I don’t know what it is with me and Korean (pop) culture. I like everything else about Korea except for K-Pop1 and I know that there are still a lot of things to discover about this particular Asian country. I had my first exposure to Korean (pop) culture back in college, when I used to train in Taekwondo for two and a half years2, got a bit of an exposure to some simple Korean phrases and Hangul thanks to the sabumnim,3 first played my very first Korean video game of a classic MMORPG called Ragnarok Online,4 watched some K-dramas that I enjoyed,5 and have had homemade Korean food during our annual local Asian-American Heritage Month Festival every May.
I don’t go all out fangirling like many of the “Koreaboos” out there, just as how I don’t go all out fangirling Japanese (pop) culture like many of the “Weaboos” out there,6 and if it were to me, it feels good to be Asian.7 It’d be nice if the Philippines have their own skincare brands, but I’ve searched everywhere for anything “Made in the Philippines,” and so far I haven’t found any.8 Anyway, moving on.
I’ve left a few comments on some blogs stating that after reading articles about Korean skincare, to me, they’re pretty much similar, if not exactly the same, as Japanese skincare.9 I admit that I didn’t understand the whole hype with Korean skincare10 other than they’re created using its native natural resources11 because most of the time, they’ve reminded me of Japanese skincare. I thought to myself, I’m happy with what I’m doing, and if I tried Korean skincare, it’d probably be the same. 10+-step Korean skincare routine, as written by a lot of blogs and other sites out there? Japanese skincare also has 10+ steps too. Well, you get the picture.
So, regardless of what I wrote there, how on earth did I end up buying my first dose of Korean skincare products? Pretty simple, actually. I was looking for a charcoal peel-off mask because my sisters have been hyping about them. I already started using a charcoal-based cleanser12 and even though my face isn’t very oily, more like on the dry to combination skin, I just had to try anything based on charcoal or clay. My sister recommended me a particular peel-off charcoal mask sold at Sephora,13 and I got curious about it. I decided to head off to the nearest Sephora store to my area14 to purchase a small tube as a sample. To my dismay, the product has been sold out for a long time. I did buy something from there though15 and add another charcoal-based product in my regimen.
At the Valley Fair mall, I had my lunch at their eatery area. While I was eating my small bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen, I was looking around its neighboring shops and one store suddenly piqued my curiosity: The Face Shop. I often buy some skincare products at The Body Shop myself,16 but The Face Shop? After I finished with my ramen, I went directly to the store. Cue in K-Pop music in the background, spot the sales staff speaking Korean to each other, and they welcomed me with open arms and friendly smiles. I realized that this is a Korean skincare shop, to be more specific, The Face Shop brand.
The staff was very helpful and knowledgeable with their products, considering that I’m still looking for a charcoal (peel-off) mask.17 They had a lot of items on sale and I ended up indulging on a few of them. See, this is what happens to me and skincare in general: I only look for one or two items and I ended up buying more. Bad Adri, bad!
The items I ended up purchasing are as follows:
- Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Cleansing Foam18
- Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Cleansing Wipes19
- Photo Blur BB Cream20
- Eco Beauty Charcoal & Konjac Cleansing Puff21
And I signed up for their mailing list too, and because this is my first purchase, I got the Lemon Citron Face Mask for free22, as well as two sample packs of Dr. Belmeur Ato Salt Cream and Clarifying Moisturizer. Overall total – $54 (tax not included). To compare them to my binge usage of The Body Shop products and here and there at Sephora, The Face Shop products are pretty inexpensive.
Maybe that’s the huge difference between Korean skincare and Japanese skincare— the pricing sold here in the U.S. That’s why it’s being hyped a lot. Maybe. I’m pretty sure there’s more that I need to try out, but that can wait next time. ????
I don’t really write about beauty-related products here. After all, this is a niche-less blog LOL. But writing about this has a lot of fun. I’m very anxious right now. ????
So, I ask everyone: do you have a particular skincare regimen that you follow daily and what do you normally do and the products you use? If you’re familiar with Korean skincare, what would you recommend?
I’m always open to exploring. ????
- that is, since the dissolving of some of my fave K-Pop groups like H.O.T. and Fin.K.L. back in the good ol’ days… [↩]
- I only got up to a red belt, just two more and I would’ve gotten 1st dan black belt [↩]
- In fact, we had to use a lot of the Korean simple phrases to greet and exit, such as Annyeong and Kamsamnida. As for Hangul, it was easy to pick up and it’s a lot easier to learn than the Japanese Kana and that other set that we call Kanji. ???? Sabumnim is the Korean term for teacher/instructor, equal to sensei. [↩]
- and I played many others after that, such as Mabinogi, Elsword, Archeage, Blade & Soul, to name a few. Also, I played a Korean console game in Magna Carta: Crimson Stigmata for the PS2. Right now, I’m currently playing Mystic Messenger mobile otome game, and 707 is pure ???? [↩]
- their original ones, not the ones based on Japanese anime/manga. I especially enjoy their historical ones and fantasy ones such as Goong and Rooftop Prince. [↩]
- okay, not quite true… [↩]
- Filipinos are Asian because the country is part of the Asian continent (Southeast Asia), okay? If people argue that we’re Pacific Islanders because of our location in the Pacific Ocean, then that should also mean Indonesia, Taiwan, and Japan should also be Pacific Islanders, since they are island nations located in the Pacific Ocean. I rest my case. [↩]
- if you know a brand or so, please let me know! [↩]
- Moreso on the skincare routine, the natural resources that they use to create their products, so on and so forth… and the fact that historically, both Japan and Korea highly influence each other in (almost) everything cultural… [↩]
- probably because of the huge popularity of K-Pop and K-dramas, all of a sudden, anything else Korean is now the “in” thing? Korean martial arts such as Taekwondo and Hapkido have been all around the world way before them, keeping that in mind. [↩]
- nature-based cosmetics are everywhere now, to be honest, so it’s not really a new thing… [↩]
- Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser — yes, it’s a drugstore product, but Biore is also a Japanese skincare brand. It’s very refreshing and it does wake me up because it feels so tingly, I’m loving it so far! [↩]
- Boscia Luminizing Black Mask. Boscia is a Japanese skincare brand, one of the more higher end types like Shiseido and the very pricey Tatcha line… [↩]
- San Jose [↩]
- Boscia Charcoal Deodorant – $20 [↩]
- because it was close to my workplace [↩]
- The Boscia one is $34. It’s even more expensive at Amazon, dang… [↩]
- $16. I’ll be using this right after I’m done with my Biore cleanser [↩]
- $16. I just remembered that I ran out of cleansing wipes [↩]
- $15. I realized that I just ran out of BB cream, so I got this [↩]
- $7. Charcoal & Konjac cleansing puffs also exist in Japanese skincare too (konnyaku), and eventually, it spread throughout the world… [↩]
- $2 [↩]