In case you’re not familiar with the Asian skin care routine and how it differs from *basic* Western skincare habits, the most fundamental difference is the amount and reasoning of product usage, devotion to ingredient awareness and trends, and application methods.
Most Asian skincare routines will focus on 8-10 basic steps starting with double cleansing (makeup removal followed by facial cleansing), toner (lotion or essence), moisture, essence, serum, emulsion (like a light moisturizer), and then the end cream to lock in the moisturizing and other benefits of the preceeding items.
Spot treatments, masks, exfoliators and etc will depend on the person’s needs and preferences.
Application methods range from light to firm tapping, “palming”, massaging, and slapping.
Usual Morning Skincare Routine:
Step 1 (“Step 2 “of cleansing): Philosophy Purity Facial Wash /
Step 2 (spot treatment): 美顏水 Salicylic Acid in alcohol
Step 3 (facial mist): Avene Mineral Water Facial Mist
Step 4 (first essence): Missha First Treatment Time Revolution Facial Essence
Step 5 (moisture): Hado Labo Hyaluronic Acid (green, lighter version)
Step 6 (ampoule/booster): Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Ampoule
Step 7 (emulsion/lotion): Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion
Step 8 (cream): Innisfree Green Tea Fresh Cream
Step 9 (eye cream): Clinique All About Eyes
I’m not particularly attached my Philosophy face wash, but it gets the job done without over drying and was an immediate improvement over the Clinique facial wash. So I’ve kept it about a year now and stocked up during a Mother’s Day Event at SOGO. I probably have enough to last another year or so. When its finished, I’ll probably move onto one of those rice oil cleanser cause they look pretty nice. I just lightly massage it into my face, wash off, and immediately pat dry with a cotton towel.
I then apply with a cotton pad the Japanese salicylic acid that I found in the Japanese medical store (日藥本局） for about USD$8. If anything, its in a ridiculously pretty bottle that would be useful for decanting other sensitive products because of the darkened glass.
I wait a few seconds and fan my skin a bit to help it airdry, then spray the Avene facial mist. I think this facial mist is great. It really does make redness and irritation disappear upon application (I just realized this might be because the light reflects off of the little water particles!), but I use it more for the great refreshing feeling and as a buffer between my acids/Differin and the moisturizing skin care products.
I fan the air around my face a bit more, pat/tap a bit and wait a few seconds for the mist to absorb. BEFORE it completely dries, I apply the Missha First Treatment. I apply (probably more than necessary) to my palm, rub a bit, and then palm it onto my face, making sure to get into the corners of my nose and contours of my eyes. Again, palm/tap/fanning action to wait for it to absorb. Maybe about a minute.
Then I apply the best-damned-product-you-can-buy-in-a-bottle-for-your-face, the Hado Labo Hyaluronic Acid (HA) Green version, which is the lighter version and will not make you breakout. I also apply probably more of this than necessary (basically if something is good for my skin, not an acid/Differin, and won’t make me break out, I liberally apply those bitches). Palm it in and tap vigorously for it to absorb. Note: this stuff does get sticky (especially if you have dead skin- so exfoliate if you must!) and doesn’t just “absorb and disappear”. You must put a moisturizer over it.
After the HA absorbs, I take the smallest amount possible of the Missha ampoule and apply on my forehead and cheeks (my driest areas), tap vigorously and pray I didn’t use too much. I then apply a small amount of the Innisfree Balancing Lotion. I added this to my regimen because the Fresh cream wasn’t as moisturizing as I liked (or at least, I didn’t think so. I’m sure its perfectly fine alone for most skin types, but I’m getting used to the moist feeling). I haven’t figured out how I like to apply this lotion yet. Sometimes I dot it around my face and then massage it (probably the best method), and sometimes I pour it into my palm, rub palms together, and then palm it in and tap.
After this, I apply the Fresh cream by dotting it around my face (chin, nose, two cheeks, two dots on my forehead) and massage in. This has also been a little tricky to get right as far as how to much put on and application. Sometimes I feel like I didn’t use enough, and sometimes I feel like its not going to absorb anytime soon. So far though, I’ve been able to apply my BB creme with no problem. WIth the Clinique Moisture Surge, sometimes the BB creme wouldn’t settle onto the skin and I’d find it became flaky and would literally melt off or like, my finger would try to blend it and instead, it would just rub off my face. SO frustrating like oh my effin god.
My last step is the Clinique All About Eyes which I apply using my 4th finger and gently tap-tap it all aroundmy eye area. Its pretty light and absorbs quickly so after about 10 minutes, its not much of an issue to apply your eyemakeup. Sorry, I ran out of my tub and accidentally threw it out before taking a picture, so this picture is of the nighttime Rich)
I have a few problem areas, like my lower cheeks being extra dry and prone to breakouts, and my chin being oily and also prone to small bumps under the skin and breakouts. I usually add more or less product to these areas accordingly.
I use the salicylic acid in the morning because at night I use adapalene (Differin) for my acne.
This list is by no means complete yet, but most of the products are here to stay unless I really fall in love with random samples I collect. I still have two shipments in the mail, the Benton Snail Bee line from W2Beauty and the O.S.T. C20 Vitamin serum that I picked up from Wishtrend. So this routine will definitely be changing in the next month or so.
What do you guys think? Any product overlaps with what you’re using? Any huge differences between your routine and my current?
Leave a comment to let me know 😀
By the way, for more informative and in-depth guides on Asian skincare regimes, you can check out these lovely places:
+Skin and Tonics
+The Wanderlust Project
+Charlotte Cho of SOKO GLAM on ITG