Every so often, I’ll feel the need to get myself home as quickly as possible on Friday night. I’ll stay in bed catching up on bad television and UberEats until Monday morning when I wait to emerge from my duvet until the absolute last possible moment. This past weekend I could feel myself submitting to those cravings. Instead, I booked myself some indulgent treats: an aromatherapy massage at the St. Regis Spa Toronto, dermaplaning, a “fire and ice” facial, and a workout in a vacuum.
The St. Regis Spa in Toronto
The St. Regis spa is, above all, guest service-focused. I was really impressed by the team effort made by all the staff. Once you’ve checked in, everyone knows your name. You’re escorted to all the areas at your disposal, and all options are explained with as much detail as you’re ready to hear. I was offered pluck tea (Earl Grey Cream was so divine), coffee, fruit-infused water, dried pineapple, chocolate-covered blueberries, and white/ milk chocolate-covered pretzels. No wonder they asked me to arrive at least 30 minutes before my treatment!
The St. Regis Spa change-rooms are bright white and are frequently manicured. It’s a little awkward having people rushing in and out the whole time you’re getting ready for your treatment/ getting ready to leave, but those rolled up towels have to be symmetrical, right? You’ll find disposable razors and a shower cap with the robe and slippers in your lockers, and there’s hairspray, blow-dryers, and mouthwash at the vanity. If you require moisturizer or a straightening iron, they’re available upon request.
St. Regis Spa AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE
Weekdays : 60 min $180 / 90 min $255
Weekends and holidays : 60 min $190 / 90 min $265 By combining a blend of healing essential oils with a therapeutic massage technique, tension and stress simply fade away. This treatment is proven to help with migraines, sinus pain, fatigue and low energy.
I opted for the aromatherapy massage. After 60 minutes with my masseur, Devon, I felt like I was just starting to relax. I usually have a female masseuse (an aggressive ajumma, actually!), so I wasn’t sure how I’d react to treatment by a male practitioner. Devon explained everything that was happening and made sure that the pressure was perfect. If you have the time/ budget, I highly recommend opting for the 90. After my massage, I went back down to the lounge to grab some water and relax. I was brought a glass of prosecco, too. Treat yourself!
One of the loveliest things about going to a spa in a hotel is that you’re typically able to use the pool and fitness amenities before and after your treatment. Next time I’ll be sure to use the gym before having a pre-massage steam/ shower. This time, I had the entire pool, hot tub, and dry sauna to myself after my treatment. A team-member brought me up and showed me around before leaving me to my own devices. When I was ready to primp, prime, and take-off, I was even able to have a martini from Louix Louis delivered to the St. Regis Spa change-room. If that’s not peak luxury, I don’t know what is!
The Publicist Group is made up of a small, but mighty, group of motivated, business-savvy, stunning, and strong women. Led by Melissa “MJ” Jovanoski and Cheryl Willberg, the entire TPG squad is worthy of a mega girl crush/ #WCW/ #goals. The women of TPGwould have sat at the “popular table” in high school. This time, however, they actually want you to be the best you can be (and they invite you to every party!) Over the past year I’ve been invited to a number of events and activations all with a common goal: Beauty and Strength Inside & Out.
We are The Publicist Group aka TPG! We are a full-service communications agency that offers everything from traditional PR programs and marketing initiatives to ambassador programs and direct-to-consumer activations at the retail level, utilizing both traditional and digital platforms. Most importantly – we work with brands we love, including fashion, beauty, food, health & wellness, and lifestyle. Check us out @PublicistGroup! #TPG
Be seen and heard in all the right places with The Publicist Group. As a full-service communications agency located in the heart of downtown Toronto, TPG offers an array of services from PR and marketing to events and influencer programs. Our team executes 360-degree strategies; delivers original, creative and result-driven campaigns; and loves to make noise across the country with our clients’ initiatives.
The Publicist Group is a collective of digital strategists, event planners, marketers, creative geniuses, social media gurus, and publicists. We don’t follow trends; we are trendsetters. Staying in tune with current events around the globe, the TPG team identifies shifts in the marketplace and are experts in creating relevant, newsworthy, and impactful programs that leave a lasting impression.
The Publicist Group introduced me to the Fit Factory Fitness when I was right in the middle of tapering off at Big Hit Studios and kicking off a challenge at F45 St. Clair West. Conveniently located on King St. West a few blocks East of Spadina, it’s billed as the #1 Gym in Toronto. Personally, I found their Bootcamp to be overcrowded. With only one trainer providing a very quick overview of an intense workout, I was concerned about my safety as veterans tossed around heavy weights and newbies tried to follow suit. The boxing class, on the other hand, was a stellar workout. The trainers were energetic and the class itself had varying levels of intensity. The water bags were also pretty wild and fun to smack around!
City Shred is a massive group workout hosted once a quarter by The Publicist Group and sponsored by Genuine Health. The energy is electric and it’s an opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in fitness in Toronto, as well as special guests from around the world. I missed the July edition due to the rat situation, but back in March I crushed their Women’s edition. I got to enjoy a day which started with round-table discussion with the coaches who would be leading us through the day.
The key to mastering City Shred is to go at your own pace. I’m not the machine I was 2 years ago, and I certainly wasn’t prepared to compete with fitness professionals who coach several classes a day while I’m at my desk. Find your own space, take yourself beyond your comfort level, and have fun making friends and admiring those showing off their bad-ass muscles. Ps. Can you spot me in the preview of the video above? #SweatyBetty
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. Taking a collagen supplement can help improve your skin, relieve joint pain, boost muscle mass, prevent bone loss, promote heart health, aid in digestion and gut health, and make your hair and nails grow. The benefits of adding collagen to my diet weren’t clear until I stopped taking it daily. Subtle aches and pains after sitting at my desk for a while suddenly returned. Bouncing back after a night out wasn’t quite so easy. My poor bleached and butchered hair started to break again. Sproos Life is a collagen supplement to which I was introduced by TPG at the gorgeous Pray Tell on College St. We mixed cocktails and mocktails which each had a serving of collagen mixed-in.
Hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides sourced from the hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised North American cattle, to help restore and rebuild your body’s natural collagen.
10 g of grass-fed bovine collagen per serving
Pure collagen – nothing else added
100% grass-fed and grass-finished
Free of antibiotics, hormones and pesticides
Add to your favourite hot or cold beverage, or even to soups or oatmeal
At the end of February, the team introduced me to Vivier. We learned about how to combat signs of aging using skincare products including retinol and spf. With my upcoming vacation to The Philippines, I wasn’t quite ready to play with tools which would initially irritate my skin (the purge!). So, I waited until the beginning of May to get started with this line. I haven’t yet written a full-scale review because 3 of the 5 products in the kit we were so generously gifted are still trucking along 4 months later!
Myndful Me was sadly a bit of a bust for me. We went checked out the space and learned how to make charcoal cookies with adaptogens after being led through a meditation practice. The music and the direction made for a very pensive, but relaxing evening. I purchased their $30 unlimited 1-month special and was told I could use it whenever. I had a couple of upcoming trips, so I didn’t want to use it until the new year. When I tried to apply my purchase I was told it had expired. Correspondence to correct the issue was never responded to. Not so zen, eh?
