Skincare and k-beauty products for all skin types, including your favorites

I learned a lot from you on our last skincare post! I am 45 with normal to dry skin and need to make sure that future posts about skincare and products are more inclusive. So this has some products for blemish prone skin as well. Some of you mentioned Korean skincare. After reading about it, I splurged on the Costco Case Full of Seoul kit. It was on sale for $100 which felt like a lot to spend on skincare but it was $50 off. I would only recommend about 3-4 products from it, some of which are below. You don’t need the whole kit to get results and can try some of the products from Amazon.

My skin is so smooth and soft now. Plus the tiny blackheads on my nose are much less noticeable. It’s unclear if the difference is due to the new skincare or the skincare plus the microneedling I mentioned earlier. While I think the microroller definitely worked, I’m not 100% sold on it as I noticed tiny little marks. (No one else notices them and with makeup on they’re invisible. Plus they are fading over time.)

The first part of this post reflects some of the k-beauty routine I follow. It feels luxurious and once you do it for a couple of days it becomes routine. Toward the end are products for oily skin.

An oil cleanser that melts into your skin and rinses off clean
One of the keys to the k-beauty regime is the two step oil then foaming cleansing system. Almost every article I read (this one was the most informative, thanks Lena) recommended this product, Banila Clean It Zero. Reviewers say it melts into your skin, dissolves makeup easily and is moisturizing. However some people with acne prone skin say that it can cause breakouts.

A gentle exfoliating foaming rice cleanser
9 Wishes Rice foaming cleanser is the exact cleanser I’m using and I love it! I’m definitely replacing it once it runs out. It is strong enough to remove eye makeup without being abrasive, and it leaves your face feeling so clean without feeling tight or dry. It has micro-ground rice powder so it helps slough away dead skin and impurities without damage. Other gentle, low PH foaming cleansers with great reviews include Hada Labo Rohto Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam, and Corsx Low PH Good Morning Gel cleanser.

A non-drying clarifying toner for brighter skin
I’m using May Coop raw sauce, which came in my Costco kit. It’s decent but not incredible and I will replace it with an alternate toner. Experts recommend either Cosrx AhA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner or a Mizon toner, which has mixed reviews. The Klairs Supple Preparation toner has a lot of product for the price and people rave about it, calling it refreshing and moisturizing yet light. I’ve found the toner I’m going to buy once mine runs out!

A serum to repair skin before moisturizing and applying sunblock
Urang true rose repair essence came in my kit. It’s good and I sort-of recommend it but it’s expensive and hard to find. Klair’s rich moist soothing serum is positively reviewed and seems to be the best alternative. Reviewers say it’s good for all skin types, even oily, and that it adds a layer of moisture and makes your skin look radiant. (An alternative for oily skin might be this Essence Korean Skin Care spray.)

An anti-aging serum set that can fade acne scars and age spots
I wasn’t going to include this set but then I read the reviews and now I want these! Users say they reduce pores, fine lines, age spots and scars. They’re also said to even out skin tone, improve texture, and may even reduce under eye bags. Some of the products can be strong, so it’s recommended that you use them sparingly on wet skin right after you wash.

A rich moisturizer to hydrate and plump skin
While I’m not including sunblock, please include a good sunblock in your skincare routine. My favorite is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer liquid. Before that, you need a good moisturizer and I recommend the affordable all-in-one Mizon snail cream. Yes it’s made with actual snail stuff, but you can’t tell. Someone recommended this in our comments years ago and I bought it and loved it. I’ve also used and can recommend this retinol moisturizer, similarly under $20. The exact moisturizer I use now which came in the Costco pack is the May Coop raw moisturizer. It’s good but it’s not $40 good, you know?

A three step acne treatment system for adults and teens
Now we’re into products for acne prone skin. The La Roche-Posay treatment system is affordable and well reviewed. Many people say that it works wonders for their acne, including adult and cystic acne. It can be drying, especially the spot treatment, so you may want to use it just a few times a week and go easy on the spot treatment until your skin is used to it. The moisturizer is a good companion product, people with very oily skin say it’s effective, but that it’s pricey.

A glycolic acid toning solution for clear skin
So many of you recommended products by The Ordinary, particularly this glycolic acid toning solution. Many people say this cured their acne and that it also works on fine lines. Some people say it feels sticky but the consensus is that the results are worth it. At least two of you recommended The Ordinary’s Niacinamide serum for acne as well.

A healing clay mask with over 2k positive reviews
This was a recommendation by Joanne, who calls it amazing! Reviews say they mix it with apple cider vinegar or water to extend and make the product easier to spread. It’s supposed to clear acne prone skin and provide results which last for a few days. I’m definitely trying this!

