This is a love story.
A deeply personal account of my passion for Korean skincare. Several years ago I found myself in circumstances not of my own choosing. My daughter was seriously ill and I had a front row seat to her suffering. Bearing witness to it was agonizing. Always one for pre-empting disaster in the misguided hope that I could thus avoid it; I had always imagined that in the most dire of circumstances I would be prone to histrionics. Guttural cries, wailing, collapsing, you get the idea. Yet when I was presented with the actual, real life scenario, I was oddly quiet. Four and half weeks into a six week long, 24/7, hospital vigil, I looked out a window and wept. You know the expression, "cry me a river?" I did that. The tears were seemingly infinite. I had never shed tears like them before and I never have since. Eventually, we came home, life was forever altered and I became numb. Couldn't feel a thing. I whole heartedly accepted the numbness in preference to the aching helplessness and sorrow. And then one day I watched a k-drama. The k-drama changed me as irrevocably as that hospital stay. Only this time, for the better. It was joyful, it was clichéd, it was aspirational, it was sad, it was romantic, it was dramatic; it was sublime escapism. And dammit, how did those Korean actors have skin like that??????
In the beginning, as in all great love stories, I fell spectacularly hard. I devoured all sources of information on Korean skincare, like my life depended on it. Books were read and YouTube videos were absorbed into my psyche, like the essence from a good sheet mask soaks into my skin. Blogs were voraciously analysed, scrutinized and consumed. Shopping carts were filled. I threw myself into a ten step routine with reckless abandon. I was frivolous, thoughtless and flirting with ingredients that I had little knowledge of. The aftermath. My skin dumped me. I was forlorn.
Here's what I learnt.
One can easily be seduced into thinking that Korean skincare is a multifaceted, complex beast of incessant steps and rituals, whereby more is more. The actual truth is the antithesis of this. For me, what Korean people do exceptionally well, is understand their own skin. This is rooted in a cultural reverence for healthy, glowing skin that is imbued from the cradle. Imagine that. It blows my mind. To be raised on the notion of nurturing and protecting your skin from infancy. It is an act of love. A ritual to be passed on to each generation that goes way beyond superficiality. It is a thoughtful, meaningful process whereby product selection is in accordance with individual need.
Skincare, as a way of life, is what Jayme and Jenny have been raised on and their beloved Korea, has taught me that modernism and tradition can coexist admirably. Franki+Seoul is a reflection of this mindset. Their skincare and beauty curations are a glorious spectrum of products that utilize not only cutting edge technology and innovation, but so too, nourishing, gentle and efficacious ingredients. Their advice and recommendations are grounded in tradition and born out of a genuine respect for skin. It really is the best of both worlds.
I confess, I love a list and Franki + Seoul have a smorgasbord of delights from which to choose. Here’s my top 3 gems.
Lagom Cellup Gel to Water Cleanser. I have a penchant for everything Lagom at the moment. Their branding line of, “not too little, not too much” fits perfectly with my skincare ideology. I have bought my second tube of this and will continue to repurchase. It is gentle, refreshing and leaves my skin soft and perfectly balanced.
The search is over for a moisturiser for my daughter. Her skin has a heightened sensitivity to the majority of skincare products out there, due to the medications that she is on. This sapphire blue jar of gorgeousness (Pyunkang Yul Nutrition Cream), provides sublime relief to her dry, parched skin. It is fragrance free, non greasy and it really does leave her skin glowing. This Pyunkang Yul line epitomises everything that I love about Korean skincare.
So let me leave you with this fundamental observation that I have gleaned from my experience of Korean skincare - KNOW THY SKIN. Protect it, nurture it, love it, listen to it and relish in the lifelong process of taking care of it. Happiness may not be on the ingredient list of any Korean skincare bottle, but I kind of wish it was. In this crazy, busy world of incessantly doing and giving to others, this is the one gift that I give to myself and I will protect it and guard it zealously. I hope that I have learnt well from you Korea. Saranghaeyo 사랑해요❤
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