Asian women are such delicate flowers. It seems difficult to believe that their beauty products contain bee venom and pig collagen. If Asian women look so nice, how is it their beauty products seem so naughty?
Either way, it’s worked for them for centuries. Let’s take a quick look at the beauty trends in Asia and see if we can draw a few conclusions.
“What does she have that I don’t?” That’s what American women were asking when they saw how ageless the Korean women were. When they found out it was something called a Bling Bling Hydro Gel Mask, they said, “Yes, please.” Then they found out that the mask was only one tenth of the Korean ten step beauty routine and the word intrigued would be an understatement.
What followed was a frenzy of American women acquiring more beauty products than their vanities had ever held before – devoting precious hours to the pursuit of beauty whatever the cost. Carefully waiting for each exfoliation to work before applying the serum, double cleansing dutifully, and making sure to do something called the ampoule.
What did this extreme process look like? Pretty much like a regular beauty routine times ten. Here is a standard example so you can judge for yourself.
The Ten-Step Beauty Routine
- First Cleanse: Oil cleanser to dissolve oil-based impurities like makeup, sunscreen, sebum.
- Second Cleanse: Foaming cleanser to get rid of water-based impurities like dirt and sweat
- Exfoliation: Scrub to remove dead skin cells and give skin a brighter appearance.
- Toner: To balance skin’s pH and help skin retain moisture.
- Essence: Hybrid toner and serum that contains a humectant to draw moisture from the air to the skin.
- Ampoule: Supercharged night serum that allows skin to absorb all of the moisture it needs during the day.
- Serum: A concentrated liquid with key active ingredients, the serum can be used to target dehydration, wrinkles or hyperpigmentation based on specific concerns.
- Sheet mask: Mask gaining popularity among Instagram celebs, used to hydrate skin and prevent premature aging.
- Eye Cream: Cream used to target delicate area around the eye.
- Sleeping Mask: The final step to make sure your skin gets its beauty sleep. It won’t stain your sheets because it gets absorbed into your skin.
Getting an extra crease put in your eyelid? Now what could go wrong with that? Certainly, a lot more than taping your eyelids to get the same effect. When the Chinese government began encouraging women to get “double eyelid surgery done to make their eyes look bigger and wider, beauty companies came up with a kindler, gentler solution involving strategically placed double stick tape. Wonder how that works with their eyelashes – ouch!
Move over Botox. There’s a new injection sweeping the Asian continent. In countries like Thailand and India, you’ll be hard pressed to find a moisturizer that doesn’t include a skin lightener. (BYO if you go.) The quest for light skin tops the quest for young looking skin in Asia. In fact, it’s not unusual for an Asian to inject once every five weeks and follow a strict “no sun” policy.
Not even Lady Gaga is immune from the K-beauty influence. Check her out modeling the freakishly cute circle lens look in her Bad Romance video. As trendsetting as Gaga is, we don’t know how many followers this doe eyed look will have. Circle lenses have already been illegalized in Britain and the US due to their likelihood to cause vision problems and permanent eye damage.
Now the dentist is less scary than the patient. Imagine going for your dental appointment and coming out with a set of fangs that worthy of the movie “Twilight.” You can get plastic blood suckers applied over your real teeth in Japan for a cool $400. We’re not sure if that comes with a lollipop.
Byojaku may be known as the heroin chic of Japan. In direct translation, byojaku means sick. In beauty talk, it means adding features to your face that most women are trying to get rid of – pale skin, eye redness, and undereye bags most specifically. That’s not to say the look isn’t working for them though. There are byojaku looking Japanese that would have Nico turning green with envy. Here’s a quick crash course in byojaku in case you want to study up.
- Me No Shita Chiiuku: No, this isn’t some weird kind of Japanese way of saying, “I don’t give a s**t, so get your mind out of the gutter. Me no shita chiiuku is Japanese for undereye blush, otherwise known as candy colored circles right under the eye area. These are huge in Harjuku.
- Bandaid Adhesives: The Japanese seem to have a fondness or sticking things to their eyelids. In this case, its less about eyes wide open and more about eyes half closed. To get the bleary-eyed effect of byojaku, some daring ladies glue strips of bandaid adhesive to the creases in their eyelids.
- Futsukayoi: If you’re ever in Japan and drink too much sake, you’re going to end up with a big futsukayoi. This Japanese word for hangover is used often to describe the byojaku look.
For a complete tutorial on the byujaku look, click here.
Don’t ditch that toner yet. Just when you thought about removing the T from your CTM, the Koreans have found a new reason not to. The trend known as “7 Step Skin” is a multi-application toner technique that might have you developing a bottle a day habit.
