My Loosely-Researched Korean Beauty Routine

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A Korean Beauty Routine with all products you can buy online with free shipping!

In the spirit of oversharing on the internet, here’s a full post dedicated to all the things I put on my face. If this is too much for you, you will definitely NOT want to read the upcoming post about my favorite underpants. Recently, all of my products ran out at the same time, so instead of rebuying them like a normal person, I bought all new products. Thankfully I was able to get all this stuff either in a Target store or online with free shipping! I have been using this loosely-researched Korean beauty routine for the last few weeks, even going so far as decanting it into little containers to take to Mexico and to the gym in the morning, so I feel comfortable reviewing everything.

Everything I Use in the Morning

  1. Innisfree Olive Real Cleansing Oil
    Previously I was using this oil cleanser from The Face Shop, and that one had a stronger scent and was a bit thinner. I prefer the new oil cleanser since it is thicker, which makes it easier to smear around my face and I think it is better at removing all my makeup.
  2. Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
    I follow up the oil cleanser with a foaming cleanser. I was using the foaming cleanser from The Face Shop set, but it was a little drying. I like this Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser more and usually rub it all over my face while there is still a little oil on it. This helps prevent over-drying. I found this via a recommendation from Snow White and the Asian Pear. She gets into all the science behind pH-balanced skincare, but my understanding is basically this: your skin has a certain pH and all the crazy stuff we slap on it (makeup, skincare products, dirt from the streets) changes that pH and makes your skin overcompensate to try to get balanced. By using a pH-balancing face wash or low-pH, you are making your skin feel normal which helps it accept some of the actives that I layer on later.
  3. MIZON AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner
    I use this toner to make sure my face is hella clean and ready for the actives. I was using this Mario Badescu glycolic acid toner which I liked, but in the spirit of burning my routine to the ground and starting over, I jumped to a new one. This MIZON toner still has some acids happening so I feel like it is still working as an exfoliating toner. I apply this toner using these awesome Japanese cotton squares from Muji. They aren’t that much more expensive than the cotton rounds you can buy at Target and they feel so much nicer.
  4. The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% (Vitamin C)
    This is my daytime active. I have been using vitamin C for about a year now and it really does make my skin look brighter and more luminous. I was using some cheap vitamin C from Amazon but was very intrigued by The Ordinary’s line of products. They were sold out on their website, but Asos had the vitamin C and Retinol available. With the Asos premier free shipping, the price was about the same as buying directly from The Ordinary. When using vitamin C or any actives, your skin is more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to use sunscreen. *I’m bad at this.
  5. MIZON Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule
    Snails are pretty much the most well-known part of any Korean Beauty Routine, so of course, I’m using them. This sticky gel is made from snail mucus, which I researched and apparently, no snails are harmed in the making of snail mucus products. I don’t fully believe it but I tell myself it’s true while coating my body in their mucus. This is supposed to help with anti-aging (because if you aren’t anti-aging, you’re aging) and healing scars and stuff. I like this as a moisturizing layer, and I think it does help plump up my judgemental forehead wrinkles.
  6. Pure Biology “Total Eye” Anti Aging Eye Cream
    I was using this caffeine eye cream and I was looking for something with a little more oomph. Honestly, I’m not in love with this new one, but I do think it works. I use this under makeup during the day and I don’t think it is moisturizing enough since I start to see some creasing in my undereye concealer. If your undereye area isn’t super dry to begin with I think this would be a good eye cream because it firms up the bags and adds some brightness. I just need a little more moisture since my eyes have been so dry lately.
  7. SPF Moisturizer
    I was using this day cream from Estee Lauder, but then I ran out. I bought some $3 face cream from Aldi, but got too sketched out by the scent to continue using it. Now I’m nearing the end of this moisturizer from Garnier, and am searching for a new one. Please recommend something in the comments! For SPF I have been using this Neutrogena sunscreen, but it doesn’t feel great under makeup for the whole day.
  8. Makeup
    I’ll do a post with my full makeup routine soon
  9. Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray, or NYX Cosmetics Make Up Setting Spray, Dewy Finish
    If my makeup feels too heavy, I’ll spritz on one of these to keep myself from looking too done up. Gotta keep it like a no-makeup makeup look because clearly, I’m super low-maintenance. The Mario Badescu spray is also very refreshing throughout the day, I bought it when I was packing for Thailand and it was great.

