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“My skin wasn’t always so good!” exclaims blogger and entrepreneur Ascia Al Faraj. “My skin is super-sensitive and reactive. It had gotten to the point that whenever I had a photo shoot with heavy makeup, I would break out in hives and dry patches for a week afterwards.” Even rounds of Roaccutane didn’t help Faraj. Enter: K-beauty.
Introduced by her now–business partner Angie Hastings to K-beauty, Faraj saw a dramatic difference in her skin by implementing a ten-step routine, which includes two cleansers and not one, but three toners. The 29-year-old shares, “My skin improved radically in a short time. I am so much more confident in my own skin that I rarely wear makeup these days.”
Gone is the redness and painful swelling she would experience with other beauty products. And such was the difference that Faraj and Hastings joined forces to found Seoul Kool, an online shop delivering K-beauty to Kuwait. “I am constantly learning, and I try to pass on that knowledge as I go,” she explains. Below, a look at the ten products that have acted like “magic” for Faraj and prompted the founding of Seoul Kool.
Step 1: The First Cleanser
Step 2: The Second Cleanser
“Two-step cleansing has changed my life. The second cleanse removes the oil residue and prepares my skin for toning. This Re:P Cleanser is one I am trying and loving because it is soft, organic, and gentle on my sensitive skin. This cleanser calms stressed skin.”
Step 3: The Exfoliant
“This is a two-sided exfoliant pad. One side is a bit rough for exfoliating and the other side is smoother to wipe away debris. I use this product twice a week, it’s gentle and makes my skin super-smooth and bright without irritation.”
Step 4: The First Toner
“Layering toners is a great Korean skin-care secret. Each toner has different qualities and benefits, and in order to reap the benefits of several toners, you should layer them. The layering is unique to each person’s preferences and skin issues. My skin is sensitive and prone to breakouts. This COSRX toner, an alcohol-free toner made with cica, is the queen of calming, restoring, and elasticity.”
Step 5: The Second Toner
“This toner boasts anti-fungal, anti-bacteria, antiseptic, and anti-viral properties. Tea tree coupled with green tea as an active ingredient, this toner works to minimize and smooth pores.”
Step 6: The Third Toner
“The Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner delivers a quick boost of hydration and nourishment. This toner has a thicker texture which allows it to sit on the skin and act like a shield.”
Step 7: The Essence
“Think of essence as a magnet for moisture; with daily use it will help improve texture and ease dullness. It hydrates the skin, preventing pollutants and dirt from penetrating. This is a light essence with a powerful punch. I am never without it.”
Step 8: The Serum
“Skin is damaged from our lifestyle and environment. This Nacific Fresh Herb Origin Serum is a holy grail product. It is now fondly called the ‘damn serum’ by the Korean skin-care aficionados due to the tingling sensation it creates when applied onto damaged, oxidized skin. Allegedly, the greater the damage, the more it tingles. Over time, this tingling sensation diminishes as your skin heals. It is made with vitamin C, which creates the tingle. This antioxidant-enriched serum enhances elasticity, prevents premature wrinkling, balances oil and moisture, as well as tones. It also helps relax the skin by using aloe vera in place of purified water and vegetable components instead of synthetic preservatives.”
Step 9: The Moisturizer
“This cream harnesses the power of four centella asiatica (cica) derived ingredients including madecassoside and madecassic acid that are known to calm redness, inflammation and irritation. Basically, if a product has cica in it, I know it is a safe bet for my sensitive skin. Cica calms rosacea, and other inflammatory issues with the skin as it repairs the skin barrier.”
Step 10: The Eye Cream
“I suffer from hereditary dark circles under my eyes, no matter how clean my diet, no matter how much sleep I log, I still have these dark circles haunting me. Whamisa helps fill in fine lines, firm up and banish the bags and reduce the dark circles. Niacinamide and licorice extract are the main stars in this natural cream, these ingredients combine and are supercharged with Whamisa’s signature fermentation process for the maximum benefit. Their natural properties are responsible for lessening dark circles and puffiness.”
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