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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.

THE BEAUTY OF HEALTH: HOW SUPPLEMENTS CAN HELP YOUR SKIN AND WELL-BEING

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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.

DOGGIE BEAUTY

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[lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/brutus2.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/brutus2.jpg" width="0" align="center" title="brutus2" frame="true" icon="image"] Don’t forget that your pups need some beauty TLC during the cold too. Apply a bit of triple antibiotic ointment of Vaseline to their nose to prevent dry out. Brutus will definitely need a bit after this romp!

COACHELLA BEAUTY TIPS

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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="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella1.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella1.jpg" 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="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachell2.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachell2.jpg" 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="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella3.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella3.jpg" 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="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella4.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella4.jpg" 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="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella5.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella5.jpg" 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="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella6.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella6.jpg" 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="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella7.png" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/coachella7.png" 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.

BOOK - ENAMEL DICTION

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[lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/diction1.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/diction1.jpg" width="300" align="left" title="diction1" frame="true" icon="image"]I happened upon the must-read, kistchy-but-oh-so-accurate book Enamel Diction by The Initiative ($16.95) while browsing Carousel Shop in Bondi Beach, Australia this past week. Enamel Diction’s authors describe the book as a “light hearted insight into the kind of façades we present to the world – and ask; is the nail polish we wear a true reflection of ourselves or just gloss?” Or more simply, can you tell a girl by her nail color? Ultimately it suggests that how we choose to express ourselves through exterior decoration is an important clue to our inner nature. The colors we choose have a meaning and a function. Buff off the coating to varnish the truth with your own copy. Guarantee that you will have your yoga neighbor with the consistent fuchsia pedi all figured out . Below is a peek into my current polish personality… [lightbox link="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/diction2.jpg" thumb="http://www.seriousdesigner.com/erinsykes/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/diction2.jpg" width="600" align="left" title="diction2" frame="true" icon="image"]

BEAUTY BALM? BB CREAM?

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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

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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.