We’ve all had those days… A friend’s birthday, a special occasion, a party, work, an important meeting. Sometimes these are things that you simply cannot afford to miss, despite the fact you’ve just come done with a tummy ache, a cold or a headache or simply aren’t in the mood to go out but the world still moves around and sometimes you just have to pull yourself together, get dressed, put on some makeup and conquer the day. Whilst the last thing you probably feel like doing when you’re sick is putting on makeup, it can make a lot of difference to how your feeling and your state of mind.
First and foremost your number one concern should be your skin. When you’re sick it’s easy to forgo your skincare routine and either just wash it or do nothing at all. Instead, try and stick to your regular routine and consider adding an oil or hydrating serum under your moisturiser. When your immune system is down it can take a nasty toll on your skin - and don’t you dare even think about forgetting lip balm!
I was coming out of work today and I asked my boyfriend to take me to Lotte Plaza. After a slight mix up, we ended up at H-Mart, and though we were surprised (he because he thought H-Mart and Lotte Plaza were interchangeable, and I because I didn’t know H-Mart existed in this state), I was happy to go right on in to browse.
By the time I walked out, I had with me an entire haul of new beauty products, and no food. Confused, my boyfriend asked why I had wanted to add an extra hour to our travel time by going to H-Mart for makeup and face wash that I could buy from Rite-Aid, Ulta, Sephora, Target (the list goes on) all of which are anywhere from five to ten minutes away.
To this, I firstly resisted the urge to be a smart-ass and explain that I didn’t ask to go to H-Mart, but Lotte Plaza. Secondly, I provided these reasons:
1. My skin is healthier.
Korean products do not result in the breakouts that domestic products have cursed me with. Originally, I was using Urban Decay’s foundation, and although I found that the tone matched my skin well, the coverage wasn’t great, and the formula got really gross and flaky after drying. I tried Mary Kae and the coverage was good and went a long way, but it was heavy and my skin reacted poorly to it. From Mary Kay, I went to Bare Minerals, which to date was the gentlest on my skin. However, it did not hide the redness in my skin well, and generally didn’t even out my skin tone well.
It was like I couldn’t win… Until I tried BB Cream.
My first time using BB Cream, I ordered Etude House’s matte formula in the lightest shade they had. Today, I bought Iope’s formula in “Ice Vanilla,” and I have to say that I like it just as much! BB cream is a great alternative to foundation because it tends to be a lot lighter on the skin, and the best part is that it has sun screen in the formula as well. For someone like me who not only has sensitive skin, but a sun allergy, this takes a few steps out of my beauty routine which is especially helpful during the work and school week. Additionally, BB cream smells really good.
2. Free Stuff! I repeat, free stuff!
The best thing that shopping in Korean beauty stores can offer is that there are so many samples and bonus products you get, it’s ridiculous! See the photo above? I bought two things, and walked out with seven. I bought the BB cream and the skin care set, and in addition, I received a sample cleansing set, two face masks, two sample firming packs, a refill for my BB cream (it’s air cushioned, but the mirror compact can be reused), and a full-sized hand wash. It was a hefty price, but I can honestly say that between quality and quantity it’s well worth it.
3. Customer Service
This point is entirely circumstantial, and can differ greatly for everyone, but I’m being honest. In my area, I’ve never had a good experience in a skin care shop or makeup shop where the employees have been as eager to answer questions. Because I have combination skin as well as a sun allergy, I need makeup that works well with troubled skin and also can tolerate being applied with sun screen. Unfortunately, not every employee is receptive to answering questions thoroughly.
The woman who helped me today was not only polite, but she wanted to help me find the product for my skin that would work best. After showing me the brand that she uses personally, as she confided that she also has combination skin, she told me that it has anti-aging properties that are popular for teenagers as well as young adults, explained that I don’t need to worry about all the anti-aging eye creams and things yet because I’m still young, and why having the cleansers are worth while. As she talked, she allowed me to sample the products, and when I told her that I wanted to look at BB creams as well, she perked up and said that she had a great recommendation that was also a promo item. That of course was the IOPE BB cream, which has SPF50+ sunscreen. The dream!
She allowed me to pick out which free face masks I wanted from a choice of six (shea butter, rice, bamboo, green tea, pearl, and another of which I have unfortunately forgotten), and then also guided me through each sample product that was thrown in which she honestly didn’t need to do.
It’s a great experience every time. Again, this is entirely circumstantial and I cannot guarantee that every H-Mart and Lotte Plaza in the world will have happy eager employees, just like I wouldn’t suggest every Sephora on earth has super disinterested employees. If you are in the same area, however, and you have access to Ellicott City’s H-Mart or Lotte Plaza, I will shamelessly advertise their excellent customer service.
Are there downsides? Yes. The only major downside I can think of is the price. It can be an expensive route to take because the products are imported, and the price of shipping is added on top of that for those who may only have access to Korean products online. For me, I budget by waiting for sales, or compromising some parts of my beauty routine by using domestic products in addition to Korean products. Memebox was an especially great discovery because the prices are far less hefty than in other online stores, and the shipping is free after spending $30.00.
