Category Archives: projects

Korean Skin Care Project

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Korean Skin Care Project

Origin Story

As we have established, I have a weakness for skin care products and routines. I spend a little time as possible doing my makeup, that is if I do anything at all. Therefore, I need the healthiest skin I can possibly have, so I have always been into skin care. I have used Murad, Principal Secret, Clarins, Clinique, Meaningful Beauty, Mario Badescu, you name it, I probably bought it.

My latest fascination started when I took my daughter to see her favorite band, Korean K-pop sensation, BTS. The concert was amazing and frankly we looked great thanks to Stitch Fix which you can read about here if you are interested  K-Pop Fashion Stitch Fix. I came away from the concert with a new appreciation for the band, their music and Korean culture. If you want to check out BTS’s music, here is a link to my Spotify playlist with my favorite songs. BTS Favorites Playlist

Imagine my delight when I found out that Koreans are obsessed with skin care just like me. Oh my goodness, so many, many products, brands, YouTube videos, sheet masks, ampoules, serums, books, theories, routines, did I mention the products, there are literally thousands? Heaven for a skin care addict like me. I went completely down the rabbit hole.

Piper and I decided to do a mother daughter skin care project. It was not hard to convince her since she is obsessed with all things Korean, and I was buying. Since I got no jams when it comes to crafts, I consider this my digital scrapbook, and this will the journal of our venture into the world of Korean Skin Care. The latest of our life projects here at Chez Mayhem. You are welcome to follow along if you find it helpful, informative, fascinating, inspiring, horrifying, amusing or any combination thereof.

What’s Different: Korean vs. American Approach to Skin Care

When I started hearing about Korean skin care the only thing I knew was there were a lot of steps, the packaging was cute but kind of juvenile and they use weird and exotic ingredients. Turns out all of this is true, but there is so much more to learn.  After a lot of research, the following what I discovered to be some of the primary differences between the American and Korean approach to skin care.

A Patient Approach

The Koreans are in this for the long haul. While they may want, they do not emphasis fast results.  In America, faster is better and immediate is best.  None of the products I researched, with the exception of some masks, even mentioned fast results.  They all emphasis nourishing and protecting the skin.  Clearly, they are playing the long game.

In our culture, we have a very can-do attitude.  If it’s not working right we can fix it through hard work and ingenuity.  If we have a pimple we will blast it into oblivion. If our skin is dry we will smother it in cream until it can’t drink up anymore.

The Koreans seem to approach it with more patience.  They gently cleanse, balance the ph levels and replace the oils with light layers of products. They draw pimples out with sheer patches rather than squeezing and then drying them out.  When skin is dry, they use hydrating toners and watery essence which allows the skin to slow sip up the hydration and hold onto it.  In short, they are more like the caring parent of their skin, rather than the overly enthusiastic coach.

It’s Ingrained in the Culture

korean baby face mask

Good skin care habits starts young in Korea and they are not the sole province of women.  Much like we teach our kids to brush their teeth (and floss, don’t forget to floss) twice a day, Koreans teach their kids to wash their faces, and, empathize the need to apply sunscreen everyday.

In America, skin care is by and large a female endeavor.  Oh sure you have the random male advocate for good skin care, but the average American man thinks it is perfectly acceptable to use the bar soap in the shower on his face.  Yes, the same soap that just lathered up his chest, feet and hind quarters. Guys are generally not that concerned about their skin until it is broken out or damaged from abuse, then they might take action, maybe.

More Korean men view skin care as just part of daily life.  I doubt they all participate in 10 step routines or have the flawless makeup of a K-pop idols, but they are clearly more active participants in beauty culture, which may explain why Korea has so many brands and stores.  You have to admit for a country of 51 million people they produce a huge share of the world’s skin care products.

Biology vs. Chemistry

In America we love skin care products with ingredients cooked up in a lab that are effective and efficient.  Better living through chemistry.  A striking feature of Korean products is the reliance on things found in nature like birch sap, licorice root, honey, green tea, apple juice and yes, snail muscin (aka slime).