Big thanks to @publicistgroup for bringing me along to the stunning #LoveYourStory event at @stregistoronto! I got to hear from a plethora of women who have learned to love their own stories of struggle and trauma and turn them into an armor of confidence with a lining of understanding.
Events with this team always have motivational speakers, the most stunning décor, phenomenal food, and an interactive component so you don’t just see a product/ brand, you become part of it.
I woke up the next morning and treated my stressed tresses to @viviscal/ @viviscalcanada shampoo, conditioner, and desensifying elixir. My hair is already thick, so this leo was rocking a full mane that day! It actually dried faster and was easier to manage when straightening. I typically have a lot of breakage (bottle blonde) , so let’s see if we can put an end to my split ends! 👱♀️
Featuring a PR team on my personal blog isn’t exactly the status quo around here. Every time I get an e-mail about an event or activation from TPG I think to myself, “Wow – that’s out of the box”. There’s only so much you can see on my feed/ in my stories, and because of this I wanted to share something a little more permanent. Over the past year The Publicist Group has proven that being true to yourself and your vision, rather than accepting business for the sake of having business, goes a long way.
Jenna Rink (13 Going on Thirty) gave me unrealistic expectations about what “Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving” might mean. I am all of those things, for the most part, but when I envisioned life in my early thirties I remembered the movie with rose-coloured goggles and neglected the negatives. Millennials on the whole are reflected in these lenses. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t grow up and inherit a closet full of designer dresses which we wear to parties choreographed by legends of the past. We’re struggling to meet many of the milestones and youthful hopes and dreams we expected to achieve by a particular time in our lives.
For me, the biggest of these milestones is home ownership. I genuinely thought that since I was managing a department at a pretty well-known online media company before finishing my Bachelors degree, I could take success for granted. For others, climbing the corporate ladder hasn’t been as linear a path as anticipated. Some of my friends thought reproduction would be more straightforward. Others, like myself, find dating to be pretty pathetic. I’ve set it aside for the moment.
These are what I like to call “transition years”. We’re no longer halfway there/ livin’ on a prayer partying and living large on $20/ night. We’re not curling up and falling asleep on the couch to 60 minutes, either. My world through these transition years has been stressing me out. On top of it all, I’m approaching another rotation around the sun. At a time when I should be celebrating, I’m just kind of over it. I’d rather be celebrating exciting moments of accomplishment rather than reminding myself that time marches on. Maybe I’ll celebrate my career anniversary with a housewarming party (yes friends, we’re rat-free!)
I had been tweezing for some time and thought I was doing a decent enough job of cleaning up. Wowza – how could I have been so wrong? After a few hackjobs in the past, I went to WAXON in Riverside. Latifah not only kept my shape natural, she gave my brows a bit of a trim which made all the difference. Your brows surround the windows to your soul. Make sure they’re a pretty frame!
BONUS: I bought this Citrus Twist Loofah Scrub (Blood Orange & White Grapefruit) and it’s making my morning! “This loofah scrub duals as a loofah and luxurious soap in one! Exfoliate and cleanse daily with your favourite delicious scent while saving time in your daily body wash routine. Perfect for everyday use to help keep those pesky ingrown hairs away! Oh, and did we mention… it smells DELICIOUS!”
CITRUS TWIST – Blood Orange & White Grapefruit
LEMONRAZZ – Raspberry Lemonade
POMTINI – Pomegranate Mango
I love that it’s smooth on one side and exfoliating on the other. The scent is out of this world, too. Will let you know how long it takes for the full loofah to emerge!
I got to enjoy a blow-out in Leaside earlier this year at their Grand Opening, which was to dye die for. I’m kind of obsessed with the community Farah (owner of Blo Blow Dry Bar Leaside) has created. The small shop leaves lots of room for inclusive conversation and lots of laughs!
Farah’s words of wisdom? “It’s important to be coifed, kissable and connected – never leave home without a comb, gloss and phone! Oh, and keep your head, heels and standard high. When it comes to hair, Farah’s mantra is Big Hair For Life.”
BONUS: They do makeup applications (their GLO brand makes insanely beautiful lip glosses). They also stock some of my fave hair care brands like UNITE Hair 7 Seconds Condition Leave In Detangler and the Color Wow Dream Coat (to de-frizz and tame your tresses!)
Her Majesty’s Pleasure is one of the pricier places you can go for a manicure in Toronto. The ambiance, décor, and cheerful chatter (due to some fantastic cocktails, no doubt) are a can’t-miss for those who want to feel whimsical and girly.
This one I can’t stress enough. A new, easy to follow skincare routine is such a blessing and a great way to rejuvenate. I’ve been alternating Miracle 10 Skincare with other great quality brands for 7 years. Their starter collection is perfect for someone like me who has aging skin, but who isn’t quite a prune. The sticker price may shock you ($328), but when you think about the ease of use and how long the products last (months, truth be told) it’s worth it.
“This combination is designed to visibly improve damage caused by sun exposure, extreme weather, pollutants, smoking, dehydration and age-related conditions such as fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dull skin surface and uneven pigmentation. Highly effective ingredients including exfoliants, antioxidants, decongesting botanicals, along with skin brightening agents provide correction and healing.”
BONUS: They have seasonal events with wine, hors d’oeuvres, a speaker series, and plenty of deals. I’m talking buy $150 worth of product and get $250 – $500 worth of products free. Last time I bought their Platinum cleanser and got a facial, a giftcard for cosmetic services, a make-up application (for a later date), and a full-size toner as gifts with purchase. Sign up for their e-mail list – it’s a total no-brainer!
Getting your glam on all in one place is easy. After the winter beauty event at Miracle 10 Skincare, I booked a facial at The Plastic Surgery Clinic. Both are located on Scollard Street in Yorkville, so you can feel completely chic (and Gangnam Style) for your treatment. The easiest way to glow up quickly is through dermaplaning. This treatment is often added to a facial. It removes the fine hairs which are known for trapping dirt, oil and dead skin cells in your pores. This is the main cause of acne. Dermaplaning leaves your skin brighter giving you that “baby smooth” and glowing look and feel!
I did that thing everyone warns you against. Finding my nurse injector, Fresh Cosmetic Clinic, through Groupon was a massive gamble, and thank goodness it turned out well! In Korea, the only people who did my botox or lip injections were board certified plastic surgeons. Here, they tend to be done by nurse injectors, which for some reason made me really nervous.
Botox/ fillers were not at all taboo in Seoul. In Toronto, it’s becoming more popular to discuss openly, and I hope people feel more comfortable sharing their experiences soon. We go to the dentist to keep out teeth clean and cavity free. The gym’s the spot to keep heart healthy and in good shape. Why shouldn’t we invest in our faces which change with diminished collagen production and elasticity?
High Quality H20
Stop, drop, and drink! I try to ensure that I’m getting about 4 L of water throughout my day. It gives me something on which to focus and gets me out of my chair and away from my desk when I fill up my water bottle. I don’t need to lecture you on the benefits of drinking water, do I?
