The K-beauty regime: Is it for you?

The K-beauty regime is such a big deal in East Asia. It’s also popular to a lesser extent in China (you can buy the products but people don’t necessarily use them all, and there’s fewer brands to choose from in China, but there are still a LOT of brands; it’s just a testament to how much of a big deal K-beauty is in Korea that they have the biggest selection of beauty products that I’ve ever seen in my life). One thing to note, though, is that China has its own beauty brands (usually with European-sounding names) and they don’t like to think of themselves as aficionados of K-beauty. In China, the exact same things are pretty much classed as Chinese beauty. ūüėČ

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There’s been a lot of online articles from western magazines and whatnot which are all like, “Korean women spend two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening on their beauty regime!!!” Honestly? While they sure spend time on it, with VISIBLE results, they also generally work very long hours (much longer than people do in the west) and so I’d say twenty minutes to half an hour, morning and evening, is probably more realistic, certainly on the days when I’ve done a full K-beauty regime. Sheet masks, of course, take 15-20 mins all by themselves, but you don’t do those daily; two to four times a week is more reasonable.

Why do they do it? Well, unlike in the west, K-beauty tends to focus on skincare. Get a good canvas, THEN correct flaws with makeup. It’s a much more natural look, and I really like the whole idea, I mean, depending how long you’ve been reading my blog, even before I came to Asia you may remember that most of my beauty articles were skincare related. Makeup? Eh. When I hit twenty-five, I started to feel like taking care of my skin was WAY more important. #realtalk #confessionsofabeautyblogger some days, I don’t even wear any makeup. Most days, I wear the bare minimum. But I never forget my skincare.

So, the FULL K-beauty routine goes like this (usually… there are some variations depending who you ask and what brands they use), starting from a completely cleansed face (you would use cleanser and whatnot first, if your face was dirty):

Essence goes on first. This is usually the most watery or thinnest consistency of product. If you’re ever in doubt about whether you’re using K-beauty properly, usually it goes from thinnest to thickest consistency of product. ūüėČ And at the end of the day, it’s no biggie if you get one or two steps back to front. I use this Soybean Firming Essence [light] from Innisfree; it’s about the same price in China as in the US, and I plan to review it at some point.

Serum goes on after essence. I use the Innisfree Soybean Energy Serum which TRAGICALLY you don’t seem to be able to get in America. It’s like my favorite thing so that’s very sad. I do also like the Innisfree Jeju Pomegranate Serum which you ALSO can’t get in the US. Sometimes around now I’ll use a moisture spray, too.

Then, you put on something called “skin” if you want, but I’ve never found one I especially loved and the consistency seems to vary between different ones, too, which makes me feel like I’m just washing off my serum and essence. Some K-beauty people call “skin” “toner” but where the west calls toner something you remove makeup with/clean your face with, K-beauty “toner” seems to mean something that improves the tone of your skin. I’m not sure if they mean color or firmness, but I’ve tried a few and none of them did either for me. I skip this step.

Next comes moisturizer or lotion. Some brands call it one, some call it the other. I would usually use one with an SPF, but if it’s a day when I’m not going outside, I’ll use one with other properties instead. My favorite non-SPF is the Innisfree Green Tea balancing cream. My favorite SPF is the Clio Kill Cover SPF 50 but you can’t get that in the US. My second favorite (better for oily skin as it has a matte finish, so with my normal skin, I use it on top of another moisturizer like the Innisfree one, above) is the Etude House Sunprise SPF32 (the US one is SPF50 and reviews claim it’s better for dry skin so maybe that’s a slightly different product to the one I have).

