Ever since I’ve read Charlotte Cho’s Little Book of Skin Care, I got hooked on the Korean way of taking care of my skin. In all honesty, even if I’m a makeup artist, I’m more into skin care than makeup.
It never fails that whenever I tell some girls about the very elaborate Korean skincare system, they become horrified upon knowing all of the steps involved in cleaning and prepping my skin. It is understandably overwhelming at first, but it’s become something I always look forward to doing, especially at night!
There really are 10 steps involved, but I don’t do all 10 every day. It’s a case to case basis, depending on what your skin needs. In my case, I have dry skin, so I definitely layer up on moisture.
Here are the products currently on rotation:
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - This takes off EVERYTHING, even the most waterproof makeup. 1 pump will do. No need for cotton pads or wipes, just massage the product directly on your skin (I take more time massaging my eye area since I almost always wear waterproof eyeliner and mascara), then rinse with water.
Human Nature Bare Necessity Cleansing Balm - Watch out, Banila Co Clean It Zero! You’ve met your local, all natural match. I’ve had oil-based serums spill on my travel toiletries kit twice already, so I was really keen on trying this out. While Banila Co’s is more sherbet-like, Human Nature’s is a solid, cleansing balm. I used it during my recent travel to Japan, and the nifty container takes up very little space in my kit, I love it. No more spills! For only P375, they say it can last you up to 80 uses. Sulit!
Simple Micellar Water - A staple in my makeup kit. This is what I use to correct makeup mistakes, like mascara accidentally touching the skin. If I only have light makeup and no waterproof stuff on, this is what I use instead of a cleansing oil.
Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash - True to its name, even if it completely removes dirt, it leaves your skin hydrated and moisturized. My skin is noticeably softer when using this compared to other facial wash.
Clarisonic Mia Facial Sonic Cleansing Brush - I use this together with my facial wash. It cleans the face six times better than using your hands alone, which makes your skin more prepared for the rest of the skin care or makeup products that you’ll put.
Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion - “Lotion” is an interchangeable term for toner. I bought Hada Labo stuff last year because a friend said it’s good (plus price is pretty reasonable). I got the “Gokujyun” line, which means “extra moisturizing”. It has 3 types of hyaluronic acid to keep the skin supple. My dry skin badly needs this.
CosRX Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence - I’ve been wanting to try SK II’s Facial Treatment Essence for the longest time, but I don’t have the heart to drop $$$ for a bottle. I was told CosRX essence is SK II’s more affordable version, given that they both have the main ingredient, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate. My credit card’s thanking me for dupes!
Face Shop Sheet Masks - I snapped these up because they were on buy 1, take 1 promo. Charlotte Cho says that sheet masks are the “soul” of the Korean skin care system, but I must admit, I often forget to do this “soul” thing. You have to do it around twice a week, to replace the serum part in your skin care.
Lucas Papaw Ointment - This is an all around ointment that can be used for wounds, burns, and nappy rash, but I use it as a Iip balm. I don’t know why, but only this and Aesop’s Lip Cream (both Australian brands), are the only ones that truly leave my lips hydrated. I’ve a suspicion that the usual lip balms have ingredients in them that make your lips drier when you’re not using them.
VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Face Cover SPF 45 - A dermatologist friend told me that if you’re lazy to put on any sort of skin care product, skip everything and just put on sunscreen. That’s how important it is. I’ve been using VMV for a few years already and I’m quite happy with it. Non greasy, protects your skin from both outdoor and indoor light (yes, you still need a sunscreen indoors!), and works well under makeup.
Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Borabit Ampoule - Ampoules are like super charged serums, and a little goes a long way. Reviews say Missha’s Night Repair is a dupe of Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, and again, I picked the dupe over the more pricey one. So far, so good!
Farm Stay Escargot Noblesse Intensive Eye Cream - I already have a bit of fine lines under my eyes (blame it on genetics), so I’m on the hunt for good eye creams. I randomly picked this up at the mall because I’ve been wanting to try one with escargot or snail as ingredient. This is just so-so for me, I don’t see any noticeable difference on my undereye area after a few weeks use. The hunt continues for my HG eye cream.
Shiseido Bio-Perfomance Super Corrective Serum - I just got this one for about 80% off at an exclusive sale so it was a no brainer for me to buy. Shiseido products are always topnotch!
Hada Labo Gokujyun Moisturizer - I bought this together with the Hada Labo lotion, and this is what I use for daytime because it’s pretty lightweight. I don’t want anything heavy because I still have to put on sunscreen and makeup.
Missha Time Revolution Immortal Youth Cream - I picked this up together with the Missha ampoule, and this is what I use at night because it’s a heavier type of cream.
Most of the women I talk to about the 10-step Korean skincare system find it hard to know where to start. My personal recommendation is to first know what your skin type is and the specific issues and needs where it requires proper attention and care.
Once you know your skin type (e.g. dry, oily, combination, etc), it becomes easier to filter out the brands and products to go for. It also helps A LOT to talk about it with your girlfriends, especially in terms of getting recommendations! Of course, there’s always YouTube and blogs that you can look through for tried and tested products as well.
How about you, what are you using? Share away, I’d like to know!