Korean Body Care
When people hear “K-Beauty routine” they automatically assume that it’s referring to face care, which generally, is true. I’ve come to realize that K-Beauty can also refer to body and hair care. I’ve been so focused on my face care, I’ll admit I’ve neglected the rest of my body – I decided to try out Korean body care methods to make all of my skin look great and make my body feel great. I also did this as an experiment of body positivity. I believe that a lot of us can have complicated relationships with our bodies and despite the influx of body positive messages we’ve seen lately, it can be kind of hard to get into that mindset. I decided to take this opportunity to really pamper myself and treat my body like the temple it is.
The first thing I learned about when I decided to start this was the importance of exfoliating correctly. Just like our face, dead skin cells lay on the surface and have to be removed. Doing so will help whatever products you use absorb more thoroughly instead of laying on the surface of your skin. I did a chemical exfoliation and a manual one.
I have Keratosis Pilaris, which is basically hard, dry bumps that look like “chicken skin” on my upper arms. I used to be pretty self-conscious about it and would refuse to wear sleeveless anything, but I kind of learned to accept it for what it was and stopped caring (now you’re lucky if I wear sleeves). I do recall a time my freshman year of college when one my suitemates decided to be extra and made a big deal of not touching or being near my arms because she thought it was contagious (THAT wasn’t annoying at all). Keratosis Pilaris isn’t contagious, it’s just annoying to look at. I’ve been to dermatologists before and have used prescription grade lotions, which didn’t really help so I decided to see what I could do on my own.
Some research I did online said to try a moisturizer with chemical exfoliants or a chemical exfoliant. I learned that manually exfoliating will just make it worse, and that’s what I had been doing up to this point. With this in mind, I decided to try a peeling mist on my arms. I used the Nature Republic Skin Smoothing Body Peeling Mist in Peach. This product smells amazing, and it comes in a really convenient spray bottle that’s easy to use. It has a very milky consistency, but when you rub it, it thickens and you can actually see some dead skin come off in little clumps- it’s weirdly satisfying. At first, I was a little skeptical because I didn’t really see much improvement but after about 4 uses, my skin felt so much better. After using this, I applied the Japanese cult favorite Yu-Be Cream to my arms to treat the area.
Overall, I really can’t deny the results. My arms look super clear and you really can’t see any bumps unless you look really closely. I also can’t really feel the bumps anymore, which is so nice. It’s not completely gone, and I don’t think it ever will be, but this is a HUGE improvement from how it was before. Take that, annoying suitemate.
The second type of exfoliation I tried was manual exfoliation with a Korean Italy washcloth. I normally use a loofah that I get at Daiso, but I realized because it's so soft, it really wasn’t doing much for my skin. I switched to a Korean washcloth for my entire body (except my arms because of my KP) and I went to town with it. This is a method highly endorsed by the lovely Charlotte Cho. I exfoliated my legs, my back, my feet and stomach. My skin felt so much smoother, and exfoliating my legs made shaving so much easier! I was able to get a much closer shave that I think lasted a little longer because I was able to get closer to the skin.
I definitely recommend getting rid of your loofah and investing in Korean Italy Washcloth. Your skin will thank you and you’re going to feel so pampered when you go to bed and your sheets rub your silky soft skin.
Jane and I preach the importance of moisturizing and keeping your skin hydrated. I’ll admit, I wasn’t practicing what I preach when it came to my entire body. I definitely forgot to put on lotion on my arms and legs more times than I would like to admit to. I NEVER forget to put on moisturizer on my face, so why should I not do it for the rest of my body? I think that part of the problem was that my skin didn’t feel any different whether or not I used lotion, so I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t using the right one for my skin, which is why it seemed like such a chore
I decided to use a Korean body lotion to see how my skin reacted and decided to use the Skinfood Royal Honey Good Moisturizing Cream. I have to say, this really changed the game for me. Honey is good for rejuvenation and it’s an awesome moisturizer, it also has a lot of anti-bacterial properties that can fight bacterial growth. This product is not scented and it absorbs super quickly and does not leave behind any greasy residue. My skin felt really hydrated after just one use, and didn’t feel like it was going to crack at any given moment despite the weather. The negative side of using this is that the bottle is so small (100 mL). I’m pretty short but I know I won’t get too many uses out of this. If anyone has any good recommendations for body lotions (Korean or otherwise) I would love to hear them!
3. Foot Mask
Did you know that feet are generally the part of the body that receive the least attention? I know it’s true for me, and really that shouldn’t be the case. I decided to change this by trying a foot mask! After a long summer of wearing only sandals, the workouts I subjected my feet to and all the blisters they’ve endured to break in new shows, my feet deserved to be treated right. I used the TONYMOLY Changing Magic Foot Peeling Shoes.
