I was always an allergic-to-something child…. so I tend not to be very adventurous with my skincare. Instead, I am often found reading the labels very carefully before purchasing my skincare. My general philosophy is to avoid products with too many ingredients, and if I can’t pronounce it – it’s probably not a good thing to put on my skin. When I can’t identify the ingredient, I pop over to EWG’s Skindeep website and type it in to determine if I’m willing to risk putting that ingredient on my face. (Tips for finding safer products here).
So, it was a surprise to everyone (even myself) when I found myself buying a 10 step Korean Skincare routine online without a nary glance at the ingredients. I reasoned that it would be a good idea to try – since the ten step routine was getting rave reviews and who doesn’t want better skin?! I was so excited to try it! It was probably the most adventurous and spontaneous skincare purchase I’ve ever made in my life. The minute the box arrived, I unboxed everything and immediately dove headfirst into the 10 steps prescribed in the box.
It seemed fine…. until 30 minutes after walking through the entire 10 step process. My entire face and neck broke out into an angry army of hives, and my skin turned an alarmingly bright shade of red. After a couple anti-histamines and a good slather of anti-inflamatory cream, I silently chastised myself for breaking my rules.
I’ve since (obviously) gone back to my normal routine – which is not very different from a Korean skincare routine. I’m listing the K-beauty steps below with my clean beauty picks and favorites, along withe some of my notes.
*Final Note. Please do keep in mind that these are products that I like – and you may not like the same things. While I do try to use as clean beauty products as possible, sometimes I have to make a compromise. I think the important thing is to try to use products that are as clean as possible, and take good care of yourself.
Step One: Oil Cleanser
I tend to use oil cleanser and foam cleanser as needed. I find both steps everyday to be too harsh on my skin – so I use the oil/foam cleanser once or twice a week depending on how my skin feels. I find that an oil cleanser is very helpful on the days that I wear make up.
- Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Oil Cleanser
- I will often use a few drops of jojoba oil from Desert Essence with a little water to massage over my make up to dissolve it, before moving onto a cleanser.
- These oil cleansers also have very good reviews, but I have not tried them: Kari Gran Cleansing Oil and Aster + Bay Cleansing Oil
Step Two: Foam/Gel Cleanser
- Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash
- I enjoy using specially formulated facial bar soap (there was one that I really liked but it has been discontinued). Similar facial bars here: Osmia Organic Pumpkin Facial Soap and Meow Meow Tweet Tea Tree Charcoal Facial Soap
Step Three: Exfoliator
Similarly, I exfoliate once or twice a week maximum. I read an interesting article on exfoliators with plastic bits that damages the environment, so I have since eliminated anything with synthetic exfoliating pieces in them. I also avoid any salt or sugar scrubs because an aesthetician once told me that the rough sides of the salt and sugar make microscopic tears in the skin that cause infection and aging. So, when I do exfoliate I like to use a very gentle setting on the Clarisonic or Foreo Luna 2 with my foam cleanser. If I feel the need for even more gentle exfoliation – I will use luke warm water with a konjac sponge.
- Clarisonic Mia 2 Facial Cleansing Brush (mine is an older model that has since been discontinued)
- Foreo Luna Mini 2 (this is a recent acquisition, so I have only used it a handful of times. So far, I am enjoying it.)
- Konjac Sponge Company Sponges (Boscia has some as well).
Step Four: Toner
I like to avoid using cotton rounds with my toner, so I will splash a little in my hand and pat it gently over my face. I use a little fan to help speed the drying before I apply my next step.
Step Five: Essence
There isn’t anything that is quite like a K-beauty essence, but I do like to spritz this beauty water before my serum!
Step Six: Serum
I will often use two different kinds of serum. I have very red and easily irritated skin across my cheeks, so I will often use a serum specifically to address the redness. I will then use another serum across my forehead, chin, and down my neck to address moisture and anti-wrinkle concerns.
- First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum
- Youth to the People Age Prevention Superfood Serum
- Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
Step Seven: Masks/Treatments
- Aztec Secret Bentonite Clay Mask – I use this as a mask once a month or so with a splash of apple cider vinegar.
- I also like to spend a few minutes giving myself a mini facial massage – I’ll tap my face gently around the hollows of my eyes and across my forehead to help my circulation and products set.
Step Eight: Eye Cream
I’ll be the first to admit that I am absolutely terrible at applying eye cream. I do not like when it runs on my face or gets into the corners of my eyes…. but this cream is the best one I have found. I use a very little bit in the mornings, but I am much more generous with application in the evenings.
Step Nine: Face Cream
I like to change the type of cream I use – but this is a list of a few that I have really enjoyed and continue to repurchase.
- Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C Renewal Cream
- Aesop Elemental Facial Barrier Cream
- Blissoma Awake Morning Firming Facial Moisturizer
- African Botanics Marula Intense Skin Repair Balm
Step Nine Point One: Facial Oil
I almost always use a facial oil after I’ve put on my cream – since my skin tends to be quite dry, I find a thin layer of facial oil helps lock everything in. I also find that this extra step helps my sunscreen glide on smoothly.
- Desert Essence Moringa, Jojoba, & Rose Hip Oil
- Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil
- Herbivore Phoenix Facial Oil
- Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil
Step Ten: Sunscreen
I hate sunscreen…. there. I said it. Sunscreen sucks. Buuuuut! These are the two that are lightweight enough to forgive for daily use.
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Thank you so much for visiting! Let me know in the comments if you have recommendations for other types of clean skincare products, or if you have tried these products!