Before, during, and after my trip, I’ve been jamming on a TON of new beauty goodies. Many of these were a godsend in Korea’s intense heat and humidity, so they feel extra appropriate to share now that we’re in the dead of summer (as always, “summer” remains a relative term here in San Francisco, where highs this week top out in the low 70s!). Standouts for me below are this new serum from Tata Harper (be ready for everyone to say, “Your skin looks great, did you do something different?”), and Korean skincare brand Missha’s Time Revolution Essence — if for no other reason than it is literally over $150 cheaper than SKII, and as far as I can tell from searching online, everyone seems to think it’s better. I’ve been using it for about a week now, and so far so good. Can’t wait to see results in a month!
Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask
Several months back, I received a sample of this from Nordstrom when I reordered some of the Kypris serum I love so much (discussed here). It sat in my shower forever and ever, waiting for a day when I could commit to letting a hair mask do its thing for ten minutes. That day never came. So on a whim, when I was packing for Korea, I threw it into my toiletry bag. I tried it on my second day there — no heat styling, nothing special…and I couldn’t believe it! My normally wiry, coarse, frizzy hair was smooth, manageable and looked great air dried. I ended up not wearing it down for too long because of the heat and humidity, but you guys, that’s exactly the point: even with some of the most intense humidity of my life, my hair still looked and felt great! Given the price, I could see this being a once-per-week type treat, but oh my god, it’ll be worth it when I need a guaranteed good hair day.
Youth to the People Green Tea Cream
Another Nordstrom sample (they really killed it with the samples pack they sent me in that order). I absolutely LOVED the whipped texture of this cream. And, with the deluxe sample size I used up over a few weeks, I noticed my skin felt more moisturized, smooth, soft and overall happy with this stuff. A note that a lot of brick and mortar Nordstroms don’t seem to stock this, so online is the way to go (Sephora has it too). This is an awesome cream to try if you need something lightweight but hydrating as temps get hotter.
Dphue Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse
I love using this stuff on those “I shouldn’t wash, but REALLY need to” type of days. It cleanses your scalp and roots very well, but isn’t stripping at all — and I find it leaves the hair soft and moisturized. If you don’t want to really “wash” your hair but need to cleanse it a little bit after a super sweaty workout, this rinse is a perfect alternative to shampoo. The bottle even has a pointed nozzle making it easy to apply in patches on your scalp. Massage in, rinse, then condition your ends. Good to go!
Briogeo Scalp Revival Treatment
I bought this gel because for some bizarre reason, my scalp can be very sensitive to San Francisco water. I don’t know what it is — I’ve tried cleaning my shower head, replacing it, all of the things, but sometimes I will get itchy patches or flakes from the water here. Hopefully that’s not TMI, but there you have it. I know it’s localized to SF (or maybe my apartment specifically) because when I travel literally anywhere else, I have zero problems. Maybe it’s just stress. Who knows?! Anyway, I’d been on the hunt for treatments that could help calm a sensitive scalp, and this has been great not just for that, but also as a way to extend hair washes. This gel is applied to the scalp (I part my hair in three sections while wet, then squeeze a bit on in each), and massaged in. It feels tingly and wonderful! You can let it air dry or style as usual; I find that when I blow dry my hair, the roots will stay grease-free a lot longer when I use this. It’s definitely the activated charcoal, which absorbs all the oil!
Ilia Multi-Stick in Cheek to Cheek
Before my trip, I wanted to get a refill of Kjaer Weis’ cream blush (reviewed here). My local Credo Beauty store was out of it, so as a dupe, I picked up Ilia’s Multi-Stick in the color Cheek to Cheek. I’ve tried other Ilia products before, and have always enjoyed them, but somehow or other had never tried their Multi-sticks. I ended up being glad I had to try “the dupe” because this formula is incredibly easy to apply. No dipping fingers into the pot — just swipe a bit on, then rub in with the pads of your fingers. The formula is really creamy and highly blendable, and the package itself is very small, making it perfect to travel with. Two thumbs up.
Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum
I got talked into buying this serum right before I left on my trip. Good god I’m glad I did, because this serum is magic. After using it for a couple weeks, more than one friend (like, THREE) has seen me and said, “You’re glowing!” They chalked it up to my adventures in Korea, but actually, I think it’s this serum. In addition to being packed with alpha-hydroxy acid and beta-hydroxy acid to encourage cell turnover, it has ingredients that give off a subtle sheen. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not sparkly AT ALL. You just look luminous, like your skin is alive and glowy. Plus, it’s super hydrating, goes on easy, absorbs quickly, and performs well under moisturizer and makeup. It’s so moisturizing that on oiler areas (like my forehead), some days I use it as a lightweight moisturizer. It’s expensive, but I have found two small pumps in the morning is all I really need. I was using it at night for a while, but realized I could get away with using other serums instead, and save this one for daytime when you want that summery glow. :)
Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence
I mentioned this dupe for SKII over on Instagram the other day, but thought I’d mention it here as well. To be honest, I have never been willing to spend $100+ on the SKII essence, because no glorified toner ever seemed worth it to me. However, I have friends who swear by it. Missha is a super popular Korean beauty company that I only just learned about when I visited there (though unbeknownst to me, their products are everywhere in the U.S.!). I googled them when I got home and was surprised to see a lot of articles pop up comparing SKII’s Treatment Essence with Missha’s Time Revolution Essence. But here’s the thing: a giant bottle of Missha’s essence is $49. Even cheaper on Amazon. I’ve only been using it for about a week — so far so good, but want to give it a little more time before fully reviewing. However, I thought it was worth mentioning now in case any of you are paying out the nose for SKII and want to try a far cheaper alternative (and supposedly better, based on this, this, this, and this). There’s also an intensive moisturizing version, if your skin is very dry.
On the K-beauty note — is anyone interested in hearing stories about what the beauty scene was like in Seoul? The K-Beauty thing—and the approach to beauty generally—is wild there, you guys (but also really fun. I was surprised how into it I was!).
Anyhoo, those are a few of the things I’ve been loving (and though you can’t tell from the photos, many are almost empties!). Anything new in your medicine cabinet these days? What are you loving that you think I should try?