Skin & Tonics : Skincare Guides & Product Reviews

Skincare guides & product reviews for hydration lovers & the moisture barrier obsessed

A Book, a Box, & That Time I Cut My Own Hair

You guys! Look at me! I’m blogging! Oh my God, this feels GREAT. I am so happy to be typing this sentence. And this one. AND THIS ONE.

I imagine that for those of you who don’t follow me on social media, it probably just looks like I was abducted, and for that, I apologize. But I was doing some really amazing things, which I’m going to tell you about in a minute, but first, I’m going to tell you a story about me that I think best represents what happened over the past 10 months.

There was an incident that occurred once when I was 15 years old. It was the 90s, and I was hanging out in my messy bedroom with a friend of mine. I suddenly had to pee, so I told my friend I’d “be right back” and left to use the bathroom. While I was washing my hands, I noticed a pair of haircutting scissors sitting on the counter. I looked at my hair in the mirror. I looked at the scissors. I looked in the mirror again. “I should cut my hair short,” I thought.

A normal person would have had this thought, and then immediately made a haircut appointment. And actually, I typically would have too, but I was feeling particularly impulsive that day. So I picked up the scissors and proceeded to give myself a haircut. A major haircut. I cut at least 6 inches off all the way around, giving myself a chin-length bob, which I then finished off with some “fringy”  bangs. And without realizing it, nearly an hour had passed.

I casually walked back into my room and picked up the conversation with my now (justifiably) impatient friend. “I’m sorry I took so long! What were you saying earlier?” She looked positively shocked.

“Uh, what happened to your hair?”

“Oh, this? Yeah, I cut it.”

“Just now?”


“You went to pee…and then you just…you cut your hair?”

“Yeah, well, the scissors were out?”

I wasn’t normally so impulsive, but that day I couldn’t resist the opportunity presented to me by those scissors placed so conveniently in front of a mirror.  And although it wasn’t the best haircut, it also wasn’t the worst.

That was a really long time ago. I would never leave a friend waiting in my bedroom for an hour now, nor would I dream of cutting my own hair. But I do feel like I metaphorically left my blog to go pee and then disappeared for a while.

I did not, however, cut my own hair while I was gone — but I did seize a lot of really amazing opportunities. Let me tell you what I’ve been up to!

1. Working. Lots of Working.

I have a regular full-time job working in a field I love (which is unrelated to both blogging and beauty). But I’ve also been working with a partner to lay the groundwork for a new business in that same field. So essentially, I’m working 1 2/3 jobs right now, and have been since October of last year. This hasn’t left me with a lot of free time, but once I’m able to completely transition into the new business, I’ll get some of that time back!  And in the meantime, it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience.

2. I Wrote a Book.

Earlier this year Coco (The Beauty Wolf) and I were approached by a publishing company to write a book about Korean beauty. Obviously we jumped at the chance! We have been working insanely hard to write and design this book, and at the risk of sounding braggy, the end result is really, really good. It’s called Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup, and it will be released worldwide by Skyhorse Publishing this November.

Korean Beauty Secrets Book Cover

The cover for our upcoming book!

We set out to create a book that would be useful, interesting, and fun for complete newcomers to K-beauty as well as the more experienced Korean beauty lovers, and I wholeheartedly believe we accomplished that task. Our book has everything you need to know in order to assemble a Korean style skincare routine, including :

• Detailed information about each skincare product category
• How to assess and address your skincare needs
• Tips for determining layering order
• Shopping and ingredient cheat sheets organized by skin concern
• Ingredient definitions
• Detailed example skincare routines by several of our favorite bloggers
• Nearly 250 English-Korean ingredient translations

It also features:

• An amazingly thorough makeup section that provides detailed descriptions of a huge variety of makeup categories
• Guides to achieving some truly beautiful Korean-inspired makeup looks.
• A lot of gorgeous photography

One area where Coco and I were particularly fortunate is that we were given full control over the book’s content and design. Being given design control is not typical in the traditional publishing industry, so this was a really big deal for us! Coco art directed the photoshoots, and I handled the layout and information design. We both developed the cover design. The finished product is a beautiful, glossy, full-color, hardcover. If you don’t want to wait for November to order it, you can pre-order it on Amazon and receive it the day it’s released (November 3, 2015).

