I’ve always loved and respected the wonders of skin care. Ever since turning 13, like most teenagers, my skin became a constant problem all the way up into my early 20’s. I touched on this in my blog post Hanoi 2.0.
Ever since Switching to Deciem products, I’ve not dared to use anything else in case my skin breaks out. Recently I’ve just been feeling my skins become more dull since being exposed to the cities pollution. Hanoi is dense with smog during rush hour and after riding a scooter all day my skin feels constantly dirty. I needed to refresh my routine and get that glow back. Over the past few years K-beauty and skin care products have blown up in popularity and for good reason! Everyone wants that glossy, healthy looking skin, often referred to as ‘Glass skin’. One of the more famous routines is the 10 step skin care routine (I found this one from Soko Glam). I was intrigued – at first it sounded intimidating, but when I assessed my morning and night routine already, I realised that it was only a few more steps than I usually would take and some steps should only be done once or twice a week.
Often marketing skews peoples ideas to make them think they have to spend everything they have on ‘new’ things with a specific brand in order to follow a routine correctly, but this isn’t the case. After researching the 10 step routine thoroughly, it became apparent that many of the products, I already owned under Western brands, therefore, only bought the missing links. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what brand you buy from, as long as they have the same ingredients and similar formulas. This is why below I have laid out my own adapted version of the Korean 10 step skin care routine, using my Western products as well as my amazing new Korean ones!
- Cleanse with ‘Niod’ Sanskrit Saponins.
- Apply ‘The Ordinary’ Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 2%
- Apply ‘The Ordinary’ Caffeine solution 5% + EGCG under the eyes
- Apply ‘The Inkey list’ Turmeric moisturiser
- Elemis Daily Defence Shield SPF 30
- Cleanse with ‘Niod’ Low Viscosity Cleaning Ester
- Apply either Organic Cold Pressed rosehip seed oil/ Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%/ Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane / ‘Niod’ Survival 0
New Korean inspired routine day and night
Step 1. Oil cleanse – Double cleanse day and night with Niod
Step 2. Water based cleanser – Innisfree Tea tree foam cleanser
Step 3. Exfoliate (once a week) – ‘The Ordinary’ dragon blood AHA peel every 2 weeks and and applying Syclacic acid once a week in step 5. Exfoliate lips twice a week with ‘Tony Moly’ Lip scrub. Use Innisfree black head removal every other day, exfoliate with finger gloves.
Step 4. Tone – Tone skin with ‘Clarins’ Daily Energiser Wake Up Booster
Step 5. Essence – ‘Niod’ Multi-Molecular hyaluronic complex.
Step 6. Treatments – Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ‘The Ordinary’
Step 7. Eye cream– Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Supercharged Complex
Step 8. Moisturise – ‘The Inkey’ Turmeric moisturiser.
Step 9. Sheet mask – Innisfree (twice a week)
Step 10. Sun protection -Elemis daily defence SPF 30 PA+++
Step 1. Oil cleanse
Using an oil based cleanser removes the first layer of dirt on the skin. I’ve been using oil cleansers for over a year now mixing between Deciem’s; Hylamide and Niod formulations. I find these formulations work best with my combination skin. There are a ton of alternative Korean and Japanese oil cleansers available in Hanoi.
Step 2. Water based cleanser
The double cleansing makes a huge difference. Before I was using an oil cleanser by itself at night and never felt my skin was thoroughly clean. With the follow up cleansing of the Innisfree green tea cleanser (mentioned in a previous post) my skin’s left feeling baby soft and super clean. Some dermatologists will preach that foam cleansers are too drying for the skin and I agree, in my experience using foam cleansers alone isn’t great and can be an irritant in some cases. However, the Innisfree formulation just leaves my skin baby soft and with all the extra moisture I’ll be putting back into my skin, after a month, I’ve only reaped the benefits from this practise.
Step 3. Exfoliating
I only do this step once or twice a week as it can be damaging on the skin to use harsh scrub like ingredients, the K-skincare ethos recommends this also. This month I’ve been alternating between my AHA 30% +BHA peeling solution (The Ordinary), Salicyclic Acid 2% (The Ordinary) and Innisfree Jeju volcanic blackhead out balm . I transform this balm into an exfoliator by using the finger tip tools that came with it and focus on my T-zone. I’ve also tried out this lip scrub from popular Korean brand Tony Moly, their packaging designs were too cute to resist. Honestly though, I prefer the lip scrubs from Lush back in the UK. I didn’t find this lip scrub coarse enough for my (sometimes bitten) lips, so I wont be re investing.
