Time to get down and dirty, up close and personal. I have your typical combination oily/dry skin, with an oily forehead and nose accompanied by dryness on my cheeks and around my mouth. During the muggy Georgia summers I turn into an oily slick and during the dry winters my face becomes a dry flaky mess. Alongside typical balance issues I also have large pores, occasional acne flares and dull skin. The products I choose are typically centered around lightweight hydration, which of course gets more intense during the winter months.
~This page will be updated whenever my regular routine changes.~
My A.M. routine
I woke up… Needing some help
Toner: Innisfree Balancing Skin
Korean toners and western toners are very different. Western toners tend to be loaded with alcohol in order to absorb oil and tighten pores, which also dries your skin out. I used a western toner once and it dried out my entire face while simultaneously breaking me out with a monstrous cluster of pimples. Korean toners are very gentle and are instead used to balance the skin’s pH level so that it’s ready to absorb your routine. Toners always follow after cleansing.
Quick Tip: “Skin” is often used as a word for toner (ex: Innisfree Balancing Skin)
Essence: CosRX Advanced Snail Mucin 96 Power Essence
This essence provides light weight moisture that helps reduce redness and pimples. I don’t have sensitive skin but my face gets red easily simply from rubbing, or even from taking a shower. It also helps to cut down redness from pimples. This essence helps cut down on time it takes for my skin to go back to normal while providing a deep but light hydration and fight redness from any breakouts.
Lotion: Innisfree Balancing Lotion
This lotion is nice because its specifically made for combination skin. As the name implies, it balances my skin by providing my dry areas with moisture while not making my oily areas shiny. It also helps to keep my overall sebum production down through the day.
Sunscreen: YesToCarrots Sunscreen
I know. I knowwwwww. A western brand (be prepared, there are a few in my PM routine.) To be fair it’s not because I prefer this to any Kbeauty alternative, it’s just that I haven’t had the time to research and buy a new sunscreen. Sunscreens are the hardest thing for me to shop for because they tend to leave me oily or they feel super heavy and break me out. So for now, I settled on this one until I find a Korean alternative I like with a higher SPF. Guys, ALWAYS use sunscreen!! Sunscreen is the best anti-aging product you can have because it’s preventative! Try to get an SPF of 30 or above, your future self will thank you.
BB Cream: TonyMoly Dynamic Fresh BB Cream
Guys wearing makeup! Scandalous 😀 I don’t wear this everyday, it really just depends on what I’m doing, how I’m feeling and what shape my skin is in. I like this BB cream because it’s matte and stays matte, which is a necessity for my oily spots. It doesn’t dry out or get flaky on my dry spots so that’s enough to keep me happy.
My P.M. routine
Sweet dreams are made of sheet mask~
Oil Cleanser, First Cleanse: Botanical Farm Grain Ferment Oil Cleanser
The first step of my double cleanse. Because I wear sunscreen and BB cream that are both chalky, they can be hard to completely remove. Oil cleansers make easy work of separating product from the face. I’ve gotten my sample of this oil cleanser that is in solid form and it has lasted FOREVER. It’s also very nice to massage into your face, helps you get into that relaxing moment.
Cleanser, Second Cleanse: Dermalogica Clay Cleanser
I use this to wash all the gunk that my first cleanser lifted from my skin. A western brand that I was introduced to when I work at a spa that solid mid-grade western skin care, Dermalogica is pricey but their cleansers come in huge containers. It works for both aspects of my skin, clearing excess sebum produced by my oily spots without drying out my already dry areas. This clay face wash doubles as a face mask and has a mostly balanced pH of 6, which is more balance than anything else I’ve used before. The science of pH for skincare is long and complicated, long story short: to not damage your natural skin barrier it’s recommended to have a cleanser as close to a pH of 5/5.5 as possible.
Toner: Innisfree Balancing Skin
Once again, my toner sets the stage for the remainder of my skin routine. You can brush on your toner with a cotton applicator or just use your hands. I personally prefer my hands because cotton gets caught in my facial hair and feels like old cobwebs.
Exfoliant: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid
A western chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants are great for oily skin types who suffer from acne and large pores. They help to keep the skin texture smooth and keep future breakouts at bay. With consistent use my skin is left looking amazingly smooth in the mornings. I would be wary of physical exfoliants while using a chemical, as it can easily lead to over exfoliating. Apply in the same manner as toner. You typically want to let a BHA/AHA soak into your skin for about 20-30 minutes before continuing onto your next step.
