• Caitlin Steiner

My K-Beauty Inspired Step By Step Skincare Routine

Updated: Mar 24



From my time in Seoul, South Korea, I have been influenced to perfect my skincare routine on levels I never thought imaginable. For the first time in my life I have actually seen real results I have had the opportunity to try out all different kinds of skincare after being a member of the Soak Lifestyle & Influencer Group in Korea run by a dear friend Judy Kim as well as trial and error from purchasing K-Beauty items on my own.


To see what's up in Korean K-Beauty Skincare you can follow them on Instagram at Soak Lifestyle.


Due to this newfound but deep-rooted skincare passion, I have gotten tons of questions over my time here on what works and what I recommend. From mostly K-Beauty - Korean skincare to some of my classic US and Australian favorites. Here are my tops!! If you currently live in Korea you can get a lot of these products for even less. I just posted where to get them online for most of the US and around the world.


For Wishtrend and Klairs products, I have an amazing discount code you can use! "37F5B97C" for 10% off your first purchase at Wishtrend.com


ExFLOIATERS:


Option 1:

SkinFood

Black Suger Face Scrub

$10.00 USD- $20.00 USD (Depending on which country you're in)



I use this scrub twice a week and it lasts an incredibly long time. There are two ways of using this product. One is after cleansing, I massage it gently into damp skin, or mix it with water/micellar water and apply. Avoid skin around the eyes and lips. Leave on for 10-15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water the other is putting it on the skin and massaging it in letting it sit for 1-2 minutes and then washing it off. The second would be to use it solely to exfoliate. Both ways work to get the skin nice and smooth. Then I would start with the morning routine below. Exfoliating your skin is extremely important to healthy skin and regular practice has made a massive difference in the overall look of my skin.

Exfoliation promotes cell turnover, allowing old dead keratinocytes to shed to allow new healthy skin to come toward the surface. It is key to exfoliate on a regular basis to keep skin as smooth, bright and healthy-looking as possible.” - Glamor Magazine


Option 2:

NEOGEN

GAUZE PEELING WINE

$27.00 USD




I use NEOGEN pads every one to two weeks or whenever I am just feeling super oily or in need of a good exfoliation. Because these pads have AHA and antioxidants in them it can make things a little tricky. I would use it on a day you're not wearing make up mid-day for a refreshing and exfoliating experience and then wait to do your night routine hours later. Because of the AHA you don't want to combine it with Vitamin C and because of the strong antioxidants you don't want to combine it with the ordinary buffet serum listed below. It is best to exfoliate with these pads in between your routines. I personally just do it when I am not doing a full skincare routine and I just want to feel fresh.


Also, if you're also using the sugar scrub or another exfoliant you should remember to only be exfoliating your skin 2-3 times per week, so maybe once or twice with the sugar scrub and once with this. NEOGEN pads leave my face feeling so refreshed. I absolutely love the feeling right after I use it.



From Soko Glam's Website:


"This is the perfect exfoliator whether you prefer chemical or manual exfoliation. With 30 single-use exfoliating pads, this product provides gentle yet effective exfoliation of dead skin cells and impurities, leaving skin smoother and clear. Dead skin cells are sloughed off the surface of the skin using the unique 3 layer pad technology, as lactic acid penetrates deep into your pores to clean out pore-clogging debris.


Its star ingredient, Resveratrol, comes from red wine and is naturally fermented, with naturally occurring AHAs that also help with the exfoliation process. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent free radicals from pigmenting or forming wrinkles on your skin. This is a Soko Glam favorite and a 2015 Soko Glam Best of K-Beauty™ Winner."


Info On Exfoliation:


How often should you exfoliate your face? Well, the absolute maximum you should be exfoliating is three times a week. "Over-exfoliate and you're likely to create tiny cracks in the skin barrier that lead to more loss of hydration and inflammation," says Zeichner


Morning Routine


1: Facewash


Option 1:

Keep Cool

Cleansing Water

$10.00 USD-$20.00 USD depending on what country you're in.


I use this after waking up in the morning or after the gym. Basically when I don't have makeup on my face and need a good cleanse. Most importantly it is very light and refreshing and doesn't strip my face of the products from the night before. It also has a calming/cooling effect and a great way to feel fresh. Another great product off this line is the Keep Cool Toner with Bamboo water.


Option 2:

Wishtrend

Acid- Duo 2% Mild Gel Cleanser

$19.00 USD

I use this WishTrend cleanser when I feel I need a bit more to rinse off the night. You can use it after the cleansing water or on its own. I tend to use it most when I feel like my skin is starting to break out. This is a low pH cleanser containing 1% LHA and low-irritation exfoliant PHA to treat pores and sebum (oil). The cleanser uses two low-irritation acids to effectively exfoliate and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects with a non-comedogenic formula for acne skin. This product is free of the most feared irritants but filled with very powerful ingredients that will help you exfoliate, eliminate bacteria and keep your face blemish-free while not strongly altering your skin barrier. This can be used at night but not on a night where you're going to use Tretinoin or Retinol.


Recommended not to use with AHA, BHA or Retinol. (This is why I use it in the morning).

If you have sensitive skin use 2-3 times per week.