Now you put on your base (or primer, or veil… some people use veil and base, I personally feel they’re interchangable). I have some nice ones of these, and the K-beauty ones all seem to be good for color-correcting, especially if you have dark circles under your eyes. My favorites are the Etude House baby choux because I wear it on its own for color correction and it’s fabulous (I will review this, too, soon) and the Cle De Peau Correcting Creme Veil which I also wear on its own sometimes, without any other makeup on top. It is a French brand but, like many western cosmetics companies, they have a completely different line of (arguably better) products for the Chinese and Korean market, because they have to compete against homegrown Asian products that are really good. And HOLY MACARONI I had no IDEA how much that Cle De Peau one cost as I got it as a thank-you gift, as part of a big set of Cle De Peau cosmetics from a first-grader’s mom after I taught her daughter English. It’s sooooo good though. If all expensive cosmetics are that good, I can totally see why Kim Kardashian looks so good, even if we ignore the surgery and personal trainer sessions.

After primer, you add either BB cream, cushion, or what-have-you (whatever you use for foundation). I was using the Innisfree cushion but I’ve just ran out, so last week I bought the Clio Kill Professional one. I like cushion makeup (it’s like pressed powder but wet… I can’t explain it), because it’s quick to apply, but when I have time, I prefer BB cream applied with a beauty blender (or a 20-cent Chinese knock-off… $10 for a sponge?? Nope) as it’s more nourishing and I think it looks more natural on my face. I haven’t used western foundation since I got to China because it’s complete garbage compared to the stuff here, and SO bad for my skin. All the redness I’ve had, and which I’ve seen pretty much every western beauty vlogger seems to have before they apply their makeup, has vanished since I stopped using western foundation; I think there’s something badly wrong with it. Unless you have deeply tanned skin, Asian foundations are way better.

After that, you do the rest of your make-up; blush, eyeshadow, lipstick, brows.

Lastly, dust with some finishing powder and you’re good to go. And if you feel dry during the course of the day? Don’t be afraid to mist your face with moisturizing spray in public. Seriously, people do this SO OFTEN at coffee shops in Korea. I just got the LaNeige Water Bank Mist last week and I really love it. It’s so much fun, and quick and easy to use, although I’m lazy and only use it about once a day.

HOWEVER, there’s a huge difference between what I know I *should* do and what I actually do. I feel dowdy just thinking about the fact that some people are doing all of this every day. They will look like Zsa Zsa Gabor when they’re 80, and I’ll look like Sir Ian McKellen. I know I should do all this, but it’s so much effort and when I was working full-time I didn’t have time. Anyway, I tend to go along with how my skin feels, and a lot of the time, I don’t feel like I need to use all of that stuff.

So instead, usually I go:

Essence,

Serum,

Moisturizer/moisturizing suncream. I put all those on my face AND neck, because I feel like my neck needs more love than my body lotion can give it. If I get too much product on my hands, I also rub it into the backs of my hands and I’ve noticed the difference in my hand skin since I started doing that, but I still can’t bring myself to regularly use hand cream, it just isn’t me.

If I feel red or washed out I add one of the choux base veils I mentioned.

Then, unless I’m going out somewhere nice or Youtubing, I usually just sort my brows out, throw on some lipstick (my current favorites are Bobbi Brown or Elizabeth Arden… because I know where I left those) and get on with finding where I left my shoes and whether I have any hair elastics.

Then I am ready to face the day.

I’m a soccer mom waiting to happen.

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Lash Growth Serums Revisited: Revitalash Advanced vs Rapidlash Which Is Better?

In this article I am reviewing Revitalash Advanced and Rapidlash, since month after month, my 2nd most popular article is this one: Lash Growth Serums Reviewed: RapidLash, Eveline and Rimmel. ¬†In it, I compared Rapid Lash, Rimmel Lash Accelerator, Eveline SOS Lash Conditioner. ¬†The winner was clearly RapidLash, but this was before I’d tried Revitalash Advanced. ¬†Today I am going to talk about Revitalash Advanced, and how it compares to RapidLash (assume I mean Revitalash Advanced where I say “revitalash” in the rest of this article).

An epic eyelash batting contest to the death ensued.
An epic eyelash batting contest to the death ensued.


What do they look like?

The tubes almost look identical. ¬†They’re both a slightly pearlescent silvery colour, although the Revitalash has a blue lid. ¬†But somehow the Revitalash Advanced
one looks more high-class. ¬†And it should do, it’s twice the price on Amazon. ¬†It’s twin colour design also makes it easier to spot in the bathroom. ¬†Although the RapidLash one looks like a bigger tube, they’ve both got 2ml of product in them.