Go See Some Stand-Up
I love to sit back and listen. I also love a good belly laugh. Seeing a set at your local comedy bar and watering hole accomplishes both! If you go on an amateur night you’ve got the added bonus of seeing someone else worth through their issues. The last time I caught a show one of the comics was a later in life laugh who was going deaf. Hearing about some of his life experiences being more than hard of hearing had me in stitches. The man’s timing was impeccable!
Run Through a Sprinkler
…or do something equally as juvenile, refreshing, and deliciously youthful. We’ve literally coined a term to show how poorly we’re doing as grown-ups (“Adulting for Dummies”, amirite?), so why not flip back to the joys of earlier days?
What do you do to relax, look your best, and feel youthful?
When I came back to Canada after my 3-year stint in Korea I was in a bit of a pickle. Several of my Korean beauty products had been confiscated from my carry-on at the airport in Bali. With the heat, I had used up all of my hydrating toner pads. Granted, I clumsily packed in an attempt to avoid overweight charges. My toners and essences took the hit and I was stuck waiting for my slow shipment from Seoul. I went to Shoppers Drug Mart in search of some local goodies to test out. It was especially exciting because, for the first time in 3 years, the ingredients would be in English (and French! – sometimes). My eyes grew wide and glazed over as I saw the ever increasing prices. What had I done? What a mistake I had made leaving all that liquid gold in Indonesia.
Battle of the Hydrating Toner Pads
Both of these pads claim to have hydrating and exfoliating properties. One left my skin feeling like a rough astringent had been applied. It made my more viscous products tough to apply. The other makes my skin feel clean, but soft and supple, too. We all have different kinds of skin, but in my experience the value of one one of these hydrating toner pads far outweighs the other. Read through for my verdict in Buy This, Not That: The Battle of the Hydrating Toner Pads!
Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic To-Go
Regular price $24.00
“Everything you love about the Glow Tonic, TO GO! Travel-friendly pads pre-soaked in Glow Tonic to tone, brighten, hydrate and gently exfoliate for clean renewed skin.”
The best routine is the one you’ll actually repeat, so toner pads are a no-brainer for a lazy K-Beauty lover like me! These were the only ones under $50 at Shoppers, and since I needed something that day, I decided to suck it up and hope my pension came through sooner than later. I picked out the Pixi Beauty brand based on their clean, feminine packaging and prices which I thought were high for the product type, but better than the others. I looked them up online and found that a number of other beauty bloggers and influencers had featured the products in their feed, so I should give them a fair shot. What exactly was in these products, though? What was I really putting on my skin? Is it the right product for my skin type? Why did I spend nearly $110 on 3 itty bitty items which would probably have cost me $30 in Korea? These hydrating toner pads cost me $24 plus tax. A lot of the time we skim over certain products assuming because the price is low the product must not be good quality. Now, I feel far more inclined than ever to buy Korean beauty products online.
These pre-soaked pads tone, brighten, hydrate, and gently exfoliate.
• Skin looks clearer & feels smoother.
• The ultimate travel-friendly, gentle skin renewal
• Formulated with 5% Glycolic Acid
• Suited for all skin types
• Alcohol free
• Not tested on animals
Use: Either in the AM and PM or when needed
• Step 1: Cleanse your face
• Step 2: Sweep pre-soaked pads across face , neck and décolletage after cleansing, avoiding eye area.
• Step 3: Follow with a serum or moisturizer. (no need to rinse off)
“It is a daily moisturizing pad presoaked in a toner of Propolis Extract and Hyaluronic Acid. It helps to fight against main features of dehydrated, delicate and flaky skin. TIP: It is convenient to wipe off and fix makeups during the day. You can also use as a mini sheet mask on specific dry areas such as cheek or chin. Do not use BHA products if you are allergic to aspirin.”
HOW TO USE
Swipe the embossing side across the face avoiding eye area after cleansing.
Swipe the softer side across the face to pick up the remaining debris.
Replace the lid tightly to make sure the pads stay wet and clean.
I first tried the Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pads at the Novotel in Seoul. Cosrx partnered up with the Novotel Ambassador Seoul Yongsan (Seoul Dragon City) and placed their Korean skincare goodies in the uber luxurious bathrooms. What a genius idea! I was hooked on several of their products right away, including these hydrating toner pads! You’ve seen Cosrx on my site before. They have the most fabulous cleanser which isn’t on the market quite yet. This cleanser is gentle and doesn’t leave a residue. The same can be said for these hydrating moisture pads (the Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pads). You can use them for spot treating, prepping for more viscous parts of your skincare routine, or tidying up makeup gone wrong. After trying the Pixi Glow To-Go pads, there’s just no comparison. Cosrx Moisture up pads are a big BUY THIS.
BUY THIS: Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pads, NOT THAT: Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic To-Go Pads
I’ve made a chart for you of the different ingredients in both hydrating toner pads. You’ll notice that there are a few overlapping ingredients. For the most part, the Pixi pads have a lot more colouring (I’m not sure why – they’re white), fragrance, and additives. Personally, I prefer a shorter list of ingredients with elements I actually understand. For example, I know some beauty bloggers work with natural ingredients like lemon which can be extraordinarily drying and damaging to the skin. I prefer to leave that to the professionals (Cosrx). Why Pixi is putting caramel and red dye in their white pads is beyond me. I’ve left the Pixi at my parents’ place to use the couple of times a month I go visit, but for daily use opt for the gentler, more nourishing blend.
It’s been one scorcher of a summer here in humid Toronto. I’ve heard back in Seoul it’s been record-breaking for humidity, too! If you’ve read any of my other skincare articles, you’ll know I’m a “no muss, no fuss” kinda gal. When I moved to Korea, I tried to improve my soap and water habits. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of the best skincare in the world? That said, I didn’t have time for 12 steps including a mask every night. I’m busy and actually have to make time to sleep. I make an effort to keep an hour or more of fitness 5x a week part of my routine. Nobody of sound heart and mind is going to lug 12 bottles and jars to the gym. When it comes to skincare, I want to keep things simple. If there are too many steps, I lose interest and bail.
Toners, Serums, Essences – OH MY!
Back in April (I’m writing this in mid-July), a company called iUNIK reached out to me to review a few products. They’re a 10-year old company located in Paju, which is the city closest to the North Korean border. They claim to make products designed simply and for the whole family. “With minimalism finding skin happiness contrary to the times of excess supply age.” I have no idea what that might mean, but the word “minimalism” drew me right in!
Always on the hunt for the latest and greatest, I was excited to receive their Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum, Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner, and Beta Glucan Daily Moisture Cream. They also sent me their Lime Moisture Mild Peeling Gel, but it was a miss for me and I only want to bring you products I would buy over and over again. The whole time I was in Korea, I admit, I had no idea what the difference was among toners, serums, and essences. All of them felt fairly similar to me. The only thing I knew for certain was that they went on before your moisturizer. The biggest takeaway? All of the above prepare your skin to absorb the lovely little goodies found in your moisturizer or cream, or even other serums and essences if you choose a multi-step routine. Here’s how I apply my favourite iUNIK products.
