Nov 05

Adventures in Korean Skincare & My Favorite Product

korean skin care


Before Korea, skincare was never on my radar. I know, it’s an absolute blasphemy, but I was lucky enough to have been born with decent skin and words like “maintenance” and “prevention” never really crossed my mind.


Then… dun dun dun… the wrinkles came.


I’m 28 years old, which is too damn young to have visible lines deeply etched across my forehead. No doubt it’s been the combination of stress, poor air quality, and having to raise my eyebrows in animation like a dancing puppet to keep students awake all day for the last two years. But I can’t help but wonder if the wrinkles wouldn’t be quite so deep if I had just embraced the concept of moisturizer.


But where better in the world to be introduced to skincare than Korea?!  It’s like Disneyland to anyone who’s into skin products. On just about every block you can find an array of skincare stores lined up like little candy shops. Koreans are obsessed with their skin. Skinfood, Nature Republic, Innisfree, Olive Young, Missha, It’s Skin, Tony Moly, Etude House; these are just some of the ubiquitous stores to find every kind of cream, serum, oil, and spray your skin could ever desire.

Photo credit: mysugarcoffee.blogspot.com

Photo credit: mysugarcoffee.blogspot.com


I find them overwhelming. Those who know me understand my aversion to choices. Give me three options and I can choose one; put me in a store with 75 options and I have a minor meltdown. The obnoxious saleswomen are what really send me running out the door, though. In Korea, their idea of customer service is to stand six inches behind you, breathe down your neck, follow you around, and watch your every move. They actually consider that a good thing.


One night I was determined to finally address this wrinkle situation and myself a good moisturizer, so I took a deep breath and stepped into a store. The woman immediately entered my personal zone like I’d drawn her in with some kind of magnetism. If only I could do that to men. I tried to ignore her as I opened the samples and rubbed some cream on my hands to test it. But on this average Tuesday evening, the woman decided that she was going to go above and beyond her call of duty.


She began blabbing away at me despite the fact that I clearly had no clue what she was saying. She picked up product after product and shoved it in my hands, pointing at things, demonstrating rubbing motions on her face, and contorting her face into strange expressions. When I would no longer take the bottles she was shoving at me, she took it upon herself to let me know how good it was. She began dipping her fingers into the pots and coming after my face to rub it on. I obliged her once, but when I didn’t want her spreading a dozen different creams all over my face I literally had to start ducking from her.


I tried to move on but she essentially chased me around the store, fingers outstretched to make me try just one more cream. Cue the internal freakout and I ran out that door faster than you can say anti-wrinkle.


As you can imagine, I never found a good moisturizer and was too intimidated to ever go back and look. Finally, a friend recommended a cream she used, so I stepped in the store and found it and made a beeline for the register before anyone could accost me with creams again.


It’s Nature Republic’s Argan 20 Real Cream and let me tell you… I am IN LOVE. This stuff is the shiz. It’s soft and smooth and rich and creamy and I swear my wrinkles have faded just a little since I started using it a month ago. At 15,000 won (about $15) It’s also pretty affordable, too, when you consider the high price some creams retail at.


I don’t know if or where you can buy it outside of Korea but, people of the world, if you can find it please try this out because it is pure magic. In the mean time, I’m working up the courage to go back and find some eye cream. Suggestions welcome.

For the record, no one is sponsoring or paying me for this post. Even though they should.