Essential summer-to-fall skincare transition tips you need to start doing right now.

It seems like only yesterday you were giddy with excitement about an upcoming summer getaway. Suddenly, it’s almost time to unpack your cashmere sweater and jacket collection. But it’s not only your wardrobe that needs a transitional tweak. With the air getting crisper and drier, now it’s the right time to take a hard look at your existing skincare routine. Is it still working for you? If yes – great! Save this article in your to-read list and revisit it a couple of weeks later. But if your skin has been acting up – feeling tight or sensitized more than usual, that’s the sign your routine needs some rethinking.

Below, we’re sharing eight tips to seamlessly transition your skincare regimen between the seasons without stressing or overwhelming your skin.

TIP 1. Question a morning face wash.

If you have oily skin, in summer you’ve likely to been washing your face with a cleanser morning and night. But do you still need it? We, humans, are creatures of habit, so it’s easy to continue doing the same thing even though it might no longer be necessary. Unless it’s boiling outside and you wake up feeling sticky and sweaty, it’s better to use just water and follow up with a toner to prep your face for the day.

TIP 2. Switch to a milder cleanser.

While foaming cleansers with stronger surfactants are great for summer to prevent clogged pores, it’s time to switch things up come fall. If cleanse in the am is a must, go for a gentle hydrating face wash and choose creamy, milky lotion-type cleanser for the night. The same principle applies to choosing cleansing water. Check the ingredient list to make sure it’s formulated with mild cleansing agents that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils.

TIP 3. Upgrade your NIGHT moisturizer, keep using your lightweight gels.

We often hear that we should switch to heavier moisturizers AS SOON AS fall is on the corner. But let’s be honest, September is probably the most unpredictable and controversial month in terms of the weather. One day you regret not layering your moisturizer and the next, you wish you’ve opted for a light gel instead. When the weather is playing tricks, we recommend tweaking your night routine first. Ensuring you get enough hydration and moisture at night can help you to get away with keep using a lighter day cream. Look for the cream (or sleeping mask) that has the right humectants, emollients, and occlusives ratio to provide holistic moisturizing benefits.

A quick reminder. Humectants (hyaluronic acid, glycerin) will improve your skin’s ability to draw water from the environment. Emollients (ceramides) will strengthen the skin’s protective barrier and smooth your skin. Finally, occlusives (silicones) will form a protective film on top of your skin to ensure that the skin can hold moisture for longer.

The same principle applies to sheet masks. Choose masks with moisturizing and nourishing benefits that will help to seal all that moisture in. And voila! Follow up with your usual routine in the morning, and your skin will be weather-proof.

TIP 4. Consider adding eye cream.

The eye contour has the thinnest, most delicate skin. No surprise then, it can get dehydrated quickly once the temperatures drop. So, we recommend paying extra attention to an eye area, investing in a special cream or a good moisturizer that can double as eye cream.

TIP 5. Protect, Protect, Protect.

Just because you’ve packed your bikini away doesn’t mean you should do the same with your sunscreen. While the UVB rays (the ones that give you tan) aren’t as strong in fall and winter, UVA rays (the ones responsible for cancer and premature aging) aren’t going anywhere even when it’s icy cold outside. Long story short, protecting your skin from UV damage is a year-round job. So stock up on your favorite sunscreen and apply (and reapply) to the face, neck, ears, chest and any exposed areas to shield your skin from harmful rays.

TIP 6. Exfoliate more? Less?

Ah, that’s the tricky one, and it entirely depends on your skin type. Oily skin types tend to exfoliate more in summer because that’s when skin produces the most oil increasing chances for clogged pores and congested skin. Those with dry skin, however, tend to exfoliate more in colder months because that’s when their skin becomes patchy and flaky. In other words, If you’ve regularly been exfoliating during summer, fall is the time to go easy on your scrubs and peel gels. But if your skin looks scaly, rough to the touch and make-up cakes up,  it’s time to welcome exfoliators back in your skincare routine.

While the UVB rays (the ones that give you tan) aren’t as strong in fall and winter, UVA rays (the ones responsible for cancer and premature aging) aren’t going anywhere even when it’s icy cold outside.

TIP 7. Consider switching bedding.

Even the nicest, softest cotton can cause friction on dry, sensitive skin. Consider switching to silk pillowcases that offer numerous benefits not only for your skin (like keeping it smooth and wrinkle-free) but hair as well.

TIP 8. Invest in an air humidifier.

Usually, your skin draws moisture from the environment to maintain optimal water-oil balance. During fall and winter, as humidity levels drop, your skin can quickly become dehydrated, especially once the heating season starts. We recommend getting a humidifier and turn it on as soon as you get home to help your skin naturally replenish moisture.

The bottom line is, however, you choose to approach the transitioning process; it’s essential not to overhaul your skin regimen all at once. The goal should always be nudging your skin in the right direction and helping it to adjust to seasonal changes without causing stress.

Any other tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!

