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Kay Beauty

Skincaretainment: Fun and Unique KBeauty Gifts

Skincaretainment: Fun and Unique KBeauty Gifts



It’s the holidays, and it’s time to spread the holiday cheer with some fun KBeauty gifts! One of the strengths of KBeauty is how innovative and entertaining the products can be, from new formulations and delivery systems, to super cute packaging. Kbeauty blogger Fanserviced-B first wrote about the notion of “Skincaretainment” in reference to KBeauty culture, and the moniker is the perfect way to describe the connection between Kbeauty skincare products and entertainment.

These gifts are perfect for those who like to have fun with their skincare, and make ideal stocking stuffers as well! Check out our picks for fun and entertaining KBeauty gifts!

Not Your Grandma’s Masks

Masking with KBeauty products means so much more than putting a thick cream on your face (not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you! We love a creamy mask as much as the next beauty lover!). In KBeauty, almost anything is possible, including clay-to-foam masks, bubbling masks, splash masks, and sheet masks with extra “leaves” to put all over your face!


A by Bom Ultra Cool Leaf Mask

The A by Bom Cool Leaf Masks have taken the blogosphere by storm this past year and have gained a cult following. These unique masks include separate “leaves” that you can place anywhere you like -- on laugh lines, under your eyes, on your forehead, or anywhere that needs extra care. Then you place the super soft and thin Tencel sheet mask over the leaves and let it all soak in. These unique and entertaining masks are guaranteed to be a fun stocking stuffer and will delight both seasoned KBeauty devotees as well as casual skincare enthusiasts.

Blithe Splash Mask

Splash masks also became a big thing this past year. These concentrated liquids are like a supercharged toner and instantly moisturize and refresh your skin. The Blithe Patting Water Pack was the first splash mask to make it big -- you mix the liquid with water and literally splash it over your face for an instant pick-me-up. These interesting masks are sure to make a splash at your holiday gathering and will become a fun topic of conversation.

TIAM Bubble Clay Mask

Another unique KBeauty innovation is the bubbling clay mask. TIAM’s pink bubble version is one of the most popular iterations of the pink clay mask that bubbles and foams by itself as soon as it is spread onto the skin. This moisturizing and purifying mask is both effective and entertaining.

Entertaining Skin Treatments

While masks are a great way to introduce someone to the fun of KBeauty, sometimes a super effective skin treatment, combined with an innovative delivery system, is the way to go.

Cosrx Pimple Master Patch

Every time I’ve given the Cosrx Acne Patches to friends who are new to Kbeauty, they come back and gush about how unique and effective they are. When placed on blemishes, these small sticky patches protect the blemish from contamination (and from picking), improve circulation, deliver anti-acne compounds, and will suck out the gunk in the blemish if the pimple has come to a head. These make a great stocking stuffer and I like to always keep a few in my stash, just in case a pimple decides to rear its ugly head.


J.ONE Hana Cream


Your new-to-KBeauty friends will be surprised and amused by the J.ONE Hana Cream. This innovative product has pre-portioned “beads” or “pearls” of cream that can be smushed down onto the skin and gently rubbed in. In addition to being exceptionally entertaining, this cream also delivers some amazing anti-aging ingredients, from vitamins to peptides.


Wish Formula Enzyme Powder Cleanser

Washing one's face with a powder cleanser might be a new experience for many people, but after trying it, they won't look back! The Wish Formula powder cleanser gently whisks away dirt and makeup, while containing papaya enzymes that gently exfoliate and resurface the skin. Best of all, the dry powder formula means it has a super long shelf life and is perfect for travel.


We hope we've given you some fun ideas for KBeauty gifts that will entertain and amuse your friends and family. We wish you a fun and safe holiday season. May your skin be ever plump and bright!



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Our Favorite Anti-Aging Skincare Gifts

Our Favorite Anti-Aging Skincare Gifts


It’s that time of year, my beauties! Time to start thinking about holiday gifts, for others, or for yourself! Have you been good this year? Have you earned a nice little present? Or do you know someone who deserves to be pampered? We’re happy to give you a little help this giving season with some of our favorite KBeauty Gifts! This week we’ll be exploring some fabulous anti-aging skincare, perfect for the more mature lady or gentleman in your life or for those who want to prevent wrinkles down the road.

What To Look For in Anti-Aging Skincare Products

Antioxidants and Vitamins: Antioxidants protect your skin from free radical damage, and many of them have potent and very visible effects when applied to the skin. Some of our favorites include:

  • Vitamin E - protects, softens, increases skin elasticity
  • Vitamin C - reverses and protects against sun damage, brightens, firms, and increases elasticity
  • Green Tea - anti-inflammatory, stimulates cell turnover
  • Ginseng - reduces oxidative stress, brightens, increases circulation
  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B) - brightens, prevents sun damage and brown spots, anti-inflammatory
  • Retinol (Vitamin A) - one of the best proven anti-aging agents, retinol increases the speed of cell turnover (which slows as you age), resulting in softer, younger-looking skin

Peptides: There are many different kinds of peptides (chains of amino acids) that help to smooth away fine lines. For example, palmitoyl tripeptide-5 signals cells to stimulate collagen, elastin, and fibroblast (the underlying “scaffolding” of the skin) production, while acetyl hexapeptide-8 signals neurotransmitters to relax the muscles under the skin (similar to Botox, but without needles) to reduce expression lines.