Step 4. Tone
I used to tone thoroughly a few years ago, but due to my problematic skin phases, I decided it was best to completely simplify my regime, which to me meant no longer using toner. For the purpose of sticking to the 10 step regime, I started toning again with my old faved toner from Clarins. I can’t say I feel this has much effect on my skin, but I’m aware of the PH balancing benefits toning brings to a skin routine so I’ll continue to practise with it. A top tip I learned from my research, was toner’s can be used ethically by just dabbing onto your face with your fingers instead of using disposable cotton pads.
Step 5. Essence
This step confused me and my housemate Freya. I couldn’t decipher how it was different from Serum or any of my ‘extra’ boosting products from Deciem. After reading about the key ingredients to look out for I cheated the essence step by continuing to use my Noid Multi-molecular hyaluronic complex. It’s light on the skin and performs just as the supposed essences do, with the purpose of preparing the skin for moisture. I was too nervous to spend money this month, but if anyone has had good results with essences please let me know in the comments!
Step 6. Treatments
The aim of this step is to directly treat problem areas such as pigmentation and preventing acne. I’ve been swearing by Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% (The Ordinary) and Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (The Ordinary) to prevent acne. For people living in Hanoi, I recently found the Niacinamide formulation in Lotte centre with a brand called Paula’s choice. I haven’t gotten round to testing out this brand yet, but would love to hear some reviews. Under my eyes I use my Caffienne solution 5% + EGCG.
Step 7. Eye cream
My Mum has taught me a lot about which skin care products to invest in, and as she’s 44 with not a wrinkle on her face I tend to take her advice. Our skin is very similar, so she knows from experience what products to recommend to me. I find eye creams and serums so expensive that I tend to only focus on one or the other, this month my Mum recommended the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (also used in the day). It was the most expensive cream I’ve ever bought but with Hanoi’s dense pollution and my inherent dark circles, it’s an investment. If you can justify spending money on makeup and clothes, take that and spend it on your face, it lasts longer. So far I’ve had wonderful results, my under eye area feels more plump and hydrated as well as brighter.
Step 8. Moisturiser
Due to all the other ingredients I use, I find it’s best to use a very simple inexpensive moisturiser thats light and barely there on the skin. At the moment I’ve been using the Turmeric moisturiser from ‘The Inkey list’. Although this brand has reached South Korea, Japan and Thailand it hasn’t yet reached Vietnam. To substitute this there are plenty of easily assessable alternatives, such as Innisfree, Face Shop and The Body Shop which focus on natural ingredients.
Step 9. Sheet mask
For that glass skin look, I use sheet masks 2 to 3 times a week. It may seem strange to do this after applying treatments but the sheet locks in all the moisture and maximizes the power of the ingredients. Keep it on for 20 minutes and then instead of drying your face with a towel, pat your face down and let skin dry naturally. This is best done at night when you have more free time but on the rare occasions I’ve done this in the morning before work, I feel instantly more glowing, awake and ready for the day.
Step 10. SPF
If you’ve made it to this part well done and thank you for sticking with me on this! It is so important for everyone to wear SPF daily, especially in Asia where the sun is stronger. My BB cream has always contained SPF but since summer I’ve been using stand alone SPF daily underneath my makeup or by itself. There are so many different SPF creams available in Vietnam as it’s a major beauty concern of Asian women. For the Europe crowd, I use Elemis Daily Defence SPF 30. The great thing about this product is that there is no white residue, it just blends into skin seamlessly.
I’ve been following this Korean inspired 10 step routine for a month now and I’ve had amazing results, especially with the introduction of double cleansing and sheet masks. I feel my skin has never looked more glowing and dewy and for the first time in a long time, I feel completely okay without any makeup. Some steps I may drop or increase depending on how I feel in the future. Our skin changes all the time, and what works one month may not the next, which is why it’s important to stress that what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. As someone who’s passionate about skin care and educating myself as much as I can on ingredients, discovering new beauty regimes from different cultures always fascinate me. Some people will find this way too much but it’s a fun ritual for me and I feel most confident in myself when my skins looking it’s best.
Below I added a bare-faced photo of myself completely unedited taken with my Sony Alpha Nex 5. I couldn’t have done this a few months ago without getting an instant urge to delete it.
(Excuse my eyebrows, I have no idea what to do with them currently…)