This is a quick guide for those of you who, like me, are looking for ways to reduce redness! I get a LOT of redness in my skin. Not all the time, but when it goes red, it goes bright, flushing red. I know there are some skin conditions, like rosacea, that can cause redness (actually, I think I am transitioning to having low level rosacea - I hear that it can come on in your thirties/forties if you have had very “blushy” skin in your younger years). Anyways, these tips are based on my trials (and sometimes errors) and the products and methods that have worked for me to reduce redness - so please bear that in mind.
I’m pretty sure that the biggest driver of my skin redness is simply that I have fairly fine, fair skin and blood vessels that seem all too close to the surface! I will absolutely, full on flush at the very slightest embarrassment, any irritation at all, a single red wine or 5 minutes in the sun. If you can relate, I hope these tips might help you! Even if not, these skin calming solutions may still help you achieve soothed, healthy skin. I hope you enjoy them!
My Top 10 Skin Care Tips to Help Reduce Redness
It's nearly Halloween! Does anyone else enjoy it? I know it's more an American tradition, but I kinda dig this holiday - I suspect it's mostly because I love ogling all the talented ladies' (and men's) Halloween makeup up looks all over Instagram.
I do not have their skills :( The "no-makup makeup look" is about the best I can do.
However, I have used the Halloween season as a great excuse to (a) binge watch the new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and (b) indulge in all the cutest, creepiest and most fun K beauty products we have here at Sheet Mask Shop HQ!
I'm dubbing it Halloween Skin Care - and we've got lots of our fun, Halloween-appropriate masks, sheet masks and KBeauty products on sale right now! All treats, no tricks!
Sale ends at the witching hour on October 31.
Check out an intro to just a few of my faves below!
There are so many more great, fun things on sale - we hope you find something you love that can also make you giggle with joy!
2 simple steps to save your skin care routine when you're too tired/under-the-weather to face a full routine
I've been battling jetlag after our holiday & have had a few nights now where I can tell you I was almost too tired to put one foot in front of the other and get myself into bed, let alone do my usual nighttime skin care routine. The thing is, with skin care (like so many things), consistency is important. Also I love the self care ritual & wind-down my skin care routine gives me.
However. Being too tired, or too drunk (ahem, yes this is also me sometimes) or just too under-the-weather to be able to face a full skin care routine when the bed is literally calling your name happens to the best of us. And more often than the fabulous ten-step skin care routines post on instagram admit.
So today, let me share with you the two products I can't do without for when those nights hit. When I'm tired (or drunk) as hell, if I can bring myself to do these two, very quick skin care steps, I can save my skin from all kinds of next-morning regrets.
Here they are: (1) a great multi-purpose cleansing water/toner/exfoliator hybrid + (2) a sleeping mask.
Neither of these steps will take you more than 30 seconds to complete, but the key is to ensure you have the right products. So let's get into it!
Step 1. Cleanse, tone & exfoliate in one single step.
We know that know matter how tired we are, we need to do our very best to get our makeup off that night. Yes? Still with me? There are lots of options to do this, but if you've only got a tiny bit of energy left I really recommend reaching for a multipurpose cleansing water/toner/exfoliator like either the Son & Park Beauty Water or the Heimish Refresh Water.
Why? Doused on a cotton pad, these are just as quick to remove makeup, grime, sweat and sunscreen as a cleansing wipe or micellar water.* But unlike straight up cleansing wipes or micellar waters, these aren't as drying (they also contain hydrating botanicals) - which is really important given we're all too tired to do a bunch of hydrating steps after our cleanse tonight.
Additionally (importantly), they contain gentle exfoliants - which will help give our second step its best chance of replacing our usual skin care routine.
[*If I am wearing heavy makeup, I really will try to push myself through a double cleanse to get it all off totally thoroughly. And it's worth it if you can. But this post isn't about the ideal, it's about improving our worst-case scenario!]
Step 2. The magical sleeping mask.
So I've taken my makeup off, that's good enough right? Well, yes I suppose you have at least avoided the worst sin of getting into bed covered in mascara. But if you really want to give your skin its best shot at recovering, I really recommend you take 10 more seconds to slather your face in just one extra product: a sleeping mask.
