I really enjoy skin care and using different products to keep my skin in good condition. I’ve had a skin care routine since I was 11 years old. Well, not really a routine per se, just an awareness that I should be using special products on my skin, not just soap and water. At that age a family member introduced me to the brand Simple Skincare. If you don’t know, they are a British brand specialising in sensitive skin products and have since exploded since I first used them at the young age of 11.
However, as much as I tried to use products that were suitable for my ‘baby Jess’ face, I did develop sensitive skin into my teens. I remember an encounter with a Garnier face wash that left my skin dry, tight and very uncomfortable. ‘Never again’ I told myself. So, there I was, in my teens, with sensitive skin. I religiously bought and used products that were for my skin type and because of such bad experiences, I was scared to try anything that wasn’t gentle, calming or moisturising.
Then, in University, I started using Korean sheet masks. I had known for several years about the magical powers of Korean skin care from watching YouTubers such as Michelle Phan and Lindy Tsang (Bubzbeauty). However, I had no idea where to get ANY of these cleansers, essences, serums or moisturisers they were talking about. I was stuck.
Luckily because of my love of a shop called Homesense, I actually managed to find Korean sheet masks. These masks were discounted from their original retail price AND they had magical skin loving ingredients. ‘What do I have to lose?’ I thought as I eagerly purchased this miracle find. So throughout Uni I continued to use Western skin care products in conjunction with my Korean sheet masks.
It wasn’t until 2018 when I moved to Korea that I began to use solely Korean skin care products. So whilst my skin has been in generally good condition throughout my life, my current routine using only Korean skin care products has built on and improved what I was already working with.
Now, onto the products I use. For information about what products are out there, how to use them and their ingredient list, my absolute go-to site is Soko Glam. They provide so much information about each product so you are well informed about what you want to buy before you even set foot into a store. They also sell and ship these products internationally. And I wasn’t even paid to say any of that, I just love the services they provide. Check them out!
Products I Use
I double cleanse by using an oil cleanser to remove oil based impurities first, then I use a cream/foaming/gel cleanser to remove water based impurities.
For my oil cleanser, I use M Perfect BB Deep Cleansing Oil from Missha. I use 2 pumps and massage that into my dry face and neck. I also add a small bit of water and massage that in too to emulsify the oil. Then I wash everything off with lukewarm water.
Next is my cream foaming cleanser. I use Rice Daily Brightening Cleansing Foam from Skin Food. It has two notable ingredients that I want to mention here. Rice Flour and Sodium Hyaluronate.
Rice Flour has a brightening effect which is great for reducing the pigmentation on my chin and my acne scars.
Sodium Hyaluronate is a humectant which attracts and holds onto the moisture I put into my skin.
So unlike some foaming cleansers, this one actually leaves your skin soothed and nourished.
For my daytime toner I use the Son and Park Beauty Water. Everyone and their momma in the Korean skin care community seems to love this multi-purpose product. I pour a little bit into my hand and gently swipe it all over my face and neck, patting it in at the end to insure it is absorbed. This is a little expensive but one bottle lasts me almost a year. Plus you get a travel size bottle with the full size. I am definitely stocked up on this for a while.
Even though I use it as my daytime toner on a day to day basis, I have used it as a water cleanser when travelling. It also has mild exfoliating properties and you can use it to remove your make up.
Toning: Night time
For my night time toner I use the Moistfull Collagen Facial Toner from Etude House. This helps keep my skin healthy and bouncy whilst it regenerates overnight. Plus it has baobab water in it. I actually look for baobab in my curly hair products so when I saw it in this toner, I was pleasantly surprised.
For my essence step I use Galactomyces 95 Tone Balancing Essence by COSRX. It helps balance out my skin tone so it looks generally smooth all over. Again we have the sodium hyaluronate and this time niacinamide. Niacinamide helps improve the condition of your skin’s barrier which helps to reduce the damage from environmental stressors. Great powerhouse product.
