BLOG

Erin Sykes

Breaking Down the Korean Skincare Routine for an American Attention Span

The Korean skincare routine is the Holy Grail of beauty rituals; lasting anywhere from 10 to 17 steps, depending on how enthusiastic you are during the serum portion of the regimen. Almost more important than the products, is the order in which you apply them, as it directly affects how well they're absorbed. I’ve tried a variety of methodologies, but being a realist, decided to break it back down to a more manageable 6 steps. The Korean ritual of ‘double cleansing’ is becoming more popular stateside with the first step being removal of stubborn eye, lip, and face makeup with an oil cleanser (e.g. GloTherapeutics Cleansing Oil) followed by a pore freshening foaming cleanser (e.g. Peter Thomas Roth Gentle Foaming Cleanser); both applied with circulation-boosting circular massage. Double-cleansing is the most effective way to wash your face as it first removes oil-based debris (makeup, sunscreen and sebum) completely. Otherwise, the foam cleanser would just push these elements around on the surface of the skin, leaving a residue, preventing future products from fully penetrating.

The next most impactful treatment, also gaining popularity from Asian culture, is the use of an essence lotion (e.g. YonKA HydraNo1 Fluid). This product may look like your typical toner, however, it is packed with powerful anti-antiaging ingredients. Still liquid, but lightly thicker and with a slight slip, this product is best applied when skin is still damp from cleansing and using fingertips (no cotton pads needed). Its light texture will allow for the deepest pore penetration.

Waiting 30 seconds between each product to allow full penetration is essential to magnifying effectiveness. After 30 seconds has passed, apply your targeted serum (waiting 30 seconds), follow with your favorite eye cream (wait 30 seconds) and then follow with moisturizer (with SPF). Note the order of product application moves from thinnest to thickest… i.e. from deepest penetrating to surface protectant.

Soup to nuts, less than 5 minutes… and it’s actually a bit therapeutic. The key is daily prevention, which eliminates any need for expensive facials. Sure, if you’re stumbling home a bit toasty, do yourself a favor and at least wipe off the day’s makeup with some cleansing tissues. Sleeping in your makeup is the universal ultimate skincare sin—whether you're in NYC or Seoul.

May: Skin Cancer Awareness Month

images

A JAMA Dermatology study just found that there are more skin cancer cases linked to indoor tanning beds than lung cancer cases linked to smoking! May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month - It's the perfect opportunity to make an appointment with your dermatologist to have a full, head-to-toe examto make sure you don't have any abnormal moles or early warning signs of skin cancer. I personally had my exam today with Dr. Doris Day and was clear with the exception of a potential, small Basal Cell Carcinoma on my nose which was quickly treated on-site. For more information on mobile exam units that may be visiting your area and how to do a self-exam between doctors visits, refer to Skincancer.org. [lightbox link="http://erinsykes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/images.jpeg" thumb="http://erinsykes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/images.jpeg" width="277" align="center" title="images" frame="true" icon="image"]

SYKESSTYLE TIP OF THE DAY 4

tip4-2

How can probiotic supplements help with acne? Probiotics help regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. Since skin is the largest organ of the body, its serves as a phenomenal indicator of when our bodies are off-balance. Often, generalized inflammation can manifest itself as acne, psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis. Thus, taking a probiotic may not only help with your digestion, but also help with the clarity of your skin!

Most probiotic supplements include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, two of the most well-studied strains. Most experts say a supplement with at least 20 billion live organisms per dose to be the most effective. Also, try switching supplements every month or two to keep your system fresh.

tip4-1

 

Ultimate Flora 50 Billion Available at Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods

SYKESSTYLE TIP OF THE DAY

tip2-2

Wait two minutes in between applying your serum and your moisturizer. The serum needs an opportunity to penetrate to a deeper level and you don’t want the formulas to mix on the surface area of your skin.