Adding a sleeping mask before crashing out makes the single biggest difference to how much my skin hates me for my neglect the next day. These are miracle products in my book, and I use them very regularly as part of my full routine, but especially come into their own taking up the slack for your slackness. These products both hydrate and lock that hydration in overnight - which is what your skin really needs when you're exhausted. Our favourites also include treatment formulas that work while you sleep - helping you use your sleepytime to your skin's benefit.
What you do want to do, is pick the right sleeping mask for you. Remember, tiredness, alcohol, sickness etc all tend to make your existing skin issues worse - so picking a treatment sleeping mask that suits your skin best, will give it the best change of bouncing back.
Picking the right sleeping mask for you
We love the Urban Dollkiss Apple AC Therapy Sleeping Pack for acne-prone skin types, with its hydrating, exfoliating and clearing properties; the healing, hydrating honey goodness of the COSRX Ultimate Moisturising Honey Overnight Mask for oily/normal skin types; and the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask as a great all rounder for normal/dry/aging skin types.
For those with dry and very dry skin types, the Kicho Camellia Sleeping Mask is ideal, with its rich moisturisation and superb ability to trap moisture within the skin. Whilst if you want to maintain your anti-aging regime even when using our lazy cheat for late nights, the Dr Jart+ Good Night Firming Mask packs a overnight bomb of anti-aging ingredients. Last but not least, our luxe pick is the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalising Mask EX to treat dull and tired skin - its the priciest of the bunch but worth the investment for chronically lacklustre skin IMO!
Voila! 30 seconds, two products and you'll keep your skin on track!
Now get some sleep, and get back into your routine tomorrow.
PS. Here are two additional tips for the morning after, if you up to it!
I’ve been noticing an increasing interest in exfoliating acids lately, and a lot of lovely ladies asking for advice about them (and exfoliation generally). As someone who loves exfoliation and how it makes my skin feel I certainly understand the excitement! I also, however, have skin that can easily become over-exfoliated. I am also very aware that exfoliation products can be confusing - there are many different types to choose from, and some may suit your skin better than others.
So today I thought I’d help try to distill some of the ins and outs of exfoliation down for you, with some specific recommendations for different needs and skin types. I’ll keep it fairly high level in the first instance (this subject can become complex quickly!) but do let me know if you’d like a more detailed post on any of the specifics, and I’ll look into some follow up posts.
For now, here you go: My quick guide to exfoliation.
I hope you find it useful!
MY QUICK GUIDE TO EXFOLIATION
Why is exfoliation great?
I love exfoliation for the same reason I love sheet masking - it has an immediate effect! Exfoliators help remove the dead skin cells (and debris) that build up on the skin’s surface. Removing dead skin cells has a lot of benefits for all skin types.
A build-up of dead skin cells can make the skin’s texture rough, dry and uneven. Dead skin cells that build up in pores can clog them, making pores appear larger and causing breakouts and bumps that can become acne. Dead skin cells also tend to dull the skin and can make fine lines and wrinkles more obvious.
Using the right exfoliators to remove these dead skin cells reveals younger skin cells and makes skin look and feel smoother, softer and glowier. It can keep pores clear, reducing the appearance of pores and helping to prevent acne. It can also help reduce acne discolouration and uneven skin tone, and even help fade sun spots and pigmentation.
Exfoliation also helps your other products (sheet masks, serums, essences and creams) work better. Those dead skin cells can act as a barrier reducing the ability of your skin care from penetrating your skin, so removing them helps your other products get to work in your skin more easily.
What are the different types of exfoliation?
There are a few different types of exfoliants used in skin care - the most common are acids, enzymes and manual exfoliators (eg. scrubs/granules).
There are a few different types of acids generally used to aid exfoliation - AHAs, BHAs and (the newer) PHAs. All of them work by lowering the skin’s pH and dissolving the bonds, or “glue”, that holds the cells of dead skin together - making them easier to remove or shed naturally more quickly.
