My 10-Step Korean Skin Care Routine

Korean skin care is one of the hottest beauty trends out there right now, and I am so on board. 
The basic idea is that it's a routine that involves a lot of steps, a lot of high quality products, and you're going to end up with glowy lovely skin. 
I dipped my toes in the water gradually over time, first by experimenting with Dr. Jart+ BB Creams, then Tony Moly Masks, and then I finally dove in with the full on 10-step Korean Skin
Care Routine.

One of the things that sold me on it was this article about embracing self-care as a radical feminist act.
The idea that taking care of ourselves as women is a way of fighting back against the misogyny rang so very true for me. I love embracing femininity as a way of fighting the patriarchy, and I want to make choices where I prove to myself and to the world that I value myself because I'm a woman, not in spite of the fact that I am a woman. Self-care is not the same thing as self indulgence. Read the article I linked to. It's seriously good.

But enough of my feminist soapbox rant and back to soap. 

The basic steps of my Korean Skin Care Routine:

1. Remove makeup.
2. Wash your face with an oil based cleanser.
3. Wash your face with a water based cleanser.
4. Exfoliate.
5. Toner.
6. Essence
7. Mask.
8. Eye Cream.
9. Moisturize.
10. Sunscreen. 

I had a lot of questions when I started this little project.

Aren't too many products harmful to my skin? Isn't over cleansing bad? Won't I strip away valuable things my skin needs to thrive? What makes this routine Korean? Am I culturally appropriating here? Isn't oil a BAD thing for skin? What the heck is with all of this aggressive cleansing? Do I have to do every step every day? Am I going to be able to easily lug this around when I fly? Will this clear up my skin magically?

Here's what I found out:

-Cleansing with "oil" helps your skin retain moisture.
-It really does take all that cleansing to get serious makeup off.
-The layers of moisture you add after the thorough cleansing make up for many sins.
-It's Korean because many of the products used are Korean exports and the priorities are traditional in Korean beauty. Here's a blog post about K-Beauty and questions around appropriation that I found informative. Like the author of Snow White and The Asian Pear, I've embraced this because I want better skin, self-care is radical enough without being exotic, and I love that this movement is bringing a little bit of diversity (and a focus on sun protection) to Western beauty standards.
-You don't do every step twice a day every day. I only exfoliate once or twice a week, and the same goes for masks.
-I've made this work pretty easily with my packing routine, but a big part of how I'm able to do that is because I'm a Flight Attendant and we're subject to different liquid restrictions when we're in uniform. That said, it's simple to get these products into tiny portable containers that work with TSA rules.
-This routine has definitely improved my skin. It has also made it very clear that at least 60% of how clear and glowy my skin is on any given day is impacted by my stress level, hormones, and how much water I've had to drink. Thanks, truth telling skin care.

Here are the skin care products that I've been using:

1. 2. 3. 4. 

5. 6. 7. 8. 


1. Neutrogena Hydrating Makeup Removing Wipes.
I have used makeup wipes every single day for almost ten years. They're essential and these are my favorites.

2. TonyMoly Aquaporin Skin Care Kit.
This set has a group of K-Beauty essentials together in one box and I went with it because I'd used TonyMoly sheet masks before and liked them. This comes with an oil cleanser, a toner, an emulsion moisturizer, and a more intense cream moisturizer. I use the emulsion when I'm at home and the moisture cream when I'm on layovers.

3. Benton Honest Cleansing Foam
This cleanser is my absolute favorite product from this whole experiment. It smells so perfectly soapy, cleanses beautifully, and feels great. I'm in love with this product.

4. Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
I don't know if this is a magical silver bullet for wrinkles yet, but I've enjoyed using it and it's done good work. There's a whole Snail Bee line by Benton that I'm planning on moving to as my other products run out because I've been so impressed by this brand.

5. Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze in Wine
This is a really great, usable exfoliating peel, but if the smell of fake grape flavor makes you feel vaguely sick, this is not the product for you. Try one of the other "flavors" in this same line like lemon or green tea. I've been very satisfied with these exfoliating pads and I don't find the smell unpleasant though it is strong while you're using the product.

6. TonyMoly I'm Real Mask Set
What a deal this set is! My favorites in terms of results have been the Lemon, Wine, and Aloe. I've seen immediate (if not long lasting) results and I definitely plan on repurchasing this to give as gifts.

7. Eborian Eye Cream
This company is so interesting- they're a Korean/French brand and I've loved this eye cream. The other day I forgot to apply it at night and when I woke up the next morning it totally showed. When I do remember to use this (which is 99% of the time) my under eyes are moisturized and the lines are less noticeable.

8. Fresh Rose Face Mask
This mask is pricey but one of the best things I have ever put on my face. When I use it consistently at night, my face looks refreshed and better than ever the next morning. It moisturizes and somehow magically also deals with any spots I have hanging around.

9. Dr. Jart+ Waterfuse BB Cream
I'm in love with this BB Cream. It's pale enough for me, moisturizing, has a good SPF, and my skin instantly looks 100% better when I have it on. It's the closest thing I've found to a miracle product.

I hope you feel empowered to give some of these products a role in your daily skin care line up!

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