dry skin

Dry Skin Makeup Tips for a Flawless Face

Photo Credit: You Beauty

Between combating plunging temperatures outside, and battling artificial heating inside, even the oilyest of skin can start to dry out..and dry skin only spells disaster for a full face of foundation.
Base makeup of any sort clings to the tiniest of flakes and quickly starts looking cakey and gross. Plus, unlike a pimple or dark spot, you can’t conceal dry patches or rough texture; you have to actually fix the problem to get rid of it.

As someone with chronically dry (not to mention sensitive) skin, I’ve tried all sorts of things to keep my makeup looking smooth and flawless, without having to cake it on or having it separate a few hours later. Here are my tips for a flawless face when your face starts flaking off:

Start with the Skin

Photo Credit: Geekyposh-That rabbit knows what’s up 😂

-exfoliate regularly and before big events to provide a smooth, flake-free canvas (be sure to hit areas like your hairline, jawline, the corners of your mouth, and the sides of your nose-all easily missed spots for flakes). 

My recommendations: Cure Natural Aqua Gel (chemical), Ettang Peeling and Soothing Mask (chemical-kill two birds with one stone and get deep moisture after peeling!), Skinfood Black Sugar Wash-off Mask (physical)

-moisturize regularly and before big events to plump, hydrate, and nourish skin. Sleeping packs, wash-off hydrating masks, and sheet masks are all super helpful, especially if used right before makeup application.

My recommendations: CosRX Brightening Rice Overnight Spa Mask, Ladykin Affinitic Lifting Cream, Goodall Barrier Cream, Etude House Moistful Collagen Cream

Prime Time

-Emollient primers help smooth down rough patches and flakes 

My recommendations: NYX Pore Filler, Benefit Porefessional

-If you find that your makeup tends to separate, make sure your primer and base makeup are either both oil-based or both water-based. Much like salad dressing, oil and water don’t mix. Oil breaks down makeup (exhibit A why oil cleansers are so effective) so choose and match your formulations carefully. You may find it best to skip a primer all together!

Laying the Foundation

Photo Credit: A Piece of Toast

-Sheer foundations, serum-style foundations, and “dewy” finish foundations will be more hydrating than medium-full coverage foundations and matte finishes, which can be more drying.

My recommendations: Bare Minerals Serum Foundation, 3W Clinic BB cream, Urban Decay Naked Foundation

-A damp beauty blender will pick up excess product so you use as little product as possible to get the job done. Less product means less flake-clinging-grossness. 

*By using a beauty blender to dab on foundation and not buffing product in with a brush, you prevent micro exfoliation which can lift up dead skin flakes and further irritate skin.

*Damp beauty blenders also emulate a popular skincare practice in Korea where the hands are used to pat in water left from the shower into the facial skin instead of wiping the face with a towel. A damp beauty blender is dabbing water into the skin, hydrating it much the same way.
-Patting on product in several different directions in the same area helps to keep the product from settling into fine lines and clinging to dry spots. In the eye area and smile line area, it will help prevent creasing.

-Reach for creamy, buttery formulations of things like blushes and highlighters over powders. They tend to smooth over dryness instead of sticking to and highlighting it. 

These are the main things that have really helped me achieve a more flawless face even in the middle of wintertime. Proper skin maintainence to prevent this problem in the first place is of course the best thing you can do to ensure consistently good makeup, but sometimes our skin needs a helping hand to look the best it can 🙂


Curology Month Two Update

Its just a few weeks after officially using Curology for two months, and a lot has happened. About a week after my first month post, my skin went from the clearest it had ever been in about 2 years, to going completely bonkers.

Basically, I broke out (massively) all over my face, and it didn’t clear up for two weeks. After a week of it showing no signs of relenting, I messaged my derm who said that this sort of thing is very normal during the first three months of treatment. She offered some suggestions as well for special soaps that can help clear up skin infections (in case it was that).

During the first three months of starting a treatment like this, skin can show a lot of changes, like breakouts and dryness, etc, but until enough time passes, adjustments to the prescription aren’t really a helpful or a smart thing to do. The best advice is to just deal with what happens the best you can, and let the medicine do its thing until that starting period passes.

Needless to say, that was not the advice I wanted to hear, even though I know its true. Breaking out now means not breaking out later, and results beyond the scope of non-prescription products.