Thanks for reading this post and commenting with your favorite products! I’ve learned so much from you and am really pleased with the results.


Header photo credit: Tarzine Jackson via Pexels. Photo directly above credit: Daniel Xavier

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36 Responses to “Skincare and k-beauty products for all skin types, including your favorites”

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  1. Talita says:

    I really love La Roche-Posay products. The Effaclar line is so effective. I also enjoy their Vitamin C serum. Skinceuticals, Neostrata and Vichy make amazing stuff as well.

    • Lizzie says:

      i love it too! i tried it after i reading sarah jessica parker’s go on about it.

      the effaclar line is great for adult acne. it is very drying but it works better than anything and i’ve been fighting acne for 20 years. maybe i’ll pick up that vitamin c serum today. their Toleriane moisturizer with sunscreen is the only sunscreen on earth that doesn’t make me break out horribly.

    • Kit says:

      La Roche Posay is also really good for rosacea and sensitive skin.

      I’m in my 40s with dry skin but still occasionally get hormonal pimples, and keep forgetting that a bit of Skinstitut Vitamin C powder mixed into my usual serum or moisturiser gets rid of the zits almost overnight. For some reason the powder is way more effective than a Vit C serum. Also reduces small lines and definitely gives a healthy glow.

      I switch serums after each bottle because they seem to lose impact after a while. I go between Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair (amazing), Lancome Genefique (pretty good), and Lancome Visionnaire (fantastic).

      And I live in the tropics so highest spf sunscreen by the bucketload!

  2. Zapp Brannigan says:

    Thank you for these, I use the Ordinary caffeine under eye solution and a 0.2% retinol in Squalane and love them. Will have to check out that toning solution.

    I am always interested in finding out what other people suggest.

  3. Sam the Pink says:

    A fair warning about the Aztec Clay –

    1.) You might want to use disposable materials with it. When it dries, it is pretty hard to get out of everything. Get plastic bowls and utensils, and consider a silicone or plastic spreader as opposed to a brush to apply it (I ruined mine).

    2.) It will make your skin pulse. Like, you will actually feel it sucking the grime out of you. It’s kind of unnerving the first time, so fair warning.

  4. Lena says:

    Cosrx is a Great inexpensive kbeauty brand. I love their bha and aha, their low ph cleanser as well as their snail mucin essence (snails aren’t killed or hurt to produce this, they just let them crawl around on a special surface that collects the mucin they naturally spread anyways). I burnt myself very badly and on quite a big surface and after no longer needing the medicated stuff for healing but still itching and being really red and stuff I used this and it always immediately calmed my skin and really promoted healing.

    • mint says:

      I love Asian beauty. They have the best products in my opinion- great ingredients and techniques. Over 10 years ago a friend of mine brougt me back a sheet mask from Korea and just now they are everywhere. Yesstyle is my asian skincare heaven!!
      I ordered cosrx products- the aha/bha toner, the snail muncin toner, a aha/bha overnight mask and the pimple patches. I am sooo excited. I also ordered the miracle toner by some by mi.
      Asian sunscreen is far superior in my opinion.
      I am addicted

  5. MellyMel says:

    That Aztec Clay is great for oily/acne prone skin. I did a mask once a week and it helped clear my skin so much. Also K-Beauty (and J-Beauty) is so much better and gentler on skin (as least mine) compared to western brands. I second using CosRX products.They work really well and are not expensive at all. Their snail mucin essence (snails aren’t hurt making this) + the ordinary niacinamide is the perfect combo.

  6. Jessica says:

    Laneige lip mask. Best thing I’ve ever used on my lips.

    LANEIGE LIP SLEEPING MASK Berry 20g / Lip Sleeping Pack / Lip Treatment (Packaging may vary)

  7. Liz version 700 says:

    Thank you for these posts! I bought the eye shadow recommended on another post and loved it. I want to try the anti aging/acne serum. I noticed the beginning of my first laugh line. I am ordering that today lol.

  8. Galena says:

    Laneige lip mask and water sleep mask are super awesome! YeStyle is a great source for K-beauty products. I also recently tried Peach and Lilly Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask and it is ah-mazing.

  9. Esmom says:

    Thanks for the recommendations, CB and commenters. I’m ready to change up my skincare and am going to order a number of these products. It’s a little overwhelming but everyone’s words helped me make more sense of everything.

  10. Lolo says:

    For anyone thinking about the retinol cream it’s a lightning deal on amazon right now. I just got it for $12. I’ll try anything for $12. I love skincare recommendations and am always searching for new products, so thanks for the post!