These acids can be used in different types of skin care products - including cleansers, toners, essences, serums and creams (and some sheet masks!). I like to use acids as early in my skin care routine as possible, when the skin’s pH is lower, as it helps them work more effectively. So I tend to preference acids in cleansers, toners, peeling masks and essences that can be used during, or immediately after cleansing.
But what acid is right for you?
AHAs. AHAs are alpha hydroxy acids - they include lactic, glycolic and malic acids. These acids are water soluble and great for breaking down dry, dull, surface dead skin cells. They are particularly good for helping reduce pigmentation, rough skin and uneven skin tone.
BHAs. BHAs are beta hydroxy acids - they include salicylic acid and betaine salicylate. These acids are oil-based and can penetrate into pores to break down dead cells that clog them - leading to blackheads and acne, and larger-looking pores. These are particularly good for oily, acne-prone and congested skin types.
PHAs. PHAs are poly hydroxy acids - new forms of alpha hydroxy acids with a larger molecular size - they include lactobionic acid and gluconolacctone. Because PHAs are larger molecules than the traditional AHAs they can’t penetrate into the skin very far and work towards the skin’s surface. They are also natural humectants, so draw water to the skin, increasing its hydration. They are a great alternative to AHAs for sensitive skin types and many people can use them more often.
When might acids not be right for you?
Because acids chemically dissolve cell bonds, and penetrate the skin to varying degrees, you can overdo their use. It is important that you start slow, and pay attention to your skin to determine how often you can use these products.
If you are pregnant, you may be advised not to use BHAs (or retinol) during your pregnancy.
Most importantly, acids (and retinoid products) can make your skin more sensitive to sun damage. While you really should use a sunscreen every day anyway, it is really imperative that you make it a daily part of your routine when using acids. If you can’t trust yourself to do this, it may be better to start with one of the other exfoliants below. Personally, I don’t like using acids for body exfoliation - because while I wear sunscreen on my face religiously, I am less trustworthy with other parts of my body!
Enzyme exfoliators work slightly differently to acids. These products break down the proteins in dead skin cells to help them shed more easily. Enzyme exfoliators are generally fruit derived - especially from pineapple and pawpaw. They are good for more sensitive skin types, and very unlikely to irritate, as they only work on the skin’s surface. They are usually water-activated (eg. an enzyme wash). They can help all skin types, and are a great option for those whose skin cannot tolerate acids (or can’t be trusted to wear sunscreen every day).
While acids and enzymes break down the structure of dead skin cells, manual exfoliators actually lift off and remove them. A scrub with a face cloth or brush (eg. clarisonic) can act as a manual exfoliation. But I love well formulated, very gentle scrubs for manual exfoliation.
I love using a scrub every now and then to ensure I am actually removing the skin cells that are being broken down by my acid or enzyme exfoliants. It is also by far my preferred body exfoliation method.
The important thing to remember with scrubs is very gentle pressure only. You don’t want to overly tug or rub at your skin. Very fine particle peeling masks can be excellent for sensitive skin, or those already using acids.
Scrubs are also a great option for younger skin, skin that can’t tolerate acids or those that can’t be trusted to use sunscreen.
How often should you exfoliate?
All skin is different. Gentle acid toners may be able to be used daily, or every second day. However, peeling masks, scrubs and stronger acids are ideal to be used 1-2 times per week.
My advice is to start slow and see what your skin likes best.
Most of all, if you can, exfoliate early in your skin care routine to ensure that the product can work as effectively as possible - and help prepare your skin for your treatment skin care products so they absorb as effectively as possible. I personally love to time my exfoliation days with treatment sheet mask nights!
SCRUBS AND MANUAL EXFOLIATION MASKS
ACIDS - BHAs
ACIDS - AHAs
ACIDS - PHAs
Today I thought I might provide a bit of an introduction to a product type that's a bit unusual and largely confined to asian beauty - First Treatment Essences!
I’ve been sold on first treatment essences (or FTE’s, if you’d prefer them to sound like a sexually transmitted disease!) for a couple of years now. But I didn’t actually rate the very first one I tried - which was none other than the cult, and very expensive, SKII Facial Treatment Essence.
