beauty

BEAUTY

MY 3 FAVORITE LUXURY LIP PRODUCTS

One day, while I was organizing my closet, I realized I had some sort of lip product in each of my coats and jackets... no joke. Clearly, I don't like to be without my lip products, ha! I'm not sure when this need/obsession to have a lip product with me wherever I go started, but I definitely realized it's a must have beauty item for me as I hate the feeling of dry, chapped lips. I honestly don't really wear lipsticks and resort to lip balms or glosses, so I've rounded up 3 of my favorite high-end lip balms/glosses. I only specify that this post will be dedicated to luxury lip products because that just means I gotta do a favorite drug store lip products post, duh! So, without further ado, let's get started! 

 Clinique Chubby Stick Intense

I first received this chubby stick as a gift from one of my college besties as a Secret Santa gift and it has still remained to be one of my favorites. It's super highly pigmented as it states in the "intense" portion of its name, but it's also extremely creamy and long lasting. It's not glossy at all, and is more on the matte side so I usually like to put a gloss or vaseline over it to give it some shine in the end! I don't use this everyday but it's perfect for those days you want to add a bright lip to your look. 

 Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment

I actually recently discovered this one as I received it as a gift from one of my dearest friends for helping her on her wedding day and this is my absolute favorite. Thanks Ellis! It is SO creamy, hydrating, and beautiful on the lips. It also has an SPF of 15 which is always nice to have in a lip balm so you can protect your lips from the harsh sun in the summer. I LOVE this one and find it to be one of my go-to's these days! 

Dior Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm

This has been one of my favorites for the past year because the color of this lip gloss is just so pretty on the lips. On top of that, it's extremely hydrating and smooth which I always look for in a lip product. Of course with any Dior beauty product, the packaging is equally beautiful and classy. I definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for an every day gloss that's not too glossy and easy to use! 

Styling & Photography by: Ji Yeon Kim

BEAUTY

MY EVENING SKINCARE ROUTINE: WINTER

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It is getting SO cold here in the city! I don't know how I did it back in the midwest when it fell to -10 degrees, but it's not even that cold here and I'm usually walking back home, cursing the cold. Usually this time around, we find ourselves combatting ultra dry skin which results from the super harsh and frigid weather. So today, I'll be talking about my winter skincare routine I've been adopting during the nights, so that when I wake up my face feels hydrated, moisturized, and super plump, ready for the day! 

Some of you may have heard of the trending 10-step skincare routine from Korea, but I started to loosely adopt this skincare routine this past year (I don't do 10 steps every night) and I've been loving it. I have sensitive, combination skin and so my T-zone tends to get a bit oilier than my checks, while I'm extremely sensitive to a lot of ingredients found in beauty products. This is why I'm usually very careful in testing out products and once I find something that works, I like to use it religiously. I don't have perfect skin but I hope my skincare routine can give you all a little insight into achieving hydrated skin during this cold winter! You can purchase all the products mentioned below at Soko Glam (not sponsored in any way). 

1.) After I double cleanse, I use a toner.

Look at how pretty this packaging is. As pretty as the packaging, it makes my skin pretty and preps it for my next skincare steps. Using a toner helps balance your skins pH level (a good level to be at is 5.5 which is a bit acidic) and hydrates it at the same time. I've used so many toners that makes my skin feeling even more dried out than before, but this Son & Park Beauty Water hydrates and tones the skin effectively. You can also use this product as a make up remover on a cotton pad or to just refresh your skin throughout the day! 

2.) I use an essence. 

Essences are a huge part of the Korean skincare regimen. I love this step because after my skin has been prepped by the Beauty Water, it's ready to absorb all the nutrients an essence can provide! This Missha Time Revolution Treatment Essence has been known to be a dupe of the popular SK-II Essence. They are in fact, both very similar in consistency (watery) and how well it moisturizes the skin. SK-II contains fermented yeast in the form of Pitera, while Missha contains fermented filtrate, Zyosis. I've found the Missha Essence to have reduced some of my redness but by all means it doesn't ever prevent breakouts because I've gotten quite a few since. I love applying this step because essences are jam packed with healthy nutrients for the skin and I just lightly pat this over my skin. 

3.) I use a serum. 

After my skin has been moisturized from the toner and essence, I like to go in ahead with a serum or an ampoule which is a super concentrated moisturizer. Serums contain the most powerful actives which help to give your skin that extra boost and plumping effect! While moisturizers and cleansers can contain filler actives, serums don't have any of that, so the effects of serums can be absorbed more quickly and efficiently. I've been trying this Klairs Vitamin C Serum to see if it fades pigmentation but apparently I have to wait 4-5 weeks until I see true results... so I'll let you know how this works out! Vitamin C is a great way to fade acne scars or pigmentation and there are a lot of ampoules out there that brighten as well as plump your skin.