But frankly, I am no superhuman; my face looked so bad that it made me cry (and maybe more than once), and I ditched the medication for a few days while I figured out what to do about this super stubborn breakout. The breakout was bad enough that I was honestly thinking maybe the results I was aiming for were not worth a few months of this. I actually was considering perhaps phoning up a dermatologist in town, and begging them to do something, anything about my face. I thought it might even be a very strange allergic reaction. It was that bad.

But actually, ditching the script for a few days was exactly what my skin needed. After three days, the breakout was over halfway cleared up, and by the end of the week, was nothing more than a few spots here and there that could easily be concealed.

After messaging my derm some more about this (and shamefully admitting how I just about chucked the product in the bin), I reduced application to every other day, and now I wait 20 minutes after showering to let my skin “dry” before applying the prescription. This has helped tremendously in terms of managing the breakout that awaits me the second my skin dries out. Sure enough, the moment I apply it two days in a row, or skip the extra moisturizer, my skin starts going haywire again.

The funny thing is, although my skin did become drier the first month of starting Curology, that drying out seemed to have plateaued. My skin didn’t feel any more dry or dehydrated than it had at the end of the first month except for the tiniest bit. If my skin had started flaking, or exhibited more obvious signs of either dryness or dehydration, I would have easily put two and two together and realized that that was the cause of the small-scale war zone that camped on my face this past month. I think the level of dryness from the script was just my skin’s “tipping point,” where it was overly dry just enough to not be able to handle it. I’m still trying to figure it out.

For any of those out there struggling with acne, brought on by actives or just in general, try adding more hydration into your routine. As when I first began my K-beauty journey, it was a lack of moisture causing my breakouts, not excess oil. It may feel counter intuitive, but try adding some extra sheet masks or lotions into your routine for a few weeks and see what happens.

As of right this moment, since reducing application, waiting before applying, and adding even more moisture into my routine, my face is over 90% clear with just the few occasional 24-hour lifespan spots. Hopefully, what I learned over this living-skin-nightmare month can be of use to those currently struggling with acne and/or retinoid dryness.

You can use my invite link here to receive your first month of Curology free!

To find out more about actives, please visit this post. For more information about moisturization, please see my shopping for dry skin post, which includes important information about the dry skin type as well as tips, tricks, and product recommendations, and also see managing your moisturizing routine, which breaks down the types of moisturizers and their functions, plus how to use them to your skin’s advantage.



Shopping by Skin Type-Dry Skin

Welcome back lovely readers! And hello to those who may be new around here. Today’s post is close to my heart, as dry skin is something I frequently deal with. To find out if you are a dry skin type, please click here.

While this isn’t horribly scientific, I feel like there are two types of dry skin, but they are treated in the same way.

There is naturally dry skin, genetically inherited. Then there is also dry skin brought on by the regular use of actives or climate. The latter should not be confused with dehydrated skin though…

Either way, dry skin is dry skin and the severity of it can range to mild to devastatingly severe.

The Game Plan

In short, the goal is to get your skin into a more comfortable, balanced, non-flake-shedding state. The best way to do this is to have several layers of humectants sealed underneath an emollient and/or occlusive layer. Don’t be afraid to slather on layer after layer (or sheet mask after sheet mask). The good news is that if you love an indulgent, intense routine, dry skin allows ample opportunity for that. If a 10 step routine isn’t really for you, it will take a lot of trial and error finding a small selection of products that can provide the same effect as many layers. With dry skin, one moisturizer probably won’t cut it.

Anything in the moisturizing world goes with the dry skin type. Facial oils, thick, luxurious creams, pretty much any “hydrating” or “moisturizing” product will help. Be sure to apply products in order of thinnest to thickest, patting in each layer until it is fully absorbed before moving onto the next one. Use a low pH cleanser as well to keep what little natural oil your skin produces on your face and avoid anything geared towards oilier skin types which may refer to controlling sebum, tightening pores, and other skin scenarios that don’t apply at all to dry skin types.

The use of actives is highly discouraged until the skin becomes healthier and well-managed. Even once dry skin is under controll, actives should be introduced with more caution and monitoring as they can exacerbate the symptoms of dryness.

If you are a dry skin type, you may find it beneficial to take a look through the Skintuition blog archives. There are many posts on things like Managing Your Moisturizing Routine that may encompass more information than covered in this post that may be helpful.

My non-doctor self recommends more balmy-type oil cleansers like Banilla Co Clean It Zero or the Nooni Snowflake Cleanser. The Su:m 37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick may also be a good bet. Follow up the second part of the double cleanse with any low pH cleanser like this one by CosRX (I will never stop loving this).

