After reading The Notepasser’s Clean Version of the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine, I’m inspired to share my own naturalÂ skincare system. I’ve been using a multi-stepÂ routine for years. Maybe it’s ingrained in me as an Asian; we love to pile on the products. Some of my friends think I’m crazy, but let’s see who’ll be laughing in twenty years when my skin is still plump and glowing.
I take skincare seriously and I’ve been tight with my facialist for years. I get facials once every two months atÂ Pure and Simple, a popular holistic spa chain in Toronto that offers natural facials, and green beauty products and makeup. The rest of the time, I use an array of natural skincare products to clean, exfoliate, and treat my skin. I often rotate products so my skin doesn’t get used them, but there are some tried-and-trues that I won’t give up. Most of what I recommend are 100% natural.
Step 1: The Makeup Remover
To remove eye makeup without toxins, organic sesame seed oil gets the job done.Â I use Whole Foods Market 365 Organic Cotton Rounds and Q-Tips (in-store only) to take off the eye makeup. I switched to organic cotton because organic farming invests in the long-term health of our planet. These re-washable Eco Cotton Rounds sound pretty awesome too, and I’m going to search for them the next time I go to the States.
If I’m not wearing a lot of eye makeup, which is most weekdays, I wash my face first with a cleanser, then wipe off whatever eye makeup is left with the oil.Â If I am wearing dark eyeshadow, liquid liner and waterproof mascara, I like to remove the eye makeup first so that the dark stuff is not sliding around the rest of my face when I’m cleansing.
If you wear heavier makeup and want to remove makeup from the whole face, I’ve heard good things about Bioderma Micellar Water. You might even skip cleanser with this.
Step 2: The Cleanse
My skin is a little sensitive, but I need to exfoliate daily because it sheds fast. I’m lovingÂ Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser and now it’s the only cleanser I’ll use at night. It gently exfoliates without being harsh. I don’t use it in the morning, unless I feel I really need to exfoliate again.
In the morning, I use a milk cleanser for senstive skin. I just finished a bottle ofÂ Pure and Simple Sensitive Skin Cleansing Milk. Next I’m going to try Tata Harper’s Purifying CleanserÂ is also good.
Morning and night, I use my cleansers withÂ Pai Organic Muslin Face Cloth. If you don’t need exfoliating cleansers, this cloth is enough to give you a very gentle exfoliation and leave your skin feeling clean.
Step 3: The Exfoliator
Currently, I don’t use anotherÂ exfoliating treatment because my exfoliation game is strong in Step 2, but I will put on a gentle scrub mask once a week or so to get my skin really smooth. I use Artifact’s Bali Papaya Rice Mask, if you recall from my review.Â In the past I have used Pure and Simple’s Lactic Acid, which is a gel that dissolves dead skin cells.
Step 4: The Refresher
These are toners or mists used after the cleansing step, to prep your skin for the moisturizers and serums. I use Thayer’s Alcohol-FreeÂ Witch Hazel Rose Petal with Aloe Vera with an organic cotton round to wipe my skin clean at night, in case I miss removing any makeup. I don’t think this is necessary for everyone, but I like to make sure my skin is really clean.
Step 5: The Essence
I believe thisÂ step is supposed to increase your cellular turnover and make your skin brighter and smoother. I don’t think we have much of an equivalent in Western skincare, but I suppose Tata Harper’s Floral Essence, as mentioned in Step 4, can also fall into this category.
This step is also meant to prep you for Step 6, the Ampoule, so I have a product for that: Pure and Simple’s Collagen Elastin Plus. I’ve been using it for years. It plumps your skin, giving you a little collagen boost and moisturizes. I put it all over my face, including eye area and lips.
Step 6: The Amboule
These are your serums to target specific problems like sun spots, dull skin, acne, fine lines, etc, so you must chooseÂ the product that’s right for you. My major motivations are combating dull/dry skin and wrinkle prevention, so I use some kind of oil in the morning to get my skin glowing, like CAMP Skincare’s Dreamcatcher Youth Serum, Sukin Rose Hip Oil, orÂ Vitamin C Oil.
I’ll use Naturopathica’s Argan & Retinol Wrinkle Repair Night Cream every other night. It’s not a very harsh retinol cream, but my facialist still recommends that I alternate products at night. When I’m not using the retinol, I’ll use one of the oils orÂ Tata Harper’s Rejuvenating Serum.
Step 7: The Sheet Mask
IÂ only use sheet masks when I travel. After long flights, my skin gets really dehydrated so I like to use Pure and Simple’s Super Hydrating Face + Neck Mask. I put it on for 15-30 minutes, take off the mask, and let the product dry on my skin. Then I’ll put some kind of moisturizing/serum on top for added hydration. Sheet masks allow the products to absorb deeper into your skin. I don’t know any other natural sheet masks you can buy, although The Notepasser’s recommendation for DIY face masks can be a good way to make your own formula, as well as cut down on the waste of disposable masks.
At home, the mask I use is usually Tata Harper’s Resurfacing mask.
Step 8: The Eye Cream
Eye creams are so necessary because the skin around the eyes are the thinnest. I use Naturopathica’s Argan and Peptide Eye Cream now, but have tried Tata Harper’s Restorative Eye Creme and liked it too.
Step 9: The Moisturizer
This is a step that I don’t alwaysÂ need in the summer. If my skin is dry, I’ll use a moisturizer likeÂ CAMP’s Filthy Rich Face Cream, Tata Harper’s Repairative Moisturizer, or Martina Gerhardt’s Shea Butter Cream.
Step 10: The Night Cream
Another layer? At this point, my face is slick with products. Step 6 is pretty much my night cream and if Step 9 is not enough,Â then I should be drinking more water. However, I will use a little something during the worst Canadian winter nights:Â Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrients Complex, a multivitamin serum. It comes in a rollerball, so it feels good when I apply it on my face.
Okay, so that might sound like a lot of stuff to use, but you don’t have to use everything every day. Exfoliators and sheet masks (Step 3 & 5) are only used once a week or so. And you don’t need to use a billion heavy creams if it’s summer. Play around, and see what works best for you.
The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine must be for night time, because they don’t mention sunscreen. A natural sunscreen I always use is John Master Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. It’s the only one I’ve found so far that doesn’t leave my skin pasty white. The product separates so shake it before using.
I’m always looking to try new all-natural skincare products, so if you have recommendations, let me know in the comments below.