I’ve always been very intense about skincare. Probably came from my mom--she’d had me moisturizing and wearing sunblock everyday ever since I could remember. I didn’t realize it was uncommon until I compared notes with some of my peers. They were aghast to hear I was wearing sunblock to school as an elementary school student! Most of them had only discovered the importance of sunblock a few years ago.
Anyhow, since we’re all stuck inside, I think pampering your skin is definitely an activity that’s worth focusing on! My daily skincare routine gives me a sense of self-pampering. And now that my commute is literally walking from my bedroom to the dining room table, I have zero excuse regarding lack of time.
So here it goes!
My skincare set-up for my night-time routine
1. Eye Makeup Remover: I use Neutrogena’s oil-free eye makeup remover to remove my makeup. It’s cheap, it’s reliable, it gets the job done! I’ve tried all sorts of more expensive eye makeup removers from brands such as Lancome and Clinique, and I still prefer the Neutrogena one.
2. Oil-based Cleanser: Oil-based cleansers are gentler than foam-based cleansers and don’t dry out your skin. I love Banila's Clean It Zero Classic. It smells so good and allows my skin to feel so clean.
3. Normal / Foaming Cleanser: (I personally skip this step) I'm lazy and feel like the oil-based cleanser is enough. But according to standard Korean best practices (and you know the Koreans have their skincare down!), you need both to really get your skin clean. I usually just use Shiseido Deep Cleansing Foam.
4. Exfoliator: I use Neogen’s Exfoliator 2x a week. This step is supposed to get rid of all your dead skin cells such that the subsequent goodies that you put on your face gets absorbed properly. This step also prevents acne.
5. La Luer MIRA Device: After washing my face, I apply a healthy layer of La Luer’s Hyaluronic Treatment Gel to get started on my treatment. I start on the first mode, DETOX, which helps with acne and breakouts. Its blue LED, ultrasound, and sonic pulsation technology disinfects and kills acne bacteria and promotes lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. I follow up with the second step, TONE, which infuses EMS to reduce puffiness. The third step, LIFT, integrates RF technology to target fine lines and wrinkles and gives me a nice lift. I end my five-minute facial with INFUSE that enhances serum absorption and brightens my skin. INFUSE uses green LED, ion infusion, ultrasound, and sonic pulsation to give me fast results!
Using MIRA as part of my night-time routine gives me professional-quality results
Right-side is before using MIRA, and left-side shows my "after" results
It’s amazing how quickly I see results and I'm thrilled that you can now buy the La Luer MIRA through our SENREVE website. Plus, SENREVE customers receive a complementary virtual consultation with La Luer founder, Nicole, along with their purchase!
6. Toner: This is to balance your pH. I LOVE Beauty Water by Son & Park. Best toner I've ever tried and I've tried a bajillion. It leaves my skin feeling so soft and smooth. I’d never imagined describing toner as silky...but that’s how I’d describe this product.
7. Face Mask: I TRY to do this every night, but it ends up being 1-2x every 2 weeks. My Hong Kong friends do it every night. Apparently in Hong Kong, it’s common for analysts and associates at investment banks to throw on their face masks after 9pm while they continue to work at their desks. No wonder they all have perfect, young-looking skin! I think all the Korean face masks are pretty good--it’s not so much about the price but just about doing it frequently. I am always trying new brands and switching it up. But here are some of my favorites (I also use face masks on plane rides cause planes dry out my skin), and I tend to gravitate towards the cheaper ones:
• Too Cool for School: I love this face mask but I've heard it causes some people to break out.
• Assortment of Korean Face Masks: Honestly, any of these would work. Buy a few and try them out.
• Face Shop: I love their face masks because they're good and so cheap. But not sure if they have e-commerce. There's a store in NYC. I get mine from their stores in Hawaii and/or Asia (when I travel to Asia).
• Innisfree Volcanic Clay Mask: I LOVE this clay mask. My skin feels immediately better / softer after I'm done. It's GREAT for getting rid of acne too.
8. Essence: Koreans swear by SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence (my Korean friend said older people who’ve used this consistently for 20 years all have beautiful skin) — but it’s super expensive. I found a dupe (Missha's First Treatment Essence) that’s supposed to have the same ingredients / is just as effective but much cheaper.
