Eastern skincare alternatives, part 1

Skincare is one of those things that I’ve always been interested in, but with which I only recently started experimenting. I tended to stick with the same brands and the same routine (which in case you’re wondering, was your basic cleanse-moisturise- exfoliate-whenever-you-remember routine, the latter of which for me wasn’t very often) with little variation over the years. But lately, whether it’s because I’m getting older or wearing less make-up, I’ve been more and more interested in how I can take my skincare routine to the next level – but without just heading to my local beauty store.

And so I started my research into the fascinating world that is Korean and by extension, Eastern, skincare. And I am officially hooked! Although I still consider myself to be a K-beauty (as it’s called by those in the know) newbie, I’ve already discovered some products and techniques that have changed my life (or my face, at the very least!)

Here’s part 1 of my Eastern skincare alternatives series which focuses on my top K-beauty products.

Korean products

The Korean skincare industry is booming and after trying only two products so far, I can already see why. After doing a hell of a lot of research on the different brands and products available (seriously, that rabbit hole is DEEP) I thought I’d dip my toe in the water by starting with buying an exfoliator and an ‘essence’.


I’ve always been slack when it comes to exfoliating and had also found it hard to find the right product for me – some were too strong for my sensitive skin and left me red and raw, while others felt like they were barely doing anything at all (the latter of which was especially problematic for me because I can be pretty lazy and if I don’t feel as though the exfoliator is doing anything, I’m probably not going to keep doing it!) So when I read the rave reviews – and I seriously mean rave – about these seemingly miraculous Neogen bio-peel gauze exfoliating pads that you simply wipe over your face, I was intrigued. Add to that the fact that they came in different ‘flavours’/scents (green tea, red wine, and lemon, ICYWW) and you bet that I jumped on that bandwagon and bought some STAT.

Fast forward to a few weeks later and I’m obsessed with these babies (I went for the green tea, naturally). I use them nightly once a week as I have quite sensitive skin, and my skin feels so amazing afterwards that it seriously takes all my willpower not to use them more often! I simply swipe the gauze side in small circular motions across my face after cleansing (paying close attention to my nose and chin which are my trouble areas), flip the pad over and do the same with the soft quilted side, and finish off by rinsing my face with lukewarm water. And voila! My face has never felt so clean and my skin seriously *glows* after I use them in that really nice dewy way and not in the less-nice shiny way. I’m already planning which one to try next – wine or lemon.


A lesser-known beauty product in the West, essences are the heart and soul of the K-beauty skincare routine. An essence is a lightweight fluid that’s used after toner and is said to help aid skin repair, promote brighter skin, and drive anti-ageing ingredients into the skin. At their core though, an essence is meant to be the secret to hydrated skin.

Since I often battle dry skin thanks to sensitivity and allergies, this product sounded like a lifesaver and I knew I needed to try it. Even if it did sound too good to be true! Back to the reviews and round and round I went until I finally settled on the Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence (ok ok, so I know I stuck with the same brand as the exfoliating pads which is what I said I wanted to get away from, but the reviews were just so good that I feel it was justified!)

Now I’m going to be honest, I was confused when I first tried this product. Really confused. And wondering what the hell all the hype was about and why I bought into it and why I spent my hard earned money on a product that I’d never even tried in a store and GOD why did I do that. You know, just the usual cycle of online purchase regret (maybe I should stop buying so many clothes from Asos..?) BUT. Yepp, there’s a big but so stay with me. This product is SO GOOD! To give you an idea of what it’s like, the consistency looks similar to a serum but when you apply it, it actually feels kind of like water. Hence my confusion; I already had water, plenty of water in fact. So then what did I just buy?! Turns out I bought a super hydrating fluid that brightens my skin and even keeps my foundation from looking patchy (which can sometimes happen due to my dry skin) I only need a couple of drops which I put onto my hands and then gently pat onto my skin. I’ve got high hopes for this product over the coming winter months when my skin can go a bit cray cray thanks to the cold weather and constant heating!

I’d love to hear any K-beauty products you’re loving, as I am on this bandwagon like Donkey Kong and I am keen to try out some more products! Stay tuned for the second part of this post on Eastern skincare alternatives focusing on alternative beauty techniques, coming soon.

E x