  11. Marguerita says:

    Hi, this is actually a comment for the last post, but because I’m late to the party those comments are closed.

    I wanted to add a caveat to the usage of CeraVe. It’s meant for people with skin problems, and it was recommended to me by my dermatologist. I have bad bouts of eczema that have caused scarring and wrinkling on my face. I used the moisturizing cream for about a year, the regular stuff not meant for the face but there was nothing else for my face, and I noticed that I stopped producing oil naturally. This made my face feel plastic, like Barbie skin? It took about two years for the oil to come back to my face. I have crazy sensitive skin, so this was very disappointing to me. It seems like I need to change products every so often as the creams loose efficacy.

    Currently I’m using Wellskin Glaxalbase cream, which I was told is the base for all medical creams. Fingers crossed it keeps working.

    Now this probably won’t happen to other people using CeraVe, and I have gone back to try the eye creams, but I just wanted to share my strange-to-me experience.


  12. Marty says:

    I have been using the Klairs and Cosrx brands for years, they are two of my favorites!

  13. Peace says:

    Because of this article I changed all my skincare and makeup to more natural or organic ingredients

    • Neva_D says:

      Thank you for the link to that article! (I was raised in a rather granola hippie family from California, so my pov might be a bit biased, haha) i’ve always been skeptical of non-organic skin products because I’m hyperaware of the fact that your skin absorbs everything, and I just think “that’s a lot of chemicals for your body to have to allow inside of it…” I pretty much only use Juice Beauty (which can be a bit pricy for some products, but they’re totally worth it), Alba and Simple items on my skin. Other than that, it’s just coconut oil and vitamin e oil.

    • abbi says:

      Yes to this! I get a lot of my skincare products at Whole Foods. There are also some great green beauty bloggers out there, you can google them or find them on instagram, they test and rate products (granted I think they get them for free…). My favorite brands are Yuli, Acure, Lina Hanson, and Maya Chia. I also use retin-A and some of The Ordinary products, not green but sometimes ya gotta go deep. And always—sunscreen!

  14. KatieBo says:

    I have always been pretty basic about my skin care. I find that anything other than soap (Dove Sensitive Skin Bar) or sometimes just a makeup remover cloth and water and a bit of moisturizer causes my skin to act up. But recently, I replaced moisturizer with Claudelie Precious Oil and OH. MY. It takes my skin to the next level. My skin looks radiant, the tone improved and it is so so so so smooth. It’s the only thing that has ever made a noticeable difference in my skin. It’s definitely not cheap, but a little goes a very long way and I figure that it’s the only thing I’m spending money on for my skin. It was a splurge, but definitely worth it!

  15. Aubree says:

    I am a skincare junkie and am always on the hunt for the next miracle product. Although it’s not Korean, one of the best products I’ve ever used is a Dutch eye cream called Kruidvat Oog Contour Creme. It’s a rich and amazing under eye cream that costs less than $5. I’ve used it for the past 10 years and have zero wrinkles around my eyes. The only catch is that it’s only sold in the Netherlands or Belgium at a shop called Kruidvat. Every time I go I buy 5. If you’re ever in the Netherlands/Belgium I highly recommend checking it out.

  16. KidV says:

    Skinceuticals is my go-to product line, I’ve used them for years, actually almost 2 decades. I started using them in my 30’s. I swear by their 20% Vitamin C serum. Started using it in at about 35 and my skin still looks 35. I grew up in the desert sun without sunscreen and I don’t have sun damage or sun spots at all, and minimal wrinkles, mostly just crows feet that I swear I was born with.

    I don’t like high maintenance skin care regimens, all I’m ever going to do is wash, serum, moisturize, go.

    Has anyone tried Frownies? I was thinking of trying those for my crows feet. Botox works, but I keep forgetting to make an appointment, and Frownies are way cheaper.

  17. Becks says:

    Thanks for all the recommendations! I also love The Ordinary; especially their rose hip oil. I also have the Mizon snail cream as part of my night treatment. I’ve been using Retin A since my early 30s and that, along with SPF 50 everyday have kept the wrinkles away!

  18. MC2 says:

    This thread is amazing! I went to Jezebel’s comments for skin recommendations a while ago & ended up with Paula’s Choice which is a long line and has a package for helping blemishes AND aging! The zits help me stay looking young 😉 but trying to find a product for both was difficult. Thank you for this thread & I have a few products coming through the links.
    Please do a thread on makeup….specifically eye liner, blush and easy, peasy things to use. Make up tutorials are exciting and then make me want to burn it all down after 15 min and the 20th product that costs $120.