4.) I either apply emulsion or a moisturizers (which means the same thing) after.

Emulsion is essentially the Korean way of saying moisturizer. You'll usually find the consistency to be a bit more lighter than other moisturizers but I found them to do similar things. Before I cover my face with a heavy night cream, sleeping pack, or sheet mask, I like to hydrate one last time because you need that extra moisture from all the dryness in the air! This Tony Moly Aquaporin Emulsion has been doing the job well these days. The smell is nice and it really does feel like you're feeding your skin extra water and hydrating it, as the packaging on it promotes.

5.) I either apply a heavy night cream or use a face sheet mask in replacement. 

We're almost there but next, I like to go in and apply a heavy night cream, sleeping pack, or face sheet mask! This is probably my favorite step because well 1.) I'm done with my routine and I can go lay down and 2.) it really feels like I'm feeding my face healthy hydrating ingredients. Using a night cream while sleeping is effective because not only are our bodies getting the necessary rest needed, our skin is working to repair itself as well! This Missha Super Aqua Renew Snail Cream is an all time favorite of mine. It's main ingredient is snail mucin which is extremely good for the skin as you may have heard. The smell is a bit strong but the consistency is of a gel-form and it goes on the skin smoothly. Some days I'll replace this step with a face sheet mask or even do both! 

I love face sheet masks. These little sheets are seriously packed with so much goodness and I just love the cooling effect it has on my skin! They have SO many different kinds of sheet masks and for days you feel like pampering yourself... do it! Lastly, on days I'm not feeling lazy I'll apply an eye cream. Eye creams are pretty self explanatory, right? But for those of you wondering, eye creams help to reduce puffiness and fines lines/wrinkles around the eye area! 

Phew! That was a lot wasn't it? You don't necessarily HAVE to do all these steps or use the same products, but if there are any of you wanting your skin to look and feel a bit more hydrated, the above was just an insight into what could help! Some of you could just use a toner and moisturizer which is fine, but when looking for moisturizers, just make sure it'll keep you fully moisturized for this winter season. You can take out some of these steps, add in more, but this routine is what I try to stick with. Speaking of sticking with it... if you're reading this, thanks for sticking with me throughout this long explanation of my skincare routine. I hope this helped in answering some of your questions in what certain products do for your skin and what might be beneficial for your skin type. Until next time... Au revoir! 

Photography & Styling by: Ji Yeon

BEAUTY

5 TIPS FOR TRANSITIONING TO FALL SKINCARE

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Now that fall is in full swing, it's imperative that we take extra care in transitioning into a fall skincare that will help protect and rejuvenate our skin. Here I have just 5 simple tips/steps on how we can slowly start taking care of our skin for the fall and chilly weather. Since it is a bit chillier, our faces tend to get dry so be aware and let's get started!

1.) EXFOLIATE.

If you're doing this already 2-3 times a week (depending on the product)... great! If not, it's time to get started! You want to start scrubbing off all that oil, sweat, and SPF products your face has been having to deal with in the summer. Either way, find some time in your skincare routine to exfoliate, so your skin can be fresh for this new season and so that it can absorb all the serums you should be feeding your skin for the fall. I personally like to use Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant for a daily use because its so gentle (it lasts a long time!) or a great, cheaper alternative is this St. Ives Apricot Scrub found at most drug stores. 

2.) ADD VITAMIN C TO YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE. 

The summer heat and sun could leave us with sun damaged skin marks and uneven skin tone. Vitamin C serums such as this one, can help recover these dark marks (from direct sunlight) and brighten our skin tone as a whole.

3.) MOISTURIZE MORE BUT DON'T START USING EXTRA HEAVY MOISTURIZERS.

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I know during the summers we all look for a lightweight moisturizer because we get sweaty and we don't want to get too oily by the end of the day. But now that the weather is colder outside, our faces tend to get dry more quickly. So, start moisturizing more but you don't have to start using heavy creams just yet, unless you have EXTRA dry skin and its crackling and flaking from the wind already! Try adding in lightweight serums or using any gel, essence, moisturizers. 

4.) START USING HYDRATING FACE SHEET MASKS BEFORE YOU GO TO BED.

