This is part 2 of the what and why my skin care changed series. In this part I will talk about my current skin care routine and how its different from last year when I posted about How I Was Caring For My Skin. Some things have stayed the same, but a lot has changed and I am really putting a lot more time into my skin. And as I mentioned in Part 1 I am trying to take my skin care routine closer to a traditional Korean routine, or at least as close to one as I can get that works for my skin. I am getting closer, but not quite there yet.
Before I started even writing this, I thought since I had a new camera that takes better pictures it would be great to show you pictures of my own actual products that I use instead of inserting pictures from manufactures. I wanted to include at least one large group picture of it all. So I gathered up all of my skincare and I took this picture.
And then after I took all of my photos, put everything away, loaded the photos onto my computer, and edited the photos I realized I forgot to include these products:
Insert cartoon sound effects here. Waa waa waa……..photo fail. But I am totally laughing at myself because this is the story of my life.
So before we actually go over the products, lets talk about my actual routine. I feel like my night time routine is the one that is the most intense and most actual routine, so lets start there.
Night Time Routine
Step 1. If I have makeup on, I use eye makeup remover pads to remove the eye makeup. And I sometimes will lightly swipe them across my face to start the process of removing the rest of my makeup. I don’t wear makeup every day, so this is definitely a optional step for me.
Step 2. First cleanser. For me I use my foaming cleanser in this step. I know this is the step a lot of people would use either their oil based cleanser or their water free liquid cleanser, but that doesn’t work for me. I have tried several oil cleansers at this point and all that I have tried have irritated my skin. I wouldn’t go so far to say that they caused an allergic reaction, but my skin definitely didn’t like it. My skin does quite well with foam cleansers, but I do find they often leave me a little dry feeling, so this is why I decided to use it first. This may change in the future, and you need to pay attention to your own skins needs when choosing your own routine.
Step 3. Second cleanser. This is where I use my no water cleanser. I have been using one that has an aloe base, so it is moisturizing at the same time that it cleanses. Since the foam cleansers seem to be a little drying, its nice using this one second to put some moisture back into my skin. If I used it first I feel it would be pulled back out by the other cleanser.
Step 4. Toning. It took me a little while to get on board with this step. The last time I had used a toner was in my late teens and it was an American brand. It essential was all alcohol and some sort of acne treatment. I think a lot of people in the US are familiar with this sort of idea of a toner. But Korean toners are a lot different. It is actually very soothing if you choose one with the right ingredients. It is meant to open the pores and make your skin receptive to soaking in the next healthy ingredients you are about to put on it.
Step 5. Now this is where it becomes a little more tricky because I don’t do the same thing for step five every night. Five nights a week I use some sort of sheet mask, I use a variety of different ones. I just try and pick something each night that I feel treats how my skin is feeling that day. On the alternative two days I use either some combination of Ampoules, Essenses, and Serums. Again, I try to choose based on how my skin is feeling and reacting that day.
Step 6. Eye treatment. At this point I will use either an eye serum or eye cream.
Step 7. Moisturizing. You guessed it, this is where I use my moisturizer.
Step 8. Sleeping Mask. This step is only done once or twice a week. In case you are not familiar with Sleeping Masks they are more like a deep moisturizer that goes over everything else you did to seal it in. You sleep in it and wash it off in the morning.
Day Time Routine
My day time skin care routine is far less routine and I do what fits my schedule and needs.
When I first wake up:
Step 1. I wash my face using either the foaming cleanser or the no water cleanser to wake up my face.
Step 2. I use an eye cream.
Step 3. I put on a moisturizer.
Nothing too elaborate when I just get up.
When I take a shower: (most of these steps are all interchangeable and only happen a couple of times a week or so)
Step 1. This step really only happens on an as needed basis. Usually once or twice a week. Before getting in the shower I use a peeling gel on my face and a lip scrub. I use them before the shower so they can just be washed off in the shower.
Step 2. This step is the only one that is a definite that it will happen every time I get in the shower. I use my Daily exfoliating scrub on my face.
Step 3. I use my gel cleanser with my Sonic cleanser to deep clean my skin. This happens about three to four times a week.
Step 4. When I get out of the shower I use my toner.
Step 5. If I feel I need it I work in a serum or essence. Or if I have a sample of a beauty oil I might try it.
Step 6. Eye Cream
Step 7. Moisturize
So now lets talk about the actual products that I am using. Lets start by breaking it down into categories.
The sonic brush I use is the Clarisonic Mia 2. I use it with the gel cleanser listed below. While it is used with a cleanser, it does provide a deep cleaning that is much more like an exfoliation. How often and which brush head you use with it depends on your needs and skin type. This is one of the items I was using last year, but the amount that I use it has changed. I was previously using this one to two times a day, and now I am only use it about three to four times a week.
The peeling gel I use is the one in the front laying down. It is the PureDerm Clean & Fresh Peeling Gel. Peeling gels are a gel like consistency obviously. You take a small amount and rub them on the skin. As you do they start to exfoliate and ball up the gathered dead skin. Its quick and leaves your skin feeling baby soft. I have tried several peeling gels, and I like this one the best out of what I have tried. First the products consistency gives the best results. Some peeling gels are so thick that you end up having to grab double the product to get the same results. This one is a nice thinner, but not watery consistency. It spreads well and works quickly. Also it just has a nice clean scent, not heavily fragranced like some.