And then I found a dupe. Although I’m not sure that’s really the right word, given that I consider the dupe so much better than the original!
I’ve now gone through four bottles of my beloved FTE, but recently decided to change it up with a new slightly fancier one. So… I thought I’d take several steps back and provide my quick overview on what they are and why I think they are SO WORTH the extra step during my skincare routine.
What is an FTE?
A very light, water-like essence that is predominantly made of fermented yeast extracts, generally either galactomyces or saccharomyces (or ‘pitera’ if you are SKII).
The ‘story’ goes that the discovery of these fermented yeast extracts came about when people started to notice that folks working in sake brewing had extremely soft and unusually lovely hands. I have no idea whether that story is true, or a marketer’s fancy, but what I do know is that an FTE has a permanent place in my skincare regimen because it’s the one thing I can’t remove without my skin (1) reverting to my pre-K-Beauty days breakouts; and (2) losing a certain glow and refined texture to which I have now become accustomed.
What is the most famous example of an FTE?
Arguably the most famous FTE is the SKII Facial Treatment Essence. This luxe Japanese product is widely available and very expensive.
I was once get given (over a series of flights) a bunch of SKII FTE minis. I used them studiously but sparingly (I knew their price tag) and saw… very little of anything! At that time, I definitely wondered if there was any point to the whole FTE thing. And then I happened upon detailed reviews and research that seemed to suggest that FTE’s need to be applied very regularly and in relatively generous amounts to deliver (see below), which is just far too unlikely to happen at SKII's well over $100 price point.
How do I use an FTE?
These are different to most essences, which you would ordinarily apply after cleansing and toning. I apply my FTE prior to any hydrating toner or essence steps. On a freshly washed face and immediately after any exfoliating/acid steps or balancing toners you may be using. I use it at least once and sometimes twice a day, and apply it very liberally (which really does seem to give the best benefit for my skin).
What are the benefits of FTEs?
Brightening, clarifying and improving skin texture. Most importantly for me, it seems to keep my breakouts at bay (if I stop using it for more than 3-4 days, I generally get a spot or two returning). Light hydration/anti-aging benefits depending on any additional ingredients that may or may not be added (see below).
I do feel that the benefits of FTE’s creep up on you, rather than feeling immediate. And I really notice it when I don’t use them.
Which FTE’s do I recommend?
I adore the COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner, which is just $22, generally lasts me between around 4-5 months and comes with a spray nozzle ideal for dousing your face with its fermented goodness. It’s a purist FTE and in my opinion best suited to oilier/normal skin types, breakout-prone skin or warmer summer months (it’s not very hydrating).
I am now using the slightly-more-luxurious Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence (Intensive Moist) as we enter the colder seasons. This includes anti-aging ingredients, which I am trying to stuff into my skincare routine wherever I can, including niacinamide and adenosine, plus a few gentle acids to up the brightening effect. This one’s $50, but I am finding it adds additional hydration that means I can skip some other hydration steps when my skin’s in good nick.
Who might most benefit from the addition of an FTE?
In my opinion, anyone with skin condition/texture issues - ie. those trying to prevent breakouts (including hormonal), improve the evenness of their skin tone, improve the softness and smoothness of rough or coarse skin or increase skin brightness and transparency.
Well there’s a short 101 on FTE’s from my perspective! Have you used FTE’s in your skincare routine before? I’d love to know your thoughts on these unusual essences!
Take care and sheet mask on!
Sorry it's been a while since I last blogged here... I have, however, been posting lots of mini-blogs on instagram - so you don't follow me over there check it out: @sheetmaskshop
Anyhoos, I'm here now and wanted to share with you the skin care routine I use around my treatment sheet masking sessions. I'm sure you're not overly surprised to learn that I happily slap on everyday masks (like the great affordable ones we have in store and that cost less than $2.50) within my standard skin care routine and somewhat willy-nilly. I especially like to use these in the morning, for just 10 minutes or so, to provide a superb base for makeup application.
But 2-3 times per week, I use more potent treatment sheet masks to target particular skin concerns. So I wanted to share with you how I use them within my skin care routine - what I'm aiming for is to maximise their benefits (and you should too!).
