My Daily Skincare Routine

daily skincare korean beauty routine

daily skincare korean beauty routine

Skincare has forever been an obsession of mine. I had acne and excessively oily skin when I was very young and started learning everything I could about products, procedures, medications and diets for healthy skin. My skin has evolved over the past 20+ years and my quest for knowledge now includes dealing with wrinkles, sensitivity and in some areas, dry skin. Because of my large pores and some residual acne scarring (I just can’t catch a break!), my current skincare routine focuses on cell turnover and getting glowy skin to diffuse attention away from my flaws.

My skincare routine constantly evolves as I try new products and replace current products   with more effective ones. Below is my current daily & weekly routine in details (and in order of use). If you want to try any of them out, click on the product name or click on the product carousels below.

🗝 Tip: Whether you use any of my recommended products or not, the most important advice I can give when it comes to skincare (or most things in life) is consistency. I’ve had a routine for 25+ years and almost never skipped a day. Whatever your routine is, do it every morning and every night. Consistency is a must to see results.

Morning Skincare Routine

SUPPLEMENTS: Ouai Hair Supplement (Thinning Hair)Garden of Life Probiotics (Mood+ 50 Billion)

Every morning, I wake up and drink a glass of water (for hydration & detox) and take these two supplements. I read in an interview with Jen Atkins, hair stylist to the Kardashians and founder of Ouai, that she started a haircare line just so she could produce supplements. When I read that, I knew these were no gimmick! I’ve been taking them for almost a year now, and they definitely work. I originally took the one for oily hair, which helped with my oily scalp, but the one for thinning hair makes my hair thicker and my scalp less oily. Took a month to see results.

Because of my IBS, I am always on a hunt for a good probiotic to manage my digestion (which helps keep my skin clear). I love these, because they have a very high strain count, really do elevate my mood and don’t need to be refrigerated (travel-friendly).

CLEANSER: M-61 Power Cleanse

Exfoliating is crucial for cell turnover (hello new skin), but I try to avoid physical exfoliators at  all costs ever since my eye doctor told me how dangerous they are. She constantly sees micro tears in her client’s eyes (mine included) which leads to many issues, like dry eyes. When you use scrubs with tiny granuals, even if you think you’re closing your eyes tight, some always gets in through the crevices and scratches up your cornea. I love how the M-61 Power Cleanse has a chemical, not physical, exfoliant- glycolic acid. It also never makes my skin feel tight, red or dry like some can, but it’s super effective. One wash and my skin immediately feels softer and looks brighter! I only use this in the morning, because I don’t think this works great for removing makeup, which I need in the evening.

ESSENCE: Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX

I discovered this golden brown serum when I visited the Sulwhasoo flagship store in Seoul. I knew Sulwhasoo had a long history as one of the best brands in Korean skincare, but wasn’t too familiar with their product line. When I asked the sales woman what their most popular product was, she sang praises of this serum. It’s the basis for their brand’s entire skincare philosophy.

It’s meant to be used as an additional step, before your serum. At first I wasn’t sure if an additional step was necessary, but I now swear by this step and will use it for the rest of my life! It’s that amazing! You pat it on after you cleanse to prep your skin to absorb all the products that follow. Because of the amount of medicinal herbs (huge in Korean skincare) it contains, it’s also like a multi-vitamin for your skin. I notice an immediate soothing affect as soon as I press it on. My skin become more calm and even toned. The consistency is watery and by making my skin slightly moist, it really helps absorb my next step.

🗝 Tip: If you’re ever unsure of the order you should use products (when using multiple brands it can get tricky), the rule of thumb is thinnest liquid first to the thickest cream last. This will ensure maximum absorption as thinner liquids will be absorbed by your skin faster than a cream which is meant to seal the moisture barrier.

SERUM:  Orlane Supradose Collagen

I found this serum at a pharmacy in Paris after getting a sample from the pharmacist. I tried it once and was hooked. Orlane is a storied French brand with an innovative research institute. I want my products to be effective so Orlane’s brand is right up my ally. I love how plump my skin looks immediately after applying this serum.

