Innisfree’s Best-Selling Green Tea Serum Just Got an Eco-Friendly Upgrade

You can’t think about the major hitters in Korean beauty and skin care without having Innisfree bubble up to the forefront of your brain. Owned by conglomerate Amorepacific Group — whose other brands include Best of Beauty winners Sulwhasoo, Laneige, and Mamonde — Innisfree has a massive lineup of products and product lines centered around specific ingredients (orchid, soybean, and volcanic clusters, oh my) and was the first Amorepacific brand to open a U.S. flagship store. Located in New York City, the shop’s walls display close to 10,000 plants in an attempt to transport customers to Jeju Island (located off the coast of South Korea), where the green tea from one of its most popular product lines, is sourced from.

One particular green tea product, the Intensive Hydrating Serum, which the brand says is sold every five seconds around the globe, just received a big, eco-friendly upgrade. As part of Innisfree’s larger, ongoing “Less Plastic” initiative, the brand launched a jumbo-size Intensive Hydrating Serum Paper Edition that’s 100 percent recyclable and made with 52 percent less plastic than its predecessor. Ringing in at $39 and 5.4 ounces, it saves you $15 as opposed to buying two regular-size, 2.7 ounces bottles at $27 each. A great deal, if you ask me.

It’s still the same, beloved formula made with Jeju green tea extract and Jeju green tea seed oil, grown and extracted from Innisfree green tea farms, to hydrate and maintain skin’s moisture barrier.

To recycle your bottle, you simply remove the green paper label, remove the two halves of the molded paper shell, and then recycle the paper parts separately from the inner, soft plastic layer — as demonstrated below. Innisfree also offers an Empty Bottle Program, so customers who feel comfortable with stepping inside an Innisfree store can drop off their beauty empties and earn loyalty points. Or you can recycle your skin-care goodies through TerraCycle‘s zero-waste boxes.

Personally speaking, the Innisfree green tea serum has been a staple of mine over the years. The clear formula is impossibly lightweight and absorbs upon contact with my combination-leaning skin, so there’s no heavy, goopy feeling at all. I not only reach for this whenever my skin feels dry and tight during the winter, but it’s also fantastic for humid summer weather, as it plays very nicely under sunscreen and makeup. 

Lately, I’ve been upping my exfoliation routine at night to keep rouge pimples at bay, and this is the perfect follow-up product to keep my skin soothed, softened, and glowy. I’m not even a tea drinker but the leafy scent is so lovely — and while it’s definitely noticeable, it’s not overpowering. 

ALLURE article

The 5 Active Ingredients You Actually Need In Your Skincare Routine

How do you approach your skincare routine? Is it with a certain sense of abandon, incorporating any and every strong active ingredient? Or have you taken a more measured route – stepping back, consulting a professional, and considering what will work best for your skin? If you’re in the first camp, a little swotting up is all that’s required to get you back on the beauty straight and narrow. Thanks to LA-based celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, who has worked with everyone from Julianne Moore to Emma Roberts, we have her book Glow From Within to consult on the rules of skincare. And Vargas knows a thing or two about what makes for a robust, radiant complexion. 

An advocate of a “pillar-based”, 360° approach to the skin, Vargas has conquered all manner of concerns in her time as a facialist. “Beauty isn’t skin deep,” she says. “Today, most of my clients know that they need to eat nutritious meals, avoid particular foods, and drink enough water to achieve their own brand of youth.” Other positive lifestyle choices she recommends are good self-care, paying attention to your body, prioritising sleep, reducing stress, and doing some exercise. She sums it up as making “time for connection and joy” in her book.

As for products, “I recommend a minimalist regimen,” Vargas says. “Cleanse at night and apply a serum or a mask for sleeping. In the morning, cleanse or rinse, apply a serum, moisturiser and a sunscreen,” she says. “I also exfoliate twice a week and do a beauty mask once a week.” Finding the right cleanser for you is relatively straightforward – simply use a gentle formula that targets your skin issues and doesn’t leave your face feeling tight after washing. So far, so simple. But Vargas is also enthusiastic about another, potentially confusing pillar of good skincare: active ingredients. So where to start?

