My Skin Care Routine - from 4 products to 4 million!

This is a little bit of a personal post to plot out my goals and thoughts on my current routine.  Blogging is quite therapeutic as is any form of writing really so I'll forgive you if you just skim over this post!  

So a little while back, my skin care routine was pretty simple and looked a little bit like this.
  • Oil cleansing to remove makeup and excess dirt
  • Moisturiser
  • Sunscreen
Pretty boring and only somewhat effective.  Oil cleansing is great as it really breaks down makeup and helps get out any dirt in your skin.  It's really great at getting the dirt out of the pores in your nose too (the kind that people are mistaken to believe are blackheads but are actually sebaceous filaments).

Sunscreen is always a must, aside from diet and drinking water, it's the number 1 product to fight aging skin so I always make an effort to ensure I've got sunscreen on my face and neck in particular (and other parts of my body for extended time in the sun).

Moisturiser is a standard addition too, I have dry skin so it makes sense that I'd use a thicker formula to help right?

This is closer to what my routine looks like right now (there's been a couple of changes already since taking these photos, whoops).  It may look pretty nuts but after doing a lot of research and really starting to take my skin into consideration. I've picked up a lot of great products.  Most of these are Asian products but I still incorporate a few locally found goodies too.

A lot of inspiration and information comes from browsing /r/asianbeauty and /r/skincareaddiction on reddit.  Asian beauty (AB) products are great, you don't necessarily need to be of Asian ancestry to be able to utilise these products, they're often just budget friendly and packed full of interesting ingredients for a variety of uses.  I'm also a huge fan of Fifty Shades of Snail and love her pragmatic approach to skin care as well as her focus on anti-aging products (and how it's not just something to think about once you're over the hill)

There's a lot Snail Filtrate, Honey and Hyaluronic Acid products in AB products which are some of my favourite ingredients.  There's also not a huge selection of affordable skin care products in Australia which is why I have imported a lot of these products.

Step 1 - Removing my Makeup (Night Only)

I usually double cleanse, this means using a balm or oil cleanser to get rid of a lot of the makeup, sunscreen and dirt of the day with a potent but gentle cleanser.  My favourites at the moment are Banila Co's Clean it Zero and Kose's Speedy Cleansing oil.

Step 2 - Cleanse (Morning and Night)

Double Cleansing after using an oil or balm product can ensure that you're removing all the previous product used for that deep clean so you have no oily residue behind. Oils aren't all bad and are great for hydration, but it's not a good idea to leave the oil you've used to clean the dirt off your skin to soak back in!  I mostly use my The Face Shop Rice Water Cleansing Milk as it's quite gentle, but I'm also enjoying the Hada Labo Cleanser.

You'll want to choose a cleanser that has quite a low PH (below 8 or so), anything higher can risk stripping your skin of its moisture barrier and whilst it might feel good to be left with that "squeaky clean" skin feeling, it can cause your skin to dry out and (for some skin types) even over-produce oil to compensate.

Step 3 - Tone (Morning and Night)

Most Toners from Korea or Japan are a lot different to Toners here. Most toners I found here are almost an astringent and dry your skin right out which is really not what I need!  A lot of toners I've come across so far in AB are really quite hydrating.  This step isn't really necessary but I love the Hada Labo Gokujyun Toner SO much that I use it without any excuse.

Step 4 - Active ingredients, essences, serums and ampoules (Morning and Night, alternating use)

So here's some of the more active products used to fight or help with certain problems.  Not all of these are used daily and I often alternate.  With most products (especially AHA's BHA's and Vitamin C serums) you'll want to gradually introduce these into your routine, once every few days for example, to avoid over exfoliating.   It's also a good idea to spot test your products to ensure you don't have a negative reaction (behind the back of your ear is a great place to test products).

AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) (Night Only) - I use this as a chemical exfoliant however the efficacy of this depends greatly on the product as some can have a very low concentration or a medium-high pH which can make them ineffective.  A chemical exfoliant isn't as scary as it sounds and are actually a lot better and more gentle to use on the skin than many physical exfoliators (some physical exfoliators can have microbeads or other ingredients that are far too abrasive for your skin and can cause some irreparable damage). 

BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids) (Night Only) -  these are great for cleaning out some dirty or clogged pores which, as a result, can help with acne.  I currently use COSRX's BHA Blackhead Power Liquid but also use the Stridex Pads from time to time.

Vitamin C (Night Only) - I've recently introduced a vitamin C serum as it's claimed to be a great help for sun damage, small wrinkles and PIH (Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).  I hope that with time, this will even out and brighten my skin tone a little and help with general anti-aging troubles I have.  I've noticed some small changes to my skin pigmentation in a positive sense so I will keep on with this product!