Look for moisturizing toners like It’s Skin’s Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Toner or the toner for Etude House’s Moistfull Collagen line.

Moisturizers are going to make up the bulk of your dry skin routine. Start by layering serums and ampoules before moving onto thicker emulsions and creams/sleeping packs.

Some of my favorite serums/ampoules:

Scinic’s Snail All-In-One Ampoule-because it is light, quick to absorb, and a perfect post-toning step to further prep the skin.

Goodal’s Phytorain Murumuru Seed Hydra Serum-this stuff is one of the most intensely moisturizing serums that I have run across. I always have a bottle on hand come winter.

Its Skin’s Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Serum-hyaluronic acid is one of your new best friends.

CosRX’s Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence-snail is a wonderful soother and moisturizer.

Some of my favorite creams:

Enprani’s Dear by Bounce Cheese Cream-weird name, but delivers excellent moisture. Leaves a bit of a film (that seriously seals in everything) so best for bedtime.

CosRX’s Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask-this stuff is one of my favorite products. It claims to be a spa mask but I use it as a day cream. It is so light and really helps take away the dry-skin dullness.

CosRX’s Advanced Snail 92 All-In-One Cream or their Honey Version-don’t let their lighter textures fool you-these are moisture workhorses that will leave your skin feeling amazingly soft but not greasy or weighed down.

Goodal’s Waterest Moisture Barrier Cream-I think the name says it all.

Another good thing to keep on hand is the Cure Aqua Gel (before you buy, you may want to read this though). It is my go-to product for smoothing my skin and ridding it of pesky flakes. It helps my skin care products absorb more evenly and quicker. It also helps keep my face looking alive (that dry dullness honestly). I personally use it no more than twice a week.

Sheet masks are going to be your saviors for getting this skin type under control. The severity of your skin’s dryness should correspond to the number of sheet masks used daily.  There is no shame in using them twice a day, every day until your skin regains control…or even three or four times 😛

Look for masks that boast moisturizing over pore-clearing, whitening, etc. While all masks do moisturize, it is best to stick with as many moisturizing ingredients as possible (like hyaluronic acid). Try to look at the backs of your favorite moisturizers; look for the key ingredients listed in your products in the mask ingredient lists. For example, perhaps your skin really responds well to your honey sleeping mask, look for sheet masks with honey in them. This is one of the reasons it is so important to introduce products one at a time-how else would you know what is working and what isn’t?

Is this your skin type? Do you have any tips or tricks? Questions, comments, or concerns? Please leave them down below or feel free to contact me!

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day my readers!

Etude House I Need You! Hyaluronic Acid Sheet Mask Review

Etude House has really been on my radar lately ever since I saw their toast sponge/loofah thing with the strawberry jam body wash. I was too late to the game to snag myself one of those (ugh, I will forever be sorry), but I have been totally loving their I Need You sheet mask line.

Etude House generally markets towards younger audiences with cute and relatively inexpensive products. Their I Need You Sheet mask line is no exception. There is a huge selection of I Need You masks (somewhere between 20-25) that can be had for less than $2.00 a piece (minus shipping of course). Having gone through an entire 20 piece collection, I am very happy to say that ALL the masks in the line are very hydrating and brightening, giving me a glow that lasts all day. Most of the masks don’t go much beyond a high level of hydration, but some (like the Vita Complex and Silk Cocoon) were extra-brightening and smoothing.

Today, I reach the end of my I Need You collection and am finishing with the hyaluronic acid mask. I’d secretly been hoarding this one, having fallen in love with the smooth, plumping effects of my Its Skin Hyaluronic Acid toner. If a toner can do so much in so little time, what could a mask I leave on for 25 minutes do?IMG_4008

The ingredients list:

Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetyl ethylhexanoate, dimethicone, citrus paradisi fruit extract, polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, clyceryl stearate, PEG-100 stearate, panthenol,ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, xanthan gum, ethylhexlglycerin, sodium polyacrylate, allantoin, hydrogenated polydecene, sodium hyaluronate, trideceth-6, camellia sinensis leaf extract, sophora angustifolia root extract, lonicere japonica flower extract, prunus persica leaf extract, paeonia albiflora root extract, ginko bilboa leaf extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, fragrance

The ingredients list for the I Need You line doesn’t generally place the “star ingredients” within the first five, BUT the end results of these sheet masks are exactly what you would want from a basic sheet mask (especially a 1.60$ one). Italicized ingredients could potentially cause acne for some. For a more detailed analysis, please visit CosDNA.

