Montag, 13. April 2015

My current skincare routine

Hey pandas,

How are you doing? I became rather busy with my internship, I'm spending about 9-10 hours in the office each day ô.O
I still wanna try to keep my blog updated, hopefully I won't fail "^^

Today I decided to share with you my skincare routine. I will not only simply show you the products I'm using but also tell you what my thoughts were behind each purchase and if the products are doing what I hoped them to do.

EDIT: I totally forgot to include sunscreen....shame on me!! But rest assured, I do use sunscreen everyday. Sunscreen is important!

Over time I have pretty much adopted an Asian/Korean skincare routine. Meaning: a lot of layers. This is quite different from how skincare is seen and treated here in Germany so it was/is interesting and an interesting journey. Which isn't finished by far so I do not consider myself an expert in skincare at all.

Let's start with le routine!

Btw, I'm sorry for the blueish pictures. I changed the background in my photobox to something more spring-like and my camera took that as an invitation to tint every picture with a blue hue -.-

Step 1: Oil Cleanser

Innisfree apple juicy cleanser; eye make-up remover; HadaLabo Gokujyun oil cleanser

This step is only part of my evening skincare routine. I fell in love with oil cleansers because they are great with removing make-up and sunscreen while not being too harsh to the skin. Since I have a slightly oily T-zone, I'm looking for oils that aren't too rich but clean well and so far no cleansing oil I tried has disappointed me. I already wrote a review about both, the Innisfree one here and the HadaLabo one here. They are both good oil cleansers but I'll probably go back to the Softymo one. I have a special eye make-up remover for the days when I wore heavier eye make-up.

Step 2: Cleanser

The Face Shop Rice Water Bright O2 Cleansing Foam; Sebamed Reinigungsschaum

Cleansing is an important step in the skincare routine to get all the dirt and product residue and other nasty stuff off your skin. I use a cleanser day and night because I want to get possible residue from sleeping packs or creams off my face and I have pretty sturdy skin so using a cleanser two times a day is perfectly fine. Just recently there has been a lot of discussion about the pH of cleansers. In a perfect world, they would all be around 5,5. Sadly we don't live a perfect world so you should take a deeper look into your cleansers. Either go for those who are labeled "skin pH-neutral" or look up the pH on the internet.
For a long time I used cleansers with a too high pH-level and so I searched for a fitting cleanser. I came up with those two, which are both good concerning the pH-level. I'm currently testing the The Face Shop one but somehow I can't get the recommended method of use right so I'm just using it like a normal cleanser and foam it up with a foaming net. The other one is a "dupe" for the HadaLabo self-foaming cleanser and I'm really liking it so far, especially since it's self-foaming. Perfect for a lazy person like me XD

Step 3: Toner

Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner; Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner
Toner is something you can use but don't have to. I'm using a pH-balancing toner to bring the pH of my skin after cleansing and as a preparation for actives. If you'd rather wait or don't even use acids you might skip them. Or try a completely different kind of toner. I would just advice to avoid toners with a lot of alcohol since alcohol can be drying and irritating.
I like both toners and while the Mizon one, that I reviewed here, looks a lot cooler I'll probably stick with the Cosrx one since it has a short ingredients list and does its job. A review of the Cosrx toner will hopefully follow soon.

Step 4: Actives

Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum; Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid; DIY Vitamin C Serum

I discovered actives just recently myself. Chemical peelings are getting more and more popular since they have the same or sometimes even a better peeling effect than physical peelings, are more environment-friendly and are also gentler to your skin (assumed you're not overusing them or starting with a too high percentage).
AHA is a chemical peeling mainly targeting sun-damaged and dry skin. BHA is a chemical peeling targeting oily skin. Since I have normal skin with a slightly oily T-zone I am using BHA 4-5 times a week and AHA around 2 times. So far this method is working pretty fine. The Mizon AHA Peeling Serum is a well loved Asian AHA product and I totally understand why (review here). It's just that my skin needs more BHA than AHA. I'm just still fighting with Sebaceous filaments and even the BHA doesn't seem to make them look smaller.
Vitamin C is supposed to help lighten marks from breakouts faster and give your skin a glowing effect overall. I decided to venture into the DIY route and tried making my own Vitamin C serum. The first try has been kind of a fail (I couldn't get the oil and water phase to mix properly) but I think it is still working. With Vitamin C you have to wait quite a while to see real results so I will do exactly that and report back.
I'm currently using Vitamin C in the morning and acids in the evening, which seems to be a popular method.

Step 5: Hydrating Toner

HadaLabo Gokujyun Lotion Light; HadaLabo Arbutin Lotion
This is honestly a step that I only have in my routine because I have those two products and I don't wanna waste them and just throw them away. But I don't really see any benefits from using them versus not using them. Especially the whitening one doesn't do anything concerning whitening.
The light one I got while living in Japan (review here) because I thought it would work like a Western toner (as in getting the final residues of make-up and dirt of your skin and prepping your skin for the next steps). However Japanese lotions/toner are often an additional hydrating step.
For people with dry skin a hydrating toner might be a good investment but for me they are pretty useless and I'm looking to replace them with a product containing fermented ingredients.

