The Glow Up: My Morning Skincare

Turns out, I'm not invincible, and everything you've heard about tanning beds is true. After too many times anxiously waiting biopsy results, I finally began to think about the damage I'd caused. Turning 30 seemed like the perfect time (i.e. third life crisis) to start taking care of my skin. I had no problem spending time and money on makeup, but didn't think too much about what was under it. I found products I love and learned how to combine them for noticeable results. (And also no tanning. Because cancer.)


While researching skin improvement for women my age, I constantly saw posts on the 10-step Korean skincare regimen. Upon reading about it, I had a lot of questions. For example:

What's an ampoule?  (Still not sure)

Is 'essence' just fancy water? (Yes)

Who has time for this? (People who have time to obsessively research skincare routines and you)

I know, I know. It sounds like a lot. But not every step should be done each day, and some of them are really simple, like "Apply sunscreen." Don't be intimidated. I've broken down my morning routine into seven steps with the quickest ways to use my tried and true products. I've managed to undo sun damage, improve my skin's texture and tone, and virtually avoid acne. I've been perfecting my steps for months, and have switched out products to cook up the best cocktail for my unique needs. However, a few folks have taken my advice and now swear by it. Maybe you should too! 


Step 1: Oil Cleanse

Oil cleansing gently cleans and softens the skin without stripping away its natural goodness. The Pure One Step Camellia Oil Cleanser from Tatcha smells like a dang garden and has a silky texture. I'm in love! Put a quarter sized amount in your palms, rub together to warm the oil, then apply in circular motions until it's time to rinse. 


Step 2: Foam Cleanse

This tackles all the nasty nast on your face that the oil cleanse didn't get rid of. You'll notice a difference the first time you double cleanse. Truth. Use a dollop (actual unit of measurement) and massage it onto your skin using circular motions. Rinse. (I shouldn't have to tell you that part.) I'm obsessed with Too Cool for School's Egg Mousse Soap. It's super creamy and pretty affordable, too! 


Step 3: Tone

Tighten your pores and prep the skin for what's to come with a toner. It's easy peasy. Just swipe it over your face and neck using a cotton pad. I love Pixi's Glow Tonic. It's refreshing, and the little kick of glycolic acid adds gentle exfoliation. Plus it's $15 at Target! 


Step 4: Essence

Step 4: Essence

This is when it gets a little strange. You're going to hesitate, but I need you to just get on board with this and not ask questions. Which, however, is not a healthy way to live your life or form opinions but I digress. Essence is fancy face water. It brightens, softens, and just generally makes you prettier. It preps the skin to fully absorb the products you'll use next. This shit is bananas, and you just need to trust me on that. 

I use Tatcha's The Essence Plumping Skin Softener, and it's a costly miracle.Shake a little into your hands, rub them together then use your whole hand to press it gently into your face. The heat helps it absorb, and with that price tag, you won't want to waste a drop. Luckily, other brands carry similar products that are well-reviewed and much less pricey. 


Step 5: Serum

Serums are magical multi-taskers. My favorite is C-Firma Day Serum by Drunk Elephant. There's a lot to love here. The packaging hides the product from light which keeps the active ingredients stable. It firms, brightens, and evens while absorbing quickly. This stuff will make you GLOW.


Step 6: Hydrate

Whether you use a cream, gel, or a hybrid, you gotta quench that skin. Because my skin is oily, I use this Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel. It's light but packs a punch. My skin feels plump and never dry. You can even mix a pump into your serum and apply them both together! 

Algenist SPF.jpg

Step 7: SPF

This is one of those "It doesn't matter which church you go to as long as you go to church" situations. For the record, my church is sheet masking with my BFF while watching reruns of SNL, but you do you. It's easier to protect your skin than to reverse the damage so don't skip this one! I also apply it to the backs of my hands, my neck, and decolletage. So far, I love Algenist's Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Dense Formula. It smells amazing, absorbs quickly, and doesn't interfere with my makeup! 

Each time you do these steps, it becomes faster. I could do it with my eyes closed (and often do)! The results are worth it. Promise.