Guest Blog: Afterthoughts

Louboutini, fresh off his K-beauty torture, was kind enough to answer some questions:  These are unedited and he is totally sucking up to me.  Not because he loves me, because he’s stuck with me at home indefinitely, and doesn’t want me to murder him in his sleep for existing too much.  But I’d never do that because I love him a lot, I swear!

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Guest post by Louboutini, who is handsome without K-beauty and cooler than cool, even on a hot summer day. 

Why did you say yes to this experiment?

Because my loving girlfriend Jenna asked me to, and she insisted it would help my skin, so I thought it would be worth giving it a try.

Do you think it made any difference?  Does your skin feel any different?

I do think it made my skin softer and better moisturized than my normal face wash.  At the same time, the steps leave your face feeling somewhat tacky afterwards for awhile.

Do you think it has made any difference in Jenna’s skin?

I don’t notice a huge difference in Jenna’s skin, but Jenna has beautiful skin to start.  How do you improve upon that?

What were your favorite and least favorite steps and why?

My favorite is the exfoliating scrub.  I liked that it made my skin feel fresh afterwards.  On the other hand, the mask was my least favorite part.  I didn’t like that it felt drippy and cold, and left my face feeling like it had a film on it afterwards (Jenna insists its part of the process, and absorbs in, but I always wanted to wash my face afterwards, likely undoing any benefits).  The other issue is in order to properly do this, I have to shave, and I prefer to have some facial hair.  It makes some of the steps hard, and the mask is less effective since it would only touch about half of my face.

Would you keep doing any of the steps on your own?

I would continue to use the face wash and exfoliating scrub (first 2 steps plus scrub) but the other steps seemed excessive.  I am not sure my skin requires such fancy things like toner and serum.  The masks would only work if I shaved and I don’t like that.

Are you happy you tried it?

I am happy I tried it.  It gave me a chance to try to understand what Jenna was doing.  Plus I do think my skin is a bit better for it.

***After writing this guest post, he went to work on the car.  He got a bunch of dirt and grime on his face.  Louboutini did use steps 1 and 2 to get the grime off his face.  He enjoyed it. 

I Feel Pretty

If you want someone to do something he or she does not want to do, there are a few prerequisites in coercing a commitment to the action in question:

  • Subject should love you;
  • Subject should want you to be happy;
  • Subject should be curious;
  • Subject should be able and willing;
  • Subject should be bored out of his or her mind due to COVID-19 quarantine.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is how I took a page from Jen Lancaster and Jenny Lawson (they are fucking brilliant women, for many reasons other than this one), in getting their significant others to participate and/or support their crazy trials.

I’m pretty sure it’s mostly the last bullet point that got Louboutini to commit to one week of the 10-step K-beauty routine.  I’m still doing it and will have my one-month results next week-ish, but I couldn’t convince him to do much more than a week, and that was with promising only 3 sheet masks and that I’d apply steps 4-10 for him.

Now, Louboutini has become something of a rugged mountain man since our move to WA 3.5 years ago.  This means he wears a lot of flannel and eschews a razor, leaving the clean-shaven days of his past in the dust.  I quite like it, but we ran into an issue with the sheet masks when I made him try a tiger on for size. (No, not like Joe Exotic.)

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He was adamant that if he was going to participate, he would do it right.  And thus, he shaved his face.  I don’t really love how he looks without facial hair since I think I’ve gotten used to it, though it made him look about 15 years younger when it was gone.  And then I felt sad because there is no way a little hair removal would do that for me.

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While I did not take notes of what he said every morning and night, these were some of the excerpts:

“I have to wash my face TWICE?  WHY DO WOMEN DO THIS?!”
“No, that’s just steps 1-2.  Then we’ll do toner, essence, serum, moi-”
“Fuck meeeee, I just splash some water on my face and it’s FINE!”

“……what IS this, it doesn’t really wash off!!!”
“It’s oil cleanser.”
“OIL GOES IN A CAR NOT ON MY FACE IT IS GOING TO MAKE ME MORE OILY!…are we done?”
“Love, that was just step 1.”