Skin-identical substances: As we age, we naturally produce fewer of the moisturizing factors that are essential to protecting and softening the skin. Applying products containing ingredients that mimic the humectants in our skin can keep skin smooth and younger-looking. This includes hyaluronic acid, ceramides, triglycerides, cholesterol, sodium PCA, beta-glucan, and more, which draw and hold moisture into the upper layers of the skin.

Growth Factors: Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its cousin fibroblast growth factor (FGF) are naturally occurring polypeptides (chain of amino acids) in your skin. They communicate with cells to stimulate increased collagen and elastin production, faster wound healing, and smoother skin structure. Many EGF and FGF products are plant-based, like our Swanicoco EGF and FGF serums. Please check out our post on EGF for more information!

Exfoliators: Exfoliation removes the top layer of dead skin, revealing softer, newer skin underneath. Look for AHAs or gentle PHAs that will dissolve the surface dead skin cells without irritating your skin.

Now let's get to the products! All of these anti-aging products contain potent anti-aging ingredients, but still retain a fresh sense of fun. They would make lovely gifts for someone on your gift list!

Don’t forget, our Black Friday Sale is on! Take 15% off everything on until Sunday with code “Blackfriday17”!

A by Bom Eye Serum

The new A by Bom Ultra Time Return Eye Serum is one of our favorite new releases. This eye serum is a powerhouse of anti-aging goodness. It contains a plethora of vitamins, including several forms of vitamin B and vitamin C, as well as anti-aging peptides and a slew of antioxidants and moisturizers. The light, but deeply hydrating formula is perfect for all skin types. You can’t go wrong with this luxurious anti-aging skincare gift!

J.ONE Hana Cream

With the perfectly proportioned balls of the J.ONE Hana Cream, you won’t ever have to wonder how much cream to use again. Each concentrated ball of cream smooshes down and absorbs beautifully into the skin. Featuring three patented peptides, and a host of antioxidants and vitamins to treat wrinkles and increase skin elasticity, the J.ONE Hana Cream is both entertainment and serious anti-aging skincare.

TIAM Aura Peeling Milk Toner and Cream

Exfoliation is essential to achieving those smooth skin goals. The TIAM Aura Peeling Milk Toner and Cream contain both super gentle PHA (poly hydroxy acids) that gently remove dead skin cells without irritating sensitive skin. These products also contain a small amount of glycolic and lactic acids to further exfoliate while staying mild and gentle. The Aura Peeling products are also enriched with milk to nourish and soften your complexion.

For a limited time at our Black Friday sale, get the TIAM Aura Peeling Milk Toner and Cream in a set along with the TIAM Pink Bubble Pack for a special low price!


We hope this helps as you shop for anti-aging skincare! Till next time!



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Rosacea Skincare: Gentle Products for Super Sensitive Skin

Rosacea Skincare: Gentle Products for Super Sensitive Skin

 The colder, drier weather can aggravate irritation and skin conditions such as rosacea. Today, we’ll be discussing rosacea skincare: ways that you can nourish and soothe rosacea-prone skin. These products and tips can also be used for sensitive and irritated skin as we head into the winter.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition that starts with a tendency to blush or flush easily. It can become more pronounced, with inflamed, red capillaries (blood vessels) under the skin, red bumps, and more. The American Academy of Dermatology identifies 4 types of rosacea:

  1. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: Redness, flushing, visible blood vessels.
  2. Papulopustular rosacea: Redness, swelling, and acne-like breakouts.
  3. Phymatous rosacea: Skin thickens and has a bumpy texture.
  4. Ocular rosacea: Eyes red and irritated, eyelids can be swollen, and person may have what looks like a sty.  
(Source: AAD)

Rosacea can affect many different skin types, from dry to oily, but most skin types affected by rosacea are very sensitive and may experience burning and stinging.

Rosacea is a common skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. However, we still don’t have a clear idea of what causes it, or why some people are affected. Experts believe that an over-reactive immune response may be part of the cause, or a skin mite called demodex, that lives on everyone’s skin, may be to blame. Still others believe that rosacea may be related to gut/intestinal health. Either way, there is as yet no cure for the condition, though there are things you can do to soothe the skin.

If you have rosacea, it's a good idea to see a dermatologist, who can help get you on a treatment plan to prevent the condition from worsening. You can also follow the following rosacea skincare tips.

Rosacea Skincare - Protecting and Soothing The Skin

  1. Use SPF Every Day

People with rosacea are often very sensitive to the sun. Be sure to protect your skin every day with a strong, broad-spectrum SPF product. This can help prevent flare-ups and, because experts believe sun damage is one of the causes of rosacea, will help prevent it from getting worse.

