How I Take Care of My Skin in South Korea
Updated: Jun 14
South Korea has been oh so kind to me, but it hasn't been quite as kind to my skin. I’ve never had problems with acne or dryness, but I’m suddenly finding myself waking up to at least one red spot or dry patch every morning. Here’s the simple skincare routine I’ve haphazardly thrown together (on a budget, might I add) over the past few weeks to try and combat the havoc that SK’s humidity, air pollution, and water quality are trying to wreak on my face. It pales in comparison to those 15-step Korean skincare routines we've all heard of, but it works!
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AM + PM:
1. Wash face with Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Facial Milk Cleanser (~$11).
This is a super mild cleanser that leaves my face feeling clean and moisturized. It doesn’t feel like it’s doing a whole lot because there isn’t any lather, but I really do think it’s helping treat and prevent dry patches and acne spots.
2. Pat dry (free).
This is important— I used to be a “hop out of the shower and scrub my face dry with a towel” gal. Gently patting my face dry with a softer towel helps cut down on irritation and redness.
3. Mist face with Garnier Soothing Rose Water Facial Mist (~$7).
Honestly, I don’t know if this product is doing anything for my skin, but it smells luxurious and it feels nice. Plus, according to Garnier, it’s multi-purpose and can be used as a primer, setting spray, and refresher.
Bio-Oil is the newest member of my skincare arsenal. It’s supposed to help out with moisturizing, preventing wrinkles, and treating acne scarring, so I usually just mix a few drops of it in with my moisturizer in hopes of getting some added benefit. The Aveeno lotion I use is, like a lot of the other products I’ve listed, hydrating and good for sensitive skin. It’s a pretty safe, run-of-the mill moisturizer, and it seems to be working pretty well for me.
5. *AM only: Aveeno Protect & Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen- SPF 50 (~$13).
This is one of my favorite products in my routine. I love protecting my face from the sun, I love having moisturized skin, and I love the smell of sunscreen. Win-win-win.
Twice a week: Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Pore Refining Scrub ($~10).
This is a less abrasive, more natural exfoliator than the ones I’m used to (looking at you, St.Ive’s Apricot Scrub). I tend to reach for this once or twice a week, or maybe more if I’m having a really bad breakout.
Once a week: L’Oreal Detox & Brighten Pure-Clay Face Mask ($~13).
I’m a huge fan of clay masks, and this one is similar to others I’ve used in the past. Clay and charcoal are supposed to be great ingredients for pulling gunk out of your pores, so I use this product once a week or so to treat my skin and try to fight off any acne. I think when I’ve used this jar up, I’m going to try the Clear & Comfort mask from the same line— it’s geared more towards calming existing breakouts or irritated skin.
There you have it: my super basic, budget-friendly skincare routine. Have you tried any of these products? Got any recommendations for me? I want to hear what you think!