Does K-Beauty really need more Diversity?

Photo by Pixabay on

Disclaimer time. As many of you know, I am a white chick, married to a Korean, living in Korea, being fluent in Korean. As you may also be aware, this is a beauty blog and I try to keep it light-hearted and stay focussed on my goal of reviewing K-beauty products. But here’s this topic that I have been mulling over for some time, that I wanted to discuss. It’s basically me thinking out loud. I don’t know everything, and I don’t have all the answers.

Just as a quick aside. I might be completely wrong with what I am going to put forward. I am happy for you to call me out and/or tell me where I am wrong. I look forward to constructive discussions in the comments. 🙂

The Criticisms leveled at K-Beauty

Photo by James Lee on

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ll be aware that there are a whole lot of discussions going on around race, diversity, inclusivity. I am keeping an open mind, I want to learn and I want to be more aware of what is going on in the world. I try to question my own beliefs and values, and I try to be better and do better.

At the same time, I have been noticing this trend as of late. There are open letters to Korean cosmetics companies, urging them to be more inclusive. K-Beauty is being petitioned to diversify and to be more accommodating of people of colour (POC). Some of those open letters can come across as kind of nasty and accusing, and it rattles me just a bit, because Korea is my adopted home country now, as well as my husband’s native country. I’m feeling kind of protective of Korea in that regard.

In particular, K-beauty is being called out for their sunscreens, many of which have a tone-up effect (read: white cast), or which are mineral based and thus create ashy tones or an aforementioned (but not marketed as such) white cast, which is perceived as unflattering on darker skin tones.

There are also products purported to be brightening, which is considered to be part of colourism. Do note that bright skin does not equal white(r) skin though! It’s also possible that perhaps, some words get lost in translation.

Furthermore, many articles that I see popping up online are critical of the shade range of Korean base products (foundations, BB creams, concealers, powders and makeup cushions), most of which range from fair to light to medium shades but usually don’t include shades for darker skin tones.

Continue reading “Does K-Beauty really need more Diversity?”

Review: Dr Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution – Biome Essence | Microbiome Skincare – Hype or the Real Deal?

**NB. I still see this essence locally in the shops however it seems to have disappeared from online shops. Not sure if this is a discontinued product or not. Do share in the comments if you know?

While some beauty websites are touting it as the next big thing in skincare, I have remained skeptical to date. I am talking about microbiome skincare, a buzzy buzzword that apparently is meant to evoke the myth surrounding the health benefits purported by fermented foods such as yoghurt, kimchi, pickles or kefir.

You can find quite a few niche options; here in Korea, Dr Jart+ has stepped in to bring you some of that microbiome trendiness.

I first got the above pictured deluxe sample of this serum essence back when I was coming down with pneumonia in summer last year. At the time, it did my skin a world of good, so I decided to spring for the full size version once I had finished that little baby bottle. I absolutely loved my skin at the time – though perhaps other factors such as stress levels might have had an impact – but this is how my skin looked once I had finished that cute little bottle and I just felt so good:

This is what its mummy looks like:

But what about all those Biome claims? I hear you say. Let’s get into the review.

Continue reading “Review: Dr Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution – Biome Essence | Microbiome Skincare – Hype or the Real Deal?”

Pick your Causes

If you read only one thing today, make it this post.

Image Source

Lately, I have not been feeling like myself and I suspect that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same. There’s just so much happening in the world right now and it was getting harder and harder for me to stay plugged in. So I deleted my Instas, temporarily deactivated my Facebook. And then I found this:

Pick your causes – You cannot care about everything so care about what matters.

My favourite beauty blogger of all time, Paris B, has penned one post so perfect, I think it might be one of my favourite pieces on the Internet, ever. She has managed to express what I feel and more. I swear she is not paying me for this – she does not even know who I am 😛

Here’s a quick little excerpt but I recommend you go and read her article in full obviously for full context:

I keep my ear to the ground, I read, I talk to people, I listen and I try to understand. But I choose what I want to delve into so I don’t end up with “Compassion fatigue”.

