I’ve streamlined my routine into using these same steps every single night, without fail. Since I’ve introduced acids into my routine, I no longer experience breakouts, and my hyperpigmentation is nearly gone. Bless. My focus for my skin is to keep it smooth, bright and clear, and make sure it’s absolutely 100% clean. The pollution here + sunscreen + makeup = gross face at the end of the day.
My steps are:
1. Balm/Oil cleaner – Used to remove makeup and sunscreen.
2. Foaming cleanser – Woohoo double cleanse!
3. Acid treatment – AHA or BHA or a combo of both.
4. Hydrating toner – My skin is sometimes a little dry after using acids, so I like to hydrate my skin afterwards.
5. Serum/Ampoule/Sheet mask – Just a little somethin’ somethin’ for a hydrating boost at night.
6. Emulsion/Cream/Moisturizer – Any sort of moisturizer is used in this step. Sometimes, I feel like a cream, sometimes I like something a little lighter.
7. Eye cream or essence – I just reintroduced this step into my routine and my sleepy morning eyes thank me for it.
8. Oil – I LOVE using oils at night. I sleep with the aircon on blast, so my skin sometimes gets a little dry at night. Using an oil helps with keep my skin soft and smooth in the morning.
And that’s it! Sometimes, instead of an oil, I’ll use a sleeping mask/pack. The products I use in each step vary day or day. If I’m testing something, it stays a constant in my routine for up to 6 weeks, past that point, I like to mix and match things. All of the products I use achieve the same results: smooth, bright , glowy skin. I’ve sort of stopped trying things for the sake of trying, instead, I ask myself how it can fit it into my routine, how will it help, do I REALLY need it, etc. etc.
So here are the products I use each night:
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Step One: Balm/Oil Cleanse
I use a balm or oil cleanser to remove my sunscreen and/or makeup. I don’t use a separate eye makeup remover because I find that both of my current cleansers do the job. In my current rotation are the Clinique Take The Day Off Balm and the Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil. I’m partial to balm cleansers because they don’t run down your arms, but both of these get the job done really well. I’m going to finish the Clinique balm before I re-order the su:m37 melting cleansing balm, which is by far my favorite of all time.
Step Two: Foaming Cleanser
These 5 foaming cleansers are in my current rotation. I love the Hado Labo Anti-Aging cleanser (Vietnamese version – not sure if/how it is different from the Japanese version) because it’s really creamy and doesn’t strip the skin. The su:m37 essential cleansing foam has been my go-to for a few weeks, and it’s lovely, but I think I like the su:m37 rose cleansing stick better (and we all know how I feel about the rose cleansing stick). I use the Skinmiso Rice Foaming Cleanser when I’m wearing my really stubborn Tarte Waterproof foundation, or I’ve been outside all day and my skin is just gross from the pollution. I just bought the Hado Labo Gokojyun Hyaluronic Acid Bubble Foaming Cleanser in Hong Kong and am liking it so far. It does a great job of cleansing without stripping the skin of moisture, plus it’s just really fun to use! I love all of the foamy bubbles.
Step Three: Acids/Actives
My favorite step! My go-to is the Biologique Recherche p50 lotion; it’s just really the holy grail of all skincare products. On alternating days, I use the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, wait 20 minutes, then use either the Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum or the COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid, and wait another 20 minutes before I move on to my next step. The Mizon 8% AHA is fucking fantastic. There’s definitely a noticeable difference for me between it and the COSRX liquid. When I use the Mizon AHA, my skin is so soft, vibrant and smooth in the morning. When I use the COSRX whitehead liquid, my skin just looks normal in the morning. Plus the packaging of the Mizon AHA is awesome – I love the pump top! And sometimes, I use just a BHA or just an AHA alone. My schedule looks something like this:
Monday: BHA or AHA or p50
Thursday: BHA or AHA or p50
Saturday: both BHA/AHA
I closely monitor my skin to make sure it’s doing okay, so sometimes I’ll use actives on an extra day instead of skipping. Or sometimes, I skip more than 2 days because I am tired as hell and don’t feel like waiting. I am very used to acids now so I don’t break out or have any adverse reactions to exfoliating so much. If you are just starting to use actives, you may only want to use actives once or twice a week, then slowly increase usage. For more info on how to layer pH dependent products (acids and Vit C), check out Snow White and the Asian Pear’s great blog post.
