I tried K Beauty products for a week and now I can't stop touching my face
Limese has made finding authentic Korean skincare so much easier
According to my friend’s parents, I’m the acchi bacchi of the group. A teetotaller who likes to be home and in bed well before midnight. Whose idea of a ‘good time’ is rajma chawal and diet coke while watching Animal Planet. But they don’t know that I have a dark secret. I’m an addict. A skincare junkie who will spend thousands on a bottled elixir to get rid of my dark spots. I’ll drench my body in good chemicals to slough away remnants of ingrown hair and run from the sun like a vampire to slather myself in sunscreen. My high is hearing people say, “Your skin looks amazing, what did you do?”
It’s a control thing, and if I obtain the status of glass skin in the process, who is it really harming? OK, maybe my bank account.
K-Beauty was my final frontier. It fascinated me, but always seemed just out of reach. They have a product line for every skin ailment. When K-beauty products started their entry into the Indian market, I felt like a kid getting ready to walk into a candy store. I was ready to cover myself in snail slime and bee venom. I filled up my online shopping cart with goodies and fed in my card details. Two weeks later, I had a box of shady characters arrive that looked way off from what the website showed.
I can be quite a grudge holder. My first (failed) tryst with K-beauty products made me suspicious of every ad and listing the algorithm threw my way. But I wasn’t ready to give up either and my search brought me to Limese. I could finally let out a sigh of relief learning that they’re the official importers for some of the most beloved K beauty products and brands like COSRX, Klairs and Too Cool For School.
With the promise of authenticity, I quickly jumped at the opportunity of swapping my skincare routine for K beauty products. There was a problem though, my… enthusiasm, let’s call it that, for skincare means constantly trying new things and my skin isn’t always too happy about my impatience.
But K-beauty products are known to be calming and nourishing in their approach to skin health. Even when it comes to exfoliation, which can stress skin out, their smart formulations ensure the products are a blend of gentle exfoliants accompanied by hydrating, soothing and moisturising components for balance.
I was ready to try them out, and by week’s end, I’d finally know if glass skin was a possibility in the near future or I’d turn into a tear-inducing, peeling red onion instead.
Swapping my skincare for K beauty products
Klavuu Pure Pearlsation Divine Pearl Cleansing Oil
Double cleansing is probably the biggest K-beauty trend to sweep through the global market. This one by Klavuu is a great first cleanse, breaking down even my waterproof mascara without too much rubbing and tugging. I’ve tried cleansing oil products before but they’d either not emulsify well or leave a kind of film across your face. Even though you’re going to follow it up with another foam/water cleanser, the film is still uncomfortable. This caused neither, instead, taking my make-up and layers of mineral sunscreen off with ease without stripping it of moisture. It’s got a mild fragrance, which I don’t mind in a wash-off product.
It was a pleasure using this product at night to get the dust and sweat of the day off. One pump goes a long way and it spreads with ease across the face. I think I just found my new favourite oil cleanser.
COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
For my follow-up second cleanse, I used one of the most popular kids in the group of K-beauty products. COSRX is a household name in the beauty world and I’m getting to know why. You must have seen this across social media channels and I have to say, it lives up to the hype.
I normally don’t wash my face with a cleanser in the morning, just a water rinse. But for the course of this trial, I used this twice a day. I was a bit worried about a gel cleanser drying me out but this one proved me wrong.
Though the aroma is quite strong, and may be uncomfortable for those who are sensitive to smell, three days into my trial, I understood why this cleanser is so popular. Thankfully, the perfume of the product didn’t linger and my dermatitis-prone skin felt clean and supple without getting irritated. No dry patches or breakouts. I’m crowning this the MVP of cleansers from all K-beauty products.
Keep in mind that this product includes betaine salicylate and citric acid which are mild exfoliating agents.
Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner
I will forever repurchase this hydrating toner. If I’m stuck alone on an island, then I just want this and some sunscreen, and I’ll be content. Knowing Limese’s customer service, they’ll probably find a way to get it out to me there as well.
I had tried the regular version of this a while ago from a friend but the essential oils in it tickled my nose, so I was happy to learn they have an unscented option.
