I f you set yourself a 45-day task, what would you hope to achieve? Killer abs? A new website? A business model? My most recent six-week goal was the road to better skin, something I’ve struggled with my entire life.
I’ve found it difficult over my near-30 years to stick to a skincare routine because of habitual and pretty devastating breakouts. I’ve suffered scars, endured overly-oily periods and dealt with extremely dry patches, resulting in a lot of time spent vacillating between tons of different cleansers and moisturizer combinations that simply never worked.
After being introduced to Saranghae a few months ago, and speaking with one of their in-house consultants, I thought I’d dedicate myself to creating a routine, and building a relationship between my skin and the products. If, in 45 days my entire business can go from brains to production to profitability, my skin should be able to transform itself with the aid of a few key ingredients and expert formulas, right?
One of the most rewarding things about using the same skincare over a considerable amount of time is you become more knowledgeable of the makeup and formulas behind the product. As a former scientist, this especially fascinates me as I’ve consistently strayed from product lines that either: A. aren’t upfront about what ingredients they’re putting in the bottle or B. put so many chemicals inside that I’m terrified to try it. Hence, when I discovered Saranghae and their natural 5-step skincare routine, I knew this could be a game changer. Korean beauty is booming in the US and very scientifically driven, so I was naturally intrigued, especially given the brand is both vegan and cruelty free. When I say nothing has ever worked for me, I mean nothing, and now that I am under more stress building and growing a startup, my skin had gotten worse. Below, I chat about the transformation my skin has undergone over the 45 days, and how sticking to a strict skincare regimen even helped me organize other areas of my life.
The 5-step routine behind Saranghae’s genius is anti-aging first and foremost, but for me, it was more about cleansing and achieving healthier skin (buying anti-aging formulas in your twenties acts as preventative skincare, so the younger you
begin using them, the better you’ll look when you’re older). I began with using just the eye cream and the oil + foam cleanser for a week, to allow my skin a period of adjustment from the products I was last using. After the first week, I added the essence + serum into my nightly routine. This product for me was the hero. In traditional Korean beauty, this is broken down into two separate formulas that primarily aim to stop inflammation and breakouts. Saranghae managed to meld them into one bottle, and after only a few weeks I was noticing a major reduction in breakouts around my problem areas (notably my chin and my t-zone). In my second week, I also used the elemental mask for the first time, accompanied by Netflix and a salt bath after a long day (this moment was truly the highlight of my week). Aside from the soothing properties of the entire evening, my skin was instantly brighter and I decided to wear no makeup the next day, which is extremely rare for me. And finally, I began applying the regeneration cream at the beginning of the third week, which helps repair damage skin cells. This was the most luxurious of the products for me and something I’ve become obsessed with applying right before bed. Each step in the routine has been thoughtfully formulated and works harmoniously together.
Something that’s extremely important to remember when starting a new skincare routine, is that you’re likely going to have breakouts. As your skin becomes accustomed to new products and new vitamins, acids and minerals, it will react and this is only natural. Sure, you might be the exception, but know that if you do suffer a breakout, it’s only because it’s your skin's way of repairing. Look at your new routine as you would a new boyfriend: things are going to be a little rickety in the beginning, but you’ll get into a good routine and work out the kinks. For
me, the first few weeks saw my skin go through periodic breakouts, while simultaneously reducing the appearance of old acne scarring on my face. This has been a source of real contention over the years and something I’m quite insecure about, so when I saw the scars beginning to even out, I really began believing in the formulas and routine.
No skincare routine is going to change your appearance in a week, but a good skincare routine will change your skin in 30-45 days (if you truly make a commitment and stay consistent). Sticking with this 5-step routine has drastically changed my complexion. Aside from reducing scarring on both my cheeks and jawline (something I had been considering laser therapy for, not anymore), it has reduced my breakouts to only once every couple of weeks. Before, I would habitually suffer breakouts two to three times a week, so this has been such a reward. I’m much more confident wearing less makeup (especially in this summer heat wave), and have taken to giving my skin two days a week to breathe without any foundation or concealer (my email-heavy days, we all have them ladies).
What I’ve learned is, with my skin (and everything in life), all good things come with time and perseverance. The longest I’ve stayed with a skincare routine before was the guts of two weeks. Taking this 45-day challenge made me really focus on my problem areas; what was working and what wasn’t.