When looking for a sunscreen, look for a gentle formula that does not contain irritants such as alcohol.


Whamisa Sun Cream SPF50 PA++++

Sometimes those with ultra-sensitive skin do better with a mineral sunscreen. If a chemical or combination chemical-mineral sunscreen isn’t working for you, you may want to try a mineral only product. The Whamisa sun cream provides very strong UVA and UVB protection with ONLY zinc oxide as a sun block. This physical sun protection deflects the sun’s rays and is one of the few very strong UVA filters. In addition, zinc oxide is a natural anti-inflammatory substance that can help soothe irritated skin.

  1. Use Extremely Gentle Cleansers

When looking for rosacea skincare products, avoid anything that strips or dries out the skin, which can exacerbate irritation and inflammation. While a very gentle foam cleanser may work, it’s even better to look for oil-based, cream or milk-based, or micellar water cleansers that don’t use harsh surfactants, but cleanse your skin effectively.

Whamisa Foam Cleansing Cream

This gentle creamy cleanser lathers up to remove makeup and impurities without stripping skin dry. This sulfate-free cream does not use harsh surfactants. You can combine this with a makeup remover to thoroughly cleanse skin without irritating it further.

A by Bom Ultra Watery Eoseongcho Cleanser


Sometimes with irritated and sensitive skin, even the gentlest foaming cleanser is too much. In this case, stick to oil-based or cream-based cleansers, like the A by Bom Ultra Water Eoseongcho Cleanser. This silky balm melts into an oil on contact with your skin, protecting it as you gently massage it over your face to remove makeup and impurities. With no harsh surfactants, this cleanser will get your skin super clean without drying.

3. Moisturize and Soothe Your Skin

Keeping skin moist and hydrated will help it to heal and prevent damage and infection. Keeping skin moisturized helps prevent tiny fissures in the skin's barrier that allow bacteria to enter. Look for soothing skincare products that contain skin healing (and skin identical) substances such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and beta-glucan to promote healing. Keeping to a relatively short ingredient list will reduce the chances of irritation.

Cosrx Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream


The Cosrx Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream sinks deep into skin to soothe, moisturize, and protect. With naturally anti-bacterial and moisturizing honey extract, as well as emollient ingredients like betaine and sunflower oil, this ceramide-infused cream leaves skin supple and hydrated.


Benton BHA Aloe Skin Toner

This incredibly soothing and gentle aloe-based toner hydrates and soothes irritation for calm, more even-toned skin. Aloe, hyaluronic acid, and snail mucin calm inflamed skin and promote faster healing. This gentle toner contains a small amount of BHA (salicylic acid), which can help to keep pores clear and to gently slough off excess dead skin, and has an anti-inflammatory effect as well. This is a fan favorite for soothing irritated skin.

Following these rosacea skincare tips may not make your rosacea go away completely, but may keep flare-ups in check and make it easier to go about your everyday life without stinging and burning skin. Protecting, gently cleansing, and moisturizing your skin can make a huge difference in how your skin feels.

Stay warm out there, beauties! Until next time!


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Pads, Pads, and More Pads!

Pads, Pads, and More Pads!

You could almost call this past year the year of the Pad. Skincare pads, that is! These fabric or cotton rounds come pre-soaked in essence and seem to have exploded in popularity lately. I can see the appeal of using moisturizing or exfoliating pads, can you?

Why Use Kbeauty Pads?

Convenience: Using pre-soaked skincare pads cuts down on the extra step of soaking your cotton rounds in product -- this may not seem like a huge time-saver, but on rushed mornings, this can definitely make a difference!

Perfectly Pre-Portioned: If you sometimes wonder how much product to use, using a pre-soaked pad can help take the guesswork out of at least one step. Especially when it comes to something like acid exfoliation, exfoliating pads come with the perfect concentration of AHA or BHA, which is ideal for beginners to exfoliation. The Cosrx One Step Pimple Clear Pads, for instance, are a perfectly portioned dose of BHA and are a perennial favorite.

Individually Packed (Or Not): Not all skincare pads are individually wrapped, and sometimes having a whole jar full of pads is desirable to reduce waste and for greater convenience. But there are certainly times when individually wrapped pads are ideal -- for traveling for example, or for delicate ingredients that should not be exposed to air (such as Wish Formula’s Vitamin C Ampoule Pads). Also, they’re airplane travel friendly so you have more room for more skincare!

One and Done: Many products in the current generation of skincare pads tend to be all-in-one products. Some of them cleanse, tone, and moisturize all in one step, which is particularly helpful during the early mornings and late nights! The Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pads are a great example of pads you can use in the mornings to gently cleanse, tone, and moisturize.

Gentle Physical Exfoliation: We are loving the gentle physical exfoliation provided by some of the textured pads that are on the market now. Sweeping these textured pads over the face gently removes some of the excess dead skin cells at the surface of your skin, with less risk of over exfoliating like you might with a scrub or a chemical exfoliator. The Neogen Bio Peel Gauze Pads have a textured side as well as a smooth side to whisk away dead skin while the acids in the peel gently exfoliate.

