Dull to Glowing Skin: My Skincare Routine

One of the most common complaints I hear from people when they first move to Korea is that their skin and hair goes to shit. The water in Korea may be harsher than what people are used to in their home countries, and maybe if you’re in a big city, the air quality may not be what you’re used to.

Since I’ve moved to Korea, my skin has drastically improved. Allow me to show you just how much by showing you two makeup free, unedited pictures of me. The first is from a year ago, a few days before I moved to Korea. And the second picture is of me desk-warming in my freezing classroom last month.


Dull, terrible skin. Lots of acne scarring and breakouts galore on my forehead.

Photo on 1-3-13 at 11.22 AM

And less than one year later, bright, healthy, and mostly clear skin!

I admit that moving to Korea made me a lot more vigilant with my skincare than I was back home. I really think that the products I was using back home just weren’t working here, so I started using Korean products. I’ve now started adding a ton of Lush products into my routine and that’s really when the magic started happening. Besides my skin tags and slight acne scarring, I’m for the first time really, really, happy about my skin.

I always, always, ALWAYS remove my makeup at night. I don’t care how drunk I am. I don’t care how tired I am. I always remove my makeup at night! I was terrible with this in the States. I’d fall asleep to wake up and find my mascara closing my eyes shut, and eyeliner streaming down my face. And then there’s the idea that your makeup is just sitting on your face all night, not letting your skin breathe. Gross. My skin was dull and lifeless. When I moved to Korea, I made it my goal to wash my makeup off EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I keep a huge stash of The Face Shop Herb Day face wipes for those nights that I can’t do my entire night time routine.



My night routine is as follows:

1. I wash my makeup off using Lush’s 9 to 5 Oil Cleansing Lotion. It’s fantastic. My makeup melts right off and it leaves my skin silky soft.  I use the Etude House Dr. Lash eye makeup remover (review here) for my eye makeup, as my mascara is stubborn. I use 9 to 5 with a fresh, clean, wash cloth. I change my wash cloth EVERY DAY as I don’t want the grossness from the day before back on my face. You can also use 9 to 5 with a cotton pad, but I feel like wash cloths work much better.

2 and 3. Depending on how I feel, I’ll wash my face again to make sure ALL of my makeup is off with either Lush’s Angels on Bare Skin or if I need extra exfoliation, I’ll use the SkinFood Black Sugar Foam Scrub (which I’ve talked about here). Angels on Bare Skin has been wonderful for brightening and evening my skin out. It’s made with clay, ground almond for a gentle exfoliation, rose and lavender to help soothe and balance combination skin. On days my skin feels especially dull, I use the SkinFood scrub.

4. This winter, the dry skin on my lips was a huge problem. There’s nothing worse in the world than putting gloss or lipstick over flaky ass lips. Just, no. I scrub all of the dead skin and lipstick/gloss from the day off with Lush’s Mint Julips lip scrub. It tastes like York peppermint patties! I could probably make something similar myself but fuck all that DIY stuff. I can’t deal. I also use it in the morning before I put on my gloss.

5. On the weekends, I use the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Mask to get my pores together. Still one of my favorite Korean beauty items.

6. I finish it all off with a spritz of Eau Roma Water by Lush. It’s basically just lavender and rose water. It’s super refreshing, balances my skin, tightens my pores, and makes me feel like I’m fancy. It’s a great primer for my moisturizer. At night I use the Etude House Shea Butter Nutrifull Night Pack, which I reviewed here.

As for my daytime skin, I wash my face with Angels on Bare Skin in the shower, spritz a bit of Eau Roma Water on my face after I get out and then I use the following products:



I used to be the girl that would throw on a TON of makeup everyday to hide my bad skin. Now I’m learning to focus on better skincare and less makeup, even if it means a bit of extra money for the good shit. If you have great skin, any kind of makeup you use will look flawless. Think of Rihanna. That’s what my main goal has been…fresh, dewy, healthy skin.

1. Avéne Hydrance Optimale Light Hydrating Cream with SPF 20 is my day time moisturizer. It’s for normal to combination skin. It’s really light, but moisturizes really well. It would be perfect for sensitive skin. I started using a daytime moisturizer with SPF in it because I read an interview with the GORGEOUS Iman and she said that SPF is the most important thing you can wear on your skin. Done and Done. Iman is a goddess and I’ll do anything she says.

2. I prime my face using my all time favorite Etude House Goodbye Pore Primer. I used The Face Shop Velvet Skin for almost 2 months, but I switched back to Etude House. It’s amazing. Buy it. It make my skin look so smooth and even, and it really does minimize oil and shine for a fresh faced and matte look.

3. If I’m just going to school or around the corner for errands, I use my Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in Tan. It also has SPF 20, but I find that it’s not really hydrating enough on it’s own, so that’s why I use a regular moisturizer and a primer underneath it. If I’m going out at night, I use my MAC Mineralize foundation in NC 45. The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is my holy grail product. I’ll never stop buying it.

4. MAKEUP TIME! My daily makeup routine is super basic. I use the NARS multiple in Palm Beach to highlight my cheek and brow bones, followed by my NARS or MAC blush, both in the shade Love Joy. The NARS Love Joy is a bronzed rose color, and the MAC Love Joy is slightly pinker with more shimmer. Both are excellent for darker skin! I throw on some winged liner using my all-time favorite liner, Clio Kill Black Liquid liner, which is available in Watsons or Olive Young if you live in Korea. I have not found a single other eyeliner as good as this one, Korean or otherwise. It dries quickly, doesn’t smudge, and lasts all day long. Then I throw on my Benefit They’re Real mascara (best mascara EVER, totally worth the money), and a coat of Love Nectar MAC lipglass and BOOM. I’m out the door in about 7 minutes. I normally don’t do my eyes during the week because I’d rather sleep an extra 15 minutes than do a smoky eye.

The finished product looks a little something like this…


Voilà! Just enough makeup to look gorgeous and fresh faced, and to keep the kids from telling me I look tired (although, this doesn’t stop them all the time).

In S. Korea, there are a few Lush locations that I know of. There are 2 in Gangnam, one outside of exit 10, and the other outside of the Shinbundang line Exit 6. There’s also a location in Hongdae, as well as in AK Plaza in Seohyeon, Bundang. For a full list, click here (Hangul knowledge required).

So I’ve rambled on for about 1300 words about MY skincare routine…what are some of your tips? Skincare and beauty is my favorite thing ever, so I’m always on the lookout for new products and tips. Comment below!

Oh PS, I’m not getting paid for writing this post nor are any of the links affilate links or whatever. I just wanted to show you all where you can get the products online if you want!

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