When using this make sure to use SPF on your skin as this can really breakdown the first layer.


Do not use around sensitive skin, eyes or over scars.


HOW TO USE

1) After the initial cleansing, dispense an appropriate amount and form a full lather. 2) Apply over the face and cleanse in a gentle massaging motion. 3) Rinse off thoroughly with warm water.


Please feel free to use my discount code "37F5B97C" for 10% off your first purchase at Wishtrend.com


Personal update:

I usually use this gel cleanser in the morning and when I am not using vitamin c or retinol at the same time and try to keep it to 3-4 times a week and use other more gentle face wash on the other days. I usually use my peptides in the morning as they can not be combined with Vitamin C.

I use it at night when I’ve had a big night out and want to keep my skincare simple so after a cream or gel cleanser, use this and then pop on a simple serum and moisturizer or just keep with the moisturizer for a super simple routine. I try to use retinol/tretinoin every other day and vitamin C on the days in between at night. If I want to increase my retinol that week I’ll use vitamin C and switch it out with the peptides in the morning and just use a mild cleanser. I know it’s complicated but eventually, you learn what doesn’t go together and base your routine on that.

Morning With No Makeup:

(Also In my Step By Step Skincare Routine) (Scroll to bottom) 1: Micellar Water  2: Mild Acid Duo Cleanser (3-4 per week for breakout control ) (Another mild cleanser in between 3-4 times per week ex: Kora foaming cleanser) 3: Toner 4: Essence (not necessary) 5: Peptides 6: Moisturizer

Keeping with vitamin C and Retinol every other night on most nights in the serum stage (cannot combine these two).

On Big Nights Out:

(Also In my Step By Step Skincare Routine) (Scroll to bottom)

1: Cleansing Balm

2: Eye Makeup Remover 3: Mild Acid Duo Cleanser (Because I feel this gel helps with breakouts from heavy makeup) 4: Simple Vitamin Serum (no vitamin c or retinol) 5: Moisturizer  


Regular Nights- (In my Step By Step Skincare Routine) (Scroll to bottom)


2: Toner


Dr. Jart

Liquid

$39.00 USD


I use this liquid toner which is super moisturizing and preps my face for the Dr. Jart Ceramidin cream to slide right on. I feel I really need this first to make the ceramidin cream spreadable. When I am in a rush I use a cleanser, this liquid, and just the ceramidin cream itself. When I have more time, I add the serums below. This liquid often also comes together with the ceramidin cream so look out for deals with them both! Sold at Olive Young, Sephora, Dr.Jart and many other sites. You can also use the same toner as in your night routine as well for this step but as this came as a set with the cream I use this here. I really like the texture and overall experience.


3: Serum

Step 1:

The Ordinary

Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%

$34.00 USD

Now you can continue to use the other serums I have listed in the night routine here but I do find them to be a bit heavier. I was given this from my girl Allie Kang to try as this is one of her favourite serums, thanks girlie! This one is blue and a bit sticky but packed with a lot of amazing ingredients and a best-seller globally. I wait for them to completely dry first along with the cream below before starting my make up routine. The Ordinary brand is one of the most popular skincare lines on the market because its ingredients are pure and most of the product line is very inexpensive. This is actually one of the more pricier items! If your not super into spending money on skincare but think its time to start paying attention to your skin this is a fantastic line to get into. This particular serum is called Buffet because it's an absolute buffet of some of the best stuff for your skin. Do not use this in combination with Vitamin C serums or strong antioxidants as you can see from the website below. Please read about Vitamin C in my nightly routine as I switch these serums out every other night with Vitamin C depending on if I am using retinol that evening.


From The Ordinary Website:


"The "Buffet" + Copper Peptides 1% formula differs from our original "Buffet" as this formula includes a 1% concentration of pure Copper Peptides, increasing its focus on overall skin health. The natural role of these peptides as found in human plasma includes supporting a wide range of skin health functions like maintaining normal immune function, collagen synthesis, fibroblast production, and anti-inflammatory responses. The inclusion of Copper Peptides offers a natural blue tint to the formula. The total concentration of active technologies in this formula is 26.1%."


"Instead of developing a complex guide listing the compatibility of each of our peptides with each acid and Vitamin C, we have adapted the following approach to maximize efficacy for the maximum number of people:

"It is best to not use Peptides in the same routine as the following products: Direct acids, LAA (L-Ascorbic Acid aka Vitamin C)and ELAA (Ethylated Ascorbic Acid). In addition, we would recommend avoiding the use of products containing copper peptides in the same routine as strong antioxidants as well as direct acids/LAA/ELAA."



Step 2:

The Ordinary

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1 %

(Spot Treatment) (For Acne Problem Areas)

$7:00 USD



I use this product to prevent Acne by putting it in the areas around my mouth and chin and anywhere I might break out. It is said to help reduce oil so I only use it in my oily areas. For instance, my cheeks are actually quite dry so I tend to only use this in my t-zone area. This serum does have a bit of a sticky feel to it but when then combining it with moisturizer you can still put makeup on after everything drys. Do not use this in combination with Vitamin C serums as you can see from the website below.


From The Ordinary Website:


"Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity."

