Kinseng's Year in Asian Beauty 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

5 Influences + 5 Best Products + 5 Misc. Musings

It's a fire sale! Of Kinseng's thoughts. Did you think 1+1 was a good deal? Get 5+5+5 for free today. :-)

Thanks for joining me for my short and sweet reflection on 1 year of Asian beauty blogging. And as this is my last post for 2015, I want to wish you the happiest of New Years!

1-5 | Asian Beauty Influences

Kinseng's Year in Asian Beauty 2015, Best Asian skincare for dry skin in 2015, etc.

1 | Asian Beauty - One of the loveliest and most hyperactively helpful communities on, the Asian Beauty forum grew from 25,000 on the day I first subscribed to ~35,000 at the end of the year! HOLY WOW! In terms of how the community has influenced this blog, I tend to guesstimate that 1/3 of you who visit me are new to Asian / Korean / Japanese / Taiwanese skincare (my main foci) and 2/3 of you are old-timers who have probably taught me more than a few things over the course of our conversations this year. This is part of the reason why my blog posts have shifted from mainly beginner's resources to covering to the best of my ability while stateside, all that is bleeding edge, new, and novel in Korea. If you've stumbled into this site without a rest stop over at r/AsianBeauty, please head over and check it out!

2 | Instagram - If you're more of a visual person and prefer glorious, orderly flat-lay photos of steamy skincare products, filtered so beautifully it feels like you're viewing them whilst sitting at the windowsill of a Japanese tea house at dawn... or if you're very social and you'd like a chance to forge bonds with other skincare addicts from around the globe... Instagram has slowly become my preferred way to learn about what others are using, liking and buying. I highly recommend checking out and following your fellow addicts who post using tags like #rasianbeauty #kbeauty #tbeauty and #sheetmaskselfie!

3 | The Snail Cast - A few months ago, I daydreamed that one day I'd be able to listen to an Asian beauty podcast, and this past month, my wish came true! Four Asian beauty bloggers joined forces to discuss any and all Asian beauty-related topics. I know tonight I'll be listening for the second time to their latest episode, which while unassumingly titled "Episode 3: 2015 Year-End Wrap-Up", actually contains many thought-provoking discussions about the rise of K-beauty in the west, where it's headed, where they want it to go or not go, some practical tips such as how to select a K-beauty retailer, and as always, a whole lot of laughs. I'll stop here. #nomorespoilers.

My quick and dirty take on the topic? 
There seem to be two camps - (A) those still dipping their toes and wiggling them around and (B) those who see K-beauty as a given, more than a fad, based on its merits.
Those in camp B are informed and empowered K-beauty connoisseurs, many of whom are also emotionally invested in K-beauty 'succeeding' in the west. They're snailvangelists, preaching and converting newbies to experience and enjoy the high quality:price ratio (if shopped for smartly), technological advancements, and playful/experimental aspects of these products we smear on our faces. And they'll continue to do so (myself included) as long as the industry continues to churn out hits based on the 3 facets I just touched upon, and let's be honest, as long as nothing better comes along.
To get more people into camp B, K-beauty reporting and retailing in the west needs to mature. 
In 2016 I hope to see a few things...
1) More competition in U.S. K-beauty retail marketplace!
2) A separation between K-beauty reporting and K-beauty retailing - if I read one more article featuring products from only one retailer, I might scream. :*) :*) :*)
3) More earnest K-beauty media coverage by interested beauty journalists; this would mean well-researched ingredients analysis, accurate and timely representation of Korean beauty trends, exclusive interviews and more.. I'll take all of the coverage, please and thanks. :-)  (One outlet doing this well, Refinery29)
4) My greatest wish is to not see a single headline combining the word weird with any of the following words or phrases: "K-beauty" "Asian skincare" "Japanese trend" "Taiwanese trend" "Korean trend". If these few things happen, I will know that K-beauty and buddies J(apanese)-beauty and T(aiwanese)-beauty have made it in western society as more than a fad, trend, or spectacle.

4 | A desire to connect with my Korean/Asian side. As an Asian-American who grew up in the Midwest (10% Asian population), long before internet friendship became a thing, I viewed my Asian side as something to shed, not embrace in the name of assimilation. This past year has given me a chance to get in touch with my roots... I've learned about so much more than K-beauty products. I feel much more in touch with my culture, and my resurgent interest in the Korean language has allowed me to have a richer dialogue with my parents, who are first generation.

5 | Korean Cosmetics News Outlets - The coverage you see here on Kinseng is based on a handful of sites reporting on solely cosmetics. Stay tuned for a list of bestselling K-beauty products as per these outlets. I'm aiming for next week.

6 - 10 | Best Skin Treats 

These were the best things to touch my face in 2015...

Kinseng's Year in Asian Beauty 2015, Best Asian skincare for dry skin in 2015, etc.

6 | My face is now a never-nude. I must always have a sunscreen on during waking hours as it is the cheapest and most powerful anti-aging product out there!
Best Picks: Biore Watery Essence (pending review) for its undetectable finish and high protection factor + Biore UV Perfect Milk for its ability to fill in my pores to serve as the perfect base for makeup.
Also-Rans: There are 7 also-rans which you can view here.

