Since our last blog, V’s turned 41. M did a little, triumphant jump for joy that she was no longer older than V, while V celebrated by treating herself to a new bag and some Lixir Vitamin C Paste, £32 (more about that another time). Oh and a generous slice of raspberry and chocolate nougat cake. And yes, it was as delicious as it sounds, thanks for asking!
All in all it was a great birthday…until V’s 7 year-old daughter, S, told her that her face was looking “creased”. Yikes, time to call in the beauty big guns. The lotions and potions guaranteed to roll back the years and iron out those creases. And where better to look than to K-beauty? (For anyone unfamiliar with K-beauty, you’ll be glad to hear that for once it’s got absolutely nothing to do the Kardashian empire – phew! – but rather the term to describe beauty products hot out of Korea). Korean beauty is HUGE business. They’re at least 12 years ahead of us in their beauty technology, and products are brilliant, often quirky and priced very reasonably. And it was the Koreans who introduced BB, CC, and now DD creams into our world and onto our shelves. For the record, in case you’ve ever wondered, BB stands for Beauty or Blemish Balm (it’s a glorified tinted moisturiser) CC for Colour Correcting (our personal favourite in evening out skin and giving radiance) and DD for Dynamic Do-all (a BB and CC hybrid with some anti-ageing ingredients thrown in too). We’ll have one of each please!
Korean beauty focuses on great skincare. Cleanser is incredibly important, as is sunscreen. And moisturiser. And essences. Oh and sheet masks too. Well, the Koreans do follow a 10-step skincare routine! Yes, that’s right, 10 steps. So to help you navigate the K-beauty minefield, here’s the VeryMakeupMad lowdown on a few of the best K-beauty products to try right now…
Cleanser: Koreans do a double cleanse – an oil cleanser first to melt away makeup and pollution and then a foam cleanse to work on sweat (not that we do!) and dirt. Frankly, who truthfully has time for that? But if you fancy it, try Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil, £16.50, which is a beautiful, lightweight oil that does a brilliant job of removing makeup and is perfect for anyone with dry or sensitive skin. As for the foam cleanser, we suggest you try Dr G Hydra Intense Bubble Foam Cleanser, £21, which bubbles satisfyingly on the skin and feels gorgeously creamy.
Toner: if you’re a fan of toning after cleansing (and those perfect-skinned Korean women can’t be wrong!) you must try Whamisa Deep Rich Essence Toner, £33.90, which nourishes dry, stressed and irritated skin. It’s something of a cult, bestselling product, so chances are you might have to join a waiting list for it. Although, we found a few left in Planet Organic.
Essences: If you’ve only just got your head round using a serum before moisturiser, then hold that thought, because you should actually be using an essence before your serum, before your moisturiser. How exhausting – M is sure she’s going to get RSI! An essence is basically a lightweight serum that’s packed with concentrated, hydrating ingredients to help repair, smoothe and brighten the complexion. Blithe Vital Treatment Pulp Essence, £41, plumps up skin and leaves it soft and glowy.
Sheet Masks: These masks are everywhere, and while you might think a cute pug or panda mask is a bit gimmicky, they certainly pack a punch, infused with all sorts of anti-ageing, wonder ingredients. We love the Seoulista brand, which has been created by dermatologists and literally has a mask for every part of the body! The Correct & Calm Instant Facial and Super Hydration Instant Facial, £7.99 each, are our favourites, although we can’t wait to try Rosy Hands or Rosy Toes, for perfectly nourished and younger-looking hands and feet.
CC Creams: As we’ve already mentioned, when it comes to ‘double letter’ creams, we usually opt for the CC variety, for an evened-out skin tone and that all-important SPF. M loves Erborian CC Creme, £17, while V prefers CLE Cosmetics CCC Cream, £24. Both adapt to your skin’s own tone on application and are perfect to use in summer instead of foundation. We’re just waiting for the arrival of EE creams…what could they possibly be? We’re hoping for Energising Everything!
Primers: J.One Jelly Pack Multi-Functional Gel Primer, £20, is not a primer as you know it. As well as regular priming benefits – makeup glides on more evenly and lasts for longer – it also treats the skin with anti-ageing technology and works on firming, lifting and refining. It acts like a film over the skin, giving a glasslike effect. V’s wasting no time in trying this, thanks to her little S’s comments. But before she does, she’s giving Etude House Face Blur, £12.49, a whirl. Not least because it was a birthday present from M. But this pale pink, talc-scented primer has been gaining rave reviews since its launch for its instant blurring effects. It magically hides and smoothes pores and makes skin look as good as new. No more ‘creases’ for V with this baby!
We can’t mention K-beauty, without a nod to J-beauty (Japanese to you and us!) Hot on the heels of the Korean beauty trend, J-Beauty looks set to be every bit as exciting and innovative. If not more. For example, one of Japan’s hottest exports is DHC Cleansing Oil £3.60, a bottle of which is sold every 10 seconds. Yes, you read that right. And Japanese brands such as Tatcha and Decorte are fast becoming cult must-haves. We’ve been hooked on Japanese beauty staples such as the brilliant Fairy Drops Scandal Queen Quattro Mascara, £18.50, for a while (V thinks it’s possibly the best mascara she’s ever tried…and there have been lots over the years), and when it comes to eyeshadow, you honestly can’t beat the beautiful textures and pigmented shades in Suqqu’s Designing Color Eyes Palette, £46. We can often be found swooning over them in Selfridges!
So when it comes to beauty, we suggest you look East for the ultimate weapons. Oh and we forgot to mention all those Korean products that use snail slime. Apparently it’s brilliantly anti-ageing, but it’s a step too far for Verymakeupmad. So we didn’t actually forget at all. We just don’t fancy it! Although M’s more game than V and could be tempted. But she’s scared that it may slow her down!
Love, K-beauty & J-beauty (and no snails please!)
Vikki & Mala xx