Over all, I switched to Korean beauty products primarily because my skin responds better to the products.
It also helps that I find they make me super cute.
Alrighty, so this is how I do my makeup when I have a bit of time and I want my skin to be quite well covered. The finish isn’t entirely “flawless,” but it covers most of my skin issues and has a finish I enjoy.
These are the products and brushes I use:
Sooo, I start with a clean, moisturized face. (If you’re interested in my skincare you can find that post here.) I prime my entire face with a pea-sized amount of Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro Primer.
I apply Revlon Colorstay Concealer in 01 Fair to problem areas (read: my whole face) and lightly blend with an e.l.f. Flawless Concealer Brush. To get the maximum coverage, I use gentle stippling motions to tap it into my skin.
After the concealer, I like to go in with a damp Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge to really press the product into my skin.
I dot Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Foundation in 15 Alabaster all over my face and tap in gently with fingers.
Again, I bounce the dampened sponge over my face for a more skin-like finish.
I build up several layers of foundation with these same steps, really focusing on blending down my neck and covering problem areas.
Next, I tap a little bit of bareMinerals Original Mineral Foundation in n10 Fairly Light into the cap. I swirl an e.l.f. Studio Powder Brush (which has lost it’s handle) into it and press the powder into my skin.
I’m a vaguely excessive person who really really wants my foundation to look nice, so I spray e.l.f. Makeup Mist & Set over my face, go back in with the sponge to tap over it, and finish with another application of powder.
Here’s the finished look with the rest of my makeup on.
I hope you enjoyed and please share any tips or products you find helpful for acne! : )
CAMEO: LESLIE BLODGETT ON THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF BAREMINERALS ORIGINAL FOUNDATION
We toast to the woman who started a foundation revolution.
In 1995, baby tees, mini backpacks, and liquid foundation were all the rage. Out of nowhere, a dynamic executive named Leslie Blodgett changed the complexion game for good with her mineral-based foundation—and for the past two decades, beauty lovers have remained fiercely loyal to the product. We caught up with the Bay Area–based Blodgett to discuss bareMinerals’s celebratory 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Original Foundation Kit, her history of connecting with women, and what’s inspiring her now. KELLEY HOFFMAN
Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of your Original Foundation! Tell me about your experience with the product from the beginning.
I’m very much attached to it. I was coming into myself as a person—fully understanding who I was—at the same time I was bringing the world a product that no one had ever heard of. It had only five ingredients. It was natural and had this weird technique that you had to put the product in the lid, and swirl, tap, and buff it onto the skin. It was such a departure from what women were doing. But it never occurred to me to get sidestepped from my belief in the product.
But nobody cared, because it was too different and because we didn’t have advertising. Everyone just did typical advertising back then. So how do you get the word out on a brand new product like that? That’s where TV helped. And doing an infomercial really is when millions of women heard about the product. For me, it was, basically, a YouTube video. It was a tutorial on complexion on television.
How did you get your message across?
The product itself was revolutionary and innovative, because no one else thought about making foundation that way. The TV part was how we got the word out, but the product itself was just getting people to just think, “Huh, really? There is an option like that out there?”
You’re wearing makeup all day long. Do you want it seeping into your skin? You’re not giving your skin a break, only at night. What are you putting on your face? All I did was ask a bunch of questions to women.
Do you really want all those 50 chemicals on your face? Do you even know why you’re breaking out every day? And it just became a very strong word-of-mouth business.
Did its popularity inspire you to launch new products?
After we went on air for the first time, we found out there were forums online. And that’s where my personal connection to real women began. Not just my local friends in San Francisco, but people in Georgia and Alabama and Alaska and all over. So by meeting these women online, a lot of the new product ideas came from them or us collaborating together. So it was crowdsourcing back before there was a word for it. We had ideas, but they had better ideas.
Why do you think products that address complexion can feel so powerful?
When you help someone out with their complexion, they feel free to have a life, because it can hold some people back. And I’ve learned over the years that it can make some women not even want to leave the house. They don’t like meeting new people.
So, I feel landing on complexion has been eye-opening for me in terms of connecting with women.
I love the bejeweled design of your 20th Anniversary Original Foundation. Can you tell me about the new brush in the kit?
It’s all synthetic fibers. [It never] stays on the top. You can’t apply bareMinerals with product just on the top. That would be a disaster. The outside spins it in and drills it down into the center. It’s a dome. And it’s so soft. We’re huge believers in blending any foundation, which is why you’ll always see a brush with any of our foundations. The more you blend, the more it becomes one with your skin. So you get medium to full coverage with this. When you’re done applying it, go back over it with nothing on the brush. I really do believe that you can carry your bare brush around with you throughout the day. What product you put on in the morning is enough for the whole day. You don’t have to reapply it. It doesn’t go anywhere. You just [motions bare brush over face] reinvigorate it.
Where do you find inspiration today?
I went to a conference last week of young women who were creating their own personal brands. It was really fun. I’m doing a lot of angel investing in startups, and I’m meeting people with big dreams and big ideas and a lot of dedication to getting there. So that’s what is inspiring for me, to see this new generation of women that are on fire. I try and get in front of them so that they can get in front of me.