“This stuff is goopy – what is it?”
“It’s snail jizz.”
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?  Jenna, this is disgusting.  It’s sticky.”
“Well, now you know how it feels.”

“How many more steps?” (at night, non-mask day)
“Toner, essence, serum, eye cream, moisturizer.” (I begin patting them into his face.)
“You know, I think you wanted me to do this just so you could slap my cheeks.”
“This is how the Koreans do it.”
“Obviously.”

At every serum and moisturizer application:
“I don’t like it.  I don’t wanna.”

By the second sheet mask day (we did them on days 1, 4, and 7), he was over the shaving thing. He shaved for Day 4, but let it grow out because, “It’s going to take forever to grow back and I’m going to look stupid.”  Well, Love, we’re quarantined and I’m the only one that has to look at you, so…that argument is pretty weak.  Also, three-day stubble wasn’t that bad with the sheet mask, in case you were wondering.  (I know you weren’t, but figured I would just throw that in there.)

By the time the trial came to an end, he was beyond happy. As I applied the moisturizer on his face for the 14th and last time, he said, “No more sticky.”  When we woke up in the morning, he gazed longingly at the oil and water cleaners, splashed water on his face, and went downstairs to work.

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While we apparently suck at lighting control and “same smile intensity,”  his face looks a little more hydrated to me.  His cheeks, especially.  The undereye skin in the after picture (right) is more crinkly due to a bigger smile, but in person it’s definitely less lined.  He also looks better with facial hair.

Louboutini did not achieve the white-girl results I was hoping, but seeing as he is the patriarchy, maybe the skincare was revolting in feminist protest.

A Walk in the Woods

Being on mandatory stay-at-home isn’t really too different from my every day life.

I work from home so I wear pajamas almost all day.  I am kind of a homebody, so I don’t go out all that much.  I also have taken to reading a lot and going to bed at 9:30, so I’m pretty socially distant as it is.  Do I miss drinking a beer on an outdoor patio with friends?  Sure, but I also have my lovely deck and a view of the bay, so it isn’t all that bad.

That being said, I do love to get outside for a hike when the weather permits (which, as we know, is hit or miss), and for the first nice day in a while, I got off my butt and drove to the local lake.  There’s a 6-mile trail that’s pretty flat and along the shore, and although it was muddy, it was a gorgeous day to get lost in the woods.

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Even though it’s not the lovely warm weather of summer, Washington is pretty killer in the spring.  Because of all the rain, yes things are muddy and slippery, but it also means things are unbelievably green.  For funzies, I took some pictures and none of these have been color enhanced.  It really is that green out here in March.

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About 2.5 miles in, I came to an obstacle.  I knew it had been windy and rainy for the last few days, but I suppose I wasn’t really aware of just how bad the weather had been.  There were three trees and several vines down (blackberry bushes are NO JOKE) and I considered turning around.  But with less than a mile to go, I figured the worst that could happen is that I fall in the mud whilst climbing over the trees.

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I made it over and to the end, which means I had a 3.1 mile hike back to my car.  I can’t complain though, because I am constantly reminded of what a truly beautiful place I live in.  I know not everyone is as lucky as I am, but there is always something nice to look at when you look out the window – be it a landscape, garden, or even a skyline, should you live in a concrete jungle.

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If you can, shake off those quarantine cobwebs and get outside.  We all could use the extra vitamin D, and nature has a great way of refreshing the soul.

 

The KBR Experiment: Final Thoughts

After one week of 10 steps twice per day, I am realizing that whatever miracle I was expecting is not going to happen.

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Before :: After

As much as I dislike posting unedited non-glamour shots of myself, here you go.  The 7-day results, and mind you today is overcast so for some reason that’s making my skin look a LOT lighter.  Somehow, it also looks like my face has gained 3 lbs.  The COVID 15 (like the Freshman 15 or the Grad School 20) is upon us.