Entertainment Value: KBeauty brands are always coming up with fun new innovative products, like the Wish Formula C2000 Bubble Peeling Pads. These squishy foam pads create a rich lather that cleanses and exfoliates your skin in one step.


Some of Our Favorite New KBeauty Skincare Pads

Some of our favorite KBeauty brands, Cosrx and Whamisa, have recently come out with innovative skincare pads that moisturize and exfoliate.


Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Kit

Cosrx has packaged some of their bestselling products together in this convenient One Step Moisture Up Kit, which contains an entire 3-step skincare routine in one handy package. Perfect for traveling, gifting to friends who are new to KBeauty, or for trying out some Cosrx’s most popular products, the kit contains 1) The bestselling Low-pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, 2) The One Step Moisture Up Pad, and 3) the soothing Holy Moly Snail Mask.

Use the gentle foaming cleanser to wash away grime, then swipe the moisture pad over your face as a combined toning and moisturizing step. Finish with the Holy Moly Snail Mask to enhance absorption of the moisturizing ingredients. You may want to add a cream after using the mask if needed, or just be done with your skincare routine if your skin feels moisturized enough.


Whamisa Organic Flowers Peeling Finger Mitt - Moisture Care


Whamisa’s Organic Flowers Peeling Finger Mitts are an easy way to exfoliate your skin without damaging it with harsh scrubs. The soft pads are infused with Whamisa’s signature fermented herbs and flowers, and betaine salicylate, a gentle form of BHA, gently exfoliates inside pores for clearer, smoother skin.

After cleansing, place your fingers inside the mitt and gently buff in circular motions from the center of your face to the outer corners. Don’t forget your neck too! Because this is an exfoliation step, use it directly after cleansing, and follow up with your favorite toner before continuing with your skincare routine.

Do you like using pads in your Kbeauty skincare routine? Which ones are your favorite?


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How To Transition Your Skincare Routine to Winter


It’s that time of year, my lovelies! Time to cozy up on the couch with a blanket and hot cup of chocolate, while a fire crackles in the fireplace. Time for shorter days and brisker air, and also for drier skin, for most of us. In today’s post we will be discussing how to transition your skincare routine to the colder season, to protect your skin from winter’s icy winds and to keep it looking fresh and youthful all season long.

1. Layer More Steps In Your Skincare Routine

Whereas in the summer you may have gotten away with just a toner, a serum and a moisturizer, in the winter, feel free to go all out in adding steps to your skincare routine. There’s no rule against using multiple toners and serums, so add as many as you need to keep your skin plump and soft. Generally, use products in order from thinnest to thickest. So start with a thin toner or hydrating first essence, and follow that up with your thicker toners, essences, and serums.

2. Use The 7 Skin Method With Toner

Watery hydration is often underestimated in Western-style skincare, but is essential to a KBeauty skincare routine. This is where hydrating toners come in. You can layer a single toner several times using the popular “7 Skin Method” that has gained a following in Korea. Simply pat one layer of toner over your skin, wait about 30 seconds, and then pat on a second layer, and so on three, four, or more times. This method forces the moisture to absorb deeper into your skin, resulting in a plumper, smoother, and more hydrated complexion. Be sure to seal in that moisture with a good cream afterwards!

Try: Swanicoco Refine Ferment 1st Essence

A first essence is a kind of watery toner that contains tons of fermented extracts (see our post about Ferments for more info on these super-hydrating substances). A super fast-absorbing liquid, the Swanicoco Refine Ferment 1st Essence is the perfect candidate for the 7-Skin Method because you can layer it multiple times without any stickiness. Start your skincare routine with a few layers of the 1st Essence, and then follow up with heavier toners, serums, and creams.


3. Look for Ceramides

Ceramides are lipids that are naturally found in the spaces between your skin cells. Ceramides naturally provide much of your skin’s protective barrier function. Products containing ceramides support your skin’s own ability to protect itself, which is essential in the dry cold of winter. There are 9 forms of ceramides available in skincare products, known as: ceramide AP, ceramide EOP, ceramide NG, ceramide NP, ceramide NS, phytosphingosine, and sphingosine.

For best results, look for products with multiple forms of ceramides as well as cholesterol and fatty acids, which are also essential to healthy skin.


Try: Cosrx Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream

This fan favorite is a luxurious white cream that moisturizes skin with pure honey extract, nourishing oils, and ceramide 3. Although highly nourishing, this cream is suitable for all skin types and does not leave a sticky or greasy residue.

4. Use A Protective Cream

If you were fine using a gel cream during the summer, you might want to look into a richer and more occlusive (sealing) cream that will protect your skin and keep the moisture in. For dry skin, creams with natural oils and shea butter, as well as skin-supporting ceramides, will nourish and keep your skin supple during the winter.

Try: Whamisa Organic Flowers Nourishing Cream

This intensely rich cream, featuring mango, cacao, avocado, and shea butters, absorbs deeply into even the driest skin, nourishing it from within. Fermented extracts and aloe moisturize and hydrate the skin. With all of the plant lipids in this emollient cream, your skin will feel restored and protected no matter what the season.