It’s hard to describe the texture of this product. It’s liquid, but kind of thick, almost like a very runny gel. There’s something inexplicably satisfying about the way this just seeps into the skin like rain falling on the Thar desert.
A hydrating and soothing toner made with skin-brightening liquorice root extract, and centella asiatica (gotu kola, as we call it in India) working as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Panthenol works on improving elasticity, hydration, and evenness of skin tone. It will suit every skin type and feels like a drink of water for your face. This product really is a testament to the formulation of K-beauty products.
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
It takes a lot for me to not just use a nose pore strip and get rid of the sebaceous filaments on my nose. Or dig into the blackheads on my chin. My skin doesn’t react well to either, and I’m either left with dark scars or a red monstrous bump. Given how oily my nose can get, my pores can start looking pretty enlarged, and I’d been shelling out big bucks on getting a beloved salicylic acid serum in from the US. After trying this one by COSRX, I can say confidently say I’m not going back.
BHAs or beta hydroxy acid such as salicylic acid get deep into your pores and break up the gunk inside out, controlling excess sebum production and acne. I used this twice in the week at night and made sure I was diligent with sunscreen the next day.
Just two times in this trial week was too soon to see any major noticeable changes in the appearance of pores and blackheads. But I noticed my face getting less greasy and shiny by day’s end. That’s the work of the niacinamide, betaine salicylate and salix alba (willow) bark water while the betaine, sodium hyaluronate and panthenol hold onto hydration.
Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum
I was a little sceptical because of how thick this serum looked in the bottle. It came out like a watery gel from the pump bottle. But as soon as I started to spread it on my face, it started to glide and seep into my pores.
This serum has all the goodies of the toner and packs an extra punch too in the form of additional calming and hydrating ingredients. This also includes more natural extracts such as broccoli, carrot root, and my favourite oryza sativa (rice) bran extract for skin brightening.
If you want to double up on hydration especially in the chill of the winter then I’d recommend incorporating both into your routine. I’ve used this twice a day the entire week and my skin feels so smooth, plump that I can’t stop touching it. My dermatologist would be so mad.
COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask
The first night I applied this, I had some regrets. It felt heavy on my face and I shone like a freshly made rasgulla. I was worried about leaving a sticky mess all over my pillow. But waking up the next morning, my worries seemed unfounded.
The occlusives like sunflower seed oil ensured my hydrating toner and serum didn’t go to waste, trapping in all the goodness in my skin. Niacinamide has to be my favourite skincare ingredient and combining that with 68.9% rice extract was genius, creating a brightening bomb for the skin.
Some By Mi AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Cleansing Bar
Anything with ‘miracle’ claims automatically goes on my no-no list. No product is going to cause miracles, even in 30 days. And given that it’s a product with three different kinds of exfoliating ingredients, I’d say you should not be using this every day.
Reading up more about it on the Limese site, I learnt that it uses more gently exfoliating ingredients like naturally occurring AHAs and BHAs from fruits. I swapped this with my regular body wash three days a week for light chemical exfoliating. Focusing on my dry patches, dark spots on my calf leftover from misguidedly squeezing out ingrown hair and well, my bum. Let’s not pretend like I’m the only one who gets spots there.
Three uses later, there weren’t any miracles, but the dark scars had lightened just a bit. Exfoliation aside, this also has glycerin, argan oil and sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and moisturise the skin. There’s hydrolyzed oat protein and centella asiatica extract too to provide some relief and soothing.
I highly recommend going in with a body lotion while you’re still a bit damp to prevent your skin from getting dry after exfoliation. This product will also make you acutely aware of any cat scratches or cuts you may have on your body. Oh boy, it stings.
The Korean beauty industry has managed to create formulations that often cut out the need for secondary products. A hydrating toner that also has niacinamide and vitamin c? Sure, and it feels great on the skin too.
I finally get the allure of a 10-step routine too. It can be a form of meditation and self-care. Where you let your mind drain and drift from the day’s worries and just focus on pampering yourself in some way. And if you’re short on time or just patience, then there’s an array of products with a beautiful blend of ingredients that work on different levels for your skin.
I don’t think my skin has ever felt this taken care of. The cleansing oil, gel cleanser and toner have my heart, and thankfully, Limese has made it easy for me to restock quickly.