The daily facial scrub I use is the Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub. This was also a product I was using last year. This works well for me. I am open to trying other scrubs, and I have tried many over the years, but this has worked the best for me so far. And I know a lot of people are concerned about micro beads right now. There is no worries about that with this scrub.
My lip scrub that I have been using is Bite Beauty’s Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub. I most likely will not be staying with this one. It is not horrible, and I definitely don’t have a bad reaction to it, but it just isn’t doing the job for me. I have recently ordered a couple of lip scrubs from Beauteque to try. Don’t be surprised if you see a product review or pic on my Instagram soon.
The foaming cleanser I am currently using, and have been for the last six months is the Happy Bath Natural Facial Yogurt Foam in Fruit Essence. I like this one, and it works well, but I don’t feel married to it. I am open to trying other brands. I think foam cleansers seem pretty standard to me. I have had some bad ones in the past, but not found any that wow me yet.
The no water cleanser, pictured on the right, is one of the earlier non-mask items I tried. I have tried other brands, and may try some more in the future. But this one is so amazing, and is great for sensitive or dry skin, I can’t imagine switching. This is from Artium its their 91% Aloe No Cleanse Water. I bought this on Beauteque’s Website, however its not currently available on there. They may put it back up, but until then a similar product I was considering trying is Nature Republic Ginkgo Wash Free Cleansing Water, you might want to give it a try as I have heard great things about it.
My gel cleanser I use with my Sonic Brush is the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser. I really love the way this cleanser leaves my skin feeling, and it has a nice clean pleasant smell. It just smells like fresh cucumbers to me, not in a perfume kind of, but actual fresh cucumbers. However, I have heard a handful of people say they don’t like the way this smells and that it has a different scent to them, more like rotten pickles. I am really not sure what is making for the difference in scents people are smelling, but you will have to judge for yourself.
I only have one toner that I am currently using. It is The Face Shop’s Rice Ceramide Moisture Toner. Again I got this through Beauteque, but they don’t seem to have it on their site at the moment. I have tried several toners at this point. Again this is a product that I don’t feel tied to like I do some. They have some new toners on their site that look really interesting, and if you are looking to try a new toner you might want to give them a try too. There is the Tony Moly Goat Milk Moisture Toner and the Hanaka Camellia Hyaluronic Acid Moist Toner.
These are by far my favorite part of my skincare routine. Its like having a little mini spa moment in your own home, and there is such a variety to target all sorts of areas and problems. I use a lot of different ones and constantly try new ones because I subscribe to Beauteque’s Mask Maven Subscription Service. Often I find new masks or new brands that work really well for my skin and then I purchase the ones I like to use on a more regular basis.
So pictured above are some of my favorite masks that I use the most often. All are masks that I have discovered through the Mask Maven service and then repurchased. From left to right:
Mediheal Kiwi Apple-ade Mask – For cleaning and soothing the skin.
MediHeal Ade Cocao – This one does so much so here is the description from the website; This is a skin purifying mask that changes your skin to be clean and soft. Its purifying effect with the cacao extract and coffee extract are excellent for sebum control and pore tightening. Raw cocoa is an anti-oxidant that helps to fight free radicals. The ingredients also provide hydration to the skin. The natural cellulouse tencel sheets are highly dermotropic and fixed easily on skin. They are helpful for sensitve skin care and deliver the effects of enriched-essence softly.
Esfolio Volcanic Ash Essence Sheet Mask – For getting rid of texture on the skin. This one is not currently available on the website, but I also highly recommend any of the esfolio sheet masks. I use several other ones, this is just my favorite one for me.
Scinic My Juicy Bottle Mask – Aqua Ampoule Juice – Softens and hydrates skin. Has a pleasant cooling and tingling sensation.
Ampoules, Essenses, and Serums
I have used and tried more than just these three items, but these are the ones that are actually part of my routine now.
This first one isn’t technically a ampoule, essence or a serum. It falls more into the category of a face oil, but I am putting it here because I feel the concept is still the same for what it does. I am using the Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment. I have used this some at night, but this tends to get used more during the day. I think out of everything I have tried it does the best under makeup because it has a slightly tacky feeling on the skin, sort of like a primer would. I like this over a more traditional face oil because its less oily feeling a more of a creamy texture. The regular oil from this brand is too heavy and leaves my skin feeling oily all day.
Next you have the Milky Dress Peach Essence. I purchased this from Beauteque, but they don’t seem to have it at the moment. It is great for treating sensitive skin with redness. You can look for when it comes back in stock on Beauteque’s Milky Dress Product Page. I use this one both equally day and night, just depending on when I feel I need it.
I am also currently using the Scinic Honey All in One Ampoule. This is one of those lazy day products that are great for your skin. What I mean by lazy day, well as implied by all in one it takes the place of more than one thing. So you can use it to substitute for toner, lotion, essense, or all three. So usually on the nights I use this (and I do strictly use this one at night since the consistency is very thick and sticky) I wash my face, put some of this on, and then I moisturize and call it a day. It is used for irritated skin or if you are acne prone skin.