Step 6: Serum

Serum is a product packed with "good" ingredients and there are tons of them on the Asian skincare market. In Germany they are not as popular.
I chose this particular serum because I love green tea in every form, green tea is good when dealing with redness and meejmuse recommended it.
I think it did help a little bit with my redness and I like that is a very light serum so my skin doesn't feel suffocated from all the stuff I put on. However it does contain alcohol so I'm not sure if I will stick with it.

Step 7: Treatment

Mizon All in One Snail Repair Cream

Here I included a product with a special ingredient: snail slime. Snail slime or mucus is said to help with healing of wounds. I originally bought this product to replace my usual moisturizer but found out pretty quickly that it isn't moisturizing enough and works best layered under the moisturizer (review here). So it became a treatment and I did notice a slight improvement in the healing of my pimples and marks. I'm currently looking into other snail products. I already tried the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Treatment, which was really good but expensive and Cosrx's Snail Essence looks really promising. But one product containing snail mucus will definitely stay in my routine.

Step 8: Eye cream

Eye cream is honestly a step that I do every day but somehow don't put a lot of thought in it. I'm currently using a pretty basic eye cream from the German drugstore but maybe I should put more thought into this step in the future. I'm slowly but steadily getting closer to 30 after all....

Step 9: Moisturizer

Moisturizer was a step I feared for a long time. I had pretty oily skin and the thought of putting something "heavy" on top of all that oil was just eww. In Japan I was forced to look for a new moisturizer and I ended up with this baby. It became my favourite moisturizer and I haven't changed it since. It made my skin less oily (guess my poor skin was missing moisture) and is really a HG for me (review here). You just have to be careful to not use too much, a little goes a long way.
I will definitely continue using this until my skin changes and needs something else.

Step 10: Sunscreen

Before discovering the world of Asian beauty I thought that using sunscreen daily all year round would be stupid. Silly me. Somehow sunscreen is only used during summer here. But since starting chemical peelings I have to use it daily. And I realized very quickly that Asian sunscreens are perfect for daily use. Most Western sunscreens are heavy and feel really uncomfortable on the skin. I'm still using a SPF35 sunscreen since I bought this tube quite a while ago and figured that SPF35 would be enough during winter. I already ordered another sunscreen with higher SPF since summer is already around the corner.
Otherwise this Innisfree is allright. The scent is not over-powering but also not too pleasant. It can take a few seconds to really absorb into the skin which is a bit annoying in the morning when I'm in a hurry.

Extra: Sleeping packs

Tonymoly Magic Food Banana Sleeping Pack; Laneige Water Sleeping Pack_EX; Too Cool For School Pumpkin Sleeping Pack

Sleeping packs are really a nice invention. Another thing that doesn't really exist in Germany.
The Laneige one was my first sleeping pack and I bought it because so many people raved about it online. It is a good sleeping pack and I'm glad that it was my first one =D It does moisturize my skin and makes it feel good but the scent could be off-putting for some (review here). The Tonymoly one is a cool gimmick but nothing too special apart from the packaging and awesome smell. I'm currently testing the Too Cool For School one.
I use sleeping packs about 2-3 times a week but I know that there are people who use them every night, it really depends on your skin and how much care it needs.

Extra: Sheet Masks

Ahh, sheet masks. So much fun to use! I have accumulated quite a few of them by now and they are a nice treat for your skin. My personal favourites so far are the Tonymoly I'm real sheet masks and the Benton Snail Bee High Content sheet masks. My only problem is that a lot of sheet masks contain alcohol and I would like to avoid alcohol as much as possible. So I have kinda made it my mission to seek all the sheet masks without alcohol!

Extra: Special Treatment

Cure Natural Aqua Gel, Innisfree Jeju volcanic super clay mask, Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol

Sometimes your face needs a special treatment, right?!
I bought the Cure while I was in Japan because I read so many positive reviews online. Honestly, it's not worth the money. I still like the feeling of a physical peel once a week even though I have my chemical peelings but Cure is just overpriced for what it's doing (review here). There are other products doing the same (DetClear) or products like the Skinfood Black Sugar mask, who also offer the feeling of physical exfoliation but are much nicer to use.
The Innisfree Clay mask is another HG for me. I like clay masks to give my skin a thorough cleaning, especially when my hormonal breakouts are raging. One of my favourite things about this mask is that it doesn't dry to a hard lump but you can still move your facial muscles (review here). I try to use it about 2 times a week.
And finally the oh so beloved A-Sol from Cosrx. If you're a member or asianbeauty on reddit you've probably heard a lot about this stuff.
First I bought this in the hopes of it being my sole BHA. Well, that didn't work out. But it is a great spot treatment. It doesn't only contain BHA but also Propolis. It is perfect to apply directly on blemishes and while it won't prevent blemishes from ever happening again (at least in my case) it does wonders to heal them quickly. Since I suffer from hormonal acne (hormonal as in stress, diet, period, etc.) I like to have this ready so I can fight a pimple as soon as I spot it and don't give it any chance to flourish into a bright red mountain on my face. Definitely worth a look!

Of course, this is by no way a perfect routine. I'm still figuring a few things out and there are so many interesting products out there that I still wanna try. There are also many interesting ingredients, like fermented ingredients, niacinamide, etc. I guess, skincare is one of those things with which you rarely ever reach "perfection". But to me, trying out new stuff and learning new things is part of the journey and also part of the fun =D

I hope you liked reading about my rather basic (at least considering Asian beauty standards) routine =D

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