(Please note: the book description and cover thumbnail on Amazon are older, unedited, placeholders – apparently it takes a few days for updates to go live on Amazon once they’ve been submitted. Who knew?)

3. I Curated a Skincare Box for Club Clio.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with Club Clio to curate a summer skincare box! The box theme is Summer Savior, and I am so incredibly pleased with the outcome. If you ever wondered if curating a beauty collection for a beauty brand you truly love would be exciting, allow me to let you in on a secret: IT IS. The whole process of putting this selection together has been a joy. I’d already become a huge fan of many products from Goodal lineup over the past several months, so being handed the creative reigns to assemble a summer-themed box of products to share was an amazing surprise.

I put a lot of thought into what I wanted for this collection. I also had a list of self-imposed standards that I wanted my Summer Savior box to meet:

•  I wanted a collection that directly and effectively addressed the skincare problems that come with the relentless summer heat: sun damage, lost hydration, finding balance between feeling sweaty and oily while being outside — and then feeling tight or dry after being in the air-conditioned indoors.

•  It was important to me that my selections be compatible with as many skin types as possible: dry, oily, combination, and everything in between.

•  I wanted products that would enhance people’s current skincare routine rather than attempting to replace a wide variety of skincare regimens.

•  I needed the box to be a good value. Skincare is an investment, and I wanted people to get a lot of bang for their buck.

I’m happy to report that I was easily able to meet all of the criteria in the process of putting together this collection!

Skin & Tonics Clio Summer Savior Box

Summer Savior by Skin & Tonics

The box is available on the Club Clio website starting today. Here’s what’s in it:

Full Size – Goodal Waterest Fine Mist
Full Size – Goodal Waterest Vital Sleeping Pack
Full Size – Goodal Sunbelievable Perfect Sun Cream
Full Size – Goodal Mild Protect Natural Sun Filter Cream
• Soo Ae Snail Brightening + Moisture Mask 1 pc
• Goodal Washup Clay Mask Mini
• Goodal Waterest Lasting Water Oil Packette Samples 4 pcs
• Goodal Waterest First Essence (new) Sample

There are lots of details on the Clio website about why I chose those specific items! The box is priced at $75, and contains $117 worth of products. I hope you genuinely love it!

Special note for customers outside of the U.S.: You can have Summer Savior shipped internationally – just email and they’ll arrange it! 

And if you need some makeup to go with that skincare, The Beauty Wolf also has a Clio box being released today! Her box’s theme is “Summerproof” and features a lineup of makeup products that will stay in place in the summer heat. I know she put a lot of thought into what went into the collection, and her selections are really fantastic.

The Beauty Wolf - Clio : Summerproof Box

Summerproof by The Beauty Wolf

Coco’s Summerproof Box contains:

The Summerproof box is priced at $60, and contains $94 worth of products.

Full Size – Peripera Peri’s Tint Marker 003
Full Size – Clio Gelpresso Stick Shadow 1+1 (001,003)
Full Size – Clio Kill Brow Tinted Tattoo 001
• Clio Lumi Pang/Tint Water Mini
• Clio Peripera Eye + Lip Makeup Remover Tissue


So that’s what I’ve been doing. As fun, intense, and productive as it’s been, I’ve missed blogging a lot. I’m really happy to be back! I’ll be resuming a regular-ish posting schedule next week — and I promise not to disappear or cut my own hair before then.


Where to Buy

Store Price Offers
Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare and Makeup — Pre-order on $20.69 Pre-order now and receive it the day it's released! buy
Summer Savior - A Skin & Tonics Curated Skincare Box for Club Clio $75 $75 for $117.20 worth of product buy
Summerproof - A Beauty Wolf Curated Summer Makeup Box for Club Clio $60 $60 for $94 worth of product buy
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61 comments onA Book, a Box, & That Time I Cut My Own Hair

  1. Isabel

    Thanks God, you are back again!

  2. Kerry, many congratulations and glad that you’re back in the blogging world. This is a well-thought of collection and it seems that people like me, who live in humid countries like India, can benefit from such products throughout the year. 🙂

  3. Mai

    I’m so happy for you! It’s great to have you back!!!!