  19. Peace says:

    I really like Herbivore, Drunk Elephant, Pacifica and Tacha for skincare. At 45, I need to hit it hard with masks and hydration. The herbivore oils are amazing and last forever!

  20. Birdie says:

    If you can get them somehow, get the Mediheal sheetmasks! I was recently in Korea and they are said to be the best, chinese women buy them in bulks when they visit. The result was instantly, skin was super plump and less redness. Also I recommend the Klairs toner, only I have the purple version without scent. Girls, please use sunscreen daily, even when it‘s a rainy day. Your skin will thank you. Japan‘s Biore brand has the best sunscreen.

  21. HeyThere! says:

    I am here for this skincare posts!! Love it!!! As someone who had oily, acne prone skin as a teenager…I have ‘tried everything’ but I was doing it alllll wrong! LOL I’m in my 30’s now so it’s been a hot minute but everyone was telling me never to use lotion because oily skin already and it dry my face out with rubbing alcohol(OUCH) and then never ever add lotion!!!! Ahhh!!! What great friends and family I had. Ha!

    I started going to the dermatologist young and got into a medical spa routine and have the skin of my dreams now(other than a few acne scars from picking the shit out of my face). I slather lotion on my face several times a day because now I have very dry skin(got pregnant and my skin changed for the better and is still like this years later). I can’t preach enough about how imprortant sunscreen is!!!! Use it everyday, rain or shine, on my face, neck/chest, and hands. I have sensitive skin and this amazing product has never once broke me out. It actually helps my skin improve plus blocks the sun. You can fine it on Amazon Prime. Solbar Zinc broad spectrum SPF 38 transparent Zimc Oxide! Water resistant(80 minutes)! Cream, non-comedogenic, non-irratating, moisturizing, unscented!!!! Bottle is white with orange writing. Best product in the WORLD!!!!! A little goes a long way.

    Anywho, I get regular microdermabrasion and really enjoy it. I think I’m about to get my stash lasered off! Ha! I’m white with black body hair and it’s just annjoying. I’m looking for a good over the counter retinal cream and a good over the counter eye cream.

  22. Kathryn says:

    I have been microneedling for about 8 months now – hoping to build collagen since I’m in my 50s. I think I see some benefit, but it could be all in my head. Curious to hear others’ experiences with dermarolling.

    Love these skincare posts!

  23. ChristineM says:

    Thanks for these posts!! I’ve been in the L’Oreal skin care rut & now that I’m getting older (just turned 53) I’m finding it’s not working so well. I just added the Eve Hansen to my Amazon wish list so I don’t forget. Also, I’ve been researching vitamin C products but had no idea which one to try. This gives me a starting place.

    Thanks again & please keep doing these types of posts. Love them!

  24. DesertReal says:

    Phytomer! Always and forever…

  25. Nocleverhandle says:

    Any face product that you have to stick your finger in almost guarantees contamination & degrades any active ingredients. Same for products in clear containers. Stick to pumps & droppers with an opaque or amber container. Also, jar creams expose too much product every time you open them. It leads to oxidation and degradation. I’m a lot of fun at parties. 🎉

  26. msn says:

    Thanks for breaking down those products CB! I *discovered* Deciem/The Ordinary this year and my oily acneic skin has been transformed -Niacinamide completed regulated my oil control and helped minimise the appearance of my pores together with Salicylic Acid which is an excellent BHA acid.
    I credit Double Cleansing as the best way to remove SPF and everything else I’ve exposed my skin to during the day -after my oil-cleanse, I use CeraVe Foaming Cleanser or NIOD’s Sanskrit Saponins for Step.2 and my skin texture looks amazing and again my pores are super minimised because they’re so clean now.

    The biggest game-changer I’ve learnt from K Beauty is doing 7 Skins of hydrating toner, this preps my skin for my treatments, and all my serums and oils absorb so much better…even Squalane which used to just sit on the surface of my skin for the longest time -now my Hemi-Squalane and Retinol 0.2% has fully sunk in within 10mins.
    I’m aiming for *glass skin* in Summer 2019 and Deciem/The Ordinary/NIOD have given me a shot at achieving it 😀

  27. steph says:

    I’m in my 30’s and deal with acne, especially when I’m pregnant. Most acne washes are way overdrying and make my skin look dry and older. I’ve been using the Clinique Acne Solutions 3-step system for a few years and it’s amazing. I can’t use most moisturizers, serums, hydrating masks, etc without suffering breakouts so the fact that this system is doesn’t deplete the moisture in my skin is a lifesaver. If you suffer with adult acne, give it a try.