I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: flexibility is critical to maintaining healthy skin. Your skin is a complex living ecosystem, subject to all sorts of ever-changing influences, like diet, lifestyle, stress levels, living environment, overall climate, and day-to-day fluctuations in the weather. And if that wasn’t complicated enough, just about anyone’s skin care routine will also be impacted by factors like budget, boredom, and the discovery of exciting products or interesting ingredients. An effective skin care routine is not a static thing. It’s not about loyalty to individual products–after a while, that wouldn’t be fun at all. Once you’ve developed ingredient awareness, the door to a whole world of wonderful products will open for you.
In fact, routine overhauls can be some of the most fun and exciting parts of your long-term Asian skin care journey!
Originally, I meant to just snap a picture of my new routine and swap it in for the older one on my skin care routine page, but today I read Snow White and the Asian Pear’s incredible skin care routine breakdown, and it inspired me to offer you guys a deeper dive into what I’ll be putting on my face for at least the next few months, and why.
Cleansers and wash-off masks
One of the main goals of my summer skin care routine adjustment was to introduce lighter products wherever possible. I love the Banila Co. Clean It Zero cleansing balm, but it is a little on the rich side. I’ve put the rest of my jar in the cabinet to save for dry days and substituted Innisfree’s light and amazing-smelling Green Tea Pure Cleansing Oil.
I’ve a feeling I won’t be getting much more use out of my Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask in future. My pores have been looking smaller and cleaner than ever since I started using COSRX products, so I haven’t felt the need to reach for that jar. That mask may soon be relegated to under the sink, too.
Chemical exfoliant acids and actives
Ever since I first learned about the benefits of chemical exfoliation, AHAs and BHAs have been staples of my daily routine; the same goes for vitamin C serum. In recent weeks, my somewhat pricey Paula’s Choice acids have been usurped by COSRX products. The COSRX acids are lighter in both texture and price, so my skin and wallet have happily submitted to the new regime.
By the way, COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid and I just passed our one-month anniversary, so you’ll be seeing a review on that soon, and the one-month mark is rapidly approaching for both the Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol and the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, too.
Essences, serums, and ampoules
My routine wouldn’t be complete without some essences, serums, and ampoules to hydrate my skin, repair past damage, protect against future damage, and deliver my favorite ingredients and actives night and day. This part of my routine has undergone a near-total transformation since the days of Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule and Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence.
I wasn’t super happy to hear about the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence (FTE) reformulation and didn’t want to continue paying FTE prices for what I considered to be a downgrade to the FTE recipe. I sold off what remained of my FTE and brought in the notoriously named COSRX Galactomyces 95 White Power Essence, which uses the same ferment ingredient as the famous Shiseido SK-II first essence and costs half or less than FTE. I haven’t abandoned Missha completely, though. I’d already decided I liked their Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator “Long Name” Ampoule, and Missha’s reformulation of that product actually improved it. Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator “Longer Name” Borabit Ampoule is a winner.
You might be wondering, What’s with the jar of honey there? It’s kind of a long story.
For one thing, I’ve developed a passion for honey-based products. Honey is soothing, moisturizing, and antimicrobial, and honey cousins like propolis and royal jelly are also nourishing and intensely antioxidant, making them excellent for skin.
I’ve also been growing increasingly tired of dealing with the concerns around my Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence. It has been a fantastic product for me in terms of reducing redness, calming the occasional pimple or irritation, and providing a little light hydration. Problem is, Benton uses only weak natural preservatives. That makes the essence more prone to spoilage than I’d like. I’m sick of squinting at my bottle of Benton essence every day, making sure that nothing’s growing in it before I put it on my face. And when I read The Wanderlust Project’s glowing review of the Shara Shara Honey Bomb All In One Ampoule, with its honey, propolis, and royal jelly extracts as well as niacinamide and a host of other skin-friendly ingredients, I knew I had to have it.
I got mine in from Glow Recipe just today, complete with personal, hand-written thank-you card, because Glow Recipe gives awesome customer service!