Revitalash looked higher class with it's sapphire lid standing out from it's pearlescent silver body.
Revitalash looked higher class with it’s sapphire lid standing out from it’s pearlescent silver body.

What did it cost?
At full price, RapidLash is about ¬£40 ($55) for 2ml and Revitalash Advanced is about $80 for 2ml or $120 for 3.5ml. ¬†I paid ¬£18.50 ($26) for my RapidLash 2ml before Christmas, and in continuous use that translated to 3 months supply. ¬†Revitalash was ¬£44.50 ($65) for 2ml on Amazon and it said on the listing that it was also 3 months supply, although I haven’t finished the tube yet.

Rapidlash is a slightly different pearlescent silver colour to the Revitalash.
Rapidlash is a slightly different pearlescent silver colour to the Revitalash.

Was it genuine?
One concern I had with buying half price lash serums on Amazon was whether they were genuine products or not. ¬†I scoured the reviews (Amazon had several different listings for each) and found ones that people had said worked, and I looked for ones where people said “I’ve bought this before from my beauty salon, it’s genuine.” ¬† It’s not enough that it says it’s coming from the correct brand name because Amazon (and sellers) frequently get this wrong and lie about where it’s coming from, so I always read the reviews on Amazon. ¬†You have to. ¬†I am glad to say that both the RapidLash and the Revitalash I purchased were genuine. ¬†NOTE: Revitalash Advanced is the only Revitalash currently being made, so if it doesn’t say “Advanced” on the box you are buying old, discontinued product that could be out of date. ¬†My Revitalash tube was also sealed in plastic inside a box that was stuck down with a circular see-through sticker, so I knew it hadn’t been opened. Even though I’ve linked to the same one I’ve bought, please do check it’s still coming from a reputable source – if there are recent listings saying it’s a fake, listen to them, as suppliers change sometimes!

This is what the box should look like.
This is what the box should look like.

How do You Use Rapidlash?
Rapidlash goes over the very root of your eyelash, where it touches the eyelid, and you have to get the product on the eyelid for it to work. ¬†As I said in my previous review, because I have a double line of eyelashes, like Elizabeth Taylor, I have to work the stuff between the two layers because it doesn’t soak in or travel between lashes very well.


How do You Use Revitalash?

Revitalash Advanced
goes on your actual eyelashes, and should not touch your eyelid at all.  I was concerned that it might spread to my under eye area and cause irritation, but it dries very quickly (much faster than RapidLash) and yet seems to reach all my upper lashes WITHOUT spreading to my lower lashes.  See this video the manufacturers have made for an idea of how to use Revitalash: 

What About those dodgy ingredients?  The safety facts:
Neither of these products have the “glaucoma” drug in it (that’s used in Latisse, which is only available in the US and is prescription only, and will make your lashes grow PAST your eyebrows. ¬†Latisse are VERY defensive¬†with their patents and don’t currently let any other company use their patented lash ingredient bimatoprost) and while they both use a molecule that MIMICS the lash growth effect of the glaucoma molecule bimatoprost, they don’t have the same effect on eyes and there is literally not one single case of either Revitalash or RapidLash causing eye colour change either.

This criticism is all a VERY old story from 2005 and this was all aimed at Latisse, which has never caused eye colour change, but which is a licenced Prescription Only Product for a reason – it’s a more effective lash growth serum, but it’s also got more potential side effects!! ¬†The story behind the eye colour change is that the INGREDIENT (bimatoprost) used in Latisse has caused eye colour change in VERY high quantities when it’s used in a different formula to treat glaucoma (where it needs to be in a high enough concentration to cause significant eye pressure drop, y’know, to treat glaucoma, a serious eye disease). ¬†It got cross applied by those people who don’t understand science but love to talk beauty with pseudoscience. ¬†But the truth is, nobody’s eyes have changed colour using any of these lash serums, which I’m sure Allergan and Athena (the companies that make Latisse and Revitalash respectively) are sick of having to reiterate and confirm again and again.

