I started this blog back in 2012 when I was still a college student to share my affordable beauty tips and hacks. I basically stopped posting anything since the end of 2012 because, well, life happened. Fast forward 6 years later, I’ve graduated from college, gotten a full-time job, matured, went through a few breakups & tons of horrible dates, changed my clothing styles countless of times, and went from affordable makeup/skincare to high end and then now to a healthy mixture of both. I actually wanted to start this blog back up again because I am attending law school this fall, working fewer hours, and focusing on preparing myself for my big move to NorCal. Since going more part-time at my job a few months ago, I actually have more time to dedicate myself to the research of new and effective beauty and skincare products. I want to commit this blog to my law school journey and the beauty routines behind it.
Recently, I’ve been really getting into Korean skincare because of how gorgeous Korean women’s skins are. I also realized that Korean products utilize more innovative and natural ingredients than American skincare at a much more affordable price point. We’re talking about snail secretion, birch juice, Centella Asiatica, and so much more. Some of these names are odd and hard to pronounce but the benefits behind it are huge.
My skin is an interesting story in itself, I’ve gone through different phases of my skin throughout the years. In high school, I had flawless skin, not even one pimple on my face, I did not need to use any foundation or even much skin care products. I would take a nap and wake up with the plumpest and softest baby skin ever. Then college hits and the stress of heavy work loads, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities took a toll on my skin. I started to break out on my cheeks and would get really bad hormonal cystic pimples around that time of the month. They would go away but would leave me with very noticeable scars and discoloration. At that time, I wasn’t very informed on skin care because I never had to worry about it before, so I was just using whatever was available to me and not really paying attention to the ingredients that I put on my face. Then, in the middle of my Sophomore year of college, I couldn’t take the bad skin I had anymore so I decided to use whatever money I had to splurge on Origins products. I would spend hundreds of dollars at Origins and it really did drastically helped my skin to recover. Fast forward 3 years later, Origins no longer was effective on my skin, it really didn’t do much anymore because my skin got used to it and the positive effects stopped. Also, I couldn’t justify spending so much money for something that no longer worked. My skin was now clear and looking a lot better than before but I wanted more, I wanted plumper, smoother, and softer skin. So I started researching into new products that I can try out and came across Korean skincare. I started watching Youtube and researching on Amazon on cult favorite Korean skincare products. The first products that I bought on Amazon were the FaceShop Rice Foaming Cleanser and Mizon Snail Wrinkle Care Sleeping Pack (which I still love and use). Then after a lot more research, I went out and bought many more products to add to my skincare routine. I really enjoy the 10-step Korean beauty ritual that is popular right now and I am somewhat adhering to it. I find it oddly relaxing to double cleanse all of my makeup off and pat on different products to my skin after a long and tiring day. Below are the steps to my skin care and a list of what I am currently using to achieve glowy, dewy, and gorgeous skin. I will break it down into 3 categories for my night time routine and 4 categories for my daytime routine. Night time routine consists of double cleansing, essence, and serums/moisturizers. Daytime routine includes cleansing, essence, moisturizer, and sunscreen.
These products are my current favorites, I will describe more about them below.
I like to spend a bit more time at night to thoroughly take off my makeup and hydrate my skin to prep it for a night of sleep so the steps here are a lot more than morning time.
Honestly, what is a Korean beauty routine without a good double cleanse? I used to use Bioderma Micellar water to first take off my makeup (I still have half a bottle and still do love it/use it sometimes) but I found that there are still residues of makeup left after cleansing. Here are the products that I use:
-Heimish All Clean Balm, $19: I love this stuff, it really melts off all the makeup on my face and leaves my skin super soft. I first heard about cleansing balm through Banilo Co, the cult favorite and well-beloved cleansing balm of most Korean women. But after thorough research, I found that it uses mineral oil as the main ingredient. Mineral oil is a by-product of crude oil, which is what gasoline is made out of. Don’t believe me? Just Google up mineral oil and you will see. The beauty industry buys mineral oil because it’s cheap and can be added to any types of beauty products. I definitely do not want something like that on my skin and I actually found that it irritates my delicate facial skin. So, when I came across Heimish All Clean Balm, I discovered the ingredient list to be really awesome, it has natural ingredients and does not utilize mineral oil for its effectiveness. The price is actually a few dollars cheaper than the Banilo Co range. The texture of the Heimish balm is like melting solid coconut oil into your hands. It’s really satisfying to see it melts on your face and takes all of the makeup off. It has a sort of herbal scent and the packaging is super hygienic and adorable.
-Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, $12: I really like this cleanser because it’s super gentle on my skin and does not strip away anything, leaving my skin baby soft. I started my venture into Korean skincare with the rice foaming cleanser from the FaceShop. I still really like that cleanser but I found it to be a little bit harsher and would leave my face with that dry and squeaky clean feeling afterward.
I know I totally skipped the toner section but I haven’t really ventured into Korean toners just yet. I recently bought a toner from Secret Key and I am waiting for it to be shipped to my house so I can add that to my routine. In the meantime, I am using a cult favorite essence that was available at Sephora (Sephora no longer carries it but you can still find it online).
