Tag Archives: skincare routine

Korean Skin Care Project- Toner Step

Korean Skin Care Project- Toner Step

A brief recap for those of you who are new to this project or blog. My daughter Piper and I are exploring Korean Skin Care and documenting it here. If you are interested in how we got to this point, I recommend checking out these posts. Korean Skin Care Project, Korean Multi-Step Routine and Where to Buy K-beauty Products In this installment we are going to cover another basic tenet of K-beauty, preparing the skin for treatment.

The second step of the Korean skin care routine is toner, you know the step we all skip to save time and money in the US.  However, there are no stinging astringent toners in this routine (I’m looking at you Seabreeze). These toners are designed primarily to balance the pH level of the skin to prepare it to accept the hydrating products yet to come.


Some Very Basic Information About pH Levels

Like many others, I have viewed toner as either the throw away step of the skin care routine, or the fast and way to wash my face.  Both views are wrong.  The primary purpose of toning in the Korean view is to bring the pH level of the skin into balance after cleansing, before adding other treatment products.  The term pH stands for potential Hydrogen, which I cannot even begin to explain so for a more complete explanation of pH levels, check out this great post on SoKo Glam’s blog Why the ph of Your Skincare Products Matter

Remember back in the day when all doctors recommended a cleanser call pHisoderm?  It came in an acid green bottle, smelled terrible, but worked on the principle of controlling the pH level of your skin.  It also contained some chemical that was banned by the FDA and had to be pulled from drugstore shelves and reformulated, but that’s a story for another day.

The very basics of pH are, low pH equals acidic skin which is often oily and blemish prone; and, high pH equals alkaline skin which is often dry and also, sadly, blemish prone.  The sweet spot, around 5.5, is where the acid mantle of the skin is adequate to resist bacterial invasion, but neither overly oily, causing blemishes, or overly dry causing inflammation and redness.


After cleansing, the skin’s pH is usually more alkaline (dry) because you have stripped some of the acid mantle when you cleansed away the day’s makeup, dirt and sweat.  The right toner will slightly increase the acid level, and should also include ingredients which will nourish the skin.

Toners I Have Known and Loved

The first toner we used in this project was Botanical Nutrition Toner from Be the Skin.  This toner has all natural ingredients like Laurus Nobilis Leaf Extract (bay leaf) and thyme, it has a light herbal scent and worked pretty well.  It was as advertised, a no frills, all natural toner and I would recommend it for any one starting out.

The price was around $25 which is pretty close to what you will spend for toner, maybe a little high, but not excessively.  It is available on Peach & Lilly and Amazon.







Getting a little more adventurous, we next decided to try something with a little more kick.  Adding some AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (beta hydroxy acid) is generally recommended for acne prone skin, so we chose this Cosrx product which was less expensive and Piper really likes.  The spray bottle is a much easier and more efficient way to apply the product.  So far her skin has responded well to this toner.

The cost was around $12 and it is available at Yesstyle and Amazon.




In my research I kept hearing about the Son & Park Beauty Water.  So I got myself an bottle and gave it a try.

I can attest it is a really nice product.  It has a light scent and leaves your skin feeling soft and supple. It also has gentle exfoliating agents and hydrating properties so can be used as multi-purpose product.  My only complaint, and it is a small one, is that while the packaging is sleek and modern, it pours out awkwardly and often ends up running down the back of my hand.  First world problems, I know.

This one is a little more expensive, running $30 on Soko Glam and about $25 on what seems to be a never ending sale on Yesstyle



What Have We Learned?

In summary, the toner step is not one to skip.  Nor is it a replacement for cleansing when it’s either too late, or too cold to wash your face.  Korean toners are not the drying, astringent toners we are used to in the US, they are designed to bring the pH levels of the skin in balance to prime the skin for other products.   These toners often have other benefits as well, such as exfoliants or humectants for hydration.

Some helpful tips for using toner:

  • Consider storing your toner in the fridge during the summer for a cooling treatment.
  • If you pour the toner in your palm and pat it on the face your bottle will probably last longer.  Putting it on a cotton ball usually uses more product and you have the added cost of buying cotton balls.
  • Leave your skin slightly damp from cleansing rather than thoroughly drying it before applying toner.
  • For travel, there are toner products that come as pre-moistened pads in jars, they are slightly more expensive and a bit wasteful, but convenient and less likely to make a mess in your luggage.