First step: Sheet Mask Selection!
He he, this is a fun part of the process! There are some masks I include over and over again (especially anti-aging masks) as a matter of routine. However, usually when it comes to selecting a treatment mask from my stash the first thing I do is really look at my skin.
With my oily/dehydrated skin type my skin can be all over the shop. If I really look at my skin properly before choosing my treatment mask I can help ensure I am selecting the sheet mask it most needs right now. If my skin is red or irritated at all I'll go for a calming, soothing mask. If it's super dehydrated (often) I can hit the hydrating and nourishing masks. And if it's looking otherwise balanced and relatively healthy I favour brightening masks - because if my skins looking pretty good I want to double down on that and make it GLOW.
2nd step: Prep Your Skin Well
The next step for me is to prep my skin really well before any sheet masking starts. You want your skin scrupulously clean before any masking shenanigans. For me this definitely means double cleansing (with an oil cleansing balm, followed by a second foaming cleanser). If that's not you thing, please at least ensure that you've removed any makeup completely and used a good cleanser - but seriously do consider levelling up and trying double cleansing, it's amazing.
Then, I will further clarify or exfoliate before sheet masking. Removing excess sebum, dead skin, dirt and other yuckies first, helps your treatment sheet mask to really penetrate your skin better. And it really helps further brighten up your complexion to boot. Depending whether my skin is looking a bit oily/clogged, or whether I have dry patches/dullness I tend to use either the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Coloured Clay Mask (adore it) or the Skinfood Sugar Wash-Off Mask for this step. If you prefer chemical exfoliants, you do you!
Including exfoliation/clarification in this step also helps me to ensure I don't over-exfoliate (something I have to watch) - I only do it before treatment masks, so only a couple of times most weeks.
Throughout this process, when I need to dry my face, I always use a clean new face cloth - I don't want to get my face all nice and clean only to use a towel that I've had hanging around for a few days.
3rd Step: Tone (and essences/serums)
I know some people prefer to go straight to the sheet mask at this point, but I always apply my toner/s or any lightweight essence/serum first. I am a toner addict though (and will often use more than one). I don't however use anything thicker, in terms of serums or emulsions, before my sheet mask.
4th Step: Yay! Sheet Masking Time!
It's time! Now's the most relaxing part! I like to use everyday sheet masks as a quick skin treatment but I will leave treatment masks on longer. Chill out and enjoy the at-home-facial a sheet mask offers. You do, however, want to make sure you remove your mask before it starts drying out (at that point it can work in reverse and start drawing moisture out of your skin (which we definitely do not want).
I will also use any remaining essence in the pack on my neck, decolletage and arms/legs (in that order and depending how much is left).
A reminder: don't rinse off the mask essence or serum remaining on your face after you remove your mask. That's the good stuff! I gently pat it in to help it fully absorb.
....if you want sheet mask selfies of me in masks, check out our instagram page - I post them occasionally!
Last Step: Complete Your Beauty Routine
Now that I'm done with the main event, it's time to complete my routine.
The first thing I do is apply any spot treatments, if they are needed. I don't like to apply these before masking, as I generally want any 'problem areas' to get the benefit of the mask ingredients. However, spot treatments are generally best applied on clean skin, so if I need one I will use a small amount of cleansing water (such as the Son & Park Beauty Water) on a cotton bud, just to clean off that little area before applying the spot treatment.
I usually don't apply any further serums or moisturisers after treatment masking. My skin rarely needs much more after a good sheet mask session, so I prefer to save my serums and creams for non-masking evenings!
However, after a good treatment sheet mask I always finish off with a little facial oil or a great sleeping/overnight mask to really lock all the goodness in overnight. My go to over summer has definitely been the COSRX Ultimate Moisturising Honey Overnight Mask, but I'll use richer products and facial oils as the weather cools down and heaters start to dry out my skin.
I hope that is of help and interest to you, lovelies! And please feel free to share any great sheet masking tips you might have in the comments :)
Do you ever Macgyver your skincare?
