How to Authenticate [Some] Korean Beauty Products

Fans of Korean beauty often want to know how to make sure that the stuff they’re buying is authentic, as in, actually made by the company that…you know, makes it.

The best way to do that, of course, is to buy from trusted sellers. I have a list of Korea-based shops I like, but sometimes it’s not possible to shop with them and sometimes you happen to get a sheet mask or product and you don’t know its provenance.

So how do you know that your Korean beauty products are authentic?

There’s an app for that.

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Sunday Riley Good Genes Review

[Update 181017: Sunday Riley has admitted to having employees post fake reviews on Sephora after a whistleblower leaked an email outlining the practice to Reddit’s SkincareAddiction. Read more about the story in my post.]

Lemme tell you, if I ever wrote down my life goals, “get addicted to a $105/oz. lactic acid” would not top the list.

And yet here we are.


Let’s put Good Genes in context because late stage capitalism has a way of distorting things. When I was an undergrad student, trying to have some spending money while not taking on a job that might keep me from obsessively studying history, I sold my plasma. I’d sit there for an hour or so with a bigass needle in my arm, fiddling with a squeeze thing, trying to understand Eric Hobsbawm’s arguments about nations and nationalism. I won’t lie: it hurt. Next to me, my blood would be spun to separate the red blood cells from the plasma. The red cells would be pumped back into me along with some saline via a smaller needle within the big needle, I’d hop up slightly less confused about the origins of World War I, and I’d have $20 in cash. They had a bag of my bodily fluids. Now, if I were really on my shit, I’d go back a second time that week and get $30 (the $10 bonus was related to the plasma center not needing to duplicate tests from earlier in the week) for a bag of Tracy juice.

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A Visual Skincare Routine Guide

First published: 2 September 2015; updated 19 February 2022.

My goal for this post is very modest: I want to turn words into pictures. I see lots of confusion and questions about when to apply which skincare products. And for good reason: it’s confusing!

I think that simplifying things drastically by removing most words for a moment could be useful. Think of this post as a cheat sheet for constructing and following a routine.

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