Review

‘Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup’ Book Review

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Finally got my copy of ‘Korean Beauty Secrets. A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup’! Ordered it from Amazon UK with Prime next day delivery and it cost £14.91 at the time. A day later and it now seems to have increased to £15.28. The actual retail price shown on the book cover is US $22.99 which works out about the same – £15.10 at the current exchange rate.

Was super excited to get my hands on it and I read it cover to cover in one sitting. Its such a great book I had to do a review on it.

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Raised ink cover which is removable

For the physical book itself, its such high quality. Something you can keep for years to come and always refer back to when needed. Its big and hardback so very sturdy in the hands when reading. I love that underneath the removable cover it has the same design around the whole outer book as it does on the cover because I usually like to remove it and put it somewhere safe so I don’t scruff it up when reading. Its a nice touch since alot of hardback books do not do this, and certainly shows the high production value that has gone into it. The pages are very thick and good quality too.

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Same front and back design when removable cover is taken off.

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So for anyone that doesn’t know, this book was written by Kerry and Coco, 2 informative and popular beauty bloggers in the Korean beauty-sphere  who individually have their own blogs (Skin & Tonics & The Beauty Wolf), but have come together to write this comprehensive guide to Korean beauty and skincare.

I find that alot of the information, tips, guides, recommendations etc within the books are all things you can find on the internet on a variety of different websites and blogs if you’re researching around K-beauty. However what is nice is that all the information is nicely condensed all in one place and set in clear chapters which is great for those new to K-beauty, and even those who are more experienced, to quickly find the type of info they want without having to trawl the internet and lots of different blogs. Its certainly makes for a great reference when you want to perhaps add or change to your skincare routine and need to look out for certain things in product ingredients for example.

I can’t say much of this information was new to me, but there were still many things within the book that I learnt about and also delved further into the basic knowledge I already had.

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At 249 pages, there is a wealth of information which is split up into 4 sections: Korea Beauty Culture, Skincare, Makeup and Additional Resources.

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Great visual reference of most of the well known beauty brands includ high and lower end – housed under 2 brand families: Amore Pacific & LG

So Part 1 is just a short introduction into why K-beauty is so popular (higher quality, innovation, competitive pricing, visual appeal, unique ingredients, cosmetic trends) and what makes it different from the Western market. It covers a list of Korean beauty brands and how they are sold in South Korea.

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Part 2 is my favorite chapter and is a treasure trove of wonderful invaluable information on taking care of your skin.

It covers how to determine and identify your skin type and assess different skin concerns such as acne, dullness, dehydration.  It then looks into skincare ingredients which I found very informative as its the one area I’m not as well versed on. When buying skincare I usually just look at the front of the package and the side information to find out what the purpose of the product does. However, its not always the best way to go about things especially if I’m targeting a specific skin concern because there may be for example, a moisturizer that helps fine lines but is much too rich for my skin due to the type of oils in it.

I especially like that though the book may be called Korean Beauty Secrets, it’s alot more in-depth and not as ‘fluffy’ as the title would suggest. There is a good deal of scientific knowledge to back up their information and it delves deep into why a certain product would be good for a specific skin type due to ingredients which have scientific evidences to support the claims.

The experimental ingredient section is fun reading about the weird and wacky things that are used in skincare such as placenta, snail, donkey milk, bee venom etc. Although being so immersed in Asian beauty, none of this bothers me in the slightest as I’m accustomed to seeing this in products and definitely do not shy away from using them if they benefit my skin.

Then we move onto product categories which is a fantastic section of the book. It explains in great detail each step of the Korean skincare approach and has beautiful high quality photo examples of a variety of products for each category. I do like that their examples are a mix of popular and lesser known products and both high and low end brands are featured. It really is a wonderful addition to illustrate their points with a visual reference.

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Once the skincare regime has been introduced it goes onto helping you build a skincare routine for yourself based on your skin type and skin concerns – providing examples of how to layer products and what kinds of products to shop for.

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The rest of the skincare chapter covers examples of 9 different skincare routines from online K-beauty bloggers. While it was interesting to read, I do feel like it was a pretty big section of the book dedicated to example routines that all seemed very similar. I found alot of them had similar skin concerns like acne and they all used similar products so it did feel repetitive reading about the same toner multiple times.  Therefore my only suggestion would be that it would have been good to get more variety examples of different skincare conditions and concerns. Overall, its certainly helpful for beginners to K-beauty who have no idea where to start because there are some good recommendations of beauty products in their routines and how/when to apply.

If skincare was 70% of the book, then makeup is 30% of it.

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I find this section less in depth and informative than the skincare section but that’s only because I generally am well in touch with K-beauty makeup trends and products already, that there really isn’t anything new to add to what I already know. What I did like and find useful were the many examples and mentions of various beauty products used by Coco because who doesn’t love getting more makeup recommendations. There’s always new makeup to try. Haha.

The only negative however is that the ‘makeup categories’ section is very text heavy and mentions alot of products with barely any pictures. So it is a bit of a plough through to read mini reviews on each product with no visual picture reference. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the many wonderful blogs out there that review makeup products with an abundance of photos haha. But it would have been good to get visual presentations of all the products mentioned rather than just 1 or 2 here and there. DSC_0042

There is also a nice little section of different Korean makeup looks you can achieve with full page glossy photos of the models sporting said look and a description of how to get the look and what makeup products were used.

I like that they’ve also managed to cover very specific but uniquely Korean makeup trends such as how to achieve aegyo sal, puppy eye and gradient lips. Its some of these very culturally specific makeup trends that make Korean makeup so different to Western makeup standards.

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How to fake the ‘baby eye fat’

Part 4 is the additional resources chapter that covers where to buy Korean beauty products no matter where you are in the world. I don’t think their list is particularly extensive and  doesn’t cover many of the cheaper places. Majority of the sites are also US based but that’s to be expected considering most of their readership probably comes from the US.

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And lastly, a great few pages with Korean to English translations of Korean ingredients. I can see this being helpful to many people especially those who are sensitive or allergic to specific ingredients. They will be able to identify which Korean products to avoid.

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In conclusion, this is an awesome book that I highly recommend for anyone already into K-beauty or who want to know more about it and try it out. It’s my very own K-beauty encyclopedia that I will always refer back to now and again, especially when I’m looking for new products to try. Kerry & Coco did a fantastic job putting this together and it was money well spent purchasing this handy book.

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