"Contraindications: If topical Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid and/or Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid) is used as part of skincare, it should be applied at alternate times with this formula (ideally Vitamin C in the PM and this formula in the AM). Otherwise, Niacinamide can affect the integrity of Vitamin C."


"Independent studies suggest Niacinamide is also an effective ingredient for brightening skin tone."


4: Moisturizer


Dr. Jart

Ceramidin Cream

$48.00 USD


I can not say enough good things about this cream. It is an absolute live-saver in the wintertime but great all year round. It definitely needs toner and serum to get it workable on the skin and to maximize the results but its thick balm-like texture creates a thick shield against the world. I have sensitive skin and I have been told it is because my skin barrier has weakened. One way to build up my skin barrier is with Ceramidin so I've been using it ever since and I definitely had fewer reactions.


5: Sunscreen


Klairs

Soft Airy UV Essence

$23.00 USD



This has been described as a light, non-oily and white cast-free water-based sunscreen. It feels incredibly lux on the skin as well and perfect to take on the day. It is important to add this to your skincare routine if you're walking outside at all during your day. If you're using Vitamin C during your morning or night routine then it is extra important to use SPF. Sun exposure is one of the number one causes of sun damage and wrinkles and who likes that!


Off The Wishtrend Website:


"Dear Klairs is a brand targeted to those who enjoy and need simple skincare without any harsh chemicals and additives. Klairs focuses on providing simple minimalist Korean cosmetics that are green, Eco-Friendly, basic, and providing natural makeup that does not partake in any animal testing."


HOW TO USE:

1) After cleansing, perform the full skincare routine from toner to moisturizer. 2) Once the moisturizer is sufficiently absorbed into the skin, apply the Soft Airy UV Essence over the face.


Please feel free to use my discount code "37F5B97C" for 10% off your first purchase at Wishtrend.com


6: Makeup


Tatcha

The Silk Canvas PRIMER

$52.00 USD

I personally find my skin to be a bit sticky after this skincare routine so I wait a few minutes and then apply a primer before applying makeup to my face. If I am really in need of a perfect makeup application I will wait longer to apply the primer or I will just do a more simple morning routine with face wash, toners, moisturizer and SPF. I use a few different primers that I feel can help to have a flawless makeup application. These smooth the skin and create a canvas for your foundation. They also control oil and make your make up last longer throughout the day. My absolute favorite although pricy is Tatcha The Silk Canvas Primer my second favorite is Benefit The POREfesstional Face Primer ($32.00 USD).


Night


1: FaceBALM / Make up Remover


Commleaf

Zero Made Green Cleansing Balm

$32.00 USD

This is one of the most kick-butt cleansing balms I have ever used. It is perfect for taking off makeup and getting a super clean face after a long day of wear. I put it on my face directly over my make up with a bit of water and the makeup melts right off. The smell is amazing and I look forward to using it every time. I have been trying to use more natural skincare and this falls right in line!


From The Commleaf Website:


"Cleanse on a greener level with this lightweight, effective oil cleanser! Formulated with natural ingredients such as vegetable oil to strengthen and protect your skin, green tea seed oil to clear up the skin and control acne, argan oil to improve skin condition and texture, sea buckthorn oil to enhance the skin barrier and assist in cell turnover, and neroli oil to soothe the skin, this soft, velvety balm removes makeup without leaving the skin feeling tight. Free or artificial pigments and fragrances, this hypoallergenic, skin-irritation tested balm is perfect for sensitive skin types, and all skin types will enjoy silky smooth skin after use.


This product is free of sulfates, parabens, animal products, alcohol, mineral oil, silicone, and is vegan and cruelty-free.


Note: Due to the formula’s high concentration of the anti-inflammatory blue tansy oil, the balm has a strong earthy, camphoraceous scent."


2: Eye Make-Up Remover


Neutrogena

Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

$9.00 USD

This is just a classic that I have been using for ages and nothing has really ever compared to its efficiency so far. I also get eyelash extensions so using an oil-free eye makeup remover is super key to maintaining them.



3: Facewash


Option 1:

Kora Organics

Foaming Cleanser

$30.00 USD


KORA Organics is a range of 100% Australian-made skincare products offering a blend of natural and certified organic ingredients. I personally use it for Oily/Combination skin but I would also use it for sensitive skin. I love the texture and smell of this cleanser and really look forward to using it. If your looking for an all-around great experience while it also being "Clean At Sephora" then this is one of the best ones out there.


Option 2:

Amore Pacific

Treatment Cleansing Foam

$50.00 USD

I really love the smell of this cleanser along with the overall texture. It feels moisturizing while also getting the skin nice and clean. I really like the little micro-encapsulated vitamin E beads. Amore Pacific's moisturizer and their complete skincare line are also incredible but pretty pricy, so I am just going to recommend the cleanser at this time. This is sold at Sephora or department stores in Korea.


From The Amore Pacific Website:


"A foaming cream cleanser that effectively removes makeup and impurities without stripping away moisture while helping to treat and prevent breakouts.