The Claim: “This gel type toner can help to make powerful vitalizing and moisturizing with Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruits Extract 5% and Hyaluronic acid 45%.”
The Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner has no scent. This toner is really watery and doesn’t have the astringent feeling I tend to associate with others. I’ve been using it for months now and the bottle looks like it’s barely taken a dent, so great value there! In my experience, toner can be exfoliating. This toner is intensely hydrating, instead. If you put it on your hand you might think it will leave a sticky feeling, but it doesn’t at all. You’re left with plump, nourished skin! A lot of people shy away from the word “acid” thinking that it will damage the skin or strip it away. Hyaluronic acid actually acts as a moisture-binding ingredient in skincare – perfect to prep and prime your skin for whats next, right?
The Claim: “This Effective Optimal Synergy Serum includes the unique and optimal ratio, Propolis 70% and Vitamin C (Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Extract) 12% by iUNIK. It can make Calming & Brightening for Sensitive Skin.”
The Propolis Vitamin Synergy Serum actually smells like honey! I’m surprised that other bloggers referred to it as viscous or thick. Like the toner, it wasn’t at all the consistency I expected. In fact, it was also quite watery in my opinion. Maybe my skin is just super thirsty constantly, but it was absorbed quite quickly in a thin layer. My skin immediately feels as though it’s been soothed after application of this skincare product. The look of my skin after application is bright and dewy. There’s a definitely glow-factor with this serum! In this summer heat, I can’t be waiting around for my skincare to settle. The combination of the toner and the serum soak up quite quickly and I’m ready for my third, and final, step.
Skincare Step 3
Beta Glucan Daily Moisture Cream $14.99
The Claim: “Amazing skin moisturizer Beta Glucan, Super Moisture Recharge. This cream can help to make moisturizing dry skin and improve skin barrier function with Beta Glucan. Improve skin barrier function calming and protecting sensitive skin. Moisturizing. Light Skin. Skin clearing. Whitening and wrinkle care.”
Beta Glucan is active in cereal and fungus and is found to lower cholesterol. In skincare products, it reduces redness and soothes sensitive skin. I had horrible skin as a child, but throughout my teens and adult years have been fairly lucky. I get quite a bit of dryness/ redness around my t-zone (my nose especially). Since adding the iUNIK Beta-Gulcan Daily Moisture Cream to my routine the redness and sensitivity has reduced significantly, but is still ever-present. My face has a dewy glow and feels supple to the touch without feeling greasy. In the summer especially, I can’t stand that feeling of your moisturizer sweating off. Thankfully I haven’t had to with this product. I’ve been using this moisture cream Monday – Friday mornings since April, and the bottle is only starting to dwindle now. This product is unscented.
My iUNIK Skincare Verdit
Now that I’m back in Toronto, I’m making an effort to live my best life naturally. I had my hair fixed so that moving forward I’ll be letting my natural brown locks grow in – gray and all. We’ll see how long that lasts. I don’t have quite as much time in the morning as I did when I was in Korea. The gym has taken priority over looking entirely polished and put together. Unless I’m client-facing or going out on the town, I’ve stopped wearing make-up entirely. Because of this, I need to treat my skin the best I can. The ease of use, glowy complexion, and unbeatable pricepoint makes iUNIK an exceptional skincare line. My morning routine is a lot easier with this trio of iUNIK tools!
This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of iUNIK products. ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
Korean Holy Grail Skincare: Cleansers Available in Canada
Skincare isn’t this mystifying secret combination of product formulas and equations. It’s actually quite simple to have a skincare regimen that works! To have clear, flawless, pore-less skin, we’ve got to get back to basics. This starts with a clean, make-up free face. With winged liners out the wazoo and Fenty foundation a-flutter, how do you actually get that gunk off you face (and out ya dang pores) at the end of the night? …and how do you fix the damage from those dreaded nights when you pass out with a full face on? Love, I have 2 holy grail products for you.
Banila Co. is a cosmetics and skincare shop in Korea much like the others. It’s a bright, airy shop with plenty of cute models shot making goofy faces. I like their liquid eyeliner, but haven’t tried much in the way of makeup there. Banila Co. has one item, however, for which I’d trek all over Seoul. I made sure to pick up the largest container they had before leaving Korea for good. This skincare holy grail item is the one which takes off the majority of my makeup. Many Koreans use a double or triple cleansing system because of the pollution, but also because normal make-up removers just can’t get everything off. I like to begin with the “sorbet” textured product because it takes off the majority of my make-up and cleans out pores. “Lightweight sorbet-like textured makeup removing cleansing balm that whisks away pore-clogging impurities. Use the spatula to take a small amount and massage gently in circular motions. Rinse well with lukewarm water, or use tissue to wipe off the balm with gentle strokes.”
Ingredients: Mineral Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, PEG -10Isostearate, Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Water, Rubus Suavissimus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Viscum Album, (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis Root Extract, Carica Papaya, (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Malpighia Glabra (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Epilobium, Angustifolium Leaf Extract, BHT, Butylparaben, CI 16255, CI 15985, Fragrance
I got to try the series of Cosrx products when I won a 2-night stay at the new Seoul Novotel Ambassador Dragon City near Yongsan. I’m such a fan of Accor Hotels, and this stay was even better because my massive bathroom was fully stocked with Cosrx samples. Some of these samples aren’t even on the market quite yet. I’m hoping that a glowing review (and my glowing skin) will help Cosrx make the choice to start selling Good Night Mild Oil Cleanser in Korea, and hopefully soon in Canada (or at least on iHerb). While Clean it Zero can get most of my mascara off, the Cosrx formula makes certain that any hint of CC cream, liquid eyeliner, or mascara is erased. The formula is really mild. Unlike other oil cleansers I’ve tried. it doesn’t stick around when I go to rinse it off.
Bad News/ Good News
While the Oil Cleanser doesn’t seem to be on the market quite yet, Good Morning Gel Cleanser is available online for shipping to Canada. It is described as: “Start the day right by treating your skin to a mild and gentle cleanser with a low pH that effectively removes excess oil and dead skin. Formulated with tea tree oil and natural BHA to refine skin texture, the Good Morning Gel Cleanser’s pH level is the closest to your skin’s natural pH levels and leaves skin soft, moist and refreshed without stripping it of its natural oils.”
Do you have any cleansers you swear by? Are the available in Canada (or online to ship here)? Let us know in the comments!
I always jump at the opportunity to try a new skincare routine, especially those local to Korea. Leegeehaam is located practically in my backyard – as my office is super close to theirs! When I’m asked to review skincare products I often worry that I won’t be able to give a positive review. I have fairly sensitive skin and can’t handle much in the way of fragrance. I’ve been really lucky lately to have found mild formulas with a hint of scent which actually get the job done. Recommending the following products is easy for a number of reasons. First, the application is simple. I only have 3 steps to fulfill. The formulas are nourishing, but dry quickly enough that I can put my makeup on right away. I’m not exactly a morning person, so when it comes to my morning routine I want to moisturize, pop on a little concealer if I’m looking/ feeling tired, add a little blush, and be well on my merry way.