I do! I can’t help but be curious with skincare - well with most things really - and sometimes my bathroom hunts to find a solution to an immediate problem have uncovered some pretty nifty ways to either (a) solve a problem at hand with what’s already in my bathroom; (b) not waste leftover products I already have (saving me money!) or (c) find something that actually does a job better for me than a product specifically made for the task!
So just in case my experiments might be useful to you, here are 5 skincare products I REGULARLY use in ways that I doubt they were actually intended!
1. Using skincare acids (like BHA serums/masks) to treat and prevent ingrown hairs!
We don’t sell acid serums like those that include BHAs or AHAs for exfoliation in the Sheet Mask Shop. Mostly because I have tried them before and I definitely cannot be trusted not to over-exfoliate. And I suspect many others will be the same. And over-exfoliation does not do good things to your skin. And you MUST wear sunscreen super conscientiously if you use them. I just feel like too many things can and do go wrong.
[NOTE: We do, however, make an exception for some sheet masks that include acids - mostly because you’re highly unlikely to use a single particular sheet mask every day (and I tell you clearly you need to wear sunscreen when you use it). Sorry, I digress.]
But I don’t waste the acid serums I already have. See, they are REALLY GOOD at helping to prevent (and treat) ingrown hairs. They have been lifesavers for me around the (cough) bikini line. Using them regularly in these areas helps stop dead/dry skin covering over your hairs and trapping them in the most uncomfortable and ugly of ways!
Obviously, I’m not big on a lugging a bottle of this stuff on holidays or anything, just to treat ingrown hairs. But what I do do, is take a couple of BHA sheet masks with me when I go away! Once I’ve used it on my face, I then use the mask on my….
2. Using my Heimish All Clean Cleansing Balm to shave!
Speaking of hair based issues - I can also really recommend using the Heimish All Clean Cleansing Balm if you need to do any kind of a ‘dry shave’. Perhaps I am the only disorganised one that has looked in the mirror right before heading out and realised I am going to need to use a facial razor! If that happens, use this stuff as a lubricant. It is so perfect and way better for your skin than using soap or (eek) shaving cream.
I strongly suspect any oil cleanser might be good for this - but I can only speak personally for this particular product. And it may be better than some others - I love this cleanser for its great ‘slip’ on the skin.
3. Using my Bonair Premier Aloe Real Squeeze Toner as an all-over body moisturiser!
I do not like heavy body balms or creams on my body (especially my legs) in summer. They’re lovely and luxurious in the depths of winter, but they are sticky and gross in the heat. But I still need to keep my skin soft, hydrated and glowy. So I totally use my Bonair Aloe Toner all over myself.
It is so perfect for this! And really, why do we use toner on our face as a light, refreshing, moisture boost, but not on the rest of us! When you start sweating through the Australian summer, come see me for one of these!
4. Getting every bit of goodness out of my sheet masks!
When you buy a sheet mask you usually buy 20-30ml of an amazing essence or serum drenching the mask itself. Don’t waste it! The mask is really important to helping all that goodness really have time to penetrate into your skin, but the serum itself is still really good. Sometimes a bit is left in the packet when you take the mask out - I often offer that to my partner to help reduce the number of times he raids my sheet mask stash! Or you can use it tomorrow, or on another a part of your body.
But even after I’ve let the mask do its thing on your face, it usually still has some serum left in it. I like to re-use that mask on my neck or decolletage for 5 mins or so - especially if it’s a mask that features anti-aging ingredients.
5. Using all facial products (including sunscreen) on the backs of my hands!
When it comes to skincare, I really believe it’s a good idea to not ignore the backs of your hands. They work hard and catch a lot of sun. There’s a really simple way to treat them too - it’s really just about creating a habit during your skincare routine (and I suspect it’s one many people actually practice).
Every time you use a product on your face, there’s likely to be a little left over on the palms of your hands (if you use your hands to apply it of course!). As soon as any step of my skincare routine is complete, that leftover product on my palms gets rubbed into the back of my hands. Especially sunscreen!
For an even better treat for your hands you can also try a hand mask!