Perfect for normal to oily skin, this foaming cream cleanser removes impurities and makeup without stripping the skin of vital moisture while helping to treat and prevent breakouts. Olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and mango seed butter cleanse the skin thoroughly without drying it out, while natural sugars hydrate and soften. As the cleanser is massaged onto the skin, micro-encapsulated vitamin E beads deliver a burst of antioxidant protection, leaving the complexion clean and refreshed."


Option 3:

Dr. Jart

DERMACLEAR™ MICRO FOAM CLEANSER

$17.00 - $22.00 USD


The texture of this cleanser is super creamy and it feels smooth on the skin. I just put a little of this directly on my face and move it around and then apply water from my hands. I then rub it in gently and take the remaining off with a face towel. This really doesn't feel like its stripping anything bad away but giving a perfect canvas for your product line up.


3.5: MASK



I typically use a mask one to two times per week after my cleanser while relaxing at night watching TV. I personally just wait till the mask is mostly dry and then take it off. When I head to bed I start the rest of my nightly skincare routine. I have compiled a list of my favorite masks in another blog post here.


4: Toner WITH HA


IsNTree Hyaluronic Acid TONER

$18.91 USD




This is my absolute favorite toner that I have ever used. It actually feels silky opposed to feeling like the old school toners I grew up with in America. When I grew up toners were alcohol-based liquids that swept unwanted dirt and gunk off your face, typically leaving a stinging sensation on the skin and leaving you scared to try it again. Korean toners are actually nothing like that, changing the whole idea of what a toner is.


These types of toners soothe rather than agitate and leave you wanting more! Rather than drying up your face these toners cleanse, moisturize and clarify your skin as well as resetting the pH balance.


This particular toner has Hyaluronic Acid in it making it super moisturizing and very unlike any toner I've ever used. There are a number of surprising benefits to HA which can be found here for more reference.


5: RETINOL & Tretinoin

Option 1:

Prescription Tretinoin


The most common use of tretinoin is to remove acne. Tretinoin acts quickly and effectively to remove acne from the face by clearing skin pores and preventing pimples from developing as they normally would.


As well as being used to treat acne, tretinoin is used as an anti-aging product. It’s a safe, effective medication that’s been approved by the FDA and has hundreds of thousands of users every year.


Tretinoin is a stronger prescription strength cream and retinol can be bought over the counter. Both are fantastic options and results can be seen after around three to six months. I personally use Tretinoin or retinol every other night switching back and forth between this and my Vitamin C. You don't want to use Tretinoin or Retinol and Vitamin C together at the same time. On sensitive skin days, I skip the Tretinoin / Retinol step completely.


Tretinoin/ Retinol is known for being a pretty potent potion, so on the days, you apply it, swap out any acid-containing products to avoid any reactions. It can make your skin more sensitive to the sun so always apply in the evening and use SPF the next day.


Depending on your skin’s sensitivity, you may want to avoid any acids at all on the days you’re using retinol and if you’re new to it, be sure to introduce it gradually and begin with a low concentration.


Following retinol with any other topical skin care will dilute the active ingredient, vitamin A, and reduce its effectiveness.


Step 1: Wash your face and apply eye cream. An eye cream would be able to protect the delicate skin around your eyes. (But I also put a bit of cream around my eyes and I seem to be okay.

Step 2: Wait a few minutes until your skin is completely dry. This is important because if your skin is at all damp, the retinol will be able to absorb more deeply into your skin and might cause irritation. We want to apply moisturizers and serums to slightly damp skin, but never retinol.

Step 3: Take a pea-size amount of your retinol and, starting at your chin, apply with your fingertips in upward and outward motions.

Step 4: Wait 20 minutes and then start with the rest of your skincare routine. If your routine is more simple you can just finish off with a moisturizer right after instead of waiting for it to dry.

Step 5: Remember to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen the morning after.


For more info:

Tretinoin 101: How it Works, Uses, Side Effects & More

Here’s Exactly How to Use Retinol Without Killing Your Face


Options 2:

Inexpensive & Highly Efficient Option

The Ordinary

Retinol 1% Squalane

$8.00 USD



I really love this one and you can't beat the price.


From The Ordinary Website:


Retinoids reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen. They also stimulate the production of new blood vessels in the skin, which improves skin color. Additional benefits include fading age spots and softening rough patches of skin. However, it takes three to six months of regular use before improvements in wrinkles are apparent—and the best results take six to 12 months.

Read More From Harvard Health


Caution: Retinol can cause significant irritation, redness, and peeling, especially around the eyes and mouth, in the early stages of treatment while skin builds tolerance. If you have not used high-strength retinol formulas in the past, we strongly recommend that you start your retinol regimen with our Retinol 0.2% in Squalane and adjust to higher strengths of Retinol 0.5% in Squalane and Retinol 1% in Squalane as your skin builds tolerance. You will achieve the same end results without the unpleasant redness and peeling along the way.


Option 3:

Retinol Treatment + Peptides and Vitamin C Paulas Choice

Clinical Retinol

$58.00 USD


I use one of these three depending on my mood. ( Tretinoin, Retinol from The Ordinary and Paula Choice Retinol ) this being the third option. What's great about this option is it's over the counter and it also has peptides and Vitamin C in it which is a fantastic combo and bang for your buck so great to take on vacation. I also really enjoy the texture of the cream and have not had any skin reactions to it as can sometimes be common with Retinol.