Ingredients of note:

Hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate is the salt-form of hyaluronic acid) is this mask’s star ingredient. It’s something naturally found in the joints of the body and also in the eyes (super fun fact: to replace lost fluids, hyaluronic acid can be injected into the eyes during surgical procedures like cataract removal. It can also be used as a lip filler). In terms of skincare, hyaluronic acid is a humectant; its wonderful moisturizer that can reduce inflammation and help prevent moisture loss.

IMG_4011            Other ingredients of note include all those lovely plant extracts towards the end of the list. There is camellia sinensis leaf extract (antioxidant), sophora angustifolia root extract (has proven skin lightening effects), lonicere japonica flower extract (aka honeysuckle; has soothing and calming effects on skin), , prunus persica leaf extract (shows some promise against signs of aging) ,paeonia albiflora root extract ( anti-inflammatory, shows promise in healing wounds), ginko bilboa leaf extract (an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial antioxidant that is UV-ray protective), and scutellaria baicalensis root extract (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory).

This is not a horrible list by any means. There are some pretty neat ingredients packed in there.

Behind the Mask:

One of the things I loved was the face coverage on this mask. It covered my entire face all the way to my hairline and to tuck a little under my chin. The eye openings are a nice size: big enough to cover most of the eye area, but not so small that essence keeps getting into the eyes or the edge of the mask cutting/butting up into the delicate skin in that area. My eye bags need all the help they can get! The nose area was a little wide in my opinion, but then again, who needs extra moisture in the crease where the side of the nostril meets the face (aka the Blackhead Crevice of Doom)?

Another thing I totally loved about all these I Need You sheet masks (and this one was no exception) is how saturated they are. They aren’t just damp; they literally drip with soaked in goodness. These masks require a pre and post game leftover essence tap in. It really is a whole bottle per pouch. The I Need You sheet masks have either a clear, thin-textured essence or, like with the hyaluronic acid mask, a thicker-feeling, white-colored creamier essence (it literally feels like the difference in textures between an essence and an emulsion-both deliver equal results though!).IMG_4009

The mask had a very subtle scent-just a clean “aqua” note that I barely noticed despite a piece of it being directly under my nose for 30 minutes. These masks are made of cotton so they generally dry out faster than hydrogel masks, but the I Need You masks are so soaked in essence, it takes a long time before the edges start to dry. I generally wear mine for about 20-30 minutes depending on how thirsty my face is.

The Results:

Like I mentioned earlier, these masks may seem like “just another cheap road shop” mask, but in terms of results, they offer pretty much everything you would want.

The essence absorbs into the skin very well. When I’ve taken off any I Need You sheet mask, the remaining essence on my face is easily patted in with very little residue. There is some slight stickiness (like with this mask), but after it is patted fully into the skin, all that is left is a little “barrier-feeling” to the surface of the skin (like a very, very light occlusive moisturizer). This goes away upon application of other products, but I personally think this thin film makes for even smoother make-up application (as I’ve been applying these in the morning).

After removing the mask, my skin was visibly plumper and smoother (plus the coolness from my chilling it in the fridge for 15 min helped in morning de-bloat). It was also hella softer. My dry, flaky, red bits (curtesy of my Curology prescription) had disappeared and the little army from the land of “Purge-atory” (again, prescription-grade actives) were much less red and inflamed. Hyaluronic acid is such a “classic” ingredient and offers such nice, instant effects. A war-zone face calmed to a truce in less than 30 minutes. I’d say those are some results! I just love these masks for their consistency, instant results, and their fun (the little doodles on the cover make me smile so wide I mess up my mask <3). IMG_4010

Overall rating: 1-I freaking love this mask line and would probably die if they ever discontinued it.

Rating Scale:

1:Holy Snails! Its a Holy Grail!

2:Current-routine worthy (would buy again unless I found something better)

3:Meh, it was worth a try

4:Bleh, this was terrible. Don’t buy this. Ever.

You can get the I Need You masks from Etude House or Amazon.*

*And (at least at the time of writing this post) I am not affiliated with either of these companies 🙂

Dry Skin + Get a FREE Month at Curology!

