Today I'm going to be talking about how you can create your own beginner skincare routine! My skincare routine uses mostly Korean skincare products because I find that they work best for my skin, but there are no rules as to what brands you have to use. If you prefer Western products, then use western products, if you want to mix western and Korean products, then do that! It's all about creating a routine that works for you, and since everybody's skin is so different it's literally impossible for me to tell you what exact products are going to work!
Beginner 4 Step RoutineIf this is your first ever skincare routine, my first tip is to not go overboard and only buy 4 items in your first haul. It's so easy to get super excited with all the new ingredients (snail, starfish, bee venom, snake venom!?) but it's not advisable to dive head first into unknown ingredients that may not work well with your skin. You could potentially damage your skin, but you will more likely waste a lot of money by buying whatever sounds cool rather than products that work with your skin. Also, start patch testing on small patches of your skin before putting something on your entire face. If you are going to react badly to a certain ingredient, it's better to find out on a small patch of your neck rather than your entire face.
The first time I heard the concept of the beginner four step routine was through the Asian Beauty Reddit page and I thought it was probably the best advice I'd seen in a while, and something that I wish I knew about back when I started dabbling in K-Beauty. I would've saved so much money. So, so much money. The concept revolves around the idea that you need to get your skin to it's best possible condition by using the bare necessities so that it can absorb all of the goodness of serums later on.
Step 1: Oil Based CleanserUsing an oil based cleanser cleans the sunscreen off your skin properly, as well as any make up if you have worn any that day. You need to remove the make up and/or sunscreen from your skin before using a regular cleanser, if you don't, it's almost like getting in the shower with clothes on and expecting to actually be clean when you get out (eg: just using one make up wipe to get rid of your make up and clean your skin, doesn't really clean your skin). You can use regular oils like coconut oil as your oil cleanser, but oils that are specifically made to remove make up work best (in my opinion) because they are easier to emulsify, rinse off, and don't leave a gross residue on your face.
My recommendations: Banila Clean it Zero, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, Lose Softymo Speedy Sleansing Oil, Holika Holika Seed Blossom Moisture Cleansing Oil
Step 2: Low PH CleanserUsing a Low PH Cleanser is important for your skin for so many reasons. If you'd like to read about the cool science, check out this post by Snow White and the Asian Pear (one of my fave skincare bloggers!) for some more info. Your skin is slightly acidic and between the ph of 4.2-5.6. Bacteria prefer a neutral environment, so your skins acidity makes is inhospitable for bacteria. Using a High PH cleanser raises the PH of your skin which makes it more bacteria friendly which can result in more acne. High PH cleansers also strip the skin of it's natural oils, making it feel tight and dry, prompting your skin to produce more oil to fix your skin, resulting in more acne from the increased oil. Using a low PH cleanser helps your skin cut down on it's oil production, and helps fight the cause, not the symptoms, of oiliness and dehydration. When you first start using a low PH cleanser it may not feel like it's doing much to clean your skin, but perseverance is key to see results. It took me a whole year to wean my skin off high PH cleansers, and now whenever I use a high PH cleanser I always see an increase of tightness and oil production the next day.
My recommendations: Su;m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick, Cosrx Good Morning Gel Cleanser, Hada Labo Gokujyun Foaming Cleanser, Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash
Step 3: MoisturiserMoisturising your skin is so important, even if you're using a Low PH Cleanser you should still be using a moisturiser. It's good to experiment with different types of moisturiser (Emulsion, Lotion, Gel or Cream) depending on your skin type. This step is almost the hardest for me since I don't like to use a too hydrating moisturiser throughout the day, so I have a dedicated day cream which is a light gel cream, and a heavier night cream so I can wake up with beautiful, moisturised skin. You can purchase sample sizes of most Korean Skincare items which is fantastic when you're trying to build your routine, people also sell decants of products that don't come in sample sizes on places like AsianBeautyexchange.
My recommendations: Banila Co Miss Flower & Mr Honey Cream, J:Dew Green Moist Cream, Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream, Mizon All In One Snail Repair Cream
Step 4: SunscreenSunscreen is a must every time you walk outside. Skin cancer is horrific, and certainly not something many people want in their lives, so applying your sunscreen daily (and reapplying throughout the day) should just be a no brainer. On the plus side, using sunscreen daily also helps fade those little scars from acne (PIH) and helps you age a little more gracefully.
I personally love Korean and Japanese sunscreens for my face, they're not like the traditional Western sunscreens that feel thick and leave your skin looking white. A lot of them actually don't have a white cast and are quick and easy to apply! There are some differences between Physical Sunscreens and Chemical Sunscreens (your physical sunscreen will give a bigger white cast than the Chemical Sunscreen, but the Chemical Sunscreen may irritate sensitive skin) so cluing up on reading your sunscreen labels is a well invested 30minutes of your time.
My recommendations: Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen, Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk, Innisfree Eco Saftey Perfect Sunblock
That's it for my How to Create Your Own Beginner Skincare Routine! I hope it was slightly helpful, skincare is always so difficult to recommend because everyone's skin is so different! So have fun, and always remember to patch test and wear your sunscreen! ^ ^