Backed by leading dermatologists, Leegeehaam (LGH) Cosmetics, formerly Leejiham (LJH) Cosmetics, was first established in year 2000 and it pioneered the concept of cosmeceutical in Korea with its innovative and advanced products, each specialized in treating specific skin concern.
I tried out the Leegeehaam GROW Hyal B5 Ampoule, HOPE 5a Control Emulsion, and HOPE 5a Control Cream. As you can see above, the 3 products are not from the same line, so you can mix and match to support your moisturizing goals. This trio acts to reduce shine and provide moisture as the temperatures dip colder and colder. This line is a lot more affordable with fewer products to include and lower price-points than my nightly routine (these range from KRW 28,000 – KRW 48,000). This routine is super quick and easy. I would definitely have this as a repurchase in my Korean skincare arsenal. If you’re a girl on the go looking to get into Korean beauty and skincare, this is your gateway…
Right after my shower, I’ll dry my face and pop on the Leegeehaam GROW Hyal B5 Ampoule. This comes with an eye-drop applicator. 2 drops really go a long way! This is the only product from the trio I tried which has much of a fragrance. It’s a very subtle scent which always reminds me a little of chai.
The Hyal B5 Ampoule dries very quickly, so I don’t have to waste too much time before my second step: applying the 5a Control Emulsion. Ampoules and emulsions are designed to prepare your skin to soak up all the moisturizing goodness of a cream, so I don’t skip any of the 3 steps. The emulsion dries fairly quickly, too. Because it has cinnamon as a key ingredient, it has a subtle scent which goes very nicely with the ampoule. This step is designed to reduce excess sebum – the oily, waxy substance which can block pores and contribute to acne break-outs.
I’ll usually wait a couple of minutes before cracking open the 5a Control Cream. The consistency is less cream-like and more gel-like. Again, it has a quick-drying formula which I love in the morning when I’m in a rush. My skin feels soft all day and there’s never any hint of shine.
Formulated with true oasis made from 5-Hyaluronic Complex for deep, yet long lasing moisturizing for dehydrated skin suffering from dry, puffy, and rough skin caused by lack of hydration. A strong moisture barrier formed by Vitamin B5 and B3 holds onto rich hydration from 5-Hyaluronic Complex by preventing future water loss, leaving skin hydrated, plump, and glowing all day. Hyal B5 fills, retains, and protects moisture with 5-Hyaluronic Complex and Vitamin B3 & B5 barrier for deep hydration throughout the year.
As known as moisture retaining ampoule, ultra-hydrating formula of 5-Hyaluronic Complex replenishes the skin with deep moisturizing, while retaining moisture inside with visibly improved plumpness and radiance. Special jelly-like texture adheres tightly to the skin for intensive hydration and nourishing, improving fine lines, flakiness, and tightness from dehydration. High concentration of hyaluronic acid restores youthful hydration to dry skin, while vitamin B5 and B3 retains maximum level of moisturizing.
Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule Size
How to Use Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule
Squeeze out 2~3 droplets and apply over the face after toning. Gently pat to absorb better.
Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule Key Ingredients
(Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Propyl Hyaluronate)
Infuses intensive and deep moisturizing to the skin.
Vitamin B5 (panthenol) & B3 (niacinamide)
Forms a moisture barrier on skin surface as it is applied, preventing any moisture loss and at the same time, protects skin from outer stimulation.
Named after a hormone called “5 Alpha Reductase,” which causes abnormal sebum production if imbalanced, the patented and mineral oil free formula of 5 Alpha Control series offers the perfect solution for controlling skin oil and shine. Moreover, it not only removes the unnecessary sebum but at the same time, soothes skin from inflammation to relieve skin trouble, leaving it healthy and refined.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Emulsion – Product Details
Contains a high concentration of Sepicontrol A5, the key ingredient for shine control, to soothe and balance oily skin. Mineral oil free texture gently controls skin shine and oil, especially around the T-zone without the stickiness. It fills skin with natural moisturizing factors, making it plump and vital with the reduced sebum secretion.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream – Product Details
Lightweight mineral oil-free technology with patented special formula of LGH is combined together to provide the optimal oil and shine control effect. It is a strongly recommended cream for those who have shiny skin surface but dehydrated inside (a good moisturizing cream for oily skin types).
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream – Size
How to Use Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream
Apply an appropriate amount on face, morning and night.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream Key Ingredients
Tightens the widened pores.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
Soothes and relieves acne/trouble skin.
This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of Leegeehaam products. ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
As most of you know, I like to simplify my routines whenever possible. As far as beauty goes, I take care of my own blonde, I leave the K-Beauty treatments to the professionals, and my nightly skin care routine has to be easy and effective. I’m over the novelty of buying a gazillion skin care and beauty products in an attempt to find the next best thing in Korea. Now, if I find a product I love, I’ll invest in the set in the hopes that I can save time and money. When I went to Ruby Plastic Surgery for the Eunogo influencer open house, I was gifted a product which had immediate hydrating results on my dry, often sensitive skin. G2Cell’s Intensive Hydrating Capsule Cream was my gateway drug into the entire line. I think the 12-step Korean skincare regimen is kind of absurd, but these 7-steps have made all the difference. I’m high as a kite (on compliments, of course) and my skin has never felt better!
The price per item might shock you, but consider how long each product lasts. When I was buying my masks, moisturizers, ampoules, and essences at places like Olive Young or Etude House (I know, I know), I’d be lucky if they lasted longer than a month. I’ve been using G2Cell products daily since the beginning of October, and the bottles are still about 3/4 full. Investing in products like G2Cell’s means that you won’t be forking over more each month or having to go out of your way to replenish frequently. The ultimate revival line is designed to simulate the effects of botox (cha-ching) by using technology designed for a lifting effect. G2Cell is designed for low-irritation and high-function using ingredients like:
Biometric Water: This water is designed to activate tired cells. It uses natural ingredients with minerals, phospholipids, amino acids, proteins, and peptide solutions.
SYN-COLL: This ingredient generates collagen in the skin. It’s designed for skin regeneration.
Plant-Cell Extracts: Lotus flower callus culture extract rounds out the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
These skincare products have been created with research based on genetics. The idea is that your clinic can test your skin and recommend the ideal line for your skin type. I can’t speak to that as I haven’t done the test, but going into the fall/ winter months the Intensive Hydrating line seems to be the best bet. For more information on the examination, contact C&D Blue Company (firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website here).
This is the first product I use after removing my make-up. It helps to remove any residue from cosmetics or remover, especially around the eyes. Just a bit of the silky cleansing gel goes a long way. It lathers well and leaves my skin feeling clean without the dry or tight feeling of other cleansers. I keep this bottle right on my sink and use it before bed no matter what!
The G2Cell Ultimate Revival First Essence reminds me a lot of the clarifying lotion (toner) from Clinique. After cleansing, I’ll pop this on a cotton pad and gently wipe in a natural direction (remember to avoid the eye area). It’s amazing just how much dirt, grime, and gunk remains even after double cleansing. The first essence is what prepares your skin to absorb other hydrating products, so it’s a pretty important step!