This mask is a peeling mask for your feet, which sounds weird but it’s so worth it. The mask removes excess keratin on your feet, and helps make your feet super smooth and soft. It contains an AHA extract which will help remove calluses. This mask is not a quick fix by any means; you have to keep this one for 1-2 hours, until your feet absorb the serum. To use this, you really need to take the time to sit there and not move or you’ll mess it all up (I sat on the couch while I did homework). At first, you won’t see too much of a difference but the skin will begin to peel in a couple of days- I freaked out a bit but fear not, it’s part of the process. After my feet finished shedding like a snake, my feet look so amazing! They look and feel like I just got a fresh pedicure.
I don’t want to come off as preachy, I know we’ve all heard this over and over again, but drink more water! I’m a Diet Coke addict, and I don’t say that lightly. I used to drink 3 cans of Diet Coke a day and basically never drank any water. One day, I decided to just quit drinking Diet Coke because I was tired of feeling like shit. IT HAS BEEN SO FREAKING HARD. This is going to sound so extra, but I actually went through withdrawals when I quit drinking Diet Coke. I would crave it so much, I could smell it. During a trip to Disneyland, a friend of mine (who had no idea I quit) ordered a Diet Coke when we were having lunch, I almost asked her if I could just smell it. That’s how badly addicted I am. I’ve been Diet Coke free since August 2015, except for a bottle I drank during the D23 Convention this past summer (the bottle had a Disney Parks exclusive design, I had to drink it, and yes, it was bliss).
After quitting Diet Coke, I did a whole year of only drinking water, I didn’t even drink juice and other than coffee in the morning, I would only drink water during the day. It was hard as hell at first because it wasn’t what I was craving and it tasted so bland. It took me awhile to get used to it, but now I feel like crap when I don’t drink enough water. Now, I do drink lemonade or juice when I want something with sugar, but I don’t do it often.
Here are a couple of hacks that I tried to make drinking water more enjoyable for myself. First, I invested in a good reusable bottle. The reason I did this was because I wanted to keep track of the amount of water I’m drinking and because I spent so much money on it, I was less inclined to lose it because I was always aware of where I left it. Second, try putting lemon, lime, cucumber or chia seeds in your water. This will make the water you’re drinking super refreshing, but also, it will give it a better taste- it’s almost like you’re not drinking water. Doing this also add electrolytes to your water, which your body needs. My favorite combination is lime and cucumber, I keep a glass bottle with that in the fridge at all times. Last, remind yourself that drinking water is cheaper! You’ll be surprised how much buying drinks when you go out adds up.
I am the master of sleeping. I can take a 5 hour nap, and then still sleep a full 8 hours at night. I LOVE sleep. I’m also an extremely heavy sleeper, so when I’m out nothing will wake me up (which is why I’m such a good roommate). I know that I’m an unusual case and most people don’t get enough sleep or aren’t able to get enough sleep. Sleep is essential because your body needs that time to repair tissue and getting enough sleep can increase your overall health. Try your best to get enough sleep, you’ll feel so much better and ready to take on the day. I personally don’t need have any sleeping tricks because I’ve been blessed with the ability to sleep on command (I can literally close my eyes and fall to sleep) but try putting your phone away or across the room. Jane recommends using sleeping mists such as Earth Therapeutics Lavender Sleeping Mist.
6. Working Out
Again, I don’t want to come off as preachy – we get it, we know we need to be active. I know how real the struggle is, I grew up in a family that didn’t emphasize the importance of being active so it’s really hard for me to want to get up and do something or go to the gym. Also, I am extremely intimidated of going to the gym. I feel like half the time I don’t know what I’m doing or I feel like people are judging so for a long time, I avoided the gym like the plague.
I ended up joining a boot camp class my former boss’ wife runs (shout out to Jenny and her class @be_in_shape_anywhere). This class kicked my ass, I almost threw up after the first class but I kept going back. I needed the structure of the class and even though there were people in the class with a lot more experience than myself, I never felt uncomfortable because they were right there with me sweating. I stuck with Jenny until I moved and even though I probably will not have a size 0 body, I felt great, got pretty toned and gained a lot of confidence in myself.
The point here is to find something you like, even if it’s just taking a walk during lunch. You’ll feel a lot better and it’s a good way to destress.
7. Avoid stress
Yes, I know it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’m currently in grad school, and while I can honestly say that I’m loving every minute of my program, it’s kicking my ass. It’s been an adjustment getting used to being in school again and 80% of the work I’m currently doing is group work (I don’t need to tell you how stressful that is). Life is stressful, we all have stuff going on, I totally get it. I could put my Psyc degree to good use and tell you about what happens to your brain when you’re stressed, but I’ll spare you the details. Just trust me when I say, I know firsthand how awful stress can be on your body. It’s made me look visibly older than I am, I’ve experienced weight gain, hair loss, pimples -it sucks. Just find something that will give you a break from your everyday life. For me, it’s this blog. I love writing about my experiences with products and skin care. If you can, find something that will empower you.
Try to find new ways to treat your body right. Your body is a temple, it’s the only one you have. Have fun trying stuff that will make your skin and yourself feel great. Above all, try to just love yourself. It’s been a journey for myself to get to a place where I’m accepting and comfortable with who I am, and sometimes I take a few step backwards when I’m feeling low but that’s totally okay. I would love to hear about how you take care of yourself.