Essence- the quintessential Korean product.

Korean Multi Step Skin Care Routine

Korean Multi Step Skin Care Routine

Currently Piper and I have a little mother/daughter project exploring the world of Korean skin care.  To read more about the project’s origins, check out this previous post Our Korean Skin Care Project.

The Korean Multi-Step Skincare Routine.

The first thing you learn about Korean skin care is that there are, at least compared to Western skin care, a lot of steps. I saw routines with anywhere from 8 to 16 steps, and while the number of steps vary, there were a few constants. Here is a list of the steps you most likely find in any morning Korean skin care routine.

korean skin care routine

That sure seems like a lot of steps!

A typical morning routine would look like this:

1. Cleanse (possibly twice)
2. Toner
3. Essence
4. Treatment- Serum/Ampoule
5. Eye Cream
6. Moisturizer/Emulsion

There are more steps like exfoliate, sheet masks and sleeping packs, but you may choose to used them in the evening, a few times a week or not at all. So when someone tries to tell you Koreans have 16 steps to their morning and evening routines, they have probably misunderstood, are exaggerating to make a point or just being a drama queen.

A typical evening routine would look like this:

1. Double cleanse, oil based first, then foam
2. Toner
3. Exfoliate or Sheet Mask
4. Essence (skip if used sheet mask)
5. Treatment- Serum/Ampoule or Facial Oil
6. Eye Cream
7. Moisturize or Sleeping Pack/Overnight Mask

For instance, it would be rare (but not impossible) for someone to use a sheet mask as part of their routine twice a day. Or, you might exfoliate, then sheet mask before a big event, but not every day, twice a day. You would need to have a lot of money, a lot of down time and be pretty obsessed with your looks, so I’m thinking Kardashian possibly. For the rest of us, 7 to 8 steps would be the maximum, which is still a lot compared to what we are used to, but not unworkable.

sheet mask glam

For our project we have decided to follow the morning routine set out above. I will double cleanse in the morning because my skin is a little dry and could benefit from more hydration. Piper will only use the foam cleanser in the morning, but double cleanse in the evenings. We will use a rotation of Exfoliate, Mask and Sleeping Pack, which we have dubbed EMS (I’m pretty sure she tried to make the acronym BTS, but couldn’t figure out how), in the evenings, leaving Saturday night as a wild card to do whatever extra treatment we want, or none at all.

That’s the plan. The next step is to choose the products, there are a lot of products available, so it is going to take some research to find ones that are right for our skin types and that fit into a manageable budget.


There are lots of places to learn about Korean skin care. We will review some the best resources to help learn about the routines and products.  If you are interested you can find that post here on Dazey Mayhem.  I would love to hear your experiences and recommendations.

My Summer Evening Skincare Routine

My Summer Evening Skincare Routine

As we have already established, I am a fan of a good skincare routine. I am equally a sucker for articles about what other people use to care for their skin, which is why I read every article I see about other peoples skincare regimes. I also read every “what’s in my purse” article, and I don’t know why, it’s like catnip.

Here is a post about my current morning routine. My Summer Morning Skincare Routine.  My definition of a good skincare routine means it’s easy, effective, affordable and nothing smells weird. Let’s talk about end of the day skincare for a bit.

First off, not to get too personal, but one thing you need to know about me is that I am a night showerer.  I would love to say I do it to wash the cares of the day away, but truth is I am fairly lazy and like to sleep as late as possible, so I ain’t got time for no morning showers.    So whilst I am in my evening shower, I wash my face and use the following products.


I have two cleansers that I use interchangeably, Cetaphil and Cera Ve.  These are two brands almost every dermatologist recommends, so I generally base my decision on the price variable.  If it’s on sale, or I have a coupon, that’s the one I get.  Just as an aside, I would also give a shout out to Noxema, the cleanser of my youth.  If you have oilier skin, there is nothing nicer than the gentle tingle of the product in the bright blue jar.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser  or Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser




After drying off, I use the same serum I use in the morning Buffet from The Ordinary line.  This stuff is fantastic, and is about the most reasonably priced serum you will find out there.


