How to Ditch Retin-A and Start A Korean Skin Care Routine

By January 17, 2017

Missy is a working professional living in New York City. She describes her top skin concerns as sensitive, dry and acne-prone. Watch what happens after she stops using Retin-A and tries the Korean skincare routine for the very first time!

Missy, 31, is a strategy and analytics professional working in New York City. Although her friend from Korea has sent her sheet masks before, she has never tried the multi-step Korean skin care routine. Missy describes her skin type as combination, and her biggest concern is her hormonal acne and the fine lines around her eyes. She also can’t just use any product because she also is sensitive to many products. Missy accepted the challenge of following the Korean skincare routine for two full weeks as part of Soko Glam’s new campaign, Only Good (Skin) Days Ahead. Read on to see her testimonial and learn her new beauty secrets!

The Klog: How was your skin care routine before starting the Korean skincare routine?
Missy: Before the routine, I used an organic cleanser, a daily moisturizer and heavier eye cream and a zinc sunscreen every day. I also used a vitamin A cream (Retin-A) at night. I had basically the same routine for morning and evening and have always been diligent about skincare – especially removing make-up at night and using gentle products (for the most part). My mom taught me well.

What was your skin like?
Missy: I have combination skin that is, unfortunately, acne-prone. I’m also very fair and freckled because I’m Irish, so I am careful about sun protection.

I’ve done it all to clear up my skin–worked through all my dermatologist’s recommendations, given up refined sugar, dairy, and coffee. Vitamin A cream has worked well but it can be very drying.

What was something you learned while following the routine?
Missy: The right moisturizing routine goes a long way. Sometimes I don’t moisturize enough because I’m afraid it’ll lead to break-outs or I don’t have time to let the product soak into my dry skin. Going through the steps of the Korean skincare routine made my skin feel prepped for moisturizer and over the course of the two weeks, my skin felt really supple and healthy. I was surprised how much better I could apply my sunscreen and cosmetics onto well-moisturized skin.

Was there a product that was hard to understand or a step you wanted to skip every now and then?
Missy: I wanted to use the green tea pads more, but since they were only for use 2-3 times a week I’d often forget when I last used them and which order they fit in the routine. I really liked them when I used them, though!

What was your favorite part of the journey?
Missy: A few days into the new routine I woke up and noticed my skin felt different – very soft, very luxe. It felt great and I realized the product mix really worked for me.

Another favorite moment was in the first week. I had one free evening at home during a very, very busy week. When I came home, I immediately went through the whole routine, did the clay mask, and read a book. It was so relaxing and I felt like I was really taking care of myself.

How is your skin care routine now that you finished this 2-week “challenge?”
Missy: I’ve been diligent about using the full product mix. I really like how product part preps my skin for the next step.

What else has changed?
Missy: I feel like following this routine has had an indirect but noticeable impact on how I take care of my skin in other ways. I’ve always been good about drinking water and using sun protection but now I make an effort to eat my fruits and vegetables. If I’m spending time on my skin, I may as well feed it internally as well!

Now that you’ve heard all the details of Missy’s experience with the Korean skincare routine, read her mini reviews on all the products she used for the past two weeks.

The best way to start a Korean skin care routine
ENature Moringa Cleansing Balm
I am obsessed with cleansing balms in general and this one has a really nice scent and spreadable feel. The spoon is very helpful because the balm starts to melt at body temperature, so using your fingers in the jar just wastes good product. A little goes a long way. This product is a dynamo at clearing make-up… even red lipstick!

Klavuu Pure Pearlsation Revitalizing Facial Cleansing Foam
My new favorite cleanser. This foams up really nice. I liked playing around with the product to water ratio and using it a little thicker or thinner. Leaves me feeling squeaky clean without feeling like my skin is stripped of moisture.

Klavuu White Pearlsation Revitalizing Pearl Treatment Toner
Gentle scent, pale white shade, and a great way to prep for moisture. I like using toner but I’m not fully committed to this one. I’d probably try others when this one gets low.

Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Green Tea
These are really fun to use in addition to providing a gentle exfoliation. I love the delicate scent. The design is charming; there’s a little pocket for your fingers! I also appreciate the two different textures – a gauzy side and a soft cotton side.

Re:P Bio Fresh Mask with Real Vitality Herb
This clay mask has really surprising qualities. I love a good clay mask, but they usually leave me feeling tight and dry. This one is incredibly silky, almost the consistency of yogurt. It’s cool and minty, giving it a refreshing zing. After using this my skin feels incredibly clean and refreshed.

Manefit Bling Bling Hydrogel Mask in Energizing Rose
This mask is super thick, rich, hydrating. So much sheet mask action they had to split it into two pieces! I see this as a “special occasion” mask. I wouldn’t use it every week but probably a few times a month, when I had a half hour to lounge. This mask is heavy and I found it to be a little slippery.

Erborian Ginseng Infusion Total Eye
A top product for me. This eye cream is SO rich and the little ginseng balls are a burst of energy. Feels creamy and left my skin supple.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch
These are amazing! The spots I used them on cleared up quickly and seemed less red and angry the next morning.

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
My first exposure to essence and I am a fan. The consistency is interesting and like nothing I’ve used before. The best way to describe it is “slippery.” It is a fantastic way to prep my skin for moisture and I’m an essence convert.

Benton Snail Bee High Content Lotion
Great all-year lotion. This was moisturizing enough for dry winter skin but didn’t feel too thick for the summer. It is great as a final step in the routine – scent-free and non-greasy. My sunscreen and cosmetics go on so smooth after using this.

+ Watch Missy’s journey with the Korean skincare routine on YouTube.

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