Whether as a consumer, or as an online creator or business, I think everyone could benefit from this pause because saying something online. Are you reacting because everyone else is and because you’re expected to, or is it something you want to stand up and talk about?

She’s inspired me to go a little more introspective going forward, and I will try to be a little less reactive and detach a little more. Usually, I have a strong opinion on everything – but perhaps I am wrong a lot of the time. I’ll have to figure this out on my own.

Talk soon & bye for now. Be well.

Second Guest Post – Complete Skincare Routine for Dry, Sensitive, Acne Prone Skin (AM and PM)

My entire routine in one image.

Before I return to my regular scheduled content, let me briefly link up to my second ever guest post, over at Very Kemi.

The post is live at On the Nightstand of Laura and covers the following:

1) Firstly, tell us about you – Name, age, where are you from, hobbies and what do you do. 

2) What does skincare mean to you?

3) Tell us about your skin and your skincare routine.

4) What is one product you can’t live without?

5) Can you let us in on a skincare tip you swear by? 

6) What is a bad skin day for you? 

7) What would you do if you only had 5 minutes to get ready? 

If that is something you might enjoy reading, do hop on over and subscribe to Ely while you’re at it!

Hope you enjoy and talk to you soon.

My Very First Guest Post!

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on

I am super pleased to announce that my first guest post ever – titled Korean Skincare Myths & Beauty Secrets – has been featured over at V’s Beauty Talk. Here’s the link:

>>Take me straight to the post>>

If you are a K-Beauty fanatic, do check out V’s blog and subscribe! She runs a wonderful blog that is equal parts informative, aesthetically pleasing and entertaining.

The main topics that I cover in the post are:

  • The Jamsu Method
  • The 7-Skin Method / The Moisture Sandwich
  • Ingesting Collagen Tablets, Pork Belly and Chicken Feet for Better Skin
  • The Importance of Parasols and Visors
  • Scrub massage at the Jjimjilbang
  • Kimchi and Other Fermented Ingredients for Better Skin
  • Hanbang in Skincare
  • Vitamins and Supplements
  • Current Makeup trends and Beauty Ideals

Hope you enjoy x

© 2020 The Empties Diaries All Rights Reserved

Real Neat Blog Award – Q and A

So a few weeks ago now, Princess of The Mindful Modus nominated me for the Real Neat Blog Award. Thanks!

Not sure yet if I’ll take it any further than this but I thought it’d be fun to answer a few quick questions.

1. Which of your blog posts is your favorite?

I put a lot of time and effort into a super long, detailed blog post that literally no one reads. It’s a guide to visiting Seoul for first time visitors. Ah, the beauty of algorithms, I guess.

2. Do you have a favorite skincare product? What is it?

If I had to pick just one, it’d have to be Trilogy’s Rosehip Oil. No other brand will do as it works on acne, fine lines and ups hydration in one fell swoop. Comparative review over here. Runnerup would have to be Hada Labo’s Gokujyun Premium Gold Hyaluronic Acid lotion for its ability to make fine lines disappear as you pat that baby in, reviewed previously over here.

3. Do you have a favorite perfume/cologne? What is it?

I have two and I absolutely cannot decide which one I like more. The first one is Dior’s Hypnotic Poison and the other one is Lush’s Sikkhim Girls.

Hypnotic Poison is a warm, spicy vanilla scent, whereas Sikkhim Girls is a floral with notes of incense and spice. Both are super yum fragrances.

Image sources here and here

4. Are you an early-bird type of person, a night-owl, or somewhere in between?

Used to be an early bird but now that I teach English, and work late, I guess I am kind of in between. I usually get up around 0830 or thereabouts.

