Midsummer Routine Check + Sample Routines

As you may have noticed, my routine is an ever-evolving thing. Our skin condition isn’t static, and for best results, we should adapt our routine on a day-to-day basis to account for things like weather and other environmental changes, as well as for our own health and skin conditions and anything else that might affect our complexions.

(I know, it sounds really complicated, but in practice it’s intuitive. Just listen to your skin and take your schedule into account.)

Because of the adaptability of my routine, I’ve never been super happy with the way I have it laid out on my routine page. That page makes it look so set in stone, and I’m always in there futzing around with it because it doesn’t feel like an accurate representation of what I do on a day-to-day basis. So I’m going to try something new (and copy this over to that page as well). Below, I’ve categorized each of my routine steps by product type and listed all my current options for each type. Then after that, I’ve provided some sample routines based on different needs or conditions. Tell me what you think of this layout!

Full Korean skincare routine

Also, please remember: Not everyone needs a skincare routine like this! I’m not actually sure anyone needs a skincare routine like this. I definitely don’t need a skincare routine like this. I just like it.

And, as always, remember that my routine is an example, not a template. You can build as short or as long a routine as your needs and lifestyle demand.

My full Asian skincare routine

Below are all the building blocks of my personal skincare routine, with some notes on usage and/or texture.

Oil Cleansers: To break up and lift off sunscreen, makeup, dirt, and oil (evening only).

Foaming Cleanser: To cleanse face in the morning and to remove all traces of oil cleanser residue and cleanse face in the evening.

Double cleansing with Hada Labo cleansing foam and Botanic Farm cleansing sherbet

I know cleansing and double cleansing are boring and tedious. That’s why I spice mine up with a variety of “cute” headbands. I may start collecting K-brands’ logo headbands, actually.

Chemical Exfoliants: Evening only; to build collagen, lighten dark spots, accelerate skin turnover rate, and clear pores by loosening dead skin cells for faster shedding.

Toners: To soften skin after cleansing and prepare it for optimal absorption of any skincare products applied afterwards.

  • COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol (astringent, anti-acne)
  • Dear by Enprani Believe in a Bottle I Have No Idea What the Official Name of This Is Softfull Booskin (slightly astringent)
  • Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect First Serum (has additional brightening ingredients)

Essences: To add hydration to skin and deliver a moderate amount of skincare actives and antioxidants.

  • Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Moist Lotion (classified as an essence due to texture) mixed with 1-2 drops Leejiham Vita Propolis Ampoule
  • Tosowoong Propolis Natural Pure Essence (watery gel texture, brightening and antioxidant, propolis is good for wound healing and soothing breakouts)
  • Tosowoong Syn-Ake Natural Pure Essence (watery gel texture, brightening and antioxidant, syn-ake peptide is said to have wrinkle-smoothing benefits)

Serums/ampoules: To deliver more concentrated doses of skincare actives and antioxidants.

  • Mizon Original Skin Energy Placenta 45 Ampoule (watery texture, anti-aging and brightening)
  • Custom DIY Shark Sauce ampoule concocted by Holy Snails (incoming!!)
  • Tosowoong Time Shift Serum (light serum texture, anti-aging, brightening, and antioxidant)
  • Shara Shara Honey Bomb All In One Ampoule (medium gel texture, anti-aging, brightening, hydrating, moisturizing, and antioxidant)
  • Banila Co. Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Essence Oil (thick ampoule texture, anti-aging, brightening, moisturizing, and antioxidant)

Emulsions: To deliver light moisturization, either alone or under a cream.

  • Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion (extremely light)
  • Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid (light texture but rich with ceramides and other emollients)
  • Tosowoong Time Shift Emulsion (incoming)

Creams: To seal in previous skincare steps and supplement the moisture barrier to prevent water loss.

  • COSRX Honey Ceramide Full Moisture Cream (very moisturizing but dries quickly and matte, suitable for day or night use)
  • Banila Co. Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Cream (very rich balm-type cream, for nighttime use only)
  • Tosowoong Super Aqua Cooling Gel (light, hydrating gel-type moisturizer, suitable for day use but not occlusive or hydrating enough for night)
  • Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream (light but occlusive gel, kept around for breakouts only)

Eye stuff: For hydrating and moisturizing the eye area.

  • Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Roller (very light, hydrating roller gel product to hydrate eye area under cream; morning and evening use)
  • COSRX Honey Ceramide Eye Cream (richly moisturizing but sinks in fast, leaving no residue to interfere with eye makeup; morning and evening use)
  • Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Cream Pack (very very rich eye cream/overnight mask; nighttime use only)

Sunscreen: Nonnegotiable everyday UV protection.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence 2015 sunscreen

I get nervous when I’m down to just one backup, so I always keep multiples in stock.