1st: Always Serum [lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tip2-2.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tip2-2.jpg" width="250" align="center" title="tip2-2" frame="true" icon="image"]

Wait 2 Minutes, Apply Moisturizer [lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tip2-1.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tip2-1.jpg" width="250" align="center" title="tip2-1" frame="true" icon="image"]

THE NEW FACE OILS

oils

Applying oil directly to your face seems counter-intuitive of so many of us who spent our teenage years doing everything we could to forever banish oil from our lives. Now, as adults, we have a whole new array of concerns – with anti-aging leading the pack… and OIL is what will keep your skin looking plump and youthful. Many of the new breed of face oils (include Rodin, Estee Lauder Nutritious, and Josie Marin) contain ingredients such as Argan, Passion Fruit, and Marula Oils which have anti-oxidants that protect against free radicals. Argan, Yangu, and Borage Seed Oil also sooth against inflamation, thus flaming redness and even helping with acne. The oils are dry which means you won’t be left looking shiny. You can use the oils alone at night, under moisturizer, or mix a drop into foundation for a dewy look. Once a week, try using the oil as an exfoliator; after cleansing take a few drops a rub into skin in a circular motion, starting from center of face and working outward. Continue the motion for a few minutes until your start to feel a slight pilling of dead skin. The oil helps to loosen the surface skin in combination with the extended massage. continue until even and radiant.   A few to try: Josie Maran Argan Oil Rodin Olio Lusso Estee Lauder Nutritious Fresh Seaberry Oil [lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/oils.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/oils.jpg" width="580" align="center" title="oils" frame="true" icon="image"]

WINTER WONDERLAND

Heading out of your first ski trip of the year? or is your skin struggling to adjust to the December chill? As the seasons change it’s important to change your skincare routine. Contrary to what you may think, less is more when the winds pick up and temps drop. High quality, deeply penetrating moisturizers and serums will become your best friend! Be sure keep the following handy: □ Lightweight serum with hyaluronic acid to help skin hold on to moisture □ Eye cream that treats your main concerns (dark circles? lines?). The area around your eyes is more delicate and sensitive that the rest of your face so it needs special care, especially in extreme conditions. □ Moisturizer with SPF 30 or higher (note that sun reflects off of snow an will cause damage more quickly than you may think) □ BB Cream to perfect your complexion in one step (not to mention further protect) □ Black waterproof mascara so that you will look wide-eyed even when skiing or caught in a a pleasant ‘wintery-mix’ □ Tinted lip conditioner to keep lips moisturized and looking polished □ Softly exfoliating cleanser to get rid of dry, chapped skin at the end of each day

BEAUTY BALM? BB CREAM?

cream1

Beauty Balm, also called BB Cream, is the newest trend within both the cosmetics and skincare worlds. These multi-tasking formulas fuse tinted moisturizer, makeup primer, SPF, skin-nourishing serum, and a powerhouse anti-oxidant complex into a lightweight substitute for traditional tinted moisturizer or foundation. Though just released in the US, Beauty Balms have long been an Asian beauty secret and these original versions pay specific attention to priming, blemish healing/concealing, and offering a high SPF (>45). With about a dozen US brands currently offering a Beauty Balm, it is clear that some are modeling their formulas closer to the Asian standard while others are expanding to suit consumer desires in the States. The following are the five most popular Beauty Balms in Sephora and show a range of textures, weights, shade ranges, etc: For demonstration, if there was a shade range available, I chose the Medium tone (noted below) of the available options.

[lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream1.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream1.jpg" width="250" align="left" title="cream1" frame="true" icon="image"] Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF 30 Price: $37 Shade Used: Shade 2 (Darker) # Shades Available: 2 I like the smooth texture and light-medium coverage of the Clinique Age Defense BB Cream. Excellent anti-aging ingredients and 100% fragrance-free, with the backing of a skincare leader, so long-term benefit expectations are high. I would like to see them expand the shade range as even Shade 2, the ‘darker’ of the options, was bordering on being too light for my medium skin tone.
 
[lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream2.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream2.jpg" width="350" align="left" title="cream2" frame="true" icon="image"] Dr Jardt+ Premium BB Beauty Balm SPF 45 Price: $39 Single ShadeThe Premium version of Dr. Jardt’s formulas is meant for normal-dry skin and thus offers more coverage and primer benefits than the Water Fuse version. It offers a medium coverage with an impressive SPF 45. Again, however, the universal single shade is a bit too light and finish a bit matte for me. I do adore the hard shell pump packaging; great for travel as you do not run the risk of an exploding tube in your bag.
 
[lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream3.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream3.jpg" width="350" align="left" title="cream3" frame="true" icon="image"] Dr Jardt+ Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm SPF 25 Price: $32 Single ShadeThe Water Fuse version of Dr. Jardt+ is a more lightweight formula, appropriate for summer or oily-skin. It also comes in a single shade, which is also too light to be truly universal, but more flexible than the Premium due to the sheerness of the product. The Water Fuse does not offer as high an SPF, as much coverage or the full priming benefits of the Premium version, but absorbs quickly and offers lightweight moisture. This product has a unique audience; those with light to medium toned skin that is typically oily.
 
[lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream4.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream4.jpg" width="350" align="left" title="cream4" frame="true" icon="image"] Smashbox BB Cream SPF 35 Price: $39 Shade Used: Medium # Shades Available: 4I am impressed with the slightly-more-than-medium coverage and poreless finish that I received with the Smashbox product – it is clear that the brand integrated its primer technology into the BB Cream. With an SPF of 35 it falls in the higher tier of competition with regard to sun prevention. This is a difficult line to walk when formulating a color product as a higher SPF often leads to a chalky finish; Smashbox achieved the sought-after SPF without that problem. Also available in 4 shades, making skin tone matching much easier.
 
[lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream5.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cream5.jpg" width="350" align="left" title="cream5" frame="true" icon="image"] Too Faced Beauty Balm Multi Benefit Skincare Makeup SPF 20 Price: $32 Shade Used: Nude Glow # of Shades Available: 4 The Too Faced Beauty Balm offers the most luminous, lightweight formula with sheer to medium coverage. It absorbs very quickly and is also available in 4 shades to match your skin tone. I am most impressed by the immediate glow that my skin had after applying this product; it offers a radiance boost not present in other Beauty Balms. Its SPF is on the lower end of the spectrum, but is boosted by an impressive antioxidant/ multi-mineral complex.
 

Regardless of which Beauty Balms / BB Cream you choose, its apparent that their rise will eliminate the need for traditional tinted moisturizer. Why not use one product and achieve a multitude of immediate and long-term results?

NATURAL BEAUTY

arcona

Despite significant effort, there have been few truly luxurious, all-natural skin care lines that successfully combine effectiveness and responsibility. Two shining stars, however, are ARCONA Skin Care, a spa brand from Los Angeles and Intelligent Nutrients, a relatively new line from Horst Rechelbacher, the founder of AVEDA. [lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/arcona.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/arcona.jpg" width="180" align="left" title="arcona" frame="true" icon="image"] ARCONA has upgraded all-natural, small-batch formulation to include ultra-high concentrations of antioxidants, plant lipids and extracts, sea vegetables, essential oils, vitamins, and minerals. These actives are then cold-pressed to maintain freshness (just think about the LA juicing craze) and the processed using chirally correct technology in order to minimize allergic reactions and enhance effectiveness at a molecular level. [lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/arcona2.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/arcona2.jpg" width="156" align="right" title="arcona2" frame="true" icon="image"] Intelligent Nutrients is a ‘global apothecary’ line offering USDA Certified Organic skin care, hair care, lip care, baby care, pet care, love therapy, and functional foods. All Intelligent Nutrients products are created using 100% renewable energy and are 100% food based, safe, and non-toxic. The core of both the skin care and the functional food line is ‘Intellimune’ antioxidant blend formulated with cold-pressed seed extract to create a super-supplement that fights off free radicals and inflammation, protects health cellular activity and growth, and helps thwart premature aging and disease in the process.