  4. I’m glad you’re back ! I’m definitely ordering your book as soon as it comes out ! Might I say I also wanted to get that Clio box (I’ve heard so much about Goodal I’m dying to try it) but it’s too bad it’s not available for international delivery 🙁

    • Kerry

      Yes, the not having international delivery yet really bummed me out too! I have heard from Clio that something is in the works that would allow international shipping. I was sworn to secrecy so I can’t say what it is, but I think you’ll be able to get this box where you are a few weeks from now! 😀

    • Kerry

      Hey there, WC! I just wanted to let you know that I just heard from Club Clio USA that they’ll be happy to arrange international shipping – all you have to do is email them at and they’ll set it up for you. 🙂

  5. I’m excited that you’re back! Your blog is my favorite beauty/skincare blog. My current skincare routine also includes quite a few products I picked up because of your reviews.

    Congratulations on your book!

  6. Yuri

    Kerry, you’re back!! I’m so happy you started blogging again, I really missed your posts! C:
    That being said, I’m super excited for your book!

  7. Lulu

    Thanks Kerry!!!my favorite blogger resurrection!
    i already pre order your order your book a month ago!
    So happy to read you again!

  8. Lulu

    oops error ” your book”

  9. Nicole

    OMG this was such a lovely cooling balm on a humid Florida day! I laughed so hard about the hair-cutting fiasco, as I remember having a similar impromptu hair-cutting session. Mine was with child-proof scissors and was also a chin-length bob. Good times, but I don’t miss that haircut! It’s so good to have you back!! 🙂

    • Kerry

      Nicole, what is it about a chin length bob that possesses teen girls to cut their own hair? It’s like some kind of unstoppable mystical force.

  10. Khaosbutterfly

    You’re back. You’re back. You’re back you’re back you’re backkkk ahh I just almost embarrassed myself in my place of work because I am so happy that you are back.

    Super happy to “see” you and I’m also really excited and proud to hear about all the cool skincare related stuff (and non-skincare related stuff) that you’ve been up to.
    Big congrats on the book especially, which I cannot wait to own.
    I already know where in my beauty library I will put it lol.
    Between the book and the Way device, November actually can’t come soon enough. And look at you pretty cover girls! 😀

  11. lapurple

    I discover your blog about two months ago… i learned so many things, i was so sad because i did not knew if i was going able to read more new things. However im so happy now you are back. Congrats for your book.
    Greetings from Mexico

  12. Cindy

    LOL. Youth: silly moments exemplified by interesting choices. xD

    It’s so nice to see you back! So many good vibes. *throws confetti* 🙂 The book sounds super (and by super, I mean duper) – preordering this weekend, girlie! ^_^ The Club Clio box sounds lovely too. What do you like about Goodal’s products? I have some of their wash-off masks waiting for me to try but haven’t made the commitment to their other products.

    • Kerry

      Thank you so much, Cindy! 🙂

      RE: Goodal products – The first Goodal product I tried was their Moisture Barrier Cream. I initially bought it solely because I can’t resist anything with the phrase “moisture barrier” in it – but the cream is amazing for normal/dry skin. It’s mango seed butter based cream w/ niacinamide and ceramide, and though it’s very moisturizing, the finish is really smooth and pleasant – and non-sticky enough to wear in the daytime, which was a pleasant surprise for something so moisturizing and occlusive.

      After that, I went for their oils – the Waterest Lasting Oil and the Repair Plus Essential Oil. Loved them both. Waterest Lasting Oil was one of the most interesting oil blends I’ve ever tried – it is moisturizing and emollient, but somehow still really light – essentially weightless. And the Repair Plus was just a really lovely oil blend – not too heavy (but not as light as the Waterest Oil) – very moisturizing, very soothing, and a little went a long way.

      The rest of the Waterest line (including the products in the box) is fairly new to me – I started experimenting with it after reading up on lotus extract. I went down a bit of a rabbit hole – turns out lotus is a pretty exciting extract, possibly up there with licorice extract for me these days. It’s a brightening ingredient due to its tyrosinase inhibiting activity, so a really nice addition if you have PIH issues. But a lot of the skincare lines featuring lotus are still cost prohibitive for a lot of people; one of the most appealing things about the Waterest was that it was a good, affordable, lotus-based line.

      Which wash-off masks do you have? I’ve tried the clay one and the moisturizing one, and really liked them both!

