Tips & Tricks

The 5-Step Asian Skincare Routine

April 27, 2006


Ever wondered why most Asian women have flawless skin that never seems to age? Besides our *awesome* good genes and a different diet, we follow the 5-step skincare routine religiously. Here are the 5 steps!

5-step-asian-skincare-routine

Step 1: Double Cleansing
Cleansing is extremely crucial in maintaining great skin because makeup can clog up your pores and cause breakouts. Double cleansing consists of using a cleansing oil to remove makeup followed by a gentle cleanser (usually foam or cream-based) to remove any residue.

What I Like: TATCHA PURE One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil/Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils followed by Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder

Step 2: Lotion/Toner/Softener
Lotions/Toners/Softeners remove dead skin cells and residue from cleansers, replenish your skin with moisture after cleansing and make the absorption of any subsequently applied products easier and faster. When picking the right product, stay away from those with high levels of alcohol as it can dry out your skin.

What I Like: Sana Namerakahonpo Skin Lotion

Step 3: Facial Mask
Facial masks should be used 1 – 2 times a week after cleansing and preferably at night. They come in various forms, including sheet, clay, gel and cream. You should choose one depending on your skin type. Those with dry skin will benefit from hydrating sheet masks while those with oily skin can use a clay mask to draw out impurities and unclog pores. Gel and cream masks are more suitable for those with mature skin.

What I Like: Kose/Kanebo/Shiseido sheet masks

Step 4: Essence/Serums
Essence/Serums are light, concentrated liquid-based treatments that target specific skin concerns such as hydration, redness, acne, wrinkles, etc. They usually penetrate deeper into the skin and work a lot better than regular moisturizers. For maximum absorption, apply your essence/serum then wait 5 to 10 minutes before you move onto moisturizer.

What I Like: Cle de Peau Beaute Brightening Serum Supreme

Step 5: Moisturizer (Emulsion/Cream)
It is a common misconception that people with oily skin do not need to moisturize. The truth is, oily skin CAN get dehydrated and if left untreated, will become even oilier in the long run. If your skin is on the oily side, go with an emulsion, which is a light moisturizer. Look for formulas that are oil-free or water-based. If your skin is dry, you can use an emulsion followed by a heavier cream to lock in the moisture.

What I Like: NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer

* Note: I have dehydrated, sensitive combination skin with freckles around my cheeks and I do get a pimple or two on my forehead occasionally.

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30 Comments

  • Reply Anonymous April 27, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks for posting about the 5-step cleansing regime! Yayness.

    One quick question: how do you put on sunblock with tinted moisturizer? Do you usually put the moisturizer on before sunblock or the other way around? I’m a bit confused because I’m thinking if I put the moisturizer first, then the sunblock might mask the color of the moisturizer.

    Ok did that make any sense at all? Anyway, I look forward to your answer! Geez, you should put up a Q&A column on your blog. Hehe.

  • Reply kimlxf April 28, 2006 at 1:27 am

    mmM. DHC is good and nice, but I didn’t like the Oil makeup cleanser as much — it felt too oily. But their other products (from their samples) seem good. =]]

  • Reply Phyllis April 28, 2006 at 10:19 am

    well most tinted moisturizers usually come with SPF but if yours doesn’t, I would do sunblock first. If you do sunblock afterwards, you would risk rubbing the color off.

  • Reply Anonymous May 27, 2006 at 2:51 am

    moisturizers have colors?

  • Reply Phyllis May 27, 2006 at 11:14 am

    well tinted moisturizers do

  • Reply ngong January 13, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I ended up getting an trio of facial cleansing products at Missha when they were having a special holiday “Buy One get One 50% off” thing… and I got: Toner, Emulsion, and Essence. And I’m supposed to put them on in that order. What is “emulsion,” would you know? I’ve ran searches for it (and they just tell me that it’s a blend of oil and water, and I’m like “… I know. that doesn’t help.” I figured out the essence (and the toner, obviously)… but I use the emulsion. It’s like a cross between a lotion and toner. It’s like a liquid-y toner. If that makes sense. But it’s nice… and I do like it. I just wonder what it’s for. Maybe it’s a ‘massage’ cream for your skin…

  • Reply Phyllis January 15, 2007 at 7:33 am

    Ngong, emulsion is like an Asian version of a very light moisturizer and yes you are supposed to use it in the order you’re told (toner –> elmusion –> essence).

  • Reply linhie March 22, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Today is the first day that I found out about this blog and I must say so far it has help me alot. I’m an avid user of MAC Makeup, I’ve been using MAC Cosmetics for almost a year now (I refuse to use anything other than MAC) and I thought I knew everything on how to apply it. But your page has really help me, and I love your tips!! I just have a question. I just read it your 5-Step Skin Care Routine, and I am really intrigue by the products you use to take care of your skin. So where can I purchase these items, and will it make my skin flawless as yours?

    Note: I really cant say what kind of skin type I have. But if I had to say it would be oily, just because my skin tends to get a little oily throughout the day. So can I still purchase those items that you use but for oily type skin?

  • Reply linhie March 22, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Today is the first day that I found out about this blog and I must say so far it has help me alot. I’m an avid user of MAC Makeup, I’ve been using MAC Cosmetics for almost a year now (I refuse to use anything other than MAC) and I thought I knew everything on how to apply it. But your page has really help me, and I love your tips!! I just have a question. I just read your 5-Step Skin Care Routine, and I am really intrigue by the products you use to take care of your skin. So where can I purchase these items, and will it make my skin flawless as yours?

    Note: I guess I would have to say that my skin type would be oily, just because my skin tends to get a little oily throughout the day. So can I still purchase those items that you use but for oily type skin?