Now is the time to start whipping out some hydrating face sheet masks so you can incorporate more moisture into your skin while you sleep. Face sheet masks are great for hydration because it won't be too overpowering for your skin and opt to find ones that have collagen or extra hydrating elements. TIP: I store mine in the fridge for an extra refreshing pampering time and I try to use on a daily basis during the fall/winter season! Face sheet masks are basically different serums drenched into a sheet so it's a perfect lightweight-medium moisturizer. IMPORTANT: If you have sensitive skin, avoid the ingredient PARABEN, that can be found in skincare products and face sheet masks (labeled in the back of the package). I know some Skinfood masks have these and it can actually irritate your sensitive skin! 

5.) START PREPARING FOR THE WINTER AND DO RESEARCH! 

Get ready for the brutal winter and start doing some research on some heavyweight creams you may want to try! It's never too early and before you know it, winter will creep up on you. I like to use SKII's Essential Power Cream but there are numerous, equally awesome heavy creams such as this one to purchase. Do research and start prepping. 

I know it may seem a bit daunting because I just introduced all these skincare products but it's really not as intimidating as it seems! It's just all about understanding what type of skin you have and knowing the products you are using on your skin. For example, I think it's still perfectly fine to use the lotion you used during the summer for fall but just make sure to then add a serum or use a heavier cream at night so you replenish your skin fully. If I'm using the same lotion I did during the summer for fall I'm just a bit more diligent in my night routine by doing a hydrating face sheet mask or I use a serum after my lotion in the morning. Now, the winter time is a completely different story and you need to hydrate your skin even more. Nevertheless, hope you all are enjoying the fall and make sure to moisturize, hydrate, and replenish! 

Photography & Styling by: Jito

BEAUTY

HOW TO EASILY WASH YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES/TOOLS

My roomie from college always used to tell me how important it was to wash any makeup brushes I had. I only used one face makeup brush then because I never used much face makeup anyways, so I never understood the importance of cleaning any makeup tools that I had. Finally after college and after experiencing a couple of breakouts because of my dirty brushes, I've realized how important it is to wash these so you're not spreading dirt and bacteria around your face. Even if you use one brush, or a BB/CC cream sponge, washing those tools is a must! I can't emphasize enough how much dirt and bacteria is trapped in these brush hairs. Even if you don't own many... I know every girl has at least one face makeup brush or BB cream sponge. So let's go wash these tools for a cleaner and brighter face! 

YOU'LL NEED:

  • Any makeup brushes or sponges (this includes eyeshadow blending brushes or blush brushes as well!)
  • A rice spatula (sold HERE or any asian grocery store!)
  • Baby shampoo OR dishwashing soap OR your facewash
  • Clean towel/cloth

I like to use my household items like dishwashing soap and the rice spatula because it works great in getting all the old makeup out. You can of course buy makeup brush shampoo HERE, but I found that these items work equally as well in getting the job done! 

HOW TO: 

Wet your makeup brush with warm water. Try not to get too much water directly into the barrel of the brush and do not submerge your entire brush in the water because it disintegrates the glue that holds the hairs together. This may lead to your brush hairs falling out. 

Pour a dime size of baby shampoo, dishwashing soap, or facewash on to your spatula. This spatula is going to help you to rub your brushes on something so you can really get all the dirt out. You could of course use your hands as well, but I thought this was a nifty hack to wash your brushes more efficiently. 

You're going to want to very gently rub/twirl your brushes in a circular motion on the spatula to really get the old makeup out. You'll start to see all the old makeup and dirt come out. You can do this under soft running water (put the tap on low so that it's just a stream coming out of the faucet) and you can also use more shampoo if you need! 

Keep swirling and keep going! This will take about 5 minutes, depending on how dirty your brush is and you're going to want to keep going until the water runs clean! Don't forget to be gentle and squeeze out any excess water in the direction your bristles go in. By the way, you should solely use the rice spatula for cleaning your brushes... please do not wash it and use it again for food! 

Again, you're going to want to keep running it under warm water and squeezing the brush hairs to see if it runs cleanly. You can use more shampoo but make sure to get all residue out! 

Lastly, dry your brushes on the hand towel gently, and squeeze all excess water out in the directions of the bristles so it maintains its shape! I usually let my brushes dry for 24 hours before I use them again. If they're still damp when you touch them, let them dry for another couple of hours before using. 

TIP: You can also use a little bit of olive oil mixed with the shampoo to also clean your brushes however, I found that either of the three, dishwashing soap, facewash, or baby shampoo, works perfectly well! 

Now go wash any sponge or brush you have! I truly truly urge you to do so... even if it's that one brush you've been using sporadically, it's really important to be using clean brushes to apply makeup on your face! Enjoy! 

