How to Build Your Own Skincare Routine

Morning Korean beauty skincare routine
A fairly typical morning routine for me.

3/26/2021 update: It’s been almost 6 years since I originally published this post. I’ve been refining my approach this whole time–what I advise now may differ from what I advised back then. Because this page has helped a ton of people in the time between its original publishing date and today, I’m leaving it up as is. If you’d like to know my current system for developing a skincare routine, please consider buying my book, Skincare for Your Soul–it goes into the entire process in far more detail than any blog post could!

The great thing about Asian skincare is how customizable it is. Your routine can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it; it can target one specific issue or a number of them all at once. You can stick to a limited budget or go all-out. The only limits are the ones you set.

With that being said, there’s a lot of room for error on the road to your perfect routine. That’s why I wrote this guide. I hope it helps you make some sense of the bewildering array of choices ahead of you!

Asian skincare routine building: Best practices

So what’s the first step in building an Asian skincare routine?

It’s knowing what changes you want to see in your skin.

Much like changing your diet or genetically engineering a new dinosaur species, developing a new skincare routine is first and foremost about solving a problem (or problems). Determine what skin issues you want to target. Do you have problems with acne? Dryness? Aging? Pigmentation? Your unique combination of concerns–and your sensitivities, if you know them–should drive your product selection. Keep track of the products you’ve used and their results (or lack thereof) so that you can get to know your skin better.

Once you’ve identified your goal(s), be like Zoolander at Derelicte. Pay no attention to the beautiful products that aren’t targeted for your skin concerns. Keep your eyes on the Prime Rib of Propecia, who allegorically (or metaphorically, or symbolically, I forget, bad English major! Bad! Bad!) represents your best skin.

One final note before we get down to business: Never introduce a whole bunch of products to your routine at once. Doing so means that if one of your new products doesn’t agree with your skin, you’ll have no idea which one it is. Add new products one at a time, and use them for at least a week or two before moving on to the next in order to give your skin time to react to anything it doesn’t like in the formulation.

Building an Asian skincare routine, step by step

Step 1: Sunscreen

When transitioning to an Asian-style skincare routine, I strongly believe it’s ideal to start with sunscreen. There are a couple of reasons why. One, sunscreen is literally the most important anti-aging product you can put on your face. No other anti-aging lotion or potion will do a thing for you if you don’t protect your face from UV radiation. And two, despite the importance of sunscreen, it is ridiculously difficult to find an affordable, accessible, and usable face sunscreen on the shelves of American drugstores. (Kiss my A-Sol, Neutrogena Ultra “Sheer” “Dry” Touch Sunscreen. You are made of stark white grease and lies.) So start, if you can, by grabbing a few Japanese sunscreens to try, ideally ones with the maximum protection of SPF 50+ and PA++++.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence 2015 sunscreen
I get nervous when I’m down to just one backup, so I always keep multiples on hand.

The sunscreen I use every day is Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++. It’s great for me, because my skin leans normal/balanced and the multiple hydrating layers and final moisturizing step in my morning routine keep the somewhat alcohol-heavy product from drying out my skin. But there’s no such thing as a universally perfect product! Many people with dry or dehydrated complexions shrivel up on contact with the Biore Watery Essence. If you’re one of those, you may want to start your search with a different sunscreen. I found Shiseido Senka Aging Care Sunscreen SPF 50+ PA++++ to be incredibly moisturizing, but with the same clear finish (no white cast!) as the Biore.

Step 2: Oil cleansing

Oil cleansing is the exception to the “introduce one new product at a time and wait at least a week before adding the next” rule. In fact, I’d suggest buying your first oil cleanser at the same time as your sunscreen. This is because when you wear sunscreen, you need a way to properly remove it at night. Habitually neglecting the nighttime cleanse can clog pores and lead to breakouts. On top of that, none of the other products you might add later on will deliver their full effects unless you’re applying them to a nice clean face. And many foaming cleansers don’t actually remove makeup and sunscreen well. Sunscreen is particularly stubborn. Many sunscreens are specifically formulated to adhere to your skin like a Secret Service agent to the President.

Luckily, hunting down a good emulsifying cleansing oil or balm isn’t usually as much of a challenge as finding a good sunscreen. Just grab a bunch of samples or jump right into a full size of whatever strikes your fancy. I prefer cleansing sherbets, which feel luxurious and deliver all the makeup-dissolving power of cleansing oils without any of the drippy mess. I used Banila Co. Clean It Zero for months, and I would have posted a positive review of it already if Kerry at Skin and Tonics hadn’t already given the definitive Clean It Zero rave review. You’ll find oil cleansing options at every price point and that fit just about every aesthetic. And if you want to stick with the local drugstore for this cleansing step, a few Western brands make cleansing oils now. Garnier’s cleansing oil was my first. Cold cream will also work for the sunscreen/makeup removal step of your double cleanse.

Step 3: Second cleanser pH check

Do you really need to replace your foaming cleanser? It depends on two factors. Okay, it depends on three, but the third factor is whether you care about optimizing your routine. For the purposes of this guide, I’m just assuming that you do.

The first factor to evaluate is whether your cleanser makes your skin feel dry, tight, or in any way uncomfortable after you wash your face. If it does, then it’s time to seek out a cleanser that won’t strip your skin of all its necessary lipids. The second factor is the actual pH of your cleanser, which you can sometimes find out by Googling, other times by emailing the manufacturer (and I personally think that if they won’t tell you, that’s just unbearably shady), or by getting a cheap pack of litmus strips and testing it out yourself. Is it higher than 5.5 or 6? If so, get off this path of harsh cleansing and sadly diminished moisture barriers and pick something milder. If it’s 9 or above, let me know so that I can buy a Mass for your poor acid mantle.

Unfortunately, most cleansers today are still formulated at quite a high pH. Even COSRX hasn’t come out with a gentle, low-pH cleanser (yet).

There aren’t all that many mild, low-pH foaming cleansers in the Asian skincare market, but there are some, and the ones I’ve tried are nice. If you’re feeling fancy, Missha’s Super Aqua Oxygen Micro Visible Deep Cleanser is pretty enjoyable. These days, though, I primarily use the blander and more economical Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam. If your skin is too sensitive to handle even a mild foaming cleanser, look into milk cleansers instead.

If you don’t feel the need to go the Asian route for a mere face wash, CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser is at an appropriate pH. I’ve used it. It’s fine. Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser in the foaming variety is okay, too.

I hope you’re still with me, because the best is yet to come.

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.

Steps 4 – Infinity: Treatment products!

Okay, you’ve got the boring, basic, hygiene-oriented steps out of the way. What’s next?


