Sheet Mask Snow Day

If I may edit David Dudley’s already much-quoted blurb in the Times from last week, it should probably read, “A snowstorm rewards the well-moisturized and punishes those who haven’t been methodically stocking up on sheet masks, which is only one of the many reasons it’s the best natural disaster there is.” While the rest of the world was waiting in line at the Union Square Trader Joe’s for almond butter, I stopped at the much more conveniently located Space NK in Nolita because, yes, easy alternative protein is important—but when faced with a 48-hour snowstorm-enforced house arrest, it’s important to think about all facets of life. (Whole Foods is on my way home too, and they had plenty of almond butter left, so I did spend the weekend well-moisturized and well-fed.)

It turned into sort of a challenge, seeing just how many sheet masks I could accomplish during two days on the couch without a) freaking out my skin or b) freaking out my roommate. The best laid plans start with a sacrifice, so I tossed a prized SK-II Facial Treatment Mask her way as a peace offering. She seemed satisfied, so we turned on Ina Garten’s Back To Basics—the BEST thing on Netflix right now—and got to work.

With a project like this, you want to start slow, and give yourself a nice base moisturization to work with. Mess with the crazy ingredients later. Laneige Water Bank Soothing Gel Mask doesn’t make too many big promises or claims and that’s what I like about it. Instead, it’s all about comfort, and it does this two ways. The first is to make the mask out of extremely thin hydrogel; the second is to make it two pieces that you can fit together and overlap at will on your face. It’s also not too saturated, which makes for an easy, clean wearing experience.

Similarly there’s Ariul 7 Days Mask in Bamboo Water. It’s part of a Korean line purposefully designed to look like a daily newspaper, so that you’ll remember to use a sheet mask every day. It’s tencel, which made me feel better about the possibility that I might stock up on these—throwing 365 face-shaped pieces of tencel is apparently better than throwing away 365 pieces of anything else. (Reformation agrees.) It’s refreshing and it smells nice and sometimes a mask doesn’t need to be much more than that.

By Saturday night, I found myself needing something a little more party-party, y’know? Something to take the place of going out on the town (ha). Thank God there’s The Extremely Fancy One: Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle 24K Gold Intense Wrinkle Sheet Mask. It not only drips GOLD, but it leaves your face just a tinge sparkly. Can’t say I noticed its effects on wrinkles—maybe because I was so distracted by the sparkles. My roommate looked over at me in the process and gave a one word review: “Juicy!”

In one day, we’d gone through three bottles of wine, so Sunday morning was a bit rough. There’s always a hangover mask, or the more recently released DHC Medicated Q Pack Sheet. Once unfolded, it looks a bit like Shrek—a comparison not aided by the fact that it’s yellow-ish green in tint. (Of course, this is not to be confused with the actual Shrek sheet mask, something that came into the office last year but for dignity’s sake, I opted not to try.) The “ears” attached into my hairline, which wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but hey—maybe the coQ10 antioxidant formula is good for my roots, too. It was certainly good enough to revive dehydrated-by-alcohol-and-radiator skin in 10 minutes or less.

To stave off too much snacking, I brought out the Patchology Flashpatch Lip Gels on Sunday afternoon. They’re a sort of physical lip balm—a mouth-shaped hydrogel patch that dangles from your lips as long as you have the patience to keep it on. There’s a little hole in the middle, but you definitely shouldn’t try and stick food through it. It also tastes not great, so it’s good if you want your couch potato-mates to keep quiet as you try and figure out what Nicolas Hoult is shouting through Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s streaming on HBOGo so you can stop pretending that you’ve seen it and actually join the movement.

By Sunday night it was clear I would have to venture out into the world again soon, so I brought out the heavy hitter: Colbert MD Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask. Dr. David Colbert, in addition to running New York Dermatology Group, has a really gorgeous line of skincare products that look not clinical or doctor-y at all. The latest addition to the ColbertMD line is this mask that makeup artist Frankie Boyd says he likes to “spoil” his clients with. Good enough for me! It’s the sort of mask where the packaging even suggests that you are going to sparkle like all that new snow on the ground before it gets slushy. And the results were good enough to get me over the Sunday Scaries hump and out to work the next morning. No small feat.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton.

