The Secret To Korean Celebrity Skin

It's no secret that Korean celebrities have the most beautiful skin -- dare I say -- in the world?  It's becoming even more apparent as "Korean Fever" or "The Hallyu Wave" are hitting the globe by storm!  Korean concerts are selling out in every country and dramas are being aired all over Asia as well as Europe and the US, causing Korean pop stars and actresses to gain more recognition and drawing attention to their flawless skin.  I can't help but be in awe every time I watch Korean dramas in high def and can barely see so much as a pore on 30-something Korean actresses.

 Kim Tae Hee

Lee Min Jung

Park Min Young

Shin Minah

What about the pop stars who've been in training since elementary school?  How can they maintain flawless skin as they go through adolecesnse and debut?  It's not like companies can predict their future skin when they're still kids.  So how on earth do they control breakouts even with hours of training and practicing, barely sleeping, and wearing tons of make-up?


Ham Eun Jung



Obviously there's lasers and botox involved, as well as genetics, but there must be some sort of skin regimen for maintenance, right?  A quick google search will bring up several articles regarding the multi-step Korean skin care system -- some with 5 steps and others up to 18 steps.   Many Korean cosmetics actually come in large gift sets containing 5-8 products.  My mom uses a ridiculous $500 skin care system that actually has all the steps numbered.  For instance, the cleanser is referred to as "Number 1" and a serum is "Number 7."

Here in the States, harsh exfoliation treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels are popular.  But in Korea, being gentle is key and tons of moisturizing is encouraged.  Many women apply daily moisture masks and carry around facial spritzes to keep skin hydrated throughout the day.  Cosmetics ads are everywhere and often endorsed by celebrities -- a commercial featuring an especially popular pop star has even caused certain products to sell out instantly.  It's not uncommon for Korean women to spend $100-200 a month on skincare.

So here it is -- 11 steps to celebrity skin.  Or at least make you feel like a celebrity.  Or maybe just burn a hole in your wallet haha.

Step 1 & 2 : Double Cleansing

1: Make-up removal
An absolute staple in Asian skin care -- if you haven't jumped on the cleansing oil bandwagon then you don't know what you're missing!  These amazing "oils" literally melt away make-up and provide a wonderful massage for your face.  Rinses off clean with water while leaving your face moist and supple.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil
Amore Pacific Cleansing Oil
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
2: Cleanser
If you have tried Korean/Japanese/Asian cleansers, you know they are big on super luxurious foam.  The tiniest blob quickly lathers up and removes any remaining trace of make-up.

Shiseido Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam
Dior Purifying Foaming Cleanser
Kracie Naive Peach Cleansing Foam
The History of Whoo Gong Jinh Yang Foam Cleanser

3: Massage/Pack
This is a critical step which most of us in the US hardly ever practice.  Koreans SWEAR by facial massage -- similar to what you might experience while getting a facial at a spa.  Spending a few minutes massaging a cream or mask into your face increases circulation and stimulates the flow of oxygen.  Any wet mask will work for this -- slowly massage into skin, let sit for alotted time, then rinse off.


Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Massage Pack
Boscia Intensifying Moisture Pack
Dior Hydra Life Beauty Awakening Mask
Cellnique Intensive Soothing & Hydrating Masque

4: Exfoliation (1-2 times per week)  
Going along with the "gentle is better" idea, instead of harsh scrubs, peeling gels or grommages are popular in Asia.  These gels are massaged into the skin until dead skin cells form into balls and are gently buffed away.

Cure Natural Aqua Gel
Etude Magic Bubble Peeling Mousse
Sana Salon De Porejo Peeling Gel
Missha Super Aqua Detoxifying Peeling Gel

5: Toner
You'll notice that Asian toners (also called refiners, softeners, and lotions) are thicker in consistency than those found in Europe or the U.S.  They are almost gel-like and instead of using a cotton ball to wipe off your face, these toners are poured onto the fingers and patted onto the face -- this is to promote adding moisture rather than stripping skin of it.

Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener
Sana Hadanomy Collagen Lotion
Kose Sekkisei Supreme Refining Lotion II
Laneige White Plus Renew Skin Refiner

6. Emulsion
Emulsion is a concentrated moisturizing gel that penetrates deeply into the skin, containing super hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.  These gels are essentially moisturizers that are just lighter in texture and are "emulsfied" or warmed up in between fingers, then patted into the skin.

