I rarely get a blemish- perhaps only towards "that time of the month", one or two will appear in between my brows or under my chin. But two things my skin struggles with are extreme dryness and the-recent-adult-eczema just on my cheeks. My eczema hasn't gone "hulk" on me (thank goodness), but it gets pretty close. If I don't keep it at bay. My cheeks will burn and chap, then micro pimple like dots will appear all over, as if a massive breakout is suppose to happen.
Recently, after our trip from France and after my birthday, I decided to see if the "10 Step Korean Skin Care" really worked. I craved better skin that was more evenly toned and less red.
The 10 steps included:
- Oil- based Cleanser - removes makeup/impurities
- Water-based Cleanser - removes any leftover oils/dirt/yuckies
- Exfoliate - removes excess dry skin cells and promote cell turn over
- Toner - removes excess oils, sunscreen; closes pores; evens out the skin
- Essence - adds a "moisture barrier" so serums and treatments can absorb better
- Serum - added as treatment for "skin problems"- hydrating serum, brightening serum, etc
- Mask - sheet masks or cream masks; there are various types depending on your skin's needs
- Eye Cream - treatment for dark circles or for brightening the under eye
- Face Cream - all over moisturizer
- SPF - sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun
For the record, I did not do all 10 steps every single night, but broke up the steps necessary for my day time and night time regimens. I have a huge background in beauty and skin care so I logically combined all the steps necessary for each regimen. (Luckily, I had most of these products already, just putting them together took some thinking.)
- Oil-based Cleanser- SHU UEMURA OIL CLEANSER- This is my HOLY GRAIL of all makeup removers/face cleansers. I use it every time I wear makeup- heavy or light. It breaks down even the most stubborn of waterproof makeup while leaving my skin moisturized. You're suppose to apply it to a dry face, rub all over to break down everything, then emulsify with water, and rinse. I dry off my face and do it a second round if my makeup is super stubborn.
- Water-based Cleanser- FRESH SOY FACE CLEANSER- Is it possible for a cleanser to be so soft?!? The texture is almost like Cetaphil but softer and silkier. I hate fragrances in my cleansers- especially floral ones, but this one smells like a fresher and lighter mixture roses and cucumbers. I really like it. It's not too over powering. This cleanser takes off excess dirt and oils without drying out. Oh, and it takes off makeup too! This is one is great for sensitive skin.
- Exfoliate- TATCHA RICE ENZYME POWDER- I use this once a week. Add a bit of the powder to wet hands to make a paste; scrub for a minute; rinse. It really brightens and smooths out my face. I noticed that my lotions and serums absorb better. I use my Clarisonic once a week with the "delicate" brush head (with the Fresh Soy Cleanser) to exfoliate my face. Just don't use the Tatcha and the Clarisonic on the same night or back to back nights.
- Toner- WITCH HAZEL- good old fashion witch hazel from Target. Witch hazel is a natural astringent, natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It reduces acne, redness, eczema, oils, etc. Helps even out skin tone. It's literally $2.50 at Target and is the best kind of toner you can buy. I just tilt the bottle into a cotton pad and wipe. I love using with a as a "quick-face-wipe" if I don't have time to really clean my face. There is a bit of a distinct smell to the witch hazel. It takes some getting use to.
- Essence- SK-II FACIAL ESSENCE- I didn't know what the heck essence was until I did a little more research. Essences aren't prominent in "American" skin care, but is widely accepted in most Asian skincare routines. Think of your face as a sponge- a wet sponge can absorb more water easily and faster than a dry sponge. Essence is the initial water used to fill up your skin cells so your serums and boosters can absorb them more. I really like the essence from SKII, but it's very expensive. I'm going to have to find another brand once I run out of my bottle.
- Mask- SHEET MASKS- I was able to get my hands on a TON of Korean Sheet Masks. Thank you friends for buying and gifting them to me! I absolutely love using sheet masks after a long week or after a day in the sun. They come in a variety of "treatments": collagen, brightening, purifying, hydrating. You literally just open the package and stick it on. After 15-20 minutes, just peel off and pat the excess into your face.