Essence: CorsRX Power Essence Snail Mucin 96 Power Essence
Hydration! Usually by now my skin is pretty red from rubbing, so naturally it’s snail time.
Ampoule: Tosowoong Propolis Sparkle Ampoule
Propolis is my long standing favorite ingredient for glowing, radiant skin. It’s full of nutrient, helps you fight acne, smooths skin texture and gives a lustrous glow. Sometimes when I feel like I need a boost of moisture and I can pull off the dewy look I’ll put a drop of this in my moisturizer. It helps that this bottle is HUGE, so I can be pretty liberal with my use of it.
SHEET MASK!: There are just so many! Check out my sheet mask quick review spreadsheet if you want to know what I think of each one I’ve used
My absolutely favorite part of my routine is also the least beautiful looking part. I use to have horrible dryness around my mouth and on my cheeks, with flaking skin that would never go away. I could never wear tinted moisturizers or BB creams because they would make the flakes even more apparent. Sheet mask, with their ability to drench the face with moisture and essence, have saved me from having to worry if I have a piece of skin having off of my cheek. I now use them pretty regularly, almost four times a week. They’re a godsend, and the sheer variety makes them a fun and every changing part of my routine. I Netflix and sheet mask for 30 minutes, or however long I feel is enough. It’s how I spend most my nights.
Cream: Burt’s Bees Radiance Night Cream with Royal Jelly
Yet another western product. Not only that, but a drugstore brand! I randomly picked this up a few years ago in a pinch and have loved it ever since. It features royal jelly, which is another bee product known for being moisturizing and giving the “bee glow.” It leaves my skin looking bright and soft. If it ain’t broken, why fix it? (Doesn’t mean I’m not going to buy other creams because I like new things~)
Sleeping Pack: Laneige Water Sleeping Pack/Mask
Sleeping packs are situational for me because sometimes I feel like it’s overkill on the moisture. On the other hand I tend to sweat tonssssss when I sleep… It doesn’t make for a great cuddling experience…. What that also means is I get dehydrated when I sleep, causing me to wake up to skin that is tight and flaky. Sleeping packs help form a layer on top of your routine to seal product in while also providing moisture. They tend to leave you shiny or sticky, so if you’re a texture person I highly suggest sampling sleeping packs before you make the dedication to buy.
Also, a note to US people look at a Laneige; Laneige products are sold somewhat commonly in the US! Product names slightly differ between the US sold products though, so don’t freak out if the name doesn’t match up to a review. Sleeping packs aren’t a thing in western skincare, so they simply renamed it “sleeping mask.” The ingredient list may also look different as far as how it’s ordered, and that’s because the US and Korean have different rules on how the order of ingredients are to be listed. They are the exact same products otherwise 🙂
The unsung heros
Wash Off Mask: Laneige Multiberry Yogurt Repairing Mask
This. Smells. Like. Heaven. I would eat it the same way kids eat scented markers because they smell good. This mask is super hydrating and leaves my skin soft and refreshed. I like to massage it into slightly damp skin and let it sit for 5-8 minutes before I rinse it off. I use mask after I cleanse but before I apply toner.
Wash Off Mask: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask
While I enjoy my clay cleanser that can also be used as a mask, I rather buy a product that’s specifically a mask. I like this clay mask a lot because its super cooling without the use of menthol, so the cooling effect doesn’t get too intense. It also doesn’t dry as harshly as other clay mask I’ve used, so when it’s times to rinse it off after 10-15 minutes it’s not cracking and rough.
Quick Tip: Don’t leave a clay mask on for so long that it completely dries out. At a certain point the mask stops sucking out the sebum from your skin and start taking your moisture.
Physical Exfoliant: Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub
I don’t physically exfoliate often because of my consistent use of my chemical exfoliant, but about once every week or two I feel like I really need to do a deep clean. If I am going to physically exfoliate I skip the chemical version and use this fine grain exfoliant. Some people have the misconception that you really need to scrub to get all the dead skin off. Don’t do that. If you do, stop it. All you need are gentle circular motions over you face, otherwise you’re scratching and damaging your skin from applying excess force.
And there you have it! That’s my current routine! Updates to my routine will have their own post to let you guys know what I love and use 🙂 Share your routines and the products you love in the comment section!
Online store to shop around at!