  13. Kylie

    *SQUEEEEEEEE* You’re back!!! Stumbling across your blog a few months ago was the BEST thing to ever happen to me. My skin has never been this good and I mean never! Not even 16 year old me. At 26 I’m well on my way to perfection. I’m wearing sheer foundation for the first time ever. Sheer!! xoxo Welcome back.

  14. Nanette

    Geez, I wondered where you’ve been. That is very exciting stuff and I’m so happy for you. I will definitely order that book. Congratulations, glad you didn’t cut your hair again, and love the analogy. Well done.

  15. Maya

    So happy you’re back! Thanks to your blog, and Lisa Eldridge’s tutorials, I’ve started to turn to Asian skincare with more and more interest but I need a hand in the jungle of products available on that market. I’m ready to learn. Yes, blog for us!

  16. senay

    Hi! I am so happy to see you back on my feed, it made me feel dizzy! Your absence from blogging in the first months especially, literally caused me to have withdrawal symptoms!

  17. Amanda

    Will the Missa work for someone with a cool skin tone (pink,fair) or will it be to yello. If not can you recommend one that will?

    • Kerry

      Hi Amanda! Which Missha product are you thinking about? The Missha BBs tend not to be too pink or too yellow, but #13 & #21 lean slightly pink, and #23 leans slightly yellow. All three of those shades do have a gray cast that is visible on some skin tones, though. I haven’t had an issue – I can wear both Missha #21 and #23 without an issue, and I am NC20 if that’s any help. 🙂

      • Amanda

        Thank you so much for responding! I’m so glad you’re back. I’m an NW 20, fair pink skin. Still think there might be a BB cushion out there for us blonde hair, blue eyed, pink girls?

        Again, really thrilled you’re back. Can’t wait to buy the book.

  18. So glad you’re back! Can’t wait to read more from you. I discovered your blog several months ago and it was my gateway drug into Asian skincare. I literally haven’t had a breakout in a year! Your info on the acid mantle and the moisture barrier were particularly helpful (I’ve quoted you in a couple articles). I’ll be ordering your book!

    • Kerry

      Thank you, Camilla! I’m glad to hear it re:no breakouts! The pH/moisture barrier subject was a huge breakthorugh for my own skin as well. I wish it was something more people talked about – I am convinced it is the root of so many people’s skin troubles. I wish I had figured it out 20 years ago!

  19. Kim

    I’m so glad you’re back, Kerry! I just recently found your blog and you have taught this older girl (59 years old) so much about skincare. Congratulations on all your new endeavors!

  20. annie

    hi kerry

    first of all, i just wanted to say i love your blog! i worker at sephora introduced me to it, and i love it! i need some advice on making a good skincare routine for myself and was wondering if you could help me 🙂

    about my skin: i am very oily and a little acne-prone (esp during when i ovulate and get my period). i go to a dermatologist once a month to get extractions. i also use epiduo (was prescribed by my derm) as a spot-treatment on my pimples. i live in los angeles so the weather is temperate. my skin does get drier in the winter (im in my early 30s) but still oily (i hate it!)

    so here are the products i use right now. i want to add a few more but i just don’t know the order i should use it (and whether i should use them day or night)

    currently using i this order: clinque cleansing balm, cerave foaming cleaner, vitamin c serum/toner that i make at home (l-asorbic acid & distilled water. i don’t add gylcerin bc i’m afraid it’ll make me oilier/break out), eye cream (various brands), epiduo, talavera day moisturizer with spf 30 (from an esthetician i used to go to). at night i used physiogel lotion as a night moisturizer.

    i started using the vitamin c serum/toner about a month ago and it def made my skin brighter and freckles lighter. since i’m getting older, i just feel like i need to take better care of my skin. up until now, it was all about trying to keep my skin clear of acne.

    i’m interested in adding missha fte, missha night repair amoule, skin naturals 8% aha toner, paula’s choice 2% bha and thayer’s witch hazel (i heard its a great, natural toner). you stress the importance of pH levels, and i read that when using skin products, it should always be in the order of low to high pH levels. i read that the missha fte should be applied RIGHT after washing the face, but it’s a high pH level than some other products. im just overall confused with all the order haha. (btw my vit c serum/toner has a pH level of 3 or a little under).

    i’d appreciate any help. i know you’re super busy so don’t worry if you can’t reply too soon 🙂

    • Kerry

      Hey Annie!

