I remember in college, I had a friend who would talk about skincare and things like toners and serums. I had no idea what toners were – it just looked like water in a bottle to me. My skincare routine back then (I kid you not) was using some Aveeno lotion to wipe off my makeup and then washing my face with a washcloth.
Fast forward to my mid-late twenties, when I started taking better care of my skin and washing my face with face wash all of…..several times a month. Okay, so I was still as lazy as I was back in college. But, as I started approaching my 30th year of life, and maybe it was coincidental or maybe it was subconscious, I gained an interest in learning more about skincare.
I started by visiting my local The Face Shop, a chain that I visited often during my trip to Korea two years ago. I told the lady who worked at the store that I was looking for something to supplement my face wash routine, and then I sat down in a chair while she tested various products on the backs of my hands. I eventually left the store with a small toner, serum, and moisturizer from their CHIA SEED Collection.
Now my skincare routine was up to 4 steps: facewash, toner, serum, and moisturizer. Then, for my birthday, my friend gifted me some of her favorite skincare products. Which is actually a pretty great gift because noobs like me have no idea where to even begin to buy skincare products, but I can trust my friend’s recommendations.
My evening skincare routine now takes about 15-20 minutes and has 7 different steps. I almost feel like a real adult now! I did this every day for about two weeks and did start noticing that my skin was clearer and brighter. Even though I’m still pretty lazy about this kind of stuff, it does feel nice when I make the time at night to pamper my skin – cleaning it, feeding it, and giving it nutrients. Like a chia pet.
Step 1: Oil Cleanser
I’ve never used oil cleanser before in my life and I certainly didn’t know anything about it until a couple of months ago. I’m supposed to use cleansing oil mixed with preexisting oils on my face to remove the bad oils? That’s crazy talk! This is one of the products that my friend gave me for my birthday and it’s my favorite one to use. I used to use coconut oil to remove my makeup, but now I just use this Banila Co Clean It Zero oil cleanser. There’s a mini spatula inside that I use to scoop some of the cleanser (which has a light-weight sorbet-like texture) onto the back of my hand, and then I use gentle, circular motions to massage it onto my face. It smells heavenly, which is one of the reasons why it’s my favorite.
Step 2: Regular Cleanser
The idea behind double-cleansing is to use an oil cleanser first to draw out the oil-based debris like makeup, and then use a water-based cleanser, like my Herb Day 365 Cleansing Foam (Aloe scent) to clean everything else. Once I tried washing off my face wash by splashing it with water like they do on Neutrogena ads, but the water dripped down my elbows and got everywhere. I tend to just wash off the cleansing foam with a face towel, though I’m not 100% sure it’s the most hygienic option.
Step 3: Exfoliator
Like the Terminator, but more badass. The Neogen Dermalogy Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine is another product that my friend gifted me, and coincidentally, another one that I really love using. Despite the fact that its name is terrifying, it’s actually fun to use and smells like grapes! I put two fingers (usually my index and middle finger) inside the pad and use the rougher side first in gentle, circular upward motions to exfoliate my face. Then I use the other, softer side to wipe off the dirt and dead skin cells that live deep within my pores.
Step 4: Toner
Water in a bottle, we meet again. According to a ton of beauty blogs, toner removes any residual dirt and restores your skin’s pH balance. I’m still not entirely sure what that means but I intend to find out. All I know is that toner is refreshing AF. I use The Face Shop’s CHIA SEED Collection Moisturizing Toner (the small version). I dispense some toner onto a cotton pad and wipe my face from the middle of my face and out, in an upward motion. There’s an upward theme here in this skincare routine, which I’m guessing is so you don’t pull your skin down and make your face droopy.
Step 5: Serum
Pretty much what I’ve gathered is that serum is a magical essence that you pat gently on your face and then when you wake up, you look like Park Shin Hye from Heirs. I’m still waiting for The Face Shop’s The Signature Serum to work its Korean star skin magic on me. I haven’t tried the skincare routine without serum versus with serum, but that’d be an interesting experiment.
Step 6: Eye Cream
This is something I’ve recently started incorporating into my routine after my friend gave me the MIZON Snail Repair Eye Cream. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I do feel like my dark circles have lessened, though I’m not sure if that’s just confirmation bias or not. Nonetheless, it’s never too early to start using eye cream. In fact, I wish I’d started taking better care of my skin at an earlier age. Thank goodness I’ve got Asian genes on my side though.
Step 7: Moisturizer
The last step in my routine is to use the The Face Shop’s CHIA SEED Moisturizing Lotion. My face tends to get dry at night, especially in the winter. I love this lotion because it’s light-weight and not oily. I’ve used some other moisturizers in the past that have left my skin oily and uncomfortable, but this one’s pretty great. Also it smells mild but pleasant. And apparently, 50% of whether or not I like a product is if it smells nice.
It took me a while to remember the order of how to use these skincare products, but it’s really not as intimidating as I used to think it was. There’s still a lot to learn and I’m excited to find out why you use certain things and how exactly they help your skin. Not tonight, though. It’s getting late and I’ve got a 7-step skincare routine to begin