I couldn’t be more excited to start using it.
Finally, the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum is another new addition. Summertime means lots of time spent out in the sun, walking to the beach, hanging out on the beach. Lots of time spent out in the sun demands sunscreen, of course, but also a potent daily dose of antioxidants. The Green Tea Seed Serum provides those, along with a light extra layer of hydration to keep skin moist in the salty ocean breezes.
Another thing I like about both my Innisfree serum and Shara Shara ampoule is that they come in containers significantly larger than the Benton essence, Mizon ampoule, and DD’ell serum I had before. It’s more product for the buck. I like more product for the buck.
Emulsion and cream
I like to seal my hydrators in with a rich, occlusive cream at night, but during the day, I typically only want a light emulsion under my sunscreen unless the air is exceptionally dry. I’d been using Mizon’s Snail Recovery Gel Cream. I’ve got no complaints with the excellent and fantastically affordable Mizon snail gel cream, but I really enjoyed a sample of Innisfree’s Green Tea Balancing Lotion. More green tea antioxidants are always a plus. And that honey fetish of mine led me to I’m From Honey Cream, which I’m enjoying so far–though I’ve got a jar of COSRX Honey Ceramide Cream on the way with which to compare it.
I’m using up the last of my Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence as a hand cream. You might be shocked to learn that my Mizon Returning Starfish Cream has been pulling its weight as a rich foot cream at night. Flip-flop season means I’ve got to take better care of my feet, and the niacinamide in the Returning Starfish is helping take care of last year’s flip-flop tan lines.
Sheet masks and sleeping packs
Of course, I wouldn’t be Auntie Snail without a giant stash of sheet masks with which to further customize my evening routine. The collection has grown a bit recently, but luckily I’ve found the perfect way to store it. Right at my bedside!
Sleeping packs are another way to customize my night routine and help deliver a few extra actives to take care of my skin while I sleep (or lie awake reading Reddit or listening to paranormal podcasts). I prefer light, fast-drying gel-textured sleeping packs that seal in the rest of my layers without feeling heavy or ending up all over my pillowcases. Mizon Good Night White has been a mainstay in my routine for two jars now. Innisfree’s White Tone Up and Green Tea sleeping packs are new additions. I’ve been liking them both–you’ll see first impressions and reviews soon.
No, I don’t use all three every night. I pick one a night. All three contain niacinamide and are fairly equal in terms of pleasant texture and weightless occlusiveness, so mostly the choice boils down to my mood and scent preference. Mizon’s Good Night White has a lovely, feminine fragrance, kind of soapy and kind of floral. Innisfree’s Green Tea Sleeping Pack smells fresh and green, like, well, green tea. And the White Tone Up Sleeping Pack is bracingly citrusy with a hint of other botanicals.
Sunscreen (and some extras)
Summer or winter, rain or shine, I wear a full 1/4 tsp of sunscreen on my face if I’m going to leave the house at all. My sunscreen game was fine last year but fell a little short of perfect. This year, however, I’m completely covered and totally satisfied thanks to my skin care fiance, Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++.
As a closing note, take a look at how I’ll be keeping my lips moisturized in the cutest possible way.
I picked these up from Amazon on a whim while I was searching for honey-based sheet masks, and I love them. First of all, they are the cutest lip balms I have ever seen in my life. I’m not a huge fan of the Tony Moly Petite Bunny Gloss Bars–they’re just a little bit too childish for me to want to use them in public–but these Skinfood honey pots are something else. The honey sticks are functional. You use them instead of your fingertip to dip out the balm and apply it to your lips, which I prefer because I hate getting goo under my fingernails, and also the mouths of the jars are too little to use a finger anyway. The balms give wonderfully long-lasting moisture and a light glossy finish, and they function very well as lip prep before lipsticks or stains, too.
And there you have it! Started from the bottom, now we here. And we’ve got nowhere to go but forward and up.
Are you adjusting your skincare routine for summer? What are you planning to change?