By: Cai Maroket
Make up is great. Putting it on in the morning is as much of a moment of zen for me as yoga is for most people. Having it on gives me a boost of confidence, especially since my parents instilled in me the idea that to be respected, you have to look respectable—that only the truly brilliant really get away with not caring for their appearance.
What’s even better than feeling good with make up on, though, is having the confidence to forgo the process entirely! Unfortunately, I am not blessed with an effortlessly spotless, porcelain face, nor am I an exceptional human being, respectable enough with an adequate amount of accolades to distract people from my blackheads, my laugh lines and scars from past blemishes.
Isn’t it frustrating how much weight society puts on the idea of having beautiful, clear skin? People will never tire of the #iwokeuplikethis hashtag. Men and women online will always argue over whether make up should be considered deception or not, and you will always have men saying they prefer women without make up (which is a complete lie, by the way. And never let men’s opinions stop you from doing your thing!). In Korea, showing one’s bare face to the public is a very big deal. Retail companies and magazines will never stop Photoshop-ing their models.
Vanity is not an invention of modern times, though. Archaeologists have unearthed clay pots of make up from Ancient Egyptian sites, from eyeshadow to kohl to lip color and, more importantly, their discoveries also show that Egyptians took skincare seriously. They concocted salves to protect their skin from the sun, bathed in milk to soften their skin, used olive oil as moisturizer. Medieval times had women from the upper class risking their lives for beauty by mixing lead with various ingredients for exfoliation and skin whitening. This is probably why they say beauty is pain. Now, while it still is to a certain extent, at least people don’t have to worry about dying so much!
These days, the pain you feel is not physical. You feel it in your wallet. Not everyone can afford weekly trips to their aesthetician. Looking up more affordable alternatives will lead you to quite a number of articles on natural remedies and Youtube videos of girls putting edibles on their faces. Clinical and laboratory studies have identified many beneficial active ingredients in what we eat, after all. Think pretty girls washing their faces with rice water, or exfoliating their lips with a mixture of honey and sugar, or slapping on a mess of raw egg whites on their cheeks in the pursuit of better skin. I think it would be so much better to have food directly touch my taste buds than just the general vicinity, to be honest. Unfortunately, eating usually won’t guarantee me the immediate effects I seek compared to topical application.
Thank goodness for the new lazy girl beauty favorite: the sheet mask. A Korean innovation, this product is a cotton or paper sheet soaked in serum and other powerful ingredients that you leave on your face for about 10 to 15 minutes. There are enough variations of this product to cover every possible skin problem, from simple dryness to hyperpigmentation issues. The great thing about it is that sheet masks are generally affordable. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to, say, put a snail on your face to reap the benefits of snail mucin (which I can’t eat, anyway), which happens to be my personal favorite. Save your lemons for actual lemonade. Give the sheet mask a try.
MASKS TO TRY
For dry skin: Dr. Wu Micro Inject Hydrating Mask Set
Hyaluronic acid has been the popular kid of the beauty world and with good reason! It is known for helping skin retain moisture, which in turn makes skin stay firm and smooth. According to a scientific study, a gram of hyaluronic acid can contain about six liters of water!
For irritated skin: Tony Moly I’m Real Tea Tree Mask Sheet
Not to be confused with regular tea, tea tree oil has a lot of antifungal and antiviral properties which make it a miracle product for those suffering from breakouts. Its healing powers are not limited to treating acne. Tea tree oil is also used for soothing cuts and burns, as well as psoriasis.
For dull skin: Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Strawberry Mask
Everybody knows that strawberries are rich in vitamin C. The fruit is also a natural source of ellagic acid, which provides UV protection and is safe and effective at skin brightening.
For acne-prone skin: Tony Moly I’m Real Red Wine Mask Sheet
This probably sounds ridiculous, but did you know that researchers discovered that red wine can benefit your skin? Resveratrol, an antioxidant that can be found in grapes, was found to have the ability to slow down the growth of acne-causing bacteria. Other properties also help fight inflammation, aging and sun damage.
For pore care: Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Squeeze Cucumber Mask
Cucumbers are abundant in antioxidants, making them a natural beauty remedy across the globe. Its use isn’t limited to depuffing eyes. As it contains potassium and manganese, this vegetable is also perfect for firming up skin and tightening pores.