Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one.
For my entire life my skin has been dry, dull, red, and super sensitive. It’s been a long cyclical pattern where products work, then they don’t, then new ones work, then my skin freaks out, then the cycle repeats itself. I’m in my mid-30s now, so I figured this was simply my plight in life.
I saw a compelling article earlier this year about the proper Korean skincare regimen, or, as I call it, Using a Million Products Every Day. It takes a solid 10-15 minutes to wash/treat my skin morning and night, but since I have all these subscription box products lying around, I figured I’d give it a whirl.
As a result, my skin is amazing.
First of all, it makes perfect sense to spend a lot of time on your face. It’s your freaking face. Second, the whole idea is to build layers of moisture and protection for your skin instead of assuming one product or moisturizer can solve all your problems (duh). It took some trial and error, but I’ve settled on a solid regimen of products that work for my dry, sensitive skin. My skin is clear, even toned, supple, and extremely moisturized. Plus, some fine lines that had been forming are now totally gone.
While you’re using a lot of products, you use very little of each as you treat and nourish your skin in small amounts. It’s especially important for me going into the cold and dry winter weather to have my skin feeling and looking great. Bring it on, wind.
Step 1: CLEANSER Obviously, your cleanser is really important. The double washing method has become pretty popular lately, but you want to make sure you find cleansers that work with your skin type. I find that using a mild oil cleanser to remove makeup is great, followed by a gentle water based cleanser to clean my skin.
HOLIKA HOLIKA Lazy & Easy All Kill Cleanser Oil to Foam ($20) – This was part of Memebox’s Gudetama box that I reviewed here. This cleanser really lives up to its name by being super lazy and easy, because it’s an oil cleanser that turns into a foam to double wash your skin in one shot. When I use a really light layer of BB cream I’ve found this to be perfect.
By the way, Memebox is a GREAT way to test out this regimen without breaking the bank. They carry a ridiculous number of Korean skincare products and they are constantly running sales. Plus, if you use this link here you will get 20% off your first purchase (just sayin’).
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser ($38) – This has been my go-to cleanser for a while and I love it as a water-based cleanser for when I need to double wash after wearing heavier makeup. It’s super gentle and non-drying. My skin is sensitive, but I’ve never had any issues with this cleanser.
Step 2: TONER After cleansing, the next step is to use a toner that’s formulated for your skin type. The key in choosing a toner is to get one that focuses on an issue that you’re having with your skin. There are toners formulated to clear skin, to moisturize skin, to absorb oil, etc. No matter what your toner does, the idea is to create a good base for the rest of your skincare products. I’ve been using a really gentle moisturizing toner from Memebox (they have so many cheap great ones), but if you want a generally great moisturizing toner to start with, you can’t go wrong with this one:
Caudalie Moisturizing Toner ($28) – This is a super popular toner. This is the most moisturizing toner I’ve found (but don’t try to sub it as a moisturizer, it’s still a toner). It definitely provides a soft base for the rest of the products I’m about to layer on, plus it helps tone your skin and smells lovely while doing it.
Step 3: ESSENCE I am absolutely in love with using an essence. It has become my non-negotiable product. A good essence will continue to condition and nourish your skin while helping your other products absorb more effectively. Adding an essence to your routine will simply make your skin better by making all of your other products work better.
May Coop Raw Sauce ($43) – This is the, ahem, essential essence. Essences are unfortunately not cheap, but they are worth every penny. I have found Raw Sauce to be my absolute favorite for the price point. Memebox has cheaper essences that are fine and totally great to get your feet wet, but this one is indesputably better.
Step 4: SERUM I’ve been using serums for quite a while, so this isn’t a new step for me, but man is it critical if you want to improve your skin. I use a different day serum and night serum, both have their own purpose, but I’d imagine a standard serum would work fine for day and night.
Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80) – There is a reason that Drunk Elephant has exactly one product for each step of this process. Their products are seriously ON POINT and need no variation. This serum alone has managed to reverse the redness in my cheeks and improved the texture of my skin. It’s a super potent vitamin C formula that firms and brightens just as it promises.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($90) – I bought this on a whim when I had some store credit to Sephora and I’m SO glad I did. Between this and the day serum, I am completely in love with Drunk Elephant products. Even from the first time using this, you’ll notice you wake up with smoother, brighter, more radiant skin. It seriously works and you use very very little, allowing this bottle to last quite a while.
Step 5: FACE OILS I currently use the Biossance precious rose oil as part of my nightly routine, but I skip it during the day because even I don’t need it twice a day when I’m layering so many moisturizing products on. I’m also not quite a face oil expert yet, so I’m using up what I have on hand from subscription boxes. I have found using an oil just makes my skin THISMUCH better in the morning. If you’re having some other skin issues, you could swap in an ampoule or something for this step.
Step 6: MOISTURIZER Aaaaand we’re finally to the moisturizer. By this point though you probably don’t need a lot of moisture (unless your skin is like mine, then you definitely do). I absolutely love Dr. Jart moisturizers, and I use a different one for day time and night time.
Dr. Jart Ceramidin Cream ($48) – You’ve probably seen me rave about this moisturizer a dozen times in past blogs. It’s my go-to moisturizer, I use it every morning. I’ve found that the entire Dr. Jart Ceramidin line is pretty amazing, but I keep coming back to this cream as a staple.
Dr. Jart Ceramidin Gel Cream ($49) – I use this one at night because when I add the face oil I just need a light moisturizer. It’s not as heavy as the full cream, but it still offers a protective barrier on your skin with its ceramidin capsules.
Step 7: MASKS I don’t have a lot of time for masks, but I do try to do a sheet mask every few weeks or so. Once a week I will use the Julep Night Shift ($27) sleep mask (it’s an old favorite).
If you’ve read this far then you must be interested in shaking things up and giving a new (though rather involved) skincare regimen a whirl. It has transformed my skin from average to downright fabulous and glowing, so I can’t speak highly enough of it.
Post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.