Asia Street Style: Do Summer Like These Bangkok Stylesetters


If there’s anyone who knows how to stay chic during the sweltering months of summer, it’s Bangkokians. In a crowded city where public transportation is the norm, dressing in Bangkok requires equal parts practicality (walkable shoes are a must) and style. Prepping for my trip there last February (where it was already in the 80s and humid), I — used to air conditioned cars and high heels on a daily basis — fretted over how to look chic while staying cool. These stylesetters could have taught me a thing or two then. Let’s take a few style lessons from them now (and just in time for L.A.’s heat wave).


1. Something graphic and short is always cool — make sure you add a sun-blocking hat. Bonus points for studded oxfords (again — all that walking!) and an oversized handled clutch.


Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.13.23 AM copy Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.13.23 AMScreen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.13.25 AM


2. Wear something mesh — it lets the breeze in while still keeping you somewhat covered up. Wedge heel sneakers keep you comfortable while still giving you a bit of height.


Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.14.35 AM


3. A simple oversized tee and a mini are instantly chic-ified with a multi-chain necklace, a pastel oversized bag and the coolest strappy platform sandals ever. (Again, adds height, still walkable.) And how adorable are her metallic mint green toes? That color alone is enough to keep you cool.


Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.17.07 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.17.09 AM


4. If you have to commute to work, this look is perfect: a sleeveless jacket worn over a crop top for the perfect peek of midriff. Yes, the heels are high, but the platform make it doable.


Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.12.56 AM copyScreen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.12.56 AM


5. If you’re a bit more of a fashion risk taker, try a mesh skirt in a pop of yellow worn under a long sports-inspired tank. Triple platform Converse balance the girly skirt and metallic crossbody.


Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.16.35 AM


6. When you’re wearing a print dress with a look-at-me clutch, normcore sneakers are not only OK, they’re almost required.


Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.16.07 AM


7. And when all else fails, keep the clothes simple and let your accessories do the talking.


Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.17.38 AM  Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.19.56 AM   Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.20.12 AM



“Mistresses”‘s Catherine Haena Kim Dishes On Working with Yunjin Kim and a Surprising Famous Relative


Summer can be a television wasteland, full of reality TV and yawn-worthy specials. But one juicy show that will keep you hooked is ABC’s hit summer series Mistresses, based on the successful UK television series of the same name. And to add to your viewing (guilty) pleasure this season is the show’s newest addition, Anna Choi, played by Korean American actress Catherine Haena Kim.

Basically, Anna is a head case who becomes a patient of psychiatrist Karen Kim (played by Yunjin Kim of Lost fame) after a failed suicide attempt. “She’s a bit lost, far from home and trying to find her way,” says Catherine of her character. “Dr. Kim swoops in and takes her under her wing.”

On preparing to play someone who no longer wanted to live, the Queens, N.Y., native says, “It was especially intense for me because I heard about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death as I was preparing this role. It’s one of the saddest things to me when someone feels hopeless, utterly alone, or feels like they have no one to turn to for support.”


Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 2.35.14 PM


As for working with a fellow Korean American actress, there seems to have been a camaraderie on set. “[Yunjin's] humble, generous and makes it all look so easy,” says Catherine. “She gave me so many valuable pointers on set and always checked in to make sure I was getting everything I needed as an acting partner. She definitely set the bar high for me, and I just tried to meet it each time.”

Here, we get a glimpse into the everyday life of the 30-year-old.

Most embarrassing moment on set: No embarrassing moments on this set, but when I booked my first big role ever, I was probably 14 and got to play Irene in my high school production of Crazy For You. I left my mic on and went to the bathroom. In a quiet, emotional scene on stage, everyone heard the “cha-ching cha-ching” sound of the paper towel dispenser after I washed my hands. At 14, I thought life was over. Ha!

Any hidden talents: I’m really good at arts and crafts, like friendship bracelets, etc.

Go-to comfort food: When I miss home, I sneak away to K-town and eat dol sot bibimbap [rice mixed with vegetables in a sizzling stone pot]. I’ll also always settle for french fries and ranch dressing.

