Ever hear the saying that all Asian girls have good skin? I bet you hear it all the time on every YouTube Tutorial or Into the Gloss Top Shelf Interview. In a perfect world, I would proudly say that I too have beautiful skin inherited from my Korean roots.
Truth is, I'm a recovering skincare addict straight out of rehab.
For as long as I can remember, I had acne scars, hormonal cystic breakouts, dark spots, under eye circles and other flaws that made my high school years an awfully awkward stage of my life.
Clearly, I couldn't understand why. Every night I did the religious "double-cleansing" routine you see on every Harper's Bazaar Get Unready With Me Vlog before slathering on a lineup of serums, essences, emulsions, and moisturizers. Follow that with an onslaught of sheet masks, mud masks, charcoal masks, and vitamin boosted creams before the grand finale—essential oils.
Every skincare trend out there, I've tried them all.
Glossier? Been there, done that.
SK-II? Biggest Asian skincare fraud out there.
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask? $50 on the counter and it's sold!
Bioderma Micellar Water? I had the travel size, baby size, medium size, king/Costco-size with me everywhere I went.
Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray? I cringe every time I walk by the Floral section at Ralphs now.
Every facialist/dermatologist I met with didn't have an explanation. They simply threw at me more pore-clogging, medical-prescribed products to saturate my poor skin.
Things changed for the better when I recently underwent a LASIK Eye Treatment Surgery and I was required to stop wearing skincare/makeup products for a month during my recovery period. Sounds like every skincare guru's worst nightmare, huh?
Turns out, it was the best thing that has ever happened to my skin.
I have to say, it wasn't easy quitting cold turkey. My vanity is jam-packed with cream and lotion for every occasion, not to mention sheet masks in every scent and color imaginable. Waking up the day after my operation and heading to work fully bare-faced was terrifying—the equivalent to walking around naked in the middle of Hollywood Blvd. People looked at me differently, the barista at Starbucks knowingly stared at the red blotches on my face when I asked for extra caramel and extra whip on my Frappuccino and my coworker even asked if I was feeling sick and offered to fill in for my shift.
As much as I wanted to go back to my idealized regimen (with the whole "Hey guys, Today I'm starting off with my favorite cleanser…" shabam), I refrained from it for the sake of my doctor's orders.
And voila, within a week after my barefaced chronicles, my skin was miraculously becoming to heal. I sacrificed and the skincare gods blessed me with new skin.
That's when it hit me—perhaps, less is more.
I didn't need all that advertised junk for my skin.
Keep it minimalistic.
As the month passed by, my acne was beginning to heal. My skin was less blotchy and dry, less problematic and more healthy-looking. Don't take my word for it—everyone's skin is different after all.
Also, my skin still isn't perfect today, but the minimalistic routine has caught on with my life.
I did a well-needed detox for my vanity counter, donated all of my sheet masks and discovered Vaseline to be my biggest holy grail.
I still do a lot of trial and error with some products I find today. Currently, I wash my face with Dove soap (so boujee, I know), moisturize with simple face cream, remove eye make up with an oil-based, non-irritant remover before rubbing Vaseline on my lips and a little on my eyelashes.
Overall, I realized that my skin doesn't need a five-star hotel spa treatment, after all.
It's better to spend all that money elsewhere anyway.