EYE CREAM: Sans Soucis Moisture Aqua Benefits Anti-Age Eye Contour Fluid

I found this eye fluid in a German pharmacy last year. Read more about my German beauty finds here. Sans Soucis is made in Baden Baden, a famed German spa town and close to the town that I stay at every year at Christmas time. This brand touts marine cellular skincare, which reminds me of my favorite brand, La Mer, who’s miracle broth is made from marine ferment. This eye fluid contains micro algae extract, hyaluronic acid and thermal spring water from Baden Baden. This moisturizing fluid is great for my sensitive skin and minimizes puffiness & dark circles. I also love the convenient roller ball applicator.

MOISTURIZER: La Mer The Moisturizing Matte Lotion

La Mer is my holy grail and for years the only moisturizer that I used was their original Creme de La Mer. I tried but didn’t like their other formulas like the moisturizing soft cream or the gel, but this matte lotion is a winner. I usually avoid mattifying products even though I have oily skin, because I learned in my early years that aggressively trying to fight my skin issues, just made things worse. Balance is the key for long term skin health. This lotion balances my oily skin all day, but doesn’t have that super matte, almost powder-like finish I usually see. My skin feels calm and moisturized.

LIP BALM: La Mer The Lip Balm

I hate dry lips so I obsessively apply lip balms all day. I found the key to soft lips is to moisturize right after cleansing when they are still soft and damp from the warm water. La Mer’s balm is super moisturizing, and I love the light vanilla mint scent. I just got the limited edition Cosmos balm which has a light pink hue. I hope they make more pink ones in the future (I think I bought the last pot in Chicago).

POWDER: La Mer Sheer Pressed Powder in Light

I don’t wear a lot of make up, but I usually wear a pressed power for a more polished look. La Mer’s pressed powder gives the perfect sheer coverage that still manages to hide most of my flaws. I also like how the finish is a natural, soft matte. When I mix it with the next step, my skin looks like porcelain doll skin.

FINISHING TREATMENT:  La Mer Perfecting Treatment

I recently splurged on this product in London (it’s much cheaper in Heathrow Airport than in the US). I’ve known about it for a while, but with the hefty price tag and the fact that I just couldn’t understand what it was for, I never tried it. Wow was I missing out. Although you can use this product many different ways, for me, it works best when I put it on top of my pressed powder and not before, like a primer. If I use it before, it doesn’t do much and made it hard for the powder to lay evenly on my face. But, putting it on top, basically looked like I put a filter on my face. It evened out my skin tone and gave it this really dewy, plumpness. Whenever I wear this, at least one stranger comes up to me to say my skin looks amazing- not a common thing for me. I always put my concealer on top or else this just wipes my concealer away (but not my powder).

CONCEALER: Cle de Peau Concealer Stick in Ocher

Instead of foundation, I always use concealer where needed on top of my pressed powder. This Cle de Peau concealer was one of my first luxury make up splurges. I’ve read so much about how it was the holy grail of concealers (15-Time InStyle Best Beauty Award Winner) and since I don’t buy a lot of makeup anyways, I decided to just go for it. It’s definitely worth it.

What sets this concealer apart is how seamlessly it blends into your skin. I have tried brands with 20 color choices and not found a color that matches my skin perfectly. There is an art to blending color formulas in a way that melts into skin tones. Although this product does not cater to the very dark skinned (Cle de Peau please work that!) their 6 color options would blend seamlessly into more skin tones than most companies 12+ options. What also contributes to the seamlessness is the texture. It’s a perfect creamy, matte. The moisturizing formula doesn’t draw attention to any dryness, and it never turns greasy. The soft matte looks so natural. This stick covers like a dream and brightens as well so it’s great for under the eye. It’s now formulated with SPF to provide sun protection throughout the day.

Click on the photos below to purchase (or click on the product name above).