6: Essence

(After 20 Mins If Tretinoin or Retinol has been applied, can apply right away if not)


Option 1:

Urang True Rose Repair Essence

$47.00 USD


This is one of the most pleasant smelling essences ever! It feels more like a serum than an essence. It features Organic Bulgarian Rose Water, which is packed with skin-benefiting vitamin C and vitamin A, and it calms the skin with its anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties. Rose flower oil nourishes skin while aloe and olive extracts help soothe and protect the skin. Urang True Rose Repair Essence is formulated without synthetic fragrances, additives, harmful chemicals or preservatives. They also seem to be selling it on Amazon in the states combined with a PREM product. Check online for deals!


Option 2:

Time Revolution

The First Treatment Essence

$52.00 USD





This product is one of the best selling in Korea and has been compared to the SK II Essence.

I have personally used it and I will say I did feel like my skin felt more moisturized. It's an absolute cult classic in Korea and definitely worth trying for yourself!


From The Soko Glam Site:


"Featured in the CUT!

Missha's best-selling essence has been upgraded to "Intensive Moist," now formulated with 90% fermented yeast, its superstar ingredient.

Fermented ingredients are at the heart of Korean skincare. This newly upgraded water-like essence is a cult favorite among skincare lovers because it's well-known to repair damage and even out skin tone in just a few weeks. This newly upgraded formula contains over 90% fermented yeast extract from Himalayan purple barley to effectively plump skin, refine texture, and reduce pigmentation -- even better than before! Ion fermentation process also ensures rapid absorption of moisture, allowing skin to retain moisture for longer and restoring skin elasticity. Niacinamide brightens and clarifies skin tone while adenosine energizes skin for more younger-looking skin. This essence will be your new holy grail!

This product has a pH level of 5.5"




7: Vitamin C Serum


Wishtrend

Vitamin C Advanced Serum



This has been fantastic for my skin and I have noticed a huge reduction to my dark spots/ freckles! Please read below of exactly how to use it as it is a bit tricky. My skin seems to be a lot more even and bright now and I will definitely repurchase this the minute I am running out. This is a product you see huge results within just a few weeks. If you're not using Vitamin C then I highly recommend you try it! I combine it with the Vitamin Maximixing creme which is designed to maximize the absorption of Vitamin E and Vitamin C for the absolute best results. If your curious about Vitamin C google some before and after photos of the use. Its really phenomenal what this product can do and this particular brand and its combination of ingredients are really fantastic. Wait 3-5 minutes before applying Ampoule. One general rule is if you give each product you use a minute to dry, it won't pill. If I have additional time I try and give a minute to each product or more like with Vitamin C.

Click here for a deal on both the Vitamin C serum and The Vitamin Maximizing Cream.


The website says to put this in the refrigerator before and after using it for the best results as it is sensitive to air, light, and temperature. They also say to use it right after purchase. I do find it difficult to take it in and out of the fridge but it has a nice cooling sensation which feels fantastic. I have kept it out of the fridge here and there and it still seems to be working well it just gets a little bit sugary and oxidised from the air around the rim.


If you do use this serum as part of your morning routine be sure to use SPF.


Recommended not to use with exfoliants including AHA or BHA. Also, do not use it when Retinol, Benzoyl Prooxid or Niacinamide.


From The Zoe Report Website:


"To start, vitamin C helps reduce complexion concerns like dullness, uneven skin tone, acne scars, and texture. “Vitamin C is an essential part of skin health. It’s an antioxidant and a critical factor for collagen synthesis,” Dr. Hadley King M.D., F.A.A.D., a clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, tells TZR. Underneath the skin, vitamin C decreases photodamage (a fancy word for dark spots) and is essential for healing wounds. “It also protects the skin from free radicals from sources like pollution,” she says. With regular and correct use, you’ll see noticeable results like brighter skin and fading dark spots that resulted from U.V. radiation."


From The Wishtrend Website:


This high concentration vitamin ampoule is made with 70% Vitamin Tree Water and 21.5% Pure Vitamin C to deliver the concentrated effects of vitamin C to the skin. The serum removes dead skin cells to even out the skin tone and brightens the complexion.


Please feel free to use my discount code "37F5B97C" for 10% off your first purchase at Wishtrend.com



How to use Vitamin C:

Now, this is when things get tricky...


The easy way:

-You don't want to use Tretinoin or Retinol and Vitamin C together at the same time.

-One way to handle this is you can alternate days, Vitamin C one day and Tretinoin or Retinol on the other day.

-On the days you don't use Tretinoin or Retinol at night you should use Vitamin C in the serum stage of your routine, then move on to the Ampoule and Wishtrend Vitamin Maximizing Cream, Eye Cream, Moisturizer, and Face Oil. I tend to only use the Wishtrend Vitamin Maximizing Cream when I am using the Vitamin C serum.


The Vitamin C Maximizing Way:

-Now, If you want to use Vitamin C every day, on the days you're going to use the Tretinoin or Retinol at night just move this serum to your morning routine IN PLACE OF BOTH SERUMS (The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides and The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1). Then use Ampoule and Wishtrends Vitamin Maximizing Cream and finish off with a simple moisturizer for maximum results.)


