I used to think it was shallow and silly to spend on skincare and beauty products. Eventually, I realized that I cared very much about how I looked.
Unfortunately, I never really paid any attention to my skin. I had breakouts, acne scars, uneven skin tone, and rough spots around my face. I tried different facial cleansers and scrubs, moisturizers and treatments, and nothing seemed to make any lasting difference. I often looked at myself in the mirror and got upset. I vowed to visit a dermatologist, to get a facial, to change my skincare routine.
APCC 2015. You can see the acne scars:
December 2015. Look at my splotchy skin:
Then I got pregnant. In my first trimester, I had a few breakouts, but for the rest of my pregnancy, I had gorgeous, glowing skin. It was like the water retention was doing my skin some good. My face was swelling, but my skin was clear and glowing!
May 2016, towards the end of my first trimester:
December 2016, about a week before I gave birth:
Then I gave birth. The swelling receded. I lost weight. My skin sagged around my face. Suddenly I had prominent cheekbones. The hormones that had given me such great skin would soon wreak havoc on my skin, my weight and my feelings.
December 2016, a week after I gave birth:
At first, I was too tired and busy with surviving motherhood to really care about my skin. I was worried about Lucas’ milestones, breastfeeding, work, weight loss, muscle tone, work, sleep. I chopped off my hair. Then I chopped off some more hair.
Slowly, the acne came back. A giant zit on my forehead. Next, on my neck. Soon after, on my chin, or my nose, or my cheek. Sometimes they would be mild, and wouldn’t leave a mark. Others would be so conspicuous, and I would accidentally pop them, and they would bleed and leave a scar. Then they would scab over, and I would have to resist the urge to pick at them.
Eventually, I realized I had to do something different. I wasn’t getting any younger, and I wasn’t expecting to get eight hours of sleep with a baby in my life. So I decided it was time to invest in skincare.
Fortunately, a few friends had already been singing praises of Korean skincare products. My friend Caroline splurged on serums and essences and moisturizers, and was happily trying them out. I asked her how they worked, what they did, and oh God wasn’t it confusing?
Caroline taught me a few important lessons:
- Most of these things are really just meant to hydrate your skin. They’re just layers and layers of hydration and protection and moisture.
- Most of these things go on your skin after toner and before moisturizer.
- This stuff is kind of expensive, but you only use a few drops at a time, so a single bottle or tube of product can go a really long way.
Another thing that helped: she told me to bring small bottles and get samples of the stuff she’d bought, so I could try them out before buying.
So I brought some clean plastic bottles, and got some samples of essences, serums and treatments. I took notes about how to use them, and did a lot of Googling.
I went home and tried them. And a week or so later, I realized that the rough spots under my nostrils, on my chin and around the corners of my mouth were smoother and lighter! That’s when I decided to really give Korean skincare a try.