Once I’ve finished with the first essence, I move onto the G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Ampoule Essence. A couple of pumps are all you really need to get your entire face and neck. This is a very quick drying formula to prepare your skin for further moisturizing.
“This ampoule provides long-lasting hydration and absorbs into the skin quickly. It will also helps the balance of the skin tone, giving the skin a more healthier look. This ampoule retains the moisture balance of the skin and creates a non-sticky moisture barrier which is very smooth. Because of the enhancing skin barrier, it helps provide nutrition and increase the skin’s elasticity. “
I have a couple of gripes about the packaging of this line. I find that the tough plastic makes the G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Emulsion difficult to get out of the bottle. You really do have to hit it to your hand almost like ketchup. This step involves a light cream which absorbs quickly.
G2Cell’s Intensive Hydrating Capsule Cream has got to be my favourite part of the entire line. This is the first product I tried and is what made me fall in love. The week I started using the capsule cream I starting getting compliments on my fresh, glowy, soft skin. The design is to retain “an optimal moisture balance to treat rough and dry skin”. This is a thick moisturizer which signals the finale of your evening skincare routine.
INOSITOL: Excellent hydrating ingredient
AGAVE TEQUILANA LEAF EXTRACT: Outstanding moisturizing and abundant nutrition
FUCUS VESICULOSUS EXTRACT: Supplying moisture to skin and helping moisture barrier creation
“This blending hydrating cream provides moisture and essential nutrients to the skin. The skin absorbs the cream quickly to prolong the moisture and helps in activating the moisture circulation.”
I’m a kindergarten teacher, so by the end of the day my eyes are pretty puffy from staring at a screen, drawing on a boards, and chasing around my rugrats. I’ve used an eye cream since I turned 20 and find I prefer a less viscous formula like the G2Cell Ultimate Revival Eye Cream. Again, the packaging is a bit of a miss as it keeps falling down from its shelf in my medicine cabinet. I also can’t tell how much or how little I’ve used, so I probably won’t know when you re-order until it’s a bit too late. Regardless, I love the fact that it has a pump as well and I only need a pump or two to completely cover the Balenciagas below my lids.
ARGIRELINE (ACETYL HEXAPEPTIDE-8): Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and preventing skin aging
OLANUM LYC OPERSICUM (TOMATO) FRUIT EXTRACT: Helping to maintain skin firmness by antioxidant
“Improving skin texture to leave it soft and smooth with a healthy glow, especially eye contour area. Restoring cream which highly concentrates on wrinkle improvement. Additional lifting effects will improve the wrinkle and tighten up the muscles from beneath. It also prevents skin tissue damaging with antioxidant ingredients within the product.”
Is the Ultimate Revival Draw Mist absolutely essential to my nightly routine? Probably not. I finish up with the final step of spraying the mist in a circular motion. The directions say I can use this before or after applying my make-up. It didn’t really make much of a difference for me as a setting spray, but I haven’t had much luck with those either. If you’re on a budget, I’d probably skip out on the mist. If you’re looking to dramatic change the overall look and feel of your skin, I’d invest in the entire line. I have always had rough patches (even in the humid summer months!), but this year has made all the difference. We’re into the frigid cold of November and I don’t have a dry patch in sight!
G2Cell “provides a gene based customized product to each person by having gene test, which analyzes the skin type. It’s much more convenient to choose a product before using cosmetic products because you will know which one will fit with your skin.”
This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of G2Cell products. ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
The #1 cheapest and most talked about Korean beauty product is the sheetmask. You can find them in any Olive Young, Tony Moly, Etude House, Innisfree, The Face Shop, and more. There seem to be cute new sheetmask options coming out every week! From Star Wars to Pokemon to Placenta, there’s constantly a new Korean sheetmask gimmick. Which masks actually work? I tried a bunch last year, but it wasn’t until I found a brand from a plastic surgery company after an ultrasound hammer treatment that I actually felt a difference. Check out my go-to brands when I choose from my big bag of K-Beauty sheetmasks!
I was introduced to G2CELL at the Euno.go and Ruby Plastic Surgery event. This is by far my favourite sheetmask of the bunch. While the fit isn’t amazing, the results are almost immediate! I had super glowy skin all afternoon and evening after trying it on a Saturday morning.
G2Cell uses Biomimetic Water (composed of minerals, amino acid, peptide) and milk protein from New Zealand milk phospholipid. SYN-COLL is used to used to reduce wrinkles and increase firmness through collagen configuration and the promotion of Hyaluronan. Palmitoyl Tripeptide is also included. Aquaporin protects skin from moisture loss and improves elasticity. Carob Extract prevents wrinkle creation and improves skin elasticity. Elderberry Extract acts as an anti-aging, polyphenol ingredient.
Phospholipid: Linoleic acids play an important role in the human skin’s own synthesis of Ceramide 1. This is a a lipid that is important for intact barrier function. Natural phospholipids contain relatively high amounts of linoleic acids thus resulting in soft, hydrated, and protected skin.
Hyaluronan: Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is found naturally in the body. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints. The hyaluronic acid that is used as medicine is extracted from rooster combs or created by bacteria in a lab.
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 is used in a number of different anti-aging products because it can communicate with skin cells and boost collagen production. The older your skin gets, the less collagen it produces.
This sheetmask is super creamy, has plenty of essence, but doesn’t drip! I love using this sheetmask before bed, especially if I’m about to fall asleep in a mask. This is a luxurious home sheetmask facial made using the same ingredients you’ll find in a fancy facial treatment at VIP clinic itself in Sinsa! Each sheetmask is used for different skin types and purposes: moisturizing, brightening, anti-aging, firm, and more. VIP also has its own line of facial sheetmask called ‘DR VIP’ White Pearl Mask, which is effective in anti-wrinkle and whitening care.
It is a daily care sheetmask (although a little pricy for daily use) that consists of a soft and fresh essence that moisturizes the skin. It consists of ingredients, such as Glutathione, pomegranate extract and persimmon tree leaf extract, which enhance clean and lively skin. In addition, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 and Noni extract provide healthy and elastic skin.
Glutathione: Glutathione is a substance found in every cell in the body, where it acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Chemically, glutathione is a simple molecule composed of three protein building blocks or amino acids- cysteine, glutamine and glycine.
Acetyl Hexapeptide-8: Acetyl hexapeptide-8 or acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a synthetic anti-wrinkle cosmetics ingredient. It is a peptide which is a fragment of SNAP-25, a substrate of Botulinum toxin (“Botox in a Jar”).
Noni: Noni juice is a dietary supplement extracted from the exotic fruit noni, and is commonly marketed as a general health tonic. Manufacturers promote noni for lowering cholesterol, promoting healthy blood sugar levels and for cancer fighting benefits.
After you wash your face, apply skin toner.
Then, wear the mask for around 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the product).
After you remove the mask, pat the remaining essence so that it can be absorbed into the skin.
Voila, you’ll experience improved skin!