5. Add A Facial Oil

People who are new to facial oils often fear that they will feel greasy and clog the pores. In reality, while there are certainly comedogenic oils, many facial oils are very light and feel almost dry once applied, not greasy. Even if your pores clog easily, you can do very well with non-comedogenic argan, camellia, rosehip, and sea buckthorn oils. Facial oils have a host of benefits besides naturally moisturizing skin -- many of them contain potent antioxidants and other healing compounds that make your skin glow.

In general, you can use a facial oil after your cream to seal in all the moisture from your routine. Or, you can mix it into your moisturizer to give it an extra boost.

Try: Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil

This richly protective facial oil blend softens and protects skin from the elements with the star ingredients, argan and camellia oils. Whamisa's fermented flower complex nourishes and hydrates skin while evening primrose, carrot seed, and other botanical oils nourish the skin and improve elasticity. Use as the last step in your skincare routine on top of your cream. Try putting a layer of this on before going outside to protect skin from harsh winds.

6. Finish With A Sleeping Pack

Dry air, especially with indoor heating, can sap your skin of moisture overnight. Prevent water loss by finishing your skincare routine with a sleeping pack. These creams and gels form a protective film over your skin, preventing moisture from evaporating overnight. You can double them up on top of a cream for extra moisture and protection. Check out our post All About Sleeping Packs for more tips on how to use sleeping packs.


Try: Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

This creamy sleeping mask features nourishing rice extract as well as sunflower and palm oils to soften and protect your skin. You can use this fluffy mask on its own as a moisturizer, or wear it on top of your cream to supercharge your skin's moisture overnight.


I hope this gives you some ideas as to how to change your winter skincare routine so that your skin will stay soft and supple all season! Till next time, beauties!


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Epidermal Growth Factor - What is EGF?

The name sounds like something out of sci-fi -- Epidermal Growth Factor -- but in fact this polypeptide has been known about for decades and naturally exists in your body. Increasingly, we’re seeing skincare products containing EGF and its close cousin, FGF (fibroblast growth factor) on the market. So what exactly is EGF, and how does it work?

EGF is a polypeptide, a chain of amino acids. It binds to the EGF receptors in your skin cells, which causes various effects such as increased cell proliferation and differentiation -- in short, EGF is essential for healing and regenerating the skin on a cellular level. Its benefits for wound healing have become so recognized in the medical field that research into the healing benefits of EGF won the Nobel Prize in 1986. EGF and related polypeptides such as FGF are used in wound and burn treatment with demonstrable results.

EGF and FGF in Skincare

In the skincare field, EGF is one of the leading biotechnologies in anti-aging and regenerating products. EGF and FGF are capable of stimulating the growth of epidermal cells and potentially transforming skin to look younger, smoother, and more elastic. There may also be the potential to reverse damage from the sun or from acne.

In addition to being used successfully for medical applications, promising clinical trials indicate that EGF is effective in decreasing wrinkles and visible skin aging. Research also shows that some EGF products can decrease brown and red spots on the skin as well as improve skin texture.


Research on EGF and FGF

For instance, a study on EGF involving women aged 29 to 75 showed that topical application of EGF for 3 months improved the appearance of wrinkles, smoothed skin texture, reduced pore size, and reduced the appearance of sun damage and hyperpigmentation! All without causing any significant side effects.

In another study, EGF significantly improved the appearance of atrophic acne scars (known as ice-pick scars), which really don't respond to other types of topical treatment. These depressed areas of the skin became visibly shallower and less apparent on patients who used an EGF serum for 3 months.

EGF targets skin cells at the top layer of skin, the epidermis, while FGF targets fibroblasts, the underlying skin structure at the deeper level of the dermis. FGF has been shown to increase the production of fibroblasts as well as essential skin substances such as hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin. Instead of applying those substances topically to the skin, FGF actually helps your skin to manufacture more on its own!

Because EGF and FGF target different parts of the skin (the epidermis and the dermis), they are especially effective when used together.


Swanicoco EGF and FGF Ampoules


Swanicoco, one of our newest brand launches, is an innovative KBeauty brand that features the best in cutting-edge biotechnology along with traditional herbs. They have a highly-concentrated and pure EGF ampoule and FGF ampoule with minimal ingredients, so as to let the EGF and FGF ingredients shine. These cruelty-free products are made of plant-based EGF and FGF, and visibly smooth the skin for a younger and more elastic complexion. Use them together for maximum effectiveness!

Skincare blogger Vanity Rex has an excellent review of the EGF and FGF ampoules -- I would highly recommend checking it out!

Till next time!



Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and information in this blog post should not be construed as medical advice.



Epidermal Growth Factor and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor: The Yin and Yang in the Treatment of Cutaneous Wounds and Cancer

Richard J. Bodnar

Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle) 2013 Feb; 2(1): 24–29. doi: 10.1089/wound.2011.0326


Skin rejuvenation using cosmetic products containing growth factors, cytokines, and matrikines: a review of the literature

Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2016; 9: 411–419.