So those are my building blocks. Now let’s look at a couple of sample routines! All of these are morning routines, because I find myself customizing more in the morning. (For me, the evening is “slap on all the things” time.)

Asian Skincare Sample Routine 1: Woke Up Late and in a Rush

Happens to everyone once in a while (or more often than that), right? Despite your best intentions and multiple alarms set for multiple times and scattered all around your room, you wake up too late to do a full morning routine. So what do you do? Cut things down!

  • Cleanse with Hada Labo foaming cleanser
  • Tone with Dear by Enprani Softfull Booskin (by the way, I am still bitter that I was mistakenly sent this instead of the Moistfull Booskin that I was so excited to acquire, but that’s a story for another time)
  • Hydrate, brighten, and protect with 1-2 essences: usually Hada Labo and Tosowoong Syn-Ake OR take the all-in-one approach with Shara Shara Honey Bomb AIO Ampoule
  • Moisturize with Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion (the fastest-drying of the bunch)
  • Treat eyes with Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Roller and COSRX Honey Ceramide Eye Cream
  • Protect with sunscreen after lotion has dried

Since this is a rush routine, I’ll give the approximate time it takes to complete: 20-30 minutes, including sunscreen wait time. Multitask by horking down some breakfast, getting dressed, and/or brushing your hair while waiting for moisturizer and sunscreen to dry.

Asian Skincare Sample Routine 2: OMG It’s So Humid and Hot and Sticky, YUCK

Oh. My. God. I hate, hate, hate hot and sticky weather. And I hate feeling like my face is coated in sticky goo when the weather is humid and uncomfortable already. The goal of this routine is to get as much hydration and skin benefit as I can without ending up feeling like a sweaty greaseball by the time I’m done. This also happens to be a very fast routine, since everything in it dries down quickly.

  • Cleanse with Hada Labo foaming cleanser
  • Tone with Dear by Enprani Softfull Booskin
  • Hydrate, brighten, and protect with essences only, layering Hada Labo lotion, Tosowoong Syn-Ake essence, and Tosowoong Propolis essence
  • Treat eyes with Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Roller and COSRX Honey Ceramide Eye Cream
  • Lock in hydration without adding weight with Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Lotion or Tosowoong Super Aqua Cooling Gel
  • Sunscreen

Asian Skincare Sample Routine 3: Oops, I Messed Up My Barrier

Sometimes I get a little too enthusiastic with the acids and end up with an overexfoliated face. For me, overexfoliation presents as a very persistent dryness, a sudden crop of visible fine lines, and a generally rough and flaky skin texture. Gross. This routine helps keep my skin protected and heals it up after an exfoliation mishap. When I have to fix overexfoliation, I cut out the acids (obviously) and do a routine like this both morning and evening, with the addition of cleansing oil in the evening. This is also a good routine for when the weather is very arid, which my skin doesn’t like, and which happens quite a lot where I live.

  • Cleanse with Hada Labo foaming cleanser
  • Tone with Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect First Serum, because it has a tiny tiny bit of AHA, but not enough to irritate
  • Essences as needed (usually all of them, since they pat in so quickly anyway and overexfoliated skin needs all the help it can get)
  • Serums and ampoules as needed (all but the Banila Co. Miss Flower & Mr. Honey during the day, all of them, including the Miss Flower, at night)
  • Evening only: Deeply hydrate with a sheet mask or hydrogel mask (or two)
  • Treat eyes with Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Roller and COSRX Honey Ceramide Eye Cream; add Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Cream Pack in the evening
  • Support and repair skin barrier with Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid
  • Moisturize and support skin barrier with COSRX Honey Ceramide cream
  • Sunscreen in morning only

Asian Skincare Sample Routine 4: Wahhh! Where Did This Pimple Come From?!

My skin doesn’t break out often, but every once in a while, I’ll have a run-in with some product that it doesn’t like, or end up with a bump after a waxing session (yay for dark upper lip hair!). When that happens, it’s time to pull out my propolis, A-Sol, and snail. I do this routine both morning and evening when I have a breakout, except that in the evening, I add my cleansing oil and acids.

  • Cleanse with Hada Labo foaming cleanser
  • Spot treat pimples with COSRX Returning A-Sol and/or tone all over with A-Sol
  • Hydrate and heal skin with Hada Labo lotion + LJH Vita Propolis ampoule and Tosowoong Propolis essence
  • Serums and ampoules as needed
  • Evening only: Calm skin with a snail, green tea, tea tree, or aloe sheet mask or hydrogel mask
  • Treat eyes with Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Roller and COSRX Honey Ceramide Eye Cream; add Mizon Intensive Skin Barrier Eye Cream Pack in the evening
  • Moisturize and further calm skin with Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream
  • Sunscreen in the morning only

And there you have it! Several of the many different custom ways that I use my skincare routine.