More sheet mask suggestions from Team Glossier can be found here. Also worth considering: facial steaming.

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Bo Carney, Owner, Mohawk General Store

“I’m originally from Korea—we moved to the Texas when I was young, but moved back to Korea pretty soon after I learned English. I stayed there through college, and after I graduated, I worked at this film studio and it was really stressful. You would work like a slave, and then have to go out and party, and then go back to work like a slave again. By that time, I was in my late 20s, and I just needed something different. I had always really liked fashion, so I told myself, ‘I want to study fashion business in Italy. That’ll be my new thing.’

So I gave myself one year to study fashion in Milan, to see if I would like it. I ended up meeting my husband [and business partner] there. He was working on a design job and we fell in love after a year. Eventually, I had to go back to Korea, and he had to go back to LA…we tried long distance for a few months before deciding to get married. I moved to LA with him, which was hard—I didn’t have a car, and I didn’t know anybody, and LA is so spread out that it was kind of isolating. While I was waiting for my green card, we started the first Mohawk General Store as a sort of experiment. We stumbled on a space that was tiny and cheap and we were like, ‘Yeah, let’s do something!’ Then it consumed my life—my customers became my really good friends, and they’re like family now. Then it just grew like crazy. After two years we found the current space and that’s how we got where we are now.

In Korea, everyone is really obsessed with skincare and staying young—it’s kind of crazy how much money and time people spend. My mom used to use at least eight products day and night, but I think that’s kind of the norm for Korean ladies. When I go back, I feel like some country bumpkin because everyone is polished—the hair is done, the makeup is done….Here, you try hard to look like you haven’t tried. I bought the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Medium and I mix it with an SPF, because I’m brainwashed to not go into the sun without it. I use Nars Ginger Concealer Stick for dark spots and blemishes, and I like to use MAC Cremeblend Blush to give myself a little color. Guerlain Liquid Eyeliner has always been my signature, but I just got eyelash extensions so now I don’t have to use as much. For my lips I use something really sheer, like MAC Lip Conditioner.

Recently, my mom gave me a coupon for this Korean facial with stem cells and told me to go with my husband. So we went and he kind of freaked out…we were in these machines and they were doing this whole body massage. But I like to experiment with skincare a lot—SK-II Stempower is really good, and I also use Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum. Then I got into argan oil after I went to Morocco. It’s really good for erasing all of your wrinkles, so I’ve been using it on my hands, my feet and my face. One of my favorite things to use is the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. It’s one of their cult products…There’s this story about this guy in a sake factory who had super young hands, even though he was like crazy old, and somebody saw that so they created the essence with sake. For spots, I use DBH Blemish Balm, which is soothing. And that’s my face!

I also do the Korean spa thing. I go once every season, and it’s good for your skin because you get scrubbed down like a piece of meat. It’s graphic! I do it at New Year’s just to become super clean for the beginning of the year. Then I like to do it once after summer to scrub off my super-tanned skin that’s starting to flake. For more regular exfoliation, I like the Grown Alchemist Polishing Face Exfoliant. I also use this black soap that I got from Morocco—it’s made from argan oil as well. You slather it all over your body, and it kind of looks like black clay.

My hair was long for more than 12 years before I cut it short. Long hair flatters me, and that’s why I kept it that way—it was safe. But I was just really bored and I wanted something completely different. I mean, it’s not that different, but it was a big thing for me. My husband had never seen me with short hair, so he was like, ‘Oh. OK.’  I think now he’s used to it now. I don’t like to wash it every day because I feel like I lose more hair if I do that—and on the second day the oils come out, so it actually looks good. Amore Pacific Ryo Anti-Aging Shampoo is my current favorite. Maybe twice a week I’ll wash it properly—I don’t know if my mom would approve, but that’s what I do.”