Holika Holika Bulgarian Rose Emulsion
Laneige White Plus Renew Emulsion
Sulwhasoo Basic Balancing Emulsion
Skinfood Tomato Whitening Emulsion

7: Essence
Choose an essence with the benefit of your choice -- many include whitening or brightening properties.  A popular way to apply essence is in the form of sheet masks.

Hadalabo Shirojyun Arbutin Whitening Essence
Kiehl's Ultimate White Intensive Whitening Essence
Laniege White Plus Renew Essence
Holika Holika Secret Source Hydro Essence

8: Serum
Following a  essence, you'll want an anti-aging serum to keep the wrinkles away.  Again you can choose what problems you want to target -- there are whitening serums, spot reducing serums, anti-oxident serums, and wrinkle serums. These serums are super concentrated and wildly expensive -- averaging $50-150 per tiny bottle.

Amore Pacific Line Modifier Intensive Wrinkle Treatment
Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Serum
L'Occitane Immortelle Dvine Extract Ultimate Youth Serum
Lancome Genefique Youth Activating Cream Serum

9. Eye Serum
Another concentrated serum for the eye area to go under the eye cream.  A bit of overkill if you ask me and another added expense.  But hey -- if you're going all out!  Eye serums will contain stronger doses of ingredients and will penetrate more deeply than creams.

Clarins Advanced Extra-Firming Eye Contour Serum
Dior Anti-Fatigue Firming Eye Serum
Innisfree White Tone-up Eye Serum
Loreal Skin Genesis Eye Serum

10: Eye Cream
After your serum pat on an eye cream of your choice.  A thick cream is preferred to moisturize the eye area and compliment the eye serum.

Skin Food Salmon Brightening Eye Cream
Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream
Kabebo Sensai Silk Moisture Supply Eye Cream
Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream

11: Moisturizer/Night Cream
Seal everything in with your favorite moisturizer!


Whew!  I know it sounds absolutely insane.  I don't know if I could follow this regimen religiously, nor do I think product overload works.  But at the same time, it doesn't necessarily seem to hurt?  I guess prevention is key.  As for the whole essence/emulsion/serum -- I think they are pretty much interchangeable and it doesn't matter which order you use them -- in fact I think using just one of these products should suffice.

Do any of you follow a skin regimen with this many products?  What are some of your favorite items in the categories listed?

Best Black Friday + Cyber Monday Beauty Deals + Giveaway Winner

Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope everyone is busy stuffing their faces with turkey and spending time with family.

Wow somehow my blogging breaks always end up turning into a one month absence!  I'm still here -- just a lot going on with work and life.

I know many of you have been patiently (or impatiently!) waiting for the winner of my Best of Japan Giveaway.  Thank goodness for Rafflecopter I was able to get through the 4,862 entries fairly quickly!  Yes you read that right -- this was my biggest giveaway yet!

So without further ado -- the winner is: #2604 Sharon H.

Congratulations Sharon (please check your e-mail) and thank you to everyone that entered!  Thank you once again to Artie Style and Shoppingholics for sponsoring many of the wonderful products.

So my inbox has been getting bombarded with all these amazing Black Friday and Cyber Monday beauty deals.  The last thing I need is more beauty "junk" but of course I'm a sucker for a good deal and will be taking full advantage of these sales.  (All in the name of blogging, I like to tell myself!)

I've compiled a list of deals and coupon codes so you guys have a one-stop place to refer back to while shopping!

Store: Beauty Ticket
Discount: 25% off entire purchase
Discount Code: CYBER25
Ends: unknown
Store: Bliss
Discount: 20% off Bliss products
Discount Code: THANKS20
Ends: Mon Dec 5
Store: Cherry Culture
Discount: 20% off entire purchase
Discount Code: TGS20
Ends: Sun Nov 27

Store: CVS
Discount: 25% off all beauty, haircare, and skincare products
Discount Code: no code needed
Ends: Sun Nov 27

Store: Elizabeth Arden
Discount: 25% off entire purchase
Discount Code: BF2
Ends: Mon Nov 28

Store: First Aid Beauty (FAB)
Discount: 25% off entire purchase
Discount Code: FABFF11
Ends: Mon Nov 28

Store: Inglot
Discount: 15% off entire purchase
Discount Code: No code needed
Ends: Mon Nov 28

Store: Josie Maran
Discount: 25% off entire purchase
Discount Code: GIVEBACK
Ends: Mon Nov 28

