Wei has some other pads, too, including their new High Performance Face Treatment Pad Collection
and their Tibeten Chrysanthemum Correcting Eye Treatment Pads
($60), which are only for the eyes.
I usually keep mine in the refrigerator and use once a week (or every other week) as a nice treat. Kind of like ice cream...for your face.
Other options include SK-II Facial Treatment Mask
($125) and Daggett & Ramsdell Collagen Essence Mask Anti-Aging Facial Treatment
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I used to be very bewildered by BB creams, probably because they were such a foreign concept to me. However, every time I went shopping for beauty products in Korea, I'd get a few sample BB creams and, naturally, decided to do a little research.
For those unaware, BB stands for "blemish base" or "blemish balm" and it's typically a liquid-y cream or serum-like consistency. BB creams aren't spot or acne treatments, though -- they're a multi-function cream that you apply to the entire face as either a primer for your makeup or, for those willing to go bare-faced, your foundation. They cover minor imperfections and even out skin without making you look like you have caked on face makeup. In other words, BB creams are amazing.
Clinique's Age Defense BB Cream with SPF 30
($37) is a great choice and easy to find. Also try Sluwhasoo Snowise Brightening BB Cream
($60), "a Korean herbal medicinal BB cream for bright and radiant skin even under light and heat;" and Boscia BB Cream with SPF 27
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When I first heard of whitening creams and agents, I had a sort of aversion to them. After all, why try to change your race? Turns out, whitening creams aren't exactly what they sound like. As we age, our skin becomes slightly duller and we develop sun spots and other unflattering marks. The point of a whitening or skin lightening cream is to even out skin tone and create a more youthful collection.
, a new skincare line by model/entrepreneur/TV personality Kimora Lee Simmons, has a product called "All Evens Out
" that's clinically proven to lighten skin with "OmegaPearl-18" ($68). They entire line is fantastically designed, including this one, but the products are fab, as well. This particular product promises to reduce age spots by up to 75% after 8 weeks of use and 64% after 4 weeks. It also brightens your tone up to 54% after 8 weeks. That price point is excellent, especially when compared to products that deliver similar results.
Other whitening agents worth noting include Dr. Brandt's Light Years Away Whitening Cream
($140), Shiseido's White Lucent Bio-Performance Super Revitalizing Set
($98), Orlane Whitening Essence
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