How stress affects your skin and what can you do about it.

Spoiler alert: it takes more than learning a couple of breathing techniques.

If you’re a living and breathing human, you’ve most likely had those weeks, months even when life turns upside down. Your job responsibilities are spiraling out of control, personal life becomes a complete mess, and on top of that, upstairs neighbors flooded your bedroom. You’re always on your toes, stressed out, tired, can’t sleep, can’t eat. And your skin starts to ACT UP. Flares of eczema, severe dryness and, of course, new pimples popping up daily.

You might think it’s all in your head – as long as you do your best to manage stress, all your skin troubles will disappear without a trace. But in reality, it takes more than learning a few deep-breathing techniques to clear your bout of stress acne or eczema flare. So, what does it take? Read along to find out.

First, you need to understand what exactly happens to your skin when you feel stressed.

  1. Stress triggers an inflammatory response. One of the main reasons why your skin flares up are because of an inappropriate release of inflammatory chemicals. Under normal circumstances, these chemicals are good for you. It’s a natural way to protect your body’s health and fight unwanted viruses that enter the system. But since stress isn’t the flu and there’re no actual viruses to go to a battle with, the inflammation causes your skin to misbehave. If you are susceptible to a particular skin condition, say rosacea or eczema, stress will be a trigger that leads to dry, itchy, irritated patches of skin across your body. Inflammation can also mess with your immune system, making you more prone to infections. On top of that, in some cases, you’re also running the risk of developing an autoimmune disease. Your body starts to attack and damage its own healthy tissue resulting in such conditions as alopecia (hair loss), psoriasis or vitiligo.
  2. Stress sends sebaceous glands into overdrive and contributes to premature skin aging. Stress triggers the production of a hormone called cortisol, which causes your skin to produce more oil. Excess oil leads to pore clogging, creating the perfect environment for acne bacteria to grow. Hello, unwanted acne! But not only that, cortisol increases blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and fat storage while lowing growth hormone. It ain’t called the “aging hormone” for nothing. Stress triggers an inflammatory response.
  3. Stress dries out your skin. Stress damages your protective barrier by destroying hyaluronic acid in your body and makes you more susceptible to dryness. You might have also noticed that whenever you feel stressed, you’ll sweat more than usual, which also contributes to skin dehydration.

If you are susceptible to a particular skin condition, say rosacea or eczema, stress will be a trigger that leads to dry, itchy, irritated patches of skin across your body.

So, then, what can you do?

Don’t get us wrong; learning how to deal with the stress when you’re feeling all the feels is something we definitely recommend doing. It won’t clear up your acne, or calm down inflamed skin right away. But it will help to feel less stressed, which in turn might have a positive effect on your skin.

At the same time, don’t rely on meditation alone. Yes, skincare is probably not what you want to engage with right now actively. But developing a clear, thought-out regimen is crucial to help your skin to become healthy again. Take a step back, look at your medicine cabinet/vanity, and re-think your skincare routine. You need a break, and your skin needs a break, so going on a skincare diet and sticking to the basics is the best thing you can do.

You need a break, and your skin needs a break, so going on a skincare diet and sticking to the basics is the best thing you can do.

Here are a couple of ground rules to follow when building your “stressed-skin-approved” skincare routine.

  • Choose the most gentle and non-irritating cleanser you own. One thing you don’t want to do is to dry out or sensitize your skin even further. But don’t eliminate a face wash from your routine completely, especially if your skin oils are going out of control. You need to keep those pores clean to prevent them from clogging again and again.
  • Don’t use exfoliators, chemical, or physical. Remember, we need to add to our skin, not subtract. And while there are plenty of great gentle peels on the market, your skin is not in the position to handle them just yet.
  • A good moisturizer is your friend. Use a toner if you must, but skip serums and ampules. We’re trying to put as little on our skin as possible to minimize the risk another eczema flare. A nice moisturizer – preferably low pH with ceramides and hyaluronic acid – is all you need to restore your compromised skin barrier.

Don’t use exfoliators, chemical, or physical. Remember, we need to add to our skin, not subtract.

Finally, if you’ve run into a wall and feel like nothing is working, it’s always best to consult a professional. Book an appointment with your dermatologist and see if you might benefit from several therapy sessions to get you through the rough patch. There are plenty of online mental health services that you can use from the comfort of your own home.

#Skinconfessions. MOTHER MADE team members share their summer skincare routine feat. Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash. Ep.3.

For this episode of #skinconfessions installment, we’ re talking to our assistant manager, Eva Babicheva. She manages the brand social media accounts and PR inquiries.      

Eva, assistant manager

I: How would you describe your skin?

Eva: I have combination oily skin that can get dehydrated easily even in summer. I’ve done a lot of damage in my teen years – the concept of sunscreen was non-existent for me, and I loved tanning. And let’s not even mention years of neglecting hydration and over-using sebum-controlling toners. Now. I’m paying the price.  

I: Do you have any particular skincare concerns?