Store: Korres
Discount: 20% off entire purchase
Discount Code: FF2011
Ends: Sun Nov 27
Store: Smashbox
Discount: 20% off entire purchase
Discount Code: SBXFF11
Ends: Mon Nov 28
Store: Sephora
Discount: 10 products at $10 each (limit 2)
Discount Code: no code needed
Ends: Fri Nov 25 ONLY

Store: Shu Uemura
Discount: 20% off entire purchase
Discount Code: WISH2011
Ends: Tues Nov 29

Store: Tarte
Discount: free shipping, free gift, and up to $30 off your purchase
Discount Code: CYBER
Ends: Mon Nov 28 ONLY
Store: The Balm
Discount: 40% off entire purchase
Discount Code: BLACKFRIDAY
Ends: Fri Nov 25th

Store: The Body Shop
Discount: Any 3 items for $30
Discount Code: no code needed
Ends: Fri Nov 25th

Store: Urban Decay
Discount: $20 off Book of Shadows Vol. 4 to first 1,000 people 
Discount Code: BLACKFRIDAY11
Ends: Fri Nov 25th ONLY

Store: YSL
Discount: 20% off entire purchase
Discount Code: CYBER
Ends: Sat Nov 26

One day only!!
This is not a Black Friday deal but I found this on Groupon. I've been obsessed with microdermabrasion lately and was researching home systems such as PMD and the Nu Brilliance. It was kind of cool but I was actually on the verge of purchasing it from SkincareRX during their friends and family sale but it showed up on Groupon the very next day for only $89 -- I bought two haha and there's already over 5000 sold! The PMD microderm system was featured on Dr Oz and I can't wait to try it out!

Frosting For The Cause: Green Tea Strawberry Shortcake

Hey guys!  Today I'm taking a break from beauty blogging to write a guest post for a wonderful cause.  Frosting For The Cause was created by the lovely Paula -- her mission was to bring together 365 bloggers and bakers -- one for each day of the year.  Each blogger pledges to donate $25 to the cancer society, as well as share a favorite dessert recipe and take her baked goods to the local hospital or women's hospice.

In addition, we will share a personal story of how cancer touched our lives.  In my case, my story is about my mother, who is a breast cancer survivor.   I also want to dedicate this post to someone who is very close to me who recently found a tumor in his pancreas.  This person has a family history of pancreatic cancer, and while he wishes to remain anonymous, please keep him in your prayers.

We as bloggers have a wide-reaching audience, and while I love my daily dose of lip gloss and mascara, I think it's important to use our influence to also raise awareness for important causes.

So please check out my post here and don't forget to enjoy my recipe for green tea strawberry shortcake!

So please take a minute to check out my post here, support your local cause, and heck, maybe even join Frosting For the Cause!

Pumpkin Party!

Over the weekend my friend Esther invited me over for dinner and a "pumpkin party."  Esther and her boyfriend, Aldus, get very festive for holidays and Halloween is no exception.  They had lots of pumpkins along with all kinds of stencils and carving tools.  Aldus even bought us all these crazy inflatable masks so we could get into theme.

 Our finished product!

For dinner, Aldus, the gourmet chef, prepared lobster bisque and lobster rolls.  I also tried Russian caviar for the first time.  Unfortunately I wasn't quite too fond of the fishiness -- and I don't know about the fact that it's $150 a tablespoon!  I can just barely stomach salmon roe on my sushi rolls as it is lol.

Haha I know this was a total cheater post.  I have so many entries backlogged that I need to get out.  But I have a very important post coming up tomorrow for Frosting For the Cause!  Please be sure to check it out!

Obsessed With Strawberry Skincare

As of late I've been so preoccupied with catching up on reviews and giveaways that I haven't done a skin care routine or favorites post in ages!  So I want to talk about a couple of products I've been really loving lately.  And they all just happen to be strawberry based products!

The first (and my absolute favorite) is the Baviphat Toxifying Masque.  Yes you read that right -- TOXIFYING (it says it in Korean on the label).  Haha good ol Koreans and their sometimes retarded English.  I'm sure they meant de-toxifying (or at least I really hope so!).
I was pleasantly suprised with this product.  I bought it because I thought the packaging was cute but I never expected the deliciously awesome mask inside!  It's a soft creamy, almost mousse-y texture and the scent is OMG good.  Now the Asian version of a strawberry smell is completely different from the American version.  If you've ever had Asian strawberry ice cream or candy you know exactly what I mean.  It has a more tart, fresh, and well, ASIAN scent -- unlike the cheap, fake, American version.  Think Pinkberry yogurt mixed with fresh strawberries!

