Summer has kicked into high gear here in Korea and the humidity is killing me. I momentarily lost all interest in my skin. What’s the point? Any makeup I choose to wear usually melts off of my face by noon anyway. But with the hormones, the change in diet, and the heat, I needed to find summer and pregnancy-safe products fast.
Pregnancy and the weather has really helped me reconsider my beauty routine. Since I’ve got someone else to think about, much more thought goes into what I put on my skin. I read labels, I monitor my skin’s reaction, and I’ve even reduced my morning and nighttime skin routine from about 12 products to about 3 or 4. It’s been a big change for me and frankly not the easiest one. However, through trial and error, I have been able to find products that work for me.
The following list includes products that I have personally tried and had much success with. Is there a better or cheaper option? I’m sure there is but living in a foreign country makes my choices limited. The organic beauty movement has been a recent one in South Korea–a welcomed changed from all the “whitening” and “anti-aging” products that are a big part of the market. However, I have chosen to limit the Korean products added to this list because I am not too sure about the ingredient list. Here are my top summer beauty picks!
Aloe Vera Gel
Thankfully, I am not prone to sunburns. However, this summer aloe vera gel has been a huge help in helping me stay cool and helping my skin stay hydrated.
My Favorite: Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel
Highlights: Refreshing! Putting some on right before I sit in front of the fan or air con has helped me stay cool. It also soothes my skin and is great for massages.
Drawbacks: It can get pretty sticky.
Facial Water Spray
Water spray is all the rage in South Korea and you can usually find at least ten different types in any beauty section across the country. Facial water spray acts like a toner for the skin and most importantly, refreshes you and keeps you hydrated. It’s a welcomed sensation after sitting under the overbearing sun.
My Favorite: Evian Mineral Water Facial Spray Duo
Highlights: Great for travel, refreshing.
Apparently you can use coconut oil for almost anything. I got on the coconut oil train relatively late but am a big fan of its smell and moisturizing properties. Coconut oil is popular with people who oil pull and eating a tablespoon or so a day helps keep the body functioning in top form. My favorite use for coconut oil is to keep stretch marks at bay and moisturize some rough patches of skin (elbows, knees). Cocoa butter would have been my first choice but it is relatively overpriced here 🙁
My Favorite: Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil
Highlights: Great moisturizing properties, smells yummy.
Drawbacks: Taste is not the best, feels greasy.
Lightweight Moisturizer (Body)
Moisturizing in the summer is a must. But, if you have combination or oily skin, you may find yourself feeling yucky at the thought of being suffocated by another layer of product. My skin reacts strongly to moisturizers in particular so I find myself changing often. Cetaphil is a great product for sensitive skin but while it is approved for use on face as well as body, I didn’t want to take any chances and use it strictly as body lotion.
My Favorite: Cetaphil Fragrance Free Moisturizing Lotion
Highlights: Great for face and body, good for sensitive skin, not scented.
Drawbacks: Amount is key. Too much leaves me feeling super oily, too little makes my skin feel a little parched.
A recent staple in my beauty routine has been a toner. My battle with acne started relatively early and throughout college and even the early part of my twenties, I struggled with getting things just right. With my first pregnancy, I anticipated horrible acne that I could do little to nothing about. Thankfully, I have been able to manage things pretty well with this toner!
My Favorite: Cleanance MAT Mattifying Toner
Highlights: Lightweight, Calming, Easy to Apply, and Leaves skin feeling supple and hydrated
Drawbacks: None so far!
I will be posting a Korean beauty version of my favorite products in the near future. Drop me a line if you have a particular interest in mind! (best moisturizing products, best oily skin products, pregnancy-safe products, etc.)