Today’s post comes from a special guest blogger!
Hi everyone, I’m Whitney, and I’ll be guest blogging for Vanessa today. Thanks so much to Vanessa for this great opportunity to contribute to such a wonderful blog. I also have my own blog over at Beauty With Whitney. Today I wanted to offer a bit of a different perspective by going through my Asian Skincare Routine, along with some of my favorite products! My skincare routine draws heavily from Korean influence, but it can of course be used by people from different ethnicities with success.
I usually keep my morning routine fairly simple, just washing my face with water and using my Simple Light Moisturizer, a BB cream/cushion, and/or a sunscreen. If I shower in the morning, I’ll also add in a toner. I don’t like to layer too many products, since it can make my makeup more prone to sliding off during the day. So let’s talk about the more extensive night routine…
1. Cleanse using oil. I first use an oil cleanser, followed by a non-oil cleanser. This method is called double cleansing, or oil cleansing method (OCM). Oil cleansers are not as popular outside of Asia, and we seem to have a taboo against anything with oil in skincare, with oil-free this, oil-free that. But in the past few years, oils have become more and more popular with oils being used as moisturizers. However, oils can also be used for cleansing. With oil cleansing, I don’t even need to use an eye makeup remover. It’s best to apply the oil with a dry face and hands, then rub it to get the product off your face. When rinsing with water, the oil will become more of a milky color. If you apply it with wet hands or to a wet face, it won’t be as effective
My current favorite is Skin Food’s Black Sugar Cleansing Oil, which works really well for me to remove makeup. Western brands also make cleansing oils now, including the one pictured (Dior Instant Gentle Cleansing Oil). Other notable oil cleansers (not pictured) are the banila co Clean it Zero, Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil and DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. There will be a little bit of an oily/moisturized feel after cleansing, so that’s why we can follow up with another cleanser if necessary.
2. Cleanse using another cleanser.
Traditionally, a foaming cleanser is used after an oil cleanser. One tip is to pay attention to the pH of the cleanser for what your skin can tolerate. I find foaming cleansers generally a bit too harsh on my skin (I have combination skin), so I usually go for another cleanser.
The creamier ones I use on days when I don’t have any makeup on (and don’t use an oil cleanser), but for double cleansing, I usually use the Su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick. I apply the stick directly to my face, then rub it into my face with fingers before washing it off. The rose scent is different from most rose scents which took a bit of getting used to but I still enjoy.
This is a commonplace step in Western skincare, so I won’t spend too much time on it. Exfoliation helps clear away dead skin cells and make it easier for products to be absorbed. I usually exfoliate 1-2 times a week with exfoliators I get in my subscription boxes, not too particular about this. The cute peach one is my recent favorite because of the wonderful peach scent, the Baviphat All-in-One Peeling Gel..
The toner I’ve used for years upon years (since I was in elementary school – my mom’s a Mary Kay consultant) is the Mary Kay Toner. I used it when it used to be a bottle of pink liquid, before Mary Kay revamped it into a botanical effects line. Recently I’ve been testing switching to the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, but I still find myself going back to the Mary Kay Toner from time to time. Toners are very underrated and a must in my skincare routine. They help to adjust the pH level of the skin and help the skin to absorb more of the products layered on top of it. The reason I know toners are necessary is because when I don’t use it for an extended number of days (ahem, I seem to always forget this when packing), I break out something awful. Some people use toners to take off any excess residue remaining on the face with a cotton pad, but my face is usually pretty clean at this point and I don’t like to waste cotton pads, so I just use my fingers to apply.
5. Apply some eye cream.
This is pretty self-explanatory and the same as Western skincare. I have a ton of minis I just rotate between. All the eye creams I use also happen to use are also mostly Western, but I will give a shout-out to my current favorite from a Korean brand, a nicely scented AmorePacific Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel.
6. Serums, essences, and ampoules, oh, my.
The next step is for all the fancy stuff to address any particular skin concerns (e.g., anti-aging, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, dryness, etc.) Traditionally, ampoules are supposed to be the most concentrated in terms of active ingredients, with serums and essences coming after. However, more and more, it seems that this has become more of a question of terminology. In the Western world, “serum” is more easily understood than “essences” or “ampoules,” so sometimes even the same product is marketed under different names depending on the country. The general rule to follow is to apply products with a thinner consistency before those with a thicker consistency. A lot of serums may target only one skin concern, which is why multiple serums are needed. I usually stick to 1-2 just because I don’t like too much stuff sitting on my face, but theoretically you can apply as many as you want.
One of my favorites is Mizon’s Snail Recovery Gel Cream. Snail secretion/mucin is a really popular ingredient in Korean skincare, and this helps to reduce wrinkles and redness, smooth the appearance, all sorts of good things. I also really like the goodal Phytorain Murumuru Seed Hydra Serum, one of my go-to serums during the drier winter months. It contains Murumuru Seed Butter, which helps to balance and brighten the skin.
7. Seal it all in with moisturizer.
To moisturize, I will usually use a moisturizing cream or mask. This helps seal everything in and add in the needed hydration. I want to call out my favorite moisturizing product – the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, conveniently sold in the US through Target. This is light and easy to apply thinly as a regular moisturizer or more thickly as an overnight mask. I use this when my skin is especially parched, because it stings less than most moisturizers.
8. Pamper yourself with a mask.
Sheet masks are great and make me feel so luxurious when using them! These are great for nights when I’m just chilling at home and have a bit more time to spend on skincare. I like to stick these in the fridge for a few minutes before using them just to have a more cooling, calming sensation when I first put them on. You can also use a clay mask (directly before/after cleansing) or a thicker mask. Asian skincare also has masks for the body, neck, and lip area, which are less common in Western skincare.
9. Use a facial spray.
A facial spray is a great way to refresh the face and add some additional moisture. There are a lot of good Asian facial mists, but the two I have on hand at the moment happen to be the Mario Badescu Facial Spray and the Avène Thermal Spring Water. I especially like the Mario Badescu because it can double as a toner for me. and it smells like rose, my favorite.
For additional information, feel free to comment or check out my blog! I’d love to hear what you think and hear about any of your experiences with Asian skincare.
Vanessa’s Note: Thank you so much Whitney for your brilliant post today. I’m so happy that I had this opportunity to collaborate with you. I have a few more guest bloggers lined up for the rest of the summer so check back often. If you are interested in guest blogging, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.