Please see the bottom of this article for my exact step by step to make things a little easier.


8: Ampoule


Wishtrend

Polyphenols In Propolis 15% Ampoule

$32.00 USD


I really love all of Wishtrends products as they are high/correct amounts of each essential ingredient per product. I never knew a ton about ampoules but over the past few years, I have started adding them into my routine for an even more efficient effect. Use this ampoule 3-5 minutes after your vitamin serums have been absorbed for the best results. (If you have time you can wait even longer or less if you have less time) This ampoule contains Houttuynia Cordata Extract effective in soothing acne instead of water and 15% Propolis with powerful antioxidant effects. The product improves acne and sensitive skin through powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and immune system enhancement.


Please feel free to use my discount code "37F5B97C" for 10% off your first purchase at Wishtrend.com


9: Serum


Urang

Vitamin Oil Serum



This serum is so silky and with its nice oil texture, it feels moisturizing instead of sticky. It is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids and used to brighten and improve skin texture. I absolutely love using this in combination with my Vitamin C oil for a well-rounded dose of skin goodies.


From The OhHolly Website:


"Age-defying, multitasking oil serum. Rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids, Urang Vitamin Oil Serum is a lightweight yet powerful blend of oils that target signs of aging. The main ingredients, jojoba and rosehip oils, are packed with linolenic acids, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B-carotene, and vitamin E that penetrate deeply and quickly to nourish and repair skin. While noticeably brightening and improving skin texture, rosehip oil also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and discoloration, leaving your skin naturally glowing and radiant. Made for all skin types. EWG verified, 97.6% organic, Vitamin Oil Serum is vegan and formulated without synthetic fragrances, additives, harmful chemicals or preservatives. Use within 8 months of opening."


10: Vitamin Cream

Wishtrend

Vitamin 75 Maximizing Cream

$28.00 USD


This is one of my favorite products in my routine where I saw instant results in just a few weeks of using it. I use this right before my moisturizer at the end of my routine. You do have to use this in combination with your vitamin C serum as this cream is designed to maximize the absorption of Vitamin E and Vitamin C for synergetic effects of brightening and exfoliation.


Check out this cool video for a little more explanation on Vitamin C and Vitamin Maximizing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B9Y0fUirZ8


From The Wishtrend Website:


"This vitamin cream is fortified with 75% Vitamin Tree Water in place of water. Vitamin Tree Water helps brighten and clarify the skin while Vitamin E provides soothing and moisturization. The soft balm formula recharges moisture and absorbs lightly without stickiness to create silky smooth skin."


Please feel free to use my discount code "37F5B97C" for 10% off your first purchase at Wishtrend.com


11: Eye Cream


Nooni

Brighten- UP 3-in-1 radiance eye serum

$25.00 USD


This eye cream is really refreshing! The Applicator features three metal rollerballs that gently massage the skin, while a brightening serum visibly perks up the under eyes. It also feels like it has a slight cooling sensation which can help to de-puff! This is a K-beauty item and is featured with Memebox, another really cool brand box! I Squeeze the tube to apply a generous, even amount under the eyes and using a circular motion, massage with the rollerballs for 20-30 seconds. It doesn't sick in right after applying so just lightly tap it in after use.


From The Memebox Website:


-Vitamin C is known to visibly brighten the skin

-Flower extract helps address discoloration and hyperpigmentation

-Bisabolol, an essential oil extracted from chamomile, works to moisturize and calm the skin


12: Moisturizer


Option 1:

Urang

Rose Ceramide Cream

$44.00 USD or $26.99 at Costco

This is my current go-to because it has Ceramide in it and I feel I really benefit from it as it helps to strengthen my skin barrier. It has a super thick, luxurious texture to it and feels incredibly moisturizing.


From The Website:

Just what your skin needs. With the perfect blend of soothing rosewater, nourishing rose flower oil and skin-protecting ceramide, Urang Rose Ceramide Cream delivers intense long-lasting moisture for all skin types. Non-greasy and fast-absorbing, this amazingly soothing cream keeps skin plumped with all-day, time-release moisture. Every ingredient used in this nature’s wonder cream is safe and gentle with the EWG rating of 1. Organic rose water hydrates and calms dry, red and irritated skin while ceramide restores lipids to prevent moisture loss. Great as a daytime or nighttime cream, Urang Rose Ceramide Cream is formulated without synthetic fragrances, additives, harmful chemicals or preservatives. Use within 6 months of opening.


Option 2:

Origins Make A Difference Plus +

$47.50 USD

This is one of my long-time favorites and makes me feel super moisturized after using it. It is another "Clean at Sephora" product which makes it in line with the overall natural goal of my current skincare routine. The cream is very thick but also super spreadable and smells great!


From The Sephora Website:


What it is: A lightweight, hydrating gel that helps naturally restore moisture loss in dry, dehydrated skin. Skin Type: Normal, Dry Skincare Concerns: Dryness Formulation: Gel Highlighted Ingredients: - Rose of Jericho: Withstands total dehydration for decades and returns to life with just a drop of water.  What Else You Need to Know: Formulated with Rose of Jericho, lychee, and watermelon hydra-sustain complex, this rejuvenating treatment absorbs quickly to hydrate and replenish moisture deficiency. 


