If you invest a lot of effort (and funds) in cosmetics and skincare, you start asking yourself the question if the beauty tools you are using are also on-board to make you look and feel better, or are they working against you. I noticed for instance, that despite the quality of the shampoo and conditioner I am using to pamper and spoil my hair, if I use an average, inadequate hair brush – all these efforts would go to waste. My hair will simply rebel, not behave, and look bad. A harsh comb will damage my sensitive scalp, make my hair flat and will pull away and indecent amount of hair, and unfortunately these are already scarce. So I wanted to make a small post about my personal favourite beauty tools, some typically Asian others less, to share with you my experience. I will review in this post my favourite Asian cotton pads, my beloved wooden comb, the Korean cleansing brush I am currently using, and my special recent discovery, the Italy towel which despite its catchy name also comes from Korea.
Let’s start with cotton pads. I like Korean brands for cottons pads, because I feel they are as picky as me when it comes to these little beauty essentials. I use my cotton pads at least twice a day, to apply essence or lotion in the morning (I sometimes do it with just my fingers as well) and to remove eye make-up in the evening. And trust me, there is nothing worse than bits of detached nasty cotton coming into your eyes, especially if they are super sensitive and you are already beyond tired. Also, I feel we research a lot into the ingredients of our lotions, essences and creams but not as much of the ingredients of our cotton pads, cause hey! it’s just cotton, right? Well, no. First of all, it is essential to indeed look for pure cotton composition, and not some chemically created substitute, cause’ frankly no one knows how it interacts with all the cosmetics we put on our faces (and if you are a 10+ routine adept, watch my words). But I also wouldn’t splurge too much for cotton pads, and you won’t catch me buying some ridiculously expensive Chanel cotton pads (no, not only because they are not Korean). I have a weakness for some Korean cotton pads, like these silky Clio ones, simply because I feel they are very gentle yet strong enough not too tear apart too fast and they soak in just the right amount of essence. When finding your perfect cotton pads, check out their composition (look for organic unbleached cotton preferably), their absorbency level and texture. Here some of my favourite cotton pads:
Where to get it?
- Silky cotton puff by Clio, available at the Club Clio shops (I bought mine in NY).
- Cosrx naturally embo cotton puff (around 6 USD) available at Jolse.
- SkinFood 100% pure cotton pads, also available at Jolse.
Let’s talk about cleansing face brushes now. I used to have a Clarisonic brush, it is expensive but it always felt like it was worth the price, up to the day it broke. I travel quite a lot between the US and Europe, having to carry with me multiple electrical adapters, and switching from one system to anther (and changing the electricity intensity, but don’t ask me I am not an expert) finally killed my brush. So before, jumping again into the hands of Clarisonic, that is the favourite brush of lazy girls, I decided to check out some more ‘manual’ versions out there. And that’s when I came across this Memebox Dual Pore Brush #B007. It is a nice combination between the concept of Clarisonic with its super soft bristle and the scrubbing plastic side that imitates a Foreo Luna brush. Ok, but let’s take a step back an think why would we need a face brush at all? Well, I like to think of it this way: would I wash my dishes with my bare hands, or use a sponge? Not that I would compare of course my face to dirty dishes, but when you think of all the sweat, oil and dust that sits on my face all day, the idea kind of applies. I do not use my face brush every single day – no, I am way too lazy for that. But I need to admit, that the days I do use my brush, my skin looks kind of brighter and sinks in my cream faster. This Memebox brush is inexpensive compared to other ‘manual’ brushed out there, it’s not as fancy or ‘struggle free’ as an electrical brush, but its getting the job done.
Where to get it? You can find this Dual Pore Brush #B007 on Memebox (often for a promotional price).