Now it’s time to tackle the infinite variety of treatment, hydration, and moisturization steps that the Asian skincare industry has to offer. Below, I’ll talk about acids, toners, first essences, essences, serums, ampoules, and creams: the meat of the famously customizable Asian skincare routine. I’m presenting them in the order in which you’d use them in your routine, more or less, but from this point on, there’s no universal reason to add these steps into your routine in any particular order. Listen to your skin and follow your gut. If your primary concern is moisturization (as in, dry skin that gets too little, or oily skin that always seems to get too much), you may want to skip ahead to creams before deciding whether you need anything else. If you want to tackle textural or pigmentation issues caused by aging, acne, or UV damage, on the other hand, maybe check out heavy hitters like acids or serums and ampoules first. Do what you want. Don’t feel obligated to have one of each type, and don’t feel limited to just one of each type. There are no rules. It’s all about your needs. Go wild! But one product at a time, obviously.


If you have serious skincare goals, then you’re going to need serious actives to achieve them. Besides retinoids, which I hesitate to recommend because I’m not super comfortable even with the idea of using them myself, the most serious actives available without a prescription are L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and AHA and BHA chemical exfoliants. But, and I can’t stress this enough, not everyone needs acids in their routine. Consider L-AA, AHA, and/or BHA if you’re struggling with the following issues:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles (L-AA, AHA)
  • Enlarged pores and/or sebaceous filaments, which most people know as “blackheads” (BHA)
  • Breakouts (BHA, AHA)
  • Sun damage, unwanted tanning (L-AA, AHA)
  • Hyperpigmentation caused by acne (L-AA, AHA)

Feel free to skip acids if none of the above are concerns. Due to the recommended wait times after application of each acid product and to the photosensitizing nature of some acids (AHAs), they can be more trouble than they’re worth if you don’t feel you need them.

COSRX chemical exfoliants
I’m really not foreseeing any way that COSRX won’t be making my AHA and BHA of choice for some time to come.

If, on the other hand, you decide that you do need some acids in your routine, be discriminating. Just because a product says “AHA,” “BHA,” or “Vitamin C” on the label doesn’t mean it’s formulated effectively. You probably know that I love COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid and COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, but there are a few other options you could try. Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum is well known, and Wishtrend-exclusive (I think) brand Chica y Chico makes a BHA cream, Beta Salic 2.0.

As far as L-ascorbic acid vitamin C goes, the C20 and C21.5 vitamin C serums (made by a sister company to COSRX, how about that!) are among the most famous. I like both. Formulated with 20% L-AA, C20 contains more stabilizing and anti-aging ingredients, but also has alcohol and may feel a bit sticky on the skin, while C21.5 is watery, totally non-sticky, alcohol-free, and 21.5% vitamin C, but lacks the stabilizers and additional anti-agers. There may be other vitamin C serums that I haven’t heard of, too.

C20 vitamin C serum
I was in love with C20 after a week of use. It’s just that good.

Once you’ve chosen your acids, take your time introducing them to your skin. Overexfoliation is unpretty and uncomfortable, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of babying to repair the moisture barrier damage that it can cause. Add one acid at a time and gradually work up from once-every-third-day use to once-daily use. Reduce usage if you notice any irritation or discomfort. Take time to learn and build your skin’s tolerance.

You’re making progress, and so is your skin! Now it’s time to turn to arguably the most skincaretaining part of the Asian beauty routine: toners, first essences, regular essences, serums, and ampoules! Below, I’ll explain the main points about each step. The rest is up to you. Start with one thing that you think will be most helpful, use it for a while, gauge the results, and decide after that whether you need more (and then more, and more, and more!).


Most Asian toners are nothing like your bracingly astringent Sea Breeze memories. Asian toners aren’t meant to dry up the last drop of oil or moisture on your skin and force it into a state of cowed submission (that always backfires later on). Instead, they’re meant to soften your skin and prepare it appropriately to receive the full benefits of whatever skincare products you apply afterwards.

There are two major classes of Asian toner. When applied with a cotton pad, both types can be used to remove any residue remaining after cleansing or exfoliation, but that’s not their primary function, and they can be sprayed or patted on with hands instead.

pH-adjusting toners, like COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner and Mizon AHA BHA Daily Clean Toner, are formulated to bring the skin’s pH back down to an acidic state after cleansing so that acids can do more during their brief window of effectiveness. Since I already use a low-pH cleanser, I don’t feel the need for a pH-adjusting toner, but they can be very useful if you’re still using a high-pH cleanser for some reason.

Hydrating toners from Korea and Japan
“Believe in a Bottle”? Yeah, I’m starting to believe.

Hydrating/prepping toners, like my Dear by Enprani Softfull Booskin, Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect First Serum, and Hada Labo Gokujyun Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (which, honestly, I think of as more of an essence due to its texture) are meant to lightly hydrate skin and make it optimally receptive for any non-acid treatment steps that follow. They may also contain moderate amounts of actives to treat specific skin issues. The Skinfood, for example, contains several melanin-inhibitory ingredients to help brighten skin. The more neutral pH and inclusion of nourishing ingredients in these toners make them unsuitable for use before acids.

I personally didn’t use toners until recently. Since they tend to have the lowest concentration of actives and beneficial ingredients out of all the Asian skincare treatment steps, they never interested me much. I’m appreciating their lightness and absorption-speeding capabilities now that it’s summer and I can’t stand feeling anything heavy or sticky on my face, though.

First essences

First essences are a special and very specific category. Like toners, they’re watery products that soften skin and help other products sink in better. Unlike a run-of-the-mill toner, however, first essences are characterized by a high amount of some kind of ferment extract or filtrate, usually yeast (galactomyces or saccharomyces, typically) and the inclusion of niacinamide and other melanin-inhibiting agents. The melanin-inhibiting ingredients help brighten and even out skin tone, while the ferments supposedly preserve suppleness and delay wrinkles by moisturizing and delivering antioxidants to the skin. Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence is a first essence, as you might have guessed. So is the famous SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and, less obviously, COSRX Galactomyces 95 Brightening Power Essence.

These days, I don’t really have a strong feeling one way or the other about first essences. If you’re intrigued by the ferment concept and prioritize getting an even glow, then they may be worth looking into, but they’re by no means a necessity. Should you want to check out the first essence scene, many of the major brands make them, and lots of the lesser known ones do, too.


In terms of real skin benefits, regular essences, like my Tosowoong Propolis Natural Pure Essence and the controversial Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence, are a step up from toners and first essences. While still quite hydrating and fast-absorbing, regular essences tend to be a bit thicker, ranging from a viscous liquid (one of my favorites of this type is A.True Real Black Tea True Active Essence) to a light gel texture. They usually deliver a higher dose of actives, antioxidants, and other helpful ingredients to skin.

