Spring/Summer 2015 Routine Overhaul Status: Complete!

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!

2015 Winter/spring Korean skin care routine
The routine I started this blog with.
Fifty Shades of Snail Spring/Summer 2015 routine
What I’m working with now.

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.

Spring/summer 2015 cleansers and wash-off masks
Innisfree’s Green Tea Pure Cleansing Oil is the only new player in the cleansing team.

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.

COSRX AHA and BHA products and C21.5 vitamin C serum
All my acids are now from COSRX, and that includes my C21.5 vitamin C serum. C21.5’s parent company is–you guessed it–COSRX.

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.

Essences, ampoules, and serums
In fact, Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion is the only survivor of the Purge of Spring/Summer 2015.

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.

Honey-based skin and lip care products
Honey products are my jam. Hurr hurr.

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!

Shara Shara Honey Bomb ampoule and Glow Recipe personal thank-you card
Blurred out the part where whoever wrote this card made an extended pun about my name ❤

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.

Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion for day, I'm From Honey Cream for night
Green tea and honey. My routine is, if nothing else, delicious.

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!

Sheet mask collection storage
At night, I can hear them whispering to each other of plumping hydration, brightening extracts, and happy skin.

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.

Innisfree Green Tea Sleeping Pack and White Tone Up Sleeping Pack, Mizon Good Night White Sleeping Mask
Putting these on before bedtime is akin to tucking my face in under cool silk sheets.

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++++.

2015 Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence sunscreen
For me, this is the perfect sunscreen in every single way.

As a closing note, take a look at how I’ll be keeping my lips moisturized in the cutest possible way.

Skinfood Honey Pot lip balms
Oh. My. GOD. Will you look at these adorable Skinfood Honey Pot lip balms. Will you just LOOK at them.

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?


26 thoughts on “Spring/Summer 2015 Routine Overhaul Status: Complete!

  1. Your blog is going to be bad news for my wallet. I wanted to try Benton’s Snail Bee essence, but was leary because of the formula. It sounds like Shara Shara is going to be a great alternative.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. the skinfood honey pot lip balm is the worst lip balm i’ve ever tried in my life 😦 the packaging lured me in but i hate it so much haha

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My skin is SO MUCH HAPPIER since I switched to chemical exfoliants (and started using them correctly). If I knew that putting away the clairsonic and tossing the apricot scrub would cause such a dramatic transformation in the quality of my skin I would have done it years ago. My Asian Beauty routine has taught me that my skin likes to be treated with kindness! Go figure!

    I just picked up the Innisfree Green Tea Sleeping pack as well (I’m currently still patch-testing it). I’m looking forward to hearing you thoughts on it, and all of your other new products!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So glad I read this post! Was trying to decide whether to get the Innisfree Green tea sleeping pack or the Mizon Good Night White one, after reading your description of scents, I am pulling the trigger on the Mizon pack!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay, I have to ask: what are these paranormal podcasts of which you speak??
    Also, honey honey honey! I need some of these things in my life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Darkness Radio and Paranormal Podcast the best. Jim Harold’s Campfire Stories is also really good for just hearing callers tell their personal ghost stories; he’s one of the hosts of Paranormal Podcast. And I used to like Coast to Coast AM a lot, but they’ve gotten way too political and conspiracy-focused lately, so I don’t really listen to them anymore.


  6. Howdy!
    This is my first day reading your blog and I am grateful to find it. I am newish to AB (4 months) and found it very funny that your starting routine is pretty much my routine now. I will definitely have to expand and try Shara Shara and Cosrx because of you. I too am a Benton lover but have that back in my mind worry.
    So jealous of your sheet mask collection, OMG.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi! I want to start using chemical exfoliants since I find skinfood black sugar mask too harsh on my skin and while innisfree volcanic clay mask is good, it easily expires. Can i ask for your recommendation? My skin type is oily, acne-prone and sensitive.. I have the COSRX natural bha emulsion but it is just a moisturiser i believe. Like the others, I am new to asian skincare so i would appreciate your inputs. Thanks!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Elle, I think COSRX’s BHA Blackhead Power Liquid would be a good start, as it can help keep your pores clear in order to control the development of breakouts as well as oil production.