E: Sun damage is definitely a big one for me. I’ve started to notice that my skin got sort of dull, not as firm as it used to be with fine lines and mimic wrinkles popping up here and there. Oh, and let’s not forget enlarged pores and blackheads! So, yeah, lots of concerns.

I: How would you describe your lifestyle?

E: I’d say balanced. I spend most of my time behind the desk in the office. But I try to compensate by going swimming every morning and commuting to work definitely helps to keep me moving. I also try to stay active on weekends – meeting friends, going to cafes and art galleries. It might sound like too much, but weekends on a couch is not my cup of tea.

I: Walk us through your typical summer morning and evening skincare routine.

E: I start my day in a swimming pool, so whether I want it or not, morning face wash with a cleanser is a must. It probably adds to the dehydration issue, but there’re a lot of people in the pool, so I feel like it’s a necessity. After that, I focus on one and only thing – hydration. First is a hydrating toner, then some kind of serum, followed by a hydrating yet lightweight lotion and a thick layer of sunscreen. Once I get home, I put on cc or bb cream, and I’m off to work.

My evening routine isn’t that different from the morning one. As soon as I get home, I double cleanse and follow up with the trusted  toner-serum-moisturizer formula. Sometimes, I’ll squeeze a sheet mask in between. Right now, it’s too hot in Seoul, so I use the same moisturizer as in the morning. I make sure to layer it up, so I won’t wake up with tight skin.

I: How does an Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash fit in your skincare routine?

E: I use every night as my second cleanser. It’d be great to use it twice a day, but I keep my skincare in the pool locker, and the storage conditions aren’t ideal for powder cleansers. Too hot and humid. In the evening, I don’t use foaming nets, but sometimes I’ll use a silicone pore brush if my skin feels extra congested. But most of the time, I just foam it with hands and massage into skin. I really enjoy this part –adding water and watching the bubbles form – it’s my form of meditation.

I: What do you like about Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash the most?

There are so many things about this cleanser that I appreciate. As someone with dehydrated oily (and blackhead prone) skin, I love that it gives that squeaky-clean feeling without drying my skin out. It’s also changed my pore care game completely. I’m barely reaching for clay masks these days, and that’s a big one coming from someone who used them at least three times a week.    

Heat causes skin aging. Here’s what to do to prevent it.

We know that exposure to UV rays wreaks havoc on our skin. It depletes the moisture, triggers excess sebum production, destroys collagen, and causes hyper-pigmentation. Luckily, preventive measures from this type of skin aging are relatively straightforward – regular (and generous) sunscreen re-application and UV protective clothing.

As it turns out, however, there is another skin aging culprit to watch out for – heat. Recent research suggests that constant skin overheating can be as damaging to skin as UV. Prolonged heat exposure makes protective antioxidant levels in our skin to drop, leaving it more susceptible to free radical damage. It also triggers cells to create a pigment that will show up on the skin as age spots. Unfortunately, this type of aging can’t be prevented just by stocking up on sunscreen.

So, what can you do? Read along to find out.  

First thing first – know your ingredients.

There are plenty of natural ingredients to look for in your gels, creams, and masks that will help to reduce skin heat.

  • Titanium dioxide & zinc oxide. These minerals physically block infrared heat keeping your skin cooler. Bonus points –they also double as sunscreen agents typically found in physical (mineral) sunscreen formulas.
  • Peppermint & Menthol. While these ingredients don’t reduce skin temperature, they trick your brain into thinking it needs to re-adjust body heat. As a result, the blood flow to the skin’s surface decreases, and you get that cooling, tingling sensation.  
  • Cucumber. A classic, tried-and-tested ingredient that will deliver cooling, calming, and de-puffing effect. It will also help to hydrate and slightly brighten the skin. That’s why people put fresh cucumber slices on their eyes to get rid of any night swelling and dark circles.
  • Aloe. Another classic.  You won’t feel an instant cooling sensation with this hydrating and cooling gem like you would with menthol or peppermint. Instead, it will naturally reduce the skin temperature by several degrees, making for a more long-term, sustainable cooling effect.
  • Allantoin. Not precisely a cooling ingredient, but it is an ingredient worth looking for nonetheless. As overheated skin often equals red and irritated skin, it will help to calm down and hydrate the skin when it feels on fire.
  • Flower extracts. Look for extracts from white flowers such as Lily, Lotus, Plum or Cherry Blossoms. These will help physically cool down and soothe overheated skin.
  • Colloidal oats. It’s a natural soothing anti-irritant found in moisturizers and masks. It helps your skin to keep its cool.
  • Chamomile. Chamomile extract is known to work wonders on irritated, inflamed skin. Be it due to a bug bite or spending too much time under the sun, this natural anti-inflammatory ingredient will reduce redness and have a skin calming effect.

If you need to step your heat-aging preventing game further, here are the things you can do.