Because essences still aren’t as intensive as serums and ampoules, I didn’t pay much attention to them until recently, either. Summer changed my mind just like it did about toners. When I’m already uncomfortably hot and sweaty, the last thing I want to feel on my face is layer after layer of heavy serum. There’s a reason we don’t wear wool turtlenecks in June. Essences are like the cotton T-shirts of Asian skincare. My point is that as you consider essences and other treatment steps, take weather and comfort into account alongside your skincare goals. You can (and probably will) change your lineup quite a bit as time passes and you develop ingredient awareness, so go with what will be most usable now.

Serums and ampoules

Technically, serums and ampoules are two different things. Serums are thicker and more viscous than essences and generally offer a higher concentration of actives, while ampoules are even more concentrated and often meant to be mixed in small amounts with other skincare steps, like my Leejiham Vita Propolis Ampoule. But the terms are so often used interchangeably that I just treat them interchangeably. A good serum/ampoule product is often a critical step in an effective skincare routine, and every Asian skincare company ever offers a wide variety of such products for customers to pick and choose from.

Korean serums and ampoules
My preciouses, every single one.

Though I’m glad I’ve chosen to stick to light-textured products like Mizon Placenta 45 Ampoule and Shara Shara Honey Bomb All In One Ampoule in my morning routine, I do still want the additional moisture and nourishment that the thicker Banila Co. Miss Flower & Mr. Honey Amazing Wonderful Heavenly Essence Oil provides, so I use that at night, when it’s cooler and I don’t mind being a bit layered up.

Emulsions and creams

Finally, we come to the last stage of the lengthy and wonderful Asian skincare routine. Emulsions and creams will probably be the most familiar product types to Asian skincare novices, since they’re pretty much classical moisturizers. Their primary functions are to add some more hydration to the skin and to lock it in with occlusive ingredients, preventing Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL).

Emulsions are thinner. In texture, they can resemble either a typical Western lotion, or a richer but still runny Asian essence. In general, they’re a lighter moisturizing step than creams and targeted at normal-to-oily complexions. In practice, however, let’s just say I’ve met a few emulsions, like Laneige White Plus Renew Emulsion, that actually made me oilier than most creams. Creams will be thicker but aren’t always creamy. Sometimes they’re quite watery, more hydrating than occlusive, silicone-based instead of oil-based, and known as gel creams. Others, like Mizon Returning Starfish Cream, are delightfully weird and indescribable. I prefer creams to emulsions because they seal things in better. People with very dry skin may choose to layer both!

Some emulsions and creams also deliver actives like niacinamide and adenosine. For me, ingredients like these are just a bonus, as the rest of my routine already contains the actives I want in several steps. If you’re planning a shorter, more streamlined routine, however, you may want to pay close attention to them so that you can get the most skincare bang for your buck.

And that’s it–the fundamental steps of the Asian skincare routine (okay, the acids are really more of a Western thing, but they are catching on) laid out to make your journey to your own ideal routine easier. If you’re still with me, I applaud your dedication. I’m sure you’ll be rewarded!

Yeah okay, you freak. But how am I supposed to TRY all this stuff to figure out what I really need?

Oh yeah. Actually trying stuff out.

If you don’t live in a pretty diverse area with a well established Asian community, it might seem like getting your hands on enough different products to try would be impossible. And how are you supposed to afford full sizes of a whole bunch of different things that might all turn out to be losers?

I have two words for you.

First word: INTERNET.

Second word: SAMPLES.

Samples are a huge thing, and they’re remarkably easy to get online. Sites like RoseRoseShop and TesterKorea sell them, often in packs of ten. Innisfree sells big, recloseable sample sizes of many of their popular items, and just about every brand out there offers trial sizes and travel kits. Online shops like Jolse (especially Jolse) hand samples out so generously that you’ll end up building a sizable sample stash after just a few orders. Hell, I found a 25-pack of samples of the incredible Su:m37 White Award Bubble Detox Mask on Amazon.

What I’m saying is that once you find your feet in the Asian skincare landscape, you’ll be in a position to try just about anything, no matter how far you are from the nearest Koreatown.

How far along are you in building an Asian skincare routine? Tell me what you’ve got going on in the comments!

137 thoughts on “How to Build Your Own Skincare Routine

  1. I am a recent K-beauty convert, so, i still have some products that are non Korean which I feel too wasteful to throw out. Below are my routine in the mornings:

    1. I wash with Clenziderm M.D. Daily Care Foaming Cleanser as I was getting a new pimple every two weeks for the past year after my beloved sister scared me about breast cancer for being on the contraceptive pills for too long. I swapped pills for a month in October 2014 and since then was getting endless pimples! However, since converting to double cleansing, I have only had one small blemish for the last two menstrual cycles! Yay! That aside, I’m not sure if this cleanser actually helped with my pimples scenario and it is very very drying. I don’t double cleanse in the morning and use this in the shower.
    2. I tone using Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner with the hope of fading my acne PIH. Toner does not feel harsh, so, I don’t mind this product. Can’t really attribute this toner to fading my acne PIH and brown spots yet.
    3. Missha First Time Essence Intensive – Ditto – not harsh but unsure of any specific benefits.
    4. Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop – After two days, I thought my brown spots were fading but I think I was hallucinating! Under bright natural light, my brown spots are still very obvious. After this, I will try the OST C20 which I have already ordered and is in the mail!
    5. Su:m37 Water Full Rebalancing Gel Lotion – lots of rave reviews about this but it is really not moisturising enough for me. I am going to add a cream step for the day routine to combat the dryness.
    6. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Clear Face Sunscreen Liquid-Lotion SPF30 (will try Missha Sun Milk as my K substitute when this one runs out)
    7. Paula’s Choise Vitamin C Spot Treatment for all my brown spots and acne PIH.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I see some nice choices in there! That Klairs vitamin C serum is pretty close to useless though, from what I understand: the vitamin C concentration is far too low and the pH far too neutral 😦 I think you’ll find the C20 more effective.

      Good luck on your AB journey! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. C20 as in the one in the orange bottle? Should I go for that or the C21? My mum and I will both be using that. This is going to be our first Korean beauty purchase, so I was gonna go for the Klairs one as the wishtrend site has got a bundle deal with that going on. I was thinking the toner would be perfect for my mum and the moisturizer perfect for my mum and I (my mums skin is dry and I am dry with an oily Tzone w/ white headshirt issue). I am going to go for the cosrx aha/bha toner and low ph cleanser aswell as the missha essence. Do you think that it’s ok for a step stone into skincare. I’ve got sensitive skin so stay away from parabens and fragrances ( if it’s a low content of fragrance then I’m ok). I was also looking at the primera alpine berry watery cream aswell, as I’m looking for something very hydrating but won’t sit heavy on my skin, any recommendations will be greatly appreciated. Also, recommendations for my mum, things w/ anti aging,wrinkle and repairing benefits. Thank you ^_^

        Ooooh I am so glad I stumbled across your blog 🙌🙌🙌 highly informative, the work you put into it is commendable 😊


      2. The Klairs vita c serum bundle, from wishtrend, comes with the Klairs toner, which I have been looking into for my mum, and its also got the vitamin tree water gel from I’m From. As we are starting out, should we stick with the Klairs vita c serum because of the low content of vita c and then build up to the C20?
        Wishtrends also got the C21.5 w/ the Vitamin Tree Water Gel from I’m From as a bundle.
        So should I go with the latter or former?

