Jun 6, 2015  •  In Asian, Beauty, Depression, Korean, Personal

On the Upside…

I’ve been battling some health issues as of late. And with the addition/subtraction of various meds and therapies in an effort to properly treat the problems, I’ve predictably been in a bit of a funk.

I’ve made no efforts in the past to hide my struggles with depression, and I am not about to now. However, at this present moment, my situation is precisely what I’ve described above — a funk — and not a relapse into depression. The reason I wanted to bring up depression, however, is to point you to an article penned by one of my favorite beauty bloggers, Fifty Shades of Snail aka The Crazy Snail Lady, titled “How My Elaborate Korean Skincare Routine Helps Me Fight Depression.”

Research. Controlled experimentations. Routines and rituals. Active participation in a supportive community. I’m not sure about other sufferers of depression, but these have all been great forms of therapy for me in the past. I just hadn’t realized that my recent obsession with Korean beauty products and practices had been acting as a form of therapy — whether depressed, in a funk, or just plain having a bad day.

And on the upside? My skin has never been better. I’ve always had okay skin thanks to genetics, but now…

Well, take a look.

I’ve done and gotten all dolled up for y’all, using mostly Korean makeup. (List of items below.)
I was too lazy to use a proper camera so the image quality isn’t the best, but you get the idea.

This picture was taken eight hours after first applying my makeup in the morning…and I made NO TOUCHUPS, not even blotting paper! (Yes, good skin really helps your makeup look better and last longer!) In case you’re wondering, here’s the full list of makeup worn:

  • IOPE Air Cushion XP Matte Finish in M21
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown
  • Clio Waterproof Pencil Eye Liner Kill Brown in #2 Brown
  • Peripera Ah Much Real My Cushion Blusher in #4 Shy Pink
  • The Saem Saemmul Tint Aque in Red
  • Tonymoly Petite Bunny Gloss Bar in #4 Juicy Cherry
  • Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder

What have I been doing differently since the last time I shared my skincare routine? Mainly, more science. Researching ingredients and using what works best on my skin whilst staying clear of chemicals/additives that do not play well with my skin. The addition of acids and vitamin C. Being more pH-aware.

SCIENCE, guys. There’s a reason it works!  😎 

Here is my current skincare routine:


  1. SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
  2. OST C20 Vitamin C Serum*
    (wait at least 20 mins afterwards to allow my skin to fully absorb the serum)
  3. Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Toner
  4. LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule
  5. Goodal Super Seed Oil Plus Balancing Emulsion
  6. Innisfree Eco Safety No Sebum Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++


  1. Banila Co Clean It Zero**
  2. SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick
  3. Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Toner
  4. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
    (wait at least 20 mins afterwards to allow my skin to fully absorb the acid, and for my skin’s pH level to normalize)
  5. COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
    (wait at least 20 mins afterwards to allow my skin to fully absorb the acid, and for my skin’s pH level to normalize)
  6. Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Toner (only if the acids have left my skin sticky)
  7. LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule
  8. Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-in-One Ampoule
  9. A mask, mostly sheet masks but occasionally wash-off masks (I’ve been on the #1일1팩 train for a few weeks now)
  10. Whamisa Organic Flowers Water Cream
  11. Nature Republic Saccharomyces Ferment The First Eye Cream

* My current bottle of C20 is running low, and I have ordered the C21.5 as a replacement. The C21.5 is supposed to be an upgrade from the C20 and supposedly absorbs faster, which I’m very much looking forward to!
** I JUST starting using a new cleansing sherbet, the Botanic Farm Grain Ferment Cleansing Sherbet, this week and I’m LOVING it so far! I actually like it better than the Banila Co, but since it’s only been a week I decided to put the Banila Co on the list instead.

I am fully aware that this is A LOT of steps. Especially when you consider the fact that I used to only use a cleanser and maybe a lotion (only if my skin felt dry) before I got into Korean skincare. And the 20+ extra minutes of waiting time in the morning and 40+ extra minutes at night? It’s a good thing I hardly ever go out!

BUT. It’s so worth it to me. To have some semblance of control in a life that too often seems out-of-control. To keep myself distracted (in a good way). To force myself to pamper myself. The glowing skin is just an added perk at this point!

Besides, it’s not like I lie around doing nothing during those waiting times. 🙂  I actually like to use the 20-30 mins after applying the BHA at night to clean the kitchen and do the dishes. And the 20-30 mins after AHA are usually used to tidy up the living room and get the girls ready for bed.

I also like to chase my daughters around the house with a sheet mask on, pretending I’m a monster or a ghost. They used to be scared of me whenever I used a sheet mask, but now they love it! Additionally, both girls enjoy helping me apply lotion, or assist me in other ways like Aerin has recently with the Lindsay Modeling Rubber Mask.

Please let me know if you have any questions about my current skincare routine, the products in it, or are having trouble locating any of the items on this list. As is the case with practically any product review, YMMV, but most of the products in my routine are those that are beloved by many over at /r/AsianBeauty and I can’t recommend them enough!

