Introducing my skincare routine! This post has been in the making for ages and I've finally stuck to a routine long enough to get a post together. I've never had perfect skin growing up and thankfully problematic teen skin was something I eventually grew out of. I don't need to wear full coverage foundations but I do have combination skin and I am still prone to the monthly spot or two. Sticking to a routine, cleansing properly and drinking lots of water has made my skin a lot more manageable. This skincare routine is pretty much my version of the Korean 10 Step skincare routine and listed in the order I would use them...
Cleansing and Toning
I love this face wash a lot and use it as my morning facial wash. I'll use it in the evenings if it's been a day when I've not worn any make up. It's very gentle, doesn't cause any break outs or dry out the skin. My skin always feels really refreshed and clean and for me, it's a no-brainer kind of product and just does the job really well.
This is the first step in my evening double cleansing routine. We're all pretty familiar with cleansing waters and they don't remove all traces of make up but it's good for first step make up removal. This is great for when I come home from work and just want to take my make up off before cleansing properly later.
I love cleansing balms and this balm really does take off every last bit of make up including stubborn waterproof mascara and I think the price is great too at £22. I wear Heroine Make mascara which I think is the hardest mascara to remove EVER and this removes it easily. It's a balm to oil formula and once you add water to it, it becomes a milky consistency. I like using a warm flannel to remove this product (which helps exfoliate too!) and it's honestly my favourite part of my evening cleansing routine. My skin feels super clean after using this and the only thing is that I wish it had some kind of fragrance as I would feel even more pampered!
Every now and then, I'll use this gentle exfoliator, sometimes in place of the cleansing balm. It's a very fine powder that you add a little water to and it becomes a paste. Rubbing this gently on the skin helps remove dead skin cells and I find it especially good for any milia. I don't really get much milia any more after sticking to a better cleansing routine, but cream blushers used to be my main culprit! After using the exfoliator, my skin feels so smooth and less dull - it's amazing. It's pricey but I share this with my sisters (one of which has super irritable and sensitive eczema and even she loves it!) and it lasts us for at least 6 months of regular use.
I'm a recent convert to Toners but they are now an essential part of my routin. The Glow Tonic and the First Aid pads have Glycolic acid in them which also acts as a gentle exfoliator. I have found that adding this step has definitely helped me to maintain a more even, brighter skin tone and has definitely reduced any spots and helped fade any old acne scars. Plus a final sweep of this will confirm that your skin is properly cleansed and free of make up.
Serums and Moisturisers
Kiehls Creamy eye treatment with avocado (AM and PM)
Eye cream is essential. I don't have any fine lines (yet) but the skin under the eye is so delicate and needs proper prep for before make up or at the end of the night. This Kiehls creamy eye treatment keeps the skin moisturised but a bit of a strange consistency. It's sort of cream to liquid but because of it's liquid consistency, it sinks into the skin really quickly. The cream doesn't claim to do much other than moisturise but to me, it's a pretty trustworthy eye cream and does what I want it to.
Missha The First Treatment Essence (AM and PM)
After cleansing and using a toner, it's great to add a little bit of moisture back into your skin. I've been using Missha Skin Essence (Korean brand) for the longest time now (this is my second bottle) and I decanted it into this little Muji Spray bottle. Turning it into a spray product is perfect because I simply just spritz some of the essence onto my face and then pat it in gently - it's really hydrating, refreshing and soothing. I've read that the essence is a great alternative to SKII's Essence which is crazy expensive! I may be tempted to try SKII when I travel back to HK later in the year though as it's cheaper.
Aurelia Revitalise and Glow Serum or Super Facialist Vitamin C Brighten Glow Boost Skin Serum (AM and PM)
Serum is one of the products in this routine where there there's an instant noticable difference in the skin. It really helps to brighten, smooth and perk up the skin a little - so perfect for pre-make up prep! I love the Aurelia serum (it's so pricey though) which helps to brighten the skin - a little goes a long way and I'm coming to the end of this now so I am being more sparing! I know how beneficial Vitamin C is for the skin and I was recently looking for a Vitamin C serum and came across The Superfacialist range in Boots. It's a lovely product that seems to last forever and I have been using this a lot lately.