Recently, I bit the bullet and signed up for Curology-a website that assigns you a personal dermatologist to assess your skincare needs and create a personalized prescription that is auto-delivered every few months. I’ve been using various AHAs and BHAs along with vitamin C to help combat some dullness, PIH, refine pores, and kick some stubborn acne to the curb that has long overstayed its welcome and seriously needs to kick the bucket for almost a year now. While these products have delivered some pretty great results and have helped immensely, it’s time to up my actives game and take things to the next level.


So, as with any active or treatment that “brings out the big guns,” skin changes of both the very-nice-more-of-this-please type and the what-have-I-done-to-myself?! kind are highly likely to occur. As a rule of thumb, with these sorts of products, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

When less-than-desirable changes like dryness (but sometimes skin can get oilier instead), itchiness, and flaking start to happen, listening to your skin becomes even more important (almost as important as wearing daily sunscreen >_>).

I’m a little over a week into my new customized prescription and dryness has already begun to creep in. The severity is not anything I’m too worried about; in fact, it’s not even bad enough (yet?) to cut back application from nightly to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday thing, BUT I am keenly aware of the Sucksville that is dehydrated skin and that regular use of actives without proper, religious moisturizing routines are a one-way ticket straight there. *

It’s an admittedly strange feeling to be using as many moisturizers as I am right now. My skin tends to behave during the summertime, only needing real TLC when the temperatures start to drop. Plus, using a ton of serums and such when you open the door and it is *literally* like walking into an oven isn’t exactly practical. If it’s so humid that water-proof mascara won’t stay on your eyelashes, how is any other product supposed to?

So besides avoiding imminent lobster-dom in this sauna I live in, for the first time ever moisturizing has taken first place in my list of skin priorities as temperatures soar. While my skin type is really normal, add in a regular active and dryness begins to rear its flaky head. As per Curology’s instructions, I’ve dropped any and all other actives and harsh spot treatments (benzoyl peroxide, etc) until my skin adjusts, which after that I can slowly reintroduce them back into my routine. Since the weather doesn’t allow practical use of thick occlusive moisturizers that make winter-face a thing of the past, I’ve doubled up on my love of snails and sheet masks.

My night routine has been majorly simplified with no more BHA/ AHA and Vitamin c combo wait times and I either use a sheet mask or some CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence before bed, generally several hours after I apply my Curology prescription. I save moisture for the morning. Instead of a minimalist routine with only a serum and a cream, I now wake up to sheet masks and several layers of serums and creams before finally slathering on an ungodly amount of sunscreen. I still use a chemical exfoliator (Cure Aqua Gel…I seriously can’t live without it) 3 times a week and that’s in the morning as well (so I can start the day with a fresh canvas…no dead skin lurking here!). Between that and the daily sheet masks, my skin has been flake-free and any other symptoms of dryness are barely noticeable.

I haven’t been using my prescription from Curology long enough to see any big results yet, although my stubborn acne has begun to retreat/dry out and things are looking a little brighter/glowy in terms of complexion. I’m hoping I’ll escape “Purge-atory” relatively scot-free from my previous adventures in actives, but we will just have to wait and see.

If you want to find out more about Curology, please check out their website. Although I don’t have too much to say on the product yet, I think the site is very professional and easy to use. They kept me posted on my prescription and shipping via email and site-based notifications. I heard from my personal derm within 24 hours; she was very helpful and prompt, with thoughtful and full answers to my specific questions. The product is fully customized to your skin’s needs and the prescription is automatically delivered to your door (which is a huge perk for me as I can never seem to time the arrival times of my new/replacement products with my running out).

If you would like to try Curology for yourself, feel free to use my invite link below for a FREE month:



*Plus, since I am an impatient lil’bugger and just want to cut through any purging and onto the results, if a little extra moisture is going to keep the application smooth, I have no qualms about a few extra sheet masks and an excuse to buy more snails and propolis. But, please note, if you do decide to use any sort of “heavy-duty” active type product, listen to your skin and let it adjust as it needs to. My skin has become a hard (well, super-soft and smooth) veteran with all the various acids I’ve been throwing at it for the past year, but chances are your skin hasn’t had the same exposure time to such products (nor the same crazy lady applying them) so YMMV. The last thing you want to do is start using products to help your skin only to turn around and have to deal with a damaged moisture barrier because you applied it too much, too soon.

(Please note that my opinion of Curology (and any other products mentioned) is/are entirely my own. I was not paid to say anything good or bad. The invite link gets you your first month free and I receive a 10$ credit per person. You will get your own link if you sign up. Thanks for reading!)