One of the biggest factors to consider when determining what is the best and most effective skincare routine for oneself is simply your age. The reason for this is because, over time, our specific skincare concerns and issues change all due to the aging process. Being in my early 30’s with normal/dry skin and the occasional cystic acne freak-out, my main skincare focus evolves around finding products that target prevention, hydration, anti-aging, and acne. It may seem impossible to find anti-aging products that also treat acne, but over the years I have found that Korean and Japanese skincare products often offer the best of both worlds. With the right steps, minor tweaking here and there, and of course the right products, it actually is possible to keep acne under control while maintaining youthful, smooth skin.
Double-cleansing is and has been an important part of my daily routine for many years as it helps in keeping my skin as clear as possible by assuring no impurities are left to fester on either the surface or deep down in the pores. I double-cleanse with a wide variety of cleansers depending on how my skin feels at that particular moment. That being said, when my skin is behaving in a consistent fashion I tend to double-cleanse with the same lineup until it decides not to. For the last year I’ve been enjoying the Banila Co Clean It Zero Nourishing Balm for my first cleansing step. The balm contains Ginseng Extract as well as Royal Jelly, two ingredients that are great for firming. It also has plenty of antioxidants which helps in both anti-aging as well as keeping skin clear. I love how clean and supple this cleanser makes my skin feel. For my second cleanse I use the Enature Marshmallow Cleansing Foam. This creamy cleanser features lychee extract, which fortifies skin with vitamins A and C, as well as maca root extract, which works to stimulate cell renewal and smooth rough skin texture..
As part of my post-shower cleanse, or technically “third” cleanse, I use the Neogen Dermalogy Real Flower Cleansing Water – Calendula. This is a water-based cleanser that is super gentle and is perfect as a post-cleansing toner or a standalone cleansing step, similar to micellar water. With real calendula petals suspended in water, the calming formula is perfect for those with easily irritated or redness-prone skin. Those with oily, combination, or acne-prone skin can benefit from its balancing formula that whisks away excess oil and sebum while keeping your skin hydrated. I like to use it in the evening – it leaves the skin clean without stripping essentials and feels like it’s boosting my lipid barrier as opposed to taking from it. I also find that it makes the face glow without looking greasy. My skin feels much more balanced throughout the next day when I use this the prior evening.
Exfoliating might just be one of my low-key most-liked aspects of performing a skincare ritual. There’s nothing like the feeling of freshly exfoliated skin, to then chase it with a sheet mask. I start salivating just at the thought alone because it’s so refreshing not to mention skin looks like a million dollars afterwards. Exfoliating removes the top layer of skin which contains dead skin cells that hinder the production of new cells (which helps with the aging aspect) but can also clog pores which leads to breakouts. Plus, dead skin cells equals a layer of dullness and when removed it reveals bright, glowing skin.
I was introduced to the Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea by watching a Soko Glam video on Youtube where founder and co-curator Charlotte Cho discussed the importance of green tea as part of a effective anti-aging routine. Green Tea is a powerful antioxidant that prevents premature aging and is an anti-inflammatory that helps soothe irritated skin. The Bio-Peel is both a chemical as well as physical exfoliant which I use twice per week. I have been absolutely loving the way my skin has looked and felt since the pads were actively incorporated into my routine. Skin looks and feels smoother, softer and radiant. It also looks like I have a permanent glow now!
Toner & Essence
Toning is absolutely essential to my routine, I do it twice a day and in the morning it functions as a face cleanser in lieu of an actual cleansing product. I know I’m kind of late to this party but I discovered the magic of the Son & Park Beauty Water a few months back and wow, has it been a game changer! This has natural willow bark and papaya extract that mildly exfoliates to help sweep away dead skin cells, revealing brighter skin tone and smoother texture. It’s only been a few months but I have noticed a significant improvement in my skin’s texture. It’s also more hydrating than some of the previous toners I’ve used and very refreshing.
Essence is at the heart of the Korean skincare routine. An essence is a kind of toner/serum hybrid made for hydrating and aiding skin repair and cell turnover. Apply it to freshly toned skin and pat it in. At all times I use two essences, one for morning and one for nighttime, for different reasons or properties. In the mornings I like to use the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence for both its amazing hydration but also anti-acne properties. This essence is formulated with 96% snail secretion filtrate for super intense repair and hydration. It has the ability to repair everything from dry patches, to acne breakouts while helping zap hyperpigmentation, so with consistent use your skin will glow to look its healthiest. This is good for all skin types but in my opinion this may be a lifesaver for those with chronic dry skin as well as acne-prone skin.
For the evenings I turn to the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist. This is literally like holy water to me. It contains over 90% fermented yeast extract from Himalayan purple barley to effectively plump skin, refine texture, and reduce pigmentation. The essence practices a Ion fermentation process, which ensures rapid absorption of moisture, allowing skin to retain moisture for longer and restoring skin elasticity. Formulated with Niacinamide, this element brightens and clarifies skin tone while adenosine energizes for more younger-looking skin. With daily application, this essence moisturizes, improves texture and clarity. Pictured here is the mist version of Missha’s hero product. I favor this one better over the regular bottled version because it’s $14 cheaper for the exact same formula but it comes as a mist instead.
New to my routine is the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum. I discovered this serum within this last year and have been loving it. This serum contains 5% Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that provides the best in anti-aging protection and is an effective brightening ingredient. It’s very lightweight and is not oily but can be a little much when you first start using it, which is why I recommend to add a few drops of the serum to your moisturizer at first and slowly introduce your skin to the ingredients. I say much because as most Vitamin C infused serums, the Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum can cause either a purge, redness, sensitivity or dryness. Since I started using the Vitamin C I’ve noticed my skin looks clearer and even has a slight glow. My skin looks smooth and soft. I’m very happy with the results so far. Love this product. Definitely has improved my complexion.
My choices all depend on how my skin feels or acts at that moment. Certain days I’m having a dry day, on other days I have to treat something in particular, etc. Most days however, I just prefer to wear something very lightweight and moisturizing but that targets any signs of aging. A cream that I’ve been in love with is the Skinrx Lab MadeCera Cream. This multi-tasking cream strengthens skin barrier, brightens, and fights premature aging. Included in the formula is madecassoside, an inflammation-fighting compound naturally occurring in centella asiatica extract. Niacinamide brightens skin, while adenosine delivers powerful anti-aging and skin-smoothing benefits. It also contains ceramides which wrap skin in heavenly moisture so your skin instantly feels hydrated, plump, and refreshed. I’m obsessed with this cream. It’s lightweight, creamy but absorbs really well and can wear it under makeup if I choose to, it’s hydrating, soothing, and the list keeps going. Perfection.
And that concludes my anti-aging routine. My favorites do change on a regular basis so my routines don’t always look the same from week to week. I keep a lot of skincare on stock as I like to rotate quite a bit. That being said, this is the first routine that I find very solid and have kept it consistent across the board for longer than any other routine. If you’re in the market for any anti-aging or/and anti-acne products, I hope these have given you some ideas!
What does your current routine look like? Do you have any skincare favorites?