7 | I fought off getting addicted to sheet masks as long as I could, but in the end, succumbed this winter. I chalk it up to the fact that they are the best way to spice up an existing skincare routine. It also doesn't hurt that I can substitute them for using a toner, essence, serum and/or an ampoule and still wake up to a plump face.
Best Picks: There's nothing like a Mediheal mask: they're covered in a thick, nutrient-rich serum and the material allows for over 45 minutes of glorious masking to yield the best results I've ever had, all for under $2. These Dress Code masks are my favorite. The aftermath with these is a little sticky, but so, so worth it. Also, anything by the Taiwanese brand, My Scheming for their beautiful thin essence carried so well by their soft, silk material. Unlike the ultra-thin Love More masks, these masks will last through at least 45 minutes of masking.
Also-Rans: There are 100's of other also-rans. If you're interested, check out some more reviews here.

8 | I love me a great essence, serum, ampoule and oil but while these are nice-to-haves, the most important product in a dry-skinned gal's arsenal is a cream, the most balanced product type. Most creams blend humectants, emollients and occlusives to bless a dry-skinned person's face.
Best Picks: I have a lot of favorite creams!
The Miguhara Hyalucollagen Moisturizer is an herbal delight based in chamomile extract, not water. It has a lovely whipped texture that is also heavy enough to get you through cold times. The only pitfall? Its price.
The Beyond Angel Aqua Cream is 100 ml of bouncy ceramide goodness. It's an ideal day cream, and can hold over dry skin overnight as well if you use enough.
The Sulwhasoo Overnight Revitalizing Mask (pending review) is an old favorite that I often repurchase in the winter. It's rich and heavy and smells divine - a bit herbal, sweet, and tangy... A little goes a long way with this one.
The Stiefel Physiogel Cream is a workhorse heavy moisturizer that is a welcome alternative to the well-loved Cerave moisturizer.
Also-Rans: There were 14 also-rans, which you can glance through here.

9 | In 2015, I was lucky enough to be introduced to 'DIY' (DIY? Small batch?) skincare by the lovely Chel of Holy Snails. I've used her first product, "Shark Sauce" and am working my way through one of her newer creations, the "Perseids Oil" (pending review).
If you've been interested in trying out 'small batch' skincare, especially anything created by Chel, I'm pro you doing that, for what it's worth. The textures achieved by creators like Chel can be very similar to commercial formulas. I also value the fact that she takes inspiration from the Asian skincare industry and makes it her own.

10 | I found two holy grails in 2015. These are products I can't see myself veering from for the foreseeable future. The first is my anti-aging cocktail of retin-A, niacinamide, and vitamin C from Curology, and the second is my l-ascorbic acid vitamin C serum from Nufountain (pending review, but beat out 7 other vitamin C serums).

11 - 15 | Miscellaneous, but Noteworthy

Egads, this is getting much longer than I expected. I'll zoom through the next 5.

Kinseng's Year in Asian Beauty 2015, Best Asian skincare for dry skin in 2015, etc.

11 | The one mantra I subscribed to in 2015 is YMMV, a statement that indicates that everyone's results with skincare products may vary based on sensitivities and personal preferences.

12 | Favorite makeup - In the beginning, I locked eyes with these 3 Concept Eyes lipsticks and they've been my go-to lip products ever since! I highly recommend the creamy lipsticks from 3CE. If drawn to a unique color in their matte range, they are also not a bad buy, but they can crease a bit. >.<

13 | I buy my skincare from many shops but if pressed, would declare allegiance to I really like their laid-back style... meaning I don't have to read about what they're carrying from every beauty news outlet over and over again. They're awesome at curating products, offer them at reasonable prices, give lots of samples, and have regular promotions that keep me coming back for more.

14 | I wanted to share a post I loved recently by Angela and Renee from BeautyAndTheCat who talk about the importance of butts n' roses in beauty... You can thank me after you're through wiping the laughter-induced tears from your eyes...

15 | And lastly, I'm going to be a bit forward-looking and share my Asian beauty-related goal for 2016. Until we get better media coverage of K-beauty specifically, I'm going to shift the focus of Kinseng to covering products receiving rave reviews from cosmetics addicts in Korea.
You can expect to see a slight change to my posting schedule which will now consist of...
    -1 review a week (a roundup-style post that will come any time between Monday and Thursday).

    -1 roundup of noteworthy hit products on Korean language beauty forums on Fridays.

    -And lastly, the weekly Sunday 'new releases' post(s).

So, gone will be the weekly sales roundup. If you want to stay current on sales, I suggest taking a pass through my list of legitimate retailers (ayyyy did you know I kept this up-to-date?) and signing up for emails from the shops that interest you.

With that, Happy New Year again and see you in 2016!
How was your year in Asian beauty?
What did you love? What needs improvement?

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. You can help support this blog by purchasing through an affiliate link, which returns a small sum to me at no cost to you as the consumer. If you are curious about my policy on press samples, affiliate links, and sponsors, please see my disclaimer and policies.

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