A habit you need to break: Biting my nails

Something about you that would surprise us: I’m related to the former President of South Korea, Park Chung Hee. He’s a distant relative and maybe even by marriage, but I remember my grandparents talking about him growing up. I totally wish I had some secret number I could call a la Olivia Pope: “It’s taken care of.”

Last time you cried: Monday. I had to say goodbye to someone.

Your celebrity crush: JFK, Jr.? A man who can command a room, loves his family and roller skates down the streets of New York in an American flag bathing suit. Awesome.


Word or phrase you overuse: “At the end of the day …”

Go-to karaoke song: Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll.”

Pet peeve: Entitlement.

Favorite quote: I recently heard Johnny Depp say, “With any part you play, there is a certain amount of yourself in it. There has to be, otherwise it’s just not acting. It’s lying.” I think it applies to acting, life, love, everything.

Guilty pleasure I don’t feel guilty about: Staying up way too late talking to my girlfriends about absolutely nothing.

Occupation in another life: Probably a doctor … or a lawyer, right? Ha!

Current favorite song: Ingrid Michaelson’s “Girls Chase Boys.”

Someone who we’d be surprised you are friends with/follow on FB/twitter/Instagram: Vanessa Simmons. We worked together on a little project. She’s such a sweetheart.

What’s cool about being Asian: Especially if you’re first generation born in the U.S. like me, you’re hopefully lucky enough to get fully exposed to two different cultures, two languages, and two types of food. Asians are so family-oriented and community focused in a relatively selfish society. Eating is even all about sharing plates and sitting down with your whole family. We respect our elders. My grandparents helped raise me and my brother. I love that.

Scroll down for more of Catherine on Mistresses.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.46.07 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.46.14 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 2.35.40 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 2.35.37 PM


Season 2 is well on its way, so if you haven’t been following, now’s the time to catch up. Mistresses airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Main photo by Benjo Arwas. Show photos by ABC/Eric McCandless.



From Novice To Devotee, Asian Skincare For Any Age


A lot has been made about Asian skincare routines lately. (What are we up to now —10 steps, 17 steps? I’ve lost count.) I’ll admit, it can be a bit daunting for anyone looking to fight those first little signs of aging (a crinkle at the corner of your eyes, perhaps a sunspot or two), or for someone looking to do a bit of early prevention. So like those perfect travel itineraries based on whether you have three days, a week or 10 days, here is our recommended skincare regimen for any woman, whether you’re 20 or 40, a neophyte or a pro.

(Editor’s note: There’s a plethora of products that work well, but we’ve personally tried all the products listed below and we’ve found them to work quite well. Have questions or need recommendations? Comment below or email us at




Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 11.23.23 AM

Lucky you! Soap and water has been the name of the game for you, Oh Ye Blessed of Normal Skin. But maybe now you’re hitting an age where you feel like you need just a bit more. Don’t worry — we’re not gonna make you go out and buy a spanking new arsenal of products that cost a small fortune. There are tons of great products that work well and are quite affordable. Here’s your game plan:


  1. A facial cleanser

You want to cleanse your face, but not strip it of its natural oils, which keep it healthy. We recommend a gentle, affordable cleanser like Cetaphil. It works on almost all skin types, is recommended by dermatologists everywhere, and it does the job.

  1. A moisturizer

Nighttime is when your body restores itself, including your skin, so you want to give it all the help you can. A moisturizer boosts hydration levels and helps keep skin healthy, allowing it to function as it should, protecting itself from pollution and other external stressors. We like Laneige Water Bank Gel Crème, a soothing gel cream hybrid, perfect for normal/combination skin. If you have dry skin, Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream is a good option.

  1. Sunscreen

No matter what else you do, you have to wear sunscreen. UVA rays are the number one reason our skin ages prematurely, and those rays penetrate even in cloudy weather. Fortunately, those days of sticky, tacky sunscreens are gone; there are tons of new sunscreens with super lightweight textures that are broad spectrum (they protect against UVB rays, which burn, and UVA rays, which age). My favorite right now is La Roche-Posay’s Cooling Water Lotion Sunscreen — it feels super light and then turns into an almost water like consistency as you rub it in.

