At the risk of sounding arrogant, I get a lot of compliments on my skin. I usually get them when I have a nice layer of BB cream on. It makes my skin look natural and dewy while still covering up any “imperfections.” But that alone does not make my skin look flawless. I’m here to tell you that a good foundation application always starts with a good skin care routine.
My special skin care routine comes from one place: Korea. You may have heard of Korean skin care before as it is a trend that has become popular in recent years. There has been a lot of buzz about five-step, even ten-step, Korean skincare routines. Well, I jumped on the trend train and it changed my skin.
Now, in America traditional skin care routines have been pretty simple with a three-step process: cleanse, tone and moisturize. And if you are going for basic, those three steps are the most important. But there is so much more you could be doing, and it’s not that hard.
Step one: Oil Cleanser
We all know that cleansing can help prevent acne and keep our faces clean. The first step for anyone looking to get shining skin is to wash your face. With an oil cleanser. To start, you can think of an oil cleanser as a makeup remover. It works to break down makeup and bring any oil-based toxins right out of the skin. Anything that you put on to your face or picked up from your environment will be washed right off with this first step. My favorite oil cleanser is the Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm from Banila Co. This product has the texture of coconut oil, which makes it relaxing to use, and it comes in four different formulas: original, purifying, revitalizing and nourishing. I would highly recommend this as a great starter for any skin type.
Step two: Water Cleanser
Yep, cleansing again. This is the second step in our routine as well as the second step in the double-cleanse method. First, we cleansed with oil and now with a water-based cleanser. Water cleansers help to remove any impurities your oil cleanser couldn’t take care of like dirt, sweat, and makeup residue. Water cleansers can come in three different forms: stick, liquid, and foaming. For example, I use a different water cleanser depending on what I wore on my face that day. If I have worn makeup I’ll use a liquid water cleanser that I spritz onto a cotton pad. These are good for getting at places you may have missed with your oil cleanser such as the sides of your face, around the eyes and the crevices of your nose. My favorite liquid water cleanser right now is Botanic Farm’s Grain Ferment Cleansing Water. If makeup wasn’t my jam that day, I opt for a stick cleanser as I feel it works better for my dry skin. I love Neogen’s Real Fresh Green Tea Cleansing Stick; it has a light smell and little dried tea leaves for some added exfoliation. This cleanser also comes in foaming form, if you need more sebum control and less exfoliation.
Step 3: Toner
Toning is one of those steps you don’t realize you miss until it’s gone. Think of toner as the pregame drink your skin has before it can go out and absorb all the moisture you’re about to give it. It helps prep the skin and balances its pH levels, which also helps to soothe. A toner I’ve been using for a long time is the Supple Preparation Facial Toner from Klairs. That name describes everything you need a toner to do, and to keep it soothing it also comes in an unscented version for sensitive skin.
Step 4: Essence
I believe that essences are one of the biggest things Americans are missing out on when it comes to skin care. Essences are so beneficial because they give your skin that extra shot of hydration, and boost your cell turnover rate—the rate at which your body sheds old cells and births new ones. This keeps you face bright, supple and soft. I’m currently using the Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence from Cosrx, but I’ve always really liked the Hyaluron Skin Essence from Hanskin as well. Those are two really great choices for all skin types, as they are both neutral and you can choose from two very popular ingredients: hyaluronic acid or snail mucin. Take your pick!
Step 5: Moisturizer
Finally, we have come to our last step and the one that tops it all off: moisturizer. A common myth about moisturizer is that it hydrates your skin. And yes, it does do a bit of that, but what makes moisturizer so important is that its main job is to seal in the moisture you already have (see why hydrating with an essence was so important now?). By extension, moisturizer also helps keep the skin plump and can prevent wrinkles. I’m currently a fan of Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream which features snail mucin, bee venom, and hyaluronic acid all mixed together with “steam technology”. I’m not really sure what that means but it sounds fancy, and most importantly it works. My all-time favorite moisturizer though is Klavuu’s Blue Pearlsation Marine Aqua Enriched Cream. It’s really good for very dry skin.
Now that you have the steps, how do you know what products to buy? And where? It can feel very overwhelming trying to find out what products will work for you. I buy my products online from Soko Glam, a company based in New York that brings products from Korea to America. They have curated a great selection of the best products out there, all premium, at reasonable prices, and all full-size. They also have specially curated ready-to-go, five-step skin care routine sets for every skin type. Each set comes with all the steps I mentioned. I recommend this as a starting point, because it can save you time and money when trying to figure out what works for your skin.
So, I’ve imparted all my knowledge to you, and now you are on your own. Go forth, purchase, and get yourself some glass skin.