—as told to ITG

Bo Carney photographed by Dana Boulos in Los Angeles.

Next up: Read about Sincerely Tommy’s Kai Avent-deLeon and the enduring wisdom of Sephora employee recommendations, or Delfina Delettrez trying out caviar shampoo. And read more of The Face here.

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ITG’s Favorite Sheet Masks

There’s been a fair amount of mask-talk around these parts for the last, oh let’s say, three to five years. Our approach tends to be pretty equal opportunity in scope—detoxifying, toning, and moisturizing all have their time and place. But nothing quite says “epitome of serious relaxation and renewal” like sticking some high-quality paper (albeit high-quality paper, and quite often it’s actually fabric or cellulose) to your face. Of course, sheet masking requires an extra level of commitment—don’t just marinate for 20 minutes; marinate and be very still because you don’t want that sheet falling off your face and onto the floor.

The field of options here is vast, so here’s a list of some of Glossier HQ’s most trusted packets:

Sandra Sou, Senior Copywriter: Arsainte Eco-Therapy Extreme Moisture Sheet Mask
“Before I moved to NYC, I used to visit my grandma in South Korea for months at a time and come back with the most amazing skin. Most of it can be attributed to the fact that I would sleep in a sheet mask every single night. Over there, they cost about 50 cents to a dollar each so I would buy them in bulk. The Arsainte is my favorite because the sheet itself is 100 percent organic cotton and feels like it breathes. Whatever slime it’s soaked in is super gentle on my sensitive skin and it’s incredibly moisturizing. Before I put one on, I refrigerate it—something about the coldness on my face makes me doze off within minutes. Also, it’s fun to wake up and play ‘Find the Mask.'”

Emily Ferber, Editor: Sephora Sheet Masks
“An oft-overlooked problem when it comes to masks is mask beard. It’s that thing where the mask is cut too large for your face and then the excess, because of gravity, just hangs off your chin, like a cold, wet rag. However, Sephora’s house brand of sheet mask—which come in a bunch of flavors, but my favorite is Honey—cost a grand total of $6 and fit my face like a glove. The simple genius is that they’re wider than they are long (yes, ha) and vaguely texturized to hold on tight.”

Brennan Kilbane, Editorial Assistant: TonyMoly Wonder Water Sheet Mask
“The three dollar TonyMoly masks that you can buy in the checkout line at Urban Outfitters were my first foray into sheet treatment territory, and I consider these Wonder Water Sheet Masks to be the wisened, grown-up version to those. They’re thin but very hydrating, and I wear them way past the 20 minute window, basically until they’re dry. Also, I have a beard, so I’ll cut off the bottom part of my mask and use it on my neck wipe-style—no harm, no foul, because they’re pretty inexpensive.”

Eva Alt, Social Media Editor: Cremorlab Perfection Hydrating Mask
“Whenever we get Cremorlab in the office I kind of hoard it because it’s so pretty to look at—plus, the products are extremely effective. The Perfection Hydrating Mask rings true to its name. Hydrating perfection. It’s $15 for one, so I try and be savvy and use up every last drop of the hydrating goop. Muji sells dry cotton sheet masks, so I’ll use one of those to soak up the remaining liquid and do the mask two nights in a row.”

Claire Knebl, Managing Editor: BioRepublic Sheet Masks
“I’m a pretty regular sheet masker, and I’ll try most anything. That said, one brand that I keep coming back to over and over again is BioRepublic. The masks are a single sheet, so there’s no piecing together separate top and bottom sections (a way of doing things that’s always been a nice thought but ends up not working out for me). Lately I’ve been using their green tea mask, which is good for those who deal with oily skin. When it’s warm out, I like the aloe one. It leaves my skin feeling plumper and soothes any inflammation.”