- Serum- LA ROCHE-POSAY HYDRAPHASE INTENSE SERUM- I picked up this bad boy at a Pharmacie in Paris. And I wished I got the whole line cuz it's that amazing for dry skin. This brand is a lot cheaper in France than here- almost 1/2 the price over there. This serum is a lifesaver. I used it morning and night while traveling around Copenhagen. It saved my cheeks from dying out in 40 degree weather. It delivers moisture to your face without leaving it too sticky. I've noticed my skin more supple and less red after a couple of weeks.
- Face Cream - EAU THERMALE AVÈNE CICALFATE- This little repair cream is made for sensitive skin. It uses Copper-Zinc Sulfate Complexes and Avène's Thermal Spring Water from France (fancy huh?). But it restores, repairs, recovers the skin. And they say it's made for babies with dermatitis and diaper rashes. So if a baby can use it, my face can too! The cream itself is very rich, so a small amount goes far. I like letting it soak in for about 20 minutes before I lay down to sleep.
- Water-based Cleanser- FRESH SOY CLEANSER- I do a light wash in the morning. Sometimes, I forgo the cleanser altogether and wash with just water.
- Essence- CAUDALÌE EAU DE RAISIN- This little spray bottle hydrates and soothes sensitive skin. I use it as a light essence in the AM. I just spray a little bit all over. While it's still wet, I apply my AM eye cream and serum.
- Eye Cream- CLINQUE PEP START EYE CREAM- I'm not a fan of eye creams, but I should really find one that I like since I'm gonna be 30 soon. My asian genes can't save me for that long. LOL. I got this eye cream as part of a gift set from Sephora's Skin Wonderland. I like the little ball that helps you roll the product onto your under eyes. I think the motion of rolling something onto your under eyes helps with the depuffing in the AM. The cream itself has hydrated my under eyes, but I think I need to go back to my old eye cream for dark circles.
- Serum- CAUDALÍE VINOPERFECT SERUM- This radiance serum is amazing! I got it as the birthday gift from Sephora. It corrects dark spots, evens out skin tone, and is non photo-sensitizing (which means you can go into the sun after without suffering). It has smoothed out the texture of my face and the color of it. I'll be buying the full bottle once I go back to Paris at the end of the year. Everything from Caudalíe is way cheaper at the Pharamcie than at home in the States.
- Face Cream- CAUDALÍE VINOPERFECT CRÈME SORBET- This little gem was included in the birthday gift from Sephora with their Radiance Serum. It's non-comedogenic (won't clog pores). It has a whipped consistency- very light and smooth. For something so light, it moisturizes my skin very well. It doesn't feel heavy either. Perfect for every skin type. I'm going to be stocking up on this little one too when we go back.
- SPF- RUDOLPH SUN FACE CREAM SPF 30- This is my HOLY GRAIL of SPF. I picked up this tube at the Copenhagen Airport, and I'm kicking myself for not buying the body SPF cream and repair sun spray. It got the Danish Beauty Award in 2015. I don't just love it because it's an awarded international beauty product. I love it because IT DOESN'T SMELL LIKE A HINT OF SUNSCREEN and doesn't leave my face oily and sticky. I HATE the way sunscreen smells, I can't stand it. This stuff smells like chamomile with fruits. It's loaded with antioxidants and helps soothes and calm skin while moisturizing and protecting it from the sun using natural and organic ingredients. It's over 72% natural and organic ingredients!
THE VERDICT: After over a month of being pretty consistent with both the nighttime and daytime regimens, I have to say that it's worked. My skin feels more supple and looks more youthful. My skin tone has even out and the redness in my cheeks has lessened.
To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to doing this routine everyday because I felt it would take an extra 10-15 minutes every time. (No one has that much time on their hands!). It did take a little more time/effort in the beginning when I was trying to remember all the steps. But after a couple times, it was like clockwork and only took an extra 5 minutes in the morning and at night.
I would totally recommend anyone to look into this amazing routine. It has help my skin tremendously. It's something I'm going to add into my life routine from now on. I'll probably change some of the products as I find better ones, but I definitely will keep all the steps.