9. Serum: (I sometimes skip this step if I’m lazy) Serum is supposed to contain extra nutritional ingredients. I use HANSKIN's Bio Prism Brightening Alpha Serum that's supposed to prevent and reduce sun spots.
10. Retin-A (aka Retinoid, Retinol, Tretinonin): This is a key prescription ingredient that’s proven to help prevent wrinkles, reduce sun spots, etc. etc. It’s like the main magical product that’s done wonders for people’s skin. My friend has been using Retin-A since she was 22 and she has the most amazing perfect skin (she’s now 36). Typically, you need to ask your dermatologist to prescribe it for you (the over-the-counter ones aren’t strong enough). But thankfully, there are now startups that allow you to order online. I get my retinol from DearBrightly, which is a company founded by my good friend Amy Chiu, who has the most perfect skin. DearBrightly allows you to quickly and easily get a dermatologist to prescribe you retinoid customized for your specific skin. The concentration of my prescription is 0.01% (which is quite high) since I’ve been using retinol for years now.
Pro Tip: Make sure to ease your way into using retinol if you've never used it before. Otherwise it causes your skin to break out. I started using it once a week, then 2x a week, then 3x a week, etc.
Also make sure you wear a ton of sunblock or a hat before going outside after using retinol. It actually makes your skin more sensitive to sun, so you could get burnt more easily.
11. Eye Cream: (I sometimes skip this step if I’m lazy) It’s richer than moisturizer so it’s supposed to prevent lines / wrinkles around your eyes (which are prone to wrinkles and lines). I haven’t yet found an eye cream that I’m super loyal to or obsessed with. There are the ones I’ve used and liked in the past:
• Misha Misa Geum Sul Vitalizing Eye Cream
• Skinfood Royal Honey Eye Cream
12. Moisturizer: Super super important. I have combination skin but the dry parts can be super dry so I lather on moisturizer whenever I can. I’ve tried a million different moisturizers and my absolute favorite moisturizer of all time is the Belif Moisturizing Bomb. It keeps my skin soft and moist through the next morning.
13. Pimple Patches: Whenever I get breakouts, I sleep with this CosRx Pimple Patch on my pimple(s), and the pimples disappear overnight. This is literally the best pimple solution I've ever found. It’s magical.
1. Cleanser: (I actually never do this) You’re supposed to wash your face with cleanser (either oil-based or foaming) in the morning but I’m too lazy to do it, and I think my skin is fine. I just splash some water on my face.
2. Toner: Same as above.
3. Essence: Same as above.
4. Serum: Same as above.
5. Vitamin C: This is super super important. Vitamin C helps protect you against the sun and prevents sun spots, freckles, age spots, etc. I use SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic because all the dermatologists swear by it (even though it’s a little pricey). The dermatologists say none of the other vitamin C products work because they don’t bottle it correctly such that the vitamin C molecules get damaged. Only CE Ferulic’s bottling and formula keeps the key active ingredients stable.
6. Moisturizer: Same as above.
7. Sunscreen: SUPER SUPER important. Back in the pre-COVID days, even if I were just going to the office, I would lather on SPF 30+ sunscreen all over my face. Now, I make sure to apply sunscreen before I go outside to take my daily quarantine run (this daily run is the only thing keeping me sane during this crazy time). The sun is the number one cause of wrinkles, sun spots, etc. It’s terrible for your skin and will make you age. I’ve tried a ton of face sunblocks and these are my favorite:
• MD Solar Sciences Mineral Tinted Creme SPF 50
• Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50
I also love this Colorescience powdered sunblock. While I don’t trust that it’s got enough coverage to use on its own, I use it to touch up my sunblock throughout the day since lotion-type sunblock would mess up any makeup I have on.
Side Note: I've stopped buying skincare products off of Amazon because I've had issues where the product was fake. They have a lot of resellers posing as the actual brand. Even when the product had 1,500+ positive reviews, it turned out to be fake. So I've decided to stay away from Amazon and just do Soko Glam, Sephora or actual drug stores.