The New K-Beauty Solution for Oily Skin

What spots? My skin after using LJH Hope for two weeks.

In my nearly 146 years as a beauty editor, I’ve learned that oily and acne-prone skin needs gentle TLC—not hardcore, surgical-level scrubbing. Using harsh ingredients and strong astringents can strip skin and actually backfire when it comes to a zit-free complexion. (Seriously, rebound oiliness is a thing; the drier your skin is, the more oil it will produce naturally.)

Which is why, instead of dousing my face in a bucket full of benzoyl peroxide, I keep my temperamental skin in check with a very disciplined and super gentle twice-a-day K-beauty regimen. My go-to routine goes a little something like this: I wipe down with Whamisa Organic Flowers Cleansing Water ($28) before cleansing with Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser ($34), which has AHAs to eliminate pore-clogging dead skin cells. (No need to double cleanse in the AM; one wash will get the job done.) Then I pat a few drops of the Yuri Pibu Parsley Herb Toner ($36) into my skin several times (ever heard of the 7-skin method?), and rotate between the LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence ($45) and Make P:rem Micro Ampoule Essence ($46) to simultaneously tackle acne and the early signs of aging (woof, like breakouts aren’t enough).

Recently, I’ve been locking it all down with the new Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer ($39), a cooling antioxidant-rich, oil-free formula that drenches my skin in hydration without ever feeling heavy. A few times a week, I also use the Blithe Patting Splash Mask Soothing Green Tea ($45) to keep gunk from plugging up my pores and the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask ($45) to give my skin an extra boost of moisture.

But despite all that, my face still gets hijacked by zits every once in a while. Blame it on hormones, stress, pollution, and that pint of Ben & Jerry’s I pounded over the weekend. Such is the plight of skin that’s naturally extra.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 taking up some serious real estate.

The good news: I’ve become a master of distraction—a bright lip does wonders to make hot, angry pimples less visible (also: a touch of green color corrector topped with a creamy concealer that matches your skin tone exactly will help MacGyver those spots virtually undetectable).

Still there, don’t care.

Even better news than that: In the world of K-beauty, there are always newer, smarter ways of treating skin conditions, including acne—and the latest launch from LJH is proof. The magic of the LJH Hope Control Emulsion and Control Cream is their ability to dial down sebum production via a special antibacterial, oil-absorbing complex called Sepicontrol A5 made from cinnamon extract. And after using the combo for two weeks, I can wholeheartedly say that I’m a believer.

Hope 5a Control Emulsion ($32)

In addition to the Sepicontrol A5 complex, this milky mattifying toner-serum hybrid is also laced with soothing witch hazel, nourishing lingzhi mushroom extract, and free radical-fighting fermented soybean to help strengthen and heal compromised skin. It instantly takes down shine, feels super silky going on, and adds a noticeable evenness to the skin. One layer on a clean face is all you really need, but if you’re super oily, you can pat on a touch more to help keep grease at bay all day.

Hope 5a Control Cream ($34)

This lightweight watery gel-cream is the perfect partner-in-crime to the emulsion: It smoothes, hydrates, and helps dial down sebum production even more. It’s also packed with brightening ginseng and vitamin C to gently fade dark spots left behind by any spots. The texture is killer and actually blew my mind the minute I swiped it on. The best thing about it is it’s all creamy and hydrating, but completely weightless and sinks in immediately to give skin a soft-focus effect without looking overly matte. You just look fresh, soft, and plumped minus the grease.

So here’s the bottom line: If you’re dealing with oily, breakout-prone skin you’re going to want to give these a try. Can’t guarantee that these two products will fix your acne for good, especially if it’s hormonally-related but they’re made without irritating ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and mineral oil, so they’re a good place to start. (Full disclosure: They contain some silicone to help mattify shine and hide the look of large pores. As an oily-skinned girl, I found that it did not irritate my skin or make me breakout at all. In fact, it did the opposite.)

Got any amazing tricks to obliterate shine and breakouts? Share them in the comments below!

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