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For the longest time, I’ve stuck to the skin care regimen I spoke about here nearly a year ago. Yes, there are new products that I try out occasionally, but nothing that has completely revolutionized my routine until recently. Even though my skin was looking generally clearer and had little-to-know fine lines yet, it just always looked dull/lackluster. The best word to describe it would be DEHYDRATED. Dehydrated skin is characterized by ‘skin that appears lackluster and dull, sallow or “tired,” and when pulled taut, it almost seems to wrinkle a bit. Dehydrated skin doesn’t “bounce back” easily and is more prone to congestion (bumps, blackheads) and acne. It generally soaks up moisturizer yet looks oily in spots and feels dry as a bone in others’ –Reddit
This dehydrated skin phenomena led me to explore the K Beauty/Japanese skin care philosophy, where hydration via water (not thick creams and oils) is key. Let me introduce you to my NEW skin care regimen that’s seriously transformed my skin featuring Koh Gen Do…
How did I learn about Koh Gen Do?
A little over a month ago, I attended a Beauty event at Forty Five Ten in the River Oaks District in Houston. They had the CEO of Koh Gen Do and a makeup artist teaching customers about the products that make Koh Gen Do truly special. I had already tried the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water in the past from Sephora and been a fan, so I was intrigued about experiencing the rest of the line.
Lucky for me, I got the VIP treatment right from the CEO herself! From cleansing, exfoliating, sheet mask, massage, and makeup application… I looked like I was 6 years old again. Totally glowing, poreless and well-rested. It was incredible. I became completely fascinated with this Asian skin care philosophy and the effectiveness of the Koh Gen Do products.
What are the fundamentals of K Beauty?
K Beauty (short for Korean Beauty) and Japanese skin care are similar in the fact that they both deeply believe skin care is a ritual. They believe in gentle, yet thorough cleansing and layering lightweight products to nourish the skin deeply. They typically have more steps than we’re used to in Western culture, but the results speak for themselves. They use simple yet powerful ingredients that have been around for generations. You’ll see a lot of products featuring words like anti-inflammation, soothing, calming, plumping, brightening, exfoliation, softening and hydration.
What does a K Beauty routine look like?
A basic Korean skin care routine has 10 steps. You do not need to perform all 10 steps AM and PM, but you can if you enjoy it. Both K Beauty and Japanese skin care believe you should be very tuned in to what your skin may need.
Here’s a general example of what the K Beauty 10 Step Routine looks like (via Sokoglam.com):
- Oil-based makeup remover – to remove color makeup (PM only)
- Water-based cleanser – to cleanse the skin
- Exfoliation (1-2x/week)
- Toner – to help skin care products absorb deeper
- Essence – skin repair and cell turnover
- Serums/Boosters/Ampoules – focused treatments for anti-aging, acne, pigmentation, etc.
- Sheet Mask (1-2x/week)
- Eye cream
- SPF (AM only; you may be able to find a moisturizing SPF you like and cut out step 9 here)
Here’s an example of Koh Gen Do’s Japanese skin care routine:
- Cleansing Spa Water or Wipes – to remove color makeup (PM only)
- Oriental Plants Cleansing Cream – to soften the skin (PM only)
- Oriental Plants Facial Wash – to cleanse the skin
- Spa Gommage Gel (1-3x/week) – to exfoliate
- Oriental Plants Essence – for texture, tone, and anti-aging
- Oriental Plants Lotion I or II – to hydrate and prep skin for next treatments
- Macro Vintage Sheet Mask (1-2x/week; OR use Oriental Plants Lotion soaked cotton pads and place all over the face as a mini mask/pack. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.)
- Moisture Spa Gel (or substitute an SPF here for AM)
- Oriental Plants Cream (optional; if you’re extra dry)
You’ll notice the Koh Gen Do routine has more optional steps. For instance, you don’t necessarily need both Step 1 and 2 depending on your makeup routine. You also don’t need step 9 if you’re not super dry. Sheet masks are available, but Koh Gen Do loves using their Oriental Plants Lotion as a quasi-sheet mask. They combine certain ingredients to still maintain the efficacy of a traditional Asian skin care routine but do so in a simplified manner.
My (modified) K Beauty/Koh Gen Do routine…
I’ve been following this routine for over a month now and my skin has honestly never looked so even, calm, soft and glowing. My pores seem to be slowly diminishing and backing off of all the acids I was using (often twice a day) was doing me absolutely no good in reducing any redness or irritation. I have not touched my AHA/BHA acids or oils because my skin does not need or want it. Most importantly, my skin doesn’t have that dull, oily yet dehydrated texture to it that I hated.
These steps may seem ridiculously lengthy, but because the products are all so lightweight/watery, I slap them on back to back and it doesn’t take me longer than five minutes in the morning or night (unless I’m exfoliating or using a sheet mask… expect to add a few minutes then).
- Oil-Based Makeup Remover – I go back and forth between Boscia Makeup Breakup Cleansing Oil (for heavier makeup days) or Koh Gen Do Cleansing Cream (for lighter makeup days); PM only
- Water Based Cleanser – CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser or Purity One-Step Face Wash
- Toner – Son and Park Beauty Water
- Rx product – Retin A (3x/week); PM only
- Essence – CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (anti-acne, soothing) in the AM; Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Essence (anti-aging) in the PM
- Hydrate – Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Lotion I (drop 5-6 drops into the hands and then pat into the skin)
- Serum – Timeless 20% C + E + Ferulic (to brighten and reduce acne marks) in the AM; Glossier Super Bounce (to aid in plumping the skin) in the PM
- Eye Cream (PM only)
- Moisturizer/SPF – Elta MD SPF 46 or Elta MD SPF 41 (I go back and forth; I like them both) in the AM; Koh Gen Do Spa Moisture Gel in the PM. Absolutely OBSESSED with this moisturizer!
*Two days a week, I will use the Koh Gen Do Gommage Spa Gel to exfoliate after step 2, then follow with a sheet mask after step 6.
My FAVORITE products from this routine so far are the Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Essence (saw a difference in one night of use), the Lotion I (at first I didn’t ‘get it,’ but now I can’t live without it. So hydrating without being greasy), and the Spa Moisture Gel (this stuff is amazing. Never want to be without it).
shop my routine:
The GIVEAWAY! [NOW CLOSED]
The staff at Koh Gen Do are amazingly well-informed about skin care and when they sent me a ton of their products to try complimentary (so I can maintain my new youthful glow), they included a perfect trial set for one of my readers! Set includes: Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Facial Wash, .52 oz Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Lotion II, 50 ml (better for normal/dry skin; Lotion I is better for normal/oily) Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Cream, .52 oz Koh Gen Do Macro Vintage Essence Sheet Mask, 1 mask Koh Gen Do Cleansing Cream, 2 foil packets to trial Koh Gen Do Essence, 2 foil packets to trial Koh Gen Do Night Moisture Mask, 2 foil packets to trial Total value: $48
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