I love Aesop and this moisturiser is one I have and will repurchase again and again. It's not a heavy moisturiser and more of a lotion consistency. Despite that, it almost acts like a rich moisturiser because it's so hydrating and my skin drinks it up. Some moisturisers tend to leave your skin feeling a bit dewy/sticky but this applies, sinks in with an almost matte feeling which is great in the daytime when I move on to make up.
SPF is essential but not something that I've used religiously over the years but I wish I had! I've got a few freckles on the tops of my cheeks that I can't seem to get rid of and now I am never without SPF to prevent further sun damage. I've tried a few over the years from high end Japanese brands like RMK and Sofina to regular sunscreen but this stuff is my favourite. It's a fluid so really light and I mix this with my Aesop moisturiser in equal amounts. It's great because there's no scent and blends in really well with my moisturiser.
AM wise that's my skincare done - I would then use a primer (RMK Make up base) and then pop on my usual make up!
I sometimes add a sheet mask into the mix for some added hydration - which I would use just after cleansing and toning. I've used sheet masks for years now using both Korean and Taiwanese brands and the ones above are some of my favourites. They're so convenient which is why I opt for them over clay masks usually. My absolute favourite at the moment is from Korean brand, Beyond whose masks are the most intensely hydrating ones I've tried in the longest time. Their Hyaluronic Acid mask is the best but trickier to get hold of in the UK (I get mine from Sasa in HK). My Beauty Diary masks are also a reliable option for extra moisture boost and are much easier to purchase. A really great tip is popping the mask in the fridge before you use it. So refreshing, especially in the Summer!
Other masks I've used for days when my skin needs a little extra TLC include the Innis Free Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask (Korean) I have the tube version which is much better than the pot in terms of hygiene. This has grains of volcanic clay in it so I would use this as part of an exfoliation routine. REN's Clear Calm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask (or in fact, any of the REN masks) is also pretty good too when you have any blemishes and need to calm down your skin.
The very last step are my Facial Oils and Moisturiser and the three below 3 are my go-tos. I switch between an oil and a serum every other night. Don't be scared of oils! I have combination/oily skin and they are seriously so hydrating and I wouldn't be without them for the harsher Winter months.
Dr. Organic Rose Otto Facial Serum or Clarins Face Treatment Oil (Lotus)
I still rave on about the Rose Otto oil after my initial review in this post. It's such a great find and SO affordable. It's so good for hydrating dry, Winter skin and when I wake up in the morning, my skin feels really soft and smooth. The only thing is that it does sit on your skin for a little while and it takes a little time for the oil to sink completely into the skin.
In my original review about the Rose Otto Oil, I said that I wasn't so sure I needed the Clarins Oil anymore but I do find myself reaching for this one a lot and there is definitely room for both oils. Unlike the Rose Otto oil, the Clarins oil sinks straight into the skin and because it's meant for oily/combination skin prone to acne, it's great for moisturising and helping to reduce scarring. It just feels good!
Chanel Hydra Beauty Nutrition
When I'm not using an oil, this moisturiser is the ultimate in night creams. It's especially formulated for dry skin and not actually a night cream but I like to use it as one! It's the most hydrating cream ever and er...possibly the fanciest one I've ever purchased but I loved it when I tested it in store. The range has had rave reviews and if you ever pass by the Chanel counter, do give their Micro Serum a try - it's crazy expensive but it's the best thing ever! I don't own it myself...but I'd sure like to.
So that's it! It's roughly 7 steps in the day and up to 9 steps on an evening and pretty much matches a typical Korean 10 Step routine. My missing 10th step is the added 'Emulsion' layer before night cream. I do own emulsions (Shiseido do some good ones) but I just never reach for them! When I first heard about the 10 step routine, I thought it sounded crazy because WHO has that kind of time? However, it wasn't long before I realised that I wasn't far off reaching 10 steps myself and it's actually really easy.
It's makes me cringe when I think about how much everything amounts to but while I LOVE a bargain I will also happily spend as much on a skin care product as I would on a pair of jeans or shoes. After all, it's going on my face. I always check out reviews, try testers if possible and ask friends for their advice and so far, I've purchased very few dud products - phew!
Are there any products that you swear by? I'm obsessed with trying new products, so let me know!