5. Do you have a favorite movie character? Who is it and from what movie?

I don’t watch movies much and cannot think of any favourite characters either. I do love me some comic books and book characters though. My favourites would have to be Tulip O’Hare from Preacher and Shelby Dupree from The Last Days of American Crime.

Image sources here and here

6. Do you splurge? What items do you splurge on?

No, I never ever splurge. I am one of the thriftiest people I know and am very careful with money. I may on occasion pop some drugstore purchases into my basket on impulse but that is the end of that.

7. What is your favorite self-care activity?

I love sheetmasking and painting my nails when it comes to beauty related self care, but that, in my mind, is not all there is to self care. I am currently in the pursuit of teaching myself a variety of new skills and am building on existing skill sets. I hope I can talk more about those once I feel that I am better at what I do and feel more confident and comfortable sharing my exploits. Learning new things, to me, is the ultimate self-care activity.

© 2020 The Empties Diaries All Rights Reserved

Review: Dr Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution (sheet mask)

Dr Jart has had a few duds for me in store as of late especially when it comes to sunscreen and mist products, however they are killing it at the sheet mask game still, even after all these years.

For reference: previous Dr Jart sheet mask reviews:

– Dr Jart+ Dermask

– Dr Jart Ceramidin

And today’s mask review proves no exception! I really enjoyed using this super hydrating mask. Read on for details, ingredients and photographic evidence.

Photo by Pixabay on
Continue reading “Review: Dr Jart+ Vital Hydra Solution (sheet mask)”

10 more Duds: Products that did not Work as Advertised

FEAT Nivea, Dr Jart+, Revlon, Ashirira, AHC, 23 Years Old, Smith’s, Curesys, Mediheal, Melvita

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on – Accurate representation of my emotions while testing the below products.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about 10 products that I genuinely disliked – skincare, body products and makeup duds too. Well, the day has come to continue that beautiful tradition with this here second instalment. As before, I cannot be asked to go into detail for products I did not enjoy using – a quick paragraph for each will have to suffice. I would like to know though –

Should I continue giving my honest opinion on products I hated, or should I just self censor and simply not talk about them – in keeping with the good old ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it’ aphorism? What say you?

Let’s get cracking with today’s mini reviews for now.

Continue reading “10 more Duds: Products that did not Work as Advertised”

Review: Dr Jart+ Cicapair Serum + a Book Rec for Parents, Trainers and Teachers Alike

If you have been in Korea for a while, you will know how much Dr Jart+ is pushing their advertisements over here. In-store advertising and pop up counters, social media advertising, billboards, signs on buses and bus stops… they go hard! Some of my Korean friends have in fact commented on how they find their ads overbearing and too much in-your-face to have much of an effect on them.

Personally, I am here for their minimalist, colourful aesthetic and also, I do find most of their products fabulous, so I don’t mind the pushy ads if it means that everyone can have great skin. I have reviewed a bunch of their sheet masks, a BB cream and a sunscreen, and some mists, and they’re just all around great really or at the very least, they hydrate nicely. Here they are –

I did have high hopes for this serum to blow me away, or at least please me, too.

Continue reading “Review: Dr Jart+ Cicapair Serum + a Book Rec for Parents, Trainers and Teachers Alike”

Review: Innisfree – Rainy 0520 Perfumed Body Water | A long-lasting, non-offensive Fragrance, Plus, another Book Recommendation

Innisfree is one of my favourite roadside-style Korean beauty shop chain, for the simple reason that their products actually seem to work, compared to Etude House, It’s Skin, Nature Republic, Skinfood, Holika Holika and The Saem – which I only sometimes go to for makeup. But I digress.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on

This Innisfree body mist bottle was gifted to me by a fellow teacher friend just before she left Korea, and this scent has held up surprisingly well and lasted me months and months after she left. Another goodie from Innisfree.

Continue reading “Review: Innisfree – Rainy 0520 Perfumed Body Water | A long-lasting, non-offensive Fragrance, Plus, another Book Recommendation”