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.



It’s pretty obvious that working out regularly and drinking plenty of water is good for you… check. But which supplements to take to help bring out the glow in your skin and improve your energy can be a little more daunting. Every person needs to figure out the best combination for their body, but I want to give you a bit of insight about what I have found that works for me. Not only have the following supplements / vitamins improved my skin, but they have also helped with my migraines. So, this is my very personal protocol… don’t think of it as a prescription, but glean what you wish… Tumeric: Tumeric is a root that has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems (University of Maryland Medical Center). The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also states that turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause. I have personally found that it helps me recover more quickly from workouts and my skin seems less puffy (especially after a few cocktails). I believe its long-term benefits are the most important investment and will continue to be a devotee. I take one New Chapter Tumeric Force Supplement daily. supp-1 sup2 Fish Oil / Vitamin D: I was able to find these two supplements combined into a tasty mango liquid form (Barlean’s Omega Swirl Fish Oil with Vitamin D). Like Tumeric, Fish Oil has a number of anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. It is helpful in treating dry skin and Psoriasis. The Omega3 Fatty Acids are major player here; they boost the growth of enzymes in the body to produce more collagen and elastin protein. They also kill off the ‘bad’ enzymes that lower the collagen levels in the body. Ideal levels of of collagen and elastin are necessary to avoid wrinkling of the skin. Most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D, which helps with energy levels. I can personally see the difference in my energy on the days that I forget to take the supplement. Having sufficient energy ensures that you can take care of yourself on a daily basis and make good choices. I have one tablespoon of the Barlean’s liquid each night. sup3 B-Complex Vitamin: B-complex vitamins refers to all of the known essential water-soluble vitamins except for vitamin C. These include thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin, folic acid and the cobalamins (vitamin B12) (more info: e-vitamins). B-complex vitamins promote healthy hair, skin and nails as they work together to counteract damage caused by free radicals. Deficiencies of any of these B vitamins can lead to dry, grey skin, dermatitis, wrinkles, acne, rashes, hair loss and weak, splitting nails. Vitamin B12 helps to regulate your skin’s pigment production and location, preventing hyperpigmentation – the darkening of skin in certain parts of your body. Vitamin B5 can help to minimize acne by helping the body to breakdown oils in the form of triglycerides and cholesterol, whereas Vitamin B2 has been the most helpful of this group with my migraines (More info: University of Maryland Medical Center) I take Pure B Complex Liquid in the morning.



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="" thumb="" width="580" align="center" title="oils" frame="true" icon="image"]



Im taking this as an official sign that SUPERMODELS are BACK. #Fashion #ClosingCeremony #Olympics

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Today it made sense as to why I feel so compelled to be organized – especially when moving. As my friend and yoga instructor, Ari Green, explained during class, the act of cleaning out a closet allows you to feel lighter and more open to seize opportunity because you are ‘creating space.’ You can suddenly make objective decisions – the lack of clutter in your physical (mental, emotional, etc.) space translates to increased awareness, agility, and energy.

Now that I’ve had time to reflect on my move, I can comment on what does and does not work when consolidating from a larger to smaller apartment. Below are some tips on ‘creating space’ that I’ve pulled together from both friends and my own trial & error:

1) Go Vertical: I used this tactic most prominently in my hall closet. Here I installed a customizable InterMetro shelving unit from the Container Store. This allowed me to store everything that used to be in my desk and laundry room as well as a couple of jackets. I used Havana Wicker Baskets from the Pottery Barn to store folders that were in filing cabinets previously and are now easily accessible on the InterMetro shelving unit.

-photo coming-

2) Go External: If you don’t have enough closet space built-in, don’t shove your clothes to fit as that will only lead to lost clothing, wrinkles, and a huge dry cleaning bill. Instead, research wardrobe closets, like the one I purchase from Ikea. I chose the ELGA 3-door closet because it was the LARGEST one I could find, has a mirrored door, and is similar in styling to my living room furniture (as it could not fit in the bedroom.) Also, I learned that Ikea will assemble its furniture for you (at an added, but very worthwhile cost) so no need to shy away if you’re handy-man skills aren’t up to par.

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3) Choose Your Hangers Wisely: This tip came from Kathleen Ritzel. When hanging scarves and skirts, in particular, there are some super slim, slip free systems available from Bed Bath & Beyond and HSN. Multi-tiered skirt hangers are an absolute must as they fit 4-6 skirts (or shorts) vertically in the same space as a single hanger. For scarves, try Real Simple Large Loop Hangers, which each have five holes to pull scarves through and come in packs of two, thus providing enough room for 10 scarves.

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4) Look Down Under: Storing things underneath the bed is not a new idea, but think about extending the concept to other areas of your home, like coffee tables or end tables. Using the same Pottery Barn Havana Baskets as I mentioned earlier, I added storage under by bedroom side tables without taking up any extra floor space.