Improved texture and appearance of human facial skin after daily topical application of barley produced, synthetic, human-like epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum.

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Face Mapping Your Acne - An Intro to the Traditional Practice


Hello my lovely skincare addicts! Kay Beauty here, and this week we are going to be looking at one of the most interesting aspects of traditional herbal medicine -- face mapping for acne.

Did you know that WHERE you get pimples on your face can tell you different things about what the cause of that acne could be? Do you always get acne on the same part of your face and nowhere else? According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the location of your acne reflects various imbalances and issues with your health. While your Western dermatologist might have no idea what you’re talking about if you bring up face mapping, it certainly can’t hurt to consider ways you can improve your diet and health as it relates to acne.

Face mapping can get quite complex, but for the sake of conciseness, we’re going to focus on four main areas. Keep in mind that other factors may also contribute to acne, so make sure you’re changing your pillowcase frequently, and check if your shampoo, cosmetics, or detergents may be causing irritation.



If you typically get acne on your forehead, digestive and metabolic issues may be to blame. Adjusting your diet to include more fruits and vegetables, and reducing your intake of sugars and refined flours may help. Cutting out dairy, cheese, and processed foods may also help some people. Drinking plenty of water (or green tea) to help nutrients move through your system, as well as flushing out waste, can keep your digestive system working properly.



Acne on the nose can be related to poor circulation and perhaps excess intake of greasy and salty foods. Cutting out unhealthy processed foods and alcohol, and increasing your intake of water, fruits and vegetables can help. Some people believe that redness on the nose can indicate high blood pressure -- it’s not a bad idea to get a regular physical exam to rule that out.



The cheeks, ah, the bane of my existence! I only ever get acne on the sides of my cheeks under my cheekbones. Apparently there could be a whole host of reasons why acne only appears on my cheeks. Often acne on the cheeks can be caused by pollution or bacterial transfer from cellphones, hands, or pillows. Or, acne on the lower cheeks can be caused by poor dental hygiene or overeating of sugary foods.

Well, being more careful about leaning my cheek on my hand is probably a good thing to do. There’s not much I can do about air pollution besides doing a thorough double cleanse every night. And I’ve always been super diligent about my dental hygiene, so I don’t think that’s it, but I could certainly cut back on the sweet treats! Goodbye, pastry habit!

Chin and Jaw


Acne in the U-shaped area of the chin and jawline is, according to the practice of face mapping, often caused by hormones. Do you notice that you usually get acne here (or acne worsens) during that time of the month? If you suspect you have a hormone imbalance, seeing your doctor about getting your hormones tested might help.

Hormones are intimately tied to other parts of our health, so reducing stress, sleeping well, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet can all contribute to a better hormonal balance. In conjunction with a medical health professional, you may find that taking certain herbs and supplements can help to restore healthy hormones.


A Holistic Tradition

Please keep in mind that none of the above should be taken as medical advice, but rather an interesting way to start thinking about how your health could be tied to your skin. Please don't do anything drastic to your health without consulting your medical health professional!

As someone who loves to nerd out on the science of skincare, to me the notion of face mapping is definitely more of a holistic practice. But since holistic medicine tends to support general health, I definitely see no problem with taking some of the advice to eat healthy, keep active, and to see my doctor about possible chronic issues. It makes a lot of sense to me that the various parts of the body are interconnected, so something off-kilter in the rest of the body could show up as a symptom on the face.

What do you think?



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Treating Sunspots and Hyperpigmentation


One of the main topics of conversation I’ve noticed in skincare circles is the topic of sun spots and hyperpigmentation. In fact, it’s one of the top concerns I’ve noticed among my friends (now in our early to mid 30s). Hyperpigmentation can be troublesome at any age, and for those of us in our thirties and forties, it can be a more obvious sign of premature skin aging than fine lines and wrinkles.


What Causes Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation has a variety of causes, including hormonal ones (for example, melasma during pregnancy, which may resolve on its own), inflammation (such as post-acne pigmentation), and of course sun damage (sun spots and dark patches). Of course, treating the root of the problem is the first step in preventing further pigmentation, whether that’s cleaning up your diet, seeing your doctor for hormonal imbalance, or being more diligent with SPF.

Three Ways To Treat Hyperpigmentation

  • 1. Inhibiting Melanin

  • The first way to prevent further pigmentation from forming is to use ingredients that inhibit the formation of melanin (the dark coloring that causes sun spots).

    Niacinamide: This form of vitamin B is an all-round star performer, doing everything from decreasing inflammation to brightening the skin. Niacinamide can reduce hyperpigmentation by preventing the transfer of melanin from melanocytes to keratinocytes, that is, preventing melanin from transferring into skin cells.

    Vitamin C: Vitamin C, in addition to being an effective antioxidant which can reduce the effects of sun damage, also reduces hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase (an enzyme instrumental in melanin formation) and preventing melanin production at various stages.

    Licorice Root Extract: This gentle, natural compound is often found in herbal KBeauty products. Like Vitamin C, it is a tyrosinase inhibitor that prevents the formation of melanin.