My friend Macaron said the skin under my eyes looks lighter, and this might be a little true, or it might be due to lighting?  Macaron is also incredibly generous with (both her baking and) her compliments, so it could be that too. I’m certainly not getting the drastic results white girls get when they do this routine, and I’m also not improving my skin to be like the dewy, porcelain glass k-beauties in k-drama or k-cinema or k-pop.  So….was it worth it?

Yes.  I think it was.

  • It feels like my face is always under a mask of hydration.  It sounds bizarre, but you can feel that your skin is hydrated, and when your skin stretches to smile, frown, or eat a gigantic tortilla chip whole, you can feel it stretching.  Not in a dry way, but in a hydrated way.
  • Sweating is hard.  I have gone for a few runs and hikes this week, and I normally sweat a LOT on my face – especially my nose and chin.  It feels like my sweat can’t escape the hydration mask.  But not in a “you’re going to have a breakout after this workout” way.
  • I will probably wear sunscreen every day for the rest of my life. Even if I do nothing else, this is the big one.
  • I actually like taking the 10-or-35 minutes (if I do a sheet mask) twice a day.  It’s only a little time to myself, but it makes me feel fancy and pampered.
  • For the 1 time a week I actually DO wear makeup (eyeliner), the oil cleanser is ACE.  
  • Sheet Masks are super fun. And they are for boys, too.

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Because I have so much product, and because I want to see if it actually works and just needs more than a week, I am going to continue this experiment for another 3 weeks.  In the name of science, of course.

Surviving COVID-19 PSA

Folks, reporting on my skin can take a break.

Yesterday, I did my part in supporting local business and got takeout from a Thai place.  Louboutini affectionately calls it the Trash Restaurant, as it’s called Busara, and for some reason he always reads it as “basura,” which, as everyone that took high school Spanish knows, means “trash.”  He’s not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, sometimes.

There are a lot of lists of advice out there, and I’m not going to retype them here.  The one thing that is glaringly missing from all the lists is this:

The virus affects your body.  Not the speed limit.    DRIVE AT NORMAL SPEEDS, PEOPLE!

 

The KBR Experiment: Day 5

Okay.

For the life of me I cannot figure out what the EFF essence is.  Every beauty blog and review swears by this product, and I feel lavish and rich spraying $22 water on my face…but I have not noticed a damn thing that’s different.  Something something moisuture something essential something something worth it?  Yeah….I don’t know….

And I guess it’s not really JUST water…the ingredients are: Yeast Ferment Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Niacianmide, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Oryza Sativa Extract(Rice), Pearl powder, Water, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Propanediol, Sodium PCA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, Polyaquaternium-51, Butylene Glycol, Vinegar, Glycerin, Ceramide Np, Cholesterol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Xanthan Gum.

Google tells me that:

  • Yeast Ferment Extract boosts moisturize-retention and improve overall hydration
  • 12Hexanediol is a synthetic preservative and moisture-binding agent
  • Niacinamide is Vitamin B3
  • Bifida is some sort of probiotic
  • Oryza Sativa Extract(Rice) is used to condition and soften skin.
  • Pearl powder has amino acids
  • Water is water (duh)
  • Diethoxyethyl Succinate is a replacement for silicones
  • Propanediol softens and soothes skin and creates a barrier so you don’t lose moisture
  • Sodium PCA is naturally occurring in skin and helps moisturize
  • Ethylhexylglycerin is a preservative
  • Adenosine is for self-restoring, soothing and anti-aging
  • Polyaquaternium-51 improves the moisture retention and creates a film on skin to prevent water loss
  • Butylene Glycol increases skin penetration, thins the product, acts as a solvent, and draws in moisture
  • Vinegar is vinegar, but is used to control pH
  • Glycerin is used to improve smoothness and to draw in moisture
  • Ceramide Np improves the skin barrier
  • Cholesterol helps prevent the separation of oil and liquid
  • Hydrogenated Lecithin is an emollient, emulsifier, and penetration enhancer
  • Xanthan Gum is a binding agent

JFC, that’s a lot of stuff.  And I have not seen it do anything more than make me shiny 😦

The KBR Experiment: Day 3

Okay, Korea.