If you want a bit of coverage with your sun protection, I highly recommend a BB cream, which has the added benefit of antioxidants and other good-for-skin ingredients. Just remember, with all sun protection, you need to apply at least a quarter size dollop for your face alone. If you find it takes a while to smear all that lotion in, start tapping your face with your fingers and the lotion/cream will sink in faster.




Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 11.21.48 AM


  1. Pre-cleanse

If you’re at this level, it probably means that you wear some form of makeup during the day, whether it’s BB cream or foundation or powder. In that case, one-step cleansing is no longer sufficient. A lot of makeup have long-lasting ingredients like silicone that don’t wash away with just your everyday face wash. A makeup removing towelette like Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Cloth (my personal all-time fave) or a cleansing oil (DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil is a best seller for a reason) is a must before you wash with your regular cleaner.

  1. Add a serum

A serum usually contains a higher concentration of active ingredients and thereby addresses your particular skin concerns better than just a moisturizer. For example, if you’re concerned about hyperpigmentation, you’d use a serum with kojic acid or hydroquinone after cleansing and before your moisturizer. If clogged pores or acne is a problem, a serum with salicylic acid would help immensely. Serums are usually more expensive than a moisturizer because they contain greater amounts of precious ingredients, but there are plenty of serums to fit any price range. We like serums from Asian skincare brands or that have tested on Asian skin, like those from Estée Lauder.

  1. Use a mask

Think of masks like that jolt of caffeine. It gives you just what you need just at the right time. A mask will have your skin extra-glowy for the following day or two, so it’s perfect for special occasions (though Korean women will incorporate it into their daily skincare regimen). Sheet masks, usually made of cotton, have crossed over from Asia to the States, so there are plenty of options readily available here. Sephora makes really good sheet masks that are super affordable ($6), When Mask brings Korea’s famed bio-cellulose sheet mask to the States, and La Mer’s The Brightening Facial is probably the most luxurious and best mask I’ve ever used (it better be — it’s about $40 a pop!).

Start by exfoliating with a facial scrub to get rid of dead skin cells, then put on the sheet mask and hunker down for an episode of your favorite show.




Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 11.26.49 AM


So you know the difference between retinoid and retinol, hydroquinone and hyaluronic acid. Here are a couple things you can add to your regimen to get you to Asian world class.

  1. Hydrating toner

We say “toner” because that’s the term most Americans are familiar with, but really, it’s a watery “skin lotion.” You use it right after cleansing and massage onto your face to prep skin for all the treatments to follow. See our primer on watery lotions here.

  1. Add a finisher

Korean premium skincare brand, Sulwhasoo, is a frontrunner in Korean skincare. We think their latest innovation, the Luminature Essential Finisher, will be a game changer. There’s a saying in Korean skincare — that your skin “eats” your makeup well. Basically, when your skin is at its best, foundation goes on smoothly and looks flawless. When your skin is less than perfect, foundation looks clumpy, settles into pores and just looks obvious. The Finisher, which contains the equivalent of five ginseng roots and 110 cups of green tea, is made to seal in the benefits of all your skincare treatments and provide a smooth base for your makeup. It’s not available until September, so get ready!

  1. Use an overnight mask

You already use a sheet mask, so why an overnight mask, you ask? Because it’s easy and it makes a difference. I was skeptical at first, too. But I can’t live without an overnight mask anymore.

Unlike a sheet mask, an overnight mask is usually some sort of gel-like product that you tap onto your face right before you go to sleep — no need to wash off! The mask quickly sinks into skin so you don’t feel it at all. Just proceed with your morning routine as usual. It’s so easy to do and a good way to seal in the benefits of your nighttime skincare ritual. I have the masks on my bedside table so it’s the last thing I do before turning off the lights.

Koh Gen Do has a great Night Moisture Mask that I’ll use on nights where I’ve had salty foods or alcohol, to give my skin a boost of hydration. I feel like it helps alleviate the inevitable puffiness that follows the next morning. Otherwise, I’ll use the Premium Firming Sleeping Mask from Korean skincare brand Dr. Jart+, the first to bring BB cream to the U.S.

Have questions? Need recommendations? I’d love to hear about your skincare regimen and favorite products. Comment below or email me at!