    Other melanin inhibitors include azelaic acid and alpha arbutin. There has also been some research into fermented products that naturally contain melanin inhibiting compounds (See our All About Ferments post for more information about fermented cosmetics).


    2. Exfoliating

    While inhibiting melanin is fine and good for preventing further pigmentation, what about the dark spots that are already there? Exfoliation is one effective way to decrease the damage -- by removing the top layer of skin, it stimulates cellular turnover and encourages the softer, younger, less damaged skin to peek through.

    AHA: The most effective exfoliant for treating hyperpigmentation is Alpha Hydroxy Acid, or AHA. These acids (such as glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acids) essentially unglue the skin cells at the surface of the skin, allowing them to slough off and reveal undamaged skin. For more information about how to start with acids, check out our Beginner Acid Post!

    PHA: This newer category of exfoliants, Poly Hydroxy Acids, show promise in exfoliating skin without the irritation and dryness that can result from AHA use. Preliminary studies show that results are comparable to those of AHAs. In general, I’ve found that the PHA products I’ve used impart a subtle glow and slower, less dramatic improvement than AHA products.


    3. Protect Skin With Antioxidants

    In addition to slathering on the SPF every day, using products high in antioxidants can help to prevent damage to the skin and the pigmentation that can result. Antioxidants scavenge the free radicals that cause damage to skin cells, which can prevent hyperpigmentation as well as fine lines and wrinkles.

    Some great antioxidants that are common in KBeauty products include ginseng, which is proven to reduce oxidative stress and has brightening properties; Vitamin C, which is photoprotective (protects against damage from UV radiation, especially in combination with Vitamin E); Vitamin E, and many herbs and berries.

    At the end of the day, however, over-the-counter treatments can only do so much to fade sun spots and hyperpigmentation. And that brings me to my last option for treating dark spots...

    Embrace Them

    Those freckles and sunspots on your face may bother you, but chances are, they don’t bother anyone else. And although we all use beauty products to look like the best version of ourselves, I’d venture to suggest that we should sometimes embrace our spots as just part of life. After all, maybe those sun spots appeared because you enjoyed a fun day in the sun. That melasma may have arrived during pregnancy as part of a bundle of new life. Those pigmented acne scars are evidence of acne that healed, and will eventually diminish on their own with time.

    I’m a firm believer that we should accept ourselves, spots and all. So although it would be nice to have more even-toned skin, don’t let hyperpigmentation discourage you from loving what you see in the mirror!


    Here are a few products that can help with fading dark spots and evening out skin tone:

    Swanicoco PHA 10% Coco Soft Peeling Cream

    I'm pretty excited about one of our newest product launches, the Swanicoco PHA 10% Coco Peeling Cream. This exfoliating cream contains 10% PHA in the form of gluconolactone, which exfoliates the top layer of skin similar to AHA, but because it doesn't penetrate deeply into the skin, is less likely to cause irritation. It also contains niacinamide and a variety of lovely moisturizing plant extracts and oils.


    Cosrx Mela 14 Light Ampule


    The first ingredient in this serum is apple fruit water, which contains naturally exfoliating compounds, as well as niacinamide to prevent dark spots from forming. Glycolic acid (an AHA) gently exfoliates the top layer of skin, while betaine salicylate (a BHA) also exfoliates inside the pores.


    Wish Formula I'm Pro Ampoule Pad C

    Vitamin C is an excellent brightening agent and antioxidant. The Wish Formula I'm Pro Ampoule Pads contain 10% vitamin C, and the individually packed pads make them perfect for travel and for maintaining the freshness of the product. Just swipe over your face as an easy brightening step.



    We hope you enjoyed this week's topic! I'll be back next week with more skincare tips!


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    Sleeping Packs, And Why You Should Use One


    Hello beauty lovers, Kay Beauty here for another round of skincare tips! Are you ready? Today we will be discussing the merits of a product that is extremely popular in K-Beauty, but isn't so well-known in Western skincare -- Sleeping Packs!

    What Is A Sleeping Pack?

    A sleeping pack, or a sleeping mask, is a skincare product that is meant to be used as the last step in your skincare routine just before you go to bed. A sleeping pack delivers the nutrients and moisture of a facial mask, but overnight while you sleep. They can be used occasionally when your skin needs an extra boost, or every night if desired.

    Unlike regular wash-off masks, sleeping packs typically dry down to a smooth finish, so you don’t have to worry about a goopy mess getting stuck all over your hair and pillow as you sleep. Sleeping packs can be creamy or more gel-like, but what most have in common is that they create a protective film over your skin during the night, preventing water loss and delivering moisture and nutrients. Because they are in contact with your skin for far longer than a wash-off mask, they have the potential to provide exceptional moisturizing, brightening, and nourishing benefits.

    Do you NEED a sleeping pack? Well, not necessarily, but they CAN be a very useful tool in your arsenal when you are combating dry or dehydrated skin. People who don't like facial oils may prefer the slicker, less oily feel of a sleeping pack in boosting their skin's moisture levels. And they can be extremely soothing when your skin is irritated, chapped, or over-exfoliated.