Ice towel or cold compress. Place it on your…neck. Yes, neck. The neck is like the cordon that heat must pass before fully reaching our face. So, concentrating on cooling down the neck area first is crucial to reduce the skin temperature effectively.

Ice roller + cooling sheet mask. Once you’ve placed something icy cold on your neck, now it’s the time to start working on cooling the skin on your face. Apply a sheet mask (preferably, containing some of the cooling ingredients from the list above) and start rolling across your forehead, around the eyes, cheeks, and mouth. It will physically cool down your skin and also help to reduce puffiness, enlarged pores, and improve redness.

Cold footbath. Keeping your feet warm in winter helps you not to feel cold. Vice versa, keeping your feet cold will reduce the body heat, preventing your skin from overheating. Soak your feet in ice-cold water for 20-30 minutes. Follow up with a menthol or peppermint cream.  

Bamboo & linen bedding. Both are natural, breathable fabrics with exceptional temperature-regulating properties that are far superior to cotton. Cotton readily absorbs moisture quickly becoming heavy and clingy (think what happens with your cotton t-shirt when it gets wet). Bamboo and linen wick moisture away from the body and help to maintain comfortable body temperature.

And there you have it. Do you have any other tips on how to prevent the skin from overheating? Share them in the comments below!

#Skinconfessions feat. Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash. Ep.2.

For this episode of #skinconfessions installment, we’ re talking to our Operations Manager, Monica Shin. She oversees the production process and makes sure that all paperwork in the company is done well and finished on time.

Monica Shin, Operations Manager

Q: How would you describe your skin?

Monica: Very dry. So dry that even in summer, I need heavy moisturizing cream. Lightweight creams/gels do absolutely nothing for my skin. Girls in the office often complain how hard it is to manage oily skin, but in all honesty, having extremely dry skin that is not a piece of cake either. It can easily add a few years if I’m not diligent enough with my moisturizers. In Korean, we have a word akkeonseong [악건성], meaning “really really really dehydrated,” and I’m the perfect example.

Q: Do you have any particular skincare concerns?

M: Well, on top of being super dry, my skin is also papery-thin. You can almost see through it. And while I wouldn’t describe it as sensitive, it’s sensitized easily, so I have to be very careful with what I put on my face. I also have smile lines, and year after year, my skin is losing firmness. 

Q: How would you describe your lifestyle?

M: I work in the office, so around 70% of the time, I’m clunking away on my keyboard. The rest of 30% I’m on my foot – in our warehouse or meeting our suppliers and partners. I’m not very into sports, and luckily my job allows me to move a bit during the week. But I know I should move more, so try to take long walks on the weekend if the weather allows.

Q: Walk us through your typical summer morning and evening skincare routine.

M: I never wash my face with a cleanser in the morning, just splash some water. I then apply a hydrating toner. Generously. Summer or winter – it doesn’t matter. I always use rich, viscose-y toners. After years of experimenting, I found that using hydrating products at every stage of the routine is the only way to keep my skin from being completely and utterly dehydrated by the end of the day.

After toner, I apply a thick layer of moisturizing cream ( REALLY moisturizing), then moisturizing sunscreen. Sometimes, instead of regular sunscreen, I use our Aqua Light CC cream, which has the same protection level as my daily sunscreen (SPF 50+/PA+++), plus it’s tinted. I don’t wear eye make-up, so that’s it.

In the evening, I use an oil cleanser (or oil-based cleansing pads)/ low pH cleanser combo to wash the day off my face.  Toner comes next and I might follow with some kind of brightening or firming serum if I feel like it. I don’t feel like it very often and honestly, over the years I’ve realized that the best anti-aging product is a moisturizer. That’s where most of my skincare money go. Sometimes I’d use a hydrating sheet mask, like our Rich Snail Mask, or a sleeping pack when my skin is feeling extra rough.

Q: How does an Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash fit in your skincare routine?

M: I use it every night as my second cleanser, and it’s been working great for me. I don’t like dense foams (they dry my skin out mercilessly), so I add quite a lot of water when lathering the product to make airy, weightless foam. A foaming net serves this purpose well.

My favorite way to use it though, is with cotton pads. I massage the foam first into my skin and then, instead of rinsing it, I’ll remove the foam with a dry cotton pad. It gives a light physical exfoliating effect plus my skin looks sort of polished afterward. I don’t do it every day, more like 2-3 times a week. This is the only form of exfoliation my dry skin needs in summer. 

Q: What do you like about Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash the most?

This is the first charcoal product that’s actually mild enough for me, which makes me very happy. I love charcoal, but most of the products I’ve tried (and I’ve tried plenty) sucked the last bits of moisture that was left in my skin. I’m glad we could make our Charcoal Powder Wash so suitable for different skin types.

Another thing I appreciate is that it’s keeping my pores clean. Even if I have dry skin, it doesn’t mean my pores don’t get clogged. But I can’t use acids – they sting and tingle. So, our charcoal powder wash is an excellent alternative for me!  