Well… those are my top 5 alternate uses for my skincare products - I’d love to know if any of you have any others that I should be trying!
Introducing a new K-Beauty line! A new Free Shipping Gift Shop! And a bunch of great things on sale.
It's been a busy week here, so I have much on which to up date you!
We're really excited to introduce a totally new line of products to our (extremely selective) K-Beauty Skincare Capsule Collection. We hope you all love these *so gorgeous* products from BonAir as much as we do.
Even the miniatures (in that box up there on the left) are so sophisticated. We think they'd make a beautiful gift! These face oils and creams are truly luxe - featuring rosehip oil and/or blue tansy oil. Up there on the right is the Premier Aloe Real Squeeze Toner. Honestly, that toner was my 'gateway drug' for the brand. It is so light but lush, hydrating and smooth and oh so perfect for summer! Even the scent is the kind fresh I wish I felt on a hot, sticky day!
For reals, I'm not even just using it on my face! This baby is so good all over the body - and I prefer it so much more than a heavy body cream when it's warm.
Oh and we also launched our new FREE SHIPPING Gift Shop! It's something we've been wanting to do for a while now - and, I least, feel like knowing shipping is included in the price is really handy when shopping for gifts. I also really wanted to have a small gift pack under $10 with shipping included because I think it would be much more interesting to give a sheet mask set as a Secret Santa present or stocking stuffer than some novelty doodad!
Finally, I wanted to let you know that we've been testing a bunch of new products and masks - and some of them really deserve a place in the shop. That means we need to make a bit of room! So there's a bunch of new things on SALE right now. For many of them, there are only a few left (which is largely why they're on sale!) - others are just some of my personal can't-be-without staple products like COSRX's low pH cleanser and my fave toner - which I just really want everyone to use, even if they're on a budget. Oh and even a couple of our Free Shipping Gift Packs (as a bit of a special welcome to the new Gift Shop!)
Have a beautiful weekend,
PS - I'm on instagram now (uh oh!) so I'd love you to follow me. I post about new products, deals and mini reviews of products I use (sometimes including embarrassing sheet mask selfie photos!) My very obvious account name is @sheetmaskshop :)
Sorry I've been a bit slack with my blog posts lately (I will make it up to you). But perhaps not with this blog post. This blog post is odd, I admit it. Or is it? Is it odd to write a letter to a beauty product? Probably, but then again, why not :)
Talk more soon, but for now enjoy my crazy-lady letter to a skincare product!
Dear COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol-free Toner,
I haven't picked an especially sexy photo of you. But you're not especially sexy-looking. I admit it freely, I love gorgeous packaging (cute, pretty, modern - I love anything that looks good). But you are a great reminder that it's what's inside that counts.
I know that so many COSRX products - rightly - get a lot of love. I love the snail mucin essence as much as the next girl. I am a honey overnight mask convert. The acne patches rock. But no one talks about you very much. AND I WANT TO KNOW WHY.
I have to say, when I started using you, it felt a wee bit like using not much at all. However. I am now onto my third bottle of you and you last a long time, even though I pretty much douse myself in your secret sauce twice day. You are deceptive. In fact, I'm coming to the conclusion that you just might be the secret weapon that really fixed my breakouts (I suspect alongside my cleansing routine and sheet masks).
See, I miss you when you're away. My skin misses you like crazy. What I've noticed over my last two jaunts away - when I didn't take you because you aren't carry-on baggage friendly - is my skin broke out again. No, it's not the most scientific study. But outcomes is outcomes and it turns out I need you.
I bring this up because I have found another toner that I love (more to come on that soon). I've been testing it and I do love it. But I want you to know I'll be using it in addition, not instead, of you. Because you are quite frankly irreplaceable (at least so far).
Also thanks. You are awesome, even if no one else tells you nearly often enough.
PS I've tried SKII numerous times, I think you are nicer than her. Not to mention oodles cheaper, meaning I get to douse myself with you to my heart's content.
PPS Can you have a word to your makers and get you made in a travel friendly mini please?
[Before I begin, I have oily but dehydrated skin. I now have my oily skin almost totally under control and don’t get pimples anymore, which means I am now able to focus on hydration and anti-aging goals for my skin.]