Vargas says any effective routine should incorporate a retinol at night. “It’s great for all skin types, and using a vitamin C in conjunction for the day will help brighten skin.” Despite what many people think, good retinoids can be bought over the counter – brands like Skinceuticals and Medik8 offer an array of options that cause little to no skin irritation. Medik8’s Crystal Retinal 3 Serum is a brilliant entry point and will help to increase cell turnover, leading to more even skin tone, smoother texture and, of course, fewer fine lines. No 7’s new Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex is a good high street option. There’s also Vargas’s own brilliant vitamin C serum (the Rescue Serum), which combines vitamin C with super-hydrating squalene and elderberry extract, a powerful antioxidant. You can also find it more potently in Vichy’s LiftActiv Peptide C Ampoules, which contain 10% fresh vitamin C as well as hyaluronic acid within each capsule.

Exfoliation is also at the top of Vargas’s list when it comes to encouraging a glow back into the skin. “It usually acts as a mini facial and brings back glow immediately,” she says. She recommends a fruit enzyme-filled mask or treatment, with one or two other alpha hydroxy acids (actives that are excellent for keeping skin healthy and luminous), like lactic, kojic, mandelic or glycolic, to gently nibble away at the pore-clogging dead cells that can sit upon skin, making it look far less happy than it should.
Try Sand & Sky Emu Apple Enzyme Power PolishHerbivore’s Prism 20% AHA + 5% BHA Exfoliating Glow Facial,or Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask. Note that she recommends performing a treatment like this twice a week, rather than every day.

For hydration, Vargas is a fan of hyaluronic acid, the wonder molecule that can hold up to a thousand times its own weight in water, meaning it hydrates and plumps the skin as no other active can. Niod’s Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex is a great option, since it contains 15 different forms of hyaluronic (which means it’s more likely to conquer the skin barrier), or Dr Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Acid is also highly concentrated, with long and short chain hyaluronic molecules for better penetration.

Of course, there are other active ingredients that can prove beneficial in any good beauty routine, but as Vargas points out, these are the key power players that form the basis of excellent skincare. Listening to your skin and what it’s telling you, however, is also key – what works for one face won’t necessarily work for another. “Unhealthy skin can appear red, inflamed or irritated and, when pinched, may not bounce back but will tent up in a wrinkly shape. Or you could simply be struggling with breakouts,” says Vargas. If that’s the case, combat irritation with soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients like niacinamide, aloe vera, green tea or cica, to name four, then reconsider the product you’ve used and whether you might have overdone it. 

After that? Your fifth and perhaps most important active, SPF (which is actually a cocktail of different actives). Apply, and you’re ready to take on the world. 

VOGUE article

Best Beauty Foods

Nutrition is important for health. An unhealthy diet can damage your metabolism, cause weight gain, and even damage organs, such as your heart and liver.
But what you eat also affects another organ — your skin.
As scientists learn more about diet and the body, it’s increasingly clear that what you eat can significantly affect the health and aging of your skin.