The descriptions of these products talk about things like supporting, nourishing and brightening the skin.  There is rarely any hyperbole or sales language in the descriptions, or maybe there is but since it’s in Korean I don’t see it. One brand, COSRX replaces water in most of its products with natural liquids like willow bark water, and alcohol is used very sparingly.   Water and some form of alcohol are used in almost every product in American.

Of course there are some chemicals in Korean products, especially in the sunscreens, but they are far more reliant on natural ingredients, than their American counterparts.

NEXT UP:

In my next post I will go over the most well-known feature of Korean skin care, the multi-step approach.  If you are interested in learning more, you can check it out here on Dazey Mayhem.  I would love to hear your experiences with Korean Skin Care and recommendations.

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Seriously Mr. Kohler, who does your marketing?

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photo bruce

Bruce, in his natural habitat.

Recently we finished a bathroom re-model project. I learned many things during this process, like everything takes and costs at least 20% more than you would think, sinks do not come with drains included, you never have enough tile and the smaller the granite job, the lower you are on the installation list.  But the best thing about the whole project was the purchase of a new toilet.

When we originally met with a remodeling company, who, by the way, quoted us a price which was a full $17,000.00 more than the project actually cost to complete, they advised us that Kohler products were top of line and we should not even consider using anything else, (I smell a kickback). Anyways, I have a soft spot in my heart for Kohler because I used to show Morgan horses and Herbert Kohler owns Kohler Stables and they won, a lot.

I always remember Mr. Kohler as an Ernest Hemingway type, world traveler, big game hunter, facial hair enthusiast.  Google him sometime, you’ll see what I mean. Kohler Stables had the very best of everything, it was a class operation from top to bottom.  I guess when your last name is Kohler and you live in Kohler, Wisconsin the world is your oyster.

I digress, back to the toilet.  I had seen the rather odd Kohler ads in magazines, which I apparently am not cultured enough to appreciate.  They have these weird, Toulouse Lautrec-ish figures mingled with sinks and toilets and are frankly very confusing, like a French art films.  Well, as I found out those more cultured ads are for the “readers,” they have an entirely different advertising campaign for the Lowe’s shopper.

As I strolled down the toilet aisle I could not help but be amused by the large blue and white banners over the Kohler products which proclaim the following;

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Well that’s nice, I guess those are qualities I admire in a toilet.  I mean seriously, who would to buy a toilet that openly announced it was WEAK or COWARDLY.  This clearly is meant to appeal to the NASCAR crowd of toilet shoppers.

We purchased one of these beasts and named it Bruce.  The packaging alone was worth the price. Now I know writing copy for a toilet box is probably not a job which requires a Master’s degree in creative writing, but the Kohler marketing department is top-notch. For instance, Bruce has the following impressive features:

♦ Single-flush gravity and precision-engineered tank, bowl, and trapway to create a strong siphon during flushing.  NICE! THE NEIGHBORS WILL BE SO JEALOUS!

♦AquaPiston canister allows water to flow into the bowl from all sides, increasing the power and effectiveness of the flush.  SERIOUSLY, ALL SIDES?  THANKS FOR THAT.

and my personal favorite,

♦Smarter Power. Flushes 4x more than the average adult needs. REALLY?  DEFINE AVERAGE!

Cheers,

Dazey

Too close for missles. I’m switching to guns….

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Week 3 with no progress on the weight loss front. The needle on the scale is definitely to the left of the one in 140 but not enough to actually declare it to be 139.  At this point in the process every pound is coming off agonizingly slow, therefore, in the immortal words of Maverick in Top Gun,  I’m switching to guns.

This is a familiar theme in my weight loss career, get down to my regular weight and then all south bound progress ceases.  Now I know what you are going to say, I have heard it a million times, this is the right body weight for you.  And to that, I ask, who is in charge here?  Well, that answer is painfully obvious.

I am aware complaining that I cannot lose 5 pounds may sound, to those who have much greater challenges, like complaining that my diamond shoes are too tight, but this is my personal white whale.  I would like my weight to vary between 135-140 instead of 140-150.  Therefore, I want to get down to 135 and then let the swinging begin.  It is not as if I am asking to be a size 2, I am perfectly happy in an 8 that doesn’t leave lines on my belly.