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10 Responses to “On the Upside…”

  1. wh says:

    While I don’t want to burst your bubble, I do want to let you know that pretty much all the products you are using contain toxic chemicals that are absorbed by your skin. Many of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors, which can be directly related to countless health problems, including cancer and depression. Check out the thinkdirtyapp for an easy way to scan all your products. Our skin is our largest organ and everything we put on it gets absorbed. This is not pseudo-science, it’s real. I have a background in medicine and used to accept whatever the medical community said without questioning. Now, I question everything and make my own informed decisions. Also, I have thrown out all my so-called beauty products from the past (I call them endocrine disruptors now) and only use water to clean my face, avocado oil to moisturize, and I don’t require make up at all. My skin has never looked better. I am 38 but am told that I look 25. I think that if you concentrate your efforts into removing all toxic products from your household, including cleaners, detergents, beauty products, plastic kitchen ware, processed foods, etc, you will have a much healthier environment and you will see improvements in your mood and your skin without spending a small fortune on these products.

    • Thanks for the concern. I actually have tried going natural with my skin in the past (just water, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar) but it did not work out too well for me. And on a personal note, I can’t imagine going without some of the household products or food that I know has trace amounts of toxic elements. Do I douse myself in harmful chemicals? No, but I trust the governing agencies of these products enough to use them and enjoy them. It’s great that this is working great for you! It’s just not for me — and while I know this is completely vain, having the type of skin I’ve never had before has done wonders for my self-confidence and general mood. Different strokes for different folks. 🙂

      • wh says:

        I can appreciate and understand where you are coming from. However, I think I may have been unclear in my main point. You have a history a depression and health issues and said that you are currently in a ‘funk’, aka on the cusp of depression. To put it bluntly, here’s my point: the toxins you put in and on your body leads to hormone disruption which leads to depression. Rid yourself of toxins, nourish your body properly and your body will be strong enough to ward itself from depression. Then you won’t need medication or all these fancy products to boost your self esteem since there is no depression to battle and your self esteem can come from a genuine place. Basically, it’s a question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Needing all these products to combat depression, or ditching all these products to avoid depression in the first place? My sister had depression and was on meds for many years. I came to these conclusions after watching her struggle and finally get better. Trace amounts of toxins from dozens or hundreds of sources can add up to possibly more than your body can handle. Anyway, something to chew on. I am an INTJ, so I do not respect authority nor governing bodies if they do not make logical sense or if they are incompetent, so I would never blindly trust the FDA and so forth. And as an INTJ, I know I may come across as too direct b/c I don’t sugar coat things, but I am only commenting b/c I want to share my insights and I sincerely hope you can benefit from them. Good luck.

        • I appreciate your concern. I really do. But honestly, I do not believe my depression or the current health problems are linked to the toxins in my environment, food, personal care items, etc. I know there’s a school of thought that believe this, and I respect those theories. I know my way of thinking is just a theory too, so I’m not saying one is superior to the other. (And if there was a surefire, correct way, everyone would be doing it, no?) I just know what works for me and my lifestyle. Like I said in the post, YMMV…and this not only applies to the products I recommend, but also to treatments of depression and therapies for any other types of ailments. I’m glad your sister is doing better and that you’ve found a way to stay healthy and happy yourself. 🙂

  2. Annie says:

    You look absolutely radiant and BEAUTIFUL!!!! I am so happy that this routine, this new way of taking care of yourself is helping you. I know it helps me as well because it’s so much to look forward to and be excited about. Plus the fact that we are such busy and stressed out moms that it’s nice to take a little time out each day to take care of US. ME TIME. 🙂

    I’m thrilled to hear that you look forward to this each day, to really find happiness in this. You deserve to be happy, to have some time to yourself and to feel beautiful. Because you ARE beautiful. inside and out. 🙂 Love ya.

  3. Juliette Kim says:

    First of all you look stunning! Your skin is just wow. Um, that’s 8 hours after putting on makeup? Crazy!!

    Second of all, I totally believe in skincare/beauty regimens being therapeutic!!! Even if you’re just in a funk, I can totally see how researching and experimenting with beauty products can lift your spirits. I mean who wouldn’t feel good with skin like yours??

    I’m gonna go broke following your skincare adventures!! 😉 But a friend of mine also who recently started a Korean skincare regimen with acids and vitamins told me about the benefits of these ingridients. Her skin also changed and looks amazing as well. Keep doing what makes you happy!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Love you Jenny, I am a big fan of you!!!

  4. ~m says:

    I love all your beauty related posts and I’m going to look into the COSRX products. After reading one of your previous posts, I purchased the the Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder and I used it for the first time this morning. I’m really impressed so far! Thanks for introducing me to this product. I also got the free sample of the Laneige BB Cushion from Target that you mentioned and I was pleasantly surprised that the shade Light matched me very well and that the product was so quick and easy to apply. Unfortunately, my skin is probably the worst it’s ever been so I need heavy-duty coverage and better lasting power. I hope to try out a full version of this or another one with a matte finish once my face clears up and it’s not so humid. Thanks again! =)

  5. jeanie says:

    Thank you so much for this! With a busy toddler, I’ve been slowly creating a skincare routine based on Korean products but aven’t had too much time to devote to researching products so I’m going on several of your recommendations. I’m having a hard time locating the Mizon AHA and BHA toner… do you have a site that you recommend?

    • Unfortunately, the Mizon toner is currently difficult to obtain right now because Mizon is reformulating the product. Other pH-adjusting toners I can recommend that would serve the same function are the Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner, the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshner, and the COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner. HTH!

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