My January k-beauty Birchbox was great for three reasons: it renewed my waning interest in Birchbox, it turned me on to a whole new world of fun beauty products from Korea, and it introduced me to Soko Glam, a website filled with Korean beauty products curated by esthetician Charlotte Cho. After playing around with my k-beauty samples (all of which I love except for the TONYMOLY lip tint), I became a little obsessed with browsing around Soko Glam for some goodies to order and try out. I signed up for the website’s mailing list and received a 10% off discount code via email, so I was extra motivated to place an order! I finally settled upon three products:

Sleeping pack, essence mist, Vitamin C serum

Here they are unboxed:


Before I start discussing the products I ordered, I want to restate that the aim of the multi-step Korean skin care routine is to achieve a dewy, radiant complexion—and keeping your skin well moisturized is integral to the end goal. Enter sleeping packs! First up from my Soko Glam order is the bestselling Lioele V-Line Sleeping Pack (regular price $16/$14.40 with the discount). Yeah, Korean beauty products sometimes have funny or awkwardly translated names and instructions*. Anyway, a sleeping pack is also known as a sleeping mask—which is exactly what is sounds like: you apply it before bed and wear it while you sleep. Sleeping packs are meant to be used overnight once or twice a week in place of your usual nighttime moisturizer.

This Lioele mask comes out of the tube as a sort of bluish opal color:


But once you massage the product into your skin, it’s invisible…which is great, because otherwise you’d look very much like a ghost. I have yet to try this mask overnight, but I liked the feel of it when I tried it on my hand. It absorbs quickly and has a very pleasant, light scent. According to a blog post on Soko Glam, this sleeping pack forms water droplets as you massage it into your skin, but I didn’t see that happen when I rubbed it into my hand. Maybe it’ll have a different effect on facial skin?  We’ll see. I checked EWG’s Skin Deep database and this product is not listed.

Also, the box has this cute little graphic on the side:


Always remember: #donthitandjusthug

My next product is the Missha First Treatment Essence Mist in the 50 ml size (regular price $20, $18 with the discount). I have really been enjoying the Goodal Waterest First Essence sample that I received in my January Birchbox so I wanted to get myself a full sized essence. I could have gotten the Goodal one from Birchbox, but this Missha essence is very well-reviewed on Soko Glam and it’s recommended for brightening skin, which is exactly what I’m looking to do. Like the Goodal essence, this product contains fermented ingredients that are supposed to help “refresh, renew, and rejuvenate” your skin. Just FYI, this product is not listed in Skin Deep.

The mist is a spray-on version of Missha’s Time Revolution First Treatment Essence, which costs $49 for 150 ml. I figured trying out a smaller, less expensive version first would be best for me. Remember: essence is meant to be used at night in between cleansing/toning and before applying treatments/moisturizer. Once I finish up my Goodal sample—I’ve used about half of the tiny bottle because a little goes a long way—I’ll move on to my new Missha mist for an extra layer of moisture before bed.

My third product is the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum (regular price $23, $20.70 with the discount), which is another SG bestseller. I have tried many serums that are supposed to help fade dark spots/pigmentation, and none of them have done jack shit for my dark spots. This serum has great reviews on SG, so maybe, just maybe, this will be The One for me. I know that fading dark spots is a tall order when you’re using nonprescription products, so I am trying to keep my expectations in check. Time will tell…

One of the reasons I ordered this serum is that the ingredient list is filled with all sorts of natural extracts. It does also have some unpronounceable ingredients, but I like that the brand uses a lot of natural ingredients (vitamin C, along with anise, grapefruit, broccoli, and lavender extracts—just to name a few) to get the job done. I also checked Skin Deep for this product, but it’s not listed. I imagine the EWG hasn’t gotten around to testing most of the Korean brands yet. As if there weren’t enough brands in the U.S.!

I’ve tried the Klairs serum a couple times so far, and it has a very different feel from other “dark spot corrector” serums I’ve tried like Kiehl’s, Clinique, and Garnier. The Klairs stuff surprisingly has a bit of an oily texture, but the feel is very light and almost slippery. Charlotte Cho recommends using a drop or two mixed in with your moisturizer in the morning and applying it directly onto your skin after using essence at night. I think I’ll try those application methods out and see how it goes!

One product I didn’t order but really want to try at some point is the SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick. The only reason I didn’t order it is because I have no need for any more facial cleansers at the moment. When I start to run low, though, I’m going to order this thing because it sounds super cool!

If you’re interested in trying out some k-beauty goodies for yourself, I recommend checking out Soko Glam, especially because you can get 10% off your first order when you sign up for their mailing list. Birchbox obviously offers some Korean brands in their store, and Sephora has some of the higher end k-beauty brands if you have the money to spend. When you can even find the popular brand Laneige at Target, you know k-beauty has truly penetrated the U.S. market (that’s what she said).

Have you gotten hooked on Korean beauty and skin care products? If so, what products are you loving?

*My Birchbox bonus sample of Goodal Phytowash Yerba Mate Bubble Peeling includes this exact description on the front: “A light, mild bubble peeling that exfoliates dead skin cells and refines pores creating.”