Amelia Sabra, Editorial Intern: Lululun Sheet Masks
“Being a broke college student, I’m constantly on the search for skincare with maximum benefits at a minimum price point. One day a few years ago, I was wasting time in Ricky’s and found the Lululun sheet masks. I was wary, as I am with putting anything other than CeraVe on my face, that these would break me out, but they were cute and $8 for seven masks, so I bought them. They leave me dewy and moisturized, plus now I have an excuse to stay in every night of the week during what I can only assume will be another hellish winter.”

Tom Newton, Photographer & New Media Editor: Boscia Charcoal Pore-Minimizing Hydrogel Mask
“I’m usually against sheet masks, as a rule almost. From what I initially understood, they’re for people with dry skin…so, not me. But during my charcoal phase this summer—charcoal juice, charcoal masks, charcoal cleanser—I tried the Boscia Charcoal Hydrogel Mask. It left me feeling cleansed like a traditional charcoal mask would, but took out the step of having to abrasively scrub it off. It’s also got a cooling, gel feel. Would definitely use again.”

Casey Zhang, Social Media Manager: TonyMoly Aloe Mask
“What I like most about sheet masks is that I don’t have to wash off extra residue or gunk that gets into my hair, especially because I have thick bangs that try to sneak out of whatever pin or headband I’m using. I don’t know if the Tony Moly Aloe Mask is really that different from their other masks, but the reason why I like it is largely because I like the idea of putting aloe water on my face. I like to rub the extra into my face and neck, and I also don’t mind if gets in my hair…”

Pauline Maynard, Market Editor: Nature Republic Marine Aqua Collagen Mask
“This one is a hydrogel mask, which means it’s cooler to the touch and doesn’t really drip the way usual cotton sheet masks do. Another perk: It comes in two pieces so you can perfectly fit it to your face. I leave it on for about 15 minutes and because it fits so well, I can just walk around and keep on doing whatever I was doing. I massage in some of the essence left on my skin once I take it off—but after another 10 minutes, it’s soaked in enough and I wipe off the excess.”

Jessica Sheft-Ason, Digital Product Manager: Dr. Jart Dermask Micro Jet Brightening Solution
“I love this mask because it is ridiculously creamy and has a soft, form-fitting texture. While it’s not a hydrogel, the microfiber texture is pretty unique and it contours nicely to my face. The goo (serum? idk tbh) is so creamy that even after wearing the mask for an hour while watching TV, the mask still hadn’t dried out. Since my skin is super dry, I feel like I need all the goo I can get.”

Photographed by Olivia Richards.

More best-of skincare: Read about ITG’s favorite clay masks and treatments under 10 minutes.

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Ellen Pompeo

“Because I play a doctor on TV, I don’t like the look of makeup—I think it looks ridiculous on screen. Not that doctors can’t wear makeup, but I just feel like it takes away from the acting and the character if I have makeup on. I just feel like I look like an actor playing dress-up, so I try to keep it as authentic as possible. It’s year 12 [of Grey’s Anatomy], and it’s important to me to feel like I’m still doing a good job and that the show is really still believable. Of course, with digital cameras now, we have to wear makeup because it’s too sharp. But then the flip-side is, I think if it’s too sharp, then you see the makeup.

I’m conscious of the parabens and the sulfates in all the shampoos and everything. And I work with Jessica Capshaw, whose husband is the co-founder of The Honest Company, so we have a lot of discussions about organic products. I do love organic products, but I have to say that SK-II changed my life. I’ve had problem skin my whole entire life, and hilariously at 44 years old—I’m 45, going to be 46 next month—I finally found a product that literally changed my skin. I mean, there’s only so much I can do at 45. I’m going to age, it’s fine. I don’t have Botox, I don’t have fillers, I don’t have anything, so you know, I really have to eat well and exercise and do everything, because I don’t want to put stuff in my face. I have done Botox before, and I can see why you’d get addicted to it. So I thought, if I have to see my lines, it’ll force me more to take care of myself. And I used to always break out—I would get facials every month to clean out the blackheads that I’d get from having makeup put on me every day. And I just feel like I get less facials now. Jessica [Capshaw] and I had this conversation because she sent a thing to me and she said, ‘You know SK-II is full of parabens and all this stuff…’ But I guess because I make my living on camera, I’m vain? I think it’s important for me to look as good as I can look. I get paid to keep up my appearance, so I feel like I need to keep up my end of it.