The Ordinary Buffet Serum





Eye Cream

Everyone needs a good eye cream, I alternate between Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Eye Cream in the warm months and their Dermonective Eye Cream in the cold months.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Eye Cream





Seriously where are you going to find a Retinoid for $21?  The Abnormal Beauty Company, that’s where. Crazy right, but it’s true and it works really well.


The Ordinary Retinoid 5%





Night Cream

I found this face cream when we went to France and I fell in love.  It’s kind of hard to find, but they have it on Amazon.  It is a little pricey, but is a luxury I allow myself.  This cream is light, smells really good and absorbs quickly into the skin.  I truly love it.

Fragonard Royal Jelly Face Cream 




Hand Cream

The gold standard of hand creams is L’Occitane, I should know since I have tried everything on the market.  I request this from my mom every Christmas.  My favorite is the Vanilla, but it only comes in a small tube.


L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream




Lip Balm

This is probably my favorite DoTerra product.  Lord knows I have purchased enough of it.  They have 3 flavors, original which is orange and peppermint, tropical and herbal.  My favorite is tropical.


DoTerra Lip Balm





That’s it for my summer evening routine.  I would love to hear about what products other people use and love.

Ciao for now,



***Just so you know, this is not a sponsored post, but it does contains affiliate links.  If you use one of the links to actually purchase a product, I may receive a small commission on the sale.  If that is an issue, you can simply search for the product by name and purchase it from any other source, I am just happy to share my experiences with these products.***




My Summer Morning Skincare Routine

My Summer Morning Skincare Routine

It goes without saying that I am not a very girly-girl; and, clearly will never be mistaken for a super model, so makeup is not really my thing.  However, I am all about skincare products.  I am a total sucker for articles about what skincare products other people use, so here is a review of my summer morning skincare routine.

When it comes to my skin, I have been fortunate to be blessed with good genes.  They come from my mother who easily passes for 10-15 years younger that she is. I am always searching for the perfect skincare routine, one that is not too complicated or expensive, but is effective and easy to stick to.

Since I have very fair (practically translucent) skin, I don’t tan.  Instead I burn, and when the burn subsides, I don’t get cute freckles, I get big, weird blotches.  Sunscreen is an everyday thing for me. I use it in my moisturizer, foundation and the mineral veil finishing powder, so with all my layers I figure I am at about an SPF of 750. Aside from that, here are the products I am currently using each morning.

Morning Skincare Routine

oil of olay micellar water

Wash with Micellar Water– I found micellar water when we went to France last year.  Apparently, the water in France is full of minerals and hard on the face. So the French, in all their international wisdom, developed this water with microscopic oils that attach to dirt and dissolve it without drying out your face. It’s fantastic.  Plus, it’s  also great for lazy people like me who hate to wash their faces in the morning.


My favorite is Oil of Olay Luminous Advanced Micellar Water



morning skincare buffet

Apply Serum–  I started using serums when I read somewhere that it was like a multi-vitamin for your face. For some reason that really struck a cord with me.  I am currently using and loving products from The Ordinary line by the Abnormal Beauty Company.  Their products are no nonsense, affordable and very effective.

My favorite serum is The Ordinary Buffet




morning skincare the ordinary

Apply Eye Treatment– Under eye puffiness can be an issue for me in the morning.  I found this great product that has green tea extract from The Ordinary Line and it works phenomenally. A couple of drops and you look wide awake in about 10 minutes, it’s like an espresso for your skin.

My favorite eye treatment is The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG




skincare routine cerav e

Apply Moisturizer and boost Sunscreen– Oh moisturizers, I have tried a few but never actually fell in love with any of them.  Right now I have settled on a collagen based product, but it only has SPF 20, so I mix it with a few drops of a drug store brand moisturizer and it seems to do the trick quite nicely.

My moisturizer cocktail consists of CeraVe AM Moisturizing Lotion and Mario Badescu Collagen Moisturizer




morning skincare rosewater

If I am feeling fancy I will top all that off with a spritz of Mario Badescu Rosewater and Aloe Facial Spray I don’t actually notice any difference, but it smells nice and makes me feel pretty and really isn’t that what all this is about.

Got any favorite products you love?  Let me know in the comments, knowing me I will probably run out and buy them.

Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links.  If you use one of the links to actually purchase a product, I may receive a small commission on the sale.  If that is an issue, you can simply search for the product by name and purchase it from any source you prefer, I am just happy to share my experiences with these products.