Take a Tip From Olivia Munn: 6 Hair and Makeup Looks To Try


Olivia Munn clearly is a master of beauty. From a bright lip to a golden glow, she wears almost any look with aplomb. Check out some of our favorites that you can try out for yourself this summer.


1. Sapphire blue shadow


Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 9.57.28 AM


Who says Asians can’t wear blue eyeshadow? The key, as shown on Munn above, is to stick with a sapphire blue and keep the color sheer (no cat-eyes here!). Complement the look with a slight flush and neutral lips. Let the eyes do the talking by pulling back hair into a chic chignon or messy topknot.


2. A coral-orange lip and loads of mascara


Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 9.40.47 AM

Photo from Just Jared.


We love this look on Munn — it’s fresh, clean and yet glamorous, all at the same time. Munn usually likes a smoky eye, but we love how focusing on her upper lid and keeping her eyes unlined really opens up her eyes. And you don’t have to go full-on glam like Munn — just pull back one side of your hair (let the other side fall forward) and pin with metallic bobby pins (cross them, like an “X”) for a more everyday look.


3. Smoky eyes and nude lips with a bit of a contour


Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 9.38.17 AM


This is Munn’s go-to look. What really makes this ubiquitous combo (smoky eye-nude lip) work is her slicked back long bob. Pair with a breezy dress for summer and you’ll still look hot while staying cool.


4. Matte pink lips with a hint of pink blush


Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 9.40.57 AM


When you’re doing a bold lip, most people prefer to skip the blush, but we like how Munn kept her eyes minimal and complemented her matte pink lip with a sheer pink flush. If you’re on the paler side, the blush is just what you need to balance such a bold statement on the lips. And again, the pulled-back hair keeps the look edgy, not cheesy, and keeps all eyes on the mouth.


5. Peachy nude lips and bronze eyes


Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 9.40.42 AM


Another retro ‘do for Munn, but this time paired with bronze shadow and peachy-nude lips. A bit of contour with a matte bronzer keeps Munn from looking washed out — it’s a chic, monochromatic look.


6. A golden glow with a strong flush


Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 9.42.05 AM

Photo from Just Jared.


Perhaps the easiest look to pull off this summer, sweep matte bronzer to forehead, up cheekbones, down the nose (all places where the sun naturally hits), line the upper lid and dab on lip balm. Pull hair back into a chignon or ponytail and you’re ready to go.

Karl Lagerfeld Courts Asian Celebs at Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-15 Show


Want more proof that Asia’s influence is rising in the fashion world? Check out the front row at Chanel Haute Couture show on July 8.


Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 9.48.05 AM

Front Row (L-R) Mario Testino, Vogue EIC Anna Wintour, Baz Luhrmann, his wife Catherine Martin, CL, a guest, Jung Ryeo-won and Kwai Lun-Mei.


Yup, that’s K-pop star CL just a few seats away from the fashion queen, Vogue EIC Anna Wintour. Also in the front row is Korean Australian actress Jung Ryeo-won, Taiwanese actress Kwai Lun-Mei and Vogue China editor in chief, Angelica Cheung.


Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 9.41.19 AM

Korean Australian actress Jung Ryeo-won, Taiwanese actress Kwai Lun-Mei and Vogue China editor in chief, Angelica Cheung.


Chanel has always made an effort to reach out to its Asian clientele. Past show guests have included Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, Chinese Brit Alexis Chung and Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana of Thailand. This time, CL even got a photo op with the designer himself.  


Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 9.47.38 AM

CL with designer Karl Lagerfeld.


Get Ready! 3.1 Phillip Lim’s New Nail Lacquer Collection For Nars Debuts Tomorrow



Back during the fall/winter 2014 runway shows in February, cool-girl cosmetic brand NARS announced their next collaboration with 3.1 Phillip Lim. And while not all of us can afford Lim’s self-proclaimed “classicist with a bit of madness” clothes, we can certainly get the Chinese American designer’s aesthetic onto our nails.


Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.32.11 AM

The nails at 3.1 Phillip Lim’s fall/winter 2014 show.


