Jun Ji Hyun’s Skin Secret? The Air Cushion, Korea’s Latest Beauty Innovation

 

When Korean cosmetic brand Dr. Jart+ debuted its BB cream to the U.S. market in 2011, it caused a sensation. Every cosmetic company rushed to put out its own version of BB cream and every alphabetic permutation thereof (CC and DD, anyone?). Now there are BB creams at every price point and in a much wider range of shades. But women in Korea are so beyond BB cream at this point; they’re obsessed with something even better.

Enter the Air Cushion. The first one, Color Control Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50+, was introduced by venerable Korean brand AmorePacific last year, but had a limited following. This summer, however, with all eyes on Iope (the Korean cosmetic line was featured prominently in the hit K-drama My Love From the Stars), their Air Cushion XP just exploded.

 

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The Air Cushion solved the problem of having to reapply sunscreen every two to three hours for effectiveness — I mean, who wants to smear on a thick lotion over your foundation or powder in the middle of the day? According to Iope brand manager Song Jin-ah, parent company AmorePacific’s scientists had been researching for a solution to this reapplication problem for years. They were inspired by a “parking stamp” and created a compact with a sponge-like material. Press on the sponge with a special ruby cell puff, which holds 1.6 times more water than a synthetic latex puff, and simply “stamp” (don’t smear or rub) on the liquid sunscreen onto your face, on top of your makeup. Since it’s tinted, the product blends in even if you already have foundation or powder on. And a bonus: the Air Cushion imparts a perfectly mul gwang (“water sheen complexion” — that chok chok wet look Korean stars favor) look with one application.

And don’t think that just because the Air Cushion is a liquid that it’s less effective or protective than a heavy lotion. According to Song, existing sunscreens were either a “water-in-oil type,” which helped them last and resist sweat and water, but felt heavy and sticky, or “oil-in water type,” which are “much lighter, but have less durability.” What AmorePacific and Iope did was create a “freshwater-in-oil-type” sunscreen for both durability and a lighter feel. 

 

 

All I know is that when our Korean art director raved about it, I had to run out and get one to try it out for myself. It truly is a skin saver — no more worrying about midday or commute-home sun exposure! (It even works brilliantly on top of powder foundation — who wouldathunk?) And with dermatologists insisting that the one thing every single person must do for their skin is wear sunscreen every single day, 365 days a year, the Air Cushion could not have come at a better time.

Though Iope Air Cushion is only currently available at Korean cosmetic boutiques in Koreatown or through smaller sites on Amazon, you can get AmorePacific (they are Iope’s parent company, after all) Cushion Compact at Sephora ($60). For a less expensive alternative, Korean line Laneige, which just debuted in the States this spring, has their own BB Cushion ($34), available at Target.

 

 

Skin Care Products, Not Just for Women Anymore

Ladies, be prepared to move all your eyeshadow palettes, lipsticks, eyeliners, and your hoards of lotion and bb cream’s aside. Men’s skin care products are on the rise and you know what that means – we’ll have to share the bathroom sink every morning. Gasp.

You can thank those fair-skinned, pretty boys in K-dramas for this latest craze of men’s beauty products in Asia. Apparently we’re not the only ones these days who are swooning over them – men are too. Well, maybe not swooning exactly, but they are definitely taking notes on how to attain silky, smooth skin.

According to an article on Wall Street Journal, the largest market for men’s skin care is China at $974 billion, and is expected to increase up to 1 billion dollars by next year. Korea is closely behind at $635 million, and North America is at $286. With this craze, you would think these products come with Scarlett Johansson’s face plastered on them or something.

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For now, we’re not complaining (too much) at least…unless all their products start taking up too much of our space. Then, we’ll definitely have a problem.

Get Ready to Party! Audrey Helps You Get Through the Holiday Season

’Tis the season to indulge, so go ahead — don’t let us be a wet blanket on the festivities. Just heed a bit of pre-party advice to minimize post-party fallout. And when you’ve binged to your heart’s content, we’ve got a few tips to help you recover.

PREGAME:

* Two weeks before, make sure your teeth are party-ready with Glo Science’s latest G-Vial whitening gel — just apply with a brush twice a day for 30 seconds.

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* Pregame like dermatologist extraordinaire Dr. Jessica Wu, who says in her book, Feed Your Face, that she like to have a snack (try almonds!) before a big dinner to avoid overeating.

* An hour out, before you slip on that special dress, maximize your hotness with a Wei Beauty Décolletage Treatment Pad, a mask with coconut water, kelp and free radical-fighting gingko, specifically made for the delicate skin on your chest.

