My morning routine:
- Nature’s Way Evening Primrose, Efa Gold Cold Pressed Oil 1300mg
- Turmeric curcumin pills
- Spearmint tea
- Wash my face with my Clarisonic and Makeup Artist’s Choice Green Tea & Pomegranate Cleanser. If my face is feeling dry I might not use the Clarisonic. This cleanser has a low pH and does not leave my face feeling dry or stripped. A very little goes a long way; it’s definitely an HG (holy grail product) for me.
- Occasionally I’ll use the Kojie San Kojic Acid Soap to help battle the dark PIH I get. I typically only use this once or twice a week if my face isn’t feeling dry from my actives.
- Makeup Artist’s Choice Green Tea & Pomegranate Toner Another low pH HG item that I prefer not to do without.
- Vitamin C serum: Unfortunately, I haven’t found my HG Vitamin C yet, so I’ve tested a few in my quest for my holy grail. The previous iteration was Timeless Skincare’s 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid. I’m currently testing The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% to see how it works out.
- Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Preps my skin for the rest of my steps, helps me to attain that glow. An HG, or should I say a HFN, because I’d be fine with giving it up if I found something else that did the job as well.
- Hada Labo Shirojyun Arbutin Lotion The Japanese call toners “lotions”, in case you’re as confused as I was when I first got into Asian beauty products. I use this toner during the day if my face is feeling dry. Definitely an HG.
- LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence One time I decided to stop using this and then felt stupid when I realized it was actually doing something. Helps control oil and is very soothing on overexfoliated or broken out skin. Says essence but feels more like a serum.
- Holy Snails’s Shark Sauce hydrating 5% Niacinamide goodness. Love this stuff.
- Cerave Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin Ceramides and a somewhat mattifying/quick drying feel makes this a perfect under makeup during the fall and winter. Will update when I test it in the overly humid and gross Florida spring and summer.
- Kao Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF 50+ PA++++ The one in the blue bottle. Mattifying, no strong white cast and acts as a primer under makeup. What’s not to love?
- Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector I know I said the sunscreen acts as a primer, and it does. However, if you want to be matte FOR THE GODS try the Becca Ever-Matte.
My Nighttime routine:
At night I use a combo of the following to remove makeup. If I’ve been home and have not used makeup, I do not oil cleanse.
Oil cleansing is a must to completely remove my makeup in a non drying or irritating way.
- Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Waterproof Makeup Remover Effective and super cheap; can’t beat that.
- If I’m out of that I’ll dip into my stash of Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil, which is much more expensive but not quite as effective on long wear makeup.
- Wash my face with my Clarisonic and Makeup Artist’s Choice Green Tea & Pomegranate Cleanser.
- Makeup Artist’s Choice Green Tea & Pomegranate Toner to remove final all traces of makeup and prep my skin for actives.
- Kikumasamune High Moist Lotion Hydrating toner.
Disclaimer: I use a lot of actives to exfoliate and I use them often. I can do that because my skin is very hardy and resistant to exfoliation and has been acclimated to them from years of use. Please use actives responsibly! Everyone’s skin is different.
I find it unnecessary to use every single one of these actives daily unless my skin’s moisture barrier is feeling particularly strong and I feel like I really need it.
- Paula’s Choice BHA 2% Liquid My HG BHA and one of the few items I still continue to use by PC.
- Cosrx AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid A pretty strong daily or every other day AHA. Especially strong if I use the Cosrx Clarifying Treatment Toner AHA BHA (which lowers your pH in preparation for actives) beforehand.
- Curology prescription featuring tretinoin 0.04%, Clindamycin 1%, Azealic Acid 7% I have been using Curology for over a year and absolutely LOVE them. I will sing their praises to anyone who will listen. This prescription is one of the main components of my routine.
- Paula’s Choice Resist Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser 7% AHA Lotion This product is a very effective skin lightener that contains hydroquinone and should only be used on your dark spots. Many people think hydroquinone is the devil’s work, but I have used it off and on over the years with no issues.
- Makup Artist’s Choice (MUAC) Fade Peel A very strong peel used once weekly or biweekly to fade dark spots.
- Paula’s Choice Clear Daily Skin Clearing Treatment I break out once in a blue moon and will use this as a spot treatment.
- MUAC Fading Serum Another daily spot fade treatment in liquid form. This one has a lot more lightening ingredients than the PC one. HG.
Still looking for my HG. Currently just using a few drops of CVS brand vitamin E oil in my Missha FTE, which is a great way to get the oil benefits without feeling like you could fry an egg on your face.
I use combinations of the following, depending on how my skin feels for the night:
- Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Preps my skin for the rest of my steps after actives.
- Cosrx Galactomyces Whitening Power The FTE Formerly Known As White Power is the (to me) not as effective version of the Missha FTE. I use it when I’m out of the Missha.
- LJH Tea Tree 90 Same as above
- Holy Snails’s Shark Sauce Same as above
- Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence Snail and bee venom soothing, moisturizing and brightening goodness.
- Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence A basic but HG snail mucin essence step.
- MUAC Bell Evolve Niacinamide Serum Not my favorite because it’s a pretty drying but I use it when I’m out of Shark Sauce.
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Also drying, possibly breaking me out. Currently testing.
- MUAC Bellevolve Duo Stem Cell Serum Supposed to be used for it’s anti aging properties but I use it for it’s eyebrow regrowth properties as per reviews on their site.
- LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule I put a few drops of this in my Hada Labo toner, which helps diffuse it’s (for me) overly dewy/glowy properties.
- MUAC Peptide Serum Supposed to have some great properties for oily skins but I’m not convinced.
- MUAC Bellevolve Uplevity with Majestem I haven’t used this often enough to really say it does much of anything. Not a fan of the texture.
I don’t typically sheet mask anymore, but when I do I tend to mostly use My Beauty Diary Sake Yeast, Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing or Arbutin Brightening. I also have quite a few random masks that I should try to use up before they expire.
- Hada Labo Shirojyun Arbutin Lotion This hydrating toner is used nightly after my FTE step.
- Scinic Honey All-In-One Ampoule This gel based supposedly honey filled gel is very popular in the Asian Beauty Reddit world. You’re supposed to use it as a replacement for all of your essences and serums but I use it as a moisturizing step before applying my thicker moisturizers like…
- Hada Labo Shirojyun Arbutin Milk I can feel my skin say “ahhhh” everytime I put this on. This is called a milk because it’s nice and light.
- Cerave Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin Slightly mattifying but moisturizing, with ceramides. I typically use this as my second to last step.
- Stratia’s Liquid Gold This intensely moisturizing cream that I need in my life at all times. It is often sold out on this small batch small business site so I’ve been stalking it and I WILL PURCHASE IT AGAIN SOON, DAMMIT. Heavy enough to use in lieu of other items in this part of my routine.
Cerave Eye Repair Cream
Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask: A light, average-to-good workhorse style sleeping pack. Perfect to use as an occlusive if you’ve got normal to oily skin.