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It took me at least 25 years to realize I have dry skin, and that you can simultaneously have dry skin and zits, and also that moisturizing won’t break you out more — in fact, it might just help break you out less. These revelations were life-changing to me, someone whose vanity revolves around her skin, skin that has never been perfect.
When Korean beauty picked up steam in the States, I got right on board, layering product upon product in the hopes of glowing like a goddamn blemish-free moonbeam. But it wasn’t until I traveled to Seoul myself (to report on the Olympics of hairdressing for this very website) that my admittedly over-complicated, hyper-specific routine was truly refined. And it’s all thanks to a small pouch of... well, I’m not totally sure what’s in it beyond hyaluronic acid because I can’t read Korean, but you just have to trust me here.
The pouches are from Aritaum, a chain of stores that is popping up all over the US now; they come in a bunch of varieties, but the blue Moisture formulation is what I’m talking about. I use it every night, on top of essence and two other moisturizers (I know!) and under my prescription retinoid and some Aquaphor (I know!!).
I’m convinced it’s the one product in my arsenal that keeps winter flakiness at bay, based on the scientific study I perform every time I stupidly decide not to use it, only to have severe regret the next morning. It’s that hyaluronic acid, baby.
Also, it’s cheap. SO CHEAP. One-dollar-a-pouch cheap. And each lasts weeks! (The screw-off top is crucial.) I like to buy them in bulk, stash them in my fridge, and give them out to anyone who asks me for skin recs. I’ve bought the pouches off eBay, but now you can purchase them right from the Aritaum site. Even with international shipping, ten pouches (months and months of wonderful goo, just for you) runs less than $25.