Step Four: Hydrating Toner
After my acids, my skin is usually really dry, so I like to follow up with a hydrating toner. In my current rotation, I’m testing out the New Missha First Treatment Essence Intensive (which is technically a first treatment essence and not a hydrating toner but oh well I like to live on the wild side) and the Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence toner. I also just bought the Hado Labo Gokojyun Light Hyaluronic Lotion in Hong Kong, and have thrown that into my rotation as well. The Whamisa toner is by far the most hydrating and luxurious, so I usually use that on days when I use the p50, since p50 leaves my skin drier than the separate BHAs/AHAs. I like the Hado Labo and Missha products for the daytime since they are lightweight, but they work just as great at night.
Step Five: Serums/Ampoules/Sheet Mask
I am severely lacking in my serum game and only have two in my current rotation. I’ve been using the HERA Hyaluronic Filler Ampoule for a long time now, and I love how plump it leaves my skin. I also really like the Mizon Skin Recovery Nighttime Seruming Ampoule (wtf is this product name?!) because the packaging is gorgeous and it’s not scented like the HERA serum. If I have a lot of extra time at night, I’ll throw on a sheet mask instead. My current favorites are from My Beauty Diary. I like the sake yeast and royal jelly ones!
Step Six: Emulsion/Cream/Moisturizer
Moisturizers are my far my favorite thing to buy so I have a lot of them. That being said, in my current line up I use the Hado Labo Alpha Milk, which is my lightweight but super hydrating go-to. I also use the Goodal Phytorain Murumuru Seed Hydra Gel Cream, which is FABULOUS. Gel creams are my weakness, and this one is definitely on my ‘will repurchase’ list. I usually use the Missha Near Skin Smart All-in-One Gel Cream in the morning, but on lazy nights I just slap it on. I’m also still working my way through the HERA Aquabolic Emulsion and the su:m37 Time Energy emulsion.
Step Seven: Eye Cream/Essence
It wasn’t until I received the Whamisa Organic Flowers Eye Essence that I started using an eye cream again, but I just love it so much. It’s really lightweight, and smells fantastic. A little bit goes a LONG way. I usually use about half a pump for both of my eyes. This is the step I always forget, but I’m getting better at it! My eyes always look a little more bright in the morning, which, when you wake up at 6am, is always needed.
Step Eight: Oil
I finish off my nighttime skincare routine by massaging in a few drops of oil. Oil blends are my preferred type to use, but I’ve also just used straight up organic argan oil. Not a big fan of using coconut oil on my face, as I find that it never really sinks into my skin and it always leaves my face super greasy.
I’m going to tell you a secret that’s going to make you a little sad. My favorite oil, the su:m37 Morrocan Oil (which is apparently just fermented argan oil…can’t find the ingredients list) is officially discontinued. They still have it for sale at Koreadepart, but when I went to reorder, Alice from w2beauty told me that it’s for sadly discontinued and she can’t order any more. Sad times, as it’s one of the best oils I’ve tried. I’m currently using the Whamisa Organic Flowers Facial Oil, which is a blend of argan, olive, hazel seed, jojoba, pumpkin oils, along with a some essential oils (and licorice root extract!). It’s also fabulous, but I like the scent of the su:m37 oil better. Small detail, though! Sometimes, I mix a few drops of oil in with my moisturizer so I get a little 2-in-1 combo, and sometimes, I just layer it on top.
And that’s it! I’ve seen tremendous results in my skin since I’ve revamped my routine. I want to experiment with different kinds of acid products (I have my eye on Sunday Riley Good Genes), and want to definitely add another serum or 2 into the rotation, especially ones for brightening. Any recommendations? Also, let me know what products you’d like full reviews on, and I’ll work on getting them out ASAP :).
What products are you using in your nighttime routine? Let me know in the comments!