Eye Creams and Serums
I would say this is the one area I was previously lacking in. I was not doing anything to take care of my eye area and it shows. It is the one are where I can really start to see the signs of aging. So now I am making sure to take extra care to use good products to take care of that area.
In the morning or anytime I cleanse my skin before doing my makeup I use the Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream. I haven’t been using this one super long, but I was impressed with it enough after using the sample just a couple of times to make it a permanent part of my routine. You can definitely feel it wake your eyes up, and there is a visible difference when it goes on. I think there is something in the formula that must help reflect the light in a way so as to make the under eye area appear different.
Then at night I am alternating between two products. I don’t know that I feel tied to either of these. One is a serum and one is a moisture cream. For the longer amount of time I have been using the Clinique All About Eyes Cream. I don’t dislike it so much as I am not sure its doing as much as it should for me.
But I also recently received the Etre Belle Golden Skin Caviar Eye Gel in one of the many subscription boxes I receive. I think this one might have came out of Glossybox. I have gotten a lot of great products from Glossybox, but I am still deciding how I feel about this one. Sometimes I feel like I can see a difference and other times I can’t, but its only been a few weeks.
First up I use the LadyKin Elmaju Natural Broccoli Super Brightening Cream during the day time. It is a brightening cream that has almost a color correcting effect to it, so I like using it under my makeup. When you read about it, the description will say it whitens, but often with Koren/Asian products there is a translation issue and the words whitening and brightening are interchangeable. So don’t worry, there is no bleach in this face cream.
At night I use either the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief or the Moisture Surge Intense For Very Dry To Dry Combination Skin. Both work great, but I have a slight preference for the Moisture Surge Intense. I use whichever Sephora happens to have in stock at the time, they always seem to be out of one or the other at my local Sephora. I think the one I have in the picture is the Moisture Surge Extended. These are really intense moisturizers in a gel like consistency. They have an almost cooling sensation when you put them on. This is one of the products I doubt I will ever change. Last year I was using a Clinique Moisturizer, but I was not using this one. I was using the anti redness one. I do still occasionally use it, but with my new skincare routine its just not as necessary anymore.
About two nights a week I additionally use a night mask. I use Clinique’s Moisture Surge Overnight Mask. I love the way this one makes my skin look and feel when I wake up. My skin always feels so soft and smooth after using it.
Lip Balms and Masks
My lips stay dry constantly no matter what I do. So I try to stick with the better products that I have found, and I use even heavier mask ones at night.
So when I finish my skincare regimen morning and at night I put on this Catnip – Natural Lip Balm from Wild Rose Herbs. Yes you read that right, it is a catnip lip balm. I actually got this lip balm for the first time when I use to subscribe to the Cat Lady Box (I will save that story for another time). The tube reads: “Herbacious, fresh, and minty. May cause Kitty Snuggles.” Well in all honesty it should read will cause kitty kisses. My cats are already prone to trying to give kitty kisses, but when I have this on and they are near they will practically leap on me to give me kitty kisses. But that isn’t why I have continued to use it, because that’s really only funny the first couple of times. Its really one of the best quality everyday use lip balms I have found. Yeah I have tried some treatment type lip balms like the ones from fresh that are slightly better, and I do use those some. However these are $3.95 versus the $26 price tag on the Fresh brand.
At night right before I am about to go to sleep I use the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask. It is a more intense moisturizer. You can use it during the day, but I don’t like how thick it is for daytime use. But I do love how much moisture it puts in my lips on the nights I use it. I try to use it every night, but I forget sometimes or there have been times I travel and don’t take it with me.
So as you can see there are a lot of changes and additions to my skin care routine, but there are still a few old faithful products that have stuck in there. I definitely know that I am on the right track though because my skin has never looked or felt this good in my whole life. In the last nine months I have have had only two flare ups of my contact dermatitis, and they were so mild compared to the past. One was related to something I ate and the other was being around someone with a perfume on I had a reaction too. Those of you that follow me on Instagram or happen to be Facebook friends with me on my personal account see a lot of the pictures I post of me using my various skin care products or the makeup looks I do. But I have to say, one of the pictures that I have taken that have made me happiest is this one:
It makes really proud I suppose, to say this is me with no makeup and no filter. I’m 38 years old and I think I look damn good for 38. Korean skincare saved my skin and made my life quality better in so many ways. I wish I had a picture to show you of how bad my skin looked in the past, but it wasn’t until my skin started looking better that I realized how much I avoided the camera on days my skin was the worst and I didn’t have makeup on.
As I told you before when it comes to the products at Beauteque, that is where I buy, and where I have been buying since before I became one of their social beauties. If you want to use my discount code and help me out great, you can get 10% off your order with the code KAREN. So just my name in all capitals. But if you don’t want to use my code that is fine too, but do yourself and your skin a favor and try their products.
I like hearing from my readers. Have you tried Korean skincare? If so did it help you? Have you tried Beauteque?