  • Reply Zelda December 30, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you! This is new for me… the double cleansing method. I went to the DHC website, and the cleansing oil’s main ingredient is olive oil. I’ve read great reviews of this product, or even just PURE olive oil. Something I read was “oil mixes with oil” and therefore goes deep down into the pores to dissolve sebum. I really want to try this! I have sensitive, combination, acneic skin. Strangely, I have dry patches but extremely oily areas too. Thanks phyllis for posting this. Good information.

  • Reply anna May 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    thx alot for the info, i thought your skin was flawless all the time! thanks for mentioning that you get the occasional zit, it helps me to know that there isnt always a PERFECT regime. ^_^

  • Reply Anonymous June 18, 2008 at 4:27 am

    excellant routine, i followed these steps thoroughly..amazinggggg i love you hueva rit this..! mwah x love frm beji keramath x

  • Reply Del August 1, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    hello, really loving the blog ^^ its so useful!!

    just a few questions, you said you have freckles around the cheek area and just wanted to know if you cover them up with concealer of foundation, or if you just leave them alone?
    thnkss ^^

  • Reply yanad March 30, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    do emulsions count as moisturizer of serums/essences? that always confuses me…

  • Reply Reina May 13, 2009 at 11:39 am

    hi, i just ran into your website and really like your tips about facial cleansing however I can’t find anything about what to put on your face in the morning. I try not to wash my face in the morning so instead I just use a cotton ball soaked with peroxide or witch hazel then use a moisturizer like cetaphil or avon, does this sound good or should i be doing more?

  • Reply kk February 19, 2010 at 9:42 am

    actually acoording to thefaceshop;skinfood its essence->emulsion->moisturizer/cream

  • Reply Phyllis February 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Del,

    I don’t really mind the freckles so I don’t try to cover them up.

  • Reply Phyllis February 20, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Reina,

    I think it all depends on your skin type but I highly suggest everyone do at least the following:

    1) Wash your face. You don’t necessarily have to use a cleanser but at least wash it with water to get rid of any oils/dirt.

    2) Moisturize your skin and use an eye cream.

    3) Wear at least SPF 30.

  • Reply Phyllis February 20, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    kk,

    Thanks for pointing that out but I guess different people have different ways of doing things. I’ve seen people do toner –> elmusion –> essence and obviously that works or else Missha won’t be telling customers to apply the products in that order.

    This goes for makeup as well. Some people do their foundation first while some prefer to do the eyes before foundation. As long as you are not putting on moisturizer before you wash your face (which obviously doesn’t make sense), you should stick to whatever works best for you.

  • Reply saira khan December 30, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    The post is written in very a good manner and it entails many useful information for me. It’s a pleasure commenting here. Keep up the good work. I really admire your efforts and it gives me a pleasure reading you blog this is my first time though but its nice .

  • Reply Roxanna March 9, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Hi thanks for the info:)
    I was wondering would I only use this at night? or morning aswell? and if its only at night, what should I use in the morning?
    Thankyou

    • Reply Phyllis March 9, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      No prob Roxanna! The regimen is for night. For the AM, I’d suggest

      1) Cleanser or just water
      2) Toner
      3) Moisturizer
      4) Sunblock

  • Reply Xiǎo Lìzi May 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    I’m surprised that you didn’t include an emulsion step following the toner. Emulsion is a light moisturizing liquid you apply before other treatments. It locks water moisture into your skin. Here in China the regimen goes:

    AM
    1-Double Cleansing (cleansing oil and foam/cream cleanser), 2-Toner or Astringent, 3-Emulsion, 4-Essence & Serum 5-Moisturizer, 6-Spot Treament (if you have acne), 7-Sunscreen, 8-BB cream

    If you find a good BB cream with SPF and moisturizer, you can skip a few steps. During the winter, however, I’d still apply moisturizer first. Facial massages are usually done with the cleansing oil in the AM because you aren’t removing makeup, so your skin should be relatively clean.

    PM
    1-Double Cleansing (cleansing oil and foam/cream cleanser), 2-Toner or Astringent, 3-Emulsion, 4-Essence & Serum, 5-Night Pack or Moisturizing Cream

    You might use both essence and serum (depending on the facial area and condition). Perhaps wrinkle serum on your eyes and AHA essence on the rest of your face. Some people (my students) swear by applying moisturizer AND a night pack but I think that’s overkill.

  • Reply Lee December 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    What is a BB cream? Can you find it at the website above and show me??

    • Reply Phyllis December 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Lee,

      BB cream, short for blemish balm cream, is a cream-based product that combines makeup with skincare. It first came out in Korea a few years ago and is now a daily staple of many. Here’s a brief intro about it:

      http://makeupforlife.net/2007/12/bb-cream.html

      To find out more about BB creams, including reviews, you can also check out:

      http://makeupforlife.net/bb-cream

  • Reply britney e taylor April 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I have heard that a combination of DHC Deep Cleansing Oil and Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser works well to deep cleanse the skin. Your 5 step plan plan is very comprehensive so thank you for your tips.

  • Reply Minh Chi January 23, 2015 at 8:09 am

    If I have to use acne treatment cream, when I should apply it? after moisturizing or before it?
    Thanks you so much <3

  • Reply Hi Yuri June 10, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    i would like to know what comes first
    Cleanse or
    Mask or
    Freshen or
    Hydrate
    Plz because I would like my face to get clean .

  • Reply Hi Yuri June 10, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    What comes first
    Cleanse
    Mask
    Freshen
    Hydrate
    Plz I would like to know

  • Reply Wan Nur Ain Mat Nasir August 28, 2016 at 10:49 am

    hai.. am bit confuse.. shud i wear facial mask first after cleaning? i always start with cleanser -> toner -> essence -> serum -> facial mask.. did i do it wrong?

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