Audrey Magazine got a preview of the collection back in May and we’ve been dying to share the colors with you ever since. The nine shades are perfect for the upcoming fall season, giving you a leg up on the trends.

Anarchy is an opaque cream, which is the perfect cool weather alternative to bright white. Amazingly, it’s flattering on Asian skin tones and actually brightens a summertime tan.

Dark Room is the perfect dark denim color and a nice alternative to darker hues.

Gold Viper — definitely a favorite and probably the first one to sell out — is a hot melange of gold and platinum that really pops.

As a bonus, the extra wide brush of the nail lacquers provide precise control and easy application for the less-than-adept DIY’ers among us. Check out close-ups of some of the colors below.


Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 9.40.54 AM

Anarchy, the perfect cream.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 9.40.58 AM

Get Gold Viper fast — it’s going to sell out!

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 9.41.00 AM

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 9.41.49 AM

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 9.41.04 AM

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.31.03 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-26 at 10.33.45 AM

Trending in Korea: The Makeup Hotel


Korea’s the country known for its pink women-only parking spaces (though China now also has them), so it’s no surprise that the next evolution in female specific amenities now include the so-called makeup hotel.

First, some background.

When you’re visiting Seoul, and it’s cosmetics and skincare that you want, you devote a day to shopping in Myeongdong. Located in a historic section of Seoul, Myeongdong is a makeup lover’s paradise, with store after store of Korean cosmetics brands from the mainstream (Missha, Etude, Skinfood) to perhaps the lesser known (Baviphat, Tonymoly) to the cool (Too Cool For School). It’s almost always crowded with women in groups of threes or fours, loaded down with shopping bags, rabidly speaking in Chinese or Japanese. Add to the cacophony saleswomen in front of every store, calling out in (bad) Chinese or Japanese (and the occasional English), waving a free sample sheet mask, and you’ve got a perfect picture of Myeongdong.

One hotel has taken advantage of its location in the bustling shopping district and one-upped everyone else: The Hotel Skypark Myeongdong’s new women-only floors. Not only are these floors exclusive to female guests, they’re decorated either in a dollhouse theme or like a log cabin in the woods. In the dollhouse floor, the rooms are Malibu Barbie-pink and filled to the brim with chandeliers, tufted pink furniture and flowery wall decals that say “Princess” or “Play House.”


Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 8.13.17 AM


And it’s not just the decor. Instead of the usual cheap-y, travel size shampoo and shower gel, you can avail yourself of an array of full-size lotions and creams from well-known Korean brands. And you don’t get a mint on your pillow at turn down; instead you are greeted with best-selling sheet masks and palettes of eyeshadow.

Oh, but the pink madness doesn’t stop there. Sure, the log cabin women-only floor, designed in collaboration with Korean brand The Face Shop, offers a more nature-inspired experience, with pale green and brown tones, eco-friendly furnishings and organic fabrics. But the rest of the public spaces in the hotel are littered with too-cute little vanities filled with makeup by Etude House, one of Korea’s top-selling makeup brands (and known for their over-the-top princess design). Just think of it as a Sephora-meets-Holiday Inn.

More photos below.


Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 8.12.03 AM  Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 8.15.44 AM

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 8.15.58 AM

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 8.13.57 AM


4 Ways The Korean “Ajumma” Is Becoming The New Style Influencer


Ajumma: noun, \’a joom ma\ A middle-aged Korean woman, typically identifiable by a mop of tightly curled short hair; loose, mismatched clothing; and a no-nonsense, out-of-my-way attitude.


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.42.56 AM

Cartoon by Emiko Sawanobori.


For some time now, the stereotypical Korean ajumma has long been thought of as the antithesis of style — something, as a young Korean woman, you never wanted to become. In Korea, you see them hawking their wares from food carts or squatting on the side of the road, picking weeds. In Los Angeles, I’m being jostled left and right by all manner of ajumma in the produce section of the Korean market. Travel almost anywhere in the world and you’re likely to see a whole swarm of ajumma, dolled up in brightly colored North Face windbreakers and talking super loud over one another. It’s a cringe-worthy sight.

