Reviews, Skincare

A Foray Into Korean Beauty

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Mizon Venom & Caolion MaskYou guys, I was way late to the Korean beauty trend. So late it’s not even funny. For one thing, ‘all-natural’ marketing messages kind of turn me off, and for a long time the products weren’t easily accessible in the US (meaning, I couldn’t order it from Sephora or Nordstrom). That’s slowly changing though. We’re starting to see companies using Asian skincare traditions in their formulations, like the O.R.G Mineral Peel that I posted a few months ago (which I will be re-purchasing, by the way). We’re also starting to see Korean products pop up in mainstream stores, and other US-based shops that focus on getting the overseas products onto our faces. One of those stores is Peach and Lily, a team dedicated to helping us get our hands on the best skincare from over in Asia. I was looking for something to help deal with irritation and redness left over from breakouts, and they were kind enough to help me choose a couple products to try out. I ended up with two of the hot things right now – bee venom and sheet masks.

The mask I got was the Caolion Herb-Su Tea Tree sheet mask, which sadly seems to be out of stock at the moment – but there are lots of other options to choose from, including some bundles so you can try out different ones. This was my first-ever sheet mask, so of course here’s a gratuitous photo of me looking really creepy:

Caolion MaskI immediately ran into a road block when I realized the directions on the package contained not even a speck of English. Not that it’s some enormous, complicated thing (put mask on face) but I hopped on the Peach and Lily website to double-check the description. Verdict: Put mask on face (and leave it there for 10-20 minutes). Easy enough.

I don’t know if it’s common to all masks, but you can see in the photo, this one is a little too big for my face. The cutouts are very roomy, and I had to fold it a bit on the cheeks to make it smaller. It’s soaked really well so the serum did get onto all my skin, and it didn’t dry out while I had it on. My skin felt nice and hydrated afterward. I didn’t look 10 years younger or anything, but I think I’ll be making sheet masks a step in my weekend ‘me-time’ skincare routine.

My favorite though is the Mizon Bee Venom Calming Fresh Cream. Yes, apparently bee venom in skincare is a real thing. The idea with it is, it’s supposed to ‘trick’ your skin into a mild reaction, which increases circulation to the area, helping to build collagen and elastin. A quick PubMed search convinced me that this actually holds some truth – sciencey articles here and here, if you want to look for yourself (both are free/full text). Of course, bee venom’s real claim to fame is that Kate Middleton uses it and it’s (supposedly) her secret to great skin. True story, I scoffed because I really thought she was in her late 20’s or something like that, but it turns out she’s actually a couple years older than me. So maybe it’s the bee venom, maybe not, but something’s working.

I was a little bit afraid of this stuff at first, because another true story: I’m (almost) 32 years old and I’ve never been stung by a bee. And I’m allergic to a LOT of things. I patch tested for days, luckily no reaction. At which point I happily started using it morning and night, which was a minor mistake. There’s definitely something going in this cream, because after a few days my skin was not happy. It wasn’t terrible, but a bit red and my other products were stinging. It was definitely too much, too fast. I let things settle down for a couple weeks and then used it once a day about three times a week, and worked up from there. At this point I’m using it every night and you guys, I love this stuff. If I skip a night I can see a difference – when I use it my skin is more hydrated, softer and doesn’t have as much redness. We had a bit of a rocky start but this is a case where I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Next up in the K-beauty saga: I recently started testing the Laneige BB Cushion. What’s on your to-try list?


  1. Avery Mae

    November 6, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    If you are looking for more places to shop, I highly recommend Rose Rose Shop, E Open Market, and Sasa. IMO you can find cheaper prices buying from an Asian store than US options like Sephora, Peach & Lily or Pretty & Cute. Welcome down the rabbit hole :)

  2. Stevethemonkey

    May 14, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Does anyone know of a place where I can still get the Bee Venom product?

    1. Nikki

      May 14, 2016 at 5:58 pm

      It’s still listed on Korea Depart and BeautySpin but I haven’t bought from either of those before.

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