MOTHER MADE Exfoliating Aqua Peel Gel with Green Tea Explained

Meet our newest addition to MOTHER MADE family! The Exfoliating Aqua Peel Gel with calming and skin-soothing Green Tea Extract. Peel gels have been all the rage in Asia, and it might feel like they’re all the same. But in reality, every peel gel has its own flavour. So, in this post, we’ll give you a quick run-down on what our peel gel is, what drove us to create this product, what makes it special, and how to use it the right way. Keep on reading!

How it all began

Full disclosure – we love ourselves a good scrub. Even though they’ve earned somewhat controversial reputation. Don’t get us wrong; we love chemical exfoliators. But there’s just something so satisfying about touching the post-scrub smooth, evened out, bump-free skin. Unfortunately, conventional scrubs can be quite harsh, especially ones with bigger granules, which is a no-go for sensitive (or easily sensitized) skin. And frankly, despite the pleasant feeling, they aren’t as effective as their chemical counterparts since they only work on the outer layer of the skin.

So, we challenged ourselves to make a product that will deliver the same satisfying scrub feeling with the benefits of the chemical exfoliator.
Almost a year later, we’ve finally launched the Exfoliating Aqua Peel Gel with Green Tea, and it’s everything we’d hoped for.

What it is

Our Peel Gel is a mild exfoliating treatment formulated with both physical AND chemical exfoliants. We opted for natural cellulose, not carbomer, as our physical peeling agent. There were several reasons for that, but that’s a subject for another post. Finely milled, moisture-rich cellulose particles we used in the formula are imported from France and made from Egyptian cotton (so fancy!). The way it works is simple – bits of cellulose interact with natural oils on your skin and ball up once you apply some pressure. These balls/clumps/flakes (take your pick) act as a very gentle scrub that sloughs off dead cells sitting on top of the epidermis ready to go but in way that won’t traumatize your skin.

For the chemical peeling agents, we chose nature-derived extracts that are well-known to be potent but at the same gentle and sensitive skin-friendly.

  • Willow Bark Extract. Naturally rich in salicylic acid, this mild astringent helps to reduce inflammation, control sebum, unclog pores, and de-congest skin. No wonder, it’s a favorite among oily skin types. While this peeling gel does not target at clearing pores specifically, with consistent use, you might notice that your pores become cleaner and pesky blackheads go away naturally.
  • Papaya Extract. Yummy papaya is chock full of an enzyme called papain that is a perfect exfoliant for sensitive skin. Gentle than your regular AHAs, it will work on the outer layer breaking down excess keratin to help the skin appear brighter and smoother.
  • Apple Extract. Like papaya, apple extract is rich in antioxidants (Vitamin C is one of them), and it is also a natural source of AHA. This extract has astringent properties and can help minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, clear acne, and regulate oil production.

Two types of exfoliants make for an excellent team, ensuring that every nook and cranny of your skin is clean and refreshed!

Other additional skincare benefits

As the name suggests, we added Green Tea Extract that has well researched and documented anti-aging skin benefits. It also helps to soothe and calm down the skin, which feels wonderful after a long hot summer day. Ascorbyl Glucoside, or Vitamin C, is another antioxidant gem that’s made it into the formula. It helps fight free radicals that speed up the aging process in our skin and will also deliver brightening effect with consistent use.

Who’s it for?

It’s for everyone, really! Any skin type can reap multiple benefits from using this peel gel. Drier skin types will love how hydrating this product feels on the skin. People with combination to oily skin will appreciate the addition of astringents that help with sebum control and pore care. We especially recommend it for those who love scrubs in their skincare routine, but whose skin for some reason or another can’t tolerate them well. Alas, if you hate the feeling of scrub in any way or form, this might not be for use.

How to use

If you’re familiar with Korean peel gels, you might know that most of them require dry skin as a starting canvas. Otherwise, they won’t clump. With our peeling gel, we recommend applying it on damp skin. How damp? Well, it depends. Cellulose bits will clump more or less depending on how dry or damp your skin is. If you want the stronger scrub effect, dampen the face only slighly. If your skin is sensitized, introduce more water to make everything extra mild and smooth. You can even make a paste and leave it for several minutes to let chemical peels time to interact with your skin.

Our general recommendation is to use it 1-3 times a week, but always check in with your skin. If your skin is super sensitive and dry, using the Peel Gel once a week will suffice. But you feel extra congested and bumpy, increase the frequency. The bottom line is – whatever you do, make sure not to over-exfoliate. Too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a bad thing, right?

#Skinconfessions feat. Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash. Ep. 1

Hanla Lee, Brand Manager

For this blog post, we decided to do something different and talk a little bit about our team members’ skincare struggles and what they do to keep their skin balanced and healthy in the heat and humidity of Korean summer. Our interviewee today is Hanla Lee, our brand manager who makes sure that everything runs smoothly here, at MOTHER MADE HQ. 

Q:How would you describe your skin? 

Hanla: It’s oily all year round, but even more so now that it’s so hot and humid.   