Revitalash DOES contain a very similar active ingredient to Latisse (dechlorodihydroxydifluoroethycloprostenolamide is the active ingredient in Revitalash) which is why it is more effective than RapidLash but it is NOT the same or Allergan (who are famously rivals with Athena Cosmetics over their lash serums) would have slapped more patent infringements on Athena for it. ¬†RapidLash and Revitalash¬†also DON’T contain snail secretion filtrate, unlike Marvelash (EWWWWW THAT’S GRODY TO THE MAXXX) which I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole because I have a phobia of slugs and snails.

Basically, you know Revitalash is good stuff because otherwise Allegan (who make Latisse) wouldn’t feel so threatened to keep constantly trying to get Revitalash relegated to “prescription only” (or withdrawn) because they’re scared of it being “unfair competition,” and you know Revitalash is safe because otherwise the FDA would have banned Revitalash permanently¬†by now (and if you read the history you’ll see how many times Allergan/Latisse have tried to make this happen). ¬†The only time Revitalash was banned, it was because of a “fair competition” law that then got laughed out of court on appeal, it was nothing to do with safety. ¬†As a qualified chemistry teacher who knows a thing or two about science, I can wholeheartedly say that while ANYTHING can cause you an allergy (some people are allergic to water), these products are all safe.

Did they work?
They both made my eyelashes grow.  They both took a few weeks to show results.  However, I like Revitalash
better than Rapidlash for two reasons:
1. It made my eyelashes grow LONGER.
2. Revitalash
did not leave my eyes with a red rash, and didn’t leave my eyeballs feeling dry and tired. ¬†When I used Rapidlash I was more sensitive to eye strain and dry eyes. ¬†The first time I used it it went away after a while, but I stopped using it for 3 months and when I started again¬†the redness and dryness¬†never went away (but I didn’t get the under eye irritation this time). ¬†Revitalash didn’t affect my eyes at all.

As you can see, my lashes got longer from RapidLash, but my eyelids were not happy (usually they're the same colour as the rest of my face).
As you can see, my lashes got longer from RapidLash, but my eyelids were not happy (usually they’re the same colour as the rest of my face).

What happens if you use RapidLash and Revitalash together?
You get stupidly long lashes very quickly but after 1 day your eyes feel really weird and achey and oversensitive to light and your eyelids go worse than in the picture above. ¬†So I am quite sure the two products cannot be used together and I stopped using the RapidLash completely on day three (I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a coincidental eye ache) before I went blind or my eyes turned into antennae or I got x-ray vision or something. ¬†I couldn’t find any information about this online so I may have been the first person to try this then write about it. ¬†Revitalash is¬†more expensive, but if you want properly long lashes, Revitalash is the real deal and is the one to go for because RapidLash is good, but it’s not AS good as Revitalash, and for me, the redness and occular irritation were deal breakers once I’d found a product that didn’t upset my eyes but still did the job.

The bottom line: 
I liked Revitalash
best. ¬†It grew my lashes longer and didn’t damage my eyes at all (unless combined with RapidLash – that’s a big no no). ¬†I wish I hadn’t hesitated in buying it, but the price really put me off. ¬†At the end of the day, if you’ve only got ¬£20, buy RapidLash and you won’t be too disappointed, it’s certainly the best of the original three serums I reviewed. ¬†But if you can stretch your budget, I think Revitalash is worth the extra money. ¬†Once your lashes are long, people say you can use Revitalash once a week for maintenance, so that will be cheaper than using it every day as the tube will last longer. As long as you’re careful about who you buy from, I strongly recommend you buy from Amazon.com
as it’s the best value for money.

The clear winner.
The clear winner: Revitalash.

Which serums have you tried?  Would you ever try one?  Let me know in the comments!

UPDATE MAY 2016: I have now written a review comparing RapidLash and Revitalash to Grande Lash MD, see which lash serum is better, Grande Lash MD, Rapid Lash or Revitalash!!