I steam in the morning, so I’ll put SK-II LXP Ultimate Revival Essence on and I let that stuff sit on my face while I’m in the steam. Then when I come out, I kind of rinse it off with the regular SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser with a sea sponge. After that, I put the SK-II Cellumination AuraBright Illuminating Essence on, followed by the SK-II Essential Power Moisturizing Cream. And at night, I use this SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil to take my makeup off in the trailer at work with cleansing pads before I come home.

I feel like I’ve always looked younger than I am, and now I’ve started seeing my skin change. Now I do this thing where I fill up a bowl of ice and alkaline water, and I take it to my bathroom, and I splash my face like 10 times, until my face feels frozen. I do it after [cleansing] and I just feel like it tightens everything. Didn’t the old movie stars used to do it? I got this idea that my face feels puffy and it’s sagging, so I thought, ‘Let me just freeze it!’ I’ve been reading and researching a lot about alkaline water, too, and its healing properties. They say if you have a cut and you stick your finger in alkaline water for like a day, it’ll heal faster. So I thought what if I just put alkaline water on my falling face, what’ll happen? Maybe it’ll pick it up?

For facials, I’ve been going to Lina at Thibiant in Beverly Hills. I always trust these women who I feel like have been doing facials their whole lives and know what they’re doing. My acupuncturist has these cold, metal galvanic wands that they rub into the face. You taste metal in your mouth and it’s totally freaky. The concept is that electricity delivers products into your dermis, which wouldn’t ordinarily be able to be penetrated without pharmaceutical-grade product and I kind of buy into that.

I never wear makeup. I get my makeup done at work, but when I’m not working I never wear makeup, unless I have to go out. If I go out, I’ll maybe do a pop of a lip, or I just do a smoky black eye and little Physicians Formula Mascara because it’s organic. If I’m going to do a lip it’s always Tom Ford. I love the Violet Fatale Lip Color. I don’t attempt blush or eyeshadow or any of that. I do an organic spray tan sometimes, too—they do it for me at work. And I get my lashes tinted by Luba at Ma Maíson de Beauté in Beverly Hills, which is a huge thing because that’s less prep time for me in the morning at work.

I use Pureology, which is a paraben-free line. I use the Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner, because I color my hair. [My short hair] kind of happened the same way it always happens—we fried it and needed to cut it off. I went with really dark hair last season because the story was so dark, so I wanted my hair to represent what Meredith was going through. And then we got the pickup for season 12, and we had to go to New York to do press and we did that big ShondaLand shoot, so I wanted a different feel. Shonda said, ‘We’re going to make the show lighter and brighter, and we want to change the tone now—we were all in such a bad place last year and we all need a little lightness and fun,’ so I was like, ‘I’m going to lighten up my hair.’ Harry Josh took me back to blonde, but he had to really bleach it to get all that dark out. And then I went on vacation and I was in the sun a lot, so it got burnt. So when I came back to New York, I said, ‘Harry, we have to just cut this off!’ For someone who did so little before, I do even less now. I just have to be careful that it doesn’t look like a mom bob. I have to make sure it looks sexy and like ‘JBF’ hair…not like jumping into my minivan, taking my kids to soccer. At home, I just wash my hair and condition it, that’s it. I don’t really put anything in it. If I’m going to go out and run errands, I’ll just leave conditioner in it and slick it back.

I wake up at 5:30 every day, and I go down to the treadmill. I’ll have my alkaline water and my coffee, and I take my coffee right down to the treadmill and I get on. I have to get my blood circulating and sweat everyday. I feel like it’s so important for me to sweat. And I think just the blood flow to my face helps. I try to do anything I can. I’m fortunate enough to have a treadmill in the house, so I can go down there if I’m pressed for time. If I have the day off or a morning off, after I take my kids to school, my husband and I will hike. Sunday I did Rise Nation, which is so hard, right?