Q: Do you have any particular skincare concerns? 

Hanla: Excessive sebum seems to be the bane of my existence. I almost stopped wearing make-up in summer because it slides off my face after a few hours and primers/setting powders break me out. Blackheads and clogged pores are another significant areas of concern for me. Of course, having oily skin has its upsides. For instance, wrinkles and fine lines are not something I need to worry about. But I do feel that my skin can get pretty dull and lifeless if I’m not diligent with the skincare regimen. 

Q: How would you describe your lifestyle? 

Hanla: I’m in the office behind a computer most of the time, so I’d say sedentary. Regular exercise is something I’d like to start doing more of, but I’m yet to find an activity that doesn’t bore me to death.  So for now, whenever the weather allows, I try to commute by bike, eat a healthy diet, and take long walks on the weekends. I feel a massive difference in how my skin looks and feels when I spend at least 2-3 hours walking on the mountain trails surrounded by greenery. 

Q: Walk us through your typical summer morning and evening skincare routine 

Hanla: It’s really simple. I mean REALLY. I love skincare, but I don’t have the patience for a complicated regimen. One thing I never skip, though, is a morning cleanse. I don’t like to sleep with an AC on, so I wake up already feeling sweaty and oily. Washing the face with some type of a low pH cleanser makes me feel so refreshed and awake. After cleansing, I go on with a toner, then apply lightweight moisturizer and finish off with sunscreen. If I have a meeting or an audit, I’ll put a thin layer of cc or bb cream, And that’s it, really. In the evening, as soon as I come back from work, I shower, do a double cleanse, apply toner and lightweight moisturizer. We’re currently working on developing several masks, so these days use sheet masks more than I’d typically do. On the weekend, I might do a clay mask, and I also use a sleeping mask a couple of times a week. 

Q: How does the Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash fit in your skincare routine? 

Hanla: I use it every day, morning and evening, as my mild, low pH cleanser. My oily skin LOVES charcoal, and it made a massive difference in the way my skin looks and feels. I don’t normally say “holy grail” (I hate that expression), but for the lack of a better word, let’s say this is what Charcoal Powder Wash is for me.

In the mornings, I like to use a foaming net to make a very soft, weightless foam. Since it’s a morning and I only need to remove the excess oil and leftover skincare from the night, I find that using the Powder Wash this way gives me just the right amount of cleansing.  

At night, I use it in a shower as a second cleanser/in-shower mask pack. What I like to do is to lather it up into a dense, cream-like foam, apply it all over the face as I’d do with a regular wash-off mask. I then leave it on for about 10-15 minutes while finishing my shower. Not only it saves me a little time and effort each evening (which I’m all for), but my pores look extra clean afterward. 

Q: What do you like about Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash the most? 

Hanla: I like that it’s mild. Most charcoal products I’ve tried before dried me out, so I almost gave up until we decided to make one. Plus, as I said before, I’m not the one who enjoys complicated double-digit step routines. As someone with oily skin, I need to take care of my pores daily, and I appreciate that our Charcoal Powder Wash keeps my pores clean without extra efforts (or added steps) on my end.

Active Bamboo Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash Explained

WHAT IT IS


Charcoal Powder Wash is a mild low-pH facial wash that boasts impressive pore cleansing powers thanks to activated bamboo charcoal and papaya enzymes. It’s a water-activated formula, meaning that the powder turns into soft foam once you add water.

WHY POWDER

That’s an excellent question! Why would you choose a powder cleanser over a conventional one? Well, there a couple of reasons why you might want to consider making a switch.

  • 100 % preservative-free. The great things about powder cleansers are that they don’t need preservatives. Since there is no water in the formula, bacteria or mold won’t have the environment to grow. Excellent choice for sensitive skin types!
  • Highly customizable. Depending on your skin type, you can adjust a powder cleanser to suit your unique skin needs. Add less or more water depending on what kind of cleanser – creamy and dense or light and airy – you want. There are no rules!
  • Long-lasting. Compared to a conventional cleanser that has to be used (on average) within 12 months after opening, a powder cleanser boasts an impressive 3-year shelf life! It will also last you longer since it’s in a concentrated form and you’ll only need a small amount.
  • Powerful. For the same reason, it will last you longer, it will also do a cleansing job better – active ingredients remain undiluted thus more potent.
  • Travel-friendly. Since it’s a non-liquid product, tossing a powder wash in your suitcase is a no-brainer. TSA won’t take it away from you. Ever. And it won’t leak or explode all over your clothes.

KEY INGREDIENTS

  1. 100% natural bamboo charcoal from the ecologically clean Damyang region in South Korea. Bamboo charcoal is the purest and the safest type of charcoal currently available on the market. Plus, bamboo itself is an easily renewable resource making it a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional wood charcoal. You can read more about bamboo charcoal and its skin benefits here.
  2. Papaya Enzymes (Papain). Rich in Vitamin C, A, E, papaya enzymes gently exfoliate dead skin cells and restores the even-toned look of your skin while also delivering brightening benefits.
  3. Aloe Vera Extract. A rockstart ingredient with outstanding hydrating and soothing properties. Do we need to say more?