What happens when you apply seven layers of toner to your skin? According to founder of Japanese beauty brand Purpletale, Yong Ji-Park, “your skin gets to absorb more of the hydrating ingredients, ultimately giving you hydrated and healthy skin.”
And in case you’re thinking the ten-step routine has now expanded to 17, think again.
With a double cleanse followed by 5 coats of toner and topped off with moisturizer, ten is still the number. However, many find the 7- step easier because there are less products to keep track of. Here are some directions so you can decide if you think your up for it.
- Before applying moisturizer, pour a small amount of toner on your face and neck.
- While skin is still slightly damp, pour the same amount into the palm of your hands and pat it onto the skin. Repeat five times.
Worried that you’ll run out of skin before you run out of toner? Have no fear, if seven layers seems excessive to you, Park advises starting slow and building up gradually. “Test the method by applying two or three times and build from there.”
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. In American beauty, moisturizing is functional. In Korean it’s fashionable as well.
Glass skin is a term used to describe a complexion so luminous and flawless that it looks like glass. No Vaseline sheen here, the glass skin look has just the right amount of dewey moisturizer to put most liquid eyeliners to shame.
How do you achieve this reflective skin look? It’s all about CTM with a lot of emphasis on the M.
Exactly much “M?”
According to Peach and Lily founder Alica Yoon, the glass skin process is more about quality than quantity. Says she,” Its not so much about the number of steps but what your skin needs to be at its absolute healthiest.” She suggests starting with a proper cleanse (either double cleanse or use a product that can dissolve makeup and impurities as well), followed by a PH balancing toner. Then hydrate your butt off.
While it may seem pretty rote, Yoon sees the glass skin treatment as a “meal plan,”albeit one with many courses, “giving your skin the 360 degree care it needs to thrive: proper cleansing, exfoliating, balancing, antioxidants, humectants, fatty acids, and protection.” Wonder if that includes dessert. Check out the how to and final product here.
Snail Mucin (AKA Snail Secretion Filtrate)
Snail Mucin is responsible for making snails really slimy. It’s the fluid in the snail that helps its skin retain moisture, hence the idea that if we use it, it will do the same for our skin. Koreans and Japanese have had no problems smearing on their faces daily and it seems to be working. With all the hyaluronic acid and peptides for hydration and the glycolic acid for exfoliation, the United States’ beauty industry is moving at a snail’s pace in comparison.
Bee Venom (Bee-Tox)
Can it be that bees are essentially flying Botox needles? Not even the most badass Asian beauty practicianer would deliberately walk into a beehive on the off chance of getting some free Botox done (last we checked). That’s why they’ve packaged the bee venom in lovely user-friendly smelling creams and lotions.
Why are bees putting the first letter in beauty? Although bees are not going to be taking any dermatologists’ jobs away any time soon, the venom they inject does have Botox-like properties. When bee stings make your skin swell up, that’s the result of the bee venom doing its work.
Applying small amounts of bee venom to your skin fools your skin into thinking it’s been stung. Blood is sent to the affected area, stimulating the production of collagen, elastin and tissue for reduction of wrinkles, fine lines, pores, pigmentation and sun damage. No bees or toxic injections involved. Bee venom and manuka honey combos can be found in eye creams, moisturizers, venom masks, ointments and cream.
Cleopatra kept 700 donkeys in a stable to support her donkey milk habit. If she were alive today, she would only have to go to Walmart. Whether or not the monicker “white gold” has more to do with the beauty benefits or the impact on the Asian economy is yet to be decided. One thing that is certain is that donkey’s milk is packed with proteins, minerals, enzymes, fatty acids and coenzymes. It works well with the human body because of its structural and chemical similarity to human breast milk. Donkey’s milk has four times as much vitamin C as cow’s milk and according to one evaluation, face cream made with donkey’s milk rated higher on smoothness, moisturization, effectiveness and spreadability and overall appearance than any other face cream.
Turns out, Miss Piggy has an advantage over all of us when it comes to beauty. That’s some high density collagen. Unlike other topical collagen cream, pig collagen jelly cream focuses on hydration rather than collagen absorption. Since collagen molecules are too big to penetrate pores most topical creams are ineffective. Pig collagen stimulates production of moisture leaving skin hydrated and creating a tangible moisture barrier that many find refreshing.
Egg White Cleanser
Normally, the expression “got egg on your face” means to look foolish. How is it that when the Japanese put egg on their faces they manage to look so darn gorgeous? The Asians have been smearing eggs on their faces for their pore refining and skin brightening properties, for decades. Its only recently that they discovered a less messy way of doing so. Try some egg white foam cleanser and