K-Beauty On the Road: Inappropriate Sheetmasking & Involuntary Strobing

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you've no doubt already seen/heard my special-event-attendance woes leading up to this weekend; I live a hectic life full of important things like reorganizing my spreadsheet or inventorying my sheet masks, not to mention writing a blog post every weekend and working 60 hours a week at my day job.  This means social outings that require the trappings of non-hermit life such as well-behaved skin, makeup, and spanx is more than I can handle.

Having had to do it a few weekends in a row has me ready to retire from human contact until at least midsummer.  Stress and troubled skin is a bad combination, but weddings are one of those events that you can't really dodge, so I took advantage of our out-of-state drive and loaded our car trunk with (I kid you not) a cardboard box full of skincare, makeup, and sheet masks.  Being 'ready' was beyond my means, but this was as close as it was going to get.

Korean beauty product routine
I loved the dark cherrywood of this desk so much that I'm writing this covered in sawdust. More on that later.
I'm actually already a few hours overdue to be asleep for an early morning workday, so this post is going to be brief (ahahaha no) and terrifying; I'm going to include a demonstration of the cushion + (accidental) highlighter on my skin.

I've also finally figured out how to properly create a linked table of contents (I think), so you can now just jump to the section you want, woo!

In this post:

I need an adult, or preferably an adult beverage, but then I'd fall asleep at my computer and the rest of this post would be endless lines of "dfghjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj" and then possibly a tweet tomorrow about how I caused an electrical fire by drooling into my keyboard.  If you don't want to see how my repurposed highlighter + cushion looked after a full night of wear, duck out after the money shots of the cushion.  You've been warned!

Just as a quick reminder: this blog uses both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and if you choose to click the fomer before you shop, your purchase may contribute a tiny amount to the maintenance of this blog.  See full details at the end of this post! #receipts

Preparing my skin in advance

If you've listened to the Snailcast's episode on special event skincare & makeup, or read Tracy of fan-b's post about makeup for acne-prone skin, you've already familiar with the prepping approach I took. Exactly a week ago, while lazy Sunday morning bonding with my mother-in-law by wearing sheet masks together (she has some from the Simple K-Beauty Starter Kit #4 - Normal, Hyperpigmented, & Aging Kit that I made for her) my husband mentioned that this weekend was his friend's wedding. Oh sh*t.

Immediately I was struck by the kind of terror that anyone faces realizing that they haven't prepared anything to wear, and worse, it's a cocktail/evening wedding so there's going to be glitz involved.  I don't glitz.  It also meant that I had a week's time to clear any breakouts I had, and attempt to prevent new ones.

Korean beauty product routine
Everything to the left of the hair products: what I was using, to the right: what I wish I was using.
Here's what I did for a week to prep:

  1. Dropped all 'exorcise the face demons' products from my routine, including my prescription with azelaic acid and tretinoin. [Read more about my actives here: What's In My Skincare Wardrobe: Actives (Prescriptions, Antioxidants, and Acids) Edition]
  2. Avoided testing any new, unknown products, even tantalizing sheet masks (includes details of the above products.)
  3. Used a gentle BHA daily, to keep my pores clear and try to prevent new acne forming**
  4. Focused on lightly nourishing my skin without clogging it, so lots of hydration and little oils
  5. Sheet masked whenever I could to encourage skin recovery/healing and reduce inflammation
  6. Meticulously cleansed my skin with a gentle cleanser, even when I wanted to do a quick wash-and-then-sleep

The real keys here were cleansing properly and dropping all the hardcore actives from my routine.

**Note: I've got a lot of experience with acids and have being using an ultra-strong prescription which is highly irritating, so my skin is more resilient to acids in general.  Dropping down to a weak daily BHA is a drop down for me, I am not suggesting that anyone go hard on BHA leading up to a big event.

What I brought with me

I suppose it would help if I reposted the image before I detailed what it all was, wouldn't it?

Korean beauty product routine
I actually started laying this out so I wouldn't have to rummage through the box, but the cherrywood desk was inspirational.
I'll include any relevant reviews & where to get these products if applicable.


Mediental Sheet mask Evercos Sheet Mask Lovemore Sheet Mask
L-R: Mediental Balhyo, Evercos Prunus, and Lovemore Pearl Barley & Milk silk mask, still my top 3. Image from: My Favourite K-Beauty Products of 2015
I unrepentantly wore back-to-back sheet masks as we drove; these masks stay saturated for a long time so doubtless I startled many hapless drivers as we cruised past while I was rocking my serial killer chic.

**This LE SnowShark is sort of the joint lovechild of the snail unit: Tracy of Fanserviced-b mixed together my namesake Hanbang first essence (Snowbang) with Sharksauce, made for fellow Snailcaster Fifty Shades of Snail, and then Chel of Holysnails made a version of it so full of fancy extracts that it would be prohibitively expensive to buy, so it won't be sold.  As far as I know, only one batch was made and there's a bottle of it available on Tracy's giveaway here, but that's the only way to get it, apologies!