Everything I Use at Night

  1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Liquid Eye Makeup Remover
    I tried using an Almay eye makeup remover once and it burned my eyes. So now I have to use Neutrogena or the Target brand fake Neutrogena. I soak a piece of Muji cotton and smash it on my eyes.
  2. Innisfree Olive Real Cleansing Oil
    Same as the morning except I spend a little more time smearing this around my face to make sure I’m dissolving all the makeup.
  3. Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
    Same as the morning
  4. MIZON AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner
    Same as the morning, using fancy cotton
  5. The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%
    Like the vitamin C, I was using a few random retinoids from Amazon but jumped to The Ordinary for the new routine, also bought on Asos since The Ordinary site was sold out. This is a milky-white retinol liquid that feels a little sticky on my skin for a while. I’m not sure if it’s working, but I wake up looking hydrated and alive. Unless I’m hungover, then there is no hope. Retinol is an active like the vitamin C, so even though I use it at night, it still increases sensitivity to sunlight, so slather on that sunscreen.
  6. MIZON Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule
    Same as the morning, I add this to my night routine if I want a little more moisture or if I have a scar or something that I need to speed up the healing process.
  7. Moisturizer
    I ran out of my night moisturizer, so now I’m just slapping on this sample of from Dr. Jart+ Water Drop if my face feels dry. The consistency of this is so crazy, it comes out of the tube like a regular lotion but immediately turns into a watery feel on your skin. Send me your recommendations for a new night moisturizer!
  8. Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray
    To lock in that moisture, also because I feel like fancy ladies are always spritzing something onto their face.

Assorted Masks and Why I Use Them

  1. Black Mud Peel Off Mask
    I got SOOO into these when I went to Thailand last year. They are more expensive to buy online, but Amazon does have them now! I bought as many as I could find and have been rationing them since then. I try to just apply it to my t-zone so I can make it last forever and also because it rips the hairs off my face and that hurts, but it makes my pores so small afterwards.
  2. Formula 10.0.6® Pores Be Pure Mud Mask
    This is cheap, you can get it at Target, and they have a travel size container. It tingles a bit when I first put it on, but my face feels smooth after.
  3. Moisturizing sheet masks
    Target is selling a bunch of sheet masks right now, but I still have some from Thailand/Japan. I like to use one of these if I’m hungover and have to leave the house, just got off a flight, or just generally feel like my face looks meh.
  4. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay + apple cider vinegar
    This mask is very hard to wash off, but if my face needs a DEEP CLEAN, I’ll mix this up and put it on. I just have to be prepared to spend roughly ten minutes scraping it off my face. Also, if you leave it on too long, your face will look like a dehydrated lizard in the sunshine and you will feel very dry.

Other Things I Could Get into

*If you have any knowledge on these things or anything I’ve listed, let me know in the comments

  1. Bee venom products
    I’ve read that bee venom can be great for anti-aging.
  2. Some low-key Botox
    As an aggressive judger of all people, I have some rude lines showing up between my eyebrows. I’m considering zapping them away.
  3. Micro-blading / permanent eyebrows 
    I currently dye my eyebrows at home and this is working out fine, but maybe I want to take it to the next level??
  4. Lash extensions
    This might be too much for me, but I do like a briefly high-maintenance to be low-maintenance beauty boost. I currently get my lashes dyed every couple months and it makes my mascara routine so much easier because I have verrrrry pale eyelashes.

Alright, hit me up in the comments with your beauty routines, or if you have any cool products I should add into the mix.

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About The Author

Michelle Kowalski

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Michelle tries things in Cleveland, Ohio.