Check out my interview with singer and author Ameriie where we talk about her love for K-beauty, how her Korean mom influenced her, and her entire skin care routine!
Chances are, if you’re around my age, you used to sing along to many of Ameriie’s hits—my personal favorites are “One Thing” and “Why Don’t We Fall In Love.”
These days, Ameriie is still cranking out killer music, but she’s also an author and editor of an upcoming collection of short stories called Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy (it’s the #1 New Release in the “Short Stories in Teen & Young Adult Literature” collection on Amazon!).
Ameriie is also an avid skin care fanatic, and particularly a Korean beauty junkie, thanks to her Korean mother teaching her invaluable lessons when it comes to DIY skin care, products to use, and how to take care of her skin better. Here, I chat with her about all things K-beauty.
How did you get into K-beauty?
My mom’s Korean and learned a lot from her. I saw her super long routine with all the steps and I fought her on it for a while. Especially the double cleanse; it just seemed like a lot. It was so different than what you learn as an American teen. In America, it’s just one cleanser, some sort of acne treatment, and then a moisturizer, and maybe a sunscreen. She would also make all these masks with ingredients around the house—eggs, cucumbers, you name it.
But I came around—super late! Charlotte, Soko Glam has been a huge influence with helping me understand the products. And so now, even though I’m late, I’ve come around to K-beauty and doing so much of what my mother has been telling me to do for so long.
What differences have you seen between your skin care regimen before incorporating K-beauty products and now?
I’ve had troubled skin since I was a teen so I was always on top of the latest acne treatments and things. However, I don’t use those anymore. They were so harsh and often didn’t even work. Now I’ve realized if I just take good care of my skin in general, it will take care of itself.
I also saw a lot of dermatologists who were so split on advice. Some said the food I ate wouldn’t affect my acne, and now they’re all saying it actually does affect your skin. As for me, I’ve found that limiting dairy really helps keep my breakouts in check, and I drink mugwort tea.
My mom grows and dries out mugwort and brews it into tea for me, and that really helps to moderate my acne, especially around my period. I would definitely recommend that to all women, unless you’re pregnant, of course. It’s really helped to regulate my skin, and my period in general—it even helps with my cramping, and makes sure it starts when I expect and when it finishes, it’s really done. This type of hormonal control also really helps with my hormonal acne. It works wonders, and is just another thing my mom helped me discover.
Your skin looks amazing now, and it’s clear you don’t struggle with breakouts like you did when you were younger. Do you think that’s just because you grew out of it or because of your new approach to skin care?
I think it’s both! I do feel like hormonally I have grown out of my acne phase quite a bit. However, I definitely do think it’s also my skin care. I’ve realized now that those acne products I would always use as a teenager weren’t good. Sure, they targeted my pimples, but they were so harsh and I feel like they really wore down my healthy skin.
Based on my experience, when you focus on keeping your skin healthy with a good skin care routine, the results really show. Plus, the K-beauty products really work. I’ve been loving the Cosrx snail mucin products. I had a shoot and felt like I had a pimple coming up, so I put snail mucin on the spot and by the end of the day the pimple was visibly smaller. I think it’s really a miracle.
I used to use a lot of those peel off blackhead strips and masks, but my mom explained to me how bad they can be for your skin, so I never use them anymore. I realized you can actually damage your pores, and my mom is always reminding me to be gentle with my skin. She always reminds me that my skin is precious and to always treat it—like the rest of my body—as healthily and gently as possible.
What’s your full skin care routine?
First off, I recommend being very consistent, and making sure you do everything morning and night. After I get out of the shower or wash my face, I continuously spray my face with Evian spray because I want my skin to be damp when I’m applying my products.
My routine is to double cleanse with Banila Co Clean it Zero Classic and the Neogen Green Tea Real Fresh Foam Cleanser or the Osulloc Natural Green Cleansing Foam. Then I use the Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Water as a toner, and then the Missha First Treatment Essence or the Sulwhasoo Essential Balancing Water.Then I use the Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Emulsion, then I use the Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence, then I use my La Prairie Cellular Eye Contour Cream, and finish it off with the Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Cream. But sometimes I use the Belif moisturizing balm when I want a cream that isn’t quite as rich.
When I want a good exfoliation, I’ll swap out some of these products with the Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment, or for physical exfoliation, I use the Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder. At night, I also like to use the Luna Sleeping Oil by Sunday Riley. Or, if I want to do a vitamin C treatment, I’ll use the Essential Balancing Water from Sulwhasoo instead of the First Treatment Essence and then use my Cosrx Triple C Lightning Liquid.
For sunscreen, I use the IPKN Lite Daily Sun Gel—it’s amazing because there’s absolutely no white cast, and it’s great to put makeup on top of it.
Now Charlotte, I actually have a question for you. When I switched to Korean beauty, I noticed a huge difference in ingredients. In Western products—especially in the most high-end luxury lines—there are so many questionable ingredients, like petroleum. They don’t have the powerful natural ingredients, like ginseng and fermented yeast. Do you feel like Korean beauty products are superior because of this?
That’s a great question. I think for the longest time, cosmetic companies were able to do whatever they wanted to do and charge a really high price just based on branding. And no one questioned that—we became accustomed to spending huge amounts of money on products that actually weren’t being innovative.
Korean beauty on the other hand, is extremely innovative, and with the world and this industry becoming more globalized, people are being exposed to those innovations and the results they bring, as well as the much lower prices. So, I do really think Korean products are made better, and now we are seeing Western brands, especially indie brands, coming out with more innovative formulas because of K-beauty’s impact.
Now, one last question for you Ameriie, could you share one of your mom’s homemade K-beauty mask recipes with us?
Of course! Here’s my mom’s recipe for my favorite mask regimen:
Im Mi Suk’s Cucumber & Honey Mask Regimen
Slice cucumbers into as thin slices as possible—nearly paper-thin.
Cleanse your face and use toner.
Layer cucumbers onto your face, doubling up in areas that need special attention. Lie on your back and leave on for 20-30 minutes. (This may also be a good time for a nap.)
Remove cucumbers and rinse face with cold water.
To maintain moisture, use your toner again on your eye area only. It’s important to keep the eye area moist during the next step (if you like, you can use a tiny bit of essence for extra moisture).
Slather approximately one teaspoon of honey onto your face, but avoid the eye area. (You may need more or less, but use only enough honey to create a thin layer without using so much that it drips into your hair.) Leave on for 10-15 minutes.
Gently remove honey from your face using a damp hand towel or cloth and rinse with cold water.
Resume the rest of your skin care routine, beginning with toner.