I don't share books on my blog for the simple reason that I'm shy + I don't believe anyone will really care. But this one book highlights my one not-writing passion, and I've just got a bug to talk about it. Also, Mirriam said, "Just do what you want on your blog!" so I'm just going to do that + hope for the best! :)
the little book of skincare | by charlotte cho
VERY SHORT BACKSTORY. | Like Charlotte, I was late getting on to the skincare scene, and when I arrived, I DEFINITELY didn't know what I was doing. I picked up tips here + there, but nothing truly definitive, up-front, + easy to understand as when my husband got me this little book for Christmas. BOOM. I took off. Maybe this isn't immediately interesting to you, but my theory is, if you are alive + have skin, this book is pertinent to you!
The Famous 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine | It's possible you've already heard of this routine. To westerners, this seems outrageously extravagant + time-consuming. But BELIEVE ME, IT'S NOT. Every step in this routine is crucial to giving your skin what it needs + helping you get the most out of your skin! "Ten" steps isn't mandatory: Charlotte is careful to point out that it is "ten" in general, but some products in that routine are used only once or twice a week, or even only once or twice a MONTH, depending on what your skin needs. But it's in your repertoire, ready to be doled out when your skin is in need.
"my skincare routine isn't crazy, it's just thorough"
1-2. The Double-Cleanse.
Yes, twice - but not with the same cleanser. Basic chemistry rules apply: you will use an oil-based cleanser first to break down the oily products on your skin, like makeup and ordinary facial junk that builds up on the surface of your skin. Once the oil cleanser has worked the oil gunk loose, a water-based cleanser will be used to wash off the oil-base. (Oil-based cleansers are designed to work with oil AND to be removed by water-based cleansers. SCIENCE. IT HAPPENS.)
this is not frivolous! this is basic chemistry being applied to make sure your skin is ACTUALLY clean. we're not using two different cleansers just to look rich + fab.
3. Exfoliate! EXFOLIATE!
I do a head-to-toe exfoliation because skin is my largest organ + I want to take good care of it! I'll use a rough cloth or an exfoliating mitt on my body, but for my face I will use an exfoliating gel. Depending on your skin's sensitivity + needs, you can exfoliate only a few times a week, or very gently once a day. I do it once every morning because my skin is pretty normal + chill, but most of my friends have VERY picky, sensitive skin, and they have to tweak the routine accordingly.
exfoliate? but WHY? because even you would have trouble wading through a barricade of icky, built-up, dead skin cells if YOU were a yummy skincare product. you want to get that dead stuff off to allow your skincare products to sink in. ALSO it really helps refine the elasticity (youthful appearance) of your skin + promotes blood-flow to the upper levels of your dermis which is GOOD because you blood has yummy nutrients for your skin too.
Sigh. I know. Most people are going to skip this because it doesn't SEEM like it does any good. THAT NOTION MAKES ME SAD. But listen! Even the cleansers that are just right for your skin will upset the proper pH level of your delicate facial skin. This can lead to irritation and more problems if left unchecked. TONER PUTS EVERYTHING BACK TO NORMAL. In addition, toner preps your skin to absorb the other nutrients you're going to put on your skin in a minute. Very much a win-win!
avoid alcoholic toners! trust me, "astringents" are drying + extremely unhelpful to the facial skin. charlotte is careful to point out that "cetyl alcohol" and "stearyl alcohol" are GOOD for you, sometimes referred to as "fatty alcohol," but in general steer clear of anything with the label "astringent" or containing an ingredient listed as just "alcohol" because it is NOT actually good for you skin.
5-6-7. Essence + Ampoules + Sheet Masks.
THIS is where you really start giving your skin the yummy good stuff. Essences are full of ingredients designed to plump, enhance, hydrate, rejuvenate, brighten, enliven, and enrich your skin. It's like giving yourself a freak-healthy granola-style smoothie smack on your face.
Ampoules (as Charlotte describes them) are like essences boiled down into a concentrate. These are powerful and used sparingly, and usually only when a problem is cropping up that needs addressing.
SHEET MASKS ARE THE BOMB. Generally much cheaper than a bottle of essence or an ampoule, sheet masks are a way of getting a good soaking of essence on your face while minimizing the natural risk of product evaporation from your skin before you can absorb it. They take roughly 20-30 minutes to soak in, they are cooling, refreshing, fun, inexpensive (I can get a package of them for a dollar each or less off Amazon), and they're a great way of getting LOTS of different skincare essences for many different skin needs without splashing out on lots of bottles of differences essences.
8. Eye Cream.
DUR. The skin around your eyes is thin, delicate, + in need of as much TLC as anything else. Eye creams are specifically designed to work with that skin to brighten + hydrate. (Dark circles. Oh, I have them.)
if you don't want to splash out on a special eye cream, that's okay. i often just use a touch of olive oil because it's healthy + hydrating. just don't neglect your eyes, that's all!
9. The MOISTURIZER.
This is often people's one + only step to their skincare routine, and yet it's nearly last in the 10-step skincare lineup. Many of the preceding products have moisturizing elements in them, but this is the BIG GUN. This is what keeps your skin looking plump, young, energized, rich, smooth, + elastic. Hydration is key to keeping your skin looking healthy, otherwise it's going to become dull + flat + grey. C'est yuck.
DID YOU KNOW THAT oily skin does NOT mean you get to avoid moisturizing! an oily face is your skin's way of saying, "HELP. I'M WORKING TOO HARD HERE." moisturizing helps give your skin a break + lets your skin slow down + not overproduce so much oil. there are lots of moisturizers designed for oily skin types to give them the hydration they need while hushing up their glands and calming everything down. WELL, NOW YOU KNOW.
THE SUN IS A DEATH-RAY. I wish I could have snapped a picture of my niece's and my nephew's faces when I explained to them that sunscreen is more than just about avoiding a burn: it's about keeping off the sun's UVA rays, the ones which break down the inner cushioning of your skin, kill your skin cells, produce discolouration, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and cause cancer. THEY WERE SCARED. And they should be! The sun, as warm + inviting as it seems (I'm a cat: I loooove the sun), is extremely harmful to our health, and especially the long-term health of our protective organ - our skin.
you are probably not keen on overdrinking or smoking, right? because that's bad for your organs the LUNGS + LIVER. so why would you skimp on keeping your largest, most protecting organ safe? I ASK YOU.
but why this order?
All these steps + products, from 1-10, are organized rationally. Obviously you want cleansing, exfoliating, + toning to come first to prep your skin for your skincare products (not doing this creates a waste of money if you actually bought skincare products). But the products are used in order of weight consistency. DUH. Slap on a thick layer of moisturizer, and how is a delicate essence supposed to get down through your skin cells?
lightest weight product to heaviest // that's the way to apply
the book as a whole
- is a delight to read. Charlotte Cho, a Korean born in California, is fully aware of the western mindset about skincare, and she does not shy away from tackling those misconceptions head-on. All your concerns are addressed in a hilarious, easy-to-follow, delightful way, and that seemingly-weird, extravagant world of Korean skincare is opened up + revealed for what it is: a down-to-earth, no-nonsense, effective method for protecting our skin + keeping it healthy.
Skincare is a passion of mine: I could eat simple food + splash out on skincare products all day long if I allowed to! It is relaxing, therapeutic, + the results are wonderful. This has nothing to do with writing but it is definitely a topic which is near + dear to me, so I'm sharing it with you. Again, if you have skin + you are still alive, I highly recommend this book! <3
all images via pinterest