With K-Beauty being everywhere in popular/mainstream media and hitting big bloggers and youtube gurus, it can be hard to imagine the days when snail filtrate was freakish and exotic, and BB creams were only available online from Asian companies. Over the years, I've personally undergone profound development of my skincare philosophy, knowledge, awareness, and review style, but that "didn't happen in vacuum", as they say.
The western interest in beauty products from Asia has really been a grassroots movement made possible by the internet and social media; as a result, there is a strong community network of people who love the products and love to share and discuss them with one another. As a result, now and then an earth-shattering post comes along that spreads like wildfire in the community, changing the communal landscape.
This is a short list of a few posts that, in my opinion, profoundly impacted the K-Beauty and Asian beauty landscape, reaching far beyond the tight-knit community to the larger public, influencing trends, curation, inventory, and even new product development.
Skin and Tonics: The Importance of Fatty Acids, pH & the Moisture Barrier: How I Eliminated my Acne & Decreased my Skin Sensitivity
|Screen capture from skinandtonics.com|
|Screen capture: "The Importance of Fatty Acids, pH & the Moisture Barrier: |
How I Eliminated my Acne & Decreased my Skin Sensitivity" skinandtonics.com
Some products- such as makeup or fragrances- don't need in-depth scientific research, long-term testing, or careful analysis, but as Kerry mentions in her blog, skin renews itself every 28 days and thus tends to require a bit more of an investment. Kerry brought a more serious, educational tone and legitimacy to the world of K-Beauty, and in my opinion, we're all the better for it.
In fact, this post sparked my torrid affair with the science of skincare and the low pH life; after I read this world-rearranging post, I set out to dive even deeper into the science behind low pH, hoping that there would be a loophole. There wasn't, and I detailed my in-depth findings in Why the pH of Your Cleanser Matters.
Fanserviced-b: Korean vs. U.S. Cosmetic Ingredient List Order Differences
|Screen capture from fanserviced-b.com|
As Tracy suspected, hypothesized, tested, corroborated, and finally confirmed, Korean ingredient lists are a different animal and can't be viewed the same way as we're used to in the west. This was incredibly liberating; ingredients and formulations are still important, but they're not the be-all and end-all of skincare; when it comes to skincare, sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
|Screen capture: "Korean vs. U.S. Cosmetic Ingredient List Order Differences" fanserviced-b.com|
Do I still pay attention to ingredients? Of course. Do I still consider potential triggers, and investigate any that have a high rating? Absolutely. Do I reject products with triggers that I, personally, do not react to? Nope, although that's not new. Ingredient triggers deserve consideration, but unless there is something that you, personally, have confirmed is a trigger for you, it's best to take the often-outdated flags from sites like Cosdna with a grain of salt.
My own triggers are chemical sunscreen filters, but they work just fine for most of the population; Cosdna (unfortunately) can't figure that out for me- learning your own skincare triggers is part of your skincare journey. In fact, knowing your personal triggers is something that adoredee urges in the this next post:
adoredee: How to Beauty Haul responsibly
|Screen capture from adoredee.com|
Adoredee is a Consumer Psychologist, and her guide to developing a 'responsible hauling' approach based off whatever factors that you decide matter for you, is a must-read.
|Screen capture: "How to Beauty Haul responsibly" adoredee.com|
One of them is the post that adoredee and I wrote together about blogger boundaries + the psychology (and the dangers) of viewing bloggers as dermatologists, Tracy at fanserviced-b wrote a post on the concept of Skincaretainment: Connection and the Culture of Korean Beauty, and Jude from 50 Shades of Snail wrote an eloquent counterpoint that emphasized adoredee's point that it's not about denying yourself, it's about being aware and invested in what's right for you:
50 Shades of Snail: How My Elaborate Korean Skincare Routine Helps Me Fight Depression
|Screen capture: post by Jude of 50 Shades of Snail for Fashionista|
|Screen capture: "How My Elaborate Korean Skincare Routine Helps Me Fight Depression" |
by Jude of 50 Shades of Snail for Fashionista
On the one hand, women are scorned as being shallow, vain, and self-indulgent for buying beauty-related purchases, but on the other hand they're also judged for not wearing makeup/having a groomed, attractive appearance. We often hear comments like "So-and-so would be so pretty if she just took better care of herself." The irony is intense. Women are also expected to take care of their families, but aren't necessarily encouraged to take care of themselves; leaving women ping-ponging between being 'virtuously' frugal and binging on retail therapy. To me, Jude and adoredee's two sides to the same coin are like guideposts to how to invest in yourself and your well-being while still feeling in control of your purchases and happy with your choices.
Aside from what I, personally, gleaned from Jude's post, I admire her courage for honestly and openly discussing something that frequently gets glossed over in a sea of bubbly beauty frenzy that wants to focus on cute packaging and glittery new trends and captivating ingredients.
And speaking of captivating ingredients, this brings me to the last post, which I suspect might become the next narrative to catch fire in the community: a new way of looking at ingredients, formulations, and the cost of cosmetics from Chel at Holy Snails.
Holy Snails: A Rant on OST's C20 and C21.5 Serums, and Some Thinky Thoughts on Vitamin C
|Screen capture: holysnails.com|
There have been rumblings for some time about the formulations of certain popular products, but without supplying accessible explanations (with citations) as to why the formulations aren't good. Plus, there's no mistaking that something twice the price and only slightly better in terms of visual results just isn't going to convince legions of fans (including me) to turn away from a product that works for them.
|Screen capture: "A Rant on OST's C20 and C21.5 Serums, and Some Thinky Thoughts on Vitamin C" holysnails.com|
DIY is one of those things that sounds simple until you start looking into what it would really take to do it effectively; she often posts snapchats of her alchemical processes and posts regular updates with her latest thoughts and discoveries, and it looks ... intense. She makes it look easy, and she keeps it real, but she also can say Astaxanthin three times fast without stuttering; I leave the chemistry to her and simply enjoy the view (and gifs) from the passenger's side.
This list is in no way exhaustive (unlike the task of unpacking this house, huehuehu- sorry, I'm tired and possibly high on cleaning fluid fumes) but they're all posts that I find myself coming back to and reading over and over. They influence how I perceive skincare, and K-Beauty especially, and they do so on an ongoing basis.
I love reading and writing reviews, but it's the posts that spark conversations and additions to the communal narrative that excite me the most, have the most long-term relevance, and are the ones that make us all grow- bloggers and readers alike.
Now having spent time contemplating the meaning of K-Beauty blogging and its evolution in the west, I have to tackle the practical task of shopping for a storage unit to fit all my stash in. Snesus take the wheel.
All the best,