Which, by the way, have you ever read a weight loss story and seen someone say they lost 30 pounds and now they are a size 0 (which frankly is not a size if you ask me), then you look at the picture and say no way.  I am sorry lady, but you are a size 8, maybe a 6, but no way in Hades are you wearing a 0, who are you trying to kid.  Be happy you lost those 30 pounds, rejoice in the fact you feel better and can chase your kids without losing your breath, but don’t try to over sell it by telling me you are a size 0, I have eyes, I’m gonna know.

After taking a brutally honest look at the situation, I know I am not cheating the diet, so it has to be the exercise element.  Since my Iphone has become to be the center of my universe I turned to it for answers. A while back, my daughter and I decided we wanted to overcome our hatred of running (well, I decided and convinced her it would be “fun” she’s 9 she still falls for that).  I downloaded the Couch to 5K app (C25K), I read about in an article about Jamie Curtis overcoming the same aversion to running.

We did it for about 3 weeks, but because we started in November, the weather and early darkness of day light savings time made us cut it off short of finishing the program.  I am not going to say it was fun, but I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would and we both felt a sense of accomplishment.

So yesterday I starting the program over again, this time on the treadmill in my garage. The bad news is the garage smells weird because the rabbit has her winter condo in there (sorry Butterscotch, but rabbits can be kind of smelly).  The good news is I am working my way through my Gilmore Girls complete series DVD kit, so even if I don’t break the 5 pound barrier, I will have some sharp-witted quips with which to express my frustrations.

Cheers,

Dazey

Dieting is not fun…

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I set this blog up about 6 months ago, patted myself on the back for successfully navigating the WordPress site and promptly forgot to add content.  A lot has happened since last May, I won’t bore you with details, but I figured if I was going to have a blog I should actually write something.

My latest project, or as my husband refers to it, obsession, has been trying to take off a few pounds.   Here is what I have learned about myself, I don’t like dieting, not truly fond of exercise either, but sincerely don’t like dieting. Now I know this sounds like a fairly obvious observation, but I am usually a pretty adaptable person and this is a bit of a revelation for me.

Over the holidays I noticed that my pants were a bit tight and my middle was a little squishier than one might enjoy, so I decided to take charge.  Also, I was teaching a yoga class and caught a glimpse of my reflection in chair pose and wondered what those lumps were on the side of my thighs.  So, I read several diet/lifestyle change books, including Dr. Oz et al’s You on a Diet and undertook to drop anywhere from 12- 15 pounds. I tend to have a “can do” attitude so such undertakings are not unusual in my life.

Well, the first thing I learned is that it takes a caloric deficit of 3,500 to lose 1 pound.  Let that sink in a minute, 3,500 calories less than your daily allotment to lose 1 pound, Fair?  I think not.  A little quick math tells me I have to create a deficit of 42,000-52,500 to reach my goal.  Now I am daunted (and inexplicable hungry).

In my reading, I found reference to this app for my iPhone called Lose it! (the exclamation point is actually in the title, love the energy folks) This little dandy does the math for you and will track your food and exercise, well it will if you input all of your activities and whatever you put in your mouth.

In addition to Lose It! I received a Striiv pedometer for Christmas.  This little gem is addictive.  Striiv is more than a pedometer it is your non-judgmental best friend.  It creates little challenges for you, like walk 100 steps in the next 5 minutes.  Which is a nice way of saying, hey leadbottom, we noticed you haven’t moved in the last hour or so, how about a little stroll.  No judgment.

One of the features of Striiv is that you get to build your own little island, complete with flora, fauna and exotic outbuildings like fountains of youth, magician’s fire and warrior poet statue (you know, the regular stuff).  To purchase the plants and buildings you earn coins and then to build or grow them, you get energy points through your challenges and activities.  Sort of like Farmville or Smurf Village, but with exercise.

My family has questioned my sanity numerous times as I circle the couch while watching TV.  They don’t understand, my village needs me, that mermaid topiary is not going to build itself!

So anyways, I am firmly entrenched in my better living through technology project.  I am 10 pounds down, but have not gained any ground on my goal in almost 2 weeks.   Over the course of the next few weeks, I am going use my alloted digital space in the virtual world to chronicle my quest, so please feel free to check in whenever you want to feel good about yourself and see how I am doing.

Cheers!
Dazey