        Currently I don’t have a skincare routine( I’m 20) as I’ve tried a lot, from sheseido to Kheils, and they haven’t done anything to my skin. So I just use the first aid beauty cleanser w/ witch hazel as a toner and oil(coconut + sweet almond) as a moisturizer, as that’s the only thing that helps with the dryness. Witch hazel has helped with minimizing the pores a bit but i am looking to cosrx for something that’ll diminish the whiteheads + even out my skins texture around my Tzone. My mum and I both have that problem where our face flakes, peels, gets tight and hurts when we don’t use an oil or its been a reaction due to moisturizers not being hydrating enough. We did recently try the hydrating masks from leaders and it was heavenly 😍 hence we’ve decided to try korean skincare.

        Thank you ^_^


      3. I am also a new convert to K-beauty. I have probably been using my new skin care routine for about a month now. I couldn’t be more pleased! The ironic part is that I’ve been a licensed Esthetician for 16 years and learned SO much more by reading the Little Book of Skin Care! Through using my own research on her reccomendations I’ve come up with this new routine using all but just a few Korean skin care products! Here’s my list: Oil cleanse with the Face Shop, Rice Water Bright, Cream cleanser by American made Repecharge’ called Hydra 4 calming cleanser, I tone with Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, Bentone Snail Bee High Content Essense, Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule, Mizon (daytime) Snail Recovery Gel Cream, Mizon Black Snail all-in-one Cream (nighttime), Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream, Suntegrity 5 in 1 Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30. I have two nighttime masks, one is the Moistfull collagen and the other is the Lionae Waterdrop Sleeping Mask. For daytime I mask with MJCare Collagen Essence Mask (1-2x week) and a clay based mask by Reparcharge’ in their Hydra 4 line for sensitive skin. I have noticed a nice refinement to my skin with no lack of hydration!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The refinement is a great thing, isn’t it? I find it hard to explain sometimes, but having a more refined skin texture is definitely one of the big things I’ve gotten out of K-beauty. So glad you’re enjoying it so far!


  2. Newbie question here… if the cleanser you’re using is low (e.g. in the 5.0-5.5 range) is it possible to skip a ph adjusting toner entirely?

    It’d be nice if I could skip it… so more money could go into a decent acid/essence/serum. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hey! what steps do you do all this? it says step by step but i doubt u do sunscreen then cleanse !!!

    i just get confused as to what order each product type would go on

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya! In the morning I do cleanser, toner, booster, serum/ampoule, moisturizer, sunscreen. In the evening, I double cleanse, then do whatever actives I’m doing that night, then toner, booster, serum/ampoule, sheet mask, moisturizer, sleeping pack (sometimes).


  4. I’m interested in trying some of these products out….and i know the adage time and diligence …but it sounds like a lot of products last count i had you at …at least 8 in the morning? Girl, who has time for all that! heres my issues lines on forehead, dullness, and need heavy sun protection- i drive a convertible and seeing sun issues lines on forehead ….what to do …I’m olive skinned and and what are yr ideas on skin bleachers …have one dark elbow….thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL I don’t use every product every time. Well, maybe I do in the evenings, but generally not in the mornings! In the mornings I customize my routine based on what my skin’s doing and how much time/energy I have. Usually it’s something like cleanse, tone, Goodal water oil, choice of snail or propolis, Shark Sauce, moisturizer, sunscreen. Which is a long list, but it only takes a few seconds to pat each product on 🙂

      So fine lines, dullness, and sun damage issues all sound like things that AHA or retinoid would be suited for, but you definitely need to get your sunscreen game on point before you start using those kinds of actives. As far as skin bleachers, I definitely don’t advocate products that actively bleach skin beyond its lightest point, but if you want to fad a tan on a certain area, chemical exfoliants, melanin inhibitors like niacinamide and L-AA vitamin C, and lots of sunscreen and time will help!


  5. I just recently became interested (read:obsessed) with Korean skincare. I am pretty well versed with a lot of popular American skincare brands as I have worked at a makeup store for the past few years. So my very oily and large pored (just in the cheek area) skin has been responding pretty well since Ive started paying more attention to and using better products on it (and learned the awe inspiring powers of exfoliation). But lately Ive hit a wall. My skin is miles away from the rough textured and bumpy skin that it used to be, and it looks so good with makeup on it that I get complements all the time on my “flawless” skin. But now im on my way to achieve the real deal, smooth, smaller pored skin than is magically oil free, at least mostly.

    From what im researching its seems like Korean skin care can do this! Do you have any recommendations of products for very oily but not sensitive at all skin? Because of your wonderful reviews I am already planning on buying the Fiddy snails box, both the cosrx AHA and BHA liquids, Cosrx low PH morning cleanser and the Cosrx box from memebox (I know, its a lot but I cant help binge-buying when it comes to anything beauty related that I become interested cough obsessed cough in). Im also considering the two Cosrx over night sleeping masks ( honey and rice) that you reviewed a while back, because even though I am super oily I have a sneaking suspicion that my skin may be dehydrated. I was just wondering if there is anything I should add or even change to to help my skin kill its over-production of sebum and large pores.

    Thanks for taking the time to read all this and I really am in love with your blog! Its so informative on products and brands that Ive really been wanting to find out more about 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My sister sent me a package filled with sheet masks and sleeping packs. I then turned to Memebox at her direction. I’m now addicted to Korean skincare and need a ten step program. My skin is looking better than ever at age 43. My question is this. I live in hot, humid, never ending rain, gross Florida. So, my climate is pretty much opposite yours as far as extreme heat and moisture go. I love Mr Honey cream and scinic snail ampoule for night but I need day time help as a lot of heavy products just won’t do. I just bought Star cc cream which I like a lot but I need a better coverage foundation and morning moisture routine that can handle he humidity here. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm for morning, I would consider a light, water-based moisturizer that relies on silicones rather than oils for occlusion–maybe something like Tosowoong Super Aqua Cooling Gel. Humidity is also great for busting out humectants like hyaluronic acid, as they’ll draw the moisture from the air to your skin!