Option 3:

PREM

Safe Me. Relief Moisture Cream 12

$36.00 USD


This cream is super lightweight, extremely soft and packed with amazing ingredients. It also comes with a lot per ml which means it lasts a really long time! I truly loved it while using it and plan to stock up as its less $$ in Korea! Sold at Olive Young in Korea and online retailers for the states.


From The Soko Glam Website:


"This gentle and lightweight moisturizer contains only EWG green-grade ingredients that are 93% plant-derived and is therefore perfect for even the most of sensitive skins.

Formulated with the stem cell of Rubus arcticus, a wild berry from pristine Finland rich in antioxidants, it provides many hours of hydration and moisture as well as strengthens the skin barrier.


The Safe Relief Cream conditions sensitive and irritated skin with a selection of only 12 gentle and skin safe ingredients including hydrating squalene and glycerin blended with a botanical Nordic berry extract, Bergamot, and Sage oils to provide maximum lightweight hydration and relief to dry, sensitive, and irritated skin. Less is more when your skin craves comforting relief from sensitivity and environmental stressors.


This moisture has been considered as a gamechanger by many of its adoring fans!


Suitable for all skin types, ages, and skin concerns."


13: Face Oil


Option 1:

Melixir Squaline Oil

$25.69 USD



I use this at the very end of my routine leaving my face with an oiled look and making it truly feel moisturized. In small doses, oils make skin radiant. Put them on dry areas after creams — as a rule, oils can penetrate moisturizers, but not vice versa. I use my rose quartz stone to massage my face at the end of my routine while laying in bed right before falling asleep on my silk pillowcase. I love this particular oil as it's a natural brand from Korea and feels fantastic on the skin leaving me refreshed and completing my nightly routine.


From The Melixir Website:


A powerful plant-derived squalane oil that diminishes the look of fine lines and skin damage. Intensely hydrating Squalane Oil locks in moisture and helps to minimize the look of pores. Our perfected balance of evening primrose oil illuminates and revives dehydrated skin.


Solution for

- Diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles

- Dryness and rough texture

- Minimize the look of pores

- Deliver velvety soft and healthy glow

Skin Type: Normal, Dry, Combination, and Oily 

Formulation: Lightweight Liquid 


Option 2:

URANG

Whitening Blue Oil Serum

$29.99 USD at Costco


This Serum feels super lux to the skin and I have my friends who say this is their absolute favorite Serum ever. It is definitely amazing in many ways and packs a huge punch for hydration. Also sold at OhLolly.


Off The Website:


Product Function

A facial oil maintains your water-oil balance to keep the skin look healthier and younger by providing long-lasting, intensive hydration that sinks deep into the skin.


Key Product Features

99.9 % naturally derived ingredientsURANG only uses EWG green-rated, low hazard ingredients. Has lightweight texture and does not leave a greasy residue.Free of Synthetic Dyes. The blue color of the oil is due to naturally derived German Chamomile Essential Oil. For dull and lackluster skin.Cruelty-free


How To Use:

Pop 1-2 drops into your palms and rub together to warm the oil. Gently press the palms to the skin and massage all over your face. Can be used alone or added to any other moisturizers of your choice for deeper nourishment.


14: Acne Spot Treatment


Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

$17.00 USD



For acne spots or bumps, I use this incredible little miracle Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion. You can add this at the very end of your night routine or even your morning routine but it is best at night. Take a Q-tip and dip it into the bottle and touch the pink part of the liquid and use that for the spot treatment. Wake up in the morning and see RESULTS!


Rose Quartz Stone



I use a rose quartz stone to massage the products into my skin while laying in bed after my nightly routine. I really have no idea if this really works but it does feel good and is super relaxing and if it does have benefits, then fantastic.


Here is what some of the sites on the web said about Rose Quartz:


A rose quartz roller that supports lymphatic drainage to reduce the appearance of puffiness, and wrinkles. The Rose Quartz Facial Roller is an incredible tool for inner and outer beauty. Facial rolling is relaxing and de-stressing.


Herbivore claims that their facial rollers improve blood circulation and skin tone, the elasticity of the skin, promote lymphatic drainage, reduce puffiness, wrinkles, and dark under-eye circles, eliminate toxins, and tighten and reduce pore size


New York Times Article On Facial Stones Click Here


Silk Pillow Case & Eye Mask



Every night I sleep with a silk pillowcase and a silk eye mask. Not only is it the most comfortable I've ever been but there are some surprising skin care and hair benefits! There are many different kinds out there and even amazon has some fantastic options.


FromThe Slip Silk's Website:


ANTI AGING

We spend a third of our lives in bed. In laboratory testing, slipsilk™ pillowcases were shown to absorb significantly less face cream than cotton pillowcases*, so they can help keep your skin’s moisture and valuable face and hair products where they belong, on your face and hair. Slipsilk™ was also shown to create 43% less friction on average*, which can reduce stretching and tugging on delicate facial skin.