Photography & Styling by: Jito (w/ help from DMP)

BEAUTY

HOW I CURL MY SHORT HAIR

I used to have really long hair just a couple of months ago, when I decided to cut it all off for a so fresh and so clean (!) short hairstyle! My closest girlfriends had been trying to get me to cut my hair short for a while, but I was never able to get myself to do so. It felt so good once I did and I was dying to curl my new short hair! I'd been loving the wavy short hair look for a while now and after much trial and error... I wanted to bring to you all, my routine on how to curl short hair. Of course this also works with long hair, but I also have a different routine for that... so I'll show you that later once my hair grows back. Let's get started! 

YOU'LL NEED:

HOW TO:

After washing your hair you can spray some of that curl activating spray (optional). You should partially dry your hair or it can be kept wet. Part your hair and then you're going to section your hair by twisting the main sides of your hair (like you're putting it half up and half down). 

At this point you can either clip these two twisted sections together OR hold them together with your hand proceed to use your other hand to twist your remaining hairs together. You're going to want to TWIST OUT (not in). 

Most of your hairs should be twisted and clipped with your hair clip. At this point you can either blow dry your hair like this, sleep with your hair like this, or air dry your hair (if you have time). It should look like the photo above.

After your hair is fully dry and you put down your twists, your hair should be wavy. You can either continue styling your hair with more spray or what I like to do is use my curling wand to get it a bit more waved and curly the way I like it. 

I like to start with my LEFT side. Remember when using a wand or a curling barrel, make sure to use your OPPOSITE hand of the side you're curling (RIGHT hand) to HOLD the curler. Then curl your hair under the barrel and back up with the TIP FACING DOWNWARDS. So you're curling your hair OUTWARDS.

Next, when curling your RIGHT side, again use your OPPOSITE hand to hold the curler while you position the wand DOWNWARDS. Again, you're curling your hair OUTWARDS. And then VOILA... you're finished! 

I also like to twist two front chunks of my hair into a half up and half down hairstyle for at least 10 minutes before I head out. This helps my curls to get a prettier shape and it keeps my hair out of my face when I'm running around. 

This hairstyle definitely looks better the second day and after you sleep on it. It looks a bit more natural and not so wild! Don't forget to tousle your hair a little, shake your head, style accordingly and enjoy! :)  

BEAUTY

3 PRODUCTS TO A CLEAN FACE

So, I've done a double cleansing post before but I thought it be nice to do a post just about the best products to get rid of all the dirt and makeup off your face. As important as actually cleansing my face is, getting rid of all my makeup and dirt is equally important to me. These 3 products (plus a surprise product at the end) are the start to healthy, glowing skin because it prompts us to properly remove all our makeup. This leaves our faces as clean canvases for those great serums and moisturizers to do its work. So lets get started!

1.) BOSCIA'S MAKE-UP BREAKUP CLEANSING OIL

This product is great for effectively and gently melting away all makeup without leaving an oily residue on the face. A lot of the times, cheaper cleansing oils have the tendency to leave your face feeling even oiler and even dirtier than before. The Boscia however, is formulated with botanical amino acids and antioxidants which leaves the face feeling smooth and free of all impurities. It also breaks down waterproof mascara, wonderfully leaving you without raccoon eyes. I like to use 3 pumps on my dry face and rub it gently around my skin and then add 2 more pumps for the eye area. Make sure to wash away this cleansing oil with warm water and go in for a double cleansing with your facewash of choice. 

2.) MUJI'S SIMPLE OIL CLEANSING

Prior to trying out this cleansing oil, I had never thought to use the skincare line from MUJI. But after using this, I'm a huge fan of the skincare products they offer! I've always been a fan of ALL their minimalistic packaging and products (especially their pens), but their skincare products are cost-efficient and very gentle to the skin. I purchased the travel sized version and a good thing about their travel sized cleansing oil is that, not only is the bottle smaller to carry around, but it has a lid that actually shuts completely. Although I love the Boscia cleansing oil, it is a bit more expensive and their travel sized bottle does not have a lid that closes completely. MUJI's cleansing oil is equally gentle and soothing for the skin. I just use the same steps as I do for the Boscia cleansing oil by starting on my dry face and working my way towards the eyes. 

3.) CAUDALIE'S CLEANSING WATER

Now this product is not oil based. Although I highly recommend removing moderate to heavy make up with an oil based product, I do recommend cleansing water or micellar water for those who don't wear heavy makeup. The whole purpose of cleansing water is that it is used as a one step cleansing process. Caudalie's cleansing water gently cleanses and tones the skin with its nourishing and natural ingredients. Caudalie is a vineyard-inspired, luxurious skincare company that originated from France. All you have to do is apply this cleansing water to a cotton pad, and smoothly apply it across the face and eyes. There's also no need to rinse your face after using this, which may appeal to those who are looking for an easier skincare routine. Personally, I like to go ahead and double cleanse with an actual face wash but for those lazy nights, this cleansing water is ideal. 