–May Coop Raw Sauce, $43: I love this product, I really had no expectations when I first got this product but it has become a staple in my morning and night routine. This is described as a toner, emulsion, and essence all in one, but I am just using it as an essence for now. Honestly, it’s so relaxing to splash and pat this stuff on my skin right after cleansing. It really hydrates and plumps my skin up to prepare it for the steps that come after. The texture to this is kind of watery but viscous and non-sticky, it absorbs into the skin right away. The smell is very interesting, to me, it smells kind of like subtle men’s cologne, I know some people have a different view of the smell but I honestly really like it and find it relaxing after my shower. The main ingredient in this is 93% maple tree sap and it has different botanicals and extracts for extra goodness.
Serums & Moisturizers:
This is the fun part, I have actually tried a bunch of different types of serums and oils from many different brands including Josie Maran, Tarte, Physicians Formula, The Ordinary, Caudalie, etc. Nonetheless, no matter what types of serums or oils I use, I always have to have Argan oil in my skincare steps. It is really an extraordinary oil, it hydrates, plumps, and protects my skin. Currently, I am incorporating a Vitamin C serum to my routine to help combat acne scars and discolorations and to help with the brightening of my complexion.
-Trader Joe’s Argan Oil, $7: I’ve used $50 argan oils before and many different brands of argan oils but I found that it all works the same, the only difference is the brand and packaging. Thus, when Trader Joe’s released an argan oil, I was super excited. I know Trader Joe’s has organic, good quality, and affordable products so I knew their argan oil would be excellent. I really like the Trader Joe’s Argan Oil for its price point and its effectiveness in moisturizing my skin.
-Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum Drops, $23: I recently added this to my regiment because I wanted a powerful serum to help with my discolorations and acne scars. This particular serum is a cult favorite with many Korean women and bloggers. People have raved about this so I gave in and purchased one. It was a bit too strong at first for my face, thus giving me little white heads in the morning after waking up. But I started diluting it with my argan oil and found that it’s much better that way. I wake up with fresh and glowing skin after using this. I can’t wait to use it more and see even better results. The consistency of this serum is very light and I thought that it would smell citrusy, but found that it was odorless.
-Mizon Snail Wrinkle Care Sleeping Pack, $17: This is the last step in my night skincare routine, I put this on top to seal everything in. I got this as an alternative to the ever-popular Mizon Snail Cream because I saw reviews that the snail cream is not as thick and moisturizing for night usage. I really like this because it absorbs into my skin quickly and leaves me with a super moisturizing film on top. My skin is combo so it gets oily only on the T-zone and dry everywhere else so this cream really helps to moisturize my whole face. I found that most American night moisturizers would just absorb into my skin too quickly and make it instantly dry again. This does not do that, it really does a good job of keeping my skin hydrated all night long. The texture to this is very goopy because the main ingredient is snail secretion but I really don’t mind because it doesn’t feel sticky on my face.
*I actually use an under eye serum but didn’t include it in this list because I don’t see a difference with using it. I recently bought a new eye cream to try so I will include it in the next blog post.
Day Time Routine
I usually like to keep my daytime routine very quick and low maintenance so the steps are a lot less than the night time.
-Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, $12: I use this same cleanser for day and night but without the oil-based cleanser for daytime. I used to be a bit more low maintenance (and lazy) so I literally just used Bioderma Micellar water to take off any gunk in the morning. Nowadays though, I want a bit more of a thorough cleanse so I use this cleanser instead.
–May Coop Raw Sauce, $43: Again, I also use this in the morning after cleansing so that my skin is hydrated and plump. I used to not even use an essence in the morning because I’m kind of low maintenance so I don’t want to have so many products cluttering up my bathroom. But I figured to try and incorporate this because it does such a great job of plumping my skin up for the moisturizer that follows.
-Cosrx Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion, $22: I really like this moisturizer in that it is oil-free and doesn’t make my face a greaseball when I use it. I find its light texture and consistency very attractive because I really don’t need a heavy film sitting on top of my face before my makeup in the morning. Even though this is very light, it does a phenomenal job of moisturizing my face. I have found that American morning moisturizers tend to leave my face dehydrated, especially in the winter because it’s so light. This moisturizer is also very mild because it doesn’t break me out and give me small bumps at the end of the day.
-Algenist Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF 50, $28: When I was younger, I never cared much about protection against the sun. It wasn’t until much later that I got into daily sunscreen use for my face. I always hated the typical thick and goopy sunscreen that is easily available in stores. I came across this sunscreen accidentally at Sephora, I got a small sample of it and fell in love so went back to buy the full size. It’s not Korean because Algenist is a San Francisco based brand so it’s a bit more pricey than a typical Korean sunscreen fluid you can find. I really like this because its milky consistency just melts on my face and doesn’t leave my face sticky or with a white cast. The only downside to this is the high price point for a super small tube. I did buy a different Korean brand sunscreen when I took a trip to Riley Rose so I will be testing that one out after I am done with this.
..And that wraps up my current day and night skincare routine for glowy, dewy, plump, and hydrated skin. I know it’s a bit long but I want to be able to give you thorough information regarding the different products that I use. I actually just ordered a bunch of new Korean essences, toners, and exfoliators so I will be trying those out once it arrives and makes separate posts about it. Thank you for reading!