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I'll give it to you straight: I'm a beauty junkie. And I'm not discriminating; I have equal affinity for bargain brand masks from CVS and fancy-schmancy serums that promise to give me the kind of poreless skin I've only otherwise seen in my most filtered pics. I'll give it all a whirl.
The world of Asian beauty products has been my secret treasure trove when it comes to exploring the newest, coolest, and sometimes weirdest things on the market, but lately it seems like I'm not the only one who's in the know. Last year we featured this trend, and recently mainstream U.S. shops like Sephora and Urban Outfitters are selling some Asian beauty brands. Plus with the release of best-selling text The Little Book of Skin Care, the Korean 10-step skincare method has been taking over some Westerners' routines.
Given this surge in popularity, I thought it was the perfect time to try out local beauty box company Beautibi (think Birchbox for Asian brands). In addition to offering curated boxes with a few mystery add-ins, the site also sells a great selection of individual products by Taiwanese, Japanese, and Korean lines.
I told the company's founder Jennifer Shaw that I wanted my box to focus specifically on facial skincare, so I could try out a modified version of the aforementioned Korean regimen. The day my package arrived in the mail, I was giddier than schoolgirl. In addition to featuring full-sized versions of products, the box contained an assortment of samples. With some guidance from Shaw, I excitedly plotted the evening's epic routine utilizing ingredients like broccoli, snail gel, and dragon blood resin. Like I said, I'm not afraid to get weird for the sake of beauty.
Did I mention that one of the major bonus of Asian brands is their focus on totally adorable packaging? Step #1 was a Tony Moly Peach Punch Sherbet Cleaning Balm, which came in a legit plastic peach. The emollient balm slipped makeup off without tugging at the skin (which can cause wrinkles), left me feeling super soft, and smelled like a Jolly Rancher. Since "double-cleansing" is a standard in Asian skincare, my box included an egg white foaming cleanser by Mizon to follow. Next up, exfoliating—which shouldn't be done every day—and toning.
And I still wasn't even halfway done. The 5th step is an "essence," which is meant to regenerate skin, and the 6th is a serum or ampule. I tried the broccoli-boasting Phytoplan Wrinkle Radiance Power Ampoule by Ladykin. The thick liquid absorbed immediately and had a light scent—not like the vegetable at all—and didn't irritate my sensitive skin.
Then the fun part: masks. Though sheet masks are super great, and Beautibi specializes in lots by Taiwanese brands (which I'm told are less goopy and have a lighter fragrance), I opted for a "jelly mask" by Annie's Way because I was way too curious about it. This type is applied thickly and scraped off with a spatula to remove whiteheads. Not sure if I had any to start with but my skin certainly felt cleaner afterward and by now I was deep in the meditative groove of such a lengthy grooming routine.
After masking, I tried some seriously addictive moisturizing under-eye gel patches and moisturized with Ladykin Snail Cream, which comes in a cutesy snail package. It was surprisingly lightweight, which relieved me since there was still ONE. MORE. STEP. A sleep mask. I applied my Ladykin Vanpir Dark Repairing Water Mask before heading to bed (don't worry, it's not greasy) and in the morning rinsed it off to reveal the wrinkle-smoothing benefits of ingredients like plant-based dragon blood resin extract.
Though on a few particularly tired/tipsy days, powering through the entire process took perseverance. But eventually, I actually kind of loved taking a little quiet time to myself to do something nice for my skin. And besides, the benefits speak for themselves.
Beautibi has become my gateway drug into the world of Asian beauty products (my previous mask-buying at Japanese dollar stores was merely child's play). For those looking to dabble, buying a box means getting to try some new swag, and is 25% less than buying the goods individually. If you just want a thing or two, you can also do that—and even score a free mask with purchases over $50. And even more incentive: save 15% off your purchase through January 29th by using the promo code RACKED15OFF. Just don't blame me when you find yourself seriously addicted to shopping the sweetly packaged, beauty-boosting loot.