Holy Grail Skin Products

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Growing up, I was super lucky to have a mom who was/is obsessed with skin care and really emphasized the importance of skin maintenance. Over the years I’ve accumulated a collection of products and have narrowed down my routine to a few holy grail products. I have dry skin,  redness/pigmentation, and dark circles. 

There are three really important things about skin care that I always keep in mind.

  1. Buy products that are specific to your skin problems. Most people will just buy generic drugstore products that will still do a good job at cleaning your skin but won’t target your needs. Skincare is complex because you never really know how well your skin is going to react to a product until you try it. I would say go through a bit of research on ingredients and brands that would work for you. Make sure you know your skin type and problems before you start buying products!
  2. Skincare is an investment. Many products can get ridiculously expensive but in my opinion, it’s worth it to save up for high-quality products. I went through a long phase of just buying cheap products that halfway did the job but now I really invest in fewer products that do an amazing job. I’m not saying go spend a fortune!! Weigh out the pros and cons and see what fits best for you.
  3. Your skin changes over time. Although there are some products I really love, I like to change some things up every few months. For some products, if your skin gets too used to them the effect won’t be as strong anymore. It’s kind of like how you can develop immunity to some medicines/antibiotics with long time use causing them to no longer fight infections. You gotta change things up once in awhile.

In this post, I’m going to follow the 10 step Korean skincare routine to list my favorite products. I like to follow these 10 steps because I’m super extra but honestly if you’re new to skin care you can start simple.

Here’s a collection of my favorite products throughout the years:

1. Tony Moly Wonder Apricot Deep Cleaning Oil 

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This cleanser is made for people like me who wear pretty full coverage makeup. It wipes away even the strongest eyeliners while unclogging your pores. The biggest problem for people with dry skin is having cleansers that make your skin even drier after being washed. This cleanser will leave it smooth and clean. I personally really like the apricot smell but there is also a fragrance-free version.

2. Neogen Green Tea Foam Cleanser

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Water cleaners make a great second cleanser because they remove impurities without stripping your skin of its natural oils. This particular one is good for acne-prone skin that is remedied by the soothing green tea. Green tea also has brightening and hydrating effects.

3. Skinfood Black Sugar Mask

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You will love this mask. Exfoliators are not something that I do very often but it’s good for getting rid of your dead skin every few weeks. This mask will leave your face feeling SO SMOOTH. Like the name indicates, this mask is made of brown sugar that will dissolve as you massage it into your skin. In the skincare world, this is known as a “cult favorite.”

4. Dear Hydration Toner 

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A lot of people don’t really know what toners are and they find this step excessive/unnecessary but it’s so essential! After your cleansers, toners wipe away the last bit of impurities while setting your skin up to take in all the next products. If you use toners regularly for several weeks I guarantee you will see a major brightening effect. I love this one from Banila Co that I found at the beginning of this year. It’s formulated with mint, basil, and neem leaf extracts which specialize in keeping skin stress-free and intensely hydrated while regulating pH levels. This is particularly good for people who live in high-polluted environments which can make your skin rough and clogged.

5. Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist

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If you don’t get it by now, skin hydration is key. Essences are used after toners as another layer of hydration before putting on more concentrated serums. In addition to hydration, this specific essence helps with my redness and pigmentation. Over time you will see an evening out of color. For days where you don’t want to wear makeup but still want that dewy, fresh-faced look this essence will do the trick.

6. klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum

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Serums are used to target specific skincare concerns. Because all of my other products help with my dry skin, I use this serum to really target my redness. This specializes in removing acne scars as well if you’re looking for a serum for skin recovery. This bottle lasts forever for me because unlike the previous steps, only a few drops of serum in specific areas are needed.

7. Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Hydro Gel Mask

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Masks are basically soaked in serums as a quick and effective way of boosting dull skin. When use masks I like to refrigerate them beforehand for a super relaxing cooling effect. This specific mask has snail mucin and gold extract – two ingredients you’ll find in more luxurious serums when you really just wanna treat yo self.  These products work by minimizing pores creating smoothness and a glow that will give you a good start for the next day. It is also a gel mask and I personally prefer this texture more than typical masks.

8. La Mer The Eye Concentrate

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This eye cream is a huge splurge but it really is my holy grail product. I am an insomniac so no sleep is the norm for me. That being said, eye cream is so important. I never had an eye cream that worked well for me because my dark circles and puffiness are just so bad. La Mer changes the game with their products and this eye cream is one of their best sellers. Although eye creams can take weeks or months to see results in removing dark circles, this product also gives immediate moisturizing underneath the eye, a decrease in puffiness,  and a gradual decrease in fine lines. It also comes with an amazing applicator which really seals in the product and allows you to massage it into the skin.

9. The History of Whoo – Gongjinhyang Soo Soo Yeon Hydration Emultion

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If I could only choose one product off this list I would keep this one. Moisturizer is my most important step there has never been a better one than this History of Whoo Hydration Emulsion. This brand is actually targeted for older women (antiaging, tightening)  but when I used to steal my mom’s products I found that this brand really worked well with my skin. This emulsion gives me instant and intense moisture that locks in my skin all day. It’s the essential product I use every time in my routine.

10. Tony Moly My Sunny Watery Essence SPF 50/PA+++

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Sunscreen is the step I often forget but it’s honestly the most important step in skin care. I’ve been making an effort to not leave the house without some on. I found this product through a friend who really emphasized how important it was for me to start wearing sunscreen. I love this product because it has a lightweight and watery texture while providing a really nice coverage. The best part is there is no white cast left behind because it absorbs so well into the skin!

Skincare can be so tedious and overwhelming but I believe it is one of the best investments in yourself. Taking care of your skin now will really affect the way you age, not only in looks but also in health!

To figure out your skin type take the Skin Quiz and for more expert advice and product reviews check out this K- beauty blog, The Klog,  where I learned from throughout the years.

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