I also meditate 20 minutes a day, twice a day. Most of the time I meditate in my trailer during work, but if I actually have time, I wear these SK-II Signs Eye Masks while meditating.

I use all essential oils from Whole Foods. My friend Sam, who’s a very chic girl from Paris, gave me this little Hermès perfume bottle, and I put my essential oils in there with my alkaline water to make my own blend. It’s a constant mix because they do different things. I love grapefruit, geranium, neroli. Rose, geranium and sandalwood is like my go-to, and I just mix it myself. I also have a bunch of these [solid perfumes] from Frazer Parfum. The Coffee and Orange Blossom is my favorite. Cristina Radu is a fancy facialist who I don’t go to anymore, but I used to get it in her shop. And I’m completely obsessed with candles. I have so many candles all over the house, all different brands. Although Martyn Bullard’s candles are one of my favorites, and I love to give those for Christmas gifts because everybody loves them—all his scents are amazing.”

—as told to ITG

Ellen Pompeo photographed by Emily Knecht at her home in Los Angeles on October 9, 2015. Interview by Alexis Brunswick.

Michelle Monaghan shares the cheek tint that she likens to a pair of high-waisted jeans, Debi Mazar spills her four favorite brow products and Judy Greer tells you why you should mix your cleanser and your exfoliant in The Top Shelf.

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The Korean Solution For Oily Skin

Another day, another slew of questions about the Korean approach to skincare. Last time she wrote us, Alicia Yoon (Peach & Lily‘s co-founder) took on the big themes: What’s new? What’s next? What is a pack and what do you do with it? Today she’s back with a specific angle, as requested by you, the readers. The Korean skincare ethos revolves around constant hydration. So what’s an acne-prone person to do? Alicia elaborates:

In my Top Shelf, I shared a lot about my Korean skincare routine—and a lot about my dry skin. I have eczema, so many of my personal products are great for those who find it difficult to keep skin hydrated. But that’s just my experience—interestingly, Peach & Lily receives the highest amount of consultation requests from those with oily/acne-prone skin. So I want to share the top 10 Korean tips to care for oily or acne-prone skin based on my experience with customers and one of our most recent surveys in Korea. Plus product recommendations, because that’s the fun part.

Stay hydrated. Don’t let dehydrated skin lead to excess sebum production. Invest in a good lightweight serum with a great humectant, like hyaluronic acid (holds 1000x times its weight in water), to keep skin hydrated and balanced. Also, harshly formulated cleansers can leave skin stripped dry or weaken the skin barrier—a thoughtful formulation like the Dr. Jart Dermaclear Micro Water is intended to be gentle on the skin barrier to prevent dehydration.

Keep your skin pH well-balanced. A pH of about 5.5 helps keep the skin barrier healthy and strong helping to keep bacteria out and moisture in. Toner is the best thing to keep an unbalanced pH in check. Now, take a toner that also curbs sebum production without stripping skin dry, and you’re golden. Almost immediately, at that. Be the Skin Pore Toner (and the Botanical Pore Serum) is a holy grail product for overactive oil glands. The proprietary blend of botanicals and herbs indigenous to Asia will leave you matte with a slight dewy glow.

Exfoliate regularly. Koreans tend to opt for more frequent and gentler exfoliation than what I’ve seen in the States. The thought is that consistently exfoliating 2-3 times a week versus aggressive exfoliation once every few weeks can be far more effective and keep skin healthier. For those with oily skin, BHAs are the ingredient to look for because they can penetrate more easily through oil. One of my favorites is the popular COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. It’s powerful without being harsh; it’s alcohol-free; and it hydrates with hyaluronic acid. After the first couple of uses, you might experience one of those “it gets worse before it gets better” episodes. BHA has a tendency to encourage newly forming acne to surface more quickly, yet also to heal more quickly.

