The Korean Skincare Routine

Sep 25, 2016 | Skincare

All this hullabaloo started when somehow I found myself on the Asian Beauty subreddit. I stumbled upon this fount of information (read: rabbit hole) regarding Korean skincare and it got me thinking about how I should start taking care of my skin now that I am in my 30s.

My skin has been fairly unproblematic ever since I can remember. Never had acne, pimples or blackheads, even when I hit puberty. I’d have the occasional whitehead here and there but that’s mostly it. My skin is a bit dehydrated but normal – not oily, combination or dry. Just basic low maintenance skin. Aside from cleansing and moisturizing, I don’t really do much to it. I’m usually okay with a loose powder to combat any shiny bits in the T-zone. I don’t even wear foundation, BB or CC cream.

Now I love all things science-y and research. I think I probably read most of the articles regarding ingredients, fermentation, acids and actives in that subreddit. I lurked for months – primarily because I needed to justify what I was about to spend on skincare (LOL!) and second, I’m not one who really buys into hype. What I do know for sure is that the articles there have references to academic journals, peer-reviewed research and have scientific basis.

Also, most Koreans I know have absolutely AMAZING, AGE-DEFYING skin. Male or female. It’s ingrained in their culture to take care of their skin, they view the sun as a giant death ray (rightly so!) and they start young. They invest in quality skincare items and take it seriously. I swear, they don’t mess around. Here’s a nifty graphic I found that shows just how serious they are.


10 Steps!

I admit, I got overwhelmed. But I was also sold.

So I began to do my own research on highly recommended holy grail products for my skin type, what my goals are and most importantly, where I could score all these good stuff. Basically, it all came down to improving skin elasticity, brighten (not whiten) my complexion and to remove age spots. If it can also delay the wrinklies, then I’m down.

With regards to the products, I wasn’t really too picky. Most of them were affordable but if I had to splurge on a product or two and have amazing results, then I was all for it. What’s important is that I could maintain the routine and continue to reap the benefits of my investment (LOL so grown-up!).

Luckily, Althea now delivers to the Philippines. They had a 3+1 promo when I ordered. That meant the 4th item in any order would be free. Technically it was the cheapest item but whatever. I wasn’t going to have my 4th item be a sheet mask so I doubled up on my ampoule order. I got 2 ampoules, an essence and a BB cushion.

Took 10 days to get to me but it was totally worth it. The packaging was like a subscription box with all the goodies inside. Sturdy box, items packed in bubble wrap so it was totally safe.

The amazing people over at the AB subreddit suggested adding one product per two weeks when you’re just starting out on your routine. After all, skin needs time to adjust to the new things that you’re about to slather on. After I got my order and tried the stuff, I was feeling rather unsatisfied. Sure, my skin drank up the essence like it was water and the ampoule was giving me a dewy, healthy glow after a few days of trying it.

Then I found out about BeautyMNL.

Oh boy, I was in wayyyy too deep

From them, I got my oil cleanser, foam cleanser, light moisturizer and sunscreen. My order arrived in 4 days.

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait two weeks for each product. I tried it all at once and hoped for the best.

Here’s my haul in all it’s down-the-rabbit-hole glory:




Oil cleanser

Banila Co. Clean it Zero – Love this stuff! My skin feels soft and lovely after washing. It doesn’t feel stripped and tight at all.

Foam cleanser

Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser – Low PH, no alcohol content, non-drying.


St. Ives Apricot Scrub – A freebie from BeautyMNL. Don’t think I’ll use this.


Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive – AKA Missha FTE. Precious magic unicorn water for my skin. Very hydrating, if I can take this orally, I would.


Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Borabit Ampoule – AKA Missha Longer Name Ampoule. Got 2 because I’m a freak. LOL Gives me an amazing dewy glow. A little goes a long way.


Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream – Koreans don’t shy away from weird ingredients. You know how snails leave that wet trail as they go? Yup. Snail goo. Some farmers found out it healed their cuts faster and left their skin soft (don’t take my word for it, could be some urban legend) but go figure. Adds a bit more glowy-ness to my skin.


Biore UV Perfect Face Milk – It’s been said that the best sunscreen is the one you’ll love to apply. And it goes without saying that I LOVE THIS! Watery, glides on like nobody’s business, and LEAVES NO WHITE CAST! AMAZING SHIT

Laneige Pore Control BB Cushion – Came with a free refill so it was totally worth it! Only has PA+++ but it’s still pretty good at SPF 50. Goes on my skin a bit light, even after it settles down but I still have a slight tan from the beach. Saving this for when my face is back to its normal color.

I’m missing sheet masks, toner, eye cream and a heavy overnight mask but for now this will do. I’m waiting for BeautyMNL to restock on CosRX because it comes highly recommended. I have a happy medley of Japanese, Korean and US items and my skin is absolutely happy – although my wallet is not.