WHAT IT DOES

#DeepPoreCleanse. Much like a sponge or a magnet, ultra-porous charcoal particles suck out dirt and grime from the pores making them visibly clear and refined post-cleanse. But don’t let the word “deep” scare you. The Powder Wash is formulated with low pH nature-derived amino acid surfactants that are very gentle and respective of your natural protective barrier. The wash can be used daily without running a risk of sensitizing your skin.

The Powder Wash will give you that satisfying cleansing experience when your skin is thoroughly cleansed sans any tight or drying sensation.

Skin brightening effect. Thanks to exfoliating powers of papaya enzymes, this powder wash will mildly buff away dead skin cells and make your skin instantly look brighter and overall healthier.


All in all, the Powder Wash will give you that satisfying cleansing experience when your skin is thoroughly cleansed sans any tight or drying sensation. The best feeling ever. Period.

HOW TO USE

This product is seriously versatile and fun, too. You can use it multiple ways, depending on what type of cleansing you’re going for.

Start with tapping a quarter-sized amount of product into the palm of your hands, add water and mix to create the desired texture. Then the fun part begins.


Experiment with texture. Want deeper, more thorough cleanse? Add less water to get a dense, creamy lather. After massaging it into your skin, leave it on for several minutes for an added exfoliating effect.


Have dry and/or sensitive skin? Use more water to create light, airy foam, massage gently for several seconds and wash immediately. Pro tip: You can also use a foaming net like this one here to make VERY soft bubbles. It is a popular method among those who have easily sensitized skin and want to minimize any rubbing.


If DIY is your gem, you can go as far as fashioning a wash-off mask. Mix the powder with water in a bowl. The consistency should be slightly runny, but not too runny that it starts dripping all over your sink. The mask can be used on your whole face or on blackhead-prone areas (such as a T-zone) only – it’s up to you! Apply a thin layer with a mask brush, wait a couple of minutes for it to set and go over with another layer. Allow the mask to dry completely and wash it off with water. Or, if you are feeling extra fancy, remove the mask with a steamed towel.

And there you have it! Now you know everything you need to make the most out of our Active Charcoal Powder Wash.

Still got questions? Ask away in the comment section below!

Why we made Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash?

If you have enlarged pores that get clogged quickly, then you know that managing them is a never-ending battle. It becomes especially frustrating in the heat of summer when your sebaceous glands go into overdrive, and none of the usual blackhead remedies seem to be bringing the desired results. 

Desperate to find a solution for these pesky blackheads, you start washing your face excessively, double on the acid-containing products and break into a stash of pore-strips that was collecting dust on your vanity. Surely, you see some results, but this extreme regimen damages the skin’s natural protective barrier, leaving the skin weak, dehydrated and sensitized. Skin’s response? You guessed it – start making even more oil. And the circle goes on. 

How do we know? Well, because we’ve been there and made these mistakes. We learned the hard way that solving a particular skincare problem starts with letting go of “instant fix” mentality, putting to terms with the fact that good skin doesn’t happen overnight, and adopting skincare habits that will put skin health first. 

We knew we wanted to make a product that will provide a gentle, non-sensitizing solution to people suffering from congested skin and ever-clogged pores. But for a long time, we weren’t sure what kind of product would fit in with MOTHER MADE philosophy – skincare that is gentle, natural, multifunctional and innovative. 

We knew what kind of products we didn’t want to make, though: 

  • Any gimmicky products that promise to clear your pores instantly. It’s likely impossible, and if a product really does that, there are probably a myriad of adverse side effects that come along with it. (Pore strips, we’re looking at you). We talk about why pore strips are bad for your skin here.  
  • Clay masks or any type of wash-off masks. Don’t get us wrong, we love ourselves a good clay mask, and they are essential in your pore care regimen. But because there are already so many great products available on the market, we didn’t feel the need to make a product just for the sake of making it. Besides, consistent pore care routine is critical and let’s be honest, when life gets too busy doing a wash-off mask on regular basis sinks down on your priority list. 
  • Acid Exfoliants. Again, we love them, and there is for sure a time and place for a chemical exfoliant in your pore care routine. Salicylic Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acids are especially effective for treating blackheads. But the truth is, not all skin types can handle these acids well, making such products not suitable for sensitive skin. 

Then, what is it that we did want to make? We’ve said that before and will repeat it again and again. Consistency is key when it comes to developing an effective pore care routine.

So, here’s what we had in mind:

  • We wanted to make a basic skincare product that you can effortlessly incorporate into your existing regimen. 
  • We wanted to make a very gentle product that can be used daily, morning and evening. It also had to be sensitive skin-friendly. 
  •  Making a multifunctional product was high on our priority list. The product must not only treat congested pores but also work holistically – normalize sebum production and prevent pores from clogging in the first place.  Bonus points if we could come up with a product that can be used in several different ways.