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PARTY TIME:

* In her book, Dr. Wu recommends a dry red wine like cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir for maximum antioxidants (chardonnay, if you prefer white). If you’re more a cocktail kind of girl, she says go for vodka with club soda or diet tonic water.

* Don’t forget to hydrate with a glass of water after every drink. That’ll also help you moderate your drinking.

* After all that rich, scrumptious food, chew gum with xylitol, like Vitacare Whitening Gum, to freshen breath.

POST-PARTY:

* Whatever you do, don’t forget to take off your makeup. Keep Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water and Pure Cotton on your nightstand to remove even waterproof makeup with mineral-rich water from Japan’s Yumura Hot Springs — no tugging and no rinsing required.

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* In the morning, apply cotton balls soaked in soy milk (squeeze out the excess) for five minutes to reduce swelling, hydrate skin and constrict veins in bloodshot eyes, says Dr. Wu.

Read more tips to get you through the holiday season in Audrey‘s Winter 2013-14 issue, out now!

 

Michelle Phan Doesn’t Wash Her Face In The Morning?

Last month, we showed you the rather horrifying results of sleeping with makeup on. Even more stomach-churning, we showed you what happens when you don’t handle blackheads.. for twenty-five years.

Needless to say, skincare is (or should be) important to all of us. The task is to find the right methods to make sure you keep your skin as healthy as possible. All over the web, you can find people who swear by their methods of skincare and provide secret tips for a clear face. Should all of this advice be listened to?

Certainly not.

Realbeauty.com, for instance, noted that toilet seat covers can be used as blotting sheets. While we don’t doubt this, we’re go ahead and pass on this beauty tip.

So who do we turn to? How about someone who has over 5 million YouTube subscribers and nearly one billion video views?

For years, viewers have trusted Michelle Phan with makeup tutorials, skincare advice, and now fans have been going crazy over her new makeup line, EM Michelle Phan.


So when Michelle Phan advises us to not wash our face in the morning, people were a bit caught off guard. But don’t worry, the makeup guru has a perfectly fine explanation for this. Huffington Post reports:

I don’t wash my face in the morning. I know that might sound gross to some people but essentially when you’re sleeping and your pillows are clean, all you need to do in the morning is wipe down [your face] with a wet cloth. A lot of the times when you’re constantly washing your face over and over again, it dries the skin and your skin will produce more oil which causes breakouts. So it’s all about keeping balance on your skin and applying a light moisturizer in the day time.

 

Be sure to check out more of her advice here.

Not For Weak Stomachs: Removal of a 25-Year-Old Blackhead

In September we showed you the results of sleeping with makeup on for an entire month and called it a horror story. Now we take that back. We take it all back. Apparently, that wasn’t a skincare horror story at all. This is.

We’re provided with scant details, we know the patient is the aunt of the person taking the video and we know that they are Chinese American or Canadian. However, one thing is certain: this is a blackhead pimple that has been clogged for 25 years.

You may have a lot of questions at this point. How on earth did this person not handle this thing before? How are those tweezers going so deeply into the skin? Why can’t we stop watching this video until the end? And when the grotesquely thing finally comes out, why does it look like that?

Don’t say we didn’t warn you. These six minutes may very well ruin lunch for you. But just like a car crash, people can’t seem to turn away.

 

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Skincare Horror Story: Results of Sleeping With Makeup On

Does sleeping with makeup on really have bad effects on your skin?

The answer to that question is yes, yes it does. We’ve all had those long, hectic days where we’ve ended up falling asleep with our makeup on, but what consequence does that have on our skin?

In an episode of The Doctors, one brave woman volunteered to not wash her makeup off for a month and the end result came out quite shocking.

Take a look for yourself below while dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu explains the relation between wearing makeup constantly and premature aging of the skin.

The moral of the story? Take your makeup off. You may be tired, but spending a few minutes to take care of your skin will help you avoid long-term effects. Washing your face before getting some shut eye can only benefit you. After all, you can replace the makeup, but you can’t replace your face.

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Get a K-pop Complexion: Audrey’s Guide to BB Cream

When Audrey first wrote about BB creams in 2008, it was the latest thing in Korea. The oddly named “blemish balm” originated in Germany as a post-treatment cream for laser surgery patients and was later co-opted by Korean women to create the ssaeng-uhl (bare-faced look) coveted by the nation’s most beautiful actresses. (Even Korean men have taken to wearing BB cream.) Considered a staple in every Korean woman’s beauty regimen, BB cream is now sweeping the U.S., but thankfully for us, the newest iterations have a greater range of shades, coverage and textures.

