Fashion & Style

Mastering the Asian Skin Care Routine

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If you haven’t used an Asian skin care product by now, you’re either: 

ONE, scared that the product will scar you;

TWO, don’t believe in all that Asia hype; 

THREE, are perfectly fine with your current skin care routine; or 

FOUR, have no idea where to start! 

And maybe, just maybe, you have no idea what a skin care routine should actually be. Don’t panic, just check out Web MDs piece on creating a skin care routine made for you. 

Now, if you do have a skin care regimen you may just need a little help integrating the new with the old.  Lucky for you, I’ve endured the painful trying out process already and have hand picked some of my favorites for you to try in your new skin care quest.

For the unindoctrinated, the current cleansing and moisturizing routine may look like this:

  • Wash with a cleanser
  • Slap on some SPF
  • Moisturize

Here’s what a Korean or Japanese skin care routine looks like: 

Morning Routine:

Water Cleanse

Toner

Essence

Ampoule

Serum

Eye Cream

Moisturize

Sunscreen

 

Nighttime Routine:

Oil Based Cleanse

Water Based Cleanse

Exfoliate

Toner

Essence

Ampoule

Serum

Sheet Mask

Eye Cream

Moisturize

 

This 8 to 10 step process can seem daunting but beautiful skin on the daily is absolutely worth the extra effort! 

Also, my current daytime and nighttime methods incorporate BOTH non-Asian and Asian beauty products so don’t feel like all of your products need to be a popular Korean or Japanese brand.

For this journey, I’ll be covering the 10 Step Night Routine 😊

One, start with an oil-based product to remove impurities. I use  NOW food’s sweet almond oil along with a “steamed” washcloth to achieve immense impurity extraction. It’s one of the best natural make-up removers and very inexpensive!

Two, use a water based cleanser, like Garnier’s Micellar Water, to achieve the double cleanse. Long used by the French to help remove make-up, cleanse and tone, micellar water is an invaluable tool to start your skin care routine, day or night. 

Three, exfoliate. I use COSRXs Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol to gently exfoliate AND tone my skin. I really like COSRXs product for pulling double duty and I love that this Korean brand focuses on ingredients and not crazy expensive packaging.

Four, would usually be a separate toner, but since I executed toning with step three, we move onto Step Five, essences.

So, I have two essence brands I use all the time because I love both. On the inexpensive end is COSRX Galactomyces Whitening Power Essence. This is a light, thin gel that literally sinks into your skin. I’ve found that if that my skin soaks it up quickly, then my face is under hydrated and that’s a greater indication of needing more water, so bonus points there. 

The second is SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. SK-II is almost $100 bucks but totally worth the investment. This water-based essence was created by Japanese scientists who went in search of the holy grail of all waters. Lucky for us they didn’t have to look too far! SK-IIs journey to water perfection actually started from the sake brewing process. Click PITERA to read more about the “miracle” ingredient.

Six, is the ampoule IF you feel you need it. Ampoules are super charged serums that you use in addition to your favorite serum when you’re having a crisis, like experiencing hyperpigmentation or have really dull skin that needs to be corrected before a big event. 

My favorite Korean ampoules are Missha Time Revolution Night Repair and Mizon’s Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule. Missha is a little thinner than Mizon but both sink right in, don’t ball up and don’t leave a residue.

Seven, serum. If you applied the ampoule, you could skip this or you can stick to the process and apply it. I use Vitamin C every day to help with skin brightening. My favorite is Vichy’s LiftActive Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector. It’s inexpensive but delivers great results. If you’re interested in what expensive but amazing for the money looks like, check out Allure’s article.

Eight, is the sheet mask that plumps the skin even more. Most masks require that you relax for 15 to 30 minutes while the lotions soak in. There are many masks to choose from but my favs are TONYMOLY I’m a Real Avocado Mask Sheet for ultimate hydration or My Beauty Diary mixed packs for different skin concerns. For an unbiased list of mask must haves, see Cosmopolitan’s post.

Nine, brings us to an eye cream to help fight fine lines, OMG wrinkles and eye circles. I’m a huge fan of Mizon’s Snail Repair Eye Cream as is the rest of the beauty world…just don’t do what my niece did and actually place a snail on your eye!

Ten, close to being almost refreshed now, I apply Shiseido Essential Energy Moisturizing Cream. This cream is perfect for oily/combo skin and slides on like butter. To help with the almost there, perfect skin feeling, I pop the jar into the fridge for a cooling effect and use a jade roller to apply.

Okay, that’s the nighttime skin care routine, all ten steps! 

But, I don’t want to leave you wondering about the products to try for the morning so below are links to my favorite day moisturizers and SPFs.

Olay’s Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream Moisturizer SPF 30. This classic staple is inexpensive and budget friendly, especially if you commit to an elevated skin care routine daily.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Oil Free Sunscreen SPF 60. If you don’t have oily skin, here’s a list by Good Housekeeping that highlights some of the best.

Yayyy!! You are now 100 times smarter about creating an Asian skin care routine than before you started. If you ever get confused, just reference the Morning Routine or Nighttime Routine Steps listed at the beginning and you’ll be back on track to what comes first, next and last!

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