And there we have the top 3 products I found to wonderfully cleanse the face, free of any makeup and dirt. It is crucial for me to properly remove all makeup before I sleep so I do recommend any of these products especially if you have sensitive skin. I also wanted to make a brief mention of a cleansing wipe. 

HONORABLE MENTION: NEUTROGENA CLEANSING WIPES

The Neutrogena cleansing wipes have been my go to makeup remover for the past 2 years before I transitioned into using cleansing oils. Although I do not use these wipes on a daily basis anymore, I still love to use them for when I travel (travel efficient) as well as for removing any left over heavy eye makeup. The wipes are not abrasive and have a sufficient amount of product on each wipe which makes for a nice, fresh wipe. 

And there we have it! These 4 products are all lovely products I rely on for a clean makeup free face! I hope you enjoyed and let me know what you think of any of these products once you've tried them out. 

Photography & Styling: Jito

BEAUTY

DIY BEAUTY FACE MASK

After moving to NYC recently, I've noticed how the polluted air has taken a toll on my skin. As much as I absolutely love the city, I am not a fan of how my skin has reacted to the constant dirt and heat here! So today, I thought I'd show you a simple DIY face mask I love to put on for hydration and to cleanse the oiliness off from all the sweat and dirt. Of course, I love using sheet masks as well but this DIY is gentler for your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

YOGURT, LEMON, & HONEY MASK 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 TBSP of plain yogurt (no low-fat or fat free)
  • 1 TBSP of honey
  • 1 tsp of lemon

HOW TO:

  • Mix the honey with the yogurt.
  • Wash the lemon, cut in half and squeeze the juice into the mixture.
  • Mix all the ingredients.
  • Smooth mixture over your face avoiding the eyes.
  • Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and gently wash off.

You can alter how much of each ingredient you put in depending on how you like the consistency of your masks! 

BENEFITS:

  • Yogurt has cleansing and healing properties. It nourishes the skin but at the same time can act as a chemical peel due to the acid components in it.
  • Lemon soothes the skin tone and lightens dark marks! It has tons of Vitamin C and also works as an exfoliator.
  • Honey has antibacterial components which helps fight acne and is extremely soothing to the skin. This is great for sensitive skin!

So whether you're in desperate need to hydrate your skin or you just simply want to pamper yourself, this is a great no fuss and gently DIY face mask. Just an FYI it be best not to use fat free or low-fat yogurt... just plain yogurt will do! It also tastes and smells wonderful which never hurts, right? Enjoy! 

Photography & Styling by: Jito




BEAUTY

{BEAUTY} DOUBLE CLEANSING

Is double cleansing worth it? That's a question I've been asking myself, friends, and the internet countless times. And I've come down to the conclusion that: YES, it is worth it and necessary, especially if you wear makeup.

So what is double cleansing? Double cleansing originates from Japan and its when you use a cleansing oil to remove any dirt or makeup before you go ahead and wash your face with a face wash/scrub/foam. 

Now of course these are all just my thoughts, but I've found that double cleansing with another cleansing oil, cleansing water, or cleansing milk not only takes away all the makeup and dirt but it also softens and moisturizes your skin. I find this process of cleaning your face first with an oil before you wash your face again with a face wash, crucial (more so if you wear makeup). 

FIRST STEP: I've discovered that even after using a makeup remover wipe, gently massaging your face with a cleansing oil will effectively soften and brighten your skin. Pictured to the left, I have the Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil, which is gentle to the skin and removes ALL makeup.  

Other cleansing oils I've tried are Boscia's Makeup- Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil and Clinique's Take the Day off Cleansing Oil. Both of those also do a fabulous job in removing ALL makeup yet nourishing the skin. (You can purchase these at Sephora.) But if you're looking for a cheaper alternative Botanic's All Bright Gently Cleansing Cream or this Garnier one also does a great job. (You can purchase the cheaper alternatives at Target.)

SECOND STEP: After this step of removing dirt or makeup with an oil, I like to go ahead and use a face wash that makes my face feel completely clean. I've prepared my skin for this next step by using the cleansing oil, so I know my face will be free from any leftover makeup or residue. 

Pictured above I have the Laneige Brightening Sparkling Water Foam Cleanser. This face wash is unlike any other I've tried because of its mousse like consistency but I've really been enjoying it. Next time, I'll have a post about reviewing just face washes.

So, wash away and enjoy a clean face!  

Photography & Styling by: Jito