Base makeup:
I don't own any highlighting products. I discovered the hard way that if you use a too-dark base, add contour, and then don't have a highlighter to balance it out, it can look like a hot mess.  However, since I rarely wear makeup and I'm a derp when it comes to application, I don't own any highlighters.  I threw this into my 'cardboard box of panic' in case I wanted to use it as an eyeshadow, and then out of desperation, I swatched it on my hand with a powder brush to see if it might do as a highlighter or whether it was a glittery mess.  Halp me, snesus.

Amaaaazing!  It actually ended up giving me a lovely sheen so I decided to YOLO it and give it a shot. Success!  (Photo demo at the end of this post.)  I wouldn't necessarily recommend getting this shadow for a highlighter instead of an actual highlighter product for that purpose, but I'll happily repurpose the hell outta this.

Point makeup:
  • Eye primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion, still a classic. Sephora | Ulta
  • Eyebrow: Lioele Auto Brow in ... uh ... Dark Brown? Natural Brown?  It's long since rubbed off, and the spoolie is missing. I think there are better brow products out there, tbh.
  • Eyeliner pencil: Clio Gelpresso 'Be Brown' kit, the darkest brown, which I can't find anywhere, wtf?
  • Liquid eyeliner: Clio Kill Black brush liner, did not use -- not enough time (hahaha, when do I ever have enough time to attempt a liquid line), used gel pencil instead. Amazon | eBayJolse | Birchbox
  • Eyeshadow: Clio Pro Palette, in Cotton, Modern, and Mocha. (read more about it here) Still not sure where else to buy this other than in-store.
  • Mascara: Blinc tubing mascara in Black, because #RaccoonEyeProblems. Amazon | Birchbox | Sephora
  • Lip prep: Aritaum Ginger Sugar Lip scrub, a balm + sugar scrub Amazon | eBay | RoseRoseShop 
  • Lip products: Peripera Moist Ink in #5 Soul Attack, Clio Virgin Kiss Tension Lip in #7 Some, Son & Park Lip Crayon in Wicked Burgundy, and mini Etude House Color Pop Tint in P12.  I ended up using the Peripera as a stain for my stubbornly pigment-resistant upper lip, the Clio as my gradient lip colour, and the Etude House as a gloss. (see the Clio lipstick on different skin tones here) Peripera: Amazon | eBay  Clio: Amazon | eBay 

Unedited photos of the Hera cushion

As the sun went down, a beam of direct sunlight poured over the edge of the desk and hit the Hera cushion case, and it was just so damn pretty that I had to stop my #StruggleContour and take a shot several shots of its holographic magnificence.

This was taken with my cheap phone because it was nearby and I had to snap photos before the sun disappeared, but I've done no editing other than cropping and watermarking it.  Normally I just fix the white balance and any colour correction that's needed, but the light was so good that it didn't need it.

Hera UV Mist Cushion Ultra Moisture #13
Look at the sharp shadows cast by the label letters.
Amazing, isn't it?  It's normally impossible to capture the holographic rainbow goodness of this cushion unless you tinker with lights and angles and lots of cussing begging crying patience.  Thank you, sunlight!

Hera UV Mist Cushion Ultra Moisture #13
It almost looks like there were cheesy filters added, but this is all natural, baby. Or my phone lens was smudged. D:
Apologies for the random brushes and products in the background; I didn't take the time to clear anything away, I just snatched up my phone and told it how pretty it was today.

Unedited photos of my face wearing the Hera cushion & impromptu Holika Holika highlighter

Oh sweet snesus.  I don't put my face on the internet, for the reasons I mention in the Snailcast Episode 12: On Skin and Self-Care, where we talk about what it's like to be judged as a 'beauty blogger' when we're struggling with our skin ourselves, and what it's like being the 'before' in a 'before and after', as well was an 'in progress', and that one person's 'before' might be someone else's 'after'.  We also talk about a lot of other serious, vulnerable topics such as self-care, depression, motherhood, and how we manage all of it while blogging about a subject that makes us hyper-aware of our skin flaws.

Nonetheless, I wanted to take some photos of how the highlighter (accidental as it was) fared over the course of the evening, and how the Hera performed.  My face did get a bit shiny as I used very minimal powder to avoid the dryness issues the Hera cushion has, so not all of this shine is my unskilled attempts at highlighting, heh.  Of course, I did flatten a kabuki brush to apply it, so I was uh, pretty glowy.  K-Beauty style glow/strobing is still a thing, right?

Hera UV Mist Cushion Ultra Moisture #13 swatches
The concealer melted off my blemishes, whee!
Also, this contour attempt is still tragic; it seems quite warm and blush-like to me, so it looks really odd on my temples ... or maybe it's just my bad application attempt?

Or it could be the lighting; I took this at the end of the night in our hotel bathroom, but I have not edited this photo at all other than to rotate it rightway up, crop it, and add the watermark.

Those are indeed my breakouts, my pitted skin, and my giant pores.  Also my eyebrows went all crazy; I need some brow gel or something because damn.