ANTI SLEEP CREASE

Ever woken up with a sleep crease? As skin ages, it loses elasticity and sleep creases - which are caused by friction and pressure on facial skin - can become more pronounced and longer-lasting. While the creases usually go away later that day, they can be gradually ‘ironed in’ over the years.

Sleeping on silk is a great expert beauty tip and a long-time beauty secret. Slipsilk™ has been shown to reduce friction by 43% on average*, allowing skin to glide along the pillow, which can reduce pressure on creased skin.


ANTI BED HEAD

The world’s most renowned hairstylists have long recommended sleeping on gentle, hair-friendly silk to help preserve your blow out. Ordinary pillowcases can cause hair tangling during the night. In laboratory testing, slipsilk™ has been shown to reduce friction by 43% on average*. 

*Compared to widely available cotton pillowcases with  220-360 thread count. 


Good Housekeeping Article on The Best Silk Pillowcases

Amazon Version of Silk Pillowcases


FULL STEP BY STEP

SKINCARE ROUTINE


Day 1 -On

(Tretinoin or Retinol Nights ) (Vitamin C Mornings)

Morning 1

1: Cleansing water

2: Face wash (if needed) (without AHA and BHK ) (Ex: Mild cleanser Ex: Kora Foaming Cleanser)

3: Toner

4: Serum - (Vitamin C Serum Only)

5: Ampoule

6: Vitamin Maximizing Cream (If you only have Vitamin C you can move on to moisturizer)

7: Moisturizer


Night 1

1: Cleansing Balm (If your wearing makeup)

2: Eye Makeup Remover

3: Face wash

4: Toner

5: Tretinoin or Retinol (On Dry Skin) (Wait 20 minutes)

6: Essence

7: Ampoule

8: Vitamin Serum

9: Eye cream

10: Moisturizer

11: Face Oil


Day 2 -Off

(No Tretinoin or Retinol) (Ordinary Serums Morning) (Vitamin C Evenings)


Morning 2

1: Cleansing water

2: Face wash -Mild Acid Duo Cleanser (3-4 per week for breakout control )

3: Toner

4: Ampoule

5: Serum - (The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides and The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc)

6: Moisturizer


Night 2

1: Cleansing Balm (If your wearing makeup)

2: Eye Makeup Remover

3: Face wash

3.5: Mask (Once a week)

4: Toner

5: Essence

6: Vitamin C

7: Ampoule

8: Vitamin Serum

9: Vitamin Maximizing Cream

10: Eye cream

11: Moisturizer

12: Face Oil


EASIER STEP BY STEP

SKINCARE ROUTINE


Another option is to just to keep the morning routine the same as in DAY 1 and do Vitamin C one day and Tretinoin or Retinol on the other day. For example below:


Morning 1

1: Cleansing water

2: Face wash ( Ex: Mild Acid Duo Cleanser (3-4 per week for breakout control ) (Another mild cleanser in between 3-4 times per week ex: Kora foaming cleanser)

3: Toner

4: Ampoule

5: Serum - (The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides and The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc)

6: Moisturizer


Night 1

1: Cleansing Balm (If your wearing makeup)

2: Eye Makeup Remover

3: Face wash

4: Toner

5: Tretinoin or Retinol (On Dry Skin)

(wait 20 minutes)

6: Essence

7: Ampoule

8: Vitamin Serum

9: Eye cream

10: Moisturizer

11: Face Oil


and


Night 2

1: Cleansing Balm (If your wearing makeup)

2: Eye Makeup Remover

3: Face wash

4: Toner

5: Essence

6: Vitamin C

7: Ampoule

8: Vitamin Serum

9: Vitamin Maximizing Cream

10: Eye cream

11: Moisturizer

12: Face Oil


SIMPLIFIED SKINCARE ROUTINE


Morning 1

1: Cleansing water

2: Face wash (if needed) (without AHA and BHK )

3: Toner

4: Serum - (Vitamin C Serum Only)

5: Vitamin Maximizing Cream (If you only have Vitamin C you can move on to moisturizer)

6: Moisturizer


Night 1

1: Cleansing Balm (If your wearing makeup)

2: Eye Makeup Remover

3: Face wash

4: Toner

5: Tretinoin or Retinol (On Dry Skin)

(wait 20 minutes)

6: Vitamin Serum (No Vitamin C)

7: Eye cream

8: Moisturizer

9: Face Oil


On Big Nights Out:

1: Cleansing Balm

2: Eye Makeup Remover 3: Mild Acid Duo Cleanser (Because I feel this gel helps with breakouts from heavy makeup) 4: Simple Vitamin Serum (no vitamin c or retinol) 5: Moisturizer 



What to know to create your own Routine:

-Exfoliants do not go with Vitamin C and Retinol/Tretinoin

-Peptides do not go with Vitamin C or Retinol/Tretinoin

-Vitamin C and Retinol can not be used at the same time

-Mild Exfoliants should be used around 3 times per week

-Face scrubs should be used around 1-2 times per week if combining them with mild exfoliants if your skin starts to burn or get sensitive try and cut down on exfoliants or the amount of vitamin C or retinol your using.

-Simplify your routine if your skin becomes sensitive and build back up to using certain products as well as calming products.

-Fragrance-free is a great way to go for sensitive skin types

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