Simplicity in Skincare: My Halmoni’s Beauty Ritual

My halmoni is a true force of nature. She was born in the hot summer of 1950, during the Korean war. Tested by the hostile atmosphere in the country, she grew up to be the fierce woman she is. A big part of her hustle meant being savvy with her beauty resources.

When I used to spend time at her house as a child, I remember that she would always end the day with something on her face - steamed towels, DIY face masks, ground potato paste, freshly-cut cucumbers, and more. One of her favorite face masks was made by throwing egg yolk, honey, perilla seed powder, and chestnut powder into one big bowl and mixing them together. Sometimes she would add in some plain yogurt or rice water if she had them on hand.

She boasted to me the other day on a phone call that when she visited the dermatologists’ office, they marveled at how youthful her skin was for her age. Her savvy skincare had worked like no other.

The best part of all this is that there is no set recipe nor measurement. Her secret is to use whatever you have on hand, and trusting your own instincts. What she learned throughout her life is that you know your skin best and the ingredients you have most accessible can often do more than store bought skincare. In other words, simple things should not be overlooked. My halmoni’s beauty tip is the embodiment of the clever and strong woman she is; she is my eternal inspiration.