After my essence I use an ampoule from A’pieu. An ampoule is concentrated full of good ingredients for the skin so you don’t need to use a lot when applying it. The name of the ampoule is Madecassoside Ampoule and I use 3 drops on my face and 3 drops on my neck each morning. Madecassoside is an active skin care ingredient derived from the Centella asiatica plant and is very popular in Korea these days. It is full of anti-oxidants and speeds up skin renewal.
Ampoule: Night time
At night I use a vitamin C ampoule to help fade my acne scars and brighten my overall complexion. This is my first time using an acid in my routine so I had to introduce it gradually. Now I use it every day and I have seen a noticeable fading of my acne scars and an improvement in the tone of my skin. I highly recommend vitamin C in your skin care routine. Make sure you take precautions though. It is an acid after all.
The ampoule I use is called VitalVita12 Synergy Ampoule C from Tony Moly.
The eye cream I have recently been using is called Bee Pollen Renew Eye Ampouler and it comes in an easy to apply spring applicator wand. Bee pollen is great for healing the skin and for wrinkle prevention so it is perfect to apply around the delicate eye area. Since using this product I have noticed that my eye area has become very smooth and nourished.
If you want to read more about Bee Pollen and other products like Royal Jelly, I have provided a link to another article about the benefits of beehive products.
The last step in my routine is my SoonJung x2 Barrier Intensive Cream which I bought from Etude House. This cream is amazing. I have noticed that the tone of my face is smoother and it just looks generally healthy and strong. It contains madecassoside so I think that is doing most of the work by rebuilding the areas of my face that have been damaged by environmental factors. Cannot recommend this product enough.
I recently started using chemical exfoliating pads and they are amazing. Even after the first use I saw my complexion become more even and my face was so much softer. All the grime that had been sitting on my face was dissolved by the chemical exfoliator and I was here for all of it. I’m talking about the Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine by Neogen. Yes, this product is a little more expensive, however, you get 30 exfoliating pads in one jar and I only exfoliate twice a week. I see this product lasting for at least 2 or even 3 more months for me.
This products contains AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and therefore should not be used with another acid unless you want to risk skin irritation. Therefore, when I exfoliate I use my madecassoside ampoule instead of my vitamin C ampoule to keep my skin safe.
We’re back to what started my love of Korean skin care. The infamous sheet mask. I don’t buy boujee sheet masks, just the ones that cost 1,100KRW at Innisfree. That’s about 73p or 96¢. Even though it seems cheap, the quality of the ingredients is not. Plus my other products tend to cost more money, so it balances out if I spend less on the sheet masks. I’m currently loving ingredients like green tea, tea tree and ginseng. They seem to work better for my face compared to other masks I have tried.
I only recently got into the habit of wearing sun cream daily. I would wear sun cream when I went on holiday but when I got back to Manchester, I wouldn’t wear it daily because it was always cloudy. Since then I’ve learnt that even if it is cloudy UV rays can still harm our skin, causing it damage. So now in my second year in Korea, I have begun to wear sun cream daily on my face and neck and wherever is exposed on my body.
The sun cream I use is Waterproof Sun SPF 50+ PA++++ by Missha. I THINK it is a physical sun cream but I don’t understand enough Korean to be sure. It applies like a physical sun cream though. A little thick and it leaves an initial white cast. The white cast does fade in a matter of minutes however, so that’s good. The finish is very smooth and it’s waterproof so hopefully it will withstand my sweat when we get to the hot and humid Korean summer.
So this is my current skin routine as of April 2019. However, my routine is always changing and evolving because I love to try out new and innovative products. I actually just bought a new essence which I can’t wait to start using. It is called Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence from COSRX. I tested this out on my hand and it was quite gooey and thick but within a minute it had absorbed into my skin so I’m looking forward to how it’s going to work for my face.
Thanks for getting this far. Feel free to leave a comment if you also use some or any of these products, if you also love K skin care or if you have something to recommend. Sharing is caring. Have a lovely day.