We’ve all experienced it – you wake up the morning of a big job interview or a hopeful date and there’s an angry, red interloper on your face. Nailing your skincare routine is an arduous task and fraught with missteps – one wrong product can leave you with nasty rashes, more pimples or simply do nothing and be a waste of your hard-earned money.
My journey with skincare started at the same age as most – when you encounter your first few pimples as a hormone-laden teen. Even though I was washing my face with cleanser twice a day and keeping it moisturized, I struggled to find any products that would keep the zits at bay. I tried everything from Neutrogena to Proactiv – while the medicated creams would work at times, they inevitably lost their effect after several months of use. My skin improved slightly as I grew older – the acne was no longer a constant, but I definitely would still get a raging pimple every now and then.
Almost a year ago, I discovered the miracle that is Asian skincare. Many of them use effective ingredients that are still foreign to the Western beauty market, are (for the most part) very competitively priced, and have cute packaging. What more could you ask for? One extremely resourceful forum I still frequent to get the down-low on the latest products is Reddit’s Asian Beauty subreddit. You can visit it here. After combing through many online reviews and watching a plethora of YouTube videos, I landed on a specific combination of products that seems to be working magic on my skin. I’ll break it down for you here.
Step One: Cleanser
I discovered Consonant Foaming Face Wash (made in Canada) while perusing Sephora’s top-rated cleansers. It is 100% natural, works as an eye makeup remover AND toner, and includes great ingredients like tea tree oil and grapeseed oil. It makes my skin feel squeaky clean and soft after using, yet doesn’t dry me out!
Step Two: Toner
I use NeoStrata’s 8% Glycolic Acid Purifying Solution. Although my face wash has toner-like properties, I like to ensure a deep clean by gently applying this with a cotton pad all over my face and neck. The glycolic acid helps with preventing breakouts and unclogging my pores.
Step Three: Essence
Now, the secret ingredient to my third and fourth steps was a game-changer for my skin: snail mucin. This goop is believed to be laced with nutrients, help stimulate cell regeneration, fade acne scars, and achieve smoother, brighter and more even toned skin. While the thought of smearing snail guts on your skin may not be that appealing (and yes, it is slightly slimy), it has absolutely helped me achieve dewy and blemish-free skin. I apply this COSRX essence before my night-time moisturizer to help all that gooey goodness sink in.
Step Four: Moisturizer
This Mizon Black Snail All-in-One Cream was one product that received high praise across the Internet. I had to find out what it was all about. It’s very hydrating, contains 90% Black Snail filtrate, is replete with antioxidants and is paraben-free.
Something Extra: Pore Clay Mask
I use this Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask as a special treat once or twice a week. It is made from minerals released by volcanic explosions on Jeju Island in South Korea. It’s a thick clay mask you leave on for 10 minutes – during this time, it deep cleans and shrinks your pores, controls your sebum levels, exfoliates and brightens your skin tone. It truly leaves your face feeling velvet-soft.
What are your go-to products? Leave a comment below!