The Beauty Alphabet: J Beauty & Vitamin C

by Olivia Cox October 23

Much like K Beauty before it, J Beauty focuses on skin first. Unlike the Korean export, J Beauty advises fewer products, more massage, and an altogether more low maintenance approach. Welcome to the new Beauty Alphabet – skincare hacks to get glowing this autumn/winter.

Growing up, the end of the summer was signposted by a few key events. New pencil cases (did anyone else have the Disney ones with buttons to secret compartments revealing, dunno, a pencil sharpener or something??), frantic stickyback-plastic-ing a new wave of exercise books, the crashing low of realising Laura still has an extra week of holidays because she was private and I was state… 

The End Of Summer was real. These days, there’s less stationary excitement  but still the sense that a changing season brings a fresh start and opportunity to try something new.

J   B E A U T Y 

My general routine is to usurp the lighter formulas of summer in favour of something altogether more rich for the winter months. I suffer dry skin that sometimes verges on flaky or – worst case scenario – eczema-like symptoms. My belief had always been the dryer the skin, the richer the formula needed.

But the recent import of J Beauty has called this see-saw technique into question. Because the theory of enjoying summer then repenting through winter with thick creams may – according to centuries of Japanese wisdom – actually be perpetuating the issue. You see, the education coming over from the East is that the key to managing dry skin is repairing the hydra-lipid barrier. This is essentially the layer that locks moisture into skin. When skin is dry, the lack of oily ceramides binding cells together compromises skin’s barrier function. J Beauty teaches that using overly indulgent creams to superficially repair this will create a negative feedback system, stopping skin from repairing itself and leaving it completely reliant upon said cream. So look for formulas that pack the benefits and protectants that you need, without upping the richness. Elizabeth Arden Great 8 Daily Defence Moistureiser SPF 35 is the perfect example – lightweight, semi-translucent gel that protects against baddies like blue light, pollution and UV while hydrating and brightening complexion thanks to a deep sea organism ferment. 

And that’s not the only lesson I’ve been re-learning recently . Apparently, the general consensus that dry skins shouldn’t use acids is completely the wrong way around. Dry skins actually need a higher frequency of exfoliation, to accelerate cell renewal which can prevent dryness and reduce irritation. Try Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel. The one-step solution can be used like a toner to resurface, strengthen and defend skin, prior to the application of a serum. Or if you’re more of a manual fan, try MZ Skin Natural Konjac Sponge – it’s naturally rich in minerals and iron oxide clay to help stimulate blood flow, plus rebalances the skin’s natural pH leaving the complexion cleansed, refined and smooth. 

Phew. Still with me?  


The other skincare lesson taught by Japanese tradition and heritage (and my mother), is that prevention is better than cure. Miyabi Kumagai, Shiseido Brand Manager, told Glamour: “Western culture is more concerned with correcting damages after they have occurred, whereas Japanese beauty care is more about anticipation. For them, everyday prevention is a natural action.”

Yep, the trend following the unabashedly gimmicky K Beauty gadgets and quick fixes is one that preaches longevity, patience and balance. It’s a refreshing change J Beauty is being hailed everywhere from Vogue to celebrity MUAs, and the logic is somewhat hard to ignore. Rather than reactive skincare, why not play the long game, and root everything in good habit? Sounds fair to me. 

I recently discovered Curel, an affordable J Beauty brand that’s been swooped up by Boots. The formulas are light and buildable, pH balanced, plus totally unfragranced which is great for more sensitised skin types. The ethos behind the brand is simplicity and minimalism. Everything is free from colourants and is pleasingly easy to use.

Similarly clean and simple is Nakin – I’m obsessed with their super hydrating, lightweight Anti-ageing Eye Cream Complex Japanese beauty philosophy is very close to healthcare philosophy, so what you’re trying to do is feed and nurture your skin. 

V I T A M I N   C

Another key skincare trend for Autumn Winter is vitamin c. Admittedly, this is nothing new. We’ve been harnessing the brightening, collagen-boosting effects of the hard-working anti-oxidant for years. But what is new is the science and research going into vitamin c delivery systems. You see (or c. Lol), vitamin c is inherently unstable, and reacts with both light and oxygen. So traditional serums, lotions and potions would begin to deteriorate from first use. The newer trend for single use sachets and capsules allows for a much high potency and therefore greater efficacy. The big players in this field are

Elizabeth Arden Vitamin C Ceramide Radiance Renewal Serum – The exact required dose of vitamin C is delivered via a luxurious, lightweight dry oil, individually encapsulated for freshness. Although 178x more potent than tradition Vitamin C serums, Arden’s is uniquely easily absorbed by skin thanks to their water-soluble formula allowing maximum penetration, fast. 

Clinique Fresh Pressed Daily Booster With Pure Vitamin C 10% – stay-fresh packaging isolates the pure Vitamin C until activation, maintaining its freshness and full power for maximum results. Mix 2 drops with your normal moisturiser daily.

Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vitamin C Brightening Powder – A 30-second foaming facial with 20% vitamin C that visibly brightens skin and tightens pores for a healthy glow. Each opaque sachet is a single use which makes it great for travelling. 

Olivia x

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