And now I will need some space to proclaim my love and full commitment to my wooden comb. The one I am using is not an Asian tool per se, but for my defense as to why I included it in the list, I noticed quite a lot of artisanal traditionally made wooden combs during my trip to Japan, which confirms the theory it is still well loved over there. If you have been reading my other posts, you know already that I have a slight ‘bias’ for haircare (ok, I am totally obsessed by my constantly disappointing hair). While my hair behave when pampered with expensive hair masks, most of the time they are super thin, rather dry, prone to tangle easily and I am loosing a hell too many of them per day. I brush my hair while they are still wet, even though I do know that it’s their most vulnerable time, simply because the tangling gets out of control if I don’t do this at that point. So I needed a comb that would detangle them, while being super gentle on my scalp, generous to my hair and therapeutic to my mind. I simply wanted a Super Comb. After day-and-night internet research, I came to a conclusion, that wooden combs may have this magical something I am looking for. And I was right. I am using an Olina green sandal wooden comb, and it is frankly the best comb I have ever tried. Let’s start with its smell. Objectively speaking it smells like sandal wood. Subjectively speaking, it is the most soothing, therapeutic natural smell I know, and simply sniffing it in the morning and having it close to my face already makes me feel better. This wooden comb, also has very smooth and rounded wooden wide tooth, so they never scratch my scalp. More than that, I sometimes use this comb to give myself a little scalp massage, so much I love the contact of this wood on my scalp. Some say, wooden combs also have hair-care benefits, because they help to distribute natural hair oils, plus they have this magical something that only mermaids and forest fairies know. Also, you won’t get any annoying static effect with a wooden comb. As compared to plastic combs, wooden ones also tend to be stronger and last longer without deteriorating, so even if they tend to be a bit pricier, they are a long term investment. As a bonus it is a truly beautiful beauty accessory, and everyone will definitely ask you about it.
Where to get it? I ordered mine from Amazon (I couldn’t find the same one – the link goes to a comb that is not wide-tooth).
And last but not least, my Korean Italy Towel. Where should I start? At first, I looked at it with disdain when I received it as a free gift while purchasing some Korean skincare, and didn’t think much about it, till I randomly found an interesting article about this towel. This Korean exfoliating glove, gets its name from the original material (viscose) that came from Italy supposedly in the 60s to make this glove. It is quite known to regulars of ‘Korean spas’ but otherwise not so popular outside Korea (yet!). I sincerely didn’t believe before trying it, but this thing works, and you will never see exfoliation the same way again. At first sight, it is not very ‘scrubby’ as compared to other, harsh exfoliation gloves I have tried before and that you can probably find in your local CVS or skincare store (like Rossman in Europe). No… this thing is different. It looks simple, it is unattractive, small (if you have small hands it will fit, but with bigger hands problems may begin), shrinks when wet and is very cheap. Nothing from its appearance would tell you it is an amazing product. But before you appreciate its magic some piece of advice. First of all, it only works when your skin is very wet, preferable after a long hot bath or a long hot shower. It will NOT work, if your skin is not softened by at least some sauna or hot water. Second, it works better if you don’t put any oils or bath bubble liquid in your bath. That was a though one for me, as I love my baths creamy or bubbly, but no matter how long I soaked in a oily bath, the towel didn’t work its magic. Finally, the scrubbing process does hurt a bit, and scrubbing your skin really hard may not be everybody’s cup of tea. The Korean Italy towel, without any added chemical peal, or dissolvable scrub (no soap either!) simply scrubs dead skin away. And sometimes it gets scary. You remember the days when you start losing your tan, and your skin peels of like a snake? Well that’s what the Italy Towel does, and it gets messy. I won’t obviously show you disturbing dead skin pictures to prove how this towel works, but if you follow the steps and scrub enough, you will be amazed. The effect? My skin was never so soft before, and my body lotion literally sinked in immediately. After a bit of suffering, you get a heavenly feeling of bliss. They are several types (colors) of the Korean Italy Towel that determines its ‘harshness’. I use the green version which is supposedly the most universal while the pink one is the least abrasive. To conclude, the Korean Italy Towel, is an inexpensive relatively natural (no chemical peel) exfoliating device, that is re-usable and works wonders.
Where to get it? I received mine as a free sample gift, but I saw that on Amazon they have a gift package of 8 Italy towels for 7 USD. So you can find great deals online.
That would be it for my current favourite beauty tools. What are your favourite Asian or non Asian beauty tools?