 

Evening Skincare Routine

CLEANSER: Fresh Soy Cleanser

Of all the products on this post, this is the one that I’ve been using the longest. There is no cleanser on the market that cleans skin this thoroughly (waterproof mascara included- I don’t even own makeup remover!) while being this gentle. My skin has absolutely no redness or tightness (almost every cleanser makes me feel some kind of tightness) or residue. It has something to do with the texture, as I’ve never tried a cleanser with this kind of texture- it kinda feels like raw egg whites. I also love it’s light cucumber scent- it’s so relaxing. I always double cleanse with this at night. Once to clean off the makeup or grim and a second time to rebalance my skin.

ESSENCESulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX

I use this every morning and evening the same way.

SERUM: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

I’m a huge fan of The Ordinary and tried many of their products. I was so excited when I saw that Sephora started carrying them. This Canadian brand touts extremely effective yet affordable skin care. We’re talking under $10 for most items, including this serum ($5.90). I still struggle with clogged pores and the occasional blemish, but am so done with the harsh and drying products I used to use in my teens. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) reduces the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc PCA to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.  I use this serum every night and spot treat with the M-61 Powerspot Clear (below) when necessary.

EYE CREAM: Sans Soucis Moisture Aqua Benefits Anti-Age Eye Contour Fluid

I use this every morning and evening the same way.

MOISTURIZERCreme de La Mer

If I had to pick one item to bring on a deserted island, this would be it. I’m sure you’ve heard the hype around this creme, believe it. This moisturizer is incomparable. The basis for their miracle broth, as they call it, is marine algae ferment. One of the most nutrient dense plants in the world. When I first started using this cream 3 years ago, I had some tightness on my cheeks that was causing these fine lines to appear. Within 2 months of diligently using this creme, they disappeared. My skin has never felt so good. I feel like most moisturizers eventually dry up on my skin, and my skin goes back to a baseline. Creme de La Mer keeps the baseline of my skin balanced so it never gets tighter or drier throughout the day. It also remarkably helped control my oily skin. My skin got less shiny throughout the day. I have tried most creams on the market, and I was actually using a more expensive La Prairie cream before I switched. Now, I’ll never go back.

🗝 Tip: Creme de La Mer must be applied properly, or it won’t work. The texture is very thick like a matte vaseline. It must be warmed up between your finger tips (the white cream will turn translucent) and then pressed into the skin. If you just try to rub it on out of the jar, it will not absorb into your skin and will be greasy. Use only a pea sized amount for your whole face.

LIP BALM: La Mer The Lip Balm

I use this every morning and evening the same way.

TREATMENT: M-61 Powerspot Clear

I love this portable spot treatment. It has all the ingredient that I look for- salicylic acid to kill the bacteria, glycolic acid to slough away dead skin cells/prevent scars and witch hazel to calm the inflammation. It’s effective and never leaves me red or dry.

Click on the photos below to purchase (or click on the product name above).

 

Bi-Weekly Skincare Routine

I love using masks and honestly use them about every other day. I sometimes layer them and will use two or three, one after another, starting with a treatment one and ending with a moisturizing one. Below are my staples, as well as, a more aggressive exfoliator that I use weekly.

CREAM MASK: Blue Lagoon Algae Mask

I love this moisturizing mask. As you’ve read above, I’m a huge fan of algae/marine based products, and this one makes my face bright and glowy with once use. I leave this on until it’s translucent if I have the time (hours). I find most masks, specifically moisturizing ones, do great if left on for extended periods of time. Read more about my experience at the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland, where I got this mask, here.

SHEET MASK:  Refer to my previous post about sheet masks

EXFOLIATE: Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder (Soothing)

As I mentioned previously, I tend to stay away from any physical exfoliators, but this rice powder is so fine (yet effective) that I use it weekly. The cute packaging also doesn’t hurt 🙂

Click on the photos below to purchase (or click on the product name above).

 

Let me know if you have any questions or requests for reviews in the comments. Hair care routine coming up next!

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