Important - If you an AHA product in the morning, it's very important to use sunscreen if you're going to go outside, as it can can cause photosensitivity.  Some Vitamin C serums also recommend night use over daytime use as it may lessen their efficacy!

Also Important - /u/Sirah81 reminded me that you definitely need to have a wait time between between using AHA, BHA or Vit C products after cleansing.  I've read from various sources that 10-15 minutes is a good time, you should also wait about 10+ minutes if you can between using each product (if you use more than one each day).   These are also to be used before any Essence/Serums/Ampoules below :)

Ampoules (Morning and/or Night) - At the moment I'm trialling the Shara Shara Honey Bomb All-In-One Ampoule and  the Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoult (phew, take a breath after saying that).   So far I'm loving my Shara Shara Honey Bomb, it's so very sweet and hydrating.  I can't say much for any noticeable effects other than hydration though at this stage but skin care is a long and somewhat arduous process!

Step 5 - Hydration (Morning and Night)

I've got a few moisturising products that I swap between at the moment, my skin has been pretty moist since using the Shara Shara Honey Bomb that I don't use these too much.  I've always got a chapstick handy to keep my lips nice and I love the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel, it's cheap and feels great!

Step 6 - Sun Protection (Morning)

The most important step of course!  Always ensure you've got adequate sun protection, I'm always telling myself this.  I actually really love this Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen for my face because so many Australian Sunscreens are ULTRA THICK and are almost impossible to spread.  This is a great lightweight option that I go for if I'll be doing exercise, yardwork or more strenuous things outdoors.  The Biore UV Aqua Rich is a very light but awesomely potent sunscreen from Japan that slips in perfectly under your makeup so I tend to use this for days that I have a more done-up look.

Step 7 - Sheet Masks (Morning and/or Night)

A very optional step but not a bad one at all!  Sheet masks are so very trendy in Korea and many other parts of Asia, they're a fun way to introduce some more hydration into your routine or pamper yourself a bit more.  Personally I find they're little more than hydration, whilst some boast many other effects, you would probably need to use the same type of mask for a long period of time to notice any additional benefits.  In some cases, it might just be cheaper to pick up a serum that claims to do what you're looking for (such as anti-aging, brightening, acne fighting etc).

You can find masks for all parts of your body as well, hand, lip and foot masks are common but you can also actually find masks for your private parts!

Step 8 - Sleeping Packs, Spot Treatments and all other goodies! (Morning and/or night)

Once again, a very optional step and not one I do everyday.  Sleeping Packs work like an excellently thick moisturiser that you pop on before bed time and let it work its magic over night.  I'm really loving the Too Cool For School Pumpkin Sleeping Pack which sadly doesn't smell or look like pumpkin :(

Spot treatments are also great for little blemishes and what-not.  I currently use a E.L.F Zit Zapper and a COSRX Pimple patch to help clear up single blemishes that pop up to say hello.

I'm also currently using a Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Essence Oil (which I think should belong up in step 4) but it's really just an extra hydrating step that smells yummy to me.  Don't get me wrong, this oil can be used for much more - Honey, Royal Jelly and Propolis all boast amazing anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-aging and brightening benefits but these are more long term or for specific situations so it's more of a passive product.

Wow, so that's pretty much everything.  Since I'm still in the process of trialing a lot of these products, I do have more than I should but ideally i'd love to see it narrowed down to:
  • Cleanse with Kose Speedy Oil & Hada Labo Gokujyun Cleanser
  • Tone with Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion (in Japan, Toners are called Lotions)
  • AHA/BHA and Vitamin C on alternating evenings for exfoliating, brightening and repair
  • Shara Shara Honey Bomb All in One Ampoule for hydration, anti-aging, brightening and repair
  • Chapstick and Snail Recovery Gel for extra hydration
  • Sunscreen
  • Sheet Masks, Sleeping Masks or Oil for extra hydration every day or every other day
I'm still in the process of deciding whether to implement a cream specifically for under the eye.  I've read a lot of evidence both for an against having a dedicated eye cream - some believe that a cream or gel that's suitable for your skin will also work well enough under the eyes and any cream that is too harsh for your eyes shouldn't be on your face at all (they also believe that a specific eye cream is simply a marketing ploy).  Whereas others believe the skin under your eyes has a different make-up and doesn't absorb these creams quite as well and require a different formulation to be effective.

Do you think you'd be able to keep up a routine like this?  I'd actually love to read about your own routine if you want to share it because I'm always really curious on what people choose to use! 

No comments:

Post a Comment