I recently returned home to the U.S. after spending two weeks in Ghana, West Africa. As the Director of Project Development for the Touch A Life Foundation, I have traveled to Ghana a dozen times, but each time I’m there, I’m captivated by the innate beauty of Ghanaian women.

They are gorgeous on the inside and out, to be sure, but what I observe and relish in each time is a different kind of a beauty, one that results from a culture that is less influenced by the media than my own.

Let me explain.

OMG, you look so skinny! What have you been doing? You look amazing!”

We all hear it. Whether at work, out to lunch with girlfriends, or walking around the city. “Skinny” has inundated our society and somehow we’ve completely normalized the word and its power. Upon looking in the mirror each morning — if we’re completely honest — there’s some sort of “flaw” we find within ourselves. Most the time, rather than embracing these perceived flaws we compare ourselves to those around us.

How did we get here and why do we care so much about being “skinny”?

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BB cream. CC cream. Facial mist. Snail serum. 

Chances are that if you’ve been wandering the beauty aisles lately, one or two of these have probably caught your eye. Korean beauty products aren’t something new; women everywhere, regardless of country, will often prioritize healthy, clear, luminous skin.

However, the particular routine and arsenal of products that characterizes Korean skincare can be new for most of us. With up to 24 different steps in washing, prepping and treating the face — dare we say — it might even seem slightly, intimidating?

That’s why we jumped at the chance to try beginner-friendly Laneige.