Despite my newb flailing, this base did not take long to apply; I patted on a thin, even layer of the Hera cushion all over, patting furiously to blend, and then applied another very thin layer only in areas I needed more coverage.  Then I spot covered with concealer; you could still see my freckles through the base.

The Hera held up reasonably well for 5-6 hours of wear; cushions are light, natural, convenient, and comfortable to wear, but they're usually not long-wearing.  I took it with me in case I needed to do touch ups but then I didn't end up bothering as I didn't know anyone at the wedding and could have cared less how it all looked.  I was too surly over having to wait past 8 pm to be fed, and resisting the open bar on an empty stomach.

The next morning I woke up to a face demon waving from my right cheek, but I smugly swiped on my BHA and mini morning routine before slapping on my sunscreen because that demon was waaay too late.  Bwahahaha.  I may have lost the war but I've won this battle at least!

Have you gone to great lengths to prep for a special event, or also feel terror and angst at the mention of 'glitz'? Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

Have something you'd like to share with me in general?  Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram at @snowwhiteandtheasianpear because I'd love to see it!

All the best,

**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned in my blog, are 100% purchased with my own money, with a single exception of a press sample I tested & reviewed in 2015 which swore me off of them forever.  As I mentioned in this post, the SnowShark was a personal gift and the product isn't for sale.  This blog contains  both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself.  Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.


  1. Repurposing products is the best! I have a Bobbi Brown powder eyeshadow in Cement which makes me look like Robert Smith from the Cure (no judgement! just not my look) but dang, it makes a fabulous contour. The 3 times I tried (gulp).

    More to the point, your skin looks good, dewy, clear. we are so often our own worst critics, no doubt everyone at the wedding was marveling at your glow.

    1. Awww, you are the sweetest, I just want to give you a squish. Thank you for the compliment, and while I'm really relieved that my efforts to prevent any of the usual face demons from arising before the wedding worked (there's just tiny, easily-covered face demons) my skin is definitely not "beauty blogger skin" and I hate telling people IRL that I have a skincare blog, because they always have this judgey, skeptical look that makes me feel two feet tall. OTL

      I do wonder how I'd feel about my skin if I didn't have that extra pressure/heightened expectations from blogging about it, but writing has been so fulfilling that I don't regret it.

      Thanks again ❤

  2. A cousin wedding is on Saturday and I have to make a 1-hour plane trip to my parents home in Friday. I just realized today that I have no eyeshadow primer...


    I have a checked luggage, but snesus, it's really tempting to just packed everything....

    1. Oh no, I feel this! What did you end up deciding to do? Pencil as a base? Buy an emergency primer? D:

  3. Your skin struggles and imperfections make your blogs more credible. You should be proud. I would do everything to make my skin even remotely close to yours.

    1. Thank you so much, that means a lot! ❤ While my skin was as well-behaved as it gets for this event, it's been a process years in the making to get it this far. It's worlds better than it was before I started this process, but it's never going to be that photo-ready-without-makeup skin, which is a bit discouraging but then I have to compare where my skin was 5 years to now, and there are definitely some improvements.

  4. Nice! All your products sounds good! It's must to use best products for skin. For my skin I'm using skincare by lifecell and satisfied with the results. As your products sounds good, keen to try some of these, specially sheet masks.

  5. 'Inappropriate sheetmasking' speaks to my soul. Gone are the days when I was embarrassed to sport the serial killer chic in public places (aka planes) - but I've yet got to try the roadtrip version!

    I have no idea how to do glitzy evening looks; even did my wedding makeup myself, which resulted in people thinking I didn't wear any. Sigh. I've improved since then, but I'm still using beige eyeshadow if I actually contour (which is rare) - now I want to try using shimmery eyeshadows for highlighting!

    Your skin rocks (and glows)! :D Do tell when you find a good brow gel in the AB world to tame hairs, mine have the texture of wires and are horrible.

    1. I think you look absolutely amazing in your wedding photos! You look so glowing and naturally beautiful comma with amazing skin!

  6. Replies
    1. Aw, thank you so much! It's actually still in progress; but it's almost done!

  7. I also think your skin looks awesome and healthy and glowy in that photo! While of course I wish you the skin of your dreams, as a blog-consumer I'm comforted by the fact that you don't have skin that looks like an airbrushed dream. It's hard to take skincare advice from people who have naturally flawless skin, you know? As an adult who still has "troubled" skin -- scarred, pitted, prone to breakouts and irritation -- I've learned so much from your writing, and I think the fact that you've had the same struggles makes you much more credible. Plus, it gives me hope that my skin might still look like yours someday!

    1. Aww, thank you so much for this comment! The feedback that I've gotten on this post is making me reconsider my stance on not doing any kind of photos of my face, even cropped swatches of my cheek. Beauty blogging as an environment where one is expected to be, well, beautiful. That's not a credential that I have. However, if people feel like that is actually more beneficial to them and allows them to see how things will perform on troubled skin like their own, then it would be worth doing more of. On the other hand, I've certainly seen plenty of comments online criticizing people who are skincare bloggers for not having good skin; as if they don't know what they're talking about because they haven't managed to permanently solve their own skin condition.