Hi. I’m Jude. Some of you may know me as Fiddy because my good friend Chel started calling me that and it stuck. You might have heard me on the Snailcast (sorry for all the dick jokes) or read my piece on K-beauty and depression on Fashionista or one of the sites that scraped the article. Whatever you want to call me, you’re here, so let’s talk skin!
I started this blog because I love good skincare, and I love good skincare because it can do so much more than just improve the appearance of skin.
Skin is a tricky thing. We all have it, and as long as it’s in one piece and able to keep our juices in and foreign objects out, it’s doing its job. But even if your skin is technically healthy, if something about it makes you unhappy, the consequences can go deep. For a lot of us, skin troubles affect self-confidence, and self-confidence affects everything else in life. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it is what it is. But! Your skin doesn’t have to stay the way it is if you want it to change.
Pack your suitcases and bring an extra for the return trip, because you’re about to leave the familiar land of “cleanse-tone-moisturize.” Ahead lies a realm of essences, serums, ampoules, and emulsions, where lotions often feel like toners and toners often do the exact opposite of what you expected. It might sound overwhelming, but the B&A at the end of this post shows just how worth it the trip can be.
One of the key benefits of the Asian skincare lines I talk about on this blog (and a growing number of Western lines that I may or may not someday review as well) is the endless customizability they offer. Forget about single-step, all-in-one products. They might claim to do a lot of different things, but the majority do none of them well, because skincare isn’t one-size-fits-all. Have oily skin and fine lines? Good luck finding an anti-aging cream that won’t leave your face looking like an oil spill by noon. Dealing with dry but acne-prone skin? The products that provide enough moisture might also cause more breakouts, while typical acne treatments will probably leave your skin raw, parched, and flaky. And don’t get me started on the near-uselessness of SPF/moisturizer combos.
Instead of a limited selection of all-purpose solutions, Asian beauty brands offer a staggering variety of product formulations, from the thinnest toner to the heaviest cream. Individually, each formulation delivers actives that target specific skin concerns. Layered together, they can add up to a routine that treats multiple issues simultaneously or attacks a single problem from multiple angles for faster and more dramatic results. You can stick to a simple routine if you want to, or develop an elaborate regimen to bring out your best skin. It all depends on what you want and how much you’re willing to do.
The picture on the left was taken by a professional photographer around the end of 2012. I was wearing CC cream, blush, and powder (and awful brow and eye makeup, but I don’t really want to talk about that right now). I was 32, and although my skin was okay, years of neglect and bad lifestyle choices showed. There are lines around my eyes, those freckles are the result of sun damage, and everything is dull overall.
Now look at the picture on the right, taken when I was 35, about a year after I started getting serious about skincare. I don’t have any complexion makeup on in the photo: no foundation, no BB or CC cream, no concealer, no powder. I’m no K-drama star, and my skin isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s in better shape than when I was in my twenties. That has made me happier and more confident than I was before. That’s the real benefit of all this skincare stuff.
One last thing before you start to figure out your own skincare routine. My current routine gets pretty long (partly because of all the products I’m always testing for review), but no matter what any shop or magazine tries to tell you, a million-step routine is not a necessity. The only thing that’s a necessity is whatever your skin needs at the time in order to achieve whatever results you want. And Asian skincare isn’t automatically better than Western skincare. Korean, Taiwanese, and Japanese brands just happen to offer a far better selection of options at the moment than Western brands. There’s no universal magic bullet that will transform your skin into Photoshop IRL natural perfection overnight. YMMV, and it’ll take some experimentation to find what works for you. But if your skin is important to you, the end results are worth the effort.