      1. Wow i didnt expect ur immediate response. Thanks a lot!! Another question here, i wanted something to help lighten my pigmentation from previous breakout and even out my skin texture. Is AHA suitable for my oily skin? Or is the cosrx’s bha blackhead power liquid enough? Does using both too much? Thank u. Ive been reading ur blog since last night and theyr really helpful.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The BHA probably won’t lighten pigmentation; I would look at either a vitamin C serum or an AHA for that, after you have introduced your BHA and know that your skin tolerates it well 🙂

        WordPress app on mobile lets me see new comments and respond way fast!


    2. Hi! If you find the Skinfood Black Sugar Mask too hard, try to mix it with a little bit of water. It’s what I am doing and works really well 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks but that is exactly what i am doing. I just want to try chemical exfoliants as well. Hehe.. do u hav any recommendation?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello, have you tried the Bombee honey sheet mask? It looks interesting but I didn’t want to spend a chunk of money if it’s not good. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When I read “Auntie Snail” I immediately pictured you sitting on a comfy armchair, and your readers (incl myself) sitting on a fluffy rug in front of you while you tell them the bedtime story of your skincare routine, masterly planned. :3 *was taking notes until now*

    Ugh. My skin is so dry. I’ve been using oils only for a long time. At first it was great. Had my rosehip oil in the evening, mixed with avocado oil, and then baobab and black cumin seed oil during the day (I didn’t go out much – if at all, so makeup and sunscreen wasn’t really a concern for me; of course, I religiously used my Badger Broad Spectrum baby SPF30 non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen cream *takes a breath* which contains chamomile and calendula extracts and never went out without it). My skin started getting a little better after being under so much stress from university, but then suddenly it wasn’t enough. Organic creams would break me out most of the time, looking like over-moisturization (my skin becomes bumpy if this is the case).

    A few months ago, I finally returned to Asian skincare and my skin is showing huge improvements even though I don’t have a full routine yet. I’ve been washing my face with health store oat milk every morning, then layering two essences and/or serums from sample sachets/packets (Korean brands), followed by Etude House AC Clinic daily lotion as a spot treatment, then The Body Shop vitamin E moisture cream and/or moisture mask (this has run out now), and a collagen sleeping mask mixed with a drop of baobab oil on top of that. If I don’t include a sleeping mask during the day, my skin feels dry, tight and tired, losing moisture much too quickly.

    Currently waiting on an eBay haul (the cheapest free-shipping option to get AB products to South Africa that I know of)…. Will have to see how that goes when it gets here. My summer will see a tea tree toner, camellia oil and camellia mist, green tea oil (yum), a galactomytes first essence, a Mizon jelly seaweed scrub, spot treatment, sun milk and essence, and an Arsainte Eco-therapy moisturizer, with some eye cream samples. And some shiny hair care products that I can’t wait to try!

    Still have Hada Labo products waiting in my cart for when I can afford them. Hehe *excited*

    Are there any super-moisturizing creams that you’d recommend?


      1. Thank you for your reply! I love your blog so much. So it will be C20 Vitamin then wait 20 minutes then apply BHA and wait for 20 minutes before apply AHA right?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello Fiddy Snails

    I am 24 years old this year and have combination-dehydrated skin. Do you have any recommendations for a good hydrating emulsion (without alcohol) besides Innisfree and snail cream? Sadly, Innisfree products has no effect on my skin and I am a vegetarian so animal-derived ingredient is out for me. I just bought the Missha SuperAqua hydrating emulsion and have been trying it for 2 weeks but I started having break-outs. Thank you!


    1. Hiya! Hmm, I haven’t really liked many emulsions much as it seems to be difficult for brands to get the moisture balance right (usually they’re either way too light, not moisturizing, or a little bit greasy). I think the best option I’ve tried so far would be Cosrx’s Oil-Free Ultra Moisturizing Lotion with Birch Sap. I reviewed it here a while back! I’m afraid I can’t remember off the top of my head if it is a vegan product however, but if it helps at all, Cosrx does not do animal testing.


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