How do you deal with getting up too late to do a full routine, or any of the other reasons you might have to adjust your routine?

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27 responses to “Midsummer Routine Check + Sample Routines

  1. I start some shifts at 7am, and have to rise at 5 to get there on time (sucks!) On those mornings, if I’ve opted for extra snooze time, I cleanse with just cold water and Konjac, then use COSRX Awkward name, Hadalabo lotion, and COSRX Snails, then slap on Benton steam cream and my Biore Watery essence. It seems to be ok. The heavier steam cream makes up for losing most of my usual essences and actives. I wouldn’t want to do it all the time though.

    I definitely approve of changing routines due to how your skin feels. I posted on the AB reddit earlier about my routine, and as soon as I’d done it I thought “but I don’t ALWAYS do all that…” I guess I’m just trying to come up with a morning and evening routine that makes my skin happy! Other than “BATHING in my new Miss Flower & Mr Honey essence” – OMG, I love it. If Banila Co made that into a perfume I would be like “TAKE MY MONEY! You don’t even have to shut up first!” I think I neeeeed the stick form, for secret sniffs throughout the day.

    My partner has a bit of PIH so I may have got him onto snails!

    I think my next purchase has to be the c21.5 serum – I know there’s a bit of SAP in the Banila essence, but I’d like to add in some proper vitamin C. I’ve been unlucky in that the (non AB) niacinamide 12% serum I tested was sticky as hell – I blame the glycerol, yuck – so I’m on the look out for a 5% topical niacinamide sans glycerin or glycerol! If you find any please let me know!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Duuuude, that Miss Flower & Mr Honey line. It’s crack. I thought I was running low on the cream the other night (after less than a month–but I do have portion control problems) and I couldn’t calm down until I stuck a spatula into it to test the depth and reassure myself that I have over half the jar left.

      And I still re-ordered today. Thank God TesterKorea has the full size in stock right now. By the way, TK has the full size in stock right now.

      As far as vitamin C serums and niacinamide goes, I’m getting more interested in DIY, so that I can be in complete control of concentrations and stuff. It’s Holy Snails’s fault for saying she’d make me a couple of things. I don’t want to bug her every time I want to restock, so I’m going to have to learn this stuff myself 😮

      Like

  2. Thank you so much for breaking it down like this. It’s very informative, I was just thinking today, that maybe I was using too many ampoules, but felt my skin was drier and needed it. Now I see I can vary things depending on my skins needs.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great content, but I *have* to comment on your use of my favorite word: “hork.” Members of my family do not believe this is a real word, but it is. My favorite use of hork is in “horking up,” which is what the cat does when she overexerts herself after finding and consuming a small desiccated mouse.

    Hork hork! (glad you like the ceramidin. I’m pretty sure it’s liquid gold).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I keep seeing the Honey bomb ampoule and Miss Flower & Mr Honey essence everywhere, and I seriously can’t wait for my no-buy to end because 1) honey is my favorite ingredient ever ever ever and 2) using cute, fancy packaging is just really not fair to my buyer’s heart 😦

    Like

  5. Thank you for sharing the reality of the variability of your routine. I think most of us adapt our routines (or should) not only based on climate and season but also on our schedules, how we’re feeling, hormonal cycles, irritation from a product, getting sunburnt, trying to use up “meh” products to get onto the next best thing, etc… I definitely prefer the “pick X amount from each category approach” as opposed to a rigid template that’s unrealistic. Like you, I have a lot of products in my lineup, but I don’t use them all during the same session.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Now that we are into the “lazy, hazy days of summer” (even here in the Allegheny Plateau of West-Central PA), I have certainly felt the need to rethink my routines, especially in the AM. I have emphasized “lighter” products and also using less product at each step so that the result feels less “heavy”.

    When I travel on business, I usually can’t bring along everything I’d like to and, especially in the AM, time is usually at a premium. I try to make up for it in the PM and things like sheet masks, eye patches, and sleep packs are relatively light and easy to pack.

    So, here my “bare bones” AM routine, based on the IOPE Men’s 2-step SC line, which is really pretty good, all things considered (plus I have tons of samples that are small, light, and easy to pack). Each step is marked as “a” (must do), “b” (should do) or “c” (could do).

    But, before I go any further, I wanted to comment on something you said in your e-mail announcement.

    “Also, please remember: Not everyone needs a skincare routine like this! I’m not actually sure anyone needs a skincare routine like this. I definitely don’t need a skincare routine like this. I just like it.”