The interesting thing about this masque is that it stays soft upon application.  You would think it would dry up like a typical mud or clay mask but nope -- it stays wet and can be a bit of a mess to take off.  Think of it as a thick thick creamy moisturiser -- and I guess I shouldn't be too surprised since most Asian masks are wet masks.  Anyways love love love this stuff -- I definitely want to try the entire Baviphat fruit line now!

Next is the TimeBalm Skincare Strawberry Nourishing Facial Serum.  This serum contains alpha hydroxy acids to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and is infused with strawberry extract.  Unfortunately, this serum DOES have the cheap smelling strawberry scent.  But the serum itself is wonderful.  It's not too sticky and sinks nicely into the skin.  I use it nightly under a moisturizer for a nice little skin care boost!

Finally -- I'm sure you've all heard of or tried this mask before -- the My Beauty Diary Strawberry Yogurt Mask.  My Beauty Diary masks are cult favorites and with good reason.  They're so affordable and work great!  They offer tons of "flavors" and I've tried a majority of them but the one I always go back to is the Strawberry Yogurt Mask.  It soothes and comforts my skin and leaves it feeling super duper soft.

For some reason, despite being a Taiwanese brand, this mask also sadly has the "cheap" strawberry smell but I love it nonetheless.  I definitely recommend the Strawberry Yogurt mask to those that are interested in trying My Beauty Diary for the first time because I think it's universally loved by "mask enthusiasts".

Spa Week + Alchemilla Exfoliating Face Wash Cream Review + Giveaway

For those of you who haven't taken advantage yet, there's still 4 days left of Spa Week! Spa Week is a biannual event where tons of spas offer $50 facials, massages, mani/pedis, scrubs, laser hair removal, etc.  Just go to, enter your city, and see what's available in your area!  You can read my previous review of my Spa Week in Vegas here.

So today I am reviewing a great cruelty free exfoliating face wash cream by Alchemilla.

The exfoliating face wash cream is one of their best sellers.  It quickly de-flakes and removes dead skin cells without harsh gritty particles so it's perfect for sensitive skin.  All Alchemilla products are natural, organic, and hand made using the highest quality plant ingredients.

I would definitely put this in the scrub category -- it's not really a face wash as it doesn't lather or remove make-up too well.  It works great if you pre-cleanse with a make-up remover or cleansing oil.  It comes in a 45g recyclable tube that reminds me of a tube of retin-a or toothpaste.  The tube comes sealed and you must use the lid to puncture a hole in it -- so it's nice and sanitary -- probably to seal in the organic goods!

The smell is very earthy and fresh.  The cream contains tiny spheres of natural jojoba and feels super gentle as you massage your face.  It leaves the skin nice and soft and is a great scrub to use every other day.  Skincare that's great for your skin and the environment?  Can't beat that!

Check out all of Alchemilla's natural skincare products at:

And it's giveaway time!  Alchemilla is offering a tube of it's awesome exfoliating face cream wash to one of my readers.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter!  (Sorry open to U.S. residents only.)

The Most Popular Beauty Products In Japan + HUGE Giveaway!


I'm super excited about this month's big giveaway!  I had planned to do this giveaway during the month of September but there was an issue with one of my packages going missing -- even though the "delivery confirmation" stated that it had been delivered.  I'm guessing someone stole the package off my doorstep?  But the sponsor, Artie Style, generously resent the items.  Thank you so much!!!  

I really had to rack my brain to think of something that would top a Hello Kitty giveaway!  I'm sure every one's heard of Pop Sister magazine, which is one of the most popular fashion and beauty magazines in Japan with an emphasis on "gyaru style".  For their September issue they had a wonderful list of the best/most popular/most repurchased beauty items amongst Japanese girls.

So for this giveaway, I chose an item from each category and put together a "Big Best of Japan" beauty giveaway!  I tried to pick the first ranked item from each category but in some cases I felt the second or third places were more coveted items so I went with those.  The only categories I didn't include were the electric skincare device due to size/weight issues and the foundation because it's impossible to purchase a foundation that is a universal shade.

Due to the difficulty of obtaining many of these products, I enlisted the help of two generous sponsors -- Artie Style, and Shoppingholics.

