Time to listen to another story about a journey into discovering k-beauty and how it changed another life. Today we have a great pleasure to post a few words and tips from amazing Shereen, @thewayofthesnail, an influencer and k-beauty addict like us.

Beginning of Shereen’s journey into discovering k-beauty

Karolina: Shereen welcome, tell us about yourself.

Shereen: Hi! I’m Shereen and I’ve lived in London for most of my life, though I also spent a few years in Kuwait growing up. I’m 34 with a deep passion for skincare, travel and photography. I also work for a publisher, so my house is pretty much filled with books and skincare products competing for shelf space. Oh, and my two cats knocking them all over.

Korean skincare: journey into discovering k-beauty

Photo by: @thewayofthesnail

Karolina:  That sounds so amazing and adventurous and so distant from Korean skincare. How long has it been since you started your journey into discovering k-beauty? 

Shereen: I dived into Korean skincare just over 3 years ago, when the options for buying were pretty much limited to eBay and maybe Amazon. It’s exciting to see how much it’s exploded here since then and how much more accessible products have become! 

Karolina:  I agree. K-beauty has its deserved attention. What was the reason you started experimenting with Korean cosmetics?

Shereen: Well despite having nothing resembling a ‘skincare routine’ and rarely wearing sunscreen my skin was in pretty good condition until I hit my late 20s, when (shock horror) pigmentation issues surfaced and adult acne also started to rear its ugly head. After a lot of trial and error, I realised my skin needed a gentler approach than most western brands could offer and waaay more hydration. I eventually discovered r/asian beauty on Reddit which opened up a rabbit hole and I soon started devouring blogs from @fanserviced, @fiddysnails and @snowwhiteandtheasianpear. Korean skincare’s innovative approach, new ingredients (to me) and affordable options across the spectrum ignited a thirst in me to discover more. My first product was a sunscreen which felt as light as water, and my second a snail essence which did wonders to calm my painful acne. I was immediately hooked.

Korean skincare: journey into discovering k-beauty

Photo by: @thewayofthesnail

Karolina: It is incredible how many people switch into k-beauty because of adult acne. I share the same story so know what miracles you can achieve using Korean skincare. Since then how did you change your daily skin routine?

Shereen: When I first got into Korean skincare I wanted to try ALL THE THINGS!! …aaand that wasn’t a great approach. Ten steps are definitely not necessary for everyone all the time, and introducing a bunch of new products at once is just a recipe for disaster in most cases. I’m now more careful about how I introduce products and getting to know my skin and responding to its changing needs each day is key. My routine focuses on my primary skin concerns of ageing, pigmentation, and acne management/ scarring – I use a mixture of both Asian and western products to target these issues. In these cooler months, I also focus a lot more on hydration, which Korean skincare is so well known for. My daily routine typically looks like this:

Morning: Rinse with water, apply vitamin C serum, hydrating toner/mist (however, many layers I need), essence, serum, moisturiser and sunscreen.
Evening: Double-cleanse using both oil-based and water-based cleansers, retinol treatment or acid exfoliant, hydrating toner/mist, essence, serum, facial oil, moisturiser. I sometimes add a sheet mask in between, or a sleeping pack at the end depending on the condition of my skin. Once or twice a week I’ll do a wash-off mask to either decongest or calm my skin if I’m having a hormonal breakout.

K-beauty passion

Karolina:   K-beauty is still a new beauty trend in the UK. However, over the time you have created a strong presence on your social media. How did you start your passion of being an influencer?

Shereen: I engaged on various skincare forums online before deciding to set up my Instagram account – I decided I wanted to document my personal skincare journey, share my voice and to learn from others in the same boat. The community was pretty tight-knit but very welcoming (also mainly American – K-beauty was and is definitely more readily available there). What started as a hobby soon became much more – as time has gone by I’ve made some great connections through this account, both with individual users (including bloggers I’ve looked up to for years – fangirling!) and also some great brands. It always gives me such a boost when someone discovers a product through my posts and ends up loving it as much as I do. Testing and reviewing new products is fun for me and if someone learns something from my posts that makes me even happier! It’s also given me a way to express myself creatively – I’m not the best photographer by any means but I enjoy experimenting.

Photo by: @thewayofthesnail

Karolina: If we continue the topic of expanding knowledge about k-beauty, you have some great information to share. You have recently organized a meet up with Sophie from @mapletreeblog for k-beauty lovers. Tell us more about it.

Shereen: Yes! It was such a great event and we were so excited to have Skinsider be part of it.

Karolina: It was a great pleasure to be a part of this event.

Shereen: It was my first time being involved in an event like this so there was a LOT to learn, from reaching out to brand sponsors to finding the venue, to organising the charity raffle and then promoting – it was a lot of work but it felt really worthwhile once it was over and we received the feedback. And especially once we saw we’d raised over £2.5k for worthy causes!

Karolina: Congratulations. It is a great achievement.

Korean skincare: journey into discovering k-beauty

Photo by: @thewayofthesnail

Shereen: The day itself was a lot of fun with 35 attendees getting to know each other over cocktails and we had some fantastic companies in attendance. A ‘brand speed dating’ session allowed people to meet the owners of these web stores and sample their products – this was personally my favourite part of the day. It’s almost impossible to test most of these products in person before purchasing usually, so being able to help others discover new brands was really great. People were extremely excited about testing out Lagom and Urang products, me included! We also had a destash table so attendees could swap products and samples, and a donation box for a local women’s shelter (which was overflowing by the end). The generosity in this community is one of the reasons why I love being part of it.

Karolina: For me personally, the brands’ speed dating was the biggest fun and I also admit a bit of a challenge. I had never had a chance to present in this format. However, the experience from it was great and having a chance to present our products is invaluable.

Photo by @tina_esthetics

Karolina:  Now let’s go back to your skincare. How did your skincare change over the years?

Shereen: I’m much more knowledgeable than I used to be about ingredients and have a better idea of what works for my skin, so my skincare has changed hugely as a result – and continues to evolve as my skin matures. As I mentioned I barely even had a routine before and I now have several steps. Having access to products to review from brands has enabled me to try much more than I would have otherwise of course, and I’m really grateful for that. And I’ve learned so much from others in the community that I look up to. From my friends in the self-styled Fellowship of the Skin to bloggers like Fanserviced-B, KindofStephen and  Lab Muffin Beauty Science, and Instagrammers like @skinminimalist and @beamwonder who are so amazingly thorough with their content. Not to mention the many smaller accounts out too – there is so much knowledge out there in the community and I’m always learning.

Photo by: @thewayofthesnail

Check also our chat with Shereen about skincare tips and hot topics here!

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