What.  The.  F.  Is. Happening.  To.  My.  Chin.

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I suppose my skin could be like “Whoaaaaaaaaa too much moisture!!!!!!” or it could be like “Snail mucus is definitely not for me.”  But I don’t get why I’m breaking out in what looks like the beginnings of shingles (I’m 35, for crying out loud, not 75), and what the F is up with the dryness?  Is too much moisture making me dry out?????

I AM SUPPOSED TO HAVE MAGICAL GLOWING SKIN!  NOT THE SKIN OF A PUBESCENT TEEN!

F me, did I just spend $100 on something that is going to make me break out?  Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak.

On the plus side – doing the first three steps in the shower is kind of nice, and you can do the smiling splash thing with no worries.  AND I get a sheet mask tonight.

 

The KBR Experiment: Day 2

Sheet Masks are my favorite thing ever.  They smell nice, they are cooling, they feel good…  Even if I don’t continue to do the entire 10-step routine, I will still do this at least once a week.  Pampering myself for 20 minutes for $3?  Yes please.  They also remind me of Mr. Napkinhead from The Holiday, which is kind of cute.

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Image courtesy people.com

Eye cream is….eye cream.  Dab dab dab, the end.  I sometimes wonder if I’m being a little too proactive by using it, since I don’t even have smile lines, let alone crows’ feet, but I suppose it can’t hurt if millions of Korean women younger than I have been doing this routine since they were in middle school.

Louboutini’s commentary last night was, “So is all this supposed to make you shiny?   Because you’re really shiny right now.”  Thanks.  Thanks a bunch.  Though when I told him about this experiment, he said, “Uh huh, okay….YOU SPENT HOW MUCH?!?! THAT’S BULLSHIT!”

My face definitely feels more hydrated and it is a nice wakeup (especially this AM when I got Step Two Water Cleanser in my eye), but overall, if it just makes me shinier, I can’t say I’d be totally sold.  I am learning how to pat my face dry instead of wiping it, and also wiping toner and everything else gently from the center (read: nose) and up and away, so that the muscles and skin get used to being pulled back…I hope I’m doing it right, and these would be good habits to have in general.

 

The KBR Experiment: Day 1

Day One starts way earlier than I wanted.

Yes, I went to bed at 8:30 last night (don’t judge).  Yes, I had snoozed my alarm thrice (5:40 am, 5:55 am, and 6:27 am) already and want to snooze it again at 6:54.  Yes, Louboutini is off today and probably going to sleep late, so Fridays are usually a prime cuddle morning.  But sigh.

I figure at 6:33 I should get up and at least try the routine, because I have two steps cut out in the AM anyway.   I have a call at 7am every day from now till April 10, so if I’m not even close to done by that time, this whole routine is going to really piss me off.   I put my contacts in and begin.

Oil Cleanser Thoughts:  Yeeeeesh, this is like rubbing olive oil on my face (but at least it has a light and lovely smell).  I might as well have an oil slick on my face.   I wonder if that’s what it feels like as an animal in an oil spill…well maybe not that drastic…Oh shit, it’s not rinsing off…well duh, oil and water…but then how the heck am I supposed to get it off???

Water Cleanser Thoughts:  Ohhhhh this is nice…I wonder if you’re supposed to do it after or combine it with the oil, but I can’t figure out how to get that off so… OK fine I will just rub this in and on top, and…Wow, this smells lovely.   I have the urge to splash my face like they do in the Neutrogena commercials….that’s probably a bad idea though.  Seriously, who does that?  Okay the oil is gone, the foaming water cleanser is washed off…this feels great.  I understand the smiling splash now.

Exfoliant Thoughts:  Hm, this is not the clean lemony scent I was expecting, I do not feel “granules” and it looks and has the consistency of….yeah.  That.  Lovely.