    How Should I Use A Sleeping Pack?

    You can use a sleeping pack instead of your night cream as the last step in your evening skincare routine, or you can also use it on TOP of your regular night cream for super-charged moisture.

    Generally, I apply a little more of the sleeping pack than I would typically apply of a night cream, because it takes a little more product to form a film over the skin. Some sleeping packs dry down very quickly, but some take a few minutes until they feel smooth. You may want to wait until it is fully dry before going to sleep, if you don’t want the sleeping pack smeared on your pillow.

    Some great sleeping packs that we have on include:


    J.ONE Black Jelly Pack

    The J.ONE Black Jelly Pack is a refreshing way to boost your skin's moisture without weighing down your skin. The unique "stringy" texture spreads smoothly over the skin and dries quickly. This is quite a light sleep pack, so it's perfect for people with more oily or combination skin who don't want a super creamy mask. However, because you can layer it several times for more moisture, the J.ONE mask should appeal to drier skin types as well.


    COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Spa Overnight Mask


    The soft and fluffy texture of the Cosrx Rice Mask garners rave reviews from all over the Internet! The Cosrx Rice Mask is a nourishing and moisturizing mask that feels more milky and creamy rather than watery and gel-like, making it excellent for normal to dry skin types. It plumps up and brightens skin, giving it that dewy bounce we all love.


     Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Blooming Vitamin Sleeping Mask


    The Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Blooming Vitamin Sleeping Pack is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside. The ingredient list of this silky sleeping mask is full of gorgeous organic flower extracts as well as brightening and hydrating components. This gel sleep mask feels cooling and refreshing as it deeply hydrates.


    Do you enjoy a good sleep mask? Any favorites?



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    All About Fermented Skincare


    A long time ago, we discovered that fermenting grape juice produced a delightful beverage - wine. We also discovered that fermenting cabbage produced wonderfully funky and spicy kimchi. And then finally, we discovered that fermented skincare products were amazing for nourishing and improving the skin.

    Well, grab a glass of fermented grape juice and settle in, because you guessed it, today we’re chatting about fermented skincare! Fermentation is an integral part of KBeauty products, and produce a variety of skin benefits. Read on to know why you should be looking for some ferments in your skincare.

    Benefits of Fermentation to the Skin




    In Asia, fermented skincare products have been around for years. There are stories in various iterations (most famously, from Japanese luxury brand SKII) about brewery workers who, after constantly immersing their hands in the fermentation liquids, discovered that their hands were incredibly soft, smooth, and young-looking. This discovery prompted the production of a whole new category of fermented skincare.

    Through the fermentation process, yeast and beneficial bacteria transform sugars into various broken down components such as amino acids, peptides, acids, and other nutrients. The idea is that the products of fermentation are closer to the skin’s natural processes, and because of their smaller molecular size, are more easily absorbed by the skin. They are also less likely to irritate sensitive skin.



    In one study, fermented red ginseng was shown to have a greater concentration of antioxidants than non-fermented red ginseng, was less sensitizing, and had higher concentrations of brightening flavonoids.

    Depending on the ingredient being fermented, and the type of fermentation (whether it’s yeast, like saccharomyces, or a probiotic, like lactobacillus), fermented ingredients have the potential to moisturize, stimulate collagen production, exfoliate and brighten the skin, and smooth fine lines.

    Fermented Skincare Products

    I personally like to make sure I have at least one fermented product in my skincare routine at all times, and preferably more. At, we have several fermented products that get great feedback and we are planning to add many more, so stay tuned in the next few weeks!

    Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner

    This deeply hydrating essence-like toner contains fermented botanical extracts, such as fermented lotus, fermented chrysanthemum, and fermented dandelion -- the fermentation process makes the antioxidants and nutrients even more concentrated and readily absorbed by the skin. It also contains one of the star ferments of KBeauty, galactomyces ferment filtrate, which is known for its moisturizing and brightening properties, as well as its ability to increase skin elasticity.

    Many of the products in the Whamisa range feature ferments, including the Peeling Flower Mitts and the Organic Flowers Facial Oil.

    Cosrx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence

    This brightening toner contains a whopping 95% galactomyces ferment filtrate, the liquid produced after fermentation. Galactomyces is known for its ability to moisturize, to assist the skin in retaining moisture, and for its brightening and elasticity-boosting properties. This watery essence is best used as your first toning and hydrating step after cleansing. It moisturizes and brightens the skin and will enhance the absorption of other products.

    Wish Formula Optima 7 Pads

    One great thing about fermentation is that the acids produced by fermentation have naturally exfoliating and brightening properties, making them an excellent inclusion in an exfoliating product like the Wish Formula AHA pads.

    C200 Bubble Peeling Pad

    Brightening ferments are also included in the C200 Bubble Peeling Pad, which brightens and softens skin with its gentle bubble pad without drying or stripping the skin.

    What are your favorite fermented products? We will soon be launching more fermented products on, so please check back with us soon!



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