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”Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

~William Morris~



My apologies for the brief gap since my last posting! I have been in the process of moving from Los Angeles to New York and thus very mindfully reorganizing my personal possessions into the most compact, functional and visually appealing arrangement possible. I think of it just like in-store merchandising; my goal is to be able to easily ‘shop my closet.’ However, the space allocated for that closet suddenly went from this… [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="426" align="center" title="room1" frame="true" icon="image"] To this… [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="224" align="center" title="room2" frame="true" icon="image"] Now, I’m going to take a few days to figure out the best solution to this situation and will report back with the best tips for maximizing not only your closet but overall storage space :)



Coachella. It makes me glean and wince at the same time. The best bands in the planet in one place . Unfortunately, that place is HOT, dusty, and full of {some} people that aren’t showering for the better part of three days. My goal for the weekend is to look fresh and radiant with as little effort and maintenance as possible; the following will be my keys to success.

[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Hourglass Superficial Waterproof Bronzer Price: $45Amazing stuff – A universal shade that withstands high-humidity and extreme moisture. It gets better; paraben- free, sulfate-free, synthetic fragrance and dye-free. Haute hippie appoved.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Smashbox BB Cream SPF 35 Price: $39You already know I’m a fan of BB Cream in general, especially the multi-shade offering from Smashbox from this prior post. Not only do you have SPF 35 to shelter from the desert sun, but the medium coverage tint + primer coverage makes this a one-stop-shop for the perfectly (protected) complexion.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock SPF 70 Price: $10.99I am a HUGE fan the Neutrogena line of high-SPF spray sunscreens, all of which contain Helioplex a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. While UVB rays are the ones that cause skin to burn, UVA rays are the ones that cause skin to wrinkle (and this type can even pass through window/glass) thus it is necessary to make sure that you are using BROAD SPECTRUM protection against both types.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Estee Lauder Sumptuous Waterproof Bold Volume Lifting Mascara Price: $21Long wearing, and absolutely waterproof. Achieve and MAINTAIN your ideal lash fringe all day and night. I love the classic cone shape of this brush, too, which allows a precise bottom and outer lash application.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Too Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof and Tearproof Eyeliner Price: $18This eyeliner glides on without tugging to achieve the festival-perfect cat eye (using the built-in super soft smudger) and will literally stay on through sweat and tears. I use it almost daily and it be sure to make makeup bag next weekend. Must also remember to bring eye makeup remover (face wash def. won’t cut it).
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder (Blondish) Price: $35Second day hair, but better… and available in White, Blondish, Brown, and Black to make sure your root touch-up is invisible.
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="150" align="center" title="coachella1" frame="true" icon="image"] Garnier Fructis Survivor Gel Price: $4.89Can’t bear to blow out your hair in the heat? Worried about your curls and frizz in the extreme conditions? This is the ONLY product that keeps mine in check. Note: It is STRONG. You must have curly, somewhat dry hair to use, otherwise it will be much to heavy for you. But, if you are the type of girl who is always looking for the-next-best-curl-manager, it has become my savior.


[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="maskara1" frame="true" icon="image"] Molded Brush – Plastic wands that function like a mascara comb allowing for flexible, oversized take on the traditional bristled brush used to create exceptional length and volume. Best for medium to long lashes as it can be difficult for those with shorter lashes to get brush close to the root. Use a single coat to prevent clumping. Try- DiorShow Mascara
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="300" align="center" title="maskara4" frame="true" icon="image"] Curved Brush – A curved brush will slightly enhance the curl of your lashes, but not enough to replace a lash curler. Available in both molded and traditional brush types. Try – Maybelline Great Lash Curved Brush Mascara
[lightbox link="" thumb="" width="200" align="center" title="maskara5" frame="true" icon="image"] Mini Brush – Traditionally used for bottom lashes or for sparse lashes. Compact brush allows you to get close to lash line Try – Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara



Fashion is about interpretation and evolution (who can forget Miranda Priestly’s cerulean blue tirade in The Devil Wears Prada), but sometimes you cross the line.   This is the gist of BCBGMaxAzria’s lawsuit against fledgling Stretta Apparel.  The miracle-working Herve Leger bandage dress has been perfecting women’s bodies since the 80’s. With the recent rejuvenation of the line by BCBG in 2007, we have seen many postpartum interpretations of the original garment.  These lesser quality knockoffs are not uncommon within the industry, but it is rare that even a stylist can confuse the two (as alleged by BCBG).  Stretta Apparel markets their replica banded dresses and skirts at an average price point of $350 to vendors such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Intermix.  They have taken numerous designs and leaked that their dresses are manufactured in the same factories as Herve Leger, thus misleading stylists and buyers. What is the impact to you? Do you care if you get the look of the original at a minimum 50% off? What are the long-term repercussions to the fashion industry? Is this just natural competition or pathetic copy-cat syndrome? You be the judge… Top image is Herve Leger’s $1050 Eileen Dress while the bottom image is Stretta’s $422 Christiana Dress. [lightbox link="" thumb="" width="150" align="center" title="dress1" frame="true" icon="image"]

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