VIP Plastic Surgery Center Seoul, Korea
For free consultation, please send email at email@example.com
My friends at GlamRecipe have really hooked me up over the past few months through their GlamRecipe StoreFront on Amazon.Both the Vitamin B & C Honey “Ggultamin (Honey Vitamin)” Real Jel Sheetmasks offer tons of essence and actually feel like they make a difference for my skin. I love the 2-step process including a finger peeling pad to remove dirt and dead skin. Even when using a two-step cleansing process (make-up remover and either Banila Clean-It Zero or a foaming facial cleanser), this finger peeling pad always grabs more dirt I’ve not managed to remove.
The sheetmask itself is very wet and full of jelly essence. Once you remove it from the packaging you’ll have plenty of leftover essence. I usually put it on my neck, chest, and shoulders for additional hydration. These masks are great because they hold really securely and you can actually feel the difference in hydration in the morning. These masks I’ll typically use after a big night out to revitalize my tired skin. My personal favourite is the Vitamin C for the mild, citrus and honey scent, but find what works for you!
Common Sheetmask Ingredients
Each sheetmask contains both AHA and BHA. Alpha hydroxy acid products containing lactic acid, tartaric acid, gluconolactone, or glycolic acid are typically applied to sun-damaged and wrinkled skin twice a day. AHAs and BHAs as exfoliants can really change the look and feel of skin for the better!
TWO STEP MASK with FINGER PAD FOR MILD PEELING: for the best effect, dead skin cells should be removed before applying any type of sheetmask. The GGULTAMIN Vitamin C Sheetmask is an all-in-one sheetmask containing a finger peeling pad, which effectively removes dead skin cells and any dirt left on your skin. Containing AHA and BHA the sheetmask delivers a mild peeling effect.
HONEY AND PROPOLIS: each sheetmask contains 33ml of essence with honey and propolis extracts for intense moisturisation. Honey is one of the best natural ingredients to provide and maintain moisture in your skin. Propolis contains Flavonoid, a natural anti-aging ingredient that helps to protect vitamin destruction.
GEL TYPE ESSENCE (33ML): thick jelly texture delivers active ingredients deeply into your skin without drying up. The generous amount of essence allows you to also use it for your face and neck.
Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) B REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $2799
by COMMON LABS
About the product
VITAMIN B: it contains Vitamin B5 to help stabilize the skin’s barrier, reducing the amount of water lost through the skin. Applying a provitamin B5 formulation to the skin will increase hydration and improve softness and elasticity for your skin.
LYOCELL SHEET: the GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses a natural Lyocell fiber mask that perfectly adheres to your skin. It provides extra softness and effective absorption of essence.
Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $2799
by COMMON LABS
About the product
VITAMIN C: the sheetmask contains Vitamin C complex to help brighten, boost collagen, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
CUPRA SHEET : GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses cupra mask that perfectly adheres to your skin with extra softness and effective absorption of essence.
All XAIVITA Dr. sheetmasks have similar promises. They aim to help “to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment and” relieving “skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.” Whenever I get a new version of their 3-step sheetmask I’m wary of the strange ingredients. I suggest you try them laying down as these sheetmasks are super wet and drippy. Your skin will feel intensely hydrated almost immediately, so make sure to use this brand before bed so you can let the essence really get to work without obstacles like makeup!
Ampoule: Using the toner after washing, take proper amount of the content and evenly put on whole face.
Lightly touch the face so that the content can be absorbed.
Mask: After cleansing, take out the sheet and apply it over your face. Remove the sheet after 10-20 minutes.
Cream: After the Mask, spread uniformly along skin’s texture and massage gently.
Gold Spider Anti-Wrinkle Cellulose Sheetmask
Fine Dust Protector-Soothing and Moisturizing. 8.88% Gold Spider secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which can become tired from the external environment.
Horse Oil Premium Cellulose Mask
Fine Dust Protector-Moisturizing and Nutrition Supplying Horse oil. Premium secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment. It relieves skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.
The blackhead sheetmask really does bring dirt and grime (blackheads and sebum) to the surface. I haven’t mastered the black stick quite yet, so I’ve been using a peel away mask instead. After that, I use the pore tightening serum which soothes skin quite well. The next day I find my sensitive skin on and around my nose is incredibly soft and the pores appear much smaller!
About the product
BLACKHEAD REMOVAL KIT: a complete kit including a black sheet, pore tightening serum, and black stick work to gently take care of blackheads and pores.
9 NATURAL EXTRACTS: ingredients from lemon balm, sage, witch hazel, mistletoe, peppermint, jack burdock, needle juniper, soapwort, and St. John’s wort work effectively to dissolve blackheads and sebum.
PORE TIGHTENING SERUM: consists of patented active ingredients to tighten pores and soothe skin, resulting in a silky smooth texture.
Go ahead, set up the bubble bath and pour yourself a glass of wine. These awesome Korean sheetmask options will have your skin silky smooth in no time! What are your favourite K-Beauty quick picks? Leave them in the comments so I can give them a try! While some items on this list were gifts from friends, former clients, and current partners, all reviews are honest and opinions are my own. Where to buy links are in pink however none of them are affiliate links.
I’ve always been a bit of a wash n’ wear kind of girl. The kind of girl who used to take her makeup off with just soap and water. I tried a day and night moisturizing combo back in 3rd year university. The cost-benefit analysis of it all became too much. In Canada, my options were high-end department store brands or questionable drug store brands. Why buy a daily AND a nightly moisturizer when they ultimately did the same thing, right? By the time I was 25, the only time I took care of my skin was when I was gifted product at a fashion show or marketing event. Before moving to Seoul, I think I had used a sheet mask once or twice in my life – including the time I had spent in Busan, South Korea! I definitely didn’t think I’d ever brand myself as a Korean Beauty Blogger.
The Insta – Korean Beauty Blogger
Nobody seems to have the time to do anything. I feel like I’m busier than I’ve ever been in my life! Everything has to be fast and direct, which makes the new trend of “Insta-blogging” pretty simple and successful. I own and operate @TorontoSeoulcialite & TorontoSeoulcialite.com, but ThatGirlCartier was just my personal instagram until I bought this domain in December 2016. I always shared my life in Korea, but wanted to differentiate the two accounts further. An old friend suggested I become a Korean Beauty Blogger even though I hadn’t a clue about pH levels, ingredients, or benefits. Usually, sharing favourite products through insta-stories and snap chat stories is far more successful than posting a photo. Adding short reviews to my captions was, however, a great way to explore writing about Korean Beauty products. Cosmetics and Skin Care are more accessible in Korea than your next cup of coffee. The K-Beauty industry has a ton of opportunity, and competition.
The Accidental Korean Beauty Blogger Does Get Botox
Just over a year ago I braved needles for botox. Since then, I’ve managed the upkeep with significantly fewer shots (maybe 3 per eye?) at 6 or 7 month intervals. This means I’ve now had botox to reduce the significance of my crows’ feet three times. The second time I went, my doctor used a much, much smaller needle. I was prepared for agony, but there was actually hardly any pain. This past Thursday, my friends at Eunogo invited me to an information session and demonstration of fillers and botox as part of their Korean Beauty Blogger team. Before coming to Korea, I thought botox and fillers were just for frozen-faced Real Housewives. Now that I’ve had botox, I realize starting at almost 29 was pretty much the perfect time to prevent deeper creases. Was I judgmental at first? Sure. Having had botox doesn’t make a significant difference to my appearance, but it sure helps boost my confidence!
