My Journey to Korean Skincare


Source: Evydraws

For a very long time, I have always been skeptical with the Korean skincare/makeup products. Living in the States for so long I was only being exposed to western products. Even when I first moved back to Indonesia, my hubs (then boyfriend) was going for a trip to Korea when he asked if I wanted any makeup/face products for him to bring back, and I was like nope, I’m cool with my current so-called “western” products.

At the time I was so into Lancome, Chanel, YSL, MAC and the rest of high-end western brands. However, as I live longer in Jakarta, buying these high-end products are getting cumbersome and becoming a real task. Not only that the counters don’t carry the same kind of products (they have asian version of almost everything), but also the sales person is not the most friendliest like I encounter in the States. I mean, I read people in the States are complaining about the sales person in the States too, but in Jakarta.. they’re worse. Not only they’re not knowledgable about the products, but they push you to buy things just to make a sale. It’s either that or they would just ignore you altogether.

The struggle is real.

Along the way, I intentionally starting to look for alternative products. I used Obagi skincare for the years (recommended by my derm), but after I gave birth to Eric, my skin condition changed. It became less oily and more on the combination side with some dry patches here and there. I wasn’t able to use the entire Obagi system anymore because it totally dry out my skin. I slowly was skipping one skin product to another until I was left with only using my holy-grail Obagi cleanser. Let me tell you, I am on my …  maybe 15th bottle, I can’t remember but I use this cleanser since 2013 and never look back.

Obviously, arriving with the big 3-0, I consciously aware that I would need somewhat a better skincare system. As the fine lines starting to appear, I search more and more high-end skincare products. I was eyeing the SK-II  FTE that everyone is raving about, but I wasn’t raving about their prices really. I did however, get a hand to their samples and tried it for two weeks. I didn’t feel anything special. Maybe because it was only two weeks and/or I was just not able to bite the bullet and buy the full size products. It was just too damn expensive.

As I was searching online, I found many great reviews about the SK-II dupe, a Korean brand called MISSHA with a quarter of the SK-II price. I didn’t hesitate to look and bought them online right away. So now, I’m almost done with my first 150ml MISSHA FTE. I’m pretty happy with the results, not only my skin is brighter (not whiter), it made my skin soft and supple in the morning (not oily).


So the other day, I was looking to buy my second bottle of the MISSHA FTE and I saw this MISSHA gift set that include the FTE and night serum (2 bottle of each full size and travel size). I wasn’t aware of this pairing, so I went ahead and do a quick search and it turns out that the MISSHA night serum is also a dupe from the Estee Lauder night serum. Again, the reviews were great and I was intrigued – I didn’t think twice to make the purchase right away.

Also last month, I was watching videos on youtube on Korean beauty skin care and saw this oil balm cleanser product used as the first cleansing step to wipe off your makeup. The demonstration on the video was incredible, like the balm literally melts off the makeup without rubbing and scrubbing. Of course I immediately looked online and bought a full size pot. The balm is called Clean it Zero by BanillaCo. Needless to say I’m on my second pot now.


PM Routine

So what I do now these days for my face skincare is to start with my BanillaCo balm to clean my face, followed by my holy-grail Obagi facial cleanser, then I applied the MISSHA FTE (let it dry for few minutes), then applied the MISSHA night serum. I do this complete routine before bed.


AM Routine

In the mornings I would skip the BanillaCo and the MISSHA night serum. Instead I would use the Biore UV Aqua Rich Essence SPF 50 after the MISSHA FTE, then I would apply my daily makeup accordingly.

If you know THE KOREAN SKINCARE STEPS, you know that my version is missing many other products like toner, cream, moisturizer, etc. The real korean skin care steps are extensive to say the least, I think it has like 10 steps altogether. I’m not looking to have all 10 steps but I am still on the lookout  for a night cream that I could add after the night serum.


The 10 Step Korean Skincare

Now on the weekly or bi-weekly basis I sometime like to use sheet masks (not in the picture) and regular masks. Here are my two masks I currently have. The Dead Sea Mud Mask is a black clay mask that will get rid impurities and clean pores, while the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is supposedly to be used as part of the PM Routine on the face after the serum, but I find that this particular mask makes my face itchy in the morning, so I’m salvaging this pot to be used on my neck instead.

The Obagi bottle on the left is what I use for spot treatment if I have any active acne bump, usually during PMS. I’ll take a cotton sheet and dab this solution to the affected area – works like a charm.


There you go, that’s my take on the Korean skincare craze. I’m coming from a very practical person and I think my version skincare regime is still somewhat manageable.

What’s your take on the korean skincare?





Philosophy’s Take a Deep Breath oil-free, energizing oxygen gel cream moisturizer

For a while, I have been in the hunt for a perfect gel moisturizer. Why gel moisturizers? Because they tend to be lighter and oil-free, which is perfect for my combination/oily skin (On a cooler weather my face can get really dry, and very oily in a damp weather like Jakarta. That is why I have different moisturizers for different weather, depending on where I’m going). Plus, I wanted something lightweight yet effective, that soothes without making my skin feel greasy. I have tried Clinique’s Moisture Surge and Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal cream, which are great products, but the winner goes to Take a Deep Breath by Philosophy, an oil-free, energizing oxygen gel cream moisturizer.


Four things I look for in a moisturizer:

  1. Quickly absorbs. I hate, hate, hate it if I still have that sticky or greasy feeling 5 minutes after I put on my moisturizer, which a lot of heavier, more moisturizing products have.
  2. Does its job well – Moisturizes!! just as it should be. You know how some moisturizers left your skin feeling soft right after you put it on, and left your skin feeling dull for the rest of the day.
  3. Blends well with make-up. Not so good moisturizers can become flaky after you apply them sometimes, which makes them hard to blend with your make-up.
  4. Doesn’t have a strong scent. I can cope with a little bit of scent, as long as the product works well.. But once a moisturizer is heavily scented, it will probably stay on my drawer until I ran out of my favorite ones.



Philosophy Take a Deep Breath has everything I look for in a moisturizer. The formula is lightweight,  and stays hydrating throughout the day. As soon as you apply it, especially right after you’ve washed your face, you’ll feel refreshed instantly, as if your skin is actually breathing. Even my husband uses it. This product doesn’t have SPF in it, so you can actually use it at night too.

I am on my third jar so far ( I have never been this loyal to a moisturizer), but sadly, they are not available in Indonesia yet, so I might have to find a substitute until I got the chance to restock them.

If you have a normal/combination skin, or acne-prone skin, I highly recommend this product.

Sasti Soepono