I gotta admit, as an American, I have been very lazy with my skin. About a few years ago, using a little bar soap and rubbing it around on my face in the shower seemed liked plenty — i was young, didn’t get breakouts that often, and who really has the time??? Once I reached my twenties and I started getting more into makeup, I started realizing that taking care of my skin was going to be really important if I wanted my makeup to look good. Why put layers of heavy foundation on if you don’t have to? I was noticing that my skin looked overly dry and I was getting more breakouts. When I researched American skin care, the information was overwhelming, but so was the price. I wanted to go beyond stripping toners and greasy moisturizer and I didn’t want it to cost me hundreds of dollars.
Once I started getting more into k-dramas, I became more aware of the Korean skin care craze, and it interested me. While a few years ago, cleanser and moisturizer seemed more like a chore, I now incorporate anywhere from 4 to 10 steps in my skin care routine. While I don’t always want to do it, I know that taking care of my 30-year old skin will be worth it in the long run. I’m not afraid of getting older, but I’m also not rushing to make it come faster either!
Here is what I’m currently doing and am starting to notice a difference in my skin – I am constantly changing it around, but I try to keep the routine as consistent as I can.
Skin Type — Dry – Normal
1. CLEANSER: In the shower I use a foaming wash, currently Mizon Snail Repair Foam Cleanser, which doesn’t help me when I am having an acne moment, but cleans my skin very nicely. 1-2 times a week I will use an acne treatment cleanser, just to prevent breakouts. Right now, I’m using The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash. I don’t like using an acne cleanser every day, because it starts to overdry my skin. My skin is dry naturally, so I try to prevent it from being overdry.
2. TONER: Once I shower, I pat my face dry (don’t rub) and spritz on a little Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater. It’s not a traditional toner, but its a nice pick-me-up while I’m waiting for my current toner in the mail. American toners are very drying, but korean toners are much more moisturizing. Mario Badescu does well in a pinch, but once that is gone, I will be using the Scinic All Day Fine Pore Toner that I get with my subscription to Beauteque. Beauteque is monthly Korean subscription service bag that caters to skincare and makeup products. I’m really enjoying the service currently.
3. AMPOULE: I don’t have an essence currently, but before any serum I’ve been using the Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule. This is a completely new product to me, as I had never even heard of a ampoule. The steps that come between cleanser and moisturizer are meant to treat the skin’s problem areas, and for me I am concerned with dry dehydrated skin and hyper pigmentation. The ampoule is meant to help with that.
4. SERUM: My travel serum just ran out, but I’m waiting to try a new serum, Artnaturals Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid which will help with the hyper pigmentation in my skin. Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid are supposed to be great for your skin and I have had a lot of success with serums in the past. Both the ampoule and the serum are meant to be patted into the skin and I try to avoid rubbing as much as I possibly can.
5. EYE CREAM: Right now, I am using a generic avocado eye cream but once that is used up, I will use the Missha Super Aqua Relief Eye Cream, morning and night. This is probably one of the most important steps to me currently, as the eyes are the driest part of your face, and therefore the quickest to show signs of aging.
6. MOISTURIZER: I’m finishing a Ponds Moisturizing Lotion right now, but as soon as it arrives, I will be using the Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel. As I said before, I suffer from dry and dehydrated skin (particularly in the winter) so something really soothing and moisturizing is really good for me. Aloe Vera also calms redness, which I can get around my nose and forehead. This is also often called emulsion – they are pretty much the same thing.
7. SUNSCREEN: The final step is one that I have been the most spotty about in my skin care. I currently use the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen before I apply my makeup primer, and I’m liking it just fine. I get so little exposure to the sun and I have been too lazy to use sunscreen since I was a child. I have medium-light toned middle eastern skin and I don’t burn in the sun very easily. The more I research, the more I understand that it doesn’t really matter how little sun I get, my skin needs to be protected from it. Excess sun exposure (especially gone unprotected) will only speed up the wrinkle formation and dehydrate your skin. The one I use isn’t greasy at all, so that is a plus for such an inexpensive sun screen.
At night, I add a few steps and focus a lot on brightening and moisturizing.
8. SHEET MASK: 2-3 times a week, after my serum, I will use a sheet mask. These are very inexpensive and are a great way to provide concentrated essence to your skin, targeting specific concerns. A great option, and one I am currently trying, is to use Beauteque’s Mask Maven subscription. For about 15 bucks a month, they send you 10-12 masks to try from many brands targeting a lot of different areas. It is so worth the money for me and I like having the opportunity to pamper my skin after a long day. I just pop one and watch youtube or a drama and just chill.
9. EXFOLIATE: Once or twice a week, I will exfoliate my skin using a wash cloth, but I will be starting to use Skinfood’s Pineapple Morning Peeling Gel to get rid of the dead skin on my face. A peeling gel is a gentler way to exfoliate your skin, and is something I have never really used. This is a step I have been more willing to skip, but I’ve really been trying to not neglect exfoliation, as I don’t want to apply great moisture to my skin if it’s just lying on top of dead cells.
10. SLEEPING PACK: Almost every night, I will use a sleeping pack, which helps to moisturize my skin while sleeping. Currently, I am using Scinic’s Collagen Jelly Cream, a Japanese Sleeping Packwith Hyaluronic Acid, and Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask. I always wake up with incredibly soft skin, which for this dry skinned girl, is a dream.
I know it seems like a lot, but honestly, I really like how I feel after taking care of my skin. You can customize these steps to your own routine and needs, but don’t wait until you’re skin is in bad shape to start – start when your young, and your skin is able to bounce back quickly.
Below I will put a list of affordable skin care lines I’ve found and some youtube channels to watch if you’re interested in this process at all. I’ve really stepped up my game and I hope you do too. You deserve it!