And that is how Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash came to be! 

The result is a gentle skin barrier respecting cleanser with non-drying Amino Acid surfactants, natural Bamboo Charcoal Powder and Papaya Enzymes that can be used daily worry-free. Use it in the morning to wash off the sweat and oils accumulated over night and in the evening as your second cleanser after removing make-up. It comes out as powder that transforms into foam once you add a little water, making it for a very relaxing cleansing experience. The fact that it’s a powder also comes in super handy for when you go traveling – decant it into a small container and take as much as you need with you. 

Oh, and that bonus point! Active Charcoal Enzyme Powder Wash can also be used as a mask pack for your T-zone! Combine the powder with water in a separate bowl and apply the mixture with a mask brush. Leave it on for several minutes letting bamboo charcoal to work its magic and remove with water or steamed towel.  

Stay tuned for the next post where we’ll go in-depth discussing the ingredients and what makes this powder wash so special. 

Summer skincare DOs and DON’Ts for oily, blackhead-prone skin.

It’s this time of year again. Ever shiny T-zone, make-up that melts after one subway ride and stubborn blackheads. It’s easy to grow desperate – especially when your day at work is jam-packed with meetings where looking presentable is a must. But before you start taking radical measures, remember that summer heat and humidity is a stress for your skin, and your skincare regimen should focus on reliving that stress, not exacerbating it. So, let’s talk about some don’t and dos of a summer skincare routine that will help to balance overheated excessively oily skin and make it healthy again. 

Don’t 

Don’t switch to a harsh alkaline cleanser. It’s a common misconception that you need a stronger cleanser in summer because a low pH one won’t remove sweat and sebum as effectively. True, high pH cleansers do have superior powers, and you might feel instantly “cleaner” (ah, that instant gratification!), but in the long run it won’t do your skin any favors. It will start producing even more oil, trying to compensate for the loss of moisture and you’ll end up with even oilier skin. 

Do

Double cleanse! Even though a one-step cleansing routine trend is gaining popularity in Korea (which is ironic given that Korea started a double cleansing boom), we aren’t entirely sold on the idea. Double cleanse is a way to go if you want to be gentle yet thorough with your cleansing. Use light cleansing oil and finish off with a gentle second cleanser that contains ingredients such as Salicylic Acid, Green Tea or Charcoal to target oily skin concerns.  

Don’t

Don’t overdo on chemical exfoliators. Wait, what? Do you say exfoliate less? Well, here is the thing. For the same, reason we don’t recommend strong alkaline cleansers, using too many acids is a no-go. It will cause dryness, redness, flaky skin and even discoloration. 

Do

Balance, balance, balance. Salicylic Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acids are extra powerful for oily skin. They help to clear blackheads, reduce and prevent breakouts, so by all means, use them. Just make sure to limit their use to 1 product per routine. For instance, if you opt for a toner with a high acid content, choose a non-acid-containing second cleanser. If you absolutely need to use both, then go for products with lower overall concentrations.

Don’t

Don’t abuse clay masks. While clay masks should be a staple in your summer skincare routine, using clay masks every day a sure way to dehydrated skin. Believe us when we say this – if there is one thing that is worse than having an oily skin in summer, it is having a dehydrated oily skin. 

Do

Use clay masks 1-2 times a week and opt for milder, less drying types of clay like kaolin or bentonite.

Don’t

Don’t use pore strips. Just don’t. Please. We understand that it’s super satisfying to pull off a strip and see these little specks of gunk and grime covering the surface. But using pore strips regularly will stretch your pores and ultimately lead to even more blackheads. Besides, they can easily irritate and tear the skin bringing micro spider veins to the surface of the skin. Not a good look.

Do

Be gentle to your skin. The best cure is prevention. Don’t wait until the situation gets so bad you need heavy artillery. Devise a morning and evening pore-care plan (but nothing too complicated!) and stick to it. You’ll be surprised how a consistent routine will change the overall look and feel of your pores. 

Don’t

Don’t face tan. There is a dangerous rumor circulating in a skincare community that tanning helps to clear out the skin and get rid of blackheads. And it’s the biggest don’t on this list. After spending a day under the sun, you might notice that your skin is seemingly less oily and blackheads are gone. But it’s an illusion. Sun rays dry out the skin, throwing it off balance even further. The result? You guessed it. Your skin will double up on oil production to make up for the missing water. Some skincare specialists also caution that sun damage you’ll inevitably get from frying your face will cause the skin to thicken. Thicker skin is harder to exfoliate, and you’ll have a higher chance to develop clogged pores in the future. 

Do

Try mineral sunscreens as they are great for controlling excess sebum. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide will absorb the oils your skin is producing, minimizing the chance of clogged pores and keeping your complexion shine-free. 

Et voilà! Do you have more tips for managing oily skin in summer? Let us know in the comments below.