Use oils. Using an oil-based cleanser to remove oil-based impurities is crucial for all skin types, but especially helpful for oily skin. And using face oils can actually be good for the skin barrier as the oils you put on the skin and the oils released through the skin aren’t one and the same. For oily skin types, jojoba oil, aloe vera essential oil and tea tree oil are some of my favorite picks.

Water-based creams. Korean women with oily skin seem to love water-based lightweight creams. One hundred percent of oily-skin type Korean women polled said that they opt for products like Laneige’s Water Bank Moisture Cream because the heavy oil-based creams invariably cause too much shine after a good night’s rest.

Sheet mask regularly. The intensive hydration and nourishment that sheet masks can provide both help hydrate skin (see tip #1) and, depending on the active ingredient, can help with sebum production, refining texture (those with oily skin tend to complain more about leathery, thicker-looking skin), and firming up pores. My all-time favorite sheet mask is great for all skin types, and soothing for those with breakouts or irritated skin.

Treat pores with extreme care. Since oil traps impurities in pores like sticky glue, using oil-based cleansers and products formulated to gently draw out impurities from deep within the pores are a must-use. The brand Caolion has a series of pore packs that have taken Korea by storm. The Steam Pack heats up upon application to clear out pores and is a good fit for oily skin (The O2 Pack has similar results, but is better suited for dry skin). The third one—the Pore Minimizing Pack—has more of a menthol-y feel and works for dry and oily skin. That said, all three are on the gentle side. But nevertheless effective!

Stay cool. There’s a somewhat commonly shared tidbit in Korea that your skin produces roughly 10 percent more sebum when your skin/body temperature goes up by around one degree. I haven’t seen the data to support quite that bold of a statement, but it does shed some light on why so many Korean products are dedicated to cooling down the skin—and why some love to keep their sheet masks in the fridge. After a long hot day or a hot workout, open your fridge and get out some cold water to drink and a cold mist to spritz. Regardless of whether or not cooling the skin lessens oil production, the coolness will help soothe.

Mind your ingredients. Three things to look out for specifically to help with oily skin.

1. Snail goo. Snail secretion filtrate is extremely lightweight in texture and allows for deep hydration without any heaviness or greasiness. It’s also known to have antimicrobial properties to minimize breakouts and regenerative properties, which help with acne scarring. Mizon All-In-One Snail Repair Cream is so well-loved that it dominated #1 market share in beauty sales on one of Korea’s largest etailers—so much so that counterfeit versions started to pop up (shoppers beware).

2. Green tea. A lot of people simply mask with tea—but incorporating it in your daily routine can help decrease sebum production, reduce inflammation, and can even prevent inflammatory responses like acne from coming back. And of course, green tea is packed with antioxidants that help fight damaging free radicals. Innisfree’s Green Tea line is a cult-favorite in Korea—it’s natural, hydrating, and gentle.

3) Vitamin C. If you suffer from acne scarring and need help fading hyperpigmentation, vitamin C is great for that. Ciracle Vitamin C-20 Serum has a concentration of 20 percent vitamin C, one of the highest you’ll find in a skincare product (many studies show that a concentration of 1-20 percent is effective). At such a high concentration, though, you should patch-test first to make sure your skin can handle it. If so, you may have just found your perfect dark spot remover. Vitamin C is also known to boost collagen production, which will help even out rough skin texture that often accompanies breakout-prone skin.

Emergency remedies. Hydrocolloid patches! The CosRX version is arguably one of the cheapest, yet most satisfying acne spot treatments around. Just slap one on when you feel the beginnings of an angry, painful, under-the-skin bump and it pulls it right up to the surface while taming the wild inflammation that comes with cystic acne. But if you’ve gone ahead and picked/prodded/popped that zit, these patches are incredibly forgiving—they protect the area and speed up the healing process by gently drawing out fluid, contributing to a noticeable decrease in swelling and redness. There’s nothing easier.

—Alicia Yoon

Photographed by Tom Newton.

Big in Korea: ITG investigates splash masks, pig collagen, and the world of essence.

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