Korea is known to many as the home of beauty. You can’t walk down a street without seeing one of their brands (Etude House, The FaceShop, Tony Moly, SkinFood, etc). It’s actually quite overwhelming. There are so many products and they all seem so similar. And this isn’t including the stuff they sell at their drugstore-like places. That’s a completely different collection of goods. And as a person who loves makeup, I thought I had come to paradise. Now, this would be paradise, if you are Asian. I am not. I’m as White as they come. Blonde hair, blue eyes, really pale. So, coming here is like Hell, actually.
See, I go around to these wonderful places that promise cheap BB creams (like a foundation, but specially meant for people with acne or problem skin. Hooray for me!), except they only come in 2 shades most of the time. At least, in the stores. These shades are 23 and 21. Most Asians fall into these two. I, on the other hand, according to their system, am a 13. I saw this number and laughed. One, because it’s just so dramatically different from the 20s that they are in, and two, because it’s the west’s cursed number, just like 4 is to Asia. There is a 17, I think, which would make me happier since that’s my favorite number but alas, not for me. And this I have to order off of Gmarket in order to get it. Boo on that. So I can resort to eye shadows, lipsticks, eyeliners, those kinds of makeup products. Yeehaw!
Now, how about skincare?? Well, I took a chance for a while (and because I had no choice since I ran out of my American products) and used their products. Biggest mistake ever. I have so many acne scars now from it. I broke out so badly from their products. I have really sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin. Here, they say that they have products for them but for some reason, I broke out every single time I tried them. So I begged my sister to send me my products from home and I finally got them a few weeks ago. Can I tell you my face cleared up within those two weeks so much? My regimen is Target’s Up & Up Oil-Free Acne Wash, like the Neutrogena one, only much cheaper. The Neutroegena dries me out too much but this one definitely does not. But it dries me out compared to the other products I was using. I noticed the difference immediately. After that, a Witch Hazel and Aspirin Toner, followed by Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, and some Benzoyl Peroxide. The reason why these products work? The Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide. Korea doesn’t sell them in almost any of their products. If they do, I have yet to find them. So, thus, my face won’t clear up. I need these products to survive. Now, I just need to maybe get some acne scar removal treatment at a dermatologist (aka, laser removal), but I dunno if I’m about to do that.
Now my hair is also going crazy. It is obscenely dry nowadays. I can’t seem to get it to be healthy looking. It’s driving me crazy. Korean products don’t work too much. Kerasis systems seem to work but I’m thinking about going to the Salon near my school on Tuesday and buying some of L’oreal’s Keratase system. Whatever that salon used on my hair back in March was sooo amazing. I need to buy it again. Nothing has been the same since. I’m also surprised that they don’t use any heat protecting serum for their hair. I definitely need it since my hair is so fine but I guess their hair doesn’t need it?
I have come to realize that I must use import brands for my hair and body, which is a shame. Especially since it’s such a pain. The reason for this is that my hair and skin is a lot different than Korean hair and skin. My hair is so much finer than theirs. Thus, they need more oils or essences, rather than a leave in moisturizer that many westerners would use. They also need oils, serums, and essences for their face, while we need gels or lotions. It’s similar but some of the ingredients are just a little different. I noticed this most when I went to Clinique and they were giving me my products. When I brought them home, it says “Formulated for Asian Skins.” So, even Clinique has changed their products here for their consumers. I was really shocked by this. And believe me, I used a whole bunch of brands products. The only thing that has worked decently on my skin is the FaceShop’s Cucumber pack. Damn, my eyes have never looked less puffy and more awake in such a long time. I love it! But other than that, no luck.
So let this be a lesson. For us westerners, I warn thee, beware of the temptations of Asian beauty products! Unless you have dry, thick, non-acne prone, non-sensitive skin, do not try their skincare products! It will only end in sadness.
(This might not be the case for all westerners, but this might be it for many.)