      Great choices! If I were you, this is the order I would go in:

      Cerave Foaming
      Vitamin C
      [Optional 10-15 minute wait time – some people swear by it, some people see no difference. I personally prefer a wait time.]
      Missha FTE
      Eye Cream
      Talavera Moisturizer

      Clinique Cleansing Balm
      Cerave Foaming
      AHA Toner
      [Optional 10-15 minute wait time]
      [5 minute wait]
      Missha FTE
      Missha Ampoule
      Eye Cream
      Physiogel Lotion

      I would also recommend adding a separate, standalone sunscreen to your morning routine – the acids will make you more sun sensitive, and it’s rare that anyone applies enough moisturizer to get the full SPF advertised (1/4 teaspoon for just the face).

      Also, I would space the introduction of each new product by about a week so you can monitor your response – if you start multiple new products at once and have a reaction to one of them, it will be impossible to tell which product is the cause.

      I hope that helps! 😀

      • annie

        omg thank you so much!!!!

        • annie

          you didn’t include thayer’s witch hazel (pH of 5.5). does this mean you don’t recommend it?

          • Kerry

            Oh, I missed that! But – it would be superfluous with this routine. I don’t think you would get much benefit from it if you’re already using a low pH cleanser and using a BHA or AHA right after cleansing. If you really wanted to use it – you could use it after cleansing, but before your acids. 🙂

  21. YAY you’re back! I think this might be my first time commenting, but I am DELIGHTED!

  22. julia

    Can’t wait for the book! And also I was wondering this the other day: does the OST Vitamin C serum exfoliate at all? It’s on my wish list but given that it can be a little harsh I’d rather not have to do any additional exfoliation.

    • Kerry

      Hi Julia! Yes, the OST does have some exfoliating properties. If you want a gentler Vitamin C, I’d recommend looking for something magnesium ascorbyl phosphate-based instead of ascorbic acid-based. 😀

      • julia

        Thank you! Have you tried the new 21.5 formulation? The Wanderlust Project did a review on it and it’s apparently a lot better then the original. Have you tried the newer formulation of the Missha TR Ampoule? I was so excited that it’s now in an airless pump then a dropper.

        • Kerry

          I have, Julia, and I agree with Sheryll – I do like the formula better! I think it’s less irritating without losing any efficacy. I haven’t tried the reformulated Missha TR Ampoule, but my plan is to pick it up soon! 😀

  23. Finally!!! Lord knows it was about time! Found your blog last year in Oct and since then have been hooked! Love love your post on the acid mantle..if we look at it..its so simple and straight forward but 99% of the time we are doing the exact opposite! After reading that article I changed changed my cleansers to the ones having low PH Cerave for how gentle and fragrance free it is..i hate fragrances in my skin care products
    I love the COVER of your book..its stunning! Of course gonna purchase it!
    Wanted one suggestion..currently I use the Estee Lauder ANRII and i absolutely love it..have repurchased twice already but wanted to give the missha one a try..since missha is having their semi annual sale..might as well take advantage of that 🙂 I have combination to acne prone you think the missha one will suit? also which other products would you recommend from missha apart from the serum and FTE?

    • Kerry

      Thank you so much, Parita! You know – I haven’t tried the new formulation of the Missha serum yet, but it’s on my shopping list. I may be picking it up during the sale as well! I also haven’t tried Estee Lauder’s ANR since they reformulated a few years back, so maybe a new Skincare Smackdown is in order for those two. 🙂 I’m also going to try out Missha’s new Near Skin Cleansing Foam, which I hear has a nice, low pH. I also love all of Missha’s sun protection products – the soft touch milk is particularly nice. Let me know what you wind up getting!

  24. Omg I’m so glad you’re back! I missed reading your posts 😉 Congrats on your book!! I’m so happy for you. Can’t wait to read about all the new products you tried!

  25. Barya

    So happy for you! And finally, a comprehensive book on Korean skincare, I shall be adding this to my Christmas list 🙂

  26. Vivian

    So glad to have you back!

  27. HML

    Kerry! So glad you’re back!! Really looking forward to new product recommendations and reviews. It’s been a hard winter, spring and early summer without you here in the blogosphere!
    Welcome back!