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!