When Harvard Business School grad Grace Choi first tried BB cream, she liked the finish but had trouble finding a formula that matched her skin tone, especially for different seasons. “I’m more yellow during the winter and more olive/brown during the summer,” says the 29-year-old Korean American. “Asian BB brands offer a very limited number of shades which do not suit the vast majority of diverse American women,” she adds. But she also found that many BB creams currently in the U.S. market didn’t give the same coverage and finish that the Asian BB creams were famous for. So Choi put her medical science background to use and formulated her own brand of BB cream. With 10 different shades, seven work for Asian skin: the Yellow line finishes more golden, while the Olive line has a more brown/tan undertone.

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BB CREAM TIPS:

* Apply like you would a sunscreen. Put a dime size dollop on your fingers and spread evenly on face. The cream will sink in and adjust to your skintone.

* Apply with fingers, says Choi. “It’s much easier to control and spread than with a brush or sponge.”

* The right shade is important with BB cream. Use one that’s too light and it can look masky. Can’t find the exact shade or right texture in a BB cream? Because BB creams provide buildable coverage, you can mix and match for the perfect formulation. I like mixing a lighter textured cream in a more golden shade with a thicker one in a paler shade, like Estée Lauder with 3Lab, before blending on my face.

Here, we review the best BB creams out there (even one for men!).

Sheer Coverage

Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening BB Base

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Skin Perfector (great for young skin, BB novices)

DermaE Evenly Radiant BB Creme

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse BB Beauty Balm

Dr. Lewinn by Kinerase Instant Perfecting BB Cream

Vichy ProEven Mineral BB Cream

Estée Lauder Day Wear BB Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Creme

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Tinted Treatment Moisturizer 

Urban Decay Naked Skin Beauty Balm

AmorePacific Color Control Cushion Compact

 

Sheer to Medium Coverage

Etude House Precious Mineral BB Cream Bright Fit

Amarté Natural Finish BB Cream (an editor favorite!)

Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream (another editor favorite)

Cailyn Precious Blend BB Cream (broad range of 6 shades)

Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector 

Christina Choi Cosmetics BB Cream (great shades for medium Asian to dark skin tones)

DHC BB Cream Foundation

Comodynes Urban Cosmetics BB Color (darker shades available)

 

Medium to Full Coverage

Grace Choi Porcelain Skin BB Cream (the widest range of shades, especially for Asian skin, in either matte or dewy formulations)

Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm 

Dr. Jart+ Renewalist BB Beauty Balm

3Lab Perfect BB Cream (super anti-aging skincare ingredients)

Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream (tons of shades available)

Too Faced Air-Buffed BB Creme (an editor favorite!)

 

FOR MEN! (Yes, we haven’t forgotten you!)

Miracle Skin Transformer MEN SPF20

Tried any of the BB creams on this list? Tell us what you think!

Want us to test a BB cream for you? Let us know!

Get a K-pop Complexion: Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector

Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector

Coverage: Sheer to Medium

Shades: 2 (Light/Medium and Medium/Deep)

Price: $12.99

Benefits: SPF 15; antioxidant vitamin C; hyaluronic acid, lipidure microspheres and glycerin for 24-hour moisturization; mineral pigments.

Review: Testing the Light/Medium shade, we found that the cream felt lighter than other BB creams. It goes on smoothly and easily, blending in fairly well and sinking in fast. The color seemed to adjust to our light-medium Asian skin tone. When applied, it looks dewy, a little shiny. This has buildable coverage, so if it looks too sheer, apply more for more coverage. We like this for BB cream/foundation novices and those who don’t need much coverage.

For the Medium/Deep shade, we found the texture to be thick and creamy with a lot of coverage. Some thought it blended into skin nicely; others thought it took a while to sink in, but had better results after using it with a primer. The finish is glowy, but not oily, and lasted all day.

For more BB cream reviews, click here.

Get a K-pop Complexion: Grace Choi Porcelain Skin BB Cream

Grace Choi Porcelain Skin BB Cream

Overview: The widest range of shades, especially for Asian skin tones. Get it while you can!

Coverage: Medium to Full

Shades: 10 different shades (3 with yellow undertones, 4 in olive undertones), all in either a dewy or a matte formulation

Benefits: SPF 30 broad spectrum, adenosine for anti-aging, arbutin for dark spot repair, Korean pearl extract, oil control, hypoallergenic, oil-free, paraben-free

Price: $34

Review: Creamy texture that goes on well, sinks in smoothly. The perfect amount of coverage for Asian hyperpigmentation, but still sheerer than a foundation. The finish is a little shiny, so you’ll need to blot or powder the T-zone. You can’t beat the range of colors — find the right shade and it seemingly melts into your skin. The best part is you can order a deluxe sample set to try out all the shades, and the price of the sample set is deducted from your full-size order.

Want more BB cream reviews? Click here!