My AM/PM Korean Skincare Routine

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Hello everybody! Today I have a quick post for you about how I’ve adopted a new skincare routine. I have been experimenting with products since the beginning of this year, and I think I’ve finally figured out the combination that works best for me. I have sensitive combination skin with an oily T-zone and dry patches on my temples and jaw. I also have some redness and hyperpigmentation due to eczema and acne around my jawline, mouth, and eyes. Lastly, I’m extremely prone to hormonal breakouts and closed comedones. As you can see, I needed a skincare regime that is gentle, moisturizing, won’t trigger breakouts/eczema flare-ups, and will lighten the discoloured areas. So far this routine has worked out great, and my skin is super happy! So read on if you’re interested in learning a little bit about Korean skincare!

First I’ll outline my AM/PM routines, and I’ll explain the purpose of each product in more detail. I also included a link to the lowest price I could find for each item (´ ▽ ` )ノ Please let me know if you find a cheaper price elsewhere!

Morning Routine

Nighttime Routine

 

Looks like a ridiculous amount of products, right? Compared to a typical skincare routine of cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, it certainly seems excessive. I find that in general, the approach to skincare in Korea is very different from the Western approach. In a typical Korean routine, prevention is king. Many products are applied in layers to moisturize and protect the skin, preventing blemishes and skin issues from happening in the first place. Here, I find that we tend to treat skin problems as they come up and cover bad skin with makeup rather than focusing on prevention. When I changed my approach and concentrated on protecting my skin’s natural pH level and moisture barrier, I noticed a significant improvement in my skin’s condition. So…what the heck do all these products do, anyway?!

 

Product Overview

Oil Cleanser:  Oil cleansers are used mainly to remove makeup and oil, and they leave your skin feeling ultra soft after! The Mango Seed Cleansing Butter dissolves liquid foundation, primer, lipstick, waterproof eyeliner…you name it. This stuff is seriously awesome. I was a little wary of putting such a heavy oil onto my face at first, but surprisingly it didn’t cause any breakouts at all.

Foaming Cleanser: Foaming cleansers are good to use alone when you have no makeup on, or for when you need to clean off an oily product. Mine works really well at removing the residue from the oil cleanser and any leftover makeup. Unlike most foaming cleansers, this one is actually formulated with the correct pH for your skin. I have tried tons of cleansers only to find out that the pH was all wrong, resulting in dry, irritated skin (a big deal if you get eczema like me).

Serum: In Korean skincare routines, serums are liquids with a high concentration of active ingredients that are meant to target specific skincare problems such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or redness. I use a vitamin C serum to help fade redness and hyperpigmentation. I feel like it’s also helped to fade my summer tan, which is great because I had awkward glasses tanlines. So attractive. (´ ▽ ` )ノ I also use the AHA serum to exfoliate my skin and smooth the appearance of my closed comedones. I layer my serums at night because you have to wait 15 minutes in between product applications to allow the ingredients to activate on your skin.

Toner: Asian toners are usually more of a moisturizing product when compared to the more astringent Western toners They are designed to help prepare your skin for additional  products, and provide an extra layer of moisture which is is really important in dry, cold weather. I use an AHA + BHA toner which is not very moisturizing. However, this toner helps to prep my skin for the acid products I layer on top of it, and it seems to help prevent excess sebum from coming to the surface.

Eye Cream: Ok, so most people would think your 20s is too young to start using eye cream, right? Nope. I already have eye wrinkles and hyperpigmentation around my eyes (hereditary dark circles + insomnia = puffy black eyes all the time) so I need to get working on that ASAP.  My eye cream puffs up the wrinkles under my eyes so they aren’t as noticeable, and it has a temporary brightening effect. I’ve been using this cream for a long time and I feel like it actually has lightened and de-puffed my eyes, as it does contain niacinamide (used to treat wrinkles, acne, and dark spots).

Sunscreen: I know that having brown skin is no replacement for sunscreen, but I’ll be completely honest – I never really worried about UV damage or wrinkles. Black don’t crack! Everyone in my family can easily pass for 10+ years younger than they actually are. But in recent years my freckles and hyperpigmentation have gotten much worse, so I wear sunscreen frequently. Sunscreen also helps me to stay as vampirically pale as possible, which is nice.

BB Cream: Most Korean BB creams have a decently-high SPF, although they aren’t a true substitute for sunscreen. Korean BB creams are also vastly superior to their Western imitators – I know that makes me sound like a Koreaboo, but it’s true! While Western BBs are usually closer to a tinted moisturizer, Korean BB creams are a heavier product similar to liquid/cream foundation with SPF and skincare benefits.

This is a before/after shot of my skin, taken a couple of weeks apart. I haven’t edited the the pictures at all. As you can see, the closed comedones are almost gone and the skin is less red. The texture just looks a lot smoother. Just a side note – these shots are of different cheeks, so that’s why the freckles look different haha (´ ▽ ` )ノ So yes…the Korean approach works! I’m a believer.

 

beforeafter copy

Thank you, Korean skincare.

I’ll have a post up soon about my weekly skincare routine. I also plan to do a post reviewing some of the products I’ve been using.  Thank you for reading!

❤ Chelsea Vy

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