    I like your SC routines a lot. I very much admire them (and you)! When I grow up, I want to have SC routine(s) just like them. I also like the new layout. It very nicely illustrates variability and customizability.

    “On the Road” Summer AM Routine

    Cleanse (a): Hada Labo Tamagohada (nice small tube) with konjac sponge
    Tone (a): IOPE Men Bio Essence Conditioner
    Serum (c): TFS Bifida All-In-One Serum
    Lotion (b): TonyMoly Tea Tree Sebum & Pore Lotion
    Emulsion (a): IOPE Men Skin Expert Emulsion
    Cream (b): Laneige Water Bank Gel Cream OR TFS 99% Jeju Aloe Fresh Soothing Gel
    Sunscreen (a): TFS Moisture Sun Sebum Control SPF40/PA+++ (2 layers min.)
    Sunscreen (c): Shiseido Urban Environment Tinted SS (#2-Medium)

    I could do all of the above (minus the SS) in the PM, with the addition of a sheet mask (or 2), an eye patch (or 2) and a sleep pack (or 2, if I include the Garnier overnight eye sleep mask).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Tosowoong Time Shift Serum. I’m using the Missha Borabit Ampoule and I like it, but I don’t think it does anything amazing for my skin so I’m looking for something similar as a replacement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funnily enough, I was just contemplating doing a “first impressions” post on it, since I am very very impressed so far! I’ve been using it for a bit over a week and have noticed a definite improvement in my overall skin texture and firmness. There’s one problem area I have right by my nose, where I can see the beginnings of lines, and that area has smoothed out visibly. So far, I’m thinking this is a really great product. And the price is amazing!

      Like

  8. My morning routine is almost perpetually stuck at the ‘woke up late’ one because my brain just doesn’t like to function before a certain time 😦 So my evening routine ends up taking the bulk of the work and I spend an hour (or two depending on which type of mask I use) just lounging around surrounded by AB :’)

    By the way, how are you liking the Dr. Jart Ceramidin Liquid? I’ve been eyeing that for a bit, but Ceramide 3 is very low on the ingredients list, so I’m also slightly hesitant. Then again, maybe we only need a tiny amount of ceramide to fix our skin barriers…hmm I need to research this further.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like it, and I think it is true that the ceramide doesn’t have to be high on the ingredients list to do its job. I vaguely remember reading on The Beauty Brains that the typical concentration of it is less than 1%.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Doooope. I’m trying out the Guerisson 9 Complex right now, and the ads are allll about the ceramide in addition to the horse oil, so I was surprised to see that ceramide was the last ingredient listed. But good to know that it’s still effective at low concentrations!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! The smell was definitely a plus for me. I’ve only used it for about 4 days now, and so far so great. I thought it wouldn’t sink in well because the texture is weirdly buttery, but I’ve been waking up to reeeeeally nicely hydrated skin that’s not greasy at all. I don’t want to jump the gun and say this is it for me, but right now, it’s doing a good job. Can’t wait to see your review on it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Before I used it, I was really skeptical of the claims that it absorbs well due to horse oil’s similarity to human sebum, but there is definitely something to that. I’ll be posting the review this week!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. “Also, please remember: Not everyone needs a skincare routine like this! I’m not actually sure anyone needs a skincare routine like this. I definitely don’t need a skincare routine like this. I just like it.” … LOL! 🙂 my thoughts exactly when people see my skincare hoard.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved this! Do you feel like you need to use eye cream as well when you use your roller? Or do you just enjoy having both? I’ve been shopping around for an eye cream and I love the idea of a roller, but I’d rather just buy a cream if it won’t do the job on its own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I enjoy having both, and it think it depends on your skin whether you’ll need an additional cream. Layering works really well for the rest of my face, so I’m not surprised that is good for my eyes.

      Like

  11. It’s amazing post and thank you so much! I love your ideas about skin care routine. From last 5 years I changed my skin care products and skin care routine to Asian skin routine and I’m so impress !!! My skin look much better and younger then 5 years ago. Almost one year ago I start use Hada Labo (red) and it’s my number one – a special lotion and milk. My favourite skin care cosmetics brands are Secket Key, Innisfree, Sidomol. I change also most of my makeup cosmetics to Asian brands like 3W, Secret Key, Skin79, Innisfree, Lioele. Soon I will try Tosowoong Syn-Ake 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: A Visual Guide to the Korean Skincare Routine·

  13. Do you know how wonderful you are? I don’t know how to thank you enough for this post and for your whole blog.
    Seriously, I look forward to my routine every evening now and I feel more confident with my lovely glowy skin. Thanks for buying and reviewing all these products so I know which ones are more suitable for my needs xx

    Liked by 1 person

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