Alas, there was light at the end of the tunnel, literally – many of my dark spots lightened significantly, though not fully. But what I learned altogether is that the K-beauty regime is very much geared toward hydration. On the flip side, this conclusion is, of course derivative of the specific products I used – I imagine you can absolutely find alternative Korean products on the market to target your very specific needs.

While I have a ways to go before I’ve hit peak skin goals (I’m talking Yara Shahidi and Jhene Aiko level), I’ve landed on some new products during this journey that I’ll be restocking when the time comes: Grandidier’s essence, Glow Recipe’s toner and moisturizer, Rootree’s sunscreen, and both The Creme Shop and 107 Beauty’s sheet masks. I’ll be swapping out my cleanser (what can I say, I’m missing the Drunk Elephant), serum, and eye cream to test other options – after all, I am still a curious beauty writer. I’ll likely do away with the emulsion step altogether. I’m just not quite sold on it.

The shocker? I’ve actually been swayed from my miniature skin-care routine of three. At first glance, the extensiveness of the 10-step ordeal was more than intimidating. In the end, it’s not as intense as it sounds. Plus, the art of product layering is proving useful, i.e., I think I may be near achieving this perceived “glass skin” thing?

If nothing else, I actually found these extended moments of patting my face in my bathroom mirror kind of therapeutic, and who can’t use that these days? Hello, self-care.