  • Fatty fish – salmon, mackerel, and herring, are excellent foods for healthy skin. They’re rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for maintaining skin health.
    Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary to help keep skin thick, supple, and moisturized. In fact, an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency can cause dry skin. The omega-3 fats in fish reduce inflammation, which can cause redness and acne. They can even make your skin less sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays.
    Some studies show that fish oil supplements may help fight inflammatory and autoimmune conditions affecting your skin, such as psoriasis and lupus.
    Fatty fish is also a source of vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for your skin. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for helping protect your skin against damage from free radicals and inflammation.
  • Avocados – associated with more supple, springy skin. Preliminary evidence shows that avocados contain compounds that may help protect your skin from sun damage. UV damage to your skin can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging.
    Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage.
    Vitamin C is also essential for healthy skin. Your skin needs it to create collagen, which is the main structural protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy.
  • Walnuts – they’re richer than most other nuts in both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
    Zinc is essential for your skin to function properly as a barrier. It’s also necessary for wound healing and combating both bacteria and inflammation.
    Walnuts also provide small amounts of the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, in addition to 4–5 grams of protein per ounce.
  • Sunflower seeds – One ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds packs 49% of the DV for vitamin E, 41% of the DV for selenium, 14% of the DV for zinc, and 5.5 grams of protein.
  • Sweet potatoes – one 1/2-cup (100-gram) serving of baked sweet potato contains enough beta carotene to provide more than six times the DV of vitamin A. Also helps keep your skin healthy by acting as a natural sunblock, preventing sunburn, cell death, and dry, wrinkled skin.
    Interestingly, high amounts of beta carotene may also add a warm, orange color to your skin, contributing to an overall healthier appearance.
  • Red or yellow bell peppers – Like sweet potatoes, bell peppers are an excellent source of beta carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. One cup (149 grams) of chopped red bell pepper contains the equivalent of 156% of the DV for vitamin A.
    They’re also one of the best sources of vitamin C. This vitamin is necessary for creating the protein collagen, which keeps skin firm and strong. A single cup (149 grams) of bell pepper provides an impressive 211% of the DV for vitamin C.
  • Broccoli – full of many vitamins and minerals important for skin health, including zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin C (for collagen production).
    It also contains lutein, a carotenoid that works like beta carotene. Lutein helps protect your skin from oxidative damage, which can cause your skin to become dry and wrinkled.
    But broccoli florets also pack a special compound called sulforaphane, which boasts some impressive potential benefits. It may even have anti-cancer effects, including on some types of skin cancer.
    Sulforaphane is likewise a powerful protective agent against sun damage. It works in two ways: neutralizing harmful free radicals and switching on other protective systems in your body.
  • Tomatoes – a great source of vitamin C and contain all of the major carotenoids, including lycopene. Beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene have been shown to protect your skin against damage from the sun. They may also help prevent wrinkling!
  • Soy – contains isoflavones, a category of plant compounds that can either mimic or block estrogen in your body. One small study involving middle-aged women found that eating soy isoflavones every day for 8–12 weeks reduced fine wrinkles and improved skin elasticity. These isoflavones not only help to protect the cells inside your body from damage but also your skin from UV radiation — which may reduce the risk of some skin cancers.
  • Dark chocolate – After 6–12 weeks of consuming a cocoa powder high in antioxidants each day, participants in one study experienced thicker, more hydrated skin. Their skin was also less rough and scaly, less sensitive to sunburn, and had better blood flow — which brings more nutrients to your skin.
    Another study found that eating 20 grams of high-antioxidant dark chocolate per day could allow your skin to withstand over twice as much UV radiation before burning, compared with eating low-antioxidant chocolate
    Make sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa to maximize the benefits and keep added sugar to a minimum!
  • Green tea – help protect your skin from sun damage and aging. Green tea also improves the moisture, roughness, thickness, and elasticity of the skin.
    While green tea is a great choice for healthy skin, you may want to avoid drinking your tea with milk, as there’s evidence that milk could reduce the effect of green tea’s antioxidants!
  • Red grapes – Resveratrol helps reduce the effects of aging by slowing the production of harmful free radicals.
    This beneficial compound is also found in red wine. Unfortunately, there’s not much evidence that the amount of resveratrol you get from a glass of red wine is enough to affect your skin.

What you eat can significantly affect your skin health.

Make sure you’re getting enough essential nutrients to protect your skin. The foods on this list are great options to keep your skin healthy, strong, and attractive. Remember to drink enough water, as well!

Reference: HealthLine article