My top tips:
- If experiencing an oily t-zone, use the essence serum once a day only
- When applying any of the products, work through with the tips of two fingers rather than a whole hand, this makes sure your face absorbs all the product rather than the palm of your hand
- Combine your sheet mask evening with a salt bath and some scented candles, and ditch the cell phone. You’ll thank yourself later
Think you might be ready for a 45-day skincare challenge? Perfect timing. Saranghae is challenging you to use the Complete 5 Step Routine for 45 Days and to share your own Love Story for a chance to be rewarded with more than just great skin. Read more about the Challenge here. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
During a recent meeting on Microsoft Teams, I couldn't seem to get a single word out.
When I tried to chime in, I kept getting interrupted. At one point two individuals talked right over me and over each other. When I thought it was finally my turn, someone else parachuted in from out of nowhere. When I raised and waved my hand as if I was in grade school to be called on (yes, I had my camera on) we swiftly moved on to the next topic. And then, completely frustrated, I stayed on mute for the remainder of the meeting. I even momentarily shut off my camera to devour the rest of my heavily bruised, brown banana. (No one needed to see that.)
This wasn't the first time I had struggled to find my voice. Since elementary school, I always preferring the back seat unless the teacher assigned me a seat in the front. In high school, I did piles of extra credit or mini-reports to offset my 0% in class participation. In college, I went into each lecture nauseous and with wasted prayers — wishing and hoping that I wouldn't be cold-called on by the professor.
By the time I got to Corporate America, it was clear that if I wanted to lead, I needed to pull my chair up (and sometimes bring my own), sit right at the table front and center, and ask for others to make space for me. From then on, I found my voice and never stop using it.
But now, all of a sudden, in this forced social experiment of mass remote working, I was having trouble being heard… again. None of the coaching I had given myself and other women on finding your voice seemed to work when my voice was being projected across a conference call and not a conference room.
I couldn't read any body language. I couldn't see if others were about to jump in and I should wait or if it was my time to speak. They couldn't see if I had something to say. For our Microsoft teams setting, you can only see a few faces on your screen, the rest are icons at the bottom of the window with a static picture or even just their name. And, even then, I couldn't see some people simply because they wouldn't turn their cameras on.
If I did get a chance to speak and cracked a funny joke, well, I didn't hear any laughing. Most people were on mute. Or maybe the joke wasn't that funny?
At one point, I could hear some heavy breathing and the unwrapping of (what I could only assume was) a candy bar. I imagined it was a Nestle Crunch Bar as my tummy rumbled in response to the crinkling of unwrapped candy. (There is a right and a wrong time to mute, people.)
At another point, I did see one face nodding at me blankly.
They say that remote working will be good for women. They say it will level the playing field. They say it will be more inclusive. But it won't be for me and others if I don't speak up now.
- Start with turning your camera on and encouraging others to do the same. I was recently in a two-person meeting. My camera was on, but the other person wouldn't turn theirs on. In that case, ten minutes in, I turned my camera off. You can't stare at my fuzzy eyebrows and my pile of laundry in the background if I can't do the same to you. When you have a willing participant, you'd be surprised by how helpful it can be to make actual eye contact with someone, even on a computer (and despite the fuzzy eyebrows).
- Use the chatbox. Enter in your questions. Enter in your comments. Dialogue back and forth. Type in a joke. I did that recently and someone entered back a laughing face — reaffirming that I was, indeed, funny.
- Designate a facilitator for the meeting: someone leading, coaching, and guiding. On my most recent call, a leader went around ensuring everyone was able to contribute fairly. She also ensured she asked for feedback on a specific topic and helped move the discussion around so no one person took up all the airtime.
- Unmute yourself. Please don't just sit there on mute for the entire meeting. Jump in and speak up. You will be interrupted. You will interrupt others. But don't get frustrated or discouraged — this is what work is now — just keep showing up and contributing.
- Smile, and smile big. Nod your head in agreement. Laugh. Give a thumbs up; give two! Wave. Make a heart with your hands. Signal to others on the call who are contributing that you support and value them. They will do the same in return when your turn comes to contribute.
It's too easy to keep your camera turned off. It's too easy to stay on mute. It's too easy to disappear. But now is not the time to disappear. Now is the time to stay engaged and networked within our organizations and communities.
So please don't put yourself on mute.
Well, actually, please do put yourself on mute so I don't have to hear your heavy breathing, candy bar crunching, or tinkling bathroom break.
But after that, please take yourself off mute so you can reclaim your seat (and your voice) at the table.