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    We Tested Natural Korean Skincare Products For A Month To See If They Were Any Good

    From using a humble bar of soap, to slapping on 10 products a day, this was a JOURNEY.

    by ,

    Even if you don't know the first thing about beauty, chances are you've heard about the wonders of Korean skincare products.

    Getty Images / Via Elle / Vox / Style Media / CNBC

    They've been having a hot minute in mainstream culture and look set to stay!

    From toners to sheet masks, serums, essences and everything in-between, K-beauty is focused on making your skin look as healthy, hydrated and luminous as possible.

    Oh K! / Via youtube.com

    It's more than just slapping products on your face β€” it's a twice-daily commitment that's all about gently nurturing the skin toward your desired result. Each layer of product is meant to clarify, tone and hydrate the skin over the long-term, leaving you with a luminous, "glass-like" glow.

    Sounds amazing, right? So when my friend, Sohan, and I heard that Innisfree β€” Korea's first all-natural skincare brand β€” had launched in Australia, we had to get our hands on some of their products and see if they lived up to the hype.

    For our skin type β€” combination skin that alternates between oily and dry β€” we decided to try their Green Tea range, which included a cleanser, toner, serum, lotion, eye cream, sleeping mask and lip balm.

    And since Korean skincare is backed by its famous 10-step routine, we attempted to mimic this by using each product in its correct order. Here's a full list of what we used every morning and night, along with a brief description of the product.

    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed

    MyMakeup Cleanser Micellar Oil Water ($18) [ONLY USED AT NIGHT]

    Quickly and thoroughly removes makeup through the oil-drop layer added to micellar water. This is not part of the Green Tea range, but was used to help mimic a full skincare routine, alongside the rest of the other products.

    Green Tea Morning Cleanser ($17)

    Mild, non-foaming cleansing gel that hydrates and whisks away dirt and impurities.

    Green Tea Balancing Skin EX ($27)

    Quick-absorbing toner that hydrates and controls the oil-moisture balance of skin.

    Green Tea Seed Serum ($39)

    Delivers hydration after cleansing and locks in a healthy-looking glow.

    Green Tea Balancing Lotion EX ($27)

    Lightweight lotion that absorbs quickly to moisturise the skin.

    Green Tea Seed Eye Cream ($37)

    Provides moisture around the eye area.

    Green Tea Sleeping Mask ($25) [ONLY USED AT NIGHT]

    Overnight mask that delivers hydration without the skin feeling sticky or greasy.

    Green Tea Lip Balm ($12)

    Helps soften and protect chapped lips.

    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed
    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed

    Isha: I've never had a proper skincare routine before, so week one was a challenge. There were SO many different products to use and I had to factor in enough time in the morning to apply them all so that I wouldn't be late to work.

    On a more positive note, the lotion and serum were a blessing because they made my skin feel super hydrated and moisturised. And while I did have some breakouts, I wasn't too surprised or mad about it because I was trying a bunch of unfamiliar products on my skin.

    Sohan Judge / BuzzFeed

    Sohan: I was pretty comfortable with my old routine, so doing all of this was a HUGE change up. There were a lot of products to use and most β€” if not all of them β€” had a similar consistency. This surprised me, as I expected the Sleeping Mask to be a lot thicker than it was.

    What I did love was how hydrated and refreshed the products made my skin feel! The lip balm especially was really nice and buttery-smooth on the lips. The only downside was that there was no SPF in the lotion, which was a bit disappointing, and that I started to break out.

    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed
    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed

    Isha: By week two, I felt like I was getting more into the groove of having a ~routine~. The cleanser was by far my favourite β€” it made me feel like I had my shit together because I had washed and prepped my skin both morning and night. And while I couldn't see a huge change in my skin overall, it did look nice and glowy. Plus, my eyes looked less puffy, which was a huge bonus!

    I also switched things up slightly by opting to use my own moisturiser for the morning part of the routine. This was because the Innisfree one didn't contain SPF and even though I'm a complete rookie at skincare, I know the very minimum everyone has to do is wear sunscreen.

    Sohan Judge / BuzzFeed

    Sohan: Even though I adored the lip balm in week one, I didn't love it as much during week two. It just didn't last as long as I wanted it too, even if I put a whole lot on the night before. And although this isn't necessarily the product's fault, my pimples began to scar!!