What Other Treatments?
As an accidental Korean Beauty Blogger, I always get asked what treatments I’ve had done and what I would recommend. I am always honest about my experiences and would never recommend you go to a clinic just because they’ve invited me to try their services. The links that follow each have a partnership disclosure. I have not been paid for reviews. If you have any questions about any of the clinics I encourage you to leave a comment, contact me on Facebook, or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)! I’ve had people in the past tell me they would die before getting a cosmetic enhancement (some by other Korean Beauty Blogger types!). I’ve had past boyfriends tell me that botox or cosmetic/ plastic surgery is just deception. I think in some ways it can be, but by getting botox I’m not getting a new face, I’ve simply maintaining the one I already have. Let’s keep in mind these are the men who told me wearing makeup was a lie. Please… the next time you see someone with naturally glittery gold eyelids I BEG you to give me a call! The following treatments have been in partnership.
VIP Plastic Surgery has created a proprietary line of skin care items including a sheet mask based on elements of this facial. The idea of using a cold ultrasound hammer for the facial is to “produce ultrasonic wave to adjust main and collateral channels and regulate blood circulation to flow circularly in order to reach the best status of the facial tissues.” It combines the effect of ultrasound capillaries with the skill of ancient massage therapy. “It could enhance immune function in lymphoid tissues so as to achieve vitality and flexibility of facial skin.” I’m not sure if the cold hammer did anything extra for me, but the various essences, ampoules, and creams involved made my skin feel incredibly soft and smooth!
Botox (Crows’ Feet and Forehead) – VIP Plastic Surgery Clinic c/o Seoul Cosmetic Surgery
My first botox experience was a little intense. They went WAY overboard on my forehead, and I was left with massive bruising and hard bump under one of my eyes. The second time I went in they used a way smaller needle and only a couple of shots for my crows’ feet. It was a lot easier and I was in and out quickly. The deep creases I had beside my eyes are completely gone and I feel like myself again!
I had tried the IPL Photofacial in Toronto and found it hurt quite a bit (read on for a similar experience with MVP Clinic). At VIP Plastic Surgery, my IPL didn’t hurt at all. The experience was very different as instead of using a device with a lazer to attack small parts of the dermis, the device felt was almost like getting your school picture taken. It didn’t hurt at all! Click the link to see my results.
Here are my before and after pictures from my experience at MH Clinic in Cheongdam. As you can see, my lip fillers weren’t huge, but I did get a defined cupid’s bow and a glossy, puffed up finish. It was such an easy process with Joy from Eunogo helping me every step of the way from filling out my paperwork to getting me into a taxi home! Getting lip fillers was really painful, but the results are definitely worth it!
I went through the process of becoming an actual human popsicle for an article in Groove Korea Magazine. For 30 minutes, the area which had been blown up for my appendectomy back in 2014 was frozen to – 9 degrees celsius. Within a few days I noticed a flatter lower stomach, but I’ll need to go back for 2 more appointments for the full effect. After the procedure, my skin felt like an actual popsicle. I definitely do not recommend you try touching it with your own hand until you’ve thawed as it was pretty frightening! Your nurses will massage the treated areas – let them finish and leave well alone!
Stem-Hydro Skinbooster/ IPL Photofacial – MVP Plastic Surgery
“Stem-Hydro Skinbooster Injections are a brand new approach to nourishing your skin, especially designed to deliver deep skin hydration. This means increasing hydration levels within the skin to deliver lasting moisturisation and improvements on the skin’s surface. Stem-Hydro Skinbooster involves multiple injections of a scientifically customized blend of hyaluronic acid (HA), Stem Cell, collagenstimulating vitamins, injected into the layer of skin just below the surface using a very fine needle.” – MVP Plastic Surgery
For this treatment and the accompanying IPL they actually had me under sedation. That was terrifying to come out of. If you can avoid it, definitely opt for the pain/ numbing cream instead of going under. I woke up crying and then had some incredibly weird dreams. I really didn’t notice much of a difference until now. It’s been about 2 months (my treatment was and I was July 8th) told that I would see results 2 – 3 months after treatment. All of a sudden this weekend I noticed glowy skin, and my friends did too! I’m wondering if it’s this treatment, the use of some of my favourite new products (post coming soon!), or a combination. Either way, my skin is softer than ever…and even a little shiny!
Aroma Resfresh Care package (100 minutes). This package includes a basic facial accompanied by an aromatherapy body massage. The facial was anything but basic! It started with a soft, peeling cleansing. Then, was followed by an exfoliating, deep cleansing, bubbling facial. I got a face slimming massage, too, which included a decolletage massage. While this wasn’t cosmetic or plastic surgery, it was definitely an advanced facial that those considering a lift, botox, or fraxel could try first.
My experience at Ruby Plastic Surgery in the Sinsa area of Seoul, Korea was organized by Eunogo. Eunogo has 60 clinics and medical spas in Seoul. They offer 2 kinds of services: Concierge Service for Plastic Surgery and Eunogo Shops. Eunogo Shops enables a client to book trendy medical spa facials and treatments, while the concierge service is more comprehensive. There are over 1,800 plastic surgery clinics in Korea. Eunogo partners with a clinic based on rigorous testing pertaining to Safety, Expertise (they work with specialized clinics only. You won’t be going to a clinic for rhinoplasty if they specialize in breast augmentation, for example), Convenience (location, facility, and language support), and Patient Satisfaction. Eunogo and the clinics also offer a 1-year guarantee for all services.
My experience at Ruby Plastic Surgery was very quick and easy. Dr. Hu had a very gentle, professional demeanor. He would give me and the other Korean Beauty Blogger quick notices by waiting a couple of 1-2 beats then on 3 he’d say “pain” and insert the needle. I’ve never had an experience whether it be taking an IV, having blood drawn, or getting botox that was so easy and painless! I would definitely recommend getting your botox injections or fillers (lip or facial) by Dr. Hu at Ruby Plastic Surgery.
What’s Next for this Korean Beauty Blogger?
Being open to trying out new procedures (especially ones with needles LOL) has enabled me to become a trusted source for expats and medical tourists in Korea. I probably would have never tried any sort of botox or filler before coming to Korea (or had it not been in partnership), but I’m so glad I did. Looking in the mirror and feeling like an old lady at 28 was a horrible feeling. Now that I’m officially 30, I think I’ll definitely be investing in my botox upkeep once I move back to Toronto in 6 months. By then I’ll no longer be an accidental Korean Beauty Blogger, but I do hope to continue to bring you the latest and greatest technology and advancements in Skin Care and Cosmetic Surgery wherever I end up. What next? Well, look to my Korean Beauty Blogger pals @SkinfullofSeoul and @OhMyGloss above for a hint!