Artie Style is a U.S. based online cosmetics store that offers tons of popular Japanese skin care products and make-up.  They even have an awesome candy selection -- and the customer service is absolutely fantastic!  Artie Style offers a $2.99 flat rate shipping or free shipping on orders over $50 within the US.  You can check out my previous review and giveaway sponsored by Artie here.

Shoppingholics is an adorable circle lens store based in Malaysia.  Not only do they offer one of the best selections of circle lenses, they also carry the most popular Asian cosmetics brands.  And did I mention they provide the cutest packaging ever!  You can check out my previous lens review, the cute packaging, and more store info here.

So here are Pop Sister's top ranked beauty products in Japan.  You can click on the links for more info about each item or to find where they are available for purchase.  And below each category I've included which prize I've chosen!

Top Facial Cleansers

2. Biore facial foam
3. Lush Kindness of Angel

Prize: Biore Marshmallow Whip Cleanser 

Top Face toners/lotions

3. Orbis Aqua face lotion and moisture

Prize: Rohto Hadalabo Japan Goku Jyun Hyaluronic lotion 

Top Facial Masks

2. Missha pure source sheet mask
3. Skinfood black sugar mask

Prize: Skinfood Black Sugar Mask

Top Body Creams

Prize: The Body Shop pink grapefruit body butter 

Top Shampoos & Conditioners

2. Pantene extra damage care shampoo and conditioner
3. Shiseido Tsubaki shining shampoo and conditioner

Prize: Shiseido Tsubaki shining shampoo and conditioner

Top Electric Skincare Devices

1. Panasonic steamer NANO care EH-SA60
2. Panasonic hair drier NANO care EH-NA93
3. Estenad skincare 

Top Foundations

1. RMK liquid fondation
2. KATE mineral liquid foundation
2. Coffret D'or silky fit powder

Top False Lashes

1. Dolly Wink in no.1
2. Diamond lash in fairy
3. Daiso lashes

Prize: Dollywink Lashes in No. 1

Top Eyeshadows

1. KATE Gradical eyes BR-1
2.Dolly Wink eyeshadow in no.1
3. Majolica Majorca BR355

Prize: Dolly Wink Eyeshadow in No. 1

Top Blushers

1. Canmake cream cheek in no.08
2. Candy Doll cheek color in strawberry pink 
3. Mac Blush

Prize: Candy Doll cheek color in strawberry pink

Top Mascaras

1. Maybelline Magnum Volume Express
2. Majolica Majorca lash expander frame plus
3. Dolly Wink volume mascara

Prize: Majolica Majorca lash expander frame plus

Top Eyeliners

1. Love.liner brown liquid eyeliner
2. Dolly wink liquid eyeliner 
3. Maybelline Eye studio creamy gel liner

Prize: Dolly wink liquid eyeliner 

Top Lipsticks

1. MAC lipstick in siss
2. Candy Doll lipstick in ramune pink
3. Maybelline water shiny milky RD606

Prize: Mac Lipstick in "Siss"

Top Lipglosses

1.  Candy Doll lipgloss in macaroon pink 
2. Majolica majorca honey plump gloss in NEO PK144
3. Melliesh lipgloss in 06 candy pink

Prize: Candy Doll lipgloss in macaroon pink

  • Biore Marshmallow Whip Cleanser  
  • Rohto Hadalabo Japan Goku Jyun Hyaluronic lotion 
  • Skinfood Black Sugar Mask
  • The Body Shop pink grapefruit body butter
  • Shiseido Tsubaki shining shampoo and conditioner
  • Dollywink Lashes in No. 1
  • Dolly Wink Eyeshadow in No. 1
  • Candy Doll cheek color in strawberry pink
  • Majolica Majorca lash expander frame plus
  • Dolly Wink Black Liquid Eyeliner
  • Mac Lipstick in "Siss"
  • Candy Doll lipgloss in macaroon pink

Giveaway Rules:

On to the giveaway!  All you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  The ONLY mandatory requirement is to be a Blogger or GFC Follower.

But if you want some extra entries there's plenty of ways for you to do so (just follow the instructions below).  

Also this time around I will be allowing tweets and Facebook statuses once per day until the giveaway ends since Rafflecopter has a way to monitor this.

Please be sure to read all the instructions carefully as incomplete entries will be disqualified and Rafflecopter will not allow you to enter twice.  You can find out further details in the form below!  Thank you and good luck!