And yet, I’ve been noticing that ajumma style is slowly seeping out into the real world, the non-ajumma world of the rest of us. It’s something Valerie Luu and Andria Lo noticed about San Francisco’s Chinatown senior citizens. Whether intentional or not, it just goes to show — those ajummas might actually know a thing or two. Here, four ways the ajumma is the new style influencer.


1. Mismatched prints

Print clashing has been a thing on fashion runways for several years now. But when restaurateur Roy Choi took the mismatching prints ajummas are famous for wearing and turned it into the wait staff uniform for his new Korean restaurant Pot at The Line Hotel in Los Angeles, I knew the ajumma had reached icon status.


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.15.51 PM

Mismatched prints from the fall/winter 2014 runways of, from left, Acne, Duro Olowu and Viktor & Rolf.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.38.46 PM

The mismatched prints worn by the hostess at Pot, left, and the wait staff, right, are styled after a typical ajumma, says restaurateur Roy Choi.


2. Sun Umbrellas 


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.27.22 PM

Sun umbrellas among the young are already a thing in China.


According to the Korean newspaper Joongang Daily, small sun umbrellas, or yangsan, have officially become a must-have among the younger set. In Korea, portable parasol sales jumped by 35 percent compared to last year, with almost half the purchasers in their 20s and 30s. It’s really no surprise, given the obsession with skincare in the country. It’s only a matter of time before this trend spreads to the States. After all, the ajumma has mostly bypassed the sun umbrella these days in favor of the …


3. Oversized Visor


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.25.49 PM


I’ll admit — this one threw me for a loop. Sure, visors came down Marni’s spring 2014 runway, but they were so hyper-embellished and sleek, they were actually cute. Sure, golf superstar Michelle Wie wears amply sized visors on the green, but come on, she’s an athlete. Yeah, OK, so Donald Sterling ex V. Stiviano piqued curiosity about the welding mask-like visor that ajummas have worn for years. But I realized visors might actually become a thing when, on a business trip to Korea with other magazine editors, a prominent beauty editor of an American fashion magazine (she’s white) fell in love with the giant visor worn by some ajummas gardening on the side of the road. Oblivious to the so-not-chic connotations, she promptly declared it genius and went out and bought one to wear herself. It truly opened my eyes to the possibilities.


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.45.06 PM

Visor chic at Marni’s spring 2014 show.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.26.27 PM

Oversized visors are already catching on in Asia.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.28.03 PM

V. Stiviano and the infamous visor.


4. Arm sleeves


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.34.36 PM


This ajumma trend has been going on in Asia for some time, and not just among the ajummas. Young women in Asia now regularly wear arm sleeves to protect their skin while driving. But when I saw my Chinese Honduran sister-in-law casually put on fingerless gloves one morning before starting the car, I knew the trend had officially crossed over. Needless to say, I promptly dug out my fingerless gloves, circa 2004, and now keep them in the car. Just in case.


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 7.34.51 PM


So, is the short, tight perm (or pamma in Korean) next? (It does look like an Asian ‘fro, after all.) I say, when it comes to the Korean ajumma, don’t count anything out.

Incorporate This Asian Skincare Must-Have Into Your Regimen: Skin Lotion


The international hit K-drama My Love From the Stars launched a number of trends and worldwide obsessions, from actress Jun Ji-hyun’s lipstick (the mere rumor that her coral-pink color came from YSL caused a worldwide shortage of the shade) to anything from Korean brand Iope, which was prominently displayed in the star’s boudoir on the show. Apparently, you can’t find Iope’s top seller, Bio Essence, in duty free stores at Korean airports because of all the Chinese tourists who are buying the hydrating liquid by the boxful. (And at $60 a pop, it ain’t cheap.)

Iope Bio Essence is a part of that step in any respectable Asian skincare regimen that includes what is called “lotion,” “skin lotion” or, to some old-school Koreans, simply “skin” — a water-like solution for the face used after cleansing.