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What!?  It says peeling!  It’s not a “let dry and peel off exfoliator” mask thing?!?!?!  WHAT THE HECK I WAS SOLD A BAG OF GOODS!” I read the back and it says to massage in, and then rinse off.  It is one of the few products I purchased with instructions in English as well as Korean (I definitely didn’t think that through).  Oh man, I thought this was going to be like a Biore strip for my face.  I am seriously disappointed.  I suppose there’s a bright lining – it’s certainly going to cut down on my face care time if I don’t have to let it dry.

Toner Thoughts:  This is what I paid $10 for??? Seriously?  It doesn’t smell like anything, looks, feels, and pretty much IS just water, and there had better be something else to it because no, it doesn’t burn like toner I had in the past, but what the eff.  I was hoping for at least a pretty smell.  I hope I’m doing the “pat on your face with two fingers” thing right because I’ve never done it before and I feel like a moron.

Essence Thoughts:  Ok well THIS is the big scam.  I spritz several times onto my damp face, and….no magic happens.  It’s not making me glow, smell pretty, or have that “dewey” look people were raving about.  This was my splurge?!  This?!  It had better start working because my buns?  They don’t feel nothin’ like steel. (Points if you get that reference).

Serum Thoughts:  Thank God there is a dropper, because this is the consistency of almost congealed cooking fat.  I still use too much (I am going to have to figure the dosage thing out with all of these products, because you do not need much). Jesus, my face is still wet – I wonder if that matters?  My damp essenced face reminds me of how I used to feel like it was dripping off in Dallas summer heat, or after a straight hour of indoor cardio – but without the actual dripping?  Gross.  I’m so shiny – I hope I am not shiny all day.

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Mask/Eye Cream:  Skipped till tonight.  I don’t know how much more hydration my skin can take.  It’s like when you’re so bloated from drinking water that you can’t drink anymore, except in your skin. Maybe that’s why they don’t have wrinkles.  The skin is so hydrated that it literally cannot wrinkle.

Moisturizer:  Okay, well if I thought the exfoliant looked like semen, I was wrong.  THIS looks like semen.  Look, feel, and it doesn’t’ smell bad…per se….but it certainly doesn’t smell good.  And this is actually snail jizz so it makes sense, but now I’m grossed out.  Also, a dime sized amount is too much.  Perhaps a pea sized amount will work better, but that must be why these containers are so small.  And don’t Korean women have small faces since they are all plastic surgeried to look the same?  Gosh, these bottles must last them months.  At least I know now they will last me definitely more than the week. Am I even going to like this beyond a week?  If I go beyond a week I will have to buy more masks.  Ugh, so glad I skipped that step this AM.  Does this even work if you rub moisture into moisure?  What if you can only combine like brands and I’m going to break out?  Okay I am wasting time spiraling…

Sunscreen: God I hope this isn’t….ew it is.  It’s the chalky white zinc stuff you see people making fun of on the beach.

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Image courtesy wired.com

Except it’s watery and kind of….slimy?  I guess sunscreen is slimy – I don’t know.  I don’t have to use it in Washington because the sun never makes an appearance in winter.  Sigh, let me be a good Korean and complete my beauty routine.  I miss being tan.  If only this kung flu would go away and I could go to Dallas in April and get tan.  God I hope this doesn’t make me any whiter.  Maybe I should have started this routine in Texas because at least I would have a reason to use sunscreen.  I miss sun.  I can’t wait for summer.

I look at the clock and it is 6:47am.  I still have time to brush my teeth, make it downstairs, get a glass of a water/seltzer mix, and…oh shit.  I probably should have brushed my teeth first.  I also realize how much my thoughts have spiraled in the last 15 minutes.  Taking those few morning minutes to focus on yourself can have some interesting consequences.

I brush my teeth carefully, and head to my office.  I’m on the computer at 6:52 and am surprisingly more awake than I think I should be (could be that 8:30 bedtime last night, but who knows).  I know the eye cream step will add about 10 seconds, and the sheet mask will add about 20 minutes, but if this is how it’s going to be, I can live with it.