    To add to my frustrations, the products were NOT portable at all. I usually go to yoga before work, so I had to lug around this huge bag and worry about something leaking. All in all, both my skin and I were still getting used to this "new" routine, which was a lot more labour-intensive.

    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed
    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed

    Isha: During week three, my skin was having a WINNING streak. I'm talking minimal breakouts, a nice and healthy glow and feeling more confident because I didn't have to apply as much makeup to cover blemishes! The lip balm was also the BEST at giving my dry, chapped lips some new life.

    In terms of the routine itself, the only thing I changed was leaving a longer gap between applying the lotion and sleeping mask at night. Otherwise it just felt like I was slapping on an extra layer of creamy goodness onto my face without letting it actually sink into my skin.

    Sohan Judge / BuzzFeed

    Sohan: This was my best week. My skin was very glowy and clean, I had minimal pimples and my scarring was even going down! I was feeling good, even without makeup and I was getting more and more used to the routine and the number of products I was having to use each day.

    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed
    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed

    Isha: By this point, I felt like I had a solid routine. I was applying my cleanser, toner, lotion and all that good stuff day and night β€” with no complaints, mind you β€” and was seeing some damn good results. That was until I broke out with a bunch of pimples during the LAST WEEK.

    This may seem a tad dramatic, but I was really disappointed and sad. I had given my skin the best possible treatment, love and care it has ever had and it STILL decided to be moody and break out. If I had to take a guess, I would blame hormonal reasons more than the products themselves (I got my period that week!).

    On the bright side, the pimples were small and tiny and didn't hang around for too long. It was just annoying because I felt like I had found something that really "clicked" with my skin. This is definitely something I need to address on a personal level and work on.

    Sohan Judge / BuzzFeed

    Sohan: Even though I didn't warm up to this new routine immediately, I thought things were getting better. But after week three, I felt like my skin plateaued. I stopped seeing any improvements and honestly, I was glad it was the last week because it meant that I could swap back to my old routine after this. It may sound brutal, but my skin didn't feel significantly better after trialling these products.

    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed
    Isha Bassi / BuzzFeed

    Isha: As someone who doesn't think a whole lot about skincare, I'm glad I did this. I feel like I learned a lot about my skin and what works best for me in terms of an actual routine. Plus, how good is it when you feel like you have your shit together?! The ritual of applying the products day and night made me feel SO good β€” I don't know whether it was because it was "me time" combined with actual productivity, but I loved it.

    In terms of results, I definitely saw an improvement in my skin. My face had a healthy glow, which I got plenty of compliments on, and felt way more hydrated and less oily throughout the day. My dark circles also looked less intense, plus I had fewer blemishes on my forehead. All in all, a big win on those points because it made me feel more confident and less inclined to put a bunch of concealer on.

    The biggest challenge I had was feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of products that I had to use! While it was easy enough to get into the habit of applying them, I think for the future it would be great to test out more personalised products that are actually tailored to my specific skin type. That way I'm only using what I actually need, plus hopefully avoiding things like hormonal acne, which can put a spanner in the works.

    In saying that, my favourite products were the serum, lotion and lip balm. They all were fantastic at refreshing my skin, especially after a long night. Plus, the lotion didn't leave a "residue" and was super easy to melt into the skin. My only gripe with the lip balm was how quickly I ran through it and its price point ($12!). Considering that, I don't think I would purchase it again but I would be down with trying other K-beauty products! There's SUCH a huge range and I think it's important to experiment with what's out there.

    Sohan: To be completely honest, I much preferred my original routine and was excited to switch back. But in saying that, I'm really glad I tried something new that took me out of my comfort zone. The toner was a stand out β€” it was a lot less intense than the one I used to use and left my skin feeling fresh, rather than stripped of everything. I also enjoyed using the eye cream β€” it was my first time using a product like that and I'll probably continue to use both of them in the future!

    Overall, I think these products are good individually, but there's no benefit to using them together in a single routine. It would be better figuring out works for you personally and incorporating a couple into your current routine to see what you like best. For example, I found the serum, lotion and sleeping mask to be quite "light" in consistency, whereas I prefer something a little heavier to give me some extra moisture.

    What other hyped-up beauty products are you curious about and want tested? Let us know in the comments below!

    And if you want to see our ~full experience~, you can watch it right here.

    View this video on YouTube

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    FYI: These products were supplied from Innisfree free of charge. There was no obligation to provide coverage.