It’s different from the toner that we here in the States may have grown up with — that harsh, alcohol-based liquid we swept over skin with a cotton ball to wipe off any residual makeup that our cleanser may have missed. (In Asia, a double cleansing method — makeup remover and then cleanser — does away with the need for a post-rinse “toner.”) Rather, “lotion” is a post-cleansing hydrator, usually applied by sprinkling into hands and pressing the palms over the face to ensure proper penetration. It’s a step that “provides hydration to the skin that might be stripped during the cleansing process,” says Diane Nakauchi, skincare expert and CEO of Japanese skincare brand Koh Gen Do. Like a vitamin drink, skin lotion usually has “humectant properties to help hold in moisture,” she adds, imparting a translucency to skin.

Today, Asian skincare companies are bringing these post-cleansing hydrators — whether called “lotion,” “water” or even “toner” — to American consumers, and American skincare companies are quickly jumping on board. And these newest iterations of lotions go beyond just hydrating — some balance skin’s pH levels; others refine and exfoliate. But perhaps the best reason to add lotions to your skincare regimen is what they all do: prep skin so that subsequent treatments can more effectively penetrate skin’s top layer. The result? All those expensive serums and creams work more effectively with less.

If you’re located near Los Angeles, there are plenty of Korean beauty boutiques in Koreatown that have Iope Bio Essence in stock. But you don’t have to fly to Korea or Los Angeles to get a hydrating lotion onto your bathroom shelf. Asian skincare companies available in the States already have a hydrating lotion in their line, and recognizing the brilliance of Asian skincare products, a number of non-Asian companies are coming out with their own versions. With a broad price range, these lotions are something everyone can get on board with. Check out some of our favorites:

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.38.00 PM

Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Lotion II: A botanical-based gel-liquid with time-release moisturizing agents from the skincare line used on major Hollywood sets from Dallas Buyers Club and American Hustle to Glee.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.37.31 PM

Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion: The line’s first “watery lotion” — inspired by its Asian consumers — hydrates with its breakthrough NMF Complex to increase the production of the essential building blocks of skin’s natural moisturizing factors.


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.37.37 PM

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence: The prestige Japanese line’s cult favorite product contains more than 90 percent Pitera, their signature skin refining ingredient that boosts the skin’s natural surface rejuvenation process. 


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.37.40 PM

Laneige Power Essential Skin Toner: The popular Korean brand, known for its scientifically engineered Optimal Mineral Water in their skin refining toner, as well as the rest of their Water Bank line, is finally available to the American masses at mega retailer Target. 


Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 12.37.43 PM

Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Balancing Water: A gel-like water with white ginseng and mulberry root extract to brighten, exfoliate and balance skin’s pH levels. 



The Theme for Next Year’s Met Gala? All About China

Fashion’s been going East for some time now. Giorgio Armani put on a grand extravaganza of a show in Beijing in 2012. Tory Burch made a push for the Asian consumer when it opened stores in Tokyo and Manila in 2009 and then its first store in Seoul in 2010, quickly becoming the must-have label for well-to-do housewives in Asia. And Diane von Furstenberg made sure she had a few Chinese celebrities prominently front and center in her latest fall/winter runway show. So it’s only further proof of fashion’s love affair with the Asian consumer that The Costume Institute has announced that next spring’s exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is going to be “all about China,” according to WWD.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 7.45.41 AM

Liu Wen in Zac Posen.

As the top Manhattan social event and annual fashion exhibition, the Met Gala already has a strong Asian presence, with Asian American designers like Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang accompanying their finely dressed celebs; Asian American celebs Maggie Q and Olivia Munn; hot Chinese models-of-the-moment Liu Wen to Ming Xi, as well as the Thai American model wife of John Legend, Chrissy Teigen. In addition, Chinese designer Min Liu of fashion label Ms Min attended the gala, courtesy of Hong Kong department store Lane Crawford.

Clearly, we can expect that Asian presence to increase next year. Scroll down to see some of the looks from this year’s gala.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 7.46.59 AM

Ming Xi in Michael Kors.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 7.50.50 AM

Olivia Munn in Diane von Furstenberg.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 7.46.40 AM

Fei Fei Sun in Tory Burch (shown here with Marina Rust and the designer).

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 7.53.05 AM

Maggie Q in Zac Posen.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 7.55.26 AM

Chrissy Teigen in Ralph Lauren Collection.


Liu Wen impact photo by Phil Oh.