We all know we need to ‘clean our makeup off before we go to bed’ but cleansing is more than that. Cleansing isn’t just about getting makeup off before it clogs your pores and smears all over your pillow. It’s also about purifying your skin - removing the pollution, dirt, sweat, sebum (which can cause pimples and blackheads if you produce lots and don’t remove it), sunscreen and dead skin cells that accumulate over the day (and night).
Clean, purified skin is the base you want for any of your skin treatments, including sheet masks. Hydration and anti-aging treatments for dry or mature skin will absorb and act better on clean skin. Most importantly, it’s critical if you are treating oily and acne-prone skin. Purifying your skin properly helps reduce the comedones (clogs) and sebum that cause pimples and blackheads.
You can of course become overly fanatical about these things, and that’s not necessarily you living your best life! Which is why I want to tell you how I do it (and did it, when I was treating my own acne-prone skin).
Rule No 1. Use the Korean Double Cleanse Method
I know it sounds like a ploy to get people to buy two cleansers instead of one. But think of it as replacing a drying makeup remover with a first cleanser. Seriously, this is the best way I have found to properly clean my skin of all makeup, sunscreen, dirt and all the gunk my skin produces . The double cleanse method uses two different products to ensure everything gets cleaned properly.
First, you use an oil-based cleanser to remove oil-based waste (like sebum, sunscreen and makeup). It glides on and, because like removes like, removes the bulk of the gunk you’re trying to get rid of. Emulsify it with water and wash it off.
We sell Heimisch’s All Clean Balm in our shop because it is the best oil cleanser I’ve found so far (and I’ve tried quite a few). It lasts for ages and it’s super easy to scoop out a bit into a smaller jar to take with you when you travel.
Second, you use a water-based gel or foaming cleanser to clean away other non-oil based dirt, debris and dead skin cells. These are the sorts of cleansers you are probably more used to here in Australia. With one exception: I really recommend only using a low pH (slightly acidic) cleanser to better match the natural acidity of your skin. A lot of the cleansers I bought when I was younger were too alkaline and left my skin stripped and feeling tight. Low pH cleansers leave your skin feeling much more healthy, supple and buttery.
We sell only two water-based cleansers (I use both of them). If you have oily and acne-prone skin I recommend COSRX’s Good Morning Gel Cleanser, which includes very gentle exfoliants to help purify your pores even further. If you have normal, dry or maturing skin I recommend SU:M’s Miracle Cleansing Stick. This cleanser is more nourishing, and frankly the most luxurious and long-lasting cleanser I have found.
When I was treating my acne-prone skin, I double cleansed morning and night. Now everything’s under control, I use the COSRX cleanser on its own in the morning, and double cleanse with the Heimisch cleansing balm and then the SU:M cleansing stick in the evening.
I think if you have normal to dry skin, you can really just double cleanse at night - to remove the day’s sweat, makeup and sunscreen.
Rule No 2. Dry your face with a CLEAN towel
Bacteria and dirt end up on your bath and hand towels. You don’t want to be wiping that back all over your lovely clean face. Especially if you have acne-prone skin, I suggest you dry your face with a small, soft, cotton face washer that is small enough that you can replace it every couple of days without creating a mountain of washing. Some women in Korea and Japan go even further and will only let their face air dry - but I rarely have enough time for that, and if I do would much rather use it to enjoy a sheet mask.
Rule No 3. Use a great toner after cleansing
I cannot tell you how much I LOVE toners. We only sell one at the moment (although I am testing another that I am rather liking at the moment). But to me, the COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner is still, so far, my holy grail toner. I am very liberal with its application, and sometimes apply it twice. The fermented extracts in this toner do wonders for the clarity and brightness of my skin and really finish off the purification process with a hit of light hydration.
Once you’re all clean, you can treat your skin: either to a sheet mask, serum, overnight pack, sunscreen or makeup.
I hope all of that has been helpful to you. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions and I’ll certainly try to help if I can.
If you want to check out any of the products I use to cleanse just take a look here.
Keep it clean,