K-Beauty Journey: Interview with Shereen @thewayofthesnail
Let's meet Shereen from London. After getting pretty bad breakouts, Shereen started researching solutions which eventually led her to the world of K-beauty. '' I’ve definitely noticed how much healthier my skin is these days compared to before and breakouts are much more manageable through a mixture of stronger treatments and soothing products.'' she says.
She started her Instagram account @thewayofthesnail after she discovered K-Beauty, "I was keen to learn more from others and start sharing something that I was very passionate about'' . Read on to learn more about her routine and the top skincare tip she gives to everyone.
Hi Shereen, It's so great to have you here and share with us your K-Beauty journey.
First, what’s your skin type and what are your main skin concerns?
My skin type is combination (oily t-zone with large pores, normal elsewhere). Primary skin concerns at the moment are pigmentation from acne scarring and sun damage, plus the fine lines that have been creeping onto my face since I hit 30.
What was your typical skincare routine before?
I didn’t really have one, eek. Skincare started very late for me and I’m making up for it in my 30s - but better late than never I suppose! I’d use a basic cleanser (sometimes just cleansing wipes and/or a harsh scrub) and a light moisturiser. I’d throw in an anti-aging or vitamin C serum in every now and then, but was never consistent. And sunscreen? Not unless I was on holiday. It’s no wonder my skin was crying for help.
How and when did you discover K-Beauty?
It was driven by desperation! After years of a lazy ‘routine’ if you can call it that, my neglect started to take a toll on my skin as I got older. I also started getting pretty bad breakouts which were constant, painful, and embarrassing too - you think you’ve left acne behind in your teen years, right? No such luck for me. I turned to doctors and then the internet for answers (as you do) and after lots of trial and error eventually discovered the world of K-beauty through Reddit and several blogs. I fell down the rabbit hole and have been here pretty much ever since.
What attracted you to K-Beauty?
At first it was a mixture of glowing online testimonials, the novelty factor, and the prices. These were new and innovative brands and ingredients to me, in cool packaging, and it was all affordable too! Who could resist? But on a deeper level as time went on it was the focus on hydration, calming ingredients and creating a healthy, protected skin barrier that appealed and ultimately made all the difference to my skin - which made me want to discover more. I also found that pleasant, cosmetically elegant sunscreens actually existed, who knew?
Do you remember your very first Korean beauty products you used?
I had to double check my Amazon and eBay history for this! My very first order was for Cosrx Acne patches (which I still use and recommend to this day). Second was Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Essence - I remember it soothed my inflamed skin and was very hydrating. Others included the Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask and Tosowoong’s Enzyme Powder Wash. I’ve moved on from most of those early products now but still have a soft spot for them.
What are your favourite products or brands and why?
A difficult question for me to answer - I use and test a lot of products! Some current favourite products include the Wishtrend Vitamin C serum which helps with evening out my skin tone, the new Klairs sunscreen for its moisturising but non-greasy texture, and the Helloskin/Jumiso Snail and Centella Cream which is so hydrating and soothing. On the higher end, I do love Sulwhasoo - the products are so luxe from the packaging to the textures and scents (and the prices...). The First Care Activating Serum and sheet mask are fantastic for giving me an instant glow, and the Overnight Vitalizing Mask is a heavenly aromatic treat on dry winter nights.
What have you learned about your skin since using Korean skincare? Have you noticed any changes in your skin?
So much! My late-blooming passion for skincare, both Korean and Western, taught me a lot about my own skin and what it responds and reacts well (or badly) to. My skin was in need of serious TLC and the range of Korean products made such a difference in the way I approached caring for it - from hydration to targeted treatments and sun protection. Sometimes my routine contains 10+ steps, other times far less - the great thing is knowing how to mix and match depending on my skin’s condition. I’ve definitely noticed how much healthier my skin is these days compared to before and breakouts are much more manageable through a mixture of stronger treatments and soothing products.
Finally, what’s your skincare tip or do you have any advice for those who are about starting a K-Beauty routine?
I know it's so so tempting to buy a ton of exciting new products to cover each step and put them all on your face, but from someone who has done that please don't! Your skin probably won't thank you. First gain an understanding of your skin and your aims for it, and build a routine around that slowly. Finding some key base products (e.g. gentle first and second cleansers, a moisturiser tailored to your skin type, and a sunscreen) is a good start and once you're comfortable with those items you can move on to the world of hydrating layers and more targeted treatments. Look for reviews from people with similar skin types and issues, and try to educate yourself on ingredients. Oh, and be wary on Instagram - it's a major cause of FOMO. I've bought several products hyped up on Instagram without researching them properly (or considering if I really need them!) and regretted it.
Thank you so much for sharing, Shereen!
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