  7. Hello ! I just started using Asian skincare regimen ( yay ) and I am little bit confused with the prep toners ? I just started using the COSRX AHA/BHA toner but I found that its maybe breaking me out or purging ? and it kinda irritates me . I thought maybe i am using it wrong ? I usually use it after cleasing every 2 days since my skin is very sensitive but still I am not sure , before i was using a combination of green tea with a little bit of ACV and it worked wonders on my skin. Also if i use this toner , am i supposed to use before my bha and ahas or after ? or any suggestion with a prep toner that wont make skin super dry ?!

    Currently my skin regimen is :
    Bioderma sensitive micellar water
    Neutrogena ultra gentle cleanser
    every 2 days cosrx toner or just green tea mist
    cosrx snail essence / cosrx whitening essence
    its skin Q10 LI ampoule
    cosrx snail cream
    eye creams
    Dr.G sun scream

    I am looking into improving my regimen because my skin is sensitive, acne prone with sun spots and acne scars and little bit dry sometimes so i am looking into ampoules or lotion or something that you think it would help me into improving my regime ?!
    Sorry for the long novel and man I am so glad I found your blog !


  8. Hi!! I just had a question to ask… I’ve been trying to decide whether I should purchase the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid or the COSRX AHA Whitehead Power Liquid. I’m very interested in getting both, but I was wondering if you had any recommendations for if one is better to purchase before the other? I’m sorry if you’ve already addressed something similar already, but thank you so much and I love and appreciate your blog!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, are you more interested in getting rid of clogs under the skin (bumps, textural issues) or SFs (enlarged-looking pores?) BHA for pores, AHA for under the skin clogs.


      1. I have both problems, but I think it would be best for me to go with the AHA first and then ease into the BHA at a later time. Thanks for your clarification 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello I have been using C21.5 for a few months now but I never used any AHA or BHA product along with that. Now that it is summer and it is literally like a oven here in Bangladesh, I am noticing that I have a number of comedones and acne. How should I incorporate a AHA and BHA with C21.5 ? Should I go for the Beta Salic or are you not supposed to use Beta Salic with c21.5? Please help and do mention time differences between c21.5, AHA and BHA. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi!! I have a quick question for you.. When you use aha’s or Bha’s, do you rinse them off after waiting? I’ve been using the COSRX AHA and BHA, but haven’t been sure on whether to leave on or wash off. Thanks so much!! I’m a huge fan of your blog 🙂 🙂 🙂


  11. Hi Fiddy,

    Thank you so much for this amazing post. I’ve been using AB for as long as I can remember but I’m only starting to build a more elaborate routine and love your clear explanations!

    One question: Where would you place gels in this routine?

    I have oily dehydrated skin and like using Aloe Vera gels (COSRX/Nature Republic) to both calm my redness and provide a super light layer of hydration around my eye and lip area. I’m a little averse to actual eye creams because every single time I’ve used them I’ve gotten milia (I’m in my early 20s) so I’ve just resorted to tapping aloe vera gel on top of all the other lotions/essences/ampoules in that area. If I wanted to apply aloe vera gel all over, where would I fit it in? For reference, I cleanse > acne pad all over > tone > vit C > BHA > AHA > Hada Labo lotion > First Essence > Snail essence > ampoule > moisturizer cream > spot treatment if necessary.

    Thank you so much for all you do, Lady Fiddy!


    1. Hiya, I’m glad it was helpful for you! Most gels are not particularly occlusive–even the silicones that they usually use as the main occlusive ingredient really won’t keep much out–so I’d put it after your ampoule and before your heavier moisturizer cream. Thanks for reading!


  12. Hi! I’ve been using Asian skincare for a bit, but I’ve been wondering how many ampoules/serums I can use at a time. I have different ones that target different issues and I’d like to know if I have to use them on separate days or something like that. Thank you so much and thanks for writing such an informative blog!


  13. Hi Fiddy! Im new to this skin care thing since i was so busy with some depressing personal stuff i was in for the past months (whoa!), but i’ve recently decided its time to start to take care of myself now and i bet its better to face those drama with a pretty flawless skin hehe.. So Fiddy, my skin isnt actually that sensitive, i have mixed dry and oily spots , acne free but very large pores on the T zone. I want to never see this visible craters on my face (disgusting!) But i dont know where to start. Im a girl who just uses soap to cleanse my skin day and night and a very basic moisturizer from cetaphil haha! I understand the steps, choosing the best sunscreen? Ill probably get a shiseido. Oil cleansing, ill try whatever is available here. Then for serums/ ampoules and essences… well, i got lost there but ill re read it. What do you think is the best exfoliating product i should try on? Im sorry im clueless but your article made me feel like an instant skincare guru who wants to try every single thing you mentioned and got too excited to send you this very long comment! Hehe pls help me Fiddy i just want to have clear, bright skin without the visible pores.


    1. Hi Kaye! So if you’re just starting, why not start with a pretty simple and low-risk low pH cleanser like Cosrx? Then since you’ve said you’re acne free but have some pore issues, I would suggest looking into a BHA product. Cosrx’s is still my favorite. I’ve been using it every morning just on my nose and the area right around it where there are visible pores; it’s gentle enough that it doesn’t wreak havoc on my skin but it keeps the pores clear and looking smaller!


  14. Hi, I was wondering how to decide if something falls under the category of “active” or “serum/ampoule”. For e.g. the OST C20 that you have is actually labelled “serum”, but you don’t use it at that part of the routine. I am using another whitening product, the Laneige White renew spot treatment ampoule, and was wondering if I should use it at the start of my routine instead.


  15. Hi Fiddy! I have a couple of questions. Or clarifications so it isn’t necessary to use a ph balancing toner before your first active if using a low Ph cleanser ( i use the corsx good morning cleanser)?is that right ? I know that there is definitely wait time between actives though but should there be wait times for ampoules , essences and creams after cleansing if I’m not using actives that day ? I read a blog that advised to wait to add these after cleansing. Also it seems I may have dehydrated oily skin. I tried your suggestion of just cleansing and waiting after a couple of minutes my face was tight and a little itchy and then the oily came. Thank you for helping me narrow down my skin type ! And thank you for answering the previous questions if you have time 🙂 #newtoABandreadingeverythinginsitelol


  16. You are seriously a genius. I just used 5 products with your stamp of approval tonight and I have never felt more glamorous. Thanks for making me feel like a women even though I got some really bad fertility news today and shouldn’t be feeling good about anything.


  17. Hi! I noticed you answer most of the questions asked. I’ve recently been very into asian skincare. I’m still studying and I’m younger than 20, hence my budget is quite tight. Recently, I’ve been trying out some products from Innisfree and combining them with my current Bodyshop products.
    My current routine is:
    1. Neutrogena Pure Mild Facial Cleanser
    2. TheBodyShop Seaweed toner
    3. TheBodyShop Intense moisture cream
    4. Innisfree EcoSunscreen

    I’ve been using In Innisfree Super Volcanic mousse to tighten my pores (combination skin) and at night after cleansing use Innisfree Aloe Revital Sleeping Pack. My skin still feels a little oily, not too bad. However, I do hope to find something that will help me achieve the “glow” and fade my pimple scars.

    What would you recommend for fading pimple scars?
    And what do you think that I should add/change about my routine?

    Hope to hear from you soon! 🙂


    1. I don’t see any articular brightening actives in your routine–if you’re looking at fading hyperpigmentation from acne, I would consider vitamin C. Unless your skin is sensitive, OST C20 is a really good choice to start out with. It has the right concentration and right pH for L-AA vitamin C, which remains the best supported derivative for lightening PIH and also helps give a glow! I haven’t reviewed it as there are so many reviews out there already and most have said what I would say, but if you want to learn more, check out Sheryll’s review at The Wanderlust Project ( Good luck! And I do try to answer as many comments as I can! Sometimes i miss a few but the whole reason I started this blog was to have a way to talk about skincare with people 😀 I think your routine sounds like a good start. Just add/change one thing at a time as you get more used to your skin and what you expect to change in it. Good luck!!


  18. Hi Fiddy, Ive been reading through your blog and its amazing, I do however need some help as I dont know who else to ask, Im really interested in Korean products but the routine and the product labeling confused the hell out of me, when you do have the time, i hope you could get back to me. 🙂

    Is there a difference between Hadarabo Hyaluronic Lotion Smooth and Hada Labo Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Lotion? (Do I need both?)
    Im also interested in purchasing the Etude House Wonder Pore. would I then have to opt out of the Hadarabo Hyaluronic Lotion?
    Im confused about the COSRX Blackhead liquid BHA and the COSRX Galactomyces White Supremacist (lol) Essence, where do they fit in with the routine?
    Lastly Im after a acne moisturiser that isn’t too lightweight, lightweight moisturizer absorb to quickly and it feel like nothing, I prefer my moisturiser to actually be there and make my skin feel soft.



  19. Hello! My best compliments on your job. Hope very much you’ll find the time to answer my post. I’m new to Kbeauty, so don ‘t know any much about a specific order and wait time between products. I’ve jumped into W2 beauty website and would like to order all I need…but…I got lost. The only thing I’ve got is Biore sunscreen, which I apply religiously everyday! I’m 49, no particular issue, no spots, but I’d like to even out my skin tone and texture. Plus, I have fine lines on my forehead and around my mouth. Last, My skin is becoming little saggy around the jaw line. Could you please set up a routine, even a basic one? Thank you sooooo much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! I’m afraid it’s very challenging to set up a routine for somebody as everybody’s skin is so different, but what do you think about starting with just a gentle cleanser and a decent vitamin C serum? Not sure if you can find it on W2Beauty, but OST C20 is quite popular for a reason–it’s effectively formulated and good price point, especially to start 🙂


  20. I started a spreadsheet to keep track of my new Kbeauty products. It is overwhelming. Then I started reading beauty blogs, like yours , which is very helpful. Thanks for all the work on your blog.


  21. Hi Fiddy,i would like to ask how to use this following products in order(bec im quite confused on what to put first):
    -Missha first treament essence
    -Corsx blackhead power liquid
    -Innisfree jeju volcanic toner
    -Missha night repair science ampoule
    -Neogen bio peel gauze

    I would really appreciate your help. Thanks!


    1. After your cleanse use the Jeju toner, then the missha first treatment essence, and then the missha night repair science ampoule.
      The cosrx blackhead power liquid is to be used once a week, most preferably at night and apply after your toner. Same is applicable to the neogen bio peel. But you use that once or twice a week after cleaning your face but before your toner. I wouldn’t use it on the same night as the bha power liquid, because I don’t know how it reacts to it as the neogen biopeel is an exfoliant.
      The cosrx packaging has instructions, on how to use their products, in English.


  22. I have cystic acne and trying to sort it out, and after only a few minutes of research (I know – got too excited) I purchased several items on Amazon (next day delivery) – and now realizing I should’ve researched more and discovered that I needed different products for my acne 😦

    So my question is, how do I incorporate vit c serum, cosrx bha and aha with my current products? I have:

    missha perfect BB deep cleansing oil
    neogen real fresh green tea foam
    missha Time revolution clear toner (looking to replace this with cosrx aha bha toner)
    missha Time Revolution the first treatment essence
    missha timer volution night repair ampoule
    Goodal anti wrinkle

    Where can I insert/use vitamin c serum, cosrx bha and aha, and maybe those missha snail creams as well?

    Thanks so much!!!


    1. The BEST thing I’ve found to manage cystic acne is Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (or any ORGANIC cider vinegar, your grocery store will have it). Cystic acne is caused from hormonal imbalances–mine always pop up on my chin and it drives me insane because there aren’t a lot of things regular skincare can do to prevent a hormonal problem; even worse, they can last weeks if left untreated or if you aggravate them by picking, touching, excessive exfoliating, too much make-up, not cleansing regularly and properly, etc.

      Here’s what I do to keep my sanity and keep the cystic pimples at bay. 2-3x a day I soak a cotton ball in the cider vinegar then hold it over the location of the cystic pimple or pimples. I do that for about 10-15 minutes then skincare routine time! The cider vinegar penetrates deep into the skin and kills the bacteria that are causing the cystic pimple so aside from the awful smell (you’re going to want to wash your face after using the cider vinegar because the smell lingers hardcore plus it’ll dry out whatever part of your face you were using it on) I can focus on the other parts of my skincare routine thanks to Fiddy Snails 🙂

      Make sure to keep your face clean and follow Fiddy’s advice on not changing too many products at once especially since it’s not difficult to aggravate cystic acne. I know, I have unfortunate acne scars to prove it but Fiddy’s recommendations on products has saved me so much time and money that I can’t help but be crazy grateful to her and all her wisdom! Best of luck, cystic acne is awful but you can manage it!

      P.S. If I catch a cystic pimple early I can sometimes get rid of it overnight, but typically the cider vinegar method only takes a few days. Just remember that it’s from a hormonal imbalance and that picking it or trying to “pop” it won’t help and can often lengthen the healing time plus leave nasty scars.


  23. Hi i want to ask you can i use vitamin c and bha together or better to seperate them for the day and evening. Second question can i use vitamin c and niachiamide together or i should seperate it.


  24. Thanks for the guide. I’ve been doing Korean skin care for a while now and it doesn’t seem to do much for me recently, and I’ve never added any acid before. My sister uses it so I know it’s good, so I definitely want to try that out to see if it really helps me along too. I mostly use MISSHA lines like Time Revolution toners, essence, ampoule, and their snail cream line. I also use pure bentonite clay and ACV masks each week.

    I’m going to reset my face first, because I usually get impatient and put everything on already and acne aggravated my face and effectiveness of the products it seems. They worked fine before. ^^’

    And do you any of you have opinions on adding on sleeping packs? Or is it just mostly unnecessary?


    1. Personally, I love sleeping packs, but it really depends on your skin and your routine. (And the sleeping pack of course!) My skin does well with many layers of moisture at night. What kinds of sleeping packs are you interested in?


      1. So they’re just more like heavy added moisturizers, I already bought some of them from the gimmicky Etude House bubble tea one and things like MISSHA snail sleeping packs. I guess they would be good for me because I have dry and oily skin.

        And thanks again about the acid, that’s what was really missing from my routine. It works x10 better than manual exfoliation; my face has much less bumps on it, and my face became brighter than ever. I use Skin2Spirit AHA Serum if you’re ever interested in trying new brands of acids. I am hopeful now that the rest of my products will start to work better now.


  25. Hi fiddy! I’m a total newb at Asian skincare and I really need help. I’ve been mixing 2 drops of Klairs freshly juiced vit C serum to my essence. It’s working wonderfully, but now I’ve decided to incorporate SkII clear lotion (AHA) and facial treatment essence (niacinamide) into my routine right after cleansing. Is it ok for me to layer the Klairs Vit c on top of the SkII? I’ve read that niacinamide + Vit c don’t mix well 😦 Really looking forward to your reply.
    – confused newb


    1. Hi! The concern with niacinamide + vitamin C is a bit overblown IMO. I talked about this a lot with a cosmetic chemist friend of mine (Stephen from Kind of Stephen).

      So the issue is that niacinamide that’s put into a low pH solution will, over time, convert into niacin. Niacin can cause a (temporary, harmless) flushing effect in a small percentage of people. It takes a long time for any significant amount of niacin to be made, so it’s more of a concern when the niacinamide is actually in the vitamin C or other acid product.

      With the Klairs, it’s anyway not a concern because Klairs vitamin C serum isn’t particularly low pH. So go ahead and try it out! If you end up being one of the people for whom flushing does happen, you can just stop if you want.


      P.S. Unless you just want hydration and a bit of antioxidants, there are far more effectively formulated vitamin C serums out there than the Klairs, which isn’t really optimal.


  26. Hi! I’m a new reader! And would really appreciate if you could help me with my skincare routine! My skin belongs to the dehydrated, acne prone skin.

    I have just purchased the C21.5 Vitamin serum, the COSRX BHA blackhead power liquid and returning a-sol solution, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum. In which order should I be using it? I am currently sticking to my usual toner (Nivea) and moisturizer (Klairs Midnight blue calming cream/ Khiels Ultra oil free gel cream).

    Please help! Thanks in advance!


    1. C21.5, wait ~10 minutes or so, then your BHA, wait till it dries (~5 minutes does it for me), go ahead and splash or pat on your toner, do your serum, and then the moisturizer. Hope that helps!


  27. Well….This last post totally confused me .I thought tonic always goes first,then essence,serum,cream etc. but you’re advising JACQUELINE to put the C21.5 serum first and the toner goes third.The order is reversed,why? Sorry if I ask dumb questions,but when I finally thought that I’ve got my head wrapped around the numerous steps that the so called Korean beauty regime consists of, I made the mistake to randomly scroll through comments and seen this last one. Haha, now I’m lost again. Brilliant job though, after following you for a whole three days I’m very curious and ordered some samples. Can’t wait to try them,but I’ll have to wait for a while since they’re coming from Korea! Thanks god for people selling samples too,since I want to try it all 😉


    1. Actives will go right after cleansing to be as close to bare skin as possible; the only toner I would put before something like vitamin C would be a pH adjusting toner. Most toners in Asian skincare are hydrating type so they will go after the actives steps. (vitamin C, AHA, BHA etc.)

      There’s a newer post around here that explains it in more detail if you search “order of application and product wait times” 🙂


  28. Yes, active ingredient as close to bare skin as possible, this makes perfect sense.I do retinol at night (Redermic R) and vit.C (Redermic C) in the morning,both by La Roche Posay,both creams,not serums.So, I cleanse first, then apply hydrating toner Aqua D’Origine by UNT, then the corresponding active ingredient cream, and on top the moisturiser of the day (Dirty Works Touch and Glow Radiance atm) ,mixed with some shea butter. Does that sound right? It seems to me this is going from thinner to thicker, or I’m missing something? Also I’ve seen you mentioned Trentinoin in your other post, could you please share your experience about it? I’m planning to bump my retinol as soon as I finish my Redermic R and Trentinoin was on my mind. Basically,no matter what I do recently I find my skin dull and unhappy looking.Like the owner,I guess, because I’ve been through a lot of grief and emotional loss in the past couple of years. This is where Korean beauty regime comes to the stage and I hope it works.Thanks so much for a quick and enlightening reply. I’m grateful for have found you,snail lady! ❤


  29. Hi Fiddy, I just started planning to build my own skincare routine, if you don’t mind, I’d be glad if you can give me some feedback. My skin is (super) oily and acne-prone especially if I dont drink enough water and eat too many dairy/chocolate products..
    My AM routine:
    1. Cleanse with Solo Mio Cleanser + CosRX Low PH Cleanser
    2. Secret Key First Essence
    3. Etude House Moistfull Collagen Water Jelly Cream
    4. Biore Perfect Milk Sunscreen

    My PM routine:
    1. Hadalabo Cleansing Oil
    2. Cleanse with Solo Mio Cleanser + CosRX Low PH Cleanser
    3. CosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner
    4. C20 / CosRX BHA – AHA (every other day)
    5.Crema 9 to 5 / Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

    If I were to incorporate the Secret Key Essence into my PM routine, is it after toner? Or after the acids? And I read some reviews that stated C20 and BHA-AHA shouldn’t be used in the same time (either every other day, or one at AM the other at PM), but I read your respond some comments above that its okay to use them together with some wait times..
    And I also want to use CosRX One Step Acne Pimple Clear Pad / Stridex Maximum Strength Pad because I have many bumps on my chin and I read that those two help a lot in reducing that kind of bumps. Do they serve as toner? or acid?

    Sorry for the long comment ^^ I hope you can enlighten me. Thank you so much in advance.


  30. ”…once you find your feet in the Asian skincare landscape, you’ll be in a position to try just about anything, no matter how far you are from the nearest Koreatown”
    how so true !!!!


  31. Would it be okay to introduce an oil cleanser and low pH foaming cleanser at the same time? If not which should I introduce first? After becoming aware of the importance of the pH in the cleanser you use I contacted the manufacturer of my current face wash and found out it’s a 10.4pH…I might have cringed a lot when I found that out. Thanks!


  32. Hm, I never knew sunscreen was that hard to remove. I just recently bought sunscreen because I started using AHA. But I never thought I needed an oil cleanser because I don’t use much makeup, only translucent powder and cover up stick.. How do I know if I have removed the sunscreen completely?


  33. Hi Fiddy! I just recently started doing research on how to best repair my skin after a beach vacation gave birth to so much freckles! Yours and Snow White and the Asian Pear’s sites have been godsend! I’ve invested in the Cosrx Low PH cleanser and am starting Etude House’s Berry AHA boosting serum (I can’t find the Mizon AHA product in my side of the world… sad…) to help fade these monsters. Then my mom got me the toner, lotion, and cream from Banila Co.’s White Wedding line after she saw my face. Do you know if these are any good?
    More importantly, I’d like to get your opinion if it’s best to use products from the same brand and/or product line in order to reap the full effect? I’ve been thinking of getting products from Mizon’s snail repair line but it seems excessive to get all of it.
    Thank you so much in advance! 🙂


  34. Hi!! I really enjoy reading your blogs and it has really good info on skincare.
    I would like to know, do I put my Shu Uemura youthful crystal transparency lotion on before or after bha/aha?
    Plus I’ve recently brought Corsx returning a-sol, bha power liquid and aha whitehead… I just want to double check what order I should use these especially when I am new to them. I have read your separate reviews on these but just to give myself a peace of mind. 🙂
    PS. I think it’s strange no one has mentioned YesStyle… I buy my products from there. xD


  35. My routine needs some tweaking ,,,I use Clean it Zero then Neogen Green Tea Foam ,,,Son Park Beauty Water and Time Revolution first treatment Essence next Super Aqua MISSHA snail cream (AM)
    At night Zero and tea again sometimes SKINFOOD brown sugar mask I scratched my face once with this scrub the GOODAL wrinkle cream with Jericho eye cream and time revolution night repair some nights lioele water drop sleeping pack mask….? What am I missing please ?? I’m 52yrs.


    1. Hi Bev….I am the same age as you so will answer
      First, at our age, we don’t need to harsh in cleansers…Neogen green tea is considered high in PH…so drop that…use a mild cream wash or Cosrx good morning…
      Son and Park is also considered a tad harsh and it is a cleanser and exfoliator too …get something milder also brown sugar mask too strong for our thinning skin…
      You are better off incorporating some mild actives into your routine
      I use cosrx AHA liquid twice a week at night, a Korean Retinol and vit C during the day…and on off nights a strong onclusive to keep moister in.
      Add an HA acid as well followed by a good hydro or steam cream…we are not 18 with Acne!! as to what to use try samples we are all different but the goal at our age is to soften wrinkles brighten the face and keep it that way…
      You ALL seem to forget that the best way to keep skin nice is SUNSCREEN!! that is why Korean woman have beautiful skin you MUST use sunscreen even in dull weather even in Northern countries even after 4 pm and a hat too and reapply after 2 hrs and no makeup with SPF is not enough no way


  36. My skin is oily on t zone, i have blackheads on my nose and have small bumps on my cheeks -not like acne- I’m so confused, could you give me some advice?

    (Especially about the bumps because i couldn’t find any information related)


  37. Hi Fiddy! Like other commenters, I found your blog while exploring Cosrx products. Having just turned 28, I’ve become much more attuned to the fact that many women my age are already showing serious signs of aging. My own skin is far from perfect (I’ve noticed that I’m developing a slight horizontal worry line on my forehead, for example), so I’ve decided to really turn-up my skincare routine. My goals are to keep aging/wrinkles at bay, and to help eliminate some mild indented (non-hyperpigmented) acne scars. As I’ve recently learned about K-beauty, only one of the products I regularly use is Korean. What do you think of my list of products?

    Micellar water (by Pearlessence or Simple)
    Cosrx snail mucin power essence
    ROC retinol correxion under-eye cream
    Clinique dramatically different moisturizing gel
    Queen helene grapeseed peel-off masque (1-2x/wk)
    Skinceuticals retinol 0.3 (trying to implement this currently)
    Clarins UV plus anti-pollution sunscreen multi-protection tint SPF 50

    I don’t like toners, though I probably need one.


    1. I see no double cleansing here at all…you get wrinkles partly because you do not clean of makeup dirt grime or sunscreen you need an oil cleanser and a creamy or foam wash off not micellar water its not enough!! full stop.
      Snail mucin adds a bot of humectant that’s all !! you need an active here or vit C…the snail and more than 1 prolly.
      Under eye cream is nice but really not going to do much…
      Clinique gel is good but like I said in another post you can get good cream gel from KB or even steam creams…
      Masks are good for one thing instant gratification 24hrs max they are not a wrinkle treatment.
      A light Retinol every night good!!
      Sunscreen best thing you can do !!!


  38. Hi Fiddy,
    My skin is acne prone with clear t zone but super sensitive all over. I find that using cosrx bha blackhead and aha whitehead once a week each on separate days still make my face itch. I feel the need to use aha and bha though because i have a lot i mean a lot of closed comedones on my cheeks. It’s like every pore has whitehead or blackhead. Im 28 and i live in a country with hot and humid weather. Current routine: am: physiogel cleansing milk, son and park beauty water, cosrx snail mucin, skinfood salmon eye cream, cetaphil sunscreen gel spf 50
    Pm: cleansing water (because i find cleansing oil/ balm too heavy) heimish balm made my skin itch too! So i went back to cleansing water, then cleansing milk, toner, Snail mucin essence, eye cream and centella blemish cream from cosrx.
    I love layering but my super sensitive skin just couldn’t take it!
    Would you have any skincare routine suggestion for a 28 year old with super sensitive skin that suffers from occasional cystic acne with a lot of closed comedones on the cheeks? I’d like to prevent forehead lines and crows feet too!
    Thanks Fiddy, i have read your blogs religously as well as each comments and each responses on this blog hoping that someone out there has the same concern as I but boy my skin is too sensitive i guess! Should i dilute cosrx bha
    and aha?


  39. I’ve read to add a bha to fight the random white bump here and there (milia). Should this be in the morning or night? And, should it be after cleanse and before “Beauty Water” (I use as toner step) or after “beauty Water” (before Essence)?


    1. You can do it either morning or night, but I prefer night so I don’t have to fuss with an extra product in the morning. And put it right after cleansing, before anything else 🙂


    2. It seriously can be any time use it as a spot treatment or all over face…like blog owner Fiddy? I use at night so I don’t have to worry about sunscreen or ph level